Category : Africa

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bernard Mizeki

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Mozambique, South Africa, Spirituality/Prayer, Zimbabwe

(NYT front page) Ravaging the Congo Basin’s Essential Rainforest, Raft by Raft

The mighty Congo River has become a highway for sprawling flotillas of logs — African teak, wenge and bomanga in colors of licorice, candy bars and carrot sticks. For months at a time, crews in the Democratic Republic of Congo live aboard these perilous rafts, piloting the timber in pursuit of a sliver of profit from the dismantling of a crucial forest.

The biggest rafts are industrial-scale, serving mostly international companies that see riches in the rainforest. But puny versions also make their way downriver, tended by men and their families who work and sleep atop the floating logs.

Forests like these pull huge amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air, making them essential to slow global warming. The expanded scale of illegal logging imperils their role in protecting humanity’s future.

The Congo Basin rainforest, second in size only to the Amazon, is becoming increasingly vital as a defense against climate change as the Amazon is felled. However, the Democratic Republic of Congo for several years in a row has been losing more old-growth rainforest, research shows, than any country except for Brazil.

In this lawless trade, the river is the artery to the world. In some places, where once-towering trees are prepared for the journey, the water itself is stained caramel from the bleeding sap of felled trees.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Africa, Ecology, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Republic of Congo

(ACNS) Former child refugee named as next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion

A South Sudanese bishop who was forced with his family into exile before he was one year old, the Right Revd Anthony Poggo, has been named as the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Anthony Poggo, the former Bishop of Kajo-Keji in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, is currently the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Adviser on Anglican Communion Affairs.

Bishop Anthony was selected for his new role by a sub-committee of the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee following a competitive recruitment process led by external consultants.

He will take up his new role in September, succeeding the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who steps down after next month’s Lambeth [partial gathering] of Anglican bishops, which is being held in Canterbury, Kent, from 26 July to 8 August.

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Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Sudan

(Church Times) Bishops unite to condemn ‘shameful’ Rwanda plan for asylum-seekers

The Government’s “offshoring” policy, under which the first people are due to be deported to Rwanda as early as Tuesday, “should shame us as a nation”, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and 23 other bishops, have said.

The policy was included in the Nationality and Borders Act, which came into law in April despite objections and attempted amendments from bishops and other peers (News, 29 April). It was explicitly criticised by Archbishop Welby in his Easter sermon (News, 27 April), and reportedly by the Prince of Wales last week, who is said to have called it “appalling” in a private conversation.

Last week, campaigners failed to win an injunction against the policy in the High Court, which ruled that it was in the “public interest” for the Government to carry it out. An appeal on Monday was rejected for the same reason. A full hearing on whether the policy is lawful is due to take place next month.

In a letter due to be published in The Times on Tuesday, the full complement of bishops who sit in the House of Lords have written: “Whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda, this policy should shame us as a nation.” The letter continues: “The shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries.”

Read it all (registration or subscription).

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Rwanda

(Reuters) ISIS affiliate suspected of R Catholic church massacre, Nigeria says

Nigerian security officials suspect extremists from Islamic State’s affiliate in west Africa were behind an attack on a Catholic church last weekend that killed dozens.

Forty people are now thought to have died after gunmen stormed St Francis Catholic church in Owo, Ondo State, on Sunday, and 61 survivors are still being treated in hospital, according to local authorities. The total is double an earlier estimate.

Nigeria’s National Security Council said on Thursday that the attack was the work of the Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap) group, apparently reinforcing fears that the militants, who have been restricted to the north-east for many years, are looking to expand their influence and reach to other parts of the country. Ondo, in the south-west, has long been considered one of the safer parts of the country.

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Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Nigeria, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Terrorism, Violence

A Prayer for Ascension from the South African Prayer Book

O Almighty God, who by thy holy apostle hast taught us to set our affection on things above: Grant us so to labour in this life as ever to be mindful of our citizenship in those heavenly places whither our Saviour Christ is gone before; to whom with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end.

Posted in Ascension, South Africa, Spirituality/Prayer

(CT) Nigerian Christians Protest Deborah Samuel’s Death

Thousands of churches across Nigeria demanded an end to sectarian killings on Sunday, horrified by the mob assault on a female university student accused of blasphemy. But fearful of more violence, their approach differed significantly—by geography.

