Ebola virus: Tanzania failing to provide details, WHO says

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Ebola virus: Tanzania failing to provide details, WHO says

Ebola workers in DR CongoImage copyright REUTERS
Image caption Ebola workers in DR Congo, where the latest outbreak has killed more than 2,000

The World Health Organization (WHO) has rebuked Tanzania for failing to provide information about possible Ebola virus infections.

The WHO said it had learned of one suspected fatal case in Dar es Salaam and two others but, despite repeated requests, was given no information.

Tanzania has said it has no suspected or confirmed cases.

The latest outbreak has killed more than 2,000 in eastern DR Congo, with Uganda battling to stop any spread.

An epidemic that ravaged parts of West Africa from 2014 to 2016 killed more than 11,000 people.

What is the WHO complaining about?

A statement on Saturday said that on 10 September the organisation had learned of a suspected infection in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s most populous city, in what would be the country’s first Ebola case.

It said the patient had been to Uganda, shown symptoms of Ebola in August, tested positive and died on 8 September. It said that the woman’s contacts had been quarantined.

The WHO said it had unofficial reports of two other possible cases.

It said: “Despite several requests, WHO did not receive further details of any of these cases from Tanzanian authorities.”

It added: “The limited available official information from Tanzanian authorities represents a challenge for assessing the risk posed by this event.”

What has Tanzania said in response?

On 14 September, Tanzania said there were no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in the country.

Media caption Fear and myths: Why people are still in denial about Ebola

However, it did not directly address the case of the woman mentioned by the WHO and provided no further information.

Last week, US Health Secretary Alex Azar criticized Tanzania for its failure to share information on possible cases.

Tanzania is heavily reliant on tourism, which could be affected by confirmed cases.

What is the latest on the outbreak?

It began in the eastern DR Congo in August last year and is the biggest of 10 Ebola outbreaks to hit the country since 1976, when the virus was first discovered.

In July, the WHO declared the Ebola crisis in the country a “public health emergency of international concern”.

There have been more than 3,000 cases and more than 2,000 deaths.

Other nations are on high alert. Four people have died after being diagnosed with the virus in Uganda, which has maintained largely successful screening centers along its border.

The disease can spread rapidly and similarly rapid measures are needed to control it, including hand-washing regimes and quarantines.

What is Ebola?

The Ebola virusImage copyright BSIP/GETTY IMAGES
  • Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat
  • It progresses to vomiting, diarrhea and both internal and external bleeding
  • People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, feces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola
  • Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure

Cameroon on a path to ‘national dialogue’ as Anglophone crisis continues

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

Cameroon on a path to ‘national dialogue’ as Anglophone crisis continues

A man in Cameroon wears a shirt featuring President Paul Biya, taken March 20, 2008, via RNW media/Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0.

Cameroon’s leader Paul Biya, in an infrequent outing on Tuesday, September 10, announced talks to put to rest the crisis rocking the country’s English-speaking northwest and southwest regions – an impasse elapsing for the fourth year.

The conflict broke out in late 2016 when English-speaking Cameroonians began to protest the ongoing marginalization from the Francophone majority, who say the French-speaking majority government has consistently oppressed their language, culture and economies.

The protest movement, led mostly by teachers and lawyers, evolved into a militant separatist movement calling for the secession of English-speaking Cameroon. The government clamped down on Anglophone separatists and the conflict led to close to 2,000 people killed and over 500,000 displaced, according to the United Nations.

President Biya, who has been in power for 37 years, said the discussion would pull together people from a vast array of the country and will be chaired by Anglophone Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute.

“The dialogue in question will mainly concern the situation in the northwest and southwest regions. The dialogue will, therefore, rally all the sons and daughters of our beloved and beautiful country, Cameroon, to reflect on values that are dear to us, namely: peace, security, national unity and progress,” President Biya said on public television CRTV.

Gina Sondo 🇨🇲@GinaSondo

In view of the National Dialogue, ’s PM Dion Ngute will meet the following…

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
17 people are talking about this

However, there are concerns the dialogue may be limited and remote-controlled by the country’s leadership.

Agbor Nkongho, a human rights lawyer, who was part of the initial protests, wrote on Twitter on September 11, reacting to the President’s speech:

Agbor Nkongho@AgborNkonghoF

The call for an inclusive dialogue is very appreciated. I urge those who will be attending to call for the release of all those detained in connection with the crisis, the need for constitutional amendment and also to ensure that the form of the state is equally discussed.

169 people are talking about this

The Anglophone crisis in context 

After World War I, Britain and France shared control over Cameroon. France ruled French Cameroon and Britain administered a territory then-called British Southern Cameroons.

French Cameroon gained independence in 1961 as La Republique du Cameroun while British Southern Cameroons voted to join La Republique du Cameroun to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon, made up of two states: West Cameroon (English-speaking) and East Cameroon (French-speaking).

However, the first president of Cameroon, Ahmadou Ahidjo, who held power from 1960-1982, abolished the federal system in 1972. Today, there are 10 regions in the United Republic of Cameroon, made of 8 French regions and 2 English regions.

