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Monday:  October 6, 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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Entries in Gabon (6)

Wednesday
Apr182012

Islamic States Announce Own Media Channel (REPORT) 

(PHOTO: Opening ceremony of the Information Minsiters meeting of the OIC, Gabon/IINA)(HN, April 18, 2012) - Today, Information Ministers of the member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) started the 9th Islamic Conference of Information Ministers (ICIM); a three-day meeting in the capital of Gabon, Libreville hosted by President Ali Bongo Ondimba.

The group is focusing its attention on  "Information Technologies in the service of peace and development” at the Conference Palace in Democracy City and is being attended by a group of ministers and delegates representing 57 member countries.

Morocco who is Chair of the 9th session, and other member representatives, made speeches in which they stressed the importance of the meeting being held during a time characterized by "a multitude of challenges in the world in general, and in the Muslim Ummah world in particular.  

Speakers urged broadcasters to counter stereotypes about Islam and Muslims in the Western media and asked that the adoption by the Seventh Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers held in Algeria in December of a resolution to create a new Islam media channel, be implemented as soon as possible.

Already the organization has been working on a comprehensive plan to combat prejudice against Islam and Muslim communities with a view to developing campaigns to foster respect for cultural and religious pluralism and diversity, while raising awareness of the positive contributions of Muslims to promote tolerance and understanding.

The OIC Secretary General Ekmelddin Ihsanoglu said, "We are keen to have an OIC outlet to present to the world the true picture of both the Islamic civilization and religion."

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) is also taking part in the conference and Dr. El Mahjoub Bensaid, presented how the organization can support the new OIC media efforts by offering training to journalists.

Concern by the Ministers centered on information programs which would support, in particular, the Palestinian cause and the issues of the sovereignty of Jerusalem, (Jerusalem is known in Arabic as Al-Quds) and Al Aqsa mosque, as well as highlighting the role of the African continent in Islam. A high priority for the group is in restructuring the process of the International Islamic News Agency (IINA) and the Islamic Broadcasting Union (IBU), opening of OIC media offices in member countries and activating cooperation between the OIC and the Global Digital Solidarity Fund. The group is entertaining proposals for the establishment of an OIC Muslim journalists union, and the launching of an Islamic TV satellite channel to be called "OIC".

Malaysia is among 10 countries which have been selected to study the proposed establishment of an Islamic television station that will act as an important platform for highlighting Islamic issues and which will discuss Muslim issues globally, countering coverage that discredits Islam.

Besides Malaysia, the committee will be represented by Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Gabon, Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco and Mauritania.

The first meeting of the committee is scheduled to take place at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the middle of June.

The Gabon resolution says negative news in some Western media has resulted in stigmatized stereotyping, racial discrimination and victimization directed against Muslims. Stressing that the Islamic faith is based on the core values of peace, tolerance, moderation and peaceful co-habitation with all other religions and beliefs, the OIC labeled the emergence of Islamophobia as a “contemporary form of racism and xenophobia motivated by unfounded fear, mistrust and hatred of Muslims and Islam which manifests itself through intolerance and hostility in adverse public discourse.”

“As such, Islamophobia is an affront to the human rights and dignity of Muslims,” the resolution claimed.

THE PLAN

The Gabon conference has short, medium and long term goals for putting in place an action plan to fight Islamophobia it said.  It is asking member states to create funding for media campaigns, and discourage using expressions such as “Islamic” fascists or “Islamic” extremists for criminal terrorists. The OIC underlines the importance of developing Muslim's own narrative on daily issues such as the environment, climate change, social justice, development, poverty, etc.

For the medium term, the resolution asks member states to implement media literacy programs in schools to combat misperceptions, prejudices and hate speech. It aims to utilize success stories in the Muslim world “as a means to show that the interests of Muslims are similar to the rest of the world when it comes to democracy, good governance and human rights.” The resolution even plans to create awards for excellence in unbiased journalism, reporting, photography and publishing.

According to the long term goals of the OIC media resolution, professional media people in member states are called to “develop, articulate and implement voluntary codes of conduct.” It sets up scholarship programs for Westerners to study in the Muslim world and encourage reporter-exchange programs between the Muslim world and the West in order to disseminate this information throughout media outlets.

