“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.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Kenya boosts minimum wage as inflation bites

Yahoo – AFP, 1 May 2022 

Kenyans are grappling with a rise in fuel and food costs (AFP/Simon MAINA)

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced Sunday a 12-percent hike in the minimum wage as the country confronts a surge in the cost of living. 

Inflation in the East African economic powerhouse jumped to a seven-month high in April, mainly as a result of skyrocketing fuel and food prices, according to official figures. 

"As a caring government, we find there is a compelling case to review the minimum wages so as to cushion our workers against further erosions," Kenyatta said at a Labour Day rally. 

He said the 12 percent increase would come into effect from May 1. It takes the minimum monthly wage from 13,500 Kenyan shillings (about $116.5, 110.5 euros) to 15,120 shillings ($130.5, 124 euros). 

However the hike falls far short of the 24 percent that had been sought by the Central Organisation of Trade Unions-Kenya (COTU). 

Kenyatta said the high cost of living was due to factors "beyond my control like the coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict". 

He castigated rival political leaders -- including Deputy President William Ruto -- for seeking to blame the government for the economic woes, as the country prepares for crucial elections in August. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta said the high cost of living was due to factors beyond his
control such as the Ukraine war and the Covid pandemic (AFP/Yasuyoshi CHIBA)

Kenyatta cannot run again after serving two terms but has endorsed his former arch-rival Raila Odinga for the top job. 

The August 9 presidential election is expected to be a two-horse race between Odinga and Ruto, who was initially anointed by Kenyatta as his successor, but found himself frozen out after a shock 2018 pact between Kenyatta and Odinga. 

Kenya's finance minister last month unveiled a $28 billion budget aimed at helping the economy recover after the Covid-19 pandemic threw hundreds of thousands of people out of work. 

Kenyans are struggling to cope with rising costs of basic goods such as food and fuel, a crisis exacerbated by the Ukraine war, while several parts of the country are also suffering from a severe drought. 

Inflation reached a seven-month high of 6.47 percent last month from 5.56 percent in March and 5.76 percent in April last year, the statistics bureau announced last week. 

Last month the country was also hit by a fuel shortage that triggered long queues at petrol stations and strict rationing.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Gilbert Houngbo to be first African to head UN labour agency

Yahoo – AFP, Agnès PEDRERO, March 25, 2022 

Five candidates were in the running to succeed Britisch trade unionist Guy Ryder
as head of the ILO (AFP/Fabrice COFRRIN)

Gilbert Houngbo, the former prime minister of Togo, was on Friday elected the next head of the International Labour Organization, and will become the first African to lead the UN agency. 

After two rounds of voting, the ILO's governing body elected the 61-year-old to succeed British trade unionist Guy Ryder, who steps down at the end of September, after 10 years in the job. 

"You have made history," Houngbo told the governing body after the election. 

"I am deeply and absolutely honoured to be the first representative of the African region to be selected to lead the ILO after 103 years." 

Houngbo was chosen from among five candidates and had been seen in a strong position after the African Union threw its weight behind him. 

Currently head of the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), he also enjoyed strong backing on the labour side. 

His opponents in the race were former French labour minister Muriel Penicaud, South Korea's ex-foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha, South African entrepreneur Mthunzi Mdwaba, and ILO deputy Greg Vines of Australia. 

'Rich symbolism' 

Houngbo's win marks a dramatic shift for the ILO, which since its founding in 1919 has been led only by men from Europe or the Americas. 

The oldest specialised UN agency has 187 member states, which are, uniquely in the UN system, represented by governments, employers and workers. 

The organisation's governing body counts 56 members, with half of them representing governments, and a quarter each representing employers and workers. 

Friday's vote took place by secret ballot behind closed doors. 

The ILO said Houngbo received 30 votes in the second-round voting, securing the majority. Penicaud received 23, Kang two and Mdwaba one. 

After the first round, Vines was eliminated. 

Houngbo, who was born in rural Togo in what he has described as "extreme poverty", hailed the "rich symbolism" of his win. 

The vote outcome, he told the governing body Friday, "fulfils the aspirations of a young African, a young African boy whose humble upbringing turned into a lifelong quest for social justice." 

Former Togo prime minister Gilbert Hounge had strong backing (AFP/Tiziana FABI)

The married father-of-three has spent much of his career working with international organisations. 

He has previously held several high-level positions within the UN system, such as finance director at the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and deputy director-general of ILO itself, from 2013-2017. 

Houngbo will take the ILO helm on October 1 and will have his work cut out as the organisation strives to adapt its norms to a world of work rapidly transforming due to evolving technologies. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has only sped up those changes, leading to the rapid uptake of virtual technologies to enable remote working. 


"We must respond in a concrete manner to the socioeconomic consequences ... of Covid-19," he told AFP in an interview, pointing in particular to the impact on many people in the informal sector, with no safety net. 

"My ambition, my dream, is to run this organisation, which should lead on ensuring that every household... should have minimum social protection." 

While stressing the need to protect workers' rights, Houngbo, who has also worked in the private sector, including at Price Waterhouse, Canada, insisted that he as ILO chief would equally represent the interests of governments and employers. 

"I am at the middle," he told AFP. 

"I think that in a role like mine, the role of director-general, one must be a unifier. That is the challenge." 

With his win, the ILO will become the third large international organisation in Geneva to be headed by an African, after the World Health Organization elected its first African leader in 2017, as did the World Trade Organization last year. 

Houngbo stressed he was not coming in as the representative of a single region. 

"Although my origins are African, my perspective is global," he said. 

"In an age, unfortunately, of divisiveness, my commitment to be a unifying director general stands firm."

