Lessons in the "Africa" Category

More migrant boats sink or capsize in Mediterranean

A huge crisis is unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea as more and more migrants head towards Europe from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Many migrants are coming from countries like Syria, Somalia and Eritrea, which are all war zones. All want to cross the Mediterranean to Italy and Greece in order to gain entry into Europe and a new life in the European Union. Every day hundreds continue to try their luck from the shores of Tunisia and Libya. Many migrants cross in boats that often fail to make it, resulting in many people drowning.

Do they know it’s Christmas?

‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ the song that was made famous by Band Aid to help ‘feed the world’ in the 1980s has just been re-recorded. It is in response to the plea to help raise money to help fight the devastating disease Ebola, which has ravaged through Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, leaving thousands dead in its wake.

The track has been given a 21st century makeover. Whereas the original song was to ‘feed the world’ the new song hopes to ‘heal it’.

Category: Music / Band Aid 30 / Africa

Ebola threat to the world

Today, let’s talk about the deadly Ebola threat that is spreading itself across Western Africa. Every day many people are dying from it, including doctors who are treating their patients.

Recently yet another doctor died in Liberia, despite taking an experimental anti-Ebola drug. The drug called ZMapp has been credited with helping several patients recover, including two US doctors.

Category: Africa / Ebola / Deadly Diseases

Why do Zebras have stripes?

Why do Zebras have stripes? The question has plagued scientists for centuries. Now biologists at the University of California have come up with an answer, which is that their stripes help protect them from biting flies. The scientists believe zebra monochrome markings evolved in order to repel biting insects, such as horseflies, which tend to avoid striped surfaces.

So next time you go on holiday and you are attacked by mosquito bites wear some striped clothing and it should help protect you. Certainly it will help cut the risk of you being bitten. Scientists though have cautioned this last thought. Tim Caro, lead author and UC Davis professor of wildlife biology explains…

Category: Animals / Zebras / Africa

Nelson Mandela

Today, let’s talk about Nelson Mandela. The former South African leader was laid to rest in December 2013. There were emotional scenes at his funeral, the like of which the world has never seen, as South Africa’s first black president was buried at his ancestral home.

World leaders and Prince Charles flew in to pay tribute to him at the state funeral. Other high profile guests included Sir Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey. Archbishop Desmond Tutu also attended after a dispute the day before.

Category: History / World leaders / Nelson Mandela

Kenya Shopping Mall Horror

This week the world saw yet another terrorist attack unfold; this time in Kenya. The deadly attack took place in an upmarket shopping mall in the country’s capital Nairobi. The Somalian terrorist group al-Shabaab, which has links to Al- Qaeda, has now claimed responsibility for the attack in the Westgate Shopping Mall that is popular with expatriates and wealthy Kenyans.

Category: Kenya/ Nairobi / Shopping Mall horror

Elephant poaching in Africa

Today, let’s talk about elephant poaching in Africa. The killing of these giant beasts for their ivory is truly shocking. Africa has seen its elephant population decimated because of it.

The situation was at its worst during the 1980s, when more than half of Africa’s elephants were estimated to have been wiped out by man. Most of them were killed by poachers for their ivory.

Category: Africa / Elephants Poaching / The Ivory Trade

Sahara desert sun to power Europe

The Sahara desert in North Africa is vast. So is its desert sunshine. If that could be harvested the potential it offers as an energy producing region is huge.

The idea is now within reach of actually happening - using new technologies to capture the sun in the Sahara desert, converting it into energy and transmitting the power generated to Europe. A group in Germany called Desertec, who have heavyweight commercial backers such as Deutsche Bank and Siemens, have chosen Morocco to embark on a huge commercial venture to do just this.

Solar power will be created for Europe; creating clean energy and jobs. The ambitious programme is feasible. Desertec expects to see the first electricity flowing through undersea cables from Morocco in 2014. Its stated goal however is to power 100% of local needs in Morocco and 15% of European demand by 2050.

Category: Business / Solar Energy / Sahara Desert

Baby gorillas being trafficked endangers species

In recent months the Democratic Republic of Congo has seen a surge in the number of baby gorillas being trafficked The Guardian newspaper in Britain recently reported. This is posing a fresh risk to the endangered species wildlife officials have warned. The authorities in the country say they are powerless to combat the trade in which poachers demand up to US$40,000 (£25,350 or €29,150) an animal. In an undercover sting operation recently by the authorities the poachers demanded this price.

This has been a record year for the poachers who are trying to feed a growing black market demand for baby gorillas. Mountain gorillas are critically endangered, with about 790 remaining in the world - about 480 in the Virunga volcanoes conservation area (shared between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda) and just over 300 in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Eastern lowland gorillas are more numerous but are largely outside protected areas and are still in decline. The baby gorilla trafficking is in the rebel controlled areas of eastern DRC.

Category: Africa / Gorillas / Endangered Species