FEATURED PHOTOS AND STORIES

Friday:  August 15, 2014

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus

 

(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)

LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

                                

Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler

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Wednesday
May232012

Malaria spread feared as WHO releases action plan to tackle global spread of insecticide-resistant mosquitoes (REPORT) 

(Video World Malaria Day, 2012/WHO)

By Amy Maxmen

The war to bring malaria to heel has made slow but steady progress during the past decade, with the overall mortality rate dropping by more than 25% since 2000. A key factor in this progress has been improved control of mosquitoes, which transmit the Plasmodium parasite — a potent killer that claimed an estimated 655,000 lives in 2010 alone. But health officials fear that the spread of insecticide-resistant mosquitoes could bring about a resurgence of the disease. To help combat this threat, on May 15, the World Health Organization (WHO), based in Geneva, Switzerland, issued a strategic plan to curb the spread of resistance.

“We don’t want to wait for failures to happen,” says David Brandling-Bennett, the senior adviser for infectious diseases at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, who advised on the document.

Such failures could reverse the recent drop in malaria mortality credited to insecticide spraying in the home and coating of bed nets, which save about 220,000 children’s lives each year, according to the WHO. Insecticide resistance could also result in as many as 26 million further cases a year, the organization predicts, costing an extra US $30 million to $60 million annually for tests and medicines.

The WHO report says that insecticide-resistant mosquitoes already inhabit 64 malaria-ridden countries (see map).

The problem is particularly acute in sub-Saharan African countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia and Uganda, where mosquitoes are frequently resistant to compounds known as pyrethroids and even to the organochloride DDT, venerable tools of mosquito control. Because they are extremely safe for children, effective against mosquitoes and affordable, pyrethroids are the only insecticides used to treat bed nets, as well as the first choice for household spraying.

Health authorities in Somalia, Sudan and Turkey have also reported sporadic resistance to the two other classes of insecticides recommended by the WHO for safe and effective household spraying: carbamates and organophosphates. Resistance has probably evolved several times independently, and is now spreading as extensive use of pyrethroids and other insecticides favors resistant mosquitoes. “In 2004, there were pockets of resistance in Africa, and now there are pockets of susceptibility,” says Janet Hemingway, chief executive of the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC), a product-development partnership based in the United Kingdom.

(MAP: Global malaria map, 2012/WHO) Among other things, the WHO recommends rotating the classes of pesticides used to spray houses, and developing safe and effective non-pyrethroid insecticides that can be used to treat bed nets. To implement all of the WHO’s suggestions would cost $200 million - on top of the $6 billion that the WHO requested last year to fund existing malaria-control programs. Rob Newman, director of the Global Malaria Program at the WHO, hopes that the report will draw more funds to the table as donors grasp the situation. “If we can stop pyrethroid resistance from spreading, it will be cheaper in the long run,” Newman says.

“In 2004, there were pockets of resistance in Africa, and now there are pockets of susceptibility.”

But the two largest players in malaria aid - the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) - have not yet pledged additional money to fight resistance. Their spending on mosquito control is already high - in 2009, 39% of the Global Fund’s malaria expenditures went towards insecticide-treated bed nets and household spraying, as did 59% of the PMI’s in 2010.  

For now, pyrethroids are the only class of insecticides approved by the WHO for bed nets, and where spraying is concerned they are less costly than the alternatives. Vestergaard Frandsen, a company based in Lausanne, Switzerland, says that it has in the pipeline a bed net coated with a non-pyrethroid insecticide - one that does not belong to any of the four WHO-approved classes - and that the company expects to bring this to market within the next five years. It is also one of several companies partnering with the IVCC to create innovative mosquito-control products.

(PHOTO: Malaria `home test'/NoProphalactics)In the meantime, health officials may be able to keep malaria at bay by swapping insecticides. The report notes that in Colombia, for instance, mosquitoes regained susceptibility to pyrethroids after five years of treatment with an organophosphate. But some African countries lack the surveillance needed to spur such an approach. To address that deficiency, the report urges that a global database be set up to track the spread of resistance, and that entomologists be trained and hired at surveillance stations. That could prove the most challenging goal of all.

“Nobody wants to fund capacity building,” says Newman. “Donors would rather say they purchased $10,000 in bed nets than pay a salary.”

African ministers of health realize the need to manage resistance but can’t do much without outside funds, explains Maureen Coetzee, a medical entomologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. “In some countries, malaria control means one person sitting in one room, and he’s lucky if he’s got a chair,” she says.

- This report originally appeared by Amy Maxmen at Nature.

Tuesday
Mar062012

African wax material: All the rage, but where's the money going? (PERSPECTIVE)

Credit: Jennifer Micheals House of Style/NigeriaBy Melinda Ozongwu

*NOTE:  Africa Fashion Week begins today and runs March 7-10, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can find a schedule and watch a live stream of the shows, HERE.     

The material that we call African print or wax is a multi-million dollar business. As African as these textiles are, the Dutch companies that produce and sell the majority of our fine wax and lace materials are benefiting off an African industry and potentially destroying its authenticity. And we, the African customer, are part of the problem.

I was once given six yards of beautiful Dutch wax material. It was a kaleidoscope of colour, rich with texture and print. It’s amazing how a few yards of material can be so powerful. If you’ve ever stepped in a room filled with rolls of Dutch wax, Ankara, Hollandaise or African fabric you know what I’m talking about. Wearing this heavily patterned, bold, rich fabric is a transformative experience. Since then I have worn African wax not in traditional attire but in beautifully constructed, modern pieces that are very much in trend. 

With celebrities like Beyoncé and Kelis wearing clothes by African designers like Lisa Folawiyo (Jewel by Lisa), as well as being introduced to our designers, a growing number of people are being exposed to the beauty and versatility of the African fabric. 

American designer Maya Lakes’ Boxing Kitten line is rich with African print and worn by celebrities like Erykah Badu, Rihanna and Solange Knowles. Her burlesque-inspired designs make good use of the vibrancy of the print and the structure of the material.

Arise magazine editor and author of New African Fashion, Helen Jennings points out that, “Having that calibre of celebrity wear designs by African designers, made from an African fabric, helps that fabric to be taken seriously alongside others such as silk, leather and satin.” 

So business ought to be booming for local manufacturers of African wax material, for local consumption and for the export market. But here’s the thing, Africa is importing wax material and other “African” textiles made solely by non-African manufacturers.

CREDIT: Jennifer Micheals House of Style/NigeriaThe popular “African print” textile manufacturer Vlisco aren’t hiding their origin. Their trademark is ‘Veritable Wax Hollandais’ meaning “Real Dutch Wax”. They aren’t lying about their brand; it isn’t one of those “Made in America” but really Made in Mexico things. It’s Dutch, and it’s manufactured exclusively in Holland. The company’s two other brands Woodin and Uniwax do produce in Africa as well as Holland, but they all fall under the same umbrella. 

The Vlisco company’s website has a meet-the-employees page with some very positive testimonials from staff, ranging from production managers to quality controllers. I’m no PR specialist but I know that a testimonial from an African would be good right about here. With over a dozen designers in the company not a single one is African. "We don't try to make our designs African," says Vlisco’s creative director Henk Bremer, "but there seems to be a click with Dutch design. I think it is because West Africans like innovation and novelty."

I would contest that statement. The first country Vlisco exported to was the former Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), they imitated their traditional handmade batik designs and saturated the market with them. Were those also Dutch designs? I highly doubt that you could look at any Vlisco print and see Dutch design. Wax material is as African as a tulip is Dutch.  

In 2006, 75% of the wax on the African market carried Vlisco designs (Source: Vlisco; click on 2006 in the timeline). The company disputed the figure, claiming they’d fallen victim to the copycats. (Counterfeiting is a real problem across Africa; copycats will duplicate any good product at half the price or even less.)

Forget the obvious Nike and Gucci imitations from India and China; we are seeing fake wood and metal plastic-coated beads that are made in China being used in locally made jewellery. And though certain African countries like Cameroon are enforcing their copyright laws, seized goods often reappear on the market making it an increasingly difficult problem to tackle.) 

Vlisco’s strategy in combating the copycats was to shorten turnaround times and rebrand. They also extended their product line to include accessories and shoes. Despite their efforts you can still buy replicas at a quarter of the price of the “original”, the only difference being that these are Made in China. By making their brand more visible, showing at fashion shows, increasing their advertising, and opening flagship stores on the continent they continue to flourish and grow despite the copycats. 

(PHOTO: Funky wax/ThisIsAfrica)But while Vlisco enjoys a €100-million annual turnover, what becomes of authentic African prints and fabrics? What becomes of our local textile industry? Vlisco were pushed out of Indonesia by a government that understood the need to protect their local industry. They did so by levying high import duties on textiles. That was in the 1900s. This is standard practice by countries all over the world when one of their industries is developing. But in 2012, our local governments don't appear to be doing much to protect our textile industries. Since individual brands don’t yet have the budgets to advertise like Vlisco, our governments shouldn’t only be protecting the local industry they should be supporting it, not selling off all our raw materials and leaving us with a poor foundation on which to develop high quality goods. 

