Sunday, April 27, 2014

THE LUPITA EFFECT: A Black Cinderalla Story - People Magazine Name Lupita Nyong'o, The World's Most Beautiful Woman Of 2014!

April 27, 2014 - HOLLYWOOD - The Cinderella story keeps getting more magical for Lupita Nyong'o, who has been named People magazine's most beautiful woman of 2014.

The "12 Years a Slave" Oscar-winner, who became an "it" girl following red carpet hit after hit during awards season, will be featured on the cover of the magazine's annual most beautiful issue when it hits newsstands Friday.

Also making this year's list are "The Americans" star Keri Russell; Channing Tatum's wife, actress Jenna Dewan-Tatum; "The Mindy Project" star Mindy Kaling; singer Pink; "Scandal" star Kerry Washington; actresses Amber Heard and Gabrielle Union; former wrestler Stacy Keibler and model Molly Sims.

"It was exciting and just a major, major compliment," the 31-year-old Nyong'o told the magazine of the pulchritudinous honor. "I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen."

It's a sentiment the newly minted fashion icon also expressed when she became the new face of Lancome cosmetics earlier this month and when she delivered the heartfelt "dream validating" Oscars speech that made her an instant role model in March.

Lupita Nyong'o, who won the supporting actress award for "12 Years a Slave," wore a custom
Prada light blue silk gown to the Oscars. Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

"I feel most beautiful when I'm content," the Mexican-born Kenyan actress said in a video for the mag. "That for me is more important than my physical presentation because it's through inner contentment and happiness that I care about my presentation."

"Happiness is the most important thing," she added.

The Yale School of Drama grad said that after she won the Oscar she "laid low for a week" and wore the same outfit every day, and "that felt great."

 WATCH:  Lupita Nyong'o winning Best Supporting Actress.

Sadly, she said when she was young, the norms she saw on television ("Light skin and long, flowing, straight hair") led her to believe that she wasn't beautiful.

"Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess," she said. But her mother, Dorothy, the managing director and head of PR for the Africa Cancer Foundation, was the first person to tell her she was beautiful and "always said I was beautiful. ... And I finally believed her at some point."

Despite the accolade from People and the Oscar win, the "Non-Stop" actress has yet to book another film.

"I don't know what doors I thought would open, but it's opened doors," she recently said on the "Today" show, skirting around casting news. "Nothing that I can speak of."

Last year, Oscar-winner and GOOP founder Gwyneth Paltrow was given the magazine's top honor. In 2012, it was bestowed upon Sasha Fierce herself, Beyonce Knowles. In November, the mag named Maroon 5 crooner and "The Voice" coach Adam Levine the Sexiest Man Alive.  - LA Times.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

BLACK ACHIEVEMENTS: The Shadd - The First African-American Large-Scale Commercial Piano Instrument Manufacturer!

April 24, 2014 - UNITED STATES - At the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival in February, one couldn’t help but notice the striking new grand piano on the main stage, emblazoned with the name SHADD. When the many accomplished pianists that wee­­kend sat down to strike those keys, it was equally easy to spot their delight in the instrument.

The high-end Setai Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York, now called Langham Place,
took in one of Warren Shadd's pianos.Courtesy of Warren Shadd

That piano was the product of a trailblazer in his field. The Shadd in question is jazz drummer Warren Shadd, the first African-American piano manufacturer. That makes him the first large-scale commercial African-American instrument manufacturer, period.

For Shadd, piano making is part of his birthright. His grandparents were musicians: His grandmother was a ragtime pianist in the South in the ’30s, and his grandfather invented (and performed on) a collapsible drum set. (He never patented it, a lesson his grandson learned.) Shadd’s father was himself a piano technician, restorer, builder and performer — as well as a trombonist. And Shadd’s aunt was the NEA Jazz Master pianist and vocalist Shirley Horn. A child prodigy, young Warren made his own concert debut at age 4.

Shadd Pianos are now in churches and concert venues across the U.S. — including the set of American Idol, where house keyboardist Wayne Linsey will play it on Wednesday night’s episode. On a recent visit to Warren Shadd’s home in a suburb of Washington, D.C. — a home that doubles as the Shadd Piano showroom — he spoke about his life and work.

Willard Jenkins: What sparked your original interest in pianos?

Warren Shadd:
My father was the exclusive piano technician for the Howard Theatre, so I would go down there with him four times a week and see James Brown, Count Basie, [Duke] Ellington, Pearl Bailey, Peggy Lee, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers … rehearsing. I’d see this all day long, every day. From the time I woke up, there were band rehearsals. Shirley Horn rehearsing in my basement with Billy Hart and Marshall Hawkins … We had pianos everywhere in my house, from the garage to the basement, sometimes even one of the upright pianos sitting in the kitchen, [Laughs.] And musicians would come over to our house after the gig and play all night: Dude Brown, Bernard Sweetney, Steve Novosel, Roberta Flack …

My father would have me do little repairs on the piano. When he went on these piano [repair] jobs, he would take me with him to see what the whole thing was about … and I would never want to go. I just wanted to stay home and play the drums; just wanted to be Warren Shadd the drummer. Except when he said he was going to the Howard Theatre — I was in the car before he got there! I wanted to see all these cats rehearse, see the show … I met Grady Tate when I was about 6 years old, playing with Jimmy Smith, then went full circle and played with Jimmy Smith myself.

As I progressed and learned more about piano technology, I never aspired to; I just knew how to do it. I would say, ‘Piano is what I know, drums is who I am.’ As I went out there and toured with different acts, did a bunch of Broadway shows and got a little tired of the road, I learned how to tune, rebuild and restore pianos. I would take these pianos down to the nuts and bolts and build them back up just for fun, just for a hobby. I would take whole grand or upright pianos apart, build them back up with everything refinished — new strings, new soundboard, new keys, new ivories — for fun. And then my father would sell the piano. [Laughs.] I was about 12, 13 when I started doing this.

The record player was always going, from Sonny Stitt’s Low Flame album, to Count Basie, to Buddy Rich, to Miles, to Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, the James Gang, Iron Butterfly — I had a real potpourri and understanding of all genres of music. While I was doing this piano thing just for the heck of it, I was also performing with a bunch of folks. After I got through high school, I went to Howard University and was in the big band with Wallace Roney, Geri Allen, Gary Thomas, Noble Jolley Sr., Carroll Dashiell and Paul Carr.

When my father passed in 1993, I took over the piano business full tilt, because he had all of these clients for tuning, rebuilding and restoring. He pretty much had Washington, D.C., totally sewn up with all the church pianos. So when I took it over, I already had a client base — it wasn’t like I had to start over fresh. We had all these contracts with churches. Coming in as the second generation of this business was phenomenal for me. Secure from being a musician on tour, it was a built-in job.

As the industry changed a bit, I found that rebuilding pianos was not so much what I really wanted to do financially. I would take these pianos and beautifully restore them … and somebody would say ‘OK, I’ll give you $600 for it…’ [Laughs.] I’m like, ‘Dude, even the new strings I put on this cost four times that much!’ So I kind of migrated out of that restoration business into doing tunings and repair work.

I would also exchange parts. I’d take a soundboard out of a Steinway and put it in a Baldwin to see what kind of reaction it would give, understanding the engineering, understanding which side vibrates the most. I’d exchange strings, put on heavier strings, lighter strings, to achieve a certain type of sound. Being a musician, I have an advantage of understanding what musicians want and what they want to hear. If I can compare here — Mr. Steinway doesn’t play piano, Yamaha no, Kawai no, Bosendorfer no, Fazioli a little bit … They are engineers and businessmen; I’m a musician and an engineer and businessman. I have somewhat of a musical advantage. What I’m crafting is a musical instrument and all those different components that go into that, especially the musical parts.

