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Archive for September 14th, 2011

News in brief

Posted by African Press International on September 14, 2011

Another Federal Judge Rules Against Obamacare

Obama’s plan to require individual Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty exceeds the powers granted both the president and Congress by the Constitution, a federal district court judge ruled Tuesday in Harrisburg Philly.com


 Taliban Attack US Embassy, Other Kabul Buildings
Teams of insurgents firing rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons struck at the U.S. Embassy, NATO headquarters and other buildings in the heart of the Afghan capital Tuesday, AP

 
46.2 Million Americans Are Now Poor
The Census Bureau’s annual report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage said the national poverty rate climbed for a third consecutive year to 15.1 percent in 2010
Reuters
 
 

 
Emails: Obama White House Monitored Huge Loan to ‘Connected’ Firm
Newly uncovered emails show the White House closely monitored the Energy Department’s deliberations over a $535 million government loan to Solyndra, the politically-connected solar energy firm that recently went bankrupt and is now the subject of a criminal investigation ABC

 
 
GOP Wins Race for Weiner’s Seat
Obama suffered a sharp rebuke Tuesday when voters in New York elected a conservative Republican to represent a Democratic district that has not been in GOP hands since the 1920s. Washington Post

 
U.S. Scrambles to Avert Palestinian Vote at U.N.
The United States faced increasing pressure on Tuesday as the Palestinian quest for statehood gained support from Turkey and other countries New York Times

 
Duh Geithner: Economy In ‘An Early Stage’ Of Crisis
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said we have “some ways to go” to heal the country from the crisis that we are in. Real Clear Politics

 
Bureaucrats at Work:  San Fran Eyes ‘Bird-Safe’ Building Standards
Legislation in San Francisco designed to prevent birds from deadly accidents involving high-rise windows has passed a Board of Supervisors committee and will be presented to the full board. CBS

    
NY Subways to Carry Anti-Israel Ads
Pro-Arab lobbies are funding anti-Israel posters that are to be placed at 18 New York City subway stations this month, part of a nationwide campaign supporting the Palestinian Authority and urging a halt to American military aid to Israel Arutz Sheva

 
Israel Building Fence on Border With Egypt
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the main aim of a fence which Israel is building on its border with Egypt is now to block militants and not just smugglers and illegal migrants
AFP
 

 
CBO: Jobless Rate To Stay 9% Through 2012

The U.S. economy will grow slower than anticipated and joblessness will stay high as the fallout of the deepest recession since the Great Depression takes its toll, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. Fox Business

 
Students Stopped From Passing Out Flags
Northern Arizona University students who were passing out American flags Friday in remembrance of 9/11 got a bigger response than they expected. AZ Daily Sun
 


  
Half of North Korea’s Army ‘Starving’

As much as half of North Korea’s army is starving as food shortages that were previously affecting only the civilian population worsen and begin to affect institutions tasked with protecting Kim Jong-Il’s regime Telegraph

 
Magazine Newsstand Sales Halved From 2001-2011
The combined newsstand sales of 68 major American magazines declined by nearly half from 2001-2011, a MediaPost analysis of Audit Bureau of Circulations data revealed Media Daily

 
Islam to be Main Source of Legislation in Post-Qaddafi Libya
Islam will be the main source of legislation in post-Muammar Qaddafi Libya, the head of Libya’s transitional leadership said in his first public address in Tripoli on Monday al Arabiya

 
Calif. Bill Would Protect Unlicensed Drivers From Arrest
Proposed legislation would change police procedures at drunken-driving checkpoints, prohibiting officers from arresting drivers and immediately impounding their cars if their only offense is not having a license San Francisco Chronicle

Elite Disconnect CNN’s Gergen: Many Americans ‘Horrified’ by GOP Debate CNN’s political analyst David Gergen remarked Monday that many Americans were “horrified” at what they heard from the Republican presidential debate, co-sponsored by the Tea Party Express and CNN Newsbusters


 
Comcast Launching Low-Cost Internet

Comcast, the largest cable operator in the nation, on Thursday will use St. Paul’s Neighborhood House as the backdrop to unveil a program offering fast Internet access to low-income Twin Cities families for $10 a month Pioneer Press

