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Новости из Африки (на русском)

Articles about Africa's Life (in english)

Статьи на русском

News from Africa (in english)







Mirage or Parallel World in the Skies of Nigeria; below: snow in Algeria - 2015





2 Suns and unusual clouds in the Skies of Zimbabwe, Africa






Night Sun, Zimbabwe, Africa







Africa, Milky Way in : Namibia and Tanzania





Africa, Congo, Kenya and Somali Floods







Dry Tanzania Lake





Illusion of Underwater Fall, Mavritania



Kilimanjaro Skies, Tanzania; Algeria Sunset





Lybia Children





Central African Republic, Tanzania, Sudan, Boswana Women and Girls











Kenya, Nairobi, Rain; below: plane crash in Congo, many dead, 2015




Articles about Africa's Life (in english)





Dying Animals



Highly recommended video of old documentary about Africa:

Africa Safari! Africa Speaks (1930)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jdv5q53nvmw


Птицелюди



http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-12-02-86674
Изображения крылатых людей довольно часто можно встретить на печатях аккадского времени, где показываются сцены суда над птицелюдьми...Можно, конечно, списать  изображения с крылатыми людьми на богатую фантазию древних художников. Но вот как быть с рассказами и свидетельствами очевидцев, которые встречали птицелюдей и в наше время? Причём таких историй собрано достаточно много. С  давних времён до наших дней дошли сказания о необычной расе человекоптиц, некогда обитавших на нашей планете. Однако эти существа до сих пор попадаются на глаза людям, и чаще всего эти встречи проходят в приамурском регионе или в Мексике. Тело, покрытое серыми перьями, размах крыльев до 4 м, человеческая голова с едва различимым носом и ртом, «прыгающая» походка и сильные когтистые лапы  – таков портрет загадочного птицечеловека. Существо это даже пытались заснять на видеокамеру, но получившиеся снимки не позволяют внести ясность о том, к какому виду можно отнести такую «птичку». На Амуре зоологи даже пытались поймать крылатое существо в ловушку, где была установлена приманка. Но затея успехом не увенчалась – крылатое создание умудрилось утащить еду и не угодить в западню. К выводу о том, что глубоко под землёй может существовать раса птицелюдей, пришёл и российский учёный Эрнст Мулдашев. Удивительный остров Пасхи знаменит не только своими каменными истуканами. Здесь имеется множество «куриных домиков» - каменных сооружений высотой до 2 м, построенных  якобы с той целью, чтобы там спокойно могли нестись местные Рябы. Однако один их жителей показал пещеры, расположенные под этими «домиками», и по его словам спускаться в них очень опасно, потому что там можно встретить птицечеловека. По мнению Мулдашева, «куриные домики» были построены не людьми, а подземными существами, чтобы замаскировать вход в подземную обитель. Вообще на острове Пасхи культ птицечеловека существует очень давно. Легенды этого места говорят о том, что раньше, когда истуканы могли ходить, обладающие огромной силой птицелюди помогали им, одевали истуканам каменные шапки (весом 10 тонн!), прикрепляли глаза. Невероятные способности этих существ были таковы, что они могли сделать камень лёгким, как облако. Поначалу птицелюди входили в контакт с местными жителями, а потом переселились в подземелья. Считается, что загадочные крылатые создания не вредят людям, и им достаточно негативного телепатического сигнала, чтобы человек повернул назад с запретной территории. Однако, в крайнем случае, если человек настроен слишком агрессивно, птицелюди могут пойти и на убийство. Подземные каналы, подобные тем, что были обнаружены и на острове Пасхи, найдены и при раскопках курганов в Монголии. Одна из монгольских пещер изнутри необычной шарообразной формы и имеет явные признаки искусственного происхождения. Полость самой пещеры выбирали ступенчатыми срезами пластов, судя по всему, для этого использовались фрезы огромных размеров. Но самое интересное, что на задней стене пещеры нанесено изображение птицечеловека, и размер такого рисунка составляет несколько метров. Как рассказывают сами монголы, несколько лет назад, если кидали камень внутрь провала – звука падения слышно не было. Но после того, как люди стали бросать туда мусор и посещать пещеру без особого ритуала, провал с грохотом закрылся снизу. В прошлом и позапрошлом столетии неоднократно в газетах мелькали заметки о встречах с непонятными крылатыми существами. Например, в 1887 году бруклинские прохожие наблюдали в небе существо, похожее на человека-птицу. В 1900г птицечеловека видели в районе Нью-Джерси, а известный писатель В.К. Арсеньев книге «Дерсу Узала» описывает случай, произошедший с ним в 1908 году на Дальнем Востоке. Идя вдоль реки со своей собакой в туманную погоду, он заметил след, напоминающий отпечаток человеческой ноги. Затем писатель услышал тяжёлый топот и треск ломаемых веток, однако на тропинку никто не вышел – существо как будто затаилось в кустах. Арсеньев бросил туда камень – и тут произошло неожиданное: раздался шум крыльев, и что-то большое и тёмное поднялось из тумана и улетело. Собака писателя была очень напугана, жалась к ногам хозяина и не скулила. Охотники-удэгейцы, выслушав рассказ писателя, поведали ему историю о летающем человеке, следы которого попадаются довольно часто, причём они появляются и обрываются в самых неожиданных местах, как если бы человек спустился с неба или взлетел. В 1952г в Киото (Япония) Синклер Тейлор, рядовой ВВС, находясь ночью на посту, услышал вверху хлопанье крыльев – подняв голову, солдат увидел высокого крылатого человека с огромными крыльями. Тейлор открыл огонь и создание упало на землю, но когда часовой подбежал к месту падения – там никого не было. Выслушав эту странную историю, начальник караула сказал, что год назад такое же существо видел другой солдат. Осенью 1966 года около ста человек в разных странах: США, Англии и Скандинавии наблюдали крылатое существо со светящимися глазами.
В Приморском крае местные жители именуют подобное создание чертом, и случаи частых встреч с летающим человеком припадали на 1930-1940-е, и 1980-1990-е годы. Иногда птицелюди проявляют агрессию к человеку. Например, охотник А.И.Куренцев описывает встречу с птицечеловеком, которая могла бы окончиться печально. Сидя у костра, мужчина почувствовал взгляд, а затем у него появилось чувство паники. Заметив какое-то движение и повинуясь интуитивному порыву, охотник упал на землю, и в то же время над ним пролетел человек с перепончатыми крыльями, как у летучей мыши. До утра мужчина прятался за деревом, опасаясь повторного нападения. Догадки специалистов по поводу того, что это могут быть за существа – противоречивы. Однако наиболее правдоподобной версией происхождения летающего человека являются генетические эксперименты представителей других цивилизаций. Ведь не только крылатых людей изображали древние люди на фресках и барельефах, много примеров  рисунков странных человеко-зверей можно найти по всему миру, а литературные источники и старинные легенды наталкивают на мысль о том, что некогда Земля была обителью существ, которые сейчас кажутся просто сказочными персонажами.

Mugabe's Fall, Zmbabwe







The Town of Women




































http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-b186fe91-ffb3-4418-a29a-a981b8b1faf4

A place where wives don't see their husbands for years. There is a town in West Africa where it has become traditional for men to leave and seek work in Italy. The women are often left behind for years, or even for decades. But Beguedo in Burkina Faso is not unique. There are other towns in Africa where the same thing occurs - and many where it is repeated on a smaller scale, as men travel to neighbouring countries, or to Europe, hoping to find a well-paid job. How does a community survive when husbands and wives live thousands of miles apart?
Alimata Bara is a joker, always smiling, always laughing. Today she is laughing at her own misfortune - the misfortune of being a “celibate wife”. Seven years ago, at the age of 17, she married an “Italian” - a local man working in Italy. Since then she has spent less than six months with her husband. And of course, that is not the life she once imagined for herself. “When you are a young girl, what do you know about life? You see an Italian, and your whole body starts to shake,” she says, with another big laugh. We are sitting on the porch of her house in the compound belonging to her husband's family in the town of Beguedo, 230km (140 miles) south-east of Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. “We met in the market, and started chatting,” she recalls. Then he brought cola nuts to my parents. Within 10 days we were married.” Once upon a time, it took months to organise a marriage in a rural area like this. The suitor had to work in the parents' field, gain their trust, show that he could provide and be a good husband for the woman he longed for. But now, months have turned to weeks - and sometimes days, when the potential husband is on holiday and is about to head back to Europe. In Beguedo, the “Italians” usually come home in August or December. Those periods have become wedding seasons - a time when girls dress up and go out to parties in the hope of meeting a husband. It's a poor area, where migrant workers have long symbolised the promise of a better life. For a while, Alimata thought she was living the dream. Three weeks after a beautiful wedding ceremony, Saada went back to Italy. Alimata settled in with her parents-in-law and in due course gave birth to a daughter, Omayma. Now six years old, she takes great delight in flipping through photo albums and pointing to “Daddy!” - Saada posing in a field among crates of tomatoes, a continent away. After their wedding, it was almost three years before Alimata was able to hold her husband in her arms again. He came back for three weeks in 2011, and then a couple of months in 2014. He has the papers that would allow him travel back and forth between Beguedo and Italy but cannot afford to. “Things are tough in Italy, it is harder and harder to find work,” Alimata says. “He has no money to buy a plane ticket.” The couple's second child, a boisterous boy named Obaidou, now three years old, has only seen his father once. Alimata is still smiling, though ruefully, when she describes her lonely nights. I spend so much time missing my husband. Sometimes you go to bed but you can't even sleep. But what are you going to do? Go and find another man?” She shakes her head. “We don't do that here.” In Beguedo, scores of women share the same fate. Nematou, who lives just across Alimata's yard, is married to Saada's brother - and he is also working abroad. Nematou and Alimata are almost the same age, and the two have become close, sharing the hardships of bringing up their children on their own, and cracking jokes about it as often as they can. Half the mothers in the village are in the same position, according to a former mayor, Beatrice Bara. It's an unseen consequence of the migration of thousands of African men to Europe. It's not like this in every town, but here and there circumstances conspire to draw large numbers of men abroad, leaving behind a town full of women, waiting for them on the continent they left behind. When they marry, the men promise to come back often, or to fetch their wives once they are properly settled on the other side. Some have. But that was before the economic crisis, and before Europe gradually turned into a fortress. Until the early 1990s, people from Burkina Faso did not even need a visa to travel to Italy. Even in 2008, when Alimata married Saada, she thought that in time she would join him in Italy. “He thought he would bring me along, but then he lost his job,” she says. “Over there, life is so expensive. You have to pay rent, big bills for electricity and water. Here in the village, it is simpler. We grow our crops, cook our food, go and get water at the borehole. And even when electricity bills come, it is not that much.” In some ways it also made sense for her to stay, to look after Saada's parents as they get older. She brings up the children, works on the land, cooks food - the household revolves around her. When Alimata eventually realised she would not be joining Saada in Italy, she thought at least that they would be comfortably off. This is meant to be the consolation for an absent husband, and Beguedo - while it has no supermarket, and no hospital to speak of - has several places where people can receive money wired from abroad. However, while Saada was able to build a one-bedroom house for Alimata in his parents' compound, he has never been successful enough in Italy to send much money home - just 25,000 CFA francs (about £25) now and then, with months in between. The last time Alimata received something was in May. Since then, nothing. Luckily she has never relied solely on Saada's money. When she was pregnant with her first child she would go and sell vegetables in the market. Her feet started to get swollen from sitting all day under the sun, and her husband told her to stay home, but by then she had saved a little money. So, after Omayma was born, she bought a couple of bags of charcoal and started to trade, reinvesting the profits. Now she buys at least 30 bags of charcoal at a time. Her husband pitched in to build a small shelter for her business in front of the house. Whenever she has the time Alimata also cycles to her mother's field to help her work the land. They grow gombo, millet, onions and peanuts. “If my peanut crop is good this year, I will be the one paying for my husband's plane ticket,” she says, beaming. It's another joke. Five years of peanut crops would not pay for a plane ticket. Over the years, Alimata has stopped dreaming of joining Saada abroad. “Now I just want him to come back,” she says. At least he still calls often.
“Before he only called when he could buy airtime. And sometimes I would not hear from him for a week or two. Or he would call but after a couple of minutes we would get cut off,” she explains. The last couple of months, things have changed. They have started to use Skype and Alimata is now a frequent customer at Beguedo's tiny cybercafe. “He says he misses me. From time to time, he sounds so disheartened,” she says. She feels lucky that they talk often. Some women find there are lengthening silences as a husband who is geographically distant becomes emotionally distant too.







Five wives
On some streets in Beguedo straw-roofed huts adjoin big houses. The big houses tend to belong to “old” Italians - those who left for Europe before the economic crisis, and found so many more opportunities there than the “new” Italians who followed them later. Mominata Sambara is married to an old Italian. Her face is very wrinkled and she does not know her age. Her husband left for Italy almost 30 years ago, returning regularly enough for the couple to have seven children. “Things went well. Each month he would send 50,000 CFA francs (about £50). He built a house for us,” she says, sitting on a colourful mat in the front yard of her house. Her villa has a vast veranda, an intercom and a satellite dish. Her life seems peaceful - she works in the field, sells crops at the market and takes care of her grandchildren. Next to Mominata sits her daughter-in-law, Fatimata, whose husband is also in Italy. “But things are different now,” she says. Fatimata is not so well off as her mother-in-law was. Beguedo's young men still want to believe Italian grass is greener though, possibly because those who return show off their success and hide their difficulties. “People who left but did not manage to make money abroad are stigmatised, and they usually don't even go back to stay in their village,” says Prof Mahamadou Zongo, a sociologist at Ouagadougou university. “They go to the capital where they can find anonymity.” The Italian dream has affected school attendance in Beguedo. Young men lose interest because they would rather make what they think is easy money in Italy, while young women are sometimes withdrawn from school to marry Italians. But Zongo says some women are becoming more aware of the downsides. “Between the wedding day and the next stop of the husband in the village, there can be up to five, six, seven years,” he says. In the meantime, the wife lives with her in-laws. She has to be obedient and docile. She is being watched. She can be rejected on a simple denunciation.” If someone in the husband's family considers her behaviour inappropriate, renunciation can be “as quick as a phone call”. And then there is the risk of having to accept a rival. With a bittersweet smile, 50-year-old Adiassa (not her real name) says her life “is leaning towards the end”. Her marriage certainly is. Her husband of 30 years has lived in Italy for 20 years, and even took two of their sons to live and work there. “At the beginning, things were good, he would come back every couple of years, and send good money,” she recalls, adjusting the frayed beige veil that covers her head. “Yes, things were really good,” she repeats, cheekily making a noise with her lips to mimic kissing. But six years ago her husband informed her that he was planning on marrying a second time. I did not agree. No woman wants her husband to take a second wife, but he gave me no choice. He said I was too old now,” she grumbles. “And that if I did not agree, I could just leave.” The Bissa people who live in Beguedo and surrounding regions of Burkina Faso are Muslim. Polygamy is allowed in their culture. Yet it was a harsh blow for Adiassa when her husband not only married a much younger woman but also took this one with him abroad. She had hoped to see Italy herself, and had waited many years. “But I could not keep up,” she says. Her husband does not send money any more, nor does he call. Now she just relies on her children to take care of her. Awa Sagne had a similar experience. Shortly after she got married, Awa's husband left her and their first child to find work abroad. He did not have enough money to get to Italy, so he went south to Gabon. Things were tough at first, but two years later Awa joined him. She became a hairdresser, and they had two more children. “I liked living somewhere other than here, and I enjoyed my work,” she says. But then she fell ill and had to go home. Her husband, meanwhile, finally made his way to Italy and prospered there. Three years ago, to demonstrate his success, he took a second wife. After years struggling with her husband to make ends meet, Awa, at the age of 38, is now sharing the family home with a wife almost 20 years younger than her. It's easy to appreciate the blow this represents to her pride, when she tells a story about an occasion years ago, when her husband was already working abroad and sent a disappointingly small amount of money home. Once he dared to send me 2,500 francs! (About £2.) What am I going to do with that? I looked again in the envelope, incredulous, and then just sent it back.” She then called him. “Thank you but no thank you,” she told him. “I would rather work and earn that money myself.” It was perhaps as an insurance policy against a fate like this that 22-year-old Malika (not her real name), quietly opened a bank account after her marriage to an Italian three years ago. Whenever she can, she puts some money aside, even if it is just a few pennies. “You can't tell your husband everything. And you can't trust him 100%,” she argues. Even if he sent her enough money to provide for her, she would still work, she says. A Bissa proverb sums up her attitude: “If you sleep on someone else's mat, you might as well be sleeping on the floor.”
The "Italians"
For many wives in Beguedo, what happens in Italy stays in Italy. The women often don't know exactly where their husbands live, or what jobs they do. Alimata just knows that Saada has worked on farms. Her sister-in-law, Nematou, vaguely says her husband used to work in a factory. The women are aware that their husbands may have to move around, as they go from one job to the next. They can appreciate that their lives may be hard, but know little about their actual living conditions. In Beguedo, stories go around about Italians coming back with an Italian wife and treating their Beguedo wife as though she were a sister or a cousin for the duration of their stay. Many wives in the village don't even assume their partner remains faithful. When asked about the possibility of Saada having another wife in Italy, Alimata responds with a firm: “No, impossible.” But what about what some Africans call “opening a second office” - cheating, having a mistress? Again, Alimata laughs out loud. “You can't know that. If I ask him, of course he is going to say, 'No.' But can a man go three years without laying hands on a woman?” She pauses, but does not expect an answer to her question. “Women are faithful,” she says. “But for men, it is a whole other story.”
In any case, when he comes back, Saada will not face any scenes or jealous questioning. Alimata just hopes he will return, and be with her at last. When contacted by telephone in Italy, where he is currently working on a farm outside the southern town of Foggia, Saada was tight-lipped, possibly to avoid annoying his employer. Agricultural labourers often have to work extremely long hours for low pay. When asked if he would have time to meet a reporter, Saada said he had no days off. Saada said he had been in Foggia since 2010, after losing another job at the time of the financial crisis in 2008 - the moment Alimata referred to when his income plunged. Men from the Bissa community first began travelling to work in Italy in the 1980s, after a man who had been working as a driver for a diplomatic family in Ivory Coast went with them to Rome and returned a wealthy man - by local standards, at least. “When he came back to visit Beguedo we watched him build a house and buy a nice motorbike, and we thought - as there is no work in Burkina, maybe we should go and help out abroad too?” says Inoussa Bara, one of the leaders of the Burkinabe community in Italy. Even before that, Bissa men were inveterate travellers, according Mahamadou Zongo, the sociologist.
In the past, some would migrate to the Gold Coast - now called Ghana. Others went to Ivory Coast. Italy, North Africa, and oil-rich countries in Central Africa, such as Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, are newer destinations. Culturally, migration is considered educational. Among the Bissa and the Mossi (another ethnic group in Burkina Faso), migration is almost part of the initiation, the path that leads from boyhood to manhood,” says Zongo. Someone who has travelled far, he says, is said to have “had his eyes opened”. According to Inoussa Bara (no relation of Saada Bara) the Bissa people make up 80% of the 45,000-strong Burkinabe community in Italy, which is the biggest in Europe. When Inoussa set foot in Italy in 1991 its doors were wide open.
“When you arrived at the airport, the border police asked you the purpose of your visit. 'I've come for a holiday.' 'For how long?' 'Two weeks.' 'How much money do you have for your stay?' … And if you had enough money in your pocket they would let you in. And then of course you didn't leave,” he says. In 1995 there was an amnesty for foreign workers, and he got his residence permit. Then in 1997 his wife came from Beguedo to live with him under the family reunification immigration policy. Prof Mahamadou Zongo says the first Burkinabe immigrants worked in tomato fields in southern Italy - where, it's often been reported, many of them were and are still exploited by unscrupulous employers. After a while, some managed to move to northern Italy, where they got stable jobs in factories. According to Inoussa Bara it remained the case that new arrivals from Burkina Faso generally first worked in the south, then looked for opportunities to go north. That was until this year's immigration crisis and the opening of retention camps where immigrants may be held, then farmed out across Europe. With a degree in foreign languages, Inoussa Bara never worked in agriculture - he started out in a car-wash - but he too moved from Naples to northern Italy, where, in 2009, he was named Employee of the Year in a competition run by the Manpower recruitment agency. In recent years, even those who have found a steady job and acquired a residence permit have found it more difficult to bring wives to join them in Italy, because of changes to the family reunification policy. In a recent story about the sorrow of celibate wives in Beguedo, a journalist in Burkina Faso compared them to Penelope, the wife of Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey. She waits 20 years for her husband, who went away to fight and win a war, confronting all kinds of mythological creatures before he can return. She stays at home, raises her son, works tirelessly, and turns down other suitors, remaining faithful to Odysseus. Homer's epic has a happy ending, but life does not always mirror fiction. Alimata racks her brains to think of a way she and Saada could earn a good income, if he were to come home. But opportunities in Beguedo remain scarce to non-existent. “Maybe if I could have another business, plus the charcoal, then maybe we could work together,” she dreams. “Or if he can make enough money to come here and start a business of his own, that might allow him to spend half of the year here, and the other half in Italy. "That would really make me happy.”





Kenyan domestic workers 'abused in Saudi Arabia' - video

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34121412?post_id=10152854841228601_10153220914353601
1 September 2015
The BBC has been speaking to a group of Kenyan domestic workers who say they have faced abuse - including physical assaults and rape - at the hands of their employers in Saudi Arabia. Activists posted a video of women begging for help on social media, which cannot be independently verified. It sparked an online campaign and the intervention of the government in Nairobi.

Some photos about Madagascar































How Ethiopia has cracked down on people smugglers









http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34404249
1 Oct 2015
Metema, in Ethiopia's north-west, was once a people smuggler's paradise. It was from here that Haimanot, aged just 16, gathered all her belongings, borrowed 3,000 Ethiopian birr ($140; £95) and crossed the border into Sudan in search of a better life. She travelled at first on foot under cover of darkness and with the help of an Ethiopian smuggler, who had promised to take her first to Sudan's capital Khartoum, then on to Libya.
"I was not in school and I could not find a job here in Ethiopia, so I decided to make the journey to Europe to try and make something out of myself," she tells me. But she never made it out of Sudan.
Haimanot, 16: "It was the scariest period of my entire life"
After running out of money in Khartoum she did odd jobs for a year, trying to raise enough money to pay another group of smugglers to take her northwards. Things went from bad to worse and she was arrested by Sudanese police and spent weeks in prison. "It was the scariest period of my entire life. I was arrested by police and they fired shots at me when I tried to escape. I was then arrested and beaten up by some 15 police officers," she says, three months after returning home.
Migrant magnet
Haimanot's story is not unique in Metema, where nearly everyone we spoke to knew of friends, relatives or neighbours who had crossed the border in the hope of a better life in Europe.  Many Eritreans - one of largest group of migrants to Europe - would also pass through the town. Now as Europe grapples with an influx of migrants, Ethiopia's government has intensified a crackdown on the smugglers it blames for luring thousands abroad.  "This was and is still a big problem in Metema," says the town's mayor, Teshome Agmas. "Smugglers are luring the young and old and then dumping them in the deserts or even killing them if they can't afford the money required to complete the journey.
"We had to do something and that is why we joined the government crackdown."
Ethiopia - Eritreans' first risky step to Europe
The government says it has arrested more than 200 smugglers operating along its 700km (435-mile) border with Sudan this year and has begun a massive awareness programme to inform the public about the dangers of making such perilous journeys. It was spurred into action after 30 Ethiopian Christian migrants were killed in Libya by Islamic State militants in April. Ethiopians were shocked by the killings after the Libyan branch of IS released videos of the men being beheaded and another group being shot. Ethiopian demonstrators in Addis Ababa hold a banner during a rally - Wednesday 22 April 2015. The IS killings in April shocked Ethiopians. More than 100 traffickers have been arrested in Metema, which also attracts migrants from neighbouring South Sudan and Somalia. At one point more than 250 people were crossing the border into Sudan through Metema each day. But after the police intensified patrols, smugglers were forced to seek alternative routes into Sudan, through heavily forested and mountainous areas.  "We are telling the smugglers that we are coming for them if they do not stop," the mayor said.
Death penalty proposal
The Ethiopian government has also proposed harsher punishments for people smugglers. Locked door of the IOM office in Metema, EthiopiaImage caption The office for the International Organization for Migration in Metema has been closed up because there are so few migrants passing through the town now. The justice ministry has presented parliament with a bill that could see convicted smugglers facing the death penalty. It has also embarked on a massive awareness campaign to dissuade the young people from making that perilous journey across the deserts and the Mediterranean. The government has already banned Ethiopians from going to Middle East to work as domestic workers in 2013 because of the abuse some have suffered there. Officials believe it is having an impact on some.
Alemtsehay Gebreselassie, 26: "I watched videos that show the dangers of illegal migration. I don't want to make such an attempt. I am much happier here despite life being tough" Twenty-six-year-old Alemtsehay Gebreselassie, who runs a cafe in a village next to Metema, said that after listening to some of the warnings, she decided to stay put. "I watched videos and TV programmes that show the dangers of illegal migration - and the house maids splashed with boiling water and thrown out from buildings [in the Middle East]," she said. "I don't want to make such an attempt. I am much happier here despite life being tough."
But many Ethiopians are still living in extreme poverty in towns like Metema, and some I spoke to - who did not want to be named because of the crackdown - are still prepared to risk everything for a better life elsewhere.


The Kenyans who attacked Robert Mugabe on Twitter









http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-34735212
6 Nov 2015
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been mocked by Kenyans on Twitter. Don't believe everything you read on social media - especially in the recent Kenyan tirades against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. International Twitter wars ("Twars") have become something of a sport among African countries in recent years - with Kenyans often the most vociferous participants. But this time they seem to have called it wrong. On Wednesday, a Kenyan news outlet, The Spectator, published an article about Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. It said he had made defamatory comments towards the Kenyan public - although the report has now been discredited. But here is what Mugabe is meant to have said: "Those people of East Africa shock me with their wizardry in stealing. Sometimes I tend to believe that stealing is in every Kenyan's blood….You can even think that there is a subject in their universities called Bachelor of Stealing". In fact, there's no actual evidence President Mugabe said any such thing. Nevertheless, offended and outraged, the active community of Kenyans on Twitter - or KOT, as they often abbreviate themselves - led a barrage of verbal attacks against Zimbaweans using the tag "Kenyans vs Zimbabweans". It was tweeted over 9,000 times accompanied by memes (pictures-karikatures) and tongue- in-cheek jibes at Zimbabwe's financial straits. Meme of Mugabe riding a dinosaur. Kenyans are tweeting memes mocking Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Josiah Mutai had been engaged in another Twitter war, "Kenyans vs Nigerians". But Zimbabweans themselves didn't really engage with the trend - very few of the tweets came from there, and indeed more seemed to come from expat communities in the UK. Peter Mwai of BBC Swahili says an abrasive Twitter culture is "part of the national pride" in Kenya. "They normally understand it's for fun," he says. "The only problem is that sometimes it goes too far".

Credibility of recent El Nino reports - Floods in Kenya 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQPPxFjZYEY

El Nino rains to begin at the end of this week, Weatherman says.  Sep 29, 2015. The meteorological department has confirmed that the long awaited El nino rains will begin pounding the country by the end of this week with a warning to Kenyans to brace themselves for above normal rains. This as most counties race against time to put in place emergency measures to mitigate the effects (Africa).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44X3mLLt1_U




Madagascar's bizarre natural wonder









http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20150914-madagascars-bizzare-natural-wonder
22 September 2015
Accessible only by boat and known to few travellers, Organ Pipes bears an uncanny resemblance to Northern Ireland’s spectacular Giant’s Causeway. A jewel of the Indian Ocean hidden in the 20-island Nosy Mitsio archipelago, 70km off Madagascar’s northern coast, Organ Pipes is a bizarre natural wonder formed 125 million years ago when Madagascar segregated from mainland Africa. With tubular basalt volcanic sediments that project spectacularly into the sky, the site bears an uncanny resemblance to Northern Ireland's famous Giant's Causeway. Both were caused by a sudden volcanic eruption and rapid lava sedimentation. A little-known wonder, but unlike the Irish World Heritage Site, which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, Organ Pipes attracts just hundreds of travellers annually – and is also only accessible by boat. An ancient treasure trove. Most travellers arrive on a day trip from the mainland, eager to explore the hundreds of shimmering burnt copper columns that project up to 20m into the sky. Others search for 40 million-year-old fossils of extinct fish species, which have gradually been unearthed as sedimentary rocks push up out of the sea. Afterwards, many plunge into the gently lapping cerulean sea to swim with green turtles and bottle-nosed dolphins. The strength of nature. Organ Pipes’ ribbed vertical walls may look like a desolate oasis, but a defiant ecosystem clings on amid the charred volcanic browns and coppers. Pictured here, a solo tree clings to a fissure, challenging gravity as it sprouts upwards, parallel to the pipes. Most travellers arrive on a day trip from the mainland, eager to explore the hundreds of shimmering burnt copper columns that project up to 20m into the sky. Others search for 40 million-year-old fossils of extinct fish species, which have gradually been unearthed as sedimentary rocks push up out of the sea. Afterwards, many plunge into the gently lapping cerulean sea to swim with green turtles and bottle-nosed dolphins. Organ Pipes’ ribbed vertical walls may look like a desolate oasis, but a defiant ecosystem clings on amid the charred volcanic browns and coppers. Pictured here, a solo tree clings to a fissure, challenging gravity as it sprouts upwards, parallel to the pipes.


Hurricane Fred hits Cape Verde islands, Africa





http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34107755
1 Sep 2015
Cape Verde Islands is on alert as Hurricane Fred nears, with damaging winds, heavy rain and high tides. Sarah Keith-Lucas has the latest details. A hurricane with winds of up to 120km/h (75mph) has hit the island nation of Cape Verde, off the coast of West Africa. The government grounded all flights as heavy rain and winds lashed north-western islands in the archipelago. No hurricane has ever been recorded further east in the tropical Atlantic. Late on Monday Fred weakened to a tropical storm as it moved away from the islands, the US-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Strong winds and rain are expected to persist as Fred moves through other parts of Cape Verde on Tuesday, the NHC added. It said the last time a hurricane was recorded hitting Cape Verde was 1892, although it cautions that records were less exact before the advent of weather satellites in the mid-1960s. Cape Verde consists of 10 significant volcanic islands, nine of which are inhabited.


Cape Verde profile - Overview





http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13148486
4 June 2015
Poor in natural resources, prone to drought and with little arable land, the Cape Verde islands have won a reputation for achieving political and economic stability. The former Portuguese colony comprises 10 islands and five islets, all but three of which are mountainous. The archipelago lies around 500 kms off the west coast of Africa. During the 20th century severe droughts caused the deaths of 200,000 people and prompted heavy emigration. Today, more people with origins in Cape Verde live outside the country than inside it. The money that they send home brings in much-needed foreign currency. From the mid-1990s, droughts cut the islands' grain crop by 80%, and in 2002 the government appealed for international food aid after the harvest failed. Migrants arrested in Cape Verde's watersImage caption Increasing numbers of Europe-bound migrants have been intercepted in Cape Verde's waters. Nonetheless, Cape Verde enjoys a per capita income that is higher than that of many continental African nations. It has sought closer economic ties with the US, EU and Portugal. In 2008 Cape Verde became only the second country after Botswana to be promoted by the United Nations out of the ranks of the 50 least developed countries. In recent years it has seen economic growth averaging 6%, the construction of three international airports and hundreds of kilometres of roads. Tourism is on the rise, but there are concerns that it poses a threat to the Cape Verde's rich marine life. It is an important nesting site for loggerhead turtles and humpback whales feed in the islands' waters. Cape Verde became independent in 1975, a year after its sister colony, Guinea-Bissau, won freedom from Portugal. The two countries planned to unite, but the plan was ditched after a coup in Guinea-Bissau in 1980 strained relations. In 1991 Cape Verde held its first free presidential elections, which were won by Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro, who replaced the islands' first president, Aristides Pereira.

In pictures: Artists take over Ghana's streets

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34046391
26 August 2015
The streets of Ghana's capital have been alive with artistic talent, from photography and graffiti to live music and DJ sets, says photographer Nana Kofi Acquah, who joined the crowds enjoying a four-day cultural festival.

Africa in pictures: 21-27 August 2015



















http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34088550
28 August 2015
Drummers perform on Saturday during an annual festival in the south-western Nigerian town of Osogbo...The day before, boys near the Libyan city of Benghazi show off their diving skills. A child is pictured on Monday aboard an Irish Naval vessel that rescued more than 225 people off Libya trying to cross the Mediterranean in inflatable vessels. The next day in South Africa, two young girls pose as they play on a street corner in Johannesburg's Alexandra township. A martial arts instructor shows his students fighting skills at a karate school in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, on Friday. Ballet dancers in South Africa take part in a final dress rehearsal on Thursday, the day before the Joburg Ballet production of Don Quixote opens. On the same day, South Africa's Godfrey Khotso Mokoena competes in the men's triple jump at the World Athletics Championships in China, coming ninth in the final. Kenya is topping the medals table in Beijing, with Julius Yego winning gold in the men's javelin on Wednesday - throwing a personal best and the best throw in 14 years. The previous day, Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba celebrates winning gold in the women's 1,500m. She is hoping to make it a double when she competes in the 5,000m this weekend.  And a Bring Back Our Girls campaigner uses a tablet to film a protest in Lagos on Thursday to mark the 500th day since the abduction of 219 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram militants.



Zimbabwe's booming restaurant scene















Africa, Zimbabwe, 2015 - Restaurant



http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33696377
6 August 2015
A typical chicken dish at Gava's Restaurant in Harare. The aroma of fried chicken drifts enticingly from Shupikai Muyambo's cafe, making your tummy rumble.
Located in Chipinge, a small farming town near Zimbabwe's border with Mozambique, Padera Restaurant enjoys a busy trade.
Customers flock to eat its chicken, beef or fish, served with rice or sadza (a thick cornmeal porridge), with prices ranging from between $1 (64 pence) and $2 (£1.28) a plate.
Ms Muyambo, 27, opened the cafe last year, and currently employing three people, she is about to take on more staff to keep up with demand.
In a country where the economy has now been in the doldrums for the past 15 years, and where government figures last year showed that just 376,000 people were in formal employment, you would imagine that most of Zimbabwe's 14 million population can only dream of going out for a meal. Yet while Zimbabwe is undoubtedly impoverished, and earnings are low, a further 5.9 million people are in employment, scratching a living working informally, either for themselves, or small firms which aren't officially registered.
Cooking and serving food in the openInformal food stalls are increasing in number across the country
And eating out has never been more popular in the country, with a growing number of food outlets springing up, from roadside shacks to more formal restaurants.
Ms Muyambo says: "Competition in this sector is very stiff, but we realised that even with the economic challenges people still need to eat.
"I get at least $150 [profit] per month after deducting all expenses".
Power cuts
In the capital Harare, another restaurauteur enjoying good business is 41-year-old Allen Gava, who owns the eponymous Gava Restaurant.
A former fruit and vegetable wholesaler, he started in the restaurant business back in 2013 in one of Harare's more prosperous neighbourhoods.
Allen Gava by the sign to his restaurantAllen Gava's restaurant is more upmarket than most in the country
Now employing 10 full-time and five part-time employees Mr Gava says: "We have built a solid customer base, and now have many regular customers who eat with us three or four times a week."
With dishes costing as much as $10, and a large garden for outside eating, Gava Restaurant is certainly more upmarket than most.
While Mr Gava won't reveal how much money he makes, he says that his monthly turnover is "enough to pay salaries, cover expenses, and make a profit".
Yet despite his success Mr Gava says that all restaurants in Zimbabwe continue to face a number of problems.
"It is hard to find certain supplies for the restaurant," he says.
Lunchtime at Gava's RestaurantGava's Restaurant has a large area for outside dining Children playing on a bouncy castle at Gava's RestaurantGava Restaurant also allows parents to enjoy a peaceful meal while their children play elsewhere
"We are also experiencing power cuts, which affect our cooking, and we are spending more money on generator fuel."
Other Zimbabwean restaurant owners have tried to alleviate the problem of supply shortages by rearing their own animals, or growing their own vegetables.
Husband and wife team Alexander and Shumirai Mujuru are just such people.
Since 2009 they have run a fast-food outlet in Zimbabwe's rural Buhera district in the east of the country, at a transit hub for truck drivers and long-distance buses.
To ensure they have enough chickens, they rear them on a nearby farm. And they arrange to buy potatoes from local farmers.
Mr Mujuri adds: "We value good relationships with customers, and we are also hands on."
'Ready market'
Independent economist Vince Musewe says that restaurants in Zimbabwe can generally be successful if they keep their prices down.
"Despite the hardships, people still have to eat, and you will find most food outlets sell cheap food. For $1 you can have a decent lunch."
Mr and Mrs Mujuru outside their takeawayMr and Mrs Mujuru rear their own chickens for their cafe
He adds: "More people are doing their businesses on the streets, as opposed to formal employment, and these informal traders provide a ready market for cooked food."
Meanwhile a recent report by StartupBiz Zimbabwe, a private organisation which provides information on how to start and grow a business in the country, suggests that entrepreneurs are setting up food outlets because of the low start-up costs.
It estimates that while it can cost between $1,000 to $5,000 to launch a restaurant in downtown Harare, the price falls to just $200 to set up a small food stall on the outskirts of the city centre.
And while the power cuts that bedevil Zimbabwe inevitably cause restaurants big difficulties, in other ways they help restaurants, because people choose to eat out in the evening rather than sit at home in the dark.
Some consumers even find that if they go to a cheap takeaway they can spend less on food than if they were making it for themselves at home.
Nyasha Mukundi, a 29-year-old mother of two, says: "I finish work at around 6pm, and arrive home at around 7pm, and most of the days there will be no electricity at home.
"Instead I buy takeaway food everyday on my way home from work. It's cheaper too."

Meeting Mali's most dedicated postman







Africa, Mali, 2015,  a Postman
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33808629
10 August 2015
In the city of Bamako, where even the most basic public administration is beset by corruption, the arrival one morning of a letter from Manchester in the UK comes as something of a surprise. The doorbell. Bleary eyed, I perform the required yank and heave of the cheap lock. ''La Poste - service public!'' says a smartly turned-out man with extreme enthusiasm. He is holding a white envelope, addressed to me. I feel like closing the door and reopening it again; just to make sure it's no mirage. Now, the sight of a postman shouldn't be so hard to take in. But this is Bamako, a city infected with scruffy police officers who use the highway code as a price list for bribes. This is where corrupt civil servants flog municipal land for their own profit. In hospital waiting rooms, queuing ticket dispensers are controlled by people who sell the numbers. The results of two decades of public sector neglect haven't exactly prepared me for a visit from something as benign and useful as a man delivering letters.
''La Poste, service public!'' he insists, waving the letter in my face. I examine the back of the envelope. ''If undelivered, please return to PO Box 480… Manchester." Since moving to Mali I have put myself online for banks, bills and birthdays. But not, I discover, for BBC payslips. Thanks to a faraway accounts department, I am meeting postman Aboubacar Doumbia. He lives and breathes public service as someone only can in a country where there isn't any. Doumbia has been issued with a standard post office worker's navy blue waistcoat. It is on the drab side. So around it, by scouring the markets of Bamako, he has created a bespoke uniform: cornflower-blue shirt, two-tone blue tie with yellow stripes and - his pride and joy - navy blue German policeman's trousers. The final touch is his cap, which he made himself, complete with a hand-painted La Poste name plate. Doumbia's scooter is of course yellow. He slides on his metal-rimmed pilot's glasses and takes me on a round. We join the tide of choking green minibuses, lopsided yellow taxis and identical Chinese motorbikes. Not for us the undignified zigzagging you see from some two-wheelers. If anyone tries to cut him up, Doumbia declares ''La Poste, service public!'' It works. This man is a celebrity.
We turn into a dirt road, then another. He props the scooter on its stand. That's when I notice his socks: cornflower blue with yellow stars.
''What's that,'' he asks pointing at the building in front of us.
''Well, it's a mosque,'' I answer.
''That's right,'' says Doumbia. ''It's clearly not the residence of Mr Coulibaly, even though we are at the address in 103rd Street stated on the envelope. But I know from experience that Mr Coulibaly's part of 103rd is in a completely different place and is accessed from 94th Street.''
To the refrain ''La Poste, service public'', we head off again. Doumbia on his moped. Doumbia has three children, the eldest of whom is 13. He would love his son to go to university. But it's not going to be easy because of the corruption in the education system. Doumbia himself refused to pay for his high school diploma. He sat the exam 11 times in 15 years until finally, three years ago, the examiners passed him on merit, at the age of 35. He was helped with his revision by a Mrs Sangare. The retired schoolteacher lives in a compound criss-crossed by washing lines and populated by children and grand-children. Here Doumbia deploys his skill as an acute observer of the human condition. The younger members of the family are just after Mrs Sangare's money, he suspects.
''I've her letter inside my waistcoat,'' he whispers. ''It's from her son in Spain - he's sent her some money! So when she offers us tea, the postman will find a quiet moment to slip her the envelope when no-one is looking.''
Doumbia often speaks of himself in the third person like this. He says the postman faces many challenges. Town halls have no idea about odd and even numbers. Homeowners spruce up their doors and forget to add the number, or get it wrong because they've hired an illiterate painter. I suggest perhaps a system of giving all streets names instead of numbers might help. Or how about post codes which can really simplify things?
A look of despair comes over Doumbia. His entire body appears to sigh. It's as though the round he has just taken me on - painstakingly showing me the postman's challenges - has been a waste of time. When I said post codes, he heard ''redundancy''.
''I don't really know about post codes,'' he retorts. ''But what we have in Mali - and you've lost where you come from - is the social thing. We talk to each other. If the postman ever returns a letter to sender - which is rare - he feels terrible. That day he has failed in his duties as a public servant.''


