Glimmer of hope in Sudan

first_imgRefugees flee fighting in Sudan in May 2008. (Image: Irin Photo)The Sudanese government’s announcement of a ceasefire in Darfur would not alone solve a crisis that has lasted nearly six years and left hundreds of thousands of people dead – but offers a glimmer of hope, analysts say.On Wednesday 12 November Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir announced an “immediate, unconditional ceasefire” in Darfur. He called for an immediate campaign to disarm militias accused of committing some of the worst atrocities during the conflict.The pronouncements were among the recommendations of the Sudan People’s Initiative, bringing together government, political opposition parties and civil society to brainstorm solutions to the crisis in the North African country.Darfur rebels boycotted the forum and one of the most powerful groups, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), said it would not accept a ceasefire without a framework of agreement, declaration of principles and a timeframe for ceasefire.“Without that, we are not interested in any talk that is not going to be substantiated by improvement on the ground,” El-Tahir El-Fak, speaker of JEM’s Legislative Assembly, said.Observers said the success of the latest ceasefire depended not only on its implementation, but other political steps.Pagan Amum, secretary-general of the Southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), a partner in a government of national unity following the 2005 peace deal, said the ceasefire was a good start.“[But] declarations are not enough. Implementation is what is needed.”Amum said this ceasefire alone would not be enough to convince the international community to suspend Bashir’s likely indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, but rather, “a peace process, giving results and serious commitment”.While many are sceptical of just how genuine this latest commitment is, others doubt the promises made now will be kept if and when the ICC decides to issue an arrest warrant.PreconditionsA Western diplomat said the government had to meet a set of criteria in order to seek a deferral of the indictment: faster deployment of the UN-African Union force, Unamid, cessation of hostilities, a better environment for displaced people and humanitarian aid workers, and uninterrupted implementation of the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement.This ceasefire, if it held, would satisfy only one of those criteria. What is more, the president announced the ceasefire with a caveat – “provided that an effective monitoring mechanism be put into action and be observed by all involved parties”.“There are no forces that can monitor the ceasefire,” said Foreign Minister Deng Alor of the SPLM, adding that he doubted Unamid had the capacity yet. “The decision to call for a ceasefire is a positive thing, but then it has to be made to work.”Other Sudan People’s Initiative’s recommendations – all endorsed by the president, who said he would create a special committee to monitor their implementation – included the release of Darfurian political prisoners, individual and collective compensation, and increased police presence in the camps for displaced people.Darfur rebels said they were disappointed that some key issues were not nailed down, including the release of JEM fighters sentenced to death, making the three states of Darfur a semi-autonomous region, and giving the region a vice-presidential post.These issues, according to analyst Alex de Waal, were critical for Darfurians, “because they provide those cast-iron guarantees that Darfur’s wishes cannot be overridden by a national political system in which they are a numerical minority”.Bashir called on the rebels to come to the negotiating table and said he would create a committee charged with wooing them, but De Waal said: “Bashir needs to build a lot of confidence before he can expect the movements to respond positively.”Still, the analyst remained cautiously optimistic.“The most important reality today is that the denial and self-imposed political paralysis that have marked the Sudanese political establishment’s approach to Darfur have been decisively overcome … There’s a glimmer of hope.”Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Source: Irin NewsRelated articlesAfrica: fast factsBetter government across AfricaUN, AU strive for peace in Africalast_img read more