Anglophone Cameroonians have long lamented suppression from Francophone Cameroonians, who have dominated the country’s leadership since inception.

In 1991, efforts made to incise the abscess of the Anglophone problem with a similar call for dialogue fell flat. The All Anglophone Conference in 1993 and 1994 also made no impact:

Dibussi Tande@dibussi

When Anglophone members of the Committee on Constitutional Reform, set up by @PR_Paul_BIYA in 1993, proposed an alternative Federal Constitution, the President instead convened a “Grand Debat National” to water down & sidestep Anglo demands

View image on Twitter
48 people are talking about this

Nonetheless, President Biya recently announced a national dialogue to take place at the end of September, and several groups have already submitted proposals on how to resolve the crisis.

In one of them, the opposition party, the Social Democratic Front, led by vice-president Joshua Osih called for a neutral personality to chair the talks. Several Anglophone separatists are calling for the release of their leaders from prison after receiving life sentences.

Doubt, hope, fear ahead of talks

Netizens took to Twitter to express hope as well as doubt about the impact of the national dialogue plan. Solomon Amabo called for the need for a third-party presence to ensure transparency and inclusivity:

Solomon Amabo@solomon_amabo

Dialogue:’Who will I dialogue with?asked Mr Biya?He turns around and calls for National Dialogue,to dialogue with who then?Dialogue with ready-made resolutions-One and indivisible Cameroon?Only negotiations with 3rd party presence(UN,USA,etc)can be binding.We are not in 1961!

View image on Twitter
20 people are talking about this

Peter Tah also worries about inclusivity and wonders how peace is possible without a clear ceasefire:

Peter Tah@TFomonyuy

It’s increasing clear that the national dialogue will focus on issues like bilingualism, social cohesion, cultural diversity, return of refugees, reintegration of ex-combatants & rebuilding of affected areas in the Northwest & Southwest regions of .

Peter Tah@TFomonyuy

Looking at how predialogue talks are unfolding, it’s evident that this will be far from being inclusive. The regime seems to be picking & choosing those who would attend. Plus if this is dialogue on a crisis involving two parties, how come one party gets to draw up the agenda?

See Peter Tah’s other Tweets

However, Biya clarified on Monday, September 16, that the national dialogues will focus on “bilingualism, cultural diversity and social cohesion, the reconstruction and development of conflict-affected areas, the return of refugees and displaced persons, the education and judicial system, but also decentralization and local development,” according to Cameroon Online.

The United Nations says it has taken in the resolve by Cameroon’s leader Paul Biya to settle the armed conflict in the country’s English-speaking regions.

The UN urged inclusive talks to end the conflict that has persisted for nearly four years:

The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement made today by President Paul Biya on the launch of a national dialogue process in Cameroon. He encourages the government of Cameroon to ensure that the process is inclusive and addresses the challenges facing the country. He calls on all Cameroonian stakeholders, including the Diaspora, to participate in this effort.

Still, the September talks are announced amidst ongoing violence and a new surge of refugees fleeing insecure situations — including lockdowns and school closures for the last three years — in the northwest and southwest regions.

A proposed split in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church stokes ethnic, religious tensions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

A proposed split in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church stokes ethnic, religious tensions

A priest of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church rests inside the 13th century rock-hewn Church of Bet Giorgis, Lalibela, Ethiopia, November 1, 2007. Photo by A. Davey via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

On September 1, 2019, an ad hoc committee formed by Oromo clerics from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC), declared their plan to establish a new regional parish administration unit in Oromia Regional State. They want to establish a regional “episcopacy” — in church speak — that caters to the spiritual, administrative and linguistic needs of the Orthodox Oromo people.

The EOTC currently has over 50 million members comprised of members from all over Ethiopia.

Oromo church members say that inefficiency and corruption hinders EOTC from addressing their spiritual, linguistic and administrative needs and members of the ad hoc committee threatened to take measures into their own hands — including the launch of a distinct, separate administrative unit — if they don’t hear back within 30 days from EOTC’s ruling body, known as the Holy Synod and Church fathers.

The EOTC has its own unique administrative structure that does not match Ethiopia’s federal government structure, which constitutes nine autonomous ethnic regions — among which Oromia is the largest. The Oromo clerics want to reorganize the church’s structure to follow Ethiopia’s federal political system.

The EOTC has about 35,0000 churches throughout Ethiopia. Some reports suggest about 7,000 are in Oromia. This constitutes about 20 percent of all churches.

If Oromos create a regional parish administrative structure without approval from the Holy Synod, it could create an administrative conflict.

The clerics believe that reorganizing the church’s administrative structure will help revitalize empty and neglected churches whose followers left them for expanding Protestant churches in Oromia.

According to the head of the ad hoc committee, arch-scholar Belay Mekonen, there is already a precedent for doing this. He says that the church has changed its governance structures throughout history to match changes in government structures.

