23 October 2007


Shock at SA reggae star shooting
Lucky Dube pictured on his most recent album, Respect (Image: luckydubemusic.com)
Lucky Dube pictured on his most recent album, Respect

Fans across the world are mourning the South African reggae star, Lucky Dube, who has been shot dead.

He was dropping his teenage son and daughter off in a Johannesburg suburb when he was attacked by car thieves.

Local radio stations have been flooded with tearful callers expressing outrage at the murder and renewing demands that the authorities act to curtail crime.

South Africa's leader paid tribute to him and called on people to "confront this terrible scourge of crime".

Alongside Bob Marley, Lucky Dube was thought of as one of the great reggae artists - singing about social problems.

He was also one of the apartheid regime's most outspoken critics.

'Freedom fighter'

Correspondents say the killing of the 43-year-old singer has shocked South Africans who are already accustomed to one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Lucky Dube
He will be missed as a great musician and for his love for the children and the suffering people in Africa
Abitekaniza Denis, Kampala, Uganda

Music producer TK of TS records and a friend of Dube's told the BBC the killing was tragically ironic.

"The whole continent has lost a performer, musician, a guy that fought for freedom in his own way, in his own right, was just shot by some guy who wanted to take his car, you know, which is Mickey Mouse really," he said.

Opposition parties and the youth wing of the ruling African National Congress party have called on the government to take drastic measures against crime.

Callers to radio stations have urged the country's rugby team to show some form of respect when they take to the field in Saturday's World Cup final against England in Paris.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Shock at SA reggae star shooting

Book Explores History of Slave Ships

Book Explores History of Slave Ships



Marcus Rediker

History professor Marcus Rediker poses in his office with copies of his book "Slave Ship," at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Oct. 5, 2007. The book explores the history of slave ships, their human cargo and crew. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Picture 1 of 2

PITTSBURGH - Over more than three centuries, more than 12 million Africans were loaded on ships, bound for the Americas to be slaves.

Aboard the slaver, or Guineaman, as the vessels were also known, the kidnapped Africans frequently had to travel in living quarters as cramped as coffins, and suffered savage beatings, outright torture and death to quell uprisings and forced dancing to keep them fit.

While the plantation system and other aspects of slavery have been widely studied, the history of the slave ship itself is largely unknown, says historian Marcus Rediker, author of "The Slave Ship - A Human History."

"What I'm basically interested in is how captains, ship captains, officers, sailors and the slave interacted with the slave ship. What was the actual reality? Of course, it was quite horrifying," said Rediker, a University of Pittsburgh history professor. "In many respects, the development of the Americas through slavery and the plantation system is unthinkable without the slave ship."

For a couple hundred years, most people thought they knew what happened during the Atlantic crossing, Rediker says. Abolitionists had produced evidence of life aboard slave ships, but many scholars were suspicious of what they'd gathered, thinking it propaganda.

Perhaps the most significant reason for lack of scholarship, he says, is an assumption that "history happens on land, that the landed masses of the world are the real places and that the seas in between are a kind of void."

Ira Berlin, a University of Maryland professor who has written about slavery said Rediker's book addresses a difficult subject.

"And that is what happened to slaves and others in the middle passage. It speaks with great authority and he's able to balance his knowledge with his deep anger with what has transpired," Berlin said. "It has an edge of moral outrage which gives it a certain kind of authenticity."

Rediker acknowledges a fascination with elements of the sea and seafaring, the romance and adventure of pirates and explorers, but says, "We're fascinated by all tall ships except the most important one, and that's the slave ship. And that one we can hardly bear to look at."

Slave ships arrived on the west coast of Africa, where it took an average of six months to gather the entire human cargo of slaves. The middle passage, as the journey to the Americas was known, could take eight to 13 weeks. Death was common. Some 1.5 million Africans died, either of sickness, suicide or by murder-as-example. Crews also faced death, either by illness, insurrection or sinking.

In one example in the book, an African man who refused to eat was tied up and lashed with a horse whip until he was raw and bloody "from his neck to his ankles."

After the beating, Captain Timothy Tucker ate his dinner, then returned to inflict more punishment to prevent the man - who had apparently decided to end his life by self starvation - from inspiring others to starve themselves.

