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Archive for August 3rd, 2013

One on One with Mr Josef Tzegai Yohannes, the creator of The Urban Legend – A Black Super Hero

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2013

Interview with the creator of The Urban Legend, Mr Josef Tzegai Yohannes:

 The Creator of The Urban Legend – Mr Joseph Tzegai Yohannes, Norway:

Mr Yohannes has achieved his goal – creating a black super hero, and now he says the sky is the limit when it comes to how far he intends to make the black super hero known wordwide through his comic books titled THE URBAN LEGEND.

In this clip below; you can see NRK (Norway´s national TV) follow me at Comic Con in San Diego 2012 with the superhero i created called “The Urban Legend” where i am trying to get a distribution deal. It was fun being at the Comic-Con and getting so much amazing response for a superhero i have created.

Just wait and see how big of an impact my superhero “THE URBAN LEGEND” will make on the world!

Thanks to Håvard Bråthen (producer of this episode), Sohail Farman and Kamilla Johnson (camera).

When Dead Prez was in Oslo, they got an exclusive issue of the worlds newest and most amazing superhero “THE URBAN LEGEND”. They loved “The Urban Legend” and they really embraced it. Dead Prez and “The Urban Legend” is going to do something amazing for the kids in Africa….watch out in the future…THE URBAN LEGEND is ready to take on the world….

Wyclef Jean fikk litt av en overraskelse da han fikk en utgave av verdens nyeste superhelt “The Urban Legend”. Vi var helt sjokkert fda han fortalte oss at han allerede hadde hørt om superhelten “The Urban Legend” og ville møte skaperen av “The Urban Legend.”

Many fans of the Urban Legend the Super hero would like to see success and mainly expecting a hit in the African Continent and anywhere else populated by those who would like to have a black super hero in their lives.


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Irrigation boost from ancient reservoirs? Prospects in Sri Lanka

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2013

Inland fishermen working in the Kala Weva, an 18sqkm tank built in 400 BC in North Central Province

COLOMBO, – One way Sri Lanka can better manage its water resources in the face of changing monsoon patterns is through centuries-old water reservoirs, experts say.

Experts at the Colombo-based International Water Management Institute (IWMI) say one way to ease fluctuating rice harvests (due to increasingly erratic monsoon seasons) is to use thousands of ancient small irrigation reservoirs spread out in the Northern, North Central, Eastern, North Western and Southern provinces.

“Tanks [reservoirs] can store water and so are buffers against irregular rainfall supplies,” said Herath Manthrithilake, the head of the institute’s Sri Lanka Development Initiative.

The reservoirs were built between 300 and 400 BC to provide nearby villages with water for agriculture and other needs. They became less important with the introduction of rain-fed cash crops by European colonizers in the 1500s and have been largely untouched since the 1970s with the development of large irrigation and hydropower schemes.

The tanks were constructed by excavating earth and building a large wall around the hole. Most tanks have filled up with sediment, others are hidden by overgrown shrubs or belong to dilapidated networks connecting them to the fields. There is no current estimate, but in 2004 the then government estimated that it would cost some US$20 million at the 2004 exchange rate ($15 million now) to make the tanks functional.

For Werrakoddi Archchilage Premadasa, a 33-year-old farmer from Tanamalvila town in southeastern Uva Province, the tank near his farm is the main source of water for cultivation. “Now the problem is half of the tank is overgrown and it’s also filled with sand… If we can get it to store to its maximum capacity, I don’t think we will have issues with water for cultivation.”

IWMI research has shown that reservoirs can also divert flood waters to the old tanks built on low-lying land, helping to minimize flood damage.

Manthrithilake said a major renovation of thousands of such reservoirs (estimated by researchers to number some 12,000) should be launched if they are to be used effectively. Some 1,000 tanks were repaired in 2004, with no additional repairs planned since then.

“Managing the water resources will be crucial. The monsoon, our main source of water, is changing, forcing us to change the way we use our water resources,” Waduwatte Lekamlage Sumapthipala, formerly the head of the Climate Change Unit at the Ministry of Environment and currently a government adviser, told IRIN.

Weather predictions

A recent World Bank report warned the island’s dry regions are likely to experience less rain while wet zones are at risk of even more deluges.

“The seasonal distribution of precipitation is expected to become amplified, with a decrease of up to 30 percent during the dry season and a 30 percent increase during the wet season,” the report predicted.

Late 2012 and early 2013 floods affected more than one million people nationwide, while a 2012 drought hit an estimated 1.3 million residents.

A survey of flood-affected communities conducted by the Sri Lanka government and the World Food Programme in January this year found 75 percent of the 557,000 people surveyed were either severely food insecure or borderline food insecure.

Of those surveyed, some 33 percent said their main income was through agriculture.

