"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


weekend this & that

  • We're going to need a new state dinosaur. Luckily, there's one we could use. I hope the Leg attacks this Very Serious Problem asap.
  • Zimbabwe's opposition will join in a coalition government in an effort to improve the desparate situation there. Over 3,000 people have died of cholera in the past few months, and more than 60,000 have been infected.
  • Finally bowing to reality, Zimbabwe has given up on its currency. Mugabe's government will allow commerce to be conducted in foreign currency. Seems like they might've picked up on the point that if you have to print a $100 trillion note, you have a tiny inflation issue. Seven million Zimbabweans are in a state of food insecurity.
  • Rwandan police and army troops attacked protesters in the country's two camps for Congolese refugees. The protesters were angry about the arrest of Laurent Nkunda. Apparently armies pitching their around refugee camps is the new black in refugee protection.
  • Big surprise: the ICG has issued a Conflict Risk Alert for the D.R. Congo.
  • In what could be a huge test case for future claims involving the activities of pharmeceutical companies in sub-Saharan Africa, a U.S. appeals court has ruled that the families of Nigerian children killed during their participation in drug trials by Pfizer can sue for damages in U.S. courts. Pfizer claims that the victims in Nigeria died because of the outbreak of meningitis for which they were testing treatments. It will be very interesting to see what happens with this case. One of the dirty open secrets of the world pharmeceutical manufacturing industry is the running of risky drug trials without solid controls on African subjects. Global pharmeceutical manufacturers have also been known to steal traditional healing methods using plants from African healers without any acknowledgement of their international property rights. I have no idea what the facts of the case are, but it would be nice if it prompted a discussion of a broad problem that takes advantage of uneducated people who may not realize that their health is being put at risk.


Blogger Amy said...

Oh Pfizer. They're like the giant evil pharmaceutical company. (I used to work for a company bought out by them. When that happened, I got the boot, lol.)

Saturday, January 31, 2009 12:09:00 PM


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