Our countries are flooded with imports of second-hand clothing from all over the world, and our respective governments let this happen too. But the importation of second-hand clothes  is even more detrimental to our textile industries than anything a company like Vlisco could do. Our manufacturers can never compete with a pair of second-hand jeans that sells for $1. 

When design houses like Burberry and Michael Kors start showcasing African print motifs and African-inspired fabrics, these are stepping stones to the growth in mainstream popularity of our patterns and fabrics. But with things as they are right now, increased exposure to African fabrics equals increased sales only for non-African companies like Vlisco. 

(PHOTO: Used clothing bound for Africa/ThisIsAfrica) I am not a fan of supporting African products for no other reason than that they’re African products. It has to make sense, the products have to be of good quality and the prices have to be within reason. We might not be there with products in certain industries, but we are with textiles; we have beautiful prints of good quality. There is no denying the fantastic job Vlisco is doing for itself. If we can’t change much else, we should at least look at ourselves as consumers. We are paying premium prices for Dutch wax and missing something more authentic that’s right under our noses. And in doing so we continue to discredit our product, dilute its history and wreck the potential future of our craft.

I think it’s high time we took back our tulips. 

-- Reproduced with permission from This is Africa. You can follow Melinda Ozongwu on Twitter @melindaembrace

Tuesday
Feb212012

10 million Africans face starvation (REPORT) 

 By Mel Frykberg

(GRAPHIC: FEWS Net)The UN warned on Saturday that 10 million people in Africa’s Sahel region faced starvation and called for a greater humanitarian response to the crisis, which is threatening eight countries, particularly Niger, where at least half of those at risk are situated. The Sahel countries include parts of Senegal, southern Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, southern Algeria, Niger, northern Nigeria, Chad, Sudan and South Sudan, northern Cameroon and Eritrea.

Helen Clark, the UN development programme’s administrator, and the under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs and UN emergency relief coordinator, Valerie Amos, made the appeal during a visit to Niger’s Tillabery region.

Their visit entailed an inspection of an agricultural project supported by the UN, which grows vegetables in a sustainable way, while simultaneously improving the nutrition of the villagers and providing them with a source of income.

“This project shows how a tiny initial investment can make a major difference,” Amos said.

“Just a few kilometres from here, there is a village which has not had this investment, where people are leaving their homes and have taken their children out of school so that they can look for food,” she said.

(PHOTO: Aliyin Would Eleiat, the chief of a village in the Gorgol region of Mauritania shows 1 of few wells that still has water. It serves as the lifeline for 75 families/Irina Fuhrmann, OXFAM)Clark stated that the wider crisis in the Sahel, where poor harvests following repeated droughts had caused severe shortages, threatened 10 million people in desperate need of assistance.

Furthermore, international non-governmental organisations warned that the Sahel could be crippled by this year.

Oxfam has announced that harvests plummeted 25% in the region compared to 2010 because of lack of rains. This will leave more than one million children threatened with severe malnutrition.

---This piece originally appeared in South Africa's New Age

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(PHOTO: Baaba Maal with Oxfam in Mauritania/OXFAM)Senegal's Baaba Maal visits Mauritania with Oxfam: "The scale of this crisis is so great that I have to speak out so that the world reacts"

During a 48 hour visit to the Gorgol region of Mauritania, the musician Baaba Maal discovered the harsh reality for communities affected by a food crisis that now touches one in four people across the country. Today 700,000 people are food insecure in Mauritania.

"What is happening in this part of Africa is so close to my heart. People are suffering, especially children. I cannot watch and do nothing,” declared Senegalese singer Baaba Maal after visiting Mauritanian communities at the center of the current food crisis in the Sahel. Low rainfall, poor harvests, a lack of pasture and rising food prices are among the key factors driving this crisis.

Baaba Maal, who met populations in the south of the country, not far from his home village in Senegal, noted: “Some families have almost nothing to eat, and I worry about how they will feed themselves until the next harvest.”

(PHOTO: The Senegal River, which forms the natural border between Mauritania & Senegal, is too low for the crop season/Irina Fuhrmann, OXFAM)The Senegalese singer, internationally renowned and recognized for his commitment to development in Africa, launched an appeal to the international community for urgent action: “We cannot watch and do nothing while our brothers and sisters in Mauritania are victims of such a crisis. I have been able to see the solutions that are being put in place. We have to support and strengthen them."

"I met Hamila, a mother of five children, who had just bought a bag of rice thanks to money provided by Oxfam. This money will allow her to feed her family over the coming weeks. Hamila is among the most vulnerable people in her community but there are many other people who need our help,” explained Baaba Maal.

Last December, Oxfam and its partners launched a humanitarian response in the south of Mauritania in order to provide assistance to 30,000 people, and are planning to scale up operations to avoid a major crisis. In coordination with the emergency plan developed by the Government, the organisation has put in place cash transfers to allow populations to protect their livelihoods. Other actions to improve access to clean drinking water are also underway in order to prevent water-borne diseases that lead to malnutrition, especially in children.

"When I was young, this region was totally green but every year I see it becoming more and more dry. Yet water is there, in the river and in the ground. We have to work together and join forces to solve the problem, so that we never see this situation repeated again,” added Baaba Maal.

Oxfam is calling for urgent interventions to avoid the worst over the coming months, as well as long-term investments to strengthen the resilience of populations, allow communities to cope with bad years, and prevent crises of the future. As well as Mauritania, Oxfam is actively supporting communities affected by this crisis in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Senegal.

--- This piece originally appeared on OXFAM

Tuesday
Feb072012

Sweeter Kisses? Hershey Commits to Fair Trade, Responsible Cocoa, Uses Innovative Technology 

(HN, 2/7/2012) -- Last week The Hershey Company announced it was expanding its programs to improve living standards and supply chain efficiencies for cocoa producing communities in West Africa by investing $10 million over the next five years.  By 2017, the Company says its public and private partnerships will directly benefit 750,000 African cocoa farmers and over two million people in cocoa communities across the region by focusing on two important groups – cocoa farmers and those they say who `love Hershey’s products’.

HUMNEWS spoke with Andy McCormick, VP of Public Affairs for The Hershey Company about the investment and what it would mean to Hershey’s farmers.  McCormick, who grew up in Pennsylvania and now leads Communications, PR and Corporate Social Responsibility efforts for the Company has also worked in Ghana as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer and knows West Africa well.  He calls his tenure at Hershey’s a `happy coincidence’.   McCormick also serves on the boards of the World Cocoa Foundation and the International Cocoa Initiative – both global bodies designed to regulate and offer solutions in cocoa production.

Hershey’s announcement comes 10 years since major international chocolate companies, including Hershey, committed to ending child labor, forced labor and trafficking in their cocoa supply chain by signing the Harkin-Engel Protocol, commonly known as the Cocoa Protocol in September 2001.  A decade later, although both Hershey and its public and private partners have invested in developing new agricultural practices that are helping West African farmers double the yield on their cocoa farms, which in turn increases their family’s income - hundreds of thousands of children continue to labor in hazardous conditions in West Africa, particularly in the Ivory Coast and Ghana.

The US Department of Labor has also noted five West African nations which may still be producing cocoa tainted by forced and/or child labor. To address the problem they’ve created a partnership which includes Hershey as well as other partners include USAID, USDA, Cote d’Ivoire Cocoa Committee, numerous local and global NGOs, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, called the Framework of Action to significantly reduce the worst forms of child labor in Ghana and the Ivory Coast by 2020.  

(PHOTO: A female cocoa farmer/SOURCETRUST)By making its pledge last week, Hershey is following on other initiatives in recent years that it and other major cocoa producers have committed to in order to clean up the cocoa industry.  UNICEF estimates 600,000 children work on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast and that 35,000 are victims of trafficking;  children carrying machetes or pesticide equipment used in cocoa work has been widely reported on.

McCormick acknowledges that, We are a growing global business and we have had criticism in the past. But, we try to listen constructively and are working to strike a balance between our business strategy and our values, and we keep learning.”  He goes on to say, “At Hershey we’ve already been working to address child labor issues in West Africa, and we all recognize that more needs to be done.”  

The Company has formed partnerships with the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified, and Fair Trade Certified and commits to production of `certified cocoa’, which Eric Servat of the Rainforest Alliance’s cocoa program says, “Is almost doubling every year”.   

“Certified cocoa is currently under 2% of the market,” says Andy McCormick, “But it’s growing by a large margin and we believe that by 2020 that will increase to about 15-20% of market share”. 

All of the certification partners require farmers to comply with International Labor Organization standards, which includes a ban on child labor.

