Stories from Quick Reads and Uganda
Félix Moronta Barrios is a Venezuelan biologist who spreads scientific culture among Spanih speaking community. He recently explained the researches and biotechnologic findongs about transgenic bananas in Uganda and the United States.
The banane cultivated in Uganda has no A vitamin. That's why its modification is necessary. Moronta Barrios warns the skeptical:
Antes de que piensen cosas como “natural es mejor”, “otra vez los científicos jugando a ser dios”, “lo modificado genéticamente es malo malísimo”, etc, etc, etc. sepan que la transgénesis también ocurre naturalmente, como expliqué aquí. Que el plátano, banana o cambur que consumimos hoy en día es un invento humano, tal como explica Ciencia de Sofá en “El oscuro pasado de los plátanos“. Y para que no termine ahí la sorpresa, les cuento que es un alimento radiactivo por su alto contenido en potasio; tanto, que camiones cargados de plátanos hacen saltar las alarmas en algunas aduanas. Incluso hay una unidad de medida al respecto, la dosis equivalente a un plátano.
Before you think of things such as “natural is best”, “again scientists playing God”, “genetically modified is not good”, etc, you better know that transgenesis goes on naturally, as explained here. The bananas we eat are human creation, as stated by Ciencia de Sofá on “The dark past of bananas“. And for more surprises, let me tell you this is a radiactive fruit, due to its high content of potasium. So much that banana trucks start the alarms in some customs control. There even is a measuring unit about that, the dose equivalent to a banana.
As Rwanda pays tribute to the victims of the genocide 20 years after the tragedy, President Kagame states again that France must “face up to the difficult truth” of its role in the 1994 genocide [fr]. As a result of this statement, France has pulled out of the commemorative events and former Foreign Affairs Minister of France demands that president Hollande defends the Honor of France and its army. Rémi Noyon at French site Rue 89 lists the reasons why Rwanda accuses again France of aiding the genocide [fr] :
1) La France va « de facto » prendre le commandement de l’armée rwandaise face au rebelles du Front patriotique rwandais (FPR).
2) La France craint alors que l’offensive tutsi ne soit télécommandée via l’Ouganda par les Anglo-saxons, et ne vise à enfoncer un coin dans l’influence de la France sur la région
3) La France ne semble pas s’intéresser outre mesure aux négociations de paix.
4) Les soldats n’embarquent pas le personnel tutsi présent à l’ambassade de France (sauf une personne). Ils seront tous massacrés.
5) Quant à l’opération Turquoise, elle continue à diviser : elle a certainement permis de sauver des vies tutsi, mais l’armée est accusée d’être restée passive – et donc complice – face aux atrocités.
1) France commanded some branches of the Rwandan army against the rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
2) France feared that the Tutsi offensive was remotely piloted via Uganda by anglophone countries and was intended to drive a wedge into the influence of France in the region.
3) France did not seem overly interested in peace negotiations before the conflict.
4) The soldiers did not evacuate any of the Tutsi staff present at the Embassy of France (except for one person). They ended all being killed.
5) As for Operation Turquoise, it continues to divide: it certainly saved Tutsi lives, but the army is accused of having remained passive – and therefore was accomplice – to the atrocities.
Kristoff Titeca looks beyond a single explanation on Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill:
A crucial point is that President Museveni has never been an outspoken supporter of the bill, instead being rather dubious about it: he was fully aware of the disastrous international consequences. In his first public reaction after the introduction of the bill, he argued how it did “not represent the party of government position” and how “Uganda cannot risk its foreign policy by allowing the Bill to pass in its current form”. In the following years, the bill was weakened and consistently shelved, (in 2009, 2011 and 2013), until it reappeared on 20th December 2013, when it was passed by parliament.
