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  • RSS BBC News – Africa

    • Fate of Nigeria kidnap girls unclear April 17, 2014
      Mystery surrounds the fate of more than 100 teenage girls abducted from a school in the remote north-east of Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants.
    • Pistorius forensic tests challenged April 17, 2014
      The tests carried out by a forensic expert for Oscar Pistorius' murder trial are being rigorously challenged by the state prosecutor in South Africa.
    • Algeria votes on Bouteflika's future April 17, 2014
      Polls open in Algeria where 77-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who suffered a stroke last year, is seeking a fourth term in office.
    • Remittance fees 'hurt Africans' April 16, 2014
      Communities in sub-Saharan Africa are being "hurt" by high fees charged by money transfer operators, charity Comic Relief says.
    • UN mulls medal for peacekeepers April 16, 2014
      The UN Security Council hears a proposal to create a medal for bravery in UN peacekeeping, to be named after a Senegalese soldier who saved lives during the Rwandan genocide.
    • Head of oldest African park shot April 16, 2014
      The Belgian director of Africa's oldest national park - Virunga in the Democratic Republic of Congo - is shot and wounded in an ambush.
    • 'Last' Chadian soldier leaves CAR April 16, 2014
      Chad has withdrawn all its peacekeepers from the Central African Republic, an official confirms, after accusations they sided with Muslim rebels.
    • South Sudan rebels 'seize' oil hub April 15, 2014
      Rebel forces in South Sudan say they have recaptured the oil hub of Bentiu and want oil companies to halt operations.
    • Elite marathon runner misses flight April 15, 2014
      A London Marathon runner from Sierra Leone is missing after she disappeared and failed to catch a flight home.
    • Jordanian envoy kidnapped in Libya April 15, 2014
      Masked gunmen kidnap Jordan's ambassador to Libya in the capital, Tripoli, in an attack that left his driver wounded, officials say.
    • More than 70 killed in Nigeria blast April 14, 2014
      More than 70 people are killed in a powerful explosion at a crowded bus station near Nigeria's capital, Abuja, officials say.
    • Rwandan musician and journalist held April 14, 2014
      One of Rwanda's best-known musicians and a leading journalist are arrested over their alleged links to an opposition group and rebels.
    • VIDEO: Hunt for 100 abducted girls in Nigeria April 16, 2014
      Security forces in Borno State in Nigeria are searching for dozens of teenage girls abducted by suspected members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
    • VIDEO: Pistorius trial day 23 - in 60 secs April 16, 2014
      The girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius was shot in quick succession as she fell down, a forensics expert has told the South African athlete's murder trial.
    • AUDIO: 'Killing books' in Libya April 15, 2014
      Libyan author Mansour Bushnaf says Libya does not have much of reading culture because under Col Muammar Gaddafi, people were afraid of books.
    • VIDEO: At site of Nigeria bus station blast April 14, 2014
      A powerful bomb blast has ripped through a crowded bus station on the outskirts of Nigeria's capital, Abuja, killing at least 71 people.
    • VIDEO: Cleaning up Cairo's waste system April 14, 2014
      The Egyptian government is turning to its traditional rubbish collectors - the Zabaleen - to revolutionise Cario's waste disposal industry.
    • VIDEO: Pistorius trial day 21 - in 60 secs April 14, 2014
      The prosecutor at the Oscar Pistorius murder trial suggests the South African athlete is using his emotions "as an escape".
    • VIDEO: Ghana's 'waste to wealth' initiative April 12, 2014
      Suzanne Vanhooymissen reports on the large and smaller-scale enterprises set up to segregate waste and encourage recycling in Ghana.
    • VIDEO: Stalemate for SA's platinum miners April 12, 2014
      Lerato Mbele reports on the impact of the platinum workers' strike in South Africa, which has so far lasted for almost three months.
  • RSS BBC News – Home

    • Weather blights S Korea ferry search April 17, 2014
      Bad weather, murky water and strong currents are hampering the search for survivors of a stricken South Korean ferry, which had hundreds on board.
    • Deadly clashes at Ukraine port base April 17, 2014
      Three people are killed in a raid on a base in eastern Ukraine, the country's interior minister says, as the US, Russia, the EU and Ukraine hold crisis talks in Geneva.
    • Co-op Group confirms £2.5bn losses April 17, 2014
      The Co-operative Group has announced losses of £2.5bn for 2013, marking the worst results in the group's 150-year history.
    • Lamb takeaways 'often another meat' April 16, 2014
      Takeaway owners are to face a new testing programme, after a watchdog found nearly a third of lamb takeaways it checked contained a different meat.
    • Busy roads warning ahead of Easter April 17, 2014
      Motorists are braced for what is set to be the busiest day of the year on the roads so far, with up to 16m cars expected to be used over Easter.
    • Hospital infections 'still too high' April 17, 2014
      Doctors and nurses should do more to stop hospital patients developing infections, an NHS watchdog says.
    • Catholic Church refuses poll request April 17, 2014
      The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales turns down a request by members for the results of a sexual ethics survey to be made public.
    • Palace loss should not stand - Cardiff April 17, 2014
      The BBC obtains a letter sent by Cardiff City that says their defeat by Crystal Palace in early April should not stand.
    • Pensioners could get death estimate April 17, 2014
      Retirees could be told how long they are likely to live after stopping work, says pensions minister Steve Webb.
    • Argentina girl kept years in garage April 17, 2014
      Police in Argentina say they have rescued a teenage girl who had been starved, beaten and kept in a garage for nine years by her foster parents.
    • Royals visit bushfire-ravaged town April 17, 2014
      The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet families whose homes were destroyed by bushfires that ravaged parts of Australia last year, as they tour the country.
    • 10,000 new drivers 'lost licences' April 17, 2014
      About 10,000 new drivers had their licences revoked after receiving six or more penalty points in 2012, Newsbeat finds through a Freedom of Information request.
    • Cancer hopes and ferry disaster - papers April 17, 2014
      The prospects for the latest clinical trials of cancer drugs make some front pages, while many feature photographs of a ferry sinking off South Korea.
    • VIDEO: Bristol boys' club battle over Banksy April 16, 2014
      A row has broken out over the ownership of a work of art by "guerrilla artist" Banksy after it was taken from a Bristol street
    • Cathedral hosts Royal Maundy service April 17, 2014
      The Queen will bring the Easter tradition of handing out Maundy money to Blackburn Cathedral later.
    • Manchester City 2-2 Sunderland April 16, 2014
      Manchester City's Premier League title hopes are dealt a blow after they are held to a draw by bottom side Sunderland.
    • Bale winner sees Real lift Copa del Rey April 16, 2014
      Gareth Bale scores a brilliant late goal as Real Madrid defeat Barcelona 2-1 in the Copa del Rey final in Valencia.
    • Ebdon misses out on Crucible spot April 16, 2014
      Peter Ebdon fails to qualify for the World Championship for the first time since turning professional.
    • World Cup goal drives resting Carter April 16, 2014
      New Zealand legend Dan Carter hopes a sabbatical will keep him fresh to sort out some unfinished World Cup business
    • Everton 2-3 Crystal Palace April 16, 2014
      Everton hand the initiative back to Arsenal in the race for fourth as they suffer a surprise 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace.
  • RSS Reuters: Politics

