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AFRICAN NEWS & INFORMATION
South Africa’s Population Breaks 54 Million Tags: News South Africa

Releasing its latest mid-year population estimates report, Stats South Africa said the country’s population grew by an estimated 1.58% between July 2013 and July 2014 to just over 54 million in total.

Life expectancy in South Africa continues to rise as the country’s population breaks the 54 million mark, Statistics South Africa reported on Thursday.

Releasing its latest mid-year population estimates report in Pretoria, Stats SA said the country’s population grew by an estimated 1.58% between July 2013 and July 2014, increasing by about 844 000 people to stand at just over 54 million in total.

According to the report, South Africa’s life expectancy at birth now stands at 61 years, having increased from an estimated 52 years in 2005, thanks to a lower infant mortality rate and a decrease in the number of Aids-related deaths in the country.

Stats SA said the decline in South Africa’s infant mortality rate – from an estimated 58 infant deaths per 1 000 live births in 2002 to 34 infant deaths per 1 000 live births in 2014 – pointed to an improvement in the general health and living standards of the population.

Aids-related deaths, meanwhile, dropped from an estimated 363 910 deaths (51% of all deaths) in 2005 to 171 733 deaths (31% of all deaths) in 2014, as a direct result of the increased roll-out of free antiretroviral therapy in the country.

According to Stats SA, the overall number of deaths in the country decreased from an estimated 716 083 deaths (15 deaths per 1 000 people) in 2005 to an estimated 551 289 deaths (10 deaths per 1 000 people) in 2014.

At the same time, the country’s birth rate has decreased, from 24 births per 1 000 people in 2002 to 22 births per 1 000 people in 2014.

Stats SA said the dual transition from high to low birth and death rates had changed the age structure of South Africa’s population, resulting in both a high proportion (30%) of the population under the age of 15, as well as growing proportion of elderly people, with an estimated 4.5-million people aged 60 years or older.

Source: Southafrica

South Africa Church Wins Award For Bible Club Tags: News Local Nelson Mandela Religion.Church Bible

Lenasia Church of the Nazarene received the Nelson Mandela Community Award in the Cultural and Religious Leadership category for its Holiday Bible Club. More than 1,000 children attended this year's club, held 7 to 11 July.

The church typically registers between 500 and 600 children on the first day, but this year 1,100 children arrived. More than 150 volunteers assisted in teaching and supervising the children.

The club theme, "My Body Is the Temple of God," focused on respecting and taking care of one's body, both physically and spiritually. Biblical lessons were presented each day, and children were divided into groups for demonstrations on hygiene. The groups played games and engaged in various activities. After game time, the children were fed a meal provided various church families.

Team Milo came out one day and taught the children about healthy eating. Samples of Milo were given to the children.

On their way home, each child received a bag of hygiene products, including soap, toothpaste, roll-on (deodorant), a facecloth, and a toothbrush. Organizers estimate as many as 1,200 children attended.

"We thank God for His blessing, and that we were able to present the Word of God into the lives and hearts of these children," said Peter Naidoo, assistant pastor. "[We are thankful] that we were afforded the opportunity to teach them how to keep their bodies clean, as they are the temple of God."

Source: ncnnews

Liberia President Declares Ebola Curfew From 9pm To 6am Tags: News Liberia Ebola Health West Africa

MONROVIA, Liberia— Liberia's president declared a curfew and ordered security forces to quarantine a slum home to at least 50,000 people late Tuesday as the West African country battled to stop the spread of Ebola in the capital.The measures came as authorities said that three health workers in the country who received an experimental drug for the disease are showing signs of recovery, though medical experts caution it is not certain if the drug is effective.

The measures came as authorities said that three health workers in the country who received an experimental drug for the disease are showing signs of recovery, though medical experts caution it is not certain if the drug is effective.

At least 1,229 people have died of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the current outbreak, and more than 2,240 have been sickened, according to the World Health Organization. The fastest rising number of cases has been reported in Liberia, with at least 466 dead.

Authorities here have struggled to treat and isolate the sick, in part because of widespread fear that treatment centers are places where people go to die. Many sick people have hidden in their homes, relatives have sometimes taken their loved ones away from health centers, and mobs have occasionally attacked health workers.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced late Tuesday that a curfew is going into place from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Security forces also will be ensuring no one goes in or out of West Point, a slum in the capital where angry residents attacked an Ebola observation center over the weekend.

