Saturday, November 28, 2015
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Should the reduction in underage marriages accelerate in the coming decades, as UNICEF hopes, then population growth would lead to 150 million child brides by 2050 – 25 million more than today.
Africa will overtake South Asia as the region with the largest number of child brides, their number soaring to 310 million, more than 40 percent of the global total, in 2050, from 125 million, 25 percent of the total, today.
The two-day meeting in Lusaka is the African Union’s first conference on “Ending Child Marriage in Africa”, gathering representatives from member states as well as first ladies, United Nations officials and civil society groups.
My parents married me off when I was 13.
In South Sudan, girls from the wealthiest households are almost as likely to be married by age 18 as girls from the poorest households. UNICEF said that rapid population growth and limited social change across the African continent were key factors contributing to their prediction. Currently, 34% of young women were married as children, down from 44% in 1990.
Though the rates of child marriage are on the decline in most parts of the world, the number of girls married as children in Africa is expected to increase by 250 percent by the year 2050.
“The total number of child brides will rise from 125 million to 310 million by 2050… if we do not do something now”, UNICEF deputy executive director Fatoumata Ndiaye told AFP.
The report highlights slow rates of reduction, combined with rapid population growth, as major causes for the projected increase.
Africa’s population of girls is expected to balloon from the current 275 million to 465 million within 35 years.
It is also important to increase girls’ access to reproductive health services so that they have fewer, safer pregnancies and can break the cycle of poverty, UNICEF said.
Young girls married early face higher risks of health complications from childbirth, and their children are more likely to be stillborn or die shortly after birth than those born to older mothers. Girls who are married as children or teenagers are less likely to finish school, and more likely to experience violence or contract HIV.
Lake said as a result of the number of girls affected, lost childhood and shattered future, there was urgency of banning the practice once and for all. Each child bride is an individual tragedy. Moreover, UNICEF says that child brides often lack the skills needed for employment. “It is a harmful practice which severely affects the rights of a child”.
More than 700 million women alive today were married as children and one in three girls in the developing world were married before they turned 18, according to Girls Not Brides, a nonprofit working to end child marriage. In the Central African Republic and some other regions, the practice of boys being married off while underage was also rated disproportionately high.
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Nov 26 The Nigerian naira strengthened 2.1 percent to 235 per dollar on the unofficial market on Thursday after the central bank moved to enforce documentation requirements on bureau de change operators prior to dollar sales, traders said.
In a circular seen by Reuters on Thursday, the central bank asked all bureau de change (BDCs) operators to submit accounts showing their dollar usage at the start of each week before they can access future sales, a move traders say was aimed at curbing speculation.
The naira had fallen sharply on Wednesday, a day after the central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates to stimulate lending in Africa's biggest economy, traders said.
The currency was quoted at the pegged rate of 197 naira on the official interbank market on Thursday.
"It has been observed that a good number of bureaux de change purchased foreign exchange from the central bank without rendering returns on their utilisation," the bank said
The central bank has introduced currency controls to stop the naira weakening, defying calls to further devalue the currency hard hit by the plunge in global crude prices.
The bank asked BDCs to immediately return all forex bought at its Wednesday auction without documents to show how they used previous purchases. It cut dollar supply to BDCs last week to conserve its dwindling foreign exchange reserves. (Reporting by Oludare Mayowa; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Dominic Evans)
16, 2015, aerial file photo, a U.S. border patrol vehicle appears near the border wall near Abram, Texas, from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter. Nearly 5,000 unaccompanied immigrant children were…
By Bradford Richardson, The Hill
Syrian refugees and community leaders join together for a #RefugeesWelcome Thanksgiving dinner hosted by MoveOn.org on November 20, 2015 in Evanston, Illinois.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Monday, November 23, 2015
Nigerian Students Fear Lack Of Funding Will Lead To Deportation
Wisdom Eji says he and his fellow Nigerians, here on scholarships for underprivileged students, have been left to fend for themselves after the government-funded program that brought them to Canada has failed to pay.
"We have been abandoned," said Eji, a University of Regina (U of R) engineering student. "We live right now like we don't have sponsors."
Across Canada, 246 Nigerian students, in 14 universities were promised their tuition and living expenses would be covered during their four-year degree program.
However, they haven't received their living allowance for the past 11 months and their tuition is millions of dollars in arrears.
"You just wish you didn't even have the scholarship in the first place," Eji said. "Like things get bad — I just wish I didn't even come here. I just wish I was at home."
Eji is one of 40-50 students enrolled at the U of R under a scholarship paid for by the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA); an organization owned and funded by the Rivers State government in Nigeria.
The organization sponsors hundreds of poor but academically gifted students to study at universities in 14 countries, including Canada.
The students were promised tuition and a living allowance of $1,100 a month to cover their rent, food and other expenses.
"Before we left Nigeria they are like, 'Don't even work,'" Eji recalled. "''We'll give you everything you need.'"
The RSSDA owes Canadian students about $3 million in living allowance, forcing many like Eji to find jobs. He is working part-time while continuing his full-time studies.
He said he's behind on his rent and other bills, is often hungry, stressed and sleepless. He said as a result his marks have dropped 15-20 percentage points.
In addition to what it owes in living allowances, the RSSDA admits it also owes $2.5 million in tuition to 14 Canadian universities. More than half of that, $1.3 million, is owed to the U of R for the 2014/15 academic year, during which 124 RSSDA sponsored students studied at the institution.
