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Archive for December 28th, 2011

Sleep Station in Münster city in Germany was as comfortable as a 3 Star Hotel

Posted by African Press International on December 28, 2011


We were in Germany to visit the international exhibition that mostly featured handcrafts from many countries. One such country was Kenya, the only country that represented the continent of Africa at the open Christmas market.

In December the christmas month, places to stay in the city are limited due to the many visitors to the region at the time.

For many who were lucky, right at the main Railway station, one just needed to walk for 4 minutes to the nearest boarding and lodging at Wolbecker Street nr 1, a place we chose to lodge for the 3 nights we were in the city.

Many other people who travelled far to the city to visit the exhibition market were lodging in a well furnished building called Sleep Station manned by many kind and helpful workers. One could easily think he or she was housed in a 3 star hotel.

The place allowed the lodgers to make their own food in their equipped kitchen. Breakfast was served and the place costed very reasonable affordable amount.

Sleep Station Manager: - The sleep station manager in Munster - Germany. - The sleep station manager in Munster - Germany.-


The workers at the Sleep Station served guest with delight - Sleep Station - boarding and lodging in Münster city in Germany – Sleep Station – boarding and lodging in Münster city in Germany

Munster city is 1200 years old historical city. Here is where you will find the oldest and most traditional Universities in Germany. The old part of the town offers exiting nightlife. At the “Kreativ Kai” – the harbour sector in Münster you will find restaurants, pubs, clubs and culture.

Visiting Hawer-Kamp lofts you will enjoy underground clubs and studios. Seasonal cycling, hiking, skating, canoeing in and around Münster is also possible.

There are organised historic guided tours around the mediaeval old town. Think of Graphikmuseum, Pablo Picasso, among others when you are choosing to see the wide range of art and cultural museums.

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North Korea: Kim Jong-il to be burried today

Posted by African Press International on December 28, 2011

The North Korean leader will be buried today.

His youngest son will now lead the country, but with a very strong military behind the scenes.

The South Korean former first lady and a small group were in North Korea yesterday to pay their condolences to the former leader. The government of South Korea, however, banned its citizens from paying condolences to the former Northern leader.

The two countries ar still at war technically.


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Pakistan is considered to be free of FGM/C, but some victims, religious leaders and midwives dispute this widely-held view.

Posted by African Press International on December 28, 2011

PAKISTAN: Low awareness of hidden FGM/C practices

Pakistan is considered to be free of FGM/C, but some victims, religious leaders and midwives dispute this widely-held view.

KARACHI, 26 December 2011 (IRIN) – In certain cafés close to medical colleges in Pakistan, and of course within the institutions themselves, students studying gynaecology speak of some unexpected sights they have seen.

“Recently, we examined a woman who complained of pain in her genital region. We were shocked to see when we examined her that she had suffered some mutilation of her private parts. I have read about these practices but I didn’t know they took place here,” Zeba Khan, a 4th year medical student, told IRIN.

Though female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) takes place, the practice is hidden, hardly ever spoken of, barely known about. The country, for instance, is considered to be “free” of FGM/C, like a number of other Muslim majority countries in the region. Indeed, this view is widely held. “No such thing happens here,” Saadia Ahmed, a gynaecologist, told IRIN.

But there is evidence which suggests this widely held view may be inaccurate.

“I can still remember when it happened,” Zehra Ali*, 22, told IRIN. She said soon after her eighth birthday, her mother “gave me a big bowl of ice-cream” and then led her to a spare bedroom where an elderly woman spoke to her kindly, had her lie down on the bed and do “a terrible” thing. Zehra says a small part of her clitoris was quickly snipped off, that she felt “some pain” but mainly a strong sense of being “violated”. She said the episode, which she “never forgot”, causes her problems “now that I am married” and that she needed counselling before she was willing to consent to sex, “for psychological not physical reasons”.

Bohra community

Zehra belongs to the Bohra community, a sect of the majority Muslim population which numbers some 100,000, according to official figures, and is based mainly in the southern province of Sindh. The Bohras are among the few communities practising FGM/C in Pakistan.

Other groups which carry out the mutilation are groups with African or Arab origins, such as the ethnic Sheedi community which numbers several thousand, came to the country originally as slaves during the 19th and 20th centuries, and is based primarily in Sindh. There has been little research on the practice among these groups.

Zehra believes that even today at least 50-60 percent of Bohra women undergo circumcision, involving usually a symbolic snipping of the clitoris. “In the past there was more mutilation, and I think 80-90 percent of women suffered it. More awareness has helped reduce the practice,” she said.