“The overwhelming majority of our churches in the south participated, many going to the streets in peaceful protest,” said Testimony Onifade, senior special assistant to the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). “Gathering together, we condemned this gruesome act and demanded the government identify, arrest, and prosecute the culprits.”

But in the north, where Muslims represent the majority of Nigerians, John Hayab described 20 minutes set aside to pray for divine intervention. The president of CAN’s Kaduna state chapter lauded the “solemn” ceremony observed by all northern denominations, amid a ban on protests by local authorities as some Muslims had threatened counterdemonstrations.

Instead, a select group of 120 Christian leaders gathered in a Kaduna city church, guarded by police and security agencies.

Read it all.

Posted in Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Violence

(BBC) East Africa drought: ‘The suffering here has no equal’

Families have become desperate for food and water. Millions of children are malnourished. Livestock, which pastoralist families rely on for food and livelihoods, have died.

The drought stretches far beyond this small Kenyan village and the UN’s World Food Programme says up to 20 million people in East Africa are at risk of severe hunger.

Ethiopia is battling the worst drought in almost half a century and in Somalia 40% of the population are at risk of starvation.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Climate Change, Weather, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Poverty

(Church Times) Poor nations must have access to Covid vaccine, African faith leaders argue

Prominent faith leaders in Africa, including Anglican and Roman Catholic archbishops, have implored the world’s governments to support a People’s Vaccine movement, to ensure that the world’s most vulnerable people have protection against the Covid-19 virus.

On the eve of the global Covid-19 summit of world leaders convened by President Biden, 45 faith leaders issued a joint People Vaccine Alliance statement, calling for an “immediate action to address the massive inequities in the global pandemic response”.

The statement, issued on Thursday, says: “We are one global family, where our problems are tightly interconnected. However, we know the greatest impediment to people getting their vaccinations, tests, and treatment is inequity.

“World leaders must renew their approach to tackling the response to the global pandemic by treating Covid-19 vaccines, tests, and treatment — not as commodities but as public goods, which all people have the right to access. We encourage world leaders to unite and stand in solidarity with people from low-income countries by supporting a People’s Vaccine.”

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Roman Catholic

(Church Times) Africans starve while the world watches Ukraine

Humanitarian organisations have warned that the huge response to the war in Ukraine is overshadowing other crises around the world that are in need of urgent attention.

Charities and NGOs have begun urging governments and individuals not to forget the millions who are suffering in other countries.

The United Nations has warned that the situation in Somalia, where 4.5 million people are at risk of starvation owing to the worst drought in a decade, is deteriorating rapidly. The focus of the international community on Ukraine was sucking all the oxygen out of the room, Adam Abdelmoula, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, said last week.

The UN has said that $1.46 billion (£1.1 billion) is required to meet the immediate needs of Somalis. Only three per cent of that has been secured.

“The outlook was already grim prior to the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis,” Mr Abdelmoula said. “We have been overshadowed by the crisis in Tigray, Yemen, Afghanistan — and now Ukraine seems to suck all the oxygen that is in the room. . .

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Posted in Africa, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Globalization, Poverty, Ukraine

(NYT) This Psychiatric Hospital Used to Chain Patients. Now It Treats Them.

For centuries, they called the foreboding building on a hill above this capital city the Kissy Lunatic Asylum. It was built in the early 1800s by the British colonial administration, and behind the high walls, patients were kept in chains. People here say the stench seeped from the brick walls, and the screams of patients, whose psychosis and trauma were untreated by medication or therapy, echoed out the narrow, barred windows.

Today a small wooden sign hangs over the front desk in the outpatient department: “Sierra Leone Psychiatric Teaching Hospital: Chain-free since 2018.” The sunny corridors of the newly renovated facility flash with the fuchsia uniforms of psychiatric nursing students. The shelves of the pharmacy are lined with the latest antipsychotics and antidepressants. Children bounce on a trampoline at a cheerful clinic just for them. And six residents are on their way to being the first psychiatrists ever trained in this country.

