The military cooperation agreements announced last month with Algeria and Libya are part of UK 'energy diplomacy' aimed at securing access to strategic resources in North Africa. Both countries are identified in the UK Energy Security Strategy as producers of gas and oil which are important trading partners and hence countries which are important to the UK's energy security.
Julian Assange's dramatic flight in June will have had many in Europe reaching for their world atlases as they tried to identify the precise location of the South American country. Those of us who follow events in the Americas particularly relating to human rights know that Ecuador is far from a safe haven, in particular for the most marginalized in society.
There can't be many countries who face famine as their GDP rises by 14%. Yet that is the situation in the West African state of Niger, where appeals launched this week to help some 400,000 people now at risk from severe malnutrition. At the same time as an oil boom kicks in and IMF analysis predicts a rise in government income of 30% in 2012.