Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Child soldiers in Congo fighting - UN update - Wed 11/12/2008

DRC: Recruitment of child soldiers rising

KINSHASA, 11 November (IRIN) - As fighting continues in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), child recruitment by rebels in the combat zones has been reported, UN and human rights activists have said.

"Thirty-seven children were recruited in Rutshuru [north of Goma] two weeks ago," Jaya Murthy, spokesman for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), told IRIN.

Children separated from their families were more at risk, he said. The boys were forced to fight while the girls became "wives" to the soldiers.

"There has been an upsurge in the number of children being recruited since the latest violence began," Ishbel Matheson, spokeswoman for Save the Children, said. The NGO was taking care of several children who had escaped recently from the armed groups.

An estimated 3,000 children were being held by the armed groups before the recent violence broke out, she said, but numbers were expected to soar.

In the past year, the charity, which runs one of the largest programmes to reintegrate child soldiers into their communities in the DRC, had helped 2,200 children out of the armed groups and reunited most of them with their families.

School closures
Hundreds of schools were closed due to insecurity while children recruited numerous times had had their studies interrupted.

"UNICEF will build emergency classrooms and distribute school supplies when schools reopen," Murthy said.

"For these children it is a recurring nightmare," Matheson told IRIN. "Children who are forced into armed conflict suffer terrible physical and emotional damage. They are traumatised by being separated from their families and may witness executions, beatings and torture. Many young girls now have babies."

Attacks on schools by the armed groups were also common.

On 10 October, seven children and three teachers were abducted when they were ambushed outside their school in Masisi, northwest of Goma, capital of North Kivu. They were held for two days before they escaped. Two weeks later, an armed group attacked a secondary school in Shasha, 7km outside Sake near Lake Kivu. Twelve children escaped but one was killed.

"One child told me that they are scared to go back to school for fear of being attacked," Matheson said. "For these children, getting an education is their only hope for the future. If they can't go to school they lose that hope."

The NGO has been working with the affected children to reunite them with their families or place them in foster families. So far 250 unaccompanied children have been found since the latest fighting began.

Fighting resumed late August in North Kivu between forces from rebel group Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP), led by former general, Laurent Nkunda, and the regular Congolese army allied with militias.

Meanwhile, UNICEF is providing truckloads of clean water daily to Kibati and Mugunga, in addition to water purification posts and latrines to curb the risk of cholera spreading, Murthy said in a 11 November communiqué.

In the displacement areas, cases of measles continue to be reported. Previous measles vaccinations interrupted by the fighting would resume soon. "UNICEF will vaccinate up to 66,000 more children in the coming days/weeks," he said, adding that the spread could be exacerbated by the large population movement.

Three aid planes from the UK and USA left Goma on 11 November to distribute aid to thousands of displaced persons.

"Plastic sheets for shelter and blankets will help ward off respiratory infections," he said.

UNICEF is also planning to reinforce the dozens of feeding centres in North Kivu to curb malnutrition.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama transition news - Tues 11/11/2008

Google News Alert for: OBAMA TRANSITION

Transition: Bailing out the auto industry
MSNBC - USA"Obama's transition aides have approached Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's former campaign manager about taking a senior White House post," the AP reports. ...See all stories on this topic

Barack and Michelle Obama visit the White House
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
"President-elect Obama thanked President Bush for his commitment to a smooth transition, and for his and First Lady Laura Bush's gracious hospitality in ...See all stories on this topic

Tuesday, November 11, 2008
U.S. News & World Report - Washington,DC,USA
Most stories continue to reflect positively on the Obama transition effort, with President Bush also getting high marks for his "gracious" treatment of the ...See all stories on this topic

Top Transition Stories - 11/11
National Journal - Washington,DC,USA
"Sunday, John Podesta, who is helping to lead Mr. Obama's transition team, singled out the Utah leases as one decision the Obama administration might try to ...See all stories on this topic

Politics aside at White House
Chicago Tribune - United States
The time-honored political ritual took place as Obama's transition team moved forward with the selection of its top economic officials, and as speculation ...See all stories on this topic

Bush and Obama put differences aside to secure smooth transition
Times Online - UK
The Obama transition team said the two leaders had discussed “the importance of working together throughout the transition of government in light of the ...See all stories on this topic

No final dramas for Bush in Middle East
Jewish Telegraphic Agency - New York,NY,USA
(Matty Stern / BPH Images) WASHINGTON (JTA)—When it comes to the Middle East and the Bush-Obama transition, the most dramatic element might be the lack of ...See all stories on this topic

Obama transition signals new policies in the offing - Oklahoma City,OK,USA
Without question, elections have consequences. As the Obama transition begins gathering steam, the shape of those consequences is becoming more clear.See all stories on this topic

Obama welcomes Bush's commitment to smooth transition of power
Press Trust of India - New Delhi,India
Obama's transition team said he and his wife Michelle were "very warmly" welcomed at the White House by President Bush and First Lady Laura. PTI.See all stories on this topic

This once a day Google Alert is brought to you by Google.

