Tuesday, August 27, 2013

ANCESTRAL SPIRIT: The Spiritual Path And Cultural Belonging - Ancient African Spirituality Finds Roots In America!

August 27, 2013 - UNITED STATES - In the suburbs of Seattle, an ancient West-African religion is gaining followers. Yoruba, from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, has been spreading across the U.S. for the last 50 years.

Priest Ifagbemi has an elaborate shrine to Yoruba's gods in his home near Seattle.
Christopher Johnson/NPR

The religion is particularly popular with African-Americans who find it offers a spiritual path and a deep sense of cultural belonging.

Looking For Answers

Wesley Hurt's Yoruba story begins the night he met his wife, Cheri Profit. It was nearly eight years ago, not long after a tour in Iraq. He had just gotten off for weekend release from an Army base in Tacoma, Wash.

Hurt was ready to go out and have a good time. He and some friends went to a club, where he saw Profit.

She avoided him at first, but eventually he got her attention. Not long after their meeting, they were a couple.
They bonded quickly — over food, politics and religion. These two seekers were constantly rethinking their relationships to the divine.

"With my mother, we were Jehovah's Witness, we were Pentecostals, we were Baptists, we were Seventh-day Adventist," Profit says. "It did not work for me."

Hurt had been a Southern Baptist for most of his life.

"And a lot of things have brought me to try to find my spirit," he says. "So ... of course, you start off in church asking questions, and, you know, I didn't get the answers that I wanted."

So Hurt, a 32-year old Atlanta native, started exploring — first Judaism, then Islam. He was looking for
something that spoke to his spirit and to his blackness. About two years ago, he found a home in one of
Yoruba's esoteric branches, called Ifa.

"What brought me to Ifa is that how close this tradition is linked to us as African-Americans in this country," he says.

This feeling is familiar to many black Americans who practice Yoruba today, just as it did with those who have been practicing for years. In New York City in the 1950s, African-American Yoruba communities began to grow alongside a surging black nationalist movement.

For several decades, the religious tradition spread down the East Coast and westward, to Chicago, to Oakland and Los Angeles — and to the Seattle area, where Hurt met an Ifa priest named Ifagbemi.

Entering A 'Sacred Relationship'

At a recent gathering, Hurt, Profit and a group of about a dozen other believers worshiped in a circle on the carpeted floor in Ifagbemi's bare dining room. The priest sat with them, shifting between English and the Yoruba language as he lead them through an Ifa ritual.

Ifagbemi's path has been a lot like Hurt and Profit's: a black American, born in Topeka, raised in a Christian home. He embraced Ifa as a young adult and later initiated into the priesthood. For nearly four years, he has headed this small group of devotees.

"When you enter into this stuff, you're enter into a sacred relationship with people that you're working with," Ifagbemi says. "I think it's a privilege."

He runs the group mostly from his apartment, where he has converted one of the carpeted bedrooms into a sacred space full of shrines to the gods of Yoruba's pantheon, spirits called "orisa."

There's a long table covered with pure white cloth and spread with sliced watermelon, bananas and gin — gifts to the divine.

Along with a life of worship, Ifagbemi says part of his job as a full-time priest is to help people adapt this ancient religion to a modern, American reality.

"We're not African anymore," he says. "I need to sort of emphasize to a lot of African-Americans that yes, this is an African tradition, yes, we want to connect with our roots and whatever else. But our roots are here, too."

It's a lesson he's been impressing on Hurt and Profit. Ifa's tenets resonate with them: good character, respect for elders. Plus, there's an element of homecoming in the ways this African faith speaks to them as black people.

But it was different for Profit in the early days, when her husband introduced her to Ifa. "Initially — I'm not gonna lie — I was a little hesitant at first," she says. "It was just the general notion, you know, you shouldn't do that."

With Yoruba's shrines and statues and worshipers going into trance states, some newcomers admit that the

African traditions might disturb the folks at church back home.

What helped calm Profit's worries was a ceremony where the faith came alive for her.

"They had the drums going, and the ladies were up dancing, and after a while, I was, 'Hey!' 'Cause I was feeling it! I got up, I danced, I was dancing — me and the other women, and it felt good," she says. "I've never experienced that in church, and I've been to church many, many times."

'Finding Myself'

Tracey Hucks, chairwoman of the religion department at Haverford College, says, "for so many African-Americans, this tradition has been a space of freedom and a space of home."

She says blacks in America have been drawn to Yoruba for more than a half-century because it offers them an ancient spiritual heritage, one that predates slavery in the United States. At the same time, she adds, it helps them affirm their racial identities in this new world.

"And it also allows them to be able to affirm their black physicality, in a place that has said that, 'You represent anti-beauty in this culture,' " she says. "It is this religion that comes and says, 'No, you look like the gods of Africa.' "

Doing rituals for those gods, dancing for them, and finding fellowship with her community, Profit says Ifa just feels right to her.

Wesley Hunt, left, and Ifagbemi perform a ritual in his suburban apartment for the gods of Yoruba.
Christopher Johnson/NPR

"It like it gives you a sense of purpose, and when you feel that, there's no other feeling like that, I feel like, in the world," she says. "When you feel that, you know."

Her husband, who had been searching for years for spiritual answers, has found his place, too.
"First, I was looking for God, but then I started finding myself," Hurt explains. "And in finding myself, I started bettering myself."

Ifagbemi's congregants, seated together in the priest's apartment for an intimate ritual, are all on paths a lot like Hurt's. They're trusting Ifagbemi as their guide.

To close the ceremony, he shakes a rattle and calls, and everyone responds with Yoruba's most ubiquitous blessing: ase. It's like saying "amen."

For the young couple with ties down South, for the Ifa priest from Kansas and for his small flock near Seattle — so far away from Ifa's West-African roots — this old tradition has given its followers a new home. - NPR.

THE AGE OF MUGABE: The Revolutionary Indigenisation Plans - President Robert Mugabe Threatens To Expel Foreign Companies From Zimbabwe!

August 27, 2013 - ZIMBABWE - Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe has threatened to expel foreign-owned companies over what he said was the west’s interference in the politics of the country he has led since independence.

President Mugabe recently won an overwhelming election victory.

Mugabe said on Sunday he wanted no “ideas from London or Washington”, speaking before supporters at the funeral of a military chief in Harare.

He warned the west that although his government had not “done anything to your companies, time will come when we will say tit for tat”.

He said: “You hit me, I hit you. We have a country to run and we must be left free to run it.”

Britain, the former colonial invader, the European Union and the US have refused to recognize Robert Mugabe’s landslide victory in the 31 July elections, citing White evidence of vote-rigging. The West maintain economic restrictions on the people of Zimbabwe and leaders of its ruling party ZANU-PF.

Mugabe insists his party won “a resounding mandate” in the last election and denies White allegations of voting fraud.

Zimbabwe’s state election panel said Mugabe won the elections with 61% of the presidential vote.

Mugabe, who was sworn in on Thursday for another five-year term at the age of 89, said “there will come a time when we lose our patience” with the West’s pressure continued interference in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.

“I want to assure you our attitude will not continue to be passive,” Mugabe said Sunday. “We have had enough and enough is enough.”

Since winning another term, Robert Mugabe has vowed to push ahead with a Black empowerment programme to force foreign and White-owned businesses to cede 51% ownership to Black Zimbabweans. White economists warn that the programme will trigger another economic downturn similar to that Zimbabwe suffered after Mugabe’s government reclaimed Zimbabwean land from White settlers in 2000.

