“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)


''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."


“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."



Heads of governments during the opening session of the African Union summit
on January 30, 2014 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa (AFP, Samuel Gebru)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.
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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Egypt holds Black Bloc member over 'Israeli sabotage plan'

The Daily Star, January 31, 2013

A member of the black bloc group throws a stone towards riot police during
 clashes in Simon Bolivar Square, which leads to Tahrir Square, in Cairo,
January 30, 2013. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
                              
CAIRO: Egyptian authorities on Thursday detained a member of the Black Bloc militant group suspected of planning to carry out an Israeli-directed sabotage plan, the official MENA news agency said.

One person "belonging to the Black Bloc organisation was arrested inside a building overlooking Tahrir Square carrying Israeli plans to target petrol companies and vital installations, maps of these places and instructions on setting fire to some places," MENA reported.

Israel firmly rejected the notion of its involvement in any such plot.

Egypt's state security prosecution is currently questioning the suspect who is accused of "belonging to an illegal organisation and planning to sabotage private and public property."

According to MENA, the suspect admitted to belonging to the Black Bloc, a group of masked militants who have appeared among protesters in recent clashes with police.

The suspect was spotted by a security guard in a residential building off Tahrir Square and handed over to police, MENA said.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said he had no idea whether or not the Black Bloc member intended to carry out a plan of sabotage, but the claim of Israeli involvement was "utter nonsense."

Elsewhere, another suspected Black Bloc member was arrested after placing an order with a clothing factory in the city of Mahalla, north of Cairo, for black masks and outfits for the group, the prosecution said in the report.

The arrests come on the eve of planned protests against President Mohamed Morsi as deadly unrest has swept the country.



9. It can be no other way—simply, this is the physics that governs life in this universe. As Earth continues apace into successively higher planes, nothing with low vibrations in any form—physical bodies, subversive plans, theft, dishonesty, unjust laws and imprisonment, bigotry, cruel customs and deeds—can survive.

10. Moving on, no, it will not be quite like religions being “totally discarded and replaced by universal laws in the Golden Age.” When the truths come forth that science and spirit are one and the same and that religious dogmas were originated by early leaders of church and state to control the masses, people whose consciousness has risen beyond the constraints of third density will adhere to the spiritual aspects of their respective religions and the devised, controlling aspects will fall by the wayside.

11. One of the truths to come forth is that Zionism, which by dark intent has been made synonymous with Judaism, actually is a bellicose political movement within the Illuminati, and its aim for more than six decades has been to create conflict and instability in the entire Middle East. Zionists, who have wielded powerful influence within and behind major governments and their military forces, do NOT represent the Jewish peoples in Israel or anywhere else. And, like all other Illuminati factions, they have been committed to that cabal’s goal of global domination.

12. Although Semites are of diverse national origins and religions, the Zionists have been successful in convincing many that “anti-Semitic” is exclusively prejudice against the Jewish peoples and opposition to Israel’s right to defend itself from its “enemies.” By means of that blatant distortion, they obtained not only world sympathy, but also massive defense funding from Israel’s allies, most especially the United States, all of which served to increase the Illuminati’s vast profits from their industrial-military machine.

13. In addition to controlling the masses through dogmatic teachings, religions have served the dark purpose of divisiveness to such an extent that it resulted in centuries of trauma and bloodshed. Witness the Crusades, wars between Catholics and Protestants, pogroms against Jews, executions of “blasphemous” individuals who refused to “recant.”  (Read More …)

Israel must withdraw all settlers or face ICC, says UN report

UN Human Rights Council says Israel is in violation of Geneva convention and should face international criminal court

guardian.co.uk, Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem, Thursday 31 January 2013

A Palestinian demonstrator during a weekly protest against the Jewish settlement
of Qadomem, near Nablus, West Bank. Photograph: Alaa Badarneh/EPA

Israel must withdraw all settlers from the West Bank or potentially face a case at the international criminal court (ICC) for serious violations of international law, says a report by a United Nations agency that was immediately dismissed in Jerusalem as "counterproductive and unfortunate".

All settlement activity in occupied territory must cease "without preconditions" and Israel "must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers", said the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Israel, it said, was in violation of article 49 of the fourth Geneva convention, which forbids the transfer of civilian populations to occupied territory.

The settlements were "leading to a creeping annexation that prevents the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state and undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination," it said.