The transformation at Kissy is part of an extraordinary effort to build a mental health care system from scratch in one of the poorest countries in the world. The residents work the wards and see patients in the packed outpatient clinic, under the supervision of three consulting psychiatrists. They are the only three in the country’s entire health system — a staggering ratio, but a threefold increase from decades when there was just one, who paid the patients at Kissy a weekly visit.

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Psychology, Sierra Leone

(WSJ) A Quarter of Africans Face Food-Security Crisis Partly Due to Ukraine War, Red Cross Says

A quarter of Africa’s population is facing a food-security crisis driven by severe drought, raging wars and a rise in world food prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the International Committee of the Red Cross warned Tuesday.

Some 346 million people, from Mauritania in the west to the Horn of Africa in the east, are affected by food insecurity, Dominik Stillhart, the agency’s global operations director, told reporters in Nairobi.

“What we don’t want to see is the response that comes too late, and that is why it is so important to draw attention to the situation now,” Mr. Stillhart said.

Russia and Ukraine were major grain suppliers before the war, and the conflict is causing pain across the developing world, spurring price shocks, constraining imports of basic commodities and causing food shortages, with poorer nations in Africa especially affected.

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Posted in Africa, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Globalization, Military / Armed Forces, Poverty, Russia, Ukraine

(NYT) Trying to Solve a Covid Mystery: Africa’s Low Death Rates

There are no Covid fears here.

The district’s Covid-19 response center has registered just 11 cases since the start of the pandemic, and no deaths. At the regional hospital, the wards are packed — with malaria patients. The door to the Covid isolation ward is bolted shut and overgrown with weeds. People cram together for weddings, soccer matches, concerts, with no masks in sight.

Sierra Leone, a nation of eight million on the coast of Western Africa, feels like a land inexplicably spared as a plague passed overhead. What has happened — or hasn’t happened — here and in much of sub-Saharan Africa is a great mystery of the pandemic.

The low rate of coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths in West and Central Africa is the focus of a debate that has divided scientists on the continent and beyond. Have the sick or dead simply not been counted? If Covid has in fact done less damage here, why is that? If it has been just as vicious, how have we missed it?

The answers “are relevant not just to us, but have implications for the greater public good,” said Austin Demby, Sierra Leone’s health minister, in an interview in Freetown, the capital.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Health & Medicine

(NC Reporter) Archbishop of Canterbury: South Sudan trip with Pope Francis may happen in coming months

Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby may undertake their much anticipated, but delayed joint trip to South Sudan in “the next few months” to encourage peace in a country still recovering from a bloody civil war and a humanitarian crisis.

“God willing, sometime in the next few months, perhaps year, we will go and see them in Juba, not in Rome, and see what progress can be made,” said the head of the global Anglican Communion on Feb. 6, referring to South Sudan’s leaders.

“That is history,” said Welby of the likely trip that will mark the first time the two ecumenical leaders have traveled together in such a capacity.

Francis and Welby had sought to visit the war-torn country in 2017, although the country’s violent conflict and deteriorating conditions had foiled those plans.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Sudan

A Heartbreaking BBC report from Sierra Leone on the proliferatioin there of Kush – a cheap new illegal drug

The BBC has heard reports of young people killing themselves or harming themselves and others.

Medical staff in the capital Freetown say that 90% of the male admissions to the central psychiatric ward are due to Kush use.

Police are battling to win the war against the drug.

Read it all.

Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Sierra Leone

(BBC) Kenya’s River Yala: The Mystery and heartbreak of the dead bodies

“I have just seen my brother’s face. Our faces are alike, even the mouth. I have also seen the legs, those are my brother’s. I have no doubt it’s him.”

A distressed Irene Waheto has just stepped out of the hospital mortuary in Yala, western Kenya.

At least 19 unclaimed bodies have been waiting for identification. They were retrieved over the past two years from the nearby River Yala in different stages of decomposition.

Ms Waheto is making frantic calls to her family in Nyeri, a town nearly 300km (185 miles) to the east.

“It is Ndirangu, I am sure it is him,” she cries down the phone.

But how his body ended up in a river so far from home is not clear.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Kenya, Marriage & Family

(BBC) Yeterday Uganda schools reopened after almost two years of Covid closure

Children in Uganda have expressed their joy at finally returning to school nearly two years after they were closed because of Covid.

