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Archive for March 17th, 2011

Uganda: Heavy rain destroys most structures in Soroti municipality.

Posted by African Press International on March 17, 2011

Check out Skimlinks is here for you.

By Joseph Eigu Onyango

Soroti, Uganda

As most parts of the up-country side in Uganda still suffer from hot sunshine due to prolonged dry spell without signs of clouds bringing hope to rain.

Heavy rain coupled by strong wind yesterday destroyed many houses in Soroti municipality Eastern Uganda in what has been described as a surprise contrary to the prediction by the office of the Prime Minister that Uganda as a country is going to experience long dry season.

The heavy down pours that happened at mid day on Wednesday destroyed very many structures mostly at the suburbs of Pamba, Kengere, cenral ward and many others.

Earlier last week, many people across the country that subscribe to Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) received warning messages from the office of the Prime Minister cautioning that the public should expect shortages of food, water and pasture, therefore they should store food and water to avoid hunger.

In regard to this, the residents living around Soroti town have started doubting such predictions saying it’s not the first time they are being misled when its comes to reading the rains patterns.

Moses Okello, a resident of Kengere ward in Soroti municipality recalls that last year most farmers missed planting some crops because they were again told that there was going to a long dry spell.

Some of us just ended staying in our homes without digging any thing because we were told there would be drought;  Okello said.

In yesterday’s heavy down pour, most structures in Soroti town were blown off.

In Pamba market, the wall to one of the video halls fell down prompting the football fans to abandon watching yesterday.

In Kegere ward, the strong winds blew most of the houses for the local residents including those of the councilors contesting in the LC 3 council for Eastern division.

The traders of the second-hand clothes here in Owino market- Soroti municipality were equally affected with what they described as a surprise rain that blew off most of their structures.

They say this is contrary to the warning issued by the office of the Prime Minister predicting a prolonged dry season.


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The inevitability of a woman’s voice

Posted by African Press International on March 17, 2011

By Lesiamito Malino John (Photo)Lesiamito Malino John

Empowering and protecting a woman’s voice remains a challenge of the 21st century. In many societies, a woman’s genuine and vital voice often meets an impermeable wall. In such turbulent societies, the assumption is that there are many women that suffer in silence. These vital women voices are in most cases wrongly misunderstood, ignored and silenced by trauma. In the end, many of them give up and accept to undergo unnecessary physical or psychological sufferings in agony. They have very significant and untold stories with commonalities across the globe. If all of them could cloud together, seek alliances, and speak out their common-minds in unison, some of their innermost stories could be a healing, a therapy and an inspiration to many others.

Futhermore, some of these avoidable and undeserving challenges are faced by many women arround the globe in exchange for a better life for those arround them. Their wonderful sacrifices often go beyond their own careers and family life, but just for the purpose of bravely creating an all-inclusive participatory environment; a better world, the need for CHANGE and vision for the future. The sheer magnitude of many unheard women’s voices suffering in the continous onslaught of a man’s world; insecure man’s attitude towards a woman, doesn’t often find its rightful path to many news rooms or even the public domain.

Does this mean that sometimes the media directly influences or dictates the attitude of key audiences through mindseting, hoodwinking and thereby inducing hypnosis? Why is it that a war breaking news in either Africa or midle-east very fast appear on many news channels, yet the vital voices of many women often go unheard? Does it mean that a woman’s story sales least while a war story sales most? If so, how did we reach there? In that context, a woman’s voice can be viewed from a local perspective but global. Then it’s likewise agueable that a global system needs to be placed to protect these very noble voices better.

Someone somewhere once said that the world is becoming a global village. Well, that could be true. Nevertheless, from my personal point of view, something urgent needs to be done because a woman’s voice is inevitable and it underlies a brighter tomorrow. Simple and straight forward; a woman’s inevitable voice is a poorly tapped resource in the 21st century.

Hence, it requires better empowerment, to be listened, protection, credibility and recognision from the current talons of the bourgeois class of male-world. Creating a better world will require equal participation from women in a men’s dominated world. Mel Gibson; a rich hollywood-movie star once said that ‘I love women. They’re the best thing ever created. If they want to be like men and come down to our level, that’s fine.’ These are wise remarks, yet on the contary, Mel Gibson is mostly quoted in many blogs as a racist and woman-beater.; according to Reuters


The writer of this article is a Postgraduate in Oslo, Norway. He can be reached by email:

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The Blues Night – OSLO BY NIGHT on 17.march 2011 at Willy’s Bar

Posted by African Press International on March 17, 2011

Blues Musicians at Willy’s bar in Norway.

