Victoria Falls dries to a trickle after worst drought in a century | World news | The Guardian


One of southern Africa’s biggest tourist attractions has seen an unprecedented decline this dry season, fuelling climate change fears

Source: Victoria Falls dries to a trickle after worst drought in a century | World news | The Guardian

High-value opportunities exist to restore tropical rainforests around the world – here’s how we mapped them : The Conversation


The green belt of tropical rainforests that covers equatorial regions of the Americas, Africa, Indonesia and Southeast Asia is turning brown. Since 1990, Indonesia has lost 50% of its original forest, the Amazon 30% and Central Africa 14%. Fires, logging, hunting, road building and fragmentation have heavily damaged more than 30% of those that remain.

These forests provide many benefits: They store large amounts of carbon, are home to numerous wild species, provide food and fuel for local people, purify water supplies and improve air quality. Replenishing them is an urgent global imperative. A newly published study in the journal Science by European authors finds that there is room for an extra 3.4 million square miles (0.9 billion hectares) of canopy cover around the world, and that replenishing tree cover at this full potential would contribute significantly to reducing the risk of harmful climate change

But there aren’t enough resources to restore all tropical forests that have been lost or damaged. And restoration can conflict with other activities, such as farming and forestry. As a tropical forest ecologist, I am interested in developing better tools for assessing where these efforts will be most cost-effective and beneficial.

Over the past four years, tropical forestry professor Pedro Brancalionand I have led a team of researchers from an international network in evaluating the benefits and feasibility of restoration across tropical rainforests around the world. Our newly published findings identify restoration hotspots – areas where restoring tropical forests would be most beneficial and least costly and risky. They cover over 385,000 square miles (100 million hectares), an area as large as Spain and Sweden combined.

The five countries with the largest areas of restoration hotpots are Brazil, Indonesia, India, Madagascar and Colombia. Six countries in Africa – Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Togo, South Sudan and Madagascar – hold rainforest areas where restoration is expected to yield the highest benefits with the highest feasibility. We hope our results can help governments, conservation groups and international funders target areas where there is high potential for success.

 

Source: High-value opportunities exist to restore tropical rainforests around the world – here’s how we mapped them : The Conversation

Human evolution: secrets of early ancestors could be unlocked by African rainforests : The Conversation 


Think of rainforests and the picture is inevitably one of a dark and forbidding realm where life is abundant, yet alarmingly cryptic. Rather than the sense of space offered by long, iconic grassland vistas, distance is compressed into tangled webs of foliage, veiling both predators and prey. Diffuse and difficult to access proteins, carbohydrates and fats increase the chances of encountering an array of lurking dangers. For these reasons, it has long been thought that humans were only able to colonise rainforests in the last few thousand years, after the development of agriculture.

In fact, we still have no clear idea when humans first began to inhabit rainforests. But mounting evidence is deconstructing the idea that rainforests – that is, forests requiring between 2,500 and 4,500 mm of rain a year – were hostile “green deserts” to early hunter gatherers.

In South Asia, there is now compelling archaeological evidence that Homo sapiens rapidly adapted to life in rainforests. At Niah Cave in Borneo, toxic plants obtained from nearby rainforest habitats were being processed as far back as 45,000 years ago, soon after people were first documented in this region. In Sri Lanka, there is evidence for direct reliance on rainforest resources at least 36,000 years ago. And a paperpublished in Nature last year reported the presence of humans in a rainforest environment on Sumatra dating back to a staggering 70,000 years ago.

 

Source: Human evolution: secrets of early ancestors could be unlocked by African rainforests : The Conversation

10-year-old girl bleeds to death after female genital mutilation in Somalia | Global development | The Guardian


A 10-year-old girl has died after undergoing female genital mutilation in Somalia, the first confirmed death in years in a country where complications from the procedure are generally denied, activists claim.

Deeqa Dahir Nuur was taken on 14 July to a traditional cutter in the her village of Olol, roughly 65km from Dhusmareb, in central Galmudug state.

The operation severed a vein, and when the family were still unable to stem the haemorrhaging two days later, the girl was taken to Dhusmareb hospital, where she bled to death, said activist Hawa Aden Mohamed of the Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development.

The Galmudug state minister for women’s affairs visited the family in hospital to offer condolences and explain the risk of death in FGM operations.

But action over Deeqa’s is unlikely. “The woman who performed the operation has not been arrested, but even if she was, there is no law that would ensure she is punished for the act,” said Mohamed.

“It is difficult to estimate the number of girls who die due to FGM per month or per day because they are [sworn] to secrecy, particularly in rural areas. We only get to hear of the few cases of those bold enough to seek medical treatment in towns. But from the stories we do hear, they could be in their dozens.”

The death is the most high profile confirmed in Somalia, where 98% of women and girls are cut, the highest percentage anywhere in the world. Activists hope the publicity surrounding her death may help debunk myths in Somalia that FGM is safe.

