Liberia: Liberia Resurgence - the Changing Meaning of 'Ebola-Free'
[Ebola Deeply] The World Health Organization (WHO) first declared Liberia Ebola-free in May, and again in September after a resurgence of the virus. Last week, another new wave of cases emerged. We know that Ebola can linger in survivors' bodily fluids for as long as nine months, so is the WHO's 42-day cut-off period still relevant? We explore the changing meaning of 'Ebola-free'.
Africa: Why Professors Are Afraid of Colonial Education Being Dismantled
[The Conversation Africa] A series of student protests in South Africa has thrown up a number of questions. Many of these are linked to the problem of decolonising institutions. And at least one implicates the country's professoriate by asking: how do academics transcend Western knowledge systems and ways of learning in African universities?
South Africa: Why Govt Needs the U.S. for Agricultural Trade
[The Conversation Africa] Relations between the US and South Africa have hit another low in a series of trade disputes that go as far back as 2003. While strengthening its relations with other countries, the US has threatened to suspend South Africa from its preferential trade programme for Africa due to its failure to comply with the latest terms of the African Growth Opportunities
"Many African countries including Nigeria, Somalia, Congo, Sudan and others made the list of 2012 Failed States complied by The Fund for Peace (TFP). Nigeria was ranked among the top 10 failed states in Africa and 14th in the global index of Failed states." - AFRIPOL
Somalia ranked most troubled state for 5th straight year; Finland remains at best position; Libya, Japan and Syria Tumble.
The Fund for Peace today released the eighth edition of its annual Failed States Index (FSI), highlighting global political, economic and social pressures experienced by states.
The 2012 FSI ranks Somalia as number one for the fifth consecutive year, citing widespread lawlessness, ineffective government, terrorism, insurgency, crime, and well-publicized pirate attacks against foreign vessels.
Meanwhile, Finland has remained in the best position, with its Scandinavian neighbors Sweden and Denmark rounding out the best three rankings. All three nations benefit from strong social and economic indicators, paired with excellent provision of public services and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
The FSI ranks 178 countries using 12 social, economic, and political indicators of pressure on the state, along with over 100 sub-indicators. These include such issues as Uneven Development, State Legitimacy, Group Grievance, and Human Rights. Each indicator is rated on a scale of 1-10, based on the analysis of millions of publicly available documents, other quantitative data, and assessments by analysts. A high score indicates high pressure on the state, and therefore a higher risk of instability.
Other notable changes this year include countries affected by the Arab Spring. Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Tunisia all ranked significantly worse than the previous year. Libya’s decline was the most remarkable, with the country registering the worst year-on-year worsening in the history of the FSI as a result of civil war, a NATO-led campaign of airstrikes and the toppling of the Qaddhafi regime. Similarly, Syria registered the fourth-greatest year-on-year worsening in the history of the FSI as the campaign of violence by the Assad government took hold.
In the wake of the massive earthquake and resultant nuclear crisis, Japan also worsened significantly. Though Japan continues to rank among the best seven percent of countries, Japan’s near-record worsening on the FSI demonstrates how susceptible even the most stable of nations are to sudden shocks.
Greece continued to decline as the economic crisis has gripped the country. A loss of confidence in the state, coinciding with the state’s lessened capacity to provide public services, have led to growing social pressures.
The Fund for Peace assessed South Sudan this year for the first time after the new nation gained its independence in the second half of 2011. Though the FSI does not formally rank South Sudan due to an incomplete year of data, the young nation nevertheless would have ranked approximately fourth, immediately behind its northern neighbor, Sudan. South Sudan’s fragile infrastructure, severe poverty, weak government, fraught relations with Sudan and heavy reliance on oil continue to be of concern.
Kyrgyzstan is the most improved nation, rebounding from a marked fall the previous year that was precipitated by the mid-2010 revolution that led to significant political reforms and ultimately a stable transition of power.
Krista Hendry, the Executive Director of The Fund for Peace, said the value of the FSI is in its application on the ground by governments, media, civil society and others to consider and work to improve the underlying conditions of conflict.
“We assess 178 countries because we recognize that all countries have pressures upon them that need to be managed. The difference between livelihoods within the countries is largely a product of the capacity of the state and society. This year we will develop a capacity index to test our assumption that states manage pressures better when they have open societies with strong state institutions based on the rule of law and democracy,” Ms. Hendry said.