    • California Governor Brown wants rainy-day fund in constitution April 17, 2014
      SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday stepped up his efforts to enshrine a rainy day fund in the state's constitution, stealing some thunder from Republicans backing a similar measure as he seeks an unprecedented fourth term.
    • Detroit pension deal approved by one retirement system April 17, 2014
      (Reuters) - The board of Detroit's General Retirement System on Wednesday approved economic terms of a settlement with the city that include cuts to pension benefits, putting in place another key component of Detroit's effort to exit bankruptcy by October.
    • U.S. calls for more investment-friendly Indian government April 17, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday urged the Indian government that emerges from ongoing elections to follow economic policies that encourage investment, saying Washington would like to see bilateral trade grow to $500 billion a year.
    • Obama, Republicans openly feud over immigration legislation April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Partisan bickering over immigration reform legislation intensified on Wednesday as President Barack Obama and House of Representatives Republicans accused each other of standing in the way of progress one year after bipartisan Senate legislation was introduced.
    • Two incompatible gun ballot measures lead in Washington state April 16, 2014
      OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - Two incompatible ballot measures on background checks for gun buyers in Washington state enjoy majority support in a poll released on Tuesday, but the one advancing stricter gun controls is more popular.
    • Detroit pension deal approved by one retirement system April 16, 2014
      (Reuters) - The board of Detroit's General Retirement System on Wednesday approved economic terms of a settlement with the city that include cuts to pension benefits, putting in place another key component of Detroit's effort to exit bankruptcy by October.
    • Wisconsin passes law to curb private custody transfers of children April 16, 2014
      NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wisconsin has adopted a law to limit private custody transfers of children, the first law of its kind in the United States, responding to a Reuters investigation that exposed the dangers of the unregulated practice.
    • Obama, Biden visit Pennsylvania to promote job-training plan April 16, 2014
      OAKDALE, Penn. (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden took a trip to a Pennsylvania community college on Wednesday to promote a plan to train workers for skills they need for hard-to-fill jobs.
    • Former New York Mayor Bloomberg to spend $50 million on gun control April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ramped up his efforts to fight gun violence on Wednesday with a plan to spend $50 million on a grassroots network to organize voters on gun control.
    • Obama looks to salvage Asia 'pivot' as allies fret about China April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON/MANILA (Reuters) - When a Philippine government ship evaded a Chinese blockade in disputed waters of the South China Sea last month, a U.S. Navy plane swooped in to witness the dramatic encounter.
    • Obama's departing health chief mulls U.S. Senate run: report April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Departing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who took withering criticism over the botched rollout of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, is considering a run for the U.S. Senate in Kansas, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
    • F-35 fighter jet to make first trans-Atlantic flight in July April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Defense Department has approved the first trans-Atlantic flight of Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet in July to take part in two international air shows near London, U.S. and British officials said Wednesday.
    • HUD's Donovan says U.S. Senate housing bill is best chance of reform April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's top housing official on Wednesday said a proposed Senate bill provides the best chance to overhaul the mortgage finance system this decade, but more debate over down payment requirements for government-backed loans is needed.
    • Paul, Rubio lead potential Republican 2016 contenders in spending April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Groups supporting Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio lead the pack of potential Republican presidential candidates in spending money and investing in possible campaigns this year, more than 20 months before the first votes are cast in 2016.
    • Ex-con, ex-governor Edwards raises $33,000 in Louisiana run for Congress April 16, 2014
      (Reuters) - Former Louisiana Governor, Edwin Edwards, a convicted felon now running for the U.S. Congress, has raised nearly $33,000 in donations since launching his campaign last month, according to a contribution report.
    • Michigan, White House discuss federal money for bankrupt Detroit: report April 16, 2014
      (Reuters) - Michigan officials and President Barack Obama's Administration are discussing a plan to free up $100 million in federal money to aid Detroit's retired city workers, the Detroit Free Press reported on Tuesday.
    • Bill signed allowing surprise inspections of Arizona abortion clinics April 16, 2014
      PHOENIX (Reuters) - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Tuesday signed into a law a bill allowing state health authorities to conduct surprise inspections of abortion clinics without first obtaining a warrant, handing another victory to abortion foes.
    • Two incompatible gun ballot measures lead in Washington state April 16, 2014
      OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - Two incompatible ballot measures on background checks for gun buyers in Washington state enjoy majority support in a poll released on Tuesday, but the one advancing stricter gun controls is more popular.
    • Pentagon says automatic budget cuts would hit F-35, other weapons April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Tuesday detailed $48.3 billion in cuts to major weapons programs like Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet that would kick in from fiscal 2016 to 2019 if Congress does not reverse automatic budget cuts that are to resume in 2016.
    • Senators press Delphi for answers on recalled GM cars April 15, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lawmakers probing how General Motors used faulty ignition switches in many vehicles are turning their scrutiny to the supplier of the part, Delphi Automotive.
  • RSS CNN.com – Africa

    • Luxury shoes made in Ghana April 15, 2014
      Fred Deegbe was standing outside a shop window five years ago, marveling at the shiny pair of wing-tip Oxfords he'd just bought, when he started wondering whether such beautiful designer shoes could ever be produced in his country, Ghana.
    • Meet Nigeria's 'Mark Zuckerberg' April 3, 2014
      At 23, many people around the world are still at university -- at that age, Gossy Ukanwoke had already started one.
    • Why we need more geek girls April 3, 2014
      "It was like taking a big leap of faith."
    • 'Uncle Ebo' revives Ghanaian theater April 15, 2014
      African Voices meets James Ebo Whyte a passionate storyteller with a series of successful plays to his credit.
    • How medics saved lives at Westgate April 9, 2014
      When gunmen stormed into Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, Abbas Gullet was one of the first emergency responders on the scene. As head of Kenya's Red Cross, he was in charge of coordinating services for people in need.
    • Embracing Ghana's natural beauty April 1, 2014
      She started her business with just £100, lugging her beauty bag from door to door, but some 25 years later Grace Amey-Obeng has built a multi-million dollar cosmetics empire that's helping change the perception of beauty for many.
    • Secrets of 'gorilla whisperer' March 25, 2014
      Zain Verjee visits Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park -- the home of half of the world's endangered mountain gorilla population.
    • Savannah from the sky March 13, 2014
      It's almost impossible for a photographer to find fresh visual perspectives these days. Brooklyn-based Zack Seckler had to travel to a different continent and strap into an ultra-light aircraft to find one. His Botswana series presents the country from between 50 and 500 feet, providing a unique and captivating view of the savannah.
    • Holy water at baptism festival March 25, 2014
      France has Lourdes, but Ethiopia has Gondar -- with thousands of pilgrims swimming in its holy waters to celebrate the baptism of Jesus.
    • Rating Pistorius's defense April 16, 2014
      After five days of intense cross-examination, has Olympian Oscar Pistorius helped or harmed his defense that he did not intentionally kill his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkam?
    • Pop art condoms saving lives April 15, 2014
      The Center for African Family Studies in Nairobi has teamed up with Kenyan artist Michael Soi to create eye-catching condom wrappers to promote safe sex and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among young people.
    • Africa's most endangered April 16, 2014
      Africa is home to much unique wildlife, but many of its iconic species are threatened. Find out more about its most endangered animals.
    • Ebola: A swift and bloody killer April 16, 2014
      It took only moments to feel the impact of what was happening here.
    • 'I lost my fingers, made new ones' April 14, 2014
      A South African carpenter lost his fingers in an accident -- now he's making mechanical fingers and hands for others.
    • Kenya double in London Marathon April 13, 2014
      World record-holder Wilson Kipsang completed a Kenyan double at the London Marathon Sunday as home hope Mo Farah disappointed on his debut over the 42km distance.
    • Pistorius at mercy of 'bull dog?' April 11, 2014
      He's known as the "bull dog" in South Africa's legal circles, and just two days in to Gerrie Nel's merciless cross-examination of Oscar Pistorius, it's easy to see why.
    • 'Now is the time for Afro-realism' April 11, 2014
      Over the last 20 years, the narrative on the African continent has shifted from Afro-pessimism to Afro-optimism. The truth lies somewhere in between. Now is the time for Afro-realism: for sound policies based on honest data, aimed at delivering results.
    • Africa's tastiest street food April 11, 2014
      Here are your photos of the tastiest -- and most unusual -- African street food.
    • Most stylish tribe in Africa? April 10, 2014
      A South African designer is making sure that when Xhosa boys come of age, they're dressed to the nines.
    • Egypt's sex pest epidemic? April 9, 2014
      A university student cowers in a pharmacy as a mob outside threatens her with sexual violence. A law student is groped by her classmates, the dean cites her "inappropriate attire." Frightening allegations but advocates say this is an everyday reality for women in Cairo.
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Archive for September, 2011

Agriculture for better health and nutrition

Posted by African Press International on September 27, 2011

Agriculture for better health and nutrition

DAKAR,  – Agriculture is about food production, but often projects ultimately hurt communities’ health and nutrition. When the focus is tons and dollars, experts say, getting people the nutrients they need can be lost.

Aid agencies and governments are increasingly looking at ways to ensure that agricultural investments support proper nutrition, including one methodology being developed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and NGOs.

The “nutritional impact assessment tool”, was developed by USAID’s Infant and Young Child Nutrition Project (IYCN), led by PATH, CARE, the Manoff Group, and University Research Co., LLC

“The tool would be a way for organizations designing or reviewing agricultural programmes to mitigate any risks or potential negative effects on nutrition – in other words a ‘do no harm’ approach,” said Michael Zeilinger, head of the nutrition division with USAID’s office of health, infectious disease and nutrition.