“I am really excited because it’s been a long time without seeing our teachers. And we have missed out a lot,” Joel Tumusiime told the BBC.

“I am glad to be back at school,” echoed another, Mercy Angel Kebirungi.

But after one of the world’s longest school closures, authorities warned at least 30% of students may never return.

Some have started work, while others have become pregnant or married early, the country’s national planning authority said.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Uganda

(AP) Case drop may show South Africa’s omicron peak has passed

South Africa’s noticeable drop in new COVID-19 cases in recent days may signal that the country’s dramatic omicron-driven surge has passed its peak, medical experts say.

Daily virus case counts are notoriously unreliable, as they can be affected by uneven testing, reporting delays and other fluctuations. But they are offering one tantalizing hint — far from conclusive yet — that omicron infections may recede quickly after a ferocious spike.

South Africa has been at the forefront of the omicron wave and the world is watching for any signs of how it may play out there to try to understand what may be in store.

After hitting a high of nearly 27,000 new cases nationwide on Thursday, the numbers dropped to about 15,424 on Tuesday. In Gauteng province — South Africa’s most populous with 16 million people, including the largest city, Johannesburg, and the capital, Pretoria — the decrease started earlier and has continued.

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, South Africa

(EF) African theologians Harvey Kwiyani and Abraham Waigi assess Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka’s harsh criticism of the increasing influence of churches on the continent

Having expanded as a civilising religion during the era of European colonialism, the growth of Christianity in Africa in the decades after the 1960s has revealed a tendency to reject European patronage, choosing either to ‘pentecostalise’ (to various extents) and, following American-styled expressions of Christianity, to globalise or to embrace a new identity as independent African denominations.

This globalisation of African Christianity has been influenced greatly by American Evangelicalism and with this came the legitimisation of celebrity-styled preachers and the prosperity gospel which has, in turn, led to some African evangelical and Pentecostal preachers using fear to dominate and exploit vulnerable people.

In Western discourses on African Christianity, these prosperity-preaching ministries dominate the conversation. However, a majority of African Christians, especially in rural Africa, have no clue what it is.

Soyinka is against charlatanism, fundamentalism and extremism in religion. He has written and spoken at length about what he perceives as the imperialist tendencies in the two leading religions. He gives many examples of abuse of power and the weaponisation of fear in his creative writings as well as in newspaper articles, lectures (particularly the 2004 BBC Reith Lectures that resulted in his book, Climate of Fear), and other works.

What is particularly troubling here is his tendency to demonise all religion without acknowledging the good that it stands for.

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Posted in Africa, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Theatre/Drama/Plays, Theology

(Washington Post) ‘Last on the rung’: Africa deals with fallout from a ‘Made in the USA’ supply chain crisis

With U.S. retailers willing to pay almost any price to get their goods to American shores in time for the holidays, ocean carriers have redeployed container ships from the developing world to the more lucrative Asia-to-United States trade lanes, where rates for some shipments this fall were 15 times pre-pandemic levels, according to the Freightos index.

That’s helped fill American store shelves — and carriers’ coffers — but it has battered many African shippers, according to interviews with more than 30 maritime analysts, shippers, freight forwarders and cargo carriers in the United States, Africa and elsewhere.

Already lagging in coronavirus vaccinations, Africa risks becoming collateral damage in the supply wars. The International Monetary Fund says the 45 nations of sub-Saharan Africa are mired in the slowest economic recovery of any region, with supply chain disruptions helping fuel inflation at roughly twice its pre-pandemic level.

“Africa, sadly, I can’t think of any other continent that is last on the rung. Africa will be the last to come out of this,” [Aditya] Awtani said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Africa, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Kenya

A Fantastic London Times Profile Piece on Congolese Doctor and Pentecostal Pastor Denis Mukwege

In the past seven years tens of thousands of Yazidis kept as sex slaves by Isis fighters, girls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and Rohingya women dragged from their huts and gang-raped by Burmese soldiers, have courageously come forward and told their stories, yet there has only been a single prosecution.

