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  • RSS BBC News – Africa

    • Parents seek Nigeria kidnap girls April 17, 2014
      The parents of some of the girls abducted from their school in north-east Nigeria head into the forests in a dangerous search for their daughters.
    • Pistorius forensic tests challenged April 17, 2014
      The tests carried out by a forensic expert for Oscar Pistorius' murder trial are rigorously challenged by the state prosecutor in South Africa.
    • Algeria votes on Bouteflika's future April 17, 2014
      Algerians are voting in elections in which incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who suffered a stroke last year, is seeking a fourth term.
    • Senegal's Karim Wade 'to face trial' April 17, 2014
      A Senegalese court rules that Karim Wade, the ex-president's son, should stand trial on corruption charges over his wealth, an official says.
    • Guinea-Bissau run-off to pick leader April 17, 2014
      Officials in Guinea-Bissau say a run-off vote will be held next month after no candidate won an outright victory in Sunday's presidential election.
    • 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      Chad has withdrawn all its peacekeepers from the Central African Republic, an official confirms, after accusations they sided with Muslim rebels.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.
    • 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 shown prosthetic leg April 17, 2014
      The prosthetic leg belonging to Oscar Pistorius has been shown to the court during his murder trial. He denies murder, claiming he mistook Reeva Steenkamp for a burglar.
    • 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 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.
    • 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.
  • RSS BBC News – Home

    • Putin cautious on force in Ukraine April 17, 2014
      Russia's President Putin says he hopes he will not have to exercise his "right" to send troops into Ukraine, as crisis talks are held with Western leaders in Geneva.
    • Weather blights S Korea ferry search April 17, 2014
      Bad weather, murky water and strong currents are hampering the search for about 280 people missing after a South Korean ferry sank.
    • Co-op Group reports £2.5bn loss April 17, 2014
      The Co-operative Group reports losses of £2.5bn, the worst results in its 150-year history, after what its chief executive calls a "disastrous" year.
    • Female MPs shunning PMQs - Bercow April 17, 2014
      Some female MPs have stopped attending Prime Minister's Questions because it is so "bad", says Speaker John Bercow.
    • Lorry driver held over M26 crash April 17, 2014
      A lorry driver is arrested following a five-vehicle pile up on the M26 in Kent in which two people died and seven others were injured.
    • 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.
    • Lucas cleared over fracking protest April 17, 2014
      Green MP Caroline Lucas and four co-defendants are cleared of obstructing a public highway during an anti-fracking protest in Balcombe, West Sussex.
    • Fireworks 'not to blame' for pile-up April 17, 2014
      Smoke from fireworks was "not to blame" for a pile-up on the M5 near Taunton which killed seven people, a coroner rules.
    • Anglo Irish bank pair found guilty April 17, 2014
      Two former Anglo Irish bank chiefs have been found guilty of making loans designed to illegally prop up the bank's share price.
    • Tube staff plan five days of strikes April 17, 2014
      RMT workers on the London Underground are to take five days of strike action according to the union.
    • George Alagiah treated for cancer April 17, 2014
      BBC News presenter George Alagiah is diagnosed with bowel cancer and will take a break from broadcasting while he receives treatment.
    • RBS: No evidence of small firm fraud April 17, 2014
      Royal Bank of Scotland says law firm Clifford Chance has cleared it over allegations that it forced small firms to close so it could make a profit.
    • Kelpies lit up for the first time April 8, 2014
      Two enormous steel sculptures of Kelpie horse heads towering over the M9 at Falkirk are lit up for the first time.
    • Leigh and Loach selected for Cannes April 17, 2014
      Veteran British directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach see their new films selected for competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
    • Palace loss should not stand - Cardiff April 17, 2014
      The BBC obtains a letter sent by Cardiff City that says the defeat by Crystal Palace in early April should not stand.
    • Lambert 'can't discuss suspensions' April 17, 2014
      Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert says he is unable to talk about why two members of his coaching staff have been suspended.
    • O'Sullivan to face Hull in first round April 17, 2014
      Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan is drawn to face Robin Hull in the first round of the World Championship in Sheffield.
    • Rosberg plans Hamilton Bahrain talk April 17, 2014
      Nico Rosberg is to discuss with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton his concern their fight for victory in Bahrain went too far.
    • Bale finally emerges from Ronaldo's shadow April 17, 2014
      Gareth Bale proves he can be a game-changer on the big occasion for Real Madrid with the winner in the Copa del Rey final
    • 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.
  • RSS Reuters: Politics

