7 Beaches Where You Don’t Want to Swim

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Beaches Where You Don’t Want to Swim

Some beaches, while beautiful, have hidden perils, reasons someone sunbathing shouldn’t cool off with a dip. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of beaches where you’ll definitely don’t want to go swimming.

Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai, India

Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai, India

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You might be able to figure this one out for yourself when you’re close up, but despite the many beaches within the city, none are safe for bathing. While Chowpatty Beach is Mumbai’s most popular beach and is the host of the city’s annual celebration in honor of the Hindu god Ganesh, it is littered with waste and debris. Large amounts of untreated sewage reach the coastline and, with steadily increasing pollution levels, any beach-goer is at serious risk of infection.

New Smyrna Beach, Florida, U.S.A.

New Smyrna Beach, Florida, U.S.A.

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The warm climate and incredible surf at New Smyrna Beach in Florida tempt its visitors to jump in the water. But it’s what’s lurking underneath that’s the trouble. Due to the volume of attacks, the beach has gained the title of “shark capital of the world.” The sharks are attracted by large populations of fish as well as the floating surfboards overhead; it’s the ideal snacking ground. While none of the attacks on humans have been fatal, and die-hard surfers continue to jump in, we wouldn’t recommend it.

Hanakapiai Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Hanakapiai Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

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The islands of Hawaii are renowned for their glorious beaches, and as idyllic settings go, you can’t get much more perfect than Hanakapiai Beach. A well-known checkpoint in Hawaii, visitors trek a rocky, 3.2-kilometer hiking trail to get there. The temptation to jump in and cool off is overwhelming. However, as the area isn’t protected by any reef, its currents are vicious. Powerful rip currents are capable of pulling even the most experienced swimmers out to sea. With no lifeguards, no hope of rescue and a handmade sign with a death-tally on it as a stark reminder of the water’s power, you’d be mad to chance it.

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Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

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Fraser Island boasts one of the most awe-inspiring beaches in the world, stretching an incredible 120 kilometers along its east coast. While the crystal clear waters try to lure visitors in, there is more than one threat waiting. Underneath the water, nearly invisible box jellyfish are lurking, able to kill a full-grown adult with their sting. If the jellyfish don’t get you, then the many sharks in the bay will be next in line. On top of all that, the tides can be vicious. It seems the beaches on the Island aren’t meant for human paddlers.

Gansbaai Beach, Gansbaai, South Africa

Gansbaai Beach, Gansbaai, South Africa

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While Florida has gained the title for shark capital of the world, Gansbaai is home to the most great white sharks. The sharks are attracted to the area because of the huge colony of fur seals, which live in the water between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock. The channel, known as shark alley, is a stretch of water to be feared. If you like to get your adrenaline pumping, you can book a cage dive. You can get up close and personal with the world’s most notorious shark and live to tell the tale.

Playa Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

Playa Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico

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With a nickname “The Beach of the Dead,” Playa Zipolite is no place for a casual swim. The beach is picturesque, and the dangers are certainly hidden to the naked eye. In fact, they are also hidden to all the naked people; the beach is popular with backpackers and nudists. The danger comes from the giant waves that create extremely dangerous undercurrents. Swimmers are easily pulled out into the water. The introduction of a specialized lifeguard crew has reduced the number of drownings, but you’re safer sunbathing on the sand.

The Black Sand Beaches, Kilauea, Hawaii

The Black Sand Beaches, Kilauea, Hawaii

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The black sand beaches of Kilauea, located in Volcanoes National Park, are certainly beautiful. The sand is an incredible contrast to the golden sands we’re used to elsewhere, and the water looks eerily inviting. However, a beach located next to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Mount Kilauea, needs to be approached with caution. The temperature of the water can reach up to about 110 degrees. You’ll want to be careful not to burn your toes. Don’t let that stop you visiting though, having erupted as recently as last year, there are new black sand beaches to explore, and the area needs tourism more than ever.

5 Tallest Waterfalls in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Tallest Waterfalls in the World

Determining waterfall heights is not an easy feat, especially since accessing some of the highest ones is a challenge. Given that there is no universal standard, comparing the measurements is also difficult. If you’re wondering what waterfalls are the biggest, here are the most generally accepted five tallest waterfalls in the world.

Yumbilla Falls

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Yumbilla Falls is in the northern part of Peru and stands at 2,938 feet tall. It is a recent entry to the list, only earning recognition in 2007 when Peru’s National Geographic Institute published its report surveying the falls. There are over 20 other waterfalls in the same valley, including Gocta Waterfall, Chinata Waterfall and Pavilion Waterfall. Yumbilla Falls is smaller in regard to water flow compared to others, but it is the tallest and earns the distinction of currently being named the 5th tallest waterfall in the world.

Olo’upena Falls

Credit: WikimediaCommons

Olo’upena Falls is located in Hawaii, on the island of Molokai, and stands at 2,953 feet in height. They are located at the Haloku Cliffs, which are the same cliffs where Pu’uka’oku Falls start from. Pu’uka’oku Falls also rank in the top 10 of tallest waterfalls in the world. If you want to visit Olo’upena Falls, you’ll need to book an aerial excursion or a boat tour since there are no access trails to hike up or drive to the falls. The best time to visit is from November to March, which is the rainy season. During the dry season, there is not nearly as much water, which makes for small streams.

 

Tres Hermanas Falls

Tres Hermanas Falls

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Tres Hermanas Falls, or the Three Sister Falls, is another entry from Peru. The waterfalls are located in the remote Ayacucho region inside Otishi National Park and stand at around 3,000 feet. The falls earned their name because of the three distinct steps. The first two tiers lead into a natural catch basin while the third tier is barely visible as it falls into the Cutivireni river. The falls are surrounded by massive tropical rainforest trees that can grow up to 100 feet tall. It’s also nearby to Pavirontsi Natural Bridge, said to be one of the largest natural bridges in the world. There are some remote and rough trails that lead to the falls, but you really need to book an aerial tour to best see Tres Hermanas Falls.

