A Chinese property company has pledged to build South Africa a new financial hub. On Nov. 4, Shanghai Zendai unveiled plans to transform Modderfontein, a manufacturing district in eastern Johannesburg, into a multi-use financial center “on par with cities like New York … or Hong Kong,” said Zendai chairman Dai Zhikang. The firm said it will spend about $7.8 billion on the development over the next 15 years.
The development—which has yet to be named and will include some 35,000 houses, an education center, and a sports arena—marks a departure from past forms of Chinese investment in Africa, many of which have drawn criticism. Over the past decade, state-owned and private Chinese firms have been been building African roads, railways, ports and other infrastructure in exchange for access to minerals and oil—a relationship that’s led some to call China a “neo-colonialist.” Chinese state oil firms now face resistance from their former partners in Niger, Chad, and Gabon.
Read more. [Image: AECI]
The occupation of the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya by the militant group Al-Shabaab is now over, leaving at least 60 civilians dead. The standoff lasted for four days and is likely to boost the image of the militant group in the region. Here’s what you need to know about the group and what it means for Africa’s terrorism landscape:
Read more. [Image: Noor Khamis/Reuters]
Islamists are able to take advantage of porous borders, weak central governments, undertrained militaries, and flourishing drug trades.
Read more. [Image: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters]
In countries where many are performing surgery without any formal training, a Christian organization is educating surgeons who stay around despite little pay or prestige- sometimes despite real danger.
See more. [Images: Brian Till]
When an eight-month-old baby elephant fell into a well, it was up to a team of conservationists at Amboseli Trust for Elephants to figure out a way to get her out. They captured the rescue operation on video and the story has gone viral, thanks to a beautifully happy ending and rather hilarious commentary from off camera: “So this is Zombe’s calf, who we’re all delighted is so big and fat and healthy until we have to pull her out of a hole!” The nonprofit works to protect and study elephants in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park and they have a fantastic YouTube channel documenting their work.
Protests against the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims have erupted in cities from Morocco to Somalia and Pakistan to Indonesia, an agglomeration of otherwise disparate societies that we sometimes refer to as “the Muslim world.” That phrase appears today in headlines at, for example, CBS News, the U.K. Telegraph, Radio Free Europe, and many others. […]
But, looking into the severity and frequency of the protests, their occurrence doesn’t seem to correlate as directly with the presence of Muslims as the phrase “protests erupt across the Muslim world” might lead you to believe. Even if that’s generally true, we might learn a bit more by looking also at who is protesting violently and who isn’t.
In a map above, I’ve charted the violent protests in red and the protests that did not produce violence in yellow. It’s an imperfect distinction; I’ve counted the stone-throwers in Jerusalem as a violent protest but the flag-burners in Lahore as non-violent. But it gives you a somewhat more nuanced view into who is expressing anger and how they’re doing it than to just say that the “Muslim world” is protesting. To help show what “Muslim world” means, I’ve used a map (via Wikimedia) that shows countries by their share of the world Muslim population. The darker blue a country, the more Muslim individuals live there.
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia/The Atlantic]
Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, will come to a close this weekend with the observation of a fast called Eid al-Fitr. Throughout this ninth month on the Islamic calendar, devout Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sex from dawn until sunset. The fast, one of the five pillars of Islam, is seen as a time for spiritual reflection, prayers, and charity. After sunset, Muslims traditionally break the fast by eating three dates, performing the Maghrib prayer, and sitting down to Iftar, the main evening meal, where communities and families gather together.
Gathered here are images of Muslims around the world observing Ramadan this year.
See more. [Images: Reuters/Esam Al-Fetori, Reuters/Beawiharta, Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images, Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar, Reuters/Hassan Ali]
"Near the city of Morondava, on the West coast of Madagascar lies an ancient forest of Baobab trees. Unique to Madagascar, the endemic species is sacred to the Malagasy people, and rightly so. Walking amongst these giants is like nothing else on this planet. Some of the trees here are over a thousand years old. It is a spiritual place, almost magical."
[Image: Ken Thorne/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest]
A new law in Ethiopia criminalizes the use of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype or Google Talk, the latest in this East African country’s increasingly tough Internet restrictions. Getting caught can carry a prison term of up to 15 years, the severity of which is perhaps meant in part to deter Ethiopian web users from trying to simply get around the ban, for example with proxy servers.
Read more. [Image: AP]