The UNHRC report broadly restated international consensus on the illegality of Israeli settlements. But its conclusions are likely to bolster the Palestinians following their admission last November to the UN as a non-member state, which potentially gives them recourse to the ICC.

"The Rome statute establishes the international criminal court's jurisdiction over the deportation or transfer, directly or indirectly, by the occupying power of parts of its own population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory," said the UNHRC report. 

It added: "Ratification of the statute by Palestine may lead to accountability for gross violations of human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law and justice for victims."

In a statement, the Israeli foreign ministry said: "Counterproductive measures – such as the report before us – will only hamper efforts to find a sustainable solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The human rights council has sadly distinguished itself by its systematically one-sided and biased approach towards Israel. This latest report is yet another unfortunate reminder of that."

Israel refused to co-operate with UNHRC investigators over the report, barring them from access to the West Bank. Investigators conducted more than 50 interviews in Jordan with Palestinians about the impact of settlements, the confiscation of and damage to land, and violent attacks by settlers.

Earlier this week, Israel became the first country to refuse to participate in a "universal periodic review" of the human rights records of the UN's 193 member states, conducted by the UNHRC.

Palestinian and Israeli human rights group said Israel's boycott of the review set a "dangerous precedent … that could be followed by other states refusing to engage with the UN in order to avoid critical appraisals".

The UNHRC rescheduled the review for later in the year in order to give Israel time to reconsider its stance.

Israel also refused to co-operate with a UN investigation, headed by Richard Goldstone, into the three-week war in 2008-09, and it has refused entry to Israel to Richard Falk, the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, since his appointment in 2008.

According to the UNHRC's report on settlements, Israel has established around 250 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967, home to more than half a million Israeli citizens.

The settlements impede Palestinian access to water resources and agricultural lands, it said.

Following the Palestinians' upgrade to non-member state status, the Israeli government announced a fresh wave of settlement-building, including the development of a highly sensitive swath of land east of Jerusalem known as E1. Palestinians and most international diplomats say construction on E1 will effectively close off East Jerusalem from the West Bank and impede a territorially contiguous Palestinian state.


Related Articles:








“… Let us talk about the swords: When you hear the word sword, the first thing that occurs to you is battle. The Bridge of Swords is a battle and we told you that as well. Swords are metaphoric and they mean many things, so let us describe the things we mean them to say to you.

Number one: They are indeed a weapon in a battle. There is a battle coming. "Kryon, does that mean there's going to be a war?" Potentially, yes. Right now we will tell you that the Middle East cooks itself. You've noticed, haven't you? What do you know about the Middle East, dear one? Let's start examining things for a moment. What energy did you grow up in? What was the energy of the Middle East? In the '40s, what was the energy? With the establishment of the state of Israel, you built a wall of hate, both sides. The wall was so thick that the children of both sides were taught to hate one another as soon as they were able to understand the language. They were told who their enemies were. Now, where were you then?

Some of you weren't here yet. By the time you arrived, in your youth, were you aware of the Middle East? Not particularly. "What's the hatred about?" you might ask. What if I told you it's about a family feud? Two sons of a Jewish master are involved. One founded the Arabs and one remained a Jew. They don't want to hear this, but they are all Jews. (Don't tell them this.)

If you look at the lineage, it's pretty obvious and yet it's a complete and total set-up for either solution or war. The set-up would have this world ending in a conflagration that would have been brought about by this hatred. That's in the prophecy of Nostradamus and your scripture, but it is no longer the prophecy of the planet. Yet the hatred still exists. The hatred is as great today as it was then, but where was all the terrorism 40 years ago? It was isolated.

Those in Israel and Palestine and surrounding areas took the brunt of it, but now it's seemingly everywhere - and you're worried. Why would this be? The answer is that the old energy was happy to have this hatred contained, for it would keep it going and never involve outsiders. Outsiders tend to bring unwanted light to the party. Suddenly, the whole earth is involved and can see the entire scenario before them. The old guard wants war, just like all the eons before them. The ones on the bridge are holding the light and showing the earth how to cross. Even many younger ones in Israel and Palestine and Iran are holding light! It's all around the old guard and they are furious, for they are losing the "battle of hatred." …”

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Africa is becoming more peaceful, despite the war in Mali

The continent is stereotyped as being violent and increasingly unstable, but a closer look suggests that conflict is declining

guardian.co.uk, Scott Straus for African Arguments, part of the Guardian Africa Network, Wednesday 30 January 2013

UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photograph: Reuters

Recent events in Mali, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan seem to confirm one of the most durable stereotypes of Africa, namely that the continent is unstable and uniquely prone to nasty political violence.

