This article was first published in The Economist on March 10th 2011
SOUTH SUDAN chose its new national anthem in democratic style. In a packed concert hall in Juba, the young state’s scruffy capital, rival choirs performed their entries. Purists argued that the winner’s tune did not fit its lyrics. But the decision has laid down one stone on the road to statehood. Less fun lies ahead. Hooking up with the international system’s buried wiring involves gaining everything from telephone dialling codes to internet suffixes, via postal connections, air-traffic control and trade tariffs.
A foreign service is already taking shape. Around 100 southerners worked as Sudanese diplomats; diaspora members already man outposts in many countries. More staff are needed. Outsiders are hurrying to help. Independent Diplomat, a charity, is advising the new state. Austria is offering five places at the world’s oldest diplomatic school in Vienna. Read more
This article was first published in The Economist on March 3rd 2011
Doctorates are in demand all over the world, but Germany is where politicians seem to need them most. Of the members of the country’s lower house, 114—or nearly one fifth—hold PhDs, and that includes the chancellor, Dr Angela Merkel.
This strange love of doctorates helps explain why Germany’s defence minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, copied parts of his PhD thesis from others, leading ultimately to his resignation on March 1st. By comparison, far fewer American eggheads go into politics. A mere 18 members of the 112th Congress—around 3%—hold a doctoral degree; none of them senators. More than 100 had served in the armed forces.
Still, plagiarism, if found out, does not always kill political careers. Joe Biden survived several incidents, before becoming America’s vice-president. Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir Putin, was accused of copying parts of his PhD thesis. So was Martin Luther King. Muammar Qaddafi’s son, Saif, could soon be stripped of his PhD, too. But that is hardly his biggest worry.