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Archive for July 7th, 2013

One on One interview with Director Tone Winje: Summary – the Arts Festival of North Norway 2013

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2013

The festival was a great success. There were many visitors and the musicians and other actors kept their word – performance of excellence to the satisfaction of the audience. - Director Tone Winje, The Arts Festival of North Norway in her office in Harstad on the 28th of June  2013 – Director Tone Winje, The Arts Festival of North Norway in her office in Harstad on the 28th of June 2013

Participants came from all over the country to listen to musicians from many parts of the world including Africa, South America and Europe. It was spectacular for the audience to meet musicians and to enjoy their performance of high quality.

The organizers of the festival did not disappoint either.  

The management, led by their Director Tone Winje and the many volunteers, were geared well and remained in the right gear throughout the week-long festival. All of them were ready at all times to help and guide the guest whenever necessary.

The Director using the Norwegian language address the children and parents during the opening of the children’s activities at the Festival.

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The festival gathered both young and old.

Few people could be seen on the streets since most of the activities were inndoors in the many Halls in the city center.

We decided to see what was happenning on the streets and was very empty yet the Halls were fully parked with people enyoying the activities.

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Harstad: Zimbabwe’s Energetic youthful Afro-pop comets Mokoomba Band members perform before a thrilled crowd at the Arts Festival of North Norway

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2013

Energetic, talented young Zimbabweans musicians overflowing with natural talent embolden with infectious rhythms enjoyable by all age groups was an attraction of the day on the 29th day of June in Harstad at the Arts Festival of North Norway 2013..

Interview with one of the lead men of the band:

The Band Members:

Mokoomba, the Afro-pop comets, were the last to perform at the week-long Festival, doing it festively in a concert that moved the audience in Harstad‘s Nordic Hall!

Combining modern and traditional instruments and encompassing the diverse cultures of the southern regions of Africa, Mokoomba created a unique universe of sound. The young artists are at the forefront of, and trend setters for, new African music.

In record time, the band has skyrocketed to the status of Afro-fusion’s most renowned group. On their impressive tour schedule for summer 2013, we find places such as Liverpool, Morocco, the Roskilde festivalAlgiers, Nürnberg – and yes, Harstad!
After Harstad-Norway, the group say they are heading to Africa and are planning to perfom in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, before the end of this summer of 2013. - Mokoomba Band members from Zimbabwe at the Arts Festival of North Norway 2013 – Mokoomba Band members from Zimbabwe at the Arts Festival of North Norway 2013

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Comments made about the group by those who understand the art of music:
“I have seen the future in African music. It’s name is Mokoomba” – Thorsten Bednarz, Deutschlandradio Kultur.
“Both the show and the music are totally inebriating! They deserve all possible success, because the music they make is so genuinely good!” – Tineke van Brederode, Mixed World Music


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1.June 2013: Kenyans in Norway celebrate “Madaraka Day” – Kenya’s self-rule Day

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2013

Kenya defeated the British colonialist after waging freedom war led by the MAU MAU group. The British gave in 1963 granting the Kenyan‘s self-rule in 1.June 1963. Full Independence was achieved on the 12th December 1963.

The party was organised by the Association’s Board members. Many Kenyans and friends of Kenya attended the celebration that went on throughout the night, until the early hours of Sunday morning.

The party was a great success, thanks to the Association’s Board Members who ensured that everything ran smoothly.

Interview with Mr Makosir – Chairman of the Association:

Mr Fred Makosir is the Chairman of the Association of Kenyans in Norway. Here, he speaks to API during Kenya’s Self-rule Day (Madaraka Day) celebrations held in Oslo, Norway on the 1st of June 2013.

The Kenyans and friends danced the night out enjoying the freedom that was achieved through hard work. Many fighters died for Kenya to gain independence.

Part 1

Part 2 – Competition – beer drinking…….

Kenya’s first president was Jomo Kenyatta followed by Daniel Moi, Mwai Kibaki and now the fourth was elected on March the 4th this year 2013. He is president Uhuru Kenyatta who is the son of the first president Jomo Kenyatta.