Searching for Mrs Livingstone



Africa, Great White Woman - Mary Livingstone With 6 Children















http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33639154
26 july 2015
Mary Livingstone (nee Moffat) 1821-1862. Mary Livingstone crossed the Kalahari desert and endured extreme hardship on expeditions with her husband David, but her life was overshadowed by his fame. Her grave in Mozambique testifies to a forgotten story.  At first sight the border point at Vila Nova de Fronteira looked pretty impressive. At the end of a short dirt road through the no-man's-land that separates Mozambique from Malawi, stood a grand 1960s building with columns and elegant sloping roof. A flag flew from the top of a tower. But on closer inspection it was just a shell, all the buildings here burned out during the civil war. Two trains rusted on the railway platforms behind the main customs hall. A shadow showed where the crest bearing the coat of arms of Portuguese Mozambique had once hung, chipped away after independence in 1975.  In the corner of the main hall, a large policeman sat at a desk, surrounded by ledgers. He sweated gently - there was no fan, no electricity. It was mid afternoon, but it seemed we were the first visitors to have passed through that day. A few cursory questions, and with a dramatic flourish he stamped both my passport and his ledger, the sounds ricocheting around the empty building. We were free to go. Before we had started out, everybody I asked seemed to have a different view as to our best route across the Zambezi and onto Caia, the town nearest Mary Livingstone's grave. No one was quite sure what roads had survived the recent floods or which ferries were running. The Livingstones with three of their children in 1850, Lake Ngami. The daughter of a missionary, born in South Africa . Married missionary and explorer David Livingstone in 1845, with whom she had six children. Made the journey across the Kalahari desert twice. She endured hardship on expeditions with Livingstone - losing a child shortly after birth, and suffering a stroke. She died of malaria in 1862 while with her husband on the Zambezi. My guide book suggested Mutarara was the best place to head for - get there and maybe we could cross the Dona Ana Bridge. The Portuguese built what was once the longest railway bridge in Africa in 1934 - many of its forty spans were destroyed by Renamo fighters during Mozambique's long civil war. When peace came the Americans helped rebuild it, and then it became a road bridge. We arrived just as dusk fell - and soon found the impressive structure, elegantly stretching out across the Zambezi. But any thoughts of driving across it were cut short by the blast of an air horn. Two new-looking red railway locos rumbled into sight. As they passed, I counted 43 trucks behind them. The line is now back in use, carrying coal from the mines of Tete to the Indian Ocean port of Beira. My guide book, I realised, was rather out of date.  "You might get a ferry if you drive south-west," said the woman running Mutarara's only hotel. It was a simple place - cockroaches climbed the wall in convoy and two green plastic containers filled with brackish water were provided for our ablutions. A local market stall provided dinner - chocolate biscuits - washed down with the remainder of a bottle of whisky I'd tucked into my backpack. But the beds were surprisingly comfortable. I slept well. At dawn we set off in a south-westerly direction, using the sun and the compass app on my mobile phone to navigate. A minibus driver assured us we were going the right way. "It's a bad road though," he said. "About 50km." At the exact moment that the odometer ticked over the 50km mark, the road ended, on the banks of the Shire River. Dugout canoes carried heavily loaded bikes and mopeds across the water. "There hasn't been a ferry for days," one of the boatmen told us. "But maybe it'll come later." I could see the craft on the other side, a simple pontoon, with thick guide wires slung across the river to draw it across. We moved the car to the edge of the bank. After half an hour or so people started to gather, using buckets to bail out the craft. Another hour, and it started moving, three men winding an old crank to draw it across. I asked the Captain, a teenager in yellow T-shirt what we should pay. I'd been warned that my white skin and obvious desperation might force the price up. "200 meticals," he announced, giving me an official looking ticket. £3.50. The Shire River flows into the Zambezi - crossing that was almost too easy - a short drive over the brand new road bridge at Caia. By early afternoon we had reached the mission at Chupanga where Mary Livingstone is buried. A rusty metal sign on the road pointed us to the 'Tumulo da esposa Dr David Livingstone' - the grave of the wife of Dr Livingstone. In death, Mary still overshadowed by her domineering husband. The rain started to pour down. We took shelter under a tree, and I read more about Mary's miserable life as the neglected wife of one of the world's most famous travellers. I had brought a small bunch of paper flowers with me. We lay them on the tomb, the red and purple and green of the dye bleeding in the rain, and leaving a delicate stain on the white grave.


African factlet: Nigerians love champagne



Africa, Nigeria, Women-Slaves, 2015

http://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-africa-33489611
Every Friday, we like to remind you of some of the quirkier snippets from the news in Africa over the past week, with our "Five things we've learnt" section. For instance, did you know that Nigeria is the world's second largest consumer of champagne?


The ‘light-bringers’ of sub-Saharan Africa

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20150713-the-light-bringers
14 July 2015
Solar power has brought riches to Michael Owili and made him a shining star in his community — not because he uses it, but because he sells it. Many solar agents... gain a degree of stardom . As a solar agent, Owili crisscrosses Kenya’s remote country roads acting as a middleman between companies that make solar lanterns, and the isolated villages that could use them. Many solar agents have increased their annual income by 40% to 60%, and most gain a degree of stardom in their villages for being the “light-bringers”. Roughly 20 million households in East Africa lack access to electricity, forcing families to spend $3b annually on expensive and unsafe energy substitutes such as kerosene. The problem is acute in Kenya, where less than 23% of the population is on the grid. But also in Kenya, where sunshine is plentiful, solar lanterns are transforming lives. Standing at the centre of that change are the agents — trusted local residents who are familiar with the needs of their nearby villages. Beatrice Ochieng, a solar lantern agent in the village of Owimbi in Kenya, said some villagers call her their “saviour”. The lanterns cost around $10 (with an extra $3 for payments in monthly installments). Packages that include mobile chargers cost around $30. Agents make around a 10% commission on each sale. With her commissions, Ochieng has been able to send her children to school and pay for construction of a new home. It’s not an easy job, however. To learn more about the challenges, setbacks and triumphs of Kenya’s light-bringers, please click on the arrow above.


The Ugandan women who strip to defend their land









Africa, Uganda, Village, Women Protest





http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32938779
1  June 2015
Women wailed in unison as about a dozen others stripped to show the community's anger. A group of elderly women in a village in northern Uganda did something culturally taboo to express their anger - they began to strip. In front of two government ministers, soldiers, policemen and hundreds of people from their community, they started removing their clothes. Off came their tops - then some of the women pulled down their wrappers and skirts so they were completely naked.
"Lobowa, Lobowa!" they chanted, which means "our land" in the Luo dialect. Others remained seated, but showed support by wailing in unison with with the women as they stripped. The women stripped in front of hundreds of people. In Acholi culture a woman stripping in public is thought to bring a curse on her enemies. The incident, which forms part of a long-running land dispute between authorities and the local community, took place in Apaa village in the district of Amuru. On that day, two government ministers had arrived with surveyors; their plan was to demarcate the land where the women and their community live. But they were shocked by what they saw. As a policeman took pictures, one of the women approached him by rolling on the ground and then raised her leg. He ran away.
'Cursed'
For the Acholi people of northern Uganda, a woman stripping in public is laden with meaning. It is more powerful than fighting as it is believed such actions invoke the worst of curses on the woman's enemy. This land dispute has lasted nearly 10 years. Magdalena Alum, Apaa resident: "I undressed because I'm hurting a lot, my son Olanyah was killed. And now they've come back to send us away from our land"
At the heart of it is the fact that the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) believes the people of Apaa and thousands of others are encroaching on a game reserve. But the community disagrees and says this is their ancestral land. For the half a dozen or so women who stripped that day, it is not just about property - it is a protest about abuses they say have been committed by security forces over the years. Magdalena Alum, 58, told me her son was shot dead by the authorities in 2012.
"I undressed because I'm hurting a lot, my son Olanyah was killed," she said. "And now they've come back to send us away from our land - yet this is my grandfather's land. I had 15 goats, now eight out of 15 have been killed and right now I have nothing." Sixty-two-year-old Karamela Anek, who also took part in the protest, says her son died after being beaten up. "He kept complaining of chest pain, all the time chest pain until he died two years later."
Ms Anek says she owns an area of land measuring five sq km (1.9 sq miles), and will do anything to defend it. Apaa is just one example of several ongoing land conflicts in northern Uganda. The reason for this goes back to the 18-year insurgency in Uganda by the brutal Lord's Resistance Army rebel movement (LRA). Many Acholi people at the time were moved to government camps for safety. But when they returned, some faced questions about whether they really owned the land they say has always been theirs. There are plans to lease the land to an investor to turn it into a private game reserve. The community in Apaa says 21,000 people would be affected if evicted. Uganda's Wildlife Authority wants to demarcate some 827 sq km, an area about half the size of London, and Apaa sits on the edge of this land. The UWA does not deny accusations that the area will be leased to an investor - and it is known that a South African business person has shown interest in turning it into a private game park. According to the residents of Apaa, some 21,000 people would be affected by the potential evictions. John Makombo, UWA conservation director:
"We need to get back and talk to the people and tell them the truth. And once they understand it they should be able to know that the area where they are is a protected area". The government does not know how many people are on the land.
'Tourism boost'
The director of conservation for the UWA, John Makombo - whose job is to make the area ready for investment - does not deny that security officials used violence against the people on the disputed land, which led to the death of Ms Alum's son.
"The person we know about who actually died was just out of accident because of a stray bullet," he told me. "That was during the 2012 operation exercise that wanted to see the boundary marked and because of the riots and the need to keep the community safe, that's how that accident happened." The government insists bringing investors on board will benefit the local economy by encouraging tourism, and it is expected to proceed with plans to formalise government control of the land. Karamela Anek says she would be prepared to strip again to defend her rights. But Mr Makombo acknowledges the women's protest has caused the authorities to think about how they go about it. "I think the protests are definitely sending a message and we've understood what the people say. We need to get back and talk to the people and tell them the truth," he says. "And once they understand it they should be able to know that the area where they are is a protected area." Those who face eviction will be offered compensation or resettlement, according to the Ugandan government. Leaders in the village told the BBC they were open to negotiations. But some of the women in Apaa say they will strip again if their rights are not respected.

Robert Mugabe and the Crocodile - video



Africa, Zimbabwe, president Mugabe

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32740515
24 May 2015
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the "Crocodile" and Robert Mugabe . Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe marked his birthday this year with an extravagant party, but how many more such celebrations can there be? In recent months there have been signs of major upheaval inside the ruling Zanu PF party as senior figures jockey for position in preparation for the succession. When Robert Mugabe recently turned 91 he invited several thousand of his closest friends to a resort hotel near Victoria Falls. Local landowner and Mugabe loyalist Tendai Musasa took it upon himself to handle the catering. "Only the best, for our provider and our hero," he said. Guests were reportedly presented with a dizzying choice of meats, including cuts from two buffalo, five impala and a baby elephant. For once the fabled elephant in the room was actually on the plate. Rumours of this elephantine feast - at a time of renewed economic crisis in Zimbabwe - drew a storm of criticism from Mr Mugabe's critics, inside and outside the country. The hotel was moved to issue a clarification - the elephant hadn't actually been served... because the beast had been too big to fit in the fridge. But the truth of "elephant-gate" doesn't really matter. Robert Mugabe at 91 isn't quite the fearsome force he once was. He gets laughed at and mocked by his fellow countrymen in a way that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago, when he was a mere stripling of 80. This new vulnerability was most painfully manifested after he took a fall while gingerly negotiating some stairs at Harare airport last February. Robert Mugabe was walking to his car when he appeared to miss a step. His aides tried to confiscate all photographic evidence of his tumble, but of course it went viral. He then fired a dozen bodyguards for failing to protect his dignity. The sense of a leader raging against the ebbing of his powers intensified.  I felt the winds of political change blowing in Harare the other day. In recent years a BBC visit to the Zimbabwean capital has been about as welcome as a fly touching down in a bowl of soup, but this time I received a personal invitation from one of Mugabe's most controversial allies, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo. Throughout his career, Moyo has swung between vociferous criticism of, and slavish loyalty to the veteran president. Now, this most wily of political operators is turning his attention to the post-Mugabe era, and how best to ensure that the ruling party Zanu PF retains its grip on power. Last year he was an enthusiastic backer of the president's wife, Grace - known as Gucci Grace for her expensive shopping habits - but now Moyo and other key ministers appear to be lining up behind a different heir apparent, a former military chief, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose ruthlessness is captured in his nickname - the Crocodile. Moyo and the Crocodile have been in discussions with senior representatives from those Western governments which continue to impose targeted sanctions on the Mugabe regime. As one diplomat put it to me, "They understand what changes they must make to bring Zimbabwe in from the cold, and we believe they can do it." The need for urgent change is glaringly obvious. Stephen Sackur talks to Zimbabweans affected by the struggling economy. I travelled out of Harare to a sprawling collection of shanty shacks known as Komboyatswa. This was one of the neighbourhoods Mugabe infamously tried to erase from the map with his brutal slum clearance programme a decade ago. Tellingly, hundreds of destitute families have returned. There was nowhere else for them to go. "No piped water, no electricity, and for most of us, no jobs," shrugs Jairos Mutero as he shows me his mud brick hut. Many in Komboyatswa eke out a living by hawking vegetables and sweets on the side of the road into Harare. Others, including Mutero's sister, have gone to South Africa to escape Zimbabwe's broken economy. Before leaving Harare I went to the bus station. Dozens of Zimbabweans were queuing up for the journey to Johannesburg. Many were travelling without a work permit, just a sense of quiet desperation . "I feel sorry for my generation," said Fidelis, a labourer who has spent most of the last six years in South Africa. "We cannot feed our families. It makes me angry, but what can we do?" The chances are Fidelis will be in Johannesburg when the Mugabe-era in his homeland finally comes to an end. The question is, will what comes next persuade him to return?










In the emptiest surf spot in Ghana



Africa - Ghana Coast









http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20150429-the-emptiest-surf-spot-in-ghana
13 May 2015
As I bumped down a dirt road in West Africa, I wondered what I’d gotten myself into. Eager to escape New York City and do some surfing, I’d accepted a teaching job at Trinity Yard School on the isolated coast of Cape Three Points, in Ghana’s western region. The Ebola outbreak was all over the news, and although the disease hadn’t been detected in Ghana, friends, family and colleagues had urged me not to go. I was still undecided when, after a harrowing day at work in New York, I got a call from Rory Jackson, Trinity Yard's founder. A surfer himself, he’d been searching for waves when he discovered the land where the school now sits. Know that erased all of my concerns about taking the job, including the Ebola epidemic. “Don’t worry about any of that man,” he said. “You’re headed for paradise.”
So I packed up my comfortable life in the West Village, zipped my surfboard into a padded bag and flew across the world to Accra, Ghana’s sprawling, chaotic capital. The trash-lined streets were a far cry from my idea of paradise, but I pushed on, eager to reach the coast. I took a five-hour bus to the smaller town of Takoradi, where I piled into a cramped van, known locally as a “tro tro”. Three hours later, we were rolling down dirt roads, past ramshackle huts and sprawling banana plantations. Finally, that night, we arrived at my home for the next nine months. I was shown to a small shack tucked into the trees, and as I fell asleep to a chorus of crickets and the rumble of crashing waves, I was excited -- and terrified. The next morning, I stumbled down a small path surrounded by almond and palm trees. At the beach, I spotted it: a beautiful wave – a left hander – peeling perfectly off the point, without a single surfer in sight. The empty, palm-fringed coast stretched out on either side, while dense green jungle carpeted the hills behind me. The only man-made structure in my view was the faint lighthouse of Cape Three Points far up the beach. The place looked a lot like paradise, but its isolation was also daunting, and I couldn’t help wondering how the following nine months would go. When filmmaker Bruce Brown set out to make the 1966 classic surf film The Endless Summer, his first stop was West Africa. Although little was known about surfing in Ghana, the country made a convenient stop en route to South Africa’s already discovered breaks. In the film, Brown narrated their first surfing experience in Ghana: “Paddling out, we had the horrible thought that maybe surfing would violate some religious taboo of the natives and they’d attack. During the first ride, the hundreds of natives were silent, but when we pulled out, they really went wild. That was the beginning of surfing in Ghana.” Brown’s foray into the sea may or may not have been the first time that Ghana's coast had been surfed, but I’d seen little evidence of the sport otherwise. Despite the film's impact on other remote spots, Ghana, it seemed, hadn’t yet been fully uncovered. I relished the idea of making my own discoveries, knowing the water would be warm and the breaks would be empty. Eager to hit the waves, I grabbed my board and waxed up. As I paddled out, the coastline further revealed itself: endless and wild. A set rolled in and I launched onto the wave, gliding across the face and flying up over the lip, yelling out with unrestrained joy. I’d finally made it here. The next day, I walked up a small hill to the school, where I met my Ghanaian colleagues and new students: eager local teenagers who giggled at the newly arrived foreigner. In the village of Cape Three Points, educational opportunities beyond junior high school are limited and most student fall off the academic track early. Trinity Yard School, therefore, acts as a fee-free bridge to prepare students for further education. I’d be teaching English, reading and writing, standing barefoot at the whiteboard and conducting lessons daily. As the days passed, I fell into a rhythm of teaching, reading, writing, running and surfing. I found myself in Castaway-like moments, catching crabs that scuttled across the beach to use as fishing bait. I wandered along the coast, discovering small coves that I later learned were empty because they were believed to have juju (voodoo). I hand-washed my clothes, took bucket showers and used composting toilets. I learned how to pound fufu, a dough made of cassava and plantains that is generally eaten raw and accompanied by palm nut soup. I got used to sharing footpaths with snakes, scorpions and spiders. I even found a place where I could get a solid meal and a cold beer. I made the trip down the beach a Saturday ritual. And I surfed every day. Sometimes, giant waves rolled in and I was thrown to the ocean floor among the urchins and rocks. Other days, I sailed across small, glassy faces at sunset. The area was so remote that the only people who saw me surfing were the fishermen who launched their carved wooden canoes at the far end of the beach. The place was definitely isolated, but it was beginning to feel like home. Two months into my stay, I decided to visit Busua, Ghana’s unofficial surfing capital, 27km north of Cape Three Points. I was immediately surprised by the number of obrunis (white people) there, all tourists, reading in hammocks and sipping frosty beers at beachside bars. The place had a relaxed, surf town vibe. I rented a board from a young Ghanaian, Kofi Aidoo, who welcomed me with the customary handshake: a finger click and a fist to the heart. We paddled into the surf and I commented on the many tourists here, explaining that I was living in Cape Three Points, where there were far fewer visitors. “Ah, man, not so much here, too,” he said. He shook his head and looked out to sea. “People too scared of Ebola, you know? They stop coming.” He laughed. “We don’t even have it!” That night, a massive bonfire party erupted down the beach to the soundtrack of West African dancehall music. Obrunis spilled onto the sand and the music competed with reggaeton wafting from nearby bars. I thought I’d be grateful for the taste of civilization, but the truth was, I couldn’t wait to get back to my empty beach. I woke early the next day and caught a tro tro back home. That evening, I grabbed my board and hit the sand, walking up to the point. As I prepared to paddle out, one of the fishermen I’d gotten to know stopped me. “Listen for the lobsters,” he said. No idea what he meant, I nodded politely, paddled out and tucked into a few peeling waves. Then, as the big red sun sank behind the dusky palms, I slipped off my board and sank into the sea. That’s when I heard it: a chorus of crackling coming from the submerged rocks. As I listened to what sounded like hundreds of lobsters crawling around the ocean floor, I remembered the chaos of New York City, the confusion of Accra and even the booming bonfire party in Busua. I didn’t miss any of it. I was grateful to be here with the fishermen and lobsters, paddling into wave after perfect wave, with no one else around.

















Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, Africa











Africa - Tanzania, Kilimanjaro

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20150219-kilimanjaros-majestic-icy-giants
9 April 2015
There’s still time. Mount Kilimanjaro’s glaciers rise up like frozen waves on a sky island – there now, but not for long. The good news: glacier experts and (Mount Kilimanjaro National Park)[http://www.tanzaniaparks.com] ecologists now believe the 11,700-year-old ice is nowhere near extinction in the next five years, or even in the next 15. The bad: the glaciers are still continuing to shrink. New estimates suggest that they will disappear by 2040, give or take 10 years. I saw the great glaciers myself when I tackled the ascent in July, and they looked just as Ernest Hemingway famously described them in the book The Snows of Kilimanjaro: “As wide as all the World, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun...” It was hard for me to understand how these giants could ever dwindle away. They’re too big, too solid, too imposing. Inevitable change. Reports on why the glaciers are disappearing have varied, with many blaming widespread global warming. But interestingly, their diminishing size has little to do with human interference. The glaciers are lessening because of a natural and inevitable climate change that occurred in the first half of the 19th Century (before cars or major pollution) and no longer brings as much rain to the top of Kili. It’s a change that simply made the current conditions unsuitable for equatorial glaciers. “Strong sunshine, as well as a lack of wind, allow a millimetre-thin ‘warm and wet’ layer to develop along cliff surfaces, causing ice to melt at air temperatures -10C or lower,” said Georg Kaser, a glaciologist at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. Sublimation, or snow and ice turning to vapour, then kicks into action with the slightest breeze. Both processes together lead to a constant regression of the glaciers. As a climber, I had a hard time imagining any sort of melt happening atop Kilimanjaro. The cold and dryness is so extreme that it cracks your lips and fingertips, despite my body being bundled into five layers of clothing. Pole-pole, the Swahili catchphrase for “slowly, slowly”, was said over and over again by our guides; each step up was laborious. An unlikely solution. What could reverse the glaciers’ disappearance? Unfortunately, not much under human control. Only major snowfall could fill the bare ground between the ice and hinder its disappearance, and the last time that kind of snowfall happened was during the first half of the 19th Century. “The loss of Kilimanjaro’s glaciers is inevitable even without the effect of climate warming,” Kaser said. That is, “unless considerable changes in the Indian Ocean occur within the next 10 to 20 years, causing repeat strong and abundant rainy seasons over East Africa.” The likelihood of this happening is uncertain. In the meantime, though, these cold, old beauties are now one of the best reasons to climb the famous mountain. Take the Macheme route, one of seven trails to the top. It’s particularly known for passing through Kili’s multiple climates, from the lush rainforests at the base to the sparse moorlands in the middle and the high alpine deserts towards the top.  Frozen waves in the sky. When you get to the top, don’t just focus on the famous congratulatory sign that’s featured in too many celebratory snaps. Turn your attention (and your camera) toward the glaciers, which rise up like frozen waves on a sky island – there now, but not for long.





Can Africa fight cybercrime and preserve human rights?









South Africa - Vendor

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32079748
10 April 2015
As internet usage rises in Africa, so does cybercrime. Think cybercrime and Africa, and most people in the developed world think of the notorious 419 email scam. This involves gangs extorting money from the likes of great aunt Mabel by promising her riches, if she'll just send some cash and/or her bank details to a nice man in Nigeria. But cybercrime on the continent has moved far beyond this, with gangs embracing more sophisticated ways to use technology, such as malware and botnets, to get what they want. Internet usage is rising rapidly in Africa, and with it, cybercrime. This growth is making it easier than ever for criminals to operate. And it has created a new pool of potential victims lacking the knowledge and experience to be able to protect themselves effectively. Security expert Kaspersky says more than 49 million cyber-attacks took place on the continent in the first quarter of last year, with most occurring in Algeria, ahead of Egypt, South Africa and Kenya. But cybercrime is actually most pervasive in South Africa, with security firm Norton saying 70% of South Africans have fallen victim to cybercrime, compared with 50% globally. McAfee, another cybersecurity firm, reported that cybercrime cost South African companies more than $500m (£340m) last year. Street vendor in Johannesburg. Africa has long lacked a legal framework for tackling cybercrime. But in June 2014, the African Union (AU) approved a convention on cybersecurity and data protection that could see many countries enact personal protection laws for the first time. For it to be implemented, however, 15 of the 54 AU member states will need to ratify (approve, confirm) the text. As yet, not one country has done so, though there is optimism it will happen in the next three-to-five years. "Cybersecurity is a growing concern for the nations of the African Union as more people come online," says Drew Mitnick, junior policy counsel at human rights organisation Access, which has called on member states to ratify the convention as soon as possible. It is critical for the countries to adopt cybersecurity policies that better protect users while respecting their privacy and other human rights." 50th Anniversary African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The African Union (AU) is made up of 54 member states - only Morocco doesn't belong. Access believes the AU should lead these efforts. The group has tracked proposed cyber and data protection laws in Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Morocco, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda. In each case, the legislation would either fail to provide basic protection for user data, or allow the government to violate the rights of privacy, expression, and assembly, Access believes. But Beza Belayneh, managing director of the African Cyber Risk Institute (ACRI), says there are positives. "[The convention] is a jumpstart for many countries who do not have any legal ground or appreciation to combat cybercrime," he says. "It is a good guide to develop... computer or cybersecurity laws in a localised manner. It is the best way just to start the job. It has to start somewhere. It is apparent that many, if not all, African countries lack the capabilities to defend their ever-growing cyber infrastructure." Cybersecurity is finally receiving the attention it deserves, he added. As a guide to helping African nations get their "cyber ducks in order", as Mr Belayneh puts it, the AU convention isn't too bad. Mr Mitnick says the convention contains a data protection provision covering control of personal data, with a large part of it mirroring the data protection framework and language developed by the European Union. He also commends the protection of human rights. "The text requires governments to uphold the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, along with other basic rights such as "freedom of expression, the right to privacy, and the right to a fair hearing, among others," he says. "The inclusion of privacy is most welcome, considering it is not explicitly found in the African Charter."
Computer and credit cards
The AU proposals include giving judges unlimited power to issue search and seizure warrants on data or computers - causing understandable concern about human rights. However, there are real concerns about some of the provisions. The Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law at Strathmore University, Kenya, is against implementation in its current form. It believes the convention could limit freedom of expression and allow authorities to intercept private data too easily. Judges would be given unlimited power to issue search and seizure warrants on data or computers, for example. All this could have "substantial negative effects on online economies and social cultures across Africa," it says. A woman uses a tablet at an internet cafe in Dakar, Senegal. Men in an internet cafe in Kinshasa. Mr Belayneh agrees that the document gives too much power to judges and law enforcement arms of governments, and says it fails to take into account the roles of education and consultation in combating cybercrime. "It was written by lawyers," he says. "Cybersecurity and cybercrime need a multi-sectoral approach - cybersecurity educators, researchers, NGOs [non-governmental organisations], vendors, ethical hackers were supposed to be involved so they could present a multi-dimensional framework instead of legal paper."
Does criminalising "insulting language" allow governments to clamp down on dissent? Some of the convention's phrases seem to be in direct conflict with protecting human rights. For instance, while the convention limits the processing of personal data, it contains an exception for a task "carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority" - a loophole ripe for abuse, some experts believe. Mr Mitnick says the convention could also pave the way for harsh criminal convictions. "In one example, it limits the use of insulting language, which could describe a significant portion of the language on the internet and is likely to lead to subjective prosecutions," he says.
Though the experts believe the convention is satisfactory as a first step, the negatives are certainly clear for all to see.


The gateway to Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)



http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20150112-the-gateway-to-kilimanjaro
31 January 2015
Thousands of people set out to climb Africa’s highest peak each year, entering into a revered tribe of adventurers. But in the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro, another tribe reigns supreme.. Each year, more than 50,000 people set out to climb Africa’s highest peak, joining a revered tribe of dedicated adventurers. But in the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro, nestled in the foothills, another tribe reigns supreme. The Chagga clan, one of more than 260 tribes in Tanzania, has been living in the laidback village of Marangu since the 19th Century, and their descendants, the Bantu people, began migrating to this area along the slopes of Kilimanjaro in the early 11th Century. The village’s mountain landscape, interlaced with streams and picturesque waterfalls, gave Marangu its name, meaning “place of water”. More than just a starting point for the mountain's most popular climbing route, Marangu welcomes those who spend more time here with green gorges, fields awash in banana groves and coffee plantations. It also gives insight into a fascinating local lifestyle and culture – an experience that most travellers miss. For those who linger, a cultural tour led by a dedicated guide is the key to discovering Marangu's charms, for beyond its modest, one-road centre, the rest of the village – hidden by swathes of jungle – is difficult to navigate alone. We met our guide Ludovic Tilya outside the Babylon Lodge, a handsome budget hotel with simple but comfortable rooms set amid lush tropical gardens, located a short stroll from the centre of town. The previous night's rains had cleared to reveal glorious blue skies, and we set off on a winding muddy track that led to the village's forest-fringed back streets. Locals threw curious glances our way; in these lesser-travelled lanes, mzungu (white people) visitors are few and far between. We weaved in and out of luxuriant banana groves peppered with the odd coffee plant, Royal Poinciana tree (also known as the flamboyant tree due to its flamboyant display of brilliant, flame-red flowers) and  yucca. The latter, Ludovic said, holds spiritual significance for the Chagga people, who also use its leaves for weaving, healing purposes or as a symbolic means of settling disputes (much like the offering an olive branch). A smattering of pretty, petite houses peered out from behind manicured gardens, a surprise against the surrounding untamed greenery. School children jostle for attention.  Rounding a corner we crossed a clearing, where a trio of young children was playing a game of Ring Around the Rosie. There were shy giggles when they spotted us, but they let their guard down as soon as they saw our cameras, insisting on playing with the dials and scrolling through the pictures we'd taken. A few steps away was a local primary school where recess had begun, and where boisterous boys and girls in cobalt blue uniforms laughed and chatted excitedly. Happily posing for a few snaps, they jostled for our attention, but stern words from the head teacher sent them running and they disappeared in an instant. Leaving the kids behind, we set off in search of a local banana beer brewer. Bananas are big business in Tanzania – in fact, the succulent yellow fruit is the staple food of the local Chagga people and the twice-weekly Marangu market is the country’s largest for the sale of the regional specialty. Banana buyers come from all over the country, with local women clad in brightly patterned kangas (cotton wraps) peddling their finest, freshest produce. We found the “brewery” – a small wooden hut set among a banana plantation – deeper in the Marangu jungle. An elderly, heavy-set woman pruned the banana trees, while an enormous cauldron filled with the fruity tipple bubbled over a nearby open fire. Known locally as mbege, the concoction of millet and bananas is the traditional brew of the Chagga people. With most of the work done by hand without any help from modern technology, its production is a lengthy and labour-intensive process. The result is a sweet, slightly sour boozy beverage, one that's knocked back at several Chagga festivities, including weddings, births, rites of passage and even wakes. Later in the day, we came across a group of locals gathered at an open-air bar to pay tribute to a deceased loved one, swigging from small buckets to drown their sorrows after the funeral. While the beloved banana beer is an ever-present feature of contemporary Chagga culture, the open-air Chagga Live Museum offers a glimpse into the tribe’s traditional way of life. The museum’s vast underground cave – a hideout during ancient tribal wars – is a must-see. Entire Chagga families – up to 60 at any one time – would seek refuge in this elaborate system of narrow tunnels during the Maasai raids, bringing livestock along with them. For centuries, the rival tribe would steal cattle and take Chagga women and children as slaves, a practice that reached its height in the 19th Century and continued until the mid-20th Century. When we climbed down a rickety ladder into the dark chamber, the smell of damp was overwhelming. Coming up for air, we headed for the approximately 50m-tall Ndoro Waterfall, reached after a steep, unnerving walk into a deep gully. Our guide Tilya constantly pleaded with us to go “pole pole”, which means “slowly” in Swahili. The scenery was a handsome reward for our efforts; the cascade was flanked by towering cliffs blanketed in dense forest, home to the rare Colobus monkey. We cooled off with a quick dip in the rock pool's icy waters and the blistering afternoon sun was quick to warm our shivering bodies when we emerged. As the sun showed signs of disappearing behind the trees, we began our return trip to the lodge, stumbling upon a choir rehearsal along the way. Standing on the lawn outside of a church,  Around two dozen men and women formed a semi-circle around a conductor; the woman in the centre kept time with a small drum while everyone else stamped  their feet in unison. Our 18km trek through Marangu was, of course, nothing compared to the Kilimanjaro challenge that draws most travellers to the village. But listening to the choir’s uplifting melodies and perfect harmonies, I realised there was no tribe I’d rather have gotten the chance to be a part of.

Africa's alien-like landscape (Ethiopia)















http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20150206-africas-alien-like-landscape
14/3/2015
Sulphurous hot springs, salt-encrusted wastelands, temperatures that soar as high as 50C – Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression is home to a kaleidoscopic world unlike any other.. Strangely beautiful, geographically fascinating – it’s hard to imagine a harsher spot to call home than Africa’s Danakil Depression. Not only is it one of the planet’s hottest places, it’s also one of the lowest, driest and most tectonically active. But for the adventurous few who journey to Ethiopia’s remote northwestern corner, the rewards are two-fold: a glimpse of kaleidoscopic terrain unlike anywhere else and a peek into the self-reliant Afar people who continue to survive living there.  A surreal swirl of sulphur, salts and mineralsDallol, the Danakil’s lowest point at 116m below sea level, is known for its mix of sulphur, iron oxide and other mineral deposits, which form a shocking rainbow of hues. It’s a raw, shifting, bubbling terrain. This strange earth, alongside all the other otherworldly landscapes of the Danakil region, is the result of three deep rifts that geologists call the Afar Triple Junction. This warring trio, tearing the earth apart with incredible force, has birthed the Danakil’s volcanoes, hot springs, sinkholes and bizarre land formations. Scientists estimate that when the rifting is complete, the Red Sea will completely engulf the Danakil and create a new ocean. Walking over this restless region is best done gingerly. Honeycombs of bubbles that have long since burst through the ground crack like delicate eggshells at the slightest pressure. The frothy greenish water just inches from your sneakers could cause an acid burn if it touches your skin. And then there’s the smell. Sulphur fumes, constantly hiccupping from unseen fissures, are noxious without a scarf tied over your face as a filter. In fact, in order to film the area for the BBC’s Planet Earth series in 2009, the crew wore gas masks for protection.  A less-relaxing hot springWater is a scarce, precious commodity in the Danakil Depression, and unsurprisingly, steaming, sulphurous pools like this one aren’t potable. According to our Ethio Travel and Tours guide, Yonas Hailu, the Afar people distil a healing skin treatment out of the pool’s yellow, syrupy liquid – but he implicitly warned against just sticking in a finger. There are very few springs with fresh water in the area, and rain falls, well, almost never.  The perils of an unforgiving desertLegendary British explorer Wilfred Thesiger famously described the Danakil as “a land of death”. And it can be – for the unprepared. Only the most desperate birds attempt to pass through this barren area, and even fewer try drinking the water. In times of drought, when the scant average of 100 to 200ml of rain per year fail to fall, it’s common to see carcasses of birds and camels that have succumbed to dehydration. The great salt flatsOne of the Danakil’s most distinctive features is Lake Karum (also known as Lake Assale or Lake Asale), one of two crystalline salt lakes on the northern end of the Depression. As this low-lying area was once fully submerged in saline water, the lakes are a remnant of ancient times. Studies have estimated that the salt here is – incredibly – about 2km deep.  Walking on (salt) waterBlindingly white, expansive Lake Karum is often covered with a shallow layer of briny water an inch or so deep; don’t expect a refreshing dip. But it is easy to stroll around this huge basin. Underfoot, flakes of salt snap with a satisfying crunch.
Feeling the ‘fire wind’
Even as dusk falls over the salt flats, the heat doesn’t let up. Instead, a fierce gale known as the Gara, or “fire wind”, picks up, rippling the saline water. This intense wind is skin-scorchingly hot. It feels as if you’re standing inside an oven, with a massive hand relentlessly pumping the bellows. The big business of ‘white gold’Salt blocks, called amolé, were once used throughout Ethiopia as money. Cash has now replaced the salt as currency, but the ancient trade – mining blocks of “white gold” by hand – remains a core livelihood for the northern Afar people. How Ethiopia’s salt is mined. Traditional hoes and axes are used to cut and shape the salt into two-inch thick, 1/3m-long rectangular slabs that weigh nearly 3 kilograms. Each one takes roughly two to three minutes to hew. It’s tough, back-breaking work in dangerously hot conditions, yet the Afar make the trek to this desolate area, sometimes walking as far as 80km, 10 months of the year to extract it.
All-important beasts of burden
Camels, the sole domesticated animal uniquely suited to survive in this harsh world, transport the bundled blocks of salt as they have for hundreds of years. A single camel can carry about 40 salt blocks per trip. At the time of reporting, each slab was selling for approximately $0.25, with the price increasing the farther the salt travelled. Readying the salt for marketPictured here, an Afari salt miner held a rope taut in his teeth while lashing salt blocks to his camel’s back. From here, the salt would be ferried by camel caravan on a two-to-three day walk out of the desert to the nearest town of Barahile, where the salt is packed and trucked away. Big changes for ancient practicesA new tarmac road is planned to link the Danakil village of Dallol to the highland city of Mekele, where most tours of the Danakil depart from. Eventually, this road could completely change how salt is mined and transported – perhaps even rendering the ancient mining techniques obsolete. Already, reports indicate that the partially completed road has cut the drive from Mekele to Berahile from five hours to three; the exact time of the road’s completion is uncertain. No luxury hotels. Most visitors to the Danakil sleep in handmade bed frames, tied together with cords, placed under the stars (with hopes for a breeze). The experience is about as far from a luxury vacation as it gets, but given the unforgettable world you’ll encounter – from florid terra firma, to oddball formations, luminous salt lakes and the proud, fiercely independent Afar – it’s an adventure well worth the hardships.




Africa, Ethiopia - Salt Lake















Eritrea country profile - Overview





Map - Eritrea   Africa - Eritrea Capital - Eritrea, Gold Mine



http://m.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13349078
20 September 2014
Eritrea emerged from its long war of independence in 1993 only to plunge once again into military conflict, first with Yemen and then, more devastatingly, with its old adversary, Ethiopia. Today, a fragile peace prevails and Eritrea faces the gigantic tasks of rebuilding its infrastructure and of developing its economy after more than 30 years of fighting. A former Italian colony, Eritrea was occupied by the British in 1941. In 1952 the United Nations resolved to establish it as an autonomous entity federated with Ethiopia as a compromise between Ethiopian claims for sovereignty and Eritrean aspirations for independence. However, 10 years later the Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie, decided to annex it, triggering a 32-year armed struggle.
The Cathedral and Catholic Mission in Eritrea's capital Asmara. This culminated in independence after an alliance of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) and a coalition of Ethiopian resistance movements defeated Haile Selassie's communist successor, Mengistu Haile Mariam.In 1993, in a referendum supported by Ethiopia, Eritreans voted almost unanimously for independence, leaving Ethiopia landlocked. The two countries hardly became good neighbours, with the issues of Ethiopian access to the Eritrean ports of Massawa and Assab and unequal trade terms souring relations. In 1998 border disputes around the town of Badme erupted into open hostilities. This conflict ended with a peace deal in June 2000, but not before leaving both sides with tens of thousands of soldiers dead. A security zone separates the two countries. The UN patrolled the zone at one time but pulled out, unable to fulfil its mandate. In recent years Eritrea has become one of the world's most secretive countries. It doesn't have any privately-owned indigenous media, and sits alongside North Korea in global media freedom rankings. It also reportedly doesn't welcome foreign journalists unless they agree to report favourably about the government.
Information 'black hole'
United Nations officials have complained that the country hasn't shared information about food supplies in times of drought. While agencies warned that millions in the Horn of Africa were being affected by famine in 2011, Eritrea was denying a crisis. "It's been a black hole for us, we don't know what's going on there," said Matthew Conway, spokesman for the UN humanitarian coordination office in Nairobi at the time. "But that's not to say it's not happening." The World Bank says that by virtue of its location in the Sahel, Eritrea suffers periodic droughts and chronic food shortages hampering development efforts. It says however that the government indicated that it was managing food stocks carefully. The UN has been investigating human rights in Eritrea, but its special rapporteur has been denied entry. She said in 2014 that a refugee exodus was being fuelled by alleged abuses including extrajudicial executions, torture and forced military conscription that can last decades. In 2014 Eritreans were reportedly among the most numerous of those attempting the risky crossing from North Africa to Europe by boat. Eritrea has become a gold producer, with mining expected to become an important source of revenue and growth


South Africa shops looted despite Zuma call for peace



South Africa - 2015 Unrest









http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32347305
18 April 2015
Foreign-owned shops in South Africa have been attacked and looted in east Johannesburg, the latest in a series of xenophobic attacks. A standoff developed in the city, with police forming a barrier between an angry crowd and foreign-owned shops. The violence comes despite Thursday's rally against xenophobia in the coastal city of Durban, and condemnation from President Jacob Zuma. At least five people have died in anti-foreigner attacks in recent weeks. Migrants, mostly from other African states and Asia, have moved to South Africa in large numbers since white-minority rule ended in 1994. There has been unrest in Jeppestown, east Johannesburg. Reporters have been threatened. Some immigrants were seen armed with machetes.  Many South Africans accuse them of taking jobs in a country where the unemployment rate is 24%. A crowd began looting foreign-owned shops in east Johannesburg on Thursday night. About about 200 foreigners took refuge at a police station. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the looters and arrested 12 people. Sharif Danis, a Nigerian shopkeeper in South Africa, told the BBC's Milton Nkosi: ''We are worried and we are scared''. A new standoff began in the eastern suburb of Jeppestown on Friday, as police sought to prevent people from attacking more shops. Police used rubber bullets to disperse a group of migrants in Johannesburg who had armed themselves with machetes for protection. Eyewitness: Raphael Nkomo, a Zimbabwean living and working in Johannesburg. What I saw when I was going to the shops on Thursday evening, it was so terrible. A group of men were dropped from a mini bus, and all of them were armed with pangas, a [type of] very big knife. They started chasing people, throwing stones at them. Some were even knifed. We had to run for cover. We ended up in the shops, and the owners closed the shops while we were still inside until the police were called. What I saw was terrifying, and if it continues like this by the time the government wakes up many people will be dead. It is very, very bad. Africans call for South Africa boycott.
The acting Premier of the Gauteng province around Johannesburg, Qedani Mahlangu, called on "each and every South African who's a peace-loving South African to stand up and condemn this." On Thursday President Zuma condemned the recent xenophobic attacks as "shocking". "No amount of frustration or anger can justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops," he told parliament on Thursday. Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has been accused of fuelling the attacks by saying that foreigners should "go back to their countries". However, he said that his comments had been distorted. At least five people have died in attacks on foreigners in recent weeks. High unemployment has fuelled anger against migrants.  The police have established 24-hour centres to clamp down on attacks on foreign nationals, the BBC's Milton Nkosi in Johannesburg reports. Several African states have said they are prepared to help their nationals return home. Amid fears of reprisal attacks, energy and chemical giant Sasol said it would repatriate more than 300 South Africans working in Mozambique. Official data suggests there are about about two million foreign nationals in South Africa, about 4% of the total population. But some estimates put the number of immigrants at five million. Many South Africans are against the violence, but are also unhappy with the level of immigration and feel they are being undercut by immigrants from poorer countries, our correspondent adds. At least 62 people died in xenophobic attacks in South Africa in 2008.
Regional reaction:
"Zimbabwe has to have its economy working again so that its citizens are not hunted like animals in foreign lands. The xenophobia is not only a shame for South Africa, but for the continent at large." - Zimbabwe's Newsday
"As Malawians, let us collectively take a stand to show our anger. For starters, let us boycott South African business empires." - Malawi's Nyasa Times
"The most worrying thing is that all of this in happened South Africa amidst the quasi-indifference from the authorities. It took a dozen days of deadly violence in Durban for the president to be roused to action."



Статьи на русском

Острова Зеленого Мыса - одно из самых загадочных мест на Земле!







http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-11-03-85748
Острова Зеленого Мыса уникальны и неповторимы. Они запоминаются роскошными пляжами. По соседству с ними расположились дюны и пустыни. Одновременно с этим гористая местность островов насыщена растительностью. Здесь можно увидеть плантации фиников и бананов. Это место можно назвать одним из лучших на планете. Республика Острова Зеленого Мыса носила свое название до 1986 года. Сейчас это республика Кабо-Верде. Не стоит путать с полуостровом Зелёный мыс. Она расположилась в Атлантическом океане. Вблизи берегов Африки, на расстоянии 620 км. Площадь - четыре тыс. кв. км. Столица – Прая. Население островов около 400 тысяч. Республика Кабо-Верде - это в первую очередь достопримечательности, созданные самой природой. Контраст океана и желтых скал придает загадку данной местности. Самые важные "сокровища" островов притаились под водой. В океане, рядом с архипелагом, кипит жизнь. Аквалангистам будет очень интересно. Разнообразие коралловых рифов, подводные пещеры, множество различных морских жителей порадуют туристов. Эти острова отлично подходят для любителей экзотического отдыха. Стада китов довольно часто появляются возле берегов во время миграции. Их можно увидеть на очень близком расстоянии. А также косяки рыб, живущих в океане, являются объектом рыбалки. Столица республики не впечатлит вас архитектурой или достопримечательностями, но порадует вас двумя большими изумительными пляжами. Кабо-Верде – настоящая пустыня. Всего один остров можно считать зеленым. Это - Санту-Антан. В его северной части идут дожди независимо от времени года. Благодаря ручьям, образующимся после дождей, на острове существуют леса. В основном сосновые. Но стоит заметить, что выращивают даже сахарный тростник. В южной части природа та же, что и на остальных Островах Зеленого Мыса. Кроме того, на острове можно увидеть действующие вулканы. Один из них вулкан Фогу, переводится как «огонь». Благодаря этому вулкану и родился архипелаг много лет назад. Остальные вулканы потухли. Попасть на острова можно только на самолете. Аэропорт находится на острове Сал. Там все обустроено для туристов. В ресторанах гости островов могут попробовать местную еду. Экскурсии на катерах позволят увидеть острова, на которых вы не успели побывать. На маленьких уютных пляжах можно провести время, ожидая свой рейс.