"We have been unable to control the spread due to continued denials, cultural burying practices, disregard for the advice of health workers and disrespect for the warnings by the government," she said. "As a result and due to the large population concentration the disease has spread widely in Monrovia and environs."

"May God bless us all and save the state," she later added.

Saturday's attack on the observation center in West Point was triggered by fears that people with the disease were being brought there from all over the country, the Information Ministry said Tuesday. Dozens of people waiting to be screened for Ebola fled the center during the chaos. Looters made off with items, including bloody sheets and mattresses that could further spread the virus.

All the patients who fled are now being screened at a hospital in Monrovia, and those who tested positive are being treated, the ministry said. It was unclear how many of the 37 who fled were confirmed with Ebola.

Liberian authorities also are searching for a pastor who ran away from a different Ebola treatment center outside Monrovia. State radio asked the public to look out for the preacher but did not say whether he had tested positive for Ebola.

Three Liberians are currently being treated with the last known doses of ZMapp, a drug that had earlier been given to two infected Americans and a Spaniard. The Americans are also improving, but the Spaniard died.

"The medical professionals have informed the Liberian information ministry their progress is 'remarkable,'" the ministry said in a statement, adding that the patients are showing "very positive signs of recovery."

Experts have said it is unclear if ZMapp, which had never before been tested in humans, is effective. Even if it is, the California-based maker has said more supplies won't be available for months.

In the meantime, experts say the best way to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa is to identify the sick, isolate them from the healthy and monitor everyone with whom they have been in contact.

The WHO said it is seeing some encouraging signs in other parts of West Africa. In Guinea, people from villages that had previously rejected outside help were beginning to seek medical care, according to a WHO statement. The statement said the situation is "less alarming" in Guinea than in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Although the outbreak began in Guinea, Liberia has now recorded the highest number of deaths and Sierra Leone the most cases.

The WHO also said there is "cautious optimism" that the spread of the virus in Nigeria can be stopped. Late Tuesday, health authorities there announced a fifth Ebola death — a doctor who had treated a man who flew to Nigeria from Liberia while infected. So far, all recorded cases have been linked to that man.

"The outbreak is not under control," the WHO cautioned. "As recent experience shows, progress is fragile, with a real risk that the outbreak could experience another flare-up."

To try to stem the spread of Ebola, officials have imposed quarantines and travel restrictions on the sick and those in contact with them, sometimes shutting off entire villages and counties.

Those restrictions are limiting access to food and other necessities, said the WHO. The U.N. World Food Program has said that it is preparing to deliver food to 1 million people over the next three months.

Source: AP

Clashes Erupt In Liberia After Ebola Quarantine Order (PHOTOS) Tags: News Liberia Violence Crime Ebola Health West Africa

A soldier threatened a woman in the West Point slum in the Liberian capital, Monorovia, where security forces were enforcing a quarantine to contain the spread of Ebola. Resident clashed with the army and the police as they set up road blocks and barbed-wire barricades.


MONROVIA, Liberia — Liberia’s halting efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak spreading across parts of West Africa quickly turned violent on Wednesday when angry young men hurled rocks and stormed barbed-wire barricades, trying to break out of a neighborhood here that had been cordoned off by the government.

Soldiers repelled the surging crowd with live rounds, driving hundreds of young men back into the neighborhood, a slum of tens of thousands in Monrovia known as West Point.

One teenager in the crowd, Shakie Kamara, 15, lay on the ground near the barricade, his right leg apparently wounded by a bullet from the melee. “Help me,” pleaded Mr. Kamara, who was barefoot and wore a green Philadelphia Eagles T-shirt.

Lt. Col. Abraham Kromah, the national police’s head of operations, arrived a few minutes later.

“This is messed up,” he said, looking at the teenager while complaining about the surging crowd. “They injured one of my police officers. That’s not cool. It’s a group of criminals that did this. Look at this child. God in heaven help us.”

A youth wounded in clashes lay by the roadside in West Point. Soldiers fired live rounds when a crown tried to break through a barricade.


The clashes marked a dangerous new chapter in West Africa’s five-month fight against the Ebola epidemic, the deadliest on record. The virus continues to spread, but already the total number of cases reported in the affected nations in the region — Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria — is higher than in all other Ebola outbreaks combined since 1976, when the disease was first identified, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

So far, the epidemic has mostly been concentrated in rural areas, but the disease has also spread to major cities like Conakry, Guinea, and Monrovia, the Liberian capital. Fighting Ebola in an urban area — particularly in a place like West Point, an extremely poor and often violent neighborhood that still bears deep scars from Liberia’s 14-year-long civil war — presents challenges that the government and international aid organizations have only started grappling with.