Writing in Foreign Policy two years ago, New York Times east Africa correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Gettleman espoused this view. He painted a dismal picture of pointless wars waged by brutes and criminals "spreading across Africa like a viral pandemic."

Gettleman is right that warfare and political violence are changing on the continent, but he is wrong to portray that change as one of brutal violence increasing out of control.

In fact, as I show in a recent piece in African Affairs, looked at since the end of the cold war, wars are not becoming more frequent in sub-Saharan Africa. To the contrary: according to the Uppsala Armed Conflict Data Program, the pre-eminent tracker of warfare worldwide, wars in the 2000s are substantially down from their peak in the early 1990s. Even if one counts an uptick during the past two years, there were about one-third fewer wars in sub-Saharan Africa in the period compared to the early-to-mid 1990s.

Another prevailing view is that sub-Saharan Africa is the most war-endemic region. Not so, especially if one looks at the continent's history since 1960. Wars in sub-Saharan Africa (compared to other world regions) are not longer or more frequent on a wars-per-country basis. Those distinctions effectively go to Asia, where between wars in India, Afghanistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, among others, wars are more frequent and longer lasting.

The pattern holds true for extreme cases of mass killing, like Rwanda in 1994 and Darfur in the mid-2000s. Such events are on the decline in Africa; viewed across time, Africa is also not the regional leader of such events on a per-country basis.

My point is not to engage in crude regionalism, but rather to suggest that what often transpires as common sense about sub-Saharan Africa is wrong.

The bigger point is that we may be witnessing significant shifts in the nature of political violence on the continent. Wars are on the decline since the 1990s, but the character of warfare is also changing. Today there are fewer big wars fought for state control in which insurgents maintain substantial control of territory and put up well-structured armies to fight their counterparts in the state – Mali not withstanding. Such wars were modal into the 1990s. From southern Africa in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, and even Zimbabwe to the long wars in the Horn in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Sudan to the Great Lakes wars in Rwanda and Uganda, the typical armed conflict in Africa involved two major, territory-holding armies fighting each other for state control.

Today's wars typically are smaller. They most often involve small insurgencies of factionalised rebels on the peripheries of states. Today's wars also play out differently. They exhibit cross-border dimensions, and rather than drawing funding from big external states they depend on illicit trade, banditry, and international terrorist networks.

Typical of today's wars are the rebels in Casamance, in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, various armed groups in Darfur, and the Lord's Resistance Army. The latter typifies an emerging trend of trans-national insurgents. The LRA moves across multiple states in the Great Lakes region. Northern Mali is another case in point – prior to seizing control of the north, the Islamists moved across multiple countries in the Sahel. Once they gained territorial control in 2012, they attracted fighters from Nigeria and across North Africa. Moreover, these are not non-ideological wars, as Gettleman claims. The jihadis in Mali and Somalia, the separatists in Casamance, and the rebels in Darfur are certainly fighting for a cause.

To be sure, no one in his or her right mind could claim that warfare or political violence has ended in Africa. Many countries in the region have features that political scientists believe make countries vulnerable to armed conflict: weak states, high dependence on natural resources, and horizontal inequalities. Of the recent armed conflicts in Somalia, Sudan, Mali, the Central African Republic, Chad, and eastern Congo, one obvious commonality is the lack of effective state control. Rebels survive in remote regions where state authority is tenuous. The fact of weak states in these and other countries will not end any time soon.

Moreover, other forms of violence deserve greater scrutiny. Consider, for example, electoral violence. As African states have turned to multiparty elections, so too has the risk of violence during those electoral campaigns increased. Electoral violence on the scale of Kenya in 2007 and 2008, Côte d'Ivoire in 2010, or Zimbabwe in 2008 is not the norm, but in many locations there is often some form of violence between incumbent and opposition forces. Yet we know substantially less about patterns and causes of electoral violence.

Consider too violence over vital resources, such as land, water, and pasture. Trends are harder to detect, but one new data collection effort from the University of Texas shows an increase in such violence events since the early 1990s. With climate change, rapidly growing urbanisation, and other changes that increase the pressure on vital but often scarce resources, we can expect more violence of the type recently seen in northern Kenya. Yet again, we know much less about this form of violence.

What explains the recent decline in warfare across Africa? I don't know for certain, but would point to geo-political changes since the end of the cold war.

