A tangled web SERIOUS business disputes in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley are normally settled one way—the bosses simply hire gunmen to sort things out. For informal-sector mainstays such as hashish production, kidnapping for ransom and currency counterfeiting, the way of the gun still rules this lawless agricultural basin bordering Syria. But perhaps no instance better illustrates the rough business culture here, and across much of Lebanon, than recent armed confrontations between private-generator owners and a local electricity provider
Freedom’s bounty CHURCHILLIAN is seldom an adjective used to describe Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president, whose ponderous parliamentary speeches are so irresistibly soporific to backbenchers that at least three were photographed snoozing through his recent state-of-the-nation address.
Freedom of the house IMAGINE the secret-society feel of a British private members’ club mixed with the casual dress of a pyjama party. That is the atmosphere of Luthan Hotel and Spa, a women-only establishment in Riyadh, the austere Saudi capital.
THE Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs the West Bank under Israel’s wary eye, is nearly broke.
MODERN espionage is often a bumbling as well as a murky business. This is certainly true in South Africa, judging by a trove of recently leaked intelligence files. In one cable South Africa’s spy chief is miffed to discover that a foreign spook has his private mobile-phone number—and demands an inquiry into the outrage.
ORANGE lights flash in the setting sun as Chinese workers lay train tracks on the dry edge of Tsavo national park in Kenya, lowering a 25-metre steel rail into place as gingerly as a dental filling.
[New Times]Traditionally, commercial banks have shunned financing agricultural projects due to perceived high risks associated with rain-fed farming, where harvests depend entirely on weather conditions.
[The Daily Vox]Orientation is the most exciting and daunting experience for any first-year student. During orientation week, universities usually try to warn students about some of the challenges of first year – exam anxiety, stressing over funding, partying too much and binge drinking. But seldom spoken of is the rush of horny male students looking to hook up with naive first years
[The Star]A severe drought has depleted grazing resources in North Horr Sub County in Marsabit, threatening the survival of livestock which is the mainstay of local pastoralist communities.
[Daily Trust]Nigerian journalists cannot report the ongoing counter-terrorism war against Boko Haram by multinational forces first-hand because of military authorities’ lack of good faith.