 
Principal: Cheerleading Miniskirts Too Risque
High school cheerleaders have been told to wear sweat pants under too-short miniskirts because a Northern California principal says the uniforms are too risque. Fox

 
EPA Approves Emergency Fuel Waiver for Pennsylvania
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act to temporarily waive certain federal clean gasoline requirements for parts of Pennsylvania EPA

            
DHS to Roll Out New Airport Security Policy for Kids
Children 12 years old and younger soon will no longer be required to remove their shoes at airport security checkpoints. The policy also includes other ways to screen young children without resorting to a pat-down Fox

 
House Weighs Bill to Make Gun Permits Valid Across State Lines
Lawmakers are considering a House bill that would give Americans who hold permits to carry firearms in their home states the right to carry their weapons across state lines. Fox

 
N.Y. Mother Arrested for Encouraging School Brawl
Police in New York have reportedly arrested a mother for allegedly driving her 12-year-old daughter to a schoolyard brawl and then egging it on. Fox

 
Fiscal Facts Only 1.75 Full-Time Private Sector Workers Per Social Security Recipient
There were only 1.75 full-time private-sector workers in the United States last year for each person receiving benefits from Social Security, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Social Security board of trustees CNSNews

 
Michigan to Require BMI Reports on Children
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder plans to require doctors to tell state health officials where the children they treat fall on body mass indexes that can indicate if they’re overweight or obese. Fox

 
Obama Surprised To Learn Schools Use “Trailers”
While addressing college students in Richmond, VA, Obama was surprised to learn that schools use trailers, also called ‘modular buildings’ or ‘modular classrooms.’ Real Clear Politics

 
Wednesday Daily Presidential Tracking Poll: Obama At -17
22% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way Obama is performing his role as President. 39% Strongly Disapprove giving him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -17
Rasmussen

  
College Grads Increasingly Among Ranks of Bankrupt
College graduates are the fastest-growing group of consumers who have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past five years, according to a new study by a financial nonprofit group
Bangor Daily
 
 

 
California Approves Pay-As-You-Drive ‘Green’ Insurance Program

State regulators have approved an auto insurance policy that rewards car owners for driving less and potentially emitting fewer pollutants into the atmosphere.
Los Angeles Times
 

  
Amish Men Jailed For Not Displaying Buggy Safety Signs
Eight members of a traditional Amish sect were behind bars on Tuesday after refusing to pay fines for failure to display orange-red safety triangles on their horse-drawn buggies.
Reuters
 

  
California Gold Rush Set for Revival

For the first time since the 1950’s, California’s Mother Lode will have more than just a tourist draw, as an operating underground gold mine is set to open. Fox 


 
California Incomes Plummet, Poverty Rises
California’s poverty rate jumped to its highest level in thirteen years during 2010, and state household income dropped by almost 5 percent, according to census figures released Sacramento Bee

 
Dining With Dictators Columbia University Students May Dine With Ahmadinejad
A group of Columbia University students may be attending a private dinner with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who will be in New York City in September for the United Nations General Assembly Fox

Of Interest: Massive Default is Best Way to Fix Economy
You want to fix this economic crisis? You want to put people back to work? There’s a way to do it. But you’re not going to like it
Wall Street Journal

Top Ten Reasons to Watch the New Season of “Two and a Half Men”
1. Watch it, don’t watch it — I get paid either way (Ashton)
2. It’s like “The Odd Couple,” but we get to use the word “wiener” (Jon)   RightBias Humor

Phosphorescent Felines Fight AIDS
Black cats may be unlucky, but what about a glowing cat? Phosphorescent felines were created by Mayo Clinic researchers to help in the fight against AIDS in both cats and humans. Discovery

 
Mom Donates Kidney to Son, Loses Job
A Philadelphia mother was left jobless Tuesday after she took time off work to donate a kidney to her dying son and was fired during her absence. Fox

Airlines Pocket $783M in Baggage Fees in 1st Quarter
The nation’s largest airlines reported baggage fees of about $783.7 million in the first three months of the year. That’s up nearly 2 percent from the $768.5 million they collected in the same period last year. Fox

