Friday, September 12, 2014

Africa: " Dream coins for the fountain or to cover your eyes "

Press TV reports

US using Ebola to advance its imperialist agenda in Africa: Azikiwe





The United States is using the epidemic of the Ebola virus to advance its imperialist agenda in West Africa, a civil rights activist and journalist in Detroit says.

Azikiwe is talking shit. I would suggest the so called "civil rights activist " is using the Ebola nightmare occurring in West Africa to advance his personal agenda, quite how denying the Ebola victims and those at risk of becoming victims assistance from America does that is beyond me on a moral level. Clearly Azikiwe has a domestic USA goal and doesn't give a shit how many African lives are lost due to his political gamesmanship.

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Tuesday while commenting on President Barack Obama’s announcement that the US military will be involved in tackling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, arguing that it represents a serious national security concern.

The US military are probably the best organisation in the world to react to this. No they are not doctors but they understand bio-warfare in a way no other military or civilian organisation does. Sure lets get as many health professionals as we can on the ground but that is an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. We stop Ebola by stopping human interactions. It is brutal and without humanity it is also the only way.

"I believe this is just another means for the United States military intelligence’s deeper penetration of the African continent. Already the United States has military presence in Libya, in Sierra Leone, as well in the west African state of Nigeria, all of which have been... impacted by the epidemic of the Ebola virus,” Azikiwe said.

That statement is worthy of a Darwin Award, next the fool will be arguing that the USA perpetrated the Ebola outbreak. Idiots like this often forget the logistics.

"The only way in which this disease can be tackled is through the proliferation of medical personnel, trained doctors, nurses, the development of the field hospitals and clinics, and it’s through this process that the disease can be arrested," he added.

The best way of tackling it is to reduce to a minimum human interactions. Bodies of the dead need to be disposed of in such a way that the dead can't infect the living. Doctors and nurses are not trained in this way. 

"The reason why this disease is having such a traumatic impact on Africa... is the fact that there are not adequate healthcare facilities in these various countries -- adequate research facilities -- so this disease can be tackled both through research as well as through medical treatment," the civil rights activist noted.

The reason this virus is killing is that it is a virus we have no immunity too. If it escaped into the population in New Zealand it would kill at the same levels it does in Africa. Has this fool never heard of AIDS ? Research by all means, there is no proven medical treatment available therefor you isolate. I hate the TINA ( There Is No Alternative ) theory but it is our best option and AFRICOM is probably the best placed outfit to oirganise this.

"This treatment will be designed to contain a virus and also to eliminate it. But it's not a military solution, it's a medical solution, and the medical solution is definitely related to the lack of the development, the lack of resources inside the region," he stated.

"...and the medical solution is definitely related to the lack of the development, the lack of resources inside the region," I am not arguing with the fact that third world health is a bloody disaster it is. I just don't see that that is a reason to sign up to a suicide pact. This clown reminds me of Jim Jones.

"Jonestown" was the informal name for the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project formed by the Peoples Temple, an American religious organization under the leadership of Jim Jones, in northwestern Guyana. It became internationally notorious when on November 18, 1978, 918 people died in the settlement, at the nearby airstrip in Port Kaituma, and in Georgetown, Guyana's capital city.


"The Ebola cases that have been sent to the Unites States for treatment have gotten very positive results. That is directly related to the level of medical facilities and healthcare professionals [in the US] that can address this issue," Azikiwe said. "But it's not a military issue, it's a medical issue, and the medical issue is definitely related to the question of development in West Africa."

Bullshit. Just watch the footage. The Ebola victim got out of the ambulance and walked into the clinic. He was not suffering from Ebola.

"[T]his is the only way of which there will be a long-term solution for this crisis. The disease at this point is a threat for West Africa; but it's also an international threat because there's no way it can be contained strictly in the West African region," he emphasized.

Oh please save me from fucking stupid people. You contain it by using draconian measures. We are not signing up to a suicide pact.

He added that “there have been some cases in the northern region of Democratic Republic of Congo. Although they are claiming the outbreak is unrelated to the outbreak in West Africa, still we go back to the question of adequate medical facilities and adequate medical personnel.”

Well he clearly doesn't read this blog. Yes there have and isolation is and remains the only cure.

