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Afran : Low birth control increases maternal deaths -NAFDAC
on 2009/8/1 18:40:40

The Federal Government has attributed the high rate of maternal mortality in the country to the inability of women to adequately use contraceptives to assist them in successfully spacing their children.
The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii said the intake of oral contraceptive is only 9%, quite low as compared with the sexual activities of Nigerians.
Dr Orhii who was speaking at the launch of a new child spacing product known as LOCON-F by the Society for Family Health (SFH) pointed out that lack of child spacing leads to a lot of unplanned pregnancies which results in abortions or worse deaths during child birth.
“The health risks of using oral contraceptives are much less than the risks of unwanted pregnancy and childbearing for almost all women, especially in countries with high maternal mortality rates,” he said.
He said the refusal of women to take oral contraceptives has led to ‘high fertility rate’ in the region, undermined related goals such as reducing child mortality, hunger and malnutrition.
“If a woman has finished giving birth and still gets pregnant it increases the risk of maternal deaths and makes it harder for families to afford schooling and health care for the children,” the NAFDAC boss said.
Earlier the managing director of Society for Family Health, Mr. Bright Ekweremadu said that the drug will go along way in preserving the lives of women as well as that of their children, if they engage in taking oral contraceptives.
He said the society was committed to assisting Nigeria meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, geared towards empowering and saving the lives of women and children.

Afran : Mixed reactions trail new CBN monetary policies
on 2009/8/1 18:40:11

THE new monetary policies uncapped by the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Malam Sanusi Lamido, has generated mixed reactions from stakeholders.
While most of the operators welcomed the new policy regime, others dismissed it, insisting that policy framework would not yield the expected dividends.
According to some operators, who oppose the policy, the instrument will expose banks to unhealthy competition for funds to meet uniform year requirements.
But some insisted that the decision to remove the interest rate cap and to return to Wholesale Dutch Auction System (WDAS) in the foreign exchange auctions was a positive move.
They based their argument on the need for unification of interest rates and forex markets toward price discovery and elimination of distortions.
The Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, who expressed optimism on the policy, said that it would guarantee inter-bank lending that would engender liquidity in the industry.
Rewane dismissed the notion that the policy would through competition swell banks balance sheet by Dec. 31, 2009 and possibly scurry the planned injection of funds into the industry.
"So long there is money to be made, and that the apex bank has guaranteed all such transactions, there is no way banks could shy away from making some extra money," he said.
The Managing Director of H.J. Trust and Investment, Mr. Harrison Owoh said that lowering of the monetary policy rate (MPR) to 6 per cent would not only make manufacturers receive funds at cheaper rate, but reduce inflation.
Owoh said that the new policy was designed to stimulate growth of the economy.
According to him, the only way people would feel the impact of the MPR reduction is when banks channel the benefit to all the segments of the market.
"If the manufacturers can borrow at lower rate, they will increase their production to make more profit and go into expansion," he said.
He also said that the new policy would help to boost liquidity in the financial system, as well as reduce unemployment in the country.
Owoh, who commended the governor, added that the new measure would enable banks contain toxic assets and leverage credits to the real sector.
The National Coordinator of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr. Sunny Nwosu said the new policy, which reduced MPR to 6 per cent was a welcome development as it would stimulate liquidity in the economy.
Nwosu said that low interest rate as provided by the CBN would reduce banks defaults and encourage the provision of loans to operators in the real sector of the economy.
He said that what stakeholders required now "is the will for the new policy to survive and achieve its overall objectives".
He urged the real sector operators to see the policy as another gesture to mobilize and stimulate sustainable production.