First, the end of the cold war meant that the opportunities for rebels to receive substantial weaponry and training from big external states declined. To be sure, states across Africa still meddle in the affairs of their neighbors, but insurgent funding from neighbouring states is usually enough to be a nuisance to, but not actually overthrow, existing governments.

Second, the rise of multi-party politics has sapped the anti-government funding, energy, and talent away from the bush and into the domestic political arena.

Third, China is a rising external force in sub-Saharan Africa. China's goals are mainly economic, but their foreign relations follow a principle of non-interference. To my knowledge, China supports states, not insurgencies.

Finally, conflict reduction mechanisms, in particular international peacekeeping and regional diplomacy, have substantially increased on the continent. Peacekeeping is more prevalent and especially more robust than in the 1990s. Regional bodies such as the African Union, Eccowas, Eccas, IGAD, and SADC are quite active in most conflict situations. They have exhibited greater resolves in conflicts as diverse as Côte d'Ivoire, Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Madagascar.

The four posited mechanisms are hypotheses, each of which deserves greater scrutiny and empirical testing. But taken together, they suggest plausible ways in which the incentives of insurgents and even state leaders to fight have been altered in recent years. They give reason to expect that while war is clearly not over in sub-Saharan Africa, we should continue to observe a decline in its frequency and intensity in coming decades.

Scott Straus is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin


“…  Africa

Let me tell you where else it's happening that you are unaware - that which is the beginning of the unity of the African states. Soon the continent will have what they never had before, and when that continent is healed and there is no AIDS and no major disease, they're going to want what you have. They're going to want houses and schools and an economy that works without corruption. They will be done with small-minded leaders who kill their populations for power in what has been called for generations "The History of Africa." Soon it will be the end of history in Africa, and a new continent will emerge.

Be aware that the strength may not come from the expected areas, for new leadership is brewing. There is so much land there and the population is so ready there, it will be one of the strongest economies on the planet within two generations plus 20 years. And it's going to happen because of a unifying idea put together by a few. These are the potentials of the planet, and the end of history as you know it.

In approximately 70 years, there will be a black man who leads this African continent into affluence and peace. He won't be a president, but rather a planner and a revolutionary economic thinker. He, and a strong woman with him, will implement the plan continent-wide. They will unite. This is the potential and this is the plan. Africa will arise out the ashes of centuries of disease and despair and create a viable economic force with workers who can create good products for the day. You think China is economically strong? China must do what it does, hobbled by the secrecy and bias of the old ways of its own history. As large as it is, it will have to eventually compete with Africa, a land of free thinkers and fast change. China will have a major competitor, one that doesn't have any cultural barriers to the advancement of the free Human spirit. …”

Zimbabwean government bank balance 'down to $217'

Finance minister tells journalists some of them have healthier accounts than the state

guardian.co.uk, David Smith, African correspondent, for the Guardian Africa Network, Wednesday 30 January 2013

Tendai Biti, the Zimbabwean finance minister, who said the government
 finances were in 'paralysis'. Photograph: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

Two hundred and seventeen US dollars – the equivalent of £138. That is all that remains in the public account of the Zimbabwean government, a bewildered finance minister has announced.

The paltry amount cast doubt over claims of a slow economic recovery and raised fresh questions about the fate of the country's diamond revenues – officials say almost $685m worth were sold last year.

"Last week when we paid civil servants there was $217 [left] in government coffers," Tendai Biti, the finance minster, told journalists in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday, noting that some of them have healthier bank balances than the state. "The government finances are in a paralysis state at the present moment. We are failing to meet our targets."

Zimbabwe's elections agency has said it needs $104m to organise polls this year. Biti added: "The government has no money for elections … We will be approaching the international community to assist us in this regard, but it's important that government should also do something."

Zimbabwe's economy boomed after independence in 1980 but took a hit in 1997 when the president, Robert Mugabe, gave in to pressure from war veterans waging violent protests for pensions. From 2000 the seizure of white-owned farms led to chaos in the agriculture sector and the economy shrank by half. In 2008 hyperinflation of 231,000,000% broke the national currency and left millions of people hungry.

But the adoption of the US dollar and South African rand appeared to have brought a measure of stability. The government's national budget for this year stands at $3.8bn and the economy is projected to grow 5%.

The headline figures are not necessarily reflected on the ground, however. The UN has said Zimbabwe will require at least $131m in aid this year, the bulk for food assistance after a failed farming season left nearly 1.7 million people facing hunger.