USAID is working with NGO partners to test the tool — a template for listing project objectives, food insecure groups, people’s nutritional status and possible impact of an agricultural project on each group. “As we start to design major agriculture programmes around value chains and increasing production (such as Feed the Future and Global Agriculture and Food Security Program), we should really remember that there are some practices in agriculture that may have potential negative effects on nutrition, and this is just to make sure that they’re thought through,” Zeilinger told IRIN.

For example, smallholders might not benefit from projects requiring new technologies they can’t afford, so ultimately they and their families are hit economically, according to IYCN; malaria could spike in rice-producing areas that make a breeding grounds for mosquitoes; and agricultural work requiring women to spend more time away from home could harm children’s nutritional status.

“The agriculture sector needs to be accountable – contributing to improved diets and not creating any harm to health and nutrition,” said Charlotte Dufour, food security, nutrition and livelihoods officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) nutrition and consumer protection division.

But measuring impact is complicated, she said. Some projects can have positive and negative impacts within one community. 

''The agriculture sector needs to be accountable – contributing to improved diets and not creating any harm to health and nutrition''

Developing a tool to get it right points up a number of challenges, she said. “Information on malnutrition rates of any kind is seldom available by ‘food insecure group’,” she said. “And data on women’s nutritional status is rare.”

Dufour said it is critical to note that one agricultural activity could have different effects on different populations, and that a wide range of socio-economic factors affect nutritional status. “Maximizing the nutritional impact of agricultural programmes requires a good analysis of local livelihoods and causes of malnutrition by population group,” she said, adding that for now the IYCN tool does not yet provide for such analysis.

Gaps

The NGO Action contre la Faim (ACF) pays close attention to the nutritional impact of its interventions, but guidelines for measuring that, including in emergency situations, are lacking, according to Julien Morel, ACF senior food assistance adviser. “Having indicators and methodologies for measuring our actions’ impact on communities’ nutritional status would be extremely useful,” he told IRIN. “We hope the USAID-led effort will help provide precise recommendations in this complex domain.”

Many organizations are working on user-friendly methods to do the kind of analysis needed, Dufour said. “Until now resources for such work have been limited due to a limited interest in nutrition in general, and the role of agriculture for reducing malnutrition in particular. But there has been a significant change marked by much greater political commitment.”

USAID/IYCN’s methodology – a work in progress – is just one attempt to look at the links between agricultural activities and nutrition, according to USAID’s Zeilinger. “It is something useful to get the conversation started.” He said donors could eventually require implementing partners to use a nutritional impact assessment tool during the project design process.

np/cb source.www.irinnews.org

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Kenya: Professor Wangari Maathai is dead

Posted by African Press International on September 26, 2011

By API

It is a big blow to Kenya that the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize Professor Wangari Maathai has died.

She was a reliable environmentalist who created Green Belt movement. She devoted her time working for the empowerment of women and human rights.

Maathai was a member of Parliament for Tetu Constituency for some years before she lost the position during the 2007 General elections.

She passed away on Monday in the hospital surrounded by her family. Maathai was suffering from cancer.

API sends condolences to her family.

End

………

nobel peace prize, wangari maathai, member of parliament, general elections, and african woman.

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | 3 Comments »

ICC Day 5 Case 2: Confirmation or no confirmation of charges – Varied expectations

Posted by African Press International on September 26, 2011

By API

Six Kenyans are under pressure both privately and officially. Facing a Confirmation of charges  hearing in an International Criminal Court is not a joke in itself. It tears ones soul, and disorient one mentally in terms of expectations on what may be the end result.

Confirmation or no confirmation of charges bears varied expectations depending on whether one is a suspect, defence team, prosecution team or victims. And yet those to determine the facts that will lead to justice being done in the end, knowing they must provide a justified decision are the Judges and none of the other participants.

Therefore, all parties should be interested in getting justice done. That will only happen if all facts brought before the judges is not manipulated by any party.

The defence have strongly criticised the prosecution and calling the investigation flawed. The prosecution seems to think they have done their job. The judges must decide on who is right and who is wrong.

The problem for the Judges, however, is the fact that they have not been able to ask the prosecution’s witnesses any questions, because the prosecutor has chosen to present written statements from anonymous witnesses instead of bringing them to testify in person.

Is the prosecutor afraid of having his witnesses cross-examined by the defence lawyers and the Judges? There is only one person who has that answer.

There are those who say the prosecutor fears to present his witnesses to the court,because if the Confirmation of charges is not secured, he believes he will have put his witnesses in danger. But there are those who think that his course of action will jeopardise his case if the Judges want to deliver justice to the suspects, because committing them to trial on the basis of anonymous witnesses is not right.

The Judges are well aware that it is expected of them to make no mistake because any mistakes done will ruin the lives of the suspects and their families, including their professional lives.

The prosecution should ensure that the witnesses are not after favours in exchange for lies because any damage done through a lying process by any anonymous witness will be costly if the judges use that as a basis to confirm the charges.

The prosecution should not engage in a case just to save face when it is time to stop the case incase they realise the evidence holds no water. This does not mean that if the suspects bear no blame, the victims have lost.

This case facing the six suspects is very important for the Kenyan people and Kenya as a country. The Kenyan people should not take sides, but leave the truth to determine the course. There will be no winners or losers in this Kenya case, because whichever way, someone will be angered by the end result.

It is the duty of the Pre-trial chamber to act as a sieve and ensure only proper cases that are solid proceed to trial. This was what was laid down as law in the Bemba case. Therefore, the Pre-Trial Chamber should not be used as a mere conveyor belt.

It is the bearing of wisdom that will save Kenya, and enable the Kenyan people a continued and peaceful co-existence, no matter what background one is associated with at this time of finding the truth in us as a people.

African Press International photo: Lucas, the District Commissioner testify at the ICC in Muthaura's case
African Press International photo: Lucas, the District Commissioner testify at the ICC in Muthaura’s case

The case continued today with Muthaura’s evidence in court with Mr Lucas Mwanzo the former District Commissioner Naivasha who is now serving the government in the same capacity in Kilifi District. Mr Muthaura will present his last witness tomorrow, before Hon Uhuru Kenyatta starts his presentation.

Some of the defence lawyers:

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African Press International photo: The three of Mr Muthaura's lawyers, Mr Ogeto is not on the photo

African Press International photo: The three of Mr Muthaura's lawyers, Mr Ogeto is not on the photo

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African Press International photo: Barrister and Solicitor Essa M. Faal, part of Mr Muthaura's team at the ICC
African Press International photo: Barrister and Solicitor Essa M. Faal, part of Mr Muthaura’s team at the ICC

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African Press International photo: One of Hussein Ali's lawyer's Mr John Philpot
African Press International photo: One of Hussein Ali’s lawyer’s Mr John Philpot
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African Press International photo: Advocate Mbuthi Gathenji at the ICC

African Press International photo: Advocate Mbuthi Gathenji at the ICC

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Kenyan at the ICC on Day 5 to give the suspects moral support
 
African Press International photo: Hon Kenyatta with Hon Joseph Gitari, Kirinyag Central MP at the Hague to give the suspects moral support

African Press International photo: Hon Kenyatta with Hon Joseph Gitari, Kirinyaga Central MP at the Hague to give the suspects moral support

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African Press International photo: Hon Joseph Gitari, MP for Kirinyaga Central at the Hague to give moral support to the 3 suspects

African Press International photo: Hon Joseph Gitari, MP for Kirinyaga Central at the Hague to give moral support to the 3 suspects

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African Press International photo: Maria living in the Hague (left) and Njeri living in Rotterdam together with Advocates Mr Njenga Mwangi second left and Mbuthi Githenji far right at the ICC to following Kenya case nr 2

African Press International photo: Maria living in the Hague (left) and Njeri living in Rotterdam together with Advocates Mr Njenga Mwangi second left and Mbuthi Githenji far right at the ICC to following Kenya case nr 2

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African Press International photo: Kenyans at the ICC to give the 3 suspects moral support in day 5

African Press International photo: Kenyans at the ICC to give the 3 suspects moral support in day 5

 ——-

African Press International photo: Hon Kenyatta with one of the people who are at the Hague to give the suspects moral support
African Press International photo: Hon Kenyatta with one of the people who are at the Hague to give the suspects moral support

 ——————

African Press International photo: Hon Kenyatta with two of the people who are at the Hague to give the suspects moral support
African Press International photo: Hon Kenyatta with two of the people who are at the Hague to give the suspects moral support

————-

African Press International photo: Kenyans at the Hague to give the suspects moral support

African Press International photo: Kenyans at the Hague to give the suspects moral support

  ————-

African Press International photo: Kenyans at the ICC to give moral support to the 3 suspects on Day 5 of case 2

African Press International photo: Kenyans at the ICC to give moral support to the 3 suspects on Day 5 of case 2

End.

