Thursday, 21 April 2011

Stalemate in Libya

Just a month after the United Nation Security Council adopted Resolution 1973 and the subsequent successful imposition of a no-fly-zone over Libya, the situation seems to have developed into a military stalemate.
Even without fighter aircraft, forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi have consolidated their positions in central and western Libya. Ill-equipped and largely untrained opposition forces are desperately defending Misrata, the only rebel-held city in the west of the country, which is relentlessly shelled by pro-Gaddafi forces.
Meanwhile, the US has withdrawn their fighter jets from the international air campaign in the country. With Obama’s approval ratings at an all-time low, the president seems to want to make the point that the US does not need to take the lead in every international military operation that does not directly involve vital US interests. Apart from that, Obama wants to concentrate on the domestic US agenda, on which he is building his re-election effort, and the very last thing he needs is another Iraq or Afghanistan.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Dutch mall shooting

On 09 April a 24 year old Dutchman entered a busy shopping mall in Alphen, the Netherlands - took out an automatic weapon and randomly fired over a 100 rounds around him. He then shot himself in the head. Six other people died on the spot.

These are stories we expect to come from the USA, where anyone over 18 can buy a shotgun or rifle.
The Netherlands have tough firearms regulations. The young man was member of a shooting club and was licensed to posses 3 firearms, but only single-shot arms.  Furthermore, he had been in contact with the judiciary as a teenager and was known to have been suicidal in the past. The question now is: why had his license not been revoked?

Monday, 11 April 2011

Public Service strike looms...

Negotiations to come to an understanding concerning public service payments adjustments seem to have arrived at a deadlock. Unions demand a 16% rise - government has offered 2%, 'an insult' according to the unions. A full public service strike is scheduled to take off on 18 April.

 Meanwhile, with 40% of total workforce in the public sector (and 54% of total wages paid), Botswana's public service sector is too large, weighing down the economy and, in some areas, directly competing with the private sector and inhibiting it in its development.

Friday, 8 April 2011

"Our dear son....."

Muammar al Gaddafi writes a letter to Barack Obama regarding the Libya crisis, telling him that "despite of what had happened, Obama would always remain his son" and wishing him good luck in the upcoming presidential elections.Obviously, he also asked for an end to the NATO strikes against Libyan troops. Meanwhile, the situation in Libya seems to be going stalemate.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

A guiding light

Dozens upon dozens of street lights are being installed in Boseja ward, Maun. At first thought a welcome and necessary development. Many people bring forward some setbacks as well though. Firstly, the budget of North West District Council has been cut by 47%. Was this really a high-priority project? Secondly, in this time of electricity being a scarce commodity, in which residents have to deal with regular power-cuts, was this the right timing? Further, the poor state of maintenance of existing street lights elsewhere in town does not bode well for the future of the new ones. Lastly, the positioning very close to the road and Maun driving promises to be a bad combination. In fact, the first of the new light posts was already knocked over in the evening of 31 March.