Posts tagged as: american

Roselyn Akombe Fights Back Tears in Emotive Radio Interview

By Wycliffe Muia

Former IEBC Commissioner Roselyn Akombe has taken a swipe at the international community, saying they have blindly backed a “deeply flawed” electoral system.

In an interview with American NPR Radio, Dr Akombe on Wednesday said the foreign countries failed in their mandate to help Kenya prepare for a credible repeat poll.

“It’s a complex situation and where you have international community fully supporting the entire process, without questioning any part of such process,” Dr Akombe said.

RAISE CONCERNS

“In other countries that I have worked, the international community should have being the first to raise these concerns.”

This was second interview the ex-commissioner was granting foreign media after declaring her resignation on BBC on Wednesday.

She said she quit the commission because she did want to be part of a flawed election that would “make a mockery” of electoral integrity.

She blamed the international community for failing to assess and tell the world about the environment on which Kenyan’s election will be held.

“You have not heard anybody from the international community explain whether we have environment that will lead us to have a fair and credible election,” she said

BROKE DOWN

During the NPR interview, Dr Akombe broke down when trying to shed off the ‘opposition-mole’ tag at the IEBC.

“I cannot be a crazy person who has woken up and is raising these issues. I’m speaking out because I care for that country, I passionately care about my country. I do not want to see my country going down again,” she said as she fought back her tears.

“I am speaking out because I’m hoping that there are some sober heads who will take this up and redeem that country (Kenya), before it goes down the drain… sorry you got me a bit emotional, I wouldn’t be able to continue with this interview,” she told the interviewer.

In the wake of her announcement, her former boss, Wafula Chebukati, chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, issued a warning to the country’s political leaders on Wednesday.

FREE AND FAIR

“It’s impossible under the current conditions to hold free and fair elections,” Mr Chebukati said in a news conference.

“I issue a stern warning to both sides to stop interfering with the work of the commission.”

But in a tweet from his verified official account, Deputy President William Ruto shot back.

“Chebukati should stop lecturing us and oversee the elections. He is not doing us & we need no favours. Btw we won on 8/8 fair and square,” he said.

Nigeria:One-Hour Exercise Can Prevent 12% of Depression Cases – Study

By Olayemi John-Mensah

About 12 percent cases of depression could have been prevented if participants undertook just one hour of physical activity each week, a recent research has revealed.

The result of the study which was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry revealed that small amounts of exercise can protect against depression, with mental health benefits seen regardless of age or gender.

The study led by the Black Dog Institute revealed that regular exercise of any intensity can prevent future depression and just one hour can help.

Associate Professor Samuel Harvey from Black Dog Institute and the lead author of the research stated that they have known for some time that exercise has a role to play in treating symptoms of depression.

“But this is the first time we have been able to quantify the preventative potential of physical activity in terms of reducing future levels of depression,” he said.

The professor added that the findings were exciting because they showed that even relatively small amounts of exercise from one hour per week can deliver significant protection against depression.

The result highlights the great potential to integrate exercise into individual mental health plans and broader public health campaigns. “If we can find ways to increase the population’s level of physical activity even by a small amount, then this is likely to bring substantial physical and mental health benefits,” he said.

Findings from the research also showed that people who reported doing no exercise at all at baseline had a 44% increased chance of developing depression compared to those who were exercising one to two hours a week.

Nigeria

Lagos Records 100% Increase in Domestic, Sexual Violence

The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) yesterday revealed that 950 domestic and sexual… Read more »

Climate Change Is a Threat to the Rich and Poor Alike

opinionBy Achim Steiner

From Miami and Puerto Rico to Barbuda and Havana, the devastation of this year’s hurricane season across Latin America and the Caribbean serves as a reminder that the impacts of climate change know no borders. In recent weeks, Category 5 hurricanes have brought normal life to a standstill for millions in the Caribbean and on the American mainland. Harvey, Irma and Maria have been particularly damaging. The 3.4 million inhabitants of Puerto Rico have been scrambling for basic necessities, including food and water.

The island of Barbuda has been rendered uninhabitable, and dozens of people are missing or dead on the UNESCO world heritage island of Dominica. The impact is not confined to this region. The record floods across Bangladesh, India and Nepal have made life miserable for some 40 million people. More than 1,200 people have died and many people have lost their homes, crops have been destroyed, and many workplaces have been inundated. Meanwhile in Africa, in more than the last 18 months, 20 countries have declared drought emergencies, with major displacement taking place across the Horn region.