———–

anonymous witness, prosecution team, international criminal court, defence team, and kenyans

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Simultaneously tackling obesity and malnutrition

Posted by African Press International on September 26, 2011

The fat of the matter

NEW YORK,  – Simultaneously tackling obesity and malnutrition may seem like “polar opposites”, conceded UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the High-Level Meeting on Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases in New York, but an increasing number of countries are experiencing higher rates of both and the answer to reducing this phenomenon is the same: better nutrition.

Twenty nations with stunting rates of more than 40 percent among children under-five have reaffirmed their commitments to develop national strategies to increase access to more nutritious foods. The long-term effects of malnutrition and stunting among children under-five are continuing to be identified, said Dave Nabarro, special representative to the Secretary-General for food security and nutrition.

One of the more recent scientific findings is the definite link between early-life malnutrition and stunting with non-communicable diseases in adulthood, according to Nabarro. “It means we have a whole new reason to be concerned about trying to make sure good nutrition occurs in pregnancy and in early childhood.”

The Scaling Up Nutrition, or SUN, movement calls for countries to set their own attainable health targets, such as stunting reductions and lowered anaemia rates among pregnant women, during the first 1,000 days from conception to a child’s second birthday.

The damage done during that window of time is “irreversible”, said Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, at the UN conference on 19-21 September.

Malnourishment and undernourishment increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, strokes, chronic lung diseases and osteoporosis.

Obesity – often caused not from eating too much, but from consumption of unhealthy and heavily processed foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt – poses similar risks, Chan said.

“An increasing number of women are overweight or obese when they become pregnant, which places the mothers at risk of developing gestational diabetes and delivering big babies also at risk of diabetes,” Chan said.

Countries that signed on to SUN, first endorsed in April 2010, have agreed to revise and review national nutrition policies, but to do so through their own frameworks, and to their own timelines.

No targets or funding requests, such as those set for the eight Millennium Development Goals, have been called for or are needed, says Nabarro.

“We are focusing on outcome targets and saying everyone has got to work together and decide what they are going to do,” the special representative explained. “We’re not focusing on big input targets because that is not where the future lies. It is not in big funding figures.”

Country programmes

A selection of countries presented their individual plans for nutrition scale-up in the SUN annual report.

Bangladesh will refine its country investment plan for agriculture, food security and comprehensive programmes for nutrition improvement. Laos pledged to reduce stunting in under-fives to 34 percent and wasting in under-fives to 4 percent by 2015.

Niger will reduce both stunting in under-fives and low birth weights by 30 percent by 2021. Uganda plans to reduce stunting in under-fives to 32 percent and underweight rates in under-fives to 10 percent.

Mozambique’s goal is to reduce under-nutrition in under-fives from 44 percent in 2008 to 20 percent in 2020.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Mozambique, Guatemala, Peru and Burkina Faso for introducing new measures that will improve financial accountability and allow them to strengthen their individual nutrition commitments.

Revising a national plan and system to prioritize nutrition – a practice whose full implementation should involve both civil society organizations and the private sector for financial backing, the SUN report recommends – should not be a challenge, says Alexandre Manguele, Mozambique’s health minister.

“I don’t think it is difficult,” Manguele told IRIN after the forum. “Nutrition is part of the NCDs. Children need to be well nourished from the beginning in order to ensure their physical and mental health. We have to work in a creative and integrated way to join efforts and reinforce our commitment to this.”

al/mw source www.irinnews.org

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onic lung diseases, non communicable diseases, ban ki moon, world health organization, and effects of malnutrition.

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Norway aligns itself with Council decision to reinforce EU sanctions against Syria

Posted by African Press International on September 26, 2011

 By API
“The Syrian authorities are continuing their brutal treatment of the people of the country and disregarding the appeals from the international community to refrain from using violence. The EU therefore decided today to reinforce its sanctions against Syria, and Norway aligns itself with this decision,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre.
 
On 23 September the Council of the European Union decided to ban investment in key sectors of the Syrian oil industry and the delivery of Syrian-denominated bank notes and coinage produced in the EU to the Syrian Central Bank. It also added two more persons and six entities to the list of those targeted by the current asset freeze and travel ban.
 
“The situation in Syrian continues to give cause for deep concern. According to the UN, more than 2 700 people have been killed since the protests began in March. Norway will continue to put pressure on the Syrian authorities to meet the Syrian people’s legitimate demands for democracy, freedom of expression and other fundamental human rights,” said Mr Støre.
 
End
 
Source.mfa.norway
 
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sanctions against syria, syrian authorities, minister of foreign affairs, council of the european union, and freedom of expression.

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Not enough women like her

Posted by African Press International on September 26, 2011

Not enough women like her: Valerie Amos, Emergency Relief Coordinator (file photo)

DAKAR,  – When long-time humanitarian Margie Buchanan-Smith was interviewed for one of her first field posts – in Sudan in the 1980s – she was asked: “Will you burst out crying when you arrive?” “No,” she replied – and got the job. But when she arrived she was one of few women on the ground, and was always questioned if she was up to it.

Things have moved on since then: There are thousands of women working at all levels of the humanitarian sector, but when it comes to the top positions, at least in Western international NGOs and particularly in the field, staff are too often white and male, said humanitarian leaders IRIN spoke to, and a 2011 ALNAP (Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action) study on humanitarian leadership.

IRIN spoke to NGO staff whose headquarters were respectively in the UK, Johannesburg and Geneva, as well as to staff at headquarters in the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

Proactive schemes to diversify leadership help, say practitioners, but do not tackle the heart of the problem: a workaholic culture that is not conducive to families, and in some cases, latent discrimination against national staff and women.

Gender parity in leadership at the field and HQ levels is a long way off, but NGO headquarters tend to be better at it. When it comes to national staff leadership, UN agencies perform better than NGOs, according to individual agencies and ALNAP.

Among UN agencies and international NGOs, some do better on gender parity than others. Oxfam GB and Care International’s humanitarian management lines are all-female; 41 and 43 percent of UNICEF’s and ActionAid’s senior staff, respectively, are women; and four of ActionAid’s six directors are female. Statistics on national staff who have made it to top positions in the humanitarian sector are not available, but according to interviewees, are low outside the UN.

Benefits of diversity

Literature outside of the humanitarian sector shows diverse teams are more creative and better at problem-solving. “That would logically transfer to the humanitarian situation – the more diverse you are, the more likely you are to come up with a workable solution,” said Kim Scriven, co-author of the ALNAP report.

According to Margie Buchanan-Smith, the report’s principal author, diverse team members will bring different perspectives, approaches – even values – into the work, which is suitable in the humanitarian environment where agencies have to work together or alongside such diverse actors, from local communities to recipient governments to the military.

As CARE International’s senior gender in emergencies specialist Mireia Cano Vinas put it: “When we do emergency assessments we separate focus groups into men and women as they… bring different issues forward. The same applies to senior leadership.”

Susan Nicolai, who has worked in emergency response for 12 years and is deputy coordinator of the global education cluster, working for Save the Children, hypothesized whether historic male leadership may also have sidelined some response sectors – notably protection and education – which are female-dominated, and consistently severely under-funded in Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) appeals.

Unconscious discrimination

The reasons why women and national staff are under-represented in leadership roles remain hypothetical: As yet, no official studies have been undertaken. Given this, interviewees identified two major problems: latent discrimination and the humanitarian work culture.

Discrimination is not deliberate, stressed Buchanan-Smith. Rather, where it is present, it is “unconscious and implicit”. It may emerge in indirect ways, such as what qualities agencies prioritize when hiring staff. A national field staffer who is excellent at dealing with local communities, negotiating access, and setting up programmes, may not move up because he or she lacks strong written English, which may be prioritized by head office.

People can make discriminatory assumptions, and have prejudices, about the priorities, experience and abilities of national staff, notes ALNAP. Those national staff and women who do become leaders often have had to work harder than their internationally-recruited counterparts to establish credibility. A Senegalese humanitarian worker with 10 years of international experience in NGOs and UN agencies, told IRIN: “It is very difficult to move from a local to an international position because there is a lot of internal resistance to it… Agencies do not necessarily put in the time and effort to train them in international systems, and they are not open to it.”