Sunday, January 23, 2022

#MeToo wave in Morocco over 'sex for grades' scandal

France24 – AFP, 23 January 2022 

Nadia, a university student and a victim of sexual blackmail, attends a conference
on the subject of sexual aggression, in the western Moroccan city of Casablanca,
on January 20, 2022 FADEL SENNA AFP

Rabat (AFP) – Female Moroccan university students have broken their silence about professors demanding sexual favours in return for good grades, a scandal that has shaken the higher eduction system.

Testimonies have flooded social media in the style of the #MeToo movement, encouraged by activists in the conservative North African nation where victims of sexual violence often keep quiet. 

"I was expelled from university a year ago under the pretext that I had cheated on an exam," said 24-year-old student Nadia, who declined to give her full name. 

"The truth is that I had just refused to submit to sexual blackmail from one of my professors." 

The Hassan I University in Settat, near Casablanca, where she was eventually re-admitted, is now embroiled in a scandal involving five professors. 

One was sentenced to a two-year prison term this month for demanding sexual favours for good grades, in the first such verdict, while four others are due to face court Monday. 

"My case was not an isolated one," said Nadia. "Other girls suffered similar things but no one wanted to listen to us." 

In recent years, several similar cases were reported by local media, but failed to elicit official action. 

But then a social media campaign shifted the conversation, raising awareness of the magnitude of the problem. 

'Wave of testimonies'

The turning point came when screen shots were published online, said to be of messages in which professors demanded sexual favours from female students. 

Members of a women's rights association, give a press conference about the
subject of sexual aggression against women in universities FADEL SENNA AFP

"I had not considered making a complaint, but after the scandal broke, I filed a civil suit," Nadia said. 

"My move is also a way of encouraging other victims to denounce these acts." 

One association that helped bring some of the scandals to light was "7achak" -- an expression in local dialect used to excuse oneself before broaching a taboo topic. 

The movement launched an Instagram page calling on women victims of harassment to share their stories. 

"As soon as the appeal was launched, we received a wave of testimonies," the association's founder Sarah Benmoussa told AFP. "Those accompanied with evidence were published." 

More accusations against university lecturers began to emerge online. 

"I am speaking to you to stop the sexual harassment and the rotten and unacceptable acts of a monster disguised as an instructor," wrote a former student of the National School of Business and Management in Oujda. 

Other victims also shared their experiences involving that professor, resulting in his suspension. 

Some officials at the business school, deemed "complicit", were also dismissed, the higher education ministry said last month. 

'Zero tolerance'

In Tangiers, an instructor at a school of translation was convicted and sentenced to jail in early January over sexual harassment, lawyer Aicha Guellaa told AFP. 

According to her, "nearly 70 complaints" were also filed at the Abdelmalek Essaadi University of Tetouan, but have so far failed to provoke a response from the university administration. 

The reports of sexual harassment in academia sparked an uproar among activists, online and in the local media across Morocco. 

They prompted Higher Education Minister Abdelatif Miraoui to pledge "zero tolerance" for sexual harassment. 

As the number of testimonies grew, several universities launched toll-free hotlines and set up teams to follow up on cases of sexual violence. 

"It's crucial to support the victims and to help them gain access to the judicial system," said human rights defender Karima Nadir of the "Outlaws" group. 

In 2018, after years of fierce debate, a law entered into force, imposing for the first time prison sentences for "harassment, assault, sexual exploitation or abuse". 

"Laws exist," Nadir said, "but few benefit from them."

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Tutu's ashes buried in Cape Town cathedral

Yahoo – AFP, 2 January 2022 

A requiem mass was held Saturday for South Africa's anti-apartheid
icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu (AFP/Nic BOTHMA)

South Africa's spiritual father Archbishop Desmond Tutu, hero of the anti-apartheid struggle, was laid to rest at dawn on Sunday in the Cape Town cathedral where he once preached against the brutal white-minority regime. 

Nobel Peace Prize winner Tutu died a week ago, aged 90, after a life spent fighting injustice. 

His ashes were "interred at St. George's Cathedral in a private family service early today", an Anglican Church statement said. 

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba placed his remains under an inscribed memorial stone before the high altar. 

He urged South Africans to "use this opportunity to turn a new page. 

"Let us commit ourselves... to the radical, the revolutionary change that he advocated,” Makgoba said. 

"Let us live as simply as he lived, exemplified by his pine coffin with rope handles." 

Some 20 members of Tutu's family, led by his widow "Mama Leah" were present. 

Famed for his modesty, Tutu had left instructions for a simple, no-frills funeral with a cheap coffin, followed by an eco-friendly flameless cremation. 

Modest requiem for a titan: South Africa bids farewell to Desmond
Tutu (AFP/Saawmiet MOOS)

Family, friends, clergy and politicians had attended a requiem mass on Saturday with President Cyril Ramaphosa leading the tributes. 

"Our departed father was a crusader in the struggle for freedom, for justice, for equality and for peace, not just in South Africa... but around the world as well," said Ramaphosa. 

"While our beloved (Nelson Mandela) was the father of our democracy, Archbishop Tutu was the spiritual father of our new nation", lauding him as "our moral compass and national conscience". 

Under apartheid, the white-minority government cemented its grip imposing laws based on the notion of race and racial segregation, and the police ruthlessly hunted down opponents, killing or jailing them. 

With Mandela and other leaders in prison for decades, Tutu in the 1970s became the emblem of the anti-apartheid struggle. 

He campaigned relentlessly abroad, administering public lashings to the Western world for failing to slap sanctions on the apartheid regime. 

After apartheid was dismantled and South Africa ushered in the first free elections in 1994, Tutu chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which exposed the horrors of the past in grim detail. 

He would later admonish the ruling African National Congress for corruption and leadership incompetence. 

Tutu's moral firmness and passion went hand-in-hand with self-deprecatory humour and a famously cackling laugh.