Ethiopia

♦ Gillian Tett speaks to Alan Greenspan and finds he is prepared to admit that he got it wrong – at least in part.
♦ The White House glitches have gone further than Obamacare, as the administration has been continuously caught off guard by recent crises from Syria to spying, says Edward Luce. And the president gives few signs of having found a learning curve.
♦ France’s central bank governor, Christian Noyer, says Europe’s financial transaction tax poses an “enormous risk” to the countries involved.
♦ Spain’s mini gold rush in the country’s north is part of a broader movement by foreign investors seeking to turn Spain’s woes to their advantage. It also shows some of the difficulties of investing despite a more positive outlook.
♦ Ikea has sent self-assembly huts to Ethiopia to house Somali refugees – and they could soon be used as alternatives to tents elsewhere.
♦ Josef Joffe, editor of Die Zeit, looks at the history of top-down capitalism and wonders whether China can sustain its astounding growth.
♦ The art world may be marvelling at China’s booming market, but many transactions have not actually been completed and the market is flooded with forgeriesRead more

By David Gallerano
♦ Somaliland works to be the gateway to a landlocked Ethiopia and to secure long –awaited international recognition.
♦ Communal violence rises in the highly Christian-populated cities of Southern Egypt.
♦ Quartz reports on how the Iran government retained control of a skyscraper in Manhattan for 35 years.
♦ The New York Times profiles the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov: “One of the most knowledgeable and respected foreign policy actors in the global village”, a veteran diplomat who enjoys whiskey and cigars, Lavrov is the advocate of an international system based on state sovereignty and status quo stability.
♦ Nonetheless, he is no stranger to the use of questionable sources, and few days ago he used a video analysis by a Lebanese nun to contradict claims that Assad has employed chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict.
Turkey becomes Somalia’s largest non-OECD donor while Somalia returns the favour by granting concessions on key national infrastructures.
♦ A new book claims that Hollywood studios collaborated with Hitler and helped to finance the German war machine. Read more

Esther Bintliff

Meles Zenawi in December 2010, at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico (Cris Bouroncle/AFP/Getty Images)

He hadn’t been seen publicly for two months. Twitter and the blogosphere were buzzing with questions – where was the prime minister of Ethiopia? Was he ill? Travelling? On Tuesday morning, confusion fell away. State television announced that Meles Zenawi, aged 57, had died of a sudden infection, after a prolonged stay in a “hospital overseas”. A guerrilla fighter-turned-tenacious leader, Meles held power for 21 years, becoming a political heavyweight who won billions of dollars of aid from western governments while attracting condemnation from human rights groups for his crackdowns on journalists and opposition activists. While some observers hope his death may help usher in a less autocratic government in the Horn of Africa’s most populous country, others foresee a destabilising tussle for succession.

In the FT

  • The prime minister’s death leaves a vacuum both in the region and at home, report Katrina Manson and William Wallis, in an analysis that highlights the many contradictions in Meles’ life. “He was a Marxist who courted foreign investment; a liberation fighter who cracked down on marginalised peoples crying out for their own freedom and an intellectual who brooked little debate at home. In the west, he was admired for delivering development and economic growth while marshalling security; at home he suppressed dissent and mastered party political control of the economy with autocratic vim”.

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