Kenya

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to become first sitting President to appear at ICC

Kenyan President Kenyatta has confirmed his appearance at The Hague, Netherlands on October 8 to respond to multiple charges against him at the ICC (International Criminal Court).

Resignation

In an unprecedented move, Kenyatta has invoked a hitherto unused article of the Constitution to resign temporarily, with the Deputy President, William Ruto, taking his place as Acting President till the return of Kenyatta. This step has been taken because Mr.Kenyatta has insisted that he will appear before the ICC in his personal capacity and not as the President of a nation. It is to be noted that Kenyatta had also appeared at the ICC before he became President in 2013.

Kenyatta will risk an international arrest warrant and international condemnation against him personally and economic sanctions against Kenya, if he failed to comply with the summons issued by the ICC.

Charges against Mr.Kenyatta

Kenyatta faces five charges of crimes against humanity, inciting violence and organizing ethnic massacres that killed 1,200 people. He has denied all the charges that have been brought against him.

In September, the ICC postponed the trial after prosecutors said the Kenyan government had failed to submit important documents. The case of the prosecution is weak as of now because several prosecution witnesses have withdrawn from the case. The ICC has summoned Kenyatta for a status hearing so he may explain allegations that evidence against has been withheld by the Kenyans. His request to participate by video was rejected by the Court.

Massacres

The massacres that Mr.Kenyatta is accused of playing a role in, took place after the 2007 elections in Kenya. Kenyatta was a close ally of the winner of the election, Mwai Kibaki. Kibaiki’s opponent, Raila Odinga, claimed that the elections were rigged. The dispute then lead to violence with peoples of different ethnicities pitted against each other. Kenyatta is accused of organizing ethnic gangs to attack rival groups.

Around a thousand people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced in the violence.

RTS,S: World’s first vaccine against Malaria to hit markets soon

The world’s first malaria vaccineRTS,S created by pharma company GSK, is expected to hit the markets by 2015. GSK has submitted a regulatory application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for its malaria vaccine candidate, RTS,S.

Application of RTS,S:

The vaccine will be uses exclusively against the Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite, which is widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). As per estimates, around 90% deaths from malaria occur in SSA, and 77% of these are in children under the age of 5.

To support the efficacy of the vaccine, data from the phase III vaccine trial programme conducted at 13 African research centres in eight African countries (Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Tanzania) including over 16,000 infants and young children have also been included to the filing. A large-scale Phase III trial showed that over 18 months of follow-up, children aged 5-17 months at first vaccination with RTS,S reported 46% fewer cases of clinical malaria, compared to children immunised with a placebo.

An average of 941 cases of clinical malaria were prevented over 18 months of follow-up for every 1,000 children vaccinated in this age group. Malaria hospitalisations came down by 42%.

How RTS,S works?

The vaccine triggers the body’s immune system to protect against the P falciparum malaria parasite when it first enters the human host’s bloodstream and/or when the parasite infects liver cells. The vaccine is developed to prevent the parasite from infecting, maturing and multiplying in the liver, after which time the parasite would re-enter the bloodstream and infect red blood cells, leading to disease symptoms.

GSK has pledged to sell the vaccine at cost price plus 5%, which it said would finance further research into tropical diseases. Now EMA will evaluate the vaccine as per Article 58 procedure, which allows the body to assess the quality, safety and efficacy of a candidate vaccine, or medicine, manufactured in a European Union (EU) member state, for a disease recognised by the World Health Organisation as of major public health interest, but intended exclusively for use outside the EU.

This assessment is conducted by the EMA in collaboration with the WHO, and necessitates products to meet the same benchmarks as vaccines or medicines intended for use in the EU.  As per WHO, if the EMA approves the vaccine, a policy recommendation may be possible by end of 2015.  A positive opinion from the EMA would also be the basis for marketing authoritization applications to National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) in SSA nations.

India hosted third World Congress on Agro-forestry 2014

The third World Congress on Agro-forestry 2014 (WCA14) held in New Delhi, India and was inaugurated by President Mr. Pranab Mukherjee. This was the First ever World Agro-forestry Congress in Asia Pacific Region. 

  • Theme:Trees for Life: Accelerating the Impact of Agro-forestry”.
  • Co-host: the World Agro-forestry Centre, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the Indian Society of Agro-forestry and Global Initiatives.
  • Objective: To boost awareness, engagement and investments in agro-forestry,
  • Benefit: Would shape the next steps in the field of integrative science, transformative change in landscapes, tree improvement, innovative tree-based value chains, and debates on global and local sustainability, reform of land and tree tenure and holistic education. 

The third edition of World Agroforestry Congress organized to-

  • Expand global awareness and understanding of agro-forestry.
  • Share the current status of knowledge and practice of agro-forestry and consolidate its research base.
  • Build support for agro-forestry within governments, companies, academia, NGOs and the media.
  • Increase the engagement of the private sector. 
About World Agroforestry Centre (or ICRAF i.e International Centre For Research On Agriculture And Forestry)
  • Mission: To generate science-based knowledge about the diverse roles that trees play in agricultural landscapes, and to use its research to advance policies and practices, and their implementation, that benefit the poor and the environment.
  • To improve food security, nutrition, income, health, shelter, social cohesion, energy resources and environmental sustainability of rural area in developing countries.
  • Objective: poverty alleviation which requires enhanced food security and health, improved productivity with lower environmental and social costs, and resilience in the face of climate change and other external shocks.
  • Headquarters:Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Regional offices: Cameroon, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Peru.
  • Role of Agro-forestry: (a) produces food, fuel and fibre, (b) major source of livelihoods and also help in preventing deforestation and (c) protect water resources and fighting off soil-erosion.

Note: First two World Congresses on Agro-forestry held in :Florida,USA (2004) and Nairobi, Kenya (2009).

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