At what point did you decide to actually manufacture pianos?

Warren Shadd at age 13.
Courtesy of Warren Shadd
From churches and especially symphonic tunings, you understood that the piano had a disadvantage in terms of the pianists especially being able to hear themselves play, because in church you’re in total competition with the Hammond B-3 organ or the pipe organ, the drums, the bass, the percussion, the choir and the congregation. They would put microphones in the piano, but they weren’t placed right to give you the most opulent sound of the piano. You would have to totally jack up that sound for the pianist to feel really comfortable. In the symphony, there’d be a floor monitor, but you’re totally surrounded by all these string instruments and you’re still at a disadvantage … and you just play the part.

My first notion was enhancing the volume of the acoustic piano by itself, without any kind of electronics. Even if you add electronics, you’ll have more sound, because the origin of the piano will have more sound, more volume to it without distorting it — which is important, too. There’s a piano on the market that is somewhat loud, but as you play it louder, it has distortion. The soundboard is not made so well that it can take that kind of pounding. My pianos: You can stand on them and you will not get any kind of distortion.

I studied and researched in the library and wrote a dissertation. I went back to some of those old pianos I restored, and I would experiment with the soundboard. I wrote this stuff on sheets of notebook paper and just put it away, didn’t really think that much about it. One day, I was tuning a piano at this old man Mr. Tucker’s house. As I’m tuning his old upright piano, he started whimpering. I said ‘Mr. Tucker, what’s going on?’ He said, ‘It’s all right, Shadd, it’s all right.’ So I go on tuning the piano, then he really starts crying a lot. ‘What’s wrong, Mr. Tucker?’ He said, ‘Shadd, see that piano? See that name on the front of it? That should say Shadd, because you’re the only one!’ I said, ‘OK, Mr. Tucker, I’ve got these ideas, I’m gonna go back and study.’ He pretty much planted the seed.

I went back and blew the dust off of these old ideas that had been sitting in a cabinet, and I started trying to engage some of these parts and put some of these old ideas I had together. And then I said, 'Why not try to do some of this stuff electronically?' So I built this prototype piano. It took me two summers and there it is [pointing to a high-tech grand piano in the adjoining room]. I put an audio system in the piano where speakers are right in front of the piano, so the sound would come right to the pianist and the pianist can hear themselves play. And I put speakers under the piano and a subwoofer so you can get the full gamut of the piano and control the volume and graphic equalize each section of the piano — bass, alto, tenor and treble — so you could go to each section of the piano and customize it just like that. I went another step and made it MIDI, so you could play all of your electronic synthesizer sounds on the piano.

For educational purposes, I made this piano interactive. I put a computer under the piano and I built this 24" touchscreen on the front and a 13" screen on the left and encompassed video cams throughout the piano. So on the other side, interactively, your piano teacher can see you, you can see your piano teacher, they can see our face, torso, left hand, right hand, pedal movement, and teach intelligently anywhere in the world ... distance learning right there at the piano.

From that point, you can also have your band on the other screen, so you can even cut tracks with your band live and in real time. You can teach and you can score on your touchscreen as you're watching that, so it's like a total workshop right in front of the piano. Now you can compete in a church environment, in a symphonic environment, because now you have the volume right in your face. But even taking it to another level ... I have a [piano] bench that has surround sound; it has a subwoofer in it. So now, you don't only just hear the music; you feel the music, so that every little nuance that you play on the piano down to the triple pianissimo ... you feel everything that you're playing.

Pianist Christian Sands stands with a Shadd Piano at the Mid-Atlantic
Jazz Festival in 2014. Courtesy of Warren Shadd
From there, I said, 'Let me go back to the acoustic piano and see how I can apply some of that stuff to these new pianos.' So I incorporated a lot of the soundboard technology that I invented — and I have patents on all of this technology, unlike my grandfather with the collapsible drum set. I assembled an A team of piano manufacturers around the world and sort of cherry-picked the best of the best. I said I want you to make this ... in accordance to my patents and designs.

My first piano, I sold to the Setai Hotel in New York, now called the Langham Place Hotel, and they play jazz there on this piano — seven days a week. I was trying to get a particular piano company to build my pianos. When I called, they said, 'We'll build your pianos if you bring us 1,000 signatures of people who would buy your pianos.' A friend of mine suggested going to the Gospel Workshop of America, the big convention of all the ministers of music and trustees. It happens annually, and I'm thinking at that time all I had was paperwork: I had a provisional patent, but no prototype piano.

How am I going to go there without a piano? Hammond Organ, Yamaha are going to be there, and they're going to have instruments. So I'm just going to be there selling a piano without a piano? I had these big posters made to put on easels and put all this stuff into an SUV and traveled up to Detroit. I bought a corner booth because people were going to be coming to you on both sides as opposed to being in the middle of a straight line in the exhibit hall. I had these banners made that said, 'First African-American piano manufacturer.' I made a video of all the proposed technology. But I still didn't have a piano. [Laughs.]

I've got a lot of family in Detroit, so I got a couple cousins with clipboards to stand outside of my booth to get these signatures — the name of their church, their minister of music's name, what kind of piano they had in their church, how many pianos would they replace if they were able, and how many would they replace with the Shadd Piano based on the technology you see [in his booth presentation]? I ended up with 864 signatures in four days. I got the rest of them from DC Public Schools.

I had six people across and three deep the whole time. I had no idea there was going to be this much interest. This little church lady with a pillbox hat points up to the poster and says, "You mean, we've got a piano!" When she said that, it was like the whole place stopped — it went silent to me, I did not hear a word. At that moment, I knew that this wasn't about me; this was much bigger than me. I'm thinking I'm a conduit, being the first African-American piano manufacturer, and some would say the first African-American musical instrument maker — we don't make trumpets, trombones, tubas...

What's been the reaction of the players to your piano?

It was kind of tough initially to get cats to come out here and play the piano. One cat — after he came out and played the piano and was overwhelmed — said 'You know, I've got to apologize. I didn't come out at first because I didn't want to be disappointed!'

How are you going about connecting with piano players?

One player at a time. I call folks, they come over, they play the piano, and they're wowed. Barry Harris was here three weeks ago and he's brought some attention to some other folks about this piano. Church musicians are in here all the time now. I do know there's a responsibility with this, to make the best piano — not one of the best — the best piano, period, in the world, and that's what I believe I've done. As a people, we can't be parallel; we've got to be three times as good. I'm a perfectionist, so every nuance that goes into this piano has to be the very best. - NPR.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

AFRICAN RENAISSANCE: Economic Growth And Widening Wealth Gap - Africa Rising But Must Cut Poverty, Create Jobs!

April 15, 2014 - AFRICA - African presidents and policy makers are pushing back against pessimism to tell the world their continent’s economic boom is real and sustained, but they say it must work harder to roll back poverty and create jobs for its restless youth.

From Senegal to Nigeria and Rwanda, officials play down the impact on investment and capital inflows from the U.S. Fed’s unwinding of its economic stimulus programme, or from signs of slowdown in China and its appetite for African commodities.

“You know, some people are talking about writing an obituary for Africa Rising … and I think it’s premature,” African Development Bank (AfDB) President Donald Kaberuka said in a recent interview, a message repeated during the Africa Summit held in several African capitals this week.