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Tugela Falls

Tugela Falls

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Tugela Falls are located in the Drakensberg mountains of South Africa, inside the limits of the Royal Natal National Park. The source of the Tugela River is nearby, and the falls themselves are 3,110 feet tall. Some people believe Tugela Falls might actually be the tallest falls in the world. Unlike some waterfalls that fall in one sheet, Tugela Falls make five consecutive drops down. The falls aren’t constant year-round and are best seen after heavy rainfall. When it’s extremely cold, the upper section of the falls can freeze and form pillars of ice.

Angel Falls

Angel Falls

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Located in Venezuela, Angel Falls earns the honor as the highest waterfall in the world. It towers over the others at 3,230 feet in height and has an uninterrupted drop of 2,647 feet. Angel Falls are in Canaima National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site within the state of Bolivar that borders Brazil and Guyana.

The falls were named after Jimmie Angel, who was the first person to fly over the falls. After he passed away in 1960, his ashes were spread over the falls. You’ll hear many people refer to the falls by their Spanish name, Salto del Ángel. In 2009, President Hugo Chávez renamed Angel Falls to Kerepakupai-Merú, an indigenous Pemon term for a waterfall of the deepest place.

5 Best Places to See Wild Penguins Beyond Antarctica

(THIS ARTICLE IS CUTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Best Places to See Wild Penguins Beyond Antarctica

Penguins may be rare to see in the wild, but that doesn’t mean you have to go all the way to Antarctica to catch a glimpse of them in their natural habitat. There are between 17 and 19 species of penguin that currently exist on the planet, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere. Unfortunately, the penguin population is declining because of climate change, overfishing, and pollution, all of which have had a drastic impact on the places they call home.

Cape Town, South Africa

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South Africa’s southern tip is home to the African penguin, particularly at Boulders Beach just outside of Cape Town. The African penguin is one of the endangered species, having lost 80 percent of its population over the past 50 years. The penguin colony in Africa, which begins in southern Namibia and goes all the way down to Port Elizabeth in South Africa, began not too long ago, in 1983. They migrated from Dyer Island to reach the plentiful food source at Boulders Beach. Thanks to conservation efforts, there are now more than 3,000 African penguins in the Boulders Beach colony, so plenty to see here where penguins are concerned. Boulders Beach is located inside of Table Mountain National Park, and aside from penguin viewing with magnificent views, the area is also great for swimming, hiking, wind sailing, and plenty of other wildlife viewing opportunities.

Tierra del Fuego, Argentina and Chile

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The Tierra del Fuego archipelago at the southernmost part of South America is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Magellan. Two-thirds of the area is Chilean and one-third is Argentine. The islands of Tierra del Fuego are where Magellanic, Humboldt, Rockhopper, Gentoo, and King penguins can be found in the wild. Penguins can be reached via the southernmost city in the world: Ushuaia, Argentina. From there, you can find day tours to visit the penguins, some even offering the chance to walk among them (in tour groups that never exceed 20 people). Here the penguins, often in crowds of hundreds, waddle adorably along the shore.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

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Most penguins don’t live in tropical climates, nor in the Northern Hemisphere; in fact, only the endangered Galapagos penguins do, and they live here year-round. This is unusual for penguins, as they usually migrate with the seasons. The western Galapagos islands have much cooler water, and that is where many of the penguins can be found, namely on Fernandina Island or Isabela Island. No tour of the Galapagos Islands would be complete without visiting the penguins. Likely you will see the penguins from a boat, but if your tour offers swimming, you may very well find yourself in the rare circumstance of being in the water alongside these cute little guys. The Galapagos National Park Service does not allow tourists in certain areas, so before booking a tour, it’s best to determine with them that you will be able to see the penguins from a reasonable distance.

Phillip Island, Australia

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The smallest species of all penguins, called the Little Penguin, live mainly on Phillip Island, about a 90-minute drive from Melbourne (where you can also see koalas, seals, whales, anteaters, and wallabies). The only other place they can be found is in New Zealand. These penguins are about a foot tall and weigh less than 3 pounds. Today, the most typical way to see them is from an elevated viewing platform when they get back from the day’s fishing to feed their young. If you would like to see this grand parade of penguins up-close, there are limited tour options available, allowing people to walk among the penguins on a remote beach.

Sub-Antarctic New Zealand

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While 13 species of penguin have been spotted in New Zealand, only nine breed there, and only three on the mainland. Those three, which people can visit, are the Little Penguin, the Hoiho Penguin, and the Fiordland Crested Penguin. You can see the Little Penguin in the evening or at night when they are on shore in Oamaru, Akoaroa Harbour, Marlborough Sounds, Dunedin, and Stewart Island. At Otago Peninsula, not too far south from Dunedin, you’ll be able to visit the rare, yellow-eyed Hoiho Penguins up-close in their natural habitat. The Fiordland Crested Penguin is one of the rarest of them all, and they live on New Zealand’s South Island in the rainforests of Lake Moeraki, Stewart Island, Fiordland, and Haast. Because these wild penguins are on the decline, many tour operators offer sustainable ecotourism.

Some penguin species are endangered and some aren’t (yet). The best time to pay wild penguins a visit, outside of Antarctica, is during the Southern Hemisphere summer season. During this time these charming tuxedoed creatures spend more time breeding and nesting onshore.

3 Animals You Wouldn’t Think You Could Swim With — But You Can

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Animals You Wouldn’t Think You Could Swim With — But You Can

Swimming and snorkeling with dolphins and sea turtles in tropical locales is wildly popular as a tourist attraction. Diving with sharks has been on the radar of thrill seekers for a while, as well. But there are a few animals that don’t immediately come to mind when swimming with them is concerned. Following is a short list of unexpected animal swimming companions.

Penguins, Cape Town, South Africa

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Most penguins inhabit places you wouldn’t want to swim, like Antarctica. However, one colony of black-footed penguins reside in the more temperate climes of South Africa. Bobbing and torpedoing through the surf off Boulder Beach, near Cape Town, the African penguins are perfectly adapted to the relatively warmer Atlantic waters off the cape. The colony of 3,000-plus birds lives within Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area. The waddling, braying penguins are best viewed in numbers from boardwalks and platforms that wind through dense dunes at nearby Foxy Beach, according to the Cape Town tourism website. While you can’t approach the birds, they don’t know the sanctuary boundary and are found on the rocks and in the water near the swimming beach at Boulders Bay, so swimming encounters are perfectly possible.