No one is better qualified to write about the situation than this astonishingly brave Congolese gynaecological surgeon. His Panzi hospital in eastern Congo has treated more than 60,000 raped women and girls over the past 20 years. Some arrive so damaged that he has carried out multiple operations to try to reconstruct them.

One of the most heroic men I have ever met, Mukwege literally risks his life to save women. After a series of threats and assassination attempts, he lives almost as a prisoner on the hospital site, guarded by UN peacekeepers.

Far from being supported by the Congolese state, he does all of this in the face of a government so craven it tried to fine him $20,000 for collecting rainwater on the hospital roof, insisting that rain belongs to the state.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Africa, Books, Health & Medicine, Republic of Congo, Sexuality, Terrorism, Violence, Women

(CT) Acher Niyonizigiye–Joseph’s Simplicity Was Actually Spiritual Maturity

But to Joseph, Mary’s perceived sin did not make her an outcast. He knew she deserved love and protection. The NIV beautifully combines Joseph’s Jewish religious culture and his personal spirituality in one sentence: “Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” (Matt. 1:19).

Here, we see that Joseph isn’t the grumpy, emasculated husband of Christmas legend. Even before he received God’s message about Jesus, Joseph’s demonstrated love for Mary and his commitment to protect her dignity overpowered any legalism. Joseph’s behavior portrays genuine masculinity and Bible-certified righteousness.

The situation, of course, isn’t what he had first imagined. In a dream, an angel told him Mary’s pregnancy was of divine origin. Joseph dismissed his previous plans and agreed to obey just as quickly and simply as Mary had accepted that she was pregnant before marriage (Matt. 1:24; Luke 1:38).

Such a positive response to such a difficult and risky circumstance would have been impossible in a spiritually dull, legalistic mind. A legalistic man might have quickly dismissed the angel’s message as hallucination, as it seemed to contradict the law. Joseph’s spirituality was of such a kind that he was able to value the will of the lawgiver more than the law, something that eluded many sophisticated theologians and religious leaders (Matt. 15:3–9), not to mention Jesus’ disciples.

Read it all.

Posted in Advent, Anthropology, Burundi, Christmas, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Telegraph) ‘They’re killing us slowly’: sandstorms and drought stalk Madagascar

The mother of four shakes the grubby plastic jerry can and sighs. “It’s not really enough,” she says, gesturing first to the almost empty five litre container, then the skinny children peering through the doorway. “But it has to be enough for now.”

Not so long ago, water was plentiful in this hot and arid part of southern Madagascar, an island some 250 miles off the coast of Africa. Then the drought descended.

In the last two to three years the price of water has jumped 300 per cent, in a region where 91 per cent of people earn less than $1.90 a day. Incomes here are inconsistent at best, but a family selling two to three bags of charcoal a month could expect to earn between 20,000 and 30,000 Malagasy ariary – $5 to $7.50.

Horariby and her children have a choice: they either trudge 12 kilometres on foot to collect water from the nearest large town, or buy it at twice the price from a cattle drawn cart that comes to her village, piled high with yellow jerry cans.

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Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Madagascar

(WSJ) China Seeks First Military Base on Africa’s Atlantic Coast, U.S. Intelligence Finds

Classified American intelligence reports suggest China intends to establish its first permanent military presence on the Atlantic Ocean in the tiny Central African country of Equatorial Guinea, according to U.S. officials.

The officials declined to describe details of the secret intelligence findings. But they said the reports raise the prospect that Chinese warships would be able to rearm and refit opposite the East Coast of the U.S.—a threat that is setting off alarm bells at the White House and Pentagon.

Principal deputy U.S. national security adviser Jon Finer visited Equatorial Guinea in October on a mission to persuade President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and his son and heir apparent, Vice President Teodoro “Teodorin” Nguema Obiang Mangue, to reject China’s overtures.

“As part of our diplomacy to address maritime-security issues, we have made clear to Equatorial Guinea that certain potential steps involving [Chinese] activity there would raise national-security concerns,” said a senior Biden administration official.

The great-power skirmishing over a country that rarely draws outside attention reflects the rising tensions between Washington and Beijing. The two countries are sparring over the status of Taiwan, China’s testing of a hypersonic missile, the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and other issues.