50 тысяч детей в Конго стали беспризорниками из-за обвинений в колдовстве



http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-10-20-85293
В африканском городе Киншаса, столице Демократической Республики Конго, проживают десятки тысяч детей, ставших париями. От них отказались даже родители, поскольку общество считает их обладателями колдовских чар.
Суеверия, типичные для эпохи Средневековья, настолько сильны в Конго, что обряд "изгнания дьявола" из детей проводят ежедневно в местных католических церквях. "Ведьмы едят человеческую плоть и пьют кровь людей", - говорит священник одной из церквей в Киншасе Алексис Кациота Мунгала. По его словам, дьявол и колдовство превращают ребенка в монстра, который способен съесть своего отца или вступить в драку с братом.
"Колдовство является частью нашей конголезской культуры. Но мы проводим обряд изгнания нечистой силы, чтобы вернуть детей их семьям", - добавил Мунгала. Во время обряда священник надавливает на глазные яблоки малышей и засовывает им в нос свой толстый палец, словно пытается выковырять оттуда дьявола. Дети при этом плачут, но их родители полны решимости пройти эту процедуру до конца. В свое время католические миссионеры принесли в Конго важные элементы культуры, в том числе медицинские знания и образование. Однако искоренить веру в "детей-колдунов" не удалось до сих пор. Более того, на фоне бедности, усилившейся после Второй конголезской войны (1998-2002), в которой погибло больше пяти миллионов человек, суеверия только укрепились. По словам священника Алексиса Мунгалы, в детстве он сам прошел через унизительный обряд изгнания дьявола. Тогда его обвинили в смерти бабушки. Кто-то из участников обряда засунул в горло мальчика пальцы, пытаясь вынуть оттуда часть тела старушки, якобы съеденную ребенком. Святой отец не считает, что его действия способствуют укреплению верований в нечистую силу у детей. Наоборот, по словам Алексиса, он ежедневно спасает нескольких малышей, возвращая их семьям после обряда очищения.
"Мы уговариваем родственников не выбрасывать детей на улицу. Мы просим их молиться за ребенка", - добавил священник. Хуже всего приходится тем детям, из которых по тем или иным причинам не удалось изгнать дьявола. По приблизительным оценкам, в 20-миллионном городе проживает до 50 тысяч таких юных изгоев. Восьмилетнюю беспризорную девочку по имени Доркас волонтеры ООН подобрали на улице. Она голодала и была искусана вшами, блохами и клещами. Со слов девочки, ее выбросили на улицу, посчитав колдуньей. А 18-летняя Тереза, которая страдает эпилепсией и имеет кисту на лбу, лишилась семьи после того, как умерла ее бабушка, а один из родственников обвинил девушку в колдовстве. Терезу избили, пытаясь вынуть из ее горла куски якобы съеденной человеческой плоти. С похожими обвинениями сталкиваются и другие дети. Жители Конго верят, что "дети-колдуны" способны убить родителей, а потом употребить их в пищу, а также высасывать из родственников кровь глубокой ночью. Более того, маленькие "людоеды и вампиры" якобы ответственны и за общенародные бедствия - высокую смертность, безработицу, распространение болезней. Они способны принести горе любому, кого встретят на своем пути, считают жители Конго. Отметим, что такие обвинения могут быть и подходящим предлогом, чтобы избавиться от лишнего рта в бедной семье.
"Дети, обвиняемые в колдовстве, подвергаются психологическому насилию со стороны родственников, друзей, а потом церковнослужителей и народных целителей", - считает автор специального исследования ЮНИСЕФ "Дети, обвиненные в колдовстве" Александр Кимприч. По словам Реми Мафу, работающего в благотворительной организации REEJER, которая помогает беспризорникам, жители Центральной Африки привыкли находить ясные объяснения практически любым "ударам судьбы", будь то смерть родственника, незапланированная беременность, потеря работы или даже плохая оценка, полученная в школе. Если же причин такой "кары" не видно, то она объясняется колдовством (сглазом). "Бедность - вот истинная причина. Люди не хотят заботиться о детях и поэтому объявляют их колдунами", - добавил Мафу. Чаще всего обвинения в колдовстве обрушиваются на нежеланных подопечных - например, пасынков или осиротевших племянников. Также поводом для обвинений в колдовстве могут служить физические недостатки и особенности у детей - например, 10-летний Джереми родился глухонемым, а девятилетнего Бьенвеню разбил паралич конечностей после приступа малярии и менингита. Многие дети, оказавшись на улице, вынуждены заниматься проституцией. Если девочка-беспризорница беременеет, то ее младенец автоматически считается колдуном. Некоторым таким матерям исполнилось всего 12 лет. Волонтеры ООН подбирают брошенных детей на улицах Киншасы, после чего обучают их в грамоте и помогают получить профессию парикмахера или обслуживающего персонала в ресторанном бизнесе. Согласно амбициозному плану, в течение 15 лет мировое сообщество рассчитывает покончить не только с беспризорностью в Конго, но также победить бедность, голод и решить экологические проблемы.


Биологи: численность популяций львов сокращается стремительными темпами

http://www.gazeta.ru/
Ученые исследовали изменения численности 47 популяций львов, произошедшие с 1990 года. Биологи выяснили, что популяция львов стремительно сокращается, и через два десятилетия сократится в два раза. Исследование было опубликовано в журнале PNAS. На протяжении четверти века ученые наблюдали за популяциями львов, обитающими в Центральной, Восточной и Западной Африке. Результаты работы показали, что численность львов стремительно сокращается, а построенные биологами математические модели свидетельствуют, что этот процесс будет продолжаться и дальше. Так, биологи утверждают: вероятность двукратного сокращения численность львов Центральной и Западной Африки в следующие два десятилетия составляет 67%. Для львов, обитающих в Восточной Африке, этот показатель равен 37%. Авторы исследования утверждают: такая тенденция доказывает, что в экологической системе региона произошли существенные изменения, и львы больше не являются хищниками высшего порядка.

Наводнение в Кении - Africa



FloodsKenyaOct2015.jpg

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-11-04-85775
Три человека, среди которых были двое детей, погибли в результате ливневого паводка в городе Нарок. Все трое возвращались домой вечером после выпаса скота, прежде чем бушующий поток воды увлек их в долину.
Несколько домов на западе города были разрушены мощными потоками воды. В настоящее время правительство оценивает ущерб, нанесенный наводнением.

 


Масаи: из жары в холод - video
https://youtu.be/m13sGJbTDFc

Масаи: из жары в холод



Africa, Kenya, Masai, 2015
http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-06-05-80558
Масаи – одно из самых известных племён Африки. Они научились вписываться в рамки современной цивилизации, но при этом сохранили свой традиционный бытовой уклад. Этот самобытный народ не стремится изолировать себя от мира, с достоинством используя нарастающий интерес к уникальной масайской культуре и связанный с этим туристический бум.  О том, как жители одной из деревень, расположенных в национальном парке Кении, приняли у себя гостей из России, а затем нанесли ответный визит.

Африканское племя "клешненогих" - (Приход Других Цивилизаций в результате Смешения 2х Вселенных! ЛМ)





OtherCivilizationsHybredsAfrica.jpg  (4)

httphttp://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-03-24-77850
Белые путешественники и миссионеры, попавшие в центральные районы Тропической Африки,  не сговариваясь, с удивлением отмечали одно характерное обстоятельство, а именно, крайне сложный этнический состав населения. Достаточно сказать, что здесь встретились народы, представляющие древнейшие антропологические типы. Это пигмеи и негроиды, кушитские народы и семито-хамитское население, рядом с низкорослыми пигмеями, рост которых не превышает 149 сантиметров, в Бурунди и Руанде живут великаны - тутси, самые высокорослые люди планеты. Тутси имеют средний рост 186 сантиметров. Двухметровые женщины здесь не редкость, а среди мужчин попадаются «дяди Стёпы» высотой 2,3 метра. Хотя со времён великого исследователя Африки Давида Ливингстона прошло почти 200 лет, немногим учёным - географам или этнографам удалось проникнуть в глухие неизученные края чёрного континента. Поэтому по сей день нет точных сведений о всех племенах, живущих здесь. Мало того, некоторые народности практически неизвестны, другие, как например, бушмены, живущие в пустыне Калахари, вызывают у специалистов большое недоумение загадочными особенностями происхождения своего языка, больше похожего на птичий свист, чем речь. На юге Африки давно ходили слухи о странном племени «клешненогих» людей. Этим рассказам всегда придавали не больше значения, чем любым другим подобным россказням. Однако, представителей диковинного племени сравнительно недавно удалось найти и даже сфотографировать. Люди они оказались очень застенчивые, можно сказать нелюдимые. Селятся подальше от внешнего мира, глубоко в буше скрываясь от сторонних глаз. Ведут почти первобытный раз жизни, занимаясь разведением скота, и сами обеспечивают себя всем необходимым. Численность племени «кпешненогих» по некорым предположениям, может достигать нескольких сот человек. Внешне ничем не отличаясь от других народов банту, это племя обладает лишь одной особенностью - среди них рождаются дети, как с обычными пятипалыми ногами, так и двупалые. Но внутри самого племени к ним нет никакого предубеждения, ведь у одних и тех же родителей появляются на свет и те и другие. Основная часть племени Вадома живёт в Южной Родезии, остальные перебрались в Ботсвану. Журналистам, проникшим в «мир» странного племени, удалось пообщаться кое с кем из жителей деревушки, расположенной в пятидесяти километрах от Франсистауна, в Ботсване. Название племени Вадома - это множественное число. А каждого отдельно взятого представителя племени называют мудома
Глава семьи, в которой пятеро детей, двое из них - пятипалые, трое - двупалые, Мхахлани Малисе рассказал:
«Когда я был маленьким, я даже не подозревал, что во мне есть что-то необычное. Моя мать тоже была двупалой и многие мои сородичи по племени. Мне казалось, что у всех людей может быть на ногах либо по два, либо по пять пальцев, как, скажем, у одних животных есть рога, а у других их нет. Никаких неприятностей мои ноги мне не доставляют. Те, у кого по пять пальцев на ногах, ходят ничуть не лучше меня; всю жизнь я чувствовал себя очень сильным и ещё не так давно регулярно ходил пешком до Франсистауна и назад. В раннем детстве, когда я рос в своей родной деревеньке, мне приходилось слышать от взрослых историю, как в нашем племени появились двупалые люди. Говорят, давным-давно, когда в нашем племени родился первый ребёнок, у которого на ногах было всего по два пальца, люди очень испугались. Они решили, что это какое-то колдовство, и убили новорождённого. Так всегда поступали с младенцами, у которых от рождения были какие-либо странности во внешности. Потом у той же самой женщины снова родился двупалый ребёнок И хотя с ним поступили также, люди заколебались: может, это какое-то знамение и стоит посмотреть, что оно значит? Вскоре у той же самой женщины родился третий двупалый ребёнок. Этого оставили жить. Рассудили так, что воля всевышнего была создать двупалого человека. Когда родился я, вся эта история считалась уже очень старой. Среди моих друзей было много подобных мне самому, и никогда в нашем племени двупалые не считались особыми людьми. Насколько я помню, в то время у нас в деревне было человек пятьдесят двупалых». Мхахлани Малисе, перебравшись в Ботсвану, женился здесь на местной девушке, она родила ему пятерых детей. Первые двое были вполне обычные дети, у последующих троих оказалась клешневидная ступня. «Мне всё равно, какие у них ноги», - говорит отец. - «Я рад, что у меня пятеро детей, а сколько у них пальцев на ногах, не тревожит ни меня, ни кого-то другого в нашей деревне». Тем не менее, оказалось, что у самого младшего из детей, Бембы, и руки от рождения столь же необычны, как и ноги. На левой руке два больших пальца, указательный палец вывернут в первой фаланге, а между средним и безымянным пальцами - недоразвитый сустав. На правой руке -только два пальца, большой и указательный. В нужный момент его выручают... ноги, которые у двупалых людей развиты очень хорошо. Взяв стакан в правую, а бутылку с пивом в левую ногу, Бемба ловко продемонстрировал фоторепортёрам, как он может обходиться без помощи рук. Для того, чтобы разобраться в причинах столь странных наследственных признаков, необходимо доскональное исследование всех представителей племени «клешненогих», но его-то как раз ещё не предпринимали. Не дожидаясь выводов, ряд биологов выдвинули свои предположения. Они исходят из того, что обычно люди одного племени не могут заключать кровосмесительные браки между собой. И если бы такого правила придерживались «клешневидные», то через одно-два поколения «клешни» исчезли бы. Но очевидно, возможности для вступления в брак были здесь очень ограниченны, и поэтому, вопреки традиции, укоренились родственные браки. Они-то послужили причиной появления случайной мутации, которая затем переросла в генетический брак. Другой более подходящей версии относительно происхождения двупалых людей пока не существует.






Засуха стала причиной массового голода в южной части острова Мадагаскар

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-03-11-77390
Засуха стала причиной массового голода в южной части острова Мадагаскар, десятки детей умерли от истощения. Небывалая засуха, длившаяся с октября 2014 года по февраль 2015 года, уничтожила весь урожай зерновых. Любые попытки фермеров заново засеять поля не увенчались успехом и привели лишь к сокращению семенного фонда и продовольственных запасов. Как передает агентство Франс Пресс со ссылкой на правительство Мадагаскара, при общей численности населения в 22 миллиона человек от голода сейчас страдают от 200 до 350 тысяч жителей острова.Сообщается, что около 120 тысяч жителей юга Мадагаскара выживают только за счет ежедневной помощи Всемирной продовольственной организации ООН. По данным ВПО, два ребенка из трех отстают в развитии из-за недоедания. Пока южная часть Мадагаскара страдала от засухи, столица страны Антананариву переживала сильное наводнение. В конце февраля по меньшей мере 14 человек погибли и более 24 тысяч остались без крова в результате прорыва заградительных дамб и затопления низменных районов города.

Исчезнувший Мадагаскар

AfricaMadagascarPast.jpg

video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9lrWDYlclI
http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-03-13-77458
Мадагаскар стал островом еще в юрском периоде, 160 миллионов лет назад, отколовшись от Африки одним куском с Индостаном. Потом Индостан отделился, его затянуло аж под Гималаи, пристыковав к Азии, континенты Старого Света несколько раз образовывали с обеими Америками единый массив суши, обмениваясь фауной и приводя друг друга к единому стандарту, а Мадагаскар, подобно Австралии, так и оставался все это время отдельным маленьким мирком, удобно расположившимся почти на экваторе. Отделенная от Африки нешироким вроде – 400 км – но никогда не пересыхавшим Мозамбикским проливом, жизнь на нем развивалась независимо, по своим законам. Динозавров не сохранилось и там, их место заняли потомки – птицы, в том числе нелетающие гиганты – эпиорнисы. В этом видео вы увидите недавнее прошлое острова – всего несколько сотен лет назад.


Тайна африканского озера Фундудзи - (Это озеро Портал в другую, Параллельную Вселенную, где находится Параллельная Земля и на ней мир рептилоидов, ЛМ)

SouthAfricaLakeFundudzi.jpg
http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-04-07-78424
Озеро Фундудзи, расположенное в южной части Африки, недалеко от Претории, издавна пользуется дурной славой у местных жителей. Люди не только не купаются там, но даже боятся близко подходить к коварному водоему, кишащему огромными крокодилами.  По представлениям древнего племени бевенда, живущего недалеко от побережья Фундудзи, озеро является заколдованным, проклятым местом. По их мнению купающегося в озере непременно ожидает страшная смерть — живущий на дне водоема Пифон проглотит любого, кто посмеет войти его владения. Пифон — герой греческой мифологии — был рожден Геей, богиней земледелия. Он похож на огромное чудище, гигантского скользкого змея. По древнегреческим преданиям, Пифон должен был стеречь дельфийское прорицалище богини Фемиды и Геи. К тому же он воспитывал сына Геры, Тифона — стоглавого чудовища-дракона с ногами, извивавшимися, словно тела десятка змей. Храбрый Аполлон избавил землю от Пифона, убив его в поединке. После этого на месте прорицалища появился прекраснейший дворец. Именем же Пифона были названы знаменитые Пифийские игры. Однако вернемся к загадочному озеру Фундудзи. Его воды хранят три великие тайны. Первую связывают с таинственным быстрым испарением воды из озера. Дело в том, что в озеро впадают до сотни мелких ручейков и речушек и достаточно глубоководная река Мутвали, которая каждый час приносит в Фундудзи до трех миллионов галлонов воды. Несмотря на это, вода никогда не выходит из берегов озера. Вопрос о том, куда же уходит лишняя озерная вода, до сих пор остается риторическим. Вторая тайна связана с океаническим характером озера. Местные жители не раз наблюдали на Фундудзи приливы и отливы. Прибывшим к месту загадочного озера европейским специалистам так и не удалось зарегистрировать какой-либо постоянный уровень воды. Каждый час показатели изменялись в пределах 1,5 метра. Последняя тайна Фундудзи — это сама озерная вода: она темная, непрозрачная, почти черного цвета. Однако на живущих там крокодилов проклятие озерной воды, видимо, не действует. Плескаясь в мутных водах озера, животные чувствуют себя превосходно. Но стоит только человеку ступить в воду, как пучина в тот же миг поглощает его. Бевенда утверждают, что проклятие Фундудзи настолько сильно, что воду нельзя даже брать из озера. В противном случае смельчака ждет смерть в тяжелых мучениях. Но современного человека невозможно испугать подобными рассказами.
В 1953 году двое путешествовавших по Африке ученых, Алан Эллис и Билл Клейтон, решили отправиться на знаменитое своими тайнами озеро и обследовать его. Прибыв на место, путешественники все же не отважились испытать судьбу и искупаться. Однако они наполнили озерной водой все имеющиеся у них сосуды и затем плотно закрыли их пробками. Каково же было удивление исследователей, когда на следующее утро они увидели, что в бутылках не оставалось ни капли воды. При этом сосуды не были повреждены и оставались закупоренными. Почти волшебное свойство воды южноафриканского водоема было подтверждено другой экспедицией ученых, в состав которой входили профессор Бернсайд и его ассистент Уильям Таккер. Они заполнили озерной водой сосуды, изготовленные из разных материалов: стекла, фарфора, пластмассы и бакелита. А сам профессор даже попробовал воду на вкус. Она оказалась затхлой и едкой, словно уксусная кислота. Когда же на рассвете путешественники достали сосуды из мешков, то увидели, что все они пусты. В тот день профессор Бернсайд внезапно почувствовал легкое недомогание: болел живот и подташнивало. Постепенно ему становилось все хуже и хуже. Однако ученый мужественно терпел боль в желудке. На утро следующего дня исследователи снова вытащили из рюкзаков бутылки. На этот раз оказалось, что они вновь заполнены озерной водой. Тем временем болезнь профессора стала настолько тяжелой, что у того уже не было сил вытерпеть боль. Только тогда он пожаловался спутникам, сопровождавшим его в путешествии, на рези в животе. Уильям Таккер принял решение переправить профессора в больницу. Спустя несколько часов больной скончался, не приходя в сознание. Вскрытие показало, что смерть наступила в результате воспаления тонких кишок. В связи с этим возникает вопрос: может быть, причиной отравления профессора стала вода озера Фундудзи?
Вера в существование мифологического Пифона, живущего в водах озера, казалось, вполне оправданна. Стоит лишь вспомнить две страшные истории, события которых разворачивались на Фундудзи. Местные жители вспоминают, как в 1947 году два брата Гендрик и Якобус ван Блерк решили испытать на себе проклятие озера. Они взяли каноэ и пошли к побережью. Гендрик сел в лодку и поплыл на середину водоема. Младший брат, Якобус, потом вспоминал, что самым загадочным из всего происшедшего стало то, что на середине озера каноэ Гендрика как бы застыло на месте.  Несмотря на все усилия гребца, лодка не двигалась. Спустя несколько минут, казалось, открылась огромная пасть, которая поглотила маленькое суденышко вместе с Гендриком. Таким образом человек оказался наказанным за то, что посмел нарушить заклятие и пойти наперекор высшей силе. Спустя всего семь лет после описанного выше происшествия на озере произошло другое страшное событие. Осенью 1954 года группа охотников подошла к берегу Фундудзи. Увидев множество крокодилов, они решили пристрелить нескольких животных. Однако ни один из охотников ни разу не попал в цель, хотя все они были профессионалами своего дела. Через некоторое время все увидели, как из воды выполз огромный крокодил и направился к охотнику по имени Джеральд Кун. Его спутники стали кричать Куну, чтобы тот немедленно ушел с берега. Однако охотник, словно зачарованный, стоял, не шевелясь, и пристально смотрел на приближающееся чудовище. Спустя лишь несколько секунд смертоносное животное скрылось в водах Фундудзи, унося в своей пасти беднягу Куна. До сих пор свойства воды южноафриканского озера остаются неизученными. Даже самые знаменитые светила науки не могут отыскать разгадку его тайн. Наверное, пройдет еще немало времени, прежде чем человек сможет найти объяснение загадочным явлениям, происходящим на Фундудзи. А пока остается только ждать...


Загадка племени Бачвези

AfricaAncientRuins.jpg  AfricaAncientTunnels.jpg

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-04-15-78716
Даже университетский курс истории и культуры стран Африки занимает едва ли половину семестра – речь в основном идет о Древнем Египте. Еще меньше задумывались о народах, населявших Черный континент, колонизаторы, искавшие приключений и легкой наживы. Их не интересовали обычаи и легенды полуголых дикарей, а еще меньше внимания они обращали на странные развалины каменных зданий в самом сердце центральноафриканских джунглей.
Память предков. Шахты холма Танда
Европейцы были вовсе не единственными претендентами на богатые земли Западной и Центральной Африки. Гораздо раньше туда стали проникать арабские торговцы и охотники за рабами. К XIX веку они чувствовали себя хозяевами части побережья Индийского океана и даже создали несколько государств. За торговцами шли исламские проповедники, тоже добившиеся немалых успехов. Естественно, арабы часто сталкивались с европейскими завоевателями. Соперничество редко принимало форму вооруженных столкновений, ситуация, как правило, разрешалась в зависимости от симпатий местного населения. Чаще африканцы принимали сторону арабов, потому что европейцы были куда более алчными и совсем уж не понимали африканской жизни. Однако проникнуть в область между Великими Африканскими озерами – на территорию современных Уганды, Бурунди и Руанды – оказалось для арабов задачей непосильной. До конца XVI века этому мешали правители могущественной империи Китара. Потом на месте распавшегося государства образовались не менее могущественное королевство Буньоро и еще несколько царств. С ними поладить тоже не получилось. Средневековые арабские историки писали, что воины империи Китара не пугались огнестрельного оружия и пушек и могли даже использовать подобного рода трофеи, но относились к ним презрительно. На озере Виктория у правителя империи стоял могущественный флот из 400 боевых кораблей, которые держали в страхе все окрестные племена. Писали, что властители империи могли бы распространить свое влияние до берегов океана, но почему-то не хотели этого делать. Каково же было изумление арабских торговцев, когда европейцы подчинили себе практически все межозерье без единого выстрела и за каких-то два года. Впервые белые люди появились в Уганде в 1862 году и были буквально поражены реакцией местного населения: такого обожания и поклонения европейским колонизаторам не приходилось видеть со времен Колумба.
Каменотесы из джунглей. Каменные сооружения в Зимбабве
Оказалось, что в европейцах местные жители признали основателей своего государства – представителей племени бачвези. Они пришли в Уганду в XIII веке с севера, были белокожими и с европеоидными чертами лица. Они привели с собой необычный домашний скот, посадили странные сельскохозяйственные культуры и подарили неведомые местным племенам знания. До сих пор можно услышать предания, согласно которым бачвези умели летать, перемещать взглядом большие предметы, лечить самые тяжелые болезни. Они также обладали совершенно невероятными знаниями о географии, истории соседних и далеких стран, в общем, были настолько сведущи в науках, что аборигены не в состоянии были понять и малой толики того, что рассказывали бачвези. О материальной культуре основателей империи Китара известно гораздо больше. Они успели возвести столько монументальных построек, что не заметить их просто невозможно. Археологов, к примеру, поражают остатки форта Мугеньи на берегу угандийской реки Катонга. Аборигены однозначно указывают, что это сооружение возведено бачвези и служило местом обитания исключительно для них. Основанием форта служит сеть траншей длиной почти в шесть километров, пробитых в скальной породе. Переходы, башни, лестницы выложены из облицованного камня. Подобная техника кладки южнее Сахары не встречается нигде, да и арабская Африке не слишком похожа на Мугеньи. Больше общего у форта бачвези с постройками средиземноморской крито-микенской культуры или Ближнего Востока. Сохранились и остатки похожих на Мугеньи земляных сооружений, и развалины довольно внушительных каменных зданий с полукруглыми крышами. Местное население до сих пор обходит такие места стороной. Не было туда ходу аборигенам и во времена империи Китара. Но из легенд, имеющих хождение до сих пор, понятно, что бачвези не были кастой аристократов-правителей, а составляли самостоятельное племя. Они никак не участвовали в повседневной жизни окружающих народов и не смешивались с ними, оставаясь своего рода «старшими братьями». Бачвези прятали своих женщин. Присутствовать при их обрядах местным не разрешалось. Даже приготовление и прием пищи представителями правящего племени были тайной для чужих. У них были собственные стада и посевы, они охотно делились с окружающими знаниями, орудиями труда, пищей, оружием. И ничего не просили взамен. Что любопытно, бачвези не требовали ни поклонения, ни услужения от жителей империи Китара, оставаясь руководителями, администраторами, военачальниками, наставниками.
Статуи и черепки. Форт Мугень
В начале XV века бачвези неожиданно покинули созданную ими империю. По народным сказаниям получается, что они просто в один прекрасный день растворились в джунглях вместе со стадами и имуществом, но обещали вернуться, поэтому в Уганде и приняли с таким восторгом белых людей. Но кое-что археологам все же осталось, хотя в находках не меньше странностей, чем в легендах. Обычно фрагменты керамики, даже если не сохранилось целых изделий, дают наиболее полное представление о народе: откуда он появился, чем занимался, с кем торговал и воевал, во что верил и так далее. Но с бачвези в этом вопросе вышла путаница. В 1920-е годы на территории форта Мугеньи шли раскопки, которые дали богатый материал. Исследовав его, археологи и этнографы составили точный, как тогда казалось, портрет племени. Изображения длиннорогих коров и быков явно указывали на север Африки, а частота их повторения – на то, что бачвези были скотоводами, вероятнее всего, полукочевыми. Рисунки конических хижин сужали место их происхождения до Абиссинии (Эфиопии). Техника обжига и раскраски говорила о том, что бачвези поселились в Уганде именно в середине XIII века, а покинули эту страну, так как лесистая местность совсем не подходила для скотоводства. Но просуществовала эта «удобная» версия недолго. Вскоре были обнаружены остатки сложных ирригационных сооружений, как две капли воды похожих на те, что строили жители Шри-Ланки 3000 лет назад. Чуть позже при земляных работах в небольшом городке Лузире обнаружили остатки одного из поселений бачвези. Там же нашли и остатки керамической статуи: сначала голову, а затем туловище и конечности. Лицо –европейское, а прическа похожа на судейский парик, да еще и с небольшой шапочкой на макушке. Ее происхождение так и осталось загадкой. Как и назначение странного керамического цилиндра, найденного в собственном огороде старой крестьянкой. Его диаметр восемь, а высота − 14 сантиметров. Цилиндр покрыт отверстиями и выпуклостями, разбросанными в хаотичном порядке. Самое интересное, что точно такие же цилиндры находили на Крите и Кипре. А вот вертикальные шахты, пробитые в скальной породе холма Танда, аналогов не имеют. Шахт более 200, глубина − от трех до 70 метров, диаметр абсолютно одинаков у всех (около 1,5 метра). По преданию, пробиты они бачвези, но зачем – непонятно. Холм начисто лишен каких-либо полезных ископаемых.
Великий Зимбабве
Родилась другая версия, согласно которой бачвези явились в Уганду с островов Средиземного моря через Эфиопию. Правда, получалось, что в пути племя провело чуть ли не три тысячи лет – такова временная разница между критскими и угандийскими находками. Приоткрыть завесу тайны могли бы захоронения времен бачвези, но даже следа их обнаружить не удалось. Странно: целое племя 200 лет правило большой империей, но не оставило после себя ни одной могилы. Люди построили несколько городских центров со сложной структурой, неожиданно оставили все и ушли. Да еще как будто прибрали за собой, «забыв» лишь несколько странных вещиц. Кстати, ушли они так незаметно, что Китара просуществовала еще почти 200 лет, и лишь затем распалась на несколько королевств. Но вот в нескольких тысячах километров к югу были обнаружены развалины другого каменного города – Великого Зимбабве. Примерно такой же характер кладки, как в Мугеньи, то же отсутствие углов – сплошные закругления. Правда, местные сказания приписывают создание городища правителям народности шона, создавшей в XII веке сильное королевство Мономотапа. Но вот что интересно: своего расцвета оно достигло через 300 лет, и тогда же в Великом Зимбабве появился, выражаясь европейским языком, центральный замок. Огромный участок обнесен стеной толщиной 5,2 метра и высотой 9 метров, на его территории были расположены более 30 больших и малых построек, в том числе такие же башни, как в форте Мугеньи. И самое главное: внутри замка, по преданиям, жили только правители и аристократы, все остальные селились в огромном «нижнем городе». Как повествует устная традиция, правители Мономотапа были горбоносы и светлокожи, хотя сами шона – типичные африканцы. Правда, в многочисленных захоронениях Великого Зимбабве никаких останков людей европеоидного типа не обнаружили. К моменту появления в этих краях португальцев город утратил свое значение, и правители государства переселились севернее, в долину реки Замбези. К середине XIX века всю эту территорию подчинили себе зулусы. Существовал ли в действительности народ-призрак бачвези, пока так и остается загадкой. Как и то, что же заставило людей проделать путь из Средиземноморья на юг Африки, постоянно заметая следы.
Kili’s majestic summit glaciers
There are countless reasons why some 40,000 trekkers are drawn to Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro each year. There’s the glory of climbing the world’s highest freestanding mountain. The wonder of standing atop Africa’s pinnacle, with the great continent at your feet. And the reward of seeing Kili’s majestic summit glaciers, some of the only equatorial glaciers found on Earth – which, per a shocking study published in Science magazine in 2002...


Новости из Африки (на русском)

В Танзании запретили колдовство, чтобы прекратить убийства альбиносов (Africa)










Africa - Tanzania, Albinos

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-01-14-75351
Власти Танзании ввели запрет на колдовство, чтобы прекратить жестокие нападения и убийства граждан страны, страдающих альбинизмом Те колдуны и знахари, которые не прекратят свою деятельность, будут арестованы и
судимы, предупредил министр внутренних дел Танзании Матиас Чикаве,, передает BBC. Он добавил, что операция по поимке колдунов начнется в ближайшие дни. Для начала правоохранители прочешут северные районы страны, где было зафиксировано наибольшее число нападений на альбиносов. Решение о введении запрета на колдовство было принято по итогам работы специальной комиссии из представителей полиции Танзации и Танзанийского общества альбиносов. Танзанийские альбиносы приветствовали введение запрета на колдовство. "Если мы и правительство соберемся вместе и будем действовать сообща, мы сможем решить эту проблему", - заявил глава общества Эрнест Ньямакимайя. Соответствующие меры были приняты властями после очередного инцидента. На северо-западе страны была похищена четырехлетняя девочка-альбинос. Похищение девочки-альбиноса осудила Организация Объединенных Наций. Судьба ребенка остается неизвестной, однако не исключено, что малышка стала жертвой охотников за альбиносами. Они убивают и калечат людей, у которых отсутствует фермент, отвечающий за выработку пигментации. Части тела альбиносов высоко ценятся на черном рынке Танзании из-за распространенного суеверия, что они приносят удачу и богатство. Местные колдуны покупают трупы альбиносов, кровь и внутренние органы, составляя на их основе якобы волшебные напитки. В настоящее время в Танзации проживают более 33 тыс. альбиносов. За последние три года были убиты 70 человек, имеющих это генетическое отклонение. При этом лишь 10 преступников, имеющих отношение к этим убийствам, удалось найти и наказать.
Жертвы суеверий
Альбинизмом у людей называется врожденное отсутствие пигмента кожи, волос, оболочек глаза. Такие люди обладают неестественно белой кожей и светлыми волосами. Альбинос рождается, когда у обоих родителей есть
соответствующий ген. Согласно статистике, альбинизм наблюдается у одного новорожденного из 20 тысяч. Альбиносы Африки нередко всю жизнь переносят нападки и дискриминацию. К тому же эти люди больше подвержены раковым заболеваниям кожи, ведь большинство из них вынуждены работать под солнцем, а светлая кожа более восприимчива к его лучам. В Танзании альбиносы считаются символом счастья и благосостояния. Из-за этого они нередко становятся жертвами преступников, которые убивают их ради наживы. Части тела или трупы альбиносов покупают местные колдуны для изготовления из них амулетов и снадобий. Чаще всего жертвами становятся слабые женщины или беззащитные дети, но иногда и мужчины. Так, в 2008 году в Танзании был убит 50-летний альбинос Ньерере Рутахиро, тело которого изрубили мачете средь бела дня прямо возле его дома. При этом убийцы кричали: "Нам нужны твои ноги! Нам нужны твои ноги!" В 2011 году в Танзации пропал ребенок-альбинос по имени Джума. Позднее его обескровленный труп, изрезанный бритвами, был найден в зарослях вблизи деревни Калема, недалеко от знаменитого озера Танганьика. В феврале 2013 года жертвой преступников стала 39-летняя мать четверых детей Мария Чамбаненге. Нападавшие ворвались к ней в дом и отрезали несчастной руку. Несколько дней спустя похожий инцидент произошел с семилетним мальчиком-альбиносом. Изверги напали на ребенка, когда тот возвращался из школы, и отрезали ему руку.

Albinos in Tanzania: 'We're being killed like animals'  - video

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30391163
9 December 2014
A new campaign launched in Tanzania aims to protect albino people after a rise in the number of them being murdered. In the last three years over 70 albinos have been killed, but only ten convictions have been made. There is a belief among some in Tanzania that the body parts of someone with albinism bring wealth. Salim Kikeke reports from Mwanza in north-west Tanzania.


Проливные дожди вызвали наводнение в Мозамбике

ArrivalOfNewCivilizationsFloods2014MozambiqueAfrica.jpg

2 videos - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3kjBsNhUD8 -   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqfNsp3WLaY
http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-12-21-74611
В результате стихийного бедствия погибли пять человек. Трагические случаи произошли в столице страны, городе Мапуто. Там под водой оказались несколько жилых домов. Власти готовятся к эвакуации людей из зоны бедствия. В соседнем городе Матола поток воды разрушил 19 домов и 370 затопил. В результате разгула стихии здесь без крыши над головой остались 300 человек. Сотни людей оказались на улице также в южном городе Ксай-ксай. Самое разрушительное наводнение наблюдалось в Мозамбике в 2000 году. Тогда стихийное бедствие стало причиной гибели свыше 800 человек.

Жертвами наводнений в Малави стали 48 человек

ArrivalOfNewCivilizationsFloodsMalawiAfrica1.jpg (2)

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-01-14-75337
Жертвами наводнений в республике Малави в Восточной Африке стали не менее 48 человек, 23 тысячи местных жителей были вынуждены покинуть свои дома из-за разгула стихии. Как сообщает агентство Ассошиэйтед Пресс,
президент Малави Питер Мутарика объявил 10 из 28 округов страны зоной стихийного бедствия. Большинство погибших проживали в деревнях в округе Мангочи на юге Малави. Сообщается, что дожди продолжаются в регионе с декабря. По данным агентства Франс Пресс, в южной и западной частях страны сильно повреждены дороги, прекращено железнодорожное сообщение, разрушены десятки домов. Кроме этого, стихия также затронула соседний Мозамбик, где в одном из районов страны поток воды смыл в реку 25 школьников, их судьба неизвестна. Ожидается, что непогода продлится в регионе в течение нескольких ближайших дней.

Видео - Пляж Агадира (Марокко)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uVAIh8gLQU#t=65

Загадка древних городов Африки - (Other Civilizations, LM)

OtherCivilizationsZimbabweRuins.jpg (9)

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-01-10-75204
Руины гигантских каменных сооружений в районе рек Замбези и Лимпопо до сих пор остаются загадкой для ученых. Сведения о них поступали еще в XVI веке от португальских торговцев, побывавших в прибрежных областях
Африки в поисках золота, рабов и слоновой кости. Многие полагали тогда, что речь шла о библейской земле Офир, где находились в свое время золотые копи царя Соломона. Португальские торговцы услышали об огромных
каменных «домах» от африканцев, прибывающих к побережью с целью обмена товарами из внутренних областей континента. Но только в XIX веке европейцы наконец-то увидели загадочные строения. По некоторым источникам, первым открыл таинственные руины путешественник и охотник на слонов Адам Рендере, однако чаще их открытие приписывают немецкому геологу Карлу Мауху. Этот ученый неоднократно слышал от африканцев о гигантских каменных строениях в не исследованных еще районах к северу от реки Лимпопо. Никто не знал, когда и кем они были построены, и немецкий ученый решил отправиться в рискованное путешествие к загадочным руинам.
В 1867 году Маух нашел древнюю страну и увидел комплекс строений, позже получивший название Большой Зимбабве (на языке местного племени шона слово «зимбабве» означало «каменный дом»). Ученый был потрясен
увиденным. Сооружение, представшее перед его глазами, поразило исследователя своими размерами и необычной планировкой. Внушительная каменная стена длиной не менее 250 метров, высотой около 10 метров и шириной у основания до 5 метров окружала городище, где когда-то, видимо, располагалась резиденция правителя этой древней страны. Сейчас это сооружение называют Храмом, или Эллиптическим зданием. Проникнуть на огороженную стеной территорию можно было через три узких прохода. Все строения были возведены методом сухой кладки, когда камни укладывались друг на друга без скрепляющего раствора. В 800 метрах к северу от городища, окруженного стеной, на вершине гранитного холма, находились развалины другого строения, получившего название Каменная крепость, или Акрополь. Хотя Маух и обнаружил среди развалин некоторые предметы быта, характерные для местной культуры, ему даже в голову не пришло, что архитектурный комплекс Зимбабве могли построить африканцы. Традиционно местные племена строили свои дома и прочие сооружения, используя глину, древесину и высохшую траву, поэтому применение в качестве строительного материала именно камня выглядело явно аномально. Итак, Маух решил, что Большой Зимбабве построили не африканцы, а белые, побывавшие в этих краях в древние времена. По его предположению, к возведению комплекса каменных строений могли быть причастны легендарные царь Соломон и царица Савская, а само это место являлось библейским Офиром, землей золотых рудников. Ученый окончательно уверовал в свое предположение, когда обнаружил, что балка одного из дверных проемов сделана из кедра. Его могли привезти только из Ливана, а ведь именно царь Соломон широко использовал кедр при строительстве своих дворцов. В конечном счете Карл Маух пришел к выводу, что именно царица Савская была владычицей Зимбабве. Такой сенсационный вывод ученого привел к довольно плачевным последствиям. К древним руинам стали стекаться многочисленные авантюристы, которые мечтали найти сокровищницу царицы Савской, ведь рядом с комплексом когда-то существовал древний золотой рудник. Неизвестно, удалось ли кому-нибудь обнаружить сокровища, но урон древним сооружениям был нанесен колоссальный, и это в дальнейшем сильно затруднило исследования археологов.  Выводы Мауха в 1905 году оспорил британский археолог Дэвид Рэндалл-Макивер. Он провел самостоятельные раскопки в Большом Зимбабве и заявил, что строения не такие уж и древние и возводились в период с XI по XV век. Получалось, что Большой Зимбабве вполне могли построить коренные африканцы. Добираться до древних руин было довольно сложно, поэтому следующая экспедиция появилась в этих краях только в 1929 году. Ее возглавляла британский археолог-феминистка Гертруда Катон-Томпсон, в состав ее группы входили только женщины. К тому времени кладоискатели уже нанесли комплексу такой урон, что Катон-Томпсон была вынуждена начать работу с поисков нетронутых строений. Отважная исследовательница решила использовать для своих поисков самолет. Ей удалось договориться насчет крылатой машины, она лично поднялась с пилотом в воздух и обнаружила в отдалении от городища другое каменное строение. После проведения раскопок Катон-Томпсон полностью подтвердила выводы Рэн-далл-Макивера о времени строительства Большого Зимбабве. Кроме того, она твердо заявила, что комплекс сооружений, без сомнения, был возведен чернокожими африканцами. Ученые изучают Большой Зимбабве почти полтора столетия, однако, несмотря на столь длительный период, Большой Зимбабве сумел сохранить еще немало тайн. До сих пор неизвестно, от кого защищались его строители с помощью столь мощных оборонительных сооружений. Не все ясно со временем начала их строительства. Например, под стеной Эллиптического здания были обнаружены фрагменты дренажной древесины, которые датируются периодом между 591 (плюс-минус 120 лет) и 702 годом н. э. (плюс-минус 92 года). Возможно, стена была возведена на гораздо более древнем фундаменте. При раскопках ученые обнаружили несколько фигурок птиц из стеатита (мыльного камня), возникло предположение, что древние обитатели Большого Зимбабве поклонялись птицеподобным богам. Не исключено, что с этим культом каким-то образом связано самое загадочное сооружение Большого Зимбабве — коническая башня у стены Эллиптического здания. Ее высота достигает 10 метров, а окружность основания — 17 метров. Она возведена методом сухой кладки и по форме похожа на зернохранилища местных крестьян, однако в башне нет ни входа, ни окон, ни лестниц. До сих пор предназначение этого сооружения представляет для археологов неразрешимую загадку.
Впрочем, существует весьма любопытная гипотеза Ричарда Уэйда из обсерватории Nkwe Ridge, согласно которой Храм (Эллиптическое здание) в свое время использовался аналогично знаменитому Стоунхенджу. Каменные стены, загадочная башня, различные монолиты — все это применялось для наблюдений за Солнцем, Луной, планетами и звездами. Так ли это? Ответ могут дать лишь дальнейшие исследования. На данный момент уже мало кто из ученых сомневается в том, что Большой Зимбабве был построен африканцами. По данным археологов, в XIV веке это африканское царство переживало свой расцвет и по площади могло сравниться с Лондоном. Население его составляло около 18 тысяч человек. Большой Зимбабве был столицей обширной империи, которая простиралась на тысячи километров и объединяла десятки, а возможно, и сотни племен. Хотя на территории царства действовали рудники и добывалось золото, главным богатством жителей был крупный рогатый скот. Добытое же золото и слоновая кость доставлялись из Зимбабве на восточное побережье Африки, где в тот период существовали порты, с их помощью поддерживалась торговля с Аравией, Индией и Дальним Востоком. О том, что у Зимбабве были связи с внешним миром, говорят археологические находки, имеющие арабское и персидское происхождение. Полагают, что Большой Зимбабве был центром горного дела: на разных расстояниях от комплекса каменных строений обнаружены многочисленные горные выработки. По мнению ряда ученых, африканская империя существовала до 1750 года, а потом пришла в упадок.Стоит отметить, что для африканцев Большой Зимбабве является настоящей святыней. В честь этого археологического памятника Южная Родезия, на территории которой он находится, в 1980 году и была переименована в Зимбабве.