Speakers said the drivers of Africa’s headline-grabbing growth in recent years – investment in natural resources, swelling population, rapid urbanization, an expanding middle class and mushrooming consumer demand – were undiminished.

Carlos Lopes, executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa, said Africa’s macro-economic metrics were still headed firmly upwards, helped by better management by governments and other trends, such as the continent’s ability to “leapfrog” to advanced communications and energy-use technologies, leaving older outdated modalities behind.

“All will still go this year in a good direction, less inflation and bigger reserves,” Lopes said.

His U.N. commission sees Africa’s GDP growth, including still-troubled North Africa, accelerating to 4.7 percent in 2014, from 4 percent in 2013, and rising to 5 percent in 2015.

The World Bank this week forecast – excluding North Africa – would grow at 5.2 percent in 2014, spurred by record investment inflows and spending and up from 4.7 percent last year.

“There are some signs of pessimism in emerging markets as a whole, but not really in Africa,” said Jean-Michel Severino, chairman of venture capital firm Investisseurs & Partenaires which funds small businesses promoting economic and social development on the continent. Severino ran the French Development Agency for a decade before joining the firm.

Far from being pessismistic, Africa’s leaders are not afraid to tell investors that if they stay away they will lose out.

“Business opportunities are there, growth is there and the population is there,” Senegal’s President Macky Sall said in an interview on Monday.

“If someone does not see this opportunity, and turns their back on Africa – well, it won’t be Africa that loses.”

Branding Africa

Lopes, who is from Guinea Bissau, said the region as a whole needed to foster a positive vision and build on it.

He told African finance ministers in Abuja on March 29 the continent was showing a new brand: “one that exudes confidence, attractiveness for investments, and that has considerably lowered risk, with investment reaching $50 billion in 2012″.

But he acknowledged “Africa still has a branding problem”. The world’s mainstream media tended to focus on the latest conflicts – for example, in Central African Republic, or in Sudan – where images of horrific slaughter of civilians and helpless refugees still colored views of the continent.

This tended to obscure the ‘good news’ naratives of more and more African states, many with wars, genocides and famines in their recent history, whose increasingly better managed economies were now surging ahead and attracting investment.

Though Africa’s economy continues to grow, there are
still huge amount of poverty and a widening wealth gap
Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Mozambique and Angola were among these, taking steps to emulate high-performers like Botswana, Mauritius, Seychelles and Cape Verde.

Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is another tireless campaigner against what she calls “an incessant picture of Africa unable to cope, Africa disaster etc”.

Her country, Africa’s No. 1 energy producer which was this month elevated by a GDP rebase to replace South Africa as the continent’s largest economy.

“We think the Africa Rising story is real but it does have some vulnerabilities, which we need to look at,” she said.

“If this growth isn’t firmly anchored on really transforming sectors that can create jobs, we will have a youth problem on our hands, we already have it,” Okonjo-Iweala said.

Poverty and lack of economic opportunity are factors seen as driving young northern Nigerians into Boko Haram, which fuses radical Muslim revivalism with an anti-government agenda.

The Nigerian finance minister said Nigeria had to grow faster than its current 7 percent to turn the tide on poverty, a general message Lopes said held good for Africa as a whole.

He told the Abuja meeting: “We still need to move from 5 to 6 percent average growth to the magic 7 percent. The minimum required to double average incomes in a decade. There is still a long way to go as poverty remains high, access to social services weak and pervasive conflict undermines gains.”

Leveraging Resources, Reforms

A new report by AfDB economists says eliminating poverty by 2030 – a World Bank goal set in 2013 – “is out of Africa’s reach”. It said poor accounted for 47.9 percent of Africa’s population in 2010, still the world’s poorest region.

The paper sees a more realistic goal of reducing poverty by a half to two thirds by 2030 through “policies accelerating growth and reducing inequalities”, especially in high poverty states like Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Economists and policy makers say steps to maximize Africa’s growth potential must seek to throw off the obstacles holding countries – and the continent – back. This included the region’s huge infrastructure and power deficits – for example, Africa had only exploited 5 percent of its hydropower potential – corruption and governance issues, improving access to long-term financing and also reducing bureaucracy for doing business.

Africa held huge natural resources which governments should leverage to obtain transforming, job-creating investments.

The U.N.’s Lopes cited data showing the continent had 12 percent of the world’s oil reserves, 40 percent of its gold, 80 to 90 percent of its chromium and platinum, 70 percent of coltan, 60 percent of its unused arable land, 17 percent of the world’s forests, and 53 percent of the world’s cocoa.

“Africa needs to fully use its bargaining position by maximizing the demands for value addition in the commodities where it has a dominant position,” Lopes said.

Douglas Munatsi, CEO of southern African lender BancABC, said the case of Nigeria alone showed the continent was just “scratching the surface” in terms of its economic potential.

“I reckon 10-20 years of good governance in Africa, no natural disasters, commodity prices remain stable, I think this thing will explode. It is going to be bigger than people realize,” he said. - African Globe.

Monday, April 14, 2014

AFRICAN RENAISSANCE: Uganda And Kenya To Build World's Longest Heated Oil Pipeline - Emerging Power Houses In Future Global Oil Supply Markets!

April 14, 2014 - AFRICA - Should Uganda and Kenya finally build a crude oil export pipeline, it will be the longest heated such facility in the world.

According to a report released last month by Tullow Oil Plc, both countries have agreed to build the pipeline and have commenced a comprehensive study on the pipeline.

"Tullow and its partners have agreed with the government of Kenya to commence development studies. In addition, the partnership is involved in a comprehensive study for an export pipeline," the Tullow Oil Plc annual report 2013 reads.

According to the report, the export pipeline route on the Kenyan side is expected to run mostly underground, over 850 kilometres from the Lokichar basin to the coast. Kenya is to construct the pipeline from Lokichar basin while Uganda is expected to construct its part of the pipeline from the Lake Albert rift basin to link up with the Kenyan pipeline and another from South Sudan to Lamu.

"As the waxy crude oil found in Kenya solidifies at ambient temperatures, the pipeline will contain a specialized heating system to keep [the oil] flowing. Once built, the pipeline will be the longest heated pipeline in the world," the report reads. The entire pipeline is estimated to be 1,380-kilometre long.

Dozith Abeinomugisha, a principal geologist at the Petroleum Exploration and Production department, recently said details and actual designs of the export pipeline would be done later. In Kenya, Tullow has drilled seven wells in the south Lokichar basin, hitting 600 million barrels of oil. Tullow says exploration, appraisal and development programmes will run concurrently.

Commercial threshold:

Tullow expects to find more oil since it says the acreage has many similar geological qualities with Uganda's Lake Albert rift basin, where it discovered oil. It has 11 basins in Kenya and Ethiopia.

"This gives confidence that there is much more to come," Aidan Heavey, Tullow's chief executive officer, said in the report. "Uganda and Kenya are now at the heart of an emerging power house in future global oil supply markets and this has created some high-potential synergies for accelerated oil production and inter-governmental [cooperation] in the region."

However, the report doesn't mention anything to do with Tullow selling some of its interests in Uganda to concentrate in Kenya. The report hints at Tullow selling its interests in Bangladesh instead. It reveals that the current ambition of the Kenyan government and the joint venture partners is to reach project sanction for development, including an export pipeline in 2015/2016.