THE RANKING LIST
1 Somalia 114.9
2 Congo (D. R.) 111.2
3 Sudan 109.4
n/r South Sudan* 108.4
4 Chad 107.6
5 Zimbabwe 106.3
6 Afghanistan 106.0
7 Haiti 104.9
8 Yemen 104.8
9 Iraq 104.3
10 Central African Republic 103.8
11 Cote d'Ivoire 103.6
12 Guinea 101.9
13 Pakistan 101.6
14 Nigeria 101.1
15 Guinea Bissau 99.2
16 Kenya 98.4
17 Ethiopia 97.9
18 Burundi 97.5
18 Niger 96.9
20 Uganda 96.5
21 Myanmar 96.2
22 North Korea 95.5
23 Eritrea 94.5
23 Syria 94.5
25 Liberia 93.3
26 Cameroon 93.1
27 Nepal 93.0
28 Timor-Leste 92.7
29 Bangladesh 92.2
29 Sri Lanka 92.2
31 Sierra Leone 90.4
31 Egypt 90.4
33 Congo (Republic) 90.1
34 Iran 89.6
35 Rwanda 89.3
36 Malawi 88.8
37 Cambodia 88.7
38 Mauritania 87.6
39 Togo 87.5
39 Uzbekistan 87.5
41 Burkina Faso 87.4
41 Kyrgyzstan 87.4
43 Equatorial Guinea 86.3
44 Zambia 85.9
45 Lebanon 85.8
46 Tajikistan 85.7
47 Solomon Islands 85.6
48 Laos 85.5
48 Angola 85.1
50 Libya 84.9
51 Georgia 84.8
52 Colombia 84.4
53 Dijbouti 83.8
54 Papua New Guinea 83.7
55 Swaziland 83.5
56 Philippines 83.2
57 Comoros 83.0
58 Madagascar 82.5
59 Mozambique 82.4
59 Bhutan 82.4
61 Israel/West Bank 82.2
62 Bolivia 82.1
63 Indonesia 80.6
63 Gambia 80.6
65 Fiji 80.5
66 Tanzania 80.4
67 Ecuador 80.1
68 Azerbaijan 79.8
69 Nicaragua 79.8
70 Guatemala 79.8
71 Senegal 79.8
72 Lesotho 79.8
73 Moldova 79.8
74 Benin 79.8
75 Honduras 79.8
76 China 79.8
77 Algeria 79.8
78 India 79.8
79 Mali 79.8
79 Bosnia and Herzegovina 79.8
81 Turkmenistan 79.8
82 Venezuela 79.8
83 Russia 79.8
84 Thailand 79.8
85 Turkey 79.8
85 Belarus 79.8
87 Morocco 79.8
88 Maldives 79.8
89 Serbia 79.8
90 Jordan 79.8
91 Cape Verde 79.8
92 Gabon 79.8
93 El Salvador 79.8
94 Tunisia 79.8
95 Dominican Republic 79.8
96 Vietnam 79.8
97 Sao Tome 79.8
98 Mexico 79.8
99 Peru 79.8
100 Saudi Arabia 79.8
101 Cuba 79.8
102 Armenia 79.8
103 Micronesia 79.8
104 Guyana 79.8
105 Suriname 79.8
106 Namibia 79.8
107 Paraguay 79.8
107 Kazakhstan 79.8
109 Macedonia 69.1
110 Samoa 68.5
110 Malaysia 68.5
112 Ghana 67.5
113 Ukraine 67.2
113 Belize 67.2
115 South Africa 66.8
115 Cyprus 66.8
117 Botswana 66.5
118 Albania 66.1
119 Jamaica 65.8
120 Seychelles 65.1
121 Grenada 65.0
122 Trinidad 64.4
123 Brazil 64.1
123 Brunei 64.1
125 Bahrain 62.2
126 Romania 59.5
127 Antigua & Barbuda 58.9
128 Kuwait 58.8
129 Mongolia 58.7
130 Bulgaria 56.3
130 Croatia 56.3
132 Panama 56.1
133 Montenegro 55.5
134 Bahamas 55.1
135 Barbados 52.0
136 Latvia 51.9
137 Oman 51.7
138 Greece 50.4
139 Costa Rica 49.7
140 United Arab Emirates 48.9
141 Hungary 48.3
142 Qatar 48.0
143 Estonia 47.5
144 Slovakia 47.4
145 Argentina 46.5
145 Italy 45.8
147 Mauritius 44.7
148 Poland 44.3
149 Lithuania 44.2
150 Malta 43.8
151 Chile 43.5
151 Japan 43.5
153 Spain 42.8
154 Uruguay 40.5
155 Czech Republic 39.5
156 South Korea 37.6
157 Singapore 35.6
158 United Kingdom 35.3
159 United States 34.8
160 Portugal 34.2
161 Slovenia 34.0
162 France 33.6
163 Belgium 33.5
164 Germany 31.7
165 Australia 29.2
166 Iceland 29.1
167 Netherlands 28.1
168 Austria 27.5
169 Canada 26.8
170 Ireland 26.5
171 New Zealand 25.6
172 Luxembourg 25.5
173 Norway 23.9
174 Switzerland 23.3
175 Denmark 23.0
176 Sweden 21.3
177 Finland 20.0
The Fund for Peace (FFP) is an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit research and educational organization that works to prevent violent conflict and promote sustainable security. FFP promote sustainable security through research, training and education, engagement of civil society, building bridges across diverse sectors, and developing innovative technologies and tools for policy makers.
FFP is a leader in the conflict assessment and early warning field, the Fund for Peace focuses on the problems of weak and failing states. Our objective is to create practical tools and approaches for conflict mitigation that are useful to decision-makers.