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Harstad: Experiencing Club Kwassa Kwassa featuring DJ 99 – Guttorm Andreasen at the Arts Festival of North Norway 2013

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2013

In the North of Norway? One will not quickly realise that, due to the type of mixed music by the re-known Norwegian DJ 99. When he plays, you do not want it to end. When he plays you want to dance the night out. When he plays African music, Caribean music and other culturally tasty music you will not know he is a white man from Norway because of the way he mixes the stuff for the revellers to enjoy. He is simply – amazing and you will not regret to be where he is playing because he does it in the spirit of music. Meaning – he is inside the music itself.

DJ 99 Mr Guttorm Andreasen, an international ambiance and magnificent man reigned at Ludo bar/concert hall – hosting his club night “CLUB KWASSA KWASSA” - DJ 99 Mr Guttorm Andreasen at the Arts Festival of North Norway 2013 – DJ 99 Mr Guttorm Andreasen at the Arts Festival of North Norway 2013

Norwegian Andreasen known from the NRK programme WASABI, plays heavy, sweaty, extremely danceable and happy butt-wagging music from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Balkans, Asia and even more.

Interview with Guttorm Andreasen during the night party at the Arts Festival of North Norway 2013

We apologise the poor lighting – The video was filmed late at night inside the club when the lights were dimmed for the benefit of the guests.

The people dance the night out to all sorts of world music brought to them by amazingly qualified DJ 99!

The audience enjoy music Club Kwassa Kwassa brought and mixed for them by DJ 99 Norwegian Guttorm Andreasen who has specialised in how to mix world music with variety of rich cultures.

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In addition to playing radio shows, the Oslo-based DJ 99 has performed at festivals and clubs in the likes of Barcelona, Sevilla, London, Bishkek and Sofia, not to mention most Norwegian clubs and festivals, from Blå and Oslo World Music Festival to Nattjazz in Bergen and Insomnia in Tromsø.

This is a DJ to count on as we experienced his knowledge in world music mix at the Arts Festival of North Norway to the pleasure of music lovers.

Club Kwassa Kwassa was no doubt a mover of audience at the Festival this year. Those who were present at the dance told API that they hope the DJ will be around next year during the Jubilee festival.


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Syria’s forgotten sanitation crisis

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2013

A baby plays in a tub of water at Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan

DUBAI,  – Bombs, clashes and airstrikes have killed at least 92,000 in Syria, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. But millions of people – and more still across the region – are at risk due to something much less discussed: sanitation.

Summer heat, shortages of clean water, a crumbling health system, breakdowns in waste management services, and overcrowded conditions in common shelters have led to a rise in potentially life-threatening diseases.

As summer temperatures rise, poor hygiene and sanitation are an increasing concern. The World Health Organization wrote last month: “outbreaks are inevitable.”

Up to 8,000 Syrians leave every day, often for overcrowded camps in neighbouring countries. The scale of population movement means that the threat is not just confined to Syria. Already, diseases have appeared in Turkey and Jordan that had not been seen for years, if not decades, before the Syrian crisis.

“The international community must now seriously view the ever worsening humanitarian and health situation as a threat to regional security and their own national interests,” public health doctors Adam Coutts and Fouad M. Fouad wrote in The Lancet medical journal on 29 June.

ha/cb source


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Containing diseases in a refugee camp

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2013

Drinking safe, walking tall

DOMIZ CAMP, – On a hot June afternoon, 27-year-old Gharib Mohammed stands outside his tent at this camp for Syrian refugees in Iraq, shovel in hand.

Sewage and garbage have blocked the small stream that runs the length of his dusty avenue and the smell has entered his tent.

“There are some other streams but I can’t clean them all. I just clean the one in front of my home. If everybody did the same thing, the camp would be clean, but not everybody does it.”

The water running past Mohammed’s house is what is technically known as “grey” water – cooking and washing water that is not contaminated with sewage. Or at least it is not supposed to be.