He also insisted that new administrative unit will help the EOTC realize its apostolic mission by bringing the church closer to Oromia people, with plans to consolidate and institutionalize the use of Afan Oromo (the Oromo language) within the EOTC.

Unlike Protestant churches that offer services Afan Oromo, Oromo clerics say the EOTC expects Oromos to worship in Ge’ez, the church’s liturgical language, or Amharic, the working language of Ethiopia’s federal government. But Ge’ez is an ancient language that most people barely understand — not only in Oromia but throughout Ethiopia. And Amharic is a language spoken mainly by people who reside in major cities and towns in Oromia, and less so in rural areas, where Afan Oromo is prevalent.

Another member of the ad hock committee said the new administrative unit will help to bring the people who felt alienated back to church.

A monk reads Ge’ez, the liturgical language of the Ethiopia Orthodox Tewahedo Church, October 15, 2018. Photo by Rod Waddington via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

Stinging, holy rebuke

The committee’s push prompted a stinging rebuke from the Holy Synod, setting up a protracted intra-institutional administrative conflict.

Opposition to the committee has also come from Orthodox faithfuls, who feel the push to establish a separate administrative unit is profoundly disturbing. They say their church is a sacred institution only willed by God.

Others variously labeled the move as an opportunistic shot or attempt to destroy the defining element of their national, cultural and religious identity:

Abiye Teklemariam Megenta@abiyetk

This why I think these new rebels aren’t EOC institutionalists who seek greater inclusiveness. They are cultural vandals who have suddenly got the opportunity to economically and politically profit from the chaos and crisis in one of humanity’s greatest institutions. https://twitter.com/sitinanu/status/1168208368214917120 

Sitina Nuri@sitinanu

hahahaha! okay! chill burh! chill! 🤭

Embedded video

86 people are talking about this

Mady Yonas@Madyyon

I don’t think I will ever identify with any specific religion anymore but I have a soft spot for EOTC [ which I used to taunt in my college days when I was “ woke” ]
It’s historic and was nurtured and protected by our forefathers. I am proud of EOTC and its wisdom. https://twitter.com/abiyetk/status/1168316302559252480 

Abiye Teklemariam Megenta@abiyetk

I left the EOC as a religion skeptic when I was a 16-year-old law student. Since then I had been to mass a few times just to please my family. But the recent vandalistic attack on this august institution is making me re-embrace my identity as a Tewahedo Orthodox Christian.

See Mady Yonas’s other Tweets

Numerous Addis Ababa-based EOTC organizations and parish administrators have scheduled to hold a rally on Sunday, September 15, 2019, protesting an escalation of violence against Orthodox clerics, laity and the destruction of churches.

Rally organizers said the demonstration is planned to demand the government to provide protection for Orthodox Christians throughout Ethiopia. They emphasized the planned rally has nothing to do with the Oromo clerics and could be called off if they get a practical response.

But the planned rally takes on added significance because the organizers say they support the response the Holy Synod has given to Oromo clerics.

The Oromo clerics have also gotten lukewarm support from an unlikely source: Daniel Kibret, a prominent EOTC personality, writer and strong ally of Ethiopia’s reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.

In a lengthy blog post, he wrote that while he agrees with the clerics’ analysis of the problem in the EOTC, he also wrote the clerics’ solution is wrong.

But members of the ad hoc committee insist that they do not want to splinter the EOTC in Oromia. They have not proposed a distinct theological element nor introduced a new canon and ritual activities, they say.

Religious tension, ethnic rivalries

Crucially, the dispute has also become an important manifestation of religious tension freighted with ethnic rivalry among political elites of Ethiopia’s several ethnic groups.

On social media, the clerics’ move has amplified increasing ethnic tensions, due to a long-standing rift between Amhara and Oromo people, two of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups: Conflicts over land, history, economy and culture have intensified, nearly a year after their ruling elites entered a tactical alliance within the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Party (the EPRDF), to bring down the supremacy of Tigryan elites who ruled for 27 years.

Both Amharas and Oromos practice a wide range of religions. Christianity and Islam are the main ones.

Statistically, 30.4% of 25 million Oromos follow the EOTC, while 82.5% of 19 million Amharas are Orthodox faithfuls.

The Amharas have a tangled relationship with the EOTC. A prominent historian Harold Marcus describes the Amharas alongside the Tigrayans as inheritors and avatars of Orthodox Christianity.

This contrasts sharply with the Oromos’ relationship with EOTC. Although there is a significant number of Orthodox Oromos, some argue Oromo nationalists have tended to promote the development of secular nationalism as a unifying ideology.

In fact, a long-held belief among Oromo nationalists asserts that when Oromos and other southern peoples of Ethiopia incorporated into modern Ethiopia, the EOTC was an active agent for assimilationist policies of successive Ethiopian emperors.

They contend that most of bishops and priests historically appointed to Oromia were native Amharic speakers who aimed to “Amharize” Oromos by discouraging the use of Afan Oromo in church.

The latest dispute between Oromo clerics and the Holy Synod is a new incarnation of a long-standing strand of EOTC’s intra-institutional conflict — albeit with different features and players.