"There have been some assertions that the economy is getting better but as ordinary people we have not been seeing it," said McDonald Lewanika, director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. "Without foreign direct investment coming in and with some companies leaving because of uncertainty, I wonder where these assertions come from.

"The minister's statement is indicative of the very difficult situation in the country. It shows the economy really is in the intensive care unit. We have a very small formal economy so the space where minister Biti can raise resources is limited. And we should ask where certain revenues are going."

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims that income from lucrative diamond sales is being expropriated by 88-year-old Mugabe's Zanu-PF party to boost its campaign for votes. Biti, who is also MDC secretary general, has claimed the treasury received only $40m from diamonds last year.

The MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said: "The government has no money. The most important thing is that money from diamonds is not being remitted to government coffers. As a result, after payments were made last week, there was only $217 left."

He added: "The diamond wealth is going to Zanu-PF machinery and its war chest. There is likely to be an economic crash because of the uncertainty of the elections and the possibility of a Zanu-PF victory. Investors really have to pray for an MDC victory."

The watchdog Partnership Africa Canada said last November that at least $2bn of diamonds from the Marange fields had been stolen by Mugabe's ruling elite, international dealers and criminals in "perhaps the biggest single plunder of diamonds the world has seen since Cecil Rhodes".

A referendum on a new constitution is set to be held in March after which Mugabe is expected to name a date for the election. The latest draft of the constitution curbs presidential powers and strengthens the cabinet and parliament. According to a final copy of the draft charter obtained by Reuters, the president will be required to exercise power in consultation with the cabinet, with decrees requiring its majority backing.

The new document also limits the president to two five-year terms, starting from the next election. However, this will not be applied retrospectively, so Mugabe, already in power for 32 years, could technically rule for another two terms.

S.Africa's richest man to give away half his fortune

Yahoo – AFP, Gianluigi Guercia, 30 January 2013

South African businessman Patrice Motsepe on May 07, 2008 in Sandton. 
Billionaire Motsepe announced Monday he would give half his family's fortune
to a charity, matching a pledge made by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe announced Monday he would give half his family's fortune to a charity, matching a pledge made by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

"This is to be used during his lifetime and beyond... to improve the lifestyles, and living conditions, of poor, disabled, unemployed, women, youth, workers and marginalised South Africans," his wife Precious Motsepe said.

The mining tycoon becomes the first African to join the Giving Pledge, which challenges the world's wealthiest to give 50 percent or more of their fortune to charity.

Since Microsoft mogul Gates and investment guru Buffett launched the Pledge in 2010, more than 70 billionaires have joined.

Motsepe owns mining company African Rainbow Minerals and is Africa's eighth richest person with a fortune of $2.65 billion (1.96 billion euros), according to Forbes magazine.

His announcement, two days after his 51st birthday, makes him part of an illustrious club that includes Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings, and Intel co-founder Gordon Moore.


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Africa is becoming more peaceful, despite the war in Mali


"The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll)

“…  Africa

Let me tell you where else it's happening that you are unaware - that which is the beginning of the unity of the African states. Soon the continent will have what they never had before, and when that continent is healed and there is no AIDS and no major disease, they're going to want what you have. They're going to want houses and schools and an economy that works without corruption. They will be done with small-minded leaders who kill their populations for power in what has been called for generations "The History of Africa." Soon it will be the end of history in Africa, and a new continent will emerge.

Be aware that the strength may not come from the expected areas, for new leadership is brewing. There is so much land there and the population is so ready there, it will be one of the strongest economies on the planet within two generations plus 20 years. And it's going to happen because of a unifying idea put together by a few. These are the potentials of the planet, and the end of history as you know it.

In approximately 70 years, there will be a black man who leads this African continent into affluence and peace. He won't be a president, but rather a planner and a revolutionary economic thinker. He, and a strong woman with him, will implement the plan continent-wide. They will unite. This is the potential and this is the plan. Africa will arise out the ashes of centuries of disease and despair and create a viable economic force with workers who can create good products for the day. You think China is economically strong? China must do what it does, hobbled by the secrecy and bias of the old ways of its own history. As large as it is, it will have to eventually compete with Africa, a land of free thinkers and fast change. China will have a major competitor, one that doesn't have any cultural barriers to the advancement of the free Human spirit. …”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Looting in Timbuktu as donors pledge $455 mn for Mali

Google – AFP, Marc Bastian (AFP), 29 January 2013 


A Malian soldier trys to disperse looters in the streets of Timbuktu on
January 29, 2013 (AFP, Eric Feferberg)

TIMBUKTU, Mali — Hundreds of Malians looted Arab-owned shops Tuesday in Mali's fabled Timbuktu, newly freed from Islamists, as global donors pledged over $455 million for a French-led drive to rout the radicals from the north.