Marine Iguanas, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

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The Galápagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, lies some 1,000 miles off the coast of Ecuador. The islands are one of the world’s most diverse and best places for viewing wildlife, most famous as the natural laboratory of naturalist Charles Darwin. The area also offers excellent scuba diving for intermediate to advanced divers, who may find themselves up close with the planet’s only water lizard. The marine iguana looks tough, but don’t let its mini-dinosaur looks fool you: Those teeth let the gentle herbivore scrape algae off of rocks. Its body buoyancy and tail shape are perfectly adapted to swimming, and long, sharp claws let it cling to rocks in rough tides. Again, diving Galapagos waters isn’t for beginners, but those with the skills and desire to swim alongside these cool creatures can find information on Galapagos dive outfitters through Galapagosislands.com.

Pigs, Exuma, Bahamas

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An uninhabited island in Exuma, Bahamas, Pig Island is named for the colony of feral but friendly pigs that live there. Pigs aren’t exactly native to tropical islands, and no one is quite sure how they got there. Somehow, at least a couple of pigs made it to shore from a boat. Stories say they were stashed by sailors who never came back for their feast, or that they swam to land from a shipwreck. Either way, the swimming sows are now a tourist attraction in their own right. You won’t need an entire day to check out the playful pigs. Instead, book an Exuma Cays day trip through Exuma Tourist Office. In addition to a stop at Pig Island for swimming and selfies with the snub-snouted swimmers, you will also feed Bahamian rock iguanas, visit Blowhole Beach, enjoy lunch on Staniel Cay, pet a stingray and hold a starfish. All of that is before snorkeling in the Out Islands.

5 Southernmost Capitals in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Southernmost Capitals in the World

All of the world’s top five southernmost capitals are located in the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere, and nearly all are oceanic. These cities, by and large, enjoy milder climates than regions at higher latitude and experience winters from June to September. Trade, education, and multiculturalism are hallmarks of the southernmost capitals of the world, which make them must-see sites for those with wanderlust.

5. Cape Town, South Africa

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The oldest city in South Africa is also one of the world’s southernmost capitals. The coastal “Mother City” is known for its harbor and as a destination for expats and immigrants. It is the oldest urban center of South Africa, dating back to 1652 when it served as a supply station for Dutch ships. The region was first described in writing by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488, and little is known of its first inhabitants. The nation’s end to Apartheid was marked in the 1990s, and the city currently serves as a multicultural hub. South Africans predominantly speak English with Afrikaans and Xhosa following in second and third.

4. Buenos Aires, Argentina

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The city of “fair winds” is the fourth southernmost capital in the world. As of 1994, an Argentinian constitutional amendment in the wake of a long political battle granted the city autonomy through federalization. As such, it is no longer part of the province of the same name. Quality of life in Buenos Aires is ranked among the highest in Latin America for its multicultural citizens. It is a “World City” or “alpha city,” referring to its significance in global trade, and is home to European architectural influences as well as a rich cultural heritage.

3. Montevideo, Uruguay

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Montevideo is the third southernmost capital city in the world and the southernmost in the Americas. The City’s history dates back to 1724 when Bruno Mauricio de Zabala of Spain founded the city as a strategic move in the Spanish-Portuguese regional dispute. The name of the city remains a subject of debate to this day, though there is agreement that “Monte” refers to the hill “Cerro de Montevideo” across the bay. The capital of Uruguay, Montevideo is the ninth-highest income-earning city in the world, serving as an economic, cultural, and technological hub. Montevideo is home to many of the nation’s top institutes of higher learning and the nation’s chief port.

2. Canberra, Australia

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The capital of Australia, in addition to its being located at one of the lowest latitudes among capital cities, also makes the top ten list for largest cities in the world. In fact, it was the size of Canberra that led to its selection as a capital in 1902 over rivaling-sized Melbourne. Similar to Brasilia and Washington, D.C., the development of Canberra was entirely planned. Although the first World War and the Great Depression affected world trade to the extent of hindering initial plans for the Australian capital, modern Canberrans enjoy the influences of the garden city movement with large expanses of natural vegetation as well as geometric design motifs like circles, triangles, and hexagons.

1. Wellington, New Zealand

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With a little over 400,000 residents, Wellington is the most populous urban area of New Zealand. Situated between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range, Wellington is both the world’s southernmost capital and the windiest city in the world. Home to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the New Zealand Ballet, and the world’s largest wooden building (the Government building), Wellington has served as New Zealand’s capital since 1865. Though the city serves as the nation’s chief port, most of Wellington’s economy is service-based with a focus on business, finance, and social services.

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African Union Dispatches Delegate To Sudan

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

 

African Union Dispatches Delegate to Sudan

Monday, 29 April, 2019 – 09:15
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi poses for a photo with heads of several African states during a summit to discuss Sudan and Libya, in Cairo, Egypt April 23, 2019. (Reuters)
Nouakchott – Al-Sheikh Mohammed
The African Union (AU) has sent special envoy Mauritanian diplomat Mohamed El-Hassan Ould Labbat to Sudan following the political crisis the country has seen since the toppling of former President Omar al-Bashir.

The Union said that the new envoy is tasked with providing African assistance to the efforts of the parties in order to lay the foundations for an urgent democratic transitional phase in the country.

The AU stressed that this phase must end with the establishment of a democratic system and civil governance in Sudan.

By choosing Labbat as the envoy, the AU wants to keep abreast of developments in Sudan, facilitate the transition and establish communication between all parties.

AU Commissioner Moussa Faki Mahamat had visited Khartoum and held intensive meetings with the leaders of the ruling transitional military council and the opposition forces.

Mahamat had previously granted the council 15 days to hand over power to civilians.

The AU had held a summit in Egypt on Tuesday and agreed to give Sudan’s ruling military council two weeks to six months to hand over power to a civilian government – a key opposition demand.

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who holds the rotating AU presidency, said that the meeting agreed on the need to deal with the situation in Sudan by working to “quickly restore the constitutional system through a political democratic process led and managed by the Sudanese themselves”.

“We agreed on the need to give more time to Sudanese authorities and Sudanese parties to implement these measures,” he added.

