This video from Kenya in Africa says about itself:
18 December 2015
Please give generously to support the #RhinoDogSquad by donating online.
This video from Kenya in Africa says about itself:
18 December 2015
Please give generously to support the #RhinoDogSquad by donating online.
This video from London, England says about itself:
Commemorating the Life of Makhan Singh, SOAS University of London
19 October 2015
This panel discussion titled “Commemorating the Life of Radical Kenyan Trade Unionist and National Liberation Activist Makhan Singh” was held at the South Asia Institute at SOAS University of London on 5 October 2015.
This event commemorates the life of Makhan Singh (1913-1973) who was a radical trade unionist, revolutionary, and activist in Kenya. He was imprisoned, detained, and exiled for over 15 years by the colonial authorities in India and Kenya for his outspoken stance on the imperatives of national liberation of the East African Territories. He dedicated his life to social, economic and political liberation and was an ardent campaigner for the rights of all workers in Kenya in speaking out against the regimes of colonialism and imperialism.
The event will not only highlight this important yet overlooked labour and anti-colonial history but will also bring together voices of activists, family members, and commentators who will reflect on this history of the labour movement in Kenya and on Makhan Singh’s life.
An edited volume (edited by Shiraz Durrani, Vita Books: London) which explores various aspects of Makhan Singh’s life will be released at this event.
Judith Heyer, Emeritus Fellow, Somerville College, University of Oxford
Mary Davis, Visiting Professor in Labour History, Royal Holloway, University of London
Shiraz Durrani, Kenyan activist in exile; (Retired) Senior Lecturer, London Metropolitan University
Sukant Chandan, activist and film-maker
Dr. Inderjit Jabbal-Gill (Daughter of Makhan Singh)
Arvinder S. Jabbal (Grandson of Makhan Singh)
This event will be chaired by Dr Navtej Purewal.
By Dan Thea:
A pioneer of Kenya‘s unions
Monday 9th November 2015
A book on Makhan Singh pays due tribute to his outstanding role in the labour movement during the struggle for national liberation, says DAN THEA
Makhan Singh: A Revolutionary Kenyan Trade Unionist
Edited by Shiraz Durrani
(Vita Books, £7.50)
THIS book’s alluring title, with a silhouette of a turbaned and bearded man, pays tribute to an outstanding Kenyan trade unionist during the country’s struggle for national liberation from British colonial rule.
As was common in the subcontinent, as a child Singh left occupied India for Kenya during the construction of the notoriously dangerous Mombasa-Uganda railway.
It was intended to serve British strategic and economic interests, including heading off rival European imperial competition for territory during the notorious “scramble for Africa.”
The arrival of the Indians in the footsteps of the Europeans, who in turn had followed the Arabs, gave Kenya its present day multiracial character.
The book’s early chapters are primarily fond recollections and reflections on Singh by family members. They describe his austere and simple character and stress his devotion to fighting for trade union rights and national independence.
In this section, editor Shiraz Durrani writes a longer and more comprehensive chapter — which bears re-reading — on his trade union and political work and asserts Singh’s brilliant trade union leadership as well as political activism.
In particular, Singh is credited with making the first public call for Kenyan “independence now.”
On his return to India, the authorities imprisoned him from 1939 to 1945 for his political activism. Upon his release, Singh rejoined the Indian independence struggle, including working as a sub-editor of the Communist Party publication “Struggle for Independence.” He ended up celebrating the demise of the Indian Raj before returning home to Kenya.
There, among many other achievements in the trade union movement and the wider independence struggle, he founded the East African Trade Union Congress under the patronage of the Kenya African Union.
For his principled stand and unbending courage in fighting for justice and Kenyan independence the British exiled Singh in 1950 to the country’s remote, hot and dry northern wilderness for 11 years.
When the British declared the Mau Mau war in 1952 a similar treatment was meted out to Jomo Kenyatta and his fellow “Kapenguria Six,” political leaders who were wrongly accused of leading the armed liberation struggle.
The book includes some of Singh’s writing and a large “photo safari” section, all of which serve to affirm the range, depth and importance of his work.