Mohammed Morsi Is Sworn In As Egypt's President
" Islamist Mohammed Morsi promised a "new Egypt" as he took the oath of office Saturday to become the country's first freely elected president, succeeding Hosni Mubarak who was ousted 16 months ago. At his inauguration before the Supreme Constitutional Court, Morsi also became the Arab world's first freely elected Islamist president and Egypt's fifth head of state since the overthrow of the monarchy some 60 years ago. He took the oath before the court's 18 black-robed judges in its Nile-side seat built to resemble an ancient Egyptian temple." - AP
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, center, stands as he is sworn in at the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, June 30, 2012. AP
In this image made from Egyptian State Television, judges from Egypt's Supreme constitutional court applaud Mohammed Morsi, center, after he was sworn in as President in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, June 30, 2012. Islamist Mohammed Morsi has been sworn in before Egypt's highest court as the country's first freely elected president, succeeding Hosni Mubarak who was ousted 16 months ago. (AP Photo/Egyptian State TV)
Egyptians listen to the speech of Egypt's President-elect Mohammed Morsi, in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, June 29, 2012. In front of tens of thousands of cheering supporters, Egypt's first Islamist and civilian president-elect vowed Saturday that nobody can take away his authority and symbolically read an oath of office in Cairo's Tahrir Square on the eve of his official inauguration. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
An Egyptian listens to Egypt's President-elect Mohammed Morsi speech at Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, June 29, 2012. Egypt's newly elected president has read that oath of office in Tahrir Square packed with tens of thousands of Islamists chanting against the ruling military council. In a strong-worded speech that meant to assuage popular anger at the military generals, Morsi showed defiance attempts to chip away from his own presidential powers. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
In this image released by the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President-elect Mohammed Morsi speaks to supporters at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, June 29, 2012. In front of tens of thousands of cheering supporters, Egypt's first Islamist and civilian president-elect vowed Friday to fight for his authority and symbolically read an oath of office on Cairo's Tahrir Square on the eve of his official inauguration. (AP Photo/Mohammed Abd El-Maaty, Egyptian Presidency)
Egypt's new president Mohammed Morsi delivers a speech during a cermony where the military handed over their power to him (reuters)
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi (right) shook hands with Faruq Sultan, head of the presidential election commission, after taking the oath of office on Saturday. AFP PHOTO /EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY
"Over half of Nigeria lacks sustainable access to safe water supplies and sanitation. Life expectancy is very low and Nigeria’s infant mortality is high. A large percentage of women die in childbirth. Other key public health problems include HIV/AIDS, malaria and respiratory infections." - Direct Relief
Life expectancy in Nigeria is now 47 years, making it the lowest among west African countries, Prof. Abdulsalam Nasidi, Project Director, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has said.
He said this in Gusau on Thursday at the commencement of the second Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the state’s chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA).
Nasidi who stated this in a paper with the theme “Lead Poisoning: Zamfara Experience” said this position was 30 per cent below the world’s average life expectancy.
He said it was a situation that was attributable to some health factors, including child and maternal mortality, spread of polio virus and other epidemics. “One out of every five children die before the age of five years due to polio and other infections.
“Nigeria is one of four countries where polio is still an on-going epidemic,” the Project Director said.Nasidi said in Zamfara alone, acute lead poisoning had killed more than 400 children and caused brain damage in several others in Anka and Bukkuyum Local Government Areas.
He described lead poisoning in the area as the “worst-ever recorded outbreak of its kind in modern times.’’ The Project Director said mass lead poisoning and massive cholera epidemics were tragedies of the 19th century.
“This outbreak and our inability to interrupt polio virus transmission are serious indicators of the state of public health service in Nigeria,” he said. Nasidi said a survey carried out in the affected areas of Zamfara in November 2010 had revealed that more than 85 per cent of the soil had lead contamination.
He said its spread was aggravated through heavy rainfalls. Nasidi said blood samples of infected persons exceeded the US Environmental Protection Agency rate by three folds while some blood samples were as high as 100,000 parts per million.
He lamented that in spite of response measures through the collaborative efforts of the state and federal governments, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), illegal mining resumed in the area. The Project Director said this occurred at Dogon Dajin Sarkin Noma village of Adabka ward in Bukkuyum local government area, killing 11 out of every 22 persons since September 2011.
He therefore urged the federal and Zamfara governments to continue to join hands in order to save lives of the people living in the area. Nasidi suggested that government should consider moving the population from the high risk areas as part of the remediation efforts on the affected areas.
Alhaji Ibrahim Mallaha, the state’s acting governor, while declaring the conference open, had earlier urged the participants to come up with an acceptable framework to tackle environmental degradation in the state.The acting governor assured of the state government’s readiness to partner with other agencies and foreign bodies in finding lasting solutions to the problems of illegal mining in the area.
The state chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr Kabir Sada, commended the state government in ensuring the comfort of medical practitioners in the state.“This had included the payment of all improved doctors’ salaries and other benefits,’’ he said. The association gave an award of “Health Friendly Governor” to the state governor in view of his successes in the health sector.(NAN)
IN June 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gave a speech in Zambia warning of a “new colonialism” threatening the African continent. “We saw that during colonial times, it is easy to come in, take out natural resources, pay off leaders and leave,” she said, in a thinly veiled swipe at China.
In 2009, China became Africa’s single largest trading partner, surpassing the United States. And China’s foreign direct investment in Africa has skyrocketed from under $100 million in 2003 to more than $12 billion in 2011.
Since China began seriously investing in Africa in 2005, it has been routinely cast as a stealthy imperialist with a voracious appetite for commodities and no qualms about exploiting Africans to get them. It is no wonder that the American government is lashing out at its new competitor — while China has made huge investments in Africa, the United States has stood on the sidelines and watched its influence on the continent fade.
Despite all the scaremongering, China’s motives for investing in Africa are actually quite pure. To satisfy China’s population and prevent a crisis of legitimacy for their rule, leaders in Beijing need to keep economic growth rates high and continue to bring hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. And to do so, China needs arable land, oil and minerals. Pursuing imperial or colonial ambitions with masses of impoverished people at home would be wholly irrational and out of sync with China’s current strategic thinking.
