Category Archives: Africa

Map of the day II: The AIDS crisis continues


From Agence France Presse:

Some 2.5 million people are still becoming infected with HIV every year even as drugs have slashed the death rate, a global AIDS study says.

Some 2.5 million people are still becoming infected with HIV every year even as drugs have slashed the death rate, a global AIDS study says.

El Niño/La Niña cycle boosts African HIV rates


Drought spawned by the El Niño/La Niña cycle has created times of desperation in Southern Africa, with failing harvest leading more women to sell sex in order to survive, UNICEF reports.

From the Thomson Reuters Foundation:

Drought exacerbated by the El Nino weather pattern could lead to a spike in new HIV infections in southern Africa as women and girls turn to sex to survive and patients miss treatments, the United Nations childrens’ agency UNICEF said on Tuesday.

More than 60 million people, two thirds of them in east and southern Africa, are facing food shortages because of droughts linked to El Nino, a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, according to the United Nations.

Many patients are refusing to take anti-retroviral therapy (ART) on an empty stomach, others are deciding to spend their limited income on food rather than transport to a health facility, UNICEF said.

“People sometimes are having to resort to these extreme choices between eating and taking life-saving medication,” Patsy Nakell, UNICEF spokeswoman, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“This is the global epicentre of the HIV epidemic and when you have a situation like this where people are struggling to have access to food and to clean water then you know (they) will resort to what we call negative coping mechanisms.”

Once again, we are confronted with the multiplicity of complex systems, in which a change in one factor leads to changed outputs from other factors.

Climate change means more than rising seas and endangered coastal cities.

El Niño aftermath brings specter of starvation


And those most deeply impacted are children in some of the world’s poorest countries.

We begin with a map from the UNICEF Briefing Papers It’s not over, El Niño’s impact on children:

EL NIÑO AND LA NIÑA RAINFALL: El Niño and La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific are known to shift rainfall patterns in many different parts of the world. Although they vary somewhat from one to the next, the strongest shifts remain fairly consistent in the regions and seasons shown.

EL NIÑO AND LA NIÑA RAINFALL: El Niño and La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific are known to shift rainfall patterns in many different parts of the world. Although they vary somewhat from one to the next, the strongest shifts remain fairly consistent in the regions and seasons shown.

And the story, via the United Nations News Center:

While the 2015-2016 El Niño – one of the strongest on record – has ended, its devastating impact on children is worsening, as hunger, malnutrition and disease continue to increase following the severe droughts and floods spawned by the event, a new report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed today.

Making matters worse, there is a strong chance La Niña – El Niño’s flip side – could strike at some stage this year, further exacerbating a severe humanitarian crisis that is affecting millions of children in some of the most vulnerable communities, UNICEF said in a report It’s not over – El Niño’s impact on children.

El Niño is the term used to describe the warming of the central to eastern tropical Pacific that occurs, on average, every three to seven years. It raises sea surface temperatures and impacts weather systems around the globe so that some places receive more rain while others receive none at all, often in a reversal of their usual weather pattern.

While El Niño, and its counterpart La Niña, occur cyclically, in recent years, mainly due to the effects of global climate change, extreme weather events associated with these phenomena – such as droughts and floods – have increased in frequency and severity, according to UN agencies.

“Millions of children and their communities need support in order to survive. They need help to prepare for the eventuality La Niña will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis. And they need help to step up disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change, which is causing more intense and more frequent extreme weather events,” said UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programs, Afshan Khan.

There’s more, after the jump. . . Continue reading

Obama and his allies wage yet another covert war


And the turf is familiar: Libya, a country still reeling from the civil war launched during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of state.

From Al Jazeera English:

Air traffic control recordings obtained by the Middle East Eye suggest British, French, Italian and US forces have been coordinating air strikes in support of renegade Libyan general, Khalifa Haftar.

The leaked tapes, which could indicate the countries are helping Haftar fight rebels in the east, appeared to confirm that a joint operations base exists – something which the London-based media organisation has previously reported.

“What’s clear is that Western forces are helping Haftar coordinate air strikes in eastern Libya ,which is where his base of control is. But the targets there aren’t actually Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS),” Karim el Bar, the journalist who reported the story, told Al Jazeera.