Mohammed points to the septic tank behind his tent, which he says is shared by 25 families.

“In two days, it gets full [then] it overflows and mixes with the other water.”

In the three months he has been living there, government contractors have emptied the tank three times, he said. He once had to resort to paying the truck driver 5,000 Iraqi dinars (US$4.30) to empty it.

Aid agencies say overcrowded living conditions in Domiz (Duhok Province) – built for 25,000 refugees but now accommodating almost twice that number – have put refugees’ health at risk.

“Water, sanitation and hygiene facilities on the site are far from adequate, increasing the risk the camp could become fertile ground for the spread of disease,” Mahendra Sheth, regional health adviser for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which is responsible for water and sanitation activities, said at the start of summer.

In April, a number of measles cases were reported in the camp, and between mid-March and mid-May, the number of diarrhoea cases tripled, the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said.

An assessment conducted by MSF in April showed “clear inequalities” in water distributions, it said in a 15 May press release. Some areas of the camp receive only four litres per person per day, MSF said, far less than the minimum 15-20 litres per person recommended in humanitarian emergencies.

“In some instances, people simply do not have access to water or sanitation,” MSF emergency coordinator Stéphane Reynier wrote. “This is simply not acceptable.”

Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), recently accused the international community of “abandoning” the Syrian refugees in Kurdistan and asked foreign officials to bring the situation to the attention of their governments.


Aid agencies have vaccinated people and are trying to increase water and sanitation services in the camp, but the problem, explains Jaya Murthy, head of communications for UNICEF, is that the camp is overstretched.

“Services were only planned for [25,000] people, so when you [nearly] double that number, of course those services are stretching, which means less for everybody.”

Many irregular settlements and transit areas have emerged, he said, and some of the people on the fringes may not even have access to some of those regular services.

The differences between the original areas and the irregular and transit areas of the camp are stark. Approved tents in the first three phases of construction of the camp each have their own latrine and share one septic tank for every four tents.

In Phases 1-3, Swedish NGO Qandil contracts a waste removal company to empty tanks when families report them full. “The trucks stand by 24 hours a day,” says Salar Rasheed, Iraq programme coordinator, “so the truck is available even at night.”

But residents in unapproved tents and in some of the transit areas share one latrine between 29 to 189 people, according to a Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) report based on February data from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). In one case documented by NRC, residents had to keep using a communal latrine that was overflowing for lack of an alternative.

To address the overcrowding, the UN is working with the Kurdish authorities to allocate more land for new camps. KRG has approved the construction of two new refugee camps in the region – one in Erbil Province, scheduled to open this month, which will house 2,000 families; and one in Sulaymaniyah, designed to hold 1,500 families.

Although there were initial hopes to install proper sewage systems in both camps, the cost of doing so – around $5 million dollars each – was prohibitive given the region’s limited budget.

“It can be done,” says Qandil’s Rasheed, “but it costs a lot of money.”

A neglected crisis?

In June, the UN issued the largest appeal for funding in history to address humanitarian needs related to the Syrian crisis. Included is a request for $37 million for water, sanitation and hygiene services in Iraq, including ensuring safe water and sanitation throughout Domiz.

Gharib Mohammed unblocks the stream outside his tent. Open gray water channels in Domiz Camp are often contaminated with garbage and sewage

But aid workers say the international community has neglected the Syrian crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan, focusing instead on Jordan and Lebanon, where donors perceive the needs to be higher. Aid agencies in Iraq have received just 14 percent of the funding requested for their humanitarian response to Syrian refugees in 2013. As a percentage, and also by raw figures, this makes Iraq the least-funded of the four countries in the Regional Response Plan that border Syria.

“The Syrian refugees have the same right to vital assistance, wherever they flee to seek protection. However, it has – unfortunately due to various political and economic reasons – been very difficult to attract funding to the projects in Iraq, and the refugees are the ones paying the price,” said Toril Brekke, acting secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which just published a report on how the international community is “failing” Syrian refugees in the Kurdish region of Iraq.