Tucker ordered a cabin boy to get his pistols. He pointed a pistol at the man's head and told him he'd kill him if he refused to eat. The man replied "Adomma" in his native tongue - "so be it."

Tucker fired into the man's forehead. The man clapped his hand to his wound, but did not die. Tucker placed the gun to the man's ear and fired again. Again, he did not die. Tucker then ordered another sailor to shoot the man through the heart, which finally killed him.

"Captains ruled this potentially rebellious mass of humanity by enacting terrible examples, enacting violence and terror on one in an effort to cow the rest," Rediker says.

Book Explores History of Slave Ships

Helicopters- If you can't buy one then make one

Mubarak Muhammad Abdullahi, a 24-year-old physics undergraduate in northern Nigeria
, takes old cars and motorbikes to pieces in the back yard at home and builds his own helicopters from the parts.

"It took me eight months to build this one," he said, sweat pouring from his forehead as he filled the radiator of the banana yellow four-seater which he now parks in the grounds of his university.

The chopper, which has flown briefly on six occasions, is made from scrap aluminium that Abdullahi bought with the money he makes from computer and mobile phone repairs, and a donation from his father, who teaches at Kano's Bayero university.
Continue article on Yahoo News>>

Holocaust; Time to remember the Black victims

In the vast, agonising mosaic of the Holocaust, Mahjub bin Adam Mohamed was simply one more piece, one of millions of the Nazis' victims lost to obscurity without a funeral or a grave.

Now bin Adam is to make history in Germany by becoming the first black person to be given a memorial in his adopted country as an individual victim of the genocide of the Third Reich. A Stolperstein - a bronze 'stumbling block' - will be erected on the ground outside the house in Berlin where he lived.
Continue article on The Guardian>>

21 October 2007

Thomas Sankara WebSite - "Thomas Sankara on the Emancipation of Women, An internationalist whose ideas live on!" by Nathi Mthethwa

"...We, who have walked with giants know that Moses Mabhida belonged in that company too". (O.R. Tambo at Mabhida’s funeral)

I am certain that those who knew and struggled with Sankara would have expressed similar sentiments at his funeral. Sankara’s insight on the complimentary role between National Liberation Struggle and a socialist construction is demonstrated by his thoughts on a variety of social motor forces and sectors of revolution like the working class, youth, peasants, intelligentsia, women etc.

August 4, 1983 witnessed a popular uprising in one of the poorest Western African country of the Upper Volta, thus ushered in potentially one of the most far-reaching revolutions in African history. The leader of this revolution was Thomas Sankara who became the president of the new revolutionary government at the age of thirty-three. Upon the triumph of the revolution the country was renamed Burkina Faso.

For the next four years the Burkina revolution, carried out the most ambitious programme that included land reform, fighting corruption, reforestation to halt the creeping desert and avert famine and prioritising education and health. For this programme to succeed, the government pressed on with the organisation, mobilisation and political
education of especially the working class, youth, peasants and women. The government also focused on solidarity with freedom struggles around the world - from solidarity with the battle against apartheid in South Africa to friendships with the revolutionary movements in Cuba, Nicaragua, Palestine, Western Sahara and so forth.

On October 15, 1987 Sankara was assassinated in a counter-revolutionary coup that destroyed the revolutionary government and thus destroyed the acceleration of the program of change in that country. Ironically, a week prior to his death Sankara addressed people about the slain Cuban revolutionary leader, Che Guevara and said that "while revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas."

Sankara has become a symbol to all those who were inspired by the Burkinabe revolution and who are committed to the total liberation of Africa and indeed of all humanity the world over. For the purpose of this pamphlet we will confine ourselves on his thoughts on women’ s emancipation.

Sankara’s Thoughts on Women’s Emancipation
From his experience as a revolutionary leader and convinced of the need for a Marxist - Leninist understanding of human society, Sankara explained the origins of women oppression and the importance to eradicate it.

Dorotea Wilson, a then member of Nicaragua’s National Assembly and a Sandanista leader, paid tribute to Sankara’s speech against women oppression, thus: "This speech is not just a declaration of principles. It also shows a profound understanding of, and active solidarity with the struggle of women which in fact belongs to and involves all of humanity."
(Referring to his speech to a rally in Burkina Faso’s capital of Ougadougou on March 8, 1987, commemorating International Women’s Day).Read on....