Житель Уганды (Africa) убил шестиметрового крокодила, съевшего его жену

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http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2015-01-12-75280
56-летний рыбак Мубарак Батамбузе из угандийской деревушки Кибуйе испытал страшный шок, узнав, что его беременную жену Деметерию загрыз гигантский крокодил. Рептилия более года терроризировала местных жителей.
После смерти жены мужчина поклялся убить хищника и сумел выполнить свое обещание, сообщает Mirror. Жена Мубарака пропала месяц назад, отправившись на поиски хвороста. Прошло несколько часов, однако женщины все не было. Перепуганные жители деревни пошли на поиски беременной Деметерии. К своему ужасу в ближайшем лесу они обнаружили окровавленные женские пальцы, тапочки и мобильный телефон. Жители Кибуйе решили, что супругу рыбака загрыз шестиметровый крокодил, который за минувший год съел шестерых жителей деревни. В основном, его жертвами становились женщины и дети. Убитый горем Мубарак Батамбузе решил во что бы то ни стало отомстить убийце. Причем, охотиться на крокодила африканец отправился с копьем. Предварительно он зашел к кузнецу и попросил изготовить острый наконечник для этого орудия. Это обошлось рыбаку менее чем в 20 долларов. Затем вдовец отправился на поиски крокодила. Рептилию, чей вес достигает тонны, мужчина обнаружил недалеко от того места, где погибли его жена. В итоге охотнику удалось побороть крокодила. Односельчане Мубарака настаивали на том, чтобы угандийские власти выплатили мужчине денежную компенсацию за гибель жены. Однако чиновники заявили, что подобная "благотворительность" не в их компетенции. Вместо этого они заявили, что выловят всех опасных хищников, обитающих близ деревни, и отвезут их туда, где они никому не смогут навредить.




South Africa, Tornado, 2014



Floods in Morocco















African Women













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Kinshasa's symphony orchestra turns 20 - video
http://www.bbc.com/
Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra, the only symphony orchestra in central Africa, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this December.

The gateway to Kilimanjaro

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http://www.bbc.com/travel/feature/20150112-the-gateway-to-kilimanjaro/2
31 January 2015
Each year, more than 50,000 people set out to climb Africa’s highest peak, joining a revered tribe of dedicated adventurers. But in the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro, nestled in the foothills, another tribe reigns supreme. The Chagga clan, one of more than 260 tribes in Tanzania, has been living in the laidback village of Marangu since the 19th Century, and their descendants, the Bantu people, began migrating to this area along the slopes of Kilimanjaro in the early 11th Century. The village’s mountain landscape, interlaced with streams and picturesque waterfalls, gave Marangu its name, meaning “place of water”. More than just a starting point for the mountain's most popular climbing route, Marangu welcomes those who spend more time here with green gorges,  fields awash in banana groves and coffee plantations. It also gives insight into a fascinating local lifestyle and culture – an experience that most travellers miss. For those who linger, a cultural tour led by a dedicated guide is the key to discovering Marangu's charms, for beyond its modest, one-road centre, centre, the rest of the village – hidden by swathes of jungle – is difficult to navigate alone. We met our guide Ludovic Tilya outside the Babylon Lodge, a handsome budget hotel with simple but comfortable rooms set amid lush tropical gardens, located a short stroll from the centre of town. The previous night's rains had cleared to reveal glorious blue skies, and we set off on a winding muddy track that led to the village's forest-fringed back streets. Locals threw curious glances our way; in these lesser-travelled lanes, mzungu (white people) visitors are few and far between. Scenes from Marangu, Tanzania. We weaved in and out of luxuriant banana groves peppered with the odd coffee plant, Royal Poinciana tree (also known as the flamboyant tree due to its flamboyant display of brilliant, flame-red flowers) and  yucca. The latter, Ludovic said, holds spiritual significance for the Chagga people, who also use its leaves for weaving, healing purposes or as a symbolic means of settling disputes (much like the offering an olive branch). A smattering of pretty, petite houses peered out from behind manicured gardens, a surprise against the surrounding untamed greenery. Rounding a corner we crossed a clearing, where a trio of young children was playing a game of Ring Around the Rosie. There were shy giggles when they spotted us, but they let their guard down as soon as they saw our cameras, insisting on playing with the dials and scrolling through the pictures we'd taken. A few steps away was a local primary school where recess had begun, and where boisterous boys and girls in cobalt blue uniforms laughed and chatted excitedly. Happily posing for a few snaps, they jostled for our attention, but stern words from the head teacher sent them running and they disappeared in an instant. Leaving the kids behind, we set off in search of a local banana beer brewer. Bananas are big business in Tanzania – in fact, the succulent yellow fruit is the staple food of the local Chagga people and the twice-weekly Marangu market is the country’s largest for the sale of the regional specialty. Banana buyers come from all over the country, with local women clad in brightly patterned kangas (cotton wraps) peddling their finest, freshest produce. The twice-weekly Marangu market, Marangu, Tanzania. We found the “brewery” – a small wooden hut set among a banana plantation – deeper in the Marangu jungle. An elderly, heavy-set woman pruned the banana trees, while an enormous cauldron filled with the fruity tipple bubbled over a nearby open fire. Known locally as mbege, the concoction of millet and bananas is the traditional brew of the Chagga people. With most of the work done by hand without any help from modern technology, its production is a lengthy and labour-intensive process. The result is a sweet, slightly sour boozy beverage, one that's knocked back at several Chagga festivities, including weddings, births, rites of passage and even wakes. Later in the day, we came across a group of locals gathered at an open-air bar to pay tribute to a deceased loved one, swigging from small buckets to drown their sorrows after the funeral. While the beloved banana beer is an ever-present feature of contemporary Chagga culture, the open-air Chagga Live Museum offers a glimpse into the tribe’s traditional way of life. The museum’s vast underground cave – a hideout during ancient tribal wars – is a must-see. Entire Chagga families – up to 60 at any one time – would seek refuge in this elaborate system of narrow tunnels during the Maasai raids, bringing livestock along with them. For centuries, the rival tribe would steal cattle and take Chagga women and children as slaves, a practice that reached its height in the 19th Century and continued until the mid-20th Century. When we climbed down a rickety ladder into the dark chamber, the smell of damp was overwhelming. Coming up for air, we headed for the approximately 50m-tall Ndoro Waterfall, reached after a steep, unnerving walk into a deep gully. Our guide Tilya constantly pleaded with us to go “pole pole”, which means “slowly” in Swahili. The scenery was a handsome reward for our efforts; the cascade was flanked by towering cliffs blanketed in dense forest, home to the rare Colobus monkey. We cooled off with a quick dip in the rock pool's icy waters and the blistering afternoon sun was quick to warm our shivering bodies when we emerged. As the sun showed signs of disappearing behind the trees, we began our return trip to the lodge, stumbling upon a choir rehearsal along the way. Standing on the lawn outside of a church. Around two dozen men and women formed a semi-circle around a conductor; the woman in the centre kept time with a small drum while everyone else stamped  their feet in unison. A choir rehearsal in Marangu, Tanzania. Our 18km trek through Marangu was, of course, nothing compared to the Kilimanjaro challenge that draws most travellers to the village. But listening to the choir’s uplifting melodies and perfect harmonies, I realized there was no tribe I’d rather have gotten the chance to be a part of.






The Serengeti in the off-season

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http://www.bbc.com/travel/feature/20131105-the-serengeti-in-the-off-season/2
8 January 2014
You’ve seen the pictures. Dust exploding as thousands of wildebeest thunder across the plains. Crocodiles lurking in the rivers. Lions along the banks stalking a moveable feast. The great migration – the annual 2,800km circuit of millions of
wildebeest and zebra traversing Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and Kenya’s Masai Mara – is one of the world’s more spectacular shows, especially in autumn, when the herds make their dramatic crossing of the Mara River in the Serengeti’s
north. But like all hot tickets, the autumn migration can come with its share of hassles, including sky-high prices and traffic jams as safari vehicles jostle for space near the best sightings. But from January through March – the Serengeti’s green
season – approximately 1.5 million wildebeest graze along the vast plains of Tanzania’s southern Serengeti, feeding on the grasses that spring from late autumn’s rains and giving birth to their young. This allows travellers a chance to get a sneak
peek of the migration down south before indulging in the crowd-free wildlife show of the north. So I set off in early February to check out the Serengeti’s lesser known green season. Our tiny plane touched down in the dirt of the Ndutu airstrip in the Serengeti’s south, a staging zone for the mobile safari outfitters that follow the great migration. These moveable camps spend the winter months in this area before following the herds up to the western Serengeti by spring and then onto the north during the late summer and early autumn (the most popular time to see the migration as it thunders across the dramatic river crossings. As our Land Cruiser sped off down toward the nine-tent Olakira Camp, the sheer scale of the landscape unfolded, the spiny flat-tops of the acacia trees dotting undulating fields of grass and gentle hills rolling out to wide open vistas of scruffy brush. In the Maasai language, Serengeti means “extended place” or “endless plains”. You almost need a backdrop of such excess to wrap your head around the incredible amount of wildlife here. A pride of ostriches sped past a herd of wildebeest tending to their newborns. An aptly named dazzle of zebra massed its graphic stripes into a psychedelic backdrop for mongooses moving as one organism, scurrying and popping up, scurrying and popping up again. As the sun set, Maasai guards lit a path from our tent to a campfire surrounded by flickering lanterns. Wisps of pink clouds obscured a pearlescent moon as guests lingered over dinner, swapping stories of the day’s adventures – a lion took down a pregnant wildebeest, a baby leopard was spotted in the fork of a tree. Then we were escorted back to the tents, hot water bottles already warming the soft, king-sized sheets (with hot showers, flush toilets and colonial-inspired furniture, you are far from roughing it here). From my cosy cocoon, I heard the call and response of birds zipping electrically through the night air, the staccato rhythm of galloping hooves, the whoop of hyenas stalking fresh meat. A light rain pattered on the canvas roof, crescendoing to a dramatic downpour that eventually lulled me to sleep. It also left a present for the morning: a perfect rainbow arched over a saturated sunrise of peach and crimson. Staying so close to nature (as opposed to being tucked away in a traditional lodge) lulls you into the rhythms of the bush, awakening with the sun, greeting the animals’ morning activity on a game drive, napping when the sun burns too bright. It also means expecting the unexpected, like, perhaps, a terrifying guttural roar directly outside your tent, a lion so close you can hear his soft feet padding the dust just beyond the canvas. Though we didn’t see as many wildebeest herds as we would have liked (the migration is unpredictable and we missed much of the main movement), there was no lack of game. Cresting a hill, we saw six giraffe lope across an emerald basin. We stalked a cheetah hunting to feed its young. As the sun hung heavy in the sky, we descended into a valley to find four napping lionesses guarded by two fierce males, their wild manes glowing orange, then amber as the sun set. After three days of game drives, we were ready to make our own migration north, boarding a prop plane to Lamai in the northern Serengeti. Since the migration will not make its way up here until autumn, it was blissfully empty of other travellers. There are just 54 permanent beds here compared with more than 9,000 in a similarly sized area of Kenya’s Maasai Mara. And though most of the wildebeest have yet to arrive, other animals crowd the plains. Not five minutes after landing we were on the banks of the Mara River, flanked by 6m-long crocodiles and hundreds of hippos wallowing in the shallows. Then we crested a hill, plunging into a sea of oat grass as high as our 4x4. In the distance, a straggling herd of wildebeest arced up and back into the grass like dolphins leaping from the water. Another corner, another 10 minutes and it was zebra among buffalo among ostriches among giraffes, with lilac breasted rollers soaring overhead. The 12-room Nomad Tanzania's Lamai Serengeti has a front-row seat to the show. Set atop Kogakuria Kopje, a boulder-strewn hill, the plains unfold dramatically below. From the whitewashed villas you can survey elephants crossing the plain. Swahili day beds piled with hand-woven pillows and draped with romantic netting front wooden balconies, all with similarly cinematic views. In the south (and in most of Tanzania’s game reserves), water is scarce so predators lurk at the watering holes, ready to pick off thirsty antelope, zebra and wildebeest. The prevalence of water in the north, however, spreads out the game: you will often find big cats perched dramatically atop red rock outcrops, the better to spot prey. After days tracking herds of elephants across rivers, seeing two leopards hunt in the tall grasses and spotting two endangered white rhino – I felt sated, lucky, spoiled by this natural bounty. As the sky darkened and storm clouds gathered on the horizon, our jeep turned towards home. Suddenly a flash of fur, a low growl, and a leopard sprung across our path, leaping atop a hulking solitary boulder. It crouched there, a tightly wound spring scanning the horizon for prey, all lean muscle, tense sinews against the roiling clouds. I could barely breathe as its head jutted forward, teeth bared, eyes trained on some far off movement. Then as fast as it started, it was over; the antelope got away and the cat flopped down to rest. It was time to head home.

Zanzibar

In pictures: Zanzibar's clove harvest

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30478709
16 December 2014
The archipelago of Zanzibar in Tanzania, sometimes known as the Spice Islands, was once the world's largest producer of cloves. It is still an important industry for farmers on the island of Pemba as the BBC's Ruth Nesoba found out during the
harvesting of the flower buds which when dried are used as a spice in cooking, to flavour drinks like mulled wine and in medicine. Worker harvesting cloves up a tree. The months of September, October and November are the crucial time of year for clove farmers on Pemba. It is the period of the short seasonal rains when the cloves are harvested by hand. Bunches on lower branches can be pulled off or shaken free. Harvesting is strenuous work. The bunches of cloves can be tucked away in dense foliage where they are difficult to get at. Clove trees can grow up to 15m (49ft) high. Farmers are often skilled climbers, scaling the trees to pull bunches off higher branches. Many people on the island depend on cloves for their livelihood. That has been the case since the trees were introduced from Indonesia around the turn of the 19th Century. Here at Konde village, as in much of Pemba, every family member is expected to help. Men, women and even young children get up early to help pick the cloves. Scaling the trees is generally left to the men, while women and children gather the cloves that fall to the ground. Farmer laying out cloves for drying. The picked flower buds and leaves are carried in a gunny sack from the farmers' land to the villages. The crop is then sorted to separate the leaves from the buds. Both are left to dry in the sun. The dried leaves are crushed and can be used in perfumes and fragrances. They are also used in an oil which can have sanitary applications and is sometimes used in dentistry. Drying cloves. The buds are dried on mats in the sun. At this time of year one often sees mats covered with drying cloves lying by the roadsides. The cloves are left out for about three days. As they dry, they release a sweet, heady aroma, which wafts throughout the island. Carrying cloves to treatment centre. The cloves are then carried to the collection centre. There are three government-run collection centres in Pemba. Farmers from Konde take their crop to Chake Chake. Sifting at clove treatment centre. Here the cloves are sifted by hand to remove dirt and other unwanted particles. It is a thorough procedure intended to ensure that the final product is of high quality. Laying sifted cloves on mats. The sifted cloves are then laid out where they can be checked for quality and tested. Weighing cloves The final crop of dried cloves is then weighed. Each farmer is paid immediately. For every 90kg (198lb) sack a farmer receives $720 (£460). A 1kg bag fetches $8. Officials checking cloves. The heaviness, dryness and smell of the cloves are checked. Indonesia is the biggest grower, importer and consumer of cloves, producing between 60,000 and 80,000 tonnes a year. But Zanzibar cloves from Pemba are in great demand, says Suleiman Jongo the deputy director of Zanzibar State Trade Centre. Bagging cloves at collection centre. "The cloves have a very strong aroma and the majority of the flower buds are large and intact, making them among the best in the world," Mr Jongo says. Putting cloves in sacks at collection centre. The cloves are put in sacks and taken to the warehouse awaiting transportation to the packaging centre from which they will either be sold locally or exported for use in cooking, medicines, cosmetics, or clove cigarettes which are popular in Indonesia.

The world's oldest clove tree

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http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-18551857
23 June 2012
Indonesia's "Spice Islands" produced more nutmeg, mace, pepper and cloves than anywhere else in the world and on the island of Ternate, one particular tree has an extraordinary history. "Bule, Bule," shout the children excitedly, as our jeep threads its way up a steep road on the side of the volcano. "White man, White man." I am on Ternate, one of Indonesia's fabled Spice Islands. The midday call to prayer mingles with the mosquito-whine of motorcycles. Above us, smoke seeps from the side of Gamalama, the pyramid-shaped volcano that dominates the island. It had erupted only a month earlier, sending a tongue of molten lava pouring down the mountain into the sea. This part of the world is not called "The Ring of Fire" for nothing. I am searching for the world's oldest clove tree. Why it is called Afo, no one knows. Neither is it exactly certain when Afo was planted. But estimates suggest it is between 350 and 400 years old. For millennia, Ternate and the neighbouring island of Tidore were the world's only source of those fragrant, twig-like herbs that love to hide at the back of our kitchen cupboards. Cloves from Ternate were traded by Arab seafarers along the maritime Silk Route as far afield as the Middle East, Europe and China. A Han dynasty ruler from the 3rd Century BC insisted that anyone addressing him chew cloves to sweeten their breath. Their origin was a fiercely-guarded secret until the Portuguese and Spanish burst into the Java Sea in the 16th Century. Our hip, young Indonesian driver is clearly baffled as to why anyone should want to see an old tree. And he clearly has no idea where Afo is. At a roadside stall selling everything from basketballs to fruit, we stop to ask directions. The stallholder points back down the hill. With great difficulty, and reeking brake pads, we turn round and drive back down the volcano. After a few hundred yards, we spot a signboard pointing to some steps cut into the hillside. The path winds upwards through groves of clove trees and bamboo.. Simon Worrall stands next to Afo - the world's oldest clove tree . Afo survived the destruction of clove trees in the 1700s. We are at nearly 1,800m (6,000ft) above sea level. Below us, through the foliage, I can just make out the sea and, beyond it, the island of Tidore. Huffing and puffing up one last flight of steps I find myself under a tree that was probably here when Shakespeare was alive. Afo was once 40 metres tall and four metres round. Sadly, today, all that remains is a massive stump and some bare branches. A few years ago, villagers hungry for firewood even attacked Afo with machetes. A brick wall now surrounds it. If the Dutch had had their way, Afo would not have survived at all. The Netherlands United East India Company, or Voc, was the world's first multinational corporation. Cloves are the dried flower buds of a tree belonging to the Myrtaceae family. The trees can grow up to 12m high. Cloves are used in cooking, either whole or in a ground form. They are also used in some cigarettes, incense and perfume. Voc set about seizing total control of spice production. In 1652, after displacing the Portuguese and Spanish, the Dutch introduced a policy known as extirpatie: extirpation. All clove trees not controlled by the Voc were uprooted and burned. Anyone caught growing, stealing or possessing clove plants without authorisation faced the death penalty. On the Banda Islands, to the south - the world's only source of nutmeg - the Dutch used Japanese mercenaries to slaughter almost the entire male population. Like Opec today, the Voc also limited supply to keep prices high. Only 800-1,000 tonnes of cloves were exported per year. The rest of the harvest was burned or dumped in the sea. Somehow, Afo managed to slip through the net. A rogue clove. A guerrilla plant waging a secret war of resistance. Afo would eventually bring down the Dutch monopoly on cloves. In 1770, a Frenchman, appropriately named Poivre, stole some of Afo's seedlings. This Monsieur Pepper took them to France, then the Seychelles Islands and, eventually, Zanzibar, which is today the world's largest producer of cloves. As I stand looking up into its branches, I wonder who planted Afo - and kept its location secret all those years. Or did it just survive because of its remoteness high on the slopes of Gamalama? Either way, this ancient clove tree remains a symbol of the ultimate folly of empire - and the stubborn refusal of nature to be controlled.

Zanzibar profile

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14115176
20 October 2014
The Indian Ocean islands of Zanzibar and Pemba lie off the east African coast.The semi-autonomous territory maintains a political union with Tanzania, but has its own parliament and president. A former centre of the spice and slave trades, present-day Zanzibar is infused with African, Arab, European and Indian influences.Zanzibar's original settlers were Bantu-speaking Africans. From the 10th century Persians arrived. But it was Arab incomers, particularly Omanis, whose influence was paramount. They set up trading colonies and in 1832 the Omani sultan moved his capital from Muscat to Zanzibar, which had become a major slave-trading centre. Zanzibar became an independent sultanate. Worker climbing a palm tree. Zanzibar used to be a centre for the spice and slave trades. The slave trade was abolished in 1873 and in 1890 the British declared Zanzibar a protectorate. In 1963 the islands regained independence, but upheaval was around the corner. Revolution. In January 1964 members of the African majority overthrew the established minority Arab ruling elite. The leftist revolution was swift but bloody; as many as 17,000 people were killed. A republic was established and in April the presidents of Zanzibar and Tanganyika, on the mainland, signed an act of union, forming the United Republic of Tanzania while giving semi-autonomy to Zanzibar. Under international pressure, Zanzibar held multi-party elections in 1995, which were won by the ruling, pro-union Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party. The opposition Civic United Front (CUF) rejected the outcome and alleged vote rigging. Political violence ensued. The CCM won troubled polls in 2000 and 2005, both characterised by violence and fraud accusations. In 2000 many CUF supporters fled to Kenya after deadly clashes with police. Both parties signed a reconciliation agreement in 2001, but political tension persisted. In protest against the 2005 election result, the CUF boycotted the island's parliament for four years, rejoining in 2009 in order, it said, to prevent violence in the run-up to the upcoming fresh elections. Voters in a July 2010 referendum accepted proposals for rival political parties to share power. The reform followed a gradual rapprochement between the CCM and CUF. The CCM wants Zanzibar to remain part of Tanzania. But the CUF, which has strong support among the descendants of the deposed Arabs, has called for greater autonomy. Some CUF members want independence. Tourism is Zanzibar's newest and biggest industry. But most Zanzibaris have yet to benefit from it; the average wage is less than $1 per day. Dhow sailing off Zanzibar. Zanzibar is influenced by African, Arabic, European and Indian cultures.




Boko Haram unrest: Nigerian militants 'kidnap 200 villagers'

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30529178
18 December 2014
Boko Haram has taken control of several towns and villages in the north-eastMilitants have stormed a remote village in north-eastern Nigeria, killing at least 33 people and kidnapping about 200, a survivor has told the BBC. He said that suspected
Boko Haram militants had seized young men, women and children from Gumsuri village. The attack happened on Sunday but news has only just emerged, after survivors reached the city of Maiduguri. Meanwhile, Cameroon's army says it has killed 116 Nigerian militants who had attacked one of its bases, AFP reports. After killing our youths, the insurgents have taken away our wives and daughters.
Gumsuri resident
The state of Borno has seen at least two militant attacks over the past few days. Residents told the BBC that armed militants attacked the border town of Amchide on Wednesday, arriving in two vehicles with many others on foot. They raided the
market area, setting fire to shops and more than 50 houses. No group has said it carried out either attack but officials have blamed Boko Haram militants. More than 2,000 people have been killed in militant violence this year alone, mostly in north-
eastern Nigeria, near the border with Cameroon. This is yet another abduction on a staggering scale - one of the worst since the Chibok girls were seized in April. It might seem surprising that it has taken four days for news of the killings and
abductions to break. That points to just how dangerous that area of north-east Nigeria still is despite promises of a massive military deployment there. Gumsuri is about 70km (43 miles) from Maiduguri, the state capital, but survivors had to travel
hundreds of kilometres via a circuitous route to avoid areas overrun with jihadists in order to reach the city and alert people to the horrors they had witnessed. The vigilantes in the same village had reportedly fought off Boko Haram before but this time they were overpowered. There has been no word from the military or the government and you have to wonder whether in any other country in the world such a horrific event could take place without a single word from the authorities.
The villagers who were kidnapped on Sunday were from Gumsuri, not Bintiri, as was earlier reported by the BBC. The survivor of the Gumsuri attack said that he returned to the village and helped bury 33 bodies after the violence. He said he went
from house-to-house to ascertain how many people were missing. While initial reports put the number of kidnapped at 100, it was actually double that, the survivor said. His testimony was confirmed to BBC Hausa by a local official. Neither person wanted their names published. Meanwhile, Reuters and AFP news agencies quoted residents as saying that at least 185 people had been abducted.
'Wives and daughters' taken
A vigilante group that had protected the village from previous attacks was overpowered by the militants, AFP reported. "After killing our youths, the insurgents have taken away our wives and daughters," a resident who fled to Maiduguri was quoted as saying. In Cameroon, the army said vehicles from its elite battalion had been caught in an ambush on Wednesday. "At the same time... the Amchide military base was attacked by hundreds of fighters from the sect, but the response from our defence forces was instant and appropriate," the army said, according to AFP. One Cameroonian soldier was killed and an officer is missing, it added.

Video of nanny abusing toddler shocks Uganda

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-30181134
24 November 2014
A video apparently showing a maid physically abusing a young child in Uganda has been watched more than 21 million times in just four days on Facebook. The graphic footage, which is taken from a camera hidden in the corner of the living room, shows the woman Jolly Tumuhiirwe, 22, hitting the 18-month-old girl when she resists feeding and then throwing her to the floor, beating her with a torch, before stepping on her and kicking her. The child's father Eric Kamanzi said he installed the camera after he noticed bruises on his daughter and that she was limping. After capturing the violence on film, the police say he reported the incident to the police on 13 November. The disturbing video has since been widely shared on the internet, provoking horror and upset from Uganda to California. It's also raising a debate in Uganda about whether it's safe to pay for childcare. In a statement confirming that the maid has been arrested and charged with attempted murder, the police advise that people should "[take] great care while selecting domestic helpers." They recommend that families do background checks with friends, neighbours, local police, council and previous employers before taking on such an employee.
"I will continue being a stay home mum till my child is of age," a Facebook user named Daughter-of-A-Queen posted. "After watching this I am even happier that my wife made the decision to be a stay home mother," George D Barugahare says.
"If the mother is not working, where was she?" comments Omukama Kabarega, from Kampala. In Uganda, there's no requirement for nannies to have qualifications and the police statement warns of other horror stories: "In extreme situations maids or helpers have suffocated babies to death, stuffed them in fridges, injected them with HIV/Aids, sexually molested infants and attempted suicide due to psychological problems and mental fits." But the police also say that families should treat domestic staff well, and people commenting online have also raised the issue of how badly some maids are treated in Uganda. Am not condoning the act but let it ignite a discussion about our domestic affairs," Justus Amanya says on Facebook. "Most of us treat maids like robots not humans, most likely this is what happens. Some men rape maids, and psychologically these maids become mad...we need to start thinking. Its dangerous to stay with a stressed person whose desperation levels are acute. They can kill without knowing. Sometimes the real cause such scenes are the home owners. Regardless this act is sad and there's no measurable reason that can justify it. I too condemn. The video made it on to the internet after the girl's father Kamanzi shared it privately with family members, who then passed it on to their friends - one of whom then posted it online. "Personally, I prefer my privacy but I'm sure I helped a lot of people out there and on that note I'm happy that the video is out there," Kamanzi told BBC Trending. He says his daughter is now physically well. Ms Tumuhiirwe will appear in court on 8 December.

Ugandan maid Jolly Tumuhiirwe jailed for assaulting toddler

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30476200
15 December 2014
Jolly Tumuhiirwe asked for forgiveness in court last week. A Ugandan maid has been sentenced to four years in jail for assaulting a toddler, in a case which sparked outrage across the country after a video was released. Jolly Tumuhiirwe, 22, was filmed beating, kicking and stamping on the 18-month-old child. On Friday, she told a court in Kampala the attack was revenge after she was beaten by the child's mother. The mother denied beating her. Earlier charges of torture were dropped. Chief Magistrate Lillian Buchan told Tumuhiirwe she had committed an "unjustifiable and inexcusable" crime. She said the sentence was appropriate in light of the "ruthlessness exhibited" on an "innocent, helpless child", reports the AFP news agency. Eric Kamanzi in court in Uganda - 8 December 201. Mr Kamanzi installed a camera in his home after becoming suspicious. The video footage, which prompted the case, came from a camera the child's father, Eric Kamanzi, had installed in his home after noticing his daughter was bruised and limping. He reported the abuse to police last month and circulated the video online to family members. The footage was later shared more widely, provoking horror and upset internationally.
Psychological consequences
After the sentencing, Mr Kamanzi said: "It's not for us to decide the punishment for what she committed. "We hope this has set an example for other maids out there, that you can't just go to someone's house and torture their baby and expect to walk out," AFP reports. Another family member, Rose Zimulinda, said the child was physically well now but there were likely to be longer term psychological consequences. In Uganda, there is no requirement for people paid to look after children to have qualifications. Police have recommended that parents do background checks with friends, neighbours, local police, council and previous employers before taking on nannies or maids given these responsibilities.

Letter from Africa: Ghana's uniform lovers

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30378181
14 December 2014
In our series of letters from African journalists, writer Elizabeth Ohene considers Ghanaians' love of dressing up for every occasion. I do not recall I ever went through that period when young people seem to love uniforms. I have friends who were attracted to and went into nursing primarily because of the uniform. Of course, I do not discount the fact that many others took up nursing because they like caring for people. But I used to think the world was made up of those who wore uniforms and those who did not. As school children, I remember we could not wait to get out of uniforms and wear our hair differently from the regulation cut.
Chinese vs Ghanaian textiles
But now it seems almost every aspect of life in Ghana comes with a uniform of some kind. People wear uniforms in the most civilian of jobs, including in the banking and retail sectors. And uniforms are not only for work. Two-year-old Princess Smith sits with her father Francis Smith on 11 July 2009 as they wait for US President Barack Obama's arrival at the International Conference Centre in Accra, Ghana. Clothes were designed for US President Barack Obama's visit to Ghana in 2009. Girls wearing T-shirts showing photographs of the ruling National Democratic Congress candidate President John Mahama dance during a rally at Cape Coast, in Ghana's central region, on 2 December 2013. Political allegiances are often displayed through T-shirts. School children wait for Dutch Crown Prince Willem Alexander and Princess Maxima who will meet the Asantehene, the King of Kumasi on 16 April 2002 in Kumasi, Ghana . But many schoolchildren cannot wait to get out of their uniforms. Every major event is marked with a uniform. They range from specially printed T-shirts to specially designed and printed textiles from which we make clothes. Our graphic designers, textile factories and tailors are kept busy around the clock. I have to amend that sentence: It is the Chinese textile factories that we keep busy. The Ghanaian ones are struggling since the Chinese seem to be able to produce the textiles at half the price. Costumes for congregations. Most events and anniversaries are celebrated with special cloths. We made a special commemorative cloth when US President Barack Obama visited us in 2009 and when our President John Atta Mills died in 2012.
And when we celebrated 50 years of our independence, we made various commemorative cloths. It used to be that when you go to church only the choristers and the priests wore uniforms. Now you are encouraged to join one of the many church groups, and they all have uniforms for the different occasions listed on the church calendar. I have a closet full of special cloths for secondary schools marking their 40th or 50th anniversaries. Often, the entire crowd at the celebrations would be clad in the same special anniversary cloth. Tailors work on national colours ahead of presidential inauguration in Accra. Tailors see a surge in business when national events are held. Traditional chiefs stand as Ghanaian President John Mahama arrives for his inauguration at the Independence Square, Accra. Ghana is famous for its kente cloth. Last week, I attended another 50th anniversary celebration of a secondary school and I stood out like a sore thumb as I was the only person without the special cloth. The uniform craze extends to deaths and funerals. When there is a death, you have to choose a special fabric that all members of the family and close friends would be expected to buy and make clothes to wear to the funeral.
Bulging wardrobe
Sometimes, the cloth is specially ordered from the textile factory and it comes complete with photos of the dead person printed across the fabric. People have been known to borrow money to buy the special fabric for a funeral. There is no suggestion that such people have not got any suitable clothes to wear to the funeral; it is simply a case of having to wear the uniform. A man comforts a woman crying after viewing the body of late President John Atta Mills at the parliament in Accra on 8 August 2012. Mourners are expected to wear the same colours at funerals. I have ended up in the totally ridiculous situation of having a closet full of special clothes for special funerals that I cannot wear anywhere else. Happy occasions also come with uniforms.. The latest one was the special cloth we ordered to celebrate the centenary of the establishment of the Presbyterian Church in my village, Abutia Teti. I have no idea when I will be able to wear that cloth again but we certainly had a great time at the celebrations with all of us decked out in our uniforms. When there is a death, you have to choose a special fabric that all members of the family and close friends would be expected to buy and make clothes to wear to the funeral”
Elizabeth Ohene - the writer.

Democratic Republic of Congo profile

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13283212
16 September 2014
A vast country with immense economic resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has been at the centre of what some observers call "Africa's world war". This has left it in the grip of a humanitarian crisis. The five-year conflict pitted government forces, supported by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda. Despite a peace deal and the formation of a transitional government in 2003, people in the east of the country remain in fear of continuing death, rape or displacement by marauding militias and the army. The war claimed an up to six million lives, either as a direct result of fighting or because of disease and malnutrition. It has been called possibly the worst emergency in Africa in recent decades. The war had an economic as well as a political side. Fighting was fuelled by the country's vast mineral wealth, with all sides taking advantage of the anarchy to plunder natural resources, and some small militias fight on. The history of DR Congo has been one of civil war and corruption. After independence in 1960, the country immediately faced an army mutiny and an attempt at secession by its mineral-rich province of Katanga. A year later, its prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, was seized and killed by troops loyal to army chief Joseph Mobutu. In 1965 Mobutu seized power, later renaming the country Zaire and himself Mobutu Sese Seko. He turned Zaire into a springboard for operations against Soviet-backed Angola and thereby ensured US backing. But he also made Zaire synonymous with corruption. After the Cold War, Zaire ceased to be of interest to the US. Thus, when in 1997 neighbouring Rwanda invaded it to flush out extremist Hutu militias, it gave a boost to the anti-Mobutu rebels, who quickly captured the capital, Kinshasa, installed Laurent Kabila as president and renamed the country DR Congo. Nonetheless, DR Congo's troubles continued. A rift between Mr Kabila and his former allies sparked a new rebellion, backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe took Kabila's side, turning the country into a vast battleground. Coup attempts and sporadic violence heralded renewed fighting in the eastern part of the country in 2008. Rwandan Hutu militias clashed with government forces in April, displacing thousands of civilians. Another militia under rebel General Laurent Nkunda had signed a peace deal with the government in January, but clashes broke out again in August. Gen Nkunda's forces advanced on government bases and the provincial capital Goma in the autumn, causing civilians and troops to flee while UN peacekeepers tried to hold the line alongside the remaining government forces. In an attempt to bring the situation under control, the government in January 2009 invited in troops from Rwanda to help mount a joint operation against the Rwandan rebel Hutu militias active in eastern DR Congo. Rwanda arrested the Hutu militias' main rival, Gen Nkunda, a Congolese Tutsi hitherto seen as its main ally in the area. In early 2013 the UN secured a regional agreement to end the M23 rebellion in eastern areas, and the group's alleged founder Bosco Ntaganda surrendered to the International Criminal Court to face war-crimes charges. Rwanda and Uganda denied UN accusations that they had supported the M23 group, but the region remains volatile. Enyele rebels in Equateur: Decades-old conflict over fishing rights evolved into ethnic tussle for economic and political power in north-west. Some 200,000 refugees have fled violence since 2009. Ugandan rebels in north-east: Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels remain active here and in neighbouring countries, raping and killing. Rwandan rebels in the Kivus: Hutu and Tutsi rebel militia operate in North and South Kivu. The UN oversaw a peace agreement in 2013 with the M23 Movement, which it says is backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Ituri rebels near oil finds: North-eastern province quietened down after a 2007 peace accord, encouraging oil firms to tap reserves in Lake Albert on Ugandan border, although the UN reported massacres by rival Mai Mai militias in early 2014

Uganda Lake Albert boat disaster 'killed 251 refugees'

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-26774338
27 March 2014
Ugandan police divers helped in the search for survivors, and bodies. More than 250 people died in last Saturday's boat capsize on Lake Albert between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, a minister has said. This is a sharp increase on the initial death toll, partly a result of the vessel carrying many more passengers than the official capacity of 80. The boat was taking Congolese refugees in Uganda back to their home country. Boat accidents are common in both countries because of poor safety standards and overloading. Congolese authorities have declared three days of national mourning for the victims of last Saturday's disaster - among whom were many children. On Tuesday they made up more than half of the then death toll of 107. About 300 people are now thought to have been aboard. "It is with deep sorrow that we confirm to the nation the death of 251 of our compatriots who had boarded the boat from the Ugandan side of Lake Albert," said Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende Omalanga, adding that "we have managed to have something like 50 people who have escaped." Congolese authorities are helping to support survivors, while arranging funerals for the dead, he said. Saturday's disaster happened just days after DR Congo launched a campaign to enforce the wearing of life jackets on all boats on its many waterways. It is common for boats in both countries to have too few, if any, life jackets on board.
'Deeply shocked'
On Monday, the UN high commissioner for refugees Antonio Guterres said he was deeply shocked by the disaster. "My thoughts are with those who have lost dear ones, and the survivors," he said in a statement. "I am grateful to the government and other actors who have mounted a rescue-and-recovery operation and are assisting the survivors.'' The boat was one of two which left on Saturday from Uganda's Hoima district on the eastern side of the lake, which lies on the border with DR Congo. The boats were carrying refugees who had been living at a camp in Uganda, and had decided to return to eastern DR Congo of their own accord, the UNHCR said.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Many dead after ferry sinks on Lake Tanganyika

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30470079
14 December 2014
At least 129 bodies have been recovered from Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after a ferry capsized on Friday. Local transport minister Laurent Sumba Kahozi said the search for survivors was continuing. Rescue workers found passengers in the water on Sunday, clinging on to petrol cans and other objects. Correspondents say such accidents are fairly common in the region as ferries are often overloaded. Life jackets are also often missing and many people cannot swim. Library picture showing people arriving on in DR Congo a crowded boat from neighbouring Congo Brazzaville, in April 2014. Boats in the region are often overcrowded and accidents are common. Officials in Katanga province said strong winds and overloading caused the boat, the MV Mutambala, to capsize. A number of women and children were among the victims in the disaster, which happened in the early hours of Friday morning. The number of survivors stands at 232, mostly men, the provincial minister for transport said.

Africas forgotten cats

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http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141008-africas-forgotten-cats
Africa’s iconic big cats are well documented, but the continent’s plains, grasslands, forests and wetlands are home to smaller felids whose statistics are just as impressive. Serval (Leptailurus serval).  are predators with a perfect pounce. With its long legs and super-sensitive hearing, the serval is perfectly equipped for hunting on the savannah. This nocturnal predator has perfected its pounce, leaping up to 3.6m to land precisely on its prey, stunning or killing it on impact. Caracal means 'black ears' in Turkish. Common across Africa, the caracal gets its name from its striking ears – caracal means 'black ears' in Turkish. These largest of Africa's small cats are extraordinary acrobats, capable of leaping 3m into the air and taking out multiple birds with one swipe. Sand cat (Felis margarita) are desert specialists with thick fur. Known as 'the cats that dig holes' by Saharan nomads, these tiny cats are the only felid to be found exclusively in the desert. Thick fur on the soles of their feet protects them against the hot sand, and their dense coat keeps them warm at night. African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica) were ancestors of our pets. A subspecies of the most common wildcat, the African wildcat has a lighter build, fewer markings and a tapering tail. First domesticated about 10,000 years ago in the Middle East, these first feline friends were the ancestors of our modern pets. African golden cat (Profelis aurata) wasn't photographed until 2002. The only forest-dependent wild cat in Africa, the elusive golden cat is largely unstudied and wasn't even caught on camera until 2002. These powerful, sturdy animals are about twice the size of a domestic cat and named for the colour of their fur. Black-footed cat (Felis nigripes). Africa’s smallest wild cats are to be found in the grassy plains and deserts of South Africa. Solitary and nocturnal, these remarkable survivors can devour 3,000 rodents a year. If there's no water available they can obtain all the moisture they need from food alone. Jungle cat (Felis chaus) actually inhabit tall grass and reeds. Despite their name, jungle cats actually inhabit the tall grasses and reeds of Egypt's wetlands. Although these cautious predators are notoriously difficult to tame, a small number have been found among the cat mummies of Ancient Egypt.

За два дня вирус Эбола поразил более 300 жителей Западной Африки



Africa - 2014 - Ebola, Liberia







http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-09-28-71482
Число людей, зараженных вирусом Эбола в Гвинее, Либерии и Сьерра-Леоне увеличилось до 3091: за два последних дня вирус поразил 311 человек. 174 больных скончались. Наиболее критическая ситуация – в Либерии, где с 21 по 23 сентября вирус Эбола поразил 178 человек, умерли 153 пациента. Общее число жертв лихорадки в Либерии составило 1830, зараженных – 3458. Это больше, чем в Гвинее и Сьерра-Леоне вместе взятых. Эпидемиологическая ситуация в Нигерии и Сенегале не изменилась: ситуация там находится под контролем. Вирусом Эбола заразились в общей сложности 375 медицинских работников, 211 умерли. Согласно предупреждению ВОЗ, если не принять эффективных мер, к началу ноября число заболевших лихорадкой Эбола в странах Западной Африки может достичь 20 тысяч. Около половины случаев заболевания при этом придется на Либерию. Для борьбы с эпидемией Организация объединенных наций запросила у международного сообщества один миллиард долларов. От лихорадки Эбола до сих пор нет официально зарегистрированного лекарства, вакцины для ее предупреждения также не существует. Во время нынешней вспышки умирает семь из десяти заболевших.