Mugabe, however, says the economic plan to force Zimbabwean control of companies will create jobs and economic growth that had been hindered by what he called “a tenuous and fraught coalition with uneasy partners” in the opposition led by former prime minister and Westen funded Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai had favoured attracting Western investment during the five-year coalition forged by regional leaders after the last disputed elections in 2008.

Robert Mugabe says Britain has opposed Black empowerment since he forced thousands of White settlers to surrender their stolen land back to the people of Zimbabwe. Critics of the programme say it disrupted Zimbabwe’s agriculture-based economy, shut down industries and scared away foreign investment in mining and other businesses. - African Globe.

ELECTRIC BODY: Electric Food For The People Of The Sun - 10 Amazing Benefits Of Lemon Peels!

August 27, 2013 - FOOD & HEALTH -We all know about the health benefits of Lemon and Lemon juice but not many of us know about the health benefits of lemon peels. So, before throwing the lemon peel away after squeezing the lemon juice or using it in any salad etc., think twice because even lemon peels are very beneficial.

Let’s look at a few well known benefits of Lemon peels:

1. Lemon peels help in improving bone health. It contains a high amount of calcium and vitamin C, which help in maintaining and improving the health of bones. Lemon peel also helps in preventing bone related diseases likes osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory polyarthritis.

2. They helps in reducing oxidative stress. Lemon peels have high amounts of citrus bio-flavonoids, which are a very powerful source for the reduction of Oxidative stress from your body.

3. There are toxic elements present in our body which not only make us weak from within but also increase the addiction to hard drinks and other harmful eatables. Lemon peels, because of its citrus bioflavonoids content, help in eradicating these toxic elements present in our body.

4. Hardly people know, but Lemon peels are also used in the prevention and treatment of cancer. It contains salvestrol Q40 and limonene, which help in fighting the cancerous cells present in the body.

5. These are also helpful in decreasing the cholesterol levels in the body which results in maintaining good health of our hearts. This is due to the presence of polyphenol flavonoids in lemon peels.

6. The presence of potassium in lemon peels help in maintaining the right blood pressure in our body. And in addition to this, lemon peels also help in prevention of heart diseases, heart attacks and diabetes.

7. Lemon peels are also great for oral health and hygiene. Vitamin C deficiency results in teeth related problems like bleeding gums, scurvy and gingivitis. Lemon peels are rich in citric acid which helps in covering up for the deficiency of vitamin C and helps in fighting these known teeth and gum related problems.

8. Lemon peels helps in promotion of weight loss. They contain a component known as Pectin, which is responsible for the promotion of weight loss in the body.

9. Lemon peels help in preventing and fighting skin problems such as wrinkles, acne, pigmentation and dark spots. The free radicals play a very important role in this process. These are also rich in antioxidants which tend to detoxify the skin to a very great extent.

10. There are also other health benefits of lemon peels like – cleansing the liver, strengthening capillaries, curing ear infections, improving blood circulation, reducing muscle contractions, prevention of strokes, etc.

Best way to eat Lemon Peels:

Let me now suggest the best way to eat lemon peels. You just need to keep lemons in the freezer till they freeze. Then Grate them. Now you can add these crumbs to your salad, tea or you can also you can eat it directly by coating with some sugar. This is the best way to get both the taste and health benefits from lemon peels.

Nutritional Value of Lemon Peels:

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference,

    • Every 100 g portion of lemon peel contains 134 mg of calcium.
    • Each 100 g of peel has 160mg of Potassium minerals.
    • It contains 129 mg of Vitamin C per each 100 g portion
    • For every 100gm of Portion, it has 10.6 g of Fiber.

So, now that you know the lemon peel uses, drink Lemon for weight loss.

- Healthy Eating Guide.

MARKETPLACE AFRICA: "The Rise And Rise Of Africa's Middle Class" - Africa Attracting Technology Companies!

August 27, 2013 - AFRICA - Africa is not only a growing market for hi-tech products, but may soon be a base for a lot more hi-tech companies. The continent is expected to see growing competition to meet the needs of its rising young and middle class populations.

Kenya’s iHub technology incubator.

DHL calls itself the “logistics company for the world,” providing transportation via rail, road, sea and air. And Company officials see Africa as a place where its business can boom. For that to happen, though, more international companies will need to invest in the continent and base their operations there.

DHL’s Sumesh Rahavendra sees that happening. That’s one of the findings from a recent global technological conference sponsored by his company.

“There’s quite a bit of evidence to that in terms of global companies starting to set up base in Africa. If you look at the likes of SAP or IBM or Hisense, which is the Chinese company, all of them are setting base in Africa and looking at how specifically they can cater to the Africa market while being in Africa, as against getting to the African market while being in Europe or the Middle East.”

Rahavendra is the company’s head of marketing for Africa.

“Specifically talking about emerging markets, you know, while Asia Pacific is still a fairly robust and stable growing electronics segment, we believe that there is a lot of potential in Africa. Africa could really be the next frontier for technology growth,” he said.

For technology companies to base operations in Africa is simply a matter of good logistics.

“As an example,” he said, “if you were a technology giant that had a distribution hub in the Middle East – and if you wanted to ship into African countries – you’d have to ship probably from the Middle East all the way down to South Africa and then consolidate and distribute from South Africa into the various African countries. That’s just one example, but that’s just how your cost of doing business increases if you don’t already have an existing base in Africa.”

A company has to be in the market, he said, to understand what the customer wants and needs.

“I travel a fair bit around Africa and so does the rest of our team and you can see the technology boom literally across every country in Africa. As an example, people who never had access to a desktop PC are now playing around with tablets – are now playing around with smart phones. And it just goes to show the level and speed of adoption has been significant as more middle class and upper middle class consumers in Africa get access to technology.”

Rahavendra described the continent’s one billion people as virtually an untapped market for many products.

“The purchasing power and the income disparity [are] quite different to that of the Asian countries, but it still represents a huge population simply because a majority of people are young people. And with a young population that’s going to adopt technology and commodities in the future, it represents a significant potential for any international company coming to Africa,” he said.

A recent report entitled The Rise and Rise of Africa’s Middle Class says more than 60 percent of the continent’s population is under 25 years old. The report says this means there is a “guaranteed customer base for years to come.”

And what’s good for companies, Rahavendra said, is good for DHL.

“As more and more companies are coming into Africa and setting up their distribution hubs here — setting up plants to manufacture here – that represents a business opportunity for us to move more products across Africa. Look, DHL has been in Africa for over 35 years and we’re present in every single country across Africa, which means to a large extent really nobody knows Africa better than we do. And when companies come here they are going to look at who are the established players, who can help me with logistics,” he said.

Rahavendra said there is potential in every African country for growth, but some are more ready than others.

“One of the reasons why it’s hard to do business in African countries is just infrastructure and logistics. Because the cost of actually getting your product to its final place inflates it significantly because there are so much infrastructural challenges that isn’t getting you there. Second example is there are a fair bit of issues with political climate in some African countries. That needs to be made more conducive for business. The good news is signs all indicate towards a positive story going forward next five to ten years.”

DHL said Africa is now the world’s second largest mobile technology market by connections after Asia, but the fastest growing mobile market in the world. - African Globe.

INSIDE AFRICA: Desert Plantations In Africa Could Help Capture Carbon - Planting Trees In Coastal Deserts Could Capture Carbon Dioxide, Reduce Extreme Weather Patterns, Boost Rainfall, Revitalise Soils And Produce Cheap Biofuels!

August 27, 2013 - AFRICA - Planting trees in coastal deserts could capture carbon dioxide, reduce harsh desert temperatures, boost rainfall, revitalise soils and produce cheap biofuels, say scientists.