Vanessa Ikeogu, an RSSDA student who's studying criminology at the U of R, said she's angered by the behaviour of her government and sponsoring agency.
"Ignorant, reluctant, irresponsible government officials," Ikeogu said. "I just feel like I have been lied to."
However, the acting executive director of the RSSDA, Godwin Poi, said the government-owned agency will keep its promises.
"It is absolutely correct to do so. It's a government, and we can't afford government obligations and responsibilities to fail," Poi told CBC's iTeam.
Nigeria has fallen on hard financial times because of the collapse of the price of oil, he said, pleading for patience.
"It is tragic and sad that we're in the situation we are in. To the best of my knowledge all the governments have done their best to fund the situation for them," Poi said. "We have gone through a very very serious phase of funding for the country and the state."
The U of R has admitted more Nigerian students through this program than any other university in Canada. At its peak, during the 2012/13 academic year, there were 155 RSSDA sponsored students at the U of R.
The director of executive reporting services at the U of R, Lamont Stradeski, says the university's relationship with the RSSDA dates back to 2008. And he fully expects the university will be paid.
"I guess the recourse the university has is we can stop students from registering further.," he said. "However, we wouldn't do that unless we had serious concerns that we would not receive payment, which at this point we don't."
The RSSDA owes more than $250,000 to the University of Manitoba (U of M) and that institution appears to be taking a harder line.
Gift Ahmadi is sponsored by the agency to pursue a political science degree at the U of M, but his tuition bill is past due, and the university is asking him to pay.
"The school is saying you have just about 30 days left to pay what's left for this term," Ahmadi said. "If not I won't be able to register for the winter term."
He said the lack of scholarship funding has been "very devastating."
"Right now I'm taking classes and I'm thinking of feeding. I haven't eaten since morning and I'm in class," Ahmadi told CBC's iTeam, when reached in the evening at the U of M.
The associate VP of Outreach and Engagement at the U of M, Leah Janzen, said she's sympathetic.
"I know some of them have accessed our student food bank," Janzen explained. "It's a very difficult situation."
She said the university is working with the students to develop payment plans and find other funding.
Some RSSDA students have paid their own tuition, borrowing money from friends, family or churches. But for others, time is clearly running out.
For about a dozen students, tuition hasn't been paid for the summer or fall term, putting their stay at the university in jeopardy.
"Our policy is you can't go into a third term having not been able to pay for the previous two terms in their entirety," Janzen said. "So we don't want to get to that position with these students."
If an international student on a visa is no longer registered at an educational institution, they aren't able to stay in Canada, according to immigration rules.
Recently, 19 RSSDA-sponsored students had to flee the U.K. in order to avoid deportation from that country because their tuition had not been paid by the agency.
Many students in Canada worry they may end up in the same situation.
"Terrified — because you don't know if you're the next," Eji said. "I can't get that money, so if I don't have that money the only option is going back to Nigeria."
Ahmadi says ongoing political instability in Nigeria has made it easy for politicians there to ignore this problem, so he and the other students have decided to take action.
They've formed a committee to mobilize friends, family and the media to pressure the Nigerian government.
He said students are worried they may face retaliation by speaking out about this issue, but added his political science studies have taught him that sometimes it's necessary to take calculated risks.
"It may not be convenient, it may not be comfortable for you, but someone has got to stand to say 'OK, this is the right thing and we can do it if we stand for what is right and we speak up about it.'"
He said it's ironic that his government sent him to Canada on a scholarship to study political science, the knowledge he's now using to pressure that same government to keep its word.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Facebook has activated its "Safety Check" feature for the first time in Nigeria, after a bombing likely carried out by Boko Haram killed more than 30
Monday, November 16, 2015
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. speaks in Orlando, Fla. Republicans are using the latest attacks in Paris to appeal to U.S. voters jittery about terrorism. Several Republicans, including presidential hopeful Jeb Bush and former candidate Mitt Romney, appeared on the television networks Monday to decry President Barack Obama's policies as half-hearted and to suggest that a U.S. ground war against the Islamic State may be inevitable.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans on Monday tried to appeal to U.S. voters jittery about terrorism by decrying President Barack Obama's policies as half-hearted and suggesting that a U.S. ground war against the Islamic State may be inevitable.
The tough-talk is a political gamble. Obama was elected by war-weary voters in 2008 after promising to end the U.S. presence in Iraq. But U.S. sentiment can be fickle and the GOP's message might appeal to many Americans much as President George Bush's vow of "shock and awe" did following the Sept. 11 attacks.
Returning to the work week for the first time since the Paris attacks, Republicans took to U.S. television networks demanding a new military strategy. "We can't negotiate with this threat," GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush told Fox News. "We should have no empathy for our enemies. We should destroy them."
Added another GOP presidential hopeful, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: "I want to fight them in their backyard, so we don't fight them in our backyard." Graham appeared on MSNBC alongside Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who said Obama should bring back retired Gen. David Petraeus to lead the fight against the Islamic State.
"Frankly I'm not overwhelmed with 20 airstrikes by the French," he said. "I think it's wonderful but ... more of the same is not going to stop this virus and this disease, which will lead to a threat in the united States' national security."
Mitt Romney, Obama's presidential rival in 2012, said another Democratic president would be dangerous. "There's no question Hillary Clinton has a lot of experience, it's just bad experience.... She's just been wrong time and time again," he told MSNBC.
Romney said he has no intention of running for president in 2016 and declined to endorse any one GOP candidate.