For those countries that are least developed, the impact of disasters can be severe, stripping away livelihoods and progress on health and education; for developed and middle-income countries, the economic losses from infrastructure alone can be massive; for both, these events reiterate the need to act on a changing climate that threatens only more frequent and more severe disasters.

A (shocking) sign of things to come?

The effects of a warmer climate on these recent weather events, both their severity and their frequency, has been revelatory for many, even the overwhelming majority that accept that science is settled on human-caused global warming. While the silent catastrophe of 4.2 million people dying prematurely each year from ambient pollution, mostly related to the use of fossil fuels, gets relatively little media attention, the effect of heat-trapping greenhouse gases on extreme weather events is coming into sharper focus. It could not be otherwise when the impacts of these weather events are so profound. During the last two years, more than 40 million people, mainly in countries which contribute least to global warming, were forced either permanently or temporarily from their homes by disasters.

There is clear consensus: Eising temperatures are increasing the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere, leading to more intense rainfall and flooding in some places, and drought in others. Some areas experience both, as was the case this year in California, where record floods followed years of intense drought. TOPEX/Poseidon, the first satellite to precisely measure rising sea levels, was launched two weeks before Hurricane Andrew made landfall in Florida 25 years ago. Those measurements have observed a global increase of 3.4 millimeters per year since then; that is a total of 85 millimeters over 25 years, or 3.34 inches.

Rising and warming seas are contributing to the intensity of tropical storms worldwide. We will continue to live with the abnormal and often unforeseen consequences of existing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, for many years to come. In 2009, Swiss Re published a case study focused on Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, which envisaged a moderate sea level rise scenario for the 2030s, which matches what has already taken place today. If a storm on the scale of Andrew had hit this wealthy corner of the US today, the economic damage would range from $100b to $300b. Now the estimates suggest that the economic losses from Harvey, Irma and Maria could surpass those numbers.

Reduce disaster risk now; tackle climate change in the long-term. Miami is working hard on expanding its flood protection programme; $400m is earmarked to finance sea pumps, improved roads and seawalls. Yet this level of expenditure is beyond the reach of most low and middle-income countries that stand to lose large chunks of their GDP every time they are hit by floods and storms.

While the Paris Agreement has set the world on a long-term path towards a low-carbon future, it is a windy path that reflects pragmatism and realities in each individual country. Thus, while carbon emissions are expected to drop as countries meet their self-declared targets, the impacts of climate change may be felt for some time, leaving the world with little choice but to invest, simultaneously, in efforts to adapt to climate change and reduce disaster risk.

The benefits of doing so makes economic sense when compared to the cost of rebuilding. This will require international cooperation on a previously unprecedented scale as we tackle the critical task of making the planet a more resilient place to the lagging effects of greenhouse gas emissions that we will experience for years to come. Restoring the ecological balance between emissions and the natural absorptive capacity of the planet is the long-term goal. It is critical to remember that the long-term reduction of emissions is the most important risk reduction tactic we have, and we must deliver on that ambition.

The November UN Climate Conference in Bonn presided over by the small island of Fiji, provides an opportunity to not only accelerate emission reductions, but to also boost the serious work of ensuring that the management of climate risk is integrated into disaster risk management as a whole.

Poverty, rapid urbanisation, poor land use, ecosystems decline and other risk factors will amplify the impacts of climate change. Today on the International Day for Disaster Reduction, we call for them to be addressed in a holistic way.

Mr Steiner is Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. This article was co-authored by Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, and Mr Robert Glasser, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Kenya: Facebook to Hold Contest for 15 Africa Start-Ups in Nairobi

By Muthoki Mumo

Facebook is set to host in Nairobi a competition for 15 African start-ups that will culminate in the winner getting a Sh2.6 million ($25,000) award and a visit to San Francisco, the headquarters of the social media website.

The competition has been organised in partnership with the American news site TechCrunch.

It is the culmination of a months-long search for the most promising start-ups on the continent. Over 1,000 companies submitted applications to participate in the competition.

Facebook says the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield is part of broader efforts to localise its Africa strategy. It follows the visit by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to Africa last year.

“The whole aim is to continue the narrative, to bring the eyes of the world to see what is happening in the region,” said Chukwuemeka Afigbo, Facebook’s head for products partnerships.

GLOBAL PEERS

The winning company will also get an opportunity to participate in Disrupt San Francisco 2018, an event where start-ups will exhibit their products and go up against their global peers.