Large-scale plantations of the hardy jatropha tree, Jatropha curcas, could help sequester carbon dioxide through a process known as 'carbon farming', according to a study based on data gathered in Mexico and Oman that was published in Earth System Dynamics last month (31 July).

Each hectare of the tree could soak up 17-25 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, they say, at a cost of 42-63 euros (about US$56-84) per tonne of gas, the paper says. This makes the technique competitive with high-tech carbon capture and storage.

Klaus Becker, the study's lead author and director of carbon sequestration consultancy Atmosphere Protect, says that a jatropha plantation covering just three per cent of the Arabian Desert could absorb all the carbon dioxide produced by cars in Germany over two decades.

"Our models show that, because of plantations, average desert temperatures go down by 1.1 degree Celsius, which is a lot," Becker says. He adds that the plantations would also induce rainfall in desert areas.

Jatropha, which is a biofuel crop, needs little water, and coastal plantations would be irrigated through desalination, Becker says.

He also envisages a role for sewage in such large-scale plantations.

"There are billions and billions of litres of sewage that are discharged into the oceans every week, but instead we could send that water to the desert and plant trees," he says. "In this situation, you wouldn't need any expensive artificial nitrogen [to fertilise the trees]."

The team has also been working in Israel's Negev desert, where they planted 16 tree species, which, they say, is preferable to a jatropha monoculture. "A diversity of trees is good for the environment, good for investors and good for preventing diseases," says Becker.

At another of the team's carbon farms - a jatropha plantation in Madagascar - the organic matter content of degraded soil has risen from 0.2 per cent up to three per cent.

Local people now harvest beans planted between the trees, providing a vital source of protein and creating a symbiotic exchange of nitrogen - fixed from air by beans - and shade provided by the jatropha trees.

"Previously, no one had the idea of using uncultivated land to plant these kinds of leguminous beans because they would not grow there. But after four or five years of applying cultivation techniques, the soil quality increases dramatically," Becker says.

Alex Walker, a research assistant at the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London, United Kingdom, describes carbon farming as a "common-sense approach to rising carbon dioxide levels, with potentially positive biodiversity impacts".

He adds: "It will grow on non-arable land, and so not compete with food production, but it is more difficult to process and subject to varying yields and absorption volumes".

Egypt is pioneering an experiment in desert farming, using sewage water after basic treatment to produce wood, woody biomass and biofuel crops, such as casuarina, African mahogany, jojoba and neem, in addition to jatropha.

"In Egypt, there are 15,000 acres planted with trees of good quality but so far they have not been sold to create economic value," Hany El Kateb, a professor at the Technical University of Munich in Germany, tells SciDev.Net.

According to El Kateb, Egypt produces more than 6.3 billion cubic metres of sewage water a year, and 5.5 billion cubic metres of this would be sufficient to afforest more than 650,000 hectares of desert lands and store more than 25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually in new forests.

El Kateb points out that Egypt has an advantage over European countries that are leaders in forestry, such as Germany, because the same trees grow more than 4.5 times faster in Egypt where the sun shine most of the year.

But Mosaad Kotb Hassanein, director of the Central Laboratory for Agricultural Climate in Egypt, says: "One of the big challenges of planting forests in arid areas is the lack of experience, expertise and technical personnel involved in the establishment and management of forest plantations.

"The project in Egypt was lucky to have technical assistance and support establishing a forest administration from the German Academic Exchange Service." - All Africa.

MARKETPLACE AFRICA: $2.6 Billion Dollar Deal - India's Biggest Oil Explorer ONGC To Pick Up Stake In African Gas Field, Has "Potential To Become One Of The World's Largest LNG Projects"!

August 27, 2013 - MOZAMBIQUE - India's biggest oil explorer, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), has agreed a deal to buy a 10% stake in an offshore gas field in Mozambique.

India relies heavily on imports to meet the growing domestic demand for fuel.

It will pay Anadarko Petroleum, a US firm, $2.6bn (£1.7bn) for the stake.

The state-controlled firm has been keen to secure supplies in an attempt to meet growing domestic demand for fuel.

It said the field in Mozambique was "strategically located" to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to India at a "competitive price".

Sudhir Vasudeva, chairman of ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), the firm's unit which has agreed the deal, said the gas field had the "potential to become one of the world's largest LNG projects".

He added that the deal was a significant step "towards the energy security of our country". Securing supplies

India, Asia's third-largest economy, relies heavily on imports to meet the domestic fuel demand.

The country has the world's second-largest population. As its economy continues to grow, demand for fuel is expected to rise further in the coming years.

As a result, firms such as ONGC have been looking to acquire overseas assets in an attempt to secure long-term supplies.

This is the second such deal signed by the firm in recent months.

In June, along with Oil India, it agreed to buy 10% stake in the the Rovuma Area 1 field in Mozambique from the Videocon Group for $2.48bn.

Last year, ONGC inked a deal to buy ConocoPhillips's 8.4% stake in Kazakhstan's Kashagan project for $5bn - its biggest overseas acquisition. - BBC.

BLACK FILMS: "Lee Daniel's The Butler" Wins Box Office Again With $17 Million - Pushing Its Total To $52.3 Million!

August 27, 2013 - HOLLYWOOD - Further boosting its profile, "Lee Daniel's The Butler" topped the box office in its second weekend with $17 million, pushing its total to $52.3 million and becoming Daniel's most successful film in North America.

Oprah Winfrey plays Gloria Gaines, and Forest Whitaker is Cecil Gaines in "Lee Daniels' The Butler."
Anne Marie Fox / AP

The Weinstein Co. release — headlining Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey — fell just 31 percent as it surpassed the $47.6 million earned by Daniel's acclaimed drama "Precious" in 2009.

"The Butler" wasn't the only holdover to beat the weekend's three new films. New Line's Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston raunchy comedy "We're the Millers" fell a scant 25 percent in its third weekend, grossing $13.5 million to place No. 2. The R-rated sleeper hit has now grossed $91.7 million.

Among the trio of new offerings, the results were disappointing for "Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," which took in $9.3 million for the weekend and $14 million for five days (the pic opened Wednesday).

Based on Cassandra Clare's popular supernatural young-adult book series, "Mortal Instruments" is the latest YA property to disappoint. The $60 million film, starring Lily Collins as a demon-hunting teen, was produced and financed by Germany's Constantin Films.

In the U.S., females made up 68 percent of the audience, while 46 percent of those buying tickets were under the age of 21. Sony is releasing "Mortal Instruments" domestically via its Screen Gems label.

Edgar Wright's modestly budgeted action-comedy "The World's End" fared nicely as it opened to $8.9 million from only 1,549 theaters, compared to 3,118 for "Mortal Instruments" and 2,437 for horror pic "You're Next." From Focus Features, the $20 million movie, boosted by stellar reviews and a B+ CinemaScore, placed No. 4. It nabbed the highest location average of any title in the top 10 ($5,773) thanks to diehard fans.

"World's End," starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, follows a group of friends who reunite for an epic bar crawl only to discover that their hometown has been infested with supernatural beings. Written by Wright and Pegg, the comedy — fueled by males (58 percent) — opened ahead of their "Shaun of the Dead" ($3.3 million) and "Hot Fuzz" ($5.8 million) and did best in cities including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Austin. College graduates made up nearly 60 percent of those buying tickets.

Lionsgate's "You're Next," about a family whose vacation home is attacked my animal-mask-wearing assailants, opened to a subdued $7.1 million to come in No. 6. Heading into weekend, the horror film had been tipped to beat "World's End" and "Mortal Instruments."

