I reckon I’m very attuned to events even in obscure corners of the world. But it came as a surprise to me this weekend, in the wake of the bizarre, fatal family feud in Nepal’s monarchy, that the country had a serious Maoist insurgency.
I haven’t yet found a website that tracks all the world’s conflicts, but I’m sure one exists somewhere. I do know that the bloodiest continuing conflict is in Sudan, and it receives virtually no media attention in the developed world. If you know what you’re looking for and know where to look, you can of course find information on any of these running tragedies. But that isn’t enough. How many other wars are out there that never trouble the world’s news editors?
The stinger and not the stung
A well-connected technology and computer games friend made a claim to me this weekend so bizarre that it just might be true. I was asking him what he thought the chances of Microsoft’s X-Box were against Sony’s PlayStation 2 and Nintendo’s GameCube. Despite the hundreds of millions that Microsoft are plowing into it, he thought it would struggle. “It’s all a smokescreen,” he said casually, “for Stinger.”
His assertion was that the really giant business that Microsoft wanted a major piece of wasn’t computer games (although that would be nice), but mobile phones. I personally don’t think Microsoft has made any secret of its ambitions in wireless, pouring scorn in particular on Symbian every chance it gets. So I’m not sure about the smokescreen theory, but it was fun to speculate.