Moreover, the evidence does not support a claim that Africans themselves feel exploited. To the contrary, China’s role is broadly welcomed across the continent. A 2007 Pew Research Center survey of 10 sub-Saharan African countries found that Africans overwhelmingly viewed Chinese economic growth as beneficial. In virtually all countries surveyed, China’s involvement was viewed in a much more positive light than America’s; in Senegal, 86 percent said China’s role in their country helped make things better, compared with 56 percent who felt that way about America’s role. In Kenya, 91 percent of respondents said they believed China’s influence was positive, versus only 74 percent for the United States.
And the charge that Chinese companies prefer to ship Chinese employees (and even prisoners) to work in Africa rather than hire local African workers flies in the face of employment data. In countries like my own, Zambia, the ratio of African to Chinese workers has exceeded 13:1 recently, and there is no evidence of Chinese prisoners working there.
Of course, China should not have a free pass to run roughshod over workers’ rights or the environment. Human rights violations, environmental abuses and corruption deserve serious and objective investigation. But to finger-point and paint China’s approach in Africa as uniformly hostile to workers is largely unsubstantiated.
If anything, the bulk of responsibility for abuses lies with African leaders themselves. The 2011 Human Rights Watch Report “You’ll Be Fired If You Refuse,” which described a series of alleged labor and human rights abuses in Chinese-owned Zambian copper mines, missed a fundamental point: the onus of policing social policy and protecting the environment is on local governments, and it is local policy makers who should ultimately be held accountable and responsible if and when egregious failures occur.
China’s critics ignore the root cause of why many African leaders are corrupt and unaccountable to their populations. For decades, many African governments have abdicated their responsibilities at home in return for the vast sums of money they receive from courting international donors and catering to them. Even well-intentioned aid undermines accountability. Aid severs the link between Africans and their governments, because citizens generally have no say in how the aid dollars are spent and governments too often respond to the needs of donors, rather than those of their citizens.
In a functioning democracy, a government receives revenues (largely in the form of taxes) from its citizens, and in return promises to provide public goods and services, like education, national security and infrastructure. If the government fails to deliver on its promises, it runs the risk of being voted out.
The fact that so many African governments can stay in power by relying on foreign aid that has few strings attached, instead of revenues from their own populations, allows corrupt politicians to remain in charge. Thankfully, the decrease in the flow of Western aid since the 2008 financial crisis offers a chance to remedy this structural failure so that, like others in the world, Africans can finally hold their governments accountable.
With approximately 60 percent of Africa’s population under age 24, foreign investment and job creation are the only forces that can reduce poverty and stave off the sort of political upheaval that has swept the Arab world. And China’s rush for resources has spawned much-needed trade and investment and created a large market for African exports — a huge benefit for a continent seeking rapid economic growth.
Dambisa Moyo, an economist, is the author of “Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What It Means for the World.”
Dr. Dambisa Moyo is an international economist who writes on the macroeconomy and global affairs.Dambisa Moyo is the author of the New York Times Bestsellers “Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa”, “How The West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly – And the Stark Choices Ahead” and ”Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What It Means for the World”. Ms. Moyo was named by Time Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World”, and was named to the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders Forum. Her work regularly appears in economic and finance-related publications such as the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. She completed a doctorate in Economics at Oxford University and holds a Masters degree from Harvard University. She completed an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and an MBA in Finance at the American University in Washington D.C.. ( source Moyo website)
The aegis of Film, Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN) has placed an embargo on Ghanaian films with effect from the end of this month.
The FVPMAN chairman, Onitsha branch, Mr. Uzo Godson Nwosu who confirmed this development, said the decision became necessary following the position taken by their Ghanaian counterparts who have banned the distribution of Nigerian films in their country long time ago.
According to him “starting from the first week of August, no Ghanaian film will be allowed to enter the Nigerian market again. We have resolved that no Ghanaian film will be distributed within our controlled market. Our Ghanaian counterparts have long stopped distributing our films in their country, and given this development, we have no choice than to reciprocate the gesture.”
Nwosu who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Guinks Investment said any of their members who failed to compile with this new order will either be prosecuted or have his goods confiscated by the association.
The marketer said the association is finalising plans to storm Ghana any moment from now, particularly to confront those local television stations who are illegally airing Nigerian films without obtaining permission from the right owners.
Pete Edochie, Nollywood movie star
Also, given the problem associated with “second tier market”(where a producer is compelled to observe a three-month grace before releasing his film into the market in a large quality), Nwosu said the association has decided to reversed the trend.
Film owners, according to him, are now free to release their films into the market without necessarily observing the mandatory three months grace before doing so.
They will also be required to obtain censors’ board and copy right commission’s documents in addition to registering the film with the sum of N10,000 with the FVPMAN.
“In order to move the association forward, we have resolved to address the problem of second tier market.” FVPMAN boss further stated.
Islamist joy as Morsy elected Egypt president
Islamist Mohamed Morsy was declared Egypt's first freely elected president on Sunday, sparking joy among his Muslim Brotherhood supporters on the streets who vowed to continue to try to wrest power from armed forces reluctant to cede ultimate control.
But many Egyptians, and anxious Western allies, also urged Morsy to work fast to repair the economy and bitter divisions in society exposed since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak fractured the police state which had kept the country subdued for decades.
Morsy defeated former general Ahmed Shafik in a run-off last weekend by a convincing 3.5 percentage points, or nearly 900,000 votes, taking 51.7 percent of the total, officials said. It ended a week of disputes over the count that had frayed nerves.
Morsy succeeds Mubarak, who was pushed aside by his fellow officers 16 months ago to appease the Arab Spring revolution.
