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FROM THIS EPISODE

Why did the Pentagon choose to announce a new focus on Africa while Chinese President Hu Jintao is on a 12-day tour of the continent? Does China's increasing economic attention there a threat to US interests in the region? Guest host Lawrence O'Donnell looks at the Chinese approach to investment in Africa, human rights and economic development.  On Reporter's Notebook, Nancy Pelosi's plane. How big is too big? (An expanded version of this program was originally broadcast earlier today on To the Point.)

Producers:
Karen Radziner

Reporter's Notebook Republicans Make Hay over Pelosi's Plane Request 9 MIN, 17 SEC

The Speaker of the House is the most protected and most coddled member of Congress. She's the only one gets Secret Service protection and who never has to fly commercial. Nancy Pelosi, unhappy with the plane her predecessor, Dennis Hastert, used, has asked the Air Force for a new, bigger one. Margaret Talev, who reports for McClatchy Newspapers, says Republican critics are calling the plane "Pelosi One."

Guests:
Margaret Talev, Bloomberg News (@margarettalev)

Main Topic China in Africa 14 MIN, 52 SEC

While Chinese President Hu Jintao is on a 12-day tour of Africa, the Pentagon has announced the formation of a new command structure focusing on that continent.  Trade between China and Africa has more than quadrupled in the last 4 years. Angola has overtaken Saudi Arabia as China's largest source of oil. Yesterday, in South Africa, Hu said his country will not do anything harmful to the interests of Africa and its people, but he hasn't spoken out forcefully for human rights during his trip. Should the US be worried about China's influence in the region? Is China trying to become the new colonial power on the continent or just a helpful partner in economic development? Guest host Lawrence O'Donnell weighs the benefits and dangers of China's growing influence.

Guests:
Scott Baldauf, Africa Bureau Chief, Christian Science Monitor
Harry Broadman, economic advisor at the World Bank
Henning Melber, former member of SWAPO
Ernest J. Wilson, III, former senior staffer on the National Security Council

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