Thomas Sankara WebSite - "Thomas Sankara on the Emancipation of Women, An internationalist whose ideas live on!" by Nathi Mthethwa: "Thomas Sankara on the Emancipation of Women, An internationalist whose ideas live on! by Nathi Mthethwa Introduction '...We, who have walked with giants know that Moses Mabhida belonged in that company too'. (O.R. Tambo at Mabhida’s funeral) I am certain that those who knew and struggled with Sankara would have expressed similar sentiments at his funeral. Sankara’s insight on the complimentary role between National Liberation Struggle and a socialist construction is demonstrated by his thoughts on a variety of social motor forces and sectors of revolution like the working class, youth, peasants, intelligentsia, women etc. August 4, 1983 witnessed a popular uprising in one of the poorest Western African country of the Upper Volta, thus ushered in potentially one of the most far-reaching revolutions in African history. The leader of this revolution was Thomas Sankara who became the president of the new revolutionary government at the age of thirty-three. Upon the triumph of the revolution the country was renamed Burkina Faso. For the next four years the Burkina revolution, carried out the most ambitious programme that included land reform, fighting corruption, reforestation to halt the creeping desert and avert famine and prioritising education "

16 October 2007


Thomas Sankara
(December 21, 1949 - October 15, 1987) was a charismatic left-leaning leader in West Africa. As head of Upper Volta's government and later President, he changed the name of Upper Volta to Burkina Faso and undertook major reforms to eliminate poverty. Sometimes nicknamed "Tom Sank", he was considered by some to be an "African Che Guevara".

I decided to start this week with the comemoration of one of africa's most heroic symbol of modern times"THOMAS SANKARA",the man from the land of men of intergrity,Burkina Fasso. The revolution Sankara led between 1983 and 1987 was one of the most creative and radical that Africa has produced in the decades since independence. He started to blaze a trail that other African countries might follow, a genuine alternative to Western-style modernization – and, like other radical African leaders such as Patrice Lumumba and Amilcar Cabral, was shot down as a result. Whereas his murderer, still in power eight years later, has pursued self-enrichment and politics as usual – and has been fĂȘted by the West for his compliance.
During this week of events marking the 20th anniversary of his death,i'll be sending some tips and other articles of this globally loved gentleman who decided to go the opposite way(the real way).
On the 4th of August 1983,some young officials took over power in the then Upper volta proclaiming a revolution and Thomas Sankara was named president.One year later,he changed the name of the country to Burkina Faso,which means in their local language"the land of men of upright men"(men of integrity).
It clearly became open that Sankara's style was new and different and his characteristics of integrity,provocation,transparency,honesty,warmness,unpredictableness,sentiments of love and hate,discerned so much hatred and enemies which led to his assassination on the 15th Oct.1978.
But his spirit still lives and even stronger in the heart and minds of all Africans today. He campaigned for disarmament,elimination of foreign debts in poor countries,reafforestation,women's rights in africa,abolished state priviledges to himself and all his staff because he couldn't think of a rich president in a poor country,he welcomed foregn leaders in villages and not in big palaces,ordered his ministers and government officials to coltivate farmyards inorder to better understand the problems of the poor farmers,created an office for non governmental organisations,fought against imperialism and post colonisation and maybe(obviously) because of all these,he was assassinated,though on his death certificate it is reported he died of natural causes.

‘I would like to leave behind me the conviction that if we maintain a certain amount of caution and organization we deserve victory... You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those madmen. We must dare to invent the future.’

Thomas Sankara, 1985

Namibia deports two americans in a shameful story1

Winhhoek - Namibia has ordered two Americans to leave the country for trying to recruit Namibians to work as security guards in Iraq and Afghanistan, the information minister said.

Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said the Namibian Security Council also ordered their company, Special Operations Consulting-Security Management Group (SOC-SMG), to shut down on the grounds that its operations violated Namibian laws.

The decision came amid an outcry over the role of security contractors in Iraq following the killing of 17 Iraqis in a shooting involving US security firm Blackwater last month.