Afran : Senior varsity workers begin indefinite strike
on 2009/8/1 18:39:35

Academic activities are expected to be grounded further in the country as the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has declared an indefinite strike to demand the full implementation of its agreement with the Federal Government.
By this pronouncement, SSANU therefore joins its ASUU counterpart, which has also ordered its members to sit at home demanding the implementation of its agreement with the Federal Government over funding of the universities, autonomy among other issues.
The National President of SSANU, Mr. Promise Adewusi, also alleged that the Federal Government had concluded arrangements to introduce N180, 000 tuition fees per session in the universities. According to him, government decision was based on the need to seek an alternative source of funding for the universities, especially in view of the global economic meltdown.
He said: "The failure to honour the agreement that was reached since 2001 anchored by some 27 eminent Nigerians led by Mr. Gamaliel Onosode is one of the reasons we are calling our members out on strike. We were told to accept N180, 000 tuition fees and we say we will not because no average Nigerian parent can afford it. The situation will lead to governor producing governor while gardeners will be producing gardeners. No salary is enough to guarantee good living and where do they expect parents to get that kind of money from. This is a union that has not gone on total and indefinite strike in about eight years but our patience has been tasked. So, as from Monday, July 20, 2009, all our members are instructed to withdraw their services from the universities. From the clinics to electricity departments all our members have down tools. We hereby advise all parents and guardians to withdraw their wards from schools as the provision of basic services can no longer be guaranteed. The strike will not be called off until all our demands are met."
Adewusi also flayed government for unilaterally approving marginal increase for workers of the nation's institutions of tertiary learning without recourse to the International Labour Organisation (LIO) Convention 98 on Collective Bargaining that stresses the need for tripartism in negotiations. He said SSANU reject such an increase in its entirety and would not be a part to its implementation.
"It is ridiculous that government will just sit somewhere and approve what it thinks is right for workers without a recourse to the ILO Convention 98 on collective bargaining.
Government empowered 27 eminent Nigerians led by Mr. Gamaliel Onosode and they negotiated for nearly two and a half years and an agreement was reached and government is finding it difficult to implement the agreement. Government should go back and implement that agreement and the excuse of the global economic meltdown does not hold water. If government had respected this agreement, the issue of economic meltdown would not have met it," he said.
Adewusi noted that the non-respect of collective agreements by government was making mockery of the claim that it was being guided by the rule of law. It added that government must re-brand itself rather than seek to re-brand Nigerians on whose rights, it trampled upon in its social dealings.
He said the issue in contention is well beyond the issue of salary and payment of monetisation arrears but also include retirement age of its members and adequate funding of the universities.
Adewusi cautioned workers not to be overly optimistic about the recently inaugurated committee on new minimum wage saying, "with the way this government is reneging on agreements, there is no reason to be optimistic about the implementation of the recommendations of the committee on minimum wage. If government is refusing to implement agreements it reached years ago, what is there to show that it will respect new agreements? he asked.
The SSANU national president also berated the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) led by Adisa Adewolu for ordering ASUU back to the classrooms.
"Let us first remind IAP that these crises came about because government failed to honour agreements it earlier reached. So, it is only logical for IAP to advise government to honour the agreement so that the crises can be sorted out and not for it to take sides and order us back to work," Adewusi said.
Adewusi said government's directive that both ASUU and SSANU and other unions in the sector should negotiate with their respective councils, was too late.

Afran : IMF charges CBN on interest rate, external reserves
on 2009/8/1 18:38:53

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has charged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to concentrate on managing interest rates and external reserves well.
IMF Resident Representative, Mr David Moellar, gave the charge when he led an IMF delegation to a meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Mansur Muhtar in Abuja, saying stability in the financial sector is necessary for the realization of the goals of Vision 2020.
Banks in the country presently charge between 18 percent to 22 percent interest rates, while the country’s external reserves is down to $43 billion compared to $64 billion at the third quarter of last year.
A statement from the Special Assistant on Communication to Minister of Finance, Ms Deborah Okafor, said Mr. Moellar commended Nigeria for tackling fiscal constraint and “suggested that the 2010 budget should be prepared, taking into consideration the current economic realities, especially the fluctuation in oil prices.”
She said the minister told the IMF team that “overall macro-economic outlook remains positive”. According to her, the minister also assured IMF that machinery has been set in motion to secure timely delivery of the 2010 budget.
“He informed the IMF team that the annual budget cycle consultations through the Medium Term Strategy Session (MTSS) and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) leading to the preparation of the budget have been concluded. The Minister said that the main fiscal challenge had been dwindling revenues and weak absorptive capacity of the MDAs in fully utilizing funds released to them for capital projects”, she said.
According to her, the minister said that government had already embarked on various measures to address the situation “including the setting up of a Cash Management Committee to prioritize government spending with special focus on the Seven-point Agenda.”

Afran : Bombing of oil installations to continue until…, Says Ijaw leader
on 2009/8/1 18:38:28

In spite of the Federal Government amnesty package to militants in the Niger Delta region, bombing of strategic oil installations would continue until the government shows sign of seriousness by taking a drastic step to embark on infrastructural development of the core oil producing communities in the region.
President, Niger Delta Enlightenment Network (NDEN), Chief Salvation Alfa Agele-Oba who gave the warning in Abuja, regretted that the coastal areas, which account for the major oil exploration, have been neglected by succeeding administration in the country.
Naming the nucleus of oil producing areas to include, Premabiri in the Southern Ijaw Local Government area of Bayelsa State, Burutu in Delta and Bonny in Rivers States, Chief Agele-Oba, said ongoing bombing of oil installations is a continuation of grievances as a result of the total neglect of the areas.
He however, warned multi-national corporations involved in the oil exploration activities to leave the region with immediate effect.
According to him, “you can see a change in tactics to our struggle of recent. Before now it used to be kidnapping of expatriates working with multi-nationals and you see the dimension it is taking today is launching major attacks on oil installations in the region and beyond”.
“I am sad when these mischievous people call our boys militants, they are not militants but aggrieved boys. The government sent in military men to kill these boys who are agitating for the emancipation of the region. The most painful thing was that the government is funding the JTF against the aggrieved boys from the oil money”.
He added, “With the ongoing genocide in the region, somebody is now talking about amnesty. No amnesty can solve the problem. The real problem is yet to be attended and that is the issue of underdevelopment of the region”.

