Monday, 20 October 2014

When it comes to dealing with bullying, calmness is the key - Independent.ie

When it comes to dealing with bullying, calmness is the key - Independent.ie

Our instinct, as parents, is to fix the problem immediately, and we interrogate our child with hundreds of questions. We need all the information we can get in as short a time as possible so we can plough ahead with solving this problem. After all, that's our job, isn't it? To solve problems, and protect our children.

We must fight that urge, says Aine Lynch, and focus on giving our child our full attention. Bullying is a disempowering position to be in, and when a child has told you the news, the last thing they need is for you to go on is a solo crusade; it's important to involve them in any decisions made on dealing with the situation. Sharing their story can also help them put it in perspective and maybe even help solve the issue. "The child has a unique and valuable knowledge of the situation, and is therefore in a better position to suggest what might and might not help", says Lynch, "it's our job as parents to teach and support our child to manage difficult situations in life - if parents take over the situation it is less likely that a child will learn coping skills in life that will help them deal with every difficult turn."...

A Deadly Legacy in Iraq - NYTimes.com

A Deadly Legacy in Iraq - NYTimes.com

Another chapter has been added to the dismal legacy of America’s involvement in Iraq. An investigation by C.J. Chivers, published in The Times on Wednesday, found that American and American-trained Iraqi troops discovered thousands of abandoned and highly dangerous chemical weapons left over from the rule of Saddam Hussein. These weapons, found from 2004 to 2011, wounded troops from both armies. There are now fears that some could fall into the hands of fighters for the Islamic State, which now controls much of the territory where the weapons were found.
These weapons are not the chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction that the George W. Bush administration claimed as the excuse for embarking on the Iraq war and that, it turned out, did not exist. Instead, they are aged remnants left over from an earlier chemical weapons program in the late-1970s and 1980s that was shut down in 1991. Mr. Hussein used the weapons against Iran in a war from 1980-88...

Ebola takes toll on the Gambia from beyond its borders | World news | The Guardian

Ebola takes toll on the Gambia from beyond its borders | World news | The Guardian

Omar Jarju looks out across a row of empty sunbeds around the Djeliba hotel’s perfectly maintained pool, a few steps from the palm-fringed Kololi beach on the Gambia’s Atlantic coast. “Every day in my inbox I get emails from clients, who tell me they’ve been warned not to come,” he says, despondently. “They say ‘Omar do you have Ebola?’ and I say ‘Oh for God’s sake, no!’. Ebola is killing us, whether we have it or not.”

This week is only the start of the Gambia’s tourist season but Jarju, manager at the Djeliba, says the hotel is only 47% full, compared with 67% last year. Headlines about the rapid spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are having a serious knock-on effect for other countries in the continent, according to the Gambia’s ministry of tourism...

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Russia’s Formula One debut sets Sochi’s Olympic Park alight | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Russia’s Formula One debut sets Sochi’s Olympic Park alight | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Russia’s first ever Formula One Grand Prix drew plaudits for its organization and setting, with emotions running high for many fans who witnessed the spectacle at the Sochi Autodrom on Russia’s Black Sea coast on Sunday, Oct. 12. Although rookie Russian driver Daniil Kvyat failed to take the opportunity offered by his best ever qualifying position, coming in 14th despite starting fifth on the grid, the overwhelming feeling was one of positivity for the hosts of the newest addition to the Formula One calendar. Formula 1 rolls into Sochi British driver Lewis Hamilton took home the first trophy ever to be won at Russia's F1 Grand Prix, presented to him by Russian President Vladimir Putin, while Hamilton’s Mercedes team won the trophy for best constructor.
Source: Russia Beyond the Headlines - http://rbth.co.uk/sport/2014/10/13/russias_formula_one_debut_sets_sochis_olympic_park_alight_40575.html)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

I.S. = Invasive Species - NYTimes.com

I.S. = Invasive Species - NYTimes.com

I can’t think of a better way to understand ISIS. It is a coalition. One part consists of Sunni Muslim jihadist fighters from all over the world: Chechnya, Libya, Britain, France, Australia and especially Saudi Arabia. They spread so far, so fast, despite their relatively small numbers, because the disturbed Iraqi and Syrian societies enabled these foreign jihadists to forge alliances with secular, native-born, Iraqi and Syrian Sunni tribesmen and former Baathist army officers, whose grievances were less religious and more about how Iraq and Syria were governed.
Today, ISIS — the foreigners and locals together — is putting pressure on all of Iraq’s and Syria’s native species with the avowed goal of reducing the diversity of these once polycultural societies and turning them into bleak, dark, jihadist, Sunni fundamentalist monocultures.
It is easy to see how ISIS spread. Think about the life of a 50-year-old Iraqi Sunni male from Mosul. He first got drafted to fight in the eight-year Iran-Iraq war that ended in 1988. Then he had to fight in the Persian Gulf war I after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Then he lived under a decade of U.N. sanctions that broke Iraq’s middle class. Then he had to endure the years of chaos that followed the U.S. invasion, which ended with a corrupt, brutal, pro-Iranian Shiite regime in Baghdad led by Nuri Kamal al-Maliki that did all it could to keep Sunnis poor and powerless. This was the fractured political ecosystem in which ISIS found fertile ground...