Fluctuating rice production

Rice production has been at the mercy of increasingly unpredictable monsoons in the past three years. In 2011, large harvest losses, around 20 percent of the main harvest, were recorded due to floods.

But the harvest recovered to an extent in mid-2011 when rain-fed irrigation helped to produce a higher-than-average secondary harvest (the country has two harvests annually).

During 2012’s drought the second annual rice harvest fell by up to 10 percent.

However according to the latest country assessments by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the rice harvest is expected to recover this year, and is likely to be above four million tons for the first time since 2009.

“The problem is the prices keep going up and down when the harvest falls and picks up. When we don’t have means to keep prices steady, we should look at keeping the harvest steady,” said Liyana Pathirana Rupasena, the deputy director of research at the governmental Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Training and Research Institute (HARTI).

His concern is that poorer communities will cut back on calories or go for rice varieties that are cheaper but less nutritious during price hikes.

Rupasena said despite predicted harvest increases, rice prices are still higherthan in 2011 and 2012.

Hydropower problems

In addition to destabilizing rice production, water management problems have hit the country’s energy supply. Sri Lanka typically generates around 40 percent of its electricity using hydro generation.

During August 2012 when the drought was at its worst, hydro-generation barely reached 15 percent; the remaining power was generated through costly thermal sources, which forced the country to spend heavily on oil imports, according to the state.

The 2012 oil import bill for thermal power was around US$2 billion, around a tenth of what Colombo spent on imports for the entire year.

Heavy rains in 2013 have once again boosted hydro-generation to nearly 80 percent.

According to Tilak Siyambalapitiya, an energy expert based in Colombo, energy authorities should keep a close watch on the monsoon and emerging climate trends. He said pre-ordering oil stocks to face a potential loss in hydro capacity could save millions in foreign exchange fees.

“Right now the capacity of the reservoirs is totally dependent on the rainfall. There is hardly anything done to manage the water effectively once it’s in the reservoirs,” he said, referring to the reservoirs’ lack of maintenance.

The hope is that the pre-historic tanks can help ease demand for water from the nine main power-generating reservoirs, which farmers currently draw from for cultivation.

ap/pt/cb source



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Kenya: School dormitory burnt down

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2013

Parents and pupils of   of Blessed Academy Nomorio in Mt. Elgon District are counting loses after Property worth thousands of shillings was destroyed  after at night inferno  burnt down a dormitory. The school director Mrs. Grace Ayeta said the fire broke out at around 7:30 pm when the pupils were in class. The school head further  reiterated that all the property that were inside the dormitory were destroyed but no one was injured.
She called upon the well-wishers to support them where possible so that the pupils can continue with their studies.
However, the deputy Mt. Elgon DEO Alice Sitawa and Kapsokwony AEO Samuel Maraka who visited the school urged the parents to support the school so that the pupils continue learning without a problem. This is not the first time for the school to experience this, last year September the same dormitory was burnt down but was rebuilt.


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Many Pakistani girls are out of school – Housework not homework

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2013

Many Pakistani girls are out of school

LAHORE,  – Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai’s speech at the UN in New York calling for “free, compulsory education all over the world for every child” is a reminder that back in her home country several million children are out of school, exploited for their labour, and/or abused.

The most recent annual State of Pakistan’s Children report, published in May by the Islamabad-based NGO Society for the Protection and Rights of the Child (SPARC), found that out of 120 countries in the world, Pakistan has the second largest number of children out of school (after Nigeria), with 5.1 million children aged 5-9 not attending an educational institution.

“Education is vital for our future. Only when they read can they research, think and do something for the nation. Without education in its true sense there is no hope for this,” said Basarat Kazim, president of the Lahore-based NGO Alif Laila Book Bus Society which campaigns for education, literacy and modernization in the education sector.

A significant number of these children end up in the workplace.

“Child labour is a highly accepted social norm from a very young age for both girls and boys,” said Smaranda Popa, the chief of child protection at the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Pakistan. “These children are not only denied access to their rights to education, protection, health and development but are also highly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.”

Figures on the precise number of child workers are somewhat uncertain, with estimates ranging from 3.3 million, according to a 1996 figure from the Federal Bureau of Statistics, to 12 million, according to more recent estimates by media reports and NGOs. The International Labour Organization estimates one quarter of these children are involved in the worst forms of child labour, including slavery, commercial sexual exploitation of children, using children to commit a crime, and work that is harmful to the “health, safety or morals” of children.

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics in its 2010-11 Labour Force Survey puts the number of child workers at just 4.29 percent of the country’s children aged 10-14, in other words 855,426 of the 19.94 million children in that age range, according to 2011 figures from the government’s Economic Survey.

Brooms not books

According to SahibaIrfan Khan, programme officer child labour at SPARC’s Lahore office, the only major law on child labour is the Employment of Children Act 1991, “which just regulates child labour for those less than 14 years of age and prohibits it in specific occupations and processes.”

