Thursday, February 28, 2013

LEMURIA RISING: Ancient Advanced Civilizations Of The Moors - Scientists Find Remnants Of "Lost Continent" Off The Coast Of Africa!

February 28, 2013 – AFRICA - Scientists believe they’ve discovered the remains of a lost continent on the floor of the Indian Ocean, off Africa. The research team from Norway, South Africa, Germany and the UK identified the ancient “microcontinent” after analysing beach sands from the island of Mauritius.

They believe Mauritius was split from the larger island of Madagascar, 900 kilometres to the west, by volcanic eruptions between 61 and 84 million years ago. The beach sands were deposited by subsequent eruptions within the last nine million years.


But the analysis found a smattering of zircon grains up to 2 billion years old, suggesting the recent volcanoes had spewed out fragments of an ancient continental crust. They believe the microcontinent, which they have christened “Mauritia”, may also lie beneath Réunion Island and the Seychelles.The discovery helps explain the origin of the Seychelles, which have “long been considered a geological peculiarity”, the team reports in the journal Nature Geoscience.

“The Indian Ocean could be littered with continental fragments, but the extent of continental crust remains speculative because these fragments have been obscured by hotspot-related volcanism.” While the study involved modern techniques – including plate tectonic reconstructions and analysis of gravity and marine geophysical data – it reflects an ancient fascination with lost continents.

The story of Atlantis, which supposedly lay in the Atlantic Ocean west of Spain and Morocco, has its origins in two dialogues by the philosopher Plato in 355 BC. Rumours of new lands abounded from the 15th century, as Portuguese, Spanish and Italian navigators pushed the boundaries of the known world. “Hi-Brazil,” which reportedly lay west of Ireland and was inhabited by large black rabbits, survived on maps for centuries.

The scientists in the latest study promise a more rigorous approach. “Critical to furthering our tale of lost continents are deep drilling, acquisition of high-quality seismic refraction data … coupled with geochemistry, geochronology and plate reconstructions,” they report. - The Australian.




The records of the Ka'Ma'atic/TaMUURa (Egyptian) people and that of many others such as the Mayans in Mesoamerica , the Dogons in Africa, and the Hopis in North America, trace their lineage back to an ancient global civilization centred somewhere in the Pacific Ocean area - the mythical world of El'MUUria or Le'Muria LeMUURia or Mu or MUU or Muur or Moor.

A time when Earth had a much smaller core with just a single vast landmass or a supercontinent. As I highlighted in my previous article on electromagnetism, our Blue Planet has been dramatically altered by the pervasive stream of energy from the Sun as well as during earlier times of celestial upheavals, resulting in monumental shifts in the tectonic plates, creating catastrophic natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, storms and tsunamis. Like spirit's descent into and out of matter, energy can be transformed into matter, as well as matter into energy. As above, so below. As within, so without.

Artistic impression of Pangea/Le'Muria.
As, I have said before, the self is the condensing energy through solidification until matter is reached. So, the directed energies from the stellar object is condensed by the active motion of the plasma forces in our planet's core. Another reflection of the spiraling consciousness of spirit.

Interestingly, Mayan and Le 'Murian researcher James Churchward discovered that the aforementioned swastika symbol, originally came from the refugees of Mu, following the cataclysm that eventually separated the single crust into different continents and islands. An event or series of events that gave birth to the highly seismic zone called the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and consequently the rise of other megalithic civilizations across the globe.

Even more interesting, it is believed that El'MUUria arose from 144 feline spiritual essence or soul groups that originally came from the Sirius Star System, and once inhabited the planet Mars, long before it went through its own cosmic catastrophism. The historian Hamza Catlett has found a link between this etheric feline form, the El'MUUrians and the Muurs. He traced the word Muur back to the Greek interpretation Mauros meaning "scorched or burnt people", a surviving term for the people from the TaMUURa/Kamaur/Kamau/Kamit/Ka'Ma'at/Kemet civilization. - The COSMIC Spirit.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

THE MOTHERLAND: News Out Of Africa - Balloon Crashes Near Luxor, Egypt Killing 19 Tourists; South Africa Study Finds That Donkey Meat Being Sold As Beef; Land, Corruption Heat Up In Kenya Debate; Tunisia Police Launch Manhunt For Politician's Killer; Zimbabwe PM's Party Reports Arson Attack, Increase In Political Violence Before Elections; French Children Kidnapped In Cameroon 'Shown In Video'; In Congo, 8 Killed in Clash Between Rival M23 Factions; Amisom Captures 2 More Towns In Somalia; And Algeria Reopens Tiguentourine Hostage Crisis Gas Plant!

February 27, 2013 - AFRICA - Egyptian officials say 19 people have died after a hot-air balloon crashed near Luxor in the country's south.  The balloon was carrying at least 20 foreign tourists when it went down near the tourist town on Tuesday, state-run Nile TV said.  Ahmed Aboud, a spokesman for companies that operate balloon flights in the area, told Reuters news agency that the crash happened after a gas explosion when the balloon was 300 metres above the ground.  Bodies of the dead tourists were scattered across the field around the remnants of the balloon. A security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said 18 bodies had been recovered at the crash site.  Health officials speaking on condition of anonymity said the death toll from a hot air balloon accident in Egypt has rose to 19 after a British tourist died of his injuries.

A hot air balloon flying over Egypt’s ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 18 foreign tourists, a security official said.
Balloon Crashes Near Luxor, Egypt Killing 19 Tourists.
Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, reporting from Cairo, said the tourists aboard the balloon included Chinese, Japanese, Hungarian, French and British citizens.  The head of Japan Travel Bureau's Egypt branch, Atsushi Imaeda, confirmed that four Japanese died in the crash.  Raymond Ng Do-Wing of the Hong Kong travel agency Kuoni said there was a "very big chance" that nine of the Hong Kong tourists aboard the balloon have died. Ng said relatives of the tourists planned on flying to Cairo later Tuesday along with three staff from Kuoni.  In Britain, tour operator Thomas Cook confirmed that two British tourists were dead.  Three survivors of the crash, including two British tourists and the Egyptian pilot of the balloon - were taken to the hospital.  An employee of Sky Cruise, the company operating the balloon, told AFP news agency that the pilot and one of the tourists survived by jumping out of the basket before it plunged to the ground.  Ezzat Saad, the governor of Luxor province, imposed an immediate ban on all hot-air balloon flights in the province as Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil ordered an investigation into the accident.

A 'frightening bang'
Konny Matthews, an assistant manager of Luxor's Al Moudira Hotel, said she heard a boom around 7am (0500 GMT). "It was a huge bang. It was a frightening bang, even though it was several kilometres away from the hotel," she said by phone. "Some of my employees said that their homes were shaking." Although hot-air balloon accidents in Egypt have led to injuries in the past, there has been "nothing on this scale" since ballooning in the area began in 1989, our correspondent said. In 2009, 13 tourists were injured when their hot-air balloon crashed near Luxor. At the time, sources said the balloon was overcrowded. The latest crash comes amid widespread anger over safety standards in Egypt following several deadly transport and construction accidents. Luxor is 510km south of Cairo, Egypt's capital. It is one of Egypt's most renowned archaeological sites, home to the famous Valley of the Kings and the grand Temple of Hatshepsut. Egypt's tourism industry suffered a sharp downturn in visitor numbers since the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, with two years of political instability scaring off foreign tourists. Al Jazeera's Tadros said tourists have been reluctant to visit Cairo and the Sinai Peninsula because of political turmoil and violence. The area around Luxor and Aswan "was the last place where tourists were really comfortable in coming. So it comes as very bad news for the country, given the economic situation and Egypt's reliance on tourism", she said. - Aljazeera.

WATCH: Luxor hot air ballon flight ends in tragedy.