The military council which has ruled the biggest Arab nation since then, curbed the powers of the presidency by decree last week, meaning the head of state will have to work closely with the army on a planned democratic constitution.
The generals say they want to hand over to civilian rule but are plainly set on defending their privileges and suspicious of the ability of Egypt's fragmented, and long oppressed, political movements to establish a stable constitutional democracy.
The United States, the army's key sponsor and long wary of the rise of political Islam, joined other Western powers in congratulating Morsy and calling on him to form a government of national unity and to respect all Egyptians' civil rights.
Brotherhood officials, speaking as supporters turned Cairo's Tahrir Square into a roaring sea of flags and chants of "Allahu akbar!" (God is greatest), said they would press on with protest vigils to demand that the ruling military council cancel this month's dissolution of the Islamist-led parliament and a decree which gave the generals powers that will restrict the president.
"Morsy is the first truly democratically elected president in Egypt," the Brotherhood's Yasser Ali told Reuters.
"He has the legitimacy and will sit down with the military council and all the political forces to resolve the outstanding issues over parliament and the constitutional decree and the newly imposed emergency law."
"Speak! Have no fear! The military must go!" crowds chanted on Tahrir Square, seat of the revolt, although senior officials in the movement, the veteran adversary of the army for decades, said they wanted to avoid outright confrontation.
There were some isolated scuffles in parts of Cairo between rival groups. Several hundred Shafik supporters in the middle-class suburb of Nasr City chanted "Save Egypt! The Brotherhood will destroy it!", while soldiers tried to keep traffic moving.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who heads the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), called to congratulate the 60-year-old Morsy on his victory, state television said.
How these two men cooperate will determine Egypt's uncertain path from revolution to democracy and its relations with anxious Arab and Western allies: Tantawi was Mubarak's defense minister for 20 years and has been close to the Pentagon; Morsy, jailed more than once under the old regime, has a doctorate in engineering from the University of Southern California.
PROTESTS GO ON
Another official at the Brotherhood's headquarters, Gihad Haddad, said demonstrations would also continue to press the army: "The peaceful protests will continue in the squares and across Egypt. The struggle for a new Egypt is just beginning."
Those who voted for Shafik as a bulwark against a religious rule that they fear will mean intolerance and alienation from the West were fearful: businessman Maged Abdel Wadud, 45, who had gathered with others at a hotel hoping to greet a victorious Shafik said: "This is a very bad day for Egypt.
"I am so, so upset. I can't imagine this man becoming a president of Egypt. This is the beginning of the end for Egypt."
Some of those backing Shafik accused the military council and Tantawi of "selling out" to the Brotherhood. But a source close to the council itself insisted the election had been entirely fair, in contrast to those under Mubarak.
Describing it as "a true example of democracy to the world" the military council source stressed the pressure was now on Morsy to take responsibility - something many think might backfire on the Brotherhood if Egypt remains in crisis:
"The onus now is on the new president to unite the nation and create a true coalition of political and revolutionary forces to rebuild the country economically and politically," the source said. "The world is now watching the new president to see whether his tenure will reflect all political currents."
Western powers, and Israel, have been concerned about the Islamist turn in Egypt. But Washington and Europe, both big aid donors, have also pressed the military to accept democracy, while urging the Brotherhood to respect all Egyptians' rights - notably those of women and the large Christian minority.
"This is an historic moment for Egypt," said British Foreign Secretary William Hague. "I welcome President Morsy's statement that he intends to form an inclusive government that governs on behalf of all the Egyptian people."
In his congratulations, French President Francois Hollande said: "It is key today that the transition which started in February 2011 continues, so that a democratic and pluralist political system establishes itself in Egypt, guaranteeing civil liberties and political freedom to all citizens."
In Israel, at war with the Brotherhood's Palestinian offshoot Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he "respected" the democratic outcome in Egypt and expected to continue cooperation under the two states' peace treaty.
In Hamas-run Gaza, where Palestinians hope Morsy may end Cairo's cooperation with an Israeli blockade, celebratory gunfire rattled across the crowded coastal territory. Iran, which is at odds with most Arab states, welcomed what it called an "Islamic awakening" in Egypt.
Reformist Egyptian politician Mohamed ElBaradei, a former U.N. diplomat, tweeted: "It is time for us to all work together as Egyptians in a framework of national consensus." A senior Western diplomat in Cairo said: "This is a truly historic moment for Egypt - a triumph over the politics of fear and prejudice. Egypt has a civilian, democratically elected president for the first time in its history. The Muslim Brotherhood are far from a perfect organization, but Morsy's election represents a genuine result for the revolution."
He said he did not expect the movement to push its complaints so far as to provoke the military council to react and take from the presidency those powers it still has: "The Muslim Brotherhood will take what they've got - a prize unimaginable to them 18 months ago," the diplomat said. "An imperfect presidency is way better than none at all.
"It's part of the new and delicate act of political compromise, part of Egypt's new cohabitation."
Half of those who voted in last month's first round of the election backed neither Morsy nor Shafik and many who voted in the run-off voted negatively - either against Morsy's religious agenda or against Shafik as a symbol of military rule.
Hamdeen Sabahy, the secular leftist who finished a close third behind Shafik in the first round, called on Morsy to "swiftly form a national presidential administration and a government that expresses national reconciliation and represents all currents and the diversity of Egyptian society powers".
For Morsy a spokesman said: "This is a testament to the resolve of the Egyptian people to make their voice heard." Shafik, a former air force commander and Mubarak's last prime minister, offered no immediate reaction. He has said he would offer to serve in a Morsy administration.
