Monday, 4 August 2014

Namibia’s wife swapping practice ignites debate

Wife-swapping among Namibia's nomadic tribes has been practised for generations, but a legislator's call to enshrine it in law has stirred debate about women's rights and tradition in modern society

Women of the Ovahimba tribe of Namibia. Photo: Jenman African Safaris
Women of the Ovahimba tribe of Namibia. Photo: Jenman African Safaris

The practice is known as “okujepisa omukazendu” – which loosely means “offering a wife to a guest” – the practice is little known outside these reclusive communities, whose population is estimated at 86 000. It is a kind of gentlemen’s agreement where friends can have sex with each others’ wives – no strings attached.

Of course, the wives don’t have much say in the matter. They’re swapped and changed and swung between different men in a country with one of the world’s highest HIV infection rates.

But the Ovahimba and Ovazemba tribes defend their cultural practice, saying it strengthens their friendships and prevents promiscuity. “It’s a culture that gives us unity and friendship,” said Kazeongere Tjeundo, a lawmaker and deputy president of the opposition Democratic Turnhalle Alliance of Namibia.

“It’s up to you to choose (among) your mates who you like the most… to allow him to sleep with your wife,” said Tjeundo, a member of the Ovahimba ethnic group. Tjeundo plans to propose a wife-swapping law following a November legislative poll when he’s tipped for re-election.

Mainly found in the north-western Kunene region near the Angolan border, the tribes are largely isolated from the rest of the country. They have resisted the trappings of modern life, keep livestock, live off the land and practice ancestral worship.


Africa's Richest Man Aliko Dangote Invests $1 Billion In Rice Production In Nigeria

Aliko Dangote

Africa’s wealthiest man Aliko Dangote has announced plans to invest $1 billion in commercial rice farming and modern integrated rice mills in Nigeria.

Dangote reportedly made the announcement on Friday during a visit to Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina, at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture headquarters in Abuja, before heading to the Presidential Villa to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian Government.

The billionaire told officials of the Ministry of Agriculture that his new investment was in support of the Nigerian Government’s plan to attain food sufficiency and become a net-exporter of rice within the next four years.

“With rice as a major staple, we have placed total sufficiency in rice production as a major priority for our country and key value chain for our economy,” Dangote said.

Dangote Group has acquired approximately 150,000 hectares of farmland in five Nigerian states- Edo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara and Niger, which will be used for the commercial production of rice paddy. The company will also set-up two rice mills with an installed capacity of 240,000 metric tons of rice per day.

“With this installed capacity, the project will become the largest integrated rice mill in Africa,” Dangote said.

Once Dangote’s rice plant starts production, it is expected that the price of locally produced rice will be significantly reduced. The new venture is expected to create at least 8,000 new jobs.

President Goodluck Jonathan commended Dangote for his latest investment in economy, stating that it was easily the single largest investment ever made in rice production in Africa. The Minister for Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina described Dangote’s new investment as “transformational for Nigeria and the rest of Africa”.

Dangote is the richest man in Africa with a fortune estimated at $25.1 billion, derived from holdings in cement, flour, sugar and agriculture.


Nigerian Passport Can Take You To 44 Countries Without Visa


1. Bangladesh (Visa on arrival)
2. Barbados ( Visa free for 6 months)
3. Benin Republic ( Visa free)
4. Burkina Faso ( Visa free)
5. Burundi ( Visa on arrival for 30days)
6. Cameroon ( Visa free)
7. Cape Verde ( Visa on arrival)
8. Chad ( Visa free) 9. Comoros Island ( Visa on arrival)
10. Cote d’ivoire ( Visa free )
11. Djibouti ( Visa on arrival )
12. Dominican ( Visa free for 21 days )
13. Fiji Island ( Visa free for 4 months)
14. Gambia ( Visa free for 90days )
15. Georgia ( Visa on arrival )
16. Ghana ( Visa free )
17. Guinea ( Visa free )
18. Guinea Bissau ( Visa free for 90 days )
19. Haiti ( Visa free for 90 days )
20. Iran ( Visa on arrival )
21. Kenya ( Visa on arrival for 90 days )
22. Liberia ( Visa free )
23. Madagascar ( Visa on arrival for 90 days )
24. Maldives ( Visa on arrival for 30 days )
25. Mali ( Visa free )
26. Mauritania ( Visa on arrival )
27. Mauritius ( Visa free for 90days )
28. Micronesia ( Visa free for 30 days )
29. Mozambique ( Visa on arrival for 30 days )
30. Nauru ( Visa on arrival )
31. Niger republic ( Visa free )
32. Palau ( Visa on arrival for 30 days )
33. Samoa ( Visa on arrival for 60 days )
34. Senegal ( Visa free )
35. Seychelles (Visa on arrival for 30 days )
36. Sierra Leone ( Visa free )
37. Somalia ( Visa on arrival )
38. Sri Lanka ( Electronic travel authorization )
39.Tanzania ( Visa on arrival )
40. Timor-Leste ( Visa on arrival for 30 days )
41. Togo ( Visa free )
42. Tuvalu ( Visa on arrival for 30 days )
43. Uganda ( Visa on arrival )
44. Vanuatu ( Visa free for 30 days )”

Demoted worker shoots CEO, kills self in Chicago

Chicago shooting: Police investigate a shooting reported on the 17th floor at 231 South LaSalle Street, Thursday, July 31, 2014 in Chicago.