Эбола в Либерии: «Это действительно ад»



ebola



http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-09-28-71497
В феврале этого года в Западной Африке началась эпидемия лихорадки Эбола. Первые случаи заражения были отмечены в Гвинее, меньше чем за месяц вирус распространился на соседнюю Либерию. Затем на Сьерра-Леоне и Нигерию. В конце августа стало известно, что смертельно опасное заболевание добралось до Демократической Республики Конго и Сенегала. По последним данным Всемирной организации здравоохранения, от лихорадки умерло больше трех тысяч человек. Писатель, кинодраматург и публицист Эдуард Багиров недавно вернулся из Либерии, где участвовал в съемках документального фильма для передачи «Своими глазами» на «Первом канале». Он поделился своими впечатлениями о стране и о людях, живущих в таких условиях, в которых жизнь человека, казалось бы, невозможна. Увидеть своими глазами то, что видел в Либерии Эдуард Багиров, можно 28 сентября в 18:15 на «Первом канале».«Лента.ру»: Как родилась идея отправиться в Либерию?
Багиров: Как-то раз позвонил мой старый товарищ Данила Шарапов, руководитель дирекции общественно-политического вещания «Первого канала» и внезапно с ходу предложил поучаствовать в этом проекте. И я согласился.
Местечко-то то еще? Да уж. Это была авантюра чистой воды. Но я не раздумывал и минуты. Потому что это как раз один из тех моментов, которые делают интересной и наполняют смыслом мою жизнь, а я давно научился их не
пропускать. Как там? Плохо там, чего скрывать. Подспудное ощущение глубокой тревоги какой-то даже безысходности не покидает тебя ни на минуту. Причем чертовщина эта начинается уже с аэропорта Монровии. Столичный
аэропорт — это полуразвалившийся сарай с одним выходом. Возле этого выхода стоят эпидемиологи в защитных комбинезонах и внимательно осматривают всех выходящих. Рядом — бачки с водным раствором хлорки. К слову, в Либерии они практически повсюду. Даже в магазин нельзя зайти, не помыв руки в таком бачке. Но это не очень-то помогает, как мы видим. Потому что в этой стране понятия о гигиене крайне призрачны. А кроме таких вот присутственных мест, где люди пытаются соблюдать хоть какие-то правила, есть еще стихийные рынки и трущобы, где никто и понятия не имеет об элементарных мерах эпидемиологической безопасности. Какое впечатление осталось от местных жителей? Там полный беспредел. Белому человеку, особенно тому, кто только-только приехал в Либерию, по улицам лучше не ходить. Это попросту опасно. Когда в первый день мы попытались в центре города взять интервью, нас тут же окружила толпа кашляющих и скребущих в паху негров, чьи намерения были явно далеки от дружеских. Хорошо что у нас там были знакомые русские ребята, которые повсюду нас сопровождали. Но толку от них в критической ситуации все равно было бы не больше, чем от нас самих, и поэтому, направляясь в некоторые особо опасные районы, мы нанимали охрану из местных полицейских. Все настолько плохо?
И даже хуже, поверьте. Без таких гидов и без охраны никакого репортажа у нас не получилось бы. Мы бы и двух шагов там не сделали. Нас просто разорвали бы на кусочки. Я человек, лишенный иллюзий, многое видел и, в общем-то, неплохо понимал, куда еду. Но не ожидал, что увиденное там превзойдет на порядок мои самые худшие ожидания. Это действительно ад.
А что полиция?
Полиция там есть, и если собрать ее в достаточном количестве, она даже может защитить вас от беспредела. Но полиция не везде, а ситуация может возникнуть где угодно, и совершенно внезапно. Стоит выйти из машины где-то возле рынка, как сразу словно из-под земли вырастает полтора десятка каких-то стремных упырей, которые начинают крутиться поблизости и оглядывать, будто шакалы, размышляя как бы к тебе подступиться. Любое
неосторожное движение, жест, взгляд может стать поводом для конфликта, и нередко — с фатальным исходом. К слову о полиции. Когда мы в сопровождении этих полицейских забрались в трущобы, у них был весьма бледный вид. Полицейские реально боялись! Потому что их форма действует разве что на молодых и самых безобидных гопников. Разбой и грабеж — в порядке вещей, и считаются меньшим из зол, что могут с тобой случиться в Либерии. Могут без вопросов сунуть нож в бок. Местное население крайне недружелюбно. Жизнь человека там вообще ничего не стоит. Особенно жизнь какого-то заезжего белого. Чем живут местные, чем занимаются?
Они там не живут, а как-то существуют, выживают. Там абсолютная нищета, и сто долларов — это огромная сумма, на которую можно многое сделать. Торгуют совершенно никчемным барахлом, что-то где-то воруют. Крах. На всю столицу два банкомата, и ни один не работает. Кругом трущобы, гниль, грязь. Отсутствие каких-либо признаков цивилизации и гигиены. Что за пределами трущоб?
Нормальные кварталы, которых, к слову, совсем немного, мало чем отличаются от трущоб. Мы заехали в один такой, где жил наш водитель. Водопровода там нет, и воду пьют ту, которая натекла с крыши во время дождя. Туалетов нет! Люди пользуются целлофановым пакетом, который выбрасывают себе же во двор. То есть дворы там завалены кучами дерьма, среди которого они живут. Это трудно передать. Я отказывался верить своим органам чувств. Я, конечно, читал в интернете, что там такое бывает, но думал, что краски сгущают. Должны же люди хоть сколько-то себя уважать, чтобы не жить буквально в дерьме? Но нет… И это — нормальный городской квартал, где живут те, у кого есть какая-то работа и какие-то средства. Причем у каждого, кто там живет, кто-то уже умер от Эболы или вот-вот умрет. А учитывая, что Эбола передается через всевозможные человеческие жидкости и выделения, не удивительно, что она распространяется с такой скоростью. Что же творится в трущобах?
Вот где действительно ад. Помимо прочего, туда редко заходят представители санитарных служб, поэтому контроля вообще никакого нет. Я удивлен, почему они до сих пор все не вымерли. У них там, знаете ли, свои похоронные традиции. Труп подолгу лежит возле дома, иногда неделями, пока не начнет основательно разлагаться. Они постоянно контактируют с этим трупом, целуют его, едят рядом с ним. Трупы умерших от Эболы из госпитальных моргов воруют родственники.
Зачем?
По санитарно-эпидемиологическим нормам такие трупы положено кремировать, а по местным традициям это неприемлемо. Но если соблюдать местные традиции, то заражение практически гарантировано. Поэтому-то половина Западной Африки и находится на грани вымирания. Какую-то разъяснительную работу среди местных ведут? Развесили плакаты с предупреждениями и рекомендациями, проводят разъяснительные беседы. Работает это пока слабо. Наиболее цивилизованные горожане перестали жрать переносчиков Эболы — летучих мышей и обезьян и кремируют умерших от Эболы. Вот и все. В госпиталях вы были?
Мы были в двух госпиталях миссии «Врачей без границ». Впечатления тяжелые. Особенно от приемного отделения госпиталя, куда заболевших привозят, по сути, умирать. Это что-то вроде хосписа или, точнее, лепрозория. Ряды носилок, на которых лежат больные. Женщины, мужчины, дети. Кто-то без сознания, кто-то выглядит почти здоровым, но так или иначе, все они наверняка умрут. Смертность от Эболы в Африке почти стопроцентная.
Всех заболевших доставляют в такие госпитали?
Ну что вы! Нет, конечно. Мы побывали в трущобах, как раз когда туда приехали эпидемиологи и труповозка. Незадолго до этого там умерли двое, и кто-то вызвал специалистов. Но могли и не вызвать — это было бы в порядке
вещей. Трупы лежали прямо в хижине. Вокруг находились их родственники. Половина — тоже больны, остальные — уже умирают. Маленькая девочка умирала на руках у матери, на губах кровавая пена. Мать тоже, судя по всему, больна. Зрелище ужасающее. Люди умирают от Эболы очень страшно. Все это можно увидеть. Но лучше увидеть это по телевизору.
Вы беседовали там со специалистами. Что они говорят о возможности пандемии Эболы? Может ли болезнь распространиться на Европу, в Россию?
Пандемия в Евразии, в России невозможна. Единичные случаи не исключены, потому что завезти эту дрянь чисто физически совсем несложно. Но пандемия — нет. Русские — не африканцы, и гадить (буквально) под себя, а потом здесь же готовить пищу, пожирать ее и снова гадить под себя — не будут ни в каких социальных условиях. А только в таких условиях возможна эпидемия этой болезни. Ну, если вирус не мутирует, конечно, до того типа, что был у птичьего гриппа.

Две жертвы Эболы воскресли из мёртвых в Либерии



Africa - 2014 - Liberia, Ebola, 2 Survivors

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-09-29-71532
Две жертвы лихорадки Эбола из либерийского города Ганта, округ Нимба, чудесным образом воскресли из мёртвых. Жительницы местной католической общины 40-летняя Доррис Квои и 60-летняя Ма Кебе считались погибшими от смертельного вируса, однако в день похорон неожиданно очнулись. Новость о воскрешении возбудила панику среди жителей как самой общины, так и всего города, некоторые даже заявляли, что видели призрак Доррис Квои.



ВОЗ: Число жертв лихорадки Эбола в Западной Африке достигло 2,5 тысячи, заразились 5 тысяч

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-09-17
Вирус Эбола продолжает стремительно распространяться на территории Западной Африки. Случаи заражения уже зарегистрированы в Либерии, Сьерра-Леоне, Гвинее, Нигерии, Демократической Республике Конго и Сенегале..

Эбола: 6 миллионов жителей Сьерра-Леоне будут сидеть дома трое суток - video

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-09-18-71015
Правительство Сьерра-Леоне призвало все 6-миллионное население страны в течение 72 часов не выходить из дома для предотвращения дальнейшего распространения вируса Эбола. Как говорится в распространенном
официальном сообщении властей этого западноафриканского государства, данная кампания должна начаться в пятницу, 19 сентября. Местные специалисты-эпидемиологи надеются, что таким образом удастся создать серьезные препятствия для развития эпидемии болезни, вызванной вирусом Эбола (БВВЭ). Предполагается, что все граждане Сьерра-Леоне не будут без крайней необходимости выходить на улицу. Как уточняет ИТАР-ТАСС, примерно 20 тысяч добровольцев тем временем обойдут все жилые дома, чтобы вывезти трупы скончавшихся от БВВЭ и доставить в больницы тех, кто заразился. Будут созданы, например, на базе школ, центры для изоляции страдающих от опасного недуга. Штаб проведения операции по борьбе со вспышкой БВВЭ в сьерра-леонской столице Фритауне ожидает, что кампания по изоляции больных позволит увеличить на 20 процентов количество выявленных случаев заражения вирусом. Скептики, однако, выражают сомнения в способности Сьерра-Леоне, одной из беднейших стран планеты, эффективно организовать кампанию. Более того, они опасаются, что такие меры лишь обострят кризис. Бывший руководитель гуманитарной организации "Врачи без границ" Жан-Эрве Брадоль, обладающий опытом участия в борьбе с эпидемиями в Африке, считает поставленные в Сьерра-Леоне цели "крайне нереалистичными". "У этой страны нет возможностей организовать посещение всех семей в течение трех дней, — сказал он. — Многим будет затруднительно продержаться такой срок и не выйти из дому. Для врачей будет очень сложно выявить зараженных путем сплошного обхода жилищ, ведь это требует специальных навыков. Да и невозможно создать там достаточное количество центров борьбы с БВВЭ". Эпидемия лихорадки Эбола началась в Гвинее в феврале 2014 года и привела к гибели свыше 2400 человек в этой стране, а также в Либерии и Сьерра-Леоне, Нигерии. Существуют опасения возможности распространения эпидемии на восток и юг Африки. ООН предупреждает, что к концу года число зараженных может достичь 20 тысяч человек.

В гвинейской деревне убили восемь разъяснителей опасности Эболы

ebola

Africa - 2014 - Guinea, Ebola

ebola

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-09-19-71036
В Гвинее найдены тела восьми человек, в том числе трех журналистов, убитых в результате нападения сельскими жителями на группу, занимавшуюся профилактикой лихорадки Эбола. Нападение было совершено ранее на этой неделе, предположительно во вторник, 16 сентября. Тела были обнаружены в небольшой деревне Воме, недалеко от крупного города Нзерекоре, на юго-востоке страны, передает ИТАР-ТАСС со ссылкой на представителя
правительства страны Альберта Дамантанга Камару. Среди погибших - представители местной администрации, врачи и трое гвинейских журналистов. Группа проводила разъяснительную работу среди населения по вопросам,
связанным с эпидемией Эбола. "Все они были хладнокровно убиты жителями Воме", - заявил Камара, пообещав, что власти сделают все возможное, чтобы арестовать и предать суду виновных в убийстве. Сообщения Всемирной организации здравоохранения (ВОЗ) и журналистов неоднократно доказывали ранее, что у африканцев очень мало знаний о смертельном заболевании и они склонны вверять свою жизнь шаманам, а не докторам. Были случаи, когда пациенты даже убегали из госпиталей, что угрожала еще большим распространением вируса, ходили ужасающие слухи - например, жители Африки опасались, что заразившийся после смерти превращается в зомби. Религиозные фанатики попытались объяснить заболевание греховностью людей, а в Либерии появлялись группы вооруженных людей, которые убивали "во имя Эбола". Некоторые африканцы решили защитить себя от недуга травяными браслетами, которые сделал местный знахарь. Таким образом, необходимость просвещения местных жителей была очевидно. Однако расправа в Гвинее показала, что это не только очень важная работа, но еще чрезвычайно опасная. По данным Всемирной организации здравоохранения (ВОЗ), число жертв вируса Эбола в странах Западной Африки превысило 2,6 тысячи человек, более 5 тысяч заболели. Практически все случаи смертей и заражения приходятся на три страны - Либерию, Сьерра-Леоне и Гвинею. Эпидемия болезни, от которой пока не существует вакцины и лекарств, началась в регионе в декабре 2013 года.

В Либерии солдаты опять открыли огонь по блокированным в карантинной зоне жителям

ebola

Africa - Liberia, Ebola

ebola

ebola

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-09-19-71041
В карантинной зоне где заблокировано 50000 жителей при попытке вырваться из зоны карантина, армия открыла огонь на поражение. Сообщается, что несколько жителей города Монровия, были ранены. Один человек погиб.
Хаос в Монровии разразился после того, как протестующие окружили блок-пост и попытались напасть на представителей властей, которые объявили жителям, что в городе объявлен карантин и выход за пределы зоны запрещен. Во многих районах столицы, тела погибших лежат на улицах часами, иногда днями, хотя жители просили, чтобы трупы можно забрать, но Министерство здравоохранения запретило приближаться к погибшим от эпидемии. Тем временем всемирная организация здравоохранения (ВОЗ) ранее распространила информацию о том, что число жертв смертельного вируса Эбола превысило 2,6 тысячи человек, зараженных — свыше 5,3 тысячи. Данные приводятся по трем наиболее зараженным странам — Гвинеи, Либерии и Сьерра-Леоне. Больше всего смертей зафиксировано в Либерии — 1459. Вспышка лихорадки была зарегистрирована в марте 2014 года в Гвинее. Позднее заболевание распространилось на Либерию и Сьерра-Леоне. В этих странах по-прежнему фиксируются новые случаи заражения. На прошлой неделе первый случай заражения лихорадкой Эбола был зафиксирован в Гонконге. Чрезвычайное положение в связи с болезнью было объявлено в Нигерии, Гвинее, Либерии и Сьерра-Леоне. ВОЗ признала лихорадку Эбола чрезвычайной ситуацией мирового значения.

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Прекрасная Намибия (Африка)



Africa - 2014 - Namibia, Girls
http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-08-29-70289
Признаюсь честно: мое отношение к Африке пристрастно. Этим континентом я восхищаюсь, глубоко уважаю его и бесконечно люблю. Именно здесь я нашла все то, что искала ранее в поездках по всему миру. В Африке первобытная культура соседствует с современными технологиями. Здесь можно найти предложения на любой вкус: от расслабленного отдыха в роскошных отелях на колониальных фермах до экзотических сафари-туров в кемпах. Ну а разнообразие флоры и фауны заставит взять в руки камеру даже равнодушного к красотам природы туриста. Африка многогранна, и каждому путешественнику она открывается со своей стороны. Но, несомненно, Намибия — отличный выбор между Африкой дикой и Африкой комфортной. Это одна из немногих стран Черного континента, куда можно спокойно отправляться всей семьей, не опасаясь страшных болезней, в том числе малярии. Я была там уже несколько раз и могу без лишней скромности сказать, что исколесила (да и облетала) ее вдоль и поперек. При этом, каждый раз я не перестаю восхищаться безумной красотой этой страны, особенно, этими фантастическими безмолвными пустынями: именно в них я видела самые красочные закаты в своей жизни. Первое и самое важное: Намибия абсолютно безопасна для любого вида отдыха, конечно, если вы сами не будете лезть на рожон, например, посещая злачные места в столице и ее окрестностях. Не зря же эту страну выбирают немецкие пенсионеры? Кстати, они предпочитают путешествовать в «домах на колесах». А что? И дешево, и удобно. Фургон легко взять напрокат в прибрежном городке Свакопмунд. Обычно оттуда и начинается маршрут вдоль Берега Скелетов в сторону Национального парка Этоша или к государственной границе Намибии с Анголой, которые разделены лишь рекой Кунене. Сам же Свакопмунд напоминает городки в Германии, и это понятно, ведь когда-то страна входила в состав Германской Юго-Западной Африки. В Намибии на площади 824,3 тыс. кв. км. проживает всего 2,4 млн человек. Такая низкая плотность населения обусловлена тем, что большую часть страны составляют пустыни. На сотни километров вдоль береговой линии тянутся желто-красные пески, которые встречают море, образуя Национальный парк Скелетон Кост. Свое название парк Скелетон Кост — Берег Скелетов — получил не зря. Здесь на побережье покоятся кости людей и животных, нашедших свое последнее пристанище в одной из самых безжизненных и сухих пустынь мира. Все буквально усыпано обломками кораблей, некогда потерпевших крушение в этих водах. Подводные скалы, туманы, шторма, сильное Бенгельское течение не давали судам подойти к берегу. А те «счастливчики», которым все же удавалось высадиться на землю, так и оставались здесь навсегда, не в силах преодолеть пески пустыни. Вот и лежат, утопая в дюнах, остовы кораблей — безмолвные памятники трагедий. Один из самых известных и хорошо сохранившихся — «Eduard Bohlen», германский транспортный пароход, севший на мель 5 сентября 1909 года. На побережье Национального парка Скелетон Кост обитают огромные колонии ушастых тюленей — их численность превышает 100 тыс. особей, а также шакалы и гиены, нападающие на больных и обессиленных морских котиков, множество птиц, в том числе пеликаны и фламинго. Львов, носорогов и парнокопытных здесь тоже можно увидеть, но значительно реже. Несомненно, парк Скелетон Кост — невероятная по своей красоте и уникальности природная резервация, но я все-таки советую осмотреть его с воздуха — облететь на вертолете, либо на легкомоторном самолете типа Cessna. Сверху открывается потрясающий вид, и к тому же, вы сэкономите время и силы для дальнейшего путешествия. Движемся дальше в долину реки Кунене, впадающей в Атлантический океан. Протекая по гранитному руслу, эта река стала природной границей между Анголой и Намибией. На востоке страны водная артерия окаймляет Национальный парк Этоша, а в центральной части пересекает сухую и самую недружелюбную часть земли — пустыню Намиб, которая, тем не менее, является домом народностей гереро и химба. В этом, казалось бы, Богом забытом уголке мира, у реки раскинулся оазис под названием Cerra Cafema — прекрасный пятизвездочный лодж, идеально подходящий как для влюбленных, так и семей с детьми. Это роскошное место для отдыха, обретения уникального опыта и погружения в экосистему одного из самых труднодоступных мест на земле. В Cerra Cafema есть все для отличного времяпрепровождения, будь то поездки или пешие походы, прогулки по дюнам или путешествия на квадроциклах. Это место дарит сюрреалистический опыт знакомства с пустыней Намиб, пейзажи которой поражают своей красотой. Предлагают даже сплавы по реке, кишащей крокодилами! И какой бы вид отдыха вы ни выбрали, заботливый персонал позаботится о наличии охлажденных напитках и шампанском в дороге. Да, и по части организации романтических вечеров тут им равных нет. Но не буду выдавать все секреты — пусть это останется приятной тайной для тех из вас, что поедет туда в ближайшее время. К слову, если лодж относится к системе Wilderness Safaris, для меня это всегда показатель высокого уровня обслуживания. И все же самой драгоценной возможностью, которую предоставляет лодж, является перспектива общения с племенем химба. Химба — одна из моих самых любимых народностей, самобытное племя, находившееся практически на грани исчезновения в 80-х годах прошлого века. Сейчас их численность колеблется в пределах 20-45 тыс. человек. Племя химба стоит увидеть, и не просто увидеть, но познакомиться с ним поближе. Ведь его присутствие на этой планете так же хрупко, как и уникальная экосистема этого района Намибии. По сути, химба — кочевой народ, живущий семьями-кланами, которые иногда образуют небольшие деревни. Эти люди полностью зависят от условий выгула скота. Женщинам порой приходится преодолевать многокилометровый путь в поисках воды. А дети с раннего возраста пасут скот в десятках километрах от основной деревни. Вообще всю саму тяжелую работу в племени, как правило, выполняют женщины и дети. Мужчины химба мало чем отличаются от прочих африканцев, а вот женщины обладают уникальным обликом, присущим только химба. Наготу они прикрывают лишь своеобразными юбками из козлиной кожи, а свои красивые и пропорционально сложенные тела и роскошные волосы покрывают специальной смесью из охры, жира и пепла. Для химба это не только прекрасная защита от солнца и насекомых, но и своего рода макияж. Часто вместо парфюма женщины используют смолу кустарника омузумба, произрастающего здесь же на дюнах. Кстати, вытяжку из этого самого растения добавляет в свои ароматы дом Chanel. А еще женщины химба щедро украшают тела различными изделиями из кожи, бисера, жемчуга и меди. По этим украшениям можно определить их социальное и семейное положение.В силу крайне тяжелых условий существования в пустыне Намиб, химба удалось сохранить и пронести свой традиционный образ жизни через века. Живут они во времянках, спят на козьих шкурах, а из всех благ цивилизации используют только табак, одеяла, пластиковые бутылки и целлофановые мешки для сбора воды. У химба есть свой собственный язык — оджихимба — и богатый набор песен и танцев. С грустью покидаем этот невероятно интересный район и отправляемся в Национальный парк Этоша. Вообще в Намибии огромное количество национальных парков, но я выбрала Этоша, потому что именно это мест сочетает в себе зрелищность, доступность и качество. Парк Этоша обладает развитой инфраструктурой, включая заправки, магазинчики, рестораны, кемпы и прочее, что делает удобным как самостоятельное передвижение по нему на автомобиле, так и путешествие со специально обученными рейнджерами. Природный заповедник изобилует лоджами на любой вкус и кошелек. В общем, какой бы лодж вы ни выбрали — не прогадаете, ведь в любой части парка обитает множество животных, и вы гарантировано увидите «большую пятерку». Приятно, что можно наблюдать за зверями, потягивая холодное шампанское, со специально оборудованных площадок около солончаков, куда животные приходят на водопой. А потом вы сможете обсудить увиденное за ужином, в атмосфере африканской роскоши, дегустируя прекрасные южноафриканские вина. Следующий пункт назначения — национальный парк Намиб-Науклюфт, глиняное плато Соссусфлей. Это мое самое любимое место в Намибии и самая знаменитая мертвая долина на земле, пустынный край с высочайшими дюнами в мире, расположенный в окружении живописных равнин и доломитовых гор. Особенно красивым и удивительным делают плато разноцветные пески, ведь в зависимости от времени суток и освещения цветовая палитра меняется с бордовой на нежно-розовую. На плато Соссусфлей в полной гармонии сосуществуют пространство, солнце и ветер. Бескрайние поля, на которых исполняют свои брачные танцы страусы, дарят ощущение невероятного счастья. Тут я встречала самые яркие рассветы и провожала удивительные закаты, раскрашенные в психоделические тона. Если верить в жизнь после смерти, то я, несомненно, хотела бы, чтобы мой рай выглядел именно так. Лучший в этой местности лодж — Little Kullala. Благодаря аутентичности и
минималистичности деревянные коттеджи элегантно вписываются в дюны, которые, кстати, я советую осмотреть с воздушного шара. Даю гарантию, что это одно самых из ярких зрелищ не только в Намибии, но и на всем
африканском континенте. После воздушного приключения завтрак будет сервирован прямо посреди поля, и вы сможете поглощать вкуснейшие мясные деликатесы, например, вяленое мясо зебры (!), и свежайшие фермерские
продукты в окружении прогуливающихся поблизости антилоп. Такой завтрак вы точно никогда не забудете. Да, и не удивляйтесь, если вечером по дороге в свой номер вы встретите шакала или коричневую степную гиену. Но не стоит пугаться, они совершенно не опасны, и рыщут в окрестностях лоджа в поисках чего-нибудь съестного — привлеченные запахом свежеприготовленного ужина. Одним словом, африканский дизайн Little Kulala прекрасно сочетается с европейскими стандартами качества. И это еще одно прекрасное открытие от Wilderness Safaris: цены в Little Kulala полностью соответствуют уровню сервиса, а эмоции, полученные здесь сегодня, завтра станут прекрасными воспоминаниями об удивительной, ни на что не похожей стране, в которой приключения начинаются прямо на борту самолета. Да, я ведь позабыла сказать, что международный аэропорт Виндхука находится по соседству с частным национальным парком, а значит, диких животных можно увидеть уже из иллюминатора!


Полиция Либерии применила огнестрельное оружие против противников карантина

Video - Ebola quarantine chaos: police fire on desperate  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z82qDZXs8L4
Правоохранительные органы Либерии жестко разогнали демонстрацию противников введенного карантина в стране. Протестующие требовали выпустить родных и близких из зоны карантина, который введен в связи с
распространением смертоносной лихорадки Эбола. Против демонстрантов власти применили огнестрельное оружие и слезоточивый газ.

Лихорадка Эбола: Сенегал закрывает границу - Video



Spain, 2014, Ebola Patient

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-08-22-69966
Сенегал закрыл границу для прибывающих из Гвинеи, где зафиксирована вспышка болезни, вызванной вирусом Эбола. Ранее о временном закрытии границы с Нигерией для предотвращения распространения болезни объявили власти Камеруна. По той же причине Кения и ЮАР закрыли границу для пассажиров из Гвинеи, Либерии и Сьерра-Леоне. Как сообщалось, вспышка лихорадки Эбола началась в феврале 2014 года в Гвинее, позднее это заболевание распространилось на соседние Сьерра-Леоне и Либерию, напоминает ИТАР-ТАСС. По данным Всемирной организации здравоохранения, в настоящее время наличие вируса Эбола диагностировано у 2473 человек, еще 1350 случаев заболевания закончились летальным исходом. Наиболее опасная ситуация сложилась на западе Африки. Так, в Либерии жертвами нынешней вспышки лихорадки Эбола стали 576 человек, в Гвинее — 396, в Сьерра-Леоне — 374, в Нигерии — четверо.Health workers load Ebola patient, Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, into an ambulance on the tarmac of Torrejon airbase in Madrid, after he was repatriated from Liberia for treatment in Spain, August 7, 2014. Pajares, the first European infected by a strain of Ebola that has killed more than 932 people in West Africa, was stable in a Madrid hospital on Thursday after being airlifted from Liberia, health authorities said. Pajares, 75, was working for a non-profit...

Либерия вводит чрезвычайное положение из-за лихорадки Эбола - video

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-08-07-69316
Президент Либерии Эллен Джонсон-Серлиф объявила в среду о введении в стране режима чрезвычайного положения в связи с эпидемией лихорадки Эбола. Об этом говорится в официальном заявлении главы государства.
"Правительство и народ Либерии требуют чрезвычайных мер для выживания нашего государства и для защиты жизни наших людей, — сказала она. — Настоящим объявляю чрезвычайное положение на всей территории
Республики Либерия, оно вступает в силу с 6 августа 2014 года на период в 90 дней". Ранее Либерия закрыла почти все пограничные пропускные пункты, а также школы, чтобы предотвратить распространение вируса. В соседней с ней Сьерра- Леоне режим ЧП был введен 31 июля. Нынешняя эпидемия лихорадки Эбола началась в феврале в Гвинее, откуда вирус перекинулся на соседние Сьерра-Леоне и Либерию. По данным Всемирной организации здравоохранения, число жертв эпидемии в Западной Африке уже составило 932 человека. Еще более 1,7 тысяч человек заразились этим заболеванием, от которого не существует вакцины. Смертность от лихорадки достигает 90 процентов, однако в ходе нынешней вспышки она составляет около 55 процентов, сообщает ИТАР-ТАСС. В Нигерии жертвами лихорадки стали два человека, еще пятеро инфицированных находятся под наблюдением врачей. В Саудовской Аравии скончался мужчина, у которого были выявлены симптомы опасной болезни. В Испанию из Либерии доставили священника, у которого обнаружен смертоносный вирус, а в США врачи получили результаты анализов пациента с подозрением на Эболу. Как выяснилось, у мужчины нет этого заболевания.




В Тунисе в центре пустыни появилось загадочное озеро

video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D4al0vhC88

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-08-02-69124
В Тунисе пастухи обнаружили посреди пустыни пресное озеро. Пока учёные гадают, что могло стать причиной появления природного чуда, местные жители облюбовали водоём в 25 км от города Гафса и сделали из него место для пляжного отдыха. Вот уже три недели жители Туниса наслаждаются подарком природы – озером, которое появилось прямо посреди пустыни, сообщает The Independent. Его обнаружили пастухи в 25 км южнее от города Гафса. Пока учёные не могут дать объяснение, как такое количество воды могло появиться вдруг на поверхности. По одной из версий, оно стало результатом сейсмической активности. Уровень грунтовых вод резко повысился, и их часть вышла на поверхность. Местные власти поспешили предупредить жителей, что вода может быть опасной, и запретили купаться в нём. Но это не остановило сотни человек, которые не прекращают приезжать на его берега, чтобы поплавать, понырять с маской или аквалангом и позагорать. По приблизительным оценкам объём водоёма составляет около 1 млн кубических метров, которые распределены на поверхности более 1 гектара. Глубина озера от 10 до 18 метров.

Внезапно возникшее в Тунисе озеро может быть радиоактивным



Tunis, 2014, New Lake
http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-08-04-69173
Озеро, которое загадочным образом появилось в засушливом регионе Туниса в прошлом месяце, может быть радиоактивным. Крупный водоем в 25 км от города Гафса обнаружили местные пастухи почти три недели назад. С тех пор оазис, получивший название «Озеро Гафсы» или «Гафса-Бич», стал настоящим магнитом для сотен людей. На берегу новоявленного озера отдыхают семьями, молодежь прыгает в чистую воду с окружающих водоем скал, некоторые смельчаки плавают со скубой. Власти не предлагают никакого официального объяснения появлению озера, но местные геологи считают, что оазис обязан своим образованием сейсмической активности, из-за которой грунтовые воды поднялись на поверхность. Спустя две недели после обнаружения озера посреди пустыни управление по безопасности населения Гафсы предупредило тунисцев, что уникальный водоем может быть опасен и непригоден для купания. Регион, в котором находится озеро, богат фосфатами, а значит, вода в водоеме может быть зараженной или даже радиоактивной. У многих вызывает опасения и цвет озера, который сменился с чистого бирюзового на темно-зеленый. В водоеме начали цвести зеленые водоросли, а это означает, что вода в озере застоялась и стала благоприятной средой для развития болезней. Но ввиду того, что официальный запрет на купание в озере так и не введен, тунисцы продолжают наслаждаться прохладной водой. Несмотря на предупреждения правительства, более 600 человек уже предприняли попытку нырнуть в удивительное озеро.


Ancient Karfagen - Tunis





Tunis winter, school boys



В Либерии больные лихорадкой Эбола разбежались во время атаки на центр карантина - video



http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-08-17-69756
В Либерии центр карантина для лиц, зараженных лихорадкой Эбола, подвергся нападению. В результате вооруженной атаки все 29 пациентов оказались на свободе. По словам очевидцев, в ночь на воскресенье, 17 августа, боевики сломали ворота карантинного центра и разгромили его территорию. Больные спаслись бегством, передает ИТАР-ТАСС. От вируса Эболы в мире погибли уже свыше тысячи человек. Общее число заболевших, по самым скромным оценкам, исчисляется двумя тысячами. Лекарства от лихорадки пока не придумали. Всемирная организация здравоохранения разрешила лечить больных экспериментальными вакцинами, которые не прошли клинических испытаний.

В Либерии расстреляли людей пытающихся покинуть район заражения Эболой





Africa, 2014, Liberia - Ebola Epidemics




http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-08-21-69907
Полиция Либерии обстреляла участников акции протеста, которые вышли на улицы после введения карантина в одном из районов столицы страны Монровии. В результате, ранения получили четыре человека, в из числе один ребенок. «Солдаты используют боевые патроны, при этом они соблюдают все правила. Они не стреляют в мирных граждан. Каждое пулевое ранение будет зафиксировано медиками», — сообщила представитель армии Дессалин Элисон. Акции протеста начались 20 августа после того, как власти приняли решение заблокировать дороги, ведущие в район Вест Поинт, где был введен карантин для предотвращения распространение лихорадки Эбола. Сотрудники правоохранительных органов возвели баррикады из столов, стульев и колючей проволоки. Местные жители потребовали от полицейских выпустить их за пределы огороженной территории, но получив отказ, забросали их камнями. В ответ стражи порядка применили слезоточивый газ. В ВОЗ отмечают, что сегодня можно говорить о самой смертоносной вспышке Эбола в истории. Смертность среди заразившихся достигает 55-60%. Эпидемия затронула Сьерра-Леоне, Либерию, Гвинею и Нигерию. Число погибших в результате заражения геморрагической лихорадкой Эбола в Западной Африке возросло до 1350 человек. По данным агентства, всего за два дня, 17 и 18 августа, сразу в трех странах Западноафриканского региона: Либерии, Сьерра-Леоне и Гвинее, было зарегистрировано 106 новых смертей, спровоцированных вирусом Эбола. Об этом стало известно сегодня из распространенного заявления ВОЗ. За это же время, как сообщается, число новых случаев заражения увеличилось на 221.

Из-за угрозы распространения лихорадки Эбола в Либерии введен комендантский час - video







http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-08-20-69867
Для того, чтобы контролировать передвижение населения в период сложной эпидемиологической ситуации, связанной со вспышкой лихорадки Эбола, правительство Либерии ввело в стране комендантский час. Он будет
действовать с с 21:00 до 06:00 по местному времени, сообщает ИТАР-ТАСС. Ранее, 6 августа, в Либерии был введен режим ЧП, который подразумевал строгий контроль на пограничных пунктах, ограничение поездок, запрет на
перемещение из одного города в другой. Все, кто подозревается на заражение вирусом Эбола, подлежат обязательной госпитализации. Также режим ЧП из-за угрозы смертельной лихорадки введен в Сьерра-Леоне, Нигерии и
Гвинее. Вирус уже диагностирован у 2240 человек, жертвами его стали 1229 человек. Из них 466 умерли в Либерии, 394 – в Гвинее, 365 – в Сьерра-Леоне, 4 – в Нигерии.

Первый больной с подозрением на лихорадку Эбола обнаружен в Бенине

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-08-08-69351
Эпидемия заболевания смертельно опасной лихорадкой Эбола охватывает все новые страны Западной Африки. Первый больной с подозрением на заражение вирусом госпитализирован в Бенине, передает агентство Reuters.
Глава Минздрава страны Доротея Газар сообщила, что больной является гражданином Нигерии, образцы его крови отправлены для анализа в Сенегал, сообщает РИА "Новости". По словам очевидцев, информация Минздрава
вызвала панику среди населения столицы Бенина города Котону. Многие жители заявили, что из-за опасений заражения собираются запастись продуктами и перестать покупать еду с уличных лотков. Вспышка лихорадки Эбола началась зимой в Западной Африке, с февраля были зафиксированы уже 1,7 тысячи заражений, скончались 932 человека. В числе стран, где зафиксирована эпидемия - Либерия, Гвинея, Сьерра-Леоне и Нигерия. Геморрагическая лихорадка Эбола - болезнь, которая может распространяться через прямой незащищенный контакт с кровью или выделениями инфицированного человека, а также в результате контактов с предметами, которые были загрязнены от зараженного человека. Специфического лечения лихорадки Эбола нет, над вакциной работают ученые разных стран. Между тем власти США решили отозвать семьи американских дипломатов из Либерии, где в четверг был объявлен режим чрезвычайного положения в связи с эпидемией, передает агентство AP. Госдепартамент еще раз повторил предостережение американского Минздрава, рекомендовавшего гражданам США воздержаться от посещения Либерии. По мнению специалистов, самим Соединенным Штатам эпидемия вируса Эбола не грозит. Директор американского Центра по контролю и профилактике заболеваний (CDC) Томас Фриден, выступая в Конгрессе, заявил о своей уверенности, что в США не может произойти вспышка лихорадки Эбола, хотя в стране могут быть зафиксированы зараженные вирусом больные, передает агентство Reuters. Фриден заявил, что в СDC, который входит в состав Минздрава США, в ответ на худшую в истории эпидемию лихорадки Эболы начал действовать чрезвычайный центр. В штаб-квартире центра в Атланте над проблемами болезни работают 200 сотрудников, а 50 экспертов СDC борются со вспышкой непосредственно в Западной Африке. Глава СDC также коснулся вопроса экспериментальной сыворотки, с помощью которой якобы удалось спасти жизни двух американцев, которые заразились вирусом в Либерии. Фриден отметил, что пока невозможно сказать, принесло ли это лечение пользу. Ранее сообщалось о том, что 33-летний американский доктор Кент Брэнтли и 59-летняя волонтерка, помогавшая больным, Нэнси Райтбол были доставлены в США.

Фармацевты не спешат разрабатывать вакцину против вируса Эбола



Africa - Ebola













http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-08-04-69174
Британский профессор Джон Эштон обвинил фармацевтические компании в том, что они не спешат разрабатывать вакцину против лихорадки Эбола, так как пока что она затронула лишь африканцев. Врач сравнил реакцию на вирус Эбола с реакцией на СПИД в США и Великобритании в 1980-е годы. "В случае со СПИДом понадобились годы исследований с серьезным финансированием, и только когда так называемые невинные группы оказались
затронуты (женщины и дети, пациенты с гемофилией и гетеросексуальные мужчины), вот тогда СМИ, политики, научное сообщество и организации, выделяющие гранты, встали и обратили внимание", — заявил Эштон.
"Мы должны ответить на это чрезвычайное положение так, будто оно в Кенсингтоне, Челси или Вестминстере (районы Лондона). Мы также должны разрешить скандал с нежеланием фармацевтической индустрии вкладываться в исследование лечения и вакцин. Это они отказываются делать, потому что цифры, по их масштабам, маленькие и не оправдывают вложений. Это моральное банкротство капитализма, действующего в отсутствие моральных и социальных рамок", — сказал профессор. Ранее сообщалось, что Всемирная организация здравоохранения (ВОЗ) намерена собрать 100 миллионов долларов на кампанию по борьбе с распространением вируса лихорадки Эбола в Африке. Число жертв вируса лихорадки Эбола на территории Сьерра-Леоне, Либерии, Гвинеи и Нигерии достигло 729. По данным ВОЗ, в общей сложности с февраля этого года было зафиксировано 1323 случая заражения. Геморрагическая лихорадка Эбола — смертельная болезнь, которая может распространяться через прямой незащищенный контакт с кровью или выделениями инфицированного человека, а также в результате контактов с предметами, которые были загрязнены от зараженного человека.





Лихорадка Эбола

ebola



video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2IUX9fZUgQ
http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-07-30-69004
Впервые вирус Эбола появился в 1976 году в двух одновременных вспышках болезни — в Нзаре, Судан, и в Ямбуку, Демократическая Республика Конго (ДРК). В последнем случае селение находилось рядом с рекой Эбола, откуда болезнь и получила свое название. Вирус Эбола принадлежит к семейству Filoviridae (филовирусы), в которое помимо него входят еще два вида: вирус Марбург (Marburgvirus) и вирус Лловиу (Cuevavirus). Существует пять подтипов вируса Эбола:
В отличие от видов Рестон и Таи Форест виды Бундибуджио, Заир и Судан были связаны с крупными вспышками БВВЭ в Африке. Вид вируса Эбола Рестон, обнаруженный на Филиппинах и в Китайской Народной Республике, может инфицировать людей, но на сегодняшний день среди людей не зарегистрировано случаев болезни или смерти.
Передача инфекции
Вирус Эбола передается людям при тесном контакте с кровью, выделениями, органами или другими жидкостями организма инфицированных животных. В Африке документально подтверждены случаи инфицирования людей в результате обращения с инфицированными шимпанзе, гориллами, плодоядными летучими мышами, обезьянами, лесными антилопами и дикобразами, обнаруженными мертвыми или больными во влажных лесах. Затем вирус
Эбола распространяется в сообществах людей путем передачи от человека человеку при тесном контакте (через нарушения кожного покрова или слизистую оболочку) с кровью, выделениями, органами или другими жидкостями организма инфицированных людей, а также при косвенном контакте со средами, загрязненными такими жидкостями. Погребальные обряды, при которых присутствующие на похоронах люди имеют прямой контакт с телом умершего, также могут играть роль в передаче вируса Эбола. Передача инфекции через инфицированную семенную жидкость может происходить вплоть до семи недель после клинического выздоровления. Работники
здравоохранения часто инфицируются вирусом Эбола во время обращения с больными БВВЭ и пациентами с подозрением на БВВЭ. Это происходит в результате тесных контактов с пациентами при недостаточно строгом
соблюдении норм инфекционного контроля. Среди работников, имевших контакты с обезьянами и свиньями, инфицированными вирусом Эбола Рестон, зарегистрировано несколько случаев инфицирования, которые протекали клинически бессимптомно. Таким образом, вирус Эбола Рестон в меньшей степени способен вызывать болезнь среди людей по сравнению с другими видами вируса Эбола. Однако имеющиеся фактические данные относятся только к здоровым взрослым мужчинам. Было бы преждевременным делать выводы в отношении воздействия этого вируса на здоровье всех групп населения, таких как люди с ослабленным иммунитетом, люди с уже имеющимися нарушениями здоровья, беременные женщины и дети. Для окончательных выводов в отношении патогенности и вирулентности вируса Эбола Рестон среди людей необходимы дополнительные исследования этого вируса.
Признаки и симптомы
БВВЭ является тяжелой острой вирусной инфекцией, часто сопровождающейся внезапным появлением лихорадки, сильной слабостью, мышечными болями, головной болью и болью в горле. За этим следуют рвота, диарея, сыпь, нарушения функций почек и печени и, в некоторых случаях, как внутренние, так и внешние кровотечения. Лабораторные тесты выявляют низкие уровни белых кровяных клеток и тромбоцитов наряду с повышенным содержанием ферментов печени. Люди остаются инфекционными до тех пор, пока их кровь и выделения содержат вирусы. У пациента с инфекцией, приобретенной в лабораторных условиях, вирус Эбола был изолирован из семенной жидкости даже на 61-й день после заболевания.
Инкубационный период (интервал между инфицированием и появлением симптомов) варьируется от 2 до 21 дня.
Диагностика
Прежде чем диагностировать БВВЭ, необходимо исключить следующие заболевания: малярия, брюшной тиф, шигеллез, холера, лептоспироз, чума, риккетсиоз, возвратный тиф, менингит, гепатит и другие вирусные геморрагические лихорадки. Окончательный диагноз вирусных инфекций Эбола может быть поставлен только в лабораторных условиях на основе проведения целого ряда различных тестов, таких как:
Тестирование образцов, взятых у пациентов, представляет чрезвычайно высокую биологическую опасность, и его можно проводить только в условиях максимальной биологической изоляции.
Вакцины и лечение
Лицензированной вакцины против БВВЭ до сих пор не существует. Проводятся испытания нескольких вакцин, но готовые для клинического использования вакцины отсутствуют. В тяжелых случаях требуется интенсивная поддерживающая терапия. Пациенты часто страдают от обезвоживания и нуждаются во внутривенных вливаниях или пероральной регидратации с помощью растворов, содержащих электролиты. Специальное лечение отсутствует. Проводится оценка новых лекарственных средств. Естественный хозяин вируса Эбола. Возможными естественными хозяевами вируса Эбола в Африке считаются плодоядные летучие мыши из родов Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti и Myonycteris torquata. Как следствие, географическое распределение вирусов Эбола может совпадать с ареалом этих плодоядных летучих мышей.
Вирус Эбола у животных
Хотя приматы и являются источником инфекции для людей, они считаются не резервуаром, а скорее случайным хозяином, как и люди. С 1994 года среди шимпанзе и горилл выявляются вспышки лихорадки Эбола, вызываемые видами Заир и Таи Форест. Вирус Эбола Рестон вызвал несколько тяжелых вспышек БВВЭ среди макак (Macaca fascicularis), содержащихся на фермах в Филиппинах, и среди обезьян, ввезенных из Филиппин в США в 1989, 1990 и 1996 годах и в Италию в 1992 году. С 2008 года вирусы Эбола Рестон выявлялись во время ряда вспышек смертельной болезни среди свиней в Китае и на Филиппинах. Зарегистрирована бессимптомная инфекция среди свиней, а инокуляция в экспериментальных целях, как правило, демонстрирует, что вирус Эбола Рестон не вызывает болезнь среди свиней.
Профилактика и борьба
Борьба с вирусом Эбола Рестон среди домашних животных. Вакцины против вируса Эбола Рестон для животных нет. Регулярная чистка и дезинфекция свиноводческих и обезьяньих ферм (с использованием гипохлорита натрия или других моющих средств) считаются эффективными средствами для инактивации вируса. При подозрении на вспышку болезни территория должна быть немедленно закрыта на карантин. Для снижения риска передачи инфекции от животных человеку может потребоваться забой инфицированных животных и тщательный контроль за погребением или кремацией туш. Ограничение или запрещение передвижения животных из инфицированных ферм в другие районы может уменьшить масштабы распространения болезни. Учитывая тот факт, что вспышки Эбола Рестон среди свиней и обезьян предшествуют случаям инфицирования людей, создание системы активного надзора за здоровьем животных с целью выявления новых случаев заболевания крайне важно для обеспечения раннего предупреждения ветеринарных служб и органов общественного здравоохранения.
Снижение риска инфицирования людей вирусом Эбола
В отсутствие эффективного лечения и вакцин для людей повышение информированности в отношении факторов риска инфицирования вирусом Эбола и индивидуальных мер защиты является единственным путем сокращения заболеваемости и смертности среди людей. В Африке во время вспышек БВВЭ сообщения для санитарного просвещения населения, направленные на снижение риска, должны охватывать несколько факторов. Снижение риска передачи инфекции от диких животных человеку в результате контактов с инфицированными плодоядными летучими мышами или обезьянами/приматами и потребления их сырого мяса. С животными необходимо обращаться в перчатках и другой надлежащей защитной одежде. Перед употреблением в пищу их продукты (кровь и мясо) необходимо подвергать тщательной тепловой обработке. Снижение риска передачи инфекции от человека человеку в отдельных сообществах в результате прямого или тесного контакта с инфицированными пациентами, особенно с жидкостями их организма. Необходимо избегать тесного физического контакта с пациентами, инфицированными вирусом Эбола. При уходе за больными в домашних условиях необходимо надевать перчатки и надлежащие средства индивидуальной защиты. После посещения больных родственников в больницах и ухода за больными в домашних условиях необходимо регулярно мыть руки. Сообщества, пораженные лихорадкой Эбола, должны информировать население о характере болезни и о мерах по сдерживанию вспышки, включая кремацию умерших. Люди, умершие от лихорадки Эбола, должны быть безотлагательно и безопасно погребены. Свиноводческие фермы в Африке могут способствовать усилению инфекции по причине присутствия на таких фермах плодоядных летучих мышей. Необходимо принимать надлежащие меры обеспечения биологической безопасности для ограничения распространения вируса. В отношении вируса Эбола Рестон сообщения для санитарного просвещения должны быть направлены на снижение риска передачи инфекции от свиньи человеку в результате небезопасных методов животноводства и забоя, а также небезопасного потребления свежей крови, сырого молока или тканей животных. При обращении с больными животными или их тканями и при забое животных необходимо надевать перчатки и другую надлежащую защитную одежду. В районах, где вирус Эбола Рестон регистрируется среди свиней, все продукты животного происхождения (кровь, мясо и молоко) перед употреблением в пищу необходимо подвергать тщательной тепловой обработке.
Инфекционный контроль в медицинских учреждениях
Передача вируса Эбола от человека человеку происходит главным образом в результате прямого или косвенного контакта с кровью и другими жидкостями организма. Передача инфекции работникам здравоохранения
регистрируется в случаях несоблюдения надлежащих мер инфекционного контроля. БВВЭ с трудом поддается выявлению у пациентов, поскольку первоначальные симптомы являются неспецифическими. По этой причине важно, чтобы медицинские работники при выполнении любых функций и при уходе за любыми пациентами постоянно принимали стандартные меры предосторожности. К ним относятся базовая гигиена рук и органов дыхания, использование средств индивидуальной защиты (в зависимости от риска разбрызгивания или иных путей контакта с инфицированными материалами), осуществление безопасных инъекций и безопасное погребение умерших.
Работники здравоохранения, осуществляющие уход за пациентами с предполагаемой или подтвержденной вирусной инфекцией Эбола, должны, помимо стандартных мер предосторожности, принимать меры инфекционного
контроля для предотвращения какого-либо воздействия на них крови и жидкостей организма пациента и/или прямого незащищенного контакта с возможно загрязненной окружающей средой. При тесном контакте (ближе одного
метра) с больным БВВЭ медицинские работники должны носить защиту для лица (лицевой щиток или медицинскую маску и очки), чистый нестерильный халат с длинными рукавами и перчатки (для некоторых процедур –
стерильные). Лабораторные работники также подвергаются риску. С образцами, взятыми для диагностики у людей и животных с подозрением на лихорадку Эбола, должен обращаться персонал, прошедший специальную
подготовку, в надлежащим образом оборудованных лабораториях.
Деятельность ВОЗ
ВОЗ предоставляет технические знания и документацию для поддержки расследования и борьбы с болезнью. Рекомендации по инфекционному контролю при уходе за пациентами с предполагаемой или подтвержденной
геморрагической лихорадкой Эбола содержатся в «Предварительных рекомендациях по инфекционному контролю при уходе за пациентами с предполагаемой или подтвержденной геморрагической лихорадкой, вызванной
филовирусами (Эбола, Марбург)», март 2008 года. Ведется работа по актуализации этого документа. ВОЗ разработала памятку о стандартных мерах предосторожности в области здравоохранения (также актуализируется).
Стандартные меры предосторожности предназначены для уменьшения риска передачи переносимых с кровью и других патогенов. Меры предосторожности, при условии их всеобщего применения, позволяют предотвратить
большинство случаев передачи инфекции в результате контакта с кровью и другими жидкостями организма. Стандартные меры предосторожности рекомендуются при уходе и лечении всех пациентов независимо от их
инфекционного статуса, предполагаемого или подтвержденного. Они включают базовый уровень инфекционного контроля: гигиену рук, использование средств индивидуальной защиты для предотвращения прямого контакта с кровью и жидкостями организма, предотвращение уколов иглами и травм от других острых инструментов, а также ряд мер по охране окружающей среды.