Life in the ancient desert city freed from Islamist control on Monday started returning to normal as soldiers patrolled its dusty streets, but soon large crowds began pillaging.

They plundered stores they said belonged to Arabs, Mauritanians and Algerians who they accuse of supporting the Al Qaeda-linked Islamists during their 10-month rule over the ancient centre of Islamic learning.

The looters took everything from arms and military communications equipment to televisions, food and furniture, emptying shops in minutes.

In the suburb of Abaradjou, a man living in a former bank converted by the Islamists into a "committee of promotion of virtue and prevention of vice", was dragged out by a hysterical crowd who then pillaged the building, taking even office chairs.

The bearded middle-aged man was arrested by Malian troops. "He is an Islamist", one soldier said, as other troops turned their weapons towards the crowd to prevent them from lynching the man.

The mob yelled: "He is not from here, he is a terrorist!"

Malian soldiers put an end to the looting in the middle of the morning.

"We will not let people pillage. But it is true that weapons were found in some shops," an officer said on condition of anonymity.

African leaders and international officials meanwhile pledged over $455 million (340 million euros) at a donor conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for military operations in Mali and humanitarian aid.

"I am glad to report that the overall amount that was pledged here reached the amount of $455.53 million," African Union peace and security commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said, after the conference in the AU headquarters in Ethiopia.

A woeful lack of cash and logistical resources has hampered deployment of nearly 6,000 west African troops under the African-led force for Mali (AFISMA) which is expected to take over the offensive from the French army.

So far, just 2,000 African troops have been sent to Mali or neighbouring Niger, many of them from Chad whose soldier contribution is independent from the AFISMA force. The bulk of fighting has been borne by some 2,900 French troops.

Lamamra said Monday the African force will cost $460 million, with the AU promising to contribute an "unprecedented" $50 million for the mission and Mali's army.

The International Monetary Fund has agreed to provide an $18.4 million emergency loan to Mali. Japan said it would give an extra $120 million to help stabilise the Sahel region, days after 10 Japanese nationals were killed in the Algerian hostage siege.

The far northern town of Kidal is the biggest goal remaining for the troops, and many of the Islamists who fled their strongholds before the soldiers arrived are believed to have melted away into the hills surrounding the town, 1,500 kilometres (932 miles) northeast of the capital Bamako.

Amid the euphoria over the French-led troops' victory in Timbuktu, shock spread over reports the fleeing Islamists had torched a building housing priceless ancient manuscripts dating back to the Middle Ages.

Timbuktu mayor Halley Ousmane, speaking from the capital Bamako, confirmed accounts of the fire at the Ahmed Baba Centre for Documentation and Research.

"It's a real cultural crime," he said.

Set up in 1973, the centre housed between 60,000 and 100,000 manuscripts, according to Mali's culture ministry. However experts believe many of the documents may have been smuggled out and hidden when the crisis began.

Radical Islamists seized Timbuktu 10 months ago as they took control of Mali's desert north in the chaos that followed a military coup last March.

They forced women in Timbuktu to wear veils, and those judged to have violated their strict version of Islamic law were whipped and stoned. The militants also destroyed ancient Muslim shrines they considered idolatrous.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Israel issues rules on contraceptives for immigrants

The Daily Star, AFP, January 28, 2013

Picture taken on January 2, 2013 in Lille of third-generation contraceptive pills.
AFP PHOTO PHILIPPE HUGUEN
                             
JERUSALEM: Israel's health ministry has warned that immigrants must not be given contraceptives without their proper consent, after allegations that Ethiopian women were coerced into taking contraceptive jabs.

The allegations surfaced in December, when an investigative news programme looking into the declining birth rate of Ethiopian immigrants to Israel uncovered claims that would-be migrants were told they would be refused entry to the Jewish state if they did not take Depo Provera contraceptive injections.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel followed up on the allegations with the health ministry, which this week released a carefully-worded response, warning that contraceptives should not be administered without explicit consent.

The ministry says it is issuing the letter "without taking a position or determining facts regarding the claims that have arisen in this regard."

