1Egypt’s only Democratically Elected Civilian Leader Dies Mysteriously
Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi has been buried in a remote area of Cairo as his treatment in custody before his death was denounced as torture. His burial in the outlying Nasser City district took place under heavy security. Morsi’s son Ahmed told the Associated Press that Egyptian authorities had refused to allow a burial at the family grounds in Sharqiyah province. Morsi fainted in court on Monday and was pronounced dead on arrival in hospital. He was prosecuted on numerous charges after his one-year rule was brought to an end by a military coup in 2013. The UN called for an independent investigation into Morsi’s death and his treatment in custody. Crispin Blunt, the former chair of the foreign affairs select committee in the UK parliament, also called for an investigation. Blunt led an independent review by British MPs in March last year which concluded that the conditions in which Morsi was being kept were likely to lead to his premature death, and which condemned his treatment as cruel, inhumane and degrading. Blunt said his main concern was that Morsi’s liver disease and diabetes were not being treated. “Dr Morsi’s death in custody is representative of Egypt’s inability to treat prisoners in accordance with both Egyptian and international law,” he said. Morsi was elected president in 2012 after the ousting of the dictator Hosni Mubarak during in the Arab spring. Morsi was a divisive ruler during his year in office, a symbol of Egyptian democracy to some and a conservative authoritarian in the eyes of his opponents, who feared he was putting his Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group before the good of the country. Military officials arrested Morsi in July 2013, followed by dozens of the Muslim Brotherhood’s top leadership. The former president received a 20-year sentence for the murder of protesters and a life sentence for passing state secrets to Qatar.
2IOM Helps Ethiopian Migrants Return Home
Hundreds of Ethiopian migrants have returned home from Yemen as part of a UN repatriation programme. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says through fourflights over three days, IOM supported 137 men, 11 women and 28 children in returning home. Some 20 people with medical needs were among the group, for whom IOM provides escorts to ensure their safe travel. IOM says thousands more are waiting to leave and are being held in a football stadium in the port city of Aden. Around 12,000 people take the dangerous sea journey from the Horn of Africa to Yemen every month despite its poverty. These are the first return movements to take place from Sana’a since mid-March 2019. In fact, IOM was only able to resume air movements from Yemen in November 2018; having had to suspend them just after the conflict broke out in 2015. During that time, IOM used boats to return vulnerable Ethiopian migrants to Ethiopia, via Djibouti. In Yemen, IOM provides the returning migrants with pre-departure assistance, including medical, mental health and psychosocial care. On arrival in Ethiopia, the returnees undergo health screenings and then are housed in IOM’s transit centre in Addis Ababa. From there, IOM supports them in reaching their final destinations. For unaccompanied and separated migrant children, IOM provides family tracing assistance, helping them to reunite with their primary caregivers.
3The Democratic Republic of Congo is at the Forefront of a Hidden Health Crisis
With vast jungles home to numerous species of venomous snakes, DR Congo is a hotspot of injury and death from snakebite envenomation, an issue highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Médecins Sans Frontières as a neglected crisis for Africa. Photographer Hugh Kinsella Cunningham has been documenting the issue and capturing close-up portraits of some of the world’s most dangerous snakes, for the Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting. As many as 2.7 million people are poisoned by snakes every year, resulting in between 81,000 and 137,000 deaths, with many more amputations and permanent disabilities, according to a recent WHO report. Traditional healer in the western city of Mbandaka uses herbs and a snake’s head that has been ground into powder then burnt before being rubbed into small razor wounds made on the arms of a snakebite victim. At the Tabe medical clinic in Mbandaka, doctors have little or no access to anti-venoms and is left providing symptomatic care for snakebites.
4African Countries with Small to Medium-sized Economies Pay Far More Money for Less Effective Drugs
In countries such as Zambia, Senegal and Tunisia, everyday drugs like paracetamol can cost up to 30 times more than in the UK and USA. Leading health expert, Kalipso Chalkidou from the Centre for Global Development, co-authored a report on drug procurement that concluded that small to middling economy countries buy a smaller range of medicines, leading to weaker competition, regulation and quality. It says richer countries, thanks to public money and strong processes for buying drugs, are able to procure cheaper medicines. Poorer countries, however, tend to buy the most expensive medicines, rather than cheaper unbranded pharmaceuticals which make up 85% of the market in the UK and US. The very poorest countries are not affected when foreign donors purchase medicine on their behalf, meaning their over-the-counter medicines remain at low cost.
SOURCE: STAT NEWS
5Holland Festival Programming Gets an African Twist
This year, for the first time, the festival has invited two artists to contribute their programming ideas. Both are from Africa: Mr. Kentridge, the visual artist from South Africa, and Faustin Linyekula, the Congolese choreographer. The choice of Mr. Kentridge and Mr. Linyekula was part of an effort to extend the festival’s offerings beyond Europe and North America. That effort began in previous years with work from Latin America and parts of Asia, said Annemieke Keurentjes, the programming director, alongside Jochem Valkenburg. “Africa feels like the last bit to really explore,” she said. Ms. Keurentjes says Mr. Kentridge’s and Mr. Linyekula’s themes of inclusion, exclusion, appropriation and cultural diversity “are very topical for us here.” Both men have used the opportunity to involve their collaborative partners and artists they support. Mr. Linyekula brought work from his Kinshasa center, Studios Kabako, including “Not Another Diva,” a vehicle for the South African singer Hlengiwe Lushaba, as well as his own “In Search of Dinozard” and the new “Congo.” (I wasn’t able to see Mr. Linyekula’s works because of scheduling, but during an informal post-performance conversation, he talked about his insistence on taking a work, “Parlement Debout,” to the southeast Amsterdam neighborhood that Ms. Keurentjes referred to. “Context is everything,” he said. “Dance is a form of storytelling that you write with the body.”)
SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES
6Has Social Media Shed Light on Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis?
Over the past two years conflict has escalated in North West and South West Cameroon. Cameroon is a bilingual country (English and French) and these two regions are the country’s English-speaking areas. The conflict started when lawyers and teachers held strikes over the increasing use of French in English courts and schools. Since then, what began as nonviolent protest has grown into a conflict that threatens to become a civil war. Given this unfolding situation, researchers have examined how various groups – including the government, Anglophone activists, media organisations and citizens – used social media to report on events. Cameroon has a history of suppression and control over the media. The government only allowed independent mass media to operate from the 1990s and most media was state-owned. In this context, social media could provide the opportunity to expand coverage of certain issues in a way that wasn’t possible before and in turn influence policy and perceptions.The indings of the study show that the actual impacts of activists’ and citizens’ attempts to garner international attention using Twitter – when they shared horrific images of killings and destruction – did not get the results they hoped for. And these attempts to increase awareness did not appear to reduce the violence, at least during the time of our study. However, there is growing international awareness with recent reports about human rights abuses and how the Cameroon crisis is one of the most neglected.
SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION
7Investigating Human Rights Abuse Mining in Tanzania
Electronics companies, including Canon, Apple and Nokia, are re-evaluating their supply chains following reports they may be using gold extracted from a Tanzanian mine that has been criticised for environmental failures. Over the past 10 years, at the North Mara goldmine – which is operated by London-listed Acacia Mining – there have been more than a dozen killings of intruding locals by security personnel. More recently, the Tanzanian government has imposed penalties on the mine and ordered the operators to build an alternative to its tailings reservoir, which is used to store the byproducts of mining. Under Tanzanian law, no mine should operate within 200 metres of a home or 100 metres of a farm, but Acacia told the Guardian it had not been able to meet this requirement. The company has built a wall in some areas, improved security training and introduced a grievance mechanism, which have led to a marked reduction in conflict over the past two years, but locals claimed there were still accidents and violence as a result of incursions, and toxic wastewater continued to seep from the mine into residential areas and waterways nearby.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
8Calls to Diversify Africa’s Biggest Company
Naspers Ltd.’s biggest shareholder is considering whether to reduce its 16.5 billion stake in Africa’s biggest company because of concern it’s overexposed to a single stock. South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund is being encouraged by its manager, the Public Investment Corp., to reduce its Naspers shareholding of about 16%, said three of the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private. Any decision is ultimately up to the GEPF. Naspers’s value has grown 72-fold since 2004 on the back of the success of an early-stage investment in Chinese games developer Tencent Holdings Ltd., which listed in Hong Kong that year. That’s turned Naspers, a Cape Town-based internet technology investor once focused on South African newspapers, into a $101 billion global entity. But it’s also made the company dependent on China, where it has little influence. The shares gained 2% in Johannesburg as Tencent gained in Hong Kong. “Naspers success is dependent on the Chinese government,” said Tahir Maepa, deputy general manager for members affairs of the Public Servants Association, whose 240,000-members make it the biggest labor union representing contributors to the GEPF. “It’s a huge risk, not only for the PIC, it’s a risk for the South African economy and the JSE,” he said, adding that the GEPF should “definitely” cut its stake.
9What Renewable Energy And Home Repair Have In Common
A generation ago, wind and solar power were seen as fringe technologies with high operational costs and a limited footprint. Today, we are seeing utility-scale wind and solar installations all over the world that take up large swathes of land, including in Africa where renewable energy is providing low-cost and reliable power for the grid from Algeria to Zambia. While there is broad popular support for renewable energy as a cleaner and less carbon intensive alternative to diesel or oil-fired power projects, the construction and operation of solar and wind projects are not without local impacts. Developers are increasingly aware they need to work with local communities to address the concerns that are greatest to them. One example is the Hopefield wind farm in South Africa, where the developer invested in training and hiring local people to install solar water heaters, insulated ceilings, and improved wiring in more than 600 homes in the Saldanha Bay area, helping create jobs and support quality of life improvements that matched community priorities.
10The Movie that Makes You Yearn the Pleasures of the African Desert
David Lean’s 1963 epic has inspired many to visit North Africa after seeing the film, Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen in a 1989 restoration. It took several years to make, and was based on the Middle Eastern adventures of T.E. Lawrence, the English scholar and soldier who became an influential figure in the Arab Uprising against Ottoman rule during World War I. A young and impossibly handsome Peter O’Toole starred, and Lean used 70mm Panavision to capture the magnificent emptiness of Jordanian and Moroccan deserts.SOURCE: LONELY PLANET