Black Widow Gang Was Bent on Killing Husbands for Insurance Money
Police in Colombia have captured five suspected members of a criminal network allegedly dedicated to arranging marriages with men and then murdering them in an attempt to cash in on their life insurance. Fox


Amazing Video: Bystanders Lift Car to Save Biker
A fiery rescue in Utah was caught on tape Monday. A car hit a motorcycle in Logan. The bike slid under the car, trapping the rider under the car as flames burst out. CBS

Jet-Powered School Bus Reaches 320 mph
The creator of a jet-powered school bus with a 42,000-horsepower engine says he has reached a top speed of 320 mph during test runs in Nebraska. UPI
 
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Source Rightbias/USA
 
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 federal judge rules, real clear politics, gop hands, health insurance coverage, and rocket-propelled grenades.
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President Barack Obama should give back the Nobel Peace Prize

Posted by African Press International on September 14, 2011

President Obama, if he a dignified man, should give back the Nobel Peace Prize that he recieved. He did not qualify in the sense of Peace as the conditions to award the prize stipulates.

This means the prize was given as a bribe. We wrote earlier that the Norwegian media has revealed that the prize was an inducement in order to get the Americans to invite the Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to visit the White House.

The government of Norway has kept quiet and wishes not to comment. However, we know that the Norwegians are so eager to have their Prime Minister to visit the US just for prestigious purposes as the Norwegian media has revealed lately.

It is not a bad thing for any country to associate with the big powers, but that should not come by way of inducement, whereby a country that gives out the Peace Prize does the contrary to what Mr Nobel wanted inthe “will”  he left behind when he died.

API is now seeking for comment from President Obama’s office. We have written to the Scheduling office at the White and hope they will give us feedback on Obama’s reaction to the revelations.

End

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nobel peace prize, norwegian prime minister, jens stoltenberg, government of norway, and norwegian media.

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Political federation is key to East Africa’s unity

Posted by African Press International on September 14, 2011

By Thomas Ochieng(API Kenya) 

                                                                                  
“Seek ye the political kingdom and the rest will follow” The Late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere on the importance of political unity for East Africa
 
 
The East Africa political bureau has embarked on a discourse on the importance of political federation of the East Africa union, this is a noble initiative that has to be supported by all pan Africans. But we must embark on these discussions with a road map. We should ask ourselves what type or what
political federation model are East Africans going to opt for? Will it be homegrown or foreign? Who will be the key drivers, is it the political entities
or executive, or the bureaucrats in Arusha? Will it be based on any worldwide defined federation?
 
It must be remembered that when African countries were debating the issue of integration in the early 60s leaders such as the late Kwame Nkurumah, pressed passionately for the immediate political federation however, majority of African leaders rejected the idea with equal passion. Since then, the talk of federation has been a very emotive subject with the issue of sovereignty being the main deterrent for the federation. Yet this issue of sovereignty has always been peddled by the political leaders with no regard or consultation with the people. The Maasai of Kenya and their kin in Tanzania have lived without the protocol of border movement or even carrying national identities through ages, this is the true manifest of federation, and ordinary people are leading the way.
 
The EAC secretariat in Arusha should be applauded for initiating a dialogue with ordinary people of the member states, underlining the importance it lays on the lessons learnt from history whereby the union was a project of the leaders who never involved the general populace.
It will be important for the secretariat to espouse a federation that is people
centered, it must be owned by the people. The decisions are to be arrived
through consensus by the people of East Africa not the Heads of States or any
other organ of the union. The people have to determine through democratic participatory process the political federation they desire and which they think will best work for them.
 
It must be stated that the idea of political federation of the East Africa faces many challenges, but through participatory and consensus led discussions and engagements by the people of this region nothing will be unattainable,and as we embark on the discourse on political federation,yes we must seek ways out of the pertinent issues derailing the political federation,but we must also take encouragement from the small strides that have been achieved, the Custom union that is currently in force that allows free movement of goods and services should herald much desired the full integration of the East Africa.
 