Woody Allen's critically acclaimed "Blue Jasmine" cracked the top 10 chart as it expanded into a total of 1,200 theaters in its fifth weekend, marking Allen's widest release ever. The Sony Pictures Classics release, starring Cate Blanchett, grossed $4.3 million for a cume of $14.8 million.

Steve Jobs biopic "Jobs," starring Ashton Kutcher, tumbled nearly 60 percent in its second weekend to No. 12, grossing an estimated $3 million for a total $12.1 million. - NBC News.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

THE DREAM: 50 Years Since Dr. Martin Luther King's Speech - Thousands March On Washington To Continue Focus On Civil Rights!

August 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Tens of thousands of people marched to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and down the National Mall on Saturday, commemorating the 50th anniversary of King's famous speech and pledging that his dream includes equality for gays, Latinos, the poor and the disabled.

The event was an homage to a generation of activists that endured fire hoses, police abuse and indignities to demand equality for African Americans. But there was a strong theme of unfinished business.

"This is not the time for nostalgic commemoration," said Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of the slain civil rights leader. "Nor is this the time for self-congratulatory celebration. The task is not done. The journey is not complete. We can and we must do more."

Eric Holder, the nation's first black attorney general, said he would not be in office, nor would Barack Obama be president, without those who marched.

"They marched in spite of animosity, oppression and brutality because they believed in the greatness of what this nation could become and despaired of the founding promises not kept," Holder said.

Holder mentioned gays and Latinos, women and the disabled as those who had yet to fully realize the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream. Others in the crowd advocated organized labor, voting rights, revamping immigration policies and access to local post offices.

WATCH: Looking back at the 'Dream' of the March on Washington 50 years later.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the only surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, railed against a recent Supreme Court decision that effectively erased a key anti-discrimination provision of the Voting Rights Act. Lewis was a leader of a 1965 march, where police beat and gassed marchers who demanded access to voting booths.

"I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Ala., for the right to vote," he said. "I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us. You cannot stand by. You cannot sit down. You've got to stand up. Speak up, speak out and get in the way."

Organizers expected about 100,000 people to participate in the event, the precursor to the actual anniversary of the Aug. 28, 1963, march that drew some 250,000 to the National Mall and ushered in the idea of massive, nonviolent demonstrations.

Marchers began arriving early Saturday, many staking out their spots as the sun rose in a clear sky over the Capitol. By midday, tens of thousands had gathered on the National Mall.

Lynda Chambers, 58, gave up a day's pay to attend because her retail job does not provide paid vacation. Even as a 7-year-old at the time of the original march, she felt alienated and deprived of her rights. Remembering those feelings, she said, she was compelled to make the trip Saturday.

"I wanted to have some sort of connection to what I have always known, as far as being a black person," she said.

Longtime activist Al Sharpton, now a MSNBC host, implored young black men to respect women and reminded them that two of the leading figures in the civil rights movement of the 1960s were women.

"Rosa Parks wasn't no ho," he said. "And Fannie Lou Hamer wasn't no bitch."

Speakers frequently mentioned persistent high unemployment among blacks, which is about twice that of white Americans, and the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida. Along the Mall, Martin's picture was nearly as ubiquitous as King's.

Nancy Norman, of Seattle, said she was disappointed more people who look like her had not attended. She is white. But the 58-year-old she said she was glad to hear climate change discussed alongside voting rights.

"I'm the kind of person who thinks all of those things are interconnected. Climate change is at the top of my list," said Norman. "I don't think it's one we can set aside for any other discussion."

Those in attendance arrived in a post-9/11 Washington that was very different from the one civil rights leaders visited in 1963.

Then, people crowded the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and could get close to King to hear his "I Have a Dream" speech. Saturday's speakers also were on the memorial's steps, but metal barriers kept people away from the reflecting pool and only a small group of attendees was allowed near the memorial Saturday.

WATCH: 50 Years Later, the Untold History of the March on Washington & MLK's Most Famous Speech.

There was a media area and VIP seating. Everyone else had been pushed back and watched and listened to the speeches on big-screen televisions. Police were stationed atop the Lincoln Memorial. After the speeches, marchers walked from there, past the King Memorial, then down the National Mall to the Washington Monument, a distance of just over a mile.

On the day of the anniversary, President Barack Obama will speak from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. He will be joined by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Churches and groups have been asked to ring bells at 3 p.m. Wednesday, marking the exact time King spoke.

Joseph Lowery, who founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference along with King, urged the crowd to continue working for King's ideals.

"We've come to Washington to commemorate," the 92-year-old civil rights leader said, "and we're going home to agitate." - Huffington Post.

BLACK AMERICA: Dream Deferred - Race Equality Is Still A Work In Progress, Survey Finds?!

August 25, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Fewer than one in three black Americans and not even half of whites say the United States has made “a lot” of progress toward achieving racial equality in the half-century since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared he had “a dream” that one day freedom, justice and brotherhood would prevail and that his children would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Generic image (Thinkstock)

As the nation is poised to observe the 50th anniversary next week of the March on Washington that Dr. King led, the poll and an analysis of racial disparities by the Pew Research Center conclude that while five decades’ progress has been palpable on some fronts, Dr. King’s goal remains elusive on others.

Blacks and whites generally agree that the two races get along well, but about 7 in 10 blacks and more than 1 in 4 whites also concur that blacks are treated unequally by the criminal justice system. A majority of blacks also say they are treated less fairly than whites in public schools and in the workplace. Fully 1 in 3 blacks, 1 in 5 Hispanic Americans and 1 in 10 whites said they were treated unfairly within the last year because of perceptions of their race.

Though gaps in life expectancy and high school graduation rates have all but been eliminated, disparities in poverty and homeownership rates are about the same. Compared with five decades ago, imbalances in household income and wealth, marriage and incarceration rates have widened.

Rich Morin, an author of the Pew report, said he was struck by the disparity in perceptions of progress by race and political affiliation. “Whites and blacks view their communities very differently in terms of how blacks are treated,” Mr. Morin said. Over all, he said, “we’re clearly headed in the right direction.”

“People saw progress,” he said, “but they want more.”

The average three-member black household makes about 59 percent of what a similar white household makes — up from 55 percent in 1967 — but the income gap in actual dollars widened to $27,000 from $19,000. (The gap has widened between whites and Hispanic people, too.)

The median net worth of white households is 14 times that of black households, and blacks are nearly three times as likely to be living below the federal poverty threshold. The disparity in homeownership rates is the widest in four decades. As the Pew study noted, those realities are not lost on most Americans, only 1 in 10 of whom said the average black person is better off financially than the average white person (although more than 4 in 10 white and Hispanic respondents said the average black is about as well off as the average white).

Though marriage rates have generally declined over all, about 55 percent of whites and 31 percent of blacks 18 and older are married, compared with 74 percent of whites and 61 percent of blacks in 1960, a reflection, in part, of differences in educational attainment.

The gap in college completion rates rose to 13 percentage points from 6 (although the black completion rate, as a percentage of the white rate, has improved to 62 percent from 42 percent. The Hispanic rate remains at 42 percent).

In 1960, black men were five times as likely as white men to be in local, state or federal prison. Fifty years later, black men are six times as likely as white men to be incarcerated and Hispanic men three times as likely.

The historic disparity in voter turnout evaporated in 2012 with the re-election of President Obama, yet euphoria over his election has faded. Both blacks and whites were much less likely this year to say black people were better off than five years earlier than they did in a 2009 Pew survey after Mr. Obama’s first election. The latest nationwide survey of 2,200 adults was conducted this month after the Supreme Court in June effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, freeing nine states to change their election laws without advance federal approval.