    • Obama budget plan would boost U.S. tax revenues, cut deficits: CBO April 17, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's fiscal 2015 budget request would boost U.S. tax revenues by nearly $1.4 trillion over 10 years if fully enacted, slashing deficits by $1.05 trillion while funding new spending, the Congressional Budget Office said on Thursday.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Day that changed Kenya forever 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.
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Archive for February 23rd, 2012

Dear World leaders: International Criminal Court ignoring victim(s) application form

Posted by African Press International on February 23, 2012

   Kobla Carbonu

Dear World leaders

I the undersigned dispatched filled victim(s) application form to the international criminal court dated 30/8/11 claiming against John Agyekum kufour and professor Evans Atta Mills of the presidency, office of parliament of Ghana ,six supreme court justices including the chief justices, office of council of state,( the electoral commission ) for condoning ,abetting, providing aid and comfort to human right abusers who course human right abuse through or by alteration ,abrogation, and or overthrow of the 1992 constitution or part of it,leading to TREASON and fraudsters, including fraudsters in Ghana commercial bank , Bank of Ghana presenting fraudulent annual financial statements. drug trafficking and armed rubbery etc. British and America government officials are accessories to this crime..United Nations(human right council) was notified in 2005, victims received no effective response ,
All attempt to get the international criminal court to confirm receipt or otherwise of the victim(s) application form including letter dated 10/3/9 and 9/13/11 email to OPJC@icc-cpi.int prove futile . Please add your voice to our call and to the international criminal court and to the international community (the media in Ghana have abandon us)
( by our laws the defendants above and their specified agents are living illegality leading government business at your risk)

(addressed to head of Governments of states)

By Kobla Carbonu
p o box md 124
madina -Accra-Ghana
mobile (233)0244938277/027825419/0266251114
E-mail : kcarbonu@yohoo.com

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Côte d’Ivoire: the ICC Judges expand the scope of the investigation to the 2002-2010 period

Posted by African Press International on February 23, 2012

Situation: Côte d’Ivoire

On 22 February 2012, Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided to expand its authorisation for the investigation in Côte d’Ivoire to include crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court allegedly committed between 19 September 2002 and 28 November 2010.

The Chamber considered that the violent events in Côte d’Ivoire in this period (including the events since 28 November 2010) are to be treated as a single situation, in which an ongoing crisis involving a prolonged political dispute and power-struggle culminated in the events in relation to which the Chamber earlier authorised an investigation. Concentrating on the most significant of the samples of incidents, the Chamber concluded that there is reasonable basis to believe that, in the course of these events, acts of murder and rape that could amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity were committed.

The Chamber had, on 3 October 2011, granted the Prosecutor’s request to commence an investigation in Côte d’Ivoire with respect to alleged crimes committed since 28 November 2010, as well as with regard to crimes that may be committed in the future in the context of this situation. In that decision, Pre-Trial Chamber III, composed of Judges Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi (presiding), Adrian Fulford and Elizabeth Odio Benito, requested the Prosecutor to revert to the Chamber with any additional information available to him on potentially relevant crimes committed between 2002 and 2010. On 4 November 2011, the Prosecutor complied with the Chamber’s order.

 

End

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The DRC has an estimated 80 million hectares of arable land

Posted by African Press International on February 23, 2012

DRC: Untapped potential – some data

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) boasts sufficient arable land and water sources to produce food well beyond its own needs, yet it has the world’s highest rates of malnutrition, as the following data illustrate:

80m: hectares of arable land.

90 percent: Proportion of arable land not cultivated, largely due to insecurity preventing access to fields and markets.

69 percent: Prevalence of under-nutrition in the DRC; up from 26 percent in 1990-92. Under-nutrition includes being underweight for one’s age, too short for one’s age (stunted), dangerously thin (wasted) and deficient in vitamins and minerals (micronutrient malnutrition).

61.1 percent: Proportion of preschool-age children suffering from a subclinical deficiency of Vitamin A.

50 percent: Proportion of the population suffering deficiency in nutrients such as vitamins B12 riboflavin, iron, Vitamin E, folate and zinc. 

48 percent: Cases of infant mortality due to malnutrition. 

45.8 percent: Children of low height for their age.

28.2 percent: Children underweight for their age.

14 percent: Children of low weight for their height.

10-18 percent: Acute malnutrition rates recorded in 53 of DRC’s 87 territories. Acute malnutrition is caused by a sudden, drastic reduction in nutritional intake.