After its passing, Museveni continued to pursue an ambiguous position: he claimed how the bill was passed without his consultation, and in a rushed manner, by a small number of MPs led by speaker Kadaga. This had then forced him to look further into the matter. In his interviews and statements, Museveni has consistently focused on two issues: On the recruitment of homosexuals (and related with this, the ‘recruited’, those who become homosexuals for ‘mercenary reasons’), and secondly, ‘exhibitionism’ of homosexual behavior. In doing so, he left a loophole, being that there was a possibility that certain people were ‘born homosexual (…) rare deviations in nature from the normal’. In doing so, he could both satisfy the domestic constituency – he was criticizing homosexuals – but also the international constituency, by leaving this loophole open. For example, even after announcing that he was going to sign the bill, in a response to Obama’s criticism, Museveni argued how he encouraged the US government to provide evidence that some people are born homosexual, which would then allow him to review the legislation.
The first ever Uganda Social Media Awards (SMAs) took place on 15 November 2013 at The Hub, Oasis Mall in Kampala, Uganda.
The objectives of the awards, which were organised by BluFlamingo, were:
The Uganda SMA’s (Social Media awards) is Uganda’s first event that seeks to bring together individuals and organizations that are at the frontline when it comes to using social media for entertainment, change, sharing of ideas, creating communities and talking to customers online.
The awards seek to reward those individuals and organizations that are making a concerted effort to harness the power of social media to engage and build communities online. From avid face-bookers to twitter personalities and passionate bloggers.
This first of a kind event will be held on November 15th 2013 and will bring together not just the digitally aware, but also corporate organizations at the forefront of new media and those who have contributed to the growth of social media in Uganda.
The winners of different categories were:
Corporate – MTN Uganda
The winners were nominated through online public voting and later selected by a panel of five judges.
On January 23, 2013, an excerpt from the annual report of l'ACAT-France, A World of Torture 2013, makes a fresh assessment of the state of torture in the world [fr]:
“A report called A World of Torture in 2013, assesses torture practices that continue to be alarming, from Pakistan to Italy, by way of South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Bolivia. From authoritarian regimes to democratic countries, none are exempt from criticism on the topic. In 2013, torture remains as endemic, omnipresent and multi-faceted as ever”.
Ugandan bloggers Prudence Nyamishana, Javie Ssozi, Florence Naluyimba, Muwonge David and Chris Igune delivered a letter to the Ethiopian ambassador in Uganda demanding the release the jailed Ethiopian bloggers and journalists:
— Florence Naluyimba (@Floramujaasi) May 9, 2014
“Is Crimea referendum a good model for Africa?” asks Richard Dowden:
Africa’s arbitrary borders, mostly drawn by people who had never set foot in the continent, have always been an obvious target for renegotiation. But Africa’s first rulers, who foresaw chaos and disintegration if the nation states were reconfigured, ruled it out. “Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each State” was one of the founding principles of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the forerunner of the African Union. Despite all the wars, internal and external, this principle has been pretty much adhered to by both presidents and people.
Loyalty to an African state is not always related to the ability of that state to make the lives of its people better. Patriotism, an emotional thing, does not take these benefits into account, even in countries where the majority of citizens are marginalised or oppressed by the government. Even in the catastrophic recent meltdown of South Sudan after just two years of independence, no one is advocating return to rule from Khartoum. In the dying days of Mobutu’s Zaire (now the DRC) I was astonished to find that people felt it to be a great country. I asked why Katanga, the rich south east province, didn’t secede – as it had in 1960. My suggestion was greeted with shocked surprise.
Two years ago today we started a campaign called KONY 2012. It was an experiment to see if the world was ready to unite and speak out against the horrific and unseen crimes of Joseph Kony and the LRA. The world was.
Together, we made Kony famous and put the issue of LRA violence on the table of popular and political interest. One element of the campaign was calling on culture and policy makers to work in their sphere of influence to stand up for Kony’s child soldiers. You led our leaders to take action that resulted in tangible results. As part of our celebrations, we’ve decided to thank the politicians that gave a gift to justice through their support of KONY 2012.
While the Central African Republic awaits a new prime minister [fr] after the peace talks in Libreville, the army reports that Joseph Kony and the Lord Resistance Army LRA have killed three people [fr] near the village of Yalinga. The reports adds that a 12 year old girl was also kidnapped by the rebels.