Via SXSW: Hands on with Kinoma Play’s Mobile Platform

first_imgRelated Posts Kinoma, a mobile platform company acquired by chipset maker Marvell back in February, is here at SXSW showing off its technology to interested users, developers and handset makers. The company’s smartphone experience called Kinoma Play is more than just a new app you can download on your mobile phone – it’s the smartphone version of a new app platform that will soon work on Android devices, both phone and tablet, in addition to some Windows Mobile and Nokia devices. It’s also available to handset makers and other hardware manufacturers to implement in their products.For app developers, the potential is the ability to develop apps that work on multiple phones through this platform. And for end users, Kinoma Play offers what is in many ways an improvement to the default Android experience.One of the nice things about using Android is that you can customize the phone to your own personal preferences. You’re not stuck using the same user interface that ships with Android, or even the handset maker’s own interface, like HTC’s Sense UI. Homescreen replacement apps, launchers and other customizations allow even the most novice smartphone users to make the phone their own.Along those lines, Kinoma Play, which will arrive in beta for Android in mid-2011, will appeal to those who like trying new front-end experiences for their device.Kinoma said it will give us our readers interested in the Android beta exclusive invites, so stay tuned for that in the coming weeks.Kinoma Play is Not an App, It’s a PlatformBut this Kinoma Play “app,” isn’t really just an app. It’s not just a launcher or homescreen replacement, either. Included in the Kinoma Play download is a complete suite of applications including a music player, video player, photo viewer and more. It even has its own built-in app store which contains apps of its own.There are some interesting benefits to Kinoma’s platform. For example, everything, including the homescreen itself, works in landscape mode. When streaming content, a quick tap of the “Now Playing” icon from the homescreen makes it easy to get back to your play/pause controls.  You can see a live thumbnail of a video playing when you return to the dashboard to multi-task. The photo gallery downloads thumbnails faster and renders images in a higher resolution (and much quicker) than when you’re using the default Android photo gallery app. And with just a press of the finger, you can zoom deep into a photo to see more detail than you could before. And those are just a few of the new experiences Kinoma has to offer.A Dashboard Where Apps Work TogetherHowever, one of our favorite features is the Kinoma dashboard, which functions like a better notifications interface for Android devices. It does not replace Android’s notifications, though – that’s still accessible when Kinoma is running. This new dashboard offers a stream of information from your apps which you can scroll through both up and down, and within each app’s section, side to side. (See the video below for what this looks like).Kinoma’s apps are integrated to work with each other, too, which allows for interesting interactions – for example, the Twitter app can use Bing’s translation feature to translate tweets into other languages while the photos app can upload content to other third-party services. Not Just for AndroidWhat makes Kinoma more interesting than, say, a general homescreen replacement app, for instance, is the combination of Marvell’s experience in chipsets combined with Kinoma’s software. Marvell can now offer a complete solution – from silicon to applications – which is an alternative that may pique hardware manufactuers’ interests.According to Peter Hoddie, VP of the Kinoma Platform, Kinoma’s platform can power other types of devices beyond smartphones, including  tablets, printers, and even smart grid devices.Kinoma doesn’t see itself in competition with Android because it runs on top of the Android OS. Even if a handset maker chooses to make Kinoma the primary experience for their phone, it’s not displacing the OS. It’s augmenting it with new capabilities.We got to see Kinoma Play in action here at SXSW and we’re looking forward to trying it on our own Android devices in the near future. sarah perez Tags:#Android#apps#mobile#news The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …last_img read more

Jumbos to patrol Odisha’s Satkosia Tiger Reserve

first_imgPatrolling in the Satkosia Tiger Reserve is set to be strengthened as two trained elephants would be deployed there shortly.Trained elephants will help ground-level forest guards patrol deep in the forest where jeeps cannot go.The two elephants are being brought from the Similipal Tiger Reserve.“We are mobilising a few trained elephants as per the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority. The elephant deployment in STR at present has no connection with the possible release of tigress Sundari, imported from Madhya Pradesh, from the special enclosure set up inside Satkosia,” said Sandeep Tripathi, Principal Chief Conservator Forest (Wildlife).Sources in the Forest and Environment Department said the authorities did not want to leave any stone unturned before approaching the NTCA for resuming the ambitious tiger reintroduction programme in Satkosia.The tiger reintroduction programme in STR had run into rough weather following the death of India’s first inter-State translocated tiger last year.The Odisha government had planned to bring six tigers (three male and three female) from Madhya Pradesh to increase the feline population in Satkosia. Last year, one pair of big cats was brought to Satkosia.However, the programme did not go as per plan. While the tiger T1 reportedly died after falling into a poaching trap, there was huge discontentment among villagers residing in the buffer areas over the frequent straying of the tigress into human habitation. As the situation went out of control following a human kill, the tigress was captured. Subsequently, the programme was put on hold.last_img read more