South Africa Study Finds Donkey Meat Sold As Beef.
Donkey meat is not known to be harmful to humans.
Donkey, water buffalo and goat meat have been sold as burgers and sausages in South Africa, a study says. A study published by the local Stellenbosch University found that 99 of 139 samples contained species not declared in the product label. It found soya and gluten were not labelled in 28% of products tested, undeclared pork in 37% and chicken in 23% This was mostly in sausages, burger patties and deli meats, it said. The disclosure comes at a time of a growing scandal in Europe about horsemeat being sold as beef. On Monday, Swedish company Ikea withdrew meatballs from sale in 14 European countries after tests in the Czech Republic found traces of horsemeat in a batch made in Sweden. Leading supermarkets in the UK, including Tesco and Sainsbury, have also withdrawn beef products from shelves after they were found to contain horsemeat.
'Ethical impact' 
"There's a fair share of fraudulent meat products on the South African market, according to a new study by meat scientists from Stellenbosch University," the university reports on its news blog.  "The study found that anything from soya, donkey, goat and water buffalo were to be found in up to 68% of the 139 minced meats, burger patties, deli meats, sausages and dried meats that were tested. In other cases, even undeclared plant matter was detected." These ingredients were not declared on the products' packaging labels, it said. The study was done by experts from the Stellenbosch University's Department of Animal Sciences and the Food & Allergy Consulting & Testing Services in Milnerton, Cape Town.  "Our study confirms that the mislabelling of processed meats is commonplace in South Africa and not only violates food labelling regulations, but also poses economic, religious, ethical and health impacts," one of the researchers, Louwrens Hoffman, is quoted as saying.  Practising Muslims and Jews, who constitute significant minorities in South Africa, do not eat pork, in accordance with their religious beliefs.  The products tested were collected from supermarkets and butchers, the university said.  "Our findings raise significant concern on the functioning of the meat supply chain in South Africa," Mr Hoffman is quoted as saying.  "Even though we have local regulations that protect consumers from being sold falsely described or inferior foodstuffs, we need these measures to be appropriately enforced."  None of the meat mislabelled in South Africa is harmful to humans if consumed, correspondents say. - BBC.



Land, Corruption Heat Up Kenya Debate.
Eight presidential candidates faced off in the second and final debate with only a week to go to the general elections. Uhuru Kenyatta who had been expected to miss the debate went against his word to take part in the debate.  The three and half hour debate was moderated by Citizen TV Uduak Amimo and KTN's Joe Ageyo. The candidates gave their policy views on issues to do with the economy, corruption, causes of violence during election time and land and natural resources.  The debate on corruption and land drew the most debate and reactions from the candidates and in social media. The candidates were asked to answer to some of the corruption allegations that have been leveled against them over the years, a situation which resulted to confrontation and accusations of impropriety amongst them. The Goldenberg scandal was brought up with Musalia Mudavadi, Paul Muite and Martha Karua trading accusations of complicity and role in the corruption scandal which cost the Kenya economy billions of shillings.  Raila Odinga was taken to task about the acquisition of the Molasses plant, the maize and the Kazi kwa Vijana scandal. Uhuru Kenyatta was asked to come clean on his tenure as the Finance minister, Mohammed Dida was asked to clarify his business of facilitating human labour to the Middle East.James Ole Kiyiapi was asked to answer to corruption in the ministry of Education where money for the free-primary education programme was embezzled.  On the land question, Mr Kenyatta was asked to account for how much land his family owned, he revealed that his family owns 30,000 acres in Taita Taveta, he defended his family ownership of huge tracks of land, Kenyatta said that his family's land had been acquired through a willing buyer, willing seller arrangement. He also said that that he has not been charged or accused of impropriety and dared his competitors to table evidence to the contrary.  Mohammed Dida was once again the talk of social media with his witty remarks, his closing remark was widely talked about in social media, he said, "Politicians are working together for interests, lets join hands as Kenyans & work together for prosperity."Kenyans go to the polls on 4th March 2013. - All Africa.

WATCH: Kenya's Second Presidential Debate.


Tunisia Police Launch Manhunt For Politician's Killer.
Tunisia's Prime Minister-designate Ali Larayedh speaks
during a news conference in Tunis February 26, 2013.
REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi.
Tunisian police have identified the killer of opposition leader Chokri Belaid as a member of a radical Islamist Salafi group who is on the run, Prime Minister-designate Ali Larayedh said on Tuesday.  Larayedh, who remains Interior Minister until his government is formed, told a news conference police had arrested four accomplices who are also ultra-orthodox Salafis.  The assassination of secular politician Belaid on February 6 provoked the biggest street protests in Tunisia since the overthrow of strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago.  A security source said on Monday a Salafi had been arrested in connection with the killing, while Tunisia's Express FM radio cited a senior security official as saying police had arrested three Salafis, including a police officer, over the murder.  "Now we have identified the killer of Belaid and he is on the run. The police are looking for him," Larayedh said.  One of the arrested suspects had accompanied the gunman who shot Belaid outside his home before escaping on a motorcycle, he said, adding that the group had mounted surveillance of Belaid's home and a nearby square for several days before the attack.  Hundreds of bystanders watched on Tuesday as two of the detained suspects re-enacted the shooting at the scene amid a heavy security presence, local media said.  The Interior Minister did not confirm the Express FM report that one of those detained was a police officer.  "Identifying the killers of Belaid reinforces confidence in the judiciary and in the neutrality of security (forces)," said Larayedh, who belongs to the moderate Islamist Ennahda party.  After his announcement, Belaid's widow Basma said it was still not clear who had orchestrated her husband's assassination, which was the first in Tunisia for decades.  "It's good to know who killed Chokri, but it is very important to know who gave the order because it was a very organized crime," she told France's Europe 1 radio in Paris. 




SALAFI ATTACKS 
No one has claimed responsibility for the killing. Ennahda has denied accusations by some, including Belaid's brother, that it was involved in the assassination, which it has condemned.  In a statement, Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi denounced such accusations against his party and called for Belaid's assassins to be severely punished for a "heinous crime which ... endangered civil peace and co-existence among Tunisians". Ennahda "calls on all political parties, civil society associations and all Tunisians committed to the revolution to work in solidarity and cooperation so as not to give any chance to those who wish to drag the country towards violence and in-fighting," the statement said.  In a dig at Salafis, it also urged young Tunisians to "promote moderate thought and balance which eschews takfir (accusing another Muslim of apostasy) and violence".  Salafis prevented several concerts and plays from taking place in Tunisian cities last year, saying they violated Islamic principles. Salafis also ransacked the U.S. Embassy in September during worldwide Muslim protests over an Internet video.  A hardline Tunisian Salafi group, Ansar al-Sharia, which is said to have links to al Qaeda, is led by Saifallah ben Hussein, who is better known as Abu Iyadh. He is wanted by police on incitement charges in connection with the U.S. embassy attack.  Many Ansar al-Sharia members, including Abu Iyadh, were jailed in Tunisia during the Ben Ali era.  Secular groups have accused the Ennahda-led government of a lax response to Salafi attacks on cultural venues and individuals in recent months.  After Belaid's death, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali tried to restore calm by proposing an apolitical cabinet of technocrats to organize a parliamentary election, but resigned after opposition from within his own Ennahda party scuppered the plan.  On Friday, President Moncef Marzouki asked Ennahda's nominee Larayedh to form a new government within 15 days.  The so-called Jasmine Revolution that toppled Ben Ali in January 2011 was the first of several Arab uprisings.  Tunisia's political transition has been more peaceful than those in neighboring Egypt and Libya, but tensions are running high between Islamists elected to power and liberals who fear the loss of hard-won liberties.  While Islamists did not play a major role in the Tunisian revolt, the struggle over Islam's role in government and society has emerged as one of the most divisive political issues.  Salafis, not all of whom espouse violence, want a broader role for religion in Tunisia, alarming secular elites who fear they will seek to impose their strict views at the expense of individual freedoms, women's rights and democracy. - Reuters.

