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Most of the Devices We Use Today are Powered by Children Working in the DRC

cobalt

A landmark legal case has been launched against the world’s largest tech companies by Congolese families who say their children were killed or maimed while mining for cobalt used to power smartphones, laptops and electric cars, the Guardian can reveal. Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla have been named as defendants in a lawsuit filed in Washington DC by human rights firm International Rights Advocates on behalf of 14 parents and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The lawsuit accuses the companies of aiding and abetting in the death and serious injury of children who they claim were working in cobalt mines in their supply chain.  Cobalt is essential to power the rechargeable lithium batteries used in millions of products sold by the tech firms. The insatiable demand for cobalt, driven by desire for cheap handheld technology, has tripled in the past five years and is expected to double again by the end of 2020. More than 60% of cobalt originates in DRC, one of the poorest and most unstable countries in the world. The extraction of cobalt from DRC has been linked to human rights abuses, corruption, environmental destruction and child labour.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

Is this the Justice Sudan Deserves?

 Omar Hassan al-Bashir

A court in Khartoum convicted the country’s former authoritarian ruler Omar Hassan al-Bashir of money laundering and corruption over the weekend, delivering a verdict that few Sudanese expected a year ago when a massive populist revolt erupted. Bashir’s sentence of two years in a minimum-security lockup is unlikely to appease many of the victims of his brutal, three-decade-long rule, who are seeking justice for what they describe as atrocities committed by his security forces. “The trial for these charges of financial crimes does not address the human rights violations that so many Sudanese have experienced,” said Jehanne Henry, a Human Rights Watch associate director who focuses on Sudan. “So the sentence will not likely satisfy the many thousands of victims of abuses under al-Bashir’s 30 year rule.”

SOURCE: WASHINGTON POST

South Sudanese Refugee Gets a Seat at the Table

John Manut

A South Sudanese refugee who was bullied by three Egyptian men in Cairo last month, has told the World Youth Forum that he’s forgiven his tormentors and wants to move on from the incident. A video of 16-year-old John Manut went viral on social media app Tik Tok showing him being accosted by two Egyptian young men as he went to school. Mr Manut says he was picked on and bullied because of his skin colour. The student was a special guest of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi who invited him to the opening of the World Youth Forum. Mr Manut was seated next to the president as the Forum which brings together thousands of young people from across the globe, in the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

SOURCE: BBC

African Donkey Populations are Crashing

African Donkey Populations

Despite government incentives for new donkey farmers, farms in China can’t keep up with the exploding demand, which the Donkey Sanctuary currently estimates at 4.8 million hides per year. Donkeys’ gestation period is one full year, and they only reach their adult size after 2 years. So the industry has embarked on a frenzied hunt for donkeys elsewhere. This has triggered steep population declines. For donkey owners, selling their animal means quick cash—now more than $200 in parts of Africa—but it’s often a shortsighted deal: The report estimates that working donkeys support the livelihood of half a billion people by carrying people and goods to markets, schools, and health clinics.

SOURCE: SCIENCE MAGAZINE

New Opportunities Allow Chadian Women To Enter the Digital Space

Chadian Women

The internet revolution is coming – old news in much of the world but not in Chad, a tech laggard where women languish at the very back of the line when it comes to connectivity. With just 6.5 percent of the population online, the landlocked African nation of Chad has the sixth-lowest rate of internet usage in the world, according to the latest World Bank figures. Since the emergence of a handful of tech hubs, coding classes and start-up accelerators in Ndjamena, women have started breaking into the field – and are now pushing hard to ensure others are not left behind.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

African Migrants in Limbo in Lyon

African Migrants in Limbo

From their villages and towns in West Africa, the squatters had crossed deserts, seas and mountains to arrive in Lyon, most of them for no specific reason. Squatting with 450 other men from Africa in a vacant school building that has become a crucible of the continent’s hopes, problems and complex feelings toward France. With another winter almost here, the migrants are in limbo in a city that wants to expel them, in a country that is losing its patience and on a continent that has already lost it.

SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Top Opportunities: Investing In The Educational Sector In Africa

Educational Sector In Africa

The Business of Education in Africa report showed that 21% of children in African countries were being educated in the private sector. By 2021, this percentage is expected to rise to one in four children. Over the next few years, $16 – $18 billion are needed in investment in the private education sector. When the monopoly of financing is taken away from the government, the quality of education increases. Private institutions will push public schools to improve the quality of services they provide. Bridge International Academies is a U.S. company that operates private educational institutions across the African continent. Jay Kimmelman, Chief Executive of Bridge, directly explained the role that investments have in the progress of African countries: “By investing in social enterprises and other non-state actors, investors can improve government schools and help to create more high-quality learning opportunities, ultimately helping to transform the development path of low- and middle-income countries.”

SOURCE: AFRICA.COM

Another Tanzanian Plane is Released After Being Impounded

Tanzanian Plane

An aircraft belonging to Tanzania’s state carrier, Air Tanzania, which was impounded by Canada in November has been released. The aircraft had been seized after a case was filed in Canada against Dodoma by a retired South African farmer, Hermanus Steyn. The plaintiff was “seeking compensation for a farm and other properties that was nationalized in the 1980s,” Foreign Affairs Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said. After the seizure of the plane which was due for delivery last month, Kabudi had threatened to pull out of aircraft deals with Canada in protest of the move by the Northern American country. Without disclosing the details that led to the release nor the date it would be delivered, the president on Thursday revealed that the Bombardier Q400 aircraft would be received in Mwanza.

SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA

Desperate Measures for Zimbabwe’s Ill

Zimbabwe

With no end in sight to the Zimbabwe doctors’ strike over salaries and poor working conditions, desperate patients have looked to church-run mission hospitals for much-needed healthcare. Karanda Mission Hospital, about 200 kilometers north of the capital Harare, is overwhelmed by patients seeking treatment.

SOURCE: VOA

Discovering the Origins of Ethiopia’s Christianity

Origins of Ethiopia's Christianity

Archeologists have unearthed the remains of a town from an influential but little-known ancient civilization in East Africa. The buried settlement, which contains one of the oldest churches in sub-Saharan Africa, was inhabited for some 1,400 years before vanishing into the dusty highlands of northern Ethiopia around AD 650. Called Beta Samati, it was part of the Empire or Kingdom of Aksum, but prior to its discovery archeologists thought the area had been abandoned when the empire’s ruling class set up its capital elsewhere.

SOURCE: CNN