544 kcal: Drop in food supply per capita per day comparing 1992 and 2007 (2,195 kcal and 1,651 kcal, respectively). The recommended calorie intake per person per day is 1,940 calories for women and 2,550 calories for men. For the average child, the recommended daily calorie intake ranges from 1,715 to 1,970 for boys, and from 1,545 to 1,740 for girls.

39.5 grams: Average daily protein intake in DRC. 

77 grams: Global average daily protein intake.

Sources: International Food Policy Research Institute, Resource-Rich Yet Malnourished; IFPRI’s Global Hunger Index; FAO; WFP; UNICEF 

aw/cb source www.irinnews.org

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NGOs providing services

Posted by African Press International on February 23, 2012

ZIMBABWE: More NGO bannings feared

A mother brings her baby for a measles vaccination in Masvingo province in 2009

HARARE, 17 February 2012 (IRIN) – Twenty-nine NGOs providing services ranging from alleviating food insecurity to assisting the disabled in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo Province have been banned, sparking fears that this could be the start of a new wave of restrictions like the blanket ban placed on the activities of civil society organizations during the violent and disputed parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008.

Titus Maluleke, Governor of Masvingo Province and member of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, announced the immediate banning of the NGOs on 14 February, claiming that they had failed to register with his office.

‘‘What has happened in Masvingo can easily spread to other provinces, with undesirable consequences,’’ Abel Chikomo, director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, said at a hastily convened media briefing in the capital, Harare, on 16 February.

A joint statement on behalf of various civil society organizations – including the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), the Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, the National Association of Non Governmental Organizations (NANGO), the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights – said Maluleke’s actions were “blatantly illegal…and are a nullity at law.”

“The law in this country clearly shows that he has no regulatory authority; nor does he have the power to register or de-register NGOs. Even the Provincial Council that he heads in terms of the Provincial Councils and Administration Act does not have regulatory powers over NGOs. The council exists solely to foster developmental projects initiated and carried out by central government and local government,” the joint statement said.

‘‘The governor’s rash and ill-advised utterances merely seek to confuse matters and are regrettably likely to worsen the humanitarian crisis in Masvingo Province. This is because the list of organizations he seeks to ban includes NGOs that are currently providing food, medication, water and other social and economic support [services] to the community.’’

The civil society organizations urged the affected NGOs to “ignore the [banning] order by the governor”.

Maluleke’s banning order – made in the presence of senior army and police officials – was accompanied by what has become a repeated claim by ZANU-PF that civil society is collaborating with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, which in turn is a front for Western governments.

Operating in fear

Harassment, detention and arrests of NGO workers are common, even when they are not banned. NGOs were outlawed in the weeks leading up to the disputed 2008 elections when there was widescale food insecurity. Civil society organizations claimed the ban was instituted to prevent documentation of the political violence during the election period.

In the aftermath of the 2008 poll, Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed an uneasy government of national unity in 2009. Recently there have been growing calls by ZANU-PF for fresh elections, but the MDC wants certain guarantees, such as an overhaul of the voters’ roll and adoption of a new constitution, before assenting.

''It is clear that the move by the governor is linked to talk within ZANU-PF about holding elections this year''

Machinda Marongwe, of NANGO, said there was ‘‘a tense environment’’ in Masvingo. ‘‘Pronouncement of the ban has limited our movement in Masvingo.” An official of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), which monitors human rights abuses, told IRIN: “There is so much fear among the NGOs.’’

“It is clear that the move by the governor is linked to talk within ZANU-PF about holding elections this year,” said the official, who declined to be named

“The party wants to monitor our movements but communities are the ones that will suffer most. ZANU-PF has used the tactic before, and soon other governors aligned to the [ZANU-PF] party will follow suit.”

fm/go/he
source www.irinnews.org

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A hundred years ago there was no way to treat tuberculosis (TB)

Posted by African Press International on February 23, 2012

HEALTH: Spending your way out of TB infection

TB patients waiting in a hospital in Khayelitsha, Cape Town

LONDON,  – A hundred years ago there was no way to treat tuberculosis (TB) except with rest, fresh air and nutritious food. Forty years later the discovery of antibiotics transformed treatment and TB has been a curable disease for more than half a century, but the disease still kills nearly 4,000 people a day. The goals set by the World Health Organization (WHO) to halve the incidence of TB by 2015 and eliminate it as a public health problem by 2050 seem far out of reach.
 
Mario Raviglione, the head of the WHO Stop TB department, told a meeting of TB experts in London on 15 February: “The incidence is coming down at one percent or so a year, which will ensure TB elimination in several millennia, in my perception.”
 