Note: links did not transfer from email update to blog. To get full story, go to Google, click on News in upper left screen, search Obama or Obama Transition to get these stories and many more.

Obama updates - Tues 11/11/2008

Google News Alert for: OBAMA

Obama at the White House
Edmonton Sun - Alberta, Canada
By THE CANADIAN PRESS WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama and US President George W. Bush sat down together yesterday at the White House after crowds lined the ...See all stories on this topic

Allergist offers advice on Obama dog debate
Chicago Tribune - United States
Malia, however, has declared the goldendoodle—a golden retriever-poodle mix—the "optimal dog," President-elect Barack Obama said while campaigning in Iowa ...See all stories on this topic

Obama says will confront economic woes head-on
Reuters - USA
By Deborah Charles and Caren Bohan
CHICAGO (Reuters) - President-elect Barack Obama said on Friday the United States was facing one of its greatest economic ...See all stories on this topic

Obama meets Bush at White House
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation - Nairobi,Kenya
US President-elect Barack Obama has held his first meeting with incumbent George W Bush since his last week's significant election victory. ...See all stories on this topic

From my rooftop:What Obama victory means to Africa
Joy Online - Accra,Ghana
That was what the Barrack Obama victory for him to become the 44th President of the United States of America (USA) has done to a people still struggling for ...See all stories on this topic

Whole world celebrates Obama’s win
Kansas City Star - MO,USA
By MARY SANCHEZ President-elect Barack Obama waved Monday to a reporter on his plane flying from Chicago to Washington. Green with envy I was, ...See all stories on this topic

Barack and Michelle Obama herald a new wave at the White House - United Kingdom
The picture- perfect scene of Family Obama gathered around the White House tree – two pretty little girls wide-eyed with excitement, their elegant parents ...See all stories on this topic

Obama’s start will be tough
Kansas City Star - MO,USA
All those difficulties created an opportunity for Obama to sweep to power, bringing with him an almost overwhelming Democratic majority in Congress. ...See all stories on this topic

From slavery to Obama
Jamaica Observer - Kingston,Jamaica
A few hours later, Senator Barack Obama became the first African American to be elected president of the USA, creating history. Obama is not a descendant of ...See all stories on this topic

Michelle Obama as First Lady
AsiaOne - Singapore
Michelle Obama, soon to become America's first African-American first lady, is not expected to directly emulate her predecessors. ...See all stories on this topic

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Obamas visit White House - Mon 11/10/2008

BBC News
White House previews Obama visit
USA Today - 3 hours agoWe expect that the conversation will include topics such as raising a family in the White House and the support of the executive residence staff, ...
Video: Obama's White House WelcomeVideo: Obama's White House Welcome CBS

Obama makes historic White House visit Swissinfo
Obama makes historic White House visit Reuters -
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Obama's African Family Plan to Visit White House
Daily Squib (satire), UK - 29 minutes agoThe Obama family are all off to visit their famous relative, Barack Hussein Obama and they plan on getting to the White House in good time. ...
Doo the right thing, Obama, forget the dog Chicago Tribune
Rise of the Non-Threatening Black Man
The new president's awesome burden Toledo Blade
Charleston Gazette - Washington Post
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Voice of America
Obama to make first visit to Oval Office
CNN - 7 hours agoTop Obama aides said Sunday that Obama already is examining ways to make a quick impact upon taking office. Obama's designated White House chief of staff, ...
Video: Bush Seeks Seamless Transition to ObamaVideo: Bush Seeks Seamless Transition to Obama AssociatedPress
Bush, Obama To Meet At White House NPR
Obama to Visit White House WTVY
The Australian - Voice of America
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Washington Post
Michelle views White House with new eye, MI - 5 hours agoMichelle Obama has been to the White House before, but she will no doubt approach this visit with a different eye. She will get a look at the private family ...
Greene: As the Obamas get ready to move. . . . CNN Political Ticker
A Family Expected to Balance State Dinners With Sleepovers New York Times
A move looms for the Obama family Detroit Free Press
The Associated Press - The Sun
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ABC News
Obama Visits The White House Today
WFMY News 2, NC - 11 hours ago
Washington, DC -- President-elect Obama meets today with the man he will be replacing as primary resident of the White House. During their meeting today, ...
Barack Obama puppy should be a mutt who can hit high notes
A golden gift offer Melbourne Herald Sun
Morning File: Mr. President, walking the dog Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Chillicothe Gazette - BBC News
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Obama Visit Draws Crowd Outside White House
Washington Post, United States - 2 hours ago
By Pamela Constable President-elect Barack Obama's first visit to the White House this afternoon since winning the election drew a crowd of several hundred ...