The presidents of Chad, Djibouti, Rwanda, the Congo, Somalia and South Africa, the AU commissioner and representatives of Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria participated in the Cairo summit.

Mahamat warned that if Sudan’s military rulers fail to hand over power to a civilian government by the end of the deadline, the country’s membership in the Union will be suspended.

Lesotho: Truth, Knowledge, History Of This South African Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Lesotho

Introduction Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled for the first two decades. King MOSHOESHOE was exiled in 1990, but returned to Lesotho in 1992 and was reinstated in 1995. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after seven years of military rule. In 1998, violent protests and a military mutiny following a contentious election prompted a brief but bloody intervention by South African and Botswanan military forces under the aegis of the Southern African Development Community. Subsequent constitutional reforms restored relative political stability. Peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002, but the National Assembly elections of February 2007 were hotly contested and aggrieved parties continue to periodically demonstrate their distrust of the results.
History The earliest inhabitants of the area were Khoisan hunter-gatherers. They were largely replaced by Bantu-speaking tribes during Bantu migrations.

The present Lesotho emerged as a single polity under paramount chief Moshoeshoe I in 1822. It was recognized by the United Kingdom on 13 December 1843, and on 12 March 1868 became one of the High Commission Territories. On 30 April 1965 it was granted autonomy. Its name changed when Lesotho gained full independence within the Commonwealth of Nations on October 4, 1966.

In January 1970 the ruling Basotho National Party (BNP) lost the first post-independence general elections, with 23 seats to the Basutoland Congress Party’s 36. Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan refused to cede power to the Basotho Congress Party (BCP), declared himself Tona Kholo (Sesotho translation of prime minister),[citation needed] and imprisoned the BCP leadership.

The BCP began a rebellion and then received training in Libya for its Lesotho Liberation Army (LLA) under the pretence of being Azanian People’s Liberation Army (APLA) soldiers of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). Deprived of arms and supplies by the Sibeko faction of the PAC in 1978, the 178-strong LLA was rescued from their Tanzanian base by the financial assistance of a Maoist PAC officer but launched the guerrilla war with a handful of old weapons. The main force was defeated in northern Lesotho and later guerrillas launched sporadic but usually ineffectual attacks. The campaign was severely compromised when BCP’s leader, Ntsu Mokhehle, went to Pretoria. In the early 1980s, several Basotho who sympathized with the exiled BCP were threatened with death and attacked by the government of Leabua Jonathan. In September 1981 the family of Benjamin Masilo was attacked. A few days later, Edgar Mahlomola Motuba was taken from his home and murdered.

The BNP ruled by decree until January 1986 when a military coup forced it out of office. The Military Council that came to power granted executive powers to King Moshoeshoe II, who was until then a ceremonial monarch. But in 1987 the King was forced into exile after a falling out with the army. His son was installed as King Letsie III.

The chairman of the military junta, Major General Justin Metsing Lekhanya, was ousted in 1991 and replaced by Major General Elias Phisoana Ramaema, who handed over power to a democratically elected government of the BCP in 1993. Moshoeshoe II returned from exile in 1992 as an ordinary citizen. After the return to democratic government, King Letsie III tried unsuccessfully to persuade the BCP government to reinstate his father (Moshoeshoe II) as head of state.

In August 1994, Letsie III staged a military-backed coup that deposed the BCP government. The new government did not receive full international recognition. Member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) engaged in negotiations to reinstate the BCP government. One of the conditions Letsie III put forward for this was that his father should be re-installed as head of state. After protracted negotiations, the BCP government was reinstated and Letsie III abdicated in favor of his father in 1995, but Moshoeshoe II died in a car ‘accident’ in 1996 and was again succeeded by his son.

In 1997, the ruling BCP split over leadership disputes. Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle formed a new party, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), and was followed by a majority of Members of Parliament, which enabled him to form a new government. Pakalitha Mosisili succeeded Mokhehle as party leader and the LCD won the general elections in 1998. Although the elections were pronounced free and fair by local and international observers and a subsequent special commission appointed by SADC, the opposition political parties rejected the results.

Opposition protests in the country intensified, culminating in a peaceful demonstration outside the royal palace in August 1998. Exact details of what followed are greatly disputed and it remain contested even within South Africa, but in September that year, a SADC task force operating on orders of unclear provenance entered the capital Maseru. While the Botswana Defence Force troops were welcomed, tensions with South African National Defence Force troops were high, resulting in fighting. Incidences of sporadic rioting intensified when South African troops hoisted a South African flag over the Royal Palace. By the time the SADC forces withdrew in May 1999, much of Maseru lay in ruins, and the southern provincial capital towns of Mafeteng and Mohale’s Hoek had seen the loss of over a third of their commercial real estate. A number of South Africans and Basotho also died in the fighting.

An Interim Political Authority (IPA), charged with reviewing the electoral structure in the country, was created in December 1998. The IPA devised a proportional electoral system to ensure that the opposition would be represented in the National Assembly. The new system retained the existing 80 elected Assembly seats, but added 40 seats to be filled on a proportional basis. Elections were held under this new system in May 2002, and the LCD won again, gaining 54% of the vote. But for the first time, opposition political parties won significant numbers of seats, and despite some irregularities and threats of violence from Major General Lekhanya, Lesotho experienced its first peaceful election. Nine opposition parties now hold all 40 of the proportional seats, with the BNP having the largest share (21). The LCD has 79 of the 80 constituency-based seats. Although its elected members participate in the National Assembly, the BNP has launched several legal challenges to the elections, including a recount; none has been successful.