These laws are frequently weakly enforced, particularly in the area of domestic labour.

Earlier this month, an incident in which an influential employer had beaten her 13-year-old domestic servant, Jamil, to death after he dropped a jug was widely reported in the media and confirmed by police in the southern Punjab city of Multan. “Investigations in this case are continuing,” city police officer Ghulam Muhammad Dogarm told IRIN.

Another local administration official, who asked not to be named, said child labour was high in the area due to poverty, and “complaints of physical or sexual abuse are made but not often acted on because the families of the victims do not have much power.” He believed the incident involving the murder of Jamil was taken up only because “the news reached the media.”

Other cases of abuse go unreported. “My 11-year-old daughter, Habiba, worked as a maid in a big house, helping to look after three young children, and doing all kinds of other tasks such as washing dishes,” mother Shahida Bibi, of Lahore, told IRIN.

“I took her home after I visited one day and found her covered in bruises as a result of the beating she had received from her employers, who said she did not work hard enough. She also told me she was made to labour for up to 14 or 15 hours a day.”

Such stories are not unusual, according to SPARC. “Thousands of children working as domestic servants are deprived of their basic right to education and are often subjected to abuse and violence,” said Khan.

Data compiled by the organization shows that between January 2010 and December 2011, 18 cases of “severe” torture and abuse of child domestic labourers were reported. Of these 18 children, 13 died as a direct result of the violence inflicted upon them at the hands of their employers.

“In the first six months of 2013, 14 cases of violence against child domestic workers were reported in media, out of which nine resulted in the death of the child,” Khan said.

Poverty, inadequate educational facilities and a lack of awareness of the negative impacts of such work are a key cause of the high prevalence of child domestic labour, with families sending children into domestic service.

“Extreme educational poverty”

The poor condition of state-run schools, and the lack of access to them, notably in rural areas, also makes it more likely children will be sent to work.

According to the government’s Economic Survey for 2012-13, the literacy rate in rural areas, at 49 percent, is significantly lower than the 75 percent in urban areas.

Yusuf, 12, has worked as a labourer in Lahore, Pakistan since dropping out of school last year

Facilities at public-sector schools are often dismal, with many lacking furniture, fans, drinking water, toilets, or teachers. According to the 2012 report by the Pakistan Education Task Force, set up by the government in 2009, seven million children are currently out of school and 30 percent of citizens “live in extreme educational poverty”, with 15-20 percent of teachers absent from the classroom on an average day.

“My son, aged 10 years, simply kept running away from school, because he was shouted at by his teachers, sometimes beaten and taught very little since his teacher rarely came,” said Muhammad Hanif, who lives in the settlement of Shahdra on the outskirts of Lahore.

Hanif says he was unable to pay for private schooling, and rather than have his son “roam around on the streets”, he arranged for him to be employed as a house-help. “He is at least given his meals, even if it is just a few leftovers or lentils, and he brings home Rs 2,500 [US$25] each month,” Hanif said.

The wage is less than half of what would, in most cases, be paid to an adult. SPARC says children are preferred for domestic labour because they are considered more obedient, and can be hired for less pay.

Acts of charity?

There is, however, a twist to the tale. For generations, employing child domestic workers has been considered an act of charity.

“Employers believe that since employing poor and unfortunate children is in itself a great favour to the child, they have the liberty to treat them as they wish,” Khan said. This attitude is also tied in to traditional culture in a society highly stratified on the basis of class and wealth.

“Feudal lords are not just large landowners or big farmers. Land is the sole economic resource in a good part of this country and whatever little opportunities, other than land, have arisen lately have also been monopolized by the same class,” said Tahir Mehdi, executive coordinator of the NGO LokSujag, which campaigns for democratic rights and social equity.

Speaking of employment by the wealthy, he said: “They treat their subjects as pairs of hands that should work for them like robots that need to be oiled but don’t have any rights and can’t make any demands.”

Of course, not every child domestic worker suffers. Some, like Pervez Zaman, 13, are more fortunate. Zaman, from the north of the country, says his employer in Lahore pays him well, has given him an additional food allowance and is now planning to arrange for private lessons so he can catch up on the studies he missed out on when he was younger.

However, such cases are rare. The incidence of abuse among young domestic workers is high, as SPARC has recorded, while simply being at work also means they are missing out on schooling.

To address child labour, UNICEF says, Pakistan must harmonize its legislation with international standards, implement those laws, provide functional child and social protection systems including for family poverty, improve access to and use of social services, and increase the amount of “decent” work available to adults.

“Any state invests in its sustainable development by investing in education,” Popa said. “No child should be forced to substitute school with the worst forms of labour.”

kh/jj/ha/cb  source


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