Computer maker Hewlett-Packard sees Africa as one of its fastest-growing markets, it said on Tuesday, expecting the world's poorest continent to rival India for IT outsourcing within a decade. Hewlett-Packard Africa MD Rainer Koch said its sales on the continent are rising by 25% year-on-year.
Protesters scaled the roof of Britain's Parliament in a major security breach on Wednesday and threatened further direct action against government plans to expand London's Heathrow airport. Environmental protesters from the ''Plane Stupid'' group scaled the Houses of Parliament.
Microfinance services for the world's very poor will likely continue to grow despite any global downturn, Citigroup says, but said the sector must diversify beyond small loans to saving and insurance schemes. Citigroup is seen as one of the leaders in the microfinance sector amongst major global banks.
Microcredit, tiny loans to the world's poorest, is booming and now benefits more than half a billion people but Africa and Latin America lag behind Asia and unscrupulous lenders are cashing in. The Microcredit Summit Campaign surveyed more than 3 000 microcredit bodies around the world and found they reported reaching 133-million people by the end of 2006.
A ''perfect storm'' of drought, conflict and rising costs has increased the ranks of the chronically hungry by millions of people, and forced aid workers to find and fund longer-term solutions to the food crisis. The United Nations says the number of hungry people worldwide rises by an average of four million each year.
Economic crisis, hunger and the impact of Aids are pushing Zimbabwean children as young as seven to risk exploitation and walk alone or in small groups into South Africa, aid group Save the Children said on Wednesday. Hungry, tired and often orphaned, the children come in hope of food, work or schooling.
The end of brutal wars in West Africa and global efforts to halt recruitment have cut the number of child soldiers, but experts say vulnerable children are still forced into battle from Latin American to Asia. Armed with Kalashnikovs and machetes, traumatised children were at the heart of wars in the 1990s in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Murders of aid workers, pirate attacks, closed borders and growing violence make the distribution of relief in Somalia almost impossible, aid workers say, as conflict and drought boost needs still further. A Somali nurse for a Western aid group and a driver were shot dead late on Wednesday.
Dozens of schoolgirls killed by the air force, Muslims massacred by Tamil Tiger rebels, civilians targeted by both sides. But with occasional fighting still erupting, physically finding the corpses is hard enough. Local populations have fled and finding witnesses is harder than at any stage during the four year truce.
Sri Lanka's army vowed on Monday to push on with a campaign to wrest control of an eastern water supply from Tamil Tigers, just hours after the rebels warned its continued attacks were a declaration of war. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) offered on Sunday to end a fortnight-long blockade of water to government land to defuse the heaviest fighting since a 2002 ceasefire.
Bodies dumped in wells, dead children hung from rafters and underage boys abducted to fight. During two decades of civil war, such atrocities were commonplace in Sri Lanka but a ceasefire since 2002 halted the worst of the attacks on children.