Afran : RMAFC strips Govs, Speakers of some privileges
on 2009/8/1 18:37:58

The Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) say it has stripped Governors, Speakers and local government chairmen of some privileges they hitherto enjoyed, including allowances.

For Governors and Deputy Governors, the severance gratuity of 300% was cancelled because they are entitled to pension and gratuity by virtue of the provision of section 124 (5) of the 1999 constitution. The hardship allowance was however, reduced from 50% to 20 %. The same thing with President and his Vice.

For the legislature, the number of vehicles to be provided to the Speaker was reduced to three, while constituency allowance for members of the state Houses of Assembly was reduced from 50% to 25%. This is also applicable to the National Assembly.

Also, severance gratuity for members was reduced from 300% to 200%, while robe allowance and House maintenance allowance was cancelled.

Chairman of the Commission Engr Hamman Tukur, disclosed this in Umuahia, Abia State, when members of the Commission presented the report on the downward review of the remuneration package for Political, Public and Judicial officer holders at the state level to Abia state government at the Government House.

He also disclosed that accommodation and furniture allowance at the local government level have been reduced by over 50%, while allowances such as entertainment, Personal Assistant and severance gratuity were altogether cancelled.

Specifically, the Commission said that it has been noted that a substantial part of the national wage bill of about N1.3trillion is attributed to the local government tier, “Out of this sum, 53% is being expended by the local governments, the 36 states corresponding expenditures is about 32% while at the federal level, it is only about 15%.”

Tukur said that the review became necessary because of the dwindling economic fortunes of the country, following the global economic meltdown, which he noted had adversely affected the price of crude oil.

Afran : Kuffour, Ekwueme task Nigerians on anti-graft war
on 2009/8/1 18:36:29

Immediate past president of Ghana, John Kuffour and former vice president of Nigeria Dr Alex Ekwueme, have challenged Nigerians on the need to see the war against graft in Nigeria as theirs if the future of the country is to be secured.
The two elder statesmen gave the charge in Owerri, Imo State while speaking at the South-East/South-South launch of Anti-Corruption Revolution (ANCOR) campaign, organized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) along with other stakeholders.
While delivering the keynote address at the occasion, President Kuffour commended the EFCC ‘for its foresight and vision’ in insisting that nothing short of the public ownership of the war against corruption would succeed in tackling the menace of corrupt practices.
The solution to corruption, he said, “must rest with the entire population, not leadership alone,” adding that “citizens must demand accountability from public office holders.”
According to him, “in doing this, we must recognize that fighting corruption is not an event but a process and the starting point must be the national constitution. The constitution must be the supreme law and the reference point of the social order. As such, it must guarantee the rule of law and due process to protect human right and the equality of citizens before the law.
“While the enforcement of the anti-corruption regime must be done by independent state institution which are set up for the purpose, the role of the individual in triggering and sustaining the process cannot be underestimated.
“In this regard, every citizen must be a watchdog in exposing corrupt practices. This will be possible when the state follows up in earnest and takes the necessary measures to see the process through while protecting the individual.”
Chairman of the occasion, former vice-president, Alex Ekwueme lauded the EFCC for its concept of ANCOR. He said the revolution was relevant at this point in the life of the nation because “most Nigerians agree that corruption has deprived Nigeria of resources that could have been used for national development.”
He explained that greed and lack of contentment are responsible for corrupt practices and that a revolution of the form and mould of ANCOR would go a long way in sensitizing Nigerians to the evils of corruption.
ANCOR is the EFCC’S wake-up call to all Nigerians to buy in and own the anti-corruption war. Conceived as a public-resistance and mass response initiative against the menace of corruption, it has become an accepted national campaign.
Similarly, Ikedi Ohakim, Imo State governor and chief host, commended the EFCC for its new approach at fighting corruption. “Waziri is doing a good job. Her approach has restored public confidence in the commission. EFCC is no longer an instrument of vendetta,” he said. He particularly applauded the commission for carrying Nigerians along in the anti-corruption war. “Anti-corruption war must be a mass movement. Every Nigerian must be involved in fighting corruption,” he said.
He also stressed the need for a change of attitude by all Nigerians to combat the menace of corruption. He regretted that corruption has wasted two generations of Nigerians already. “Corruption has consumed two generations of Nigerians. There is no where we are going if we don’t combat corruption,” he pointed out.
In her remarks, EFCC Chairman, Mrs Farida Waziri, explained that it was not enough for Nigeria to attain democracy if corrupt practices are still un-checked. “Democracy is not enough. Citizens should hold their leaders accountable,” she stressed. She also explained the need for all Nigerians to partner with the EFCC to collectively confront and combat the menace of corruption. She went down memory lane to explain what the EFCC had achieved with ANCOR and urged Nigerians not to leave the anti-corruption war to the commission alone.
The South East/ South South ANCOR launch was well-attended. Nigerians from all walks of life converged at the Disney Hotel venue of the event to lend support to the campaign.
An excited Ohakim appreciated the response of the people to the launch saying that it demonstrated the resolve of Nigerians to see the EFCC succeed in its mission. Three deputy governors representing Imo, Ebonyi and Delta states attended the event. Also in attendance were top traditional rulers, Prof Joseph Edozien, Asagba of Asaba and Obong of Calabar, Esit Okon, representatives of the Nigerian Labour Congress, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Civil society groups, and market women among others. ANCOR was officially launched by President Umaru Yar’Adua on December 10, 2008 in Abuja and had since been launched in the South-West on February 17, 2009 in Lagos.

