DR Congo, Zimbabwe, and Israel

Now that the election season is over, let’s look around the world a bit.

I haven’t looked at the DR Congo and it’s as if no time has passed:

A Congolese regional governor has told the BBC that rebels will not take the main eastern city of Goma, following fierce fighting.

Julien Paluku said that the rebels had telephoned him to say they would be “spending the night” in Goma.

Mr Paluku said 150 rebels had been killed but the rebels disputed these figures, saying no-one had died.

The fighting is the most serious since July in the mostly lawless but resource-rich eastern DR Congo.

Nearly 500,000 people have fled their homes since April when the rebels mutinied from the army.

On the other hand, Zimbabwe is still bad:

At least $2 billion from diamond sales was allegedly stolen from the Marange diamond fields and enriched President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party loyalists and military hierarchy, the report said.

The funds from diamond sales could have turned around the country’s embattled economy, but they have not shown up in the national coffers.

After years of political and economic meltdown, Zimbabwe’s health and education services remain broke.

Finance Minister Biti said in his budget speech he had been promised $600 million from diamond sales but the head of state-run Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, Goodwills Masimirembwa said that figure had to be revised downwards to $150 million due to poor performance of diamond sales affected by Western sanctions.

While Zimbabwe’s entire budget for education for 2012 was $8 million, Mugabe’s party is constructing a $6 million conference hall in the provincial city of Gweru for its annual convention in December.

but the economy is nothing like it was:

But on Thursday Finance Minister Tendai Biti injected a note of stark realism  into his 2013 budget. He downgraded GDP growth estimates for 2012 from 9.4 per  cent in his budget a year ago and 5.6 per cent in mid-year to just 4.4 per  cent.

The outlook for 2013, with growth of 5 per cent, is “gloomy” ,he said, and “blighted by a miscellany of factors that include a deeper global outturn, the  continued capital deficit, financial sector instability, and a poor business  climate.”

H expects growth which averaged over 8 per cent a year since dollarisation of  the economy at the end of 2008 to 2011, to recover somewhat to 6 per cent in  2014-15.

That doesn’t sound that great but the economy is growing and there’s no mention of inflation which was 231 million percent in 2008. There’s an election next year, so that’s when we’ll find out where things stand.

And it looks like there might be another war in Gaza:

Israeli troops took up positions near the Gaza border Friday, and a senior government official said a ground war could be imminent, as Hamas militants continued to lob rockets into Israel and a missile landed near Jerusalem for the first time since 1970.

The missile strikes outside Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel’s main population centers, dramatically raised the stakes in the ongoing standoff between Israel and Hamas, both of which are seeking new footing in a volatile region where the Arab Spring revolutions have empowered populist strains that largely favor the Palestinian cause.

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