Rising disease risk

In the meantime, government authorities and aid agencies are trying to prevent a disaster with the little funds they do have. With temperatures rising (in July, they often surpass 40 degrees), the risk of water-borne diseases is increasing.

“Over several weeks [the number of reported cases of diarrhoea] went down but it can come up at any time so ensuring access to sanitation and safe water is absolutely critical,” said UNICEF’s Murthy. “So as new people keep coming and settling in these irregular areas, we have to be really on top of it to ensure that [the water supply] is properly maintained and those services are delivered to everybody. Otherwise contagious diseases like diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases can catch very quickly.”

The Duhok Province authorities provide a water network to the original settlements and, for the time being, water trucks take care of the rest of the camp.

Thanks to a grant of $4.5 million from the Japanese government, UNICEF is currently planning to lay a pipe network in one of the newest areas of the camp, Phase 7.

UNICEF and NRC are about to start a water monitoring project, checking that the levels of chlorine are adequate.

As well as putting together a cholera prevention plan, UNICEF and MSF have started to send health and hygiene promoters around the camp, tent to tent, to teach families how to minimize the risk of disease and infection. It is particularly important to help residents used to living in modern urban environments to adjust to their new conditions, Murthy said.

“Hygiene promotion is one area that we really need to critically scale up. It’s really, really our priority area.” There are 64 hygiene promoters working in Domiz, “but we need to double or triple that.”

hg/ha/cb source


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The world has recorded quite a few droughts in recent years

Posted by African Press International on July 7, 2013

The world has also recorded quite a few droughts in recent years

JOHANNESBURG,  – As the latest Superman movie – which shows the superhero’s home planet being destroyed by the unsustainable use of its natural resources – hits theatres, a new report reveals that the earth is warming faster than ever in recorded history.

The report, released today, is based on an analysis of temperature and precipitation data recorded from 2001 to 2010.

Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which did the analysis, said in a statement, “Global warming accelerated in the four decades of 1971 to 2010… The decadal rate of increase between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 was unprecedented. Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far-reaching implications for our environment and our oceans, which are absorbing both carbon dioxide and heat.”

“The 2001-2010 decade was the warmest since modern meteorological records began (around 1850) for both land-only and ocean-only surface temperatures”

He continued: “Natural climate variability, caused in part by interactions between our atmosphere and oceans – as evidenced by El Niño and La Niña events – means that some years are cooler than others. On an annual basis, the global temperature curve is not a smooth one. On a long-term basis the underlying trend is clearly in an upward direction, more so in recent times.”

Some key findings from the analysis include:

1. The 2001-2010 decade was the warmest since modern meteorological records began (around 1850) for both land-only and ocean-only surface temperatures.

2. Over the past four decades (1971-2010), the global temperature increased at an average estimated rate of 0.17 degrees Celsius per decade, while the trend from 1880-2010 had been only 0.062 degrees per decade.

3. Nine of the years in the 2001-2010 decade were among the 10 warmest years on record. The warmest year ever recorded was 2010, the year Russia experienced a severe heat wave that killed about 55,000 people. It was also the wettest on record, with Pakistan experiencing one of the worst floods in recent times, claiming 2,000 lives.

4. The high temperatures caused widespread melting of Arctic ice and the thermal expansion of sea water, causing global mean sea levels to rise by an estimated 3mm per year, about double the observed 20th century trend of 1.6mm per year. “Global sea level, averaged over the decade, was about 20cm higher than that of 1880,” the report says.

5. If this trend continues, melting ice sheets will contribute more to sea level rise in the 21st century than any other factor.

6. The world’s glaciers lost more mass in 2001-2010 than in any decade since records began.

7. Nearly 94 percent of countries whose data were assessed had their warmest decade in 2001-2010.

8. Africa experienced warmer-than-normal conditions in every year of 2001-2010.

9. Floods were the most frequently experienced extreme event over the course of the decade.

10. The decade saw the most tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic Basin since 1855.

jk/rz source

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