Diversity in statistics:
OCHA: Some 31 percent of OCHA’s senior positions (P4 and P5 grades) are held by women; 34 percent of P5s are women. Three out of five of its most senior positions are held by women, including the head, Valerie Amos. “That is a good start in terms of setting the standard, there is of course much to do at all levels… we don’t need more gender policies, we need more commitment to implement them,” says John Ging, director of operations at OCHA.
UNICEF: About 30 percent of recruitment is for emergency positions. In the top 10 countries where fast-tracking staff and recruitment are a priority, 41 percent of international emergency roles are held by women; one third of these are at the highest leadership level. However, most of those applying for such roles are men. “For those [women] who have spent a long time in the field, you have options – whether it is your family situation that’s changed, or you’re just tired of hardship duty stations… We often see more women in leadership positions at headquarters, or in family duty stations,” says Bintou Keita, deputy director of customer relationships and human resource effectiveness at UNICEF.
WFP: As of August 2011, 37 percent of the 388 people at senior or mid-management levels were women, with an equal split between field and head office positions. The agency has a gender parity policy.
CARE International: In Europe and the US there are more humanitarian female staff than male; but women rarely dominate senior management teams or at board level, with the exceptions of Austria and Denmark. Peru, Canada and Thailand have a 50:50 gender split in senior management teams. Everywhere else, women are in the minority.
ActionAid: The NGO has a “federation” model: Each office is set up as a national entity, run by a national and with a board with 50 percent gender targets, and a diversity target that should reflect the population make-up in each country. Diversity is reviewed and reported on annually. “Our approach means we’ve got a head-start on some other organizations,” says Judith Davey, director of performance and accountability at ActionAid.
 

As a result, national staff become frustrated and lack motivation, creating a vicious circle. “Those who do succeed only do so through endless persevering and by encountering an individual who gives them a chance,” she said.

Family (un)friendly

When it comes to gender parity at the top, ALNAP notes it is not clear whether barriers are to do with discrimination, or with “the time demands and the personal cost of operational humanitarian leadership, which may be a challenge for women who universally bear the main burden of family and caring responsibilities.”

While not discounting the former, Oxfam’s deputy humanitarian director, Graham Mackay, says he believes rearing children while leading in humanitarian organizations poses problems for both men and women. The only one of three people in the Oxfam humanitarian directorate with children, he told IRIN: “I have a real problem with the travel – making the arrangements is always painful… but perhaps the equation is slightly easier for me as a man than if I was a woman.”

Though no studies have been conducted, many interviewees said they knew of very few women with families who had successfully made it to the top. Several years ago, the entire humanitarian management team at Oxfam GB was entirely made up of single people or divorcees, none of whom had children. Rather than work on their marriages, many successful humanitarian leaders spoke of being “married to their work” or making a “personal sacrifice”; and many humanitarians conceptualize leadership as involving unhealthily long working hours as evidence of commitment, said Buchanan-Smith.

Many agencies have moved on at headquarters. Most have gender policies and give gender and diversity training; some run leadership courses, such as ActionAid’s Women’s Leadership Programme, in which men are also encouraged to participate. But some large international NGOs are still said to espouse the macho, testosterone-led image that emergency teams used to be known for, said interviewees, including Vinas, Mackay, and Amelia Bookstein (now with the British Red Cross and formerly having worked for CAFOD, Save the Children and Oxfam).
“I don’t think diversity is improving and I do think it’s a problem… I am always pleasantly surprised when I find a woman in a leadership position, because it’s really against the odds,” Bookstein told IRIN.

Solutions

The workaholic humanitarian culture is unlikely to change any time soon, noted several managers. Both individuals and agencies should make more effort to recognize that while 16-hour days are often required in a sudden-onset disaster, they need not be the norm on a continuous basis, said Buchanan-Smith.

All the diversity schemes in the world cannot change the fact that in some duty stations, it is hard to get anyone – male or female – to do the job over the long-term, stressed Shannon Maguire Mulholland, team leader for humanitarian surge capacity at UNICEF. “In countries like Afghanistan it’s hard for us to get anyone to do this job, let alone to ensure leadership has gender diversity,” she told IRIN, having noted that UNICEF has many opportunities for female humanitarian staff in development rather than humanitarian contexts who wish to settle down and have families.

And some expectation of last-minute travel to at-times insecure situations is simply part of the job, said Save the Children’s Nicolai. “Some women may choose not to go. Women make that decision.” But agencies can at least make working and living conditions as good as they can be, given such tough circumstances, said CARE’s Vinas, by for instance, providing good security, decent accommodation and food.

Agencies have at least recognized that national staff need more support to develop their careers, said interviewees. A few large international NGOs have, for instance, set up the Emergency Capacity Building scheme, which runs a humanitarian leadership development programme. Through this, national staff are trained in leadership skills for one year and then join a roster for leadership positions. The scheme has a 95 percent placement rate thus far, according to Leonie Lonton, head of human resources for Save the Children, which hosts the programme.

While not limited to national country programme staff, a central aim of the scheme is to build up their capacity. “These are the leaders of tomorrow, with the potential to take up leadership positions in mid-to-senior management,” said Lonton.

However, while international NGOs have made strides in career development over recent years, it remains a weak spot for many humanitarian agencies, said Oxfam’s Mackay, who suggests there may be a policy clash with career development and equal opportunity employment, which requires an open, competitive recruitment process for every post.

Nonetheless, some agencies have significantly moved on and they must lead the way for the laggards, said Buchanan-Smith, while noting that diversity will look different for each NGO and UN agency across the world, depending on its mandate, history, and organizational structure – be it an alliance, a federation or another entity. The humanitarian sector is one that is “willing to examine itself”, summed up Nicolai, “and to be critical in ways that can change the landscape and the way we do our work, so the change will come eventually.”

aj/cbsource www.irinnews.org

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Norway condemns assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani

Posted by African Press International on September 25, 2011

By API
 
“I strongly condemn the attack in which Burhanuddin Rabbani and several others were killed. This was not just an attack on Mr Rabbani and his colleagues, but a serious assault on the Afghan Government and the ongoing stabilisation efforts,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
 
The head of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council and former president of Afghanistan, Burhanuddin Rabbani, was killed in a suicide bombing today in his own home in Kabul. As head of the High Peace Council, Mr Rabbani had been appointed by President Karzai to lead the reconciliation process with the Taliban and other insurgent groups.
 
“I met Mr Rabbani this summer when he took part in the Oslo Forum mediators’ retreat, where the status of the reconciliation process was one of the topics discussed. The attack is bound to have an impact on this important work. But the assassination does not alter the fact that it is essential to find a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan that also involves neighbouring countries. We must not allow ourselves to falter, but must keep up our unremitting efforts,” said Mr Støre.
 
End
 
Source.mfa.norway – September 20 2011
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other insurgent groups, burhanuddin rabbani, president of afghanistan, peace council, and unremitting efforts.
 
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A FLEXIBLE AND CONVENIENT FUNDING ALTERNATIVE FOR SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESSES

Posted by African Press International on September 25, 2011

by: Siyenza Management, Karabo Keepile

While relatively new in South Africa, business cash advances have functioned as an alternative to traditional lending in the United States since 1998.

As business owners know, speedy turnaround times in securing bank loans make all the difference when choosing to take advantage of a business opportunity or an important purchase.

For many small or so called “high risk” businesses, getting financial help from the bank presents a serious challenge, especially in today’s economic markets. Not only is the process lengthy and complicated, but there is a large possibility that your loan application will not be approved.

Retail Capital recognises the shortcomings associated with traditional bank loans and has devised an alternative for South African business owners through its business cash advance option.  “A business cash advance is for business owners who accept credit and debit cards, who are looking for a way to improve or grow their existing business, but are unable to raise funding for this,” says David Lewis, CEO of Retail Capital.

This innovative new financial model recognises future debit and credit card payments for goods and services as an asset — something that isn’t considered by the bank.

Each business is assessed individually which enables Retail Capital to agree to an advance amount and daily deduction percentage that fits each business’s needs and affordability.

When approved, business owners receive the advance within 10 days and because the pay over is based on turnover, it ebbs and flows with the business cycles, meaning that pay over is more affordable than fixed credit installments.

Since a business cash advance is not a loan, it does not attract interest but instead there is a fixed cost that is completely transparent and does not change.  Pay over takes place as a percentage deducted from all future card sales, as they come in, for as long as it takes for the purchased value to be realized.   Businesses do not have to plan for a fixed repayment amount at the end of each month, which is particularly helpful in slow months.

Retail Capital approves more than 80% of those who apply and meet the requirements. There are no restrictions on the use of the funding and no personal surety is required from business owners.

All that’s required is that the business be in operation for no less than six months and turn over at least R30, 000 per month in credit or debit card transactions.