Zimbabwe PM's Party Reports Arson Attack, Increase In Political Violence Before Elections.
A referendum on the new constitution is due next month.
The party of Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Tuesday that violence against its supporters is increasing as political tensions rise before upcoming elections.  The Movement for Democratic Change party said an arson attack on the home of an election candidate in eastern Zimbabwe killed the politician's 12-year-old son. The attack was one of 120 incidents of violence recorded so far this year, said the third ranked MDC official, Finance Minister Tendai Biti.  The candidate's house has suffered nine attacks surrounding previous elections and the last violent and disputed elections in 2008. The child's burial is to be on Thursday.  Biti said his party was "enraged at the increase in politically motived violence throughout the country" that he blamed on a faction of President Robert Mugabe's party.  Biti accused Mugabe's ZANU PF party of attempting to once again instil fear in the electorate.  "ZANU PF intends to harvest fear in the 2013 elections," he said.  He also alleged that Mugabe's security services have crafted a strategy of intimidation, arrests and possible assassination attempts against leaders of the former opposition in a shaky coalition government with Mugabe.  Voters go to the polls March 16 in a referendum on a new constitution, followed by parliamentary and presidential elections slated around July to end the coalition brokered by regional mediators after the troubled 2008 vote.  No arrests have been made in the death of the 12-year-old. Party officials said it took seven hours for police to reach the scene of the fire in the Headlands district, 140 kilometres (90 miles) east of Harare, on Saturday. 

Mugabe's party, blamed along with loyalist police and military for much of the political violence surrounding elections over the last decade, has denied the involvement of its supporters in the fire at Headlands, a stronghold of a staunch veteran Mugabe ally, Didymus Mutasa.  The United States embassy in Harare immediately called for urgent and impartial investigations into the alleged arson attack.  "Respect for the law and apolitical policing are essential for creating conditions for credible and non-violent Zimbabwe elections this year," it said in a statement.  Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai have repeatedly called for violence-free elections.  Human rights monitors of an independent group, Heal Zimbabwe Trust, said authorities on Tuesday attempted to stop mourners and sympathizers gathering at the scene of the fire.  Tsvangirai party activist and aspiring lawmaker Shepherd Maisiri, the father of the dead child, said communities were fast losing confidence in the calls for peace by political leaders, according to the trust's information bulletin on Tuesday.  The trust quoted Maisiri telling its monitors: " I am told I must trust Robert Mugabe that elections are going to be peaceful. Well, this is proving false. My son is dead before we even get to the referendum. What more will happen as we approach highly contested elections?"  The Zimbabwe Election Support Network also reported Tuesday its observers noted the re-emergence of feared pro-Mugabe youth militia groups in several parts of the country.  It reported "instability and political tension" across the nation.  "Observers continue to report the presence of intolerance and a generalized lack of freedom of association and expression," the group said. - The Windsor Star.

French Children Kidnapped In Cameroon 'Shown In Video'.
Authorities are trying to verify the authenticity of the video.
A video published on YouTube appears to show seven members of a French family, including four children, abducted by Islamists in Cameroon.  The video shows an armed man reading a statement in front of two men, a woman and four children.  Claiming to be from the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram, the alleged kidnappers demand the release of prisoners in Cameroon and Nigeria.  The family were snatched last Tuesday by gunmen on motorbikes.  Following the abduction, the French government said it believed the couple, their children aged five, eight, 10 and 12, and an uncle were taken across the border into Nigeria, probably by Boko Haram.  The family live in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, where the father worked for the French gas group Suez. They had been returning from a visit to Waza National Park when they were kidnapped.  'Terribly shocking'  On Thursday, France confirmed it had "received information that the group Boko Haram is claiming to be holding the French family".  "These images are terribly shocking and display cruelty without limits," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement.  In the video, one of the male hostages said they had been kidnapped by Jamaatu Ahlis Sunna Liddaawati wal-Jihad - the Arabic name for Boko Haram.  One of the alleged kidnappers warned that France had launched a war on Islam.  Behind him, the alleged family is shown flanked by two armed men in camouflage uniforms.  A source close to the family confirmed their identities to the AFP news agency.  France's foreign ministry said it was still trying to verify the authenticity of the video.  Last week, a French minister wrongly confirmed reports that the family had been found and released in Nigeria. - Joy Online.

M23 rebels sit in a vehicle as they withdraw from the eastern Congo town of Goma, Dec. 1, 2012 (file photo).
In Congo, 8 Killed in Clash Between Rival M23 Factions.
At least eight people have died in fighting between rival factions of M23, the most powerful rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo.   The fighting late Sunday in the eastern city of Rutshuru, a rebel stronghold, appeared to reveal tension within the rebel group, which is holding peace talks with the DRC government in Uganda.   Sources say the clash involved fighters loyal to General Sultani Makenga, the military chief of M23, and supporters of another M23 leader.   The clashes came a day after regional leaders from 11 African countries signed a peace deal aimed at ending decades of conflict in mineral-rich eastern Congo.    Among other things, the deal calls for countries in the region to not interfere in each other's affairs. A U.N. panel of experts accused Rwanda and Uganda of helping M23, an accusation both countries have denied.   The DRC has endured armed conflicts for more than two decades, especially in the mineral-rich areas in the east of the country.   More violence erupted last April, and M23 rebels captured several cities in November, demanding the government fully implement a 2009 peace deal designed to integrate rebels into the Congolese army.   Leaders of Africa's Great Lakes region will meet again in Kampala on March 15 to continue discussions with M23 rebels. - VOA.

Amisom Captures Two More Towns In Somalia.
Somali government forces with the support of AMISOM troops have captured the towns of Dardan and Jirada-Kullow in Bay region in simultaneous dawn operations.  The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Ambassador Mahamet Saleh Annadif, said the latest operations would help alleviate the suffering of the Somali population.  He said AMISOM would continue to confront the enemies of peace and to support the people of Somalia as it moved to consolidate peace and stability in areas previously liberated from Al-Shabaab.  He also noted the engagement of AMISOM's civilian component in recovered districts as it worked with local leaders and administrations to discuss the activities that could be undertaken immediately to enhance security and protect the hard-won military gains.  The renewed offensive in Bay follows last week's recovery of the towns of Aw-dheegle, Jannale and Barrire in Lower Shabelle, and the Jowhar airfield in Middle Shabelle. The current offensive has been making considerable advances in the Lower Shebelle and in Bay where government and AMISOM forces are currently advancing to secure other towns along the Afgooye-Baidoa corridor. - All Africa.

Algeria Reopens Tiguentourine Hostage Crisis Gas Plant.
Plant supplies more than a tenth of Algeria's gas output.
The remote Algerian gas plant at the centre of a deadly hostage-taking last month has partially resumed production.  The Tiguentourine plant has been closed since the attack by al-Qaeda-linked gunmen who took hundreds of local and dozens of foreign workers hostage.  After four days the Algerian army ended the siege by storming the complex, but 29 insurgents and at least 37 hostages were killed.  The plant is now operating at about a third of capacity, reports said.  When in full operation, the plant produces about 9bn cu m of gas a year, or about 11% of the total produced by Algeria - a key supplier of gas to Europe.  Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal started up one of three gas streams at the plant, which is jointly run by BP, Algeria's state-owned Sonatrach and Norway's Statoil, state radio reported.  Sonatrach head Andelhamid Zerguine said he would call for armed guards to be deployed to help protect Algeria's remote desert energy installations. - BBC.




Monday, February 25, 2013

RACE CARD: Racially-Insenstive - Numéro Magazine 'African Queen' Editorial Uses White Model Ondria Hardin?!

February 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - It was bad enough we had to report on T Magazine's glaring lack of diversity in its relaunch issue, which was followed with an apology from its Editor-in-Chief Deborah Needleman.

Now comes this racially-insensitive gem. Jezebel's Laura Beck has pointed out Numéro magazine's use of a highly bronzed white model in one of its fashion editorials entitled "African Queen."

We'll give you a moment to process that information and pick up your jaws.


Moment over. The young lady in the spread is 16-year-old, blond-haired, blue-eyed Ondria Hardin, who is seen with her skin darkened and striking a pose for the French glossy. To start, we know there are plenty of white people living in Africa -- but Ondria is from North Carolina and we're pretty sure white people in Africa don't walk around in what could be considered a light application of blackface.

With that said, the editorial serves as another sad example of how the fashion industry continually ignores or exploits ethnic diversity rather than celebrating it. And to think how easy it would have been for Numéro to select one of the countless beautiful black models (see slideshow HERE) and avoid this justifiable backlash and contribution to an unrelenting problem.