Корпус мира отзывает сотрудников из Западной Африки из-за вируса Эбола


http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-07-31-69019
Руководство американской благотворительной организации Корпус мира приняло решение о приостановке своей деятельности в Гвинее, Либерии и Сьерра-Леоне в связи с угрозой распространения эпидемии геморрагической лихорадки Эбола. По данным агентства, которое ссылается на официальное заявление организации, ее сотрудники намерены "пристально следить" за ситуацией с распространением в регионе Западной Африки смертельной
лихорадки, а также вести консультации по данному вопросу с Центром по контролю и профилактике заболеваний и госдепартаментом страны. Пока остается неясным, когда именно Корпус мира намерен возобновить свою работу в Западной Африке. "Корпус мира имеет долгую историю сотрудничества с властями и народом Либерии, Сьерра-Леоне, а также Гвинеи, и решительно намерен продолжать свою волонтерскую деятельность в этих странах", сообщается в заявлении организации. Согласно последним данным Всемирной организации здравоохранения (ВОЗ), в общей сложности с февраля этого года в этих трех странах было зафиксировано 1093 случая заражения смертельной лихорадкой, из которых 660 привели к смерти больных. Геморрагическая лихорадка Эбола — смертельная болезнь, которая распространяется через прямой незащищенный контакт с кровью или выделениями инфицированного человека, а также в результате контактов с предметами, которые были загрязнены от зараженного человека. Вакцины против этой болезни не существует.


Либерия закрывает границы из-за распространения лихорадки Эбола


Liberia, Ebola Epidemics

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-07-28-68850
Власти Либерии закрыли в воскресенье, 27 июля, большинство пограничных пунктов, рассчитывая тем самым остановить распространение лихорадки Эбола, уже унесшей не менее 660 жизней.
Случаи заболевания зарегистрированы и в других африканских странах - Гвинее, Сьерра-Леоне. Появились сообщения о первом случае заболевания лихорадкой эбола в Лагосе - крупнейшем городе Африки, где проживает 21 млн человек. "Будут закрыты все пограничные переходы, за исключением наиболее крупных. В них же будут открыты центры досмотра прибывающих и убывающих граждан на предмет выявления у них симптомов лихорадки Эбола", - объявила президент Либерии Эллен Джонсон Серлиф. Вводятся также ограничения на такие массовые мероприятия, как марши, демонстрации, коммерческие увеселительные праздники. "Вне всяких сомнений, вирус Эбола стал национальной проблемой в области здравоохранения Либерии, - добавила Джонсон Серлиф. - И мы начинаем замечать, что это заболевание наступает на привычный нам уклад жизни, угрожая серьезными экономическими и социальными последствиями". Вспышка заболевания возникла в январе в Гвинее и распространилась на соседние страны. Она уже стала самой смертельной и длительной за всю историю Африки. Ранее печальный рекорд принадлежал Демократической Республике Конго (ДРК), где в 1995 году от болезни погибли 254 человека. Против лихорадки нет вакцины. Смертность достигает 90 процентов. Впервые вирус появился в 1976 году в ДРК, в селении на берегу реки Эбола, откуда и получил название. Нынешняя вспышка является первой в истории на западе Африки. Ранее смертельная лихорадка отмечалась только в центре континента. Туроператоры не предлагают россиянам запад Африки. В связи со стремительным ростом заболеваемости лихорадкой Эбола в начале июля Роспотребнадзор России сообщил, что российским гражданам, выезжающим в западноафриканские страны, следует соблюдать осторожность. При этом в офисах туроператорских компаний заявили, что российским туристам не предлагают поездки в страны Африки, в которых была зафиксирована лихорадка Эбола, передавал "Интерфакс". В частности, в компании "Виза Конкорд" отметили низкий спрос на туры в экзотические африканские страны. "Спрос не очень большой. В основном спрашивают поездки на высокие даты, на Новый год, а среди года редко спрашивают. В "дикую" Африку, ЮАР, Кению, Мозамбик редко ездят", - пояснил собеседник агентства. Он отметил, что компания информирует туристов об эпидемии лихорадки Эбола. "Во многих африканских странах прививки обязательны. Без них не пустят в страну", - добавил представитель компании (напомним, что против вируса Эбола нет вакцины, - Прим. NEWSru.com). В компании Mama Africa отметили, что основной спрос приходится на юг и восток Африки, в частности, ЮАР с примыкающими странами, а также Кению и Танзанию. Эти страны удалены от Гвинеи, Сьерра-Леоне и Либерии, в которых зафиксирована лихорадка Эбола. Этот оператор не предлагает туда туры. "Это западная Африка. Там спроса нет, и рынка нет практически", - сказал представитель компании.

Первый случай заражения лихорадкой Эбола зафиксирован в Сенегале

video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjP26adrQFQ

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-08-30-70315
Заболевший является гражданином Уганды. Ранее сообщалось, что Сенегал закрыл сухопутную границу с Гвинеей из-за опасений распространения вируса Эбола. Медики Сенегала зафиксировали первый случай заражения
лихорадкой Эбола в стране, сообщает в пятницу агентство Рейтер со ссылкой на министра здравоохранения страны. Как отмечается, заболевший является гражданином Уганды. Ранее сообщалось, что Сенегал закрыл сухопутную границу с Гвинеей из-за опасений распространения вируса Эбола. Морские и воздушные границы Сенегала были закрыты для судов и самолетов из Гвинеи, Либерии и Сьерра-Леоне. По данным всемирной организации здравоохранения (ВОЗ), в настоящее время зафиксировано более 3 тысяч случаев заражения смертельно опасным вирусом Эбола, из них 1552 — со смертельным исходом. ВОЗ опасается, что число заразившихся может превысить в ближайшее время планку в 20 тысяч. Случаи заболевания ранее были зафиксированы в Либерии, Сьерра-Леоне, Гвинее, Нигерии и Демократической Республике Конго. Лечения лихорадки Эбола или эффективной вакцины против нее не существует, но после вспышки болезни о разработке перспективных препаратов сообщали производители в США, Японии и Канаде. ВОЗ признала этичным использовать экспериментальные лекарства для лечения болезни.


Грузовой самолет упал на здание в Найроби, Кения

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-07-02-67714
На здание в столице Кении упал грузовой самолет, сообщает РИА Новости. Катастрофа произошла сразу же после того, как лайнер вылетел из международного аэропорта Найроби. Fokker 50 с четырьмя людьми на борту рухнул на коммерческое здание рядом со школой для тренировок наземного персонала. На место происшествия выехали две бригады скорой. Данных о погибших и пострадавших пока нет.

Пропал самолет Алжирских авиалиний: на борту было более 100 пассажиров

http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-07-24-68721
Авиакомпания Air Algerie заявила, что потеряла связь с самолетом, следовавшим из столицы Буркина-Фасо, передает агентство Франс Пресс со ссылкой на авиакомпанию. «Службы воздушной навигации потеряли контакт с
самолетом, который вылетел в четверг из Уагадугу в Алжир», - говорится в заявлении компании. Сообщается, что связь пропала через 50 минут после взлета.

Наводнение в Нигерии



http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-07-03-67835
В южном нигерийском штате Анамбра, а именно, в коммуне Отоло Нневи, произошло сезонное наводнение. Поднявшаяся до критического уровня вода захватила площадь нескольких жилых кварталов, разрушила множество хижин и хозяйственных построек. Жертвами воды также стали несколько десятков домашних животных и птицы. Больше всего разрушений наводнение оставило в области рядом с церковь Св. Фомы и в кварталах на пересечении улиц Игве Оризу и Эгбу Отоло Нневи. В этом году в регионе наводнения после ливней происходят не первый раз, и постоянно от них страдает жилой фонд юга. Однако ни местные ни федеральные власти пока не предприняли каких- либо существенных действий для исправления ситуации. Дренажные системы в своем большинстве остаются неисправными, а многие из домов так и не выведены из аварийного состояния, хотя давно уже не соответствуют стандартам строительства. Кроме подъема воды ливни спровоцировали перебои и отключение электричества на несколько часов. Подача энергии была восстановлена практически полностью, однако, жертвам наводнения так и не оказали должной помощи, не выделили нужный объем продуктов и воды. В ближайшее время планируется провести реконструкцию затопленных дорог.


Всемирная организация здравоохранения призвала принять "экстренные меры" для спасения африканцев от лихорадки Эбола



http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-06-27-67479
Для спасения жителей Западной Африки от смертоносной лихорадки Эбола, которая уже унесла жизни нескольких сотен человек, мировому сообществу необходимо принять "экстренные меры". К таком выводу пришли
специалисты из Всемирной организации здравоохранения после исследования обстановки в Гвинее, Сьерра-Леоне и Либерии. В сообщении на сайте ВОЗ по поводу ситуации в Западной Африке говорится, что за последние
несколько недель смертоносная болезнь не только унесла жизни десятков африканцев, но и увеличила площадь своего распространения. Согласно последним данным, число случаев заражения лихорадкой возросло до 635. При этом 399 из них оказались смертельными. Во Всемирной организации здравоохранения заявили, что вспышка лихорадки в Африке уже не является бедствием для какой-то одной страны, заболевание приняло "субрегиональный" характер, которое требует "принятия экстренных мер со стороны правительств и партнеров". В ВОЗ выразили обеспокоенность в связи с распространением лихорадки на новые регионы. В связи с этим, как полагают в организации, необходимо "активизировать усилия реагирования". В частности, предлагается начать широкое сотрудничество по обмену информацией о выявлении симптомов заболевания на новых территориях и "мобилизовать все слои общества, чтобы обеспечить беспрепятственный доступ в пострадавшие районы". На днях в организации "Врачи без границ" признали, что медики более не в состоянии контролировать распространение заболевания. Представители медицинской организации также отмечали, что "масштабы нынешней эпидемии Эбола оказались беспрецедентны". Специалисты "Врачей без границ", так же как и сотрудники ВОЗ, не исключали возможности распространения заболевания на новые регионы. Вирус лихорадки Эбола был обнаружен на территории нынешней Демократической Республики Конго в 1976 году. Последняя крупная вспышка болезни произошла в Конго в 2007 году. Тогда жертвами заболевания стали 187 человек. Врачи отмечают, что от лихорадки Эбола не существует ни вакцины, ни эффективных методов лечения этого заболевания. По статистике, от 25 до 90% инфицированных умирают. Болезнь передается воздушно-капельным путем и при контакте с биологическими жидкостями. Симптомы заболевания - рвота, понос, лихорадка, головные боли и боли в мышцах. Вирус отключает способность крови к свертыванию, в результате пациенты часто страдают от внутренних и внешних кровотечений. Чаще всего заболевают люди в возрасте от 15 до 59 лет, многие умирают в течение 10 дней. В Гвинее случаи заражения вирусом были впервые зафиксированы в начале февраля 2014 года, после чего почти полтора месяца ушло на лабораторные исследования, необходимые для подтверждения наличия у пациентов именно этого заболевания. Время для борьбы с эпидемией было упущено, в результате чего лихорадка распространилась и на территории соседних Либерии и Сьерра-Леоне.

Comments: веник - Только вчера смотрел фильмец о сокращении населения и биооружии, а занимаются этим весьма конкретные люди среди которых Билл Гейтс с его Фондом Билла и Мелинды Гейтс по Африке.

ВОЗ предупреждает граничащие с Гвинеей страны о распространении вируса Эбола



http://earth-chronicles.ru/news/2014-07-01-67676
Западные африканские страны должны подготовиться к возможному заносу вируса геморрагической лихорадки Эбола. Особенно высок риск распространения инфекции в граничащих с пораженной вирусом Гвинеей Сенегале, Гвинее-Бисау, Мали и Кот-д’Ивуаре, сообщает пресс-служба ВОЗ. "Граничащим с Гвинеей государствам необходимо быть готовым к тому, что инфицированные люди могут приехать на их территорию, и, тем самым занести вирус", — заявил представитель ВОЗ. В ВОЗ признают, что сдержать распространение вируса крайне сложно, так как местные жители не особо доверяют иностранным врачам, не понимают, насколько заразно заболевание, и продолжают соблюдать традиционные обряды при захоронении умерших от лихорадки. Во время прощания родственники  контактируют с телом умершего, а потом заболевают сами. С начала марта, когда вирус Эбола стал активно распространяться сначала в Гвинее, а затем в соседних Сьерра-Леоне и Либерии, зафиксировано уже 635 заразившихся лихорадкой Эбола, 399 человек погибли. Напомним, на прошлой неделе ВОЗ призвала государства объединить усилия и принять совместные меры по борьбе с опасным заболеванием. "Это больше не вспышка заболевания в какой-то определенной стране, это субрегиональная проблема, которая требует правительственных действий. ВОЗ серьезно обеспокоена передачей вируса в соседние страны и вероятностью дальнейшего распространения инфекции", — заявил региональный директор ВОЗ в Африке Луис Самбо.



News from Africa (in english)

Tanzania


Jambiani Beach, Tanzania



Africa, Tanzania Women

http://www.bbc.com/travel/slideshow/20140626-the-stories-and-secrets-of-fez
Jambiani Beach, Tanzania. Even among Zanzibar’s embarrassment of powder-sand riches, Jambiani beach is a clear standout. Located on the island’s east coast, which is protected by offshore reefs, the beach is a long, palm-fringed sweep of fine coral sand sloping ever-so-gradually into a startlingly turquoise sea. This mesmerising landscape, one of the quietest places on the east coast, is also a good introduction to the age-old rhythms of rural Zanzibari life. Spread before the fishing village of Jambiani, a somnolent, sun-baked collection of coral and thatched houses, it’s animated by the daily routines of inhabitants. During the day, women gather seaweed and lay it in the sun to dry, ngalawa (outrigger canoes) bob in the shallows just offshore, and, at sunset, fishermen in dhows sail towards the reefs, the silhouettes of their triangular sails serrating the sky. Hitch a ride with one for unbeatable vistas of both beach and sea shimmering in the setting sun.

The last unexplored side of the Serengeti, Tanzania









Africa - Tanzania - Serengeti
http://www.bbc.com/travel/feature/20140930-the-last-unexplored-side-of-the-serengeti
14 November 2014
Although it's most famous for felines, the area is home to grazing animals like the elephant, too. Wildlife-rich Serengeti is deservedly Tanzania's most popular park, but with that celebrity comes a catch: crowds. Nearly 200,000 safari-goers pour in
each year, cameras held high, their jeeps jockeying for position near anything with four legs. Eastern Serengeti's Soit Le Motonyi region, re-opened after a 20-year hiatus, is exactly the opposite: unspoiled, undriven, unphotographed and most
definitely unpeopled. This land, where the short grasses of the plains meet the acacia woodlands, is virtually unknown to anyone save a handful of researchers, most of whom have been here studying cats. Big cats. A big cat stalks the Soit Le
Motonyi plains. Since 1966, in one of the longest continuous field studies of the species, more than 200 individual lions from 12 prides have been identified in these eastern grasslands (and about 2,800 live in the whole south-eastern region). Cheetah studies ongoing since 1976 estimate that 50 to 80 adults roam Soit Le Motonyi and its surrounding areas. And the land is also home to leopards, servals, 30-strong packs of hyena and commonly-found grazers such as elephant, giraffe, zebra, waterbuck, steenbok and warthog. Although it's most famous for felines, the area is home to grazing animals like the elephant, too. But it’s because of those big cats that Soit Le Motonyi was closed for nearly 20 years. Experts identified the area as an environmentally fragile cheetah breeding ground, and a 1996 management plan aimed to protect the vulnerable species by banning jeep-led safaris, which could interrupt hunts or scare and separate families. Marking this region out of bounds for decades worked: cheetah – and all the big cats in Soit Le Motonyi – are now thriving, so much that the Tanzania National Parks Authority has opened the area to a limited number of visitors.  As a result, Soit Le Motonyi is now one of the best – and least crowded – places to see cheetah in the Serengeti and perhaps the world.
"When I was young and first saw these plains, I imagined that if I could reach the end I could touch the sky," murmured our guide Erasto Macha. Among the first to visit, we were in the middle of an hour-and-a-half drive from the busy Seronera airstrip to Soit Le Motonyi’s sole accommodation, a new mobile camp operated by Asilia Africa called Namiri Plains. The farther we went, the emptier the roads became; many were barely tire-marked.Soit Le Motonyi, Serengeti, Namiri Plains, Africa. Namiri Plains provides the only accommodation in Soit Le Motonyi. The path wound past dramatic kopjes (granite outcrops) that are a favourite haunt for lion prides. We caught a flash of one dark-maned predator snoozing atop a jutting ledge, and watched another three lions chasing a foe and a lioness across the plains, intermittent roars thundering in the distance. Luckily, their pursuit took them far from the camp. Soit Le Motonyi, Serengeti, Africa, Namiri Plains. A lion pride rests in Soit Le Motonyi. Designed to harmonize with its untouched surrounds, Namiri Plains comprises just six luxury canvas tents, camouflaged among tall acacia trees. There are no fences, and because the nearest camp is 70km away, no lights from other lodges flicker in the distance at night. Animals waltz through the campground at all hours (guests are escorted by trained guards after dark). Namiri, Swahili for "big cat", has already seen a number of big cats in its short stint on Soit Le Motonyi grounds. Assistant manager Blessed Mpofu said he’s seen two cheetahs stroll right past guests at breakfast, and he once watched a roaring lion lope between two tents. For a few tense minutes, Mpofu even found himself trapped in his own tent when another lion passed "so close by I could hear him breathing", he recalled. What’s more, after the camp opened on 1 July, a sharp-eyed guest spotted a pangolin (a bizarre-looking scaly anteater) within the first week; more recently, two aardwolf were sighted nearby. (Of course, travellers are always protected within their tents, and staff are on high alert when animals are near.) Cheetah, Serengeti, Namiri Plains. A sinuous golden shape – a cheetah – slids out of the plains. On our last morning, we pushed open our tent doors to see three giraffes nibbling on nearby trees, the animals’ long necks weaving among the branches. Ten minutes after hopping into an open-air jeep for our morning game drive, we spotted a female lion lying in the grass, calling to her pride. That afternoon, a sinuous golden shape – a cheetah – slid out of the plains. We drove parallel to it for about 15 minutes, watching it prowl through the grasses, alert to every sound. When it finally disappeared from sight, we let out a collective breath. This was clearly big cat country, and we had just spent a quarter of an hour with one of its star residents. And other than the cheetah, there wasn’t another soul in sight.


Guinea


Nine die in Guinea boat sinking with 30 missing




Africa - 2014 - Guinea


http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29579067
11 October 2014
Rescue workers leave the coast to find the victims of a capsized boat in Conakry, 1 September 2012. Boat accidents are common in Guinea. An incident in August 2012 left about 30 dead. At least nine people have died in a boat accident in Guinea, with about 30 people still missing, officials and residents say. The boat capsized near the Forecariah district, in the country's south. Eighteen people on board were rescued. A local security source told AFP news agency that the boat had collided with a mining ship. Boat accidents are common off Guinea's coast, with overcrowding and poor safety standards thought to be factors. One incident in July 2012 killed at least 20 people, while another incident in August 2012 left about 30 dead. Boats are a common form of transport in the country's coastal areas. Guinea is among the west African countries currently battling an Ebola outbreak, which has killed over 4,000 people.

Benin

Benin country profile - Overview



Map - Africa, Benin



Africa - Benin, Boating Girl

http://m.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13037572
26 November 2014
Benin, formerly known as Dahomey, is one of Africa's most stable democracies. It boasts a proliferation of political parties and a strong civil society. On the economic side, however, the picture is less bright - Benin is severely underdeveloped, and corruption is rife. Benin's shore includes what used to be known as the Slave Coast, from where captives were shipped across the Atlantic. Elements of the culture and religion brought by slaves from the area are still present in the Americas, including voodoo. Once banned in Benin, the religion is celebrated at the country's annual Voodoo Day, which draws thousands of celebrants. Before being colonised by France towards the end of the 1800s, the area comprised several independent states, including the Kingdom of Dahomey, which had a well-trained standing army and was geared towards the export of slaves and later palm oil. Instability marked the first years after full independence from France in 1960 and the early part of Mr Kerekou's rule featured Marxism-Leninism as the official ideology. However, during the 1980s Mr Kerekou resigned from the army to become a civilian head of state and liberalised the economy. While Benin has seen economic growth over the past few years and is one of Africa's largest cotton producers, it ranks among the world's poorest countries. The economy relies heavily on trade with its eastern neighbour, Nigeria. To the north, there have been sporadic clashes along Benin's border with Burkina Faso. The trouble has been blamed on land disputes between rival communities on either side of the border. Thousands of Togolese refugees fled to Benin in 2005 following political unrest in their homeland. Benin called for international aid to help it shelter and feed the exiles.


Behind the scenes of the royal court of Benin



http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29485333
7 October 2014
The secret ceremonies and intimate details of an ancient African empire are revealed in an exhibition of rare photographs in Washington. Chief Alonge was the official photographer of the royal court of Benin, now part of Nigeria. Beginning in 1933 and for more than half a century, he held an insider's view of palace life and Nigeria's transition from colonial rule to independence. His work helped establish photography as a new African art form. The photos will be on exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art until 13 September 2015.

Zimbabwe


Mugabe inauguration: New era or back to old days?



Africa - 2014 - Zimbabwe, Mugabe, Election Campain



http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-23788313
12 August 2013
Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. Mugabe has kept silent on the possibility of a new unity governmentHotels in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, are filling up with foreign dignitaries and the heavy security betrays the nature of the guests booked in.
About 40 heads of state and government will reportedly attend President Robert Mugabe's inauguration, but the hype that normally pre-empts such ceremonies is hardly discernible in the streets. The mood around the city - a stronghold of the
defeated Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party - will be a striking contrast to the rehearsed colourful celebrations inside a packed National Stadium, where each of the country's 10 provinces is sending in buses loaded with members of Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. The inauguration organisers have roped in several international performing artists, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and Jamaica. However, the MDC and its leader, outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, will not be attending, bitter about what they say was a "stolen, and rigged election".. The official word from MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti is that "we weren't invited for the ceremony and we are not attending. Even if we were invited, we weren't attending, it would be akin to legitimising an illegitimate process. No-one ever told us such an event was happening, and we don't know about it," he adds. Olive branch?
Post-election rancour is not dying away. Both party leaders have been trading insults. It is likely to cascade down, polarising supporters and the nation alike. Zanu-PF insiders are talking of the 89-year-old president working on a lasting legacy. There seems to be an underlying feeling this could be his last term. There is also talk of him reaching out to Mr Tsvangirai by offering a seat in a possible unity government - to build on the progress created by the coalition that governed Zimbabwe from 2009 until last month's disputed elections. But the MDC has indicated it is unwilling to continue its partnership with Zanu-PF."We will not do that," Mr Biti says. President Mugabe has kept silent on the possibility of a new unity government, keeping everyone guessing about his strategic plans. Analysts say he may offer an olive branch to the MDC to avoid political ructions. "He has to reach out as much as possible," says Shakespeare Hamauswa, a political science lecturer at University of Zimbabwe. "But he is not, however, obliged. Another unity government can work out if the MDC is willing, but from the look of things, it's not happening," he adds. Mr Mugabe's legacy, it appears, will now have to anchor on him leaving a peaceful country, while empowering his people and safeguarding Zimbabwe from perceived foreign threats. "He can still do what he wants, he has a clear two-thirds majority, controls local authorities, and he doesn't care," Mr Hamauswa says.




'Hard sell'
Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo says it is premature to discuss the nature and policy direction of the next government, but notes that it "will be different. We have graduated from a power-sharing government, we need to come up with new
policies, certainly," he says.Business, industry, and ordinary citizens are watching, gripped by anxiety, and foreign investors are concerned about the potential policy direction. John, 38, a taxi driver, who plies his trade opposite parliament, has seen his business go up and down. "We are not expecting much in the next five years," he says. "Clients I pick from the airport from outside the country are anxious about the business climate, whether it's going to change or not. But they don't seem to trust Mr Mugabe," he says. "During the World Cup (in 2010), business went up. But over the past years it was getting quiet. Given the concerns of people about the election, we are not going to see much changing in the business patterns," he adds. John isn't attending the inauguration. "I'm not really into politics or even excited about the event. But if you want me to take you there, we can go. But I don't think there is much in it," he says. The business community is keeping an eagle eye on the policy direction. Of particular interest, will be the inauguration speech itself. "Does it carry the nation forward or back, that is the question," says Professor Tony Hawkins, of the University of Zimbabwe Business School. He believes the business community is particularly concerned about the "policy direction the new cabinet is going to take because a lot of people are still sceptical. Even in the United States and the United Kingdom, President Mugabe remains a hard sell. We are wondering how he is going to implement most of his things he said during the campaign because there is no money," he adds.
Lack of ambiguity. Hours after President Mugabe controversial election victory was announced, Zimbabwe's stock exchange plunged, shedding 11% of its value. The policies of indigenisation, which allows foreign investors to relinquish 51% of their stake to locals, is "of major concern to many investors", Prof Hawkins says. The bourse reacted because most counters there were foreign-owned. And there are indications it will remain subdued for a long time. But one significant issue arising from the election is the lack of ambiguity. "We now have clarity on who is leading the country for the next term," says Farayi Dyirakumunda of African Investment Market. "The indigenisation policy will take centre stage and this will present an opportunity for some foreign investors looking at Zimbabwean assets to price in appropriate risk premiums in their capital budgeting or investment appraisal models," he says. "Such investors will participate if their return objectives can be met within the risk parameters they would have set. But another noteworthy aspect is that the economy will maintain a multi-currency regime, possibly during the entire term." Another key factor is the nature of the cabinet, which Mr Mugabe is expected to appoint a few days after his inauguration. That will, perhaps, give a hint of the policy direction his government will take for the next half-a-decade. He has five people from outside parliament whom he can bring into the government as non-constituency legislators.
Photos: Robert Mugabe holding ballons, Bottom: Left: Robert Mugabe with Queen Elizabeth II. Middle: A soldier holding a portrait of Robert Mugabe Right: Robert Mugabe talking into a microphone with the flag of Zimbabwe behind him Robert
Mugabe is turning 90 and a weekend of celebrations is planned in Zimbabwe to celebrate the president's long life. Born in the village of Kutama, south-west of the capital, he was educated by Jesuits and went on to become a teacher before joining the liberation struggle, spending 11 years in prison and becoming Zimbabwe's first leader in 1980. Robert Mugabe laughing while holding a glass in 1983. Robert Mugabe in 2009, with a skip in his step. Robert Mugabe pictured in 2007. Robert Mugabe in 1976. Sally Mugabe in 1955. Robert Mugabe and his wife and their two sons prepare to cut a birthday cake for Mr Mugabe's 85th birthday in 2009.




Mugabe turns 90: Nine things you may not know


21 February 2014
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-26257237
Here are nine things you may not know about him - and which may hold the key to his longevity.
1) Exercise and traditional food
"I fall sick if I don't exercise," Mr Mugabe said three years ago. Needing little sleep, he gets up between 04:00 and 05:00 every morning to exercise while, according to a close source, listening to the BBC World Service. But he's not fond of the gym machines his wife has installed in state house and prefers to follow his own regime: "In prison we had no equipment, we just had ourselves and that's what I still do today." Another secret to his long life may be that he prefers his sadza - Zimbabwe's staple food - to be made the traditional way from unrefined grains, which is much healthier, than the ubiquitous white version of the maize dish. Plus he doesn't smoke, although is known to have some wine with dinner.
2) Resurrection. Despite constant rumours of ill health - a Wikileaks cable suggested he has prostate cancer - his health and political career appear robust. Cataracts are his only confirmed ailment - he had an operation to remove one this week.
"I have died many times - that's where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once," he said when he turned 88. Men in Harare, Zimbabwe, near a poster with the headline: "Mugabe flies out for op" - February 2014. Although he was brought up a Catholic - his mother was very religious - he said in an interview with South Africa's public broadcaster SABC some years ago that he was not a devout Christian.
3) Great cricket fan. He has long professed his love of cricket. The patron of the Zimbabwe Cricket association, his official residence is right next to the Harare Sports Club, which allows the president to keep a watchful eye on the wicket during
national matches. Cricketers on the field at Harare Sports Club, Harare, Zimbabwe. "Cricket civilises people and creates good gentlemen," Mr Mugabe said several years after Zimbabwe became independent. " I want everyone to play cricket in
Zimbabwe; I want ours to be a nation of gentlemen."
4) Bad loser. As a boy, Robert Mugabe was a "keen and good" tennis player, said a student teacher at the Catholic mission, where he went to school. But when he lost he would throw his racket onto the ground. "You would see his head fall and his shoulders drop down and he would leave the court without saying anything to anybody," Brother Kazito Bute told Heidi Holland in her book Dinner With Mugabe. He's admitted he was a poor footballer when young, but now enjoys watching the game, being a self-confessed Chelsea and Barcelona fan. "When I watch soccer, I do not want anyone to disturb me," he said in 2012. "Even my wife knows where to sit, because while they are scoring in the field, I will also be scoring at home, kicking everything in front of me."
5) Prefers Cliff Richard to Bob Marley. The late Zimbabwean politician Edgar Tekere told the BBC's Brian Hungwe that when organising the independence celebrations in 1980, Mr Mugabe wasn't keen on having Bob Marley perform. The prime-
minister-in-waiting is said to have stated that British pop star Cliff Richard was much more to his taste. Journalist Wilf Mbanga, who knew Mr Mugabe well in the 1970 and 1980s, said country singer Jim Reeves was another favourite of the president. Others have speculated that Mr Mugabe would have wanted the more clean-cut Jamaican singer Jimmy Cliff to perform at the festivities on 18 April 1980. His dislike of Rastafarians is well-known - he once warned young Zimbabweans: "In Jamaica, they have freedom to smoke marijuana, the men are always drunk. Men want to sing and do not go to colleges, some then dreadlock their hair. Let's not go there."
6) Snappy dresser. Savile row suits, with matching tie and handkerchief, are what he is most comfortable in - and were his trademark, until his former spin doctor Jonathan Moyo gave him a makeover in the early 2000s and he started campaigning in brightly coloured shirts emblazoned with his face and sports caps. Now his signature has inspired a designer fashion range. Robert Mugabe dressed in his campaign kit attending a rally in Chitungwiza near Harare R: Robert Mugabe arriving at Harare airport after attending the UN general assembly in New York - 29 September 2008. But his Zimbabwean tailor Khalil "Solly" Parbhoo says: "He still dresses like an English gentleman - that's always been his style." He told Heidi Holland: "His suits were always made in London or I think somewhere in Malaysia, now that he isn't welcome in Britain anymore."
7) Admires Kwame Nkrumah. Then-Ghanaian Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah arrives at the Assembly House in Accra for the opening of the new Parliament and the declaration of Ghana's Independence by the Duchess of Kent, 7 March 1957.
Mr Mugabe's political awakening happened while in Ghana, where he was a teacher and met his first wife, Sally Hayfron. He arrived a year after pan-Africanist politician Kwame Nkrumah had led the Gold Coast to independence in 1957, the first sub-Saharan country to throw off the shackles of colonial rule. He said he was inspired by their liberation encapsulated in Ghana's Highlife music. On his return home two years later, he began politicising people. "I started telling people… how free the Ghanaians were, and what the feeling was in a newly independent African state," he said in an interview in 2003. "I told them also about Nkrumah's own political ideology and his commitment that unless every inch of African soil was free, then Ghana would not regard itself as free."
8) A man of many degrees. In total Mr Mugabe has seven degrees, first graduating from South Africa's University of Fort Hare, where Nelson Mandela studied, with a bachelor of arts. He did his other degrees by distance learning - two of them while he was in prison - in administration, education, science and law. Robert Mugabe in March 1984 after being awarded the Doctor Honoris Causa at the University of Harare Right: A supporter of Robert Mugabe attends his inauguration after presidential elections in Harare, Thursda, 22 August 2013. He has also boasted of leading a party with "degrees in violence" - in a warning to trade unionists before strikes in 1998. A violent crackdown on opposition activists amid the political turmoil of the last decade has led several universities to revoke honorary degrees awarded to him for his achievements. Queen Elizabeth II also stripped him of his honorary knighthood as "a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe".
9) Had a child aged 73. He has three children with his second wife Grace Marufu, his former secretary. The couple's third child, Chatunga, was born in 1997, a year after they were married. His first son, Nhamodzenyika, died of malaria at the age of three in Ghana. Mr Mugabe, then a prisoner of the Rhodesian government, was refused permission to join his wife Sally in Accra for the funeral.


Harare diary: Worries for the future







http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-23772177
22 August 2013
A 33-year-old professional living and working in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, has been writing an occasional diary for the BBC about life in the city over the election period - and how it has changed over the past four years since the period of record hyperinflation. In her last entry, Esther (not her real name) spoke of the shock many Harare residents felt about the election results, which saw the re-election of Robert Mugabe as president and gave his Zanu-PF party a majority in parliament. The poll also ended the power-sharing government between Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change, whose candidate Morgan Tsvangirai took 34% of the presidential vote. Here she gives her reaction to the forthcoming inauguration of President Mugabe. Diary entry:
It's been three weeks since elections which were won by a margin that was precisely predicted by The Herald in an edition just before the elections - 61%. I'm hard-pressed to find three in five people around me who say they voted Zanu-PF, but there we are. The president will be sworn in for a new five-year term. The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has given its seal of approval and made Zimbabwe vice-chair of the regional body. I hear that means we are on our way to becoming the next chairman. We've slowly recovered from our "results-induced illness" - a term coined by a colleague of mine. We don't have a choice, really. The regional, accredited observers are happy. The 37% of rural voters who were assisted to vote are insignificant. Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has withdrawn its poll-fraud petition before the Constitutional Court because the party does not have an electronic voters' roll with which to prove its case, three weeks after the polls. A supporter of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe posts a banner at stadium reading: "Now begins the empowerment revolution". Zanu-PF says its indigenisation plan is an empowerment revolution. I believe they were meant to have it days before the elections. So the mind of the ordinary Zimbabwean like me boggles. It seems so obvious that our election process was flawed and needed to be investigated. We had put all our hopes in Sadc, especially after Botswana publicly stated its reservations. But now that door is closed - no, sealed - to opposition parties in Zimbabwe. There is absolutely no mediation available on the regional front, absolutely none. We were debating what opposition parties should have done - either refused to participate in the elections, or rallied behind Mr Tsvangirai's party and fielded one set of candidates. A boycott would have crushed the people; voter turnout was higher than it's been in the recent past. Any concessions made during the era of government of national unity can be thrown out the window”. A concerted, combined effort may have worked better. Who knows? But then again when people ask who won a certain seat it is followed up by, "Did they really win or was it a Zanu win?" - meaning, did the people vote for him or was he set up to win. So you see this idea that this is a stolen victory persists. No-one can prove it, but people are convinced something happened. Why be worried that Zanu-PF is in power with a two-thirds majority in parliament? Well, they can rewrite the constitution any way they want. Any concessions made during the era of government of national unity can be thrown out the window. It will have to go to referendum but I think we all know how that will turn out. Economy concern. I'm worried about my country's future. Our government wants to take over 51% of all "foreign-owned" firms - that includes companies run by non-ethnic people even if their families have been here for the last five or six generations. Zimbabwean women shop for vegetables in Jambanja market in Seke, 58km south of Harare - 2 August 2013. Zimbabweans now use US dollars or South African rand as their currency. What does this teach our children?
Does it not give them a false sense of entitlement? That if someone looks different from you, they don't belong and they can't own anything - take it from them. Will we continue to see investment into our economy? Things had been slowly picking up over the last five years, but will they continue to do so now? Who knows? Maybe the next five years will prove me wrong.