But was Singh the “revolutionary” of the book’s title? “I am a communist,” he declared to both the British and the Kenyan authorities and, by all accounts, while in India he was no closet theoretician or mere activist but a principled, informed and disciplined thinker and an energetic participant within a revolutionary organisation — a revolutionary, in other words.
Yet apparently when in Kenya, where he lived the bulk of his life, he was not active in a revolutionary organisation.
Noticeably, nowhere in the book is it demonstrated, affirmed or even merely claimed that Singh was a participant in the Mau Mau, the Kenyan national liberation movement.
Neither in Durrani’s previous book Mau Mau: The Revolutionary Force From Kenya nor in this book is any link shown between the “revolutionary” Singh and that force — there may be photographs galore with the likes of Jomo Kenyatta, Raila Odinga, Achiengo Oneko and others. But there are none of him with the Mau Mau.
This 2014 video is called Mungu Comrade, a play on the life of Makhan SIngh – Trade unionist and freedom fighter in Kenya.
This 2013 video is called True Facts About The Naked Mole Rat.
By Melissa Breyer:
Secrets of the naked mole-rat revealed
October 23, 2015
New research finds the naked mole-rat has been wildly misunderstood for decades.
So maybe the lack of fur, beady eyes and exuberant teeth don’t exactly make for “cute,” but in terms of nature’s design, the naked mole-rat is a splendid creature. Adapted to a life lived in tunnels beneath the hot African desert, their naked skin allows for excellent burrowing. They don’t need big cute eyes for their subterranean existence, and those teeth? Those teeth are so remarkable that they can not only chew through the tough underground roots that provide nutrition, but they can even chew through concrete when occasion calls for it.
Unlike most other mammals, naked mole-rats are eusocial, meaning that, like bees and ants, they live in a colony with a queen. A few lucky nude dudes get to mate with their depilated ruler, while the rest of the gang works on foraging and infrastructure. And, it has long been believed, they inbreed. (Which has kind of been the last straw for their reputation: They look like larva with teeth and they have sex with family members?)
According to a new study on the little darlings, evolutionary biologists have long been curious about their amorous behavior: “Why would this rodent have evolved to socialize and mate so differently from other mammals? From a natural selection standpoint – where advantageous traits are passed down to succeeding generations – what is gained by limiting genetic diversity by limiting the breeding pool?”
UVA biologist Colleen Ingram and a team of researchers looked at the genetics of different mole-rat populations from Africa, and analyzed them in comparison to the genetics of a mole-rat population that has been studied for decades. They discovered that the groups of the long-studied mole-rats are “inbred” only because they all initially came from a limited, genetically isolated group of naked mole-rats from south of Kenya‘s Athi River.
The team found that larger wild populations from other regions are genetically variable; although they are eusocial, they are not inbred.
“We now know, from looking at the big picture from a much larger geographic area than previously studied, that the naked mole-rat is not inbred at all,” Ingram said.
“What we thought we knew was based on early genetics studies of a small inbred sample from an otherwise genetically variable species. This shows that long-held assumptions, even from heavily studied model species, can and should always be questioned and further studied.”
So there you have it. The naked mole-rat may be bereft of cuddly fur … and bare teeth that are the stuff of cartoon nightmares, but inbred? No way. Proving that science can be fallible, one naked mole-rat at a time.
This video says about itselF:
31 August 2011
Kenya celebrates the International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD) by showing the diversity of species, illustrating their critical role in the environment and focusing on their main cause for their widespread decline, poisoning with pesticides.
Dr Richard Leakey makes a personal statement regarding his own experience in witnessing the decline of vultures and highlights the need for governments to tackle poisoning issues seriously, otherwise the future of vultures is [certain. IVAD is a global event with awareness campaigns in the America’s, throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and the far East. Vultures have declined as much as 95% over South Asia and India because of the side-effect of diclophenac, a pharmaceutical drug meant to relieve pain in livestock.
Wind turbines and electricity lines are proving to be another serious hazard for vultures all over the world. Habitat removal and disturbance also play major roles in their declines.
Vultures are one of the most beneficial animals due to their “clean-up” work and removing carcasses that would otherwise rot and encourage disease. In Kenya vultures play a vital role in not only wildlife health but in the pastoral livestock rearing lands and in community public health. Join us in celebrating the vulture!