TechCrunch has been running similar competitions across the world since 2007. The news firm says that contestants at these competitions have gone on to raise over Sh722.8 billion ($7 billion) in funding.

In addition to the TechCrunch competition, Facebook’s Africa team is also hosting a training workshop for developers and a conference for women in the technology sector.

Facebook established its physical presence in Africa in 2014. Recently, the company has become especially active as it aims to get more people connected to the web and therefore use its products.

Most recently, the company partnered with Surf Kenya to provide cheap WiFi connectivity.

Facebooks says that there are now more than 600 Surf Kenya WiFi hotspots in Nairobi and its environs.

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

Kirui, Kiplagat Fail to Defend Chicago Marathon Titles

By Timothy Olobulu

Nairobi — Abel Kirui and Florence Kiplagat failed to defend their Chicago marathon titles on Sunday as homeboy Galen Rupp became the first American in 15 years to win the title, finishing in 2:09:20 ahead of Kirui while Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba won the women’s race.

Rupp, the Rio Olympics bronze medalist broke away from Kirui in the final 10kilometres of the race and ensured he finished off the year on high note with a personal best time having finished second at the Boston Marathon earlier on in the year.

“It is such a special thing for me winning in Chicago because this City is special to me; my dad was born here and I have very good memories of this place. I feel that I have come second so many times before and winning feels great,” Rupp, still excited from his achievement said after the race.

Also, this was only the second time since 2003 that a Kenyan has failed to win in Chicago. The last man to break the Kenyan dominance was Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede in 2012.

In the women’s race, defending champion Kiplagat could not match the high tempo set up by five-time World Champion on the track Dibaba who opened up the field just after 30 minutes of racing.

Dibaba in her debut in Chicago clocked 2:18:30 while Kenyan Birid Kosgei who braved the high tempo throughout sticking to the Ethiopian came in second, one minute 53 seconds later.

“I ran without a pacemaker and It was hard to break a record, but I am pleased with the race and the result today. This was very special for me, this was my third marathon and I am pleased because I have learnt a lot,” she said after the race.

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

Mauritius: A National Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to Be Set Up At Victoria Hospital, Says Minister Husnoo

press release

A 14 bed capacity National Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will be set up at Victoria Hospital in Candos by March 2018 to cater for critically ill preterm babies from across Mauritius.

The announcement was made by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, yesterday at Victoria Hospital during a certificate award ceremony for health personnel of Neonatal Care Units who have completed their training courses. The ceremony was organised by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life in collaboration with the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Nurse International, the Neonatal and Paediatric Intensive Care Foundation, and the Embassy of the United States of America (USA) in Mauritius. The Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the USA, Dr Melanie Zimmerman, the President of the Council of the Foundation, Dr Vednidhi Sharma Mudhoo, and other personalities were present at the event.

The necessity to increase the number of bed capacity for NICU was stressed by Dr Husnoo. In 2014, premature rate stood at 17.3% of live births with 2 201 preterm babies. “The three fully functional NICUs in different regional hospitals with a total bed capacity of 15 are not enough because of a high refusal rate (65% to 70%) due to lengthy stays of severe premature babies,” he said.

Moreover, the Minister pointed out that the setting up of a NICU is also in the pipeline at Dr A. G. Jeetoo Hospital in Port Louis while in the new Flacq Hospital Project, there are plans to integrate a full-fledged NICU. The objective, he stated, is to enable all premature babies born in any remote part of the island to have the same high standards of care as in developed countries. Dr Husnoo pointed out that to achieve this goal, training is important, and he expressed gratitude to the Neonatal and Paediatric Intensive Care Foundation as well as the American Embassy for the expertise and education provided.

For her part, the Chargé d’Affaires recalled that according to the World Health Organization, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm every year and that preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death, responsible for nearly one million deaths in 2015. She congratulated the health professionals who successfully completed the training, highlighting their crucial role in helping families cope with the challenges of preterm babies. “You have a noble task in caring and improving the health as well as quality of life of the pre-term babies, and in supporting the parents,” said Dr Zimmerman.

The Neonatal and Paediatric Intensive Care Foundation has been running the neonatal courses since May 2011 and has trained 20 paediatricians, 60 doctors and 100 nurses. At the certificate award ceremony held yesterday, 19 medical officers received their certificate in ‘Neonatal Ventilation and Paediatric Advanced Life Support’, and 29 nursing officers were awarded certificate in ‘Neonatal Critical Care Nursing’.

