1 September 2016   Leave a comment

The African elephant population is declining rapidly due to loss of habitat and poaching.  The numbers are frightening. Research indicates that there were about 20 million African elephants before European colonization and about 1 million in the 1970s.  According to the researchers:

“Elephant populations in survey areas with historical data decreased by an estimated 144,000 from 2007 to 2014, and populations are currently shrinking by 8% per year continent-wide, primarily due to poaching.”

The data are depressing enough for the African elephant, but they also suggest the difficulty of protecting other species.  The world is clearly moving in a direction that may be irreversible.

The Bongo family has ruled Gabon since 1967:  Omar Bongo ruled from 1967 to 2009, and his son, Ali has ruled since 2009. Gabon has just held an election and Ali claimed victory for another  seven year term, but his opponent, Jean Ping, has claimed election fraud.  The charge led to an outbreak of violence in which three people were killed and over 1,000 people have been arrested. Gabon relies heavily on the export of oil and its government revenues have been dramatically cut die to the decline in price of oil.  As is the case with many countries dependent upon oil revenues, corruption is a serious problem in the society.

Image result for map Gabon

There have been dueling protests in Venezuela.  Opponents of President Maduro are demanding that he step down, but Maduro has well-organized supporters as well.  The country is in a serious economic situation with widespread shortages of basic necessities and an inflation rate that is out of control.  Maduro’s party controls the court system and all legislative attempts to rein in his power have been derailed by the judiciary.

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Posted September 1, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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