“So this is the real solution and [regarding] AFRICOM - the United States Army Command for the Africa Region - these military intuitions are not established for the purposes of healthcare. They are established for the purpose of carrying out the United States' imperialist foreign policy in Africa and this is just another mechanism for Barack Obama to move in that direction,” Azikiwe concluded.

I might suggest he has a look at AFRICOM a serious look. Then he might understand why I am laughing at him. 

Tanzania: " This is the dead land ....... Here the stone images Are raised "

The Smithsonian reports

This Alkaline African Lake Turns Animals into Stone

                                                                    A    Calcified Fish Eagle

Photographer Nick Brandt captures haunting images of calcified animals, preserved by the extreme waters of Tanzania's Lake Natron

In 2011, when he was traveling to shoot photos for a new book on the disappearing wildlife of East Africa, Across the Ravaged Land, photographer Nick Brandt came across a truly astounding place: A natural lake that seemingly turns all sorts of animals into stone.


All the photos are of birds. However it would seem all animals including mammals have this option of immortality. 

                                                                              A Calcified Buffalo

“When I saw those creatures for the first time alongside the lake, I was completely blown away,” says Brandt. “The idea for me, instantly, was to take portraits of them as if they were alive.”

                                                                             A Calcified Dove

The ghastly Lake Natron, in northern Tanzania, is a salt lake—meaning that water flows in, but doesn’t flow out, so it can only escape by evaporation. Over time, as water evaporates, it leaves behind high concentrations of salt and other minerals, like at the Dead Sea and Utah’s Great Salt Lake.


Why do minerals and Africa all ways seem to result in death.
" The Western world has for centuries nicked everything we could get our thieving hands on in Africa, including at our worst its people. From slavery in the past to Coltan today we have been complicit in the deaths of millions of Africans."

I guess we are off the hook for these deaths.

Unlike those other lakes, though, Lake Natron is extremely alkaline, due to high amounts of the chemical natron (a mix of sodium carbonate and baking soda) in the water. The water’s pH has been measured as high as 10.5—nearly as high as ammonia. “It’s so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds,” Brandt says.

As you might expect, few creatures live in the harsh waters, which can reach 140 degrees Fahreinheit—they’re home to just a single fish species (Alcolapia latilabris), some algae and a colony of flamingos that feeds on the algae and breeds on the shore.


The Smithsonian should really know better than to publish such rubbish.

" In fact, Lake Natron's alkaline waters support a thriving ecosystem of salt marshes, freshwater wetlands, flamingos and other wetland birds, tilapia and the algae on which large flocks of flamingos feed."

Frequently, though, migrating birds crash into the lake’s surface. Brandt theorizes that the highly-reflective, chemical dense waters act like a glass door, fooling birds into thinking they’re flying through empty space (not long ago, a helicopter pilot tragically fell victim to the same illusion, and his crashed aircraft was rapidly corroded by the lake’s waters). During dry season, Brandt discovered, when the water recedes, the birds’ desiccated, chemically-preserved carcasses wash up along the coastline.

“It was amazing. I saw entire flocks of dead birds all washed ashore together, lemming-like,” he says. “You’d literally get, say, a hundred finches washed ashore in a 50-yard stretch.”
At the risk of sounding really gruesome, I would love to have a specimen.  

                                                                                  A Calcified Bat

Over the course of about three weeks, Brandt worked with locals to collect some of the most finely-preserved specimens. “They thought I was absolutely insane—some crazy white guy, coming along offering money for people to basically go on a treasure hunt around the lake for dead birds,” he says. “When, one time, someone showed up with an entire, well-preserved fish eagle, it was extraordinary.”


I suspect that there would be a market for such curios I hope that Brandt pointed out the possible economic opportunities to the local people.


Just coming into contact with the water was dangerous. “It’s so caustic, that even if you’ve got the tiniest cut, it’s very painful,” he says. “Nobody would ever swim in this—it’d be complete madness.”


A very narrow perspective of an ecosystem.

For the series of photos, titled “The Calcified” and featured in this month’s issue of New Scientist, Brandt posed the carcasses in life-like positions. “But the bodies themselves are exactly the way the birds were found,” he insists. “All I did was position them on the branches, feeding them through their stiff talons.”