In fact, chocolate is big business and accounts for an annual $83 billion in global sales.  Certified cocoa is actually worth more and growers can make $0.10 more per kilogram for certified cocoa, but it’s just a start for poor farmers who often don’t have enough money to even send their children to school.

(PHOTO: A cocoa farmer in Ghana using Cocoalink/Hershey) Hershey, a 100 year old company and one of the world’s leading chocolate companies, has worked with farmers and development organizations for more than 50 years and Andy McCormick says, “Because cocoa farms are family farms where on average 5 family members work and live, improving farming methods to be more modern, sustainable and safe will increase West African cocoa output by 50%; increasing family income.  In turn, doing so will increase school attendance and improve community health”.

Addressing the needs of cocoa farmers and the chocolate producing supply chain is becoming not just a humanitarian issue but also is necessary action due to the impact of climate change on growers.  Global cocoa production is primarily done by the 10 member countries of COPAL (The Cocoa Producers Alliance) - namely Brazil, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Dominican Republic, Gabon, Ghana, Malaysia, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe and Togo who account for approximately 75% of total world cocoa production; almost 70% in West Africa alone grown on 2 million small family farms.  The crop is labor-intensive and only grows in equatorial climates.

Hershey’s Andy McCormick says that, “Climate change has been causing desertification in parts of West Africa where cocoa is grown, and as the desert squeezes out fertile lands – in Ghana in particular – that’s starting to have an impact on harvests. We are talking with the farmers about this and about varieties of cocoa which grow more efficiently by instituting new programs”.  He adds, “Weekly rainfall moves the cocoa market right now”.  

Cocoa prices have risen since the start of the year by almost 15% with some of the highest prices seen since 1977, as the annual weather phenomenon called the `Harmattan’ - which brings a dry, dusty and cold trade wind in West Africa from the Sahara desert to the Gulf of Guinea from the end of November to the middle of March - has been most severe this year.  Though, meteorological forecasts show that the Harmattan will dissipate shortly and the rainy season will begin.

(PHOTO: Cocoa farmers in Ghana/Hershey)One such innovative program aimed at addressing farmer’s growth needs is CocoaLink. Started in 2011 in Ghana by Hershey, the World Cocoa Foundation, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), Dream Oval and World Education, CocoaLink leverages Ghana's mobile phone infrastructure (almost 80% saturation) to connect more than 8,000 cocoa farmers and community members in 15 villages with practical agricultural and social information that will help them increase their incomes and improve their livelihoods. The program has the potential to reach more than 100,000 by 2014.

Farmers and community leaders receive, at no charge, voice and SMS text messages that include information on improving farming practices, farm safety, child labor, health, crop disease prevention, post-harvest production and crop marketing.  Farmers can also share their own information and receive answers to specific cocoa-farming questions from peers and experts.

In October of last year Hershey said it would enhance CocoaLink to include information about disease prevention and would provide cell phones and solar chargers for women farmers in rural villages by partnering with the nonprofit organization Malaria No More to leverage CocoaLink to help save lives and decrease malaria deaths in Africa by 2015.   The Company instituted an internal smart phone recycling program, collecting more than 500 smart phones no longer being used by Hershey’s U.S. employees and redeployed them to women across Ghanaian cocoa communities.  Ghana accounts for about 20% of world cocoa production, making it the country’s single largest non-oil foreign exchange earner beside oil.

Last week in making its announcement Hershey said it would expand the CocoaLink program to farmers in the Ivory Coast to further grow crop yields, provide education and support to farmers, their families and communities.  The Ivory Coast is the source of more than 1/3 of the world's cocoa supply and has approximately 600,000 cocoa farmers; industry data indicates that about half are already using mobile phones.  Cocoa makes up 15% of Ivory Coast’s GDP and 40% of its export revenues. Hershey’s initiative adds to the eight-month-old government's plan to overhaul the cocoa industry in the country and is a condition for debt relief from the International Monetary Fund.

In its latest output report on the sector, Marex Spectron a London based analyst group said that world 2011-2012 cocoa output will be short 94,000 tons, which is a change from its November estimate of a small global surplus.  Not all of this impact is due to climate change however, though Marex noted weather conditions in December and January in Ivory Coast and Ghana were dry compared to a much wetter 2010-2011 season which saw a record cocoa surplus of 417,000 tons.  Much higher cocoa demand globally is also driving production needs – and inevitably will increase costs for chocolate products.  Hershey has said its own costs should remain higher in 2012 and recently raised prices on its candies.

(PHOTO: Learning about cocoa farming/Hershey) The International Cocoa Organization estimates that Asian demand for chocolate would grow 10% in 2012, with strong growth in China, Indonesia and India; with Europe remaining the world’s largest cocoa buyer.

This is why in making its announcement last week, Hershey also established the `Hershey Learn to Grow’ farm program along with its partner Source Trust. Launching in Ghana the initiative will provide local farmers with information on best practices in sustainable cocoa farming as growth in demand intensifies, and consumers call for more responsible growing standards.  For example by supplying farmers with technologies such as high-yield seedlings, better planting and pruning practices, organic fertilization and biocontrol of insect pests, farmers can increase output and therefore, income – even while climate change takes hold.  

Additionally, the effort will create a farmer and family development center in the heart of Ghana’s central cocoa region where during the day the schoolchildren will use the computer lab for learning and in the evening the farmers will use the lab for cocoa learning. Hershey is also working with technology partner Cisco to use `telepresence’ for distance education purposes.

The initiative will involve more than 5,000 cocoa community members, more than 1,000 farm families, establish 25 community-based farmer organizations and will build technology centers that will be used to teach improved agricultural, environmental, social and business practices; provide access to planting materials as well as finance for farm inputs; and support GPS mapping of farm acreage so that farmers will use the right amount of fertilizers and pesticides for maximum yield and sustainability - with the goal to double productivity yield and farm income over four years.

(PHOTO: Cocoa farming/Hershey) By doing this Hershey hopes to assist the Government of Ghana to meet the goals of Ghana’s 2009-2015 National Plan of Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor (WFCL), associated with achieving the international Millennium Development Goals by 2015. 

“Creating sustainability throughout our supply chain is our goal,” says Andy McCormick. “Milton Hershey was a master of building business and we know that you’re only as successful as the communities you’re in.  Our future is intimately connected to the growing regions and people we work with. Our scientists and farmers are excited to be working on the ground together to make things better.”

Further says McCormick, “The issue of rural youth and their job prospects-we think our interaction with farmers, school systems and young people to `skill build’ can really make a long term positive contribution to kids’ lives and we’re very excited about playing a constructive role”.

Consumers win too as Hershey will address their demands to bring to market for the first time, 100% Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate products later this year.  The first sweet treats will be the Hershey’s Bliss® chocolate bar available in the United States; and later Latin America and Africa where the Company is working with the Rainforest Alliance to source cocoa from certified farms for Hershey’s premium brand, Dagoba®.

Rainforest Alliance Certified farms have met comprehensive sustainability standards that protect the environment and ensure the safety and well-being of workers, their families and communities. Additionally, Rainforest Alliance inspectors will monitor and audit practices on farms supplying certified beans to Hershey, to include instances of unsafe or illegal child labor and use training programs to increase school attendance. These programs will be coordinated with industry and government initiatives.

Hershey made their investment announcement just days before a planned protest group which included the The International Labor Rights Forum and was started last year by Change.org called the `Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign’ which was to run a high profile commercial challenging Hershey’s labor practices during the US Super Bowl Game after collecting over 100,000 petition signatures.

In a statement, the group said, `This commitment is a welcome first step for Hershey to improve its supply chain accountability. This commitment also demonstrates that The Hershey Company acknowledges the severity of the labor abuses that taint the West African cocoa sector and the members of the Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign congratulate Hershey on this first step to achieve greater supply chain accountability and hope that it will be the beginning of comprehensive supply chain traceability and certified child-labor free Hershey chocolate products.’

In making the commitment to better global cocoa standards Hershey Company President and CEO, J.P. Bilbrey, said, “Hershey is extending our commitment with new programs to drive long-term change in cocoa villages where families will benefit from our investments in education, health and economic opportunities. Our global consumers want The Hershey Company to be a leader in responsible business practices and in finding smart ways to benefit cocoa communities. We are excited and humbled by this opportunity to create positive change in West Africa”.

Hershey says it will regularly update its progress on these programs through its Corporate Social Responsibility public reporting.   

Will all of this mean sweeter `Kisses’? Stay tuned…..

----Joy DiBenedetto, HUMNEWS

Friday
Jan272012

Nigeria's Boko Haram vows to fight until country establishes sharia law

A spokesman for Boko Haram tells the Guardian exclusively that the Islamist group says it will not stop deadly attacks until country is ruled according to dictates of Allah.

The Islamist group Boko Haram, which has killed almost 1,000 people in Nigeria, will continue its campaign of violence until the country is ruled by sharia law, a senior member has told the Guardian.

