Monday, 30 January 2012

Around the World in Five Minutes

Amnesty uncovers torture in Libya

According to Amnesty International, several people in Libya's detention centres have been tortured to death by security officials and armed militia.
Amnesty  said its researchers in Libya met prisoners in and around the cities of Tripoli, Misurata and Gheryan who bore injuries consistent with torture, including open wounds on their heads, limbs and back.
 Most of the victims were Libyans believed to be Gaddafi loyalists, but some were sub-Saharan Africans believed to be mercenaries. NGO Human rights Watch has also documented ongoing torture in Libyan prisons.
The United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, has expressed concerns regarding the matter.

 Seventy workers seized in Sudan
In Sudan, 70 construction workers in the south Kordofan state have been seized by militants according to military officials. The militants attacked a construction site in a remote area on Saturday and destroyed equipment, according to Alswarmi Khalid, a spokesman for the Sudanese armed forces. China's foreign ministry said 29 of its nationals were seized. However the Sudanese army has said 14 of them have been released. Chinese officials have cast doubt over their claim. Khalid has blamed the attacks on the Sudan People's Liberation Movement - a rebel group in the border region with neighbouring South Sudan. He said the army is hunting down the kidnappers.
Indonesian govt revokes gold-mining license

Indonesia  has revoked permits for a joint Indonesian-Australian mining venture on Sumbawa island after a string of violent protests in which two people died and a government office was set alight. Thousands of protesters rioted last Thursday in Sumbawa to demand an end to the gold exploration plan, which they said would damage their land and livelihoods.Many of Sumbawa's 1.3 million residents are fishermen and farmers worried about the environmental effects of gold mining on their land and water supplies, according to Indonesia's largest environmental advocacy group. It has also expressed doubts about the government's commitment to revoke the licence.
Senegalese President allowed third term

A court has ruled that Senegal's 85-year-old president can run for a third term. The decision by the constitutional court, which appears to contradict a two-term limit in Senegal’s Constitution, quickly provoked street clashes between young opponents of the president, Abdoulaye Wade, and Senegal’s police. The Constitutional Council said the 85-year-old president was not bound by a two-term limit because his first term began before the rule was introduced.

Belgium holds first strike in six years
Belgium has embarked on its first general strike in six years over austerity measures, as EU leaders meet for a summit in Brussels. The main train station is closed and about 10 per cent of flights will be affect, although Brussels airport remains open. EU leaders have gathered in Brussels for their first meeting of the year, and are expected to sign a treat that will bind eurozone states to tougher budget rules.  

Scientist develop brain cells from skin

Scientists in Scotland have discovered a new way of growing human brain cells using a person's skin. Scientists from Scotland’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine have developed brain tissue using skin samples from patients who were suffering from various mental ailments such as depression and schizophrenia. One of the researchers, Andrew McIntosh, said having access to living brain cells is a significant breakthrough for the development of drugs for these conditions."
If successful, the same methods could be used for other organs, including the liver and heart.

What do you make of the stories? Are there any underreported or relevant stories you feel I have missed out on? If the answer is yes, kindly send me an email with your suggestions. Thanks. 


  1. Ahhh, not a day goes by without some African despot flouting whatever is left of the much-abused local constitution, all in a cynical bid to cling on to political power. At 85 the Senegalese president is at best,a political dinosaur, with not much left to offer, which begs the question, why not swerve and leave the stage for a much younger contender to take the reins? Interesting how another despot in Zimbabwe, also wants to contest yet another term in office, and I use the term contest, loosely, given that presidential elections in Zimbabwe bear no resemblance to the any contest we are used to.The basic question then is, is such political clinging a unique African peculiarity?

  2. Interesting how Sudan rebels have kidnapped a number of hostages, when just last week US navy seals' Team 6, shot and killed Somalian hostage takers who had taken American hostages. This is the same outfit that took out Al qaeda terror chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. I guess the Sudanese hostage takers should be counting their luck, no Americans are amongst the hostages...

  3. Hahahaha! Will! I like the term 'political dinosaur'. I just can't figure out why the man is clinging on to power with the tip of his nails. Hasn't he had his fill power and wealth? Totally absurd.

    Yes, the Sudanese rebels are so lucky. What point are they tryin to make by seizing foreigners?

    Thanks for your comments.

  4. Love your manner of going round the Continents and giving us something different fresher angle. Thanks.
    I for one am suspicious of the killing of Sub-Saharan African (SSA)'mercenaries' in Libya. Going to get themselves killed for any reason (even money) is not in the culture of the SSA. Those from Niger Republic may do so, or north Africa, but not the SSA. What I suspect happened is that Sub-Saharan Africans (SSA) were rounded up and killed (probably many were illegal immigrants in Libya)simply because our north African brethren don't like us for some reason. Nor is this the first time that such a killing is happening. Navi Pillay needs to act, not just express concern.

  5. Yes Will, I agree with you the Sudanese are probably safe as long as they didn't take any American hostages. I don't see the Chinese taking such radical actions to free their citizens.
    I am applauding the Sumbawa people in Indonesia. For it is not enough to vote in a government especially in tricky areas like environmental protection and sustainable development. You have to continue watching over your interests yourself.

  6. Even if the Sudanese Supreme court are right in their legal decision, I have one last word to Wade:
    'Africa my Africa, Africa of proud warriors in their ancestral savannahs, Africa of whom my grandmother [and grandfather] sings'!
    Grannys sing/counsel Wade, they don't politic. You are quite a bit older than my grandmother. To everything there is a time and season. You've had two rounds. The football match is up. Are your personal selfish power objectives more important to you than the peace and progress of several million people? GET OUT OF THE PRESIDENCY AND STAY OUT!

    1. Nice way of putting it, Dlaw. STEP DOWN MR WADE. GO PREPARE TO MEET YOUR GOD!!!

  7. By the beauty of the picture representing Belgium, if this is what austerity looks like, then it looks good!

  8. Thanks for your comments, Dlaw. I am equally suspicious of the so-called sub-saharan mercenaries in Libya. And yes, it's convenient for Navi Pillay to express concerns. What is she doing about it?

    I doubt China will go the extra length to rescue their citizens. Poor hostages!

    True, the Indonesians deserve a gong. If you don't stand up for yourself, nobody will.

  9. Well thats what you get when you put former criminals in charge of a country, Libya is just seeing the tip of iceberg. The CIA is inferring that maybe some of Libya's weapon stock pile has been auctioned out and might have found its way all the way to sub-sahara, am talking about landing in the hands of boko haram.

    The capture of the Chinese is just a way to warn China from helping southern Sudan get new pipeline. Its just a mess in S-Sudan, a new country landlocked and trying to forge its identity under big bullies.

    1. african-voice, thanks a lot for comment. Welcome on board fresh angle. Thanks for such a deep insight; I never knew. If that's the case with Libya then the country is heading towards 'democratic' anarchy! They made a show of killing the 'dictator' at Gaddafi, but so far they are not faring any better.

      As for Sudan, they should let S.Sudan be. At least S.Sudan has taken steps to suspend oil production until they sort out the whole divisive issue of revenue sharing. And if China are helping them lay pipelines, it will help forge ahead with their independence. Good luck to them.

    2. Thanks for your comments African Voice. Though some of the successful governments in Africa presently started via coups/revolutions; I agree with you they did not occur in the manner of Libya. So the present Libyan government set up is composed of criminals. The news that some of their weapons are in the hands of boko haram is scary. What I still do not understand is what the international coommunity thinks it has to gain by sponsoring boko haram. Any ideas?