Birth of a Mugabe dynasty in Zimbabwe?







http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29382685
The birth of a dynasty is not an easy thing to predict. But many Zimbabweans now seem preoccupied by the tantalising possibility that the Mugabes are seeking to join the list - admittedly a shrinking list - of families who have managed to pass the reins of power across the dinner table. President Robert Mugabe is 90. His second wife, Grace, is 49. Succession speculation has been a constant theme for years in Zimbabwe, but Grace Mugabe has only recently emerged as a possible contender. Outsiders are likely to have heard of the president's former secretary in exclusively dubious terms - for her allegedly extravagant shopping habits; for the incident when she punched a British journalist in Hong Kong; and other alleged excesses.Zimbabwe's state media, by contrast, have sought to highlight her devotion to charity work. The notion of a "President Grace" first gained currency in August when Mrs Mugabe - a political novice - was unexpectedly endorsed as the next leader of the governing Zanu-PF's Women's League - a powerful role - to be confirmed at the party's congress in December. Fuel was added to the fire this month when the first lady became Dr Mugabe - awarded a PhD in sociology just two months after enrolling at the University of Zimbabwe, and with her thesis curiously absent from the institution's online archives. When I rang up Zanu-PF's spokesman Rugare Gumbo for his analysis of Mrs Mugabe's embryonic political career, it quickly became clear that the topic was an uncomfortable one. Vice-President Joyce Mujuru is seen as a leading contender to succeed President Mugabe. "Please no... I'm not answering anything related to that... Come on, you can't ask me why not," said Mr Gumbo rather briskly. So what is going on?  There are - appropriately enough for such a tale of palace intrigue - multiple theories. 'Major miscalculation'The most down-to-earth analysis holds that Mrs Mugabe has no chance of being president, and is being used by one faction within Zanu-PF. "It's very easy to explain. She's been brought in as a means to stop Joyce Mujuru by any means," said the veteran political commentator Ibbo Mandaza. Vice-President Mujuru is seen as a leading contender to succeed President Mugabe. The theory goes that her long-standing rival, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is promoting Mrs Mugabe as a short-term ploy to sideline Mrs Mujuru. "When her husband goes that's the end of her political career if there's such a career at all," said Mr Mandaza, blithely dismissing the notion of a Mugabe dynasty. The next theory is that President Mugabe is promoting his wife primarily in order to keep all the Zanu-PF factions off-balance, and to strengthen his own position Dewa Mavhinga, from Human Rights Watch, believes the president has made a serious mistake by bringing in someone with no political pedigree whatsoever. Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, left, and his wife Grace, right, in Bindura, Zimbabwe - December 2008. Mrs Mugabe's political rise may be proof that her husband still has authority over the ruling party. "It shows that President Mugabe doesn't trust anyone around him. I think he was under pressure to control the factions and extend his own stay in office, but it was a major miscalculation and exposed him for the first time if you see how the factions are now fighting openly in the media," said Mr Mavhinga. But there is another, less intrigue-driven analysis of Mrs Mugabe's abrupt arrival on the political stage. Simba Makoni, a former Zanu-PF minister who ran for the presidency as an independent against Mr Mugabe in 2008, believes people are too quick to reject the possibility of a dynasty. "Grace is poised to lead the Women's League... in December. That is a given. And my hunch is she is not going to end there, realising how easy it has been for her to get to there in such a short time," said Mr Makoni. "So I would say watch this space - there will be more happening."
It is tempting to argue, that a dynasty is an expression of political power - proof that President Mugabe still has the authority to impose his will on Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe. But you could argue the exact opposite - that here is a man who, after three decades in power, can trust no-one outside his immediate family.






bird

victoria fall

children

Liberia


Liberia signs 'transformational' deal to stem deforestation





http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29321143
23 September 2014
Liberia is to become the first nation in Africa to completely stop cutting down its trees in return for development aid. Norway will pay the impoverished West African country $150m (£91.4m) to stop deforestation by 2020. There have been fears that the Ebola crisis would see increased logging in a country desperate for cash. Norwegian officials confirmed details of the deal to the BBC at the UN climate summit in New York. Liberia's forests are not as big as other countries but the country is home to a significant part of West Africa's remaining rainforest, with about 43% of the Upper Guinean forest. This partnership holds promise not only for the forest and climate; but for forest communities that have been marginalised for generations”
Silas Siakor - Liberian environmental campaigner
It is also a global diversity hotspot, home to the last remaining viable populations of species including western chimpanzees, forest elephants and leopards. But since the civil war ended in 2003, illegal logging has become rife. In 2012, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf attracted international criticism when she handed out licences to companies to cut down 58% of all the primary rainforest left in the country. After protests many of those permits were cancelled. Some researchers have connected the current outbreak of Ebola with the widespread destruction of the forests, bringing people into contact with natural reservoirs of the virus. Now the Norwegians and the Liberian government have signed a deal that they both believe will protect the forests into the future. "We hope Liberia will be able to cut emissions and reduce poverty at the same time," said Jens Frolich Holte, a political adviser to the Norwegian government, speaking to the BBC on the sidelines of the UN climate summit in New York.  Several factors have been driving deforestation in the West African country of Liberia.
Logging in Liberia
All Liberia's logging concessions are to be reviewed by an independent body. "We have funded efforts in Indonesia and Brazil, but I think this is the first time we have entered a deal on a country level." Under the terms of the agreement, Norway will help Liberia to initially build up the capacity to monitor and police the forests. Liberia will refrain from issuing any new logging concessions until all existing ones have been reviewed by an independent body. The country agrees to place 30% or more of its forest estate under protected area status by 2020. It will also pilot direct payments to communities for protecting the forest. Ultimately the Norwegians will pay for results, with independent verification that trees remain standing.
'Cautiously confident'
The development has been welcomed by environmental campaigners in Liberia. "This partnership holds promise not only for the forest and climate; but for forest communities that have been marginalised for generations," said Silas Siakor, a Liberian environmental campaigner and Goldman Environmental Prize laureate.
"The partnership's commitment to respecting and protecting community's rights with respect to forests is laudable." Experts believe that Liberia has turned to logging as a way of raising cash in difficult times. With the current Ebola outbreak having a significant economic impact on the country, the Norwegian deal is timely. "Our hope is that the situation there now will be contained and resolved," said Mr Frolich Holte. "But we also need to give Liberia a long term hope for development and that is what this rainforest money will provide for them, a long term vision for a country with reduced poverty and reduced deforestation." With widespread corruption and a government struggling to impose its authority, campaigners recognise that stopping all the logging in Liberia will not be easy. "There is the potential for this to go wrong, both Norway and Liberia will have to make sure that this deal does not get affected by corruption, but I am cautiously confident it can be done," said Patrick Alley, the director of campaign group Global Witness. "It's really good news, it's transformational for Liberia when all the news coming out of there is bad - I think this will be a real boost."

Sierra Leone



Sierra Leone chief Ebola doctor infected (video)



Africa, 2014, Sierra Leone, Ebola Epidemics







http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28439941    -   23 July 2014
Nurses at Kenema's hospital want MSF to take on the Ebola cases
The doctor leading the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone is now being treated for the deadly virus, a statement from the presidency has said. Sheik Umar Khan tested positive and has been admitted to hospital in Kailahun, the epicentre of the
outbreak. More than 630 people have died of Ebola in the three West African states since the outbreak began in Guinea in February, United Nations figures show. It is the world's deadliest outbreak to date and there is no cure for Ebola. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the world's largest. It kills up to 90% of those infected but if patients receive early treatment, they have a better chance of survival. It spreads through contact with an infected person's bodily fluids.
'National hero'
The statement from State House said that the minister of health was in tears, when she heard the news about Dr Khan.
WHO: Latest West Africa Ebola outbreak figures
Guinea - 310 deaths, 410 cases
Liberia - 116 deaths, 196 cases
Sierra Leone - 206 deaths, 442 cases
Health Minister Miatta Kargbo called him a "national hero" and said she would "do anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives", Reuters news agency reports. The Ebola cases in Sierra Leone are centred in the country's eastern
districts of Kailahun and Kenema. The BBC's Umaru Fofana in the capital, Freetown, says dozens of nurses at the government hospital in Kenema town - which treats all Ebola cases in the district - went on strike on Monday following the death of three of their colleagues of suspected Ebola. But they have since suspended their sit-down strike as the government looks into their demands, which include the relocation of the Ebola ward from the hospital and the takeover of its operations by the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres. On Saturday, the World Health Organization said that of the 632 deadly Ebola cases, 206 people had died in Sierra Leone.
Ebola virus disease (EVD)
Coloured transmission electron micro graph of a single Ebola virus, the cause of Ebola fever
Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
Fatality rate can reach 90%
Incubation period is two to 21 days
There is no vaccine or cure
Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
Fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the virus


Ebola crisis: Sierra Leone lockdown declared "success"



http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29305591
22 September 2014
Streets in the capital Freetown have been largely deserted during the three-day lockdown. A three-day curfew aimed at containing the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone has been declared a success by authorities. The wide-ranging curfew ended at midnight on Sunday (GMT) and will not be extended, authorities said. Sierra Leone has been one of the countries worst affected by the outbreaks, with more than 550 victims among the 2,600 deaths so far recorded. Meanwhile, neighbouring Liberia announced a four-fold increase in the number of beds for Ebola patients. Liberia is the country worst-hit by the epidemic, accounting for more than half the number of total deaths. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the worst ever, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says. The deadly virus is transmitted through sweat, blood and saliva, and there is no proven cure. Dozens buried. The curfew in Sierra Leone came into force on Friday morning, with most of the country's six million inhabitants confined to their homes. Around 30,000 medical volunteers travelled to affected neighbourhoods to find and treat patients and distribute soap. Empty streets in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Normally bustling streets in the capital Freetown were deserted from Friday onwards. Police guard a roadblock in Freetown, Sierra Leone, 19 September 2014. Police roadblocks were set up in Sierra Leone to enforce the curfew. An undated handout photo released by Spanish aid organisation Juan Ciudad ONGD, shows Spanish doctor and missionary Manuel Garcia Viejo (L) working at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Lunsar, Sierra Leone. Spanish priest Manuel Garcia Viejo (l) was working at a hospital in Lunsar, Sierra Leone, before becoming infected. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Sarian Kamara said authorities had managed to discover 22 new cases of the virus during the curfew. "Had they not been discovered, they would have greatly increased transmission," he said. He also said between 60 and 70 Ebola victims had been buried in the past two days. Bodies of Ebola victims are highly contagious and their swift burial is considered key to containing the disease. Earlier on Sunday, the head of the country's Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Stephen Gaojia said there was a "very strong possibility" that the curfew would be extended. "Even though the exercise has been a huge success so far, it has not been concluded in some metropolitan cities like Freetown and Kenema," he said. The three-day curfew is the most aggressive measure taken against the virus yet by a West African country. Meanwhile, a Spanish Catholic priest was evacuated from Sierra Leone on Sunday after contracting the virus. A military plane carrying Manuel Garcia Viejo took off from the capital Freetown on Sunday evening and is due to land in Madrid in the early hours of Monday. Last month another Spanish priest died after contracting the virus in neighbouring Liberia. In a separate development on Sunday, Liberia said it would increase from 250 to 1,000 its beds for Ebola patients in the capital Monrovia. Information Minister Lewis Brown told AGP that patients were currently being rejected due to lack of space.
"So the government is trying its best to finish the 1,000 beds so we can accommodate all the patients," he added. It follows a warning from the WHO about a huge expected spike in infections in Liberia. School closure plea. In Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, a teachers union called on the government to delay the start of the school term because of the outbreak. Pupils are due to return to school on Monday after an extended summer break, but the National Union of Teachers said that adequate safety measures were not yet in place. President Goodluck Jonathan dismissed the call for a postponement. Eight people have died in Nigeria out of 20 who have contracted the disease, but no new cases have been discovered for 10 days.







Kenya


Building a beauty empire in Kenya - video

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29065819
9 September 2014
Twenty years ago Terry Mungai lost her job when her employers pulled out of Nairobi. So se decided to take the plunge and set up a beauty salon on her own. Today her Kenyan beauty business has expanded to include 12 salons, three training
academies, the Miss World Kenya franchise and a retail shop. She explains how she did it.

The love story that's captivated Kenya

Patela&Timothy

Kenia - Love Story - Patela&Timothy

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-28568701
31 July 2014
Kenyans on social media have been gripped by a love story between a Kenyan woman of Indian descent, and a man from the Bukusu ethnic group. Kenyans on Twitter are in a distinctly lovey-dovey mood.
"A village Cinderella story," tweeted one woman. "Love beyond culture, colour, religion... simply amazing. This is like a movie. I can't believe what my eyes are seeing," wrote one man. And so it goes on...
Much of the discussion is on the hashtag #MyBukusuDarling, which has now been used more than 8,000 times. The couple in question are Sarika Patel, 24, and Timothy Khamala, 25 who live in village in the Webuye area, in the west of Kenya. As well as race, there's a class element to their story. Patel is the daughter of a wealthy businessman, while Khamala is from a poor family who live in a simple mud hut. They first met four years ago while he was washing her father's car. Sarika has just moved in with Khamala and they plan to get married, but her family are said to strongly disapprove.
"These are kind of stories Kenyans love - they are tired of politics," says Lindah Oguttu, a news anchor at KTN Kenya, the TV station which first reported the story. "It stretches the parameters. It's a no-go zone - Indians do not marry blacks and blacks do not marry Indians," she says. Why should it be headline news? We are all human beings” - Rasna Warah, Kenyan writer. Oguttu was also the first to use the hashtag #MyBukusuDarling. An hour before the show, a number of senior editors meet to discuss the top items on the programme, she says, and decided to create a special hashtag to encourage people to discuss the story. And it clearly worked. Kenya saw serious inter-ethnic violence after the 2007 election, in which more than 1,000 people were killed. Many have interpreted the couple's love story in this light. "#MyBukusuDarling is a good example of our Kenyan dream. The Kenya we all want to live in. A Kenya of Peace Love and Unity," tweeted Phyllis Kandie, the cabinet secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism. There are no up-to-date figures on how many people in Kenya are of Asian or Indian descent. Some estimates put it at around 100,000 out of an overall population of 42 million. And some are somewhat nonplussed by the attention the story has got. "What is this obsession inter-racial relationships? Why should it be headline news? We are all human beings," says Rasna Warah, a Kenyan writer of Indian descent who is herself married to black Kenyan. "We have to move beyond the race thing - either you are Kenyan or you are not." But, it seems, cultural differences may be playing a part in the story of Patel and Khamala. In Kenya, it is traditional for a man to pay dowry to a woman. Among Kenyan Indians, it is the other way around. According to reports in the Kenyan media, Khamala's family have opted to take the Indian approach - asking Patel's family to pay. Some on social media have criticised this as "greedy" and an "embarrassment" to Bukusu society.


Kenya's mobile innovation brings digital money closer - video



Africa, 2014, Kenia - Banking



Africa, 2014, Kenia - Transport



3 July 2014   http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28142515
Mobile banking from Equity Bank could give the popular M-Pesa payments platform a run for its money Kenyan financial services heavyweight Equity Bank is planning to roll out mobile banking services in July, using innovative paper-thin SIM
technology. The bank will provide its account holders with slimline SIMs that they can lay on top of their existing mobile phone SIM cards. This will allow customers to maintain their existing phone numbers and services, but give the bank access to the phone menu and ensure that banking transactions are secure. The "mobile virtual network" banking service will piggyback on existing infrastructure provided by leading telecommunications firm, Bharti Airtel.
Market shake-up
With more than eight million customers, Equity Bank is Africa's largest bank by customer base. The company is hoping that mobile banking will help attract new customers and encourage more transactions. It is likely to shake up a market that has been dominated by Safaricom's well-known M-Pesa mobile money transfer platform. M-Pesa now has more than 18 million active users, but Kenyans also use rival services such as Zap and yuCash. Equity Bank hopes mobile banking will win it new customers and encourage more transactions. Describing its traditional competitor as "the mattress" - in other words, the place where people hide their cash - Equity Bank's chief executive James Mwangi sees its mobile offering as key to breaking down barriers of access and distance that hamper banking in Africa.
"The biggest problem with accessing a bank is not bank charges, it is the cost of access," he says. "I will have to go 70km to where the bank is; I will have to pay public transport; I will have to spend the whole day to get to the bank; I have to dress because I have to go to the biggest shopping centre in my district; that is what will be removed," he says. Equity has been looking to launch the technology since the regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), granted Equity's subsidiary Finserve - along with two other companies - a Mobile Virtual Network Operator licence in April. The bank, which has customers across East Africa, is also hoping to benefit from Airtel's regional reach - the Indian-owned company operates in 17 countries across Africa, including Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. "It is really the issue of affordability," Mr Mwangi says. "If we really want the masses and the low-income people to join banking, then we should make financial products very affordable, and that is the value proposition that we are making to the market."
Opposition
It will not necessarily be a smooth ride, though. Equity is facing a court case brought by a consumer lobby group, which is disputing the award of the licence. And this week, Safaricom, which provides mobile money transfer services to nearly half of Kenya's population, wrote to the CAK questioning the security behind the technology. But some analysts see the move as positive for consumers. "They do have the skill, they do have the integrations, and they're providing many more capabilities on a mobile device than Safaricom can do at the moment, being a bank as well," leading Kenyan technology blogger Moses Kemibaro says. "It's exciting as it could potentially shift the power base from Safaricom to themselves in certain respects. For the consumer, having alternatives as opposed to one provider is really a great thing." Going cashless promotes customer security, the bank argues, and also helps to remove the risks associated with cash management. Mobile payments and banking services are spreading throughout Africa, with the likes of Nigeria's fast-growing Paga targeting the country's 120 million mobile phone users.
Digital transport
Other businesses in Kenya are also looking to benefit from a cashless model. In particular, Kenya's famously chaotic matatus, the name used locally to describe the minivans and buses used widely by commuters, are moving to cash-free fare
payments. Thousands of Kenyan commuters use the brightly painted, crowded matatus every day. "We are trying to use technology to make our lives easier, and make our issues with handling cash become history," says Simon Kimutai, chair of the Matatu Owners Association. "We know very well that there have been many issues with [cash] - [for example] the money is used to bribe policemen." At least three companies provide the transport cards that travellers can top up and tap in with when they get on a bus. Conductors carry handsets to process the transactions, which can be monitored from the company headquarters. George Wanyama, manager of MOA Compliant, one of the bus companies piloting the cashless system, says that revenue has gone up 30% in the two months since it was launched. Other cashless payment systems include BebaPay from Google and My1963 from Fibre Space.
Tap to Pay logo in bank branch
With one of these "tap to pay" cards from BebaPay, Kenyans can now ride on matatus cash-free. The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), Kenya's transport regulator, had set a 1 July deadline for the switch to cashless fares. But only 2,000 out of the 20,000 vehicles operating across the country were reported to be compliant a few days ahead of the deadline, forcing the regulator to relax the rules temporarily. "Some operators are compliant while others are not. We will be flexible to allow use of cash in the meantime," said NTSA director general Francis Meja. And if these cashless developments succeed, Kenya's innovation could serve as a model for other countries in the region.


Ethiopia





Africa - 2014 - Ethiopia





Afar men rest in a cave at the Danakil depression, northern Ethiopia.



http://www.bbc.com/travel/slideshow/20140814-in-ethiopia-an-adrenaline-filled-act-of-faith
With their sheer cliffs, surreal rock formations and vertical spires, northern Ethiopia’s Gheralta Mountains recall stretches of the southwestern United States’ red desert landscape. The primary difference: perched high and tucked away into these
mountain cliffs are some of the country’s least visited rock-hewn Ethiopian Orthodox cave churches, some of which are more than 1,000 years old. The Gheralta cluster, located in Tigray Province, includes more than 30 structures. Although local
legend claims that these churches date to between the 4th and 6th Centuries, historians believe that they were more likely built from the 9th to 12th Centuries. That, and its location, makes the Gheralta cluster the geographic and artistic
midpointbetween the early Ethiopian Orthodox centres of Aksum, built from the 4th to 10th Centuries in the north, and Lalibela, from the 12th to 13th Centuries, further south. Climbing through canyons. High and hidden, the Gheralta churches’
positions served two purposes: to bring devotees closer to heaven and to be out of sight to raiding armies passing through the valleys below. So in order to experience these churches, visitors must hike slot canyons, free climb sheer sandstone walls and skirt cliff edges – a cultural foray that is not for the faint of heart. Authorities recommend that visitors trekking the Gheralta Mountains take a local guide familiar with the area’s terrain, history, culture and language. Pictured here, we followed our guide, a young man named Yemane, up through a slot canyon on our first trek to Maryam Korkor church. The path for the trek begins about 1km southeast of the village of Megab. Carved from rock. After about an hour of trekking, including a 6m free climb up a sandstone wall, we reached Maryam Korkor. Out of view from the valley below, the Ethiopian Orthodox structure – which is semi-monolithic, meaning it is partly attached to the cliff face – features a simple façade that protects an almost disproportionately vast-looking interior 17m deep and more than 9m wide, all carved out of the mountain rock. Precarious perch. The caretaker of Maryam Korkor and the nearby church of Daniel Korkor is a man named Aba Tesfa Silassie, a 78-year-old Ethiopian Orthodox monk who has lived in this remote mountain spot for 63 years. He rarely hikes down into the villages; while we were there, local boys brought him canisters of drinking water and supplies in exchange for reading. We followed him out to the cliff’s edge in order to reach the Daniel Korkor church entrance, tucked inside the rock wall. Silassie walked effortlessly along the ledge in plastic sandals, paying no mind to the roughly 300m sheer drop to his left. An education in images. We crawled through a small doorway to enter Daniel Korkor, a two-room church whose ceilings and upper walls are painted with natural berry and flower pigments. The painting style here is more simplistic than in other Gheralta churches; we liked the simple representation of St George slaying the dragon, shown here on the left wall. Until the 20th Century, literacy education was often reserved for Ethiopian Orthodox monks and priests, so many people learned Ethiopian history stories through paintings like these. Meanwhile, cloth shrouds like the one on the right signify and protect areas. Panoramic plains. Upon exiting Daniel Korkor, we gained enough composure (and confidence) on the cliff’s edge to take in this panoramic view of the Gheralta Mountains, with the Hawzien Plain below. Our guide remarked that local mothers often make the same trek, newborns tied to their backs. They have been doing so for more than 1,000 years. Onward and upward. The following morning, we began our climb to the church of Abuna Yemata Guh along a route that made than our previous day’s journey look almost easy. Setting off, we saw this tiny, modern Ethiopian Orthodox church, which marks the trailhead on the valley floor. Local Christians, preferring to worship at a spot closer to heaven, make the climb to the ancient cave church each Sunday and on holidays. Before setting off, our guide pointed up to the cliffs to show us where we are headed, but none of us could spot our destination, hidden amid the rocks. Free climbing. After about a 2km climb, we approached a nearly 90-degree sandstone rock face some 7m high. Our guide asked us to remove our shoes out of respect; we were entering the limits of the holy ground of the Abuna Yemata Guh church above. Noticing our looks of concern, he assured us that we would be able to better grip the holes in the sandstone with our bare feet. Without the aid of any ropes or climbing instruments, our ascent felt appropriately akin to taking a leap of faith. Helping hands. Local men dotting the trail offered climbing help in an attempt to make some extra money. We listened to their instructions, but followed closely those administered by our lead guide: “Right foot there, left hand in that hole. And don’t look down.” With each deliberate move, we inched our way slowly up the rock. After scaling the wall
to a clearing just above it, we dusted ourselves off. We could barely consider how we would manage it on the way back down. Abuna Yemata Guh. To reach Abuna Yemata Guh, we then had to navigate a natural stone bridge with a sheer drop of
approximately 250m on either side. From there, we crossed a final narrow wooden footbridge, then hugged the edges of an unsettlingly smooth sandstone wall until we found the entrance. Relieved, we took a few minutes inside to rest and adjust to the darkness and the frescoes inside. On the ceiling above, a painting depicted nine of the 12 apostles; the remaining three apostles appeared on a side wall. It is unclear why they are separated – our guide joked that the artist unexpectedly ran out of room. Art historians believe the paintings date from the 15th Century, but like the other Gheralta church frescoes they are well preserved, since their remote location has protected them from looting and from the scars of conflict. Adrenaline activity or act of faith? As we set off back down the rock face, we followed Yemane’s calls as he pointed out which holds to grab with our hands and grip with our feet. We felt humbled by the strength and perseverance of those who make the climb on a regular basis. An adrenaline activity for us is an act of faith for them.












Africa, 2014, Ethiophia, Refugee Camp



EthiophiaBanquiRefugees




Africa - Morocco





















An ancient walled city. The city of Fez – the third largest metropolis in Morocco – has expanded far beyond its original 9th-century borders and has modernised in many ways. But its medieval medina, the oldest market in the world, remains the heart of the city, a Unesco World Heritage site that houses a maze of narrow, twisting streets where people gather, shop, eat and pray. Fez's medina is also a perfect place to uncover the stories, and the secrets, of the people who live and work behind its walls. As author Paul Bowles, who lived in Tangier for 52 years, wrote: "The blank wall is [Fez's] symbol, but it is this very secretiveness, which gives the city its quality."Satellites and minarets. From the city’s rooftops, the medina is part cacophony, part harmony. Looking over the streets, many appear so narrow they all but disappear. But even if you cannot always see them, you can hear them: hammers bang on metal; voices shout to each other; a child cries; and hand-drawn carts rattle over the Talaa Kebira, the medina's main thoroughfare. Above the fray, minarets from medieval mosques pierce the blue sky, vying for prominence with satellite dishes. Laundry hangs from the line and street cats prowl the roofs for food.Home to every sound and smell. On the Talaa Kebira, Fez comes alive. People walk quickly, setting the pace for the crowded street. Vendors call to passers-by, trying to grab their attention with wooden utensils, bags of spices and used electronics. An old man wearing a djellaba, a long, hooded robe traditional to the Berbers of North Africa, pushes past. Everyone, everything, every sound and smell seems to be here, a cross-section of Morocco in every eyeful: men and women, boys and girls, woven baskets, fried doughnuts and cheap headphones.Meat and fish. Fez's 1,200-year-old medina has been divided into souks for centuries, each specialising in a good or craft such as honey, wood-working or clothes-dyeing. But the liveliest souks sell food. At the meat market on the Talaa Kebira near the western gate of Bab Boujloud, live chickens rustle in their cages, a camel head swings from a butcher's hook and at its edge a man, pictured above, sells fish from plastic crates. In Morocco, fish and meat are often cooked in a tagine, a clay pot with a round bottom and a cone-shaped cover that melds together the flavours of the spices and vegetables.From the ground up. "In the medina, the freshest food is set on the Earth to be sold," said Merieme Zared, a tour guide and cooking instructor with Cafe Clock, referring to how vendors place their produce on the ground. The food's proximity to the earth, she explained, represents its closeness to it. In the Al Achabine souk, tiny restaurants abound, cooking food from these fresh ingredients. They sell fried fish marinated in charmoula, a traditional Moroccan marinade; and thick bissara, a soup made with fava beans. Around the corner, smoke billows from a grill cooking meat kebabs; inside the restaurant, with barely enough room for the cook to move, men sit crammed around a small table, eating meat and bread with their hands. Old-school transport. "Balak, balak," the donkey drivers shout to clear the way as the animals carry goods in and out of the medina. Cars are not allowed into Fez's old city and couldn't fit through the streets if they tried; residents make do with getting around on foot. In Bowles' 1955 novel The Spider's House, set in Fez, he wrote that being without cars means that adhering to a schedule is impossible. After all, when you are on foot, unexpected events like a running into a friend can happen on the way. Where skins become leather. Much of the human choreography of Fez's tannery can be watched from the leather souk's terraces, accessed through one of the many shops that skirt the action. The sheep and cow skins are first softened in a mixture that uses the ammonia in pigeon excrement as a tenderiser. When the skins are lowered into dyeing vats, the workers follow them in, kneading the leather with their feet so that the colour is absorbed more fully. The dyed skins are then brought by donkey to the nearby hills and spread across the grass and bushes to dry in the sun. They are used for products like pointed Moroccan slippers and bags. While physically arduous, there is a melancholy beauty to the process: the mixture of living and dead, and the bright colours of the dyes against Fez's washed-out buildings and sky.The Bou Inania Medersa. Since non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the city’s mosques, the only religious buildings open to visitors in Fez are the medersas, or schools. When it was built by Sultan Abou Inan of the Merenid dynasty in the 1350s, the Bou Inania Medersa (pictured) was said to rival even Fez’s famous Karaouine Mosque with its beauty. Today, its impressive woodwork and zellij (geometric mosaics) hint at the grandeur hidden in many of the mosques around the city. Men everywhere. In Fez, the streets and cafes are dominated by men. While women can be seen outside buying groceries or shopping for other household supplies, they are always moving. It is men who linger in cafes over glasses of mint tea and in shops holding conversations with friends. The public visibility of only one gender may tie to persistent patriarchal attitudes: in a poll taken from 2011 to 2013 by Afrobarometer, an independent research group in Africa, only 50% of respondents in Morocco were in favour of women's equal opportunities, compared to 75% of those in eastern and southern Africa. Kaftan shopping. A woman and two girls admire mannequins modelling colourful kaftans and takchitas, the traditional Moroccan dresses often worn for formal occasions. These kaftans are dressier versions of what most women in Fez typically wear in the winter: long, straight robes made of polar fleece, ideal for covering up and keeping warm, as most houses in Fez do not have heating. Other women choose to wear jeans and jackets. It also is not uncommon to see women who do not wear a hijab, the traditional veil worn to cover hair. The future awaits. Whatever the future might hold for Morocco, one thing is certain: within the medina’s ramparts, the old, unhurried way of life will continue, no matter how fast the world changes around it. "Fez does not have to rely upon its ancient structures for its claim to importance,” Bowles wrote. “Its interest lies not so much in relics of the past as in the life of the people there; that life is the past, still alive and functioning." That holds true today. Fez is its ancient streets, but more importantly it is the people who live behind its walls.







Meknès, Morocco
While visitors pour into Marrakesh, Fez and Rabat, Meknès, the fourth and most modest of Morocco’s imperial cities is rather unfairly overlooked. With its maze of narrow streets, busy medina and wealth of grand buildings, it’s undoubtedly cut from the same beguiling cloth. Set amidst fertile plains below the Middle Atlas Mountains, Unesco-listed Meknès’s monuments include numerous palaces, 25 miles of historic walls, dozens of mosques (its nickname is ‘city of a hundred minarets’) and the vast, ornately-tiled Bab el-Mansour gate; located opposite Meknès’s lively medina, it’s the grandest in Morocco. Most of these date back to Meknès’s 17th and 18th Century glory days as the sultanate’s base. Nearby is a rather more ancient attraction: Volubilis, site of the largest Roman ruins in the country. With its partially restored buildings and beautiful, on-site mosaics, it’s unmissable.












Uganda

Africa’s path less sailed (Uganda)



Africa, Uganda, Lake Victoria



Africa, Uganda, Lake Victoria Ship



Uganda Women, Lake Victoria



http://www.bbc.com/travel/feature/20141030-africas-path-less-sailed
29 November 2014
“Maybe at 4pm,” said Kennedy, the engineer, with a resigned shrug. I began to wonder if we would ever leave. Lapping languidly at the boat beneath my feet was Lake Victoria, the world’s second biggest freshwater lake and the body of water I’d been hoping to cross for the last three days. It used to be that many ferries criss-crossed the lake, making the 320km journey between Uganda and Tanzania. But decades of accidents and mismanagement had reduced my crossing options to one: the MV Umoja, a 50-year-old Glasgow-built cargo-ship, one in a long line of tireless motor vessels that ply the coasts and channels of Africa’s Great Lakes.
On the hunt with Hemingway
From my vantage point, standing on the quarterdeck, surrounded by Equatorial decay, the Umoja seemed a floating relic. But for people bent on travelling from Kampala, the Ugandan capital, to Mwanza, Tanzania’s second-largest city, it offered a beguiling alternative to the 870km overland journey on a series of packed minibuses. By contrast, I’d heard, the ship voyage was calm and civilized, a nostalgic reminder of the way travel used to be. It was also said to be slow – and exactly how slow was becoming increasingly clear. The scene at Port Bell, Kampala.
“It sometimes seems as though Africa is a place you go to wait,” Paul Theroux wrote in Dark Star Safari, the 2002 travelogue that had indirectly led me to this point. Theroux had stood where I was now, mid-way through the voyage that would form the basis of the book featuring travel writing’s great curmudgeon traversing the African continent by rail, bus and, in this case, very slow boat.
For Theroux, the Lake Victoria crossing embodied the simple pleasure of independent travel. “Here as elsewhere I was the only mzungu traveller,” he wrote (mzungu is a Swahili word used to refer to a white person). “The others stuck to selected routes and travelled in groups, to look at animals… And yet, though I was solitary, all I heard was karibu [welcome].”
Keen to follow Theroux’s lead, I’d quickly discovered that the Umoja doesn’t run on any set schedule. Acting on the ambivalent advice of a hostel receptionist in Kampala, I made my first foray to Port Bell, Kampala’s lakeshore harbour, and found only an empty berth, and no clue from people I spoke with as to when the Umoja would arrive. I returned twice the next day. Still nothing. In the end, it would be two days – and several fruitless motorcycle taxi trips up and down the Port Bell road – before an idle dockworker pointed promisingly toward the water. There she was – finally – a white-hulled, 90m-long ship with empty cargo bays at each end and two steep stairways leading to living quarters. I asked the first person I came to, a rangy-looking man sitting on a crate at the boat’s stern, about passage. Yes, said the man, who identified himself only as Kennedy. I could travel to Mwanza.
“And when does it leave?”
“Maybe 11,” he said, almost as though it were a question. “Come down tomorrow at 10. You can have my cabin.” The price? 30,000 Ugandan Shillings, with the bed thrown in. It was a bargain for me; a great windfall, one suspected, for him.

Uganda’s famous goat races



Africa, Uganda, Goat Races,
Village


http://www.bbc.com/travel
The Royal Ascot Goat Races, held at the Speke Resort on the shores of Lake Victoria, have been an annual Kampala tradition since 1993. The 2012 London Olympics may have involved each country going for the gold, but this weekend, in Kampala, Uganda, sports fans will instead be going for the goat. The Royal Ascot Goat Races, held at the Speke Resort on the shores of Lake Victoria, have been an annual Kampala tradition since 1993. A local sailing club was looking for an unusual fundraiser and borrowed the idea from a Zimbabwe horse breeder who celebrated his birthday with a pig race since his garden was not big enough to race horses. The club decided to swap the pigs for goats, and the race was born.
As the event grew in popularity, organisers decided to model it after the Royal Ascot horse races in England, complete with outrageous outfits and hats. The races have become a favourite spot to see and be seen in the Ugandan social calendar, and prizes are awarded to the best dressed man and woman, and to the person with the best, most elaborate hat. This year’s eight goat races will be held on 1 September -- but the term “races” might be a misnomer. The cloven-hooved creatures are not exactly known for their speed. In fact, the goats’ handlers push a padded horizontal barrier on wheels around the track in order to keep the goats from grazing, fighting or running backwards during the race. Still, the prize money available to the winning goat owners is no laughing matter, totalling more than 30 million shillings. Spectators can also bet on the goats for a chance to win some cash of their own. Goats do a preview saunter around the track so bettors can gauge potential performance, and a handy bettors’ guide describes each goat’s abilities (last year, one goat’s tagline was “performance varies according to how he spent his Friday night”.) Since neither the saunter nor the tagline is likely to help beat the odds, bettors can rest easier knowing proceeds go straight to local charities like the Kampala Kids League and Salama School for the Blind.

Trekking Uganda’s mountain gorillas





Africa, Uganda, Village Lodge



Uganda Gorillas



Africa, Uganda, Traking Guide




http://www.bbc.com/travel
Bwindi village
A nine-hour drive from the Ugandan capital, Kampala, Bwindi village is no more than a dusty one-strip collection of shacks and mud huts. But thanks to its proximity to the wild mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, tourism is the fastest growing local industry and new hotels, guest houses and curio shops pop up on a regular basis. The Buhoma Lodge, run by safari outfit Wild Frontiers, commands spectacular views into the park. It is also as far as visitors can get without a permit and an official wildlife ranger. It is common for see red-tailed monkeys and gorillas from the Tarzan-style bamboo treehouses. Silverback gorillas. Few animals have sparked the imagination of man as much as the gorilla, and the first sighting of a silverback gorilla like Mwirima (pictured) is unforgettable. The largest primate in the world, a silverback gorilla can eat up to 30kgs of vegetation a day, and has distinctive silvery fur growing on its back and hips. At nearly 200kg, Mwirima is believed to be one of the biggest. Gorilla troops. Bwindi’s resident habituated gorilla troops -- the Mubare family, the Habinyanja or the Rushegura group (pictured here) -- can be found anywhere within the park’s 331sqkm buffer zones. Each one has been named in the local language based on their individual markings and characteristics. On the move. In their constant hunt for food, a troop of gorillas will follow a silverback like Mwirima up to 15km a day. Because of this range, they make new nests made from braches and bamboo on a daily basis, and unlike most other primate species, sleep on the ground. Tracking guide. Each trekking group in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is trailed by a military-trained scout for extra safety. As well as their rifle, they carry a brutal-looking sickle for cutting through jungle foliage – in case you need a quick escape. Feeding time. Gorillas are one of the most intelligent animals in the world, and have learned to use broken bamboo shoots to scoop wild ants from their nests in the undergrowth. They are not fussy eaters though, and feed on up to 100 different types of foliage, such as leaves, stems, nettles and berries. At rest in the jungle. The plight of the mountain gorillas was originally championed by Dian Fossey, a zoologist from Kentucky with a passion for conservation. Appalled by the poaching she witnessed in neighbouring Rwanda, she formed and led numerous anti-poaching patrols. Today, her legacy continues throughout Uganda, allowing families like the Rushegura to rest and play undisturbed.


Sãotomé and Príncipe




Africa - Sao Tome

São Toméans like to live life ‘leve leve’ (slowly and calmly) in this one-time Portuguese colony that was formed from two islands in the Atlantic, 150 miles from the African mainland and a six-hour flight from Lisbon. São Tomé Island is as tropical as can be – the equator passes through an islet off its south coast, and the volcanically formed interior shelters virgin rainforest and a huge variety of plant and bird species. Its smaller neighbour Príncipe is even more untouched. The islands produce some of the best cocoa and coffee in the world, and at lunchtime nothing can beat grilled fresh fish. Outside the modest capital, with its Portuguese-era buildings painted in ice-cream shades, there are beaches, hiking trails through the rugged landscape, and plantations

Episode 6 - Pt 2: The secret powers of Sufi sounds

03 July 2013
http://www.bbc.com/travel/video/roads-less-travelled/20130605-pt-2-sufi-sounds-and-connecting-to-the-divine

Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe 2013
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjM4kKMBkic

Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe 2013 - film
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p6e98q9Tmg

Our 4WD-trip through Namibia and Botswana in january 2014
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0RZV0vedcc

The Blame New Ugandan movie 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZd_VD9FZFo

Ugandans in South Africa The Movie 2014
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-nIDmnJibM

Taxi Ride (Movie)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atJM5ObZFCc

South Africa


The fashion designer taking his tribe's heritage global - video





Africa Designs





http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28742372
11 August 2014
Laduma Ngxokolo is taking his tribal traditions and creating an international business. It is not every day that a designer showcasing at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Johannesburg for the very first time gets a standing ovation. But that is
exactly what happened to Laduma Ngxokolo, a young man from the Xhosa tribe, whose colourful range of knitwear had lit up the catwalk. Laduma is the founder and creator of MaXhosa by Laduma. Born in 1986, he was taught by his mother how to use a knitting machine. The design range showcased in Johannesburg was conceptualised as a project titled "The Colourful World of the Xhosa Culture" while Ladume was studying textile design and technology at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. Models wearing Laduma Ngxokolo designs Laduma's clothes are based on traditional designs from his own Xhosa tribe. In 2010 his project won the South African Society of Dyers and Colourists' design competition, earning him a trip to London where he was awarded first prize in an international competition. The success of the project led to the creation of MaXhosa. "The initial aim behind my project was to find design solutions for Xhosa initiates," says Laduma. "I decided to develop a Xhosa-inspired collection of knitwear using traditional Xhosa beadwork, colours and motifs. I decided to call the name of my brand MaXhosa by Laduma because I wanted to showcase the astonishing beauty of the Xhosa people and translate it in a modern way that actually appeals to the current youth that is influenced by international trends."
His success turns decades of what some see as cultural imperialism on its head. "European designers like Missoni and Jean-Paul Gaultier have often taken inspiration from African tribes and sold it around the world," says Siphiwe Mpye, a journalist and former assistant editor of GQ, South Africa who hails from the same area as Laduma. Now Mr Mpye says the attitude of African designers is: "If we don't do it someone is going to come and appropriate it and make loads of money from it, so we might as well do it ourselves and be authentic about it and treat it with the integrity it deserves." Woman steaming fabric. Production is outsourced to another company but the designer keeps his eye on the workAfter seeing the growth and potential of his business, Laduma decided to relocate from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, where he found a knitwear producer that could handle the capacity he needed. "It was a good market to actually establish my brand because there was already a demand in the city and I could get more publicity in Cape Town as well," he says. In Cape Town, Laduma met Jacques Burthy from Vuya Fashions who bought into his vision for MaXhosa and began producing garments for him from his factory. Now Laduma spends most of his time at the factory checking on production and creating new designs. Man taking fabric from a machine. The garments are made using traditional materials and with modern machinery. MaXhosa's garments are made in South Africa and use local raw materials such as mohair that he sources from his hometown in Port Elizabeth. He has already branched out into other areas like carpets and cushions, by working with new partners. As his business expands, Laduma admits there is a need to get more investment but this is something he is prepared to set aside for now as he fears it may compromise the brand he is still building. One such decision was to turn down an offer from a large South African retailer to form a partnership with him to sell his garments.
"I make 100% sure that whichever decision I make won't actually affect the work that I have already done because it was not easy to get here and a wrong decision could take us 10 steps back. I'm trying to take cautious steps as I go forward," he
says. Woman working on fabric. Production is in Cape Town but items are sold across South Africa and Europe. While most of his sales have been from the shop Merchants on Long on Long Street in Cape Town, Laduma has launched his own online store to increase sales. But he is quick to admit that it is not as easy as he thought it would be. "It is sort of a physical store that is up in the air. You have to control it, so I had to get in a few more people to be involved to actually help me manage," he says. "It's a great platform for us because we get to connect directly with our customers and service them the way that we feel is best for us."One of those helping him in his business is his sister Tina, who is also a fashion designer. As Laduma seeks to grow his local market he is already attracting attention on the international fashion scene. He has showcased his work in Berlin, London, New York and Paris, and in May, he was one of the speakers at an international conference in Amsterdam, called What Design Can Do, which looks at the power of design as an agent for social renewal. But whatever success he garners around the world, Laduma will always remain true to his roots. He says his ultimate goal is to establish MaXhosa by Laduma as an international premium brand - proudly made in South Africa.


The South African Shack Dwellers Trying to Find a Voice
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NG2v9On4h4

South Africa - The New Rich of Soweto
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g00XGJ2F1I0

Victoria Falls
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU7NIYGzc8g

Soweto, South Africa
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh1j8IRzpXs


Ghana

Global decline of wildlife linked to child slavery


child slavery

Africa, 2014, Ghana - Child Slavery

child slavery

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28463036
By Matt McGrath - Environment correspondent, BBC News - 25 July 2014

Children enslaved as fishing labour in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana. New research suggests the global decline in wildlife is connected to an increase in human trafficking and child slavery.
Ecologists say the shortage of wild animals means, that in many countries more labour is now needed to find food. Children are often used to fill this need for cheap workers, especially in the fishing industry. The decline in species is also helping the proliferation of terrorism and the destabilisation of regions. According to a study in the journal, Science, the harvesting of wild animals from the sea and the land is worth $400bn annually and supports the livelihoods of 15% of the world's population. There's a direct link between the scarcity of wildlife, the labour demands of harvests and this dramatic increase in child slavery”
Prof Justin Brashares -  University of California, Berkeley
But the authors argue that the rapid depletion of species has increased the need for slave labour. Declining fisheries around the world mean boats often have to travel further in harsher conditions to find their catch. In Asia, men from Burma,
Cambodia and Thailand are increasingly sold to fishing boats where they remain at sea for many years, without pay and forced to work 18-20 hour days.
"There's a direct link between the scarcity of wildlife, the labour demands of harvests and this dramatic increase in child slavery," said Prof Justin Brashares from the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study. Many communities that rely on these wildlife resources don't have the economic capacity to hire more labourers, so instead they look for cheap labour, and in many areas this has led to the outright purchasing of children as slaves." This exploitation also happens in Africa, where people who once found their food in the neighbouring forests now travel for days to find prey.
Fishers to pirates
Children are often used by hunters to extract wildlife from areas that would be too costly to harvest. The researchers contrast the outcomes of the collapse of fisheries of the north east coast of the US and in the waters off Somalia. The decline of fish stocks is increasing the need for slave labour to work on the boats While in the US the decline was cushioned by federal subsidies to retrain fishermen, in Somalia the increased competition for fish stocks led to the rise of piracy. "That's how the whole Somali conflict started," said Prof Brashares. "Fishermen started going out with guns, trying to fine boats that were fishing illegally in their waters. Unfortunately some segment of that community said we can do much better by ransoming these boats that we can do by fishing."
The rise in value of items like tiger parts and elephant ivory have led to an explosion of trafficking, by powerful groups to further their aims. The authors point to the Janjaweed, the Lord's Resistance Army, Al-Shabab and Boko Haram, which they say have all been involved in poaching ivory and rhino horn to fund terrorist attacks. Other researchers say there is not enough data to support this claim. Regardless of the strength of the evidence, the western response to these events has been to declare a "war on poachers". The authors believe that this is misguided, and is missing the bigger picture.
"We can continue to try and cover it up with little bits of enforcement," said Prof Brashares. "But until we start to address the bigger issue which is poor governance and the global free for all, we are not going to address the tide of conflict."
The study says there are some approaches that can work. They argue that when local governments give fishers and hunters exclusive rights to harvest some areas, social tensions can be reduced.
They point to Fiji's fishery structured around territorial use rights and in Namibia pro-active policies have helped to reduce poaching.
"The most important bit from this article, I think, is that we need to better understand the factors that underlie fish and wildlife declines from a local perspective, and that interdisciplinary approaches are likely the best option for facilitating this
understanding," said Dr Meredith Gore, from Michigan State University who wasn't part of the study.