 

Source: 10-year-old girl bleeds to death after female genital mutilation in Somalia | Global development | The Guardian

Anger mounts as Israel begins detention and deportation of African asylum seekers : The Conversation


Around 20,000 Israelis and African migrants took to the streets in Tel Aviv on February 24, protesting against a government policy of detaining and deporting African asylum seekers who refuse to leave the country. A few days earlier, a group of Eritrean asylum seekers held at a detention centre in Israel went on hunger strike in protest against their imminent expulsion from the country.

In early Feburary, Israel began issuing expulsion orders to African migrants and asylum seekers whose asylum claims had been refused by the government. Most were from Eritrea and Sudan. The orders, under new rules announced in December 2017, give people the choice to be sent to a “third country” by the end of March, or face detention and imprisonment. The receiving countries will reportedly receive US$5,000 per asylum seeker they accept, while the asylum seekers themselves receive a plane ticket plus US$3,500 each.

The “third countries” have not been officially named, but they were reported to be Rwanda and Uganda – although both countries subsequently denied signing a deal with Israel.

It is the Israeli regime of deportation and detention that is the root cause for the distress of the African migrants and asylum seekers on its soil. It is almost impossible to even launch an asylum claim let alone become a recognised refugee. Merely 11 African asylum seekers, ten from Eritrea and one from Sudan, were given refugee status between 2009 and 2017.

However, in what might prove to be a landmark ruling, an Israeli special appeals court ruled on February 15 in the case of an Eritrean asylum seeker that desertion from the Eritrean military provided a valid claim for asylum. This ruling could affect many Eritreans threatened with deportation, but is unlikely to change wider attitudes among Israeli authorities, who in any case will appeal.

Mixed reasons for coming to Israel

 

Source: Anger mounts as Israel begins detention and deportation of African asylum seekers : The Conversation

Girls Kidnapped by Boko Haram Share Their Stories at UN | Human Rights Watch


Only the slight buzz of translation through diplomats’ headphones could be heard as Joy Bishara, now 21, described the night in April 2014 when armed men from Boko Haram burned her school in Chibok, Nigeria, forcing Joy and her classmates into trucks so tall they had to climb on a car to scramble inside.

Source: Girls Kidnapped by Boko Haram Share Their Stories at UN | Human Rights Watch

Jimmy Dore Show: US Begins Bombing in Somalia Again, Because Oil Found


Oil is the reason for many conflicts, so is the case for the American involvement in the Middle East but not mentioned only are the atrocities.

But atrocities happen in other countries, but there is no American involvement as there is no oil.

Oil the root of all evil.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

This is yet another video about the expansion of the American war machine and war propaganda by the Jimmy Dore Show. In this video, he discusses the report that AFRICOM, the part of American High Command responsible for Africa, has decided to put troops back into Somalia after 24 years. The troops are apparently there at the request of the Somalian government, and will be there for training purposes. The article does reveal that American troops have also been deployed several times within that space of 24 years in minor missions, such as scouting for bombing sites.

The US troops are being deployed to help the Somali government against the Islamist group, al-Shabaab. The article states that al-Shabaab, although sharing a similar Islamist ideology with ISIS and al-Qaeda, aren’t actually part of those organisations. Most of the time, they’ve been confined to Somalia. They arose after a long period of…

View original post 386 more words

ITV Programme on Black Victorian Heroine Mary Seacole


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

mary-seacole-pic

ITV tonight are broadcasting a documentary about Mary Seacole, one of the Victorian heroines you don’t hear about. The blurb in the Radio Times for the documentary runs

In the Shadow of Mary Seacole

The contribution of Mary Seacole, a Jamaican nurse of Scottish and African descent, to caring for wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War has been increasingly acknowledged over recent years. Actor David Harewood embarks on a highly personal journey of discovery as he follows the creation of a statue of the woman who has always been a heroine to him.

The programme’s on at 10.40 today, 18th October 2016.

Seacole was as big a heroine in her time as the nurse everyone’s heard of, Florence Nightingale. There were mass petitions and crowds gathered to see her honoured, and it’s a very sore point with many Black activists that she has been so comprehensively forgotten. They see…

View original post 63 more words

The Break-Up of American Zionism and the Anti-Semitism Allegations


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

I’m aware that I’m in serious risk of doing this subject to death, but this needs to be said. I’ve put up several blogs featuring the videos of talks and interviews given by Israeli and American Jewish activists and historians – Ilan Pappe, Elizabeth Baltzer and Norman Finkelstein, laying bare the terrible history of Israel’s persecution and systematic ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population. As I’ve repeatedly said, this is because of the smears against leading figures in the Labour party that they are anti-Semites, when they are nothing of the sort, and demonstrably nothing of the sort. Ken Leninspart, when he was leader of the GLC, was notorious and reviled for his anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia stance. And if you want to read what he has to say about anti-Semitism, it’s written down in his book, Livingstone’s Labour. He decries it as one of the worst forms of…

View original post 1,981 more words

Hundreds of British mums ‘breast-ironing’ their daughters using red-hot rocks, hammers and spatulas – Mirror Online


There are now calls for it to be made a criminal offence after revelations about the barbaric ritual emerged this week

Source: Hundreds of British mums ‘breast-ironing’ their daughters using red-hot rocks, hammers and spatulas – Mirror Online