From Pakistan Today:
Plan for protection of fast-disappearing vultures
September 1, 2015 BY PPI
At the Baanhn Beli office in Nagarparkar, Tharparkar, Sindh, close to the Pakistan-India border, a new project was launched at a simple yet colourful, well-attended event to prepare a comprehensive national strategy to protect and conserve endangered vultures.
These birds have become a highly endangered species in Pakistan in recent years.
Serving as a unique scavenger bird for the past 50 million years which cleans the landscape from dead or rotting carcasses and is a vital link in the web of nature and ecosystems, the number of vultures in Pakistan has declined steeply over the past two decades. Nagarparkar Taluka is one of only two or three areas in the whole country where small colonies of vultures are still present.
A total of 224 residents of villages in Nagarparkar Taluka comprising 131 men and 93 women participated in the project launch ceremony. Volunteer-leaders of Baanhn Beli, a representative of IUCN, officials of the Departments of Wildlife, Forests, Local Administration of the Government of Sindh, leaders of other NGOs working in Tharparkar and village leaders addressed the gathering and gave relevant details.
Speakers highlighted the fact that the principal reason for the rapid and alarming reduction in the number of vultures is that a pain-killing drug known as “Diclofenac” normally administered to livestock to kill pain and increase weight and milk production proved to be catastrophically fatal for the internal organs of vultures. Similar rapid declines have been seen in India, Nepal and several countries in Africa. In 2006, the Government of Pakistan banned the production and use of veterinary medicines containing “Diclofenac” to save the rapidly declining vulture population.
However, unauthorised use of diclofenac continues and poses a threat to this remarkable species. Following the constitution of an Asia Regional Steering Committee on Vultures by IUCN in 2012, the Ministry of Climate Change has notified “National Vulture Recovery Committee” in 2012 to improve the coordination for conservation of vultures at the national level.
Several negative effects of the decline in the vulture population are already evident. These include contamination of the soil and water, infection of other species and human beings, increase in the number of feral dogs which feed on the dead or rotting carcasses and become dangerous animals for human settlements.
Concerted efforts on local, provincial, national and regional levels will be required to prepare and implement an effective strategy for the protection and conservation of vultures.
With this goal, the volunteer-led, community-based development organisation known as Baanhn Beli (a friend forever), now in its 31st year of public service in the Tharparkar arid region, in collaboration with IUCN-The International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world’s largest environment organisation has launched the project for the formulation of the National Vulture Conservation Strategy. USAID is proving funding support to the project.
Over the next 10 months, a series of coordinated actions are planned with the active participation of village communities, local resource persons, relevant officials, technical international and national experts to identify specific measures at multiple levels that will conserve existing numbers and promote their safe breeding. Consultations will also be held with the national and international experts on similar initiatives taken in South Asia and Africa.
The launch ceremony in Nagarparkar is being followed up with an inception ceremony on September 7, 2015.
Kenya’s vultures on brink of extinction – especially after lion poisoning incident in Maasai Mara: here.
INTERNATIONAL VULTURE AWARENESS DAY ON ABACO: here.
From daily News Line in Britain:
Friday, 4 September 2015
Memorial to Mau Mau freedom fighters
A MEMORIAL will be unveiled at 07:30am (GMT) on Saturday 12th September 2015, at Freedom Corner in Uhuru Park, Nairobi to remember the many thousands of Kenyans who suffered torture and abuse at the hands of British forces at the end of the colonial era (1952-1960).
In 2013, following a legal case brought against the UK government by law firm Leigh Day on behalf of 5,200 Kenyans, the then Foreign Secretary, William Hague, expressed ‘sincere regret’ that thousands of Kenyans had been subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of the British colonial administration during the Kenya Emergency.
Attending Saturdays’ ceremony will be representatives of the Mau Mau War Veterans Association as well as representatives from Leigh Day, the British High Commissioner and UK government officials. Daniel Leader, a partner at law firm Leigh Day, who will be attending the ceremony on behalf of Leigh Day, said: ‘This memorial represents the first apology by the UK government for abuses by the British during colonial rule.