"We will consider negotiation only when we have brought the government to their knees," the spokesman, Abu Qaqa, said in the group's first major interview with a western newspaper. "Once we see that things are being done according to the dictates of Allah, and our members are released [from prison], we will only put aside our arms – but we will not lay them down. You don't put down your arms in Islam, you only put them aside."

Qaqa, whose name is a pseudonym, said the group's members were spiritual followers of al-Qaida, and claimed they had met senior figures in the network founded by Osama bin Laden during visits to Saudi Arabia.

The interview comes a week after Boko Haram claimed responsibility for Nigeria's single deadliest terrorist attack, which killed 186 people in the northern city of Kano.

In an audio message posted on YouTube on Friday, the group's current leader, Abubakar Shekau, threatened to bomb schools and kidnap family members of government officials.

"If [security forces] are going to places of worship and destroying them, like mosques and Quranic schools, you have primary schools as well, you have secondary schools and universities, and we will start bombing them."

Shekau rejected calls for a negotiated peace from President Goodluck Jonathan, who on Thursday called for the shadowy sect to step out of the shadows and engage in dialogue.

Nigerian officials have voiced hopes for a negotiated settlement with "moderate elements" of the group. "Under the circumstances, if you look hard enough, you can find moderate elements you can communicate with," General Andrew Azazi, the national security adviser to the president, told the Wall Street Journal on Friday.

Western diplomats say Boko Haram has splintered and the hardliners leading the factions responsible for the wave of violence that has killed some 250 people this year appear to have rejected any suggestion of dialogue.

The Guardian was able to contact Abu Qaqa through an intermediary from the group's home state. The go-between has been in contact with the group since its inception, and met with its founder, Mohammed Yusuf, several times before he was killed in 2009. For most of the interview he used a voice modulator, but local journalists confirmed that his undisguised voice matched recordings of previous interviews.

Qaqa said Shekau and others had travelled to Saudi Arabia for training and funding. "Al-Qaida are our elder brothers. During the lesser Hajj [last August], our leader travelled to Saudi Arabia and met al-Qaida there. We enjoy financial and technical support from them. Anything we want from them we ask them."

He said recruits from neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger had joined the group. A recent UN report said weapons from Libya may have been smuggled to Boko Haram and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghre via Chad, Niger and Nigeria.

Security officials and diplomats in Abuja said they had no evidence of a link with al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia, but an official confirmed that "elements of Boko Haram have made contact with external groups". The extent and frequency of that contact was unknown, the official said.

In the decade since it first appeared, Boko Haram has graduated from crude driveby attacks on beer parlours to bombing security buildings in the northern Muslim heartland. Its most audacious attack targeted the United Nations building in the capital, Abuja, killing 25 in August. In recent weeks, Christians institutions have increasingly come under fire. A Christmas Day bomb attack on a packed church just outside the capital claimed almost 40 lives.

But Qaqa said the rights of the country's 70 million Christians, who represent half of Nigeria's population, "would be protected" under the group's envisioned Islamic state. "Even the prophet Mohammed lived with non-Muslims and he gave them their dues." But he said everyone must abide by sharia law: "There are no exceptions. Even if you are a Muslim and you don't abide by sharia, we will kill you. Even if you are my own father, we will kill you."

Speaking fluent but non-native Hausa, the lingua franca across the Sahelian belt on the cusp of the Sahara desert, he said: "It's the secular state that is responsible for the woes we are seeing today. People should understand that we are not saying we have to rule Nigeria, but we have been motivated by the stark injustice in the land. People underrate us but we have our sights set on [bringing sharia to] the whole world, not just Nigeria."

Sharia law is already in place across 12 states in the Muslim-majority north. Few believe the group's radical ideology has traction in Nigeria's mainly Christian south, which is also home to millions of Muslims and has so far been out of the group's reach.

Raising his voice for the only time during the interview, Qaqa denied reports that some governors in northern Nigeria paid the group monthly allowances in exchange for immunity from attacks. "May God punish anyone that said so," he said, before adding that the group has popular support in the north.

"Poor people are tired of the injustice, people are crying for saviours and they know the messiahs are Boko Haram.   "People were singing songs in [northern cities] Kano and Kaduna saying: 'We want Boko Haram'," Qaqa said, describing how the group can blend into the communities in which it operates. "If the masses don't like us they would have exposed us by now. When Islam comes everyone would be happy," he said.

Diplomats say Nigeria's security services are belatedly attempting to gain control of the situation, which was previously dismissed as an internal, northern squabble often fuelled by politicians with personal grievances.

"There is an ongoing review of all security agencies," the presidential aide Ken Wiwa said. "This is a relatively new phenomenon in Nigeria and the administration is working hard to improve its capacity to respond. There are various other initiatives which will be implemented but this is as much a political as a security issue."

An official said Nigeria's central bank was involved in measures aimed at strangling the group's external funding sources, including speeding up a cashless economy.

(By the Guardian’s Monica Mark in Abuja, Nigeria.  READ MORE HERE)

Wednesday
Jan112012

THE HUM - WORLD HEADLINES - JANUARY 11, 2012

(PHOTO: Queen Beatrix, Prince Willem-Alexander; Princess Maxima of the Netherlands visit the Sheikh Al Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE, 8 January 2012. Patrick van Katwijk) Afghanistan 

A rare sign of hope in Afghanistan

Afghanistan signs oil contract with Chinese giant

Antigua & Barbuda 

Lovell Says No Early Elections

Argentina 

Little relief in sight for Argentina due to climate

American Samoa 

Hospital woes top American Samoa legislature agenda

Australia

Council struggles to lure more doctors-town's only doctor threatens to leave

Reports of doctors blaming Australian women's behaviour for rupturing breast implants

Bahrain 

Bahrain Court Cases Resume For Doctors, Anti-Government Protesters

(PHOTO: In Venezuela a jail riot leaves 5 people dead. EPA)Belarus

Belarus Erects New Online Barriers

Belarusian Activist, Journalist Jailed

Belgium

Belgium Satellite Services and Intersat Announce Strategic Tie-in to Expand into the Middle East and Africa (Press Release)

Belize

Wholesale vendors get their own market

Bolivia

More than 85% of Bolivia's bilateral debt is held by Venezuela

Indigenous People in Bolivia Resume March for Tipnis

Bosnia-Herzegovinia

Witness in Karadzic trial describes killing of 1,000 Muslims

(PHOTO: Islam and Christianity - Young Muslims, many from Somalia, walk the streets of Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighborhood near the meeting place of a Church of Christ. ERIK TRYGGESTAD)Botswana

'Loop' usage by women explodes - Ministry of Health

Brazil

Southern Brazil's Drought Dings Corn, Threatens Beans

Brunei Darussalam

Brunei Prince on official visit to Sinpagore 

Cameroon

Cameroonians returning to Nature’s packaging

Canada

Canada welcomes Cuban reforms on eve of tour by Harper's Latin America minister

Under 16 too young for snowmobiles, doctors say (Video)

China

China, US to Discuss Iran, Trade Imbalance

China's Wen to visit key Mideast energy powers, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates & Qatar this weekend

How the West is wholly missing China's geopolitical focus (Perspective)

Colombia

Bolivian crowned Colombia's new Coffee Queen

Congo (DRC)

(PHOTO: The three-part documentary “Fleeing Carthage” recounts the dramatic moments that led to the ouster of former Tunisian president Zine El Abedine Ben Ali. AL ARABIYA) Jillian Michaels: I’ve Been Matched with a Little Girl

Croatia

Croatia gets third biggest private hospital in Europe

Cuba

Fidel Castro’s Reflections: The Best President For The United States (Is a Quantum Computing Robot)

US satisfied with Cuban oil platform safety in Gulf of Mexico  

Ten years of Guantanamo - and no end in sight (Perspective)

Cyprus

Doctors in court for Legionnaires’ baby deaths

Dominican Republic

Haiti president prioritizes balance in Hispaniola 

Egypt

Egypt presents food and logistic assistance to Djibouti

El Salvador

Election Campaign Starts in El Salvador

UN investigator who revealed Iran's "Baha'i Question" memorandum dies aged 93

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea President Makes Visit To Zimbabwe

(PHOTO: Fidel Castro offers his idea of a US Presidential pick. GIZMODO) Estonia

Estonia Foreign Minister to Visit Tajikistan

Ethiopia

Diageo buys Ethiopian brewer Meta Abo for £146m

Falkland Islands

Malvinas recovery for Argentina must become a “Chilean cause”, says former minister

Fiji

Russia’s Lavrov expected in Fiji next month

Extra hours for doctors

Finland

Putting foreign doctors to work (Perspective)

Germany

Hospital doctors ready to strike for better pay

Grenada

Grenada "days away" from national strike

Grenada PM among attendees at Toronto man's funeral

Guatemala

Guatemalans' STD lawsuit invalid, U.S. argue

Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau opposition reject interim president 

