President Ali Ben Bongo of Gabon, who took over from his long-serving and dictatorial father in a bitterly contested August election, has ordered a census of the country's bloated civil service to cut state spending. The government says it wants access to reliable records and to finally take control of its staff. Gee, what happened under Bongo Snr’s 41-year reign? With a free-wheeling civil service that costs a quarter of the national budget, no wonder the election was violent. The oil-endowed nation of 1.5 million (a population the size of a small city) has 55,000 civil servants, known for their cronyism and fraud. Read more: Reuters, CNN
Ireland's population has still not recovered from the Great Famine.