Monthly Archives: January 2013

Esther Bintliff

Egyptian mourners march in Port Said on January 28, 2013 during the funeral of six people killed in clashes the day before (AFP/Getty Images)

Egyptian mourners march in Port Said on January 28, 2013 during the funeral of six people killed in clashes the day before (AFP/Getty Images)

On Sunday, President Mohamed Morsi declared a state of emergency in three of Egypt’s troubled provinces, following a weekend of violence in which 48 people were killed in clashes with police. In doing so, he resorted to a tool that had defined the rule of his predecessor, the autocratic Hosni Mubarak, who kept emergency law in force for thirty years as a way to clamp down on dissent. While Morsi’s state of emergency applies only to three cities so far – Port Said, Ismailia and Suez – and is limited to a month’s duration, it has fuelled opposition fears that the president is straying ever further from the ideals of the revolution that brought him to power.

  • On Friday – the second anniversary of the uprising in Egypt – clashes erupted in Cairo, and six Egyptians were killed during confrontations in Suez between anti-government protesters and security forces. “The dividing line between the nation’s secular and Islamist camps and the difference in their perceptions of the political moment that defined the country’s recent history could not be starker”, wrote Borzou Daragahi.

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French army troopers arrive at base camp in Sevare on January 25, 2013 (FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

French army troopers arrive at base camp in Sevare on January 25, 2013 (FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

French and Malian forces have made rapid advances in recent days in their efforts to defeat Islamist militants in Mali. On Saturday they captured Gao, which has been under control of the Islamists since last April.

Xan Rice, the FT’s west Africa correspondent, spoke to a teacher from Gao, who did not want his name to be used, about the liberation of the town.

Here is a transcript of the teacher’s account:

“We had a big celebration when the French and Malian army arrived on Saturday. On all the main streets people were out welcoming them.

“It was ‘Long live France, long live Hollande, long live Mali’s army’. The town is secured. We also have soldiers from Niger and Chad here. We are all very happy because nobody liked the Islamists. They were strong but they lost a lot of equipment and vehicles when they attacked Konna [a central town, where the conflict started in January]. We knew that when the army came here, the Islamists would fly away.

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John Paul Rathbone

Relativies wait to identify victims killed in the Kiss night club fire, at the municipal gymnasium on January 27, 2013 in Santa Maria (JEFFERSON BERNARDES/AFP/Getty Images)

Relativies wait to identify victims killed in the Kiss night club fire, at the municipal gymnasium on January 27, 2013 in Santa Maria (JEFFERSON BERNARDES/AFP/Getty Images)

What was to have been just a funky Saturday night out instead became a tragedy.

As many as 232 people died after a fire swept through the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria, a relatively prosperous student town in southern Brazil.

Shortly before the blaze, one club DJ posted a photograph on Facebook, according to Globo, saying: “KISSS is pumping”. A few hours later, videos posted on social media networks instead showed Brazilians frantically trying to remove bodies from the charred building. Read more

Here’s our reading to take you through to the weekend  Read more

By Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of Save the Children

There are two sessions on the future of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals beyond 2015 at Davos this year – the same number of sessions given to meditation and art walks. The word ‘growth’ features in 11 of the agenda’s headings, ‘human’ in four, but ‘poverty’ gets no airtime at all. Yet, if the World Economic Forum is ‘committed to improving the state of the world’, what happens after 2015 is a critical debate for every government that signed up to the MDGs in the first place, and for every business with supply chains or future customers in emerging and developing countries. Read more

John Paul Rathbone

Hugo Chávez is in Havana. Venezuela’s cancer-ridden president may be alive in the elite CIMEQ hospital, or he may simply be being kept alive on a life support system as rumours suggest, or he may be getting better, as the Venezuelan government insists. Although he remains, officially, the country’s head of state, nobody really knows the current state of his health – except for the Castro brothers and a handful of close family and government associates. Indeed, since Chávez underwent his fourth round of cancer surgery on December 11, there has been no video of the usually loquacious socialist leader smiling from a hospital bed, no record of him cheering on loyal supporters, no photograph, no tweet even from a president much given to social media (he has 4m followers on Twitter). The only evidence presented that Chávez is still alive, so far, has been a scanned photograph of Chávez’s signature underneath an official decree. But the signature was datelined Caracas, although even the government admits Chávez remains in Havana. Read more

(AP)

Friday’s events from the World Economic Forum feature an address by Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, and sessions looking at the challenges faced by, and presented by, the fast-changing Arab world. Reports from FT writers in Davos and by Ben Fenton, Lina Saigol and Lindsay Whipp in London

17.03: The Davos Live Blog is closing down now but for more reading and insight on today’s events, please visit the FT’s in depth page on the World Economic Forum.

16.41: Gideon Rachman, titular proprietor of this blog, has written his surmise from the earlier session on Syria.

16.16: Asked by the Amercian moderator of his panel session about corruption and banking regulation, Nigeria’s central bank governor Sanusi displays a little frustration:

He said: “We are the only country which has taken people out of banks and put them in jail. No bankers in your countries have gone to jail.”

16.12: Martin Wolf has recorded his view on the politics and economics at play in a “low-intensity” Davos this year:

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Lord Paul Boateng, former chief secretary to the treasury and the former UK high commissioner to South Africa, answers questions about his first trip to Davos.

1. Is this your first trip to Davos?

I have to confess that it is. I’ve reached a fairly advanced age without ever having felt Davos was for me. I have been an active participant, however, both as a cabinet minister and a diplomat at the spin offs in Mumbai and Cape Town where the WEF reaches out to the rest of the world.

2. What’s the best thing about going to Davos?

If you’ve got an idea or a product to sell then this is a quite unique market place. There are lots of serious people on the lookout for the next big idea or opportunity. A voracious media circus with the promise of global coverage also helps. Read more

Two days is apparently not enough for all the talking that needs to be done, so here we are entering Davos Day Three. But as our morning reading shows, there are some worries that delegates are not ready yet to discuss.

Gillian Tett in her column this week highlights cyber attacks. She compares the “whispers in the corridors” with that of 2007, when there was a similar fear of articulating the credit bubble.

Here’s more from the WEF (you can find the FT stories on our in-depth page and many blog posts, including our live coverage on our World blog):

David Cameron, UK prime minister, had more to say on the country’s relationship with the EU and sought common ground with German chancellor Angela Merkel among others.

The FT’s Martin Wolf takes Cameron to task when he blogs that the prime minister may have set the UK on the path to an exit although he really wants to remain within the EU. Read more