Monday 11 December 2017
(Business Daily 07/26/13)
Global food prices fell by 2 per cent in the latest four-month period, marking the third straight period of declines, as declining imports in the Middle East and North Africa, and lower demand pushed prices down 12 per cent from their August 2012 peak, the World Bank said on Thursday. The World Bank's Food Price Index showed international prices of wheat fell by 2 per cent, sugar by 6 per cent, soybean oil by 11 per cent, and maize, or corn, by 1 per cent during the four-month period between February and June. The index, which weighs export prices of food, fats and oils, grains, and other foods in nominal U.S. dollars, fell by 2 per cent. Improved weather conditions...
(AFP (eng) 07/25/13)
Rebels claimed Wednesday they had killed more than 400 army troops since fighting resumed 10 days ago in the Democratic Republic of Congo's volatile east, as each side accused the other of new attacks. "Since July 14, 401 soldiers have been killed and several wounded among FARDC (government forces) ranks, while the M23 has had six deaths and 14 wounded," said Vianney Kazarama, military spokesman for the M23 rebel movement. The army claimed on July 15, a day after the latest fighting erupted, that its forces had killed 120 rebels and lost 10 troops. Neither toll could be independently verified. Both sides meanwhile accused each other of launching new attacks Wednesday near the flashpoint city of Goma. "The M23 is...
(AFP (eng) 07/25/13)
The headlines out of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which tend to evoke images of bloodshed, rape, ethnic hatred and government corruption, are usually no laughing matter, but political cartoonist Kashoun Thembo is an expert at wringing humour out of his country's tragedies. Capturing the newsmakers and travails of life in DR Congo with a fierce pen he hits home and spares no one. At the end of each afternoon, Kash -- the pen name he took in 1992 to protect himself under the regime of late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko -- joins the editorial team of Le Potentiel, the most widely read daily in the capital Kinshasa, to thrash out the day's news. The next morning the first thing...
(Voice of America 07/25/13)
The Congolese army says it has attacked an M23 base near Goma, a city that was briefly captured by the rebel group last year. Army spokesman Colonel Olivier Hamuli says Wednesday's military strikes targeted the rebel group's storage sites for weapons and ammunition. But the rebel group says military helicopters bombed a nearby neighborhood, striking the village of Kavodo, close to Rumangabo, killing several people. “They did not attack any military position, they attacked only houses and people who were around Rumangabo,” said M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa. An M23 spokesman emailed photos showing destruction and dead bodies the group claims is a result of the attack, and a doctor at a hospital treating victims said three children were killed as...
(This Day Live 07/25/13)
African countries and their communities have been told they can effectively end ‘land grabs,’ grow significantly more food across the region, and transform their development prospects if they can modernise the complex governance procedures that govern land ownership and management over the next decade. This was revealed in a new World Bank report titled Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity released on Monday in Washington, US, which also noted that Africa has the highest poverty rate in the world with 47.5 per cent of the population living below $1.25 a day. The detailed report noted that sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly half of the world’s usable, uncultivated land but so far the continent has not been able to develop...
(Voice of America 07/25/13)
CAPITOL HILL — Prospective U.S. diplomats to Africa say President Barack Obama’s recent trip to the continent underscored persistent challenges and vast opportunities that cry out for robust and sustained American engagement. Administration nominees for the State Department’s top Africa post, as well as numerous ambassadorships, testified Wednesday at their Senate confirmation hearing. During his three-nation trip to Africa earlier this month, Obama unveiled initiatives to boost electric service on the continent, increase trade and commercial ties, and help groom Africa’s next generation of leaders. But more must be done, according to Democratic Senator Chris Coons, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa. “President Obama’s recent trip was a positive demonstration of U.S. commitment, and the president’s initiatives...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/24/13)
(Reuters) - A U.S. federal court judge has upheld a new rule that would force manufacturers to disclose whether their products contain "conflict minerals" from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country known for human rights abuses.The decision by Judge Robert Wilkins of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia marks a rare victory for the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has suffered a losing streak in recent years over legal challenges to its rules. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and the National Association of Manufacturers had challenged the conflict minerals rule, saying it was too costly and violated companies' First Amendment free speech rights. But in his order issued late Tuesday afternoon, Wilkins rejected...