Nandi-Ndaitwah told a news conference Paul Grimes and Fredric Piry, two US nationals heading the company, had been declared "prohibited immigrants" on Friday and given 24 hours to leave.

10 October 2007


Hi folks!This time around i want to pass on a message sent to me from one of my brothers in Australia.It's all about putting an in case of emergency"ICE" name tag on our cell phones.The reasoning is so simple but i bet many of us have not thought about it(me inclusive).
We all carry our mobile phones with names and numbers stored in it's memory but no one,other than ourselves knows which of these numbers belong to our closest family or friends.If we were to be involved in an accident(God forbid this) or were taken ill,the people attending to us would have our mobile phones but wouldn't know who to call.
Yes,there are hundreds of numbers stored but which one is the contact person in case of emergency?Hence this "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) campaign.The concept of "ICE" is catching on quickly.It is a method of contact during emergency situations.As cell phones are carried by the majority of the population,all you need to do is store the number of a contact person or persons who should be contacted during emergency under the same "ICE".
The idea was thought up by a paramedic who found that when he went to scenes of accidents,there were always mobile phones with patients but they didn't know which number to call.He therefore thought that it would be a good idea if there was a nationally recognized name for this purpose.In an emergency situation,Emergency Service personnel and hospital staff would be able to quickly contact the right person by simply dialing the number you have stored as "ICE".
For more than one contact name,simply enter ICE1,ICE2 and ICE3 etc.A great idea that would make a difference!!Let's spread the concept of ICE by storing an ICE number in our Mobile phones today! Please forward this; It won't take too many "forwards"before everybody will know about this.It really could save your life,or put a loved one's mind at rest.ICE will speak for you when you're unable to.
From Australia with love!!!

8 October 2007

100 dollars for Alick's school

Hi there to everyone,this is an appeal from a sister blog(http://africashope.blogspot.com) to help this young man from Malawi,Africa.He needs just $100 to forster his education and help his orfan sisters and himself have a life worth living.Yes,it's true there are many out there who need help and what help?Please,stretch out your hands and do something more,let's help Alick go to voccational school!PEACE AND LOVE!

Fowarding this case to my readers well wishers.

I am a Malawian citizen and come from a family of seven children. Our parents passed away. My young brothers are still schooling in primary schools and two completed secondary school education and three just staying at home having nothing to do. Our father was working but all his benefits were finished. I am the only one having acquired skills of driving and posses a malawi school certificate of education. I completed school three years ago but secured no job.

I have been approached by all these youngsters for assistance in one way or the other. I try as much as possible for them not to starve. My future which looked brighter during the presence of our parents is now deem.

Coinciddentary, I have been selected to Mikolongwe college, a vocational training college ,to pursue a course in Tropical Agriculture for one year but I have no funds at present. The whole amount of fees including examinations reaches approximately 100 U$D.I dont want to lose that rare opportunity because after completion I shall be able to work as a field facilitator among disadvantaged people as well.I would suggest if you fill that you can assist then you can pay direct to the school for the sake of transparency.

With full hope that you are going to assist me in one way or the other. I am a responsible person our church and I really believe in God and hence advise you to scan my application in detail if in doubt.

Best regards,

Alick H.Livata,
C/O Mr J.J.H.L.Mbewe,
P.O.BOX 278,
Tel: +265 8365376

Africa's Hope

New York opens slave burial site

Many of our children today donot really know what the slave trade truely means and scarcely have little possibilities to do so because the truth is always hidden or distorted if it concerns blacks.Immagine the seizure and
elimination of young men and women(working force) continuosly from their countries to work as slaves in white plantations and companies for 400years...i mean continuosly,therefore leaving these countries bare for so long,yet they still stand up strong till date!Hope this gesture from new york serves as a pacesetter"not to forget" for many such initiatives about the slave trade.

Designer Rodney Leon at the African Burial Ground National Monument
A museum is also planned for the site
A burial ground for African slaves, which had been forgotten for almost two centuries, has been opened to the public in New York.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and poet Maya Angelou attended a dedication ceremony for a monument at the site.

The late 17th Century burial site was gradually built over as New York expanded, but was rediscovered during an excavation in 1991.

Some 400 remains, many of children, were found during excavations.