Haiti

President Declares January 12th 2012 National Holiday

India

(PHOTO: Polar Bear Clubs in Uzbekistan shut down. RFE) Sailors back home after 11 months in captivity

U.S. Shelves H-1B Visa Talks With India

Thailand PM to be India's chief guest at Republic day parade 

Three fake doctors arrested

Over 350 doctors attend medical meet

Kore wins at Chennai Open chess to join leaders

Indonesia

Doctors turn away bird flu victim

Third Man Dies From Bird Flu in Indonesia

(PHOTO: In Indonesia, Xia Aimei’ tells the story of a Chinese girl’s escape from sexual slavery in Jakarta. Falcon Pictures) Jakarta’s Dark Underbelly, Through Foreign Eyes (Film)

Iran

Iranian nuke scientist killed by magnetic bomb

163 Iranian nationals held in Thailand’s prisons

Iraq

Fallujah babies: Under a new kind of siege (Video)  

Ireland

Minister for Children travels to Vietnam for adoption talks

System of recruiting foreign doctors defended

Irish Minister in UAE business talks

Israel

Israel, Cyprus sign defense agreements - reports

Ivory Coast

France 24:  First-ever video proof documenting murder of suspected Gbagbo militants (Video)

Japan

First Korean member in Japan's Cabinet

Bulk of tsunami debris from Japan expected in 2013; multiple fields of wreckage reported in Pacific Ocean 

Kenya

Al Shabaab sold Doctors Without Borders hostages to pirates?

Fear and faith: As Kenya battles terrorists, church looks to take the Gospel to its increasingly Muslim neighborhood

(PHOTO: In Nairobi, he African Heritage House overlooking the great, still plain of Nairobi National Park, is both a trove of a continent’s aesthetic richness & a mausoleum of its extinct wonders. KUWAIT TIMES)Keeper of Africa’s lost art

Kosovo

Women in Politics, Women in Public Service: Kosovo has the youngest female President in the world

Kuwait

Kuwaiti Amir Receives Letter from Tunisian President

Kuwait’s students to solve world’s problems using Microsoft technology

Kyrgyzstan

Turkey first official trip abroad for Kyrgyz leader

Human right defender Azimzhan Askarov goes on termless hunger strike in Kyrgyzstan

Laos

Lao leader urges stronger relations with Vietnam

Laos upgrades golf course to economic zone  

Liberia

$24.9 Million IFAD Loan to Liberia to Revitalize Cocoa and Coffee Production Sectors

China Promises More Support for Educational Sector

(PHOTO: In Pakistan, Bill Gates offers to help with Microsoft prodigy's healthcare costs. MICROSOFT) Libya

Zambia reneges on Libya’s LAP Green Network deal

Madagascar

Madagascar: the challenge of child-friendly schools

Malawi

Malawi judicial strike shuts down courts

Shake-up at Reserve Bank of Malawi

Malaysia

Kazakhstan Keen On More Trade With Malaysia In Promising Sectors

Mexico

Guatemalan refugees cleared out of camp in Mexico, NGOs say

Mongolia

Mongolian music conquers the world 

Morocco

Maroc Telecom begins Morocco-Spain cable laying

Namibia

Namibia Lose Legal Battle to Oust Burkina Faso from Africa Cup of Nations

New Zealand

Machine turns doctors into surgeons

Doctors face tighter rules in bid for recertification

(PHOTO: Iconic photo taken June 8, 1972, shows Kim Phuc, running down a road near Trang Bang after a South Vietnamese Air Force napalm attack. Phuc will be at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, California 1/19. Nick Ut/AP)Nicaragua

Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega begins new presidential term

Ahmadinejad travels to Nicaragua after defending Iran’s nuclear program in Venezuela

Nigeria

Finding Solution to Clashes Between Herdsmen and Farmers

Doctors take medicare to protest ground in Lagos

Pakistan

Dr. Jamal’s killing in Peshawar:  Provincial Doctors Association protest enters second of three day strike

Doctors trying their best to save Pakistani Microsoft child prodigy

Bill Gates offers to bear Aarifa’s medical expenses in US

Ready to rule Pakistan again: Pervez Musharraf (Video)  

Peru

Peru fire leaves hundreds homeless (Video)

Philippines

'It's not fun in Switzerland' (or why new Philippines DOT slogan works)

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico governor approves proposed referendum on cutting size of island legislature

(PHOTO: Rahul Puranic, Indian crew member of hijacked Italian oil tanker Savina Caylyn is greeted by his 4 yr-old daughter & wife on his arrival at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai on Tuesday. Vivek Bendre)Qatar

Royal Princess of Thailand tours Qatar Foundation

Russia

Venezuela: Country of Great social missions (Perspective)

Rwanda

“We Are At a Critical Moment in our Economy” says private sector

Samoa

Samoa and the question of Tokelau 

Saudi Arabia

Turkey: 6-year Ban Lifted On Exports Of Poultry Products To Saudi Arabia

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone set to deregulate international telecom gateway

Rebranding Sierra Leone: The Nation’s Saving Grace

Somalia

TV journalist held without charge in Somaliland

South Africa

Giant Footprint of God Video

Suriname

Suriname President Mr Bouterse wrong choice for Caricom chairman (Perspective)

Swaziland

Lack of bandwidth causes problems for MTN 3G network

Over 34,000 Swazi men circumcised

HIV+patients in a dilemma

Woman accused of poisoning in-laws

Switzerland

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is in Geneva, Switzerland Today for a Fundraiser

Occupy the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (Perspective)

Syria

United States awaits new draft resolution on Syria from Russia at UN

(PHOTO: Syrian Art Exhibition showcasing art from the uprising opens at the British Museum) British Museum showcases Syrian artists’ take on art, politics and brutality

Observing the Observers (Perspective)

Taiwan

Nuclear power a key issue for Taiwan polls

Taiwan needs to step up electoral reforms: foreign observers

Young Taiwan Voters Concerned about Economy (Video)

Beijing takes Taiwan off watch list after food scare

Taiwan's investment environment 3rd in world: BERI

Snarky Tofu Rob Schneider Love’s Taiwan

Joseph Ambro

Tajikistan

Uzbekistan Cuts Gas Supplies to Tajikistan

Tajikistan Considers Iran as Strategic Partner

Tanzania

Rural telecom market holds the key to growth in Tanzania

48 Tanzanian Microfinance Institutions Adopt Code of Conduct

Regional Commissioner underlines Dar, Beijing bilateral ties

Iran, Tanzania sign cultural cooperation agreement

(PHOTO: Funny man US Comedian Rob Schneiders stumps for Taiwan. Joseph Ambro)Thailand

Thailand's 32 provinces declared cold disaster zones, say officials

Active year ahead for Thai bonds

Chinese brewers Tsingtao to open plant in Thailand

The Netherlands

Khat banned in the Netherlands

Togo

Fuel crisis in Togo?

Tobacco taxes up in Togo

Tokelau

Phishing economy: Why tiny Tokelau is 3rd largest country domain

Tonga

Tonga's king blocks arms amendment act

Tonga police seek three men over armed robbery

Apple CEO Tim Cook Made More Than Twitter Last Year and tied the GDP for Tonga

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago PM to visit Kolkata

Tunisia 

Another Tunisian dies of self-immolation in employment protest, 1 year after Ben Ali ouster after a fruit-seller's self-immolation sparked the Arab Spring 

Prime Minister's New Media Appointments Cause Controversy

Tunisia - FM meets German counterpart

Tunisia joins UN Democracy Fund

(PHOTO: Tunisian singer Amani Al Suwaisi who was attacked in Tunisia. Albawaba)Singer Amani Al Suwaisi assaulted in the streets of Tunisia

Al Arabiya’s ‘Fleeing Carthage’ recounts last hours of former Tunisian regime

Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos Government Appoints Five New Permanent Secretaries

Turkey

Turkey angry after Danish court leaves Kurd TV on air

Imprisoned journalists publish own newspaper

Turkey vows to thwart Syrian civil war

Turkey will continue to impose its 8-point sanctions against France – Turkish PM 

Tunisian FM Abdessalam to visit Turkey 

Turkmenistan

Incumbent President Vows To Make Turkmenistan 'Industrial Power'

Turkmen Schoolteacher Says Presidential Candidacy Rejected

Empty TV broadcast centre

Tuvalu

As Tuvalu Readies for King Tide Season, a Swell is an Unwelcome Harbinger

Uganda

Uganda: Police Shut Down Three More Broadcast Stations

Ugandan journalist committed to High Court for treason

Officials Meet On Food Insecurity

Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) To Strike over Interest Rates

Uganda is left with fewer than 5000 doctors and no strategic plan to retain them

Male Organ Size: Homosexuality, Economy and Uganda's Domestic Relations Bill (Perspective)

