Daily Archives: April 18, 2021

Slavery routes – a short history of human trafficking (2/4) | DW Documentar y

DW Documentary – Apr 4, 2020

How did Africa become a hub for the trade in human beings? Part 2 of this four-part documentary series begins as the Middle Ages comes to an end and Portuguese conquerors head for Africa in search of riches. At the end of the Middle Ages, European powers realized that the African continent harbored a seemingly inexhaustible wealth of resources. The Portuguese were among the first to set out to conquer the continent. They went in search of gold, but they came back with hundreds of thousands of captives to sell as slaves in Europe. From the coasts of Africa, the Conquistadores sailed on to Brazil, where they established a trading center. There, the Portuguese set up the first colonies that were populated exclusively by slaves. On the island of São Tomé, off of Gabon, they found their most lucrative commodity: sugar cane, and the sugar plantation became the blueprint for the profitable exploitation of the New World.

Part 1: https://youtu.be/InQvC9c-3K8
Part 2: https://youtu.be/v3ppAebUW54
Part 3: https://youtu.be/XMB7CpjIS9s
Part 4: https://youtu.be/yKwXuRAseIc

Slavery routes – a short history of human trafficking (1/4) | DW Documentary

DW Documentary – Apr 4, 2020

The history of slavery did not begin in the cotton fields. It has been going on since the dawn of humanity. Part 1 of this four-part documentary series investigates how Africa became the epicenter of human trafficking. The first installment of the series “Slavery Routes – A Short History of Human Trafficking” opens the story of the slave trade. By the 7th Century AD, Africa had already become a slave trading hub. Barbarian invaders brought on the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD. Less than two centuries later, the Arabs founded an immense empire on its ruins, stretching from the banks of the Indus River to the southern Sahara. Now a new era of systematic slave hunting began, from the Middle East to Africa. At the heart of this network, two major merchant cities stood out. In the North, at the crossroads of the Arabian Peninsula and Africa, Cairo – the most important Muslim city and Africa’s main commercial hub. In the South, Timbuktu, the stronghold of the great West African empires, and point of departure of the trans-Saharan caravans. This documentary tells how, over the course of centuries, sub-Saharan peoples became the most significant “resource” for the biggest human trafficking networks in history.

Part 1: https://youtu.be/InQvC9c-3K8
Part 2: https://youtu.be/v3ppAebUW54
Part 3: https://youtu.be/XMB7CpjIS9s
Part 4: https://youtu.be/yKwXuRAseIc

Slavery routes – a short history of human trafficking (3/4) | DW Documentary

DW Documentary – Apr 4, 2020

In the 17th century, almost seven million slaves toiled in sugar production. The French, English, Dutch and Spanish empires all sought profits from “white gold.” Part 3 of this four-part series focuses on the brutality of the colonial powers. In the 17th century, the Atlantic became the battleground of a war for sugar. European kingdoms sought ever-greater riches. To satisfy their greed, they opened new slavery routes from Africa to the islands of the New World in the Caribbean. With the complicity of banks and insurance companies, they industrialized the slave trade, pushing the number of deportations to unprecedented levels. Almost seven million Africans were trapped in captivity, in an endless spiral of violence. Up until the abolition of slavery, humans were trafficked across immense territories. The slave trade drew its own frontiers and created its own laws in a