Afran : FG dumps privatization of refineries, opts for management contract
on 2009/8/1 18:35:12

The Federal Government has dumped the privatization of the country’s 445,000 barrels capacity refineries, opting for management contract arrangement instead. This means the refineries will be contracted out to firms to manage and make returns to the government as against outright privatization.
This arrangement, a top official of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said, is the best for the refineries considering their present state of decay.
The corporation, the official said, was able to convince government that no investor would want to buy the refineries in their current state.
“With their current state, even with the Turn-Around Maintenance (TAM), only very few and honest investors would like to buy the refineries because they are in very bad condition and if you call for their books they are not bankable anywhere. So, we don’t believe that people with honest intention would like to buy the refineries at this stage,” the official said.
He noted that the only way the refineries can be revamped is the management contract option, where individuals and firms adept in the business collaborate with NNPC.
With the new arrangement, the contractor will take no equity, but cash for the service rendered, while the contract would be structured in such a way that remuneration or compensation is based on performance.
NNPC, the source said, has been talking to a number of individuals and firms on this issue and hopes that by the time the Petroleum Reform Bill is passed into law it would have concluded negotiations with one or two of the contractors.
The plan of the management, according to the source, is to position the organization in such a way that its stocks can be quoted on the stock exchange.
The source said that NNPC is determined to get it right this time around, noting that “at the end of the exercise it hopes to deliver to Nigerians a world class refinery that will meet the expectations of the country and process at least 90 percent of the 445,000 barrels.”
According to him, “If you look at the performance of the refineries over the years, it is possible to achieve this. Anytime there is TAM the production level shoots up”. He added that “it is because we failed to do what we are supposed to do, that is why the refineries are not working.”
It would be recalled that Bluestar Oil Services Limited, a company jointly owned by Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola, had bided and got both Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries but had to withdraw from the deal after protest from labour unions, management and staff of NNPC trailed the sale.

Afran : Rattawu suspends strike as FG pays N42.6bn arrears today
on 2009/8/1 18:35:06

The Federal Government will today start the payment of N42.618 billion arrears of monetization money owed the striking members of Radio, Television and Theatre Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU), just as the union also yesterday announced the suspension of the industrial action embarked upon to protest the non-payment of the arrears.
The decision to shelve the strike was, however, dependent upon the confirmation of payment of the arrears into accounts of members of RATTAWU and on the condition that government would pay the balance of N42.1 billion during first quarter of 2010.
Both decisions were taken yesterday at a meeting convened by the Senate Committee on Information and Media in Abuja.
All the various leaders involved in the matter have been present at the meeting. They were Minister of Labour, Chief Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN), the Permanent Secretary in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed, the National President of RATTAWU, Comrade Yemisi Bamgbose, Managing Director of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Mrs. Remi Oyo, the Director General of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Dr. Usman Magawata, Director General Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Mallam Yusuf Nuhu and other union leaders.

