News Round-up from the Commonwealth - 13 March 2014

Asia and the Pacific News

1. Singapore Budget 2014, Strait Times, Singapore

A detailed breakdown of the 2014 Budget of Singapore. On March 3, Parliament debated the Budget statement which was delivered by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

2. Land of the long white cow: dairy delivers for New Zealand, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

New Zealand is poised to become the first developed markets economy to raise interest rates on Thursday…New Zealand is exporting dairy, the ‘iron ore of the Pacific’…Another way of saying that is Australia catered to the industrialisation of China but New Zealand is catering to its rising numbers of middle-class consumers.

3. US to back India for permanent UNSC seat, Daily Mail, Pakistan

The US welcomes India as a rising power and backs its inclusion as a permanent member of a reformed and expanded UN Security Council, Secretary of State John Kerry has said ahead of his maiden visit to New Delhi. 

4. Panel discussion on Commonwealth Day Observance, Times of India, India

A panel discussion on 'Opportunities through the Commonwealth in India…Four high commissioners spoke on the scope of the Commonwealth on various subjects: high commissioner of Canada on education, British high commissioner on democracy, high commissioner of South Africa on culture and high commissioner of Singapore on business.

5. ABC clears itself of gross bias on asylum-seeker coverage with report that says only four reports were questionable, .The Daily Telegraph, Australia

However, the audit did not examine the ABC's controversial reporting in January of allegations of Navy officers burning the hands of asylum seekers which fuelled a bias row with the Abbott government.

Africa and Europe News

1. Border Trade Between Cameroon and Nigeria At a Standstill, All Africa, Cameroon

Trade between Cameroon and Nigeria has stagnated following the closure of the border in an attempt to prevent Islamist terrorists from launching attacks from Cameroonian territory. The closure of the border has led to a sharp fall in food exports like sorghum, rice and onions to Nigeria on one hand, while basic commodities imported from Nigeria like fuel cannot enter Cameroon.

2. New Study Reveals Africa's Top Tweeting Cities, All Africa, Kenya

In a follow up to its 2012 study, strategic communications agency Portland analysed geo-located tweets originating from Africa during the final three months of 2013. The second How Africa Tweets study dives deeper into Twitter use on the continent, looking at which cities are the most active, what languages are being used the most and what issues are driving the conversation online. 

  • Johannesburg is the most active city in Africa, with 344,215 geo-located tweets
  • Nairobi is the most active city in East Africa and the sixth most active on the continent, with 123,078 geo-located tweets
  • Brands in Africa are becoming increasingly prevalent on Twitter.

3. SA Government silent after diplomats expelled from Rwanda, Times Live, South Africa

Last week, South Africa expelled three Rwandan diplomats, one of whom, according to reports, has been linked to an "attempted hit" on exiled Rwandan army chief Faustin Nyamwasa at his home in Johannesburg. Rwanda responded by expelling six diplomats based at the South African mission in its capital Kigali.

4. If Joyce Banda loses, it will be by suicide, not murder, Nyasa Times, Malawi

Malawi heads to the polls on 20 May 2014 to elect their President. This Ed-op piece explains the political terrain going into the election itself.

5. Major salute to Indian war effort, Telegraph of India, India

John Major, the former Conservative Prime Minister, has waded into the immigration debate in the UK by declaring that Indians had the right to be an integral part of British society because their forefathers had fought and died for Britain.

The Caribbean and the Americas

1. Canada's military squeezed out of cyber-defence, emails warm,, Canada

Military advisers working on the cyber-security file warned a year ago that the Canadian Forces were on the verge of being pushed entirely out of the realm of cyber-defence, according to internal emails from the military’s cyber task force.

2. Caribbean leaders end “very successful” CARICOM summit, Caribbean 360 news, St. Vincent 

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders say they have had a “very successful” two day inter-sessional summit here, completing a 20-odd agenda and implementing policies and strategies that would ensure the future socio-economic and political development of the region.

3. An independent Quebec wants to keep Canadian dollar, have seat at Bank of Canada, Pauline Marois says, National Post, Canada

An independent Quebec wants to keep using the Canadian dollar and hopes to have a seat at the Bank of Canada, Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois said. The Quebec economy is in good shape and it would be beneficial to Canada for Quebec to be involved with the dollar and the central bank, Marois said ahead of the April 7 provincial vote.

4. Five accused granted $5.4m bail, Trinidad Express, Trinidad & Tobago

Five men were granted a total of $5.4 million in bail when they appeared before a Sangre Grande magistrate yesterday charged with the daring $4.5 million heist at the Republic Bank’s Sangre Grande branch on Carnival.

5. Debate wages over ‘police brutality’ video, Antigua Observer, Antigua

Youtube video shows video of alleged police brutality. Read Police Commissioner Vere Brown’s reaction here.