Half of the remains found at the burial site were of children under the age of 12.

The entire project has cost more than $50 million (£24 million) to complete.

The burial site in Manhattan was rediscovered during excavations for a federal building.

Forgotten sacrifice

Now a 25ft (7.6 metre) granite monument marks the site.

For so many years, for centuries, people passing by this site did not know about the sacrifices they had made
Rodney Leon

It was designed by Rodney Leon and is made out of stone from South Africa and from North America to symbolise the two worlds coming together.

The entry to the monument is called The Door of Return - a nod to the name given to the departure points from which slaves were shipped from Africa to North America.

"The tragedy was that for so many years, for centuries, people passing by this site did not know about the sacrifices they [the slaves] had made," Mr Leon said.

"Now we have an opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the past."

BBC NEWS | Americas | New York opens slave burial site

China's oil giant to invest in refinery in Chad

China's oil giant to invest in refinery in Chad
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the country's largest oil producer, is to invest in a joint venture refinery in Chad.

The CNPC Service and Engineering Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNPC, has signed an agreement with the Chadian government to jointly invest in a refinery company to the north of N'Djamena, the capital of Chad, according to an announcement on the website of CNPC.

The subsidiary will take charge of all engineering construction and will adopt Chinese design specifications, manufacturing standards and mechanical equipments, said the announcement.

CNPC has not revealed how much it will invest or when the project will start.

Chad began to produce oil in 2003 and has found 13 oil fields so far. It has no refineries in the country and has to import refined oil from overseas.

The CNPC subsidiary has inked overseas service contracts worth 3.09 billion U.S. dollars in 2006, up 22 percent from the previous year.

Since its first cooperation on oil exploration with Sudan in 1996, China had invested in 27 major oil and natural gas projects in 14 African countries by the end of 2005, including Sudan, Algeria, Angola and Nigeria.

People's Daily Online - China's oil giant to invest in refinery in Chad

5 October 2007


British guards 'assault and racially abuse' deportees

When i started this blog,i intended to talk about just the positive and always hidden aspects of africa but i later realized that one can't write about africa without touching a lot of shameful issues.
It's rather unfortunate that after all experiences the world has past through in it's history up till date many of us are still unable to learn from the lessons learnt.These modern times,the era of sophisticated technology and social awareness has practically not reached many folks and surprisingly not as a result of lack of means of communication ,education,poverty or whatever barrier one could immagine,but just because of racism.Yes,body colour difference!This is horrible!
England is one of the countries that benefitted(colonial exploitation of human and natural resources) from africa and is still benefitting(post colonial exploitation of human and natural resources) from this continent.What is the compensation?Inhumanity,hypocrisy and other policies that shame britain.It is so sad to see black people beaten and abused just because they had to be reparttriated back to their countries,not haven attained political or humanitarian assylum status.This article openly shows out how security officials treat these people who have to go back to their homes and face further hardship.The question is,why this new wave of racism and propagation of hatred in modern times?It seems we're going backwards instead of the contrary.

Hundreds of failed asylum-seekers deported from the United Kingdom have been beaten and racially abused by British escort teams who are paid to take them back to their home countries,

The scale of the alleged abuse has been uncovered in a joint investigation by The Independent and a group co-ordinating the representation and medical care of failed asylum-seekers.

A dossier of 200 cases, collated by doctors, lawyers, immigration centre visitors and campaign groups over the past two years, has unearthed shocking claims of physical and mental mistreatment of some of the most vulnerable people in our asylum system.

Many of the claims include allegations of physical and sexual assault and racist abuse which took place during the long journey from Britain to their home countries.

One of the cases of alleged abuse is that of Armand Tchuibeu, a Cameroon national who claimed asylum in the United Kingdom in February 2000. His application was refused last year. He was then arrested and prepared for removal.

On 29 January 2007 he was collected from Tinsley House removal centre in East Sussex by four escort officers who drove him to Heathrow to catch a 9pm flight to Cameroon, as pictured on the front page from CCTV footage inside the van.

He claims handcuffs were applied to his right arm. Mr Tchuibeu says he told the guards that there was no need to handcuff him as he had no intention of obstructing his removal. But he alleges that officers started to manhandle him and, while his arms were held, one of the officers punched him in his ribs and on his neck and told him words to the effect "You will go to your fucking country today, we will fucking show you what illegal people deserve in our country". Another officer is alleged to have held his head down so they could apply a leg strap.