Geography Location: Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa
Geographic coordinates: 29 30 S, 28 30 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 30,355 sq km
land: 30,355 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries: total: 909 km
border countries: South Africa 909 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers
Terrain: mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: junction of the Orange and Makhaleng Rivers 1,400 m
highest point: Thabana Ntlenyana 3,482 m
Natural resources: water, agricultural and grazing land, diamonds, sand, clay, building stone
Land use: arable land: 10.87%
permanent crops: 0.13%
other: 89% (2005)
Irrigated land: 30 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 5.2 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.05 cu km/yr (40%/40%/20%)
per capita: 28 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: periodic droughts
Environment – current issues: population pressure forcing settlement in marginal areas results in overgrazing, severe soil erosion, and soil exhaustion; desertification; Highlands Water Project controls, stores, and redirects water to South Africa
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography – note: landlocked, completely surrounded by South Africa; mountainous, more than 80% of the country is 1,800 meters above sea level
People Population: 2,128,180
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.3% (male 377,784/female 372,840)
15-64 years: 59.8% (male 621,687/female 649,981)
65 years and over: 5% (male 42,348/female 63,540) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 21.2 years
male: 20.6 years
female: 21.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.129% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 24.41 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 22.33 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.78 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 78.59 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 83.01 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 74.03 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 40.17 years
male: 40.97 years
female: 39.34 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.13 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 28.9% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 320,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 29,000 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Mosotho (singular), Basotho (plural)
adjective: Basotho
Ethnic groups: Sotho 99.7%, Europeans, Asians, and other 0.3%,
Religions: Christian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%
Languages: Sesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84.8%
male: 74.5%
female: 94.5%

Malawi: Truth, Knowledge, History Of This South African Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Malawi

Introduction Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. After three decades of one-party rule under President Hastings Kamuzu BANDA the country held multiparty elections in 1994, under a provisional constitution that came into full effect the following year. Current President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA, elected in May 2004 after a failed attempt by the previous president to amend the constitution to permit another term, struggled to assert his authority against his predecessor and subsequently started his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2005. As president, MUTHARIKA has overseen substantial economic improvement but because of political deadlock in the legislature, his minority party has been unable to pass significant

 

legislation and anti-corruption measures have stalled. Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the spread of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi.

History The earliest inhabitants of the area were Khoisan hunter-gatherers.

They were largely replaced by Bantu tribes during Bantu migrations. What is now called Malawi was the Maravi state, founded by the Chewa people in the 16th century. The Chewa were themselves an off-shoot of the Luba Empire. In the early to mid 19th century, they were joined by Zulu-related Ndwandwe people from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, the Ngoni, under their king Zwangendaba.

The first significant Western contact was the arrival of David Livingstone along the north shore of Lake Malawi in 1859, and subsequently Scottish Presbyterian churches establishing missions. In 1883, a consul of the British Government was accredited to the “Kings and Chiefs of Central Africa,” and in 1891, the British established the British Central Africa Protectorate, by 1907, the Nyasaland Protectorate. Although the British remained in control during the first half of the 20th century, this period was marked by a number of unsuccessful Malawian attempts to obtain independence. During the 1950s, pressure for independence increased when Nyasaland was joined with Northern and Southern Rhodesia in 1953 to form the Central African Federation. In July 1958, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda returned to the country after a long absence. He assumed leadership of the NAC, which later became the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). In 1959, Banda was sent to Gwelo Prison in Southern Rhodesia (now Gweru) for his political activities but was released in 1960 to participate in a constitutional conference in London.

On April 15, 1961 the MCP won an overwhelming victory in elections for a new Legislative Council. In a second constitutional conference in London in November 1962, the British Government agreed to give Nyasaland self-governing status the following year. This announcement sealed the fate of the Central African Federation, which lost its reason for existence with an independent Nyasaland. Banda became Prime Minister on February 1, 1963, although the British still controlled Malawi’s financial, security, and judicial systems. A new constitution took effect in May 1963, providing for virtually complete internal self-government. The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved on December 31, 1963, and Malawi became a fully independent member of the British Commonwealth on July 6, 1964. Two years later, Malawi became a republic with Dr. Banda as its first President, and was also declared a one-party state. In 1970 Banda was declared President for life (Ngwazi) of the MCP, and in 1971 Banda consolidated his power and was named President for Life of Malawi itself.

However, increasing domestic unrest and pressure from Malawian churches and from the international community led to a referendum in which the Malawian people were asked to vote for a new form of government. On June 14, 1993, the people of Malawi voted overwhelmingly in favor of multi-party democracy. Free and fair national elections were held on May 17, 1994. Bakili Muluzi, leader of the United Democratic Front (UDF), was elected President in those elections. The UDF won 82 of the 177 seats in the National Assembly and formed a coalition government with the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD). That coalition disbanded in June 1996, but some of its members remained in the government. Malawi’s newly written constitution (1995) eliminated special powers previously reserved for the Malawi Congress Party. Accelerated economic liberalization and structural reform accompanied the political transition.

Malawi saw its first transition between democratically elected presidents in May 2004, when the UDF’s presidential candidate Bingu wa Mutharika defeated MCP candidate John Tembo and Gwanda Chakuamba, who was backed by a grouping of opposition parties. Through the politicking of party chairperson and former President Bakili Muluzi, the party successfully secured a majority by forming a “government of national unity” with several opposition parties.

Geography Location: Southern Africa, east of Zambia
Geographic coordinates: 13 30 S, 34 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 118,480 sq km
land: 94,080 sq km
water: 24,400 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Land boundaries: total: 2,881 km
border countries: Mozambique 1,569 km, Tanzania 475 km, Zambia 837 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: sub-tropical; rainy season (November to May); dry season (May to November)
Terrain: narrow elongated plateau with rolling plains, rounded hills, some mountains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: junction of the Shire River and international boundary with Mozambique 37 m
highest point: Sapitwa (Mount Mlanje) 3,002 m
Natural resources: limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite
Land use: arable land: 20.68%
permanent crops: 1.18%
other: 78.14% (2005)
Irrigated land: 560 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 17.3 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 1.01 cu km/yr (15%/5%/80%)
per capita: 78 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: NA
Environment – current issues: deforestation; land degradation; water pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial wastes; siltation of spawning grounds endangers fish populations
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography – note: landlocked; Lake Nyasa, some 580 km long, is the country’s most prominent physical feature
Politics For almost thirty one years, the government of Malawi and the Malawi Congress Party were one. When Malawi was declared a republic in 1966, the country was formally declared a one-party state. Under Banda, all citizens had to be members of the party. This situation changed in a 1993 referendum, which instituted a multiparty system. In the country’s first democratic elections, Banda and the MCP were soundly defeated.