Hey it is his art and he can do what he wants. It is also bloody interesting.


The hard part:
Hat Tip : Whaleoil

Friday, August 29, 2014

Africa: " Count the hours 'til dawn and bring out your dead "

The World Health Organization ( WHO ) advises


WHO issues roadmap to scale up international response to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa

                                                            Colorised transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of ebola virus 

The aim is to stop ongoing Ebola transmission worldwide within 6–9 months, while rapidly managing the consequences of any further international spread. It also recognizes the need to address, in parallel, the outbreak’s broader socioeconomic impact.

It responds to the urgent need to dramatically scale up the international response. Nearly 40% of the total number of reported cases have occurred within the past three weeks.

Interestingly this report gilds the lily but the roadmap pulls no punches. 


" This Roadmap assumes that in many areas of intense transmission the actual number of cases may 
be 2-4 fold higher than that currently reported. It acknowledges that the aggregate case load of EVD 

could exceed 20,000 over the course of this emergency. "

The roadmap was informed by comments received from a large number of partners, including health officials in the affected countries, the African Union, development banks, other UN agencies, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and countries providing direct financial support.

It will serve as a framework for updating detailed operational plans. Priority is being given to needs for treatment and management centres, social mobilization, and safe burials. These plans will be based on site-specific data that are being set out in regular situation reports, which will begin this week.

It should be a useful tool. But its utility will be compromised I would suggest to the point of being useless if the scale of underreporting continues. The count to date is cases have risen to 3,069, with 1,552 deaths, that may of course be just the tip of the iceberg. 

The situation reports map the hotspots and hot zones, present epidemiological data showing how the outbreak is evolving over time, and communicate what is known about the location of treatment facilities and laboratories, together with data needed to support other elements of the roadmap.

The New York Times points out one logistical problem:

" Mr. Aylward, picking out details of the road map, said it would take at least 750 international and 12,000 local health workers. 

“That is very difficult in the current environment,” he added, alluding to fears arising from the high number of medical workers — 250 as of Monday — who had contracted the disease. Recruiting international staff may be harder than finding local personnel, he added, debunking the notion that locals were running away from the crisis.

Health workers were getting infected because they were exhausted from working extraordinary hours, Mr. Aylward said. "

The roadmap covers the health dimensions of the international response. These dimensions include key potential bottlenecks requiring international coordination, such as the supply of personal protective equipment, disinfectants, and body bags.

The WHO roadmap will be complemented by the development of a separate UN-wide operational platform that brings in the skills and capacities of other agencies, including assets in the areas of logistics and transportation. The UN-wide platform aims to facilitate the delivery of essential services, such as food and other provisions, water supply and sanitation, and primary health care.

This situation was entirely predictable ( and predicted ) yet only now is the International Community starting to get a grip on it. Obviously it will get worse before it starts to improve but now is the critical time. If we screw up now the consequences will be horrendous.

" That is very good news isolation is the key to beating this. If it gets to a major city or population area well it doesn't bear thinking about. But one day it will. "

Resource flows to implement the roadmap will be tracked separately, with support from the World Bank.

As I observed nearly two years ago $2 million was chicken feed, I have no idea what this epidemic will cost but it is irrelevant, the lowest price tag I have seen is in the region of half a billion dollars and I very much doubt it will be that low. 

"If nothing is done now, the disease will reach other places, and even major towns will be threatened," he said, adding that an estimated $US2 million had to be urgently found to pay for measures to tackle the disease.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

DR Congo: " Hey you, you've survived. Now you've arrived "

Esther Nsapu blogs at Rafika, this has been translated by the Rafika translation service from French and then been cleaned up a bit by me. All errors are mine. I have avoided making any comments.

Kitchanga: the vulnerable populations living through farming activities


We are in Masisi territory specifically in the Kibumbu marsh 85 km from Goma; before me dozens of vulnerable people are carrying out work on community fields, repair farms and deserted schools. Others are working on storage facilities or in community granaries. Here men and women work together regardless of language or tribes.

The WFP ( World Food Programme ) is supporting developments 
in collaboration with PADEC Food Programme, a local NGO is implementing a program called " Living for Travai " for over 48,000 vulnerable households among them Internally Displaced Persons ( IDP ), returnees and householders to combat food insecurity in Kitchanga part of the Masisi territory. 