“They [the targets] are his [Haftar’s] political enemies – some of whom are Islamists, some of whom have other political affilations … he’s undermining the government in Tripoli.”

Conversations between Libyan pilots and the air traffic controllers at Benina airbase, one of Haftar’s vital military facilities, can be heard in the leaked audio, in both Arabic and English. French, Italian American and British accents are audible.

The clear beneficiaries of this latest deadly gambit will be the fundamentalists, who will draw still more recruits fighting this latest effort by NATO to install a government that will help the Big Oil tighten its grip on the source of the finest light sweet crude on the planet.

El Niño threatens millions of African children


While folks in esnl’s own state of California think of El Niño as a bearer of exceptional rains, we often forget that the same Pacific Ocean currents that inundate the Golden State exert a contrary effect on Southern Asia and Africa.

So the same global weather pattern that brought drought relief to a parched California threatens millions of African children with the threat of starvation, chronic hunger, and all the ill effects wrought by malnutrition.

From the United Nations News Center:

One of the strongest El Niño events ever recorded has placed the lives of 26.5 million children at risk of malnutrition, water shortages and disease in ten countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reported.

“Children face protection risks as families and communities move in search of work, food, water and grazing land for animals. Children are also finding it difficult to stay in school, due to hunger and/or lack of water,” UNICEF noted in a study on the Eastern and Southern Africa region.

UNICEF added that it found that more than one million children are in need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition. Moreover, water shortages remain a key concern, with many health facilities and schools in critical need of improved water supplies and sanitation facilities to enable the continuity of services.

El Niño is the term used to describe the warming of the central to eastern tropical Pacific that occurs, on average, every three to seven years. It raises sea surface temperatures and impacts weather systems around the globe so that some places receive more rain while others receive none at all, often in a reversal of their usual weather pattern.

In Southern Africa in particular, drought is making life even more precarious for children affected by HIV, according to the UNICEF study.

The UN children’s agency found that governments and partners have been responding since 2015, but the scale of the crisis has outstripped the coping capacities of communities and the resources of the governments in the region, putting decades of development gains at risk.

Urgent investment is still required because the crisis is likely to continue well into 2017, UNICEF said. It could also be further compounded by the coming La Niña, which would bring more erratic weather conditions.

In the first months of 2016, UNICEF said it has reached 155,000 children with treatment for severe acute malnutrition; 2.69 million people with clean water; 82,000 children with protection services; and 100,000 people with HIV education and services.

To provide a comprehensive emergency response, however, UNICEF still needs $127 million of its $226 million goal.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 60 million people are expected to be impacted by El Niño’s extreme weather. The humanitarian fallout in certain areas will include increased food insecurity due to low crop yields and rising prices; higher malnutrition rates; devastated livelihoods; and forced displacement.

Headline of the day II: You knew it was coming


Given that many of America’s Muslims are also black, the news is doubly ominous.

From Deutsche Welle:

Donald Trump mulls increased racial profiling in wake of Orlando attack

Donald Trump has suggested that the US should “seriously” consider profiling Muslims inside the country to fight terror. The presumptive Republican nominee has previously called for a ban on Muslim immigration to the US.

Algeria blocks social media in school test scandal


Why are we not surprised?

From BBC News:

Algeria has temporarily blocked access to social media across the country in an attempt to fight cheating in secondary school exams.

Almost half of students are being forced to retake the baccalaureat exam, starting on Sunday, after the initial session was marred by online leaking.

Many students were able to access questions on Facebook and other social media ahead of the exam in early June.

Algeria has struggled with baccalaureate leaks in recent years.

And in other Facebook news

UPDATE, and also from BBC News:

“The fastest-growing industry in America is marijuana, period,” said Jake Bhattacharya, who recently quit his information technology job to open a cannabis testing lab in Upland.

With medical marijuana legal in 25 states and recreational use allowed in four, pot outsold Girl Scout Cookies in 2015, according to a report from Marijuana Business Daily, a 5-year-old news website covering the industry.

Pot retail sales are expected to hit $4 billion this year, and Marijuana Business Daily is projecting that number could nearly triple by 2020.

The actual size of the industry may already be much larger, too, since California hasn’t tracked its massive medical marijuana market in the 20 years since it’s been legal. And it could skyrocket if voters here and a handful of other states approve recreational use Nov. 8.