Top of the Morning: ‘Arab’ Spring in Mauritania? Treason Charges for Ousted Mali President; Gross National Happiness

Top stories from DAWNS Digest. 

‘Arab’ Spring’s Next Stop: Mauritania?

President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz took power of this North/West African country in a coup in 2008. Yesterday, opposition groups got together to hold large demonstrations against the President. This is certainly something to monitor in the coming days and weeks. “Thousands of people in Mauritania have attended demonstrations in the capital calling for President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz to resign. The opposition groups held peaceful ‘decentralised’ rallies in the nine districts of Nouakchott. Organisers said they opposed ‘anti-democratic’ policies of the government. An umbrella group representing nine different protest groups issued a joint call for the president to resign. ‘We demand that he leaves Mauritanians free to choose their own leaders at this difficult moment and reject all other alternatives,’ they said, in a statement quoted by AFP news agency.” (BBC

Treason Charges for Ousted Mali President

If there were any justice, the coup leader who deposed the democratically elected president would be the one tried for treason. Alas, it looks like the Putschists are upping the ante. “Coup leader Capt Amadou Sanogo said the junta may also charge Amadou Toumani Toure with financial misconduct. The announcement came as the junta, which is under fire from the international community, called for a ‘national meeting’ on Mali’s future. Army rebels deposed the government last month claiming President Toure had not done enough to fight Tuareg rebels. ‘We call the entire political class and all civil society actors to… a national meeting which will begin on April 5,’ Capt Sanogo told journalists. He said the meeting on Thursday would determine ‘what will be best for the country in a consensual, democratic fashion’. And he added that the ousted president ‘could be the object of judicial proceedings for high treason and financial wrongdoing’, without giving more details. (BBC

Meet Your 21st Century Indicator: Gross National Happiness

There’s something rather interesting brewing at the United Nations this week. World leaders, gathered by the Government of Bhutan, are holding what’s being billed as the “Happiness Summit.” What they are trying to do is add general contentment to the vocabulary used when discussing the health, welfare and prosperity of a country. Forget GNI–let’s talk about GNH. Bhutan’s prime minister explains: “‘The GDP-lead development model that compels boundless growth on a planet with limited resources no longer makes economic sense. It is the cause of our irresponsible, immoral and self-destructive actions,’ Thinley said. ‘The purpose of development must be to create enabling conditions through public policy for the pursuit of the ultimate goal of happiness by all citizens.’” (Time