(Voice of America 07/24/13)
GOMA — As the Congolese army battles M23 rebels near the eastern town of Goma, many are wondering when and if an enhanced U.N. peacekeeping operation will join the fight. The army, known by its acronym FARDC, has been attacking rebel positions just north of Goma for the past week, with the latest exchange of fire early Monday. The U.N. Peacekeeping mission in the Congo, MONUSCO, has been supporting the Congolese army by sending food, water and other supplies to soldiers on the front lines. But people think the peacekeepers have shown too much restraint in their willingness to confront the rebels, particularly after M23 overran Goma in November last year. On the road from Goma to the frontline near...
(Reuters 07/24/13)
(Reuters) - Human Rights Watch on Tuesday acknowledged including erroneous testimony in a report alleging that rebels in Congo carried out summary executions, raped women and recruited children while receiving support from Rwanda, but said it stands by the report's conclusions. Rwanda rejected the group's allegations, saying that the inclusion of incorrect testimony in its press release on Monday undermines the entire report. Rwanda also accused Human Rights Watch of paying for witness testimony, a charge the group denied. The Human Rights Watch report came as Tutsi-dominated M23 insurgents clashed with Congolese government forces on Monday a short distance from Goma, the largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo's mineral-rich eastern region. M23 provoked an international outcry last November...
(Voice of America 07/24/13)
The Obama administration wants Rwanda to stop backing Congolese rebels who are undermining efforts to end decades of violence in East Africa's Great Lakes region. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Tuesday said the country needs to cut off the Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 rebellion, whose fighting with government troops has driven a new wave of refugees into border towns. The announcement comes two days before Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to chair a special session of the U.N. Security Council on the Great Lakes regional conflict. "We call upon Rwanda to immediately end any support to the M23, withdraw military personnel from eastern DRC, and follow through on its commitments under the framework," she said, referring...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/24/13)
(Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday called on Rwanda to end support for M23 rebels in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, saying there was evidence Rwandan military officials were involved. It is the first response by Washington to recent M23 clashes with Congolese government forces near Goma, the largest city in the DRC's mineral-rich eastern region, but stayed clear of directly implicating Rwandan President Paul Kagame, a U.S. ally whose poverty-fighting programs are often heralded by donors. "We call upon Rwanda to immediately end any support for the M23 (and) withdraw military personnel from eastern DRC," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. The call comes two days before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry chairs a special session of...
(Voice of America 07/24/13)
Malaria infections, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, are responsible for the deaths of some 200,000 newborns and 10,000 new mothers each year. The parasitic illness can also cause miscarriage and premature birth, increasing the risk of death. There are low cost, lifesaving interventions to prevent infection, yet, according to a new study, there are significant barriers to implementing them. For the past 20 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that pregnant women in areas with high rates of malaria receive insecticide-treated bed nets and periodic doses of a cheap drug to prevent the disease. Yet, despite relatively high attendance at clinics for expectant mothers and their newborns throughout sub-Saharan Africa, statistics show that just a little over 21 percent...
(Ghana Business News 07/24/13)
It will cost Africa $4.5 billion over the next ten years in order to bring proper reforms into managing the continent’s ‘rich’ land, says a new World Bank report published July 22, 2013. According to the report, “Securing Africa’s Land for Shared Prosperity,” African countries could effectively end ‘land grabs,’ if the complex land ownership and management is mordernized through governance procedures. The World Bank therefore suggests a number of steps and policies that can bring major changes in the continent’s land governance. “It would cost African countries and their development partners, including the private sector, $4.5 billion spread over ten years to scale up these policy reforms and investments,” said the Bank. The report suggests that Africa could finally...