Tough task for second string of Indian men’s tennis team

first_imgSania Mirza will join the team for the individual competition.With the cream of Indian men’s tennis choosing to skip the Asian Games citing professional commitments, medal prospects need to be discussed with a pinch of salt. The second-string team is likely to find it tough against quality opposition from some of the best in the continent when the team events begin on Saturday.This is not the first time tennis players have played truant. Even at Guangzhou 2010, Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna had opted out.Whether it was indifference to the Asian Games or the attraction of money and ranking points on the professional circuit, the absence of the stalwarts turned out to be a blessing in disguise.Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza spearheaded a memorable campaign in the Chinese city and returned with an unexpected haul of five medals, including two gold. Sania is a much different player now than what she was four years ago. She has given up singles and made a mark as a doubles specialist. But she has not hit a single ball with her prospective women’s doubles and mixed doubles partners she will pair up with at the Asian Games.If anyone needs to be blamed for the current state and how the senior pros have behaved, it is the All India Tennis Association.Each time it comes to the Olympics, we have heard a lot from the federation about pride in playing for the country. The Asian Games tennis competition may not be as prestigious as the Olympics, but it is a major event for the continent.advertisementIf one looks back at the 1998 Asiad in Bangkok, the 2002 edition in Busan and Doha 2006, the presence of Leander and Mahesh did lend charm to the competition. But what remains etched in memory is the duo’s spat in front of the cameras after winning the gold in Doha!For the likes of Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni, this is a great opportunity to emulate what Vishnu Vardhan did in Guangzhou. Relatively unknown before the Games, Vardhan reached the podium when he partnered Sania for a silver in the mixed doubles.This time too, the lady from Hyderabad will be key.last_img read more

Barca unveil Coutinho at Camp Nou

first_imgTransfers Barcelona unveil Coutinho at Camp Nou Jamie Smith Last updated 1 year ago 03:53 1/8/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(12) Philippe Coutinho Getty Images Transfers Philippe Coutinho Barcelona v Levante Barcelona Primera División The La Liga leaders have provided the first glimpse of the club’s big-money signing from Liverpool Philippe Coutinho has been presented as a Barcelona player for the first time.The Catalan giants have agreed a deal reportedly worth up to £142 million with Liverpool to bring the Brazilian playmaker to Camp Nou, after a series of bids failed in August.Coutinho will be formally unveiled on Monday, with a photo shoot on the Camp Nou pitch to be followed by a press conference. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player But Barca offered a glimpse of Coutinho in Barcelona colours in a video posted to the club’s official Twitter account after Sunday’s home win against Levante.Coutinho is shown walking out on stage and posing for the cameras, waving to the photographers and offering a double thumbs-up for the flashbulbs.The 25-year-old then sent a message to his new club’s fans ahead of Monday’s formalities.”Hi Barcelona fans, I’m already here,” Coutinho said. “It’s a dream come true and I hope to see you tomorrow.”Without Coutinho, Barca beat Levante 3-0 to stretch their cushion at the top of the La Liga table to nine points, with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Paulinho on the scoresheet.Coutinho at Camp Nou https://t.co/mS3XwRPpjs — FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 7, 2018 “He has arrived at the club he always wanted to be at,” said Barca forward Luis Suarez, Coutinho’s former Liverpool team-mate.”I am delighted because I have a great relationship with Philippe. We have to make him feel at home because sometimes it is very tough to change clubs.”Everyone knows the talent he has — he has been in brilliant form over the last few years. He is a professional, 200 per cent, and has proven his worth as a player.”last_img read more