Eventually, Mr Tchuibeu convinced the escort officers he had been injured and the deportation was aborted. Mr Tchuibeu was taken to the Hillingdon Hospital where he was examined and treated. His knee was placed in a cylinder cast which he wore for four weeks.Continue reading. .. British guards 'assault and racially abuse' deportees - Independent Online Edition > This Britain

By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor

4 October 2007

Nigerian judge authorizes court summons on Pfizer ex-CEO

At times i feel africa is doomed for peril but another part of me gives me hope and the strength to look ahead relentlessly,no matter what comes our way.This is a sad story that has caused lives and permanent physical dammage of many children in northern nigeria,after test carried out on them for a new Pfizer drug called trozan to cure meningitis.The families of these poor victims are are claiming damages on what happened some years back but the might of a big company like Pfizer could see their dreams shattered.Despite the difficulties people face to earn their daily bread,in addition comes in unscrupolous speculators and as usual a network of exploiters who only aim to re-enrichen their already very rich pockets.

A judge on Wednesday authorized prosecutors to serve court summons on Pfizer's retired chief executive and other company officials in a case involving a drug study that prosecutors say led to deaths and disabilities among children.

Pfizer officials, including retired CEO William Steere, are named in cases filed by officials in the northern Nigerian state of Kano stemming from a trial of a meningitis drug that Nigerian prosecutors say injured young subjects.

A separate federal criminal case and two civil cases - one filed by federal authorities, the other by state authorities - also were pending.

A judge in Kano, the city with the same name as the state where the study was conducted in 1996, allowed for papers to be served to the Pfizer staff in the criminal case.

Prosecutors said that would compel the defendants to attend the next hearing in the state criminal case, which was scheduled for Nov. 6.

Prosecutors say the defendants were criminally negligent, among other charges. If convicted the defendants could face at least seven years in prison.

New York-based Pfizer, the world's biggest drugmaker, denies all the allegations.

A judge hearing the federal civil case also ruled that Steere and others may be served notice. That case, filed by the federal government and under deliberation in the capital Abuja, has been adjourned until Oct. 22.

Pfizer said Wednesday after the proceedings it had not been summoned before in any criminal cases.

"Neither the company nor any of the individuals have been served with criminal papers in this case," said a Pfizer spokesman, Christopher Loder, from New York.

Steere was Pfizer's chief executive between 1991 and 2001, the period during which the test was carried out.

In a statement, Pfizer reiterated its position that "it acted ethically in carrying out the 1996 clinical investigation of the efficacy of its drug, Trovan."

Pfizer treated 100 meningitis-infected children with an experimental antibiotic, Trovan, in a 1996 study. Another 100 children, who were control patients, received an approved antibiotic, though families lawyers' have claimed the dose was lower than recommended.

The government has charged that the company conducted the study without the full knowledge of parents or proper regulatory approval.

Eleven children died - five of those on Trovan and six in the control group, while others suffered physical disabilities and brain damage.

Pfizer has insisted its records show none of the deaths was linked to Trovan or substandard treatment, noting that the study showed a better survival rate for the patients on Trovan than those on the standard drug, and that mental damage and other serious disabilities are known aftereffects of meningitis.

Authorities in Kano state have blamed the Pfizer affair for widespread suspicion of government public health policies.Read on.

Nigerian judge authorizes court summons on Pfizer ex-CEO -- Courant.com

FT.com / World - China backs Sudan’s $300m Darfur payment

A $200m loan from China will form the bulk of a compensation payment the government of Sudan has pledged to make to the beleaguered Darfur region, according to former US president Jimmy Carter, who is visiting the country.

Mr Carter said on Wednesday that Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, made the pledge during talks with him and other members of a visiting group of elder statesmen.

“He promised us there would be $300m (€212m, £147m) in all coming to the Darfur region in compensation: $100m coming from the government and $200m to be a loan from the Chinese,” Mr Carter was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Sudan’s foreign ministry was not able to confirm the pledge or provide any further details but an official announcement was expected on Wednesday night. China’s embassy in Khartoum was closed for a Chinese national holiday.