In 1991, after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) troops assumed control of the country, a prolonged intra-institutional conflict broke out within the EOTC, when the TPLF-led regime plotted to force the abdication of the fourth Patriarch, Abune Merkorios.

Following the abdication of the Patriarch, a movement supported by members of the Ethiopian diaspora in the US formed a Holy Synod in Exile in 1996.

This resulted in division among clergy and faithful that stemmed from ethnic and political tension between the Amhara and Tigray.

The EOTC in exile also operated as an anti-EPRDF body based in Washington, DC.

In July 2018, Prime Minister Abiy assisted the reunification of the Synod of the EOTC and the Synod of the EOTC in exile.

Regardless of one’s ethnic background and recurring intra-institutional conflict, most Orthodox followers consider the church a defining element of Ethiopian national identity. Even people who describe their affiliation to the church as cultural rather than faith-based feel a connection.

But Ethiopians who live in regions dominated by non-Orthodox faiths emphasize that their identity is not predicated on Orthodox religiosity.

8 of the Largest Man-Made Lakes in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

8 of the Largest Man-Made Lakes in the World

Humans (and beavers) have been manipulating water flow for millennia, but it wasn’t until recently that we developed the materials we’d need to create enormous bodies of water. Once we did, we created some of the largest lakes and inland seas the Earth’s ever held. Here are eight of the largest man-made lakes in the world.

Williston Lake | British Columbia, Canada

Credit: WildLivingArts/iStock

70 Billion Cubic Meters

Williston Lake was formed in 1968 with the completion of W.A.C. Bennet Dam, blocking the Peace River and creating the largest body of freshwater in British Columbia. Besides being a huge source of electricity, the lake’s nice to look at. It’s bordered by the Cassiar Mountains to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the east, both being striking natural features. In fact, Williston Lake comes close to a fjord in some respects.

Krasnoyarsk Reservoir | Divnogorsk, Russia

Credit: Evgeny Vorobyev/Shutterstock

73.3 Billion Cubic Meters

Besides its massive size (a size that’s earned it the informal name of the Krasnoyarsk Sea), the Krasnoyarsk Reservoir’s claim to fame is being the world’s largest power plant from 1971 to 1983. In 1983, it was unseated by the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State. The reservoir and the dam also appear on the 10 ruble bill, meaning most Russians have at least seen the thing in a picture, if not in person. A final note on the dam is the fact that a substantial section of the river below it doesn’t freeze over, even though it’s in frigid Siberia. This is because the water’s moving much too fast coming out of the dam and for miles downstream.

Manicouagan Reservoir | Quebec, Canada

Credit: Elena11/Shutterstock

138 Billion Cubic Meters

The Manicouagan Reservoir is a perfect intersection of human engineering and natural phenomena. Human engineering produced the reservoir when the Daniel-Johnson Dam was built in the 1960s. The natural aspect concerns the reservoir’s unique ring shape. The shape was created by an asteroid impact roughly 214 million years ago. That means Manicouagan Reservoir is actually a flooded crater, similar to Crater Lake (except Crater Lake is far younger and a volcano). There’s a theory that the Manicouagan crater is actually part of a multiple impact event spanning modern day North America and Europe.

Guri Reservoir | Bolivar, Venezuela

Credit: CarmeloGil/iStock

138 Billion Cubic Meters

It doesn’t look like the publicity around the Guri Reservoir is entirely good. For one, apparently the Guri Dam generates more carbon emissions than the fossil fuel alternative, which is about as hard to do as you’d think. There have also been some substantial blackouts in the 21st century, and the reservoir has a tendency to fall below optimum levels for electrical production. Still, it’s a big lake, right?

Lake Volta | Ajena, Ghana

Credit: Robert_Ford/iStock

153 Billion Cubic Meters

Just like all the other lakes on this list, Lake Volta wouldn’t be around without a dam to fill it up. In this case, it’s Akosombo Dam, built between 1961 and 1965. Interesting to note about Lake Volta, before the dam was built, the Black Volta and White Volta rivers used to meet, but once the lake started filling in, that confluence was wiped away. It’s a navigable lake, which was probably part of the point of building the dam. With it, the trip from the savanna to the coast and vice versa got a lot easier.

Bratsk Reservoir | Bratsk, Russia

Credit: fibPhoto/Shutterstock

169 Billion Cubic Meters

As much as we hate to play into stereotypes, it seems like Russians really know how to handle the cold. The Bratsk Dam was built through Siberian winters, far away from the things needed to build it, including supplies, laborers and construction support. But they did it anyway and ended up with the Bratsk Reservoir to show for it. The reservoir is on the Angara River and just to show it’s not a one-off, there are four other power-producing facilities on the same river, with stations in Irkutsk, Ust-Ilim and Boguchany.

