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dynamicafrica:

For the last ten years Foreign Policy magazine has together with independent research institution Fund for Peace published a controversial annual list that was known as the Failed States Index, before being renamed the Fragile States Index due to what they said were the unique challenges faced by each country.

The 2014 rankings have now been released, and in keeping with trends on the list, Africa cuts a forlorn figure on the list, boasting the five worst nations in the “very high alert” category—rankings that have ensured that the index has army of critics on the continent.

The index is based in 12 indicators ranging from the economic and social to the political.

The methodology continues to stir up debate, but away from the headline numbers there are many things deep in the list that will surprise you—for both good and but reasons: 

1: Zambia, which has a decent tradition of democratic elections, is ranked lower than South Sudan under the Democratic Progress indicator, and even Zimbabwe, Angola, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Nigeria and Tanzania.

2: Uganda has more refugees and Internally Displaced Persons than Zimbabwe, Kenya, Mali, Eritrea and Zambia.

3: Somalia, which is home to an entire aid industry and where 22,000 AU peacekeepers are daily battling Al-Shabaab militants, has less instance of external intervention—such as levels of foreign assistance— than Cote d’Ivoire.

4: Cameroon, ruled by an all-controlling, all-seeing strongman Paul Biya since 1982, has more factionalised elites—defined as conflict and competition among local and national leaders—than regional tinderboxes Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya. Burundi, known for its political fragility, is one of the star performers in this category.

5: Nigeria has more tension and violence among internal groups than the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic (CAR), which both feature among the top five worst performers overall. Kenya comes in worse than Egypt and Zimbabwe.

6: More people leave relatively peaceful Malawi as migrants than they do the hotspots of Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Eritrea.

7: More Ghanaians have left their country for various reasons than they have DRC, CAR, or Nigeria…and South Sudan.  

8: Kenya has more incidence of internal conflict and proliferation of non-state armed groups than civil war-stricken Mali and Egypt. 

9: The Gambia, ruled by the much-maligned strongman Yahya Jammeh, has a better overall human rights record than Nigeria.

10: Somalia, recovering from two decades of civil war, is better at provision of education, health care, sanitation and other such human development services than Chad.

11: Not to be left behind, Eritrea also does better at public service provision than Tanzania, and Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy.

12:  Somalia has a higher legitimacy of the state—a measure of how little corruption there is, and how better governance is, than both Zimbabwe and Guinea.

13: Nigeria again faces off with Eritrea, with both being at par under the same legitimacy of the state indicator.

14: Zambia, an African peace haven, has higher poverty rates, and a weaker economy, than off-radar Eritrea and post-conflict Liberia.

15: Libya, ravaged by armed groups and teeming with bandits, has better economic prospects than Tunisia and African star Botswana.

16: Botswana, with a population of only two million, has higher disparities in development among different groups than Uganda and Burundi.

17: Eritrea also does a better job of spreading the wealth around different groups than Nigeria, Botswana and South Africa.

18: The isolated Horn of Africa country that is Eritrea, seemingly the unheralded star of the index, is also viewed as a strong—or less fragile—state than Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda.   

19. Sierra Leone, a permanent fixture since the Index started publishing its worst Top 10 in 2005, is now off the “Alert” category, the first country to make such an exit.  

20: Zimbabwe, held down by the ever-green Robert Mugabe, was the most improved this year, in part due to constitutional reforms, and a quiet election by its past standards.

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The Borowitz Report: How to Look Smarter

newyorker:

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NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – A new study released Tuesday indicates that wearing glasses does not make a person look smarter, but standing next to Texas Governor Rick Perry does.

Continue reading: http://nyr.kr/1mHY8IP

Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty.

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guardian:

Conchita Wurst: ‘Most artists are sensitive and insecure people. I am too’
In the two months since she won Eurovision, Conchita Wurst has become a global star. Here she reflects on homophobia, gay marriage, Vladimir Putin (‘a very handsome man’) – and her dreams of winning a Grammy
Read the full interview | Follow guardian
Photo: Phil Fisk

guardian:

Conchita Wurst: ‘Most artists are sensitive and insecure people. I am too’

In the two months since she won Eurovision, Conchita Wurst has become a global star. Here she reflects on homophobia, gay marriage, Vladimir Putin (‘a very handsome man’) – and her dreams of winning a Grammy

Read the full interview | Follow guardian

Photo: Phil Fisk

(Source: theguardian.com)

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guardian:

Gay pride parades around the world
Celebrants pose for photographs with a police officer on Castro St in San Francisco Photo: John Orvis/Demotix/Corbis

guardian:

Gay pride parades around the world

Celebrants pose for photographs with a police officer on Castro St in San Francisco Photo: John Orvis/Demotix/Corbis

(Source: theguardian.com)