Visit to the Cardiac Centre in Victoria Hospital

Prior to the certificate award ceremony, the Minister visited the newly operational wing of the Trust Fund for Specialised Medical Care in Victoria Hospital. Dr Husnoo underlined that the new wing is an extension of the cardiac centre and is in line with Government’s objective to decentralise medical facilities and services. He said that it will contribute in reducing the waiting list for complex cardiac surgeries in Victoria Hospital which currently stands at 75 patients. Over the last two weeks, the surgical team headed by Dr Zoran Trifunovic performed bypass surgeries as well as complex coronary operations on 13 patients.

Mauritius

President Brings Lessons From Science, Business to Her Office

President Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim of Mauritius is part of an exclusive club of women leading African nations. The… Read more »

Liberia: 30 Hospitalized From Gold Mine Chemical Leakage

By Marcus Malayea

Thirty persons were admitted at the Phebe Hospital for exposure to a chemical spill-over from MNG-Gold reservoir in Bong County over the weekend. The incident took place on Friday, September 29, at one of the mining sites of MNG-Gold in Sayeweta Kokoyah Statutory District after a heavy downpour of rain.

Hospital sources told this newspaper that twenty of those affected were discharged based on the gravity of their conditions. However, the other ten persons are expected to remain in the hospital for further medical examinations for few days.

Some of the chemical victims who spoke to this newspaper complained of stomach ache, skin rash, multiple body pain and constant vomiting and other strange symptoms.

MNG-Gold is a Turkish Mining company working in several parts of Kokoyah District in Bong County. The company took over from the American-Liberian Mining Company (Amlib) in 2013 following a mutual agreement between the two companies.

MNG-Gold Public Relations Officer, Lloyd Nwegyah told journalists that the accident occurred after a reservoir facility containing a diluted chemical overflowed with rainwater and later spilled over into a nearby creek in Sayeweta.

Nwegyah said after the incident, MNG-Gold took the affected residents to a nearby clinic in the district and later forwarded them to the Phebe Hospital for further examination.

He noted that as part of its corporate social responsibility, MNG-Gold has supplied the town with 44 bags of rice and other food items, including water tanks with safe drinking water for the townspeople.

Mr. Nwegyah indicated that MNG-Gold earlier constructed three hand pumps in the affected town but the residents have been strongly advised not to drink from the pumps until the government through the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy can conclude investigations into the chemical spillage.

A team from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy recently visited the affected town and collected several samples from the contaminated creek and took them to Monrovia.

Even though the Phebe Hospital is yet to release medical reports on the affected persons, some of the residents of Kokoyah District told journalists at the hospital on Monday that some of the citizens still complain about running stomach, rashes on the body, body pain, and weakness, among others.

It may be recalled that in 2016 a truck belonging to the company carrying similar chemicals to its site in Kokoyah District fell in a creek which contaminated the water affecting scores of rural residents in the district.

Meanwhile, in 2016, the MNG Company erected a police depot in David Dean Town.

Could This Be Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s Year to Win the Nobel Prize in Literature?

Photo: Ngugi Wa Thiong’o/Facebook

Ngugi Wa Thiong’o.

By Socrates Mbamalu

Celebrated Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o has been tipped to win the Nobel Prize in Literature this year at the odds of 4/1. Last year the Nobel Prize committee awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature to Bob Dylan, leaving many shocked. We are rooting for Ngugi wa Thiong’o to win the coveted Nobel Prize for literature. Could this be Ngugi’s year to win the award?

The period of the Nobel Prize in Literature is upon us again and speculations have started on who would win or miss out. Last year, everyone got a shocker when Bob Dylan, an American musician was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Dylan was awarded the Nobel “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” The news of Dylan’s win as opposed to either Japanese writer Haruki Murakami or Kenya’s Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o left a lot of questions on the lips of literary enthusiasts and critics.

Wole Soyinka, a former recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in response to Dylan’s win said, “Since I’ve written quite a number of songs for my plays, I would like to be nominated for a Grammy.”

Two UK sports betting giants Ladbrokes and NicerOdds have the Nobel Prize and Man Booker Prize as part of their online offerings. Ladbrokes placed Ngũgĩ at the odds of 4/1 to win, Haruki Murakami 5/1 and Margaret Atwood 6/1.

NicerOdds also placed Ngũgĩ on the highest odds, followed by Murakami and Atwood. Other writers tipped for the award are Don Delilo, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Roth and Salman Rushdie, Kamau Braithwaite ,among many others.

