“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)

1 - TUNISIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

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 ..."

African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2017 (AFP Photo/ Zacharias ABUBEKER)

Nelson Mandela

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

IMF, World Bank call for suspending debt payments by poorest nations

Yahoo – AFP, March 25, 2020

The World Bank's International Development Association fights poverty in some
of the world's poorest countries, including Central African Republic (AFP Photo/

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank on Wednesday called for governments to put a hold on debt payments from the world's poorest nations so they can battle the coronavirus pandemic.

"The World Bank Group and the IMF believe it is imperative at this moment to provide a global sense of relief for developing countries as well as a strong signal to financial markets," the Washington-based development lenders said in a joint statement.

The move aims to help countries that are home to two-thirds of the world's population living in extreme poverty -- largely in sub-Saharan Africa -- and qualify for the most generous, low-cost loans from the International Development Association (IDA) financed by wealthier nations.

"The coronavirus outbreak is likely to have severe economic and social consequences for IDA countries" which will face "immediate liquidity needs to tackle challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak," the organization said.

The IMF and World Bank called on the Group of 20 nations to support the initiative for "all official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments from IDA countries that request forbearance."

In addition, the institutions called for an analysis of the financing needs these countries will face, and whether their total debt load is sustainable.

Part of the World Bank, the IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world's 76 poorest countries, providing zero or low interest loans spread over 30 years or more, and grants to some distressed nations.

In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, IDA commitments totaled $22 billion, of which 36 percent was provided on grant terms, according to the World Bank.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Ethiopia's Abiy seeks $150bn for African virus response

Yahoo – AFP, Robbie BOULET, March 24, 2020

After lagging behind the global curve for COVID-19 infections and deaths, Africa
has seen the number of cases rise (AFP Photo/Yasuyoshi CHIBA)

Addis Ababa (AFP) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday urged G20 leaders to help Africa cope with the coronavirus crisis by facilitating debt relief and providing $150 billion in emergency funding.

The pandemic "poses an existential threat to the economies of African countries," Abiy's office said in a statement, adding that Ethiopia was "working closely with other African countries" in preparing the aid request.

The heavy debt burdens of many African countries leave them ill-equipped to respond to pandemic-related economic shocks, as the cost of servicing debt exceeds many countries' health budgets, the statement said.

"Just as the virus knows no borders, our responses should also know no borders," it said.

Saudi Arabia, which currently presides over the G20, last week called for a "virtual" summit to coordinate an international response to the coronavirus crisis.

French President Emmanuel Macron's office said Monday that he had spoken by telephone with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and that the two leaders agreed on the need for emergency talks.

After lagging behind the global curve for coronavirus infections and deaths, Africa has seen a rise in cases in recent days.

As of Monday night, there were 1,654 reported cases across 43 African countries resulting in 52 deaths, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Experts warn that the coronavirus could quickly overwhelm weak African health systems.

African economies will also be vulnerable in the face of "a dramatic decline in exports, disruption of global chains, and the sudden drying up of travel and tourism," Abiy's statement said.

The proposed $150-billion (138-billion-euro) aid package could include budgetary support from the World Bank and crisis financing from the International Monetary Fund, the statement said.

To alleviate African debt burdens, Abiy proposed that interest payments on government loans "should be written off" and that "part of the debt of low-income countries should be written off."

The IMF reported last year that seven African countries were in debt distress and that nine, including Ethiopia, were "at high risk of debt distress."

Abiy's proposal comes one day after African finance ministers called for $100 billion in "immediate emergency economic stimulus" including the waiver of debt interest payments.

Without a coordinated aid effort for the continent, the coronavirus "will have major and adverse implications on African economies and the society at large," according to a statement from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Egypt closes mosques, churches over coronavirus fears

Yahoo – AFP, March 21, 2020

Egypt has ordered the closure of mosques and churches to stem the
spread of the coronavirus (AFP Photo/Khaled DESOUKI)

Cairo (AFP) - Egypt's religious authorities ordered Saturday the closure of all mosques and churches and banned communal prayer gatherings to try and stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The decision taken by the ministry of religious endowments, which oversees mosques nationwide, and the Coptic Orthodox Church will run for at least two weeks.

In separate statements, the ministry and the church said the move is aimed at avoiding large gatherings such as prayers and mass, where the risk of contamination could be high.