Morsy won the first round ballot in May with a little under a quarter of the vote. He has pledged to form an inclusive government to appeal to all the 82 million Egyptians.
"President Morsy will struggle to control the levers of state," Elijah Zarwan, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said in Cairo. "He will likely face foot-dragging and perhaps outright attempts to undermine his initiatives from key institutions. Faced with such resistance, frustration may tempt him to fall into the trap of attempting to throw his new weight around," Zarwan told Reuters. "This would be a mistake.
"His challenge is to lead a bitterly divided, fearful, and angry population toward a peaceful democratic outcome, without becoming a reviled scapegoat for continued military rule."
Morsy has promised a moderate Islamist agenda to steer Egypt into a new democratic era where autocracy will be replaced by transparent government that respects human rights and revives the fortunes of a powerful Arab state long in decline. Morsy is promising an "Egyptian renaissance with an Islamic foundation".
Yet the stocky, bespectacled party official appears something of an accidental president: he was only flung into the race at the last moment by the disqualification on a technicality of Khairat al-Shater, the group's preferred choice.
With a stiff and formal style, Morsy cast himself as a reluctant latecomer to the race, who cited religious fear of judgment day as one of his reasons for running. He struggled to shake off his label as the Brotherhood's "spare tire".
Questions remain over the extent to which Morsy will operate independently of other Brotherhood leaders once in office: his manifesto was drawn up by the group's policymakers. The role Shater might play has been one focus of debate in Egypt.
"I will treat everyone equally and be a servant of the Egyptian people," Morsy said at his campaign headquarters in Cairo shortly after polling ended last Sunday. He gave up his membership of the Brotherhood after being elected. Turnout was only 51.8 percent of the 50 million-strong electorate, slightly up on the first round but indicative still of a nation unused to having its voice heard without risking punishment and uncertain of the worth of the candidates.
(Additional reporting by Marwa Awad, Tamim Elyan, Tom Perry, Edmund Blair and Patrick Werr; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Philippa Fletcher)
Fatou Bensouda, the first woman and the first African to head the team of prosecutors at International Criminal Court (ICC).
Gambian lawyer Fatou Bensouda, who reached the pinnacle of international justice Friday when she became chief prosecutor at the world’s war crimes court, has a reputation as a dogged investigator.
The 51-year-old one-time attorney in mainland Africa’s smallest nation, Bensouda is now the public face of the International Criminal Court, The Hague-based tribunal that was established a decade ago with a brief to bring those accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice.
Bensouda, the first woman and the first African to head the team of prosecutors after serving as predecessor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s number two since 2004, has vowed to work for justice for Africans.
She has already carved out a reputation in legal circles for her dogged investigations of atrocities such as the Rwandan genocide and the use of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The court has been the target of widespread criticism from within Africa as every one of the 25 suspects who have been the target of investigations or prosecutions to date have hailed from there.
The list includes Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and the late Libyan dictator Moaner Gaddafi while Ivory Coast’s toppled leader Laurent Gbagbo is currently awaiting trial in the Netherlands.
But, rather than worrying about the status of the suspects, Bensouda says she sees her task as an opportunity “to give victims the voice they need”.
“I don’t think about the leaders we are pursuing,” she told AFP in a recent interview.
“I am working for the victims of Africa, they are African like me. That’s where I get my inspiration and my pride.”
Bensouda has spent the last eight years as the number two to Argentina’s Moreno-Ocampo, most of that time heading the ICC’s prosecution division.
She first came to prominence in international legal circles as a trial attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, and later as its senior legal advisor.
Since her election as the ICC’s deputy prosecutor in August 2004, she has been involved in some of the court’s most high profile cases.
Her CV includes the ICC’s first successful prosecution in March when Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga was found guilty of abducting children as young as 11 and forcing them to fight.
The daughter of a civil servant and a housewife, Bensouda grew up in Banjul, the capital of Gambia, a tiny English-speaking west African country which borders Senegal.
She graduated from the Nigerian Law School in Lagos, returning to Gambia to begin a career in 1987 as a public prosecutor.
In 1998, she was appointed Gambia’s justice minister and attorney-general before quitting to run the International Bank for Commerce as its general manager in Banjul for two years.
But she said: “It was not my thing, I missed the court.”
Bensouda entered the international justice arena in May 2002 as a trial attorney for the ICTR prosecutor’s office, taking to task those responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which some 800,000 people were slaughtered.
The mother of two sons who have completed their studies in architecture and finance, one living in Banjul and the other in the United States, Bensouda also adopted a sister’s daughter, Saddy, 27.
Her own father was polygamous. Asked how many brothers or sisters she has, she replied: “I come from a big family, let’s say it that way.”
The International Criminal Court (commonly referred to as the ICC ) is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression (although it cannot, until at least 2017, exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression). It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, entered into force—and it can only prosecute crimes committed on or after that date. The Court's official seat is in The Hague, Netherlands, but its proceedings may take place anywhere. -Wikepedia
Nigeria's Inflation eased to 12.7 percent in May from previously 12.9 percent
ALL ITEMS INDEX:
The Composite Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures inflation rose to 12.7 percent year-on-year in May 2012. The high year-on-year change could be partly attributable to persistent increase in the prices some farm produce due to the farming season, for example vegetables which are typically in short supply at this time of the year. Other notable increases were in catering services as well as the cost of some miscellaneous services, such as appliances, articles and products for personal care. However, while these items were responsible for the largest price rises, their contribution to the overall index is minimal given their relatively smaller weights in the index.