If the loan from China is provided specifically for compensation, it would mark a significant departure for a country whose financial support to African countries is normally provided for trade and infrastructure projects.
By Barney Jopson in Nairobi.Read...

FT.com / World - China backs Sudan’s $300m Darfur payment

Pentagon launches Africa command

US troops stationed in the Horn of Africa
The US has increased its military interests in Africa in recent years
The US has launched a new command centre for military operations in Africa, in a sign of a clear increase in American interest in Africa.

Known as Africom, the initiative was first announced in February and will be based initially in Stuttgart, Germany.

Until now responsibility for Africa has been divided among the US military's European, Central and Pacific commands.

The Pentagon says Africom will allow the US to have a more integrated and effective approach to the continent.

This is a significant re-ordering of the US military, and an increased interest that can be explained in three words - oil, terrorism and instability.

The US now gets over 10% of its oil from Africa and is concerned about competition from China.

It is also worried about the potential threat from Islamic extremists in failed or failing states.

Mixed reviews

But Africa is not about to see an explosion in US bases and airstrips.

The Pentagon is being careful to stress the aim of the new command is to help struggling states through training and aid, and not to launch new wars.

It points out that over one-third of approximately 400 or so staff will be diplomats and aid specialists rather than uniformed military.

The initiative has received mixed reviews in the US.

Though many analysts welcome it as an opportunity for a more intense and unified approach to Africa, others warn of what they see as the danger of the militarisation of US policy towards the continent.

In Africa itself the response has been guarded.

Although the US has been strengthening its security ties with a number of African nations over the last few years many are cautious about being seen to embrace the Americans too warmly - at least in public.

That is one reason, perhaps, why the Pentagon has yet to find an African country willing to host the headquarters for Africom, despite a considerable amount of shopping around.

By Rob Watson
BBC News defence and security correspondent

2 October 2007

U.S. Is Top Arms Seller to Developing World - New York Times

Everyone this days is talking about world peace and there's no where you can go nowadays where you won't find gatherings,associations,organizations,blogs,bloggers,professionals,the poor,sick,weak,women,children and men,young and old,all talking about living in peace and praying for the end of conflicts,wars and consequently diseases,poverty,orphans...and what have you?Surprisingly and funnily even governments,world political leaders,business mercenaries,multinationals and consorts are also in this group of goodwilled people.This funny surprise is obviously a boomerang for these same leaders,mercenaries and their pallies who keep on selling arms to their ruthless allies in developing countries(both government troops and rebel troops,depending on their needs) and thus shamefully encourage what theoritically they preach about.And as if it wasn't enough,they're fighting amongst themselves to be the biggest suppliers of arms to these countries,most of which are terribly poor but have possibilities to acquire these arms.If a country is this poor where does the money to buy deathly and expensive arms come from??
The United States maintained its role as the leading supplier of weapons to the developing world in 2006, followed by Russia and Britain, according to a Congressional study to be released Monday.The study makes clear also that the United States has signed weapons-sales agreements with nations whose records on democracy and human rights are subject to official criticism.click the link to continue.
U.S. Is Top Arms Seller to Developing World - New York Times

1 October 2007

Ethiopia Celebrates Millennium 8Years After Rest Of The World!

Ethiopia is a country where so many cultures come together as one to form a fascinating nation. It is a country where the works of nature can truly be appreciated. And most of all, Ethiopia is a country where faith is the rule of life. It is a country where its people live cheerfully for they have faith and conviction that can be seen in everything they do, and everyday.

Ethiopia is culturally diverse, has been existent since the beginning of time, and is incomparably unique. It is one of the richest countries in the world if affluence is measured in terms of cultural diversity & possession of historical records. One aspect of its uniqueness is having its own calendar, making it the only country to celebrate the 2nd millennium 8 years later than the rest of the world.

More than 100 000 Ethiopian Orthodox Christians took part in a procession in Addis Ababa for the first major religious festival of the country's third millennium.

Ethiopia follows a unique version of the Julian and marked a new millennium on September 12, seven years after the rest of the world.

