• Climate change: Less impact on drought than previously expected

    As a multiyear drought grinds on in the Southwestern United States, many wonder about the impact of global climate change on more frequent and longer dry spells. As humans emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, how will water supply for people, farms, and forests be affected? Reduced precipitation will increase droughts across southern North America, southern Europe and northeastern South America. But the results show that in Central Africa and temperate Asia—including China, the Middle East, East Asia and most of Russia—water conservation by plants will largely counteract the parching due to climate change.

  • Identifying, utilizing water resources in Africa drylands

    Researchers say that by 2050, almost half of the world’s population will live in countries with a chronic water shortage. In African drylands, it is not a water shortage problem, but an inability to capture water for food and other uses. Israeli scientists help villagers in Ethiopia, Zambia, and Uganda to identify water sources and test water quality – and also better capture and use water which is available.

  • Smart handpumps predict depths of groundwater in Africa

    The amount of groundwater in Africa is estimated to be over 100 time’s greater than annual renewable freshwater sources in the region. Around one million hand pumps supply groundwater to people in rural Africa. Groundwater is used by around 200 million rural Africans every day because it is a widely available, reliable, and safe source of drinking water. Yet according to a new research paper, although groundwater is critical to Africa’s growth and development, there is currently too little data to effectively manage this critical resource.

  • Space technology identifies land degradation in West Africa

    Researchers map regional droughts from space which can affect the livelihood of millions of people in West Africa. Soil moisture observations can map land degradation with more accuracy than typical rainfall data as soil moisture directly leads to plant growth. Study shows that the land conditions across much of West Africa have improved between 1982 and2012 based on soil moisture observations.

  • Tunisian Islamist Party: Time to “bury” democracy

    The Tunisian branch of the radical Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, which advocates Islamic law and wants to unify Muslims into a caliphate, said Saturday it was time to “bury” democracy. “Democracy no longer attracts anyone,” the movement’s politburo chief Abderraouf Amri told its annual conference. “It is time to announce its death and work to bury it.” Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in several countries and Tunisian authorities regularly accuse it of “disturbing public order.” Hundreds of party members took part in the congress near Tunis, praising “the caliphate, savior of humanity” and denouncing “persecution” by the democratic system.

  • Tunisie: Une islamisation rampante menace les libertés

    Un metteur en scène agressé, un DJ britannique condamné par contumace à un an de prison, des appels à la fermeture de débits d’alcool. L’image de la Tunisie tolérante, ouverte et progressiste relèvera bientôt du mythe, dénonce cette chroniqueuse tunisienne. C’est bel et bien le verdict surréaliste rendu [le 6 avril] par un tribunal tunisien à l’encontre du DJ britannique ayant mixé, dans une discothèque [à Hammamet, dans le cadre du festival de musique Orbit Festival, du 31 mars au 1er avril], l’appel à la prière. L’artiste est accusé d’outrage public à la pudeur, d’atteinte aux bonnes mœurs et à la morale publique. Comme la cabale menée sur les réseaux sociaux, le harcèlement et les menaces de mort à l’encontre du DJ ne suffisaient pas, le gouverneur, un nidaiste [du parti au pouvoir Nidaa Tounès] notoire, s’est vu investi de la noble mission de défendre la foi bafouée.

  • Uganda to Retire Bush War-era generals

    Uganda has unveiled an eight-year timetable that will see nearly all generals from the bush war era retire. Among those to exit the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) is Gen David Sejusa, who will be retired next year. Two years after the former Coordinator of Intelligence Services walks away from an army with which he has had a love-and-hate relationship for more than three decades, Gen Sejusa (formerly known as Tinyefuza) will be joined in civilian life by police chief, Gen Kale Kayihura, whose year of retirement on the schedule is 2020.

  • Machar-allied South Sudan rebels take control of Raja

    Rebels with the South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), allied with rebel leader Riek Machar, on Friday attacked Raja town, the capital of Lol state. SPLM-IO Secretary-General Tingo Peter confirmed his forces now controlled Raja after clashing with government troops. “Since 12 o’clock, we captured Raja, and it is now totally under our control. Even now, our forces are looking for the governor. They are trying to see where he is,” Peter said. Lol Governor Rizik Zachariah Gassan and his entire cabinet fled the area, according to Peter. Peter said the SPLM-IO was asking civilians in Raja to remain calm as their forces combed the town for government soldiers who might be hiding in residential areas.