''It is rarely spoken of. It is just something the women know about and do''

“I have seen females who have suffered `khatna’ as female circumcision is called. Sometimes there is merely a symbolic snipping of some skin, but in some women – especially those who are not so young, there is somewhat more extensive cutting,” said a midwife (she preferred anonymity) in the Tando Muhammad Khan District of Sindh, who has attended to Sheedi women. She said she herself did not perform circumcisions.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), FGM/C “includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons”.  It says an estimated 100-140 million girls and women worldwide are living with FGM/C, 92 million of them in Africa.

“Symbolic” cutting

Shershah Syed, a former president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, who devotes his practice to serving deprived women, told the media he had come across cases in urban Pakistan where women have undergone the procedure.

“In Pakistan, with growing awareness [of the effects of FGM/C], they are now doing it merely symbolically, with only a bit of skin being removed. But even so, I find it to be in clear violation of human rights. There is absolutely no scientific evidence supporting any medical benefit of the procedure. In fact, it can lead to health complications,” said Syed.

The WHO lists the string of complications that can arise from the procedure, including repeated infections, cysts, infertility, higher childbirth complications and the need for repeated surgeries.

“In our community, this practice has taken place for generations. The girls nowadays have it done in sterile conditions. It is rarely spoken of. It is just something the women know about and do,” said Raazia*, 60, a member of the Bohra community and a grandmother. She says her granddaughters “will be safely circumcized.”

“The impact is not just on health, it is psychological too. Such practices leave deep scars, and in our country these have not been studied at all, because so little is known about the mutilation of women in this way,” said Aliya Rizvi, a psychologist.

*Not her real name


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More than 30,000 Sri Lankans lost their lives on 26 December 2004

Posted by African Press International on December 28, 2011

SRI LANKA: Tsunami anniversary highlights early warning gaps

More than 30,000 Sri Lankans lost their lives on 26 December 2004

COLOMBO,  – Seven years after a devastating tsunami struck Sri Lanka, more work still needs to be done to secure an effective early-warning system, officials say.

More than 30,000 Sri Lankans lost their lives in the Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004 that struck 13 countries and left more than 200,000 dead across the region.

“We need to improve communication between the agencies,” Pradeep Kodippili, assistant director, early warning, at the government’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC) told IRIN in Colombo, the capital.

After the 2004 tsunami, Sri Lanka enacted the 2005 Disaster Management Act, which established the DMC and provided mandates for monitoring and early warning systems.

Under the act, the DMC is tasked with releasing early warnings to the public issued by government agencies such as the Meteorological Department, Geological Survey and Mines Bureau and the Irrigation Department.

“We have to be sure that we learn from past events and make suitable adjustments. There are improvements to be made for sure,” Kodippili conceded.

That opinion was borne out on 25 November, when heavy rains and gale-force winds struck the southern coast of the island nation, with little warning to residents.

According to the DMC, at least 29 people died and almost 10,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, with tens of thousands affected.

Better coordination needed

A recent report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), released just days after the disaster, echoed the need for better coordination between state agencies.

“It is critical to the efficiency of the process that scenario development, early warning and related actions should not be considered in isolation but as an integrated process,” the report said.

However, according to Kodippilli, the DMC received no warning of the storm from the Meteorological Department, mandated to issue warnings of severe weather conditions.

One of the worst-hit areas was the town of Weligama in the southern Matara District, where 14 were killed and close to a dozen reported missing, mostly fishermen out at sea.

“We never received any warning,” Padmasiri Ediriweera, a fisherman and owner of two boats in Weligama, claimed.

In the past, the radio transmission tower at the local Kapparathota fisheries harbour in Weligama had received warnings, especially of cyclones. “This time there was no message so people went out to sea and were killed,” he said.

Later, a top government minister also blamed the Meteorological Department for failing to issue a timely warning.

“They said there would not be such bad weather,” Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Rajitha Senaratne told parliament on 19 December, noting that the National Aquatic Researches and Resource Development Agency (NARA) had informed the Meteorological Department of the possibility of high winds, but the latter had failed to act on it. 

Senaratne said NARA and his ministry would henceforth send out alerts directly to fishermen, without waiting for DMC or Meteorological Department alerts.

However, such a move would contravene the country’s disaster management laws. Under the 2005 Act, only the DMC can issue warnings.

Capacity gap

According to the OCHA report, the Meteorological Department lacked the technical capacity to predict extreme and fast-moving weather patterns accurately.

“The Department of Meteorology of Sri Lanka does not have the capacity required to provide quantitative rain forecasts. Models currently used are assessed by the department as not fully reliable and the information issued by the department is not detailed.”

The report added, however, that the department was in the process of upgrading its capacity with the installation of S-Band Doppler radar that would allow it to release more detailed updates. The new radar would give it the capacity to detect gale forces and updrafts, a common phenomenon in Sri Lanka.

ap/ds/mw source www.irinnews.orgs

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