The leading business cash advance supplier, which established the business cash advance option in the United States, has assisted over 20,000 businesses with over 80,000 advances to date. The product has also been established in Canada, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and most recently Australia.

South Africa’s emerging economy encourages entrepreneurship and even as availability and accessibility to funds becomes reduced, the business need for working capital has most certainly increased and thanks to Retail Capital, being declined by the bank does not have to mean losing out on a business opportunity.

ENDS

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 business cash advance, south africa business, speedy turnaround, south african business, and credit card payments.

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Pastoralist mobility is key to livestock and rangeland management

Posted by African Press International on September 25, 2011

Pastoralist mobility is key to livestock and rangeland management

NAIROBI,  – Pastoralists’ mechanisms for managing their resources and determining access rights among different communities in the Kenya-Ethiopia borderlands should be given much more attention at the national policy level if the viability of pastoralism is to be strengthened, states a new report.

“The rangelands are not open tracts of idle land, over which pastoralists and their livestock move randomly to use water and grazing land,” states a Humanitarian Policy Group September Working Paper, Rules of the range: natural resources management in Kenya–Ethiopia border areas.

“Rather, the existence and enforcement of customary rules and norms of reciprocity around natural resources management have historically played a key role in controlling and regulating both land use and social relations between ethnic groups.”

But traditional herd movement is being threatened by activities such as the expropriation of rangeland for irrigation farming, fragmentation by settlements and conflict.

Mobility has often been blamed for fuelling conflict but mobility is the cure, not the problem, says the study, arguing that “conflict, food insecurity and land degradation are mainly the results of policies designed to restrict mobility”. It recommends the recognition of the cross-border nature of pastoralism and the involvement of customary land institutions in rangeland management.

aw/mw source www.irinnews.org

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The Hague: Big Bell restaurant, with live music was the place for some Kenyans yesterday after ICC proceedings adjourned at 20.00pm

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2011

It was a beautiful night-out yesterday for some Kenyans who are on a visit to the Hague, together with some of those who are resident in the Netherlands. Most them who attended the proceedings decided to visit a popular Big Bell restaurant where one can sit in a peaceful atmosphere and enjoy listening to live music. The night had a live band from the Philippines yesterday.

Click on the middle to listen to the music!

The restaurant and the live music presented a relaxing atmosphere to all the guests freshening their minds in readiness for the next day’s hearings that was loaded with a lot of hammering of the prosecution by the defence lawyers.

The place had  a lot of good food and drinks as well.

Such a social happening during rough times like it is being experienced when one sits the whole day listening to testimonies by suspected lying and anonymous witnesses helps relax the mind.

African Press International photo: API visited Big Bell in the Hague: Pipas Band: Vocals Zandra, Vocals Marlyn, Keyboard Lite and Drums Sanie

African Press International photo: API visited Big Bell in the Hague: Pipas Band: Vocals Zandra, Vocals Marlyn, Keyboard Lite and Drums Sanie

The workers in the Big Bell were kind and helpful to the guests.

African Press International photo: The workers in the place were very kind and helpful whn API and friends was there..

African Press International photo: The workers in the place were very kind and helpful whn API and friends was there..

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African Press International photo: The workers in the place were very kind and helpful whn API and friends was there..

African Press International photo: The workers in the place were very kind and helpful whn API and friends was there..

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Mr Kenyatta, Mr Muthaura and Mr Ali, together with their delegation from Kenya did not appear at the place. It is believed they used the evening with their defence teams to prepare for the next day’s proceedings – Saturday 09.30 to 15.00. It was not difficult to see that in the court today when they arrived, all of them, in a very combative mood. Lawyers representing Francis Muthaura had the floor to present their case and the combative mood was felt in court thoughout their presentation, sometimes very entertaining to the members of the press, and the public who were present to follow the proceedings..

End

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combative mood, defence lawyers, peaceful atmosphere, deligation, and international photo.

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ICC Day 4 case 2: A united combative defence team of Muthaura humiliated the prosecution today

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2011

The court adjourned until monday after having presentations from the defence from 09.30 to 15.00 today (Friday).

During the presentation by Francis Muthaura’s team, the prosecution was hammered into a box, although not nailed completely. The prosecution is not having a good weekend because today Muthaura’s 3 lawyers were very combative.

Mr Khan started it all in the morning, followed by Essa Faal and Kennedy Ogeto.

The defence told the prosecution that they have systemic failures and should be ashamed for bringing to an international court of justice  blatant lies from their anonymous discredited witnesses.

They told the court that Chief Prosecutor Ocampo is a man who does not know what he is saying at any given moment in any given day, adding that the court should have an inquiry on his behaviour in this case. The court was also told that the prosecutor should have been restrained and stopped from masquerading by addressing the media all the time, a behaviour against all rules when he knows that the case is ongoing.

The combative defence team told the court that the prosecutor is a polluter, because he has polluted the chamber with statements from anonymous witnesses who cannot be trusted.

It is clear that the prosecution is feeling the heat. The defence say the prosecution has failed in their job, when they come to the court claiming almost everyone to be a Mungiki. This is because they do not understand the Kenyan people and their traditional values; said the defence lawyers.

The prosecution, according to the defence has been changing tact all the time. In the first place they said that Muthaura conceived a plan to commit crimes and now they have started saying that he adopted the plan. Which is which?; Mr Khan asked

This case is built of lies. Muthaura had no motive to commit crimes, he is not a politician, he is not a member of any political party, therefore there was no reason for him to be a member of any organisation that was to murder people in order to keep PNU in power as alleged.

What has happened in this case, the lawyer said, is that the witnesses have packaged lies, sold it to the prosecution and the prosecution bought it.

The prosecution has a problem now, says the defence, because instead of seeing sense in it all and discontinuing the case, they want a case with flimsy evidence to proceed for the sake of saving face. This is unacceptable and dangerous, counsel Khan thundered in court before handing over the floor to his colleagues, who had no plans to let the prosecutor off the hook. They also hammered the prosecution until the court adjourned at 15.00pm. Muthaura’s witnesses will then take the stand on Monday afternoon when the case resumes.

Dr Nyekorach-Matsanga, a Ugandan who was part of the UN negotiations between Uganda government and Rebel leaders of LRA led by general Kony was also in court to follow the case alongside many Kenyans and others interested in the Kenya case..

When asked why he was present in the court, Matsanga told the media that he has a lot of interest in the Kenya case. He says Kenya is an East African Country whose neighbours should align with and support when the Prosecutor is using flawed investigation to persecute the country’s leaders.

Matsanga told the media that he has researched on the post-election violence in Kenya very well. To support his argument, he distributed a well written booklet full of analysis touching on Nakuru, Naivasha and Molo areas during the post-election violence that left many people dead and some displaced.

African Press International Photo: Dr Nyekorach Matsanga interviewed by a Kenyan TV crew after the proceedings adjourned today.

African Press International Photo: Dr Nyekorach Matsanga interviewed by a Kenyan TV crew after the proceedings adjourned today.

Many Kenyans were also present to give the 3 suspects in the case, Mr Kenyatta, Mr Muthaura and Mr Ali moral support.

A Kenyan makes his point about the case to the Jeff Koinange. He says he is satisfied with the defence’s progress in the case.

African Press International photo: Jeff Koinange of K24TV gives opportunity to a Kenyan to make known his views on the Kenya case.
African Press International photo: Jeff Koinange of K24TV gives opportunity to a Kenyan to make known his views on the Kenya case.

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African Press International Photo: Kalimi M. Mworia - Director International Cooperation and Assistance Division, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons with Mrs Rose Aiba Muthaga Muthaura and other Kenyans on the background
African Press International Photo: Kalimi M. Mworia - Director International Cooperation and Assistance Division, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons with Mrs Rose Aiba Muthaga Muthaura and other Kenyans on the background

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African Press International Photo: Kenyans on Day 4 at the ICC to give moral support to Uhuru, Muthaura and Ali
African Press International Photo: Kenyans on Day 4 at the ICC to give moral support to Uhuru, Muthaura and Ali

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African Press International Photo: Kenyans on Day 4 at the ICC to give moral support to Uhuru, Muthaura and Ali
African Press International Photo: Kenyans on Day 4 at the ICC to give moral support to Uhuru, Muthaura and Ali

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African Press International Photo: Kenyans on Day 4 at the ICC to give moral support to Uhuru, Muthaura and Ali
African Press International Photo: Kenyans on Day 4 at the ICC to give moral support to Uhuru, Muthaura and Ali

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African Press International Photo: Kenya Minister Hon. Robinson Njeru Githae with a Kenya embassy official, together with other Kenyans on the background
African Press International Photo: Kenya Minister Hon. Robinson Njeru Githae with a Kenya embassy official, together with other Kenyans on the background
African Press International Photo: Kenyans on Day 4 at the ICC to give moral support to Uhuru, Muthaura and Ali
African Press International Photo: Kenyans on Day 4 at the ICC to give moral support to Uhuru, Muthaura and Ali

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African Press International Photo: Kenyans on Day 4 at the ICC to give moral support to Uhuru, Muthaura and Ali
African Press International Photo: Kenyans on Day 4 at the ICC to give moral support to Uhuru, Muthaura and Ali

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End

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Drought conditions could spell disaster

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2011

Wheat crop failure, especially for poor rural Afghans, could be disastrous

KABUL,  – The current dry spell sweeping across Afghanistan’s northern, northeastern and western provinces could lead to a large-scale food crisis and the humanitarian community should act quickly to ensure this does not degenerate into a disaster, government and aid officials warn.