Under the 1995 constitution, the president, who is both chief of state and head of the government, is chosen through universal direct election every five years. Malawi has a vice president who is elected with the president who is currently Bingu wa Mutharika. The president has the option of appointing a second vice president, who must be from a different political party. The members of the presidentially appointed cabinet can be drawn from either within or outside of the legislature. Malawi’s National Assembly has 193 seats, all directly elected to serve 5-year terms. The constitution also provides for a second chamber, a Senate of 80 seats, but to date no action has been taken to create the Senate. The Senate is intended to provide representation for traditional leaders and the different geographical districts, as well as various special interest groups, such as women, youth, and the disabled .

The constitution provides for an independent judiciary. Malawi’s judicial system, based on the English model, is made up of magisterial lower courts, a High Court, and a Supreme Court of Appeal. Local government is carried out in 27 districts within three regions administered by regional administrators and district commissioners who are appointed by the central government. Local elections, the first in the multi-party era, took place in on November 21, 2000. The UDF party won 70% of the seats in this election.

The third multi-party presidential and parliamentary elections, originally planned for May 18, 2004 were postponed by two days following a High Court appeal by the main opposition Mgwirizano (Unity) coalition. The run-up to the poll was overshadowed by opposition claims of irregularities in the voters’ roll. European Union and Commonwealth observers said although voting passed peacefully, they were concerned about “serious inadequacies” in the poll.

People Population: 13,931,831
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 46% (male 3,208,112/female 3,194,600)
15-64 years: 51.4% (male 3,592,073/female 3,563,840)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 159,450/female 213,756) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 16.8 years
male: 16.7 years
female: 16.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.39% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 41.79 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 17.89 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 90.55 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 94.69 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 86.35 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 43.45 years
male: 43.74 years
female: 43.15 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.67 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 14.2% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 900,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 84,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and plague
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2008)
Nationality: noun: Malawian(s)
adjective: Malawian
Ethnic groups: Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian, European
Religions: Christian 79.9%, Muslim 12.8%, other 3%, none 4.3% (1998 census)
Languages: Chichewa 57.2% (official), Chinyanja 12.8%, Chiyao 10.1%, Chitumbuka 9.5%, Chisena 2.7%, Chilomwe 2.4%, Chitonga 1.7%, other 3.6% (1998 census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 62.7%
male: 76.1%
female: 49.8% (2003 est.)

Mozambique: Truth Knowledge and History Of This South African Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Mozambique

Introduction Almost five centuries as a Portuguese colony came to a close with independence in 1975. Large-scale emigration by whites, economic dependence on South Africa, a severe drought, and a prolonged civil war hindered the country’s development until the mid 1990’s. The ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) party formally abandoned Marxism in 1989, and a new constitution the following year provided for multiparty elections and a free market economy. A UN-negotiated peace agreement between FRELIMO and rebel Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) forces ended the fighting in 1992. In December 2004, Mozambique underwent a delicate transition as Joaquim CHISSANO stepped down after 18 years in office. His elected successor, Armando Emilio GUEBUZA, promised to continue the sound economic policies that have encouraged foreign investment. Mozambique has seen very strong economic growth since the end of the civil war

largely due to post-conflict reconstruction.

History Between the first and fourth centuries AD, waves of Bantu-speaking people migrated from the west and north through the Zambezi River valley and then gradually into the plateau and coastal areas. The Bantu were farmers and ironworkers.

When Portuguese explorers reached Mozambique in 1498, Arab commercial and slave trading settlements had existed along the coast and outlying islands for several centuries. From about 1500, Portuguese trading posts and forts became regular ports of call on the new route to the east. Later, traders and prospectors penetrated the interior regions seeking gold and slaves. Although Portuguese influence gradually expanded, its power was limited and exercised through individual settlers and officials who were granted extensive autonomy. As a result, investment lagged while Lisbon devoted itself to the more lucrative trade with India and the Far East and to the colonisation of Brazil.

By the early 20th century the Portuguese had shifted the administration of much of Mozambique to large private companies, like the Mozambique Company, the Zambezi Company and the Niassa Company, controlled and financed mostly by the British, which established railroad lines to neighbouring countries and supplied cheap – often forced – African labor to the mines and plantations of the nearby British colonies and South Africa. Because policies and development plans were primarily designed by the ruling authorities for the benefit of Mozambique’s Portuguese population, little attention was paid to Mozambique’s tribal integration and the development of its native communities. This affected a majority of the indigenous population who suffered both state-sponsored discrimination and enormous social pressure. Many felt they had received too little opportunity or resources to upgrade their skills and improve their economic and social situation to a degree comparable to that of the Europeans.

The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), initiated a guerrilla campaign against Portuguese rule in September 1964. This conflict, along with the two others already initiated in the other Portuguese colonies of Angola and Guinea-Bissau, became part of the so-called Portuguese Colonial War (1961-1974).

After 10 years of sporadic warfare and Portugal’s return to democracy through a leftist military coup in Lisbon (the Carnation Revolution of April 1974), FRELIMO took control of the territory. Within a year, almost all Portuguese population had left – some expelled by the government of the newly-independent territory, some fleeing in fear –, and Mozambique became independent from Portugal on June 25, 1975.

Conflict and civil war

The new government, under president Samora Machel, gave shelter and support to South African (ANC) and Zimbabwean (ZANU) liberation movements while the governments of first Rhodesia and later South Africa (at that time still operating the apartheid laws) fostered and financed an armed rebel movement in central Mozambique called the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO). Hence, civil war, sabotage from neighbouring white-ruled states such as Rhodesia and the Apartheid regime of South Africa, and economic collapse characterized the first decade of Mozambican independence. Also marking this period were the mass exodus of Portuguese nationals and Mozambicans of Portuguese heritage, a weak infrastructure, and government nationalisation of privately owned industries. During most of the civil war, the government was unable to exercise effective control outside of urban areas, many of which were cut off from the capital. An estimated 1 million Mozambicans perished during the civil war, 1.7 million took refuge in neighbouring states, and several million more were internally displaced. On October 19, 1986 Samora Machel was on his way back from an international meeting in Zambia in the presidential Tupolev Tu-134 aircraft when the plane crashed in the Lebombo Mountains, near Mbuzini. There were nine survivors but President Machel and twenty-four others died, including ministers and officials of the Mozambique government. The United Nations’ Soviet delegation issued a minority report contending that their expertise and experience had been undermined by the South Africans. Representatives of the USSR advanced the theory that the plane had been intentionally diverted by a false navigational beacon signal, using a technology provided by military intelligence operatives of the South African government (at that time still operating the laws of apartheid).[1] Machel’s successor, Joaquim Chissano, continued the reforms and began peace talks with RENAMO. The new constitution enacted in 1990 provided for a multi-party political system, market-based economy, and free elections. The civil war ended in October 1992 with the Rome General Peace Accords, brokered by the Community of Sant’Egidio. Under supervision of the ONUMOZ peacekeeping force of the United Nations, peace returned to Mozambique.