Ukraine

Ukraine mulling revision of tariffs for some goods with WTO

Ukraine angered by Russia’s Onishchenko remarks over quality of produce

Expert: UAH 40-50Billion needed for development of agricultural market in 2012

(PHOTO: Chinese brewers Tsingtao to open plant in Thailand. TSINGTAO) Ukraine continues healthcare reform

Ukraine to start commercial production of shale gas by 2015

Implementation of innovative technologies starts in Ukrainian schools

United Arab Emirates

Dubai announces solar park for clean energy

UAE clarifies citizenship rules for children of naturalized Emiratis

UAE second top performing economy in Arab world

Emirates in expansion mode

UAE banks may refinance rather than repay debt

Queen Beatrix, princess Maxima put on headscarf for mosque visit

UAE: Dutch Queen Tours Jebel Ali Port

Man arrested with 5kg of crystal meth in hotel room

Parents urged to use car seats for children

Start-up hopes to help UAE businesses lost in translation

Used computers from Emirates Post to be refurbished for underprivileged

Abu Dhabi blasts rumours it is to axe UAE horror film

(PHOTO: The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at Abu Dhabi, UAE. Mohan Padmanabhan THE HINDU)Taj of the Abu Dhabi — It doesn’t get grander than this

United Kingdom

New 101 police number rolled out

UK To Grant Scotland Binding Independence Vote

Scottish supermarkets should be banned from selling alcohol, says top doctor

UK Recommends Two Drink-Free Days Per Week

Study: UK Nurses Lack Compassion, Skills

Intel exploring ways to help Stephen Hawking speak

British Embassy in Vietnam hoists Olympic flag

Most U.K consumers go online to buy holiday gifts

UK's Two Main Political Parties Back GMOs And The US Agenda

Migration IS killing off jobs: 160,000 Britons have missed out on employment because work was taken by foreigners (Perspective)

United States

Iranian-American death sentence confirmed: US

Fannie Mae CEO to resign

Middle TN doctors, researchers, activists pursue the end of AIDS

US Seriously Concerned Over Tibetan Self-Immolations

US probes alleged hacking by India spy unit

(PHOTO: British Ambassador Antony Stokes & Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports & Tourism Ho Anh Tuan at the flag hoisting ceremony in Vietnam. Vietnam Net) Hollywood's Tunisian Film Festival marks Arab Spring anniversary

University of Wyoming Offers Reduced Tuition to Tunisian Students

Social media and the US presidential race (VIDEO)

US firm KKR seeks to bond with Pacific Brands

A New Race of Mercy to Nome, This Time Without Sled Dogs

Uruguay

New Records Set by Heatwave in Uruguay

Uruguay Increases Minimum Wage Next Year

Uzbekistan

Uzbek Fun Police Shut Down Winter Swimming Club

Vanuatu

Vanuatu joins the World Trade Organization

Vanuatu sets up fish processing plant in joint venture with China

Vanuatu Government to establish new industrial zone

Concern over infant formula use in Vanuatu

(PHOTO: Transparency Vanuatu says payments based on aid funds should be made public. Phillip Capper]Spotlight on Vanuatu's ambassadors over aid deals

Vanuatu government profile

Vanuatu Roving Ambassadors Contract Leaked

Vanuatu women's soccer coaches learn the ropes

Vatican City

Vatican receives final report on US women religious lives 

Venezuela

Venezuela closes chapter on compensation to Exxon Mobil

5 dead in Venezuela jail riot

Vietnam

Vietnam prepares to better protect its S. China Sea claims

Vietnam police confiscate wild tiger carcass from Hanoi restaurant where it was being boiled

Vietnam women with massive tumors recover after surgeries 

Made in Vietnam wind towers face anti-dumping lawsuit

Vietnam's First Weapon Museum Opens To Public

Vietnam trial begins of teen accused of killing to play video games

Inside The Vietnam ETF (VNM) - Leveraged ETFs

City of Hanoi Selects Echelon and ElcomTek to Deploy Vietnam's First Smart City Street Light Control System

Vietnam Napalm Survivor Kim Phuc to Speak at Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, California

Western Sahara

US Congressional Action Spurs State Dept to Break Western Sahara Deadlock (Perspective)

Yemen

Yemen’s Government Approves Expanded Amnesty Deal for Saleh

Explosion stops output at small Yemen oil field

Yemen unearths Paleolithic sites

Institution Revolution Expanding in Yemen

Zambia

Zambia: Former Diplomat Calls on West to Engage Iran Through IAEA

State to open up airwaves for private investment

Cabinet to meet over Online publications

China buy vehicles for Zambia

U.S Calls for More Grant Applications

Africard arrives in Zambia #payments

MTN goes green in Zambia

Zimbabwe

India to offer Zimbabwe $100m credit

Zimbabwe teachers strike for more pay

(PHOTO: Infectious: More than 165 wild animals including 88 hippopotamuses have died amid an outbreak of anthrax in Zimbabwe. DAILY MAIL) Anthrax outbreak claims lives of more than 165 wild animals in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Utility Moves to Expand Pre-Paid Consumer Meter Program

Chinese have become unwelcome guests in Zimbabwe because of bad labour practices (Perspective)

WORLD:

Battle set for internet domain names

Meet the Heroic Women Who Sparked the Arab Spring 

UN Ratifies Zero Tolerance for Blue Helmets

Why Latin America Calls on Philosophers (Perspective)

At the Crossroads of Sustainability: A Conversation with Bill Ryerson

A Solar Solution for Africa’s Mobile Problem

SA assumes UN Security Council presidency; Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo start two-year terms on the council

(PHOTO: Meet the heroic women of the Arab Spring. PALESTINE NOTES)

Saturday
Feb122011

Could The Spirit of Tahrir Square Infect Cameroon, West Africa? (Report)

(HN, February 12, 2011) - Cameroonian Presidential candidate and women's rights activist Kah Walla has warned incumbent President Paul Biya that the wave of passion for democratic change that has swept through Tunisia and Egypt could travel as far as West Africa - especially Cameroon, where presidential elections are due in October.

Cameroonian presidential candidate Kah Walla

In a letter to Biya sent to HUMNEWS, Kah Walla writes: "Mr. President, I am certain you are observing with great interest along with the rest of us Cameroonians, the wind of change that is gaining incredible momentum throughout Africa and in the Middle East. It is an incredible season for people who have been oppressed for decades and who have decided to take their destiny into their own hands. They are not only winning battles, but are actually coming out victorious in the struggles for independence, freedom and human dignity which they have been waging against their leaders.

"It is a very bad season for presidents who have been in power for over 20 years, maintaining their power through dubious, ritualistic elections, which have credibility neither with their own people nor with the global community."

In Cameroon the president is elected by plurality vote to serve a seven-year term. However opposition leaders say the election commission has "colossal weaknesses" and lacks the credibility to manage free and fair elections in Cameroon."

Biya came to power in the oil-producing nation in 1982. Like Nigeria, Cameroon's prospects for development were initially promising, with oil and pipeline projects generating revenue. But Biya changed the constitution in 2008, allowing him to run for president for a third time this year. Protests erupted and the opposition termed the change "a constitutional coup".

The parallels between Egypt and Cameroon are striking: both have had a president in power for about three decades, enjoy significant oil wealth, have huge populations of young people, suffer from massive unemployment and widespread corruption. Like the ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Biya is in is close to 80-years-old (he turns 78 tomorrow). It therefore comes as little surprise that Kah Walla is putting Biya on notice in the sternly-worded letter.

She says it is impossible for Cameroonians not to take notice of the popular stand against rigged elections in Egypt.

"Cameroonians are not only sitting on the edges of their seats observing this, but we are communing with these people in mind and spirit. We understand them in our very core, we admire the steps they have taken to control their own destinies, we are humbled by the courage they are showing in daring to invent their own futures, we are collecting information, analyzing it and drawing lessons from their victories."

Citing the tumultuous events in Tunisia, Kah Walla said: "We have learned from the Tunisians, that unlike us in 1992, it is necessary to maintain the pressure until the ultimate goal is attained. We have learned from the Tunisians, that unlike us in 1992, it is necessary to maintain the pressure until the ultimate goal is attained."

There are more than 15 elections across Africa this year. Many of these countries share similar traits with other countries in North Africa that have witnessed unrest - a high percentage of under 30-year-olds, high joblessness, sky-rocketing food prices and rampant corruption. In April, Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria, will see Presidential elections that have already been tainted by a troublesome voter registration process.

Richard Moncrieff, West Africa Project Director for International Crisis Group, has said Cameroon's future is blighted by the threat of conflict. "The threat really comes from the frustration of the population, both for economic reasons – high unemployment, widespread poverty – and also for political reasons."

He added: "The very poor governance, the widespread corruption, the politicization of the justice system, the politicization of the electoral system is in fact a danger for the country and could eventually lead to conflict."