Lake Nasser | Egypt and Sudan

Credit: Shootdiem/Shutterstock

169 Billion Cubic Meters

The construction of the Aswan High Dam, and by extension the formation of Lake Nasser, came with some uniquely Egyptian challenges. Namely, the fact that a large number of historical sites would be submerged by the filling lake, with the tombs and temples of Philae and Abu Simbel at the greatest risk. Luckily, the Egyptian government didn’t plow ahead the way other countries have been known to. The Egyptians worked with UNESCO to move the sites to higher ground.

Lake Kariba | Zambia and Zimbabwe

Credit: Lynn Yeh/Shutterstock

180 Billion Cubic Meters

The impressive Lake Kariba is an excellent example of lake creation done right. The dam produces plenty of electricity for the surrounding area, and its existence has given rise to a thriving tourism industry and also increased biodiversity. There was a short five-year period when the rate of earthquakes increased, but that hasn’t stuck around. What has is the tiger fish, tilapia, catfish and vundu, all supporting a strong fishing industry. And the water. A truly awesome amount of water has stuck around. It’s closer to an inland sea than anything else.

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe dies, leaving behind a ‘very complicated legacy’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe dies, leaving behind a ‘very complicated legacy’

Then-president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, listens as professor Alpha Oumar Konare, chairman of the Commission of the African Union, addresses attendees at the opening ceremony of the 10th Ordinary Session of the Assembly during the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 31, 2008. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Lock via Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0.

Zimbabwe’s first post-independence leader, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, has died at the age of 95.

Mugabe died at a hospital in Singapore on Friday, September 6, 2019, after battling ill health.

According to Al Jazeera, he was hospitalized in Singapore for months for an undisclosed ailment, as officials often said he was being treated for a cataract, denying frequent private media reports that he had prostate cancer.

Current President Emmerson Mnangagwa expressed his condolences on Twitter early Friday:

President of Zimbabwe

@edmnangagwa

It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe (1/2)

8,667 people are talking about this

Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting Services, Energy Mutodi, also expressed condolences, calling Mugabe an “African icon” and a “revolutionary.”

Hon. Dr Energy Mutodi (PhD)@energymutodi

Rest In Peace President Robert Mugabe. There is no doubt you were an African icon, a statesman of a rare character and a revolutionary. I wish to pass our condolences on my own behalf & on behalf of the government to His Excellency President ED Mnangagwa & the Mugabe family.

175 people are talking about this

Mugabe was ousted from power in a military coup in November 2017, before his long-time political colleague and protégé, Mnangagwa, forcefully took over — ending 37 years in office.

Mugabe was born on February 21, 1924, in what was then Southern Rhodesia, a colonial state ruled by the British. Known as an intellectual who fell in love with Marxism, he studied at Fort Hare University in South Africa. He later taught in Ghana, where he was influenced by its founder, President Kwame Nkrumah, before he returned to Southern Rhodesia in 1963. There, he was imprisoned in 1964 for a decade without trial after criticizing the Rhodesian government over its racist policies.

In 1973, while still in prison, he was selected as the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) president and was a leading figure in the contentious civil war that led to independence on April 18, 1980.

Robert Mugabe in the Netherlands, June 1982 via Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0.

Mugabe’s rule was characterized by various episodes of success soon after independence when he made a clarion call to erstwhile warring parties to unite and live peacefully for the good of the nation. However, this olive branch was short-lived after he waged war against those he termed dissidents in Matabeleland (Southern Zimbabwe), resulting in the massacre of thousandsof local Ndebele-speaking people.

After years of waiting for Britain to fulfill its terms outlined in theLancaster House Agreement to fund a  land reform program that would redistribute land to black Zimbabweans, the country’s war veterans grew impatient, as there was no progress in this regard.

Under immense pressure from the war vets, Mugabe relented and allowed a chaotic land reform process to occur, leading to violent attacks on commercial farms throughout the country.

Mugabe’s final years in office were characterized by a catastrophic economic collapse, violent land seizures of farms belonging to white commercial farmers, abductions, intimidation and a vicious power struggle.

Mugabe’s own frustration and sense of humiliation over his ousting were clear, and voiced with typical rhetorical force at an extraordinary press conference at his residence in Harare, the capital, days before elections in July 2018.

Nelson Chamisa, leader of the main opposition party in Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change, tweeted his respect for the late Mugabe, despite the major political differences they shared:

nelson chamisa

@nelsonchamisa

1/3 My condolences to the Mugabe family and Africa for the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding President.This is a dark moment for the family because a giant among them has fallen. May the Lord comfort them.

833 people are talking about this

Liberation hero or dictator?

The public has been abuzz with various views and thoughts on his passing away.

Magumbo Special tweeted about the complexity of Mugabe’s legacy:

Magumbo Special👢Shumba’s Lioness😎@docfarai

I’m conflicted you leave a very compicated legacy. Some will forever admire you as a liberation hero, but many who suffered under your harsh rule will only remember a dictator who ruined a country with great potential. You have run your race now time to face your Maker

View image on Twitter
1,011 people are talking about this

Netizen Thandekile Moyo, in a tweet to President Mnangagwa, wrote:

President of Zimbabwe

@edmnangagwa

It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe (1/2)

Thandekile Moyo@Mamoxn

Be sincere. You of all people know about .
Mugabe was a ruthless mass murderer who ruled for as long as he did because of his killer instinct. He dedicated his life not to emancipation but to his quest for a one party state whose benefits you are reaping. Respect us.