(AFP (eng) 07/23/13)
Three Congolese army helicopters fired on M23 rebel positions near the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) provincial capital of Goma on Tuesday. "Our helicopters have just bombarded enemy positions," a Congolese officer told AFP journalists on the frontline after they witnessed the attack. "Until now the enemy has not yet responded," he added. The attacks came on the same day as the trial opened in Goma of a soldier and policeman accused of mutilating the corpse of an M23 rebel after clashes last week. Meanwhile Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Rwanda of continuing its support of the M23 in a report. It also accused the rebels of summary executions and rape. The M23 movement said Monday it was only...
(Voice of America 07/23/13)
M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are trying to strengthen their grip on areas under their control as they come under attack by the Congolese army. The residents of rebel-held towns in eastern Congo, however, are growing weary of the ongoing conflict. At a church in eastern Congo, the faithful pack the pews in what looks like a regular prayer service. But this is not about religion. It’s a lesson in rebellion taught at the M23 rebel group's military academy. The people here, gathered from nearby towns, are being taught the ideology of this group of disaffected soldiers that has controlled territory in eastern Congo since breaking away from the army last year. M23 rebels are trying...
(Voice of America 07/23/13)
Tree loss in the Congo Basin rainforest is slowing down, according to a new study published Monday. The Congo Basin rainforest is the world's second largest, after the Amazon, and scientists say the study is good news for the global environment. "What we saw is in the 1990s about 285,000 hectares each year removed over Central Africa. And this has declined by over 100,000 hectares in the 2000s. So there was a big drop in deforestation rate in Central Africa between the 1990s and the 2000s, which is quite a surprising result," said Simon Lewis from the University College London. The study, which is based on analysis of satellite images, shows the deforestation rate in the Congo Basin is lower...
(AFP (eng) 07/23/13)
UN says although genital cutting is on decline, female genital mutilation remains "almost universal" in some countries. More than 125 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation, and 30 million more girls are at risk in the next decade, UNICEF said. Although genital cutting is on the decline, the practice remains "almost universal" in some countries, said the report by the United Nations Children's Fund, released on Monday. The report compiles 20 years of data across 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The tradition involves removal of some or all of a female's external genitalia. It can include cutting out the clitoris and sometimes sewing together the labia. Laws are not enough to stop...
(BBC News Africa 07/22/13)
Tree loss in one of the world's largest rainforests has slowed, a study suggests. Satellite images of Africa's Congo Basin reveal that deforestation has fallen by about a third since 2000. Researchers believe this is partly because of a focus on mining and oil rather than commercial agriculture, where swathes of forest are cleared. The work is published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. It is part of a series that is examining the state of Africa's forests. Dr Simon Lewis, from the University of Leeds and University College London, said: "Most of the focus has been on the Amazon and on South East Asian tropical rainforests, and a big bit of the missing picture is what...
(Voice of America 07/22/13)
GOMA — A leading opposition politician in the Democratic Republic of Congo is seriously ill in prison, his wife says, and not receiving the treatment he needs. Human rights organizations and a worldwide lawmakers union have called for the release of Diomi Ndongala but his wife Patrizia says the authorities are not listening. Last year Diomi Ndongala was the architect of a plan to unite opposition parties behind a common program. On the day this program was due to be signed he disappeared and authorities said he had fled justice. The previous day they had issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of raping a minor. Three months later he was found by the side of a road at...
( 07/22/13)
African governments must improve their support for agricultural research organisations, Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has said. “The need for action on agricultural research is urgent. African Governments must increase funding for agricultural research and extension; farmers’ innovations must find their way into the research agenda to enable Africa achieve its goal of food sufficiency,” Mr. Amissah-Arthur said in Accra at the opening ceremony of the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW). AASW, hosted by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, brought together over 1,300 scientific researchers, extension officers, farmers, policymakers, development partners, civil society and NGO groups from across the world to discuss the theme “Africa Feeding Africa through Agricultural...

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