Pan Africa Newswire
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking on RT worldwide satellite television news on the current situation in Libya. Azikiwe is a frequent guest of several international media outlets., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Neo-Colonial Regime in Libya Faces War Over Oil Exports
Saadi Gaddafi extradited from Niger cannot get fair trial three years after Pentagon-NATO bombings
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
On March 19, 2011, the United States and allied NATO war planes began a massive bombing campaign against the North African state of Libya. Under the guise of protecting the lives of civilians, the imperialist war machine was unleashed onto a country of six million people.
Three years later the conditions for working and oppressed people in Libya is back to where it was under the monarchy of King Idris I who was installed by the Italian colonial regime which ruled the oil-rich nation between 1911-1951. Col. Muammar Gaddafi along with the Revolutionary Command Council overthrew the feudal system on September 1, 1969 and proclaimed Libya as a genuinely independent territory in solidarity with oppressed and struggling people throughout the world.
During the period of the Jamahiriya, the political system under Gaddafi after 1977, Libyan development strategies had created the highest standard of living of any other country in Africa. Libya’s support for national liberation movements and progressive governments around the world made it a target for successive U.S. administrations from Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan, who bombed Tripoli and Benghazi on April 15, 1986, to the current Obama government which justified the war in 2011 and created the conditions for the brutal assassination of Gaddafi.
Libya was producing 1.6 million barrels of oil per day during the Gaddafi era where today the flow of crude has been reduced to a near trickle. Disgruntled rebel factions and oil workers have shut down the ports in the east of country.
Since mid-2013 the situation has reached crisis proportions with threats by militias based in the eastern region where the counter-revolution against the Jamahiriya began in Feb. 2011. These eastern-based rebels have pledged to export oil without the permission of the U.S.-backed regime in Tripoli, the capital, in the western region of the country.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and his weak constituency inside the so-called General National Congress (GNC) parliament do not have control of the strongest militias in the east. Even within the capital itself, the GNC parliament is often invaded and taken over by angry rebels who complain of payless paydays and other conditions prevailing under the existing political dispensation.
North Korean-flagged Tanker Threatened
Exemplifying the oil crisis, a standoff arose at the Es Sider terminal on port Ras Lanuf over the loading of a North Korean-flagged tanker. The Zeidan government in Tripoli warned the rebels at the eastern ports that they would destroy any vessel sailing away from Libya with oil shipments unauthorized by Tripoli.
Reuters news agency reported that “Libya's parliament has ordered a special force be sent within one week to ‘liberate’ all rebel-held ports in the volatile east, officials said on Monday, raising the stakes over a blockage that has cut off vital oil revenues. The rebels, who have seized three ports and partly control a fourth in the OPEC member country, said they had dispatched forces to deal with any government attack.” (March 10)
One eastern-based militia leader said "We have sent land forces to defend Cyrenaica to the west of Sirte ... and we also have boats patrolling regional waters," Essam al-Jahani, a member of the rebels' leadership group, told Reuters. The potential for a full blown military conflict between the forces loyal to the GNC in Tripoli and other western cities and the militias in the east are accelerating.
Later on March 10 another publication reported that a “Spokesperson for the General National Congress (GNC) Omar Hmaiden confirmed to the Libya Herald that the tanker, named Morning Glory, had been intercepted and was now being escorted to Misrata port. A shipping source said the tanker set sail with members of federalist groups operating under Ibrahim Jadhran on board. Morning Glory successfully sailed a few miles away from the coast before there was an exchange of fire with Libyan vessels.” (Libya Herald)
Much speculation has surrounded the North Korean-flagged vessel. It was not clear at the time of this writing whether the tanker was actually owned by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) or another country.
Nonetheless, by emphasizing that the oil tanker was North Korean-flagged the western press could be attempting to justify the aggressive stance taken by the regime based in Tripoli. Washington maintains a hostile position against the DPRK where it conducted joint military exercises recently on its borders with occupied Korea in the South.
Saadi Gaddafi Sent Back to Libya From Niger
Another son of the late Col. Gaddafi was extradited by the French and U.S.-backed regime in Niger. Saadi Gaddafi, a professional soccer player, had taken refuge in Niger in the aftermath of the collapse of his father’s government.
Niger is a major producer of uranium where the facilities are owned by the Areva firm based in France. At present the U.S. maintains a drone station in Niger as well as hundreds of Special Forces.
The Libyan rebel regime in Tripoli says that it will put Gaddafi on trial for alleged crimes committed in Benghazi during the early days of the counter-revolution in 2011. Saadi Gaddafi, unlike his brother, Seif, who is being held by a militia group in Zintan, is not wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Even though the ICC has a warrant out for the arrest of Seif al-Islam, the Netherlands-based entity, which focuses almost exclusively on African leaders, has backed away from any conflict with the GNC regime in Tripoli over the ongoing detention and possible trial of Gaddafi’s oldest son and political successor. Although Seif has been held by the rebels for over two years, he has still not been brought to trial.
Judicial institutions in Libya are virtually non-existent. Violence and targeted assassinations take place frequently without legal redress. Under such circumstances no top leaders of the previous government could get a fair and impartial trial.
The current social and security situation in Libya is a manifestation of the failure of Washington, London and Brussels in their regime-change project for Libya. Having flown 26,000 air missions over Libya between March and October of 2011, and deploying Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives along with Special Forces units from the allied regimes in Egypt and Qatar, these events have resulted in the destruction of any semblance of normality and stability inside the country.
It will take the organized will of the Libyan people to stabilize the country through a revolutionary movement designed to overthrow the U.S.-backed clique in Tripoli and other regions of the country. Several towns and cities in the South of Libya were seized by loyalist forces in recent months that are still committed to the Gaddafi-era form of politics and economics.
Based upon developments in Libya over the last three years it is quite obvious that the imperialist states which engineered the overthrow of the previous Jamahiriya government have no program for the reconstruction and unity of the once prosperous and respected state. Other states from Ukraine and Syria to Venezuela and Cuba are facing similar challenges necessitating a clear anti-imperialist stance on the part of progressive and left organizations based in the western industrialized states.
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, at the Detroit Bead Museum on the west side during September 2008. (Photo: Omorose), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.U.S. Political Prisoner Marshall Eddie Conway Released After 44 Years
Many more await justice absent of a general amnesty
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Baltimore Black Panther Party member Marshall Eddie Conway was released from 44 years of imprisonment on March 4. Conway had been a target of the FBI Counter-intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) which sought to destroy the revolutionary African American movement in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s.
Conway had maintained his innocence over the decades and while in prison had administered programs that assisted youth inmates coming into the system. His release has been welcomed by veterans of the Black Liberation Movement and younger activists.
The release of this former Panther organizer illustrates the injustice of the U.S. political and legal system but also draws attention to the fact that there are many other political prisoners detained inside a country which claims to be the citadel of democracy across the world. In addition to exposing the continued detention of hundreds of political leaders and activists, the release of Conway places in stark reality that the U.S. overall has the highest per capita prison population in the world.
After his release from prison Conway said that "I am filled with a lot of different emotions after nearly 44 years in prison. I want to thank my family, my friends, my lawyers and my supporters; many have suffered along with me." (Truth-Out, March 5)
The circumstances surrounding Conway’s arrest and consequent conviction was described as follows: “On the night of April 21, 1970, two Baltimore police officers, Donald Sager and Stanley Sierakowski, were shot as they responded to a domestic disturbance call. Sierakowski was wounded seriously, and Sager died of his wounds. Two members of the Black Panther Party, Jack Ivory Johnson and Jackie Powell, were apprehended close to the scene soon after the shooting. Other police officers spotted a third African-American man and chased him for several blocks as the man fired back at them, finally escaping. A police officer later testified that the man he chased and who shot at him as he fled was Marshall Eddie Conway, a prominent Panther activist in the community.” (Truth-Out, March 5)
Due to the federal government hostility towards the Civil Rights, Black Power and Black Revolutionary movements of the period it was almost impossible for Conway and other leading Panthers and members of organizations such as the Republic of New Africa (RNA) to get fair trials. Hundreds of leading activists were framed in the courts and sentenced to long prison terms.
Many other members of the Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army (BLA) were assassinated between 1968 and 1973. Figures such as Bobby Hutton, Fred Hampton, Mark Clark, John Huggins, Alprentice Bunchy Carter, Spurgeon Jake Winters, Malik Zayd Shakur and many more sacrificed their lives to the struggle.
Many more were driven into exile in Cuba, Algeria, China, Tanzania and other countries. People such as Robert Williams, Assata Shakur, Nehanda Abiodoun and Don Cox spent years in exile. Today other political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Sekou Odinga, Mutulu Shakur, Leonard Peltier, Oscar Lopez Rivera, the MOVE 9, the Cuban Five (now three), continue to remain imprisoned suffering torturous conditions.