97 people are talking about this

The Gukurahundi refers to the massacres of Ndebele civilians by the Zimbabwe National Army between 1983 and 1987.

Leader of Economic Freedom Fighters in South Africa, Julius Malema, wrote:

Julius Sello Malema

@Julius_S_Malema

I’m saddened by the passing of our martyr & giant of the African Revolution cde President Robert Mugabe. Let’s continue the fight & protect his legacy. We must not allow our enemies to tell us how to remember him; we know our heroes.

May his soul rest in revolutionary peace.

View image on Twitter
7,191 people are talking about this

Donald Kipkorir laments how Mugabe could have been great, but became “bewitched by insatiable greed”:

Donald B Kipkorir

@DonaldBKipkorir

Robert Mugabe could have been Africa’s greatest leader but like most, got bewitched by insatiable greed for riches .. Like many failed leaders who had so much promise, his Advisers were sycophantic cowards who echoed him & supported & participated in his thievery ..

921 people are talking about this

But others chose to focus on reasons to celebrate his achievements:

Abubakar As’sidiq@afkar_9

He was feted as an African liberation hero and champion of racial reconciliation. Rest well Mugabe

See Abubakar As’sidiq’s other Tweets

The ailing Mugabe spent his last remaining years shuttling between medical facilities in Singapore and his mansion in Harare.

Mugabe had made it clear to his close family members that he did not want to be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre or to be associated with President Mnangagwa and all those he viewed as his ‘betrayers and tormentors,” according to a close family friend as reported in Bulawayo. “He has said he doesn’t want them to sing and pontificate over his dead body.”

Saudi’s: Al Shabaab Claims Car Bombings in Somalia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Al Shabaab Claims Car Bombings in Somalia

Wednesday, 14 August, 2019 – 11:00
A general view shows the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia November 9, 2018. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
A government military base in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia was struck by car bombs and gunfire on Wednesday, residents said, and the al-Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The mid-morning attack occurred in Awdheegle, an agricultural district along the Shabelle River, 70 km southwest of the capital Mogadishu.

“We heard two huge blasts and gunfire from the direction of the Somali military base. I saw several soldiers running away from the base to escape but we cannot know how many were killed,” Awdhigle elder Aden Abdullahi told Reuters.

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had killed 50 soldiers and two of its fighters had died.

“Two mujahideen driving two car bombs, one after the other, entered the Somali base in Awdhigle district today. We killed 50 government soldiers and burnt their vehicles,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman said.

Government officials were not immediately available to comment on the incident or confirm the casualties. The extremist group and government officials tend to give sharply differing casualty figures for attacks.

Saudi’s: Algeria’s Trade Deficit Increases in H1 2019

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Algeria’s Trade Deficit Increases in H1 2019

Wednesday, 14 August, 2019 – 11:45
Algerian youths sit near the Martyrs’ Memorial in Algiers (Reuters)
Algiers- Asharq Al-Awsat
Algeria’s trade deficit amounted to $3.18 billion during the H1 of 2019 against $2.84 billion during the same period of 2018, official data showed on Tuesday.

Algerian exports totaled $18.96 billion during H1 2019 compared to $20.29 billion during the same period in 2018, down 6.57 percent.

Meanwhile, imports fell to$22.14 billion compared to$23.14 billion, down 4.3 percent, according to figures provided by the Algerian Customs’ Department of Studies and Prospects.

France has topped the list of Algerian export customers with exports worth $2.66 billion, followed by Italy with $2.5 billion dollars and Spain with $2.26 billion.

China, however, remained the top exporter to Algeria with exports worth $4.2 billion, followed by France with $2.14 billion, and Spain with $1.68 billion.

Fuel exports, which accounted for 93.1 percent of the total exports, amounted to $17.65 billion, a decrease of 6.31 percent compared to $18.84 billion during the same period of 2018. While other exports fell 10.01 percent to $1.31 billion.

As for imports, five out of seven product groups included in the import division have decreased during H1 2019 compared to the same period last year.

The energy and fuel group’s import bill fell 62.22 percent to $275.51 million from $729.32 million during the same period.

And the imported food bill was estimated at $4.13 billion, compared with $4.61 billion, a decline of 10.52 percent

A report published by the Algerian news agency (APS) a few days ago reported that Algeria’s food import bill fell by more than $480 million in 2019’s first half.

It explained that this fall is mainly due to the decline in the import of cereals, milk and its derivatives, sugar, residues, and waste products of the food industry and others.

Last week, the Algerian National Office of Statistics revealed in a report that Algeria’s economy has achieved an annual growth of 1.4 percent in 2018, compared to 1.3 percent in 2017.

In a publication on economic accounts from 2015 to 2018, it showed that the growth index remains “positive” despite the economic context characterized by a current account deficit in the balance of payments, low exchange reserves and a decline in the level of growth in the non-fuel sector.