--- HUMNEWS

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

Sunday
Dec252011

THE HUM - HEADLINES FROM THE GEOGRAPHIC GAP - 12/25/2011

Angola 

(PHOTO: In Botswana, taking an exhilarating ride among zebra in the Okavango Delta - Mail Online) Angola's energy sector to gain wind power station

Angola to have new digital television system by 2012

Media Watchdog Slams State-Run Radio and Television

Botswana 

Hard up Botswana consumers brace for thrift holidays

Safari in the saddle: Riding with giraffes and chasing zebra in buzzing Botswana

Brazil 

(PHOTO: The Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon is the site of the world's third largest hydroelectric dam, Belo Monte. FORBES)Over A Million People Sign Petition Against Brazil's 'Pandora Dam'

Brazil Outshines Other BRIC Economies

Burkina Faso 

Cotton picked by children found in 'fair trade' garments, reporter finds

Burundi 

Burundian child kidnappers jailed 

Cameroon 

African Swine Fever poses wider food security risk

Cameroon Doubles Down on Gays

Canada 

Canada to Begin Testing HIV Vaccine

Cape Verde

The season of good cheer overcast by economic gloom (Perspective)

Central African Republic 

(PHOTO: Collecting blood samples of swine flu from a warthog. STOCK JOURNAL) Is this a bad dream? (Perspective)

China 

Chinese Embassy Donates to Orphanage, Disabled Homes in Liberia

Congo (DRC)

Kabila rival takes presidential oath

UN Troops to Launch Operation against Militia in DR Congo's Ituri District

Congo’s Deaf Community Struggling in Wake of Government SMS Ban

Djibouti

First Djibouti troops join AU Somalia force

Ecuador 

Ecuador for Membership in MERCOSUR 

Equatorial Guinea 

Dictator Obiang collects an award once given to Clinton, Bush

Ethiopia

An embarrassing meeting in Addis Ababa (Perspective)

Analysis: 'Commission must stand up for human rights in Ethiopia'

Gabon 

Gabon coalition takes 95% of election seats

Gambia 

Country Water Partnership Launched

Ghana 

(PHOTO: Clarissa Child Laborer. NY Amsterdam News)Poverty Reduction and Oil Revenue: The Case of Ghana

Greece 

Asylum-Seekers Can't Be Forced Back to Greece

Guinea-Bissau 

It’s all-round festivity at CARNIRIV

Haiti 

$1.5 million to aid Haiti's post-quake business recovery

EU commission awards Haiti extra aid, warns of "significant" needs

Haiti Constitution to be Officially Published by Year's End, says Interior Minister

Haiti: Sporting Complex Opens in Gressier

India 

Floating hotel service on Ganga in Bihar

Iran

Iran denies trade finance ban for UAE imports 

Ireland 

Ireland among top ‘luxury tourism’ locations

Italy 

Algeria-Italy natural gas pipeline Galsi not expected online before 2015

Ivory Coast 

Gbagbo supporters stage Hague protest

Ivory Coast to prepare Cup of Nations in Abu Dhabi

Kool & the Gang celebrate peace in Ivory Coast

Jordan 

(PHOTO: The Taj mall in Amman, Jordan. GREEN PROPHET)Amman’s New Mega-Mall is Antithesis of Sustainable Development (Perspective)

Kenya

Ministry allays fears of Ebola outbreak

IBM Helps Sweeten Earnings for Kenyan Sugar Cane Cutters

Lebanon

UN calls on Israel to compensate Lebanon for 2006 oil spill

Lesotho

Unearth the hidden gems of ‘soul country’

Liberia

Liberia: Giving Back, Health Worker Cares for Displaced Ivorians

Libya

Opec agrees to accommodate Libya oil production

Malawi

Malawi MPs to inspect grain reserves

Malawi court convicts 90 Ethiopians

Mali

A Photographer Documents Life In A Country Where 75% Of People Can't Read Or Write

Mali, Algeria boost efforts to contain Qaeda spread

Marshall Islands

WHO calls for increased surveillance of dengue fever in Pacific

Mauritania

Mauritanian public employees deep in debt, study shows

Morocco

Morocco shaping up as an oil producer

Mozambique

Work On Maputo Domestic Terminal Ahead of Schedule

Government Praises Community Radios

Mozambique negotiates funding from Chinese bank for Maputo-Katembe bridge

Namibia

‘Mysterious’ space ball drops on Namibia — nothing mysterious about it

More Crop Farmers to Use Govt Tractors

Telecom Namibia deploying first DWDM network

Nepal

Nepal’s Migrants Lured By Empty Promises, Trapped by Bosses Abroad

Nigeria

Video: Nigeria hit by wave of Christmas day church bombings

Nigeria clashes kill at least 68, say officials

Nigerian Oil Spill Stretches 900 Square Kilometers, says Environmental Group

North Korea

North Korea’s Hunger

North Korea's country risk score falls after leader's death

Pakistan

Pakistan can play vital role in promoting regional trade (Perspective)

Peru

(PHOTO: Air traffic controller at Jorge Chavez International Airport Photo Andina Archive PERUTHISWEEK)Peru declares air traffic state of emergency

UN: Peru’s Economy to Have Grown by 7 Percent in 2011

Philippines

Philippines slips in 2011 global democracy index rankings

A new ethic on climate change (Perspective)

Portugal

Portugal won't extradite fugitive killer George Wright to U.S.