On a monthly basis, the composite CPI was higher by 0.75 percent in May 2012 when compared with April 2012. The urban inflation rate was recorded at 14.1 percent year-on-year while the rural inflation rate was 11.7 percent for May 2012. The urban All Items index increased by 0.8 percent on a month-on-month basis, while the rural index increased by 0.7 percent, when compared with the preceding month. The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the twelve-month period ending May 2012 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve-month period was 11.1 percent, the same as the previous month. The corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for urban and rural indices was 10.5 and 11.6 respectively.
In May 2012, the level of the Composite Food Index was higher than the corresponding level a year ago by 12.9 percent. On a month on month basis, average monthly food prices rose in May 2012 by 1.2 percent. The rise in the food index was mainly from increase in the prices of vegetables (in particular), potatoes, yam and other tubers, and bread and cereals. Farm produce prices have been higher as stocks have been drawn down from earlier harvests and farmers are in the peak of the farming season, using up part of their stocks in the farming process. The average annual rate of rise of the index remained at 10.4 percent (year-on-year) for the twelve-month period ending May 2012.
ALL ITEMS LESS FARM PRODUCE
The “All items less Farm Produce” index which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural products rose by 14.9 percent year-on-year, while the average 12 month annual rate of rise of the index was 12.4 percent for the twelve-month period ending May 2012. On a month-on-month basis, the core index increased by 1.1 percent in May 2012. The rise in the “Core” index could be attributable to higher price levels in divisions that compose the index, such as clothing and footwear, gas and other fuels, transportation, and other class items such
CPI May 2012: All Items Index
12 Month Avg. Chg 11.1%
Real GDP (Q1, 2012) 6.17%
Abubakar Shekau, Abubakar Adam Kambar and Khalid al-Barnawi
The United States, yesterday, named three alleged leaders of the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram as “foreign terrorists”, the first time it has blacklisted members of the Islamist group which claimed responsibility for many bomb attacks in the northern part of the country.
This is just as the alleged mastermind of the bomb attack on the United Nations building in Abuja which claimed 25 lives, Habib Bama, has been arrested after a gun duel with security personnel. The State Department identified the three Boko Haram leaders who have been branded terrorists as Abubakar Shekau, who it called the “most visible” leader of the group; Abubakar Adam Kambar and Khalid al-Barnawi, who it said were tied both to Boko Haram and to al Qaeda’s north African wing.
“Under Shekau’s leadership, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in northern Nigeria, its primary area of operation. In the last 18 months, Boko Haram or associated militants have killed more than 1,000 people,” the State Department said in an announcement, noting that “these designations demonstrate the United States’ resolve in diminishing the capacity of Boko Haram to execute violent attacks,”
The action by the State and Treasury departments, first reported by Reuters on Wednesday, follows growing pressure on the Obama Administration to take stronger action against Boko Haram, which has stepped up attacks on Christian places of worship this year.
U.S. officials say the decision to list individual Boko Haram members, rather than apply the more sweeping “Foreign Terrorist Organization” label to the group as a whole as some U.S. lawmakers have demanded, reflected a desire not to elevate the group’s profile. The action freezes any assets the three men have in the United States, and bar U.S. persons from any transactions with them.
This is the first such action the U.S. government has taken against Boko Haram, but falls short of demands from some U.S. lawmakers and the Justice Department to designate the entire group as a “foreign terrorist organization.” The State Department has been under pressure to act against Boko Haram for months. In January, Lisa Monaco, the Justice Department’s top national security official, sent a letter to the State Department arguing that the Nigerian group met the criteria for a “foreign terrorist” listing because it either engages in terrorism that threatens the United States or has a capability or intent to do so.
More recently, a group of Republican senators led by Scott Brown of Massachusetts introduced legislation requiring the State Department to determine whether Boko Haram should be designated as a terrorist group. Republican Representative Patrick Meehan, who chairs a Homeland Security subcommittee in the House, also introduced an amendment that would force the administration to add Boko Haram to the terrorism list or explain why it was not doing so.
Boko Haram henchman Habib Bama shot, arrested
Meanwhile, Habib Bama ex-army officer allegedly responsible for bombings of UN offices in Abuja, Abacha barracks and other places has been arrested. He was said to have been brought down in a shoot out with the JTF who shot and wounded him. Habib was declared wanted early this year by the SSS, after the arrest and confessions of Boko Haram spokesman, Abul Qaqa
4 killed as midnight killings haunt residents
There was still palpable tension in Kaduna State, yesterday, despite claims by the government that the area was now calm as it was gathered that four people were killed at Kujama in a renewed clash between some Muslims and Christians. The Chairman of Kujama was, however, said to have explained on the Kaduna State Media Corporation, KSMC, that the fight took place in the market and not in the night.
At Mararaba Rido, Vanguard gathered that rival groups moved from house to house in search of who to kill or maim as well as torching such houses. This came as some medical officers at the 44 Military Hospital said that the mortuary was full with dead bodies even as four other victims being treated in the hospital died between Wednesday night and yesterday morning. There were no fewer than 30 people with serious injuries in the hospital, even as more patients were brought in for admission same Wednesday night.
Reliable sources said the hoodlums took advantage of the absence of both military and police officers on the streets in the night to embark on reprisal killings. It was said that the withdrawal of soldiers from the streets followed allegations that a military officer killed an adherent of a religion other than his own, thus inflaming passion on the side of the religious group which lost its member to the bullets from the soldier.