In Needleman's apology concerinng the lack of color in T, she stated: "a majority of fashion models are still unfortunately mostly white ..." This many be true -- Jezebel found that over 82 percent of the models used during New York Fashion Week were white -- but that doesn't mean there weren't any black models available to pose as an "African Queen."



Perhaps we're supposed to be flattered by the images, basking in the fact that our skin is so beautiful and style so sensational that even white women want to emulate it. Was that Numéro's point? Doubt it. But if so, we're not buying it.

Beck summed it up best, writing:
It's impossible to look at this and not ache for young women of color who want to pursue careers in modeling (and arguably, fashion by extension). When they don't see themselves on the runway or in magazines, it could be very easy for them to think, "huh, I guess modeling isn't for me." Then the status quo remains, and the runways remain monotone. If jobs for "African Queen" photo spreads aren't going to black women, what hope is there?
And we'd like to note that Beck is a white woman, which is important to point out for the simple fact that black people aren't the only ones outraged by this issue. We're not being overly sensitive or playing the race card. Not only does this specific instance illustrate the absence of opportunity for models of color, but it's a clear message from the industry saying "we don't care."  - Huffington Post.



Sunday, February 24, 2013

DR. RUNOKO RASHIDI: The Original Man - The History Of The Ancient Black Peoples?

"History is a light that illuminates the past, and a key that unlocks the door to the future". - Dr. Runoko Rashidi.

In the following video, Dr. Runoko Rashidi looks at African people as the original people of the planet. He traces the origin and evolution of humanity in Africa and the spread of those ancient Africans around the world. The video presents an overview of the African presence in the Americas from the most ancient times through the classical American civilizations and African resistance to enslavement. There is also a short, crisp and concise historical examination of black people in Asia, the Middle East from ancient to modern times.


"We have as far as possible closed every avenue by which light may enter the slaves mind". - Henry Berry, addressing the Virginia House of Delegates in 1832.

"He who gives you the diameter of your knowledge prescribes the circumference of your activity". - Louis Farakhan.

Rashidi is an historian, writer and public lecturer with a pronounced interest in the African foundations of humanity and civilizations and the presence and current conditions of Black people throughout the Global African Community.




He is an anthropologist determined to help change the way that Africa is seen in the world. He is particularly drawn to the African presence in India, Australia and the islands of the Pacific. To date he has lectured in fifty-five countries. He is the author of African Classical Civilizations and the editor, with Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, of the African Presence in Early Asia--the most comprehensive volume on the subject yet published.

Visit his website HERE, HERE and his Facebook page HERE.

WATCH:
DR. RUNOKO RASHIDI - Who is the Original Man?



"If we as a people realized the greatness from which we came, we would be less likely to disrespect ourselves". - Marcus Garvey.

EUROPEAN VAMPIRISM: The Pervasively Savage War On Africa - United Nations Honors French President Francois Hollande For Peace As War And Killing Goes On In Mali?!

February 24, 2013 - UNITED NATIONS - How appropriate. After having invaded the African country of Mali under false pretenses, with no legal justification or international mandate, where a bloody trail of that nation's destruction lies in the wake, what better way for the "international community" to honor French President Francois Hollande than to give him an international peace prize!


In this case it may be more appropriate than one might first imagine. The prize, awarded by UNESCO, is known as the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize in honor of the authoritarian president of of the Ivory Coast from 1960-1993. Houphouët-Boigny was a reliable Cold War partner of the US and especially France, often doing Western bidding in Africa. He impoverished the Ivory Coast with ill-advised economic policies ("growth without development"), amassed a personal fortune of some $11 billion while in public office, and in a great act of hubris the twice-married Catholic leader with a child born by his mistress proceeded to spend $300 million to build the largest Catholic church in the world -- larger than the Vatican -- smack in the middle of the slums. He is even memorialized next to Jesus in one of the stained-glass panels.

Take That!

Why did peace prize winner Hollande fabricate stories about "Islamists" taking over Mali to justify his military's bloody bombing campaign, when in fact the Islamist component was but a minor part of the ongoing Tuareg fight for independence in upper Mali? And while France has openly supported radical Islamists in their successful takeover of Libya and ongoing attacks against the government of Syria?

Could it be, as suggested in this very provocative article in the journal of the Strategic Culture Foundation, that France was over-eager to show its new Rafale fighter jets in action in hopes of scoring the "deal of the century" -- a $12 billion sale of these thus far tepidly received fighters to India? After all who is going to argue with France taking out a bunch of Islamic radicals who we are told are over-running Africa? What better cover than the global war on terror?

As the article points out:
"Only four days after France began bombing the West African country of Mali on 11 January with state-of-the-art Rafale fighter jets, President Francois Hollande and his foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, made a rather odd-looking trip to the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf... The urgent nature of the French delegation to Abu Dhabi and Dubai soon transpired. From media reports, top of the French agenda in the oil-rich emirates was a certain matter of business: a deal to sell the sheikhs Rafale fighter jets – the same fighter jets that were spearheading France’s 'surprise' full-scale military intervention in Mali…"


And it continues:
"But, as it turns out, the French sales pitch in the Persian Gulf was only a rehearsal for the real fighter-jet bonanza to come. Last week, one month after Operation Serval began in Mali, the French president flew to India for a high-powered two-day visit joined by a phalanx of officials. This was Hollande’s first overseas visit outside Europe and French-speaking Africa since his election last year.

"On this occasion, Hollande was accompanied in India by Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and four other cabinet members, including Laurent Fabius. Also in tow were more than 60 leaders of French commercial companies.

"Arriving on 14 February and greeted by Indian premier Manmohan Singh, French English-language broadcaster France 24 reported the importance of Hollande’s purpose in no uncertain terms: 'The two-day visit will be dominated by trade issues, including a $12-billion contract for Rafale fighter jets, dubbed "the deal of the century"’ in France."
War is peace! And it brings bigger dividends!

- LRC Blog.

WATCH: Prize for Killing - UN honors Hollande for peace as war goes on in Mali.

PRISON PLANET: Systematic Racial Persecution Of Black Men - Incarceration Rate For African-Americans Now Six Times The National Average!

February 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The incarceration rate for American-Americans is so high that young black men without a high school diploma are more likely to go to jail than to find a job, thereby causing the breakup of families and instilling further poverty upon them.

“Prison has become the new poverty trap,”
Bruce Western, a Harvard sociologist, told the New York Times. “It has become a routine event for poor African-American men and their families, creating an enduring disadvantage at the very bottom of American society.”


While few would argue against locking up murderers and rapists, many social scientists have begun to discuss the problem of imprisoning too many people – especially when those people face long sentences for nonviolent crimes. The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, locking up about 500 people for every 100,000 residents, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The incarceration rate for African-Americans is about 3,074 per 100,000 residents, which is more than six times as high as the national average. Black men in their 20s and early 30s without a high school diploma are particularly vulnerable: with an incarceration rate of 40 percent, they are more likely to end up behind bars than in the workforce, Pew Charitable Trusts reports.



“The collateral costs of locking up 2.3 million people are piling higher and higher,”
said Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States. “Corrections is the second fastest growing state budget category, and state leaders from both parties are now finding that there are research –based strategies for low-risk offenders that can reduce crime at far less cost than prison.”

But while the cost of keeping prisoners might be high for government, the cost is even higher for African-Americans – especially to poverty-stricken families who lose a relative to the penal system. The Times interviewed parents Carl Harris and Charlene Hamilton, whose daughters grew up without a father. Mr. Harris, a crack dealer who received a 20-year prison sentence at the age of 24, was forced to abandon his family when he was locked up.

Unable to help out with the accumulating bills that come with raising children, Hamilton and her daughters ended up homeless on several occasions. Struggling to pay the rent and cover the costs of food, Hamilton also fought to pay for the out-of-state visits to see her daughters’ father.

“Basically, I was locked up with him,”
she told the Times. “My mind was locked up. My life was locked up. Our daughters grew up without a father.”

Job seekers take a break outside after speaking with recruiters during career fair sponsored by the Chicago Urban League and State Representative La Shawn K. Ford at Malcolm X College (Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP).