Rwanda

Rwandan rebel leader held in Paris after release

Rwanda: More Refugees Flock in

Sao Tome and Principe

Energy Group Holds Third GMD Conference in Sao Tome

Senegal

Senegal president to run for 3rd term

Music-Piracy: Top Senegalese musician advises colleagues on piracy

Restive Senegal region seeks Catholic group's mediation

Singapore

World's orchid growers gather in Singapore

South Africa

New African Elephant Fund Approves First Set of Projects

Sudan

(PHOTO: New Port Sudan Terminal Able to House Up to 800,000 Containers - Sudan Vision)New Port Sudan Terminal Able to House Up to 800,000 Containers

Africa Should Adopt an Idea of not Handing over Any Citizen to the ICC (Interview)

Thailand

Thailand sets Committees to restore Foreign Investor confidence

The Netherlands

The Netherlands: Court Upholds Fine for Dumping Waste in Africa

Togo

Ghana Seizes  Smuggled Goods From Togo

Tunisia

Tunisian Fashion Designers Shine Abroad

Turkey

Turkey Blocks Web Pages Touting Darwin's Evolution Theory

Uganda

No Sex For Soldiers

United Arab Emirates

Awafi Festival revs up the excitement in RAK

Students delve into UAE's past to make sense of present

Nuclear regulator wins accolades from review team

United Kingdom

Gifts: 12 British Books for the Holidays

United States

Lori Berenson returns to the US

Uruguay

Malvinas: (Falkland Islands) UK requests access to Uruguay's ports

Vanuatu

Vanuatu signs development cooperation agreement with Indonesia

Venezuela

We will Turn Venezuelan into a Gas Exporter, Ramirez Says

Vietnam

Vietnam Top Choice For Nike Footwear

Vietnam metro seeks to improve its image

Zuckerberg's Vietnam holiday is chance to get Facebook unblocked there (Perspective)

Western Sahara

UN Envoy Christopher Ross to visit Western Sahara and Morocco before April 2012

Yemen

Yemen interim government priorities are electricity and oil derivatives

Yemen ruling party threatens to change mind about GCC deal

Zambia

Cops manning Zambia-DRC border in allowances arrears

Zimbabwe

New Zimbabwe Constitution: problems mount

Wednesday
Dec222010

(EXCLUSIVE) (Perspective) - `Obsession with Political Power: the Case of Laurent Gbagbo’

The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire AKA Ivory Coast is a country in West Africa. (CREDIT: Wikipedia--- By Adama Burkari

Did I know that Africa was just about setting in motion it’s own system of democracy where two presidents rule one nation when I authored “AFRICA’S LEADERSHIP QUAGMIRE: any way forward?” Dear reader, I had not the slightest hint that Ivory Coast was the nation to redefine democracy in the African context in such a vague and unrealistic form it has just done! Please, do me the honour by reading the full publication which featured concurrently on the Ghana’s myjoyonline.com and humnews.com.

I shudder at the reality that the once peaceful nation called Ivory Coast is almost on the verge of sinking again into the dregs of political conflict which engulfed the country some years ago. The sight of fallen victims of the conflict most of whom were women and children was such as despicable scenario that the eyes had to behold! Things had virtually fallen apart and the war resulted in the loss of innocent souls. The tears of children could not stop the blood-thirsty and power-obsessed political ‘trustees’ from firing gunshots indiscriminately!

Laurent GbagboI certainly can’t bring back the pains and undignified savagery that went on in the land of Ivory Coast and no one should try re-opening unhealed wounds! Not even the Gbagbo’s or the Ouattara’s should revisit sane minds with such a toxic pain! It surely should not happen again for Africans are neither savages nor cannibals; we are humans with a sense of dignity and pride. Sorry, reader if I sound harsh in your ears but must we not condemn the on-going political garbage in Ivory Coast in the strongest terms? It is so sad that we live on a continent that prides itself as the premier to human civilizations yet we seem far from the realities and the application of common sense in our political governance systems to the extent that political conflict has virtually become engrained in Africa’s politics. What a shame!