The risks that Ebola will spread quickly, and the difficulties in containing it, are multiplied in a dense urban environment, especially one where the health system has largely collapsed and residents appear increasingly distrustful of the government’s approach to addressing the crisis, experts say.

Many people in West Point were already seething at the government’s attempt to open an Ebola center at a school in their neighborhood, complaining that suspected Ebola patients from other parts of the city were being brought there as well. Their neighborhood, they feared, was effectively being turned into a dumping ground for the disease.

On Saturday, hundreds of people stormed the school, carrying off supplies and provoking suspected Ebola patients to flee the facility, heightening concerns that the disease would spread through the city.

On Wednesday morning, the residents of West Point awoke to learn that their entire area was under government quarantine. Soldiers and police in riot gear blocked roads in and out of the seaside neighborhood. Coast guard officers stopped residents from setting out aboard canoes from West Point, the neighborhood with the highest number of confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola in the capital.

As residents realized that the entire area had been sealed off from the rest of the capital, frustrations began to mount. In one midmorning attempt to break through the cordon, at an entrance to the neighborhood next to an electrical station, soldiers fired in the air to dispel the protesters. But some of the bullets appear to have hit the crowd as well, intensifying the sense of a neighborhood under siege.

Liberia has already been hit hard by the Ebola epidemic, accounting for an estimated 576 of the 1350 deaths reported in the four West African nations with registered cases. The estimated death toll in Liberia alone already exceeds the deadliest outbreak on record before this one, which was nearly 40 years ago.

“It’s out of control; the numbers keep rising,” Lindis Hurum, a coordinator for Doctors without Borders in Monrovia, said this week. “It’s very difficult and complex in Monrovia. We’ve never had a large outbreak like this in an urban setting.”

Beyond the threat of Ebola, experts warn that there has been a broader collapse of the public health system here, resulting in a range of life-threatening illnesses and conditions that are being left untreated as hospitals close and the facilities that remain open become overwhelmed with suspected Ebola cases.

“The emergency within the emergency is the collapse of the health care system,” said Dr. Joanne Liu, the president of Doctors without Borders, who recently surveyed Liberia and other affected nations. “People don’t have access to basic health care,” she said, including malaria treatment for children, medical care for pregnant women and other common but essential needs.

Dr. Liu said that her team had come across six pregnant women who had been wandering around Monrovia for hours, looking for a facility that could help deliver their babies. “They couldn’t find one,” she said. “By the time we attended to them,” she added, the babies had died.

“All the health care facilities are basically closed in Monrovia,” she added. “I think there may be some marginal activities, but basically there’s nothing really working right now.”

Source: NYtimes

Mandela Medallion Presented To Ban Ki Moon Tags: Nelson Mandela News South Africa

The South African Gold Coin Exchange / Scoin Shop Chairman celebrated Mandela Day in New York this week, with the launch of two historic and limited edition, Mandela medallions which were presented to Ban Ki Moon at the United Nations.

Philanthropist Alan Demby’s two gold coin organisations, the Scoin Shop and the South African Gold Coin Exchange, the country’s only gold coin retail chain, are now the largest philanthropic and commercial contributors to the Mandela Foundation and Nobel Institute through the worldwide sales of Nobel Laureate Programme medallions bearing the images of the world’s celebrated peacemakers.

Demby, who also presented civil rights activist Jesse Jackson with a Mandela medallion, attended and participated in the Footsteps of Mandela Concert an original musical production celebrating world peace, freedom and human dignity, where the South African Consul General to New York and the South African Ambassador to the United Nations attended. Demby is currently planning a worldwide tour of Sandton’s Peacemakers Museum which pays tribute to the Nobel Peace Prize Winning Laureates including Mandela, De Klerk, Mother Theresa and Aung San Suu Kyi, among many others.

In 2014, the Scoin Shop is on track to opening it’s 40th store in South Africa, is set to employ more than 500 people and has increased its annual turnover 30 per cent in the past year. Customers from 80 countries around the world now account for more than 10 per cent of the company’s revenues.

The Double Medallion launch is priced for a wide range of collectors to include:

“The Mandela Day 1⁄4 oz medallion” comprises of a 1⁄4 oz gold and features the renowned new profile of Mandela on the obverse. The reverse features the world’s continents, signifying the far reaching influence of Mandela and International Mandela day itself, with over 1000 events planned around the world, for this year’s commemoration.

Source: thesouthafrican

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