Thursday, 17 April 2014

A good man in Rwanda

A good man in Rwanda



Capt Diagne, the subject of the BBC documentary A Good
Man in Rwanda
, was "the greatest hero the UN has ever had" and the medal
must be named after him, Prince Zeid told the UN Security Council.


The BBC's international development correspondent Mark Doyle says the story
of Capt Diagne is still not very well known.




But after extensive research a BBC team was able to conclude that he had
personally saved hundreds of lives during the 1994 genocide in which an
estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 100 days.

President Obama's Message to the Young African Leaders Initiative


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Happiness and Its Discontents - NYTimes.com - NYTimes.com

Happiness and Its Discontents - NYTimes.com - NYTimes.com



What does it mean to be happy?
The answer to this question once seemed obvious to me. To be happy is to be satisfied with your life. If you want to find out how happy someone is, you ask him a question like, “Taking all things together, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole?”...

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Tragic reality exposed: Rhinos 'will be extinct by year 2020' | Nature | News | Daily Express

Tragic reality exposed: Rhinos 'will be extinct by year 2020' | Nature | News | Daily Express



[The slaughter of both white and black rhinos has soared in six years. In 2007, 13 rhinos were poached, but last year that number rose to 1,004.

Criminal gangs, and even terror groups like Al Qaeda, are making millions of pounds a year by hacking the animals to death for their horns.

Many of the horns are ground into powder and used as traditional medicine in the Far East to treat ailments such as hangovers.

Will Travers, chief executive of the Born Free Foundation, warned last night: “There are now just 20,000 white rhino and 5,000 black rhino left in the wild. If poaching carries on at the rate it is now for six more years it will devastate the numbers.

“There will probably be no free-living rhinos as the remaining numbers will be fenced off in military-style compounds which are alarmed and heavily guarded by armed patrols.”]

The root causes of the Ukraine crisis go all the way back to 1991 | Russia Beyond The Headlines

The root causes of the Ukraine crisis go all the way back to 1991 | Russia Beyond The Headlines



"Amidst escalating tension over Ukraine, the newest Russia Direct Monthly "A five-step program for fixing the Ukraine crisis" examines the root causes of this ongoing crisis, focusing on five key factors responsible for the current state of affairs. Only by addressing these root causes can both the West and Russia arrive at a possible solution to the standoff..."
Source: Russia Beyond the Headlines - http://rbth.com/international/2014/04/14/the_root_causes_of_the_ukraine_crisis_go_all_the_way_back_to_19_35899.html)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Importance of sleep for early learning highlighted

Importance of sleep for early learning highlighted



"Sleep plays a vital role in the early learning and development of babies and young children, a study has found.

Infants who nap are better able to apply lessons learned to new skills, while sleeping appears to help toddlers retain learned knowledge.

The US researchers looked at the ability of young children to recognise something similar but not identical to what they have learned and apply it to a new situation. Known as “generalisation,” examples include recognising the letter ‘A’ in different fonts, or understanding a word regardless of who speaks it.

“Sleep is essential for extending learning to new examples,” said study leader Dr Rebecca Gomez, from the University of Arizona..."

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

How Nigeria Became Africa's Largest Economy Overnight - Uri Friedman - The Atlantic

How Nigeria Became Africa's Largest Economy Overnight - Uri Friedman - The Atlantic



"Something strange happened in Nigeria on Sunday: The economy nearly doubled, racking up hundreds of billions of dollars, ballooning to the size of the Polish and Belgian economies, and breezing by the South African economy to become Africa's largest. As days go, it was a good one.

It was, in fact, a miracle borne of statistics: It had been 24 years since Nigerian authorities last updated their approach to calculating gross domestic product (GDP), a process known as "rebasing" that wealthy countries typically carry out every five years. When the Nigerian government finally did it this week, the country's GDP—the market value of all finished goods and services produced in a country—soared to $510 billion.

To celebrate the occasion, Nigeria's National Bureau of Statistics released a pretty entertaining PowerPoint presentation—an admixture of sober economic pronouncements and clip art. It includes this depiction of the long road to $510 billion:.."

Monday, 7 April 2014

It's Time for Africa’s Stolen Artefacts to Come Home | Think Africa Press

It's Time for Africa’s Stolen Artefacts to Come Home | Think Africa Press




"In a recently-released film, The Monuments Men, in which a group of Second World War soldiers embark upon a mission to save pieces of art before they are destroyed by the Nazis, Lieutenant Frank Stokes, played by George Clooney, notes: “You can wipe out an entire generation, you can burn their homes to the ground and somehow they will still find their way back. But if you destroy their history, if you destroy their achievements, then it is as if they never existed.”

While in London to publicise the film, this basic premise was given contemporary significance as the all-star cast touched a sensitive nerve by suggesting it was time for Britain to return the so-called Elgin Marbles to Greece. Some British commentators hit out at the actors' suggestions of repatriating the huge marble sculptures and pieces of architecture 'acquired' by Lord Elgin from Athens in the 19th century, while the Greek government expressed their "heartfelt thanks" for the show of solidarity..."

Illicit Financial Flows: The Elephant in the Room at the EU-Africa Summit | Think Africa Press

Illicit Financial Flows: The Elephant in the Room at the EU-Africa Summit | Think Africa Press

Friday, 21 March 2014

After the Protests - NYTimes.com

After the Protests - NYTimes.com



"LAST Wednesday, more than 100,000 people showed up in Istanbul for a funeral that turned into a mass demonstration. No formal organization made the call...Protests like this one, fueled by social media and erupting into spectacular mass events, look like powerful statements of opposition against a regime. And whether these take place in Turkey, Egypt or Ukraine, pundits often speculate that the days of a ruling party or government, or at least its unpopular policies, must be numbered. Yet often these huge mobilizations of citizens inexplicably wither away without the impact on policy you might expect from their scale.
 
This muted effect is not because social media isn’t good at what it does, but, in a way, because it’s very good at what it does."

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Out of Control - NYTimes.com

Out of Control - NYTimes.com



"WASHINGTON — WHEN mass murderers took over the cockpits of four American airliners on Sept. 11, 2001, one of the first things they did was turn off the transponders, so the planes would not register properly on civilian radar.
 
A few months later, the Council on Foreign Relations published a book, “How Did This Happen?” about the mistakes leading to that awful day. I wrote the aviation security chapter, which highlighted vulnerabilities in the way airliner transponders operate.
If the transponders had not gone silent on 9/11, air traffic controllers would have quickly realized that two jetliners en route to Los Angeles had made dramatic course changes and were bound straight for Manhattan. Instead, controllers lost precious time trying to figure out where the aircraft were.
At the time, I would have bet my life’s savings that the transponder, which broadcasts an aircraft’s location and identity, would be re-engineered to prevent hijackers from turning such units off. But nothing was done. Almost 13 years later, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 sparked a lengthy worldwide search when, it appears, another transponder was turned off.
The issue today is exactly as it was on 9/11..."