Monday, May 28, 2012

African Immigrants in Tel Aviv Attacked by Racist Israeli Mobs

African Immigrants in Tel Aviv Attacked by Racist Israeli Mobs

According to an eyewitness report by a volunteer with the Hotline for Migrant Workers in Israel, "After a dose of racial incitement from the Members of Knesset who addressed them, Miri Regev, Danny Danon, Yariv Levin and Michael Ben-Ari, a handful of the protesters went on to attack Africans and stores owned by them in the Hatikva neighborhood. I arrived in the neighborhood with a camera to document what had happened."

The eyewitness, identified as Elisabeth Tsurkov, said, "I saw a policeman protecting a group of Eritrean refugees after one of the family members was attacked with a glass bottle while carrying his son, who as a result was dropped to the ground...I saw the blood of a Sudanese refugee on the pavement after he was stoned by a group of Israelis chasing him. I saw a shop owned by an Eritrean refugee, which was looted after its storefront was broken."

The string of attacks comes in the midst of increasing incitement against the non-white Israeli population, including indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel and African immigrants into the country, by Israeli politicians and party leaders. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently stated that the African immigrants, many of whom are refugees from war-torn regions, "threaten Israel's social fabric", and called for the implementation of policies that would refuse them services, deny them entry, and force the deportation of many who are living in Israel already.

In Tsurkov's account of the events of the last few days, she wrote, "Some [of the Israeli attackers] called the refugees "cockroaches", a woman said they should be killed and exterminated because non-Jews should not exist in the land of Israel, another of the residents said the refugees' heads need to be cut like chickens, others simply thought "they should be deported back to Sudan." The hatred was also directed at the "leftists" whom the residents blamed for the encroachment of refugees in their neighborhood."

The Hotline for Migrant Workers called on the Israeli government to take responsibility for the situation of migrant workers in Israel, and allow for a legal process for refugees to be allowed to seek asylum in the Jewish state – a status which is currently denied to non-Jews.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kenya becoming a geothermal powerhouse

Kenya becoming a geothermal powerhouse

Kenya has become one of the world's leading countries in the exploration of geothermal energy. The country is now one of the world's top ten geothermal producers and plans to significantly increase output over the next five years.

The primary source of energy will be harnessed from hot steam in East Africa's Rift Valley, and could power Kenya many times over. Drilling for wells that run deep into the earth's surface in remote regions has attracted serious investment to the area.

Managing Director George Percy at Cluff Geothermal, a UK start-up, says that prospects in Kenya are promising. "The resource, by all indications, is fantastic and we certainly believe that in time, East Africa really could become a global leader in geothermal output."

This new source of energy is forecast to meet 30 percent of the country's electricity needs in the next 15 years. With a population of 38.4 million, Kenya's demand for electricity is growing. Access to energy is critical to the reduction of poverty, economic growth, industrialization and the country's agricultural development.

Kenya's geothermal production could push the African nation to a mid-economy country, pulling the nation out of an economic situation that has kept it from critical development and access to global economic development.

Follow Caryn Freeman on Twitter at @CarynFreemanDC

Africa to get its own web domain

Africa to get its own web domain

A project to establish a continental top-level domain for Africa is gaining momentum, with UniForum South Africa set to know by July whether its application has been successful.

UniForum, South Africa's .za central registry, was appointed to establish and operate the domain on behalf of Africa, said director Neil Dundas.

The dotAfrica project was promoted and led by the African Union Commission (AUC) and supported by over 40 African governments.

UniForum said registration cost $185 000 for each domain and held a $25 000-a-year maintenance fee. The company had earmarked about $1.3-million for the project.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers received over 2 000 applications for generic top-level domains since opening the first wave of applications three months ago. Applications for further registrations were closed.

A steering committee, which comprised a number of individuals and organisations, was leading and developing the dotAfrica application and launch.

The steering committee was established as a precursor to the dotAfrica Foundation, which would be launched as soon as the domain went live.

The foundation would, besides other beneficiation functions, use surplus funds from the sales of domain names under dotAfrica to further build the continent's registrar market and oversee a number of projects and initiatives relating to the African Internet and domain name industries.

Currently, all countries in Africa, with the exception of Kenya and South Africa, held less 10 000 country domain websites, while Kenya, with the .ke domain, had about 20 000 subscribers. South Africa, with domains such as and, had over 800 000 subscribers.

With the implementation of .Africa, Uniforum aimed to attract over 100 000 new subscribers over the next three years.

Further, UniForum applied for .joburg, .durban, and .capetown domains in light of increasing competition between international cities to brand themselves. The city domains would be operated under the current, established .za domain.

The company was currently in consultation with the three cities, and, while the Durban and Cape Town governments were still deciding whether they would apply for a domain name, Johannesburg was already on board.