Impact of the COINTELPRO Project on the African Liberation Struggle
Of course the targeted assassinations, unjust imprisonment, forced-exile and political neutralization of leading organizers and spokesperson within the African American Civil Rights, Black Power, Black Revolutionary and Pan-African movements would have a detrimental effect over the decades. A culture of resistance which was a continuation from the colonial and antebellum slave periods to the 1960s and 1970s came under assault both through the might of the state and the utilization of psychological warfare technics in the corporate media and the educational system.
This manifests itself in the current ideological struggle within the African American community. There should be a re-opening of a discussion on how to rejuvenate the movement to win a general amnesty for all political prisoners held captive by the U.S. government. Until justice is brought to these cases it will not be possible to rebuild the type of revolutionary movement needed in the 21st century to effectively challenge national oppression, capitalist exploitation and imperialist war.
The ruling class is waging an intensified class war against the oppressed and working people of the U.S. They, the ruling class, are themselves facing the worst economic and political crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
This crisis becomes political when the pundits for the Wall Street bankers have no solutions to the most burning and pressing issues of the day i.e., mass poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation, quality housing, education, etc. They must recognize themselves that the capitalist and imperialist system is based solely on the oppression and exploitation of the vast majority of humanity around the world.
Nonetheless, the key to the historical advancement of the African American liberation struggle for self-determination, independent nationhood and full equality is the recognition that the current system is incapable of providing the necessary solutions. A system of self-organization, the equal distribution of wealth and the end to imperialist war is only alternative to the mad race to the bottom engendered by capitalism.
Marshall Eddie Conway, right, with Paul Coates of Black Classic Press.
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Saturday March 8, 2014--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, spoke to a standing room only audience in Boston on the role of imperialism in Africa. The lecture was in honor of African American History Month on Feb. 22, 2014., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release
Tues. March 11, 2014
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sat. March 8, 2014--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
To listen to this broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:
International Women's Day, March 8, is being celebrated throughout the world to honor the contributions of women to world history and contemporary affairs. Today women are playing larger roles in modern civilization, nonetheless, the struggle for true equality and self-determination continues in the 21st century.
The offensive carried out by the United States and the European Union against the nations of Ukraine and Russia is continuing. The parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea voted to join Russia in light of developments in Kiev. A referendum on the issue will be conducted later in the month.
A recent round of violence in the Republic of South Sudan was sparked by the preferential treatment awarded to the military forces from neighboring Uganda. Meanwhile the South Sudanese security forces have reported that a huge weapons cache was uncovered in an United Nations convoy.
Finally, questions are being raised about the capacity of the administration of Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza in resolving the internal security crisis inside the mineral-rich state. Attacks against the Muslim population are ongoing while the UN has authorized the deployment of thousands of more foreign troops.
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir attends the opening session of the Arab Summit in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, March 29, 2009. The president was issued an arrest warrant by the ICC. The action has been rejected by the AU and the Arab League., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
TUESDAY 11 MARCH 2014
Arab League rejects continuation of US sanctions on Sudan
March 10, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Arab League Ministerial Council has reiterated at the end of its 141st regular session on Monday rejection for the continuation of the US economic sanctions on Sudan.
The Pan-Arab body stated in its resolution titled “the unjust embargo imposed on Sudan by the US” to the negative impact of the sanctions on the civil aviation security and safety regarding spare parts and purchase or lease of airplanes.
The council also stressed in a separate resolution titled “Supporting peace and development in the Republic of Sudan” its support for the Sudanese government’s stance with regard to the implementation of cooperation agreements signed with South Sudan besides backing Sudan’s negotiating position in resolving border issues including the contested Abyei area.
The council also called upon member states and the international community to meet international pledges to shore up Sudan’s economy and cancel its external debts following secession of South Sudan.
It welcomed the peace accord signed between the Sudanese government and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement/Bashar (JEM-Bashar) on April 6 2013, underscoring the need for non-signatory rebel groups to join the peace process.
The council further called upon Arab states to exert efforts with the United Nations (UN) and the international organizations to ensure that rebel groups don’t get aid and support and convince them to join the peace process.
It praised the role of the Arab League general secretariat and its efforts to address the humanitarian situation in Darfur through the joint mechanism.
The council also called upon member states and the Arab investment and finance funds to activate the resolutions of the extraordinary meeting of the economic and social council which was held in Khartoum on January 20, 2014.
It stressed importance for expanding tasks of the joint mechanism between the government of Sudan and Arab League general secretariat in order to continue its efforts at the humanitarian and developmental levels throughout the country.
The council agreed to include the support for peace and development in Sudan as a permanent item in the agenda of Arab League ministerial council.
Hilde Johnson, director of the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS), has been asked to resign by Juba. The UN is under fire for a weapons cache found in a convoy., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
TUESDAY 11 MARCH 2014
Calls for UNMISS boss to resign after weapons seizure
March 10, 2014 (RUMBEK) - The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has faced heavy criticism after security agents intercepted a weapons shipment in Lakes state, with calls for boss Hilde Johnson to stand down.
Officials seized an assortment of firearms and military uniforms in Lakes state capital Rumbek on Thursday after intercepting 11 UN trucks en route to Unity state.
UNMISS said the cargo was transported due to labelling error and was intended for its Ghanaian peacekeepers recently deployed as additional forces in the country following the mid-December outbreak of violence.
However, authorities allege the items were being transported secretly to aid rebels fighting in Unity state, and have now instituted an investigation into the matter.
“There were all type of weapons, ammunition and blankets. Those items were on route to Unity state and rebel-controlled areas,” a senior military official told Sudan Tribune, without providing further details.
In a press statement released after the incident, UNMISS said that the error occurred after several containers with weapons were inadvertently labelled as ‘general goods’, describing the mistake as “regrettable”.
“It is the policy of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan that during the crisis in South Sudan all arms and ammunition for peacekeeping contingents are flown into respective areas of deployment and not taken by road. This is an important security measure,” the statement said.
Lakes state MP Taban Abel Aguek said Johnson must stand down, saying the mission’s mandate had gone from supporting the host government to supporting rebel actors seeking regime change.
Aguek said the evidence was irrefutable and that Johnson must accept responsibility for the error committed under her leadership.
“We have got all the proofs. The trucks we have got here and labelled [by the] UN and whose waybill is properly signed as ‘construction materials’ were found to contain not even single bag of cement. What they contain there are war weapons, not peace keeping weapons. The excuse [the] UN now gives does not marry up with any reality on the ground,” he said.
“Hilde Johnson has tarnished the name and image of [the] UN. If Hilde Johnson does not resign, after what we have seen now in Rumbek, then even UNMISS will have no meaning,” he added.
Paul Dhel Gum, acting minister of information and telecommunication, said his Warrap state government condemned UNMISS’ involvement in the transportation of arms to rebel areas.
“[The] Warrap state government and the entire population of Warrap state condemn with strongest terms possible the barbaric act of UNMISS in the recent attempt to smuggle arms to rebel areas in Unity state,” Gum said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.
Gum said the latest incident was among a series of deliberate violations against the sovereignty of South Sudan.
“It has become clear now that [the] UN is responsible for the escalation of war and suffering of the people in South Sudan by taking sides. The possession of land-mines, anti-aircraft and anti-tank [weaponry] shows clearly that the weapons were for rebels in Unity state,” he said, adding that the use of heavy weaponry had not been agreed by the government.
Warrap shares a border with Unity state and as such all the loads passing through its territory are subject to screening and security checks, even if they belong to humanitarian movements.
Relations between the South Sudan government and UNMISS have been increasingly fraught in recent months, with president Salva Kiir accusing the agency of seeking to take over the young country, although he later softened his stance.
TUESDAY 11 MARCH 2014
S. Sudan advocacy group decries conditions in UN camps
March 10, 2014 (KAMPALA) – Rally for Peace and Democracy (RPD), an indigenous non-governmental entity in South Sudan has openly decried the worsening conditions in the various United Nation camps sheltering the displaced people.
RPD, In a statement to Sudan Tribune on Monday, claimed children were daily dying from causes related to undernourishment, waterborne and airborne diseases.
The organisation mainly attributed the worsening conditions in the camps to what it described as “continued targeted killing” of citizens, while cases of acute food shortage have reportedly persisted thus aggravating the situation.
“Most of IDPs reported that their food security situation in the camps is deteriorating further and that their repeated complaints are falling on deaf ears! It is mid-Summer in South Sudan. Heat rages ominously in Juba, Bor and Malakal, where the greatest count of Internal Displace Peoples,” its statement reads in part.
“Domestic flies, mosquitoes and cockroaches infest the camp dwellings as the rainy season almost approaching. This has driven fear for reason of high morbidity and fatality caseloads of bacterial diseases – bloody and watery diarrhea (dysentery), malaria, typhoid, pneumonia and warm infestations,” it added.
The local entity, in its report, also the daily patient workload, which it says was simply too overwhelming for the few medical personnel serving in the camps. “Sanitary facilities constructed for the IDP camps are not only unsightly, but horribly unhygienic disease traps,” it observed.
Unconfirmed reports also cited some insecurity concern within the UN facilities, with RDP highlighting an incident in which armed government security forces allegedly ransacked the makeshift toilets erected outside the perimeter fence of the IDP camps in Juba.