“The issue is very serious. Every other year drought or other natural disaster puts millions of people into food insecurity,” Abdul Majeed Qarar, spokesman for the Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Ministry, said.

According to Oxfam, nearly three million people are facing severe food shortages as a result of drought in 14 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Eighty percent of the non-irrigated wheat crop, which people rely on for food and income, has been lost.

“Governments need to wake up to the gravity of this crisis and ensure they are ready to respond before the situation gets worse,” Asuntha Charles, head of Oxfam in Afghanistan, said on 20 September. “Delays will just make things harder for families already struggling to cope… People are reducing the amount of food they are eating and selling what little they have. We still have time to stop this becoming a disaster, but only if we act now.”

Earlier this month, the Agriculture Ministry quoted a much lower figure for those affected, but started distributing assistance to 200,000 families in Sheberghan and Jowzjan provinces.

“Drought has caused a significantly lower cereal harvest this year which, according to initial surveys, will affect the lives and livelihoods of 1.3-1.5 million farmers and livestock owners all over the country,” Mohammad Asif Rahimi, minister for agriculture, irrigation and livestock, said.

Pastures in affected areas, according to Oxfam, have been completely destroyed and the price of animal fodder in the market has quadruped forcing people to sell livestock because they cannot feed them and need money to buy food for themselves.

Preliminary assessments

In July, Oxfam conducted a rapid assessment in the provinces of Badakhshan, Daykundi and Kandahar, and found that about 50 percent of pasture land had little or no grass or other vegetation.

A separate rapid assessment in early July by World Vision in the northwestern provinces of Badghis and Ghor found that lack of rain had seriously undermined the livelihoods of farmers and pastoralists, triggered stress and resulted in negative coping mechanisms like selling available food.

“Interventions around the introduction of improved varieties of seeds and livestock, diversification of funding sources and improved irrigation infrastructure are highly recommended to mitigate these recurring problems,” the assessment noted. “These will empower communities and thus reinforce the sustainability and resilience of households’ livelihoods.”

A more detailed assessment is being done by humanitarian actors across Afghanistan, and a clearer picture should emerge soon, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Afghanistan’s average wheat yield on irrigated land ranges from about 2.7 tons per hectare to 3.5, versus only 1.1 tons on rain-fed land. In a normal year, the country produces 4.5 million tons of wheat and imports around one million, according to the Agriculture Ministry. The shortfall of 1.9 million tons of wheat this year means more will either have to be imported or secured from other sources.

''Humanitarian organizations must do a better job of assessing humanitarian needs, of organizing coordinated responses, of telling the Afghan humanitarian story. We also seek a continued commitment from donors to provide adequate support for the needs identified, including those related to the current drought situation''

Crop production across the country fluctuates because of seasonal natural disasters as well as surges of violence and insecurity.

But chronic emergencies, according to the UN humanitarian coordinator for Afghanistan, Michael Keating, could be avoided if addressed in a timely and sustainable way. In most cases, durable solutions such as drilling water holes, reinforcing existing dams or constructing embankments could ensure adverse situations were mitigated in future.

“Reducing the risk of these disasters is… a development issue requiring urgent attention,” Keating said in a speech on World Humanitarian Day.

Conflict – a key factor

But in the face of continuing conflict, it becomes difficult to effectively operate, say observers in Kabul. “Billions of dollars have been sunk into Afghanistan in search of durable long-term solutions, but until the security question is solved, little can be achieved,” an international aid worker told IRIN.

A Food Security Risk Index of 196 countries released on 31 August by Maplecroft, rates Afghanistan number nine. It says the country faces extreme food insecurity and that a major driver of this is conflict and displacement.

Aid workers in Kabul say insecurity has also hindered access to those in need in various provinces of Afghanistan, killed farmers and livestock owners, and disrupted communities that used to be agriculturally productive.

In 2010, 2,777 civilians were killed, a 15 percent increase on 2009. The first six months of this year have been even more deadly, according to the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), with 1,462 civilians killed by mid-July. Some 80 percent of these deaths were attributed to anti-government elements.

“Afghan children, women and men continue to be killed and injured at an alarming rate,” said Staffan de Mistura, special representative of the UN Secretary-General. Improvised explosives and suicide attacks account for nearly half of all the civilian deaths and injuries.

“Even collecting data from some areas can be difficult,” said one NGO field worker in Kabul. “There are places that are so difficult to reach that the only information we get is second or third hand. The situation can be very unpredictable.”


Photo: Jason Gutierrez/IRIN
Insecurity has hindered access to those in need, killed farmers and livestock owners, and disrupted communities, say aid workers (file photo)

New thinking needed

The complexities of the situation call for new thinking on the part of humanitarians, donors and government, observers say. This fact is not lost on the aid community.

“Afghans throughout the northern part of the country are facing a possible humanitarian crisis as they cope with drought conditions that have resulted in a 100 percent failure of the rain-fed crop in many areas,” Keating said on 21 August. “Many households have lost 50 percent of their livestock due to a lack of animal feed and water.”

“Humanitarian organizations must do a better job of assessing humanitarian needs, of organizing coordinated responses, of telling the Afghan humanitarian story,” he added. “We also seek a continued commitment from donors to provide adequate support for the needs identified, including those related to the current drought situation.”

According to NGOs ActionAid, Afghanaid, Concern Worldwide, Oxfam, Tearfund and ZOA Refugee Care, the priority responses should not just focus on immediate humanitarian needs, but also strengthen existing coping mechanisms and build community resilience.

“The international response to this crisis has been slow to get off the ground,” the six NGOs said in a joint statement on 31 August. Planned interventions, they argue, should strengthen existing coping and local market structures – or risk exacerbating dependency on humanitarian aid and undermining local businesses.

“There has been limited support for the introduction of drought-resistant crops, for non-agriculture based livelihoods such as livestock, and for off-farm livelihoods,” the NGOs noted.

Inadequate attention, they argue, had been paid to natural resource management, resulting in a situation whereby in many of the drought-affected areas, river water was available but not being used for irrigation because the necessary systems were not in place.

“Lessons must be learnt,” they added, “if communities are to be assisted not only to recover from this current crisis but to increase their resilience to future shocks and in the long term reduce their dependency on humanitarian aid.”

eo/mp/cb source www.irinnews.org

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Migrants beaten, imprisoned and deported

Posted by African Press International on September 24, 2011

A Somali migrant at Maratane refugee camp in Mozambique

MTWARA,  – Near the coastal town of Mtwara, Tanzania’s border with Mozambique is marked only by the River Ruvuma which is wide and relatively shallow at this point just before it drains into the Indian Ocean. Young men loll in small, wooden boats checking their cell phones and waiting for passengers to ferry across to the other side, but business has been slow in the last two months since groups of migrants desperate to complete a journey that began thousands of kilometres to the north stopped arriving at the river’s banks.

“For the last two or three months we haven’t had big movements like we had between February and April,” said Henry Chacha, an immigration officer from the nearby Kilambo border post. “For the last two or three weeks, we haven’t had any migrants.”

At the height of the activity around Mtwara in early 2011, the migrants – most of them from Ethiopia and Somalia – typically arrived in groups of 100 or more on boats operated by smugglers, usually from the Kenyan port city of Mombasa.

According to one Somali migrant who made the trip, the groups were dropped off near Mtwara, and then found their way to the river delta where they paid the waiting fishermen in money or goods for passage to the other side. From there, they trekked through thick forest for several days before crossing into Mozambique and arriving at Palma, a small coastal town where the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the government’s National Institute for Refugee Assistance (INAR) had set up an informal camp behind the local police station to cater for the migrants’ basic needs before transporting them to Maratane refugee camp in Nampula Province.