Kitchanga Marsh operation has arranged small plots of eight hectares per household. Each household operates its plot free for a period of 5 years.

The objective of this project is to restore livelihoods as well as the social and economic reintegration of vulnerable people, says Mr. Djaounsede from the WFP.

In this environment, it is not easy for poor families to rebuild their lives after a natural disaster or armed conflict. Many of them are displaced persons from Kahira, Nyabiondo, Pinga, Walikale, Bugini, Rutchuru, Bibwe and other places.

" I am from Bibwe, and I am a mother of 7 children. Through this project live to work , I can provide for my family; I managed to get a plot of land and I started to grow sprouts and sweet potatoes ". Says Ms. Ndondoli who is cultivating the marsh.

Since 2013, vulnerable families have regained their independence because this project, it has allowed many displaced returned and to improve their standard of living. 



For Mr Simon Bitahwa of PADEC the WFP in conjunction with the Programme for Community Support has assisted PADEC developments since 2013. More than 800 vulnerable households have benefitted from the development of acres of the Marsh for vegetable production and this has built social cohesion between conflict-torn communities. From the second year, each household operates its land independently.

The role of this project is to provide food and allow the displaced to have enough to eat and to devote their energies full time to the implementation this programme.

It is worth noting that the activities of " work for food " is taking place in areas affected by armed groups such as the North and South Kivu, Provinces Orientale, Katanga and Equateur but problems continue to arise in conflict zones, those of insecurity and access to land.



DR Congo: " You've finished playing hangman, you've cast the fateful dice"

The Security Council  has announced

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESS STATEMENT ON DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, GREAT LAKES REGION


                                                            FDLR criminals

The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Mark Lyall Grant ( United Kingdom):

On 7 August, the members of the Security Council heard briefings by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Martin Kobler, the outgoing Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, and the Minister for Defence of Angola, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, in his capacity as representative of the Chair of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). The members of the Security Council welcomed the nomination of Said Djinnit as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region.


So the only thing worth noting from that is that Said Djinnit is / is to be / might be / the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General. Somewhat at odds with his bio. in Wikipedia.

" Said Djinnit (Arabic: سعيد جينيت‎) (born June 7, 1954) is an Algerian diplomat who has been Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region in Africa since 2014. Previously he served as the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA)."

On the whole I think Wikipedia is more likely to be correct than Mark Lyall Grant, who either clearly can't read or has the ability to alter the decisions of the UN Secretary General from this blog July 20.  

" To continue building on her work, the UN Secretary General recently announced the appointment of Said Djinnit, former Special Representative of the Secretary General for West Africa, to succeed Robinson. Ambassador Djinnit's appointment is a reassuring and welcomed sign of the UN's sustained commitment to the Great Lakes."

This blog has long argued for Security Council reform, this whilst minor is yet another example of an organisation that is out of all touch with reality. 


The members of the Security Council welcomed the progress against armed groups, including the military defeat of the 23 March Movement (M23), the signing of the Nairobi Declarations by the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government and M23, and the significant weakening of the Allied Democratic Forces—National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU), but regretted that no significant progress was made towards the neutralization of the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR). They noted the initial efforts made by the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government and the Governments of the region towards fulfilling the commitments made under the Peace Security and Cooperation Framework, including the development of national and regional benchmarks. The members of the Security Council welcomed the efforts of regional organizations, in particular the role of the ICGLR, including that of President José Eduardo dos Santos as Chair, as subsequently demonstrated by the holding of two Heads of State and Government Mini-Summits in Luanda ( Angola) on 25 March and on 14 August.


For fucks sake M23 were defeated last year. The Nairobi Declarations signed by the Congolese Government were not the same declarations that were signed by M23 and for some reason Mark Lyall Grant seems unaware that there was in fact a third declaration signed in Nairobi. All had different text and all are totally meaningless.


" So we have three documents; according to the United Nations, Banda and Museveni signed one set, we appear to have photographic evidence to back this up.