Obamas visit White House
eTaiwan News, Taiwan - 8 minutes ago
By STEVEN R. HURST AP President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, arrived at the White House on Monday for a visit, their first since last week's ...

Miriam Makeba dies at 76 - Mon 11/10/2008

Miriam Makeba, in her album Sangoma, was perhaps one of my first connections to contemporary African culture. A great reflection on her musical career below:

Miriam Makeba—South African Singer, Composer and Activist—Died Sunday at the age of 76
Afropop Asks You to Share Your Reflections With the Afropop Community

We are sad to report that Miriam Makeba, one of Africa’s all-time great artists and ambassador for the continent, died of a heart attack while performing in Italy on Sunday, November 9, 2008.

There are dozens of career summaries and press reports published (just google “Miriam Makeba Dies at 76”). Our bio of Miriam is below but we’d like to start with something more personal. We are asking the Afropop community to send in your own reflections or memories or photos of Miriam. We will publish them later in the week and send them to the Makeba family. For the story of her life in her own words, we highly recommend her autobiography “Makeba, My Story.” Two of our favorite albums from the latter part of her career are “Sangoma” and “Homeland.”

Sean Barlow, Executive Producer, Afropop Worldwide:
“The last time I saw Miriam perform was in Soweto on Easter Monday 2004. I was in South Africa reporting on the tenth anniversary of the end of apartheid and the beginning of the new non-racial democracy spotlighted by the inauguration of Nelson Mandela. The theme of the concert in Soweto that day was “South African Divas” and featured the greats of South African women singers. The crowd was almost entirely black and we felt very much welcomed. I felt so lucky to be there. One by one the ladies took the stage and gave stellar performances—Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Dorothy Masuka & Dolly Rathebe, (who along with Miriam were the fabulously successful Skylarks in the 1950’s), the Mahotella Queens, Brenda Fassie (her last performance), Thandiswa, and to cap the evening, Miriam. The audience up front pressing against the fence were mostly teenage girls. Despite their two generation age gap, these girls were transfixed, their faces glowing. To bridge a 50 something age difference is no small feat. I wondered what was going through their heads—enjoyment of the songs, an electric feeling of being close to an icon who meant so much for the anti-apartheid struggle internationally and nationally, a role model of how a woman could rise to the top of her field. Probably all the above. For the girls in Soweto that day and for everyone whose music and life she touched, thank you Mama Africa!!" (Please add your own memories and reflections.)

Afropop’s Account of Miriam Makeba’s Career

Miriam Makeba--"Mama Africa" to many around the world--ranks as South Africa's greatest musical ambassador. Born in 1932, Makeba had already weathered the death of her father, a bout with breast cancer, childbirth and the first of five marriages before she turned twenty.

From her start in a church choir, Makeba went on to sing professionally under the strong influence of her American idols, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Makeba left the popular Manhattan Brothers to join the traveling show African Jazz and Variety, which toured southern Africa for 18 months. She also formed a hugely successful trio with Dorothy Masuka and Dolly Rathebe. Makeba's superior voice then earned her the lead in the ground-breaking show King Kong, and a film part in Come Back Africa.

Suddenly an international star, Makeba then played at President Kennedy's birthday and worked with Harry Belafonte in New York to create African classics including "The Click Song," and "Pata Pata." After the South African government canceled her passport in 1960, Makeba spent decades in exile living mostly in the US, and then in Guinea, where she retreated for nine years after her marriage to black power activist Stokely Carmichael soured her reputation with mainstream American media and the music industry.

Makeba returned to the world stage in 1986 when she joined Paul Simon on the Graceland tour. She writes in her autobiography, “Makeba, My Story,” that music helped her wrestle the dangerous amadlozi spirits her mother passed on to her. She dedicates her exquisite 1988 album “Sangoma,” rich in tradition, to her mother. After turmoil, tragedy and controversy, Makeba returned to a free South Africa as a favorite daughter. Her work included a tour and recording session with jazz great Dizzy Gillespie, who died in 1993, as well as a critically acclaimed comeback album, "Homeland," released in 2000, and nominated for a Grammy Award in 2001.

--Banning Eyre, Senior Editor,

More information:

Miriam Makeba, South African songstress, dies at 76
International Herald Tribune - 4 hours ago
By Alan Cowell LONDON: Miriam Makeba, a South African singer whose voice stirred hopes of freedom among millions in her own country though her music was formally banned by the apartheid authorities she struggled against, died early Monday after ...
Video: South African legend Miriam Makeba dies - 10 Nov 2008
Video: South African legend Miriam Makeba dies - 10 Nov 2008 AlJazeeraEnglish
South Africa mourns Makeba, nation's musical 'mother' AFP
GMA - Los Angeles Times - Hindu - United Press International
all 1,124 news articles »