CHICAGO (AP) — A demoted executive shot and critically wounded his company's CEO before fatally shooting himself Thursday inside a high-rise office building in downtown Chicago's bustling financial district, police said.

The worker pulled a gun after entering the 17th-floor office to privately meet with the CEO, and during a struggle for the weapon, the CEO was shot in his head and abdomen, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said. The gunman then fatally shot himself.

"Apparently he was despondent over the fact that he got demoted," McCarthy said, adding that the alleged shooter was among "a number of people" being demoted as the company downsized.

The alleged gunman was later identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner's office as 60-year-old Anthony DeFrances.

A man by the same name is listed as an executive on the website for ArrowStream, a supply-chain management technology company whose address is on the 17th floor of Bank of America building, where the shootings occurred. The company's CEO is Steven LaVoie, according to the site.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago confirmed that a man named Steven Lavoie was in critical condition in the hospital, but declined to elaborate. Police said the victim of the shooting was taken to Northwestern, but messages left with police and ArrowStream were not returned Thursday.

According to ArrowStream's website, LaVoie founded the company in 2000, and DeFrances joined the next year and was currently its chief technology officer. Both men are listed as married with three children.

Police were called just before 10 a.m. to the building, which is a few blocks from the Willis Tower, the country's second-tallest skyscraper, and a block from the Chicago Board of Trade.

Officers cordoned off the immediate area outside, and SWAT team members and other officers rushed inside. They found two men on the floor, both of them shot, according to police.

Workers elsewhere in the building said they received warnings from building security over the intercom and in emails around 10 a.m. telling them there was a security situation in the lobby and to stay at their desks.

"It was a tense atmosphere, everybody was walking around, you wanted more details but they wouldn't give us much," said Stefano Freddo, who works on the building's 10th floor.

He said someone came over the intercom a few minutes later to tell them it was safe to leave their offices.

Freddo, 32, said security officers are stationed in the building, and that workers need a badge showing they work there to gain access to the elevators in the lobby. But he said there are no metal detectors in the building.

"Maybe we should have those," he said.


Associated Press writer Tammy Webber contributed to this report from Chicago.

Nigerian prostitutes ramp up drive for rights

Lagos, Nigeria - Patoo Abraham has become famous for fighting for the rights of prostitutes, but what she - and those she is trying to help - do to make a living is illegal and frowned upon by many in the country.

Abraham is not only proud of her profession but is also campaigning to ensure that prostitution is legalised and that sex workers are respected in Africa's most populous country.

The 48-year-old has led a couple of protests in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, demanding the rights of prostitutes in a country where sex vendors suffer physical harm at the hands of their punters.

Under the auspices of different organisations, scores of prostitutes marched on the streets of Lagos, chanting provocative slogans.

This boldness is unprecedented, and the protesters carried their signature red umbrellas and T-shirts with the inscription "Sex work is work, we need our rights."

"We are tired of dying in silence," Abraham, who heads the Nigerian chapter of African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), told Al Jazeera. "We want to be able to practise our profession with pride like every other person. We want an end to name-calling and stigmatisation. We are sex workers and not asawo [a Yoruba derogatory name for prostitutes]."

Sex work, said Abraham, is normal work and that there are "sex workers everywhere under one form of disguise or the other". "[The] government should stop criminalising our work," said the woman who is also the president of the Women of Power Initiative (WOPI), a non-governmental organisation established to advance the cause of sex work in Nigeria.

Although Nigeria has posted impressive economic growth, overtaking South Africa to become Africa's largest economy, unemployment remains widespread and many Nigerian women have ended up working as prostitutes in part because they cannot find work.

Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said in April that no fewer than 5.3 million youths are jobless, and the World Bank last year put the number of Nigerians living in destitution at 100 million.

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The Decision That Helped Make Me A Millionaire Before Age 40

woman reading in front of water

Like any typical child, my mother received an allowance from her father. But unlike a typical child, she received that allowance into her 60’s. He stopped writing her checks only when he died. My mother received financial support from her father because as a teacher and divorced mother of two, she could not make ends meet on her own. Her teacher’s salary alone didn’t cover the kind of lifestyle she wanted to live.
My mother divorced my father when I was four. Then my mother and stepfather divorced when I was 10. There was no man in the house for a few months and soon thereafter came the string of boyfriends.