Afran : 2011: Arewa opposes automatic tickets
on 2009/8/1 18:28:45

THE Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has described the recent demand by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators for automatic return the tickets to the National Assembly in 2011 general election, as undemocratic and capable of stunting the growth of democracy in the country.
The senators had at an interactive session with National Chairman of PDP, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor early this week, said experiences and huge resources invested on them in legislative business would be wasted if not given opportunity to return.
Reacting, the ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony N. Z. Sani said the senators wanted to take Nigerians for a ride stressing that in a democratic society, there is nothing like automatic ticket. He also said the senators wanted to destroy the PDP.
"The senators want to take Nigerians for a ride. They want to destroy the PDP and impede the growth of democracy in Nigeria. Their demand for automatic ticket for the 2011 elections is undemocratic and unacceptable.
"There is nowhere in the world, where democracy is practice where people are given automatic ticket to contest election by the political party they belong. The people are the only authority to give anybody an automatic ticket because it will mean that they are satisfied with what you have been doing as their representative.
"The senators should look at what is happening in other parts of the world, especially countries like Iran where the people are protesting against the election that recently took place there" Sani said.
The Mass Movement of Nigeria (MMN), an opposition political party in its reaction, condemned such demand, saying it was undemocratic, calling on Nigerians to resist the imposition of candidates on them in the 2011 elections.
Chairman of the party, Alhaji Idris Musa who said that some of the senators did not truly win the 2007 election, added that most of them have failed their people and are scared of going back to ask them for their mandate for the 2011 election.
Musa also said the demand of the senators runs contrary to President Umaru Yar’Adua’s quest for internal democracy.
"Even though I am not a PDP member, such proposal is undemocratic. The president who is from the PDP is talking about internal democracy and senators are talking of automatic ticket.
"We should be looking at how people can emerge credibly for elections and to allow Nigerians the opportunity to elect leaders of their choice.
It is the senate president that is talking about this. You know some of them did not win the elections in 2007, they just manipulated their way and they that they not sure they can win the next election.
"They want easy ticket to leadership and this is very dangerous to democracy. Let the people decide. The truth is that when people elect you and you perform creditably well, they will still re-elect you.
"The problem is that some of our leaders in power have not performed to the expectation of Nigerians, especially the senators, that is why they want automatic ticket and the implication of this, is that they will manipulate the electoral process again to remain in the senate. This is not good for the growth of democracy in Nigeria.
"Your re-election should be determined by your performance and I can cite examples of the governor of Lagos and Jigawa state who have transformed their states within the past two years.
"In two years, Fashola has changed Lagos State, in two years; Sule Lamido has transformed Jigawa State. These are people Nigerians will always be ready to give their mandates to, at anytime because they have proven their capabilities," he said.

Afran : Nuclear power, solution to Nigeria’s energy problem –VC
on 2009/8/1 18:27:52

Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI), Professor Olufemi Bamiro, has called on President Umaru Yar’Adua to commence the process of nuclear power generation immediately, if he intends to address the problem of power supply in the country.
Speaking at an interactive session with newsmen on the recent grant awarded the premier institution by MacArthur Foundation for the institution of the Masters degree programme in Development Practice (MDP), the university administrator, however, commended the efforts of the Federal Government to resuscitate the nation’s ivory towers with recent intervention on infrastructure development of the campuses.
“We have enough resources that we can tap now, in term of gas, in term of bio-fuels. We have a lot of gas reserve. If the nation is really serious on the issue of energy, this is the time we should start focusing and thinking about nuclear power generation. We should have it as a sort of plan that in the next 10 years we should research seriously into nuclear power generation.
“A number of nuclear scientists were trained at ABU and OAU, Ile-Ife but again they were frustrated and they left. I believe that if we are serious in addressing our energy problem on a long term basis, then we should start doing something now as regard nuclear energy. Fortunately for us, we have a lot of gas reserve. We have a lot of professionals, expertise for this. And the time to do it is now,”
On the recent ETF intervention that fetched the institution a princely sum of N5.5 billion, the vice-chancellor assured that such gesture would go a long way in improving the university environment and consequently put a stop to brain drain affecting the tertiary institutions.
Bamiro, however, pointed out that the ETF fund was a drop in the ocean when compared to the huge bill brought by various departments of the institution and in view of the dwindling internal generated revenue of the institution vis-à-vis the global economic meltdown.
On the MDP programme, the vice-chancellor, accompanied by principal officers of the university, disclosed that adequate preparations have been made to ensure smooth takeover of the programme while collaborative efforts with some institutions in and outside the country have been instituted.
He disclosed that the institution has conclude arrangement to partner with University of Columbia, African Development Bank, Development Policy Centre (DPC) and other institutions in the country on the implementation of the programme to ensure quality delivery.

Afran : Notifications
on 2009/7/30 14:32:58


You can find in Report & Article category several news

Afran : Women more excited about scarf in Algeria, says study
on 2009/7/28 13:11:39

[img align=right width=200]http://www.echoroukonline.com/eng/thumbnail.php?file=hidjab_137841911.jpg&size=article_medium[/img]
28 July, 2009 By Z. Mensar / English version: Echoroukonline

Women in Algeria wear scarf to have more freedom in life, to continue studying and to go to work, a new study finds.


The study was conducted by the National Centre for Media on Women and Child’s rights. It involved more than 2,000 people in the country.
It shows that women are more excited about wearing scarf than men. Six male teenagers out of seven are for the scarf while five female teenagers out of six said they are for the Muslim dress.
According to the same study, Algiers and the Kabylie region are the most tolerant areas about how women’s look. A total of 16 percent of teenagers in Algiers, 14 percent of adolescents in Kabylie, 14 percent of men and 13 percent of adults in the capital said they are against the scarf. Some 65 percent of women in Kabylie are for not putting on the scarf.
Algerian women tend to wear new scarf styles imported from the Middle East especially Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Jordan.
In 1960-1970, people in Algeria were attached to their traditional dresses.
“Most of women over 40 put on the scarf before they were 30 or they wore it when they were between 13 and 17 years old.”
The study says women living in the countryside tend more to wear the scarf compared to women living in the big cities. “A total of 84 percent of female adults and 48 percent of female teenagers wear the scarf whatever it looks like compared to 90 percent of female adults and 75 percent of female teenagers in the countryside.
According to the study, most of women put on the scarf to be freer in their life and enrolling in universities.
Educated women with scarf represent between 20 and 60 percent while cultivated women in Algeria represent between 1 and 12 percent of the society.