Ends.

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mwalimu julius nyerere, julius nyerere, east africans, kwame nkurumah, and political entities.

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UNCCD Executive Secretary: Governments need to set a goal of a land

Posted by African Press International on September 14, 2011

Bonn, 13 September 2011 -Speaking at a Press Briefing in Bonn ahead of the
special UN High-level meeting in New York on 20 September, UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said world leaders must put a cap on land
degradation.

He said every year some 12 million hectares of land are degraded. ‘We should work towards a land degradation neutral world through a target of zero net land degradation. The first priority is to prevent degradation.
Where the land has already been degraded, we should reclaim and rehabilitate an equivalent area of land as an offset.’

The historic meeting to take place at the UN Headquarters next week will provide an opportunity for world leaders to provide political impetus and
guidance for a sustained global response to the world’s desertification/land degradation challenges.

It will provide a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the global land
degradation threat and the urgent need for stronger action to implement
the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

‘There is a vaccine for the disease of land degradation. It has already been tried and tested. Now we need to roll it out worldwide. We need to invest heavily in sustainable land management globally.’

‘The vaccine is being used in parts of south east Asia through agroforestry schemes, in Queensland, Australia through drought management programmes, and in Africa where Evergreen Agricultural systems have been adopted on more than six million hectares. However in many areas it is not happening fast enough.’

‘We are only four years away from the Millennium Development Goal to eradicate poverty. But poverty persists in areas affected by desertification. More than a billion people are the victims of this. But it is not just the billion directly affected. We are all at risk. Yet there is gross underinvestment in these regions largely due to misperception. The remote location of drylands, political marginalization and associated lack of infrastructure have partly led to a limited access to markets, education and health facilities.’

UN General Assembly Resolution 65/160 expressed concern over the increasing vulnerability of poor communities in Latin America, Caribbean,
Asia, Northern Mediterranean, and Central and Eastern European Regions.

He said governments need to raise this as a priority national policy
issue.

“Just 6-10 inches of top soil stand between us and extinction,” he said.
‘Productive land is a finite resource like our oceans and forests.’

Looking ahead to the tenth Session of the Parties to the Convention which
begins on 10 October in Changwon, the Republic of Korea, he urged Parties
to continue rapid progress on strengthening the scientific basis of the
Convention. He also called for major progress towards meeting the
objectives of the UNCCD 10 year strategy (2008-2018) and a clear plan to
rapidly integrate National Action Programmes into national policies for
poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

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About the UNCCD

Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The UNCCD focuses on the drylands, which cover 41% of the Earth and are inhabited by over 2 billion people. Drylands account for 44% of the world’s cultivated ecosystems and have provided 30% of all the world’s cultivated plants. However, up to one fifth of the surface area is steadily degrading. The Convention’s 194 signatory countries, or Parties, work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land’s productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought.

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sustainable land management, political marginalization, political impetus, land degradation, and drought management.

 

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Kenyans always wait for calamities to come calling. It’s facilitated by the Sonko-Waititu species

Posted by African Press International on September 14, 2011

I’s been proved time and again Mbuvi (a.k.a. Sonko) and Waititu are best rabble-rousers available in the country for any tribal charged political rally. If not found in such meetings, they will be in the forefront of retrogressive activities such as threatening city council officers from identifying decaying old buildings, or trying to fight off public officials from reoccupying grabbed public property. They are grand apologies for MPs!

I shudder at the thought of one of them being elevated to be the minister for Internal security and the other for defense, which is not beyond imagination in Kenya if some appointments to the cabinet are anything to go by. These two are no better than rebellious secondary school students bent upon playing havoc only. If you do not believe me, please browse the clips available in the national TV channels’ archives.

The NTV had aired a prophetic programme sometime in 2009 regarding the same Lunga Lunga Senai slums, named ‘Sitting on a Time-bomb”, if I am not mistaken about the name. The main underground fuel conduits to Eldoret and Uganda pass through here. There is a way-leave for KPL but it has been entirely encroached upon by squatters. Attempts to evict the residents often fail because the likes of Sonko and Waititu incite them to violence.