“This obviously worsened the condition and the over forty thousand displaced persons have to scramble for toilets and bathroom shelters. This sadistic, heartless act of the security forces is evidence that the government wants the IDPs dead at all costs”, the organisation stressed in its report.
Recently, it said, some hard-hearted armed security personnel feeling no restrain, shot randomly inside the camps, killed and wounded the IDPs, further warning of the consequences of “ominous government media propaganda that the IDPs are rebels.”
The organisation, however, urged the United Nations to consider finding a more radical solution toward mitigating the escalating crisis at the IDP camps.
“It [UN] should be borne in mind that on top of the unspeakable sanitary, health and living conditions, the camps are fast becoming insecure and too dangerous, armed conflicts between disgruntled securities,” it noted.
Stephane Dujarric, the new spokesman for the UN Secretary-General told a briefing on Monday about the continued influx of those displaced from Jonglei state into Upper Nile’s Melut county.
"Local officials also highlighted food shortages in the area that are causing tensions with local communities," Dujarric said in a statement.
Up to 75,000 South Sudanese, according to the UN, are currently being sheltered in eight of its camps within the country, with the numbers expected to rise.
Meanwhile, several of those displaced told Sudan Tribune they were forced to flee the UN premises due to the ill-treatment from security forces in the country.
Nyakuoth Thuok, a 30-year old mother of five children says she was forced to flee the UN camp in South Sudan due of fear from ethnicity cleansing that erupted in mid-December last year.
“Our lives are always under threat from enemies whenever some of us go out from this camp. So we have decided to stay in this camp for our safety,” she said, adding that most women and children feared to return home due to alleged continued killings in Juba.
Makuil Betiem, another displaced citizen said most women and children were suffering a lot from hunger, despite the small ratios delivered by aids workers.
“Most of us received support from international aids agencies, but a time this assistant does not reach all of us. What is given is not enough for the whole family at a times it takes long for distribution among people which is life threatening,” he confessed.
He also claimed that shootings of those displaced at UN camps was the order of the day, but insisted this was a clear message for those affected to flee.
About 10,000 people have reportedly been killed and nearly a million displaced in the country’s worst-ever violence outbreak since it seceded from Sudan in July 2011.
Former SPLM officials who were held in detention hold press conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia amid peace talks. The ruling party is deeply split., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
TUESDAY 11 MARCH 2014
South Sudan rebels deny forming ‘interim cabinet’
By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
March 10, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - Chief negotiator of the SPLM/A-In-Opposition, Taban Deng Gai, on Tuesday dismissed reports alleging that South Sudanese rebel leader, Riek Machar has formed an interim government-in-waiting under his leadership.
In a press statement extended to Sudan Tribune Monday, Gai downplayed the reports which were recently disseminated in South Sudanese online discussion forum.
According to the rebel top negotiator, the intention was to tarnish the image of the SPLM-In-Opposition group and its leader Machar.
He blamed President Salva Kiir’s government and his "die-hard supporters" of intentionally circulating those "fabricated" information as part of their attempts to discredit the ongoing revolution that has erupted on mid December.
"The intention of the regime is ostensibly to upset the spirit of the growing number of our supporters, especially from the Greater Equatoria and Greater Bahr-el-Ghazal regions," said Gai.
The alleged ’interim cabinet’ named 21 ministerial post holders’ which is same number to that of the current cabinet.
Rebels said the fabricated would-be cabinet is said to comprise mainly of Nuer ethnicity to give it a tribal tone.
"This is of course false and mere smear politicking," said Gai.
He said some people who received this email, have began to show sign of despair and to lose hope but he called up on South Sudanese not to be misled by what he said were cheap propaganda.
The SPLM/A-In-Opposition "hereby assures its body of sympathizers and the entire citizenry of South Sudan that it has not even met officially to form any movement structures, as it is giving the ongoing peace talks mediated by IGAD a chance," he stated.
The rebel official further stressed they believes strongly in democracy and that the SPLM-In Opposition leader Riek Machar Teny "would not be falling into the same cheap and undemocratic methods of Salva Kiir of ruling by decrees".
Gai, however, expressed the group’s willingness to sign the Declaration of Principles in the peace talks, which includes a provision for a popularly-elected interim government.
"We are, therefore, aware that forming any government at this early stage is ambitious and unwarranted," he added.
Other members of the rebel group in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, told Sudan Tribune that the next government will be formed by all South Sudan political parties will be part of the interim arrangement.
The rebels said they are looking for democracy and equal participation of all political parties in determining the future of South Sudan where fundamental principles of human rights, justice, equality and prosperity for all is guarantee.
TUESDAY 11 MARCH 2014
Thousands attend SPLM rally in S. Sudan’s Yambio
March 10, 2014 (JUBA) – Thousands of people attended a rally on Saturday organised by the Youth League of South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the Western Equatoria state capital, Yambio, calling for peace and unity.
The rally was led by a delegation that included deputy speaker of the national legislative assembly, Daniel Awet Akot, and three top party members of the political bureau.
Youth League chairman Akol Paul Kordit called on youth to reject tribalism and unite under the umbrella of peace and unity.
The youth leader also blasted the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for interfering in the country’s internal affairs and accusing the body of smuggling arms to rebel forces.
In a well-received speech, Kordit called for youth to avoid hart words and tune for tribalism within the society of South Sudanese.
He also cautioned the UN to be more careful in its handling of sensitive matters in the country, calling on the body to respect the sovereignty of South Sudan.
“Those dying in South Sudan are not white people, they are black people from South Sudan – we are the nation, although we are very poor nation, you [must] respect [our] sovereignty,” he said.
An estimated 10,000 people have been killed and close to a million people displaced after political tensions erupted in violence in mid-December. The conflict has pitted forces loyal to the Salva Kiir-led government against rebels aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar, who was removed from his position in July last year.
Kordit urged South Sudanese youth not to get caught up in the cycle of war, saying that while rebel leaders sent their families abroad, the country’s poor were left to bear the brunt of the suffering.
“Do not allow yourself to join [a] war because [of] those people. The leaders of [the] rebellion [do] not have their children or women present in South Sudan to suffer with you – they are fighting [the] government and poor families such as children and women in South Sudan are suffering here and the rebellion leaders send their children and women outside the country for a better life,” he said.
“Our mothers, children, elderly people and youth are seeking for development and not war without objective – we need education, health and agriculture and not war,” Kordit continued to wild applause and cheers from the crowd.
He described Machar as “a master of messes”, accusing the rebel leader of being involved in a cycle of killings since 1991.
“Our public in rural villages of South Sudan are thinking where to get a meal for a day, not who to kill per day like comrade Riek Machar, [who] has chosen to killing innocent people without reason,” he said.
State SPLM chairperson Jemma Nunu Kumba and governor Joseph Bakasero were also in the attendance at the rally, which was held as a show of support for the elected government and to help promote harmony within the communities of Western Equatoria.
Catherine Samba-Panza and François Hollande during the imperialist leader's visit to Bangui on Feb. 28, 2014. France has thousands of troops inside the CAR., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
10 March 2014
Last updated at 09:28 ET
BBC World Service
Central African Republic: UN launches human rights probe
The United Nations has launched a human rights investigation into the violence in the Central African Republic.
Inquiry head Bernard Acho Muna said he hoped the presence of investigators in CAR would help prevent a genocide.
The UN Security Council ordered the inquiry in December to identify suspects who could be prosecuted for the violence.
Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict between Muslim and Christian militias.
The UN's World Food Programme says that about 1.3 million people - a quarter of the population - are in need of aid.
Some 7,000 troops - from France and African countries - have been mandated by the UN to help restore order.
"We have to put an end to the impunity," said Bernard Acho Muna, the Cameroonian judge who is heading the inquiry, Reuters news agency reports.
He said the "hate propaganda" in CAR was similar to that in Rwanda before the 1994 genocide that killed about 800,000 people.
"We don't wait until genocide is committed and then we call for prosecution," Mr Muna said at a press conference in Geneva, before heading for CAR.
"I think it is in our mandate to see how one can stop any advances toward genocide," he added.
Tens of thousands of Muslims have fled as Christian militias have stepped up their attacks since the forced resignation of CAR's first Muslim ruler, Michel Djotodia, in January.
Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza, a Christian, has appealed for an end to the bloodshed, but with little success.
The militias claim to be taking revenge for atrocities committed by mainly Muslim rebels after Mr Djotodia seized power in March 2013.
Many Muslims have crossed the borders into neighbouring Cameroon and Chad, while thousands more are living in camps inside CAR.
CAR is rich in gold, diamonds and other natural resources but decades of unrest and mismanagement have left most of its people stuck in poverty.
A French military convoy rolls through the Central African Republic. Violence has continued after the forced resignation of Michel Djotodia., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Christian militias take bloody revenge on Muslims in Central African Republic
Children are reportedly targeted by Christian anti-balaka gangs set up in wake of attacks by Muslim Seleka rebels
David Smith in Bangui
theguardian.com, Monday 10 March 2014 10.51 EDT
They brought in the bodies one by one, laying them down on a white sheet concealed behind a flimsy black curtain. Among them was a man, probably in his 20s, his head twisted leftward, the skull dented on one side and cracked open on the other. The others also had fatal head injuries that stained the sheet crimson. The first flies began settling on the five corpses.