Afran : Algeria orders to step up security measures in airports, ports
on 2009/7/28 13:10:37

[img align=right width=200]http://www.echoroukonline.com/eng/thumbnail.php?file=police_460474043.jpg&size=article_medium[/img]
28 July, 2009 By N. B. / English version: Echoroukonline

Algerian government ordered to reinforce security measures in airports and ports, national police chief said Monday.

Colonel Ali Tounsi paid an inspection visit to the Port of Algiers and the International Airport of Houari Boumediene.
“This visit comes as part of checking up security and preventive measures adopted by border guards in the port and airport,” he told reporters.
“I am satisfied about the level of the police and Air Algerie’s staff. We are working on reinforcing security progressively to reach the international standards,” he added.
He believes those measures are efficient. “I am sure they can foil criminal plans.”
The government is carrying out a program meant to set up 350 cameras and mobilise more than 1,250 policemen to foil any potential suicide attack in the airport of Algiers.


Afran : Nigeria: 150 dead in religious clashes
on 2009/7/28 13:09:31

Click to see original Image in a new window
Monday 27 July 2009
Murtala Mohammed Kamara, AfricaNews reporter in Freetown, Sierra Leone
At least 150 people have been reported killed in Northern Nigeria following clashes between the Nigerian Police Force and members of a militant group called 'Bokom Haram' which opposes western education while trying to set free their leader. It is the number of people dead in two days of violence.
nigeria map
Last weekend clashes was ignited after some members of Bokum Haram armed with guns and grenades shouting “God Is Great” attacked the Dutsen Tanshi Police Station the same time a raid was launched in Maiduguri. Eyewitnesses told the BBC that a gun battle which lasted for hours left a Police station raised down and its immediate environs.

The NPF also reacted in raiding the group’s neighborhoods and hideouts around the Bauchi airstrip, arresting hundreds including items such as uniforms, boots, explosives and live ammunitions.

The death toll is still not clear but the BBC reporter in the West Africa country said she counted over 100 bodies ‘mostly militants’ near the Police headquarters in Maiduguri state were hundreds are fleeing.

A member of Bokom Haram who gave his name as Abdul with sustained wounds during the initial attack on the police station told Reuters that the group wanted to "clean the (Nigerian) system which is polluted by western education and uphold Sharia all over the country." He said further "The police have been arresting our leaders, that is why we decided to retaliate.’’

The police has announced on Sunday that normalcy has returned to Buachi despite the state government pronouncement of a curfew from 9pm to 6pm.

Nigeria’s 150 million people are mainly divided between Muslims mainly in the North and Christians in the South. Nigeria, Africa’s most populace nation has a record for religious clashes which have left hundreds dead in the past but security experts say these clashes have no link to Al-Qaeda.

Afran : Hillary Clinton visits Nigeria
on 2009/7/28 13:08:03

Monday 27 July 2009
Kingsley Kobo, AfricaNews reporter in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
The United States of America Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, will be visiting Nigeria from August 10 to 12 2009. A letter from the US State Department notifying the Nigerian government of Hillary's visit has been received at the Nigerian foreign affairs ministry, media reports confirmed.
Hillary clinton
The US ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Rene'e Sanders and Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister, Ojo Maduekwe met on Sunday in Abuja to kick off arrangements for the visit, according to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

During the visit, Hillary is expected to hold discussion with President Umaru Yar’Adua on a number of issues affecting both countries.

Since Nigeria is becoming more indispensable as the US continues to look beyond the strife-torn Middle-East for its energy needs, sources said the Niger Delta crisis is expected to top the agenda of Hillary’s meeting with Yar’Adua.

US’s crude oil import from Nigeria is on the increase with Nigeria recording a 16.2 per cent rise in its crude export to the U.S. last year. Corruption and electoral reforms are two other issues likely to dominate discussions during Hillary’s meeting with Yar’Adua according to sources.

Afran : Twenty-Six Reasons I Do Not Usually Celebrate July 26th
on 2009/7/28 13:06:57

Written by Paul Jackson
Monday, 27 July 2009
1. Nothing in this declaration actually speaks to the struggles and aspirations of the very people this so-called “Love of Liberty” met on the Liberian Soil. It was all about those people who boarded those ships from “you know where”…
2.Because all of our leaders, from the mixed bred J.J. Roberts, to the home bred Samuel Kanyon Doe, from the “totally involved President Tolbert, to the “child” that is supposed to be “great”, Ellen Sirleaf, have proven to be ineffective, lacking in innovation, nepotistic, childishly enchanted by the presidency, but perpetually disinterested in the responsibilities that accompany the office.

