Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Around the world in 80 lines or less, Vol. 1

To further my efforts to combat ignorance of the world at large, here's another post about a few major world events that deserve some attention. They're in blurb form, as you'd expect.

Shout it from the mountaintops: The Himalayan nation of Nepal has democracy again. King Gyanendra surrendered control last week after bloody street protests in Kathmandu, leaving the country in the hands of the frail new 84-year-old prime minister, Girija Prasad Koirala. It's unclear whether Gyanendra, who declared a national emergency last year to seize power, has handed over the reins for good, nor is it certain that Nepal's
re-democratization will affect the political situation in the nearby kingdom of Bhutan. What is clear, though, is that I'll take full advantage of this chance to remind you that Bhutan's king is named Jigme Singye Wangchuk. Yes, for real.

New Amsterdam: In a move sure to give the White House heartburn, Mexico is set to legalize possession of small amounts of cocaine, marijuana, and other drugs for personal use. Opponents predict a rush of American addicts eager to exploit the lax provisions on a range of dangerous drugs like methamphetamine and LSD, and they may be prescient to a degree. Still, the new law, however unwise its breadth may be, won't do much to increase the number of American drug users. Mexican laws targeting drug traffickers -- bans on sales and possession of large quantities -- remain in place, so the country's main drug-related problem isn't the policy but rather an inability to enforce it. As for drug laws in general, I agree with PoliBlog's Steven Taylor that John Stuart Mill's harm principle typically should govern.

They haven't a square to spare: Some government workers in Zimbabwe make up to $33 million a month. Before you get too excited, I should note that that figure works out to about $157 in U.S. currency. A roll of toilet paper cost $145,750 last week. It's probably more now. As one resident said, "If you have cash you spend it today, because tomorrow it's going to be worth 5 percent less." Zimbabweans can thank the demagogic 26-year reign of dictator Robert Mugabe, who for some bizarre reason will have his name stamped on a road linking Malawi and Mozambique.

French toast: Wildly unpopular French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is immersed in a scandal that many European reporters have called "the French Watergate." De Villepin is interested in making a presidential run next year, but this scandal is likely to cause further erosion of the small amount of support to which he still clung after unsuccessfully pushing a labor law that led to violent street protests last month.

Say, that was fun. I should do this more often.

1 Comments:

Blogger Holden said...

And, just to update you from a previous story, in New Jersey (a far wilder place than Zimbabwe) the gov just punted on the radical concept of making people pump their own gas. Too much whining...really. So it's still NJ and Oregon where there's no self-serve.

7:07 AM  

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