But it requests doctors "not to renew prescriptions for Depo Provera for women of Ethiopian origin or other women about whom for whatever reason there is concern that they did not understand the implications of the treatment."

It asks doctors to determine with patients "why contraception is being used in general and this one in particular, and if she is asking of her own free will to prevent pregnancy, and if she understands the side-effects."

"Of course this should be done in a culturally appropriate way and if necessary through Ethiopian intermediaries or through medical translation services," it adds.

While the letter contains no admission that Depo Provera was administered without consent, ACRI said it considered the ministry's response an important acknowledgement.

"The way that ACRI regards this letter from the ministry of health is as an important recognition that the phenomenon was indeed occurring," ACRI spokesman Marc Grey told AFP.

According to Israeli media, the birth rate among Israel's Ethiopian immigrant population has fallen by nearly 20 percent in the past decade.

One woman interviewed in the original December television investigation said Ethiopians awaiting transfer to Israel were told those who refused the contraceptive shots would be denied entry, as well as aid and medical care.

"We were afraid... We didn't have a choice. Without them and their aid, we couldn't leave there," Haaretz newspaper quoted the woman as saying.

More than 120,000 Jews of Ethiopian origin live in Israel.

For centuries, Jews in Ethiopia were largely cut off from other Jewish communities, and Israel's religious authorities only belatedly recognised them as members of the faith.

The move sparked two waves of immigration to Israel, in 1984 and 1991, but Ethiopian immigrants have struggled to integrate into Israeli society, despite massive government aid.

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“… No person shall be forced into marriage against his or her will. No woman shall be forced to bear or not bear children, against her will. No person shall be forced to hold or not hold views or worship in a manner contrary to his or her choice. Nothing vital to existence shall be withheld from another if it is within the community’s power to give. …”

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Namibia offers model to tackle poaching scourge

France24, AFP, 26 january 2013 

An elephant at the Amboseli game reserve, approximately 250 kilometres
 south of Kenyan capital Nairobi on December 30, 2012. Faced with poachers
 who are ravaging elephant and rhino populations, African nations could do
worse than look to Namibia for a game plan to combat the scourge.

An elephant at the Amboseli game reserve, approximately 250 kilometres south of Kenyan capital Nairobi on December 30, 2012. Faced with poachers who are ravaging elephant and rhino populations, African nations could do worse than look to Namibia for a game plan to combat the scourge.

Elephant tusk pieces in a secret building in the world's largest wildlife park, the South African Kruger Park on October 30, 2002. Faced with poachers who are ravaging elephant and rhino populations, African nations could do worse than look to Namibia for a game plan to combat the scourge.

A badly injured white rhino lies in a hollow after poachers sawed off its horn in Cape Town on August 22, 2011. Faced with poachers who are ravaging elephant and rhino populations, African nations could do worse than look to Namibia for a game plan to combat the scourge.

AFP - Faced with poachers who are ravaging elephant and rhino populations, African nations could do worse than look to Namibia for a game plan to combat the scourge.

Elephant tusk pieces in a secret building
 in the world's largest wildlife park, the South 
African Kruger Park on October 30, 2002.
Wildlife poaching is on the rise across Africa's vast savannahs and in the jungles and outmanned and outgunned governments have struggled to keep up.

Last year saw a record 668 rhino killed in South Africa, according to the government, while in east Africa elephant killings increased apace.

The blame has been directed toward Asia, where demand for rhino horn, held to have medicinal value, is on the increase. Elephants are prized for their ivory tusks.

After several quiet years, Namibia too has been touched by the bloody uptake.

Late last year a black rhino cow was killed and dehorned in the south African country's remote and scenic northwest, her helpless calf left to die.

Though an isolated event, for Namibians, it was a rare and fearsome echo of the past.

For decades under South African rule, the country endured profligate poaching that threatened to exterminate wildlife populations and to discourage tourist dollars.

Today things are different.

Within days of the rhino's death, a culprit was arrested. A trial is now pending.

The apparent overnight success in tracking down the poacher was in fact due to decades of work.

It began 30 years ago when Garth Owen-Smith, a pioneer of community-based conservation, visited rural homesteads to encourage residents to cherish local wildlife.

His argument was simple: wild animals and farming people with livestock can not only co-exist but actually benefit each other.

Owen-Smith recalls his point in a recent book, "An Arid Eden," writing that "if the wildlife was conserved, it would one day attract tourists, creating jobs and bringing money to the area."

Local communities were initially reluctant to cooperate, but eventually the plan worked.