Whose interests are these MPs safeguarding? Of their constituents? Or of the slum landlords? Certainly not of the people..

The Kenya Pipeline Co. this time averted a much bigger disaster by shutting of the fuel flow. The Prime-minister who visited the scene was seen moved to tears. He announced the slum must be cleared to avoid disasters in waiting. Waititu and Sonko now must be itching to abuse him in their fora for this ‘intransigence’.

This the best time for the government to convince the dwellers to move elsewhere as the area is still a smoldering mess. Throw anyone who opposes the plan into the prison and forget for good the place where the keys are kept!

The same goes for Kibera slums through which the railway passes. It’s said the residents use either rail as one of the three supports for their cooking fires. Though it must be an exaggerated statement, one tends to believe it as people reside, wash, and cook so close to the rails that it’s possible to shake hands with passengers on the snail paced commuter trains.

Kenyans always wait for calamities to come calling. It’s facilitated by the Sonko-Waititu species. What a shame!

 
By Mohan Mathew
 
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slum landlords, secondary school students, pipeline co, political rally, and time bomb.
 
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Rwanda: Treating HIV discordant couples

Posted by African Press International on September 14, 2011

Infections within stable relationships have been identified as one of the main sources of new cases in Rwanda (file photo)

KIGALI, 12 September 2011 (PlusNews) – HIV-positive Rwandans in discordant relationships will start taking antiretroviral treatment (ART) as soon as they test positive as part of a plan to boost national HIV prevention and treatment efforts.

“There is evidence that antiretroviral treatment, once started early for eligible HIV-positive patients, alleviates their suffering and reduces the devastating impact of the pandemic,” Anita Asiimwe, head of the Institute of HIV/AIDS Disease Prevention and Control, told IRIN/PlusNews. “Antiretroviral therapy has the potential both to reduce mortality and morbidity rates among HIV-infected people, and to improve their quality of life.”

In May 2011, a landmark study – HPTN 052 – showed major reductions in HIV transmission among discordant couples due to early treatment. The authors of the nine-country study concluded that earlier initiation of HIV treatment led to a 96 percent reduction in HIV transmission to the uninfected partner.

According to the government, an estimated 7.1 percent of cohabiting couples seeking voluntary counselling and testing services in the capital, Kigali, are HIV discordant. Infections within stable relationships have been identified as one of the main sources of new cases in Rwanda.

Rwanda has a successful ART programme; Asiimwe said the country had achieved 93 percent coverage of people needing treatment under UN World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, which recommend initiation of treatment at a CD4 count – a measure of immune strength – of 350 and below.

“HIV-positive people in discordant relationships will start ART regardless of their CD4 count,” said Sabin Nsanzimana, coordinator of the HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Care and Treatment Department at the Ministry of Health’s Centre for Treatment and Research on AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other Epidemics, TRAC Plus. “We hope to start as soon as the guidelines are approved at the senior management meeting and [endorsed by] the Ministry of Health.”

Rwanda is going ahead despite the fact that WHO has not yet released prevention guidelines for discordant couples. At an International AIDS Society conference in Rome in July, the head of WHO’s HIV/AIDS department, Gottfried Hirnschall, said the organization had delayed the release of guidelines following the HPTN 052 results.

Nsanzimana said the added cost of putting thousands more people on treatment would be compensated for by the reduction in new HIV infections and treatment down the line.

“This strategy will help us make gains on those who will be prevented from infection since these won’t have to be treated or even followed up with much money,” he said.

Challenges

''When my wife was pregnant, she took the mandatory HIV test at the health centre and it was positive. Now why should I go for testing… If she has it [HIV], I definitely have it too''

The Rwandan government will have to intensify awareness-raising campaigns: HIV testing remains low, especially among couples.

“When my wife was pregnant, she took the mandatory HIV test at the health centre and it was positive. Now why should I go for testing to make a mockery of myself?” said Gregory Ruseesa, a taxi tout in suburb of Nyabugogo in the capital, Kigali. “If she has it [HIV], I definitely have it too.”