Ngũgĩ’s first book, Weep Not, Child (Heinemann, 1964), was the first English-language novel published by an east African writer. Upon the release of his third novel, A Grain of Wheat (Heinemann, 1967), Thiong’o renounced Christianity and began publishing in Gikuyu, his native language. He has since written essays, novels, short stories, plays and children’s books, and held teaching positions at Yale and New York University.

Ngũgĩ has overtime called for the decolonisation of the African mind. His emphasis has always been on the use of African languages in classrooms and also in communication. Early this year Ngũgĩ gave a public lecture at the Witwatersrand University in South Africa titled “Secure the Base, Decolonise the mind.” The university’s 1000 plus hall was filled to capacity.

Ngũgĩ’s latest book is his memoir titled Birth of a Dreamweaver. Last year Ngũgĩ was viewed as a favourite to win the Nobel Prize. We hope this year the Nobel Prize in Literature goes to the renowned African writer. We are rooting for Ngugi wa Thiong’o to win the Nobel Prize for literature.

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

Africa: Mobile App Uses Real-Time Satellite Data to Strengthen Forest and Land Rights

By Karla Mendes

Rio De Janeiro — The app will provide weekly satellite deforestation data in 17 tropical countries including Brazil.

A mobile app launched on Tuesday will allow indigenous people, forest managers and law enforcement officials in remote areas to monitor deforestation and fires regardless of connectivity, according to developers.

“Forest Watcher” is designed to allow offline access to real-time satellite maps and data collected by Global Forest Watch, a U.S.-based charity that monitors changes in forest cover.

The app displays forest changes on mobile devices by using their internal global positioning system (GPS) which does not rely on Internet connectivity.

After installing the app and downloading maps, it directs users to areas where forests are being cleared, based on data collected by Global Forest Watch. They can capture photos and enter data about deforestation and upload them when back online.

Lilian Pintea of conservation charity The Jane Goodall Institute, one of Global Forest Watch’s partners in the project, tested the app in a national park in Uganda.

Using offline maps on their phones, forest rangers uncovered a logging operation in a protected area after checking an alert received from the app. “One of the forest rangers took a picture, reported the case to the authorities and they accepted the picture in a court case,” Pintea told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The app will initially provide weekly satellite deforestation data in 17 tropical countries, including Brazil and other Latin American countries.

“This changes the situation because you might be able to act. Weekly alerts make the information actionable,” said Pintea.

Pintea said the app also allows local communities living in remote areas to draw the boundaries of their land and report encroachments and illegal use of resources.

Global Forest Watch aims to make data from all tropical countries available by the end of the year via the app, which is available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Indonesian.

Rachael Petersen, a team leader at Global Forest Watch, said the app will be a key tool for Brazil to protect the Amazon rainforest, where deforestation has been increasing since 2016 after a decade of decline.

She said it could be combined with low-cost tools, such as drones, to be even more effective.

Global Forest Watch also hopes the app will push governments to strengthen law enforcement to protect the environment.

“We are happy with the tool, but data information is only part of the equation. We need governments to enforce their law. Governments have to ultimately take action,” Petersen said.

– Reporting by Karla Mendes. Editing by Astrid Zweynert. @azweynert

South Africa: SA Shines At Mining Convention

South Africa has won the best international exhibition award at the recently concluded 2017 Perumin Mining Convention in Peru.

The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) led a delegation of South African companies to the week-long exhibition through its Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA). The objective of the scheme is to develop export markets for South African products and services and to recruit new foreign direct investment into the country.

The convention took place from 18 to 25 September 2017 in Arequipa, Peru.

“The convention takes place bi-annually and brings together the world’s leading technology and services in the mining and metals sector. South Africa’s participation focused on machinery, equipment, technologies, services and supplies for the mining sector,” said the dti in a statement on Monday.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, has described trade relations between South Africa and Peru as very important.

Minister Davies said South Africa recognises the huge potential of the Latin American group of countries and is cognisant of the fact that Peru is one of the fastest growing economies in the region.

Earlier this month, South Africa scooped two awards at the Mozambique International Trade Fair (FACIM) out of about 30 countries. The awards were for the Best Pavilion and the Best Exhibitor.

South Africa

Join Our March Against ‘Elite Predator’ Zuma – Communist Party, Labour Federation

Cosatu and the SACP have called on workers, ANC supporters, and even Cabinet members, to join their march against state… Read more »

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