Uganda and Kenya will build the longest heated oil pipeline in the world

The report notes that Tullow and its partners in Kenya are moving towards commercialization of the discovered petroleum resources. Paul Mcdade, Tullow's chief operations officer, said: "Although progress in Uganda has been slower than anticipated, this has allowed us to make material progress in our exploration activities in Kenya. Our focus is now on progressing both the Kenyan and Ugandan developments to a common timeline."

The report notes the need for a discussion to allow material regional infrastructure synergies especially in regards to the export pipeline.

According to Tullow, achieving first oil will be dependent on many technological, legal, social and financial factors, agreed upon by regional stakeholders. Regional government alignment and support of the export pipeline, land acquisition for the infrastructure projects, and securing an investor for the pipeline, will be crucial. - The Observer.

BLACK ACHIEVEMENTS: Dr. Percy Lavon Julian - Google Recognizes A Color Barrier Breaking Genius; One Of America's Most Influential Chemist!

April 14, 2014 - UNITED STATES -  Today's Google Doodle displays a collage celebrating the life of chemist Dr. Percy Lavon Julian.


He is perhaps best known for his crucial role in the development of several now highly accessible medicinal drugs, but also as an early defiant of racial segregation in the United States.

Despite being born in 1899 to a family in Montgomery, Alabama -- a time and place where racial inequality robbed him of the right to a high school education -- Julian enjoyed a brilliant academic career and went on to reign as one of America’s most influential chemists. The trailblazing Alabama man finished his undergraduate work at DePauw University and completed a masters degree at Harvard on a scholarship.

Although he was not allowed to receive a PhD from the Ivy League institution, nor earn a professorship from Depauw, Julian traveled to Austria and got a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Vienna and taught chemistry at numerous black colleges and universities.

The late, great doctor held over 100 patents, and founded The Julian Laboratories, Inc. as well as a chemical plant in Guatemala. With numerous awards and honorary degrees under his belt -- not to mention an Illinois high school named after him -- Percy Julian remains a legend in the world of science and medicine. His legacy lies in medicinal chemical discoveries we continue to count on for medicating glaucoma, rheumatoid arthritis, chemical birth control, and immune suppressing medicines for organ transplants.

In regards to his social activism, Julian put reservations about Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X aside to get on board with the Civil Rights Movement. He especially supported the NAACP, and their Defense and Education Fund's legal challenges to segregation. His family endured two firebomb incidents on their home when they were the first people of color to move to Oak Park, Illiniois, a place where the pioneer chemist's birthday is now celebrated as a holiday.

Dr. Percy Julian would have been 115 years old today. - Huffington Post.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Astrologer Ra Imhotep EL - Money, Debt, Cleansing Of The Financial System, The U.S. Corporation, Feminine Energies, Sovereignty, Consciousness Shift, Purification And The Tetrad Of BLOOD MOONS!

April 14, 2014 - SPACE -  In the following videos, astrologer, Ra Imhotep EL Speaks on a series of up coming lunar eclipses and attempts to educate the listener on how to benefit from this shift.

Mars, Earth, and the Sun all aligned last week, a rare 'opposition of the planets' that only happens once every 778 days. But what made this event so remarkable is that it occured precisely a week before everyone on earth will see the first of FOUR dark red 'blood moons', an extraordinary event some believe represents the End of Days.

NASA has confirmed that the Tetrad has only happened three times in more than 500 years - and that it's going to happen now. The first Tetrad since the Middle Ages, in 1493, saw the expulsion of Jews by the Catholic Spanish Inquisition, which rocked western Europe.  The second coincided with the establishment of the State of Israel - after thousands of years of struggle - in 1949.  Strangely, the last one occurred in 1967 - far earlier than expected - precisely at the time of the Six-Day Arab–Israeli War.

A spokesman for NASA said: "This is the first eclipse of the year and is well placed for observers throughout the Western Hemisphere.  "It will occur at the lunar orbit's ascending node in Virgo.  "This is the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015 - a series known as a Tetrad."

WATCH: A Tetrad Of Lunar Eclipses - Extraordinary Series Of 4 BLOOD MOONS.


 WATCH:  Ra Imhotep EL - Tetrad of Blood Moons.

If you are curious to learn more about your natal chart, have a meeting of the minds with Ra Imhotep EL via a spiritual consultation as well as other astrological services by visiting his website, 13 Sign Astrology.

AFRICAN VOICES: Mo Ibrahim, Founder Of Celtel International - "NOW Is The Time For Afro-Realism"?!

"Without effective economic and political regional integration, we will not carry sufficient weight in this globalized world... We must focus less on international support and more on African unity." - Mo Ibrahim, Founding Chairman of Satya Capital Limited.

April 14, 2014 - AFRICA
- Over the last 20 years, the narrative on the African continent has shifted from Afro-pessimism to Afro-optimism. The truth lies somewhere in between. Now is the time for Afro-realism: for sound policies based on honest data, aimed at delivering results.

Sudanese mobile communications tycoon Mo Ibrahim says Africa must prioritize regional integration.

The potential of our continent is huge. Compared to developed countries, or even to some major emerging countries, burdened by aging populations, financial crises, widening budget deficits, faltering faith in politics and growing social demands, Africa has become the world's last "New Frontier", a kind of "it-continent".

By the end of this century, half of the world's young people will be African. Twenty years from now, by 2035, Africa's working age population will exceed that of China or India. Youth is our major resource. But our continent also harbors most of the world's proven mineral reserves: 95% of platinum, over 75% of phosphate, 60% of diamonds, nearly half of cobalt and chromium, more than a quarter of bauxite.

Diamonds aside, 90% of this huge potential remains untapped. In a world of growing food demand, Africa is home to two-thirds of the world's unexploited arable land. Its solar, water, wind and nuclear energy potential are considerable.

Already, over the last 10 years, Africa's overall GDP growth has reached an annual average of 5.4%; more than four times the European Union average. In 2012, 16 African countries experienced GDP growth in excess of 5%. The latest iteration of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance shows that 94% of the population of the continent is now living in a country where the overall level of governance has improved since 2000.

All of this is promising -- but we are still a long way from realizing our potential.

Let us first stop talking about "Africa" as a homogeneous and uniform whole. We are a mosaic of 54 countries, each with its own flag, its own borders, and its own embassies. The African Union, whose 50th anniversary we have just celebrated, is still a long way from European-style Union, with its common market, single currency, supra-national political bodies and common and shared budget. And the road to convergence between the 54 countries is a long one.

Without effective economic and political regional integration, we will not carry sufficient weight in this globalized world, no matter how much "potential" we may have. Only unity, coherence, and internal solidarity will allow us to assert ourselves on the global stage.

The building blocks to effective integration are not political declarations, expansive Heads of State Summits or our presence and commitments at impressive multilateral gatherings. The building blocks are the free movement of people, goods and financial resources between our countries. This is the way Europe was built.

As we approach Africa with an Afro-realist view, the progress made over the past decade must be understood in a nuanced fashion.

The major regional conflicts of the former century have mostly ended. However, the dawn of the new century has also seen a rise in social tension, domestic unrest, and trans-national problems. Terrorist networks have gained geographical ground and widened their operating sectors, often in direct association with large, cross-border criminal networks.

Young people are becoming the demographic majority. They are receiving better education than their elders. But they are also more unemployed and out of step with the demands of the global labor market. They are also feeling increasingly disconnected from the political process and devoid of economic prospects -- a trend reflected in the rise in the trafficking and consumption of drugs on the continent.