By mid-1995 the more than 1.7 million Mozambican refugees who had sought asylum in neighbouring Malawi, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania, and South Africa as a result of war and drought had returned, as part of the largest repatriation witnessed in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, a further estimated four million internally displaced persons returned to their areas of origin.

Foreign Relations

While allegiances dating back to the liberation struggle remain relevant, Mozambique’s foreign policy has become increasingly pragmatic. The twin pillars of Mozambique’s foreign policy are maintenance of good relations with its neighbours and maintenance and expansion of ties to development partners.

During the 1970s and the early 1980s, Mozambique’s foreign policy was inextricably linked to the struggles for majority rule in Rhodesia and South Africa as well as superpower competition and the Cold War. Mozambique’s decision to enforce UN sanctions against Rhodesia and deny that country access to the sea led Ian Smith’s government to undertake overt and covert actions to destabilize the country. Although the change of government in Zimbabwe in 1980 removed this threat, the government of South Africa (at that time still operating under the laws of apartheid) continued to finance the destabilization of Mozambique. It also belonged to the Front Line States.

The 1984 Nkomati Accord, while failing in its goal of ending South African support to RENAMO, opened initial diplomatic contacts between the Mozambican and South African governments. This process gained momentum with South Africa’s elimination of apartheid, which culminated in the establishment of full diplomatic relations in October 1993. While relations with neighbouring Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania show occasional strains, Mozambique’s ties to these countries remain strong.

In the years immediately following its independence, Mozambique benefited from considerable assistance from some Western countries, notably the Scandinavians. USSR and its allies, however, became Mozambique’s primary economic, military, and political supporters and its foreign policy reflected this linkage. This began to change in 1983; in 1984 Mozambique joined the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Western aid quickly replaced Soviet support, with the Scandinavians countries of Sweden (EU Member since 1995), Norway, Denmark (EU Member since 1973) and Iceland. Plus Finland (EU Member since 1995) and the Netherlands within the European Union are becoming increasingly important sources of development assistance. Italy also maintains a profile in Mozambique as a result of its key role during the peace process. Relations with Portugal, the former colonial power, continue to play an important role as Portuguese investors play a visible role in Mozambique’s economy.

Mozambique is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and ranks among the moderate members of the African bloc in the United Nations and other international organisations. Mozambique also belongs to the African Union (formerly the Organisation of African Unity) and the Southern African Development Community. In 1994, the government became a full member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, in part to broaden its base of international support but also to please the country’s sizable Muslim population. Similarly, in early 1996 Mozambique joined its Anglophone neighbours in the Commonwealth. It is the only nation to join the Commonwealth that was never part of the British Empire. In the same year, Mozambique became a founding member and the first President of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), and maintains close ties with other Lusophone states.

Geography Location: Southeastern Africa, bordering the Mozambique Channel, between South Africa and Tanzania
Geographic coordinates: 18 15 S, 35 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 801,590 sq km
land: 784,090 sq km
water: 17,500 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly less than twice the size of California
Land boundaries: total: 4,571 km
border countries: Malawi 1,569 km, South Africa 491 km, Swaziland 105 km, Tanzania 756 km, Zambia 419 km, Zimbabwe 1,231 km
Coastline: 2,470 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical to subtropical
Terrain: mostly coastal lowlands, uplands in center, high plateaus in northwest, mountains in west
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Monte Binga 2,436 m
Natural resources: coal, titanium, natural gas, hydropower, tantalum, graphite
Land use: arable land: 5.43%
permanent crops: 0.29%
other: 94.28% (2005)
Irrigated land: 1,180 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 216 cu km (1992)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.63 cu km/yr (11%/2%/87%)
per capita: 32 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: severe droughts; devastating cyclones and floods in central and southern provinces
Environment – current issues: a long civil war and recurrent drought in the hinterlands have resulted in increased migration of the population to urban and coastal areas with adverse environmental consequences; desertification; pollution of surface and coastal waters; elephant poaching for ivory is a problem
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: the Zambezi flows through the north-central and most fertile part of the country
Politics Mozambique is a multi-party democracy under the 1990 constitution. The executive branch comprises a president, prime minister, and Council of Ministers. There is a National Assembly and municipal assemblies. The judiciary comprises a Supreme Court and provincial, district, and municipal courts. Suffrage is universal at eighteen.

In the 1994 elections. Joaquim Chissano was elected President with 53% of the vote, and a 250-member National Assembly was voted in with 129 FRELIMO deputies, 112 RENAMO deputies, and nine representatives of three smaller parties that formed the Democratic Union (UD). Since its formation in 1994, the National Assembly has made progress in becoming a body increasingly more independent of the executive. By 1999, more than one-half (53%) of the legislation passed originated in the Assembly.

After some delays, in 1998 the country held its first local elections to provide for local representation and some budgetary authority at the municipal level. The principal opposition party, RENAMO, boycotted the local elections, citing flaws in the registration process. Independent slates contested the elections and won seats in municipal assemblies. Turnout was very low.

In the aftermath of the 1998 local elections, the government resolved to make more accommodations to the opposition’s procedural concerns for the second round of multiparty national elections in 1999. Working through the National Assembly, the electoral law was rewritten and passed by consensus in December 1998. Financed largely by international donors, a very successful voter registration was conducted from July to September 1999, providing voter registration cards to 85% of the potential electorate (more than seven million voters).