In her letter, Kah Walla, emboldened by what she has seen in North Africa, appeared to be issuing an ultimatum: "A world is collapsing, the world of dictators. The wind of change which is blowing, will only gather steam and momentum as the months go by and as we hurtle towards September/October 2011. Cameroonians are determined in this year to take their destiny into their own hands...We will willingly do this through a structured transition, through an election...on condition. On condition that the minimum requirements for a free and fair election are met. On condition that the political will for a democratic transition is unambiguously demonstrated. On condition that no one, absolutely no one, stops us in any way shape or form, impedes us from exercising our free will and our voters’ rights as Cameroonian citizens."

At 45, Kah Walla is an internationally management consultant and entrepreneur. She was recognized in 2008 by the World Bank as one of seven women entrepreneurs in Africa. In 2009 she spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative summit in New York.

- HUMNEWS staff

 

Thursday
Jan062011

Soaring Food Prices Cause Concern Worldwide (Report)

(PHOTO: Bikyamasr.com)(HN, January 6, 2011) - Noah commandeers his battered taxi through the early morning haze of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, wondering how he will come up with the money to pay for a trip to the market. Not only has the price of produce shot up in recent months, the price of parking at the market has double in recent weeks.

Noah’s worries were confirmed this week by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), which reported that its food price index – a basket tracking the wholesale cost of wheat, corn, rice, oil seeds, dairy products, sugar and meats, has jumped to a record high – even surpassing prices that sparked riots in more than 30 countries – including Haiti, Somalia and Cameroon - in 2007-2008.

While the price of staples such as rice and wheat are below the crises level, sticker shock in markets around the world is being caused by corn, sugar, meat and vegetable oil.

“We are entering a danger territory,” Abdolreza Abbassian, an economist at the FAO told reporters Wednesday.

(GRAPH: FAO) But some believe the world food supply is more fragile than it ever was, mostly because of extreme weather worldwide last year. Major wheat producers such as Ukraine and Russia have banned exports of wheat in 2010 after extremely poor harvests. And recent severe flooding in Australia’s agricultural heartland of Queensland is already having global repercussions on the world food supply.

This week, young people in the capital of Algiers, Algeria, rioted mostly because of rising food prices – including oil, sugar and flour.

There is also evidence to suggest that in the poorest countries, mothers are being forced by rising prices to cut back on essentials. In Niger - where one in four children die before their fifth birthday, mainly due to malnutrition – record numbers of children are being admitted to the country’s 822 therapeutic feeding centres, according to UNICEF.

Even in developed countries, people in the food business are being forced to cope using innovative means. Cynthia Thomet, co-owner of Atlanta’s Lunacy Black Market, a trendy eatery, said fluctuating prices of produce means much more frequent menu changes.

The sharp increase in commodity prices has prompted food companies like General Mills, Kraft, Sara Lee, Kellogg and ConAgra Foods to drop discounts and start rising prices on many products, said Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

According to the FAO not only is their Food Price Index which tracks 55 commodities in total at a record high, but December 2010 was the sixth month in a row of surging prices - the highest since records began in 1990. The organization says it fears that prices will continue to soar in coming months as supply will fall short of world demand.

(PHOTO: City Farmer)Additionally, in a continuing to struggle world economy rising food prices would see consumers left with less money for discretionary spending on things like eating out and retail items as every day eating becomes more expensive.

Compounding the issue is the growing global population, scheduled to top 7 billion people sometime this spring.  The FAO has previously warned that worldwide food production must rise by 70% by 2050 when the global population will increase to 9.1 billion people, mostly in Asia and Africa.

--- By HUMNEWS’ staff

Friday
Oct292010

(HEADLINES) - October 29, 2010 - AFRICA

ALGERIA

(CREDIT: Tunisia Online) The 3rd congress of the Arab Women Organisation was held on Thursday afternoon in Tunis

ANGOLA

Angola at launching of Africa’s Food Security Day

Angola hosts fashion, beauty expo

BENIN

Benin: UN emergency flight arrives with aid for flood victims

BOTSWANA

Celebrating Botswana's amazing one-hit wonders

Flood victims cry out for help(CREDIT: MMEGI ONLINE)

Khama declares war on poverty

Fires in Botswana (PHOTO)

BURKINA FASO

Honesty must be predominant in social change (opinion)

CAMEROON

Transparency International launches Launches Corruption Perception Index @Cameroon Center

US$19.2 million IFAD loan to Cameroon to improve food security in rural areas

Cholera kills 550 in Cameroon

Cameroon Counts Over 93,000 Business Companies

CAPE VERDE

Atlantic sea turtle population threatened by egg infection

Cape Verde gets Africa's first giant wind farm(CREDIT: Afrol.com)

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Support for National Efforts Vital As UN Leaves, Says Secretary-General

COMOROS

Al-Rumaihi's Statement on Arab Committee for Development in the Comoros

Research and Markets: 3Q10 Comoros Mobile Operator Forecast, 2010 - 2014

Comoros Ambassador to Tehran Encourages Iranian Traders to Invest in Comoros

DJIBOUTI

Book Review: Elmore Leonard Takes His Crime-Writing Skills to ‘Djibouti’

Djibouti Food Security Outlook October 2010

Research and Markets: 3Q10 Djibouti Mobile Operator Forecast, 2010 - 2014

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

African women primed for big stage

ERITREA

Yemen, Eritrea summit boosting joint cooperation

Modern Machineries-Backed Crop Harvesting Underway in Dekemhare Sub-Zone

GABON

Gabon and Chinese in manganese project

UN to Open Conflict Prevention Office in Gabon

Korea, Gabon hold talks on energy cooperation

THE GAMBIA

Soldiers told to take proactive role in national development

Gambia to set up Science, Technology Park

GHANA

Iran's foreign minister flies to Ghana

Gov't Releases Funds To Control Black Flies

GUINEA

Guinea sets date for poll second round

GUINEA-BISSAU

UNDP to back civil society projects in Guinea-Bissau

Guinea Bissau to create more mangroves, parks by 2012

LIBERIA

WFP Supports Food Security in Liberia

Carbon Fraud Report Links Many

LIBYA

Chavez, Gaddafi meet in Libya to build power among global "south"

African Development Bank Launches First Project in Libya

MADAGASCAR

Parasite infects poor women's reproductive organs

MALAWI

Malawi: no longer begging

Sex for work at Labour offices

MALI

Mali: Restructuring Agriculture

Weather forecasting helps Mali farmers adapt to climate change

Cuba: Alarcon Meets with Mali Parliamentary Leader

MAURITANIA

Mauritania unveils counter-terrorism plan

Orangutans And Monk Seals Among Species To Benefit From Spain-Backed Conservation Boost

MAYOTTE

Coral deaths reach Mayotte, Comoros

MOZAMBIQUE

Child Registration Campaign

Nippon Steel to acquire interest in Mozambique coal project

Eight Detained for Cholera Disinformation

Central Bank of India to open branch in Mozambique

NAMIBIA

Coca Cola Happiness Ambassadors land in Namibia

NIGER

Niger to vote on constitution; critics question vote's significance months after military coup

South Korea to cooperate with Niger on nuclear energy

RWANDA

Hero of 'Hotel Rwanda' is declared enemy of the state

SAO TOME & PRINCIPE

World Bank to support state budget of Sao Tome and Principe

SEYCHELLES

Seychelles, from recession to new boom

SOMALIA

New radio show features Somali language

U.S. slips in corruption index, Somalia worst

SUDAN

Sudan’s Last Chance for Durable Peace

SWAZILAND

Swaziland Railway employees petition CEO

TANZANIA

Tanzania Teachers Start Second Taarab Workshop in Comoros

TOGO

21 dead in Togo as floods ravage west Africa

WESTERN SAHARA

Western Sahara: the difficult mission of Christopher Ross

Call for the protection of rock paintings of the desert

ZAMBIA

H.E joins London Mayor to Celebrate Africa @50

AFRICA GENERAL:

Africa's election Super Sunday

Bharti Airtel to establish call centers across Africa

Witchcraft in Africa a complex dilemma

WHO Launches Massive Polio Eradication Campaign 

All Afrika Expedition against malaria kicks off

Cholera continues to be deadly epidemic in most countries

Is the US backing governments who employ child war fighters? (opinion)

Cable exclusive: The secret Obama administration memo on child soldiers

4 African countries, 15 others join ECOSOC

Africa: from North to South, the economy is recovering

Two wheels to a better life in Africa

Monday
Oct252010

(REPORT) Benin suffering from the worst floods since 1963 

(Photo UN News) 

(HN, October 25, 2010) -- Nearly 700,000 people have been affected by severe flooding in the West African country of Benin and at least 60 people have been killed, according to the United Nations.

“Seasonal heavy rains have been hitting West Africa for several months and normally last until November,” said Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in a statement. “However, what has happened this year goes well beyond normal flooding for Benin.”

The deluge – the most extreme since 1963 – has had an impact on 51 out of 77 communes in the last five weeks. Along rivers and lakes, fragile huts have been submerged in up to two meters of water.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will begin airlifting supplies, including some 3000 tents, from its emergency stockpiles in Copenhagen.