And the couple’s story is not unique: 25 percent of African-Americans who grew up in the past three decades have had at least one parent locked up during their childhood, according to Project Muse. Police have more meticulously cracked down on crime and courts have imposed harsher sentences since 1980, causing the number of Americans – especially blacks – in state and federal prisons to quintuple. And some believe that certain crimes shouldn’t merit sentences as harsh as the US imposes. Police never caught Mr. Harris dealing drugs, but arrested him for assaulting two people at a crack den. The man is now facing a 20-year sentence for charges including assault, in which he “broke someone’s arm and cut another one in the leg”, as well as a charge of ‘armed burglary’ at the crack den.

“The cops knew I was selling but couldn’t prove it, so they made up the burglary charge instead,”
Mr. Harris told the Times.

The high incarceration rate of African-Americans has a detrimental effect on the black community. Epidemiologists have linked high incarceration rates to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy, since the majority of those incarcerated are men, leaving a prevalence of females and greater occurrences of unprotected sex.

“A man will have three mistresses, and they’ll each put up with it because there are no other men around,”
Hamilton said. Epidemiologists believe the AIDS rate among African-Americans would be lower if the incarceration rate dropped.

A high incarceration rate also affects children growing up without parents, brothers or sisters. Children are more likely to grow up impoverished, uneducated and emotionally strained. They are also more likely to become aggressive or depressed and could eventually end up in prison themselves.

“Education, income, housing, health – incarceration affects everyone and everything in the nation’s low-income neighborhoods,”
Megan Comfort, a sociologist at RTI International, told the Times.



Since the incarceration rate is highest for African-Americans, it makes it more difficult for blacks to rise out of poverty, receive higher levels of education, and escape a life of crime. Young African-Americans are more often imprisoned than employed.

“The social deprivation and draining of capital from these communities may well be the greatest contribution our state makes to income inequality,”
Dr. Donald Braman, a George Washington University Law School anthropologist, told the Times. “There is no social institution I can think of that comes close to matching it.”

While mass incarceration might temporarily reduce crime, in the long run, more Americans end up impoverished and more likely to commit a crime themselves. - RT.

THE ANCESTRAL SPIRIT: The Rise Of The Indigenous Peoples - Idle No More Calls On The Harper Government To Stop The Attack On Indigenouse Canadians!

February 24, 2013 - CANADA - We call on the AFN National Chief, Shaun Atleo to denounce the actions of the Conservative Government and the Department of Indians Affairs, now known as Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). In light of the following disturbing circumstances, we also respectfully ask National Chief Shaun Atleo to decline the acceptance of his impending Indspire Award for Education which he is scheduled to accept on Friday February 15, 2013 in Saskatoon.


February 8th, 2013 (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan): A meeting was scheduled by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (“AANDC”) at the TCU Center in Saskatoon for ‘consultations’ on Education. These ‘consultations’ stem from a joint Canada-Assembly of First Nations Action Plan on Education.




The development for federal legislation on First Nations Education originates in a report entitled “National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education” supported by the AFN. During the meeting, no one from the AFN objected to this process despite much opposition from the grassroots people. This meeting is one of several ‘consultations’ that will take place across the country for the development of proposed federal legislation on education.


The creation of a First Nations Education Act will directly impact the Treaty term and promise to education as understood during the time of Treaty making, made by our Forefathers.  The consultation process that was utilized is contrary to its own statement of “open and meaningful dialogue” and further, it contradicts the jurisprudence on the Duty to Consult.

The morning meeting was open to the public and was closed in the afternoon, which left many people confused. No reason for closed doors were given beyond, “it was a closed meeting for the afternoon”.  Many grassroots people felt excluded from a process that directly impacts them, their children and future generations.


Grassroots people who wanted to attend the afternoon session were met with hostility and were refused entry at the door, as they were pushed and shoved by security guards refusing to allow them into the meeting.

Idle No More declares the process illegal and contrary to the international standard of free and prior consent as set forth, which Canada is a signatory, in the “United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP)”.

Furthermore, Idle No More declares the Treaties and Inherent Rights breached and/or infringed by the British Crown’s successor state, Canada as their was intentional physical exclusion of the grassroots people who are directly and detrimentally impacted by this proposed “consultation process”.

Contact:

Dion Tootoosis (306) 221-9844

Sylvia McAdam (306) 281-8158

- Global Research.


INSIDE AFRICA: The Fight For Africa's Vast Mineral Resources - African Leaders Sign Deal Aimed At Peace In Eastern Congo!

February 24, 2013 - CONGO, AFRICA - African leaders signed a U.N.-mediated deal on Sunday aimed at ending two decades of conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo and paving the way for the deployment of a new military brigade to take on rebel groups.  Congo's army is fighting the M23 rebels, who have hived off a fiefdom in North Kivu province in a conflict that has dragged Congo's eastern region back into war and displaced more than half a million people.  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who witnessed the signing in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, said he hoped the accord would bring "an era of peace and stability" for Congo and Africa's Great Lakes, and added that he would soon name a special envoy for the region. 

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma arrives for the signing ceremony of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes, at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa Feburary 24, 2013. A U.N .-mediated peace deal aimed at ending two decades of conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo was signed on Sunday by leaders of Africa's Great Lakes region in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri.

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame attends the signing
ceremony of the Peace, Security and Cooperation
Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and
the Great Lakes, at the African Union headquarters in
Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa Feburary 24, 2013.
REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri.
The Great Lakes area, where colonial era borders cut through ethnic groups has in the last 20 years been a crucible of conflict that has launched multiple uprisings and invasions.  "It is only the beginning of a comprehensive approach that will require sustained engagement," Ban said of the accord, which did not include any representatives of rebel groups.  The agreement was signed by leaders and envoys of 11 African countries, including Rwanda and Uganda, which have been accused by U.N. experts of stoking the rebellion. They deny the accusation. 

Speaking after the signing, Ugandan Vice President Edward Ssekandi said the deal could speed up the deployment of a new, U.N.-flagged intervention force to take on the rebels.  "We should be able to fast-track the ongoing consultation so that the force with a robust mandate and capability is put in place," he said.  African leaders failed to sign the deal last month after a disagreement over who would command the force.  A fresh rebellion launched in May 2012 by the M23 group has brought more fighting and displacement to eastern Congo. In November the rebels seized the provincial capital Goma, but left the city to open the way for peace talks, which are being held in neighboring Uganda.

REBEL DEMANDS Those separate talks between Congo's government and the rebels are aimed at reaching an agreement on a range of economic, political and security issues, including amnesty for "war and insurgency acts", the release of political prisoners and reparation of damages due to the war.  But the rebels have broadened their goals to include the removal of Kabila and "liberation" of the entire Congo.  Bertrand Bisimwa, M23's spokesman said he had not read the full details of the Addis Ababa deal, but hoped it would not reignite fighting between them and government troops. 


U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses participants during the signing ceremony of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes, at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa Feburary 24, 2013. A U.N .-mediated peace deal aimed at ending two decades of conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo was signed on Sunday by leaders of Africa's Great Lakes region in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri.

"What I can say is that if they are choosing the way of peace we are fine with that, but if they are choosing to continue the war then we're against," he told Reuters.  Uganda's Ssekandi said the talks in Kampala were now focused on security and that their discussions were so far positive.  Congolese President Joseph Kabila said the talks with rebels would continue, but there was little time left before a March 15 deadline to complete them.  "What we have done in Addis is just a diplomatic measure. The discussions in Kampala will continue but we need to pay attention to the fact that we do not have a lot of time," Kabila told a news conference in after signing the deal.


ADDIS DEAL NOT THE END 
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila
arrives for the signing ceremony of the Peace, Security
and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic
of Congo and the Great Lakes, at the African Union
headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa
Feburary 24, 2013. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri.
Successive cross-border conflicts have killed and uprooted millions in the Congo basin since the colonial era, driven by political and ethnic divisions and competition for vast mineral resources like gold, tin, tungsten and coltan - a precious metal used to make mobile phones. 

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame said Sunday's deal should not be taken as an end in itself, but as part of continuing peace process.  "At the heart of our efforts, we have to keep in mind the rights, interests and aspirations of the afflicted populations, caught up in the recurring waves of violence," he said. 

