World View: Madagascar Faces a Locust Invasion of Biblical Proportions

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Madagascar faces a locust invasion of Biblical proportions
  • Britain will be issuing bonds compliant with Sharia law
  • China scrambles to suppress Tiananmen Square terror attack reports

Madagascar faces a locust invasion of Biblical proportions

Locust swarms in Madagascar last week (CBS)
Locust swarms in Madagascar last week (CBS)

Madagascar seems to be facing one Biblical affliction after another. Last February, at the height of summer in the southern hemisphere island-nation off the coast of Africa, Madagascar was struck by a huge tropical cyclone, destroying many crops just before harvest. The cyclone soaked the island, increasing the rat population and leading to a potential bubonic plague epidemic, as we reported earlier this month. 

The water also produced the perfect environment for the breeding of locusts, and recent swarms of locusts were so thick that they blocked out the sun. They ate most of the rice and corn crops, leaving about 1/3 of the population hungry. The U.N.'s World Food Program (WPF) is providing food aid and needs $41 million for an insecticide campaign to eradicate the locusts, which are now on the ground, reproducing and laying eggs. Unless this eradication campaign can begin immediately, most of the island's crops will be destroyed next year, leading to a massive famine. Al Jazeera

Britain will be issuing bonds compliant with Sharia law

Britain's prime minister David Cameron announced on Tuesday at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London that the UK would be issuing bonds that are compliant with Sharia (Islamic) law in order to encourage more Islamic investors to use London's banking system and the London Stock Exchange. Under Sharia law, transactions may not involve forbidden subjects such as gambling, drugs, or alcohol. The most well-known restriction under Sharia finance is that investors may not charge or receive interest payments. 

Muslim bankers have developed a variety of techniques for getting around this restriction. For example, instead of making a car loan to someone to purchase a car, the bank can purchase the car, then lease the car back to the driver. This is considered to be compliant with Sharia law because the bank is not just lending money, but is actually involved in the transaction in a material way. The market for Sharia compliant bonds was almost non-existent 15 years ago but has now grown to $140 billion in 2012. BBC and Forbes

China scrambles to suppress Tiananmen Square terror attack reports

Car in flames in Tiananmen Square after crashing through barriers on Monday.  The photo was posted on Weibo (China's Facebook) and removed by censors.
Car in flames in Tiananmen Square after crashing through barriers on Monday. The photo was posted on Weibo (China's Facebook) and removed by censors.

China's government is ordering all newspapers to suppress news about a deadly car crash in Beijing's central Tiananmen Square, the symbolic heart of Chinese state power, that killed five people and injured dozens. The newspapers are permitted to mention the incident in general terms, but they're forbidden from reporting that the government believes that the incident was a terrorist attack by Uighur Muslims who drove their car from far away Xinjiang province in northwestern China to Beijing in eastern China. In addition, China's army of internet censors is deleting any postings or photos that portray the terror attack.

Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs live in Xinjiang province, which has been a source of activist violence and separatist demands. China has responded with violent crackdowns and attempted to flood the province with Han Chinese transplants in a failing attempt to dilute the Uighur population.

China has all but closed off Xinjiang province to outsiders, especially journalists, to avoid being embarrassed by the Uighur hostility towards the government. The terrorist attack on Tiananmen Square by Uighurs is, thus, also extremely embarrassing to China's government, and that's why China's army of censors is working overtime to keep the news as hidden as possible. Australian Broadcasting and AFP

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, Tiananmen Square, Xinjiang province, Uighurs, Weibo, Britain, Sharia Finance, Madagascar, locusts, World Food Program 

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