Czech Elections — Voting starts Friday in the Czech Republic’s presidential elections, and the country, which is struggling to exit its second recession since 2009, may see a new leader who is set to oppose the government’s economic program, reports Bloomberg. It’s the first time the president will be selected by the public and not parliament, Euronews notes. After a decade under Vaclav Klaus, former Prime Minister Milos Zeman is viewed as the favorite in opinion polls in a run-off against Karel Schwarzenberg, the millionaire prince and foreign minister who is promoting closer links with the European Union, Bloomberg reports.
Young Soldiers — A new report reveals that children are still being used and recruited as soldiers in Burma, notes VOA News. The report by Child Soldiers International shows that children are still in the ranks of the Burmese army, the border guard and armed opposition groups despite calls by the U.N. to end the practice. Last June, the Burmese government signed an agreement with the U.N. to identify and release children from fighting. But according to activists, progress hasn’t been fast enough.
Child Trafficking — In China, government officials and parents are turning to social media to fight child trafficking, according to the Economist. Because China’s state-controlled media give little or no attention to individual cases of abduction, officials, activists and parents are using websites and microblogs to share information and raise awareness. Every year thousands of children are kidnapped and sold to desperate couples who want kids, especially boys. The price of a kidnapped boy reportedly increased from around 40,000 yuan ($6,426) to 90,000 yuan ($14,459) in recent years because of police clampdowns.
Africa’s First Female Billionaire — Forbes reports that Isabel dos Santos, the oldest daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is Africa’s first woman billionaire. The 40-year-old’s shares in multiple Portuguese companies in at least one bank in Angola have pushed her net worth over the $1 billion mark. Observers believe her family connections, a huge influx of oil revenues into the western African country, and the lack of corporate governance and transparency helped dos Santos build her fortune. Most Angolans live on about $2 a day, according to the BBC.
Australia Oil Find — A South Australian town with a population of just 1,695 people could be sitting on more than $23 Trillion of oil – meaning it could challenge Saudi Arabia as the world’s oil capital, reports the Independent. Although it is in theory possible that all of the 233 billion barrels believed to be underneath Coober Pedy — whose residents mostly live underground in order to protect themselves from the oppressive sun — could be recovered, it will likely only be commercially viable to extract a small fraction, notes the daily.