UN (Congo)The UN Security Council voted unanimously on November 20 to send more than 3,000 additional personnel (2,785 troops and 300 police officers) to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in response to continued fighting and a humanitarian crisis in the African nation's eastern region. The increase will bring the total troop strength of the Mission of the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (known by its French acronym, MONUC), to a little over 20,000 troops. An estimated 250,000 people have fled their homes in recent months because of the conflict between the DRC government and rebel forces of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) led by General Laurent Nkunda. Nkunda's troops withdrew from positions north of the city of Goma on November 19 to give aid workers access to the area. Goma is located on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, next to the Rwandan city of Gisenyi.

PiracyIn December 1992, just weeks before lame-duck President George Bush left office, the United States invaded Somalia to attempt to stabilize and provide humanitarian aid to the famine-wracked nation. Ever since the ouster of Somali dictator Siad Barre the previous year, a bitter, multi-sided civil war featuring various warlords jockeying for control had torn apart the impoverished nation on the horn of East Africa. The U.S. (and UN) occupation of Somalia, as anyone who has seen the movie Black Hawk Down is well aware, was a total failure, costing the lives of many U.S. and foreign servicemen in a vain attempt to keep the peace in one of the world's most dangerous trouble spots.

ANC flagMbhazima Shilowa, the former premier (equivalent to a U.S. governor) of South Africa’s wealthy Gauteng province, announced in a press conference on October 14 that he had resigned from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and would join a breakaway group headed by former Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota.

Zimbabwe Money“Life in Zimbabwe: Wait for Useless Money,” a report in the New York Times for October 2,
is a firsthand look at the effects on any society whose government has recklessly inflated  its currency, thereby destroying its value. Even the next-to-worthless Zimbabwean currency is in short supply, since the nation’s central bank governor, instead of supplying banks, has been sending agents  with suitcases filled with Zimbabwean currency into the streets to buy U.S. dollars and South African rand on the back market.

Robert MugabeOn June 22, Zimbabwean opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from his race to unseat dictator Robert Mugabe, who has terrorized Zimbabwe for more than two decades. After winning a narrow first electoral round against Mugabe, Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change pressed on toward a runoff election, in the face of fierce intimidation by Mugabe’s army of thugs, who roamed the cities and countryside of Zimbabwe beating and killing MDC supporters.

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