In the courtyard outside, voices were raised in anger and bewilderment. Mothers in pink and purple hijabs sobbed and wailed and a middle-aged man, possibly unused to naked shows of emotion, sat and gently wept.
Finally the iron gate of the mosque was thrown open and the mourners surged forward to gaze at the dead. An imam, donning a plastic smock over his white robe, prepared to wash them while another man began cutting cotton shrouds for the day's burials.
The macabre scene in an area known as PK5 has become almost commonplace in Bangui, the humid and decaying capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), where Muslims are under siege. It has also been played out in towns and villages in the west of the country, redrawing the demographic map.
Muslims came here to trade in the early 19th century and made up 15% of the CAR's population a year ago, but since then untold thousands have been killed or displaced or have fled to neighbouring countries. The UN said last week that while 130,000 to 145,000 Muslims normally lived in the capital, Bangui, the population had been reduced to around 10,000 in December and now stood at just 900.
Amnesty International has called it "ethnic cleansing" and warned of a "Muslim exodus of historic proportions".
As Africa prepares to mark next month's 20th anniversaries of the Rwandan genocide and the end of South African apartheid, what is happening in this long-neglected state is a reminder that forgiveness and reconciliation are easy words but hewn from rock over generations. Christian militias freely admit that theirs is an exercise in vengeance, an eye for an eye, and they will not stop until they have "cleaned" the country of Muslims.
On Monday, UN human rights investigators in CAR announced they would investigate reports of genocide.
The seeds were sown in March last year when the Seleka, a largely Muslim rebel group, seized Bangui in a coup, installed the country's first Muslim president, Michel Djotodia, and terrorised the majority Christian population, killing men, women and children.
In response, predominantly Christian forces known as the anti-balaka (balaka means machete in Sango, the local language) launched counterattacks against the Seleka and perceived Muslim collaborators.
International pressure forced Djotodia to step down in January and soon the Seleka, who once strutted confidently about the capital, were retreating north where they continue to persecute Christians. But as the anti-balaka gained the advantage elsewhere, village after village lost its Muslim population, their homes looted and mosques razed to the ground. The turning of the tide has left many Muslims feeling bitter towards French peacekeepers and the new president, Catherine Samba-Panza, a Christian.
Bangui neighbourhoods such as PK5, once thriving with Muslim businesses, now resemble ghost towns. On a recent Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of market stalls and small shops were empty and deserted as a body lay in the road and gun-toting African peacekeepers patrolled in an armoured vehicle. Down side streets there were vehicles piled high with personal belongings. It is estimated that the Muslim population has dropped from around 7,000 to just 1,000 here.
At the mosque where the five bodies lay, there was rage, coupled with confusion over whether the anti-balaka or Burundian peacekeepers were responsible for the deaths. "It is happening every day," said Abdouraman Saudi, 45, who has lost numerous businesses. "If you're Muslim and you try to leave PK5, you're a dead man. It's a prison."
He vowed: "For me, it's finished. From today, we will not be the victims because we will attack the Christians. We are going to defend ourselves. From today with the international community, we don't care. We are not protected by them so we will attack them also."
In another largely Muslim neighbourhood, PK12, families camp out in grass and mud with buckets, carpets, mattresses, discarded rubbish, cooking pots over charcoal fires and a constant fear of lobbed grenades. Convoys that try to get out of here must run the gauntlet of taunting Christian mobs. In one incident, a Muslim who fell from a vehicle was summarily lynched. In another, five children suffocated in an overcrowded truck and were found dead when the convoy arrived at Bangui's military airport.
Ibrahim Alawad, 55, a lawyer, pointed to a trench and fresh burial mounds and said he had buried a 22-year-old student hours earlier. The area's population had shrunk from 25,000 people six months ago to 2,700 today, he said, while four mosques had been destroyed. "They're not killing the Muslims, they're sweeping them. Imagine someone wants to kill you, roast you on the fire and eat you. It's the hell of the hell. There are no living conditions here."
French peacekeepers stood by at a near checkpoint but there was growing Muslim hostility towards them too. "Our problem is the French," Alawad said. "They are the white anti-balaka. It's like Rwanda, they want to do it again, but we won't let them."
No amount of Muslim suffering appears to elicit mercy from the anti-balaka, who believe they are meeting a fitting punishment for the crimes of the Seleka. Dr Jean Chrysostome Gody, director of the country's sole paediatric hospital, which is supported by Unicef, recalled: "I saw mothers whose children had been killed or injured and they had hate in their heart."
As the anti-balaka responded, he added, children were no longer caught in the crossfire but deliberately targeted. "There were bullets in the heads and chests of children. It's not possible they were there by accident. It's as if people are trying to finish off another race. It's about extreme revenge and it's brutal."
One anti-balaka base is nicknamed "Boeing" because it is within close sight and sound of air traffic at Bangui airport. In a clearing shaded by trees amid modest mudbrick houses, six of the militia men sprawled on two squashy sofas. One wore a Barcelona football shirt with the name Messi on the back; another carried a bow and arrow; several had machetes. When a French patrol comes to disarm them every few days, they hide their weapons in the bush.
Forgiveness is not in the lexicon here. Sebastien Wenezoui, 32, a civil engineer, said he helped instigate the anti-balaka after his parents and brothers were killed by the Seleka and their house torched. "I was shocked. Today you can see my feelings in what I'm doing now. I had to express myself. If you were me, would you be comfortable with those things?"
Asked if he felt this justified the killing of innocent women and children, Wenezoui replied: "For me it's a response to what the Seleka have done. They started killing our children and wives and destroyed our homes. Revenge is good sometimes and bad sometimes. But we have to do it."
Wenezoui expressed no regrets about the Muslim exodus. "I'm not sad at all because when Seleka took power the Muslims, who were our best friends, were the ones destroying the houses and killing people. It's a kind of lesson. They acted like betrayers so they have to go and learn something and come back with respectful behaviour."
Yet sitting with Wenezoui and his colleagues was a Muslim: Ibrahim Amadou, 22, who said he joined the anti-balaka after his wife, three children, parents and seven siblings were shot dead by the Seleka. He still prays on Fridays but does so at home because fellow Muslims would recognise him at a mosque.
"I cannot give all the details of what I'm doing," said Amadou, wearing an array of animal skin and leather charms around his neck and shoulders that he believes make him invisible to enemies. "I'm working for the country. A soldier is a soldier: he cannot give his secrets."
Nearby, there is no sign of respite for tens of thousands of people squatting outside the international airport, fearful of going home in a city where the Red Cross said more than 10 people were killed in February, some found with their genitals stuffed in their mouths, and where grenades are said to be available at street markets for 250 CFA (31p) and Kalashnikov rifles for 10,000-15,000 CFA (£12-£18). There is a threat of the country splitting in two, and a fully fledged UN peacekeeping mission may be required to stop it.
In the town of Boali, 60 miles to the north, the Catholic priest Xavier-Arnauld Fagba went from house to house and into the bush to offer Muslims sanctuary in his church. "When the Muslims were attacked, the people didn't help them," said Fagba, 31, who became a priest four months ago. "That's when I decided to look for them and bring them here. I did it in the name of my faith. My faith asks me to transcend the most difficult obstacles."
Nearly 700 people took up his offer and moved into the church.
But most local Christians disagreed with Fagba's courageous stand and one day his car was surrounded by anti-balaka armed with knives and machetes. He got out to show that he did not fear them and, just then, their commander called off the assault.
In another incident last month, more than 300 anti-balaka surrounded the church and opened fire through its thinly protected walls. Fagba hurled himself to the ground and shouted at everyone else to do the same – and no one was killed or injured. He says some 30 bullet holes can still be seen in the church walls.
The Muslims held prayers every Friday in the grounds of the 54-year-old church, and cleaned it early on Sunday mornings for the Christian service, which some even attended.
But rebuilding bridges is a slow and painful process. Local officials tried to organise a peace march in which Muslims and Christians would walk together through the town, but when the Muslims arrived, the anti-balaka refused. "It's very sad because I thought it was the beginning of peace," Fagba said.
On 1 March a convoy of trucks protected by African peacekeepers evacuated the inhabitants of the church, and took them to safety in Cameroon, leaving Boali with no Muslim inhabitants.
An artistic depiction of enslaved Africans on a sugar plantation in New Orleans during the antebellum period. Millions of Africans were kidnapped and enslaved in North America., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
How Slaves Shaped American Cooking
for National Geographic
PUBLISHED MARCH 1, 2014
Growing up on Sapelo Island, Georgia, Cornelia Walker Bailey never thought of red peas as anything special. Sapelo, a barrier island about the size of Manhattan, has about 50 residents, primarily descendants of African slaves who settled here after slavery was outlawed. In Bailey's family, the tiny red legume, with its thin, firm shell; creamy interior; and sweet, buttery flavor was just another staple she and her family planted, harvested, and cooked.