Edwards said that while the UNHCR's normal work in Benin was with the refugee and asylum-seeking population of some 7,300, "we have been called upon to help with the emergency shelter needs of some of the homeless people in southern parts of the country where we have a presence.”  

Food production has also been badly hit by the floods. Elisabeth Byrs of the UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said an appeal for funds and aid is being planned.
  
Experts had assessed needs for fresh water and purification measures, food and shelter, she added.

Earlier this month the U.N. reported that the floods affected 1.5 million people in regions in West and Central Africa with Benin being hit the worst. The floods have destroyed entire villages, killing more than 100 people in Nigeria alone. There have been 377 flood related deaths according to the report.

A cholera outbreak has added to the misery, with over 800 cases counted across Benin. In the aftermath of the flooding, Chad, Northern Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria are also facing serious cholera epidemics, according to the U.N.

The heavy floods are caused by torrential rains and high water level waters of the Niger and other rivers.

- HUM News Staff

Wednesday
Sep152010

HUMNEWS HEADLINES - September 15, 2010 (Africa and the Middle East) 

The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa that juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea, & lies along the south side of the Gulf of Aden. The region contains the countries of Eritrea, Djibouti, Djibouti, Ethiopia, & Somalia. As such, it covers approximately 2,000,000 km² & is inhabited by about 100.2 million people (Ethiopia: 75mn, Somalia: 10mn, Eritrea: 4.5mn, Djibouti: 0.7 million). Regional studies on the Horn of Africa are carried out, among others, in the fields of Ethiopian Studies as well as Somali Studies. (VIA WIKIPEDIA) REGION – Africa and Middle East

Hung up on the Horn of Africa

BP and off-shore drilling in the Mediterranean

World Bank report highlights Middle East economic challenges

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE among the most generous donors around the globe

ALGERIA

Petroceltic hopes to tap a new markets as loss hits $5m

Algeria to host North African security meeting

Algeria Power Report 2010 – Between 2010 & 2019, report forecasts an increase in Algerian electricity generation of 57.3%

Algeria convicts anti-corruption activist of corruption

ANGOLA

British ambassador praises role played by Angola in Africa

Social reintegration of disabled persons easier

Angola and Kenya to analyze cooperation in media

BENIN

Benin, Oba wants Swedish help on sex trade

Police give reasons for violent crimes in Edo

Internet and e-commerce industry in Benin

Guitarist Lionel Loueke combines African, jazz, classical sounds (entertainment)  

BOTSWANA

Cosatu’s radical new plan for the economy  

Residents against Botswana joining United States of Africa

Botswana installs full body scanners

Botswana, SA move up Fifa rankings (sports)

ISAF welcomes Botswana as a new member national authority (sports)

BURKINA FASO

Iran urges enhanced ties with Africa

CAMEROON

Cameroon begins search for seized vessels

First CamairCo flight to Paris scheduled on March 28, 2011 (travel)  

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

New network launches in Republic of the Congo

The ICC is a phantom court  

GABON

Fifa rankings: Gabon overtakes Nigeria (sports)

GAMBIA

Pres. Jammeh tours affected communities – brings hope to disaster victims

VP launches support for disaster victims

GHANA

Ghana to set up International Trade Commission

Ghana breaks in Top20 in Fifa rankings (sports)

Michael Essien leads Ghana Quintet in champs league action (sports)  

Derrick Adjei, A damaging liability to Ghana  

Chris Gardner arrives in Ghana next month

LESOTHO

Report says hunger costing poor countries billions

New customs deal to lighten burden on SA  

LIBERIA

African Aura Mining granted Liberia iron ore development rights

Cellcom gives US$500,000 to Liberian Football Association

Country still faces security challenges  

Monrovia, Liberia, Now Delta’s 7th African destination (travel)

LIBYA

Growing row in Italy over alleged Libyan attack on fishing boat

Libya paying fees for assault suspect

Libyan Shoah survivors to get reparations

MALAWI

Malawi President expects remarkable growth in Iran-Africa ties

Ex-President Muluzi denies Malawi corruption charges

Malawi democracy ‘on the right track’  

MAURITANIA

35 Islamists pardoned show their repentance

QATAR

Qatar index up after delayed opening

Qatari official and Darfur mediator discuss peace process

Qatari oil rises as refiners seek more distillate rich grades  

SIERRA LEONE

Politics with a new dimension in Sierra Leone: President Koroma brings the government to the people of the U.S.

African minerals constructs schools for Tonkolili kids

SOMALIA

Ethiopia troops arrive in Somaliland to hunt down ONLF rebels

SUDAN

Sudanese FM hails Iran’s remarkable progress in different fields

Child refugees at risk from sexual abuse

YEMEN

Three coincident explosions rock south Yemen, separatists blamed

Terrorist death squads publish their hit lists  

Yemen to attend 34th session of Arab Central Banks Governors Council

Tuesday
Jun222010

Amid humiliating African Losses, South African team told to "storm the Bastille"

(HN, June 22, 2010) -- Today all eyes on the continent will be on the South African team at the World Cup to reverse a string of humiliating losses chalked up by African teams Cameroon and Cote d'Ivoire.Johannesburg fan Tamara Sutila shows her support for "Bafana Bafana"

In a few hours Bafana Bafana (the boys, the boys) meet France in a do or die soccer encounter in the South African city of Bloemfontein. The South Africans need several goals in order to stand a chance at progressing into the second round.

One local newspaper today instructed South African players to "storm the Bastille" in their meet-up with France. The South African team tied with Mexico in the opening match of the World Cup, but lost to Uruguay a few days later.

Should South Africa be defeated today, it would signify the first time a host nation fails to make it to round two.

The hopes for an African win is palpable in the country's airports, shopping malls and streets. After all, this is the first World Cup to be played on African soil and the poor performance thus far by the continent's teams has thrown fans into a collective depression.

This morning at Johannesburg International Airport dejected fans from Cameroon were headed home, unable to afford a longer stay in South Africa.

Asked what he thought about the poor performance of the Cameroonian and other African teams, one departing fan said: "I think it has to be back to the drawing board for our teams. They havent been communicating well internally."

Ghana, and to a lesser extent Algeria and Nigeria, are among the other African teams that still stand a chance at progressing to the second round.

South African political and sports leaders are reminding their countrymen that no matter what the outcome of today's match, the host country must continue to play the perfect host to the world.

"Over the past few weeks South Africa has undergone an extraordinary revival of its national spirt," said Archbishop Emeritus Demond Tutu. Observers here say the Cup has been extremely helpful in boosting the spirits of South Africans - many of them concerned about poverty, crime, unemployment, and factionalism within the African National Congress.

Of the more than 400,000 foreign tourists who have come for the World Cup, there are only about 50,000 African fans who bought tickets. The difficulty and cost of acquiring tickets, and the expense of flights and accommodation have been factors in keeping African fans at home.

In hosting the World Cup, some South African opinion leaders are hoping that it will bring a change in the mindset of the political, business and sports elite. Said columnist John Carlin: "South Africa...is at a crossroads. Either the spirit imposes itself of those who have contrived to get the country ready for the World Cup, whose hard and honest toil is ensuring that so far everything is going well or, after the World Cup has come and gone, the spirit of the Bafana 'black elite' reigns in the land. At which point we might as well forget all notion forever of this country re-establishing itself - as it did during the Mandela glory years - as a light and example to Africa, let alone the world."

-- Reporting by HUMNEWS staff in Johannesburg, SA. 

Tuesday
Jun152010

HUM at the World Cup

(HN, June 15, 2010) Starting today, HUM News takes its front row seat at the World Cup in South Africa to report on the backstories surrounding the world’s most watched sporting event.

Four countries that fall within HUM’s definition of a ‘geographic gap' are represented at the World Cup. They are: North Korea, Algeria, Ghana and Cameroon.

(Tonight North Korea competes in the first round against Brazil in a sold out match in Johannesburg. The North Koreans so far have held all of their practices behind closed doors).

Along with a small editorial team now on the ground in South Africa, HUM will utilize a team of writers, editors, stringers and commentators spread across the globe. 

The HUM News site at www.humnews.com will serve as the main portal for World Cup coverage. In addition the news agency will be sharing video, audio, images and text with a variety of media outlets, big and small. Instant updates and links to stories will be posted on the HUM News Twitter feed at @humnews.

The World Cup is the second major global sporting event to be covered by HUM. Earlier this year, the Atlanta-based news service deployed a large team to the Vancouver Winter Olympics, where about a dozen HUM countries competed for the medal stand. Over four consecutive days, HUM’s unique brand of coverage was streamed live to Barcelona, where it was displayed at the Intel booth at the Mobile World Congress.

Star Alliance partners Air Canada and Lufthansa assisted HUM’s journey to South Africa.