“Our country has changed,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority.

Not so much, though, that nearly half of all Americans — 49 percent in all, or 44 percent of whites, 48 percent of Hispanics and 79 percent of blacks — said a lot more progress needed to be made to achieve Dr. King’s vision of a colorblind society. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to believe there has been racial progress. Fully 80 percent of all Americans say at least some more needs to be done. - NY Times.

INSIDE AFRICA: Travel Guide - Forget Paris, Fall In Love With Accra, Ghana!

August 25, 2013 - GHANA - With only a 45 minute flight separating Lagos and Accra, you'd think I'd have been to Ghana at least once in my 22-year existence. Unfortunately until July 2013, the concepts holiday and Africa have never gone together in my head.

Onuzo says upmarket shoppers can visit Accra City Mall in East Legon.

Holiday was Italy and structurally unsound towers; or America and discount shopping or France and baguettes. Not Ghana, longstanding "frenemy "of Nigeria, with the football team we all rooted for in the last World Cup. Yet, that's no reason to actually visit the place.

I went for a family wedding. If not for love, perhaps another 22 years would have passed before I made it to Accra. The first thing that struck me almost as soon as I stepped off the plane was the manner of the people.

Now I know it is hackneyed and passé and terribly clichéd to praise the hospitality of the locals and so I make the next statement knowing that I tread on imperial ground: Ghanaians are nice.

"I had my first private art viewing in Musa's studio in Nima," says Onuzo.

The friendly coconut seller in the photo above is just one of the myriad of fresh produce vendors that are dotted around the city. You spy a coconut, you pick a coconut, he splits the coconut and you drink the water out of it, right there and then on the roadside. No preservatives, no plastic bottles, just coconut.

I've often wondered why the global indexes drawn up only rank things like "Ease of Doing Business" or "Democracy," with criteria that leave African countries nearer the bottom than top. If only someone would draw up a ranking for Fresh Produce Consumption.

This love of fresh food was on one occasion, however, taken to a rather bizarre extreme. My hotel restaurant didn't have half the dinner menu because the necessary ingredients were always bought fresh from the market and the market was closed!

Speaking of hotels, due to exceptionally bad planning, I found myself staying in three hotels over eight nights. The last, The University of Legon Guesthouse, was the best value for money. For $60 a night, I got an air-conditioned ensuite double room, beautifully landscaped grounds, the fastest internet I have used in West Africa and reasonably priced meals in the restaurant.

A photography exhibition at the Nima roundabout, put together last month by Invisible Borders, a
collective of African artists looking for new narratives about the continent.

Now, as an original Lagosian, I haven't been to a place unless I've gone shopping in a place. I hit Oxford Street, Osu, on my second day in town. It's a roadside market that caters to the cravings of an ankara lover like myself, or 'African print' to those not quite in the know.

However, for more upmarket shoppers who want their air-conditioning and shopping trolleys, there's the Accra City Mall in East Legon where Ghanaian designers sell their work alongside international brands. In my humble opinion, local content was winning but I'm a little biased.

There are of course conventional touristy things to do in Accra. For the reasonable sum of six cedis, you can enjoy The Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, final resting place of the first President of Ghana. It's a serene venue for contemplation. The museum on site sheds some light on the man behind the leader that was a pivotal part of the independence movement in Africa.

A culinary marvel found in Accra, grilled tilapia with waakye and tomato sauce.

Yet I also like to see the places not fashionable enough for the beaten track, places that probably wouldn't make it into a glossy tourist brochure.

Ghana, beautiful as it is, is still a developing country. There are shopping malls and skyscrapers -- one born every minute -- but there is also Nima, where I met a lady who chops firewood every evening to cook her meals.

I had open access to Nima thanks to the organization Invisible Borders and their partnerships in the area. Perhaps not all the Millennium Development Goals have been met in Nima but there were other signs of development that international agencies don't often look for. I had my first private art viewing in Musa's studio in Nima. Only a stone's throw away from that was a photography exhibition in Nima Roundabout.

Award-winning Nigerian author Chibundu Onuzo visited Accra, the vibrant capital of Ghana. Here, traders
ply their wares at Makola Market, the city's main market and shopping district.

It wasn't all sightseeing and games though. I also went to Accra for the very serious business of book promoting. I've never been on radio in West Africa. It's no different from being on radio in England except the presenters on Joy and Citi FM understood my accent.

I left Accra determined to go on holiday in more African countries. Forget Paris, Milan and Prague. Maputo here I come! - CNN.

MARKETPLACE AFRICA: Nigeria - The Land Of Entrepreneurs!

August 25, 2013 - NIGERIA - Baldwin Berges, managing partner for business development at frontier market investment firm Silk Invest, takes a closer look at Nigeria’s entrepreneurs who are the driving force behind this increasingly assertive nation.

Apart from its status as a major global oil exporter, most of Nigeria’s value proposition to foreign investors is about domestic and regional growth. For now, most of its short-term economic drive will come from tooling up the country’s outdated or even non-existent infrastructure such as its faulty power grid, as well as from projects to address the urgent need for roads and bridges that will enable a higher level of functionality.

GDP Growth and Net Foreign Direct Investment

One of Nigeria’s most precious resources is its human capital. This country’s vitality serves as proof that Nigeria is home to millions of entrepreneurs. It is testimony that the people of this nation, regardless of the below-standard state of its infrastructure, know how to thrive in enterprise.

As in many other emerging economies, there simply aren’t enough jobs to accommodate a vast youthful population, so people become entrepreneurs by default. What this means for investors is that there is an enormous opportunity set with which to work.

Funmi Akinluyi, head of Silk Invest’s African equities and a Nigerian herself, says: “If my country can grow at such dazzling rates without good infrastructure, just imagine what it can do when things get fixed.”

Looking Beyond the Domestic Opportunity

What happens in a country with nearly 170 million inhabitants who speak English, the international language of business? They reach out to the world.

I am always amazed at how often I get approached by Nigerian entrepreneurs via Linkedin or even directly by email. This says much about the voracious attitude for which Nigerians are known.

Nigeria is the third largest English-speaking nation in the world after India and the US. This is precisely why the country is ideally positioned to connect with the rest of the world. It is not only about linguistic capabilities, but Africa’s fastest rising economy also happens to be located in one of the most digitalised time zones on the planet.

Thinking ahead, in a globally connected economy, Nigeria’s geographical location makes it very clear that the country is set to become a major future player in the global services industry. Again, these are industries that are synonymous with young entrepreneurs.

When it comes to the services sector, Nigeria certainly earned much respect for the way it dealt with the financial crisis some years ago. The Central Bank of Nigeria’s assertiveness is still a role model for those familiar with the emerging market space. The result is a financial services sector that, in many aspects, is far more robust than in most other economies around the world.

And while it may take some time before businesses around the world embrace outsourcing services to Nigeria, the regional opportunity in Africa is already big enough. Today, the continent is home to more than 700 million consumers, a number that will double in the next 15 years, even by conservative estimates. This means there is already enough opportunity associated with becoming Africa’s leading economic player.

Meet Three Leading Nigerian Entrepreneurs

Aliko Dangote is one of Africa’s richest men. He started building his fortune more than three decades ago when he began trading in commodities like cement, flour and sugar with a loan he received from his uncle. He expanded into full production of these items in the early 2000s and went on to build the Dangote Group, West Africa’s largest publicly-listed conglomerate, which now owns sugar refineries, salt processing facilities and Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer. Dangote shares his experience and insights with other aspiring entrepreneurs.

WATCH: Young Africans Interact with Alhaji Dangote.