This red pea, which originated in Africa and is the original ingredient in the region's quintessential rice-and-beans dish Hoppin' John, is just one of the many heritage crops from the African continent receiving new attention from farmers, chefs, scientists, and food historians. Growing numbers of researchers, many of them African-American, are bringing to light the uncredited ways slaves and their descendants have shaped how Americans eat.
Red peas are a tangible connection to her own African heritage, Bailey says, and one reason why she has started to grow the crop commercially. "Slave owners sent back and got seeds for what the slaves were used to eating, because they weren't used to the food here in America. That meant the slaves could plant for themselves," says Bailey, who has recruited other local farmers to plant the crop this spring. "We have a waiting list that's almost a yard long," she says, adding that they should have enough to go around, at least this year.
"We Eat This Back Home"
At the top of that list is Atlanta chef Linton Hopkins, who has concocted several ways to serve her peas at his acclaimed southern-upscale Restaurant Eugene, including in his version of Hoppin' John. But Bailey says her favorite way to eat the peas is in a traditional dish with stewed meat and okra, another plant that originated in Africa. "I had quite a few okra dishes when I went to West Africa.
They had it in stews and stuff—very, very similar to what we eat here," she says. "The strange dishes they were serving us weren't strange to me, because I was going, 'Hey, we eat this back home.' "
Culinary historian and author Jessica Harris says food traditions hold symbols and meaning that serve as a historical roadmap.
For decades she has used an image of okra on her business cards as a symbol of her family's African roots and her own connection to the continent's cuisine. But as the green, finger-shaped vegetable pops up on menus across the United States as an emblem of southern American cooking, the true narrative of the plant is at risk of disappearing, Harris says, speaking at a recent conference on food culture and history at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.
"Okra is connected indelibly with the American South," says Harris. While gumbo, the flagship dish of New Orleans, is usually thickened with okra, the technique is actually an adaptation of soupikandia, a Senegalese soupy stew slave cooks prepared in plantation kitchens for both themselves and their owners. "Yet gumbo has become totemic," says Harris, "linked forever in the American mind, particularly with southern Louisiana."
Revealing Black Contributions
Her own mission is to make sure that the contribution of slaves to America's culinary traditions isn't forgotten. The primary challenge, Harris says, is reconstructing history when one group of people—in this case, white slave owners—did their best to subjugate Africans to the point where they were nearly left out entirely. "Black people have been in the room, but for so long they were so good at being invisible" that they were easy to leave out of the historical record, Harris says.
David Shields, a professor at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and an expert in early American literature and food revivals, points to Emeline Jones as an example.
Jones was a slave who started as a house servant and rose to the pinnacle of American culinary life with her extravagant multicourse meals. She earned admiration—and job offers—from Presidents Garfield, Arthur, and Cleveland, who sampled her fabulous meals of terrapin and canvasback duck, Lynnhaven oysters and crab salad, hominy cakes and fabulous confections, prepared when Jones worked as a cook at New York clubs in the late 1870s. Her story might have been lost if Shields had not dug through news articles and obituaries to re-create her life.
Researcher Alicia Cromwell says one major challenge is "studying the silences," a phrase coined by Harris, which forces researchers to engage in detective-style deductions to piece together a more complete view of history in the absence of primary documents like diaries and letters written by slaves.
When working on her master's thesis, Cromwell buried herself in documents—legislative records, tax rolls, newspaper clippings, and primary sources other scholars had reviewed hundreds, if not thousands of times before—and was able to discern that female Muslim Nigerian slaves, working as fruit sellers and market vendors on behalf of their owners, helped shape the overall economic structure of the American South with long-distance price fixing and aggressive sales techniques.
"I'm trying to teach my students, black and white, a different kind of history about slavery," says Cromwell, who is still researching the subject at the University of Georgia. "If we want to understand current relationships, then we need to go back to these very uncomfortable pasts and explore how Africans actually contributed to American culture."
Georgia chef and farmer Matthew Raiford is able to reconstruct his family's past through his farm, which has been in his family since 1874. He came to the North Carolina conference with a yellowed letter, a rare piece of history addressed from his great-grandmother to his grandmother, detailing how and where to plant corn, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, and watermelon. His great-great-great grandfather Jupiter Gilliard, the man who purchased the farm, was born a slave in 1812. "It's important to continue this conversation, about who brought what [to America] and why we eat what [we eat]," he says. "Those conversations need to happen so everyone has a voice at the table."
Bailey, back on Sapelo, agrees. "Everybody needs to keep in touch with their ancestors, and through food is one of the best ways to get close," she says. "They could have been gone 300 years ago, but to say my great-great-great-grandparents used to use this and cook this and plant this, that gives you a good feeling."
Ellis Ruley, an African American artist who died in 1959 under mysterious circumstances. His work has been the subject of a book and a possible film., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Filmmaker seeks to complete documentary about little-known African-American artist
By Joe Tash
Ellis Ruley may not be a household name, but Glenn Palmedo-Smith aims to raise his profile.
Ruley was a black artist who died under mysterious circumstances in 1959 in Connecticut, where he had lived his entire life.
Palmedo-Smith, 62, a long-time local resident, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and writer, is fascinated with stories of people and events either forgotten or under-appreciated by society.
“Every project I’ve done, every book, is the voice for those who can’t speak for themselves,” said Palmedo-Smith.
Palmedo-Smith has long been interested in Ruley’s story; he wrote a book about the artist in the 1990s, and later shot principal footage for a documentary. The project was shelved for other endeavors, but now Palmedo-Smith hopes to complete the film in time to air over public television stations during Black History Month in February 2016.
He is seeking to raise $500,000 to complete the film, which would then be donated to PBS for airing across the country.
Ruley was a laborer who had no formal art training and came to painting in his late 50s.
His frozen body was found on his driveway in 1959, and authorities ruled the death an accident. Palmedo-Smith said troubling signs, such as an unexplained head injury, suggest foul play might have been involved.
Ruley may also have drawn the wrath of local racists due to his marriage to a white woman.
More than 50 years after his death, Ruley is considered an important African-American folk artist, whose paintings have been shown both in traveling exhibitions and in museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, said Palmedo-Smith.
The story has “everything I’m about, the injustice, the racism, cavalier attitude of authorities. It’s everything that I love in a story, and this African-American artist who saw nothing but beauty in the world, he only got a truckload of woes,” Palmedo-Smith said.
Rancho Santa Fe resident Gigi Fenley held a fundraising event for the film at her home in February (see photos at left, page B8). She said Palmedo-Smith is part detective, part storyteller, unearthing facts to weave a compelling tale.
“This particular project is captivating. The subject matter has a lot of merit, it’s something that needs to get out, people need to know about it,” Fenley said.
Ruley’s paintings are “playful and childlike and primitive, but eloquent” at the same time, said Fenley. He used the materials at hand, and one painting is done on an card table, she said.
Published reports about his work said that he used ordinary oil-based paints from his local hardware store, and during his lifetime, he attracted little attention, occasionally selling a painting for as little as $15.
In the mid-1990s, about 60 of Ruley’s paintings were collected for a traveling exhibit that stopped at museums around the United States, including the San Diego Museum of Art.
Fenley said she hopes Palmedo-Smith gets the backing he needs to complete his documentary on Ruley.
“He does amazing things with low budgets,” Fenley said of Palmedo-Smith. “He’s just one of those creative people. He doesn’t need a boatload of money. He can do a lot with a little.”
Palmedo-Smith, who said he is now splitting his time between California, Arizona and China, as he works on various film projects, has another fundraising event tentatively planned for April 12 in Rancho Santa Fe.
Along with artistic interest, law enforcement authorities are also taking a fresh look at events surrounding Ruley’s death, including the earlier, suspicious death of Ruley’s son-in-law, and the burning down of Ruley’s house after his death. There has even been talk of exhuming the bodies of Ruley and his son-in-law, Douglas Harris, to examine them for sign of foul play, Palmedo-Smith said.
Palmedo-Smith said he hopes the film and a reissue of his book, “Discovering Ellis Ruley,” will bring new attention to the artist and his work.
“It will be a major thing, it will be on everyone’s radar for a few weeks and that’s a dream for me to have happen,” he said.
For more information, or to contribute to the documentary project, contact James Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Palmedo-Smith at DiniFilms@yahoo.com.
Jackie Robinson stealing home plate for the Brooklyn Dodgers. 2007 represents the 60th anniversary of the integration of Major League Baseball. This resulted from a civil rights campaign involving the NAACP, Paul Robeson and many others., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Jimmie Lee Solomon
Percentage of Major League African-American Players Has Fallen Drastically
03/08/2014 1:59 am EST
When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947, the league was flooded with African-American players exhibiting Hall of Fame talent.
