South Africans around the country are praying for Nelson Mandela's health. Though Johannesburg has become a place for prayer and reflection, it's also as a press hub for scores of international journalists. And the media stir over Mandela's health is causing some angst in the country. Declan Walsh, reporter for our partner The New York Times is in Johannesburg, reporting on the mood there in what could be Nelson Mandela's final days.
With elections coming up this Saturday in Pakistan, the country has been rocked this week with blasts aimed at disrupting the electoral process. Yesterday, a bomb attack targeted an Islamist Party candidate in northwest Pakistan. He survived but five others were killed and many wounded. Monday saw the deadliest attacks in the run up to the elections when a suicide bomber targeted an election rally killing 25.
New York Times reporter Declan Walsh in Islamabad and Marvin Weinbaum, who served as analyst for Pakistan and Afghanistan in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 1999 to 2003, examines the current political crisis in Pakistan. Weinbaum is currently a scholar-in-residence at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C.
A coordinated bombing in Shabquadar Fort, north of Peshawar Pakistan has killed at least 80 people. The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was a revenge killing for Osama bin Laden's death. However, the government denies that this attack was linked to Osama bin Laden. Declan Walsh, Pakistan correspondent for The Guardian describes the scene, saying "he entire town has become a ghost town." BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet says that it almost doesn't matter if the bombing was in retaliation for bin Laden's death as Pakistanis know they are "living in a volatile and increasingly violent country."