TB is a disease often associated with poverty because latent infections are more easily activated by malnutrition and lowered immune systems, and more quickly passed on in badly ventilated, overcrowded living conditions. As people in Western Europe got richer, ate better, and housing conditions improved, TB became increasingly rare, even before there were effective drugs to treat it.
 
Now there is interest in seeing whether a new generation of social protection schemes, aimed at reducing poverty and often using cash transfers to the poorest, can be harnessed to bring down the rate of TB in developing countries.
 
Brazil has achieved a steady decrease in TB and has halved the death rate since 1990, despite not achieving the conventional benchmarks for a successful control programme.
 
Draurio Barreira, who coordinates Brazil’s national programme, told the meeting: “To control TB they say we need to detect 70 percent of those infected, treat and cure at least 85 percent of those… and have default rates not bigger than 5 percent. In Brazil we haven’t reached many of these standards, but we have had very good indicators in TB for more than 15 years. So how we can explain that?”
 
He attributes the achievement to political commitment. “The big news was the transformation of social policy… by a real increase in minimum wage, and cash transfer programmes for the poor – in the last sixteen years poverty in Brazil decreased by 67 percent.” And, just as in Europe in the 1800s, as poverty declined, TB declined as well.
 
Cash works

A study in Malawi, also presented at the meeting, showed clear health benefits from even very modest cash transfers to the most disadvantaged households. A pilot scheme gave regular monthly payments to around 10 percent of households, ranging from just over $4 for an elderly person living alone, to nearly $13 for larger families. Children grew better and were less likely to be malnourished, there was less illness in these families and they had more choice of health providers, with the possibility of sometimes using private clinics.
 

''Social protection issues are fundamental in TB control, and that is why TB control now has to go beyond working with national TB programmes''

An evaluation of the pilot looked at what happened to recipients of cash transfers living with HIV and AIDS, and found the money was being used to pay for the more nourishing food they need to support drug treatment, and for transport to get their antiretroviral (ARV) medication. The effect on TB Patients was not specifically monitored, but the need for a better diet and the cost of travel for tests and to collect drugs also affects TB patients. “The impacts that we are seeing with these people living with AIDS and HIV could absolutely translate over to people living with TB,” says Candace Miller of Boston University, who presented the study.
 
The close association of TB with HIV infection and the emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains are modern complications since the days when eliminating poverty was enough to get rid of the disease. “[But] HIV-TB globally is 12 percent or 13 percent of all cases, so nearly 90 percent are not HIV related,” Raviglione told IRIN.
 
“If you go outside of Africa – and TB is 75 percent outside of Africa – it doesn’t have the same impact… 60 percent of TB is in Asia, and HIV has little to do with those [cases]. MDR-TB is mostly in the former Soviet Union. Multidrug-resistance is a big scare, but we are talking about less than five percent of all cases of TB – 95 percent are not drug resistant.”
 
Cash payments and incentives specifically aimed at TB patients are more problematic. A trial in South Africa offering shopping vouchers to patients who complied with the protracted drug regime found no clear difference in the success rate of their treatment. However, the trial was partly undermined by clinic staff who felt the vouchers should be given to the poorest, even those randomly selected for the control group.
 
This highlights another issue in targeting social support: the perceived unfairness of giving cash or food to people living with TB while denying it to those who – in the words of another speaker – were ‘sick and struggling’ with other diseases.
 
Targeted interventions may also not be very effective from the public health point of view. Peter Godfrey-Faussett of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which hosted the meeting, argued that the problem with TB control was not the patients in treatment, even if they stopped taking their medicine. The people spreading TB were those who hadn’t been diagnosed but had symptoms and were infectious, and money would be better spent finding those cases and treating them.
 
Rather than targeting known TB sufferers, Brazil will now specifically target some of its anti-poverty programmes at the social groups where the disease is most prevalent to help control TB – the Afro-Brazilian and indigenous communities, those infected with HIV, and especially prisoners, ex-prisoners and the homeless.
 
In most countries the people designing social protection programmes do not prioritize TB control and the initial meeting this week is being followed by smaller working meetings on shifting the focus. “Social protection issues are fundamental in TB control, and that is why TB control now has to go beyond working with national TB programmes… they are too low in the hierarchical agenda of countries,” Mario Raviglione told IRIN.
 
“It is those above who set the real policies… we are talking about a quintessential disease of poverty, which is determined by a bunch of factors which go well beyond health.”
 
eb/he source www.irinnews.org

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