3. Because we crafted a nation on an American template that did not pay attention to any of our culturally specific dynamics (customs, history, etc.,)- A complete copycat excuse of a Declaration of Independence

4. Because I am still convinced that being colonized and ill-treated by the innovative White Man would have been more tolerable than gaining independence under the auspices of clueless Black and half-Black liberators who visited some of the same discriminatory practices for over a century on their own people. After all, the White Man left innovation and eye-pleasing infrastructures in parts of the places he colonized.

5. Because I simply hate the Congo-Native dichotomy which enabled semi-literate Negros to inflict emotional and other collateral damage on their own people for over a century and a quarter.

6. Because the only time the wordings of our national anthem makes sense is when Liberia Lone Star is about to engage in an international soccer match-But even a silly nursery rhyme would make sense at that moment. Don’t you think?

7. Because I have never been known to be a strange-bedfellow of my oppressors and people who dehumanize me-Why should I sing an anthem, and march to the drum beat of words that do not mean a damn thing to me?

8. Because I still have the same emotional and physical scars like those other Africans whose nations were colonized-Scars inflicted by half-white men and Black men that were as dark as my Grandpa. And yes, till hear the covert voice of my oppressor in public and private places when he/she is forced to condescendingly accept me as an equal.

9. Independence from what? Unless you have a thing for pomp and pageantry, but “Independence” and “Liberia” in the same sentence is a complete misnomer-Independence from what?! I tire yah….

10. Lastly, because there’s no way this editor is going to grant me the luxury of writing a damning twenty-six paragraphed exposé of our beloved independence day.

God bless Liberia and may we someday gain true independence from the forces of oppression.


Afran : New accreditation process for Africa labs
on 2009/7/28 13:05:01

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Posted on Monday 27 July 2009 - 13:01
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Kent Mensah, AfricaNews editor in Accra, Ghana
Government health officials from 13 African countries on Monday launched the first-ever push for accreditation of the continent's medical laboratories, starting a process that the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Government believe will be an historic step to strengthen health systems and lead to better care for patients.
The new effort according to a statement to AfricaNews Ghana office will operate under the guidance of the WHO Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), implemented through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS/CDC).

“The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) will assign dozens of volunteer American lab professionals and the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative will help implement action-oriented training programs to boost and standardize the quality of African laboratories,” the statement added.

It said a handful of Africa’s laboratories are now accredited, in part because the existing international accreditation process is so time-consuming. Many laboratories lack equipment, proper funding, adequate training for lab workers, and systematic management of work.

WHO-AFRO has established a five-step accreditation process structured around its core standards for laboratories, which will allow labs to gradually receive credit for improvement – and eventually attain accreditation. For many laboratories that employ top-notch workers, this extra help is seen as critical to reach a consistent high standard of work.

“It’s time for Africa to go in this direction – accreditation is the only way to be sure a laboratory is a good laboratory,” said Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health. “We cannot provide high quality care – no matter what type of disease we’re fighting – without strong laboratories. This will greatly strengthen our health systems in the short term and long term. This is all about building sustainable health systems.”


Laboratories form the backbone of health systems around the world, providing doctors and other health care workers with results of a battery of tests for deadly diseases. Sub-Saharan Africa carries a huge burden of disease – it is estimated that the continent has more than 2 million deaths annually from AIDS, nearly 2 million deaths from tuberculosis, and roughly 1 million deaths from malaria – and yet its laboratories are among the most ill-equipped and poorly resourced facilities anywhere.

If laboratories function properly, doctors and nurses will not only get correct diagnoses of diseases and an indication of when and how to begin treatment, but they will also know when drugs fail and when people develop resistance to medications. This is a critical component of monitoring patients infected with HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, as well as a host of other diseases. In addition, an efficient laboratory can dramatically reduce waiting time to get results – allowing patients in parts of Africa who often travel a day or more for testing to receive the laboratory results sooner. Studies have shown that when patients need to return for a second visit to a hospital or clinic for test results, significant percentages fail to do so.

The work to improve laboratories began to gain momentum nearly a decade ago; the intensified fight against HIV/AIDS represented by PEPFAR and others provided funding and demand to improve laboratory services. Two of the integral partners in this process have been the WHO-AFRO and PEPFAR through HHS/CDC.

“Supporting governments’ efforts to strengthen national health care systems, including laboratory quality management, is essential to ensuring sustainability of country-driven HIV/AIDS interventions,” said Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. “Efforts like this new lab accreditation process are essential to equipping countries and communities with the tools necessary for progress on health.”

El-hadj Belabbes, HIV Lab Officer for the WHO Inter-country Support Team, Central Africa, said the outcome is the result of efforts initiated by WHO-AFRO and HHS/CDC eight years ago, leading to meetings with partners in Zimbabwe, Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Senegal.

“Following these meetings, WHO-AFRO, in collaboration with its partners, has initiated the first phase of laboratory accreditation but also has started the implementation of comprehensive Quality Management Systems and laboratory management training,” Belabbes said.