Until the death of its longest serving President, Felix Houphouet-Boigny who ruled the country right from her time of independence, Ivory Coast lacked any real experience in democratic governance. This is because under his dictatorial claws, Felix Houphouet-Boigny held onto power for over 3 decades baring any democratic political activities in the country. It was after his death that multi-party politics started to unfold and then the thorny issues such as who qualified to vote in Ivory Coast became contentious. As if these issues were light-weighted, they became so thorny that conflict finally reared its ugly head and split the nation apart.

Felix Houphouet-BoignyIn my article “AFRICA’s Leadership Quagmire; any way forward?”, I talked about political dynasty in Africa and cited Togo and Gabon as two among the several African countries that have experienced the unfortunate scenario where political leaders simply pass on the reigns of governments to their kinsmen and one wonders if the late Houphouet-Boigny would have ever ceded power to anybody apart from his kinsmen. Because of his long stay in power, the political aspiration of the people was curtailed. Even though under his reigns, the country was not only politically stable but also economically viable, it must be emphasized that his long stay in power was by itself a breach of trust and a denial for a fair and democratic political activities in Ivory Coast. Certainly, that was a trait of dynastic rule and the rippling effect is vivid for all to see.

The Ivory Coast’s civil war was prompted by the new law ushered in through a referendum that required a presidential candidate to have both parents born in Cote D’Ivoire. Obviously, this bared the main opposition leader Alassane Ouattarra from contesting in the country’s election. With his huge support base in the country especially the north and the obvious game of political gymnastics Gbagbo sought to pursue against Ouattara, it was not surprising that civil war finally broke out in the country.

Events leading up to the peace process had been difficult but the Marcoussis Accord of January 2003, supposedly the most comprehensive peace pact, was expected to end the crisis. Importantly, the main characters of the conflict signed this agreement which among other things dealt with the issues of nationality, eligibility for citizenship and land ownership. With these thorny issues having been resolved under mutual consent and satisfaction, it was expected that Ivory Coast was on the road to national cohesion. Unfortunately, elections after the Marcoussis Accord had been delayed for six consecutive times.Alassane Ouattarra

In the events leading up to the October 31st, 2010 elections, there were concerns over possible vote rigging and as a result ballot papers had to be printed in Europe and a new Independent Electoral Commission comprising representatives of all the political parties was put in place. In the face of all these, it was the expectation that peace would be restored after the October 2010 elections. For now, one can say no to this expectation and unless a fast and decisive approach is adopted, Ivory Coast would sink again into political chaos!

In my view, the single person who should rationalize his position and make way for peace is Laurent Gbagbo. As a history professor and a critic of the Felix Houphouet-Boigny regime, and having suffered political imprisonment from 1971 to 1973 he should be the last person to provoke war in his cherished home country. Becoming president in October 26, 2000 after Robert Guei had fled the country, Laurent Gbagbo has perhaps become so obsessed with power that is why he could defy the will of the people and over-turn their verdict. I daresay that he is trying to entrench himself on the seat of the presidency and I am not surprised at all. In my recent publication of November 24, 2010, I did indicate that “having the entire state apparatus under their control for a few years nurtures an unbridled desire to remain in control even after the expiration of their mandatory regime”. This is Gbagbo’s ailment.

Indeed, it is shocking that the two personalities under the Ivory Coast saga are high-profiled public figures. As an economist, Alassane Ouattara has had extensive working relationship with international organizations. He served as the Deputy Managing Director for the International Monetary Fund, in Washington DC. As mentioned earlier, Laurent Gbagbo is a history professor. Both personalities have what it takes to be statesmen if only they will exercise restraint and allow due process to take its course. My worry is; if elite personalities will engage in such political sycophancy, then where are we heading towards?

It is important to state that regional and international bodies must remain resolute in their decision not to recognize the government of Laurent Gbagbo. The AU must bite now or remain mute forever! I am however excited at the stance of ECOWAS. At its extraordinary meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria on Tuesday December 7, 2010, the West African regional body unequivocally called on Gbagbo to step down and hand over power to Ouattara. That is indeed a refreshing call coming from ECOWAS.

It is expected that the African Union and other regional bodies would continue to exert pressure to stop the power-obsessed Gbagbo from holding on to political power. Africans are tired of backslapping behaviours of leaders who are expected to blaze the trail of democratic governance. Surely, the world is watching to see how at the continental level, African leaders can stop this show of tyranny coming from Gbagbo. His conduct smacks of hypocrisy at the highest level and an indictment to his academic laurels. Quoting from my earlier publication, I wish to ask Gbagbo, “Why must people think that they and their lineage are the only one who must rule?” How I wish to hear the history professor whose academic records are undoubtedly akin to a genius respond to this question. How does he expect the people of Ivory Coast and the world not to wonder if his desire to stay in power is not a way of covering up any excesses under his regime?

