Friday, July 19, 2013

Poem: Should I, Should I Not

When the cool breeze whispers,
And the coconut boughs bows,
The sun rays streaking mourning mist,
Should I sing for love
Should I not
Least the feeling ebb away
Quietly like
Fresh dew on morning grass

Should I,
Sing when your head lifts in lilt of laughter,
With echoes strumming chords in me heart
In muffled music of suppressed love
Should I not
And let the chords rasp on
Like a kicking antelope
From a lion’s grip.

Should i
When the breeze strikes the sea
And to the shore the waves harkens
With giggle as they lap the sand
Then my heart will go on…
Should I not
Love will smite me.

Manuel Odeny

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Africa Is Now The Fastest Growing Continent In The World- AfDB Report

Kenyan engineers with Civicon Compnay taking a rest as they try to raise a tank in Mtwara Tanzania
Africa is now the fastest growing continent in the world a report by the African Development Bank (AfDB) has said.

The Report, ‘Annual Development Effectiveness Review 2013’ said the growth has been pushed by economic governance on the continent and the private sector.

It also places the positive growth on exploitation of oil and minerals and project more positive growth if assets are effectively managed and used in an accountable and transparent manner.”

 “Africa’s economic growth could not have happened without major improvement in economic governance as more than two-thirds of the continent has registered overall improvement in the quality of economic governance,” it said.

According to the report which is published online the costs of starting a business have fallen by more than two-thirds over the past seven years, while delays for starting a business have been halved.

Internal demand has also seen a growth in private sector which is the main engine of growth for the continent’s improved business climate.

“This progress has brought increased levels of trade and investment, with the annual rate of foreign investment increasing fivefold since 2000,” the report states.

The reports forecast a 5.5 per cent economic growth for continent’s low-income countries in coming years after growth exceeded 4.5 in 2012 forecast.

Africa’s collective gross domestic product (GDP) reached US $953 billion while the number of middle income countries on the continent rose to 26, out of a total of 54.

“This growth has reduced income poverty as the share of the population living below the poverty line has fallen from 51 per cent to 39 per cent,” it states.

Some 350 million Africans now earn between US $2-20 (Sh170-1,700) a day with the middle class is increasingly becoming an active consumer market.

However, the report warns of that the continent’s inadequate infrastructure and disparity in earning between rural and urban areas and slums remains a major constraint to the continent’s economic growth and development.

Strong emphasis should be placed in greater regional economic integration to improve prospects for growth by enabling African producers to build regional value chains, achieve economies of scale, increase intra-African trade and become internationally competitive.

Manuel Odeny © 2013

Researchers Discover Use of Radioactivity To End Poaching

Researchers from University of Utah with help from Kenya Wildlife Services have developed a new radioactivity method to end poaching which will save African elephants from extinction.

Through a means to measure radioactive carbon-14 deposited in tusks and teeth the researchers can reveal the year an animal died which can ascertain whether the ivory was taken illegally to curb elephants, hippos, rhinos and other wildlife.

The study is key in arresting poachers and ivory dealers claiming ivory they are using was taken before 1975 and 1989 when international agreements banned most trade of raw ivory from Asian and African elephants respectively.

“This could be used in specific cases of ivory seizures to determine when the ivory was obtained and thus whether it is legal as it has immediate applications to fighting the illegal sale and trade of ivory that has led to the highest rate of poaching seen in decades." Thure Cerling a researcher said.

Published in the journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,’ researchers used open-air nuclear bomb tests  in the atmosphere after the 1952-1962 nuclear weapons tests by US and Soviet, and the 1945 nuclear bombs in Heroshima and Nagasaki, in Japan.

The method uses the "bomb curve," graph showing changes in carbon-14 levels in the atmosphere absorbed by plants and animals in the food chain after analysing samples from 29 animal and plant tissues, most killed and collected in Kenya between 1905 to2008.

“The analysis revealed that various tissues that formed at the same time have the same carbon-14 levels which can determine age of ivory within about a year,” the research states.

The samples from animals died between 1905 and 1953 had minimal carbon-14 because they died before atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. The sample animals killed after 1955 had higher level, which can pinpoint the date.

"The dating method is affordable and accessible to government and law enforcement agencies as it costs about $500 (Sh42,500) per sample and can incorporate the use of DNA,” the study said.

Currently 30,000 elephants are killed annually with 70 per cent of smuggled ivory going to China in an illegal trade that has funded organized crimes and militia in Darfur, Uganda, Sudan and Somalia. So far only 423,000 African elephants are left.

Manuel Odeny © 2013