TIME: 2012 Person of the Year: Barack Obama – Few experts predicted two years ago that Obama would be writing his second Inaugural Address, as polling showed waning enthusiasm for the President amid high unemployment rates and a faltering economy. But the election that Obama won, “as he has said repeatedly, was in the end a choice, not a referendum.” After “four of the most challenging years in the nation’s history, his chance to leave office as a great President who was able to face crises and build a new majority coalition remains within reach.” (Michael Scherer)
Financial Times: Central Africa: The quest for clean hands – The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act contained a provision which requires “large American companies to disclose whether their products may include conflict material mined in Congo or its nine neighbors.” Yet more than two years after the act was passed, the unprecedented legal effort to curb the violence appears to have had little impact on smuggling or conflict. (Katrina Manson)
NPR: Dangers of ‘Whoonga’: Abuse of AIDS Drugs Stokes Resistance – In South Africa, two mainstay HIV drugs have found their way into recreational use and may be “undermining the global struggle against AIDS.” People who smoke so-called whoonga – an illicit mixture of AIDS medication and a street drug – can develop mutant strains of the virus resistant to medication. Every time the AIDS medication is misused, someone else is not receiving the drug for its intended purposes, and recreational use can make legitimate users of AIDS medication, and the clinics that disperse them, targets of thieves. (Richard Knox)
VOA: Pretoria Physicians Keep Mandela Hospitalized – Doctors in South Africa are keeping Nelson Mandela in the hospital as he continues to recover from gallstone surgery and treatment for a lung infection. Doctors are satisfied that the 94-year-old Mandela is making progress “consistent with his age.”
Economist: Staying away – The last two years have been difficult ones for tourism in Burkina Faso. An army mutiny in 2011 caused foreign embassies to turn their travel warnings to red and this past January 37,000 refugees from Mali flooded into Burkina Faso to escape their country’s political crisis. Tourism is a valuable part of Burkina Faso’s economy, and those in the business say that Burkina’s tourism authorities should do more to promote the country as a safe destination, yet with a military intervention planned in Mali next year, things may only get worse.