Of all my mother’s boyfriends, I remember Robert the most. My mother seemed to feel proud and privileged to be his girlfriend. He was older and wealthier than any other man she had dated.

Robert was a handsome, highly paid marketing executive with a major Pennsylvania department store who drank dry martinis, wore Italian sports coats and drove a Datsun 280zx. He was separated from his wife who lived in Florida.

My brother and I assumed he would eventually get a divorce and move in with us. After Robert bought me a tan, corduroy suit for my piano recital (it was considered very stylish for the early 80’s), I imagined all the clothes he could afford to buy me as gifts.

When Robert was diagnosed with cancer, he moved back to Florida with his wife and children to die. My mother told me after his death that he had “abandoned” her. I was only 14 and felt confused by the choice of words she used to describe her pain. She could have said she was “sad” or “lonely” but instead she used the word “abandon.”

I looked the word up in the dictionary and it meant that Robert had “ceased to support” her. I decided that I would never put myself in such a vulnerable, helpless situation and from that point on, vowed to support myself (with or without a man).

My grandparents on my father’s side were poor. I was 24 when my paternal grandmother died, and she left me $1,600. Although I wanted to spend that windfall on things that most young women like to spend money on (such as clothes and shoes), I knew I needed to begin investing for my future. I was currently employed but had already been laid off twice and concluded that I couldn’t count on a man or a job to provide financial stability. I had to build a financial cushion myself.

In thinking about whether I would save or invest that $1,600, there was only one clear choice: invest in the stock market. I recalled an eye-opening chart presented by Wharton Professor Jeremy Siegel when I was studying finance that demonstrated that over the long run (despite its short term risk of going down) the stock market generated higher returns than other asset classes, such as bonds or certificates of deposit (CDs). Since I was in my mid-20′s, I had quite a long time horizon and knew that stocks were the place I wanted to invest my cash.

The decision I made to invest that $1,600 (not merely save it) was the most important wealth-building decision I made in my life. It is the reason I became a millionaire before I turned 40, a feat that would not have been possible had I chosen to keep that money in the bank.

That’s why I feel sad when I read articles about the large numbers of millennials who are shunning the stock market and keeping their money in cash. It’s a mathematical fact that you can’t grow your money by keeping it in a mattress or in a bank account earning close to zero percent. But according to a recent Wells Fargo study, only half of millennial women agree that the stock market is the best place to invest for retirement and only nine percent are saving at least one-tenth of their income.

I’m doing my part to change that trend. If I can inspire just one more percent of women to not only save more of their income — but to invest it in the stock market — imagine the millions of dollars of wealth that we as women can build on our own.

Was it easy to go from $1,600 to $1 million in just 15 years? Did I get lucky on one stock pick that doubled in value every year? Of course not. I had to regularly add money I earned at work to my brokerage and retirement accounts. It wasn’t easy, but it also wasn’t as hard as you might think.

In my book, “Every Woman Should Know Her Options: Invest Your Way to Financial Empowerment,” I explain the decisions and trade-offs I made regarding spending, adopting a frugal lifestyle, forgoing graduate school (because I didn’t want to take on more student loan debt), renting instead of buying, and delaying marriage and family.

The major benefit of the book is that women get the opportunity to learn from my two decades of investing experience in language and through examples that resonate with women.

The path to financial empowerment can be a long and bumpy road, but you can do it — with or without a husband or partner. There is no better time to start investing than the present, no matter what your age. And you don’t need lots of money to start. If you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, contribute to it. If you don’t, open a self-directed IRA.

Don’t let your fear of making poor decisions with your money stop you. When you invest, sometimes you make money and sometimes you lose it. But if you start early, make contributions a regular habit, and stay in it for the long term, you might just end up a millionaire.

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Church Insists on Pressing Charges After Homeless Man Eats $2.25 Worth of Cookies

After a homeless man dipped into the church’s cookie jar, First Baptist Church of Royal Palm Beach in Florida had him arrested–for his own good, church officials say. The unnamed man, seeking assistance from the church, entered the church through an unlocked door. Once he entered the building, he saw a cookie jar and helped himself to the cookies inside.

A cleaning person happened upon the man and called 911. After a church employee showed up, it was decided that the First Baptist Church would demonstrate Christian charity by having the homeless man locked up for the theft of the cookies, which are valued at $2.25.

Isaiah 58:7 may read ” Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives,” but, the church says that the decision to press charges had the homeless man’s best interests at heart.

Church officials decided that the man was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and, despite admissions that the church has contacts with rehabilitation programs that could have helped this person and claims that the church says it regularly feeds homeless people – First Baptist claims that having the man arrested “seemed reasonable.” However, the church admits that the situation could have been handled differently.

The Bible is full of commands that Christians feed the hungry. Apparently, church officials didn’t get the memo.

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