Children who walk to school ‘are ahead of the rest’

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Children who walk to school ‘are ahead of the rest’ – Family News & Advice | Parenting, Marriage & Kids | The Irish Tim – Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

Post Celtic tiger, walking to school might seem a nice alternative to being dropped at the gates daily in a gleaming 4×4. But apart from the obvious physical benefit of a bit of basic exercise, is there another advantage to making our children exercise their bodies? Apparently so. It also helps them exercise their brains.

A recent Dutch study of 20,000 children aged 5-19 proved that those who cycled or walked to school performed better on tests demanding concentration, the effects of which lasted up to four hours after they began the school day.

The study showed that the impact of early morning exercise was greater than the effect of diet – including a good breakfast. But more than the short-term impact of improved concentration, the research showed that the cumulative effect of walking or cycling to school was the equivalent to someone half a year further on in their studies…

Pambazuka – A lethal cocktail for Africa

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Pambazuka – A lethal cocktail for Africa.

The World Bank’s working definition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is ‘Private organizations that pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services or undertake community development.’ But many people now ask whether the NGOs that work in Africa are progressively engaged in activities that are developmentally sustainable. And, by the way, how democratic and accountable are the NGOs?

IRIN Africa | Children bear brunt of CAR crisis

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IRIN Africa | Children bear brunt of CAR crisis | Central African Republic | Children | Conflict | Education | Governance | Human Rights | Refugees/IDPs.

BANGUI, 25 April 2013 (IRIN) – Sporadic armed clashes, looting of orphanages, recruitment into armed groups, and widespread school closures have made life perilous for children in the Central African Republic (CAR) in the wake of a 24 March rebel coup by the Séléka alliance.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), some 2.3 million children are directly affected by the breakdown of law and order and the interruption of basic services.

On 12 April, 14 children were wounded in the capital, Bangui, when a rocket-propelled grenade fell on a playing field. Two days later, a rocket landed on a church, killing seven people, including three infants, and wounding 11 children – three of whom had to have their legs amputated.

“It’s scandalous that children are being caught in crossfire as they go about their daily lives, playing football or going to church,” said Souleymane Diabaté, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative in CAR…

BBC News – UK Peace Index highlights rate of fall in violent crime

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BBC News – UK Peace Index highlights rate of fall in violent crime.

For its inaugural index, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which defined peace as “the absence of violence or fear of violence”, used Home Office data on crime, such as public disorder offences and weapons crime, and police officer numbers.


It found the violent crime rate was down by about one quarter – from 1,255 per 100,000 people in 2003, to 933 in 2012. This was a more rapid fall than the average decrease across western Europe for that period – although not more rapid than all other European countries, as was stated in earlier reports on the BBC News website.


These reductions came despite a 6% drop in the number of police officers per 100,000 people, it said…

Mali’s Precarious Democracy and the Causes of Conflict | United States Institute of Peace

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Mali’s Precarious Democracy and the Causes of Conflict | United States Institute of Peace.

This report seeks to explain the fragile nature of Malian democracy before the 2012 coup and the origins of the current crisis. Widespread corruption, resurgent violence in the north, and a growing illicit trade implicated state officials as the principal causes of state collapse…

MDGs: The most successful global anti-poverty push in history -UN resident coordinator – Daily Observer

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MDGs: The most successful global anti-poverty push in history -UN resident coordinator – Daily Observer.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that are set for attainment in two years, have so far been the most successful anti-poverty push in history, as governments, international organisations and civil society groups around the world  struggle to cut extreme poverty in the world by half, the United Nations resident coordinator has remarked.


Babagana Ahmadu made these remarks recently at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi where stakeholders and development partners under the aegis of The Gambia government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) gathered to officially launch the Post-2015 National Consultations Development Agenda.

Fight against hunger ‘at heart of Irish foreign policy’, says Eamon Gilmore – World News | Latest International News Headlines | The Irish Times – Wed, Apr 17, 2013

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Fight against hunger ‘at heart of Irish foreign policy’, says Eamon Gilmore – World News | Latest International News Headlines | The Irish Times – Wed, Apr 17, 2013.

Ireland will push for a greater focus on the links between climate change, hunger and poor nutrition at international gatherings including the UN General Assembly and the forthcoming G8 summit in Fermanagh, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore said yesterday.

Mr Gilmore was speaking at the close of a conference, hosted by the Government and the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, and organised with the World Food Programme (WFP) as part of Ireland’s EU presidency, which examined the overlap between climate change, hunger and under-nutrition and its impact on the world’s most vulnerable populations.

“Ireland will keep the fight against hunger at the heart of our foreign policy,” Mr Gilmore said, adding that the Government would advocate for a “single set of measurable goals” to be put in place after 2015, the deadline set when the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were first launched. Progress on achieving the MDGs has fallen far short of what was initially hoped for.

‘Africans agree shared values can best unite our continent’ – Daily Observer

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‘Africans agree shared values can best unite our continent’ – Daily Observer.

A human rights expert for the African Union Commission has said that shared values are the basic beliefs, ideals and principles that Africans agree can best unite their countries and continent.

Dr Sallah Hammadsiddique made these remarks on Wednesday during the deliberation of the representatives of the Department of Political Affairs of the AU and the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS) on values that Africans share and must cherish.

The forum, which was held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi, was part of activities marking the 53rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

‘’We at the African Union are committed to bringing the concept of African shared values to the people of Africa, in ways that they can understand the concept,’’ Hammad explained.

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