Mike Adenuga built a fortune in mobile telecoms and oil production. In 2006, he founded Globacom, Nigeria’s second largest mobile phone network. It has 24 million customers in Nigeria, operates in the Republic of Benin and recently acquired licences to start businesses in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. In this clip from 2011 he speaks about how Nigeria is now truly connected to the world thanks to the broadband cable his company installed.

WATCH: Mike Adenuga speaks Glo 1 submarine cable.

Jim Ovia founded Zenith Bank in 1990 and it has now grown into West Africa’s second largest financial services provider by market capitalisation and asset base. An equally large chunk of his wealth comes from a portfolio of prime real estate. Ovia devotes the majority of his time to managing Visafone Communications, a telecom outfit he founded in 2007. He also owns Quantum, a private equity fund focused on Africa.

WATCH: FORBES AFRICA, June 2013 - Behind the scenes with Jim Ovia.

- African Globe.

INSIDE AFRICA: Ethiopia's Foreign Policy One Year After Meles Zenawi - An Opportunity For Transformation!

August 25, 2013 - ETHIOPIA - Today, on 21 August 2013, a year has passed since the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the man considered to be the leading architect of post-Derg Ethiopia.

Following his death, the future of a resurgent Ethiopia hung by a thread. Uncertainty mounted in the vast country of over 80 million inhabitants, with over 60 diverse ethnicities and two major religions that have cohabitated uncomfortably for decades.

A woman harvests roses in a greenhouse at the ET Highland Flora flower farm, just outside Addis Ababa.
Photo: VOA

The death of Meles did not result in friction or major collapse, nor did it lead to impermeable divisions within the ruling party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

The EPRDF leadership handled the succession process deftly and out of public sight, mainly in line with its five-year succession plan of 2011, allowing the late Zenawi's deputy prime minster, Hailemariam Desalegn, to step into the position of Prime Minister until the general elections in 2015.

The legitimisation of, and overwhelming vote of confidence in Desalegn (representing a minority from the South) as leader of the EPRDF by the 180-member party council in September last year signalled the grip of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) within the ruling party.

Moreover, it illustrated a concern with the fragile ethno-religious equilibrium and porous political alliances that have been at the centre of Ethiopian politics since the founding of the EPRDF in 1989.

Irrespective of the tense political situation and delicate transition of 2012, according to the World Bank's June 2013 Ethiopia Economic Update, economic growth over the past decade has averaged 10.7%, making it one of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world.

However, Ethiopia's relative stability and remarkable economic growth rates do not mask the domestic fault-lines - religious and ethnic - that have a profound impact on the country's foreign policy, and particularly the country's role in the Horn of Africa.

The degree to which Ethiopia under Hailemariam Desalegn can re-engineer the domestic order to reflect democracy as one of the country's foreign policy stated doctrines remains an obstacle to a bolder Ethiopian diplomatic and economic role within and beyond the Horn of Africa.

Regional security as domestic stability

With the exception of Kenya, with which Ethiopia has a stable border and cordial relations and free movement of people, including Kenya's constructive role in the Ogaden conflict, the country's regional policy is navigating a myriad of security challenges that interact dangerously with its domestic stability.
The country's unstable borders include an defensive Eritrea to the North, a fragile Somalia to the south, and South-Sudan and Sudan uneasy co-existence around its western borders.

This explains why Meles' Ethiopia pursued an ambitious regional security policy, largely concerned with the structural requirements for state survival.

Thus, the country's diplomacy has been pragmatically focussed on domestic stability, food security and climate change, including harnessing aid and investment in order to deal with pressing domestic developmental challenges.

These priorities in the country's foreign policy have been articulated in several ways.

First, under Meles, Ethiopia became a staunch ally of the United States (US), by far (alongside the United Kingdom) the country's largest bilateral donor.

Second, the country hosted US bases with their complement of drones for patrolling Somalia and to combat terrorist organisations.

Finding common cause with an America fighting al Qaeda emerges from the serious threat of sectarian violence in Ethiopia that the EPRDF leadership is all too aware of.

In this vein, the country twice sent troops into Somalia, first in 1996 and again in 2006 to fight Islamist militants linked to Al-Qaeda, including Al-Shabaab.

Third, in order to secure peace on its northern border, Ethiopia under Meles allowed Eritrea to secede in 1993, then fought - allegedly against Zenawi's own advice - a bloody war with the new country from 1998-2000.

Fourth, Ethiopia is the sole troop-contributor (4,200 increasing to over 5,000 in the short-term) to the UN Interim Stabilization Force in Abyei (UNISFA) on the border between South Sudan and Sudan.

Ethiopia plays an important role in advancing regional integration and mitigating regional conflict in Somalia and the two Sudans.

Playing such a role, including through military force, is considered to be in Ethiopia's interest because the country continues to host a stream of refugees from Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia. Moreover, since taking office Prime Minister Hailemariam has organised two summits of the leaders of the Sudan and South Sudan to facilitate negotiations.

He pressed Sudan to negotiate with rebels from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement; and urged Sudan to allow humanitarian aid into Blue Nile and South Kordofan provinces. The Government of Ethiopia has also contributed more than 2,000 personnel to the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

In light of these initiatives, there is greater appreciation in Ethiopian foreign policy that the country should continue playing a crucial role in fostering peace and stability across the volatile Horn of Africa, particularly in weakening al-Shabaab.

But what tools should be available in the Ethiopia's foreign policy for it to play a more strategic, transformational and developmental role in the region and beyond?

Democracy: the missing pillar in Ethiopia's foreign policy

Ethiopia's Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy and Strategy of 2002 position the country as a viable multi-ethnic entity, able to advance the goals of peace and security, democracy and development.

While foreign policy-makers have been modestly successful in morphing the country from a militaristic regional profile to a slightly more progressive posture, acutely aware of the potential developmental boon from a regional peace dividend, democracy has been the missing link and weakly articulated.

For the country to posit democracy as an important guiding principle in its foreign policy implies a domestic order that is fairly consistent with this aim.

At present this is hardly the case, and Ethiopia's regional security challenges mirror to a certain degree its own domestic order.

But a very important step has been made less than two weeks ago under Hailemariam Desalegn's gentle hand when the Ethiopian government allowed the opposition Semayawi (blue) party to stage peaceful protests demanding the release of prisoners of conscience.

Allowing peaceful assembly and protest can only bode well for the country's image and prestige. This could in turn have positive ramifications for the country's foreign policy and role as a regional broker, able to sponsor transitions to democratic orders in the region.

Ethiopia can play a better regional and continental role when it integrates sufficiently the normative anchors of its foreign policy as not just mere principles that informs the domestic environment, but crucially part of the country's own external projection.

A year after the death of Meles Zenawi, the current leadership should pursue the transformation of the country's domestic order, and crucially its foreign policy, to adequately reflect its own codified democratic aspirations that can potentially pacify the Horn of Africa. - All Africa.

EUROPEAN RACISM: "Shameful" Savagery In France - French Police Brutally Beats Black Woman Then Spray Tear Gas In Her Face?!

August 25, 2013 - FRANCE - French prosecutors have launched an investigation after a video showing a French police officer beating a Black woman with a baton and spraying tear gas directly into her face sparked outrage.

France’s savagery towards Africans continues unabated to this day.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Tuesday that prosecutors in the central city of Tours had ordered the IGPN police internal affairs branch to investigate after the video, called “Shame on the French police”, was posted on the Internet on Sunday.

“An investigation has been opened. The matter has been referred to the IGPN,” Valls said. “We need the whole truth and full transparency… The police must be irreproachable, the vast majority of police officers carry out difficult and remarkable work.”