Then we have Bertrand Bisimwa signing something that that says M23 is finished as a military force, something I would have thought was fairly self evident. At the same time the government of the DR Congo is signing a third set of papers that seem to bear no relationship with the previous two sets of documents and making matters even worse this is all just speculation on my part as I have not been able to track down the text of any of the documents."

As for the weakening of the Ugandan rebels ADF that is progress. Bloody slow progress but progress. The FDLR, my gut feeling is that they will not comply with the six month time frame to disarm. If MONUSCO and its component part the Intervention ( Africa ) Brigade want to maintain credibility they should be preparing a devastating response to be visited on the FDLR the day they go over the deadline. Genocidal killers deserve no respect. In the interests of avoiding unnecessary deaths, the FDLR have had ample time to demobilise.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their support for the swift neutralization of FDLR, as a top priority in bringing stability to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region. They recalled that leaders and members of FDLR were among the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed, and recalled that FDLR is a group under United Nations sanctions, operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and which has continued to promote and commit ethnically based and other killings in Rwanda and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They expressed deep concern regarding the sustained domestic and regional threat posed by FDLR, including recent reports of continued human rights abuses by members of FDLR and continued recruiting and training of combatants, including children, and stressed the importance of disarming and ending the threat caused by this illegal armed group.


As I said above if the FDLR think they can play games with the world it is time they reflected upon the fallacy of that position and if they do so from the perspective of watching the grass grow above them so be it.

The members of the Security Council took note of ongoing ICGLR and Southern African Development Community (SADC) diplomatic efforts to harmonize views and approaches on the neutralisation and unconditional disarmament of FDLR. They further took note of the six-month timeframe for the voluntary surrender of FDLR from 2 July and the review of progress after three months, as set out by the joint ICGLR-SADC meeting of Ministers of Defence on 2 July. They expressed concern about reports by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo that FDLR has interpreted this six-month timeframe as a call to stall previously scheduled demobilizations. They noted that the disarmament process should be concluded swiftly, have a clearly defined end state and be supported by credible military action. Meanwhile, they encouraged the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government, in coordination with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), to actively pursue military action against those leaders and members of FDLR who do not engage in the demobilization process or who continue to carry out human rights abuses. They underlined MONUSCO’s mandate to neutralize all armed groups, in line with resolutions 2098 (2013) and 2147 (2014), and further underlined their support for an effective disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement programme, paying a particular attention to women and children, as part of the demobilization process.


That is a Security Council authorisation for MONUSCO to neutralise kill the bastards. They deserve it.

The members of the Security Council took note of the technical missions carried out by the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government-led delegations to Uganda and Rwanda in April and July, respectively, to assess and process amnesty requests for former M23 combatants, in preparation for the repatriation of those eligible for reintegration, and underlined the need to fast-track and conclude their return to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in accordance with an agreed timetable. In this regard, they encouraged the parties to speed up the implementation of the Kampala Dialogue/Nairobi Declarations in order to ensure the permanent demobilization of M23.


What fucking dreamland are the Security Council living in ? Security Council President Mark Lyall Grant is a bloody fool. M23 have not gone away and will not go away " ...the permanent demobilization of M23." As I said we need Security Council reform. Mark Lyall Grant is an idiot.
The members of the Security Council called for the full and swift implementation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s national commitments under the Peace and Security Council Framework, including the restoration of State authority and the wider governance, economic and security sector reforms needed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to consolidate the progress made so far. They noted in this context the particular importance of security sector reform, including the establishment of a rapid reaction force. They stressed that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo bears primary responsibility for security, protection of civilians, national reconciliation, peacebuilding and development in the country.


Nothing unreasonable there, other than how ? Easy let's repatriate to the DR Congo all the receipts of all the wealth stolen from them... yup billions upon billions of dollars. America you are fucked and the UK with you your economies just failed due to debt failure.

Or we could do what we are doing now and a lot more... not just leave the DR Congo to spend another century in hell.

The members of the Security Council commended the work of Special Representative of the Secretary-General Kobler and outgoing Special Envoy of the Secretary-General Robinson, and underlined the continuing crucial role of MONUSCO in protecting civilians and promoting peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They stressed the importance of the troop-contributing countries’ role in the implementation of the Mission’s full mandate, including the neutralization of all armed groups through its Intervention Brigade, in support of the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, either unilaterally or jointly with the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC), and in cooperation with the whole of MONUSCO. They further emphasized the importance for MONUSCO to support and work with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to arrest and bring to justice those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. They also stressed the need to continue to increase the effectiveness of the Mission, and looked forward to the outcome of the forthcoming Strategic Review of MONUSCO and the wider United Nations presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Gobbledygook at its best.