‘Crimes such as castration, rape and repeated violence of the worst kind were inflicted upon thousands of Kenyans by British colonial officials in detention camps. Many of those who suffered had little or nothing to do with the Mau Mau insurgency.
‘This memorial, along with the apology given in 2013, has gone a long way to lifting the cloud that has hung over those Kenyans tortured by the British for so long.’
This video says about itself:
1 February 2012
This video was produced in Kenya in commemoration of World Wetlands Day, and in appreciation for the priceless ecological services provided by wetlands the world over. This video highlights some of the wetland habitat, and wildlife dependent upon wetlands to some degree or other, in this East African nation.
Site Support Group Champions Conservation of Dunga Swamp
By Obaka Torto, Mon, 17/08/2015 – 15:12
Lake Victoria Sunset Birders (LVSB) is a Site Support Group (SSG) based in Dunga Swamp on the shores of Lake Victoria in Western Kenya. The group is mainly composed of young people, with a total membership of 32, (25 men and seven women) all sharing a passion for conservation of the wetland and its biodiversity. From their experience in conducting biodiversity research, tour guiding and community empowerment, some members have been able to get jobs and resources to continue with their education.
Dunga swamp is one of the 65 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Kenya. It is located on the South Eastern shores of Lake Victoria. The swamp is predominantly comprised of Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) which forms a distinctive habitat for papyrus specialist birds, including restricted range endemics such as the Globally Threatened Papyrus Yellow Warbler (Chloropeta gracilirostris) and the Near Threatened Papyrus Gonolek (Linarius mufumbiri).
The swamp provides ecosystem services that include filtering sediments, which purifies the water before it enters Lake Victoria; it controls flooding in the area; it is a major tourist attraction site, attracting more than 2000 local and international tourists per year; and it is also a fish land site where fish trading and other small scale businesses have thrived. Despite the importance of the swamp it is faced with major threats including:
overharvesting of Papyrus for thatching and making products such as mats and baskets;
removal of Papyrus roots and stems for domestic wood fuel;
clearing of Papyrus beds for agriculture by the local people rendering them less suitable for birds; and
pressure from uncontrolled grazing especially during drought.
With close support from Nature Kenya (BirdLife Partner), who are implementing a project funded by Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation entitled “Conservation of the birds and biodiversity of the Lake Victoria Basin (the Greatest of Africa’s Great Lakes) through community-led action and sustainable development”, we have enhanced our conservation work. Through partnerships and networking with local conservation groups including Hippo Focus Ecofinder and Dunga Environmental & Tourism Association (DECTA) and also the SSG at Yala Swamp, 15 SSG members and local community residents have been trained in management leadership and governance of community groups, 15 people drawn from LVSB and three affiliated groups (Hippo Focus, DECTA and EcoFinder) have been trained in bird and tour guiding, and two members of LVSB have been trained in Fundamentals of Ornithology. Thanks to the trainings provided, monthly bird walks have been initiated to create awareness about Dunga biodiversity and an advocacy strategy for the IBA has been developed. The guides have reported improved efficiency in visitor handling and increased knowledge, both of bird guiding and of specific unique birds of the Lake Victoria region. The use of social media to market the site has also increased.
The SSG also conducts environmental events including World Wetlands and World Environmental Days and World Migratory Bird days; the main aim is to share information about the value of the wetland and why it should be conserved. We also attended the National Liaison Committee meeting at Nature Kenya to create awareness about the threats facing Dunga wetland and also participated in the National SSG workshop.
In addition, LVSB promotes the conservation of Dunga wetland through the following activities:
providing professional guiding services to local and international tourists;
constant IBA monitoring for conservation action;
a school environmental education outreach programme and monthly clean ups in Kisumu town;
offering trainings relevant to wetland conservation and micro enterprise development to local community groups; and
promoting ecotourism activities to offer alternative means of income to the community.
Story by Victor Olango and Joan Gichuki
This video says about itself:
3.3-Million-Year-Old Stone Tools Found in Kenya
30 April 2015
From daily The Guardian in Britain:
Stone tool discovery pushes back dawn of culture by 700,000 years
Finding overturns idea that tool-making ability was unique to our own ancestors and is hailed as a “new beginning to the known archaeological record”
Hannah Devlin, science correspondent
Wednesday 20 May 2015 18.00 BST
The oldest known stone tools, dating to long before the emergence of modern humans, have been discovered in Africa.
