Anti-foreigners in South Africa have killed foreigners in their country causing increased political instability at a time when South Africa is paying homage to immigrants from neighboring countries.
Targeting Zimbabweans and Mozambicans in the South African townships, the xenophobic attackers are accusing them of taking all the available jobs and fueling high rate of violent crime. This comes at a time when the country is struggling with power shortages, rising inflation and growing hostility among the poor over President Thabo Mbeki’s pro business policies.
President Mbeki has condemned the attacks terming them as “shameful and criminal” adding that the police would get to the root of anarchy.
Armed with knives, clubs and petrol, the attackers have reportedly raped women, looted homes, and shops and burnt dozens of shacks down. This violence shows growing anger among those who complain have been left out by presidents Mbeki’s policies to promote business and investment.
Meanwhile, a survey carried out by Grant Thornton in South Africa has shown crime as the prime reason why South African professionals’ have left the country, a situation that has resulted in severe brain drain and hence president Mbeki’s policies.
Citing uncertainty about the future of the leadership of SA as (15%), better business opportunities elsewhere (14%), race discrimination (13%), the poor quality of education (10%) and the poor quality of healthcare (10%), the study also indicated 72% of the businesses reported that employees or their relatives had been affected by violent crime over the past year, including road rage, hijackings and housebreaking.
Amid attacks on the foreigners as the cause of high rate of violent crimes, statistics by Thornton show otherwise.
Hunger in Ethiopia
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is raising a red alert on the urgent need for food aid in Ethiopia as 3.2 million up from 2.2 million people are now in urgent need of food due to continued drought in the country. In just over a month, one more million people have added to the food aid budget, a number that UNICEF cannot feed with its limited resources.
In need of 1,800 metric tons of ready-to-use therapeutic food for the coming three months for Oromiya Region and SNNPR alone, UNICEF currently has only 6 metric tons in stock, and is to receive another 90 metric tons enough to last just two weeks.
While more than 60,000 children in two Ethiopian regions require immediate specialist feeding just to survive, Six million children in all of Ethiopia are at risk of acute malnutrition following the failure of rains.
At the same time, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) says it is in danger of running out of supplies of relief commodities such as blended food, which is a special supplement for children and other vulnerable groups.
“The Government of Ethiopia, the UN, donors and NGOs [non-governmental organizations] are responding to the crisis, but the enormity of the problem means that more resources will be required to alleviate the suffering of those affected in the coming weeks and months," said the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
However, the inability of the Ethiopian government and humanitarian agencies to provide help to people suffering from severe acute malnutrition and the nutritional disease kwashiorkor and the urgent need for food accumulate to a crisis in need of attention.
Aid agencies in Ethiopia on the other hand are calling for help from donors who at the moment are concentrated on the emergencies in China and Burma
Oil site in Nigeria sealed after blast
The Ijegun village, 50 km from Lagos Nigeria, has seen 100 lives gone and scores of others injured after an oil pipeline explosion last week. The explosion occurred after fuel from a pipeline ruptured by a bulldozer caught fire causing the immediate seal off of the oil site by a Nigerian parastatal after the fire was extinguished.
The oil parastatal cut the flow of fuel to the broken pipeline in a bid to help the firefighters bring the blaze under control.More than 1200 people are believed to have been killed as a result of the pipeline-related incidents in Nigeria since 2000. More than 400 people were killed in two similar explosions in 2006.
South Africa to Reduce Coal Exports
Soaring coal prices are anticipated if South Africa limits its coal exports to European electricity companies, Analysts say. As the biggest supplier of the fuel to European electricity companies and the world's third-largest thermal coal exporter, South Africa is developing a strategy that may limit shipments to help ease a domestic power crisis the country is experiencing according to Bheki Khumalo, spokesman for the Department of Minerals and Energy.
Supply constraints in Australia and South Africa and increased domestic demand in China and India, have seen coal prices surge progressively.