Ethiopians on Thursday converged on Meskel square in the capital's centre, in larger numbers than often before during a ceremony where they sing hymns and beat drums to commemorate what the faithful regard as the finding of cross on which Jesus was crucified.

According to Ethiopian Christian tradition, Meskel - Amharic for cross - the festival celebrates the finding of the "true cross" by Saint Helena in Jerusalem in the 4th century AD.
She is believed to have found the hiding place where three crosses used during Jesus' crucifixion and identified the holy one by a miracle.

The story has it that St Helena gave pieces of the cross to all Orthodox churches and Ethiopia's church claims to still hold its own piece in a remote monastery.

Ethiopian calendar expalined

The calendars of the entire world are based on the work of the old Egyptian astronomers who discovered - as early as three to four thousand years BC - that the solar or sidereal year lasted slightly less than 365 ¼ days. However, it was left to the astronomers of the Alexandrian school to incorporate this knowledge into some sort of calendar; and it was these astronomers who also came up with the idea of leap years.

Subsequently, the Romans under Julius Caesar borrowed their reformed calendar from the Alexandrian science and adopted it to the western world. Then the Copts inherited this science as a right and built upon it themselves. In due course, the Copts handed this calendar, together with their method of computing the date of Easter, on to their descendant Church in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian year therefore has something in common with the western year, having been derived from the same source.

So much so that the Ethiopian calendar retains the old Egyptian system whereby the year was divided into twelve months of thirty days each plus one additional month of five days (six days in leap years). Ethiopian dates therefore, fall 7- 8 years behind western dates and have done so since early Christian times. This discrepancy results from differences between the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Churchas to the date of the creation of the world.

Each Ethiopian year is dedicated to one of the four Evangelists according to the cycle: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The year of St. Luke is Leap Year, and therefore always has six days in the thirteenth month of the Ethiopian calendar.

Ethiopian Millennium


This an interesting article i landed on which explains the characteristics of the new wave of naming children in some parts in southern africa and probably in many other regions.The names are very interesting and really funny and they strictly represent circumstances ante or post birth.Please share my curiosity in this interesting article from Zimbabwe.

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe: Thirty-two years ago in western Zimbabwe, a baby boy named Tlapi was born so sick that his parents feared he would die. They took him to sangomas, or traditional healers, and to Western-style doctors, but nothing worked. It seemed that God, not man, would decide his fate.

So when he was 1 year old, Tlapi's parents changed his name to reflect that.

"Some people think I'm lying when I tell them my name," said Godknows Nare, who survived to become a freelance photographer. "They think I am teasing them. But I'm not."

Not at all. In Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, another Godknows was a waiter at a popular outdoor café. So was a man named Enough, about whom more will be said later. Across southern Africa, in fact, one can find any number of Lovemores, Tellmores, Trymores and Learnmores, along with lots of people named Justice, Honour, Trust, Gift, Energy, Knowledge and even a Zambian athlete named Jupiter.

Some Westerners chuckle. Perhaps they are oblivious - Oblivious is another Zimbabwean name, actually - to the fact that they once idolized a cowboy star named Hopalong, or that many baby girls carry the name of a jewelry store through life.

Indeed, Godknows, Enough and company are a continuation of an African tradition arguably more logical than the one that churns out excess Justins and Tiffanys. In southern Africa, a child's name is chosen to convey a specific meaning and not, as is common in the West, the latest fashion.

Increasingly, however, those traditional names are bestowed not in Ndebele, Sotho or some other local language, but in English, the world's lingua franca. English names arrived with colonial rule, were further imposed by missionaries and, for some, became fashionable with the spread of Western culture.

But for Godknows, Enough and others, the result can be confusion - and sometimes, hilarity - even among fellow Africans.

"Quite a few people tell me I am cursed," said Hatred Zenenga, an editor at the main Zimbabwean government-controlled newspaper, The Herald. "They say my name is un-Christian. They tell me that I should change it to Lovewell, or some other Christian name. And others are just surprised - 'How did you get that name?' "

Hatred got his name the way millions of other children here have - as a means of recording an event, a circumstance or even the weather conditions that accompanied their births.CLICK FOR EXCERPTS HERE UNDER;
A boy named Godknows: In southern Africa, names that say a mouthful - International Herald Tribune