A resident of Barnawa who craved anonymity said, “there is curfew but without either the military or police on the streets criminals will not be deterred from carrying out their nefarious activities. The government cannot just declare a 24-hour curfew and leave the streets empty. It must deploy security agents on the streets to monitor compliance. We expect Governor Patrick Yakowa to do more by matching actions with words,” the source said.
Calm however seemed to have been restored in Kaduna town and environs, yesterday, at the time of this report. Meanwhile, most streets in Kaduna were deserted throughout yesterday, with schools, filling stations, shops and offices remaining shut, as government re-affirmed its determination to enforce the curfew.
Governor Yakowa had in a statement by his Media Assistant, Mr Reuben Buhari affirmed that the 24 -hour curfew was still in force and warned residents to ensure compliance. The statement read: “The Governor of Kaduna State, Sir Patrick Yakowa, once again commiserates with all. While sharing in their grief, it is however important to inform the whole state that the 24- hour curfew earlier imposed on the state is still in force and security agencies have been asked to ensure its full compliance.
“As distasteful as the imposition of the 24- hour curfew is, the good citizens of Kaduna State should understand that the measure became necessary for the good of the state and the benefit of its citizens. People are expected to cooperate fully with security agencies saddled with the task of restoring full peace and order in our state. The Governor further calls on people to absolutely disregard all mischievous text messages and rumours being circulated on impending crisis or attacks. All these rumours are meant to further throw the state into chaos. He also calls on all the inhabitants of Kaduna State to show love to one another, regardless of religious or ethnic differences.”
However, in the suburbs, residents sat outside, while youth converted open spaces into football fields, even as the wailing sounds of sirens from vehicles of security agents who patrolled the streets rent the air once in a while. The ban on movements was said to be taking its toll on residents, most of whom did not store food and other basic items at home before the bombings and reprisal attacks between Sunday and yesterday.
Islamist candidate Mohammed Morsi declared victory Monday in Egypt's first free presidential election since Hosni Mubarak's ouster 16 months ago. But just as polls were closing, the ruling military council issued constitutional amendments that gave sweeping authority to maintain its grip on power and subordinate the nominal head of state.
After the last-minute power grab Sunday night, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) pledged Monday to honor its promise to hand over power to the newly elected president by the end of this month. But the constitutional amendments stripped the president of almost all significant powers. The military decreed that it will have legislative authority after a court dissolved parliament, it will control of the drafting a new constitution and will not allow civilian oversight of its significant economic interests or other affairs.
Morsi represents the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic fundamentalist group which has emerged as the most powerful political faction since the uprising. The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party rejected the constitutional declaration, saying it was no longer within the authority of the military council to issue such a decree with less than two weeks left for the transfer of power.
Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi, casts his vote inside a polling station, in Zakazik 80 Kilometers (50 miles) north of Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, May 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Ahmed Gomaa)
In Washington, Pentagon spokesman George Little urged the ruling military to transfer full power to a democratically elected civilian government, as it pledged to do in the past.
"We are deeply concerned about the new amendments to the constitutional declaration, including the timing of their announcement as polls were closing for the presidential election," said Little.
The constitutional declaration made almost simultaneously with polls Sunday night was the third major blow in a week to hopes for a democratic transition that arose from the uprising. On Wednesday, the military gave itself broad powers to arrest civilians even on minor offenses such as traffic violations. And on Thursday, a court stacked with Mubarak-era appointees dissolved parliament.
The Freedom and Justice party also rejected the dissolution of parliament. "The People's Assembly stands and has legislative and oversight authority," the party said in a statement posted on its website.
Maj-Gen. Mohammed al-Assar, a senior member of the ruling council, said the generals would transfer power in a "grand ceremony." He did not give an exact date or mention Morsi by name. He said the new president will have the authority to appoint and dismiss the government and that the military council has no intention of taking away any of the president's authorities.
"We'll never tire or be bored from assuring everyone that we will hand over power before the end of June," al-Assar told a televised news conference.
Though official results have not yet been announced, the Brotherhood released a tally that showed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood took nearly 52 percent of the vote to defeat Mubarak's last Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq with about 48 percent in a very close race. The count was based on results announced by election officials at individual polling centers, where each campaign has representatives who compile and release the numbers before the formal announcement.
The Shafiq campaign rejected Morsi's claim of victory and accused him to trying to "usurp" the presidency or lay the groundwork to challenge the official result if it shows Shafiq winning.
"What the other candidate has done threatens Egypt's future and stability," said the statement, adding that initial indications show that Shafiq is undoubtedly ahead with between 51.5 to 52 percent.
If Morsi's victory is confirmed in the official result expected on Thursday, it would be the first victory of an Islamist as head of state in the stunning wave of pro-democracy uprisings that swept the Middle East the past year. But the military's last minute power grab sharpens the possibility of confrontation and more of the turmoil that has beset Egypt since Mubarak's overthrow.
By midday, several hundred flag-waving supporters had gathered at Cairo's Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the uprising, to celebrate.
In a victory speech at his headquarters in the middle of the night, Morsi, 60, clearly sought to assuage the fears of many Egyptians that the Brotherhood will try to impose stricter provisions of Islamic law. He said he seeks "stability, love and brotherhood for the Egyptian civil, national, democratic, constitutional and modern state" and made no mention of Islamic law.
"Thank God, who successfully led us to this blessed revolution. Thank God, who guided the people of Egypt to this correct path, the road of freedom, democracy," the bearded, U.S.-educated engineer declared.
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