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Jun 27, 2012

Gabon to burn ivory stocks as elephant poaching surges

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The central African nation of Gabon will burn its government stockpiles of ivory on Wednesday against the backdrop of a surge in the killing of elephants and rhinos across the continent to meet surging Asian demand.

Conservation group WWF and TRAFFIC, which monitors the global wildlife trade, said in a statement the tusks and carvings would be set alight by Gabon’s President Ali Bongo after they had been subjected to an independent audit to ensure none had been pilfered for illegal sale.

Jun 21, 2012

Film shows horror of Africa’s rhino-poaching crisis

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Flies buzz around a hulking pile of flesh and muscle that lies rotting in South Africa’s Kruger National Park with its eyes gouged out and scimitar-like horns hacked off in the opening scenes of a shocking new documentary on rhino poaching.

A series of still-photos of other gruesome kills flash across the screen in “Rhino under threat”, a deeply disturbing 28-minute film available on video-sharing website YouTube that has been made to drive home the horror of a rhino poaching crisis which has reached alarming levels.

Jun 15, 2012

Witchcraft alleged in S.Africa labour turf war

JOHANNESBURG, June 15 (Reuters) – South Africa’s top
mineworkers union has accused a rival of using witchcraft to
boost recruiting, an allegation taken seriously among the rank
and file in a country where traditional spiritual beliefs are
widely held.

South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has been
locked in a violent battle for membership with the upstart
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) at the
world’s largest platinum mine, run by Impala Platinum.

Jun 14, 2012

AIDS is not killing African economies

JOHANNESBURG, June 14 (Reuters) – A decade ago, there were
plenty of doomsday forecasts asserting the AIDS pandemic would
sharply curtail African economic growth with a particular focus
on its impact on food security.

But a series of bumper maize harvests in two of the
countries worst-hit by the disease, Zambia and Malawi, suggest
the region’s economies have not followed this script, thanks in
part to treatment programmes and farm subsidies.

Jun 14, 2012

Bureaucratic bungling finished rhino species-book

JOHANNESBURG, June 14 (Reuters) – There was a narrow window
of opportunity to save Africa’s northern white rhinos from
extinction but bureaucratic ineptitude slammed it shut and the
species has now almost certainly vanished from the wild.

The last-ditch effort to save the animal in its final
Congolese refuge is detailed in a new book, “The Last Rhinos,”
by South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony, who died of a
heart attack in early March just weeks before it was published.

Jun 7, 2012

Worthy Cassava transformed into lucrative cash crop

JOHANNESBURG, June 7 (Reuters) – The seeds of prosperity for
some rural Africans may lie in a crop that has sustained them
with calories for centuries but has generated virtually no
wealth for their poor countries.

Cassava – with its starchy root used to make tapioca -
thrives in Africa’s tropical climates, through drought or
deluge, but maize and other crops have had distinct advantages
over the hardy tuber. Until now.

Jun 7, 2012

Book Talk: Fuller takes readers on unforgettable cocktail hour

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Alexandra Fuller gained a loyal following of readers with her best-selling memoir “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight” about growing up in Zimbabwe during the country’s civil war and, later, Zambia.

In her fourth book, Fuller returns to her roots with a work that is part memoir, part biography of her larger-than-life mother, Nicola.

May 24, 2012

Calculating Africa’s “natural capital”

JOHANNESBURG, May 24 (Reuters) – Capital in Africa remains
scarce by any traditional measure of the term.

But conservationists say the continent is rich in “natural
capital” and argue that if this was properly harnessed, the
region would reap dividends and grow its economy and more
orthodox forms of capital.

May 23, 2012

Labour strife shuts Implats mine for second day

JOHANNESBURG, May 23 (Reuters) – The world’s largest
platinum mine, run by Impala Platinum, remained closed
for a second day on Wednesday, taking another 3,000 ounces out
of global output, as a union turf war rumbled on.

“The rival unions are still playing a game of winner takes
all. This should not be a fight to the death,” Johan Theron,
Implats head of human resources, told Reuters.

May 22, 2012

Rustenburg labour unrest cuts Implats output

JOHANNESBURG, May 22 (Reuters) – Impala Platinum,
the world’s second-largest platinum producer, said it was losing
production of 3,000 ounces a day as most workers were not
reporting for duty at its Rustenburg mine on Tuesday because of
labour unrest.

The mine, shut for six weeks earlier this year because of a
power struggle war between unions, has been hit again by fresh
clashes between the dominant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)
and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union

    • About Ed

      "I cover commodities in southerrn Africa, a region that I have returned to after spending over four years covering religion, politics and the Great Recession in America. I am a Canadian citizen and grew up in Nova Scotia."
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