The eight-minute video, which had been viewed over 600,000 times on YouTube as of Tuesday, was filmed from the upper storey of a building and shows two police officers savagely assaulting a Black woman in the street.

Filmed early Sunday in the Tours suburb of Joue-les-Tours, the video does not show the beginning of the altercation, which local newspaper La Nouvelle Republique said started when police stopped a car driving down the street around 7:00 am.

The newspaper quoted police officials as saying that the driver of the car was drunk and refused to submit to an alcohol test. It quoted police sources as saying a female passenger in the car intervened, repeatedly allegedly biting one the officers.

WATCH: French Police Caught On Video Beating And Gassing Woman.

The video shows the officer wrestling with the woman on the street, then striking her several times in the body with his baton and once fully in the face. He then retrieves a bottle of tear gas from the boot of his police car and sprays it directly into her face.

The clearly enraged police officer then sprays another female passenger in the face with the tear gas, before several more police vehicles arrive in reinforcement. The video caused deep outrage, with more than 11,000 comments posted on YouTube.

“Bravo to the French police! As racist, violent and disrespectful as ever,” one viewer commented. “What a disgrace.” But other comments noted that the video did not show the entire altercation, with some saying the police officer may have been justified in defending himself.However, this is not the first time that French police officers are accuse of brutalizing French citizens of African descent, there have been numerous incident in which French police have been accused of assault on Africans. - African Globe.

ANCESTRAL RETURN: The Life And Times Of Madiba - Nelson Mandela Showing "Great Resilience" In Hospital, Although His Condition Becomes Unstable At Times!

August 25, 2013 - SOUTH AFRICA - South Africa's ailing former leader, Nelson Mandela, is said to be showing great resilience though his condition becomes unstable at times.

The state of the 95-year-old is "still critical but stable", according to a statement from the South African president's office.

Nelson Mandela.

He remains in hospital in Pretoria two-and-a-half months after being admitted with a recurring lung infection.

The statement largely squares with comments from members of his family.

"Critical but stable" is the phrase used by the government for weeks now, the BBC's Mike Wooldridge reports from Johannesburg.

However, Saturday's statement does provide some fresh insight into the precariousness of the health of the global icon and the reserves he still appears able to call upon, our correspondent adds.

The statement said doctors were still working hard to bring about a turnaround in his health and, as a result of medical interventions, his condition tended to stabilise.

President Jacob Zuma, who is travelling to Malaysia on an official visit, urged the country to continue praying for Mr Mandela and to keep him in their thoughts at all times.

Mr. Mandela's face looks down from banners in South African cities.

Mr Mandela, who stepped down as the country's first black president in 1999, entered hospital on 8 June.

The anti-apartheid activist's lung infection is believed to date back to the period of nearly three decades he spent in prison, for his activities in the African National Congress.

People from South Africa and around the world have sent him their best wishes, and flowers and other tributes have collected outside Pretoria's Medi Clinic Heart Hospital. - BBC.

THE MOTHERLAND: News Out Of Africa - The Former President Of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak And Senior Members Of The Muslim Brotherhood Due In Court Sunday!

August 25, 2013 - EGYPT - Hosni Mubarak, the deposed Egyptian president, has appeared in a Cairo court for a hearing, but several recently arrested senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders have not appeared for security reasons at the start of their separate trial.

(Clockwise) Hosni Mubarak, Khairat El-Shater, Hazem Abu-Ismail and Mohamed Badie
Former president Mubarak and senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood group, recently
pushed from power, will face criminal charges Sunday

Mubarak, who left prison for house arrest this week, is having a hearing in his retrial on charges of complicity in the deaths of protesters during the 2011 uprising that removed him. The case is one of several against Mubarak, who was granted pre-trial release this week but placed under house arrest by the interim prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi.

Mubarak was convicted last June and sentenced to life in prison, but a retrial was ordered in January after he appealed. He also faces a number of corruption cases, despite being cleared in some.

In a different court on Sunday, Mohamed Badie, the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide and two deputies, Rashad al-Bayoumi and Khairat al-Shater, had been due to make their first appearance on charges of inciting the murder of protesters.

They were arrested by security forces following the removal of President Mohamed Morsi in a July 3 coup.

Morsi belonged to the Brotherhood.

They are accused of inciting the murder of protesters who died outside their Cairo headquarters on the evening of June 30.

Another three Brotherhood members will stand trial with them, accused of carrying out the murder of the demonstrators in the incident.

Like Mubarak, all six Brotherhood members also face the death penalty if convicted.

Detention orders

Egyptian authorities have issued arrest warrants and detention orders for hundreds of Brotherhood members and detained several senior leaders of the group in recent days.

According to security sources, at least 2,000 have been arrested since August 14. On Saturday, the Interior Ministry announced the arrest of Mohye Hamed, an adviser to Morsi.

Meanwhile, supporters of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, continued to stage protests demanding his reinstatement.

Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna, reporting from Cairo, said that though demonstrations continued, there had been a massive drop in the number of protesters taking to the streets.

"There are protests in Helwan but this is very isolated and is repeated in very few other parts of the country."

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, also reporting from Cairo, said the low turnout was due to the heavy military crackdown on protesters.

WATCH: Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna reports from Cairo on the separate trials of Hosni Mubarak, the deposed Egyptian president, and senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

"There has been no coverage of the protests on local television stations," she said, adding that many locals were consequently unaware of the protests.

Meanwhile, the night-time curfew that had been enforced in all 14 provinces of the country since the current upheaval began has been shortened by the authorities.

"To lessen the burden on citizens and respond to popular request, the length of the curfew will be shortened and will begin at 9pm instead of 7pm," a statement from the interim prime minister's office said.

The curfew will continue to end at 6am, the statement said, adding that the changes would go into effect immediately but would not apply on Fridays.

Friday is a traditional day of protests, which usually begin after weekly Muslim prayers in the afternoon. - Al Jazeera.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

BLACK BOOKS: Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu - "Emerging Africa: How The Global Economy's 'Last Frontier' Can Prosper And Matter"!

August 20, 2013 - AFRICA - In this thoughtful and elegantly written book, Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu explodes the myths and conventional wisdoms about Africa's quest for economic growth in a globalised world with a paradigm-shift perspective on the continent's future.

Masterfully deploying arguments grounded in philosophy, economics and strategy across a  range of subjects; from capitalism to transformation agendas, finance to foreign investment, and from innovation and human capital to world trade, he demonstrates persuasively how Africa's progress in the 21st century will require nothing short of the reinvention of the African mind.

Publication details and online ordering available from Bookcraft Africa and on the 'Emerging Africa' Facebook page.

Global Praise for Emerging Africa
Africans seriously analyzing Africa's opportunities are all too rare. Kingsley Moghalu writes with insight and authority. Emerging Africa deserves a wide audience. - Paul Collier, Professor of Economics, Oxford University and author of The Bottom Billion

Emerging Africa is unique in the depth of its insight, the ambition of its scope, and the clarity of its argument. Kingsley Moghalu brings a remarkable intellect and his vast experience to this tour de force on Africa's economic transformation. His views on the path forward deserve the close attention of everyone interested in the continent's progress and its place in the world. A truly weighty contribution to understanding Africa's developmental dilemma and its quest for a more prosperous future.-
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Federal Republic of Nigeria

Kingsley Moghalu approaches Africa as last frontier with the perspective of savvy Sheriff. A distinguished international career in which he worked on questions of good corporate governance prepared him as this book details, to tackle a similar agenda at home. -
Mark Malloch-Brown, Former Minister of State (Africa, Asia and the UN), United Kingdom Foreign Office

This is an illuminating look at Africa's economic trajectory in the context of globalization. Emerging Africa offers a profound perspective on how African countries can achieve true prosperity. A commendable book. -
Lamido Sanusi, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria

Author Profile
Kingsley Moghalu, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria
Photo: Tami Hultman/AllAfrica

Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu
is the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in charge of the Financial System Stability (FSS) Directorate. He has led the implementation of far-reaching reforms to enhance the quality and stability of banks and other financial institutions, and supervises the following Departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria: Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Banking Supervision Department, Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department, Development Finance Department and the Consumer Protection Department.