The members of the Security Council encouraged the United Nations, the African Union, ICGLR, SADC and other relevant international and regional organizations to continue to work together to support the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Governments of the region towards the full implementation of the national and regional commitments under the Peace and Security Council Framework.


New Zealand is running for a seat on the Security Council and I think we might get it. I hope we don't. The last thing the world needs right now is us.



Monday, August 25, 2014

DR Congo: " Earth rim walker seeks his meals Prepare the funeral pyres "

Jeune Afrique reports. ( Translated from French by Jeune Afrique's web translation service and cleaned up by me. All errors are mine ).

DRC: hemorrhagic fever of unknown origin "under control"

                                                              Ebola DR Congo  File photo

The Congolese Minister of Health, Dr. Felix Kabange Numbi, announced Friday that the hemorrhagic fever of unknown origin that has thirteen deaths since August 11 in the north-west of the Democratic Republic of Congo was "under control."

That is a huge statement but I am inclined to believe it given that the DR Congo has some experience at dealing with this.

The situation "is under control at Boende, especially in the area down to Lokolia. Until now the disease has been contained in areas Lokolia and Watsikengo" he told reporters on returning back from these regions in the province of Ecuador. He recalled that 13 people - including a pregnant woman, five health workers and a baby a month old - had died since August 11 after suffering a hemorrhagic fever "of unknown origin" which, after three or four days, causes in patients vomiting and diarrhea with "black blood."

It can take up to 20 days to present after infection according to some reports I have seen. That  is a large margin for error.

" Symptoms start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches. Typically, vomiting, diarrhea and rash follow, along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys. Around this time, affected people may begin to bleed both within the body and externally."

Lokolia and Watsikengo, thirty miles apart, are the epicenters of the disease. The minister said the fever transmission risk remain low because of the natural barriers to reaching these very remote areas, transport is by plane, road, boat and motorcycle. About 80 people who had contact with the deceased patients were tracked from their homes in Boende Moke, Lokolia, Watsikengo and Lokula. Of the 80 contacts, "there are eleven who presented with fever and diarrhea and they were already isolated," said the minister.


The infrastructure in the DR Congo is poor and that is the reason that previous outbreaks have been contained relativity easily but it certainly isn't grounds for complacency something that all to often seems to be the standard governmental response of Kinshasa.

Some people who live between Goma in DRC and Gisenyi in Rwanda confirm these control measures but judge them as fairly rudimentary.

The authorities have established commissions of patient monitoring, hygiene, sanitation and safe burials. Laser thermometers, protective gear (masks, hats, gloves ...) and sanitation equipment were distributed. Free health care has been authorised to limit contamination, residents are aware to greet with the elbow.

Better I would think to avoid any physical contact including elbows.

Too early to talk of "hemorrhagic fever"

On Friday morning, an official of the World Health Organization (WHO) which has sent experts to the affected area during the minister's visit and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has personnel on-site, felt that it was still too early to speak of "hemorrhagic fever". We just have the 8 samples taken in the province of Ecuador that were deposited at the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB), announced the Minister of Health. "We hope that in seven to eight days to come, we will have the diagnosis," said he added.

It isn't too early at all Radio NZ News confirmed two cases in the DR Congo less than an hour ago. I can't ( unusual ) open their web page at the moment. The fucking insane American Republican Christian right  AKA The Stupid People are criticising the Obama administration over repatriation of 22 US citizens with Ebola. I doubt the figure and as far as I am aware it is only two people at this stage. I actually agree with the halfwits that it is a bad move but I suspect legally by virtue of American citizenship they have an absolute right to return. My reasoning is significantly different, the resources expended on returning said Americans would have been far better utilised in containing the outbreak.  I guess we still place a higher value on the lives of white Americans than we do on black Africans.