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, welcomed the agreement and called on the Congo government to build on the deal to restore authority in the east.  In an apparent reference to the role of Rwanda and Uganda, Rice said: "It is equally imperative that the DRC's neighbors respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity by preventing external support to armed groups, which is a violation of international obligations." 

Theodore Trefon, a regional analyst and author of the book Congo Masquerade, said he believed the Addis agreement and the stalled peace talks in Kampala had failed to look for long-term solutions or tackle underlying grievances which had stoked violence in the region.  "You're not going to be able to impose peace from above or the outside on people who don't want peace. Lots of local actors have hidden agendas," he told Reuters from Brussels. - Reuters.






COSMIC MELANIN, "THE WATERS OF NU": Dark Matter Hunt Gets Deep, China Launches World's Deepest Particle-Physics Experiment!

February 24, 2013 - CHINA - More than 1,000 metres underground, physicists have set traps of liquid xenon to catch their prey: hypothetical particles of dark matter that might very rarely interact with ordinary matter as they drift through Earth. With construction costs on the order of US$10 million each, such experiments are a relatively cheap way to work out the composition of 85% of the matter in the Universe. But does the world really need four of them?

Wolfgang Lorenzon.



Ongoing experiments in Italy, the United States and Japan are now being joined by a fourth in China, called PandaX. Installed in the deepest laboratory in the world, 2,500 metres under the marble mountain of JinPing in Sichuan province, PandaX will this year begin monitoring 120 kilograms of xenon. The team hopes to scale the tank up to 1 tonne by 2016, which would mean that the experiment had developed more quickly than any other dark-matter search. “We want to demonstrate that world-class research in dark matter is possible in China,” says Xiangdong Ji, a physicist at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China and a spokesman for PandaX


Dark-matter researchers in the West are excited by the ambition of the project, but some question the duplication of effort. “Spending all our money on different direct-detection experiments is not worth it,” says Stefan Funk, an astrophysicist at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California, who admits that he is biased — he looks for dark matter indirectly, by watching the heavens for a possible γ-ray signal.

The proliferation of xenon experiments reflects infighting among the dark-matter hunters, as well as national ambitions to be first to answer one of physics’ most compelling questions.

Observations of the rotation of galaxies and of the cosmic background radiation — the afterglow of the Big Bang — suggest that some 85% of matter in the Universe exerts gravitational pull, but does not radiate light. Leading theories suggest that such dark matter comes in the form of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). If they exist, these would occasionally collide with nuclei of ordinary matter, so they could in principle be directly detected in a large tank of an atomically dense material such as xenon, which produces light when a nucleus recoils.

Such experiments are placed underground to minimize interference by cosmic rays that can mimic WIMPs. So far, they have seen nothing. The most progress has been made by XENON100, an experiment near L’Aquila, Italy, which has not detected a WIMP signal in 225 days of running time so far, ruling out the existence of heavier and more strongly interacting particles. In a few months, the XENON collaboration will start to scale up its detector to more than 1 tonne of xenon, making it 100 times more sensitive.

Enter PandaX, which was born when China’s National Natural Science Foundation and Ministry of Science and Technology funded a team that included members of the XENON collaboration. They set up an experiment of their own, deep within JinPing mountain, in a small laboratory that opened in 2011 after just two years of construction. PandaX hopes to rival XENON100’s current sensitivity for lighter WIMPs by the end of this year, although Ji acknowledges the challenges of working in a remote area of central China while relying on overseas suppliers for many parts. Just last week, the team was unable to cool down its experiment because of a delay in the delivery of liquid nitrogen. But because PandaX is more than a kilometre deeper than the other experiments, it needs less shielding from cosmic rays, which will make it easier to scale up.

China, together with a consortium of universities including some in the United States, is spending about $15 million to build PandaX, but the team would like more international partners. In January, PandaX applied to the US Department of Energy (DOE), which has not set up an agreement to work with the Chinese foundation, but the US agency declined. Instead, the DOE is spending its money on another group that split off from the XENON collaboration: the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment at the Homestake gold mine in South Dakota.

Homestake was once meant to be the site of a major underground laboratory. But the lab’s main funder, the US National Science Foundation (NSF), dropped the idea in 2010, leaving the DOE to run it alone and bear the whole cost of the constant pumping required to prevent the mine from flooding.

LUX might be the most vulnerable of all the xenon experiments, says Juan Collar, a physicist at the University of Chicago in Illinois who looks for lighter WIMPs with a number of smaller experiments. “The funding situation is really terrible,” he says. The DOE has indicated that it plans to reduce the number of large dark-matter experiments it funds in October, so LUX could face the axe. US contributions to XENON100 are funded through the NSF, so it won’t be subject to the winnowing process.

Rick Gaitskell, a physicist at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and spokesman for LUX, says that the United States needs its own deep underground lab to maintain its dark-matter expertise. “Why would we give up that leadership position and move all that experience overseas?” he asks. But Ji, who now has access to perhaps the best underground lab in the world, says that some consolidation is inevitable. The inter­national community is unlikely to support more than two xenon experiments with multi-tonne detectors, he says, and the United States will need to choose which effort to back. In the meantime, he says, it is not a bad idea to have many groups working to improve the technology. “That will help build the ultimate dark-matter experiment.” - Nature.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

MOTHERLAND: News Out Of Africa - France's Military Operation In Mali In "Final Phase"; Thirteen Chadian Soldiers And 65 Rebels Killed In Mali; Chadians Attack Islamists' Mali Mountain Hideout; Egypt's Morsi Changes Parliamentary Elections Date; Protests Amid Political Crisis In Tunisia; US Sends Troops Into Niger To Set Up Drone Base; 580,000 Receive Free Male Cut To Curb Aids In Kenya; Kenya 'Hate Leaflets' Discovered; Rwanda Army Deserters "Held On Lake Kivu Island"; WHO Reports Egyptian H5N1 Death; And New Violence Clouds Future For South Africa!

February 23, 2013 - AFRICA - French President Francois Hollande has said his country's forces are engaged in the "final phase" of the fight against militants in northern Mali.  He said there had been heavy fighting in the Ifoghas mountains, where members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) were thought to be hiding.  Mr Hollande also praised Chadian troops for their efforts in the same area.  Thirteen Chadian soldiers and some 65 militants were killed in clashes on Friday, according to the Chadian army.  Chad's government has promised to deploy 2,000 troops as part of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (Afisma).

France's Military Operation In Mali In "Final Phase".
Speaking in Paris on Saturday, President Hollande said "heavy fighting" was taking place in the far north of Mali, near the Algerian border. "This is the final phase of the process since it is in that massif [the Ifoghas mountains] that AQIM forces have probably regrouped," he said.  "Our Chadian friends launched an attack yesterday which was very harsh with significant loss of life," Mr Hollande added. "I want to praise what the Chadians are doing."  The latest fighting was between Islamists militants and ethnic Tuareg in the In-Khalil area, near the border town of Tessalit. The MNLA - a secular Tuareg group which seeks an independent homeland in the Sahara and Sahel regions of Mali, Libya, Algeria, Niger and Burkina Faso - was at one time allied to the Islamists but now supports the French-led offensive.  France has deployed 4,000 troops since 11 January to help the Malian government eject Islamist militants who seized control of the north of the country last year. 


The French-led forces faced little resistance during the initial offensive, when they recaptured major towns of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu.  Meanwhile, more help for the French and African forces is being offered by the United States, which is sending Predator drones to Niger.  The unarmed drones would be used to overfly the zone of combat in Mali and provide information about deployments, US officials said. - BBC.

Thirteen Chadian Soldiers And 65 Rebels Killed In Mali.
Thirteen Chadian soldiers were killed in fighting in northern Mali on Friday, the heaviest casualties sustained by French and African troops since the launch of a military campaign against Islamist rebels there six weeks ago, Chad's army said.  Chadian troops killed 65 al Qaeda-linked fighters in the clashes that began before midday in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains near Mali's northern border with Algeria.  "The provisional toll is ... on the enemy's side, five vehicles destroyed and 65 terrorists killed. We deplore the deaths of 13 of our valiant soldiers," said a statement from the army general staff read on state radio.    France intervened in its former West African colony last month to stop a southward offensive by Islamist rebels who seized control of the north last April.  Troops from neighboring African nations - including 2,000 soldiers from Chad - have since deployed to Mali and are meant to take over leadership of the operation when French forces begin a planned withdrawal next month.  But continuing violence since the Islamists were driven from major urban areas highlights the risk of French and African forces becoming entangled in a messy guerrilla war as they try to help Mali's weak army counter bombings and armed raids. - Reuters.


