Collaborating Authors

Namibia pledges land reforms to boost black ownership

Al Jazeera

Namibia's president has called for a change to the country's constitution to allow the government to expropriate land and re-distribute it to the majority black population. "The willing-buyer willing-seller principle has not delivered results. Careful consideration should be given to expropriation," President Hage Geingob said on Monday at the opening of the Second National Land Conference in capital, Windhoek. The willing-buyer willing-seller policy depends on commercial farmers offering to sell their land to the government. However, many farmers are reluctant to sell and those who were willing often inflated the prices, making it difficult for the government to acquire adequate land for resettlement purposes.

Germany revamps national crisis plan for first time in 20 years

The Japan Times

BERLIN – Germany has told its citizens to stock up on water and food in the event of a terrorist attack or national catastrophe and may even consider re-introducing conscription in its first overhaul of civil defenses in two decades. Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet approved the 70-page plan at a time when Germans are particularly on edge after two Islamist attacks in July and several much larger-scale attacks in France and Belgium this year. The German word for stocking up on provisions in case of an emergency is "Hamsterkaeufe," and some media have mocked the plan for encouraging Germans to hoard like the small, furry pets. Although the report was commissioned in 2012, security is shaping up into a major campaign issue before two regional votes next month and next year's federal election. Proposed measures include boosting spending on police and a ban on the burqa.

Namibia pulls down statue of German colonial officer

Al Jazeera

A colonial-era statue of a German official was removed from the Namibian capital Windhoek on Wednesday, following pressure from local activists, as onlookers clapped and hooted. The 2.4 metre bronze statue of Curt von Francois, which was unveiled in 1965, was seen as a symbol of colonial oppression in the southern African nation. "This moment is a recollection of dignity, our city has been white-washed," Hildegard Titus, an activist with the A Curt Farewell movement that pushed for the statue's removal, told the AFP news agency. "There is an emotional tie to the statue being taken down, but it also has to do with historical accuracy". It is the latest statue to be taken down as activists around the world mount campaigns to remove representations of colonial-era officials who were accused of practising slavery and committing other atrocities.

Surge in executions of drug offenders in 2022, more on death row

Al Jazeera

Executions for drug-related offences surged in 2022, while the number of drug offenders on death row rose by more than a quarter, according to a new report from drug policy reform group Harm Reduction International (HRI). There were at least 285 executions for drugs last year, more than double the number of the previous year, when at least 131 people were executed, HRI said in its report published on Thursday. The number of death sentences handed out to those found guilty of drug crimes also rose, the report said, with at least 303 people in 18 countries sentenced to death. That was 28 percent more than in 2021. More than 3,700 people on death row around the world are now there as a result of drug offences, it added.

Why is the world afraid of young refugee men?

Al Jazeera

Berlin, Germany - Once a popular destination for tourists, Syria's coastal city of Tartus has seen little fighting during the five-year civil war that has engulfed the country. Sitting in his room in a crowded refugee camp in the Prenzlauer Berg area of Berlin, 29-year-old Adham, who asked not to give his surname out of fear for the safety of relatives back in Syria, recalls his reasons for leaving the city. "There is no fighting in my city; there are no guns," he says. They are collected from the street and taken to the army. So, there are a lot of children, women and old men there and that's it."