Africa

International Criminal Court – does Africa need it?

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Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir visited South Africa last week to attend the African Union (AU) summit. Since South Africa has ratified the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty, they were obliged to arrest Bashir once he entered the country. African Union, on the other hand, would provide him diplomatic immunity. Therefore the South African justice system had a dilemma to deal with. Bashir was given a notice of not being allowed to leave South Africa until a court decision is made whether South Africa can arrest him, but in the meantime Bashir fled the country. The ANC-led South African government vocally opposed arrest of Bashir. Why would they protect Bashir, who is being accused of rather serious crimes against humanity dating from Darfur crisis? Most African countries are against ICC nowadays even if the court was formed with the noble idea of bringing justice for the victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. All investigations by ICC have been in Africa (only preliminary investigations have taken place in other continents). This has led to the popular opinion that ICC has an anti-African agenda.

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Three African teams compete in the FIFA Women’s World Cup

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FIFA, the world governing body in football (soccer) has been under headlines last week. Despite being elected for yet another term as the FIFA president, Sepp Blatter resigned after only few days later due to mounting pressure over corruption cases. Blatter has made big steps helping to develop football in Africa, thus gaining almost unanimous support by African football federations.

Now that the Women’s World Cup held in Canada is kicking off, hopefully the sport prevails and off-field events stay in the background, despite the importance of ongoing investigations on FIFA. The number of teams participating the in the World Cup has been increased from 16 to 24, three of them from Africa (previously two), namely Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon.

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Music streaming services

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Music streaming services like Beats, Deezer, Pandora, Rdio and Spotify have become a major form of music listening in recent years. People can use computers, phones and certain other devices to listen music of their selection, while a fast enough internet connection is needed. Streaming services often have a freemium business model, so that there is a limited service free of cost and a premium an account offering unlimited listening and other benefits. Subscription fees for premium services are usually around 10€ a month depending on service and regional location. This article concentrates on Spotify and Deezer as both are well known and have wide catalogues of over 30 million songs. The amount of African music available on both services is surprisingly good. Likes of Fela Kuti, Manu Dibango, Miriam Makeba, Franco, Angelique Kidjo, Salif Keita, Ali Farka Toure and Mahmoud Ahmed all have much of their discography on the catalogue. Similarly most recent hits by African artists are there. You may find them on Youtube too, which has wider and more global audience, but if you are interested in full albums and older music, counting on music streaming services is a better bet.

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Earthquakes in Africa

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Days after the devastating earthquake in Nepal, The Economist has published an article on big earthquakes in the last 20 years and their geographical occurrence, triggering us to write on the issue with an African perspective. Why and where earthquakes happen is controlled by plate tectonics. Seismically most active areas are convergent margins, i.e. where continental and or oceanic plates collide with each other. This includes almost the entire eastern coast of the Americas, a trail from Japan to New Zealand via Indonesia and Fiji, and a belt from Turkey to China, including Himalayas where the recent Nepal earthquake occurred.

Occurrence of big earthquakes (magnitude 7.0 or above) since 1995. Figure by The Economist.
Occurrence of big earthquakes (magnitude 7.0 or above) since 1995. Figure by The Economist.

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