Copyright. API photo. Blues Musicians at Willy's Bar. Willy(2nd from left)Copyright. API photo. Blues Musicians at Willy’s Bar. Willy(2nd from left)

Thursday night was a night to remember for those in love with the Blues. Little Pete Band was entertaining

It was at Willy’s bar in Norway, a bar that is growing and growing by day. It is near the Central train station

Guests jammed the place and enjoyed “Blues that makes you snap your fingers”


Playing the Bass was Anders Hellerud, the Piano was Kjell magne Lauritzen, Drums Rob Baker and Voice/Guitar was Piet De Vriendt.

By Korir, Chief editor.

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Getting ugly: pro-government supporters in Tahrir Square

Posted by African Press International on March 17, 2011

YEMEN: Rising toll of dead and injured in anti-government protests

Getting ugly: pro-government supporters in Tahrir Square

SANA’A, 14 March 2011 (IRIN) – Mounting tensions escalated in Yemen on 12-13 March when at least seven people were killed and hundreds of others injured in violent clashes between riot police and anti-government protesters demanding an end to the 32-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemeni security forces fired live bullets and tear gas on 13 March at protesters rallying at Sana’a University, killing one person and wounding 19 others, doctors told IRIN.

“Police fired on them from the rooftops,” said Sami Zaid, a doctor in charge of a makeshift hospital near the university.

Zaid said plain-clothed civilians were also involved in the shooting. A video posted on Facebook on 13 March appears to show plainclothes pro-government forces with Kalashnikovs firing from the rooftops and upper floors of nearby apartment buildings.

The day before, riot police launched a pre-dawn raid on Sana’a University square, where thousands of pro-democracy protesters have been camped out for the past month.

Hundreds of people were wounded in the clash, at least 13 of them by live fire, according to doctors at a nearby mosque serving as a field hospital. Volunteer medical staff members there rigged up intravenous drips and bandaged wounds.

Rabie’ Al-Zuraiqi , a 23-year-old protest organizer said he had been injured three times since the clashes began almost three weeks ago. He said he had been hit by rocks, stung by a pro-Saleh “thug” with a taser and on 12 March exposed to tear gas and struck by a rubber bullet.

There have been daily anti-government demonstrations in Sana’a and other cities around the country since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster on 11 February. Over the past few weeks, 30 have been killed in the unrest, according to international rights groups.

The protesters have expressed frustration with corruption and soaring unemployment in Yemen, where 40 percent of its 23 million people live on US$2 a day or less, and a third face chronic hunger.

Locals aggrieved

There have also been clashes between anti-government protesters and owners of nearby houses frustrated by the growing demonstrations.

Protesters have been gradually expanding their make-shift camp along stretches of road leading from Sana’a University. In recent days hundreds of new tents have been erected, many in front of homes and commercial stores in local neighbourhoods.

Local residents told IRIN they are “being surrounded” and “felt besieged” by the protests. Others said their families, particularly women, felt harassed.

“Yemen is a conservative society and having men camping in tents at the doorsteps of residential homes is considered a violation of privacy and traditional customs,” said Ahmed Al-Hamdani, one of the anti-government protesters trying to negotiate with local house owners.

Poisonous gas used?

Doctors at the scene of the violence in Sana’a told IRIN the gas used by riot police to disperse protesters over the weekend may have been a form of “illegal poisonous gas”.

Previous media reports had indicated that the gas used against the protesters was tear gas but doctors who have been treating the wounded rejected this claim.

“The material in this gas makes people convulse for hours. It paralyses them. They couldn’t move at all. We tried to give them oxygen but it didn’t work,” said Amaar Nujaim, a field doctor who works for Islamic Relief.

“We are seeing symptoms in the patient’s nerves not in their respiratory systems. I’m 90 percent sure it’s not tear gas that was used,” said Sami Zaid, a doctor at the Science and Technology hospital in Sana’a.

Mohammad Al-Sheikh, a pathologist at the same hospital, said some of the victims had lost control of their muscles, including bowel muscles.

A spokesman from Yemen’s Ministry of Interior told IRIN claims that nerve agents and poisonous gases were used were “absolutely unjustifiable”.



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Philippines — no stranger to natural disaster

Posted by African Press International on March 17, 2011

PHILIPPINES: Revisiting quake contingency in Japan’s wake

Philippines — no stranger to natural disaster

MANILA, 14 March 2011 (IRIN) – The Philippines has ordered all local government units to check the integrity of structures in the wake of initial devastation wrought by a powerful quake in Japan, which triggered a deadly tsunami.

A regional tsunami alert – since called off – was issued on 11 March for countries with coastlines in and around the Pacific Ocean.

Most of the 224,243 residents evacuated in the Philippines on 11 March from 11 coastal provinces have returned to their homes after the government lifted its warning the following day.

President Benigno Aquino has asked officials to check all buildings, bridges, schools and other “vital installations” in public places to make sure they followed strict building codes, said his spokeswoman, Abigail Valte.