Gerald Burg, a minerals and energy economist at National Australia Bank in Melbourne notes that any cut in coal exports from South Africa will result in European consumers seeking volumes elsewhere leaving producers in Australia and Indonesia the winners but with a task on how to increase supply.
South Africa's energy regulator is calling on the government to investigate Eskom Holdings Ltd, a state-run company, as to why it exported double the power it needed to during a local electricity shortage that cost the economy about 50 billion rand ($6.6 billion).
In other world parts, coal for delivery in northwest Europe rose to a record last week on limited global supplies of the fuel. Coal for delivery to Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Antwerp with settlement next year rose as high as $152.25 a metric ton on May 16.
Mobile Technology to Benefit Rural Folk
Ericsson, Kuwait-based wireless carrier Zain and handset vendor Sony Ericsson are working with the Millennium Villages Project, at Columbia's Earth Institute, to provide free mobile phones and connectivity to health workers and villagers in some of the poorest and most remote regions of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
The partnership is purposed to develop a comprehensive telecommunication strategy in the rural areas to drive mobile phone connectivity across all the communities.
The initiative, launched in Nairobi on May 14th 2008, will see mobile phone networks created, and handsets, sim cards and free emergency numbers given out in areas of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda by telecommunication giants Ericsson and the company Zain.
The Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General and Director of Columbia University's Earth Institute, Jeffery Sachs described mobile communication as perhaps the single most transformative technology for rural African villages to improve access to health care and education, create new business opportunities, access to markets, and ultimately to help eradicate extreme poverty
He said this approach would also "involve learning what the community needs are and depending on their findings to model their content around this". The phones will be charged by solar power.
He added that the tremendous opportunities the mobile technology is bringing the way of many people across developing communities was inspiring. In these areas economic activities from farmers, artisans, to traders, health workers and teachers is looking up as more opportunities are enabled by the technology.
Schools Feel High Cost of Living Pinch
Secondary school fees are set to increase in Uganda due to high living costs in the country. Most school management committees had agreed to increase in school fees at the end of last term and are believed to be writing to the education ministry seeking permission to do the same.
Over the past six months Ugandans have seen sharp rises in the cost of food, fuel, water and electricity. Staple foods, such as cassava, maize, millet flour, sweet potatoes and rice have almost doubled in price. The price of cooking oil has risen from 1,500 Ugandan shillings a litre (less than 50p) to 3,600 shillings.
This situation has become burdensome to schools making them request the parents to increase the fees. Some schools may not be able to open because of rising costs, while others have been forced to use money earmarked for building work on basic supplies. While worldwide food and oil prices have risen, increased demand from Kenya and southern Sudan has put added pressure on Ugandan production.
New Ideas to Boost World Tea Market
Realizing the potential of tea in the world market, new ideas are set to change the world tea production according to a Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Report prepared for the Intergovernmental Group on Tea meeting in Hangzhou, China. The report revealed that the world tea production continues to grow with a growth rate of more than 3 percent reaching an estimated 3.6 million tons every year. Another highlight of the report is FAO's projections which indicate that world green tea production is expected to grow at a considerably faster rate than black tea, 4.5 % annually compared to 1.9 % for black tea.
Uganda Puts Up Biotech Center for Cassava
A cassava biotech capacity project has been launched as a collaborative venture between scientists of the National Crops Resources Research Institute in Uganda and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), through its Agro-biodiversity and Biotechnology Program.
"Because of ASARECA's support, we will now build capacity to perform very high and advanced science which we normally borrow from Europe and America," said Dr. Anton Bua, an agricultural economist and team leader for the National Cassava Program.
Research is currently being done to duplicate efforts made by scientists at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (DDPSC) in the United States where they introduced a genetically modified gene in a cassava plant that confers resistance to Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD). Results are promising. Cassava is the most consumed crop in East and Central Africa and is noted for its ability to thrive in marginal conditions. Article: http://www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/ratethisarticle/default.asp?Date=5/16/2008&ID=2512
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