Rhino Poaching Puts Zimbabwe Under Spotlight

Published on 28th April 2009

Zimbabwe faces possible censure from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species after losing at least 70 rhinos in the past 12 months to well co-ordinated local, regional and international poaching syndicates according to the Herald. It emerged last week that Zimbabwe has been placed on the agenda of the next Cites meeting to be held next year. Cites -- to which Zimbabwe is a signatory -- is an international wildlife protection body whose secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Areas hardest hit by rhino poachers are Lake Chivero, the Midlands, Hwange and the South-Eastern Lowveld, where there were many unlicensed guns smuggled through the country's porous border with Mozambique. In an interview, Parks and Wildlife Management Authority director-general Dr Morris Mtsambiwa said the authority was worried by the resurgence of poaching targeting endangered species such as the rhino.

A Black Rhino   Photo:Courtesy
Ethiopia Opposition Says Reports of Coup Plot Fabrications By Govt

The opposition party May 15 on Monday refuted accusations of a coup plot to sabotage the government, after the state media reported of police crack down in which 35 people were arrested according to the Daily Monitor.  In a statement, the Ginbot 7- Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy said it was hardly surprised by the accusations, given the ruling parties usual unfounded allegations. "This latest claim of foiling a coup plot by Ginbot 7 is no different than the regime's same old worn out practices of criminalizing political dissent. Ginbot 7 has no desire to engage in a tit for tat with neither the dictators in Addis Ababa, nor the time to waste replying to baseless accusations by a regime that rules Ethiopia by the barrel of the gun," the party led by Dr. Birhanu Nega said in a statement posted on Nazret.com. "A terror network formed by Dr. Berhanu Nega to wage armed struggle has been foiled by security forces," a government statement had said adding police raided their homes and got weapons, bombs, landmines, soldier uniforms and their future plans. Dr. Berhanu was elected mayor of capital Addis Ababa after parliamentary elections in 2005 but was jailed when the opposition disputed the government's victory. Police and soldiers killed about 200 opposition protestors in street violence that followed the poll.

Malaria Data Scarce in Liberia

Health officials in Liberia have created a national database for communicable diseases, including malaria, but told IRIN that routine data collection is still hobbled by years of war-time negligence of health, including information management according to IRIN. "Data is a huge problem," said the deputy director of the country's National Malaria Control Programme, Tolbert Nyenswah. "It is one thing to conduct periodic surveys, but another thing to get treatment reports from the various health centres, to measure disease prevalence and the number of houses with mosquito nets." Malaria was the leading cause of death for hospitalised patients in 2005, according to the government, which estimated fever cases suspected to be malaria in 2006 ranged from 1.1 million to 4.3 million. The recently designed database is intended to fill that gap, providing updated information about the country's biggest killers, including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. "We are revitalising our information system now, which was destroyed by the war." He said the last time data was gathered, it had been less than two years since fighting officially ended and not all of the country was accessible.



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