UniForum said a domain name would be charged at $18 a year for a .Africa domain, and between R100 and R150 a year for a city domain name.

The company hoped to launch the domains for public registration in February or March next year.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Report: Little progress in racial health disparities

Report: Little progress in racial health disparities

Health disparities between blacks and whites in categories including maternal deaths and advanced-stage breast cancer diagnoses are worsening, while only a handful of disparities related to race, ethnicity or income showed significant improvement between 2002 and 2008, a new federal report shows.

Among the few bright spots in the 2011 National Healthcare Disparities Report by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is cardiac care, with data showing that blacks received better quality care than whites for more than half of cardiovascular measures.

For example, blacks had a lower rate of hospital deaths from heart attacks than whites. And blacks with congestive heart failure were more likely than whites to receive an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, a medication to help heart function, when they left the hospital.

For other conditions, such as cancer and diabetes, blacks typically had worse outcomes than whites.

Overall, the report shows that blacks received worse quality care than whites on 41 percent of 182 quality measures, while Hispanics received worse care than whites on 39 percent of 171 quality measures.

Still, small gains are giving federal officials some hope that progress will be made in years ahead with implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"For the first time, we are starting to see that — while most disparities are persistent and aren't going away — we are seeing some improvement in a tiny minority of measures," said Ernest Moy, medical officer for AHRQ's Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. "There is a little bit of good news embedded in that."

Carolyn M. Clancy, director of AHRQ, said she was hopeful that the health care law's provisions would "reduce health disparities identified in the report and help achieve health equity."

The congressionally mandated disparities and quality reports, which AHRQ has produced annually since 2003, are based on over 40 different national sources that collect data regularly. The 2011 reports include about 250 health care measures.

Among the findings in the new disparities report:

- Between 2000 and 2007, the overall rate of breast cancer deaths significantly decreased, from 27 to 23 per 100,000 women. Improvements were observed among all racial and ethnic groups except American Indians and Alaska Natives. But in all years, black women had higher breast cancer death rates than white women. Hispanic women had lower rates than non-Hispanic white women.

- Among adults ages 40-64 with diagnosed diabetes, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics were less likely than whites to receive the recommended services for diabetes. Blacks and Hispanics also had higher rates of end-stage renal disease due to diabetes than whites.

- Black and Hispanic children had higher rates of emergency department visits for asthma than non-Hispanic whites, an indicator of a lack of preventative care.

- Among nursing home residents, blacks and Hispanics were more likely to suffer from pressure ulcers or bed sores. Nursing homes can help to prevent or heal pressure sores by keeping residents clean and dry and by changing their position frequently or helping them move around.

- In 2008, blacks and Asians were less likely than whites to have a usual primary care provider. The percentage of people with a usual primary care provider also was significantly lower for Hispanics than for non-Hispanic whites. Low-income and middle-income people were significantly less likely than high-income people to have a usual primary care provider.

The full report is available here:

This story was reported under a partnership with the Connecticut Health I-Team (

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - Study: Children From Black Immigrant Families on Rise - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Study: Children From Black Immigrant Families on Rise

By Doris Nhan | Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | 6:05 a.m.

Children of immigrant families from Africa and the Caribbean made up about 12 percent of the black population in the U.S. in 2009, according to a report released in April.

The growing population of children from black immigrant families represents an overall rise of immigration by African and Caribbean families to the U.S., increasing by 92 percent between 2000 and 2009.

As children from African and Caribbean immigrant families gain a larger share, the black youth population also becomes increasingly diverse, according to the report, which was conducted by the Migration Policy Institute.

Proportionally, immigrants from the sub-Saharan are one of the largest-growing immigrant groups, says Michael Fix, the vice president and director of studies at MPI.

In general, black immigrant parents had higher levels of education and English proficiency and were more likely to be employed.

Children in these families were similarly well educated from the start: They had the second-highest rate of prekindergarten enrollment, second only to children from Asian families.

"The stereotypes that people hold both about immigrants and about blacks are not easily supported upon close analysis of the data," Fix said.

He said that children of black immigrant families tended to fare better than children from Hispanic families or children of black families, but that drilling down to country of origin helps to better understand how well—or worse off—they are.

For example, families from countries that had a longer immigration history with the U.S., such as Nigeria, Ghana, and Jamaica, tended to have higher advantages. Families from countries with a high number of refugees, such as Haiti, Somalia, and Sudan, tended to inherit more risks.

Close to 47 percent of black children from immigrant families are from the Caribbean; African immigrants make up about 39 percent.

The majority are concentrated on the East Coast—22 percent in New York and 18 percent in Florida. The percentage drops steeply from there—New Jersey, Maryland, and Georgia round out the top five states with about 5 to 6 percent each.