Sunday, March 25, 2007

Just to make a living and help out the Congolese

No beheadings in this story, though. Congolese radio station aims to give a microphone to those whose voices have never been heard before. I liked this line:
The show's technicians – after getting caught in Army-militia crossfire twice – finally managed to put up antennas in the region's more remote rain forest areas. So now the signal is strong across Ituri...
There's something inescapably magical about radio - a few years earlier and it would have been indistinguishable from steampunk, or even clockpunk. The German secret agent Wilhelm Wassmuss, operating in southern Iran during the First World War, lost part of his radio gear in an ambush, but kept going, impressing the locals with the sparking transmitter and claiming to be talking directly to the Kaiser. Now, in some parts of Africa, people build towers so they can climb up and get GSM service although they are out of range at ground level, and SW Radio Africa gets round Zimbabwean government jamming of its HF signal by bulk-SMSing its listeners.

Speaking of which, what about this tale? The Zimbabwean government claimed it had obtained 3,000 Angolan paramilitary police to help it cling to power. The Angolan interior minister was quoted as agreeing. Now they deny it. I can see a few possibilities - the Zimbabweans are lying in order to frighten their people with foreign killers, it's real and they need to import thugs...or is this more like the 3,000 Spanish marines on standby for the Wonga Coup in Equatorial Guinea? Perhaps they are coming, but their mission won't be what Mugabe wants.

In the meantime, they do keep shooting down those IL-76s in Mogadishu, don't they? The lost aircraft are EW-78826/serial 1003499991 and EW-78849/serial 1013405192 of Trans Avia Export Cargo Airlines, Belarus. Which, in fact, doesn't seem to be a Viktor Bout company at all.

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