What in the world: Singh's legacy and South Africa condom remedies

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Presidential Palace on January 2, 2014. Prime minister or "sad, tired squirrel"?

A review of the best commentary on and around the world...

Today's must-read

Last Friday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced he was stepping down after this year's elections, so it's time for a round of reviews of his 10-year rule and what legacy he may leave.

"Media write history for Manmohan because he seems absent-minded about it in public," writes Shiv Visvanatah in India's Economic Times. "Any senior clerk on retirement would have turned in a more sentimental performance than Manmohan did in stating he would not pursue a third term. The body language was interesting. He appeared like a sad, tired squirrel pointing out nuggets of his performance."

Slate's Joshua Keating writes that despite Mr Singh's record of lifting more than 137 million people out of poverty, "prospects look grim for his place in history".

The Daily Beast's Kapil Komireddi calls him "India's puppet prime minister". He achieved his position thanks to Sonia Gandhi, he writes, who saw him as "a placeholder for her son, Rahul".

Speaking of Rahul Gandhi, the Wall Street Journal opines that it is now time for the heir to the Gandhi legacy to come up with some "serious ideas" and "decide whether he'll offer voters a real reform choice, or whether he'll fall back on promises of handouts and appeals to nostalgia for his forebears".


The online rumour mill - It's no coincidence that the stories about North Korea's Kim Jong Un and his 120 canine executioners originated in China. According to Chinese author Yu Hua, the lack of honesty from Chinese officials and a media that is unable to hold them accountable allows unfounded Internet rumours and gossip to spread like wildfire.


Goodwill must prevail in US-India diplomat row - Former Indian Consul General in New York Prabhu Dayal writes that the two nations should discuss how to classify Indian domestic assistants, who are more than just ordinary domestic workers.


Zapatista Indian rebels: Isolated and poorer - Twenty years after a ferocious uprising in southern Mexico, writes the Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer, the "obscene poverty" of Chiapas Indians proves the rebels were more interested in power than helping their people.


EU ban on seafood imports is hypocritical - David Pred in the Cambodia Daily is outraged that the EU bans importation of Cambodian seafood to prevent illegal fishing but does nothing to prevent "the forced displacement and impoverishment of hundreds of thousands of rural Cambodians to clear the way for large-scale agribusiness operations".


US troops wouldn't have prevented the fall of Fallujah - Yesterday, we wrote about the round of accusations surrounding the recent upheaval in Iraq. Today, Michael Boyle writes in the Guardian that blaming al-Qaeda's resurgence on the US withdrawal is a "gross simplification".

Central African Republic

It's time for the United Nations to take action - Lewis Mudge of Human Rights Watch writes that a UN security force is the most realistic way to prevent further bloodshed in the Central African Republican.


Cutting the legs off the oil industry - Yvonne Chen writes in the Jakarta Post that attempts to limit the number of foreigners working in the Indonesian oil and gas industry will leave companies short-handed and resources untapped.

One more thing...

Using free condoms to relieve knee pain - Apparently, condoms aren't just for recreational use, as the elderly residents of the eastern South African province of Mpumalanga have taken to rubbing the contraceptive gel contained in the packaging on their knees to relieve arthritic pain.

"Old knees are being cured at such a rate that their owners may well resume sexual activity themselves," writes the Independent's John Scott. He wonders what other off-label uses creative South Africans can find for their condoms.

Have you found an interesting opinion piece about global issues that we missed? Share it with us via email at echochambers (at) bbc.co.uk.



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  • Comment number 9.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 8.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    There is an "Opportunity" for someone to market Condom Lubricant for ailing S African knees.
    To be honest, my first guess was that Condoms provided a cushion from something knocking against those knees. Whaa!
    Old standby for off-label suggestions:- Sleeping bags for mice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Seafood? Within 1 Day of Kadhafi's murder, EU trawlers were dragging Libyan waters.
    After Blackhawk-Down US routinely did Fly-By Bombings on Somalia, Fgn Trawlers dragged Somali Waters clean, then dumped Toxic Waste. With no Fish left Somali Fishermen turned to Ransom. What was done to them is no less Piracy, but who cares so long as they remain Victims. Address of Peace:- Justice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Ban Ki Moon did more to degrade UN into a Facilitator for Rich Predators to cannibalise Poor Nations than anyone in it's history, and for that should be prosecuted for War & Crimes against Humanity. Fact that No attempt is ever made to determine Where Rebels obtain Millions in Weapons for Destabilisation speaks for itself. Chaos allow Flight of Resources without Accountability.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Goodwill? Gross US violation of India's Consul General was more in line with it's bombing of Chinese embassy in Serbia - pure thuggery because they feel they can get-away with it.
    Bullies never allow for Victims growing up. Fatal mistake US keep making over & over, since Taliban & Iraq Militias exposed weaknesses.

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    Comment number 3.

    Seems Indonesia learnt a little something from Libya. It was foreign dominance over Libyan Oil which facilitated complete Shut-Down and ensuing chaos when NATO decided to change No-Fly into Regime-Change. There is everything Right with extracting resources at a Comfortable pace with National priorities. Anything else is Pillaging for Profit & to heck with consequences.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Manmohan Singh did Great as PM, but always had India's Racism hanging over his head. Sonja Ghandi was not allowed to Serve as PM because she was Born in Italy.
    I really question the notion that Pedigree should entitle anyone to National Leadership. It's the single greatest influence over incompetence of cronyism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    al-Qaida/ISIS/taliban, are US/UK's secret military forces. They create them in Afghanistan of 1980's. They after 9/11, they spread them all over the world. They installed them in Iraq, Libya & are trying their best to do so in Syria. US wants to create a new state for these criminals by combing the west of Iraq and east of Syria into a new country. The project is all funded through Saudis & Qatar.


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