The then unknown disease that was discovered in the DRC in 1976 epidemic has caused since the beginning of the year in West Africa at least 1,350 deaths, including 576 in Liberia, 396 Guinea and 374 in Sierra Leone, according to a latest report of WHO, dated 18 August. In late July, the DRC increased its alert threshold including tougher screening of passengers coming from affected countries and prepositioned personnel for protection and diagnostics.

The news reports are assuring the world that it difficult to catch Ebola despite the figures above. They are all reporting that it is not an airborne disease, Ebola is a virus and like all viruses it can and will mutate. It may combine with other viruses. It may have become capable of airborne transmission, we don't know and " don't know " mean just that.

"If we are told that [the unconfirmed hemorrhagic fever in Ecuador] is Ebola, we will not be late because we will have already set up facilities that will allow us to contain the disease," said the minister. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 in the Congolese province of Ecuador. Since then, the DRC has experienced several deadly epidemics. I the last outbreak 36 was officially death count between August and November 2012 in the Northeast.



Watch this space.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rwanda: The batshit crazy country.

Jeune Afrique reports ( I have used Jeune Afrique's  translation service and cleaned up the copy ).

Rwanda: Media told to apologize for accusing Ingabire of witchcraft 

                                                               Ingabire with her British lawyer Iain Edwards


The Rwandan media regulatory authority has ordered three newspapers to publish an apology and offer a right of reply for accusing Ingabire of witchcraft. Ingabire is imprisoned for "terrorism."

Two aspects are worth noting here, first it is no surprise that the media organisation felt they had carte blanche to make such fucking ridiculous accusations. Victoire Ingabire has been the victim of an incredible miscarriage of justice and one that could only have been orchestrated by Kagame. The second and from this blogs perspective far more important aspect is that the Rwandan Media Commission has had the balls to go into bat for Ingabire. Kagame has not yet managed to strangle all independent thought from non governmental officials.  

A website, Rwandapaparazzi.net and Umusingi newspaper had published a photograph of Ms. Ingabire carrying a child in her arms, accusing her of trying to cast a spell, according to information relayed by Radio One in its press release.

Which I would suggest speaks volumes for the state of the media in Rwanda again something that can be laid at the feet of Kagame.

The picture was taken on March 8 during the celebrations of the International Women's Day in Kigali prison where Ingabire, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for "conspiracy against the government by terrorism and war" and for " minimizing the genocide " of 1994 in Rwanda has been incarcerated since 2010. These media " have not submitted facts " to support their accusations and " admitted defaming Ingabire," said Fred Muvunyi Friday, President of the of the Rwandan Media Commission.

It will be interesting to see if there are any further developments in this story. I suspect not, this ruling will probably get overturned by some sort of insane defence as " freedom of speech ". I can't imagine Kigali allowing Ingabire a platform to speak to the Rwandan people on this or any issue. David Farrar of Kiwiblog made an interesting observation on free speech on his blog.

" Some people here are fucking idiots. Free speech is not speech free of consequences."

Although unrelated to this issue Farrar is spot on the media in this case are fucking idiots and even if they avoid the sanction of the RMC they will discover there are consequences, journalists without credibility are a waste of space.

Defamation

"The articles published by the media and reported on air by Radio One in its press review are defamatory of 
Victoire Ingabire ", said the RMC in its decision.

I think deformation would have to be proved in court and that will never happen for Ingabire in Rwanda.

They were ordered to write a letter of apology to Ms. Ingabire, to apologize to their readers or listeners admitting their mistake and to publish or read an on-air response from Ingabire.

As I said above I would be very surprised if Kagali allowed that to happen.

Victoire Ingabire, 45, is president of the Unified Democratic Forces (UDF) opposition party, not legally recognized. She was arrested in October 2010, two months after a presidential poll in which she could not participate as she had intended, against President Paul Kagame, who was re-elected. Rwandan justice has asserted Ingabire has links with the Democratic Force for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an armed group based in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the sworn enemy of the Kigali authorities who accused the FDLR of being led by former executives of the Hutu regime responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

I have no doubt at all the FDLR leadership are amongst those responsible for the 1994 genocide. There is no evidence whatsoever to link Ingabire to those genocidal bastards. Ingabire is a prisoner of conscience and a worthy successor to the mantle of Madiba.