Peace is the foundation to progress and we must not allow one man to deny the good people of Ivory Coast from leaving in peace and tranquility. The era of fear and political intimidation in Africa cannot be revisited. The success story of Ghana’s journey to democratic governance must remind the likes of Gbagbo that times have changed and bully tactics would not be countenanced in Africa. Let the world tell him to deal with his own obsession privately. Eyes are watching! Long live Ivory Coast; Long Live Africa!

The writer, Adama Bukari, is a full-time author/publisher and the C.E.O of Exceed Media Ltd, a company that delivers superior services in publishing, media consultancy, business communications and advertising. He is also a motivational speaker and the editor-in-chief of JUVINILE INSPIRER; a youth magazine which seeks to deal with youthful inertias. Currently, he is studying Master of Philosophy in Global Leadership at the Institute of Professional Studies, Legon, Ghana. He was a finalist in the JoyFM’s MY BUSINESS 2010 Entrepreneurial Mentorship Programme.

Email: adamab2@yahoo.com

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

Friday
Jul022010

HUMNEWS HEADLINES - July 2, 2010 (Africa and the Middle East) 

ANGOLA

Foreign direct investment almost doubles between 2006 – 2008

Angola: Mobile ID’s issuing posts opens in Huambo

Angola: U.S. cooperation at best, says Ambassador Diakite

Angolan and Brazilian marines ready for mission in the community

Black Stars potential moment in history (sports)  

Angola: Jazz festival gathers 16 musicians

BOTSWANA

Botswana to offer new gold bullion ETF

Networking Botswana to the world

CAPE VERDE

Jonathan chairs ECOWAS summit in Cape Verde

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Central African bushmeat hits European market

ERITREA

The threat of a water war (op-ed)

Inhabitants of Gerset express satisfaction for becoming beneficiaries of development programs

Hgi Endaba: The laws of our ancestors (history/analysis)

GABON

Genocide fugitive faces extradition from Gabon

Corruption and environment top Ban’s talks with Gabonese leader  

GAMBIA

President Jammeh’s achievements highlighted in London

Taiwan embassy donated farm inputs to Gambian army

Food sold in markets should be hygienic  

Sunday beach on the spotlight (travel)

GHANA

Ghana in the vanguard of new logging laws

KENYA

Kenya data networks expands Wi-Fi services

LESOTHO

World Bank board of executive directors endorse new assistance strategy for Kingdom of Lesotho

LIBERIA

Reopening tourism in Liberia

Will congress pass LFA’s U.S. 1.8 million dollar budget?

LIBYA

Libyan envoy says Sudan never requested expulsion of Darfur rebel chief

Do not report Eritrean refugees – allow access to UN refugee agency

Vigilance urged as oil giant BP set to explore Libyan waters

Libya orders giant cruise boat

MALI

Mali gets 22.5 billion CFAF from Saudi fund, BOAD for dam project

MOZAMBIQUE

Mozambique: Former parliamentary deputy assassinated

Mozambique’s mobile license draws 22 bids

Attempt to  sell Mozambician island

Rebelo rejects ‘generation of the turning point’

NAMIBIA

The Swapo party’s – Think tank and the inner party’s disciple (opinion)

City’s ‘merciful’ tariff hikes

NIGERIA

Nigeria: Scientific development central to development

Nigeria: Highway with Cameroon fosters co-operation

SIERRA LEONE

Sierra Leone improves internet connectivity

Niomi Campbell subpoenaed in war crimes trial – what is a nice supermodel doing in a case like this?

What the UN Secretary General saw in Sierra Leone gave him hope for Africa

SOMALIA

Somali government declares offensive on al-Qaeda group

SOUTH AFRICA

2,000 apply for refugee status daily  

Evicted shack dwellers seek legal recourse

QATAR

Qatar signs military cooperation pact with Pakistan

Sovereign debt – the good, bad and plain ugly

$34bn projects are online in Qatar  

YEMEN

Al-Qaeda puts celebrities and bombs online with Inspire magazine

Yemen Shiite rebels bomb pro-government chieftains home, 3 killed

Yemen says G77 plus China attaches importance to UNDCF role

Yemen natural resources must be utilized well: IFAD official says

Turkish FM affirms support for Yemen’s unity, stability