The roughly-hewn stones, which are around 3.3 million years old, have been hailed by scientists as a “new beginning to the known archaeological record” and push back the dawn of culture by 700,000 years.
The discovery overturns the mainstream view that the ability to make stone tools was unique to our own ancestors and that it was one of a handful of traits that made early humans so special.
The new artefacts, found in Kenya’s Turkana basin, suggest that a variety [of] ancient apes were making similar advances in parallel across the African continent.
“It just rewrites the book on a lot of things that we thought were true,” said Chris Lepre, a geologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Rutgers University, who precisely dated the tools.
The Homo genus, from which modern humans descend, only emerged around 2.5 million years ago, when forests gave way to open grassland environments in Africa. Until now, it was widely assumed that environmental changes around this time triggered the shift towards a bipedal hunter-gatherer life style.
Jason Lewis, of Stony Brook University in New York and a co-author, said: “The idea was that our lineage alone took the cognitive leap of hitting stones together to strike off sharp flakes and that this was the foundation of our evolutionary success. This discovery challenges the idea that the main characters that make us human, such as making stone tools, eating more meat, maybe using language, all evolved at once in a punctuated way, near the origins of the genus Homo.”
The question of what, or whom, might have made the tools remains a mystery, but fossils from around the same period found at the site provide some clues.
The skull of a 3.3-million-year-old hominin, Kenyanthropus platytops [sic; K. platyops] , was found in 1999 about a kilometre from the tool site and a skull fragment and tooth from the same species were found just a few hundred metres away.
Other species from the same era include Australopithecus afarensis, which the famous Lucy fossil belongs to.
Professor Fred Spoor, a palaeontologist at University College London and part of the team that discovered K. platytops [sic; platyops], said the tools were “a very important find”. “Until now the thinking’s been that if you want to be part of this special club ‘Homo’, you need to be a tool-maker,” he said. “The period before three million years ago was seen as a rather boring period of evolution, but now we know there was stuff happening.”
Until now, hominins such as Australopithecus, from the earlier time period have been caricatured as “upright, bipedal chimpanzees that were just grazing the landscape with not much else going on,” he added.
To the untrained eye, the tools look unremarkable – barely distinguishable from ordinary rocks. But to scientists familiar with early humans, the hallmarks of tool-making were obvious. “I could immediately see the scars and features characteristic of a knapped stone,” said Sonia Harmand, of Stony Brook, who made the discovery.
Professor Spoor and others who have examined the collection of tools have been impressed by the quality of the evidence.
“This is a momentous and well-researched discovery,” said paleoanthropologist Bernard Wood of George Washington University, who was not involved in the study. “I have seen some of these artefacts in the flesh, and I am convinced they were fashioned deliberately.”
The collection of several dozen tools appears to have been made by two different techniques. In one case, a core stone was held on an anvil and hit from above with a hammer stone to chip off sharp flakes, which the scientists believe could have been used to slice meat and plants. Other stones appear to have been held in two hands and struck against the anvil, again producing slices of stone.
Although the end results appear primitive, they demonstrate a degree of mental sophistication that is unexpected for such early hominins. Modern chimpanzees use natural stones as “tools” to crack nuts, for instance, but they stop short of actively fashioning their own tools.
The researchers relied on a layer of volcanic ash below the tools, which matched ash elsewhere that had been dated to 3.3 million years ago, to set a “floor” on the site’s age. The date was then refined by analysing magnetic minerals at the site, which contain a record of the Earth’s periodically switching magnetic field.
The findings are published today in the journal Nature.
See also here.
Two recently announced discoveries push back the known dates of both the earliest stone tools and the earliest remains likely to represent the genus Homo, reinforcing the link between technology and human evolution. The first find, unveiled at a conference organized by the Paleoanthropology Society in San Francisco last month, and published in the journal Nature, included the discovery of stone tools, including flakes, cores, hammers, and anvils, dating to 3.3 million years ago. The assemblage has been called Lomekwian, after the location of its discovery. The find was made in Kenya by a team from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, led by Sonia Harmand: here.