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Pirates Seize Oil Tanker with $200 Million of Crude

Armed pirates have hijacked a U.S.-bound oil tanker carrying about $200 million worth of crude off the coast of Oman. Authorities say the Greek-flagged vessel has a crew of 25, including 17 Filipinos, seven Greeks and one Georgian. This is the second pirate seizure of an oil tanker in as many days. Experts say that while the price tag of the...

Zimbabwe Economy Hurt by Uncertainty About Indigenization Law

Protests this week in Zimbabwe's capital saw small Nigerian-owned shops looted by President Robert Mugabe’s loyalists, who say their demonstrations were in support of so-called indigenization laws. Politicians and economists say the uncertainty about the laws is harming Zimbabwe's slow economic recovery.A year ago, new laws were published that...

ZANU-PF Members Attack Foreign Business

Hundreds of supporters of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party demonstrated against foreign owned businesses in central Harare Monday and began looting small shops on the western edge of the city. The looters said they would take over all foreign owned businesses in Zimbabwe.Police estimated that there were about 700 people demonstrating in...

Cairo Seeks Business as Usual in Unusual Times

Nothing says normal in Cairo like a traffic jam.  And by that standard, the city is finding its way to a semblance of its regular, bustling chaos. Even the donkey carts are back, bringing vegetables from the fertile farmlands along the Nile.  But the contrast with tanks along the roads is a reminder that Egypt's political upheaval has yet to play...

Experts Say Mubarak Family's Net Worth is Billions

Middle East experts say Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's family fortune could be as much as $70 billion.Experts estimate the net worth of Mr. Mubarak and his family at between $40 billion and $70 billion.  They say the Egyptian president has much of his wealth in Swiss banks or tied up in real estate in New York, Los Angeles and London.  Some...

Kampala’s Haven from Homophobia

In a balmy suburb of Kampala, gay couples gather in a nightclub to escape the tensions of their everyday lives.  They laugh, they hold hands, they embrace, they kiss, they dance under flashing, multicolored strobe lights, they dig into plates of fatty fried chicken. It’s like any other club…except that the patrons are with partners who are of the...

Return of Islamic Leader Worries Some Tunisian Women

Last week, Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi and other members of the Islamic al-Nahda Party returned to Tunisia after more than two decades in exile. Ghannouchi’s return—and the warm welcome he received at the Tunis airport—touched off concerns about a resurgence of political Islam in the North African country.  No one is more concerned than Tunisia's...

Another Spark in Kudu Development in Namibia

PARTNERS in the Kudu gas field have taken another baby step in developing the project which will pump 500 megawatts of power into the Namibian grid and allow the country to export another 300 megawatts. Tullow Oil, on behalf of its partners Namcor, Gazprom International and Itochu, has concluded the terms of reference for a new petroleum agreement...

Ghana Lawmakers Propose Salary Increases as Anti-Corruption Effort

Ghanaian lawmakers say they have found a novel way to curb corruption, by doubling their own pay. The proposal has provoked a debate in this West African country still searching for ways to manage its newfound oil wealth.The 2,000 Ghana cedis that the country's parliamentarians take home each month could buy you roundtrip airfare to London or Cape...

Egypt's Unrest Hurts Economy

The economic impact of Egypt's political unrest is being felt around the world, as worried investors are driving down the price of stocks and bidding up the cost of oil.Egypt's stock market and banks remain closed for a second business day. So far, the unrest has not affected Egypt's Suez Canal, which is a key route for oil and other goods around...

Rival Ivory Coast Governments Lobby for Support Before AU Summit

Ivory Coast's rival presidents are working to secure international support for their competing governments ahead of this weekend's African Union summit in Ethiopia. A power struggle that has played out on the streets of Abidjan, the halls of the regional central bank, and the international cocoa market now moves to the African Union summit where...

UN Human Rights Mission Begins In Tunisia

A team of top-level specialists from the U.N. Human Rights Office starts a week-long assessment of the human-rights situation and priorities in Tunisia.  The eight-member team of human-rights specialists has an intense schedule ahead.  Over the coming week, the experts will meet with the interim authorities, civil society groups, U.N. agencies and...

Price Controls Cause Chaos in Ethiopian Markets

Price controls on many staple food items ordered by Ethiopia's government early this month have reduced grocery bills for many low-income families. But now shopkeepers are upset and some basic items are disappearing from store shelves. Economists are concerned about the long-term effect of the government's price-fixing strategy. Confusion has been...

Ivory Coast Incumbent Government Rejects Cocoa Ban

Ivory Coast's incumbent government says there will be no disruption to cocoa production, despite calls by the internationally recognized winner of November's election for a month-long ban on cocoa exports.  Even though much of Ivory Coast's current cocoa harvest has been sold, any threat to production in the world's largest grower has a global...

Gbagbo Supporters Say Regional Leaders Bluffing About Military Intervention

Ivory Coast's incumbent government says it is not intimidated by threats to be removed from power by a regional intervention force. West African leaders have replaced the head of the region's central bank to further isolate the incumbent president in favor of the internationally-recognized winner of November's vote. Supporters of Ivory Coast's...