Good morning
The headlines:
  1. Facebook has agreed to buy Instagram for $1billion. Everyone is going “so they’re spending their IPO money on iPhone apps!” But on the Instagram front: I have a number of friends that have been desperate to buy iPhones so that they can partake in the Instagram cult. So kudos to this guy-that-looks-like-Calvin-from-Calvin-and-Hobbes that pointed out (to me) the shock-horror scandal: last week, Instagram released a version for Android. The Apple fans reacted with shock and horror. But the cult following can now grow. Enough to validate a $100 billion IPO offer? I think they need to buy Angry Birds as well. Link: Facebook buys Instagram.
  2. In order to cut back the deficit, Spain is seeking 10 billion euros in Health and Education savings. I always think it’s interesting when politicians start talking about trying to identify “efficiencies”. However – I do think that a state that provides free education up to the age of 16 (about 94% of eligible scholars attend state-funded schools), and one that guarantees free healthcare to all, including heavily-subsidized prescription medication (from what I understand – pensioners get their medication free, and non-pensioners contribute 40% of cost), probably has room for efficiencies. Link: Spain Seeks Savings.
  3. In Mali, the recently victorious military junta is stepping down to end sanctions. After last month’s successful coup, ECOWAS (the Economic Community of Western African States) stopped sending/allowing in fuel and food. The junta, which overthrew President Amadou Toure barely a month before he was due to step down (sounds like a lot of effort for five weeks of freedom), has handed power to President of the National Assembly, Dioncounda Triore. Apparently this is to avoid being blamed for the breakdown of the state. I’m sure this has everything to do with food and nothing to do with the Touareg rebels that took advantage of the chaos to declare a secessionist state in Northern Mali. Triore has 40 days to organise elections, and won’t be eligible to run for president. ECOWAS is theoretically going to suspend sanctions, and will contemplate sending aid to assist with the Touaregs. The coup lasted all of what – two weeks? Fail. But at least Randgold’s gold-mining operations weren’t affected. Nice. Link: Mali Junta to Relinquish Power.
  4. RIM has announced that sales of blackberries to US Federal Agencies are rising. That should save it. The argument is that because their subscriber base has remained stable, and because the US Federal employee base is shrinking, the situation implies that they’re increasing market share. Forgive me – but that is hardly “increasing sales”. And that sounds like “grasping at straws” if ever I heard it. Goodness me. Either way – I hope they’re not selling to the US government on credit… Link: RIM says sales to US Govt “increasing”.
  5. And the African Business News in brief. The highlights:
    • World Bank Candidate from Africa, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, faces the World Bank panel of interviewers today. Link: click here.
    • The tension between the Sudans is threatening Chinese investments in the region. Link: click here.
And that’s all for now.
Have a good day.