Impressive economic growth is taking place all over the continent. However this coincides with a worrying rise in inequality, which deepens the divisions between countries and within them.

Africa has a vast reservoir of natural resources. But to leverage this, and guarantee ownership of the African citizens, much remains to be done: ensuring transparency of contracts, creating local jobs, upgrading the value chain and redistributing wealth. Today, 90% of Nigeria's oil is still being exported from the continent, while just 25% of the sub-Saharan population has access to electricity.

We must focus less on international support and more on African unity. While the Marshall Plan was important for Europe's recovery, Europe's prosperity was really built on economic integration and policy coherence. Moving from international aid to foreign investment is progress, but it is not enough.

We must move towards increasing continental investments on the continent. We must prioritize regional integration; the reduction of inequality between and within countries; the employment of our young people and the governance of our natural resources. Our continent has secured its political independence. It is time now to build our autonomy. - CNN.

THE AGE OF OBAMA: The Symbolic Rise Of The Moors Or The Black Face Of White Supremacy Paradigm - National Urban League State Of Black America 2014 Report Says Minorities Losing Economic Ground?!

April 14, 2014 - UNITED STATES - African-Americans and Latinos are losing economic ground when compared with whites in the areas of employment and income as the United States pulls itself out of the Great Recession, the latest State of Black America report from the National Urban League says.

 Job seekers wait in line at Kennedy-King College to attend a job fair hosted by the city of Chicago on November 9, 2012
in Chicago, Illinois. Thousands of people started to line up at 3AM for the job fair which did not begin until 9AM.
When the doors opened the line was about a half-mile long.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The annual report, called "One Nation Underemployed: Jobs Rebuild America," noted that the underemployment rate for African-American workers was 20.5 percent, compared with 18.4 percent for Hispanic workers and 11.8 percent for white workers. Underemployment is defined as those who are jobless or working part-time jobs but desiring full-time work.

The report also said African-Americans are twice as likely as whites to be unemployed. The unemployment rate for blacks was 12 percent in February, compared with 5.8 percent for whites.

"Many Americans are being left behind, and that includes African-Americans and Latinos who are being disproportionately left behind by the job creation that we see," National Urban League President Marc Morial said.

Despite the dismal numbers, an analysis by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found African-Americans significantly more optimistic about their future standard of living than whites, regardless of income level, education or partisanship. Overall, 71 percent of blacks surveyed in the 2012 General Social Survey agreed that they have a good chance of improving their standard of living, outpacing the share among whites by 25 percentage points.

The survey found high optimism even among blacks who say racism is a cause for economic inequality.

Such findings illustrate "a level of optimism in the African-American community and it's important to lift that up," said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which released similar findings this week in separate research.

The National Urban League is pushing for several economic measures, including an increase in the minimum wage, an issue being debated in Congress. Democrats backed by President Barack Obama want to force election-year votes on gradually increasing today's minimum to $10.10 by 2016, an effort that seems likely to fail in Congress. Republicans generally oppose the proposal, saying it would cost too many jobs.

"More must be done in post-recession America to try to help people and help communities close these gaps," Morial said.

The National Urban League derives its numbers from an "equality index" that is based on nationally collected data from federal agencies including the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With full equality with whites in economics, health, education, social justice and civic engagement set at 100 percent, the National Urban League said this year's equality index for blacks stands at 71.2 percent, a slight improvement over last year's index of 71.0 percent. However, the economic portion of the index dropped from 56.3 percent to 55.5 percent.

The equality index for Hispanics improved to 75.8 percent, compared with 74.6 percent last year, while the Hispanic economics index declined from 60.8 percent to 60.6 percent.

The report for the first time ranked large American cities from most equal to least equal when it comes to income equality and unemployment equality.

Memphis, Tenn., ranked the most equal for Hispanics when it came to unemployment equality, because in that city the Latino unemployment rate was only 3.8 percent, compared with a 6.5 percent unemployment rate for whites. For blacks, the Augusta-Richmond County, Ga., metropolitan area was most equal, with a 13.3 percent unemployment rate for blacks and an 8.5 percent unemployment rate for whites.

When it came to income, the most equal city for blacks was Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., where the median black household income was $44,572, while the median white household brought in $57,252. For Hispanics, Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla., was most equal, with median Hispanic income of $39,434 and median white income of $44,014. - Huffington Post.

OUR STORIES, OUR MYSTERIES: Nigeria's Nollywood - The World's Most Prolific Movie Machine!

April 14, 2014 - NIGERIA - A 15-second drum roll and the title of the film, "Deceptive Heart," comes crashing onto the screen in a groovy 1970s font.

Omotola Jalade Ekeinde is a Nigerian actress, singer, and philanthropist of an Ondo origin from Lagos, Nigeria. Since her
Nollywood film debut in 1995, she has appeared in an astounding 300 films, selling millions of video copies.

Less than 10 minutes into the Nollywood movie, the heart of plot is revealed: A woman has two boyfriends and doesn't know what to do.

The story moves as quickly as the film appears to have been shot. Some scenes are shaky, with cameras clearly in need of a tripod, and musical montages are often filled with pans of the same building.

Most Nollywood movies are made in less than 10 days and cost about N4, 287, 500 ($25,000).

Fuelled by low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigeria's film industry has grown by some estimates over the past 20-plus years into the most prolific on Earth, pushing out more movies a year than Hollywood in California or Bollywood in Mumbai, India.

Hollywood tends to portray Africa as an exotic land of deserts and giraffes populated by huddling masses, according to Samuel Olatunje, a Nollywood publicist known in the business as "Big Sam."

Nigerian movies are popular because they portray African people more accurately, Big Sam explains outside his single-room Lagos office. They explore African issues rarely touched on in Hollywood -- magic, tribal loyalties, the struggle to modernize.

"Stories that you can relate to," he says.

Ventures Africa business magazine says Nollywood knocks out 2,000 titles a year and is the third-largest earner in the movie world, after Bollywood and Hollywood. The $250-million industry employs more than a million people.

In this photo taken Wednesday, Sept, 18. 2013, Nollywood actors perform a scene in Lagos, Nigeria.
(AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)

Artists say Nigeria's bad infrastructure and chaotic legal system prevent them from making films that are as impressive in their quality as they are in quantity.

"You'll find that we're having to make do," legendary Nollywood actor Olu Jacobs explains at an exclusive country club in Lagos.

Trained at Britain's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Jacobs says Nigerian artists often have the same artistic capacity as their Western counterparts, but not the same financial capacity. "We're not happy because the finished product doesn't have the finish that it should have," he says.

Later that day, Jacob's driver inches his car through grinding traffic in Lagos, the African megalopolis as chaotic and bustling as any Nollywood production scene. A young businessman in an SUV nearly cuts him off. The SUV driver's eyes grow wide when he recognizes Jacobs, and he smiles like a child meeting Santa Claus. He lets the actor's car pass in front.

Nollywood was born, so the story goes, when Kenneth Nnebue, a video storeowner, had too many blank tapes in the early 1990s. To find a use for them, he shot "Living in Bondage" with a single camera for video. The protagonist joins a secret cult and kills his wife in a ritual sacrifice that wins him enormous wealth but leaves him haunted. The movie was an instant hit, selling 500,000 copies.

In this photo taken Friday, Jan, 24. 2014, a woman shops for Nollywood DVD's
on a street in Lagos, Nigeria. (AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)

But at the country club, Jacobs says modern Nollywood is no accident. When he returned to Nigeria from the London stage in the early 1980s, he, like many other artists, knew he could make successful movies at home.

