Swazi king’s wives on shopping spree

According to still unconfirmed reports from the Swaziland Democracy Campaign,  some or all of the 13 wives of king Mswati of Swaziland have gone on yet another multi-million dollar shopping spree, this time to Brussels and London. An additional 80 other people have apparently accompanied them to attend to the queens, according to Swazi Media Commentary. Commenting on this, Swaziland United Democratic Front and Swaziland Federation of Labour General Secretary Vincent Ncongwane insisted that he wanted to have “this wasteful visit exposed as we cannot be seen to be silent at this time when the common man, woman and indeed child on the streets go to bed (a good number of them) without food for a day or two and have to make do with handouts”. Read more of this post

Post-World Cup xenophobia in South Africa

After the euphoria and apparent pan-African pride of the 2010 World Cup, xenophobia has resurfaced in South Africa. After the World Cup final, there have been a steady trickling of reports of violence against foreigners. Some examples of this are the five Zimbabweans and Mozambicans who were injured in Kya Sands yesterday, one having been cut with an axe, after battles between foreigners and locals in the Johannesburg township; a Malawian man being killed and having had his genitals cut of last week; shops belonging to foreigners in townships in Cape Town having been burnt down and looted during the past two weeks ; two Somalis being killed and two others wounded when their shop was attacked in Worcester last week; and hundreds of foreigners who have businesses in the Mbekweni township near Paarl being escorted to safety by police officers when locals began looting their shops during the World Cup Final. Threats of violence, such as notes passed round to foreigners saying that they would be killed if they stayed in South Africa after the World Cup or accusing them of stealing the jobs and houses of South Africans, had begun months before the World Cup and continue to occur. These attacks, and the fear of more to come, have caused Zimbabweans and other foreigners to return home in their droves or to seek asylum in churches or in police stations. Read more of this post

Zimbabwe’s blood diamonds

The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was established in 2002 by NGOs and the Diamond Industry to ensure the curbing of the sale of blood diamonds after the blood diamond-fuelled conflicts in Sierra Leone, Liberia and elsewhere, and the subsequent concerns within civil society and the diamond industry of consumer concerns and human rights abuses. It’s members represent 75 countries, covering over 99% of global diamond production. The KPCS has seemed increasingly inhibited and incapable of action, however, especially in regards to Zimbabwe. An annual KPCS meeting on June 24 2010 ended unresolved as to the alleged corruption and human rights violations in the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe. Marange was discovered in 2006 and is believed to have one of the richest diamond deposits in the world – the value of diamonds smuggled out of Marange is estimated to have been worth $400 million in 2007 alone. Read more of this post

Nordic parliamentarians call for halt of unethical EU fisheries

In a press released issued today, Western Sahara Resource Watch requests the countries of the European Union to prevent the continuation of illegal fishing in the coasts off the occupied Western Saharan territories, as well as the automatic prolongation of the EU-Moroccan fisheries agreement that expires in 2011. The press release quotes passages from a letter written by 32 Nordic parliamentarians that was sent today to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
Both the press release and letter can be read below. Read more of this post

The global supremacy of the English language

English is the official language of over 50 countries; the mother tongue of about 400 million in traditionally English-speaking countries such as the UK, Australia and the USA – surpassed in numbers only by various Chinese languages; the second language of over 350 million people in “second-language” English speaking countries such as Nigeria, Singapore and India; and of perhaps a billion people in countries such as China and Japan. For these latter countries, English is as vital as the mother tongue and second-language countries because English has become a global language. As the first truly global language, English has become the language of trade, technology, the Internet and computers, medicine, NGO’s, international institutions such as the UN, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, FIFA and the WHO, and tourism.

The diffusion of the English language has not been all one-way traffic, however. The English language is itself made up of the languages of the various conquerors of the British Isles, Angles, Saxons, Normans, Danish and Norwegian Vikings etc., which is why English has a much wider phraseology than most other languages – English as a language has over 500,000 words, whereas German has about 185,000 and French less than 100,000. English also still receives a constant transfusion of words from other languages, which is important to keep any language vibrant, and the variety of “Englishes” that exist throughout the World is huge. Read more of this post

Problems in renewing EU fisheries agreement with Morocco

Apparently, some of the pressure that has been put on the EU concerning the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement by Western Sahara Solidarity groups and others has paid off. The Agreement, a violation of international law, is up for renewal in 2011. According to the Chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, however, the Agreement might not be renewed at all. In an interview with the Spanish news agency EFE the Chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, Carmen Fraga, stated that, “there will be problems” with renewing the Agreement as there are currently no negotiations underway, and that the “difficulties” are due to issues relating to Western Sahara. Fraga also stated that she believed that Western Sahara should be included in any future agreements. Read more of this post

Africa Contact meet with Danish Foreign Ministry on Swaziland

Representatives from Danish organization Africa Contact had a meeting with the Danish Foreign Ministry‘s Head of Section for the Department for Africa and Desk Officer on the 23rd of June to discuss the recent developments in Swaziland.

Africa Contact informed the two civil servants of the recent developments in Swaziland as seen through the eyes of Africa Contact’s partner organizations, namely that political activity in Swaziland had become a practical impossibility, that the Swazi regime had conducted multiple more or less arbitrary arrests of democracy movement activists, and that the regime was trying to brand the entire democratic movement terrorists. Africa Contact therefore asked the Danish Foreign Ministry to increase the pressure on the Swazi regime. Read more of this post

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 44 other followers