He is a member of the Board of Directors, the Monetary Policy Committee, and the Committee of Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and is a member of the President of Nigeria's Economic Management Team. Dr. Moghalu is a member of the board of directors of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) as well as Chairman of the board of directors of the Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC).  He served as Chairman of the board of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) from 2009 – 2011.

Kingsley Moghalu was born in Lagos in 1963 to Isaac Moghalu, a Nigerian Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Mrs. Vidah Moghalu. He obtained the LL.B. (Honours) degree in law at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1986, the B.L. (Barrister at Law) from the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, an M.A. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, USA, and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics (LSE) at the University of London, UK. He also obtained an International Certificate in Risk Management from the Institute of Risk Management, London, UK.

Dr. Moghalu is also an alumnus of executive education programs on leading economic growth and transformation and on corporate governance at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School respectively, and on macroeconomics and financial sector management at the International Monetary Fund Institute. - All Africa.

ANCIENT ADVANCED BLACK CIVILIZATIONS: "The Gift From The Gods" - Scientific Confirmation Reveals That Ancient Egyptian Jewelry Was Made From Meteorites!

August 20, 2013 - EGYPT - If you want to track down meteorite debris, UCL Qatar professor Thilo Rehren explains in a phone interview, you have a couple options: your best bet is to scour for the black chunks of rock in the white plains of Antarctica, "but the second best place to hunt meteorites is the Sahara Desert," where it's relatively easy to find space rocks amid the expansive, light sands. About 5,000 years ago, that's where the Egyptians likely looked.

Egyptian Beads Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. Photo by Gianluca Miniaci

Rehren and a team of archaeologists have been studying Egyptian jewelry first uncovered from a grave in 1911--specifically, a set of beads from around 3,200 B.C. (The markings on ceramics and other finds at the site indicate the general time period.) The beads don't look like much more than decaying chunks of metal (which they are), but they were ceremoniously strung together on a necklace and wrapped around the deceased inside the tomb.

The beads are the earliest known iron artifacts ever found. So old, in fact, that the beads pre-date iron smelting, where metal is produced from raw ore. That technique is what ushered in the Iron Age, when stronger tools and weapons altered the course of human history. It's long been suspected that iron trinkets from well before the Iron Age came from meteorites, and now it's been confirmed "beyond reasonable doubt," Rehren says. That means iron working was practiced thousands of years before it was widespread.

The beads have been undergoing tests since the 1920s, when archaeologists first did a destructive (!) test that melted down one of the beads to analyze its components. Inside were nickel and cobalt in proportions that suggested the jewelry was made from meteorites. But the analysis was still only suggestive of meteorites--not quite a smoking gun that would prove it.

Neutron Radiograph:  Centre for Energy Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

That changed recently, when advances in technology allowed for more intensive (and not priceless-bead-destroying) tests. Back in May, a different team examining one of the beads from the same set used electron microscopy and computer tomography to confirm the high amounts of nickel in the bead, and also found a crystalline structure called a Widmanstätten pattern, which is found in iron from meteorites.

The final nail in the mystery's coffin, however, is Rehren et. al's work. Using techniques like neutron radiography, where the reactions from neutrons beamed into a sample is picked up in a black-and-white image, the team was able to get a look at not only the surface of the beads, but the interior and its composition. Inside, along with the expected ingredients, they also found something that hadn't been seen before: a tiny, tiny amount of the element germanium. ("We're talking about roughly 1 percent of 1 percent," Rehren says.) Even that minuscule amount of the substance suggests that the jewelry originated from meteorites; germanium isn't found at all in metal from iron smelting.

Neat. And you can look at this finding as the fun, high-tech resolution to an archaeological curio, but when you put it in historical context, it's bigger than that. After these beads were made, it was another 1,500 years before iron smelting was used, and another 500 before iron replaced copper as the dominant metal for tool-making, meaning iron-working was an older profession than expected. It takes a certain level of skill, too, to hammer out sheets of metal and form them into tube shapes like these beads--"You need to invent blacksmithing, basically," Rehren says.

So there were a skilled set of people working with metal hundreds of years before the process became widespread. (Not many, since meteoritic iron is rare, but still some.) Instead of iron-working being completely invented, then, there were likely smiths from generations before who could pass the the technique down to younger workers. Plus, iron falling out of the sky might have inspired ancient religious beliefs, so imagine how excited they were when they'd figured out how to mimic the process on solid ground. - POPSCI.

ANCESTRAL DESECRATION: Looters Ransack Egyptian Antiques Museum - Snatching Priceless Artefacts As Armed Police Moved Inside Stormed Cairo Mosque!

August 20, 2013 - EGYPT - Egypt’s famous Malawi National Museum has been ransacked, looted and smashed up by vandals in another example of the recent unrest in the country.

Blame: The ministry¿s official statement accords pro-Mursi supporters the blame for the break in.

Photos of the damaged artefacts and empty display cases were released this afternoon as supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi fought a gunbattle with security forces in a Cairo mosque.

According to a statement made by the Ministry of Antiquities, the museum, in the Upper Egyptian city of Minya, was allegedly broken into and some artifacts were damaged and stolen on Thursday evening.

The ministry’s official statement accused Muslim Brotherhood supporters of breaking into the museum.

It not yet clear what is missing - a list is being compiled to ensure the artefacts are not smuggled out the country.

Break in: Damaged objects lie on the floor and in broken cases in the Malawi Antiquities Museum
after it was ransacked and looted.

Stolen: Some artifacts were damaged and stolen, according to a statement made by the Ministry of Antiquities.

Meanwhile this afternoon armed police moved into n a Cairo mosque under seige, while Egypt's army-backed government, facing deepening chaos, considered banning his Muslim Brotherhood group.

Witnesses saw gunmen shoot from a window of the al-Fath mosque, where Brotherhood followers sheltered during ferocious confrontations in the heart of Cairo on Friday.

Another gunman was shown on television shooting from the mosque's minaret and soldiers outside returning fire.

It was not clear if anyone died in the latest clash - the fourth day of violence in Egypt, which has killed almost 800 people.

With anger rising on all sides, Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi proposed disbanding the Brotherhood, raising the stakes in a bloody struggle between the state and Islamists for control of the Arab world's most populous nation.

Loss: 'It is a great loss and I am really saddened by what has happened to such a museum,' Minister of
State of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim said.

Ransacked: Rows of display cases are broken and empty at the Malawi Antiquities Museum.

"We are not facing political divisions, we are facing a war being waged by extremists developing daily into terrorism," presidential political adviser Mostafa Hegazy told reporters.

If Beblawi's proposal to disband the Brotherhood is acted on, it would force the group underground and could herald large-scale arrests against its members placed outside the law.

Many Western allies have denounced the killings, including the United States, alarmed by the chaos in a country which has a strategic peace treaty with Israel and operates the Suez Canal, a major artery of world trade.

However, Saudi Arabia threw its weight behind the army-backed government on Friday, accusing its old foes in the Muslim Brotherhood of trying to destabilise Egypt. - Daily Mail.

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