The head of HIV and STI care and treatment at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Muhayimpundu Ribakare, said: “Here in Rwanda it’s just very few couples that go for HIV voluntary counselling and testing services; of course this means they are not aware of their HIV status – if they are positive they end up infecting their partners.”

According to Nsanzimana, the government will also need to intensify its efforts to improve ART adherence to ensure patients do not develop resistance.

“A patient on ART who doesn’t follow prescription and, say, skips a dose, is likely to get the drug-resistant HIV,” he said. “Once this happens, the resistant HIV requires another type of medication which is expensive.”

krm/kr/mw source www.irinnews.org

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Uganda: Farmers are worried the rains will decimate their crops

Posted by African Press International on September 14, 2011

Farmers are worried the rains will decimate their crops (file photo)

KARAMOJA, 12 September 2011 (IRIN) – Meteorological officials in Uganda are warning of tough times ahead for farmers and populations living in mountainous areas as flash flooding is set to continue.

“More rains are expected and we are seeing it [is] intense in some parts of the country,” said Paul Isabirye, assistant commissioner for data processing and applied meteorology.

Several districts in eastern, western, central, north-western and north-eastern parts of the country have been severely affected by heavy rain, which has cut off roads, washed away fields of crops and caused fatal landslides.

“Government should plan to evacuate people in these areas,” said Michael Nkalubo, a commissioner at the meteorological department.

While pastoralists in the north-eastern Karamoja region celebrate the rain, which will bring pasture for their animals, farmers are mourning the loss of their harvests because of heavy downpours.

“All my crops are gone; I planted an acre [0.4 hectares] of soya beans with maize in the hope that I would get some money when they mature, but the rain flooded the garden,” said Latang Odel.

Peter Ken Lochap, chairman of Karamoja’s Moroto District, said the rain had rendered much of the region inaccessible by road. “Karamoja is prone to hunger so in this case when the rain is causing flooding it’s a bad sign that next year hunger will be there again.”

The worst affected areas include Rupa, Napak, Patany and mountainous areas of Moroto.  

The rains have remained stable in the north-central Acholi region, and agriculturalists there are calling on the government to provide support to farmers before the second planting season ends.

“Farmers need assistance in the form of short-term maturing seeds so that they can have something in the second season,” said Alabi Ajavu, agriculture production coordinator for Moyo district in the West Nile region.

ca/kr/mw source www.irinnews.org

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Farmers are worried the rains will decimate their crops

Posted by African Press International on September 14, 2011

Farmers are worried the rains will decimate their crops (file photo)

KARAMOJA, 12 September 2011 (IRIN) – Meteorological officials in Uganda are warning of tough times ahead for farmers and populations living in mountainous areas as flash flooding is set to continue.

“More rains are expected and we are seeing it [is] intense in some parts of the country,” said Paul Isabirye, assistant commissioner for data processing and applied meteorology.

Several districts in eastern, western, central, north-western and north-eastern parts of the country have been severely affected by heavy rain, which has cut off roads, washed away fields of crops and caused fatal landslides.

“Government should plan to evacuate people in these areas,” said Michael Nkalubo, a commissioner at the meteorological department.

While pastoralists in the north-eastern Karamoja region celebrate the rain, which will bring pasture for their animals, farmers are mourning the loss of their harvests because of heavy downpours.

“All my crops are gone; I planted an acre [0.4 hectares] of soya beans with maize in the hope that I would get some money when they mature, but the rain flooded the garden,” said Latang Odel.

Peter Ken Lochap, chairman of Karamoja’s Moroto District, said the rain had rendered much of the region inaccessible by road. “Karamoja is prone to hunger so in this case when the rain is causing flooding it’s a bad sign that next year hunger will be there again.”

The worst affected areas include Rupa, Napak, Patany and mountainous areas of Moroto.  

The rains have remained stable in the north-central Acholi region, and agriculturalists there are calling on the government to provide support to farmers before the second planting season ends.

“Farmers need assistance in the form of short-term maturing seeds so that they can have something in the second season,” said Alabi Ajavu, agriculture production coordinator for Moyo district in the West Nile region.

ca/kr/mw source www.irinnews.org

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