At the Kigali meeting, which runs from July 27 to 29, participants include 120 experts and policymakers from Rwanda, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, and Zambia. The meeting will have three goals: unveil a blueprint toward the path of accreditation; obtain key stakeholders’ support for accreditation; and showcase a task-based training program in support of laboratory improvement required for accreditation.

“This is a tremendous leap forward for diagnostic laboratory services in Africa,” said Dr. Lee H. Hilborne, past president of the American Society for Clinical Pathology, which helped design the training program and will send volunteers from U.S. laboratories to assist the training. “The commitment of laboratories, Ministries of Health, and international partners, including ASCP, speaks to the realization that investments in infrastructure to date have matured to the point where it is now possible to explicitly commit to having Africa's laboratories aspire to and achieve compliance with international standards. The people of Africa and the world will benefit from this essential step forward.”

Accurate diagnostics

“Every patient deserves “access to accurate and reliable diagnostics that meaningfully inform the care and treatment they receive. The laboratory accreditation process is an important means to encourage, evaluate and recognize competence, quality and reliability in medical laboratory testing. We consider laboratories to be a gateway to the management and treatment of priority diseases,” said Philip Rotz, Training Coordinator of the Laboratory Services Team for the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative.

Connie Wilkins, a hospital laboratory director in Joplin, Missouri, in the United States and one of ASCP’s volunteers, said that the process will be critically important in helping laboratories run more efficiently. Much of the effort will be focused on training laboratory managers and other administrative staff to improve the management of the facilities. After the laboratories go through the five-stage process for WHO-AFRO, they will be closer to applying for international accreditation as well.

“Anything we can do in education, including in improving laboratories is not just about saving a life but about improving quality of life,” Wilkins said. “We’re improving healthcare starting with being able to deliver to doctors a more accurate diagnosis of the problem and by allowing doctors to see how well treatments are working through periodic testing. It’s just a huge deal.”

Afran : SA chides Thabo Mbeki over protest
on 2009/7/28 13:03:57

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Posted on Monday 27 July 2009 - 09:03
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Mernat Mafirakurewa, AfricaNews reporter in Johannesburg, South Africa Photo: Elles van Gelder
The violent service delivery protests currently gripping South Africa has been attributed to the era of former president, Thabo Mbeki. Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said people are not against the current President but the municipalities aligned to the previous administration.
president Mbeki supporters_South Africa_Elles van Gelder
Sexwale noted: “There is a disconnect between us (leaders) and our people. This is quite clear. The people are not demonstrating against a three month-old government. They voted us into power three months ago. They are simply saying leaders in the past have done things wrong and they want to tell us.”

He said people wanted the government to hear about the challenges they have had to face for a long time. Sexwale said he had been studying the situation in all areas where the violent protests had erupted. He said he visited Diepsloot informal settlement (in Gauteng) last week where it was made clear that people want jobs before houses.
“I want to go back to Diepsloot and sleep over with my officials to get to understand the problem. There has been a disconnect between them and the leaders, which has left our people at the hands of some unscrupulous mayors and councillors.”

Urban migration

He said as was the case worldwide, many people had left rural areas and settled in places where there was a lack of basic services because they wanted to live in urban areas and look for work. Sexwale said the problem had been compounded by the global recession, when the economy needed 6% growth. “The global downturn has put more pressure on us.”

Responding for the first time to the spate of service delivery protests in the country, President Jacob Zuma on Sunday acknowledged the right of people to take to the streets but also warned against violence, saying the government would enforce the law.

“Our constitution allows our people the right of freedom of assembly and expression, and to protest where they feel they need to, but this must be done within the ambit of the law. There can be no justification for violence, looting and destruction of property or attacks on foreign nationals.... The law enforcement agencies will continue to act swiftly and to take action against all who break the law,” Zuma said at a meeting with the Confederation of Black Business Organizations in Johannesburg.

Afran : Angola to build one million homes for the poor
on 2009/7/28 13:02:51

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Posted on Monday 27 July 2009 - 06:40
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Sam Banda Jnr, AfricaNews reporter in Blantyre, Malawi
Angola plans to build about one million homes for its poor people in the next five years with support from Unites States of America.This comes after the southern African country has also made strides overtaking Nigeria as the continent's biggest oil producer.
Angola map
The country with increasingly politically stable, safer and more attractive to foreign oil companies, is said to have slowly increased its output and that it has potential for greater production over the next few years.

US ambassador to Angola Dan Mozena was quoted as saying that the US will loan the southern African country $400 million for the construction of the one million homes for the poor.

A Reuters report quoted the Angolan government as saying that the one million new homes, to be built in four years, are expected to cost $50 billion.

The report further said that the purpose of building the homes was to bring down real-estate prices in Luanda -- one of the world's most expensive cities -- and lift millions of people living in crowded settlements around Luanda out of poverty.

The southern African country has made a tremendous progress in infrastructure development since it suffered a civil war which lasted for years.

Angola is also expected to hold the African Cup of Nations in 2010.

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