January 5th, 2010

UK: Snow and ice leads to travel delays and school closures

Heavy snow and icy roads are causing chaos across most of the UK, where Met Office severe weather warnings are in place as the "deep freeze" continues.

Hundreds of schools across Britain are shut, while Leeds/Bradford, Liverpool and Manchester airports closed earlier and many rail services are delayed.

Snow fell overnight in Scotland - where temperatures were -15C (5F) in places - in north Wales and northern England.

Up to 10cm (4in) is expected to fall as the snow moves south during Tuesday.


Positive steps towards the East African Common Market/Federation

FREE-TRADE fingers crossed, some time this summer goods should start being sold without tariffs across borders within the five countries of the East African Community (EAC). The new common market will take in 130m-plus people in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The next step is monetary union, with political federation a far remoter prospect. The agreement signed last year at the EAC’s headquarters in the Tanzanian city of Arusha was a first step. Optimists say the EAC should join free-trade blocks in southern and western Africa before 2030.

The EAC is working off a small base. Its combined GDP of $75 billion is a sixth of Belgium’s. But scrapping tariffs should boost regional trade and improve competitiveness. The EAC should be better placed to trade with Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan. And if it can build its own wider manufacturing base, its goods may start to compete with cheap stuff from China.

The Economist http://www.economist.com/world/middleeast-africa/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15179478