World View: Madagascar Faces a Locust Invasion of Biblical Proportions

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 hemisphereisland-nation off the coast of Africa, Madagascar was struck by a hugetropical cyclone, destroying many crops just before harvest. Thecyclone soaked the island, increasing the rat population and leading to apotential bubonic plague epidemic, as we reported earlier this month. 

The water also produced theperfect environment for the breeding of locusts, and recent swarms oflocusts were so thick that they blocked out the sun. They ate most ofthe 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 thiseradication campaign can begin immediately, most of the island’s cropswill 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 theWorld Islamic Economic Forum in London that the UK would be issuingbonds that are compliant with Sharia (Islamic) law in order toencourage more Islamic investors to use London’s banking system andthe London Stock Exchange. Under Sharia law, transactions may notinvolve forbidden subjects such as gambling, drugs, or alcohol. Themost well-known restriction under Sharia finance is that investors maynot charge or receive interest payments. 

Muslim bankers havedeveloped a variety of techniques for getting around this restriction.For example, instead of making a car loan to someone to purchase acar, the bank can purchase the car, then lease the car back to thedriver. This is considered to be compliant with Sharia law becausethe bank is not just lending money, but is actually involved in thetransaction in a material way. The market for Sharia compliant bondswas almost non-existent 15 years ago but has now grown to $140billion 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 adeadly car crash in Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square, the symbolicheart of Chinese state power, that killed five people and injureddozens. The newspapers are permitted to mention the incident ingeneral terms, but they’re forbidden from reporting that thegovernment believes that the incident was a terrorist attack by UighurMuslims who drove their car from far away Xinjiang province innorthwestern China to Beijing in eastern China. In addition, China’sarmy of internet censors is deleting any postings or photos thatportray the terror attack.

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

China has all but closed off Xinjiang province to outsiders,especially journalists, to avoid being embarrassed by the Uighurhostility towards the government. The terrorist attack on TiananmenSquare by Uighurs is, thus, also extremely embarrassing to China’sgovernment, and that’s why China’s army of censors is working overtimeto 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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