For most, Maratane was merely a place to rest, regroup and make contact with their smugglers’ agents who would help them reach their final destination: South Africa – the only country in the region where asylum-seekers and refugees have freedom of movement and the right to work and run businesses rather than being confined to camps.

But around May of this year, the movement of migrants from the Horn of Africa across the River Ruvuma began reversing in direction. According to immigration authorities in Mtwara, groups of migrants, stripped of their belongings and clothing, and many bearing the marks of severe beatings, began appearing near the river.

“We saw them at the delta, naked,” said Hamidu Mkambala, the regional immigration officer for Mtwara. “We gave them food and clothing and then we took them to a court of law and then prison. We don’t have any other shelters for them.”

About 500 Ethiopians and 50 Somalis are now being held at Mtwara prison, while about 600 Ethiopian and 170 Somali migrants are in other prisons around Tanzania.

Harrowing journey

Most of those interviewed at Mtwara prison told similar stories of weeks at sea on overloaded boats that either dropped them off in Mtwara or took them all the way to the north coast of Mozambique. From there they were picked up by police but instead of being transferred to Maratane, they were robbed of their possessions, beaten and then dumped next to (or in) the River Ruvuma.

One young Somali woman recounted a harrowing month-long journey from Mombasa to Mozambique on rough seas. At one point the crew of the boat she was travelling on forced three of her fellow passengers off the over-loaded vessel and into the sea where they were left to drown. When they finally reached Mozambique, the migrants were greeted by locals who “took all they had”.

“A white man came and put us in a mini-bus and took us to another place near a police station,” she continued. “He told the police to take us to the refugee camp but after he left, they beat us and fired bullets over our heads,” she said, crying and showing a badly swollen leg that had not healed two months after one of the policemen struck it with the barrel of his gun.


Photo: Kristy Siegfried/IRIN
Boats used to ferry migrants across the River Ruvuma sit idle

One of the Ethiopian prisoners at Mtwara said four of the men in his group had died after they were beaten so severely by the Mozambican police that they drowned when they were thrown into the River Ruvuma.

Others survived by waiting for a low tide and then forming a human chain to wade to the other side of the river where they were discovered by local villagers.

“They came from nowhere with no clothes,” a woman from one of the villages near the river told IRIN. “They said they came from Mozambique. We fed them and then showed them the way to the immigration office in Kilambo.”

Small border posts like the one at Kilambo are ill-equipped to deal with large groups of naked and hungry migrants, most of whom cannot speak the local language. “We have no budget to feed them,” said Mkambala. “We feed them from our own pockets and give them clothing.”

After a day or two staying in the open outside the immigration office in Kilambo, the migrants were transported to the police station in Mtwara for processing before being taken to court and then to the now overcrowded prison.

Government denial

UNHCR has confirmed the migrants’ accounts and called on the Mozambican government to stop the deportations which contravene the country’s obligations under the UN Convention on Refugees.

However, at a meeting on 16 September convened by local NGO the Mozambican Human Rights League, which also has evidence of abuses against migrants found near the Tanzanian border, representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior denied that irregular deportations were taking place, while at the same time describing the migrants as a threat to national security.

“It’s a very clear sign that the position of the government is becoming stricter on the issue,” commented Matteo Gillerio, a field officer with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mozambique who was present at the meeting.

According to Mtwara regional immigration officer Mkambala, a recent meeting between immigration chiefs from Mozambique and Tanzania to discuss the irregular deportations did not end in any agreement, but the situation may have resolved itself, at least temporarily, as smugglers appear to have started circumventing the trouble spot between Palma and Mtwara.

Chacha, the immigration officer at Kilambo (on the Tanzanian side), said no migrants had been seen near the river since July, and Gillerio said the camp in Palma was also currently empty. However, he worried the movement would resume in November with the start of the rainy season which would bring improved conditions at sea and make it more difficult for the Mozambican police to patrol border areas.

“The [refugee] camps in Kenya are filling up,” he pointed out. “I think when they’re in a condition to travel, they will, because they’re not going to find jobs in Kenya.”

Homeward bound?

For the Ethiopians imprisoned in Tanzania, their journey will soon end where it started. An IOM initiative funded by the Japanese government, brought a delegation from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Tanzania in August to document those being held in prisons and arrange their voluntary return home starting from the end of September.

“All of them told us they want to go back home,” said Ethiopia’s director of Foreign Affairs, Melaku Bedada, who formed part of the delegation. He added that his Ministry would be engaging their Mozambican counterparts in a discussion about the abuses the migrants experienced in that country. “A person has to be treated humanely, even if they’re illegal,” he said.

The fate of the Somali prisoners is less clear. In the absence of a functioning government in Somalia to negotiate their release, members of Dar es Salaam’s local Somali community have been advocating on their behalf. Ahmed Ally, a leader in that community, said that after repeated calls to various relevant agencies and government departments, immigration officers had informed him that the Somalis would be released soon and taken to the Kenyan border. From there, he said, Somali elders have agreed to pay their transport to Nairobi where they will likely find refuge among that city’s sizeable Somali community.

Most of the imprisoned migrants IRIN spoke to declared they would not attempt the journey again.

“If I go home, I will just pray for rain. I won’t come to Mozambique again,” said one young man who left Ethiopia because the drought had made it impossible for him to farm.

But the young Somali woman with the injured leg insisted she did not want to go home. “There is still fighting there,” she said. “I want to go somewhere peaceful… maybe South Africa.”

ks/cb source www.irinnews.org

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The ICC Registry used Mafia-like methods in selecting lawyers to represent victims, says Counsel Njenga Mwangi

Posted by African Press International on September 23, 2011

API

In an interview with API, Counsel Njenga Mwangi characterises the International Criminal Court’s Registry on the way they select lawyers to represent the victims in Kenya case one and two.

Interview

Mwangi thinks it is wrong for the ICC to impose lawyers on the victims. It is important that the lawyers representing victims are known to them.

In the case of Kenya, the victims have been given lawyers who hardly know Kenya and the way the victims think.

They are simply strangers to the victims. The ICC would have helped the victims better if local lawyers who understand them are the one to represent them.

Before the Hague process started, Counsel Njenga Mwangi had advocated for the enactment of a statute to establish an independent international local tribunal to try those who bore the greatest responsibility of the crimes against humanity committed in the Republic of Kenya during the post-election period.

Interview with Citizen TV (Kenya) Power Breakfast Show: Part 1

InterInterview with Citizen TV (Kenya) Power Breakfast Show: Part 2

Interview with Citizen TV (Kenya) Power Breakfast Show: Part 3:

End

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international criminal court, mwangi, lawyers, kenya, and api.

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ICC Day 3 case 2: Muthaura’s counsel, Mr Khan starts tearing into the prosecution’s evidence

Posted by African Press International on September 23, 2011

By API

After two and a half days of prosecution presentation with details on the case against Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura and Hussein Ali, the prosecution gave way to the defence. at 18.15pm.

Mr Khan defending Muthaura took the stand for 46 minutes and started tearing into the prosecution’s evidence, before the court was adjourned until tomorrow Saturday 09.30am when he will continue his presention.

Drama is expected in the court tomorrow, because Mr Khan is ready and is in a combative mood.

Mr Khan told the court that the prosecution’s witnesses have no truth in them and the statements given to the prosecution is full of lies.

There was no Mungiki meetings in State House Nairobi as alleged by one of the witnesses, Khan said while referring to a letter written to the court by President Kibaki to confirm the same. He also showed a video clip of a meeting held in State House where Kibaki was speaking with the youth leaders who were to help him in his campaign. These are the same leaders the prosecution wants to baptise as Mungiki who went around killing innocent people. The prosecution seems to have taken a decision to use anything available, even anonymous witnesses who are lying, in their efforts to get the charges confirmed against Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura and Hussein Ali.

He immediately told the court that the case has no foundation in truth because the prosecution has done no thorough investigation. He told the court that the prosecution’s case is flawed.

Khan accused the prosecution for wishing away the truth, telling the court that it was his client who actually took the initiative for the formation of the Waki Commission of Inquiry. Such a man would not have don so if he was part of the crimes committed during the post-election violence.

I can say without any doubt in my mind that my client is a man of integrity, Mr Khan told the court.

He will continue his defence tomorrow (Saturday) before calling witnesses on Monday.

End

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uhuru kenyatta, president kibaki, combative mood, election violence, and mr khan.

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