By Aaron Hagstrom
♦ An isolated village in northeast China has adopted an “eldercare” model, in which the old look after the even older.
♦ Richard Beeston, the courageous Times correspondent who covered the 1991 Kurdish massacres in Halabja, has died of cancer at 50.
♦ Pakistan’s “crumbling” railways have become an emblem of a troubled past.
♦ Israeli finance minister Yair Lapid has returned to the limelight, in the wake of his unpopular austerity budget.
♦ French chefs are turning from fresh to frozen ingredients, in the face of rising costs.
♦ Researchers have shown the invention of the “humble” shipping container in 1956 explains a 790% rise in bilateral trade over 20 years.
♦ Greece shows rising fertility rates, despite rising unemployment.
♦ In the highest level of US-China military talks held for nearly two years, cybersecurity was the focus.
In our Reporting Back series, we ask FT foreign correspondents to tell us about a recent trip. Katrina Manson, the FT’s east Africa correspondent, tells us about her visit to Somalia.
Why now? It’s a rare day anyone can say the future looks bright for Somalia, but for the first time in years, the state preyed on by jihadis, pirates and warlords has a shot at stability. The most significant success came towards the tail-end of 2011, when African Union troops forced out al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda-linked Islamists, from the capital Mogadishu.
On guard: a pirate on the Galmudug coast.
Ever since, diplomats, donors and Somalis have been hopeful. But Somalia hasn’t had a functioning government for the past 22 years. Everything needs to be done and all gains are fragile. Relations between a new, weak central government and clan-aligned regions are increasingly fractious, al-Shabaab launches regular suicide attacks on Mogadishu and still controls much of the southern countryside. This month, the UK hosted a conference dedicated to security, political stability and reform in Somalia. Hundreds of millions of dollars in aid were pledged. Much more is needed, but Somalia’s debts need to be cleared first. Read more