The growth rate of non-fuel GDP has amounted to 3.3 percent in 2018, compared to 2.1 percent in 2017, indicating “a good performance,” the Office added.

Economic growth has witnessed a five percent increase in the agriculture sector, 5.2 percent in public works, construction, and irrigation, including petroleum public works, and a 4.1 percent increase in industry.

6 Fascinating Facts About Victoria Falls

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

6 Fascinating Facts About Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful natural landmarks in Africa. When Scottish explorer David Livingstone became the first recorded European to see the waterfall in 1855 he proclaimed: “No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight”. He named it after Queen Victoria; however, the Kalolo-Lozi people had been calling it Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke that Thunders) for long before. The following facts will surely make you want to plan a visit.

The Waterfall is One of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World

Credit: Lukas Bischoff Photograph/Shutterstock.com

While the Seven Wonders of the World showcases the incredible talents of humankind, the Seven Natural Wonders of the Natural World is a celebration of Mother Nature. Compiled in 1997, the list spans most of the world’s seven continents. Victoria Falls lines up alongside the Great Barrier Reef, Grand Canyon, Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, Northern Lights, Mount Everest, and Paricutin cinder cone volcano.

It’s Shared Between Zambia and Zimbabwe

Credit: Vadim Petrakov/Shutterstock.com

The falls are formed by a natural gorge situated almost halfway along the 1,599-mile long Zambezi river, which acts as the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls Bridge crosses high above the river and is both a popular viewpoint and a heavily transited road, with hundreds of cars, cyclists, pedestrians, and trains crossing between the two countries every day. Both sides of the falls offer different perspectives. On the Zimbabwean side, the Victoria Falls National Park has well-marked trails that lead to wonderful views of Devil’s Cataract, Horseshoe Falls, and Rainbow Falls. Zambia’s Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park brings you within touching distance of the rushing water.

Curiously, this isn’t the only one of the world’s great waterfalls that sits on an international border. Canada and the U.S. share Niagara Falls while Argentina and Brazil share Iguazu Falls.

It’s the Largest Curtain Waterfall in the World

Credit: Artush/Shutterstock.com

Many claim that Victoria Falls is the world’s largest waterfall. While this isn’t technically true—it is neither the tallest nor the widest—it does possess the biggest sheet of cascading water on the planet. In its entirety, this measures an incredible 354 feet in height and 5,600 feet in width. During the course of just one single minute, some 5 million cubic meters of water spill down the falls.

You Can Swim in a Natural Infinity Pool…

Credit: josto/Shutterstock.com

Thrill-seekers will be drawn to Devil’s Pool, a pool that forms naturally at the edge of the falls on the Zambian side. After jumping into the pool, the flow of the river takes you to a rock wall and a bird’s-eye view of the Zambezi. Devil’s Pool is generally accessible from mid-August to mid-January and toursdepart from Victoria Falls village and the Royal Livingstone Hotel. If the pool is inaccessible, then you can try Angel’s Pool. Both are close to Livingstone Island, where David Livingstone first glimpsed this magical sight.

…And Bungee Jump Over the Zambezi River

Credit: demerzel21/iStock

If the pools weren’t daring enough, at the center of Victoria Falls Bridge is one of the world’s highest, and arguably most scenic, bungee jumps. A 364-feet drop and 4-second free fall brings brave jumpers face-to-face with the roaring Zambezi, where hippos swim and crocodiles loiter. Adrenaline junkies can also opt for a bridge slide and bridge swing. Go here to find out more about activities you can book at the falls.

It’s Possible to Witness a Lunar Rainbow

Credit: 2630ben/iStock

Rainbows are omnipresent around the waterfalls, but on full moon nights another natural phenomenon occurs. Once a month, the light of the moon is bright enough for it to disperse, reflect, and retract with the spray of the falls in the same way that sunlight creates a rainbow. Knife’s Edge Bridge, on the Zambian side, is one of the best spots to watch the “moon-bow.”

4 Ancient Cultures We Bet You’ve Never Heard Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

4 Ancient Cultures We Bet You’ve Never Heard Of

Unless you magically skipped world history in school, you’ve probably learned of the biggest ancient cultures over the years. Whether it was the Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans, or the aboriginal peoples of Australia, we know that this world has served as a home to shifting civilizations over the centuries. But while some cultures like those mentioned above tend to get consistent attention, others are lesser-known and are usually limited to academic communities. If you thought you knew about ancient cultures, here are four often-overlooked civilizations to expand your knowledge even further.

Caral Supe

Credit: Rudimencial / iStock

Location: Modern-day Peru

When you think of ancient cultures based in modern Latin America, we usually think of the Inca, Maya, and Aztec civilizations. And maybe if you’re more well-read on the topic, you might know of the Olmec. But the region is rich in distinctive Pre-Columbian civilizations, including the Caral Supe. This culture dates back to 5,000 BCE and is centralized around the Supe River in Peru. The Caral Supe are also known as the Note Chico. So, what makes this civilization so unique?