The second general elections were held December 3-5, 1999, with high voter turnout. International and domestic observers agreed that the voting process was well organised and went smoothly. Both the opposition and observers subsequently cited flaws in the tabulation process that, had they not occurred, might have changed the outcome. In the end, however, international and domestic observers concluded that the close result of the vote reflected the will of the people.

President Chissano won the presidency with a margin of 4% points over the RENAMO-Electoral Union coalition candidate, Afonso Dhlakama, and began his five-year term in January, 2000. FRELIMO increased its majority in the National Assembly with 133 out of 250 seats. RENAMO-UE coalition won 116 seats, one went independent, and no third parties are represented.

The opposition coalition did not accept the National Election Commission’s results of the presidential vote and filed a formal complaint to the Supreme Court. One month after the voting, the court dismissed the opposition’s challenge and validated the election results. The opposition did not file a complaint about the results of the legislative vote.

The second local elections, involving thirty-three municipalities with some 2.4 million registered voters, took place in November 2003. This was the first time that FRELIMO, RENAMO-UE, and independent parties competed without significant boycotts. The 24% turnout was well above the 15% turnout in the first municipal elections. FRELIMO won twenty-eight mayoral positions and the majority in twenty-nine municipal assemblies, while RENAMO won five mayoral positions and the majority in four municipal assemblies. The voting was conducted in an orderly fashion without violent incidents. However, the period immediately after the elections was marked by objections about voter and candidate registration and vote tabulation, as well as calls for greater transparency.

In May 2004, the government approved a new general elections law that contained innovations based on the experience of the 2003 municipal elections.

Presidential and National Assembly elections took place on December 1-2, 2004. FRELIMO candidate Armando Guebuza won with 64% of the popular vote. His opponent, Afonso Dhlakama of RENAMO, received 32% of the popular vote. FRELIMO won 160 seats in Parliament. A coalition of RENAMO and several small parties won the 90 remaining seats. Armando Guebuza was inaugurated as the President of Mozambique on February 2, 2005. RENAMO and some other opposition parties made claims of election fraud and denounced the result. These claims were supported by international observers (among others by the European Union Election Observation Mission to Mozambique and the Carter Centre) to the elections who criticised the fact that the National Electoral Commission (CNE) did not conduct fair and transparent elections. They listed a whole range of shortcomings by the electoral authorities that benefited the ruling party FRELIMO. However, according to EU observers, the elections shortcomings have probably not affected the final result in the presidential election. On the other hand, the observers have declared that the outcome of the parliamentary election and thus the distribution of seats in the National Assembly does not reflect the will of the Mozambican people and is clearly to the disadvantage of RENAMO.

The Reporters Without Borders’ Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2006 ranked Mozambique 45th out of 168 countries.

People Population: 21,284,701
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected; the 1997 Mozambican census reported a population of 16,099,246 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 44.5% (male 4,762,335/female 4,711,422)
15-64 years: 52.7% (male 5,472,184/female 5,736,154)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 251,026/female 351,580) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 17.4 years
male: 17 years
female: 17.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.792% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 38.21 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 20.29 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 107.84 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 110.67 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 104.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 41.04 years
male: 41.62 years
female: 40.44 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.24 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Namibia: History Truth And Knowledge Of This South African Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Namibia

Introduction South Africa occupied the German colony of South-West Africa during World War I and administered it as a mandate until after World War II, when it annexed the territory. In 1966 the Marxist South-West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) guerrilla group launched a war of independence for the area that was soon named Namibia, but it was not until 1988 that South Africa agreed to end its administration in accordance with a UN peace plan for the entire region. Namibia has been governed by SWAPO since the country won independence in 1990. Hifikepunye POHAMBA was elected president in November 2004 in a landslide victory replacing Sam NUJOMA who led the country during its first 14 years of self rule.
History The dry lands of Namibia were inhabited since early times by Bushmen, Damara, Namaqua, and since about the 14th century AD, by immigrating Bantu who came with the Bantu expansion. The region was not extensively explored by Europeans until the 19th century, when the land came under German control as South West Africa (Deutsch-Südwestafrika[3]) — apart from Walvis Bay, which was under British control. South Africa occupied the colony during World War I and administered it as a League of Nations mandate territory until after World War II, when it unilaterally annexed the territory, without international recognition.

In 1966 the South-West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) guerrilla group launched a war of independence, but it was not until 1988 that South Africa agreed to end its administration of Namibia, in accordance with a United Nations peace plan for the entire region. Independence came in 1990, and Walvis Bay was ceded to Namibia in 1994.

Geography Location: Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and South Africa
Geographic coordinates: 22 00 S, 17 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 825,418 sq km
land: 825,418 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly more than half the size of Alaska
Land boundaries: total: 3,936 km
border countries: Angola 1,376 km, Botswana 1,360 km, South Africa 967 km, Zambia 233 km
Coastline: 1,572 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: desert; hot, dry; rainfall sparse and erratic
Terrain: mostly high plateau; Namib Desert along coast; Kalahari Desert in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Konigstein 2,606 m
Natural resources: diamonds, copper, uranium, gold, silver, lead, tin, lithium, cadmium, tungsten, zinc, salt, hydropower, fish
note: suspected deposits of oil, coal, and iron ore
Land use: arable land: 0.99%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 99% (2005)
Irrigated land: 80 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 45.5 cu km (1991)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.3 cu km/yr (24%/5%/71%)
per capita: 148 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: prolonged periods of drought
Environment – current issues: limited natural fresh water resources; desertification; wildlife poaching; land degradation has led to few conservation areas
Environment – international agreements: party to: Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: first country in the world to incorporate the protection of the environment into its constitution; some 14% of the land is protected, including virtually the entire Namib Desert coastal strip
Politics The politics of Namibia takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Namibia is elected to a five year term and is both the head of state and the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the bicameral Parliament, the National Assembly and the National Council. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
People Population: 2,088,669
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 36.7% (male 386,252/female 379,426)
15-64 years: 59.5% (male 627,752/female 615,241)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 35,960/female 44,038) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 20.7 years
male: 20.6 years
female: 20.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.947% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 23.19 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 14.07 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.35 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 45.64 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 49.24 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 41.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 49.89 years
male: 50.39 years
female: 49.38 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.81 children born/woman (2008 est.)