Regional News Roundup

Deforestation rates double

Although the level of deforestation in the world’s second-largest tropical forest remains relatively low compared to similar regions in Asia and Latin America, the latest satellite-based monitoring data has revealed that the annual rates of gross deforestation in the Congo Basin have doubled since 1990, according to a new study.

The report, State of the Forest, It cites population growth, immigration, economic development and global demand for natural resources as the major pressures on the forests.

While the report says the evaluation of threats to forests remains “a delicate exercise with many uncertainties,” it lists five primary drivers of deforestation: fuel wood extraction, agriculture, mining and oil extraction, expansion of biofuels and logging.

Re-making the dead

The African Centre for Migration Studies will on March 29 hold a lunchtime seminar titled, “Re-making the dead; Uncertainty and Torque of Human Materials in Northern Zimbabwe”.

The paper will explore Zimbabwe’s politics of heritage, memory and commemoration, which has been the subject of considerable academic and public debate for a long time, especially after the March 2011 war veterans-led exhumations that took place at a disused mine in Mt Darwin, where the remains of hundreds of people “killed by the Smith regime during the liberation war of the 1970s” were ‘discovered’.

PR for cops

The Minister in charge of the South African Police, NathiMthethwa, has ordered the force to improve its relations with members of the public, who complained of harassment and shoddy service. Mthethwa said police’s interface with communities must go beyond taking statements from crime victims at police stations, but securing convictions as well.

“When society reports cases, some police officers take statements yet fail to return to provide on-going updates on investigations and in fact, in areas where positive progress was made, criminals arrested and sentenced, failure to report back still creates an impression that police are useless,” said Mthethwa.

Members of the SAPS have been accused of harassing and brutalising especially Zimbabwean refugees found without valid travel documents, but Mthethwa said this should stop, and that police should focus more on fighting crime and protecting the public.

Post published in: Africa News

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