Ernie Banks, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron rode the wave of equality to legendary baseball careers, inspiring generations of children along the way. This wave flowed through to the 1990s, as successful athletes such as Ozzie Smith, Tony Gwynn and Barry Bonds chose baseball as their sport. But, in the last three decades, the deluge of African-American players into the major leagues has gone from a flood to a trickle. From the height -- in the mid 1970s, when African-American Major League Baseball players comprised at approximately 27 percent, the numbers have dwindled down to a paltry 8.5 percent.
Why is the number of Major League African American players falling so drastically? There are multiple reasons:
Cost of playing baseball. The over-riding reason is its cost. Most urban areas have limited resources. It is less expensive to have a black top with a basketball hoop than a landscaped baseball diamond, which needs significant green space and constant maintenance. Additionally, the equipment requirements of baseball also create a hurdle since every player needs to have a glove and cleats. That is costly compared to basketball, where all one needs is one ball and a pair of sneakers (that can also be worn to school).
Increasing competition with football and basketball. Success in baseball is less determined by athleticism then it is in football and basketball. You can take a great athlete and introduce him to football, basketball and baseball in his late teens. History has shown, that he has a much better chance of succeeding in football and basketball than in baseball. The reason is because baseball is dependent upon a collection of skills which are usually learned early on in life, where football and basketball success is more based on athleticism. It takes more than just being an athlete to become a professional baseball player. Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player, and a tremendous athlete, but he could not hit a curveball, and could never advance past Double A when he tried his hand at professional baseball.
Therefore, in many cases, young minority athletes found themselves migrating to sports such as football and basketball in which athleticism flourishes.
Lack of mentor. Baseball is a collection of skills, and is usually taught early in life from a male member of the family. In the urban African American society, a father figure might not always be present.
MLB's focus on Latin American recruiting. In addition to the social and economic issues at home, the reduction of African Americans in Major League Baseball can also be attributed, at the corporate level, to their internal development decisions. The Major League Baseball Clubs built academies in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and other Latin American countries to train recruits.
Those players do not have to go through the MLB draft, thus ultimately saving the teams' money on the player's initial contract and development. This has also diminished the focus on the development of African-American players nationally.
Lack of NCAA Scholarship opportunities. Colleges and universities definitely do not help develop urban African-American baseball talent, as they are more concerned with revenue-earning sports like football and basketball. A Division 1 baseball program has only 11.7 scholarships available, and rarely provides a baseball student-athlete a full scholarship. In contrast, a Division 1 football program has 85 scholarship opportunities, and most players are granted them in full.
And the national marketing of the game of baseball. Also, baseball has always been very traditional in its marketing. It has not addressed the "cool factor," which other sports do. Baseball has been marketed as a traditionalist sport, and is not holding the interest of most African Americans. Other sports capitalize by development marketing that connects with their emotion and energies. The slower play -- one of no time clock -- versus dynamic fast transitions in basketball or gladiator-type hard hits in football, create an uphill battle. Another is the fact that basketball and football generate excitement through individual players. As a social society that celebrates glamor and glitz, more enthusiasm is derived from an amazing basketball player's new sneakers than any small tweaks in the game of baseball. Since the values of the African Americans are not being considered in baseball's marketing initiatives, interest is lost. When you do not inspire fans, you ultimately do not get the players.
What has been done, and are we attempting to create a change?
In 2006, I established the Urban Youth Academy (UYA) in Compton, CA; and later in Houston, TX; New Orleans; LA; and San Juan, PR. These Academies tackle the issues affecting the lack of African-American baseball players head on. UYA addresses the need for top instruction, world-class facilities and equipment, providing opportunity for prospective minority players in urban areas.
Seventy-five UYA boys have been drafted and six have gone on to play at the major league level. More than 200 boys and girls have earned NCAA scholarships for baseball and softball. And that's just since 2006.
It should be noted that the UYA provides a three-prong curriculum. This includes baseball instruction, year-round vocational programs (like groundskeeping, umpiring, scorekeeping, general manager programs and broadcasting), and educational tutoring.
The goal for these programs is to provide girls and boys with the opportunity to learn marketable skills while keeping them safe between the critical hours of 3-7 p. m. daily. All this is provided, while giving them the best opportunity to obtain a post-secondary education.
If Major League Baseball continues to build additional academies throughout urban America, it is my belief that the downward trend can not only be stopped, but the percentage of African Americans playing baseball will increase back into the double-digit levels.
Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell, the famous model, beauty consultant and business woman has died at the age of 92. Her contributions as a civil rights activist will also be remembered., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.Ophelia DeVore, 93, Famed Model, Businesswoman, Dies
Special to the NNPA from the Columbus (Ga.) Times | 3/10/2014, 2:13 p.m.
NEW YORK — Ophelia DeVore (Mitchell) died peacefully on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. She was 92 years old at the time of her death. She was cremated and a memorial service will be held later in Columbus, Ga.
Known for her pioneer efforts in the fields of beauty, fashion, modeling, and entertainment, DeVore Mitchell was the first mixed race/African American high fashion model in Harlem the late 1940s. She exemplified power, pride, presence and beauty in African American women. Over the years, she added newspaper owner/publisher, business executive, producer and consultant to her long list of accomplishments. She traveled extensively in the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.
The Augusta (Ga.) Museum had an exhibit on DeVore Mitchell and some of her personal possessions and newspapers (The Columbus Times) were donated to the museum. Some of her papers and other memorabilia are housed at Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL).
DeVore Mitchell was born on Aug. 22, 1921 in Edgefield, S.C. to the late John DeVore and Mary Strother DeVore. She was the last surviving offspring of the DeVores. Her brothers were John, Claude, Joseph, Walter and Hammond; and her sisters were Blanche, Precola, Ruth and Dorothea.
She attended southern segregated schools as a child, but eventually went to live with an aunt in New York City, where she graduated from Hunter College High School before going on to major in mathematics at New York University. During this time, DeVore Mitchell began doing occasional modeling jobs and became one of the first non-White fashion models in the United States. At the age of 16, she was traveling and working for Ebony magazine.
In 1946, she enrolled in the Vogue School of Modeling, which until that time had excluded women of color. Later that year, she, along with four of her colleagues, founded the Grace Del Marco Modeling Agency as a way to help create opportunities for models of color. In 1948, she created The Ophelia DeVore School of Self-Development and Modeling. She opened the doors of modeling and television in the late 40s and early 50s for men and women of African American heritage and other minorities in the United States.
In 1955, it was the Cicely Tyson, who graced the cover of Ebony magazine with an Afro. She was registered with Grace Del Marco Models at the time of the publication. DeVore Mitchell also had a weekly television show in NYC.
She made history in 1959 and 1960 when two of her clients, Cecilia Cooper and LaJeune Hundley (a beauty queen from the Precola DeVore School-Washington, D.C.) were the first Americans, Black or White, to win titles at the Cannes Film Festival in Paris. Throughout the 1960s, DeVore Mitchell continued to revolutionize nearly every facet of the modeling and beauty industry. She created two of the first nationally known ethnic beauty contests in the U.S., developed a fashion column for the Pittsburgh Courier and created a line of cosmetics specially formulated for people of color.
She was also a civil rights activist who received personal accolades from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was a given for DeVore Mitchell to take models to the Black colleges in the south, where there were prestigious fashion shows and self-esteem workshops; at the helm was DeVore Mitchell along with gorgeous women models. She taught, "Black is beautiful" long before it was popular.
In addition to creating opportunities to showcase African Americans in magazines, on the runway, in pageants and fashion shows, DeVore Mitchell started marketing to non-White audiences. As part of this project, she produced a massive promotional campaign for Johnson & Johnson that launched the career of supermodel Helen Williams. In 1955, DeVore Mitchell and her models made history as hosts of ABC’s weekly television show, "Spotlight on Harlem." It was the first television program in New York produced by and for African Americans.
Beginning in the early 1970s, she became the owner/publisher of The Columbus Times in Georgia, where she set trends in reporting positive news about African Americans. During her decades in business, . DeVore Mitchell wrote a column for the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and served on the board of the organization. She was a founder of the Black Press Archives at Howard University and was elected several times as the national secretary of the NNPA. She was also one of the founders of Black Media, an advertising agency developing marketing strategies for the Black-owned newspapers. The Columbus Times was turned over to her daughter and son-in-law, Carol and Helmut Gertjegerdes.
She produced several New York City cable television shows, including the "Ophelia DeVore Show," which became one of the longest running cable shows on TV. She was appointed by President Reagan to the John F. Kennedy Center Committee on the Arts in 1985. In 1991, assisted by her son James Carter, the two founded DeVore Carter Communications. Dr. DeVore Mitchell continued to oversee all her enterprises and her development programs touched more than 90,000 lives.
For her outstanding service, she received more than 300 awards and honors and was named one of the 75 Black women who changed America in the "I Dream a World" series.
Some of the organizations she held memberships in were: the NAMD (National Association of Market Developers), NNPA, the National Urban League, Top Ladies of Distinction, Continental Africa Chamber of Commerce, American Women in Radio and Television, National Association of Women in Radio and Television, and the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women (BPW).