"We all knew that we had a market," he says. "When I grew up, cinemas were always filled up. Stage performances were all ways full. Why shouldn't there be?"

The main problem for movie-makers, Jacobs says, is also the top complaint of almost every industry in Nigeria: not enough power. Less than half the population of Africa's most populous country has access to government electricity, and even the wealthiest families deal with daily power cuts. Nigerian film producers pay a premium for fuel to run generators to keep the lights on and the equipment going.

In this photo taken Wednesday, Sept, 18. 2013, Nollywood sctors perform a scene in Lagos, Nigeria.
(AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)

Piracy also cuts into profits, Jacobs says. After a film is released, producers have only a few weeks before illegally burned copies undercut their sales. Pirated Nigerian DVDs cost no more than a dollar or two and are available at markets in even the farthest corners of Africa.

But these cheap DVDs have also helped the industry grow, making Nigerian movies wildly popular in Africa and among Africans overseas.

Last year, Nollywood ventured off the continent entirely to screen "Half of a Yellow Sun," a movie about Nigeria's 1960s civil war based on an award-winning novel by ChimamandaNgoziAdichie, at film festivals Toronto, London and Los Angeles.

While it didn't get rave reviews, the Hollywood Reporter called it an "epic-on-a-budget" that will continue to draw audiences. "Half of a Yellow Sun" had a budget of about $8 million, the largest in Nollywood history.

By comparison, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," based on a book by Suzanne Collins, had a budget of about $130 million and was one of the highest grossing Hollywood movies in 2013.

In this photo taken Wednesday, Feb, 5. 2014, a man arranges Nollywood DVD's in a shop in Lagos, Nigeria.
(AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)

A week after the Los Angeles premiere of "Half of a Yellow Sun," the cast and crew of a Nollywood soap opera, "Remember Me," pack into a hot, borrowed apartment in Lagos. Director F. Olu Michaels secures a red film over a harsh white light with masking tape before calling out "Action!"

Then he silently drops to his hands and knees and crawls behind the cameraman to avoid casting shadows on the set.

After the shoot, as a generator rumbles just far enough away from the set to avoid being picked up by microphones, Michaels says Nollywood films are improving rapidly because of intense competition.

"The quality of what we bring out now is not what we brought out, even five years ago," he says.

Still, he says, the industry has a long way to go before its actors and directors have a chance to make millions of dollars. - All Africa.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

EUROPEAN RACISM: Minority Students Don't Only Get Less Experienced Teachers - They Also Get Less Effective Ones!

April 13, 2014 - UNITED STATES - It's already known that low-income students of color generally have less experienced teachers, but a new study from the Center for American Progress reveals they have less effective teachers, too.

The Center For American Progress report, released Friday, analyzed the evaluation scores of teachers in low-income and affluent districts in both Massachusetts and Louisiana.

Throughout the past few years, states have been incentivized to adopt new teacher evaluation systems through Race To The Top funding. The teacher evaluations in Massachusetts and Louisiana -- two states that are unique in making evaluation scores public -- rate teachers based on measures like student scores on standardized tests and effectiveness during classroom observation sessions.

In Louisiana, where teachers are rated as either "ineffective," "effective-emerging," "effective-proficient" or "highly effective," researchers found that “a student in a school in the highest-poverty quartile is almost three times as likely to be taught by a teacher rated ineffective as a student in a school in the lowest-poverty quartile.”

The graphic below shows the breakdown of scores:

Similarly, students in schools with a high concentration of minorities are more than twice as likely to have an ineffective teacher than students in schools with a low minority enrollment.

Massachusetts teachers receive ratings such as "unsatisfactory," "needs improvement," "proficient" or "exemplary." Although Massachusetts has fewer teachers with poor ratings than Louisiana, students in high-poverty schools are three times as likely to be taught by a teacher rated "unsatisfactory" than students in low-poverty schools, the report notes. See the graphic below:

Results are similar for schools with a high concentration of minority students.

Another Center For American Progress study, also out Friday, analyzed the root causes for what is called the unequal distribution of teachers. The report noted that while No Child Left Behind previously asked states to devise plans that would ensure the equitable distribution of teachers, subsequent waivers gave states flexibility from these requirements.

“Regardless of how it is measured, teacher quality is not distributed equitably across schools and districts. Poor students and students of color are less likely to get well-qualified or high-value teachers than students from higher-income families or students who are white,” says the report.

Jenny DeMonte, associate director for education research at American Progress, told The Huffington Post that both studies indicate, “we’ve got some work to do.”

In order to fix these problems, she said, districts should incentivize effective teachers to work in disadvantaged districts and create mentorship programs that pair effective teachers with struggling ones.

“Regardless of how you splice it or measure it, this continues to be something we need to think about. Having an effective teacher is a key driver in whether a student achieves and learns a lot,” DeMonte said. - Huffington Post.

Friday, April 11, 2014

ELECTRIC BODY: Electric Food For The People Of The Sun - The Spice That Prevents Fluoride From Destroying Your Brain!

April 11, 2014 - FOOD & HEALTH -  Fluoride is found everywhere today, from antibiotics to drinking water, no-stick pans to toothpaste, making exposure inevitable. All the more reason why new research proving this common spice can prevent fluoride damage is so promising!

Fluoride's neurotoxicity has been the subject of academic debate for decades, and now a matter of increasingly impassioned controversy among the general public, as well. From 'conspiracy theories' about it being first used in drinking water in Russian and Nazi concentration camps to chemically lobotomize captives, to its now well-known IQ lowering properties, to its ability to enhance the calcification of the pineal gland – the traditional 'seat of the soul' – many around the world, and increasingly in the heavily fluoridated regions of the United States, are starting to organize at the local and statewide level to oust this ubiquitous toxicant from municipal drinking water.

Now, a new study published in the Pharmacognosy Magazine titled, "Curcumin attenuates neurotoxicity induced by fluoride: An in vivo evidence," adds experimental support to the suspicion that fluoride is indeed a brain-damaging substance, also revealing that a natural spice-derived protective agent against the various health effects associated with this compound is available.

The study was authored by researchers from the Department of Zoology, University College of Science, M.L. Sukhadia University, Udaipur, India, who have spent the past decade investigating the mechanisms through which fluoride induce severe neurodegenerative changes in the mammalian brain, particularly in cells of the hippocampus and cerebral cortex.[i] [ii]

The study opens by describing the historical backdrop for concern about fluoride's significant and wide ranging toxicity:

Fluoride (F) is probably the first inorganic ion which drew attention of the scientific world for its toxic effects and now the F toxicity through drinking water is well-recognized as a global problem. Health effect reports on F exposure also include various cancers, adverse reproductive activities, cardiovascular, and neurological diseases.[1,2]
The study focused on fluoride induced neurotoxicity, identifying excitoxicity (stimulation of the neuron to the point of death) and oxidative stress as the two main drivers of neurodegeneration. It has been observed that subjects with the condition known as fluorosis, a mottling of tooth enamel caused by excessive exposure to fluoride during tooth development, also have neurodegenerative changes associated with a form of oxidative stress known as lipid peroxidation (rancidity). Excess lipid peroxidation in the brain can lead to a decrease in total brain phospholipid content. Owing to these well-known mechanisms of fluoride associated neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration, the researchers identified the primary polyphenol in the spice turmeric -- known as curcumin – as an ideal agent worth testing as a neuroprotective substance. Previous research on curcumin indicates that it is capable of activing as an antioxidant in 3 distinct ways by protecting against: 1) singlet oxygen 2) hyrodxyl radicals and 3) superoxide radical damage. Also, curcumin appears to raise endogenous glutathione production in the brain, a major antioxidant defense system.