Friday, 10 October 2014

Pambazuka - Russian markets attracting African exporters

Pambazuka - Russian markets attracting African exporters

The Russian market has always been attractive for many Western and European countries, which have exported their agricultural products including fruits and vegetables for high profits. But that has changed recently as the United States, Western and European Union members have slapped Russia with sanctions for the political developments in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic.

Russia has also imposed reciprocal sanctions and introduced restrictions on the import of certain food and agricultural products from the European Union (EU), the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway. The products include meat, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, oils and other commodities.

In their recent remarks, the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov and Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev have pointed to the possibility of finding alternative sources for the aforesaid commodities by replacing European markets with markets in other countries. Russian authorities have been looking for potential agricultural products exporters in Latin American, Asian and African regions.

South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco have shown their preparedness to cooperate and are still looking at the possibility to boost exports of agricultural products especially fruits and vegetables to the Russian food market to help fill in the gap after sanctions have severely limited food imports from those foreign countries.



Friday, 3 October 2014

What ISIS Could Teach the West - NYTimes.com

What ISIS Could Teach the West - NYTimes.com


“...the
extremists recognized a basic truth: Their greatest strategic threat comes not
from a drone but from a girl with a book. We need to recognize, and act on,
that truth as well.
For similar
reasons, the financiers of extremism have invested heavily in fundamentalist
indoctrination. They have built Wahhabi madrassas in poor Muslim countries like
Pakistan, Niger and Mali, offering free meals, as well as scholarships for the
best students to study in the gulf.
Shouldn’t we try
to compete?
Shouldn’t we use
weapons in the short run, but try to gain strategic advantage by focusing on
education and on empowering women to build stable societies less vulnerable to
extremist manipulation?... Girls’ education seems to have more impact than
boys’ education, partly because educated women have markedly fewer children.
The result is lower birthrates and less of a youth bulge in the population,
which highly correlates to civil conflict.
I support judicious airstrikes in the short term against the Islamic
State, but that should be only one part of a policy combating extremism. And a
starting point should be to ensure that the three million Syrian refugees mostly in Turkey, Jordan and
Lebanon — especially girls — can get schooling...”

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Get your Africa facts right: websites seek to stem flow of misinformation | World news | The Guardian

Get your Africa facts right: websites seek to stem flow of misinformation | World news | The Guardian

Inaccurate media reports are hardly limited to Africa, but there’s a greater chance of international newspapers getting things wrong – and not admitting so – when it comes to the continent, Seay said.

“When most western outlets have just two or three people covering a continent of 11 million square miles, it very easy to make mistakes, even unintentionally. It’s a recipe for disaster in terms of quality of coverage.”

Around half of Africa Check’s investigations are triggered by readers wanting to know anything from the veracity of claims made by pop stars to supposed disease-busting local herbs. Operating out of Lagos and Johannesburg, the not-for-profit organisation funded by grants and individual donations has a team of five full-timers working alongside volunteers and freelancers, and hopes to expand to Kenya and Senegal next.

Anton Harber, a highly-regarded South African former investigative journalist and co-founder of the project, explained its ultimate aim. “I imagine a situation in which every public figure and journalist feels nervous about what they say or write because Africa Check might just catch them out.”

′Deadliest year′ for migrants crossing the Mediterranean: IOM | News | DW.DE | 29.09.2014

′Deadliest year′ for migrants crossing the Mediterranean: IOM | News | DW.DE | 29.09.2014

More than 3,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean this year, according to the International Organization for Migration. A report has been released showing more than 40,000 migrant deaths since 2000.

The 2014 Ibrahim Index: Cause for concern as Africa’s governance role models slip up | Daily Maverick

The 2014 Ibrahim Index: Cause for concern as Africa’s governance role models slip up | Daily Maverick

The Ibrahim Index is a mammoth statistical undertaking that collects tens of thousands of data points from 52 different African countries (excluding only Sudan and South Sudan, as their recent split means there is no available data). The researchers at the Foundation plug these numbers into their spreadsheets and algorithms to produce handy rankings that show which African countries fare best and worst in various categories, and which countries are the overall best- and worst-governed on the continent.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Plight of the migrant one of most critical issues of our time

Plight of the migrant one of most critical issues of our time


“...In the space of a week 150,000 refugees from Syria
streamed into Turkey, adding to the million-plus refugees Turkey has
accommodated in the three-and-a-half years since the devastating conflict in
Syria began. In one 48-hour period more than 60,000 Syrians came over the
border. In 2014 the number of people seeking asylum will hit a 20-year high,
according to the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency. That 20-year
anniversary relates to April 28th and 29th, 1994 on the Rwandan-Tanzanian
border, when 250,000 people walked across the bridge at Rusumo Falls, as
victims of genocide floated past in the river below.
As Syrian Kurds carried what little they had left into
Turkey, the sea that borders the west of the country was in the midst of its
own nightmare. The New York Times reported
this month that at a funeral in Sicily of 18 migrants who died trying to reach
Europe from Africa, Msgr Angelo Giurdanella said in his homily: “The opposite
of love is not hatred, but indifference.” Around 120,000 migrants have been
rescued by Italian ships in the Mediterranean this year. More than 2,200 have
died trying to cross the Mediterranean this year. In a few days in
mid-September, at least 750 migrants were feared to have died trying to make
the crossing. To put those deaths in context in terms of media coverage, the Costa Concordia cruise ship
disaster in January, 2012 claimed 32 lives. Nearly 70 times that number of
migrants have died in the Mediterranean area trying to reach Europe so far this
year...”