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"They come in. We were black. We all shook hands and I followed everyone into the room. We sat down. The conversation began.
The couple were from Shepparton - one of Melbourne’s rural towns. They came all the way to the Maurice Blackburn city Law firm to inquire about the husband’s entitlements. He had suffered a serious work-related injury.
The lawyer sat across the claimant, and I sat facing the wife. We smiled. They were informed that I was a seasonal clerk - basically a three week job interview with the firm. They kindly allowed me to sit in.
The conversation went well. They appeared to be very nice people. I liked them.
After the interview, as we climb up the stairs to the lawyer’s office, I noted how weird it must have been for the white couple, from Shepparton, to be greeted by two black women lawyers, with one wearing a hijab, at a city law firm. The odds, seriously the odds for all of us required a laugh. And indeed we laughed and the air was filled with sounds of high heels clipping the cement mixed with amused laughter.
But did I notice the right thing? Maybe the problem was not the white couple from Shepparton, but the black chick assuming that there might be a problem with the white couple form Shepparton. Why did I make such an assumption? How come I noticed that? Did I just assume because of where they come from they are likely to be ignorant, uncomfortable with the ‘other’ or even racist? Did I project my own fears on them, a fear which they might never posse?
I realised what I refused to allow to make an impression was this woman’s exceptional organizational skills, her wonderful smile, calm nature and an impressive memory and that was based on the evidence of speaking to her and the manner she carried herself and not fear. My fear, would have her individual personhood confined to my feared imaginary “Sheppartonian”.
The real fear then was the fear of myself; the fear of how I would be perceived. A black woman, with a huge African styled, fake- extension -hairdo, preforming a balancing act on my head. The fear that this black skin, for some, often spoke before I opened my mouth, and that it was speaking now. The fear that because of it, I might never be good enough.
But these are my fears, not theirs. And they gave me no reason to fear, in fact, by allowing me to sit in, they trusted me with a matter which clearly affected their lives. I wish I don’t betray such trust again or chained others to my assumptions, my fears, my regrets. I hope I allow those I meet to express their full humanity and to allow that expression to make the necessary impression, without the interference of my own prejudices. Because maybe if I afford others such an opportunity, those others would, eventually, allow my mouth, and not my skin or hair, to speak for me."

— Nyanyuon Bany

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dynamicafrica:

Thousands of asylum seekers streamed out of Holot detention center in Israel’s south on Friday, with no intention to return. The walk-out is the latest in a series of actions by the prisoners to bring attention to their plight.

The asylum seekers attempted to march to the border with Egypt, where they hoped to camp out and bring international attention to their struggle, but were stopped by the Israeli army before reaching the demilitarized area.

According to the Holot Project Facebook group, the marchers have produced a list with the following demands:

- An immediate reform to the medical system.
- The immediate release of detainees who have been in prisons over two years, the victims of torture from Sinai and all the prisoners in Saharonim and Holot with legal status according to international standards.
- To hand over the case to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
- To release African asylum seekers arrested by the immigration police in Holot, who are suspected to be behind the demonstrations.

In December 2013 Israel began populating the Holot detention facility for African asylum seekers, first with those who were held in other prisons and gradually with those who were until now living in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities.

The detainees at Holot are being held there without charge until they can be deported or such a time as their asylum claims are processed, which for many detainees means indefinitely.

Read +972′s full coverage of asylum seekers in Israel

(Photos: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org, text: Edo Konrad)

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Denis Dailleux: Cairo

*truly one of the most gifted photographers currently working. His painterly use of colour is a rarity amongst so much of today’s sharp focal lengths and crisp digital frames. Of course the special ingredient is Dailleux’s obvious love for the city he is photographing…

previously posted here and here

(via 5centsapound)

(via dynamicafrica)

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guardian:

Global refugee figure passes 50m for first time since second world war
The number of people forced to flee their homes across the world has exceeded 50 million for the first time since the second world war, an exponential rise that is stretching host countries and aid organisations to breaking point, according to figures released on Friday. Full story 
Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

guardian:

Global refugee figure passes 50m for first time since second world war

The number of people forced to flee their homes across the world has exceeded 50 million for the first time since the second world war, an exponential rise that is stretching host countries and aid organisations to breaking point, according to figures released on Friday. Full story 

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

(Source: theguardian.com)

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fotojournalismus:

Boat Migrants Risk Everything for a New Life in Europe

Eight months after a boat carrying hundreds of migrants sank off the coast of Lampedusa, killing more than 360 people and spurring an international outcry, the flow of migrants risking the perilous sea journey to Europe shows no signs of letting up. Already this year, the number of migrants arriving by boat on Italy’s shores has surpassed 40,000, the total number of migrants that arrived in 2013. 

On World Refugee Day, June 20, TIME is publishing a collection of images from photographer Massimo Sestini, who accompanied the Italian navy on its rescue missions earlier this month. The shots depict the treacherous conditions in which tens of thousands of migrants and refugees attempt the crossing, packed in rickety motorboats with limited supplies. But they also reveal, in a manner rarely seen, the human faces of some of the men, women and children who risk everything to make it to Europe.

(via dynamicafrica)

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ahandofgod:

Anti-Fifa Graffiti In Brazil:

Brazilians are angry. Their government for is spending millions of dollars on an eight-week, World Cup event. They are angry that the money is desperately needed for education, sanitisation, hospitals and the eradication of violence, drugs and weapons from their streets.

"F*** FIFA" graffiti is appearing all over the city and just goes to show what the residents really think of the international sporting extravagance. Powerful.

(via mutuamatheka)