  • Kiir signs oil deals with shady entities in effort to turn economy round

    The South Sudanese government is signing deals with shady wheeler dealers, some of whom may be out to take advantage of Juba’s financial crisis. In less than four months, President Salva Kiir, who is presiding over a cash-strapped economy ravaged by a conflict that is teetering towards genocide, has received offers from agents of established companies, organizations and non-descript financing groups, all dangling deals worth billions of dollars that critics warn will mortgage the country and its resources for generations. Critics in Juba worry that Kiir’s urgent need for cash may push him into the hands of con-men, and that even legitimate companies could take advantage to secure sweet deals for themselves while leaving the country with peanuts.

  • Niger: “La victoire sur Boko Haram ne sera pas que militaire”

    Après avoir longtemps épargné le Niger, Boko Haram a commis sa première attaque sur le territoire en février 2015 à Diffa, chef-lieu de la région du même nom, dans le sud-est du pays. Le groupe terroriste a ensuite multiplié ses actions au Niger: attaques et incendies de villages, raids contre des casernes de l’armée, tentatives d’attentats-suicides. Les habitants de 211 villages, soit près de 200 000 personnes, ont dû fuir les exactions de Boko Haram sur les berges de la rivière Komadougou et dans le lit du lac Tchad pour se réfugier sur des sites spontanés le long de la route nationale numéro 1. Selon un décompte établi par les organisations humanitaires, près de 300 personnes ont été tuées par Boko Haram en deux ans au Niger.

  • Au Cameroun en guerre contre Boko Haram, des rescapées racontent: “J'ai trouvé les enfants en morceaux”

    Elles ne connaissent pas la cause des explosions qui ont tué leurs enfants. Début mars, ces mères et leur famille, victimes collatérales des violents combats qui opposent les forces gouvernementales à la secte islamiste Boko Haram, dans le nord du Cameroun, à la frontière avec le Nigeria, ont été admises à l’hôpital régional de Maroua. Dans cet établissement, l’ONG Médecins sans frontières (MSF) et le ministère camerounais de la santé fournissent depuis août 2016 une prise en charge gratuite de la chirurgie d’urgence et des soins postopératoires.

  • Mgwebi to stay on as MONUSCO Force commander for another year

    To many in South African military circles he is the epitome of the professional officer and further testimony to this comes with the renewal of Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi’s contract as MONUSCO Force Commander in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for another year. This was confirmed to this week by Charles Bambara, director of the MONUSCO public information division in Kinshasa, and follows the extension of the mission’s mandate by the UN Security council – albeit with reduced troop numbers – for another year. Mgwebi took up the post at the start of last year after being appointed by then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a year. Bambara told defenseWeb: “General Mgwebi is still in charge as MONUSCO Force Commander. I am not aware of any plan for him to leave the mission soon and, like all staff in a peacekeeping mission, contracts are renewed once a year.”

  • Constraints on food aid delay help amid famine: U.S. lawmakers

    As President Donald Trump seeks to cut foreign aid, two U.S. senators are proposing making American food assistance more efficient after meeting with victims of South Sudan’s famine and civil war. Following a visit to the world’s largest refugee settlement in northern Uganda with Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democratic Senator Chris Coons (Delaware) said that the U.S.“can deliver more food aid at less cost” through foreign food aid reform. The United States spent roughly $2.8 billion in foreign food aid last year, and is the world’s largest provider of humanitarian assistance. But current regulations require most food aid to be grown in the U.S. and shipped under an American flag.

  • Kenya to send 100,000 workers to help Saudi economy

    Kenya may soon export 100,000 workers to Saudi Arabia if negotiations between the two countries bear fruit, while Qatar is willing to open its market for Kenyan meat. These are some of the wins the government achieved when it received high-profile visitors from the two countries this week. The Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, was on a one-day state visit to Kenya on Tuesday and Saudi Arabia’s Commerce minister Majed bin Abdullah Al-Kassabi led a delegation of seventy people from the private sector and government officials for talks with Nairobi on Wednesday. Resolutions seen by the Sunday Nation show that Saudi Arabia and Kenya agreed to work together on a number of issues.

  • U.S. begins shipping nonlethal aid to CAR Army

    At a ceremony this month, the U.S. ambassador to the Central African Republic turned over the keys to four cargo trucks to the national army. It was the first installment of $8 million worth of nonlethal assistance that is expected to include sixteen more trucks and communications equipment. “Essentially, we want to help the various processes that will allow this country that has known some really difficult times to pull out of that crisis and move into something sustainable, something safer for the region and ultimately safer for the American people as well,” U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Hawkins said. “Because if there is glaring instability, even in a place that is remote like C.A.R., that does not serve American interests.”