As one of the first African American and mixed race models in the United States, Ophelia DeVore Mitchell changed the face of the beauty, fashion and entertainment industries. Through her modeling agency and school, she fostered and promoted the careers of some of the country’s top African American models, entertainers and television personalities.
Some of the lives she has touched as result of her half century of being in business were: Susan Taylor, Richard Roundtree, Fisher, Walker, Grace Jones, Larry Fuller, Diahann Carroll, Don Lynn,. Faith Evans, Tom Scott, Audre Smaltz, Duane Jones, Cicely Tyson, Gil Noble, Sue Simmons, Mr. Bennie Andrews, Ms. Lucille Rich, Mr. St. Clair Clement, Ms. Mary Farrington, Larry Dismond, Loretta Long, Dave Gardner, Mary-Elaine Verrett, Roberto, Flo Anthony, Mike Fields, Mary Farrington,. Judd Jones, Beverly Valdez, Albert Popwell, Helen Williams, Frank Hatchett, LuLu Guerrero, Don Ramsey, Elaina Brooks, Mike McDonald, Shirley Jordan, Dick Martin and Melissa Morgan.
DeVore Mitchell had five children with her first husband, Harold Carter, whom she married in 1941. She married her second husband, Columbus News publisher Vernon Mitchell, in 1968. She is survived by her five children; Mrs. Carol Carter Gertjegerdes (Helmut)-Columbus, GA; Mr. James DeVore Carter (Gayle)-New York, NY; Dr. Marie Carter Moore-Los Angeles, CA; Mrs. Cheryl Carter Parks-Pittsburgh, PA; and Mr. Michael Carter (Sherry)-Tampa, FL. All of her children worked in the businesses at one time.
Her grandchildren are: Petra Gertjegerdes-Myricks (Antoine), Mark Gertjegerdes (Jasmine), Helmut H. Gertjegerdes (Crystal), Tanya Gertjegerdes Williams (Lito)-all of Columbus. LaJuan Dent (Kevin)-Edison, N.J.; Lori Harris (Derek)-Edison, NJ; James Carter Jr.-Charlotte, NC; Shawn Carter (Caity)-Tampa, Fla. and Karis Carter-Tampa, Fla.. She has 16 great grandchildren.
Through her wide and diverse involvement in nearly every facet of the modeling, beauty, fashion, entertainment, marketing and news industries, DeVore Mitchell has helped society move closer to realizing her own mission: "I didn’t model a long time because that wasn’t my mission to be a model. My mission was to have us presented in a way that was not stereotyped." She was the Architect of Charm and Modeling for people of Color.
"Ms. DeVore was an extraordinary woman. Her guidance and caring made it possible for me and so many young women to move into society with confidence and poise. As a young woman, I was taught so many invaluable lessons by this lady, from beauty care to the importance of self-esteem. She prepared me for the business world, for which I will always be grateful. Ophelia DeVore is an incredible woman." – Diahann Carroll
There will be a memorial service in Columbus, Ga. Send condolences to: The Family of Ophelia DeVore Mitchell, c/o The Columbus Times Newspaper, 2230 Buena Vista Road, Columbus, Ga. 31906. In lieu of flowers please send donations.
One of the last photographs of pop icon Whitney Houston who died on February 11, 2012. This photo was taken in Hollywood after a party where Kelly Price and her performed on stage., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Cop: I Was Demoted for Reporting Ogling of Whitney Houston's Body
BY ANDREW BLANKSTEIN
A former police SWAT team supervisor filed suit Monday against the city of Beverly Hills and its police department, alleging he was removed from his position for reporting that a fellow officer disturbed the scene of Whitney Houston’s death in 2012.
As NBC News reported exclusively in September, when a preliminary claim was filed, Officer Brian Weir’s lawsuit alleges that then-Det. Sgt. Terry Nutall lifted the sheet covering the dead pop superstar’s naked body and commented, “Damn, she’s still looking good, huh?”
Houston was found dead in her room at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills on Feb. 11, 2012. The Los Angeles County Coroner determined that she died of accidental drowning, with cocaine use and heart disease as contributing factors. She was 48.
Weir’s lawsuit alleges that as the senior patrol sergeant on duty, he “attempted to secure and preserve the scene of the death” and had placed a sheet over Houston's body to “prevent contamination” before Nutall arrived and removed it “to an area below the pubic region.”
Weir alleges he was removed from his position as head of the department’s SWAT team after reporting the alleged misconduct.
The suit, filed on his behalf by attorney Christopher Brizzolara, seeks unspecified damages for pain and suffering and loss of special unit pay.
Nutall, who has since been promoted to lieutenant, could not be reached by NBC News for comment.
The Beverly Hills City Attorney’s Office and city police officials said they had not seen the suit and could not immediately comment.
But police spokesman Lt. Lincoln Hoshino said last year disputed the claim's characterizations to NBC News.
He said Nutall was near the Houston death scene and was the detective division sergeant on duty, which meant it was appropriate for him to respond. (Nutall has since been promoted to lieutenant.)
“He would be expected to respond to that type of incident and his supervisor was fully aware that he went to the scene,” Hoshino said at the time. As for Nutall’s alleged comments about Houston’s body, Hoshino said that the department was not aware of “any inappropriate behavior or any inappropriate comments. We stand behind the investigation 100 percent, including the conclusion from the coroner’s office.”
At the time of her death, Houston was in Los Angeles preparing to attend a pre-Grammy party thrown by her mentor, producer Clive Davis. The singer’s personal assistant left to pick up items at Neiman Marcus, then returned to the hotel room at 3:36 p.m. and found Houston face down in the bathtub and unresponsive, according to the coroner’s report.
First published March 10th 2014, 10:38 pm.
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, in front of the federal courthouse in Detroit during the first day of the bankruptcy trial. (Photo: Valerie Jean), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.Event: Demonstration Against the Bankers' Plan of Adjustment
Date: Tues. April 1, 2014, 10:00 a.m.
Location: Federal Courthouse at 231 W. Lafayette, Downtown
Initiators: Moratorium NOW! Coalition, STOPC
Contact: 313-680-5508 or 671-3715
Orr and Snyder's Plan of Adjustment Is a Death Sentence for Retirees and Workers of Detroit; Join the Demonstrations Outside the Federal Courthouse April 1; File a Legal Objection to the Plan of Adjustment by April 1; Attend Our Monday Night Weekly Planning Meeting to Fight Back Against the Bankers Behind This Plan!
We are calling on all City of Detroit retirees, current City employees, residents and all other concerned people to build and participate in a mass demonstration outside the Federal Courthouse in Detroit on Tues. April 1 beginning at 10:00 a.m. The state-imposed emergency manager Kevyn Orr has a "Plan of Adjustment" that will loot the pension funds, lay-off City workers and liquidate public assets to pay off the bankers.
Within this corporate-engineered plan 90 percent of the bank debt said to be falsely owed by the City of Detroit will be paid. Only a small portion of lenders will have their claims reduced by the plan.
Meanwhile Orr and Snyder are still scheming to pay $85 million to Bank of America and UBS despite Judge Rhodes' contention that legal action against these financial institutions is warranted. We oppose paying any more money to Bank of America and UBS for this fraudulent interest-rate swap deal which has already cost tax payers $300 million.
We have no other choice but to fight or starve. 23,000 pensioners and their families have had their health insurance cancelled and are facing at least a 34 percent cut in their monthly checks. These measures will inevitably result in mass deaths of retirees who have spent decades serving the City of Detroit.
According to Orr's plan, the City of Detroit will make no contributions to the pension funds for a decade. The much championed contributions from charitable foundations are not guaranteed. Meanwhile the City of Detroit is slated to undergo massive dislocation and privatization of public services.
The Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) will face massive lay-offs in light of yet another bogus interest-rate swap deal that has saddled the revenue-generating entity $500 million in debt obligations that should be eliminated by the courts. Billions of dollars in federal settlement monies from the banks and tobacco industry remain in Lansing slated to be utilized for further privatization and the bulldozing of even more areas within the city.
Only a mass movement will stop this state-sponsored terrorist conspiracy. Civil and workers rights were affirmed by the courts only after the mass struggles forced them to do so. Lawyers in the courts need the support of the thousands of people in the streets.
Please join the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and Stop the Theft of Our Pensions Committee (STOPC) weekly meetings every Monday at 7:00 p.m. located at 5920 Second Ave. at Antoinette in Midtown. If your organization wants to join this effort as a co-sponsor or endorser please contact us at the numbers and addresses above.
At our March 17 meeting we will explain how people can file legal objections to this plan. We have forms available and attorneys that can assist everyone with the process.
On March 10 at our weekly meeting we will further plan our outreach strategy which began at the mass Emergency Town Hall Meeting on March 2 at Central United Methodist Church. We must organize block by block and neighborhood by neighborhood to stop these criminal actions by the banks and their agents in government.
Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jung-Un during the celebrations surrounding the 100th birthday of the late founder of the state and the Korean Worker's Party, Kim Il Sung. The event took place on April 14, 2012., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
DPRK parliamentary election kicks off
March 10, 2014
PYONGYANG. — Parliamentary elections started yesterday morning throughout the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to choose members of the top legislature in the country. Eligible voters went to poll stations in different electoral districts to cast their votes for members of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), who will serve a five-year term in accordance with the DPRK constitution.