In order to assess the neurotoxic effects of fluoride and prove curcumin's protective role against it, researchers randomly divided up mice into four groups, for 30 days:
  1. Control (no fluoride)
  2. Fluoride (120 ppm): fluoride was given in distilled water drinking water without restriction.
  3. Fluoride (120 ppm/30 mg/kg body weight) + Curcumin: Oral dose of curcumin dissolved in olive oil along with fluoride in drinking water
  4. Curcumin: (30 mg/kg body weight)

In order to ascertain the effect of treatment, the researchers measured the malondialdehyde (MDA) content in the brains of the different treated mice. MDA is a well-known marker of oxidative stress/damage.

As was expected, the fluoride (F) only treatment group showed significantly elevated MDA levels vs. the non-fluoride treated control. The F + Curcumin group saw reduced MDA levels vs. the fluoride only group, demonstrating curcumin's neuroprotective activity against fluoride associated neurotoxicity.

The study concluded,

Our study thus demonstrate that daily single dose of 120 ppm F result in highly significant increases in the LPO [lipid peroxidation, i.e. brain rancidity] as well as neurodegenerative changes in neuron cell bodies of selected hippocampal regions. Supplementation with curcumin significantly reduce the toxic effect of F to near normal level by augmenting the antioxidant defense through its scavenging property and provide an evidence of having therapeutic role against oxidative stress mediated neurodegeneration.

This is far from the first study to demonstrate curcumin's remarkable brain-saving properties. From the perspective of the primary research alone, there are over two hundred peer-reviewed published studies indicating that curcumin is a neuroprotective agent. On our own turmeric database we have 115 articles proving this statement: Turmeric Protects The Brain. We have also featured studies on turmeric's ability to protect and restore the brain:
Considering the many chemical insults we face on a daily basis in the post-industrial world, turmeric may very well be the world's most important herb, with over 600 evidence-based health applications.

For more information, please review the following content:

[i] Bhatnagar M, Rao P, Saxena A, Bhatnagar R, Meena P, Barbar S. Biochemical changes in brain and other tissues of young adult female mice from fluoride in their drinking water. Fluoride. 2006;39:280–4. [Ref list]

[ii] Bhatnagar M, Sukhwal P, Suhalka P, Jain A, Joshi C, Sharma D. Effects of fluoride in drinking water on NADPH-diaphorase neurons in the forebrain of mice: A possible mechanism of fluoride neurotoxicity. Fluoride. 2011;44:195–9. [Ref list]

Related Activist Post Article:
7 Secret Ways We Are Being Poisoned

This article first appeared at GreenMedInfo.  Please visit to access their vast database of articles and the latest information in natural health.

- Activist Post.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

AFRICAN RENAISSANCE: Boom Towns - Five African Urban Areas Offering Untapped Opportunities!

April 09, 2014 - AFRICA - Across Africa there are towns and cities experiencing fast growth on the back of new mining and oil projects or other business activities.

Because of their swelling economies and an influx of people, these so-called boom towns often present untapped opportunities – from hotels to private hospitals – that savvy businesspeople can exploit. We asked a number of logistics company’s Africa managers to identify a fast growing urban area in their respective countries, and to highlight the opportunities available.

1. Nacala, Mozambique

Mozambique’s western Tete Province is said to have some of the world’s richest coal deposits, and in recent years the area has lured mining companies such as Rio Tinto and Brazil’s Vale. There is one problem, though: getting the coal out of the country. Export capability is currently being strangled by poor infrastructure linking the mine pits to ports. However, the public and private sectors are working together to improve Mozambique’s rail and port infrastructure.

One of the beneficiaries of these infrastructure developments is the town of Nacala, one of the deepest natural sea ports in Africa. Mining company Vale is part of a project to develop a 912km rail line leading from its Tete mine, through a part of Malawi, to Nacala. The project includes the expansion of Nacala’s port facilities. In addition to coal, the railway is expected to carry other goods destined for Zambia and Malawi. Nacala’s new international airport is also set to open by the middle of this year.

According to Dominique Lalous, DHL country manager in Mozambique, Nacala holds potential for shopping malls, hotels, housing, business support services, and warehousing for logistics purposes.

 2. Mbarara, Uganda
In western Uganda, in the middle of the country’s cattle corridor, lies the town of Mbarara. According to Asteway Desta, DHL country manager for Uganda, this agricultural centre is one of the country’s fastest growing towns.

“All milk and dairy products are collected in Mbarara before being transported to the main market in the capital Kampala,” says Desta. The town is also on the main route to other agricultural towns such as Kabale and Ibanda.

Desta says there are untapped opportunities in Mbarara for healthcare facilities, food processing, hotels and air transport.

3. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

The landlocked West African country of Burkina Faso has seen robust economic expansion in recent years, driven by sectors such as agriculture, mining and telecommunications. According Nawa Yeo, who looks after DHL’s business in the country, the capital Ouagadougou is by far the fastest growing urban area. “Over the past years the capital has certainly changed in terms of the quantity and diversity of economic activities,” says Yeo.

Ouagadougou does not have enough top-end hotels and restaurants to meet the demand from foreign businesspeople. “If you want a hotel room in Ouagadougou you need to book well in advance. We need many more facilities catering for businesspeople,” says Yeo.

“As a booming city, Ouagadougou is facing a huge demand for energy. The public power company is unable to cater for demand. The same goes for clean water and low cost, affordable houses,” notes Yeo.

 4. Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo
Although it is already the commercial hub of the Republic of Congo, the port city of Pointe-Noire is set for additional growth due to new oil and mining projects. According to local DHL manager Paul Moudiki, the Congo is in for an economic boom in about two years’ time when new mining and oil projects come on stream.

The Moho Nord offshore crude oil project, situated approximately 75km off the Congo coast, is expected to begin commercial production in 2015 and has the potential to produce 140,000 barrels of oil per day. It is the first deepwater project in Congo and majority-owned by Total.

The Central African country is rich in base metal, gold, iron and phosphate deposits. Moudiki says it is especially Chinese mining companies that are active in the Congo. Other mining firms interested in the Congo’s iron ore deposits include Glencore Xstrata and Exxaro Resources. According to Moudiki, exploration works on a number of mining projects have been completed, and companies are now preparing for production.

Pointe-Noire has potential for additional hotels, housing and business support services.

5. Solwezi, Zambia

The town of Solwezi is situated in Zambia’s Northwestern Province, close to the Democratic Republic of Congo border. Much of the growth in Solwezi is fuelled by mining. First Quantum Minerals owns the largest copper mine in Africa, situated just 10km north of Solwezi, and the company is also developing additional copper and nickel projects about 150km west of the town.

“Solwezi has seen increased economic activity in recent times,” says Nomsa Mumba, country manager for DHL in Zambia. “There has been a phenomenal growth in the population and ultimately huge growth in the various economic activities. The population is growing every day. You can see from the fact that you can barely get accommodation for the numerous companies setting up in Solwezi.” - African Globe.

COSMIC MELANIN: The Waters Of NU - Massive Galaxies Of Early Universe Powered By Black Holes, "Reveal The Nature Of Dark Energy"!