Even though the culture pre-dates the ceramic age, archeologists were able to find a major site called the Sacred City of Caral-Supe with intact structures that included six massive pyramids, numerous temples, various plazas, and an amphitheater. While the site was first “discovered” by earlier archeologists in 1905, it was left untouched until a 1994 excavation because it didn’t contain gold, silver, or pottery. In fact, those six pyramids are so massive that they were initially mistaken for hills. Today the Sacred City of Caral-Supe is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you can visit.

Indus/Harappan

Credit: CRS PHOTO / Shutterstock.com

Location: Modern-day Pakistan & India

The Indus or Harappan civilization is one of the earliest recorded on the Indian subcontinent. However, not much is known about them since researchers have yet to crack their ancient language to translate any of their writings, drawings, or stone carvings. The culture existed between 3300 and 1600 BCE and occupied a region that stretched between Pakistan and India in the Indus Valley—hence their name.

Even though archeologists and anthropologists have been unable to decipher their language, the Harappan left behind structures that provide clear insight into their capabilities and ingenuity. This culture is best known for its advanced sewage and drainage systems, well-built granaries, and impressive walls. And according to artifacts, the Harappan believed in dentistry, too. So what happened to this culture? Experts believe climate change was the culprit that caused sustained rainfall reduction. This led to population decline as groups left in search of wetter regions.

Sanxingdui

Credit: bleakstar / iStock

Location: Modern-day China

Ancient cultures can be found nearly anywhere in the world. It can be hard to believe, in some cases, that there could be anything from pre-civilizations to long-standing cultures. But even in a country like China—which has a rich and ancient history—the current culture wasn’t the first. The Sanxingdui is a Bronze Age culture that lived in what is now the Sichuan province of China. So what do we know about this culture? Sadly, aside from beautiful artwork that has been discovered over the years, the Sanxingdui is a bit of an enigma. To date, no written words have ever been found from the archeological sites.

The culture is best known for creating massive carvings out of bronze and intricate engravings on delicate materials like jade. Artifacts from their settlements were first discovered in 1929 with later discoveries in 1986 unearthing eight-foot-tall statues. Experts theorize that geological events led to the settlement’s abandonment somewhere between 1200 to 1100 BCE. Geologic evidence shows that a possible earthquake and landslide took place 2,800 to 3,000 years ago that could have cut off their access to the Minjiang River. But a nearby settlement, Jinsha, features nearly identical artifacts that point to the possibility that the Sanxingdui relocated there.

The Bell-Beakers

Credit: nicolamargaret / iStock

Location: Modern-day Europe & northern Africa

Who built Stonehenge? Experts have proof that the Bell-Beakers heavily contributed to creating this unique structure. However, the culture is so obscure that they’re named purely for their most commonly-found artifact—shaped pottery that looks like an upside down bell. The Bell-Beakers are believed to have lived between 2800 and 1800 BCE and occupied lands across Europe from the present-day United Kingdom to the Czech Republic and as far south as northern Africa.

More recent research has shown that the Bell-Beakers weren’t the first people who inhabited the present-day U.K., but they ultimately became the dominant genetic contributors. DNA evidence of prehistoric skeletons reveal that a massive migration occurred over the course of hundreds of years, nearly replacing the previous Neolithic cultures. Present-day Brits have more in common genetically with the Bell-Beakers than the Neolithic peoples.

Trending on

You may like

Sponsored Links by Taboola

BACK TO TOP

Saudi Arabia Bolsters Coordination with Horn of Africa to Secure Red Sea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Saudi Arabia Bolsters Coordination with Horn of Africa to Secure Red Sea

Thursday, 8 August, 2019 – 09:45
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki receives Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz, commander of the Saudi-led coalition forces, in Asmara. (SPA)
Riyadh – Fatehelrahman Yousif
Lieutenant General Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz, commander of the Saudi-led coalition forces, discussed Tuesday with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki the South Red Sea security and the fight against terrorism and smuggling in all its forms.

A number of issues of common concern were discussed during the Asmara meeting, especially threats against international shipping lanes, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The meeting was held less than a year after the Kingdom announced the launch of a regional bloc of seven Arab and African countries bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. It includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia and Jordan.

The bloc aims at bolstering regional security and stability and securing navigation and international trade. It was established following a military exercise in Jeddah earlier this year.

“This meeting and the Saudi-Eritrean talks stem from Riyadh’s acknowledgment of the need to secure the Red Sea navigation and activate the bloc,” expert in Iranian affairs Dr. Mohammed al-Salmi told Asharq al-Awsat.

The Saudi approach stems from the potential it possesses to lead these countries and create a regional deterrent bloc that can secure navigation in the Red Sea and protect it from piracy and terrorist threats, he stressed.

Prince Fahd’s visit is an extension of this Saudi-led approach, he added, expecting a summit to be held by countries bordering the Red Sea to maximize joint action.

Salmi explained that the security of the Red Sea and international waterways is a global security and strategic joint task, highlighting the great political, security and military importance of the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.