Chadians Attack Islamists' Mali Mountain Hideout.
Chadian troops attacked an Islamist base in northern Mali on Saturday in heavy fighting which France called part of the final campaign to drive al Qaeda from its mountain hideouts. Thirteen Chadian soldiers and 65 al Qaeda-linked rebels were killed on Friday in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains near the Algerian border, where French special forces are also hunting Islamist bases, Chadian military sources said. A senior Chadian military source said on Saturday his country's heaviest losses during the international offensive in Mali centred around a rebel base that appeared to be of "significant importance" as the militants were not fleeing. The violence underscores the risk French and African forces become entangled in guerrilla war as they help Mali's weak army. French troops were also fighting in the Adrar area, French President Francois Hollande told a news conference, in what he called a "last phase" of the campaign begun when Paris sent troops to Mali last month to stop a southward push by Islamist rebels who seized control of the north last April. "These battles will continue," Hollande said on Saturday. "It is the last phase because it is most likely that AQIM's (al-Qaeda's north African arm)forces are hiding there."

Troops from neighboring African nations - including 2,000 Chadians - have deployed to Mali and are meant to take over leadership of the operation when France begins to withdraw forces from its former West African colony next month. Five people, including two Islamists, were also killed in In Khalil - a town bordering Algeria 1,700 km (1,000 miles) northeast of the capital Bamako - on Friday in car bomb attacks on Tuareg MNLA rebels with French links, an MNLA spokesman said. The pro-autonomy MNLA rebels are helping the French to fight al Qaeda and its allies. It was the MNLA's defeat of Mali's army last year that triggered a coup in Bamako and sparked chaos allowing the Islamists to launch their own campaign. The Tuareg fighters' Paris-based spokesman Moussa Ag Assarid said on Saturday the MNLA came under heavy machine gun fire from "terrorist" groups in In Khalil, most likely Islamists.

France 24 television reported local Arab groups said they had launched attacks against the Tuareg MLNA rebels. It is hard for Reuters to verify such reports from Mali's extreme north because of restrictions on media travelling there. After driving insurgents from northern towns such as Gao and Timbuktu, France and African allies have focused on the remote northeast mountains and desert - an area the size of France - that includes networks of caves, passes and porous borders. They believe some of eight French hostages held by al Qaeda-linked groups are being kept in the area. U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday he deployed about 100 troops to neighbouring Niger for unmanned reconnaissance flights over Mali to share intelligence with French forces. Paris has said it plans to start withdrawing some of its 4,000 troops from Mali next month. But rebels have fought back against Mali's weak and divided army, and African forces due to take over the French role are not yet in place. A Malian military source said on Saturday they had recovered 23 Islamist bodies from Gao, where French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets earlier in the week. - Reuters.

Egypt's Morsi Changes Parliamentary Elections Date.
Egypt's President, Mohammed Morsi, has brought forward the start of the country's parliamentary elections, just days after announcing it. The first round of voting in Cairo and four other provinces will now be held on 22 April, rather than 27 April. The president's spokesman said the move was in response to complaints from Coptic Christians, who had complained the original date clashed with Easter. Earlier, a leading opposition figure called for a boycott of the elections. "[I] called for parliamentary election boycott in 2010 to expose sham democracy. Today I repeat my call, will not be part of an act of deception,'' Mohamed ElBaradei wrote on Twitter. However, some within Mr ElBaradei's opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front (NSF), criticised his decision, saying it was too hasty.

'Further polarisation'
Egypt's Coptic Christians make up about 10% of the population.
Shadi Taha, a leader of the al-Ghad al-Thawra party, told the Associated Press: "The last thing we need is to enter a new cycle that further polarises and splits the country." Continue reading the main story “Start Quote Running away from a popular test only means that some want to assume executive authority without a democratic mandate” Issam al-Arian Freedom and Justice Party Blogger Mahmoud Salem said a boycott would result in a parliament dominated by Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, ultraconservative Salafists, and former members of the government of Hosni Mubarak, ousted in February 2011. The last elections saw the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), win 43% of the seats in the lower house, the People's Assembly, and 59% of the seats in the Shura Council. The deputy leader of the FJP also condemned Mr ElBaradei's call. "Running away from a popular test only means that some want to assume executive authority without a democratic mandate," Issam al-Arian said. "We've never yet known them to face any election or serious test." Mr Arian said the polls would take place under "complete judicial supervision" and be monitored by Egyptian and foreign civil society and human rights groups. The elections have been called because Egyptians voted in December in favour of a controversial new constitution, which requires that the process begins within two months. Currently, the last of the four rounds is due to be held on 19 and 20 June, with run-offs on 26 and 27 June. Liberals, secularists and Copts complained before the referendum that the charter was drafted illegitimately by an Islamist-dominated assembly, and that it neither represented minorities nor protected key freedoms. The elections were also called by the president only weeks after more than 70 people were killed in clashes between security forces and opposition supporters at protests held across the country to mark the second anniversary of the revolution which removed Mr Mubarak. - BBC.

New Protests Amid Political Crisis In Tunisia.
Tunisians chant slogans and hold pictures of assassinated leftist
politician Chokri Belaid during a demonstration against the
Islamist Ennahda movement in Tunis February 23, 2013.
REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
More than 3,000 Tunisians, led by the father of assassinated opposition figure Chokri Belaid, marched through the capital Feb. 23 in a protest against the government's "slow" investigation into the slaying. The case has become a focal point for widespread grievances against the ruling Islamist party and the country's economic state. (AP, Feb. 23) Tunisian authorities have arrested suspects in the killing, but Belaid's family says members of the ruling Ennahda were behind the assassination, and are being protected. (Middle East Online, Feb. 21)
The Ennahda party has chosen Interior Minister Ali Larayedh as its candidate to replace Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, who resigned after Belaid's slaying. Larayedh, who was imprisoned and tortured under the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, has been interior minister since the dictator was ousted in 2011. He is seen as a moderate, following much speculation that the new prime minister would be from the hardline wing of the party. (Middle East Online, Feb. 22; France24, Feb. 21) - WW4 Report.

US Sends Troops Into Niger To Set Up Drone Base.
US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper armed with Hellfire missiles. Photo: AP
Opening a new front in the drone wars against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, US President Barack Obama announced that about 100 US troops had been sent to Niger in West Africa to help set up a new base from which unarmed Predator aircraft would conduct surveillance in the region. The new drone base, located for now in the capital, Niamey, is an indication of the priority Africa has become in US anti-terrorism efforts. The US military has a limited presence in Africa, with only one permanent base, in Djibouti, more than 4,800 kilometres from Mali, where insurgents had taken over half the country until repelled by a French-led force. In a letter to Congress, Obama said about 40 US military service members arrived in Niger on Wednesday, bringing the total number of those deployed in the country to about 100 people. A military official said the troops were largely Air Force logistics specialists, intelligence analysts and security officers. Obama said the troops, who are armed for self-protection, would support the French-led operation that last month drove al-Qaeda and affiliated fighters out of a desert refuge the size of Texas in neighbouring Mali. Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, signed a status-of-forces agreement last month with the US that has cleared the way for greater US military involvement in the country and has provided legal protection to US troops there. President Mahamadou Issoufou last month voiced concern about the spillover of violence and refugees from Mali, as well as growing threats from Boko Haram, an Islamist group to the south, in neighbouring Nigeria.