April 09, 2014 - SPACE - Quasars are young galaxies powered by massive black holes, extremely bright, extremely distant, and thus highly redshifted. The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), the largest component of the third Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III), pioneered the use of quasars to map density variations in intergalactic gas at high redshifts, tracing the structure of the young universe.

BOSS charts the history of the universe's expansion in order to illuminate the nature of dark energy, and new measures of large-scale structure have yielded the most precise measurement of expansion since galaxies first formed.

The latest quasar results combine two separate analytical techniques. A new kind of analysis, led by physicist Andreu Font-Ribera of the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and his team, was published late last year. Analysis using a tested approach, but with far more data than before, has just been published by Timothée Delubac, of EPFL Switzerland and France’s Centre de Saclay, and his team. The two analyses together establish the expansion rate at 68 kilometers per second per million light years at redshift 2.34, with an unprecedented accuracy of 2.2 percent.

"This means if we look back to the universe when it was less than a quarter of its present age, we'd see that a pair of galaxies separated by a million light years would be drifting apart at a velocity of 68 kilometers a second as the universe expands," says Font-Ribera, a postdoctoral fellow in Berkeley Lab's Physics Division. "The uncertainty is plus or minus only a kilometer and a half per second." Font-Ribera presented the findings at the April 2014 meeting of the American Physical Society in Savannah, GA.

BOSS employs both galaxies and distant quasars to measure baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO), a signature imprint in the way matter is distributed, resulting from conditions in the early universe. While also present in the distribution of invisible dark matter, the imprint is evident in the distribution of ordinary matter, including galaxies, quasars, and intergalactic hydrogen.

"Three years ago BOSS used 14,000 quasars to demonstrate we could make the biggest 3-D maps of the universe," says Berkeley Lab's David Schlegel, principal investigator of BOSS. "Two years ago, with 48,000 quasars, we first detected baryon acoustic oscillations in these maps. Now, with more than 150,000 quasars, we've made extremely precise measures of BAO."

The BAO imprint corresponds to an excess of about five percent in the clustering of matter at a separation known as the BAO scale. Recent experiments including BOSS and the Planck satellite study of the cosmic microwave background put the BAO scale, as measured in today's universe, at very close to 450 million light years – a "standard ruler" for measuring expansion.

BAO directly descends from pressure waves (sound waves) moving through the early universe, when particles of light and matter were inextricably entangled; 380,000 years after the big bang, the universe had cooled enough for light to go free. The cosmic microwave background radiation preserves a record of the early acoustic density peaks; these were the seeds of the subsequent BAO imprint on the distribution of matter.

Previous work from BOSS used the spectra of over a million galaxies to measure the BAO scale with a remarkable one percent accuracy. But beyond redshift 0.7 (roughly six billion light years distant), galaxies become fainter and more difficult to see. For much higher redshifts like those in the present studies, averaging 2.34, BOSS pioneered the "Lyman-alpha forest" method of using spectra from distant quasars to calculate the density of intergalactic hydrogen.

As the light from a distant quasar passes through intervening hydrogen gas, patches of greater density absorb more light. The absorption lines of neutral hydrogen in the spectrum (Lyman-alpha lines) pinpoint each dense patch by how much they are redshifted. There are so many lines in such a spectrum, in fact, that it resembles a forest – the Lyman-alpha forest.

With enough good quasar spectra, close enough together, the position of the gas clouds can be mapped in three dimensions – both along the line of sight for each quasar and transversely among dense patches revealed by other quasar spectra. From these maps the BAO signal is extracted.

Although introduced by BOSS only a few years ago, this method of using Lyman-alpha forest data, called autocorrelation, by now seems almost traditional. The just-published autocorrelation results by Delubac and his colleagues employ the spectra of almost 140,000 carefully selected BOSS quasars.

Font-Ribera and his colleagues determine BAO using even more BOSS quasars in a different way. Instead of comparing spectra to other spectra, Font-Ribera's team correlated quasars themselves to the spectra of other quasars, a method called cross-correlation.

"Quasars are massive galaxies, and we expect them to be in the denser parts of the universe, where the density of the intergalactic gas should also be higher," says Font-Ribera. "Therefore we expect to find more of the absorbing gas than average when we look near quasars." The question was whether the correlation would be good enough to see the BAO imprint.

Indeed the BAO imprint in cross-correlation was strong. Delubac and his team combined their autocorrelation results with the cross-correlation results of Font-Ribera and his team, and they converged on narrow constraints for the BAO scale. Autocorrelation and cross-correlation also converged in the precision of their measures of the universe's expansion rate, called the Hubble parameter. At redshift 2.34, the combined measure was equivalent to 68 plus or minus 1.5 kilometers per second per million light years.

"It's the most precise measurement of the Hubble parameter at any redshift, even better than the measurement we have from the local universe at redshift zero," says Font-Ribera. "These results allow us to study the geometry of the universe when it was only a fourth its current age. Combined with other cosmological experiments, we can learn about dark energy and put tight constraints on the curvature of the universe – it's very flat!"

David Schlegel remarks that when BOSS was first getting underway, the cross-correlation technique had been suggested, but "some of us were afraid it wouldn't work. We were wrong. Our precision measures are even better than we optimistically hoped for."

The dramatic image at the top of the page was the first to be produced by e-MERLIN, a powerful array of radio telescopes linked across the UK. This enigmatic double quasar, first discovered by Jodrell Bank, is a famous example of Einstein's theory of gravity in action. The image shows how the light from a quasar billions of light years away is bent around a foreground galaxy by the curvature of space. This light has been travelling for 9 billion years before it reached the Earth. The quasar is a galaxy powered by a super-massive black hole, leading to the ejection of jets of matter moving at almost the speed of light - one of which can be seen arcing to the left in this new e-MERLIN image.

The warping of space results in a 'gravitational lens' producing multiple images of the same quasar - the two brightest of these lensed images can be seen here as two bright objects, one below the other. The foreground galaxy whose mass is responsible for the lensing effect is also visible just above the lower quasar image. The radio emission seen in the e-MERLIN image suggests that this galaxy also harbors a black hole, albeit somewhat smaller. - Daily Galaxy.

THE RISE OF THE MOORS AND THE END OF THE RECESSIVE TIMELINE: The Precursors To The End Of The White Supremacy Paradigm - German Researchers Predict That Blondes Will "DIE OUT IN LESS THAN 200 YEARS;" The Blonde Gene Will Become Extinct By 2202!

April 09, 2014 - GENES & DNA - The last natural blondes will die out within 200 years, scientists believe.

A study by experts in Germany suggests people with blonde hair are an endangered species and will become extinct by 2202.

Researchers predict the last truly natural blonde will be born in Finland - the country with the highest proportion of blondes.

But they say too few people now carry the gene for blondes to last beyond the next two centuries.

The problem is that blonde hair is caused by a recessive gene.

In order for a child to have blonde hair, it must have the gene on both sides of the family in the grandparents' generation.

Dyed rivals

The researchers also believe that so-called bottle blondes may be to blame for the demise of their natural rivals.

They suggest that dyed-blondes are more attractive to men who choose them as partners over true blondes.

But Jonathan Rees, professor of dermatology at the University of Edinburgh said it was unlikely blondes would die out completely.

"Genes don't die out unless there is a disadvantage of having that gene or by chance. They don't disappear," he told BBC News Online.

"The only reason blondes would disappear is if having the gene was a disadvantage and I do not think that is the case.

"The frequency of blondes may drop but they won't disappear."  - BBC.

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