“The problem is… that a third of the structures in metro Manila [capital] are informally built – meaning these are the ones built by their owners without getting a proper engineer, an architect or a contractor.”

Manila, a megacity of 12 million people, and large parts of its eastern outskirts sit atop or close to at least four faults, including the Valley Fault System (VFS), which is considered one of the country’s most active.

A rupture along the VFS could result in a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, killing up to 33,000 people and injuring more than 100,000 if there was not adequate preparation, according to a study carried out by the government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency from 2002 to 2004.

The government remains on alert for nuclear fallout from Japan, amid reports two nuclear power plants have been declared nuclear emergencies, Valte said.

Japanese state media has reported partial melting at two reactors, as international experts arrive to assess how to control nuclear danger.

“There are so many factors to consider before we can say we should be on alert for a direct hit coming from the [nuclear] fall out. We have to consider our proximity to the place, and it also depends on the wind direction, how powerful will the radiation be if it were to be airborne,” Valte added.

Construction on the country’s only nuclear power station was completed in 1984, but was never fired up amid safety concerns. Located 97km north of the capital, experts said it was built too close to potential fault lines near Mt Pinatubo, whose eruption in 1991 was considered among the century’s deadliest.



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Raham Ali, who lives with a disability, was kidnapped in Karachi and taken to Iran

Posted by African Press International on March 17, 2011

PAKISTAN: Disabled – and at risk of being trafficked

Raham Ali, who lives with a disability, was kidnapped in Karachi and taken to Iran

KARACHI, 14 March 2011 (IRIN) – It is tough enough living with a disability in the Pakistani city of Karachi, but being targeted by traffickers has added a new challenge: Hundreds of people with disabilities are being trafficked to neighbouring countries to beg there, according to the police. Many come from the southern province of Sindh, and are destined for Iran.

In the past few months, said Khadim Hussain Rind, a district police officer in the Khairpur District of Sindh, 200-300 disabled persons have been “transported to Iran for beggary”. The numbers could be higher but some cases are not reported to police.

“The gang of traffickers is spread all over the province,” said Salam Dharejo, child labour manager with the NGO Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child. Trafficking, he added, was a growing problem in both Khairpur and Shikarpur districts.

A recent survey by the NGO found that some poor parents were being paid a lump sum of Rs 10,000-20,000 (US$117-235), and offered a share in proceeds from begging, in exchange for allowing their disabled children to be taken to Iran.

In Iran, the disabled Pakistanis, both children and adults, are taken to beg outside shrines or mosques.

Others are simply kidnapped. In February, 28-year-old Raham Ali, who is paralysed in his right arm and leg, was brought back to Khairpur following complaints to the police by an aunt. The traffickers were later arrested.

“My nephew was kidnapped and Rs. 100,000 ($1,176) demanded for his return,” the aunt, Lal Pari Gopang, said.

Relatives of other people living with disabilities are scared of similar incidents. “We have heard about the abductions, and it is disturbing since my 12-year-old son, who was born with deformed legs, goes out to beg near a hospital here,” Siddiqa Bibi, 35, told IRIN. “He is terrified he will be abducted; these stories are circulating among beggars.”

Mujahid Shaikh, who made his way back to Khairpur after being trafficked to Iran, and now begs at the railway crossing, said there were “hundreds of persons [from Pakistan] with disability, including children” living in captivity in Iran.

On the fringes of society

According to the US State Department’s 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report, Pakistan is a “Tier 2″ country, that is one of those “whose governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards”.

Pakistan, it added, was “a source, transit, and destination country for men, women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and prostitution.”

“From childhood, disabled people are told they are good for nothing and must always depend on others,” Ghulam Nabi Nizamani, head of the Karachi-based Pakistan Disabled Peoples Organization, told IRIN.

“They are severely disadvantaged in terms of access to education and those from poor families often end up as beggars. There are also physical challenges, like the lack of ramps for wheelchair users.”

Social attitudes, educational disadvantages and a lack of acceptability, he added, meant people living with disabilities are most often pushed to the fringes of society.

In 2009, the government said there were only 6,789 disabled people in Pakistan, but Nizamani and development agencies say this number is inaccurate. A study by the Japanese development agency, JICA, put the figure at 2.49 percent of a population of 165 million.

“No census has been conducted – so we lack reliable data, though this is badly needed,” Nizamani said.

Two percent of jobs in government are reserved for those with disabilities, but they must be registered. They are also entitled to free medical treatment in all federal government hospitals, rehabilitative aid and duty free import of cars.

But many are not registered and have no stable source of income, often surviving by begging on the roadsides or other public places.

“Parents who are poor are compelled to make their disabled children beg, even when they become adults, to supplement household expenditures,” said Dharejo of the NGO Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child. “There are few opportunities available to these people to earn a livelihood in any other way.”



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