French and African troops have retaken Mali's northern cities but about 2,000 militants have melted back into desert and mountain hideaways and have begun a small campaign of harassment and terror, dispatching suicide bombers, attacking guard posts, infiltrating liberated cities or ordering attacks by militants hidden among civilians. "Africa Command has positioned unarmed remotely piloted aircraft in Niger to support a range of regional security missions and engagements with partner nations," Benjamin Benson, a command spokesman in Stuttgart, Germany, said. Benson did not say how many aircraft or troops would be deployed, but other US officials say the base could eventually have as many as 300 military service members and contractors. For now, US officials said, Predator drones will be unarmed and will fly only on surveillance missions, although they have not ruled out missile strikes. US officials would like to move the aircraft eventually to Agadez, a city in northern Niger that is closer to parts of northern Mali where cells of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other militant groups are operating. The drone base will join several small airstrips in Africa, including one in Ethiopia, used for surveillance missions by drones or turboprop planes designed to look like civilian aircraft. A handful of unarmed Predator drones will fill a desperate need for more detailed information on regional threats, including the militants in Mali and the unabated flow of fighters and weapons from Libya. As the United States increased its presence in Niger, Russia sent a planeload of food, blankets and other aid to Mali on Friday, a day after Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned of the spread of terrorism in North Africa, which Russia has linked to Western intervention in Libya. Russian officials have pointed repeatedly to the unrest in North Africa and the political turmoil in Egypt as evidence that the Western-supported Arab spring has created a dangerous and chaotic situation and potential breeding grounds for terrorists. - SCMP.

580,000 Receive Free Male Cut To Curb Aids In Kenya.
More than 583,000 have been circumcised as part of the voluntary medical male circumcision programme since its inception in 2008. The VMMC beneficiaries also received HIV prevention and counselling services in a drive organised by the National Aids/STI Control Programme. The programme, which started in 2008, targets is to have 600,000 voluntarily circum- cised by October. "The response to the programme has been remarkable considering that it is concentrated in communi- ties that traditionally do not circumcise their men," said Dr. Athanasius Ochieng', VMMC national programme manager. He said their goal is to give VMMC services to 860,000 males aged 15-49 in the first five years. This may see the first phase extended beyond 2013 to reach that goal. - All Africa.

Kenya 'Hate Leaflets' Discovered.
There were tensions last month in Kisumu
during party primary elections.
Kenyan police have found leaflets inciting violence being distributed in some areas with less than two weeks to go to general elections. The police chief said they were intended to spread "fear and panic". They have been circulating in Kimusu, home to Prime Minister and presidential contender Raila Odinga, and the coastal city of Mombasa. Following post-election violence five years go, the authorities have been trying to crack down on hate speech. Hate leaflets, as they are called, were widely distributed after the disputed December 2007 elections. More than 1,000 people were killed in the six weeks of unrest which also forced some 300,000 people from their homes. Eight candidates are standing for president on 4 March, but Mr Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta are considered the two frontrunners. Mr Kenyatta's candidacy has been controversial as he and his running mate, William Ruto, have been charged with crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over allegations of fuelling violence in the wake of the last election.

Hotspots 
Police Inspector General David Kimaiyo said the leaflets found in Kisumu, a city in western Kenya, were inciting Luo residents to chase away people from the Kikuyu and Kalenjin communities, who traditionally support Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto.  Officers were investigating where the leaflets were printed, how they were distributed and who the authors were, he said.  "We are therefore passing a strong message to all those who may want to cause unnecessary fear and panic among members of the public that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them," he said.  Correspondents say Mombasa, where a secessionist group operates, is often tense in the run-up to elections because of some accusations that the government is marginalising indigenous communities.  The police chief assured the public that special security teams had been sent to areas identified as potential hotspots ahead of the elections when MPs and senators, county governors and members of the newly formed county assembly will also be chosen.  A number of politicians and musicians have appeared in court in the past year on charges of propagating hate speech.  Mr Uhuru and Mr Ruto - rivals in December 2007 poll - are due to go on trial in April in The Hague. - BBC.

Rwanda Army Deserters "Held On Lake Kivu Island".
Rwanda army is holding more than 280 troops accused
of desertion on an island in Lake Kivu. BBC 
Rwanda is holding more than 280 troops accused of desertion on an island in Lake Kivu, the army has revealed. Brig Gen Joseph Nzabamwita said they were undergoing re-education. An alleged deserter being held on the island had said the soldiers were transferred there a year ago from a military prison to prevent a planned visit by the Red Cross. Denying the allegations, Gen Nzabamwita said the BBC was welcome to visit the island. The Rwandan army is mainly run by former commanders of the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebel group which came to power after the 1994 genocide. The RPF always expected loyalty and discipline from its fighters. "We were first detained in the Mulindi military prison, we were transferred here to Iwawa Island (on Lake Kivu) in March 2012, when they were hiding us from the Red Cross officials," the alleged deserter said. He said many of them had been held for up to four years without trial and without visitors. But Gen Nzabamwita said they were "not being detained, they are being re-educated". "Those are our troops who deserted their jobs. We take these people there so that they can behave themselves again," he said. "And I think this is something that is beneficial both for themselves and for Rwandan society." - Africa Review.

WHO Reports Egyptian H5N1 Death.
A 36-year-old Egyptian woman from Beheira governorate recently died from an H5N1 avian influenza infection, pushing the world's number of infections reported so far this year to 10, according to an update on the disease from the World Health Organization (WHO).  The woman started having symptoms on Jan 16 and was hospitalized and started on oseltamivir (Tamiflu) treatment on Jan 20. She died on Jan 26. An investigation into the source of her illness found that she had been exposed to sick poultry before she got sick. Beheira governorate is in northern Egypt's Nile Delta.  Her illness and death raise the H5N1 toll in Egypt, where the disease is endemic in poultry, to 170 infections, including 61 deaths.  Notification of Egypt's latest case came in the WHO's monthly H5N1 assessment, which reviewed all cases that had been reported as of Feb 15. It said 10 cases have been reported since its last update on Jan 16, and all except for the Egyptian case were previously reported in the media and confirmed by official sources.  Seven of the infections were in Cambodia, spanning four provinces in the southern part of the country. Six were fatal. The WHO said none of the illnesses seemed to have epidemiologic links and most of the patients had contact with sick village poultry. Intensified surveillance conducted in the wake of the cases hasn't turned up any additional cases, and there are no indications of human-to-human transmission.  Given that H5N1 may be endemic in Cambodian poultry and that poultry and human movements increased during Lunar New Year celebrations, additional sporadic human cases could be reported, the WHO said.  Its update also covered China's recently reported H5N1 cases, one of which was fatal. Though both patients, a man and a woman, were from Guizhou province, the cases don't appear to be linked, and neither patient appears to have had contact with sick poultry. Contact tracing is still underway but has so far identified no further cases, according to the WHO.  Animal outbreaks of highly pathogenic flu viruses have increased over the past months, which is an expected seasonal pattern that coincides with the Northern Hemisphere's winter, the WHO noted.  The addition of the latest Egyptian case raised the WHO's global H5N1 total to 620 infections, and the fatality count will rise to 368 once it includes the Chinese woman's death. - CIDRAP.

New Violence Clouds Future For South Africa.
Thousands of striking miners march to the offices
of Anglogold Ashanti in Carletonville on October 18, 2012.
Six months on from the strike-related violence that left 44 people dead at the Marikana mine in South Africa, unrest and uncertainty still plague the country's mining sector.  At least nine mine employees were hurt Monday when security guards shot rubber bullets to break up a confrontation between rival union groups at Anglo American Platinum's Siphumelele mine, in northwest South Africa, Anglo American said in a statement.  It's the latest in a number of incidents at South African mines that have disrupted the industry. A string of wildcat labor actions, coupled with rising power costs and depressed commodity prices on the international market, have put pressure on many mining companies operating in South Africa, the continent's largest economy.  "Mining companies have really struggled to get back onto production levels prior to the strikes," says Abrie Olivier, mining leader for southern Africa at Deloitte. He adds that the "heightened tensions" witnessed last year have also raised questions about the role of unions within the mining sector.  Last year's tensions have been widely blamed on competition for members between rival trade unions -- the more established National Union of Mineworkers and the fast-expanding Association of Mineworkers and Construction, which is seen as the more militant of the two.  Olivier adds: "Six months down the line, there's quite a big process in terms of redefining the landscape of the unions -- who's in control and who's not, who's got the voice of the workers and who doesn't, how do mining companies engage with labor through union." - CNN.

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