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November 4, 2012

AFRICA:  According to the Africa Review the largest stockpile of charcoal in the world lies in the port city of Kismayu and the surrounding areas in the southern Jubbaland region of Somalia and might lead to war.

The area was only recently liberated from Al-Shabaab insurgents by the African Union and United Nations and the charcoal, which sells high on the Mideast Market where most of it is marketed, has become a contentious subject among local power players.

The stockpile, valued at $25 to $50 million according to AU and UN estimates, is feared to cause such disagreement that it might lead to anger among locals and lead to support for a new Al Shabaab insurgency.

The United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions on Somali exports of charcoal for over a year as it was a major source of financing for the insurgents.  The resulting backlog has caused much local tension as it represents an important source of income for the whole area.

CHINA: The new prosperity in China is causing marital difficulties.  As reported by the China Daily rural people seeking high paying urban jobs suffer long separations from their families resulting in stress and strain and the necessary commuting lifestyle of young urban up and comers forces them into ‘weekend marriages.’  Couple only see one another on the weekends during which feelings compressed during the week come out leading to quarrels as often as passion.

China Daily correspondent Tan Yinzi reporting from Washington, D.C. filed a story urging Chinese Americans to vote in the upcoming U.S. elections.  The first Chinese American woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress, Judy Chu is calling on all Americans of Asian descent to vote and make their voices heard.

THAILAND: The day after Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra took over supervision of national security issues violence blossomed in the turbulent southern provinces, long an arena for Muslin separatists.  The Bangkok Post reports that motorcycle bomb damaged a school in Narathiwat’s Rueso district injuring eight people who were taken to hospital.  Later a car bomb exploded by a house behind the local police station killing three, including a three-year old girl and a village defense volunteer outpost reportedly was attacked in the Saiburi district, but it’s unknown if there were any casualties.

INDIA: A northeast monsoon and Cyclone Nilam came ashore near Chennai Wednesday causing heavy rains over coastal Andhra Pradish Sunday that killed twenty-two and in inundating hundreds of villages, stalled road and rail traffic and damaged crops.

Approximately 60,000 people have been moved to 86 relief camps.  Reportedly 480 homes have been destroyed and 766 damaged. Crops in over 250,000 hectares were damaged.


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