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Posted in Africa, America/U.S.A., China, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Politics in General

(C of E) ‘Virus knows no national boundaries’–The Bishop of Durham calls for vaccine equity

Asking a question in the House of Lords, Bishop Paul Butler said the omicron variant showed that the virus “knows no national boundaries.”

He said: “In the light of the new omicron variant that has dominated the news over the weekend, my colleague Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town urged those of us in rich countries to do better at narrowing inequality of vaccination rates, which are 7% in Africa and 70% in Europe.

“We must acknowledge that this virus knows no national boundaries and will spread, mutate and return to us in the way that we are seeing, so we need a global approach, not simply a bilateral approach.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, South Africa

(NYT) New Virus Variant Stokes Concern but Vaccines Still Likely to Work

For now, there’s no evidence that Omicron causes more severe disease than previous variants. And it’s also not clear yet how quickly Omicron can spread from person to person.

Some earlier variants, such as Beta and Mu, had evolved a strong ability to evade immune defenses. But they never became a serious threat to the world because they proved to be poor at transmitting.

Some mutations in Omicron suggest that it may indeed transmit well. Three mutations alter a region of the spike protein called the furin cleavage site, which is already known to help the spike protein attach more effectively to cells.

But Dr. Hanage said he was not yet convinced by the South African data that Omicron was running rampant across the country. “I think it’s too early to be definitive,” he said.

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Posted in Globalization, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, South Africa

(Washington Post) Africa’s Rising Cities–How Africa will become the center of the world’s urban future

Growing at unprecedented rates, and shaped by forces both familiar and new, dozens of African cities will join the ranks of humanity’s biggest megalopolises between now and 2100.

Several recent studies project that by the end of this century, Africa will be the only continent experiencing population growth. Thirteen of the world’s 20 biggest urban areas will be in Africa — up from just two today — as will more than a third of the world’s population.

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Posted in Africa, Urban/City Life and Issues

(AP) South African scientists detect new virus variant amid spike

A new coronavirus variant has been detected in South Africa that scientists say is a concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province, Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced Thursday.

The coronavirus evolves as it spreads and many new variants, including those with worrying mutations, often just die out. Scientists monitor for possible changes that could be more transmissible or deadly, but sorting out whether new variants will have a public health impact can take time.

South Africa has seen a dramatic rise in new infections, Phaahla said at an online press briefing.

“Over the last four or five days, there has been more of an exponential rise,” he said, adding that the new variant appears to be driving the spike in cases. Scientists in South Africa are working to determine what percentage of the new cases have been caused by the new variant.

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Posted in Africa, Health & Medicine, South Africa

(Economist) How not to lose the war on terror in Africa

In many western countries, politicians, soldiers and veterans gather every November to pay tribute to comrades killed fighting for their country. Among those commemorated this year were more than 3,500 troops from America and its allies who died in Afghanistan before the West’s humiliating retreat this summer. And among those paying tribute, far from the Cenotaph in London or the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, were dusty Western soldiers in small garrisons across a swathe of Africa. With the formalities over, they resumed their posts among almost 9,000 European and American troops on the front line of what is now the West’s biggest offensive against jihadists, in the Sahel. It is not going well. How it will end depends in no small part on whether the West learns the right lessons from its failures in Afghanistan.

Some may argue that the main lesson is to avoid fighting insurgents in distant lands where no pressing national interests are at stake. But that is not the case in the Sahel, where jihadists aligned to al-Qaeda and Islamic State have taken aim at Western countries, bombing their embassies and kidnapping or killing their citizens. If the jihadists are given havens and time, they will surely launch attacks on European or American soil, too. “That is their goal and their determination and they’ve been open about it,” says a Western general.

Western governments see other interests at stake as well. The most afflicted countries of the Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger) are among the poorest, have the world’s fastest-growing populations and are among those where climate change will do the greatest harm.

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Posted in Africa, Terrorism

(Reuters) Uganda’s president Museveni calls for East African leaders’ summit to discuss Ethiopia conflict

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has called an East African bloc leaders’ meeting on Nov. 16 to discuss the conflict in Ethiopia, a senior foreign affairs ministry official said on Thursday.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Ethiopia, Politics in General, Uganda, Violence