Category Archives: Africa

Extinction – Closing In on unique Madagascar Wildlife


Madagascar’s unique wildlife faces imminent wave of extinction, say scientists

A ring-tailed lemur at a reserve in Toliara province, Madagascar.
A ring-tailed lemur at a reserve in Toliara province, Madagascar. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Study suggests 23 million years of evolutionary history could be wiped out if the island’s endangered mammals go extinct

Phoebe Weston — Tue 10 Jan 2023

From the ring-tailed lemur to the aye-aye, a nocturnal primate, more than 20m years of unique evolutionary history could be wiped from the planet if nothing is done to stop Madagascar’s threatened mammals going extinct, according to a new study.

Continue reading Extinction – Closing In on unique Madagascar Wildlife

Harvard, Affirmative Action, “Reparations,” & Me

An earlier exposés of legacy preference/WASP affirmative action, from 2006.

One of the most shopworn and least shocking of discoveries about USA higher education Is that of Ivy League “affirmative action” (aka preferential admissions) for the non-genius children of wealthy donors or powerful alumni (mainly WASPS). This “exposé” (which, to be fair, is also found at many other non-ivy schools) has been around about a century or so, and has since been repeatedly documented by many scholars, novelists, biographers, pretend radicals — and news editors who have not read much or got out enough.

Someone fairly high up on the editorial ladder at The Guardian — normally relatively up to date on such matters— evidently fits into one of these dim categories. At least they thought the scandal of legacy preference needed to be disclosed back in the unenlightened times of fourteen months ago, and then worth repeating, at least online, in January 2023. Continue reading Harvard, Affirmative Action, “Reparations,” & Me

Gwynne Dyer on the Decline of the ANC

Gwynne Dyer: A Couch Stuffed With Cash?

December 22, 2022
Gwynne Dyer is a UK-based Canadian journalist and historian who writes about international affairs.

Don’t have a couch stuffed with cash? Don’t worry, you can keep reading for free,” read the ad on the website of the ‘Daily Maverick’, a tough and sometimes very funny South African news site.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cash-stuffed sofa has become a powerful, universally recognised meme, but it still hasn’t brought him down. Continue reading Gwynne Dyer on the Decline of the ANC

Ignoring Africa’s (not very many) Wars. Is It (anything but) Racism?

GWYNNE DYER: Tigray is being brutally decimated at the hands of Ethiopia, but the world is mostly looking the other way

‘There is only one special thing about Africa’s wars: how little attention everybody else pays to them’

When writing about the Tigray-Ethiopia struggle or any other war in Africa, the first paragraph should always point out that 85 per cent of Africa’s 55 countries are at peace.

Africa is not a continent at war.

That said, it is also true that almost all the ongoing wars that are killing more than 1,000 people a month are in Africa, although only one in six human beings lives in Africa. (The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the only exception.) And, although the biggest of Africa’s current wars will end soon, it is not ending well.

Tigray is going under. The rebel province of Tigray, despite having only 5 million of Ethiopia’s 120 million people, has waged a three-year struggle against Abiy Ahmed, the federal prime minister. At one time, its army even threatened to reach Addis Ababa, the country’s capital. But, now, the war is ending for the Tigrayans in famine, fire and defeat.

The Tigrayans are Ethiopia’s Spartans, tough peasant farmers inured to hardship, whose discipline and strong sense of ethnic unity made them formidable opponents in war. They led the long battle to overthrow the Derg, the brutal Communist regime that ruled the country in 1974-91, and then dominated the coalition that ran Ethiopia until 2018.

The Tigrayan politico-military elite did very well during those three decades and, to a lesser extent, so did ordinary Tigrayans. This created enough resentment among other ethnic groups that Abiy Ahmed had strong support when he ousted the Tigrayans from power four years ago. It was then just a matter of time (two years) until the two sides fought it out. Continue reading Ignoring Africa’s (not very many) Wars. Is It (anything but) Racism?