The religious endowments ministry said in a statement it "decided to halt prayers and to close all mosques... starting today (Saturday) and for two weeks".

It urged worshippers to pray at home.

The Coptic Orthodox Church said it ordered "the closure of all churches, suspension of ritual services, masses and activities".

The decision, including a ban on visits to monasteries nationwide, "is effective from Saturday for two weeks... and until further notice", it said.

Late Friday, Egypt's Catholic Church said it suspended mass until further notice.

Egypt has so far has recorded eight deaths out of 285 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Authorities have imposed tough measures to limit social interaction in the country of 100 million inhabitants, where Christians represent around 10 percent of the population.

They have closed schools and universities, ordered the overnight closure of cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, sporting clubs and malls, and reduced the number of public sector employees.

Egypt has also halted air traffic from Thursday until the end of March.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Women's bank helps Ivorian children to swap labour for class

Yahoo – AFP, Christophe KOFFI, March 8, 2020

For these Ivorian children, the canteen is a big draw of primary schooling made
possible by village women (AFP Photo/ISSOUF SANOGO)

Kokoti-Kouamekro (Ivory Coast) (AFP) - In a poor farming village in Ivory Coast, women are celebrating a new development that is allowing them to send their children to school instead of working in the country's cocoa plantations.

Until now, many families earning less than a dollar (a euro) a day had no choice but to send their offspring to work beside adults in the fields.

Crippling poverty is a major factor in the widespread use of child labour in Ivory Coast, which is the world's top cocoa producer.

But now with the help of a Swiss-based foundation, women in plantations around Kokoti-Kouamekro are turning to a network of small savings banks with the goal of protecting children.

The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) has been working since 2007 towards the goal of ending child labour in Ivory Coast and neighbouring Ghana.

The ICI identified 200 child workers out of 900 people on the plantations of Kokoti-Kouamekro, a village of some 2,000 people in the Taabo region, 200 kilometres (125 miles) from Abidjan.

The foundation decided to back about 30 women in an association called Bakpa-elai, which watches out for children's interests.

It helped create a "feminine cell for economic reinforcement (Cefrec)", the formal term for the women's bank.

Since 2018, the ICI has set up 14 Cefrec units in the cocoa-growing parts to specialise in savings and credit with the aim of promoting children.

These local units opened the way for numerous money-making activities, including small shops and other business concerns, in Kokoti-Kouamekro and other villages.

Paying the workers

With seeds, boots and machetes supplied by the ICI, the women of the village association chose to save almost one euro apiece, after harvesting and selling yams, cassava, corn and other food products.

The collected money was placed in a box that requires three "key keepers" with joint access, to reduce any risk of embezzlement or temptation. People who are late for weekly financial meetings are fined.

Village women are also attending classes, with the emphasis on literacy (AFP 

"In one year, we mobilised about 3.8 million CFA francs (about 5,800 euros / $6,500), and spent two million, with a positive balance of 1.8 million," said Patricia Kouadio Amami, the president of the association, clad in a multicoloured dress and headscarf.

"Thanks to our bank, we pay the people who work on the land in place of the children we used in the past. One of us has even been able to buy a computer for her student son," Amani said.

Empowered by working together, women are also challenging traditions in a rural culture where the father of the family makes all the decisions. The number of women members of the Bakpa-elai association in Kokoti-Kouamekro doubled in one year.

"I find the women formidable," said Marcel Amani, a cocoa planter.

"We used to send the kids out into the fields. Since the women created this association, all that has stopped," he told AFP. "They deserve our respect."

Child trafficking

The women have also begun classes in reading and writing, but the innovation that most attracted the children was a school canteen.

"The attendance rate has increased," said Lou Horyphine Koffi, head of the school. "The canteen contributes greatly to keeping the child in school."

"The women of Kokoti-Kouamekro have shown that they are capable of finding solutions to their problems by their own resources," said Euphrasie Aka, West and Central Africa coordinator of ICI.

Still, Ivory Coast is a major regional hub for child trafficking from neighbouring countries, some of whom come in search of work.

More than 1.2 million children were taken on by Ivorian cocoa plantations in 2013/2014, according to the ICI.

"We're going to note a worsening of the problem in absolute terms," Aka told AFP ahead of the release of a new ICI report planned for April.

"A high number of producers has emerged on the basis of the rise in cocoa prices... which implicitly leads to a high number of child workers," the organisation said.