The voting was expected to last nine hours. Wearing traditional dresses or suits, people gathered at electoral districts in Pyongyang, dancing and singing in festive mood.
DPRK’s top leader Kim Jong Un had registered at Constituency No. 111 as a candidate in the election.
It is the first election for the SPA under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, who took power in December 2011 following the death of his father Kim Jong Il.
The current deputies of the SPA, the highest organ of state power, were elected in March 2009.
The SPA has the power to adopt, amend or supplement enactments to the constitution, determine state policy and budgets, and adjust the country’s leadership.
Republic of Angola President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. The southern African state has changed its constitution to have the president elected by parliament as opposed to a direct vote. The oil-rich nation is the largest exporter of oil on the continent., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Angola seeks to boost agricultural productivity
March 10, 2014
LUANDA. — Oil-rich Angola aims to roll out measures to boost productivity in its agriculture sector and curb its dependence on food imports, but there are concerns price hikes will harm the poor. New import duties for selected products including fruits, vegetables, eggs and drinks are set to enter into force in March.
The government hopes that the new levies will discourage imports and prod domestic industries to diversify from oil.
Before its independence in 1975, Angola was an agricultural powerhouse known for its coffee and rubber production.
But nearly three decades of civil war that left vast tracts of land littered with landmines robbed the country of its farming prowess.
It left Angola heavily reliant on food imports, which account for 90 percent total food consumed.
In the first nine months of last year, Angola spent over US$3,6 billion on imported food and drinks alone, according to the trade ministry.
Authorities now want to lessen that dependence and encourage local production, which will hopefully eventually lower food costs in the country where two thirds of the population live on less than two dollars a day, despite the country’s oil wealth.
However, importers fear the new customs duties will push up the cost of some imported goods by a third, as well as the inflation rate which currently stands at 7.8 percent.
“This will lead to an increase in import costs of between 5 percent and 35 percent, which will have an impact on prices in general,” said Federico Crespo, who operates an Angolan import firm Oxbow.
The dependence on imported goods is one of the reasons why Angola’s capital Luanda is ranked among the most expensive cities in the world.
However, one local business association appears to back the new import duties and suggests that if there are any increases in consumer prices, they won’t last long.
“This is because local entrepreneurs will invest and produce to meet the demand,” said Jose Severino, president of the Association of Angolan Industrialists.
In imposing the new duties, Angolan authorities say they are not aiming at a blanket ban on imports but want to “gradually replace” them with local produce and “develop our productive capacity”, said Adriano Martins, director of the foreign trade ministry.
Oppah Muchingura is the Republic of Zimbabwe Minister for Women's Affairs. She is involved in a national campaign against gender-based violence., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
‘Walk the talk on gender equality’
March 10, 2014
Public and private institutions and organisations have been urged to adopt Government’s policy of 50-50 representation of women and men in their boards.
Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Oppah Muchinguri said this in her International Women’s Day message on Saturday.
“We are happy that the new constitution provides for the establishment of Gender Commission which will work as a watchdog in ensuring that all State institutions abide with gender equality provisions.
“I would like to urge Zimbabwean women to use the new Constitution as a lobbying tool to penetrate key economic sectors such as mining, tourism, and agriculture.
“This is already enunciated in the economic blueprint Zim-Asset and the Broad-Based Women’s Empowerment Framework,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri said there was need to celebrate the criminalisation of gender-based violence in the new Constitution, while calling for stiffer penalties for rapists.
“We should continue lobbying for deterrent sentences for rape and stiffer penalties for other forms of gender based violence.
“Specifically Section 25(b) of the Constitution obliges the State to adopt measures for the prevention of domestic violence.
“With regards to education, the State has been mandated by Section 27(2) to take measures to ensure that girls are afforded the same opportunities as boys at all levels of education,” Minister Muchinguri said.
The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development has partnered with civil society to ensure women make a meaningful contribution to the realignment processes.
A Chisumbanje farmer in Zimbabwe. The area is undergoing a green revolution through irrigation schemes to combat drought., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Recapitalise GMB: Farmers
March 10, 2014
Government must recapitalise the Grain Marketing Board to ensure an attractive producer price is paid to farmers on time during the 2014 grain marketing season, which starts in April.
This follows announcements by farmers’ organisations that they are expecting high maize yields this season.
Farmers have said the high yields will be put to waste if the GMB does not have capacity to buy and pay farmers instantly.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa last week said the major incentive for farmers to produce food crops was instant payment.
He said GMB had a good price of US$378 per tonne but its failure to pay on time was forcing many farmers to switch to crops like tobacco.
“GMB should be able to absorb the grains produced by farmers. Private buyers will only take advantage of farmers and offer unviable prices. Many cash buyers are offering prices below US$250 per tonne.
“GMB should also be in a position to buy small grains to promote production,” said Mr Chabikwa.
Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers’ Association Trust president Mrs Depinah Nkomo said GMB should source funds now instead of waiting for the marketing season.
“Farmers should be able to buy inputs for the following season after selling their maize. But this has not been the situation as the GMB takes several months before paying farmers,” she said.
Agriculture economist Mr Midway Bhunu said Government and the private sector could partner to revamp the parastatal.
“What farmers want is a good price that is paid instantly. Commodity brokers will reap off farmers.
“Government and millers can come up with grain bills to mobilise funds to buy grain from farmers. GMB has vast infrastructure which will also benefit the private sector in case of a partnership,” he said.
The GMB is funded by Treasury. Its commercial operations are failing and is solely reliant on State funding.
Unrest continues in Egypt in the aftermath of the July 3, 2013 military coup. Photo from December 27 where tires were being burned., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Protesters mark 100 days of activist Abdel-Fattah's detention
Passant Darwish, Sunday 9 Mar 2014
Prominent secular activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah has been detained since November 2013 on charges of organising an unauthorised protest
Dozens of activists, relatives and friends of Alaa Abdel-Fattah have gathered at Cairo's High Court to demand his release.
The prominent activist has been detained for 100 days as of Sunday, but his trial date is yet to be set.
He was detained for organising an unauthorised protest against military trials of civilians.
Protesters also demand the release of Ahmed Abdel-Rahman, who has been detained on the same charges for 102 days, and all other political detainees.
The protest was disrupted by people chanting "traitors, traitors," "Egypt is more important" and "El-Sisi is my president," referring to army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
Abdel-Fattah's relatives and human rights lawyerspresented a complaint against the public prosecutor to the Supreme Council of the Judiciary.
"The public prosecutor is ignoring serious complaints [about the detention of Abdel-Fattah and others]. He is being the voice of the state instead of the people," Mona Seif, Abdel-Fattah's sister, told Ahram Online.
Seif said everyone arrested during the military trials protest on 26 November had been released pending trial, except Abdel-Fattah and Abdel-Rahman.
Detainees are usually held for a set period of time, then taken to a judge who decides if they will be held until their trial.
Abdel-Fattah has had his detention period officially extended twice, but since then has remained in jail without seeing a judge or having his trial date set, Seif said.
The family is shocked that such a practice is permitted by Egyptian law, she added.
A founding member of No to Military Trials of Civilians, Seif said some women in the group had told prosecutors they organised the protest, but Abdel-Fattah was still being detained.
Abdel-Fattah's aunt, the novelist Ahdaf Soueif, released a statement on Sunday saying his continued detention was political.
"Alaa is in prison because he is Alaa," the statement read.
Abdel-Fattah was arrested at his home on 28 November, two days after the protest.
In January, he received a suspended one-year jail sentence in a separate case on charges of torching the campaign headquarters of Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.
Doctors have gone on strike in Egypt. The nation is still experiencing unrest three years after the fall of Mubarak., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Health ministry, doctors differ on strike participation figures
Ahram Online, Sunday 9 Mar 2014
A new strike by doctors employed in government hospitals has participation levels of 31 percent, according to the health ministry
The health ministry and the committee regulating an ongoing strike by medical professionals who work in the public sector have issued different figures on participation levels on Saturday, the first day of the strike.
A statement issued by the ministry on Sunday said that the number of protesting doctors did not exceed 31 percent, adding that around 353 hospitasl refused to join the 160 protesting hospitals.
The committee organising the strike has announced during a press conference on Saturday that 80 percent of doctors working at health ministry hospitals joined the strike.
Dentists, pharmacists and veterinarians employed in public facilities are also taking part in the strike.
The strikers are demanding an increase in basic salaries in place of a presidential decree in February which increased monthly bonuses but not basic pay.
They also demand the implementation of financial and administrative changes approved in May 2012 by the general assembly of the Doctors Syndicate, which included reform of payscales and promotions.
Egyptian doctors have taken part in a number of partial strikes since the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
As of 1 January 2014, doctors have been staging bi-weekly strikes to demand higher salaries and increased government investment in healthcare services. Starting on 8 March, healthcare professionals launched a partial open ended strike.