In 1980, Namibia had an estimated 300 black rhinos left. Today their numbers total some 1,700 animals.

Desert elephants were reduced to some 155 animals in the early 1980s and now they number around 600.


A badly injured white rhino lies in a hollow after poachers sawed off its horn
in Cape Town on August 22, 2011.

According to Pierre du Preez, current rhino coordinator for the ministry of environment and tourism, the policies worked partly because tracking animals for tourists provided well-paid jobs.

"Rural neighbours to rhino populations are far more pro-conservation, making it more difficult for individuals in these communities to become poachers as this might harm the whole community," he said.

"Better cooperation and trust exists between the (ministry), police, non-governmental organisations and the communities, thus the risk for illegal activities increases as the community will report to authorities."

The rhino poached in December was found by local people and immediately reported to officials.

This cooperation on the ground is being augmented with high-tech tactics.

"Security devices were implanted in a significant percentage of all rhino in high-risk areas, security personnel (are) specially trained and high-tech security systems are in place," Du Preez said.

An even more drastic measure may be on the cards. In 1989, Namibia was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to dehorn black rhinos to prevent poaching. "This might become a possibility again," Du Preez added.

Namibia's success also shows the importance of tackling the politics that underlie and enable poaching.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Namibia?s vast open spaces were effectively used as private hunting grounds by officials from the ruling South African government and top army personnel.

Officers visiting the war zones on Namibia?s northern borders, where guerrillas of the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) were waging an independence struggle, would be treated to hunting trips with army planes and helicopters.

Temporary tent camps were set up and cabinet members from Pretoria including defence minister PW Botha -- later South Africa's president -- could even enjoy ice-cubes in their rum and coke or whisky.

The result was that hundreds of elephants, rhinos, giraffe and thousands of antelopes were shot for the pot, for illegal trade and for trophies.

Former prime minister John Vorster is thought to have shot an elephant by the Ombonde River in 1973.

When Namibia won its independence from South Africa in 1990, the government laid the groundwork for a new approach on poaching -- "community-based natural resource management," a clumsy name for an effective policy.

Today, politicians may be able to set the stage for similarly successful polices by addressing demand for rhino horn at the source in Asia when signatories of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) -- a treaty to protect wildlife -- meet in Thailand in March.

Friday, January 25, 2013

UN: Floods displace 70,000 and kill 36 in Mozambique

BBC News, 25 January 2013

Many thousands are in temporary shelters in Mozambique's Gaza province
but many others appear to be without any shelter and aid at all

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At least 36 people have died and nearly 70,000 displaced because of flooding in Mozambique, the United Nations says.

The number of people affected by the flooding could reach 100,000 as flood waters continue to rise in the coastal city of Xai-Xai, the UN added.

The UN said it would appeal to its donors for additional funds to deal with the emergency.

Days of torrential rains across the south-east of Africa have caused sea levels to rise to dangerous levels.

Neighbouring South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana have also been hit by severe flooding.

Eating grasshoppers

The United Nations in Mozambique said in a statement that 36 people had died so far across the country - 26 of them in the worst hit province, Gaza, in the south.

Some 65,000 people in Gaza alone had been affected by the floods, with nearly 50,000 seeking refuge in six temporary shelters in the worst-hit districts of Chokwe and Guija.

Overall, nearly 85,000 people have been affected by the floods and 67,995 have been temporarily displaced, the UN said.

"Together with government, we are rushing in clean water, food, shelter, and humanitarian supplies to Gaza Province, and are ready to send more as needs become clearer," Jennifer Topping, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Mozambique, said.

The UN has staff on the ground in the worst-affected areas where food distribution has begun, and is setting up water supply structures, but Ms Topping said that: "We will be appealing to our donors to make additional funds available immediately to help deal with this emergency."

But it appears that aid has not yet reached many of the displaced. An AFP reporter in Gaza saw tens of thousands of people camping out at roadsides, some forced to eat grasshoppers to survive.

And officials are warning of a looming disaster in the city of Xai-Xai, with waters as high as eight metres (26 ft) expected to hit.

Severe flooding in Xai-Xai would sever the main road connection between the north and south of the country, the AFP reports.

Floodwaters in South Africa have claimed several lives and left hundreds stranded after the Limpopo river burst its banks on Monday.

A crocodile farm in the far north of South Africa was forced to open its gates because of the flooding, letting loose some 15,000 crocodiles - only a few thousand of whom have so far been found.

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