South Africa: Where will the rainbow end?

THE PRESIDENT of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, is a folksy sort of politician and seems not to relish stuffily formal occasions. The master of ceremonies at an event on April 27th to mark the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s first multiracial elections tacitly admitted as much

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Iraq’s election: Alas, it may make little difference

ON APRIL 30th Nuri al-Maliki stepped behind a cardboard voting booth in a hotel ballroom in Baghdad, cast his ballot and raised a triumphant finger dipped in purple ink, urging other Iraqis to head for the polls, too. But this was in the relative safety of the fortified “green zone”, the government area which, he fears, is the ultimate target of opposition fighters now proliferating to the west and north of the capital. Elsewhere in Iraq the election took place amid bombs and bitter sectarian animosity between Sunni and Shia politicians

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South Africa: Why invest?

AS THE elections on May 7th draw closer, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) seems increasingly troubled by a challenge on its left flank from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led by Julius Malema, a former head of the ANC’s Youth League, who wants to nationalise white businesses and farms without compensation. The ANC is sure to win the election. But fear of losing votes to the EFF has had a worrying effect on recent legislation related to business.Two bills, on how to govern mining and private security, were rushed through parliament before its recess.

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Repression in Egypt: The same old blanket

SIX months ago sceptics warned the army-backed government against a blanket clampdown on dissent, whether peaceful or not. Instead, the re-emboldened security services have increasingly been hammering the whole gamut of opposition, from secular reformers to every type of Islamist.

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Syrian heritage: In ruins

Too late to visit MARK TWAIN described Damascus, Syria’s capital, as immortal. “She has looked upon the dry bones of a thousand empires and will see the tombs of a thousand more before she dies.” That may still be true, but the city’s monuments are suffering.

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