Africa's mobile boom powers innovation economy

Robot Cop

Congo, Robot Cop, Kinshasa

Woman Mobile Scanning

Kenia, Woman Mobile Scanning

mobile users

mobile users

Africa, 2014, Mobile Users

self made lamps

Mali, 2014, Worker, Self Made Lamps

children

Africa2014MillionsChildren

Congo - low vibrations

Africa, 2014, Low Red-Orange Vibrations


30 June 2014    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28061813
More than half of Africa's 1.1 billion people now own a mobile phone
Innovation is happening all over Africa in all different sectors, from education to energy, banking to agriculture. "It's the best kind of innovation - the problem-solving innovation born out of necessity," says Toby Shapshak, editor and publisher of the South African version of Stuff magazine says. As Technology of Business embarks on a month-long series of features exploring some of these innovation stories, we kick off by looking at Africa's main technology trends and the challenges facing this vast 54-nation continent of 1.1 billion people.
Upwardly mobile
You cannot talk about Africa without talking about mobile. Most innovation involves mobile devices and wireless technology in some way or another. It's not hard to understand why. Installing a traditional fixed-line telecoms infrastructure made no economic sense across huge, sparsely populated, and sometimes difficult to cross terrains. The mobile phone - particularly cheap "feature phones" such as the Nokia 1100 and the Samsung E250 - offered sufficient functionality combined with long battery life. In a continent where access to electricity is still patchy, particularly in non-urban areas, battery life and energy-frugal applications are key. This is why so many essential mobile services in Africa are based around the SMS texting platform. Smartphone scanning eye Mobile health: A Kenyan woman has her eye scanned by a diagnostic smartphone app. Robot traffic cop. Innovation everywhere: Robot cops monitor traffic in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Mobile solar streetlamps made from bicycle parts allow people in Mali to work in the cool of the night. Information is power, and before mobiles came along, access to data was limited for millions of Africans. But by the end of 2014 more than 600 million people - about 56% of the population - are likely to own a mobile phone, with some researchers estimating penetration could reach 80%. When you consider that just 1% owned a mobile in 2000, the rate of growth seems all the more astonishing. There are now more than 35 mobile network operators in Africa busily extending their base station networks to improve coverage. Foreign companies are waking up to the commercial opportunities this presents. "Large, multinational consumer goods companies are now looking for ways to reach their customers and employees in Africa through mobile channels, and are viewing South Africa as a gateway to the rest of the continent," says Tielman Botha, South Africa country lead for Accenture Mobility. Pocket bank. Even though nearly two-thirds of these phones will be accessing 2G and SMS networks rather than the faster 3G and 4G, the range of services they can access is impressive. Whether it is farmers accessing local market prices for their produce to arm themselves against profiteering middlemen, or nurses, doctors and patients accessing medical monitoring and data services, mobiles and wireless devices are transforming lives. But it is as a payments platform that the mobile has really blossomed in Africa.Vodafone and Safaricom's M-Pesa mobile payments system, launched in 2007, now handles about 1.15 trillion Kenyan Shillings (£7.72bn) a year - that's 35% of Kenya's gross domestic product. The M-Pesa mobile payments system how has more than 18 million users worldwide. The concept sprang from resourceful Africans using and swapping mobile airtime as a form of currency. M-Pesa is now expanding across Africa, and has also launched in India, Afghanistan and Romania, while other mobile network operators have launched their own mobile banking services. People can pay for solar lighting, water, groceries and other goods, and also receive credits and person-to-person money transfers via their mobiles. Such payment systems - and the digital audit trails they leave - are also proving useful for governments tackling tax evasion and corporations combating fraud.
Internet for all? In Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, about 42% have some form of internet access, according to the country's Federal Ministry of Communication Technology (FMCT). But with broadband costing about 30% of a household's income, and half the country's 167 million people living in unconnected rural areas, take-up of high-speed services is understandably slow. Mrs Omobola Johnson, FMCT minister, believes information and communication technology (ICT) is "the fourth pillar of the Nigerian economy, contributing about 7.8% to the country's GDP". Her department is working on a broadband strategy that aims to achieve 30% penetration by 2017 through public-private partnerships, in the belief that a 10% increase in broadband connectivity could lead to a 1.3% increase in national GDP. This 2012 Nasa satellite image of the earth reveals the scale of Africa's electricity deficit. While mobile phone operators, such as Unitel in Angola, are beginning to roll out high-speed cellular broadband, this does require users to upgrade to more expensive smartphones and tablets. So Microsoft's 4Afrika initiative is trying another way to bring broadband to rural and other unconnected communities. It is using so-called TV white spaces, those unused parts of the wireless spectrum usually used for television, to provide internet connectivity. Radio signals in the TV bands travel over longer distances than other radio signals and are less prone to interference from obstacles in their way. This means fewer base stations are needed, reducing costs.
'Skills gap'
Lack of widespread broadband internet is one problem; lack of education, training and skills is another. "There's a disconnect between employers and educators - a skills gap," says Njideka Harry, president and chief executive of the Youth for
Technology Foundation, based in Owerri, Nigeria. "We fundamentally believe that technology should be a basic human right - accessible and affordable and available to every human on the planet." Can tech help fill the education deficit? About 21 million African children do not attend school. About 21 million children are not in school across Africa, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (Unesco). In the Central African Republic there can be 86 pupils to a classroom, while schools in other countries can lack water, basic sanitation and electricity. Textbooks are often in short supply, as are qualified teachers. While technology would seem to offer some answers, electronic libraries, digital textbooks, online exam marking and distance learning projects can only flourish once faster wireless connectivity has been rolled out. "Without this connectivity we will never be competitive - ever," says Farouk Gumel, partner at consultancy PwC Nigeria.
'Made in Africa'
As and when such ubiquitous connectivity is achieved, young people also need to be taught how to use these technologies and understand their potential, Ms Harry believes. Her academy teaches "technology, entrepreneurship and life skills to
young people" and is looking at the potential for "3D printing to transform the African continent from an 'Aid to Africa' to a 'Made in Africa' model". By using low-energy, low-cost kit, such as the Raspberry Pi computer and inexpensive laptops and tablets, "our young people are creating an ecosystem of relatively inexpensive, yet innovative, technologies," she says. Projects by her entrepreneurial students include domestic security systems and LED lighting programs. Technology is also being used to protect African wildlife from poaching. "Technology is also enabling more people to create, record and edit their own content then distribute it cheaply via Facebook and Twitter," says Chichi Nwoko, chief executive of Hey What's On? - a media company based in Lagos and New York. Home-grown companies like Jumia, Konga and Iroko TV are beginning to give global brands like Amazon and Netflix a run for their money, she believes.
Innovation is happening in other sectors, too. For example, satellite mapping, GPS tracking systems, civilian drones and mobile cloud-based databases are helping farmers monitor their livestock against disease and theft, track pesticide residues in their crops and study weather patterns. For Africa, it seems, necessity may be the mother of invention, but technology is its father.

Tourism gets tech savvy in Southern and Eastern Africa -  video



Africa, 2014, Tanzania, Rasmbisi lodge

17 July 2014    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28324972
South Africa's Cape Town is famous for its penguin colony and is a top tourist destination. Pristine beaches, wild animals and vibrantly colourful cities - Africa has something for everyone. No wonder more than 40 million people visit Africa every year, according to the World Bank, and that number is rising fast. Research group Euromonitor International says tourism income has risen from $42bn (£25bn) in 2011 to an estimated $54bn in 2014. Competition to attract this tourist cash is fierce and technology is becoming an increasingly powerful tool in the battle.
Innovation
For many, Cape Town - situated on the continent's southern-most tip and famous for its beaches, penguins and Table Mountain backdrop - is a "must-see" destination. "Technology has levelled the playing field in terms of how you market a
destination," says Enver Duminy, chief executive of Cape Town Tourism.
Enver Duminy, Cape Town Tourism
Cape Town Tourism's Enver Duminy says technology has "levelled the playing field. I think technology and innovation has affected the tourism industry perhaps more than any other industry." Mr Duminy's organisation began looking at ways to use technology to reach potential visitors, as well as interact with those that choose Cape Town as a regular destination. "Just before the 2010 World Cup, which was held in South Africa, we realised we had to innovate," he says. "We don't have the same budgets as other big cities and the exchange rate was not in our favour. We saw a mega trend in the shift to digital and we embraced that." The most recent innovation has been the creation of a mobile visitor information vehicle known as Thando, which means "love" in the local isiXhosa language. The vehicle offers visitors free wi-fi along with LCD [liquid crystal display] screens and the ability to make bookings and secure trips at roving locations. Cape Town Tourism's wi-fi equipped "Thando" van brings travel technology to the people.
Personal commentaries
For most travellers, the use of mobile has opened a world of opportunities to explore and understand the places they are visiting. A small South African start-up called VoiceMap is trying to bring a local feel to walking tours with the use of smartphones and GPS technology. Founder Iain Manley travelled around the world for many years before returning to South Africa and getting involved in GPS-triggered commentary on cruises and open-top bus tours. He soon found that there was something lacking in the big box product. "When we were doing the commentary for Cape Town's open-top bus tour the single voice idea didn't work at all because Cape Town has so many different communities and the history of the city is so contested. The same is true of cities all over," he says. This gave him the idea of creating a platform to enable people to record their own personalised GPS-based commentaries. Anyone can go to the VoiceMap website and use the publishing tools to create some sort of walk and put their voice over it. The company also has an iPhone app and is working towards launching an Android version soon. The person creating the route commentary can decide if they want to offer it for free or charge a small fee. After the usual payments are made to the likes of Apple and PayPal, profits are shared between the storyteller and VoiceMap. Mr Manley believes that technology is uniquely placed to change the way people perceive Africa and travel within it. "I think there is a lot of stereotyping in terms of what it means to go to Africa and people don't appreciate the nuances," he says. "Not only every country, but every city and place, has a completely different identity. Technology obviously provides people with a way of communicating those different identities and [allows] others to access those nuances," says Mr Manley.
Breaking with tradition
Thanks to technology, remote places, as well as small businesses, can now reach a global audience and encourage people to move away from the traditional African experiences and be more adventurous. Damian Cook is the managing director of Kenyan-based E-Tourism Frontiers, an initiative aimed at developing online tourism in global emerging markets. He comes from a traditional tourism background, but after many years in the industry he noticed the growth of technology in the sector and how Africa was lagging behind. Security concerns in countries like Kenya and South Sudan have not helped. "I saw what Bill Clinton called the digital divide - technology that should have been helping emerging and developing economies was actually harming it," says Mr Cook. "It was rather a slow process lobbying government and I realised that the private sector could do it themselves if trained and given the right connections and resources." He soon started holding training seminars on how businesses could be more effective online, and lobbied government for better internet connectivity and e-commerce solutions. "Social media has changed the game because, for the first time, people are getting referrals not from any official sources but from clients," he says. "People are coming into the destinations with smartphones, getting access to free wi-fi and... constantly broadcasting their experiences." One success story E-Tourism Frontiers tells is about a small lodge off the Tanzanian coast that embraced social media and turned itself into a "must-visit" destination. Ras Mbisi Lodge in Tanzania has used social media to raise its profile. According to Mr Cook, the Ras Mbisi Lodge relies completely on social media for its marketing, and thanks to an active and innovative Twitter profile has been featured globally in numerous travel and lifestyle magazines.
'Increased challenge'
But many obstacles remain when it comes to bringing tourism and technology together, such as limited internet bandwidth, relatively high costs and skills shortages. And the team at E-Tourism Frontiers warns that putting the technology ahead of the tourism experience can result in a lacklustre offering. "We have also found that there is an increased challenge in terms of keeping up with market expectations," adds Mr Cook, "especially in regards to social media, locally based content and mobile applications." Despite these challenges, tourism is booming in Africa, buoyed by a resurgent economy and a more digitally connected world.



Senegal


Senegal’s cattle rustlers face mobile tech fightback (video)










Africa, 2014, Senegal, Cattle Farmers













24 July 2014      http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28365741
Senegal farmers are protecting themselves against cattle rustlers using mobile phone technology. "This is our concern. When it comes to raising cattle it's our job, when you're born you see your father doing it, it represents everything to us."
Abdoul Ba is a farmer. He has lived here in Djilor, the tiny village where he was born, for all of his 56 years. Like 70% of the population of Senegal, he raises cattle. But these are more than cows. For Mr Ba and his family they are livelihood, larder,
wealth, status and retirement fund. They are everything. It is a common story across Africa. So when those animals are stolen, some families are left in such dire circumstances that cases of suicide are not unheard of. The last time the cattle rustlers struck, Mr Ba lost seven animals. He was lucky. About 120 were taken that night. "It was very hard for us but we had to accept it. They were stolen when they were returning to the field after drinking here at home," he says. "We looked for months with the help of neighbours, we looked in all the districts and villages around, and we didn't find them. We decided in despair that we had lost them." Farmer Abdoul Ba says he knows of at least three people who have killed rustlers trying to steal their cattle. Mr Ba lives in a compound with the rest of his extended family in the heart of Djilor. A boy walks his cows to pasture. These cows are the lucky ones - they sleep in the village rather than tethered in distant pastures. Follow the herd. In a country that relies heavily on agriculture - an estimated 490bn CFA francs ($1bn, £592m) of livestock roam the countryside - this is a problem that goes beyond individual families to the industry as a whole. Amadou Sow had the original idea for Daral. And it is something the government, not just the cattle farmers, wants to stamp out. After taking a class in computers, Amadou Sow realised:
"The problems that the farmers face could be solved by technology." So he decided to go to Dakar and talk to the people at Microsoft about his idea, and see if they would help. They decided they probably could. This was the seed from which Daral - which means "cattle market" in the Wolof language - grew. The application is a collaboration between Microsoft 4Afrika, non-governmental organisation Coders4Africa, and a team of young developers. You won't find many high-speed internet connections in the middle of rural Senegal, so it relies heavily on mobile phone technology.
Mobile phone mast
Mobile phone ownership is ever-increasing in sub-Saharan Africa - there are masts even in the most rural of areas. "If you take 10 African people... three have computers, but if you take the same 10 we have 10 African people with 10 mobiles," says Coders4Africa's Leger Djiba. "We are sure that the best way to give information, to deliver information, is using mobile." The application is designed to gather livestock data for the Senegalese ministry of livestock, with the aim of protecting cattle from theft and monitoring their health. Livestock agent Mamadou Dia says higher rainfall has increased some livestock diseases. Animals are registered on a web-based application, which generates a unique number, and a photo can be uploaded with a description. In the field, project representatives connect laptops to the web using a mobile broadband dongle. If the animal should fall victim to rustlers, the farmer can then contact police and have a region-wide SMS alert sent out using his basic mobile handset.
Healthy returns
"The farmers often don't respond to the vaccination campaigns," says livestock inspector Mamadou Dia. "The response is really insufficient, insignificant. You'll go and see the head of the village, the PRCs [presidents of the rural communities] and the boss of the cattle herders, tell them about it, but the day of the campaign, the farmers don't come."
Meeting under the tree
Talking shop: Many local farmers feel something should have been done about cattle theft before now. So text messages are sent to remind the farmers. If an animal falls sick the farmer can in turn send a message describing symptoms and ask for help. Since May, just over 2,000 farmers in the pilot districts of Fatick and Kaolak have signed up to the programme. Finding out what the farmers actually want from such a system has been an important part of the development process, its developers say. "You go, you get feedback and you come back and you modify things. You don't just create the whole software and then say, 'Okay here it is now.' As you build it you get feedback and you modify and you go along," says developer Mansour Fall. Microsoft's Seynabou Ndoye-Sene took Mr Sow's idea and found people to make it work. The next stage involves being able to track individual cows by implanting radio frequency identification (RFID) tags that can be read with a handheld scanner. "We did not want to have tags on the animals because usually the tags were done on the ear of the animal, like an earring," says Microsoft's Seynabou Ndoye-Sene. "Then the thief cuts the ear - we did not want the animals to be mutilated."
Virtual veg
Not everyone relies on livestock in Senegal - arable farming is massively important, too. Aboubacar Sidy Sonko's parents are farmers. So when France Telecom launched a competition for young developers, he used their experience as inspiration. Louma serves farmers, who live far from busy urban marketplaces such as Dakar's Marche Kermel. The result, mLouma, is an online produce marketplace that has already won multiple awards in Africa and beyond. It provides a secure way for farmers to sell their produce directly to buyers in the cities at market price, rather than being short-changed by visiting produce buyers. Goods to sell are uploaded by SMS or through a mobile app, so expensive equipment is not necessary. "We know that around 70% of Senegalese work in agriculture. They are making very good things, products of quality," says Mr Sidy Sonko. "But they are in places where they are invisible. The second problem is intermediaries who offer producers low prices. In the face of this, technology gives farmers the ability to have people in Dakar, in Paris, anywhere, see what they are doing." Having started with onion farmers, the company is now expanding and working out better ways for their producers to get their goods to buyers. Now is the time for Senegal's start-ups to look to agriculture, Mr Sidy Sonko says. "There is a real potential; we think it's the moment for people to use technology to help those at the bottom of the pyramid," he says. "The impact is the growth of the producers' income. It's a considerable impact. Djilor's PCR - or president - Omar Ba. "There needs to be lots of solutions like mLouma here in Senegal," he adds. Back in Djilor, the farmers there may well agree. As they gather just before dusk under a large tree in front of the village mosque, the talk is of a simple question of survival. "It's very serious because it raises a lot of concern for your family. It's really hard to lose your cattle, after great expectations you just realise that you lost everything and it's really difficult to face," says village president Omar Ba. "So when you lose it you really feel it. It can transform your life."



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From site: http://www.irinnews.org/

Mali

Hunger stalks Mali’s Dogon

mali life

Mali Dogon Capital Bandiagara

Africa, 2014, Mali, Dogon Capital - Bandiagara

mali life

Africa, 2014, Mali, Dogon Life

mali life

mali life

mali life

mali life

January 2014 - Bandiagara, in central Mali’s Mopti Region, is struggling to cope with successive poor harvests and the near-total collapse of its tourist industry. Poverty is forcing the area’s residents - who are from the Dogon ethnic group - to forgo hospital care even as rates of malnutrition rise. Unemployment is rife, and thousands of people of working age have left to find work elsewhere, say residents. A precarious future awaits those who remain. Bandiagara, Mopti Region of Mali. (January 2014). Millet production around Bandiagara has been hit by years of poor rains. Millet preparation in Bandiagara, Mopti Region of Mali. The crop has been hit by a succession of poor harvests. A December 2013 assessment by the government and partners said Bandiagara faced crisis levels of food insecurity. Guindo Tembely, director of the NGO, YAGTU, stands behind machinery used to make Farine, a protein rich dietary supplement given to women and children in Mali's Mopti region. Rocky ground around the Dogon country.  YAGTU estimates that just 10 percent of land in Dogon country is suitable for agriculture.  (r), the youngest, is suffering from malnutrition. One father (Ampilome Saye) said he was forced to “give away” five of his children because he was unable to feed them. His youngest child (Eguimo) is now suffering from malnutrition. Tourists, drawn to the Dogon's rich cultural heritage, once provided an important revenue stream. But after a spate of kidnappings and Mali’s 2012 takeover, they stopped coming. Bandiagara in Mopti region of central Mali used to attract thousands of tourists annually, who have long been drawn to the Dogon's rich and unique cultural heritage. Former tourism workers are struggling to make ends meet. Amagali Guindo used to sell cloth to tourists. Now, he has to travel as far as Bamako to find a market for his wares. Resident of Bandiagara, Mopti Region of Mali.

Malawi


Mining for survival in Malawi

























Africa, 2013, Malawi - Road Butcher, Sale



Africa, 2013, Malawi Women -
Prostitutes





July 2013 - Artisanal and small-scale mining in Malawi is often practiced by poverty-stricken rural communities. Regardless of the value of the minerals being extracted, small-scale miners rarely earn more than a subsistence income. The Malawi
government has proposed greater support for small-scale miners, but it also needs to regulate the trade in semi-precious stones, as currently the stones’ real value is realized only once they are exported. Small-scale mining is practiced for survival rather than profit in Malawi; small scale miner near the northern Malawian town of Mzimba (June 2013). A family runs a stone-crushing operation in northern Malawi, about 10km west of the town of Karonga. A wheelbarrow full of crushed rocks, mainly for industrial use, sells for about 150 kwacha (US$0.46). Malawi has a great range of semi-precious stones, including rose quartz, aquamarine, amethyst, citrine and tourmaline. Rose quartz sells for about $30 a ton in Malawi; the international retail price is exponentially higher. The stone is valued in Asia for jewellery and in Europe and the US for its allegedly mystical properties. This rose quartz mine is about 20km east of Mzimba. Because the operation lacks access to capital or credit facilities, the opencast mine has been largely dug with rudimentary tools. The hard quartz quickly blunts spades; jack hammers would be more suitable. The most advanced equipment on site is a digital scale. The miners spend months living in makeshift camps. Edwin Banda, 32, has been a small-scale miner for 15 years, and has spent the last two years on this rose quartz mine. There are no sanitation facilities, but the miners have built a washroom.

Fishing for life on Lake Malawi















July 2013 - The government of Malawi has announced it intends to place greater emphasis on the extractive resource sector, causing concern that Lake Malawi could be at risk of pollution. The lake provides 20 percent of the protein requirement for Malawi’s 16 million people. It also provides direct employment for tens of thousands of people, from fishermen to traders. Ngara is a fishing village on Lake Malawi, about 30km south of the town of Karonga. Fishing is the the economic lifeblood of the community, and has been for generations. Everyone in the village - about 1,400 households - is supported directly or indirectly by fishing. The fish are caught during the night and brought ashore in the morning. The Usipa fish (Engraulicypris sardella) is a pelagic cyprinid endemic to Lake Malawi and grows to a maximum length of about 130mm. Part of the catch is parboiled before being dried; this will preserve the fish for up to four months. Preserving fish in Ngara, a northern Malawi fishing village about 30km south of Karonga. The catch is then sold to traders, the majority of whom are women: traders in Ngara, a northern Malawi fishing village about 30km south of Karonga. The fish are then dried in the sun on wooden racks on the beach. The fishermen have expressed concerns about possible oil extraction in Lake Malawi. They fear pollution would be catastrophic for their livelihoods. Damage to the industry would have far-reaching effects. The fish is sold along a road linking the capital, Lilongwe, to neighbouring Tanzania. It is also traded in neighbouring Zambia and as far south as the commercial city of Blantyre. Fish for sale in Ngara, a northern Malawi fishing village about 30km south of Karonga. The money generated from fishing helps fuel the economy, supporting other businesses like this roadside butchery in Ngara. Salon workers in Ngara. Workers of Ngara’s Mama Debora Hair Salon see a variety of nutritional and economic benefits from the fishing industry…as do these sex workers. The women charge about US$2 for their services. A group of sex workers in Ngara.








Lesotho


Fishing for jobs in Lesotho


















MARCH 2013 - The Lesotho Highlands Water Project is one of Lesotho’s most divisive issues: Proponents cite benefits like improved infrastructure and hydroelectricity, while opponents point to concerns like the forced resettlement of communities and loss of arable land. While sustainable employment was not a major consideration, according to local activists, much-needed jobs are beginning to appear along the project’s waterways. The Lesotho Highlands Water Project is Africa’s largest water transfer system, comprising several dams and tunnels to deliver water to Gauteng province, South Africa’s industrial hub. The expanse of waterways created by the project has provided some small economic opportunities for local fisherman. Most of Lesotho lies more than 1,830 metres above sea level making the waters of the dams cold and ideal for the farming of trout. During the about 16 months required for the trout to reach about 1,3kg weight for sale in neighbouring South Africa, the biomass of the pen is monitored and fish netted for weighing  and are fed by hand, once all the necessary data has been taken into consideration. Trout farming provides jobs within an environment of very high unemployment levels. On Katse dam there are two companies farming fish, Royale Highland Trout and Highland Trout. The vast expanse of dam waters means there is room for many more such operations. During the about 16 months required for the trout to reach about 1,3kg weight for sale in neighbouring South Africa the biomass of the pen is monitored and fish netted for weighing.
1. The Katse Dam is part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, Africa’s largest water transfer system. The environment is constantly monitored, such as water temperature and dissolved oxygen levels, which helps calculate the correct feed
amounts for the trout.
2. The area’s residents are suffering under high unemployment levels. Local fishermen scrape by catching yellowfish on the dam.
3. Fried yellowfish is sold by hawkers in Ha Lajone, Lesotho. The fish is bony and, aside from local consumption, has little commercial value.
4. But two companies, Katse Fish Farms and Highlands Trout, have introduced aquaculture to the dam.
5. The companies, which raise trout for export, have created dozens of jobs.
6. Both fish farms plan to scale up operations, creating even more jobs. There is room on the dam for many more such operations.
7. Because fisheries can pose environmental risks, the trout farms’ environmental impact is closely monitored.
8. And as part of a local agreement, Katse Fish Farms places 0.45 percent of the value of its production in a community trust.
9. The trust supports local development; it has already been used to rehabilitate Ha Lajone’s potable water system.

Lesotho Women


Lesotho rolls out new HIV approach







Africa, 2013, Lesotho - Vaccinations





December 2013 - In Lesotho, HIV transmission rates from mother to child remain high. Poor health and transport infrastructure have meant that HIV-positive people living in remote mountain regions are often the last to receive care and treatment;
doctors and nurses are in short supply; and almost a quarter of the population lives with HIV. Officials hope the recent introduction of simplified, lifelong ARV treatment for pregnant women will help to cut transmission rates and reduce maternal
deaths. Schoolchildren wait to get tested for HIV in Mekaling, Lesotho. Those who are 12 years and older are legally allowed to be tested without parental consent. Testing and treating adolescents is becoming a critical part of Lesotho’s campaign to fight the third highest HIV prevalence in the world. Most new infections occur in young women, who are up to three times more likely to get infected than young men. Globally, AIDS-related deaths amongst adolescents increased by 50 percent between 2005 and 2012. In stark contrast, good progress has been made in preventing mother-to-child transmission of the virus. In Lesotho, the rate of mother-to-child transmission is still high, and the big challenge now will be to reach pregnant women in remote areas. One of the main obstacles has been a shortage of medical professionals, with most local doctors and nurses preferring to find employment in other countries.


The Mother-Baby Pack, a colour-coded take-home box of essential medicines, including antiretrovirals, will make it easier for women, who cannot return to a clinic to stay healthy.



Swaziland

Swaziland - Beyond Fertilizers and Tractors


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JANUARY 2013 - Swaziland’s smallholder farmers face increasing difficulty making a living with traditional methods of growing maize, the staple crop. With no programmes to subsidize inputs, many farmers, unable to afford fertilizer, have seen their maize yields drop. Those who have received training in “conservation agriculture” and growing crops that are less rain-dependent than maize are faring better, but they are constrained by their lack of land tenure and inability to raise capital. A farmer work her fields in Shewula village in Swaziland’s eastern Lubombo region . Mnisi works her field with a hoe, which she also uses for planting; hiring a tractor is too costly for her. Josephine Mnisi and her husband are smallholder farmers in Shewula Village, in Swaziland’s eastern Lubombo region with three of the grandchildren she supports through farming.  The plot allocated to them by their chief must support a large family, but their yields are poor as they are unable to afford fertilizer. A tractor in the farming community of Tikhuba in Swaziland’s eastern Lubombo region. An Agriculture Ministry service to provide subsidized tractor hire has been a casualty of the Swazi government’s cash flow problems. A shop in Swaziland’s eastern Lubombo District sells fertilizer, but many local farmers cannot afford to buy it. A small number of farmers are receiving fertilizer and training in conservation agriculture through a government/FAO programme. Smallholder farmers from Swaziland’s eastern Lubombo District are using conservation techniques to grow crops other than maize. After several years using conservation agriculture, Happy Shongwa no longer needs fertilizer to get a good maize yield. She intercrops the maize with peanuts and beans. Swaziland’s farmers are being encouraged to intercrop maize with legumes such as jugo beans that can be sold or used to improve their families’ diet. Her stock of maize will help get her family through the lean season while other farmers struggle.


Zambia

Fishermen on Lake Tanganyika (Zambia)

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August 2011 - Fishing for a living on Lake Tanganyika has become a gamble, with the rising costs of fuel and the ever greater distances navigated to catch fewer fish stacking the odds against those working in the industry. A crew prepares the boats for a night of fishing on Lake Tanganyika in the northern Zambian town of Mpulungu. Paraffin lamps, which float on the water and are used to attract the fish, are filled and pressurized. The four lamp boats are loaded on to the mother boat. A fisherman eats before the one-hour journey to the fishing area. While the lamp boats take up position, other members of the crew fish with hooks and add to the catch. Fishermen cast a 100m ring net from the mother boat to catch  the haul of fish on Lake Tanganyika. An approaching storm adds to the urgency of the expedition. The catch is small and when the storm moves in the night's fishing is cut short. Women traders buy fish from the fishermen to trade at Ngwenye market in Mpulungu. The smaller kapenta variety of fish is thrown on to the concrete to dry at Ngwenye market in Mpulungu, Zambia. The two commercial fish, kapenta and buka buka, are frozen at minus 40 degrees Centigrade, and sold in the capital Lusaka. Commercial operations also line the Zambian shores of Lake Tanganyika, but their role is limited to packaging and freezing the fish.

Chad

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A woman carries water on her head at a settlement for displaced people in Goz Baeda, Eastern Chad.

Madagascar

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Flood waters in Madagascar after Cyclone Bingiza struck the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar on 14 February 2011.

Yemen

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Milhan locals must climb 1,500-1,800m-high mountains to reach springs to get water, Yemen.

Niger

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Men drawing water from a deep well in the region of Zinder, Southern Niger. The scarce ressource has to be shared between cattle, population and crops. A dry water pan in Bondo, Nyanza Province.

Sudan



Africa - Sudan, Flooding, Water Shortage



Africa - Sudan, Life After War













Children displaced by flooding collect water from a submerged hand pump. Sudan. August. Extremely heavy early rains inundated the areas around Aweil with floodwaters, displacing thousands of residents. UN agencies and NGOs working with their government partners are working to provide the needed assistance to those displaced.

Slow returns to Abyei

JANUARY 2013 - Following an invasion by Sudanese troops in May 2011, 120,000 people fled the Abyei Area, which lies between Sudan and South Sudan. Today, returnees are trickling in amid fears of repeat military action and uncertainty over the area’s political future. Only a fraction of those, who fled, have since returned home. Abandoned buildings in Abyei, women living in abandoned buildings in Abyei town. Many returning residents are squatting in abandoned buildings after their homes were razed during the violence. Business is slow, and many children remain out of school, tea seller Achuil Deng now only sells a few cups a day oustide an abandoned Abyei school; most returnees have settled in Agok, shopkeeper in Agok, where life is returning to normal. Mud and straw tukuls have been reduced to rubble in Abyei. Many are starting over from scratch; Cattle herders outside Abyei. There are fears that cattle-keeping communities could clash over scarce resources in early 2013 and after an uneasy return, many are wary of rebuilding. AFP trader passes UN tanks near Abyei market. The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei is helping to keep the peace; UN peacekeepers on patrol in Abyei.

Sierra Leone


Lighting revolution in Sierra Leone (Africa)


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May 2014 - Freetown. In the face of inadequate provision of power by the Sierra Leonean government, companies are stepping in to provide solar electricity systems that ordinary Sierra Leoneans can afford. In the capital Freetown, once known as 'the darkest city in the world' blackouts are a part of life. A fisherman in John Obey village, which has no grid electricity despite being just an hour from the capital. A neighborhood in Freetown. Sierra Leone has long been unable to provide adequate electricity to it's citizens. Mariama relies on a plastic light in a neighbouring shop to run her street-food business in Freetown. People wanting to charge their mobile phones pay 1,000 leones (23 US cents) to the lucky few who own generators…But generators frequently break down, and are well beyond the price range of most. Aminatta uses an Indigo, pay-as-you-go solar powered light to run her bread and fizzy drinks business in Tombo village. Mr Benga, also from Tombo, bought two to power his children's bedrooms and other communal areas. The lights shine for 8 hours a day, and cut down hugely on energy bills. Sierra Leone is increasingly looking to solar to solve it's energy woes.

Children break rocks to pay for school in Sierra Leone

MARCH 2013 - Child labour is nothing new in Sierra Leone, but the brutal job of breaking stones with a hammer for hours on end in the baking heat has raised particular concern. Even for adults, the work is extremely tough, and injuries are common. Abdul Bangura, seven, is one of thousands of children, who break rocks for the construction industry.  A boy breaks rocks near John Obey quarry in Freetown, Sierra Leone (Feb 2013). James, seven, on the right, has worked here since his mother died in November 2012. Boys breaking rocks near John Obey quarry in Freetown, Sierra Leone (Feb 2013).
A worker at Adonkia quarry, Freetown, Sierra Leone (Feb 2013), Musa Bendu’s children all work despite receiving free education. Isatu, a mother, badly injured her leg in an accident in Adonkia quarry, Freetown, Sierra Leone (Feb 2013). Health
problems and physical injuries among the children are common. The cost-free Borbor Pain Charity School of Hope in Adonkia, Sierra Leone (Feb 2013), was set up in a bid to get children out of the quarries. Child rights posters in the Borbor Pain
school, Freetown, Sierra Leone (Feb 2013). But even some of those, who attend the chronically underfunded school, still work in the quarries after classes or at weekends. A young girl at Adonkia quarry, Freetown, Sierra Leone (Feb 2013). There is no shortage of rocks waiting to be crushed. Mechanical digger in a quarry near John Obey, Freetown, Sierra Leone (Feb 2013).

Sierra Leone’s disabled battle adversity

August 2013 - At No. 14 ECOWAS Street, a government-owned building in downtown Freetown, Sierra Leone. They face difficulty obtaining healthcare, education and jobs - which are already hard to come by. Most resort to begging. The young male polio survivors set off early in the morning to cover the streets of Freetown, hoping to gather any small change. They visit the mosques and churches and wait outside upscale restaurants and banks.  Early in the morning, polio survivors set off from No. 14 ECOWAS Street. View from the balcony of no. 14 ECOWAS Street in downtown Freetown, Sierra Leone’s crowded capital, home to over 200 disabled people and their families.  The building is overcrowded, with cardboard walls, just a few toilets and a small washing area. Abass Koroma, 32, rides a motorized scooter; most of his fellow polio survivors make do with simple wooden or metal crutches. Some have wooden home-made wheelchairs and the lucky few have lighter modern wheelchairs. Abass Koroma, 32, eats cassava leaf in palm oil with rice in his room, barely big enough to contain his mattress. Koroma came to Freetown in 1993, during Sierra Leone’s civil war, to escape the fighting in Kono District. “We are happy to have this place, but it will not be here forever,” he said. The community is run by the Handicapped Youth Development Organisation (HYDO), a group whose members are disabled. Another resident of no. 14 ECOWAS Street in downtown Freetown. A note on the wall reminds residents of  sweeping and cleaning duties. HYDO hopes to develop a plot of land outside the city for its members. But with little money, they face an uphill battle. A resident comforts a baby. Phillip Ndapie runs a hardware shop from a wooden structure outside the building in 14 ECOWAS street, selling everything from mallets to PVC pipes to bathroom fittings. He is one of the few community members with an income. Ndapie sleeps where he works, in the tiny space between his shelves of stock. In an upstairs corridor at 14 ECOWAS street, a young daughter of a polio survivor waits for her father to return from the street.

Guinea

Guineans vote for jobs

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September 2013 - When IRIN spoke to youths in Guinea's capital, Conakry, the subject on everyone’s lips was work - where to find it and how to get it. Many of the youths held degrees but have never been able to use them; some 60 percent of
Guinea’s youths are unemployed. And while some reserve hope, others are cynical about whether a new set of rulers can catalyse meaningful change. Guineans prepare to vote in long-overdue parliamentary elections that will be the country's first since 2002. Young unemployed men play cards in an abandoned warehouse in Conakry (Sept 2013). Sona Sagno has a degree in tourism, but could only find work selling beer from a hut in Rogbané, Conakry. Men drink at a tea shop -an Ataya Base in the Madina neighbourhood of Conakry (Sept 2013). Young men collect used bottles from a rubbish dump in Kaloum, Conakry. Ibrahim Kamara is an apprentice to a truck driver, but his salary puts him below the poverty line of US$2 per day. An unemployed man at a disused bus-station in Kaloum, Conakry (Sept 2013). Senoussi Bangoura has not worked regularly in three years. Unemployed man, Conakry, Guinea. Sangaré, who works at the Manhattan City Bar in Conakry, is hopeful of finding better work in the future. His customers are largely unemployed.

Ivory Coast

Ivoirian floods highlight disaster preparedness shortcomings

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http://www.irinnews.org/report/100304/ivoirian-floods-highlight-disaster-preparedness-shortcomings
ABIDJAN, 4 July 2014 (IRIN)
Recent heavy downpours and flooding in Côte d’Ivoire have killed dozens of people, washed away houses and once again highlighted poor disaster preparedness in the country’s largest city. Exposing poor preparation. The raging waters killed 23 people. Landslides triggered by torrential rain in early June killed 23 people in the commercial capital Abidjan, according to the National Civil Defence Office (ONPC). “Every year, at the same time, it is the same thing that we witness. Rains kill people and the authorities still don’t have any solution to save us,” lamented Karim Konaté, a resident of a shanty settlement near the upscale suburb of Cocody. In 2013, floods killed two people, and at least 49 were killed between 2009 and 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. Up to 80,000 Abidjan residents could be affected by flooding this year, according to OCHA. City slums in Cocody or the Yopougon industrial district in western Abidjan have seen serious flooding. Urban planning expert Ferdinand Brou Kouamé explained that migration to the city since 2002 when the country was plunged into a political crisis has driven up the population of Abidjan and overstretched infrastructure. “For almost 10 years the government let many people construct settlements at their own risk, and today it is difficult to evict them quickly,” Kouamé told IRIN. “Today we have flood victims, tomorrow there will be a need to rescue those living on the sea shore who are regularly swamped by rising waters. No measures are being taken to resettle them to safer ground. Only when disaster strikes do we play firemen.”
Inducements to move
The Ivoirian government is offering US$2,000 for each of the 23 families that have lost a loved one and agrees to relocate from the areas susceptible to flooding and landslides. An emergency response plan has also been set up and the authorities are seeking 850 hectares of land to relocate those living in risky zones. The military has been deployed to help inform the public about flood dangers, clean up and unclog drains, clear roads and restore telephone and power lines. The operation includes identifying rescue sites in each neighbourhood as well as setting up an army operation command with a toll free number. Four shanty towns, home to some 25,000 people, will be completely destroyed, while 50,000 other informal settlement residents are to be relocated from flood-prone areas where people are forced to live due to poverty, proximity to work and high rents elsewhere. Others have held back moving from the risky areas waiting for government assistance, according to OCHA. “There is no other way,” said ONPC Director Kili Fiacre. “They have to be evicted. We know there is the problem of poverty and it is difficult to relocate the population, but I think we don’t have a choice.”
Kili decried the lack of cooperation by community leaders to avert flooding disasters and pointed out that some residents abandon their homes during the rainy season and return after the rains have gone.
“We live here because we have little means,” said security guard Ahmed Konaté, a resident of a Cocody slum. “Every year the government promises to find us a safer location, but it does not tell us who is going to pay the rent.”
Kouamé said that asking slum dwellers to relocate was unrealistic. “You can’t ask someone who earns $50 a month to go and live in a house that costs $100 a month. Moreover these districts are home to labourers in industries in the country’s south and their families are actively involved in small and medium enterprises. The government sees their importance [for the economy], but fails to acknowledge that proper planning of their neighbourhoods is vital,” he said, adding: “The city is growing every year without concomitant urban sanitation.”

Nigeria

River Blindness in Nigeria
September 2011 - Some 27 million people in Nigeria need treatment for river blindness, also known as onchocerciasis, according to NGO Sight Savers. The disease is spread through the bite of a black simulium fly, which breeds in fast-flowing water. However, if at-risk people take the drug ivermectin, also known as Mectizan, annually for 15-17 years, the infection cycle is broken for life, according to the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control. A woman farms rice on her farm in Ungwaku 1, Kajura District, in Kaduna State Nigeria. Mary Muntari walks to a stream to collect water in Kachia, Kaduna State, Nigeria. Mary Muntari collects water from a stream in Kachia, in Kaduna State Nigeria. September 2009. In some states, river blindness has affected agriculture as people move away from rivers to try to avoid the disease. Young boys swim in a river in Kachia, in Kaduna State Nigeria. 18th September, 2009. A young girl carries water from a river known to be infested with flies that cause river blindness. Ungwaku 1, Kajura District, in Kaduna State Nigeria.  A health worker with NGO Sight Savers at a community meeting in Kajura District, Kaduna State, explains the dangers of river blindness and the importance of taking the right medicine, September, 2009. A woman, Margaret Christoba, who contracted river blindness many years ago is led along a path by her great granddaughter Rahab at her home in Aguna village, Kachia, in Nigeria’s Kaduna State. When she is not in school Rahab, from Aguna village, helps her, Margret Christoba. She shells ground nuts with her great granddaughter Rahab in her home in Aguna Village. Community volunteers Magaji Ango and Maiyaki Tambaya walk from their village to Kachia, Kaduna State, to dispense the drug ivermectin, also known as Mectizan to treat household members.  A young girl recieves her Mectizan treatment from a community worker CDD in Ungwaku 1, Kajura District, in Kaduna State Nigeria. Helen does her homework with her brother Jacob in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Both have just taken their dose of Mectizan to prevent them from contracting river blindness.

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Kenia

Water is Life


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September 2011 - Water is a basic requirement for all life, yet water resources are under increasing pressure from rising demand and competition among users. IRIN presents a new slideshow on how the challenge of accessing water affects
communities across the world. Slum residents collect water in Nairobi, capital of Kenya.  Mathare slum faces a serious water shortage due to major disconnections from slum inlet pipes. A Turkana girl waters camels from a hole dug in a dry river bed near Kenya’s border with Uganda. A man collects water from a reservoir near the town of Moyale in northern Kenya.

Warimu Gachenga, elderly slum resident

August 2013 - Gender-based violence is widespread in Kenya. In the Korogocho slum of the capital, Nairobi, 70-year-old Wairimu Gachenga meets with a group of grandmothers once a week to practice self-defence techniques. They began holding these sessions in 2007, after one of the women was raped. Wairimu Gachenga lives in Korogocho, one of Nairobi’s largest slums. She has been looking after her two grandchildren since her daughter fell fatally ill. Wairimu Gachenga, resident of Korogocho slum in Nairobi, Kenya, with her grand-daughter. Gachenga has seven living children. But, she says, “I also count my grandchildren as my children, so I usually say I have nine.” Wairimu Gachenga, resident of Korogocho slum in Nairobi, Kenya, practices self defence techniques with other elderly women in the community. And to chat about their lives. Gachenga says “It’s like a support group for me”. Some people think elderly women may be targeted for sexual assault, because of their lower HIV incidence. To earn a living, Gachenga scours Nairobi’s Dandora dumpsite, searching for recyclables. In a country with few social safety nets, Gachenga gets no help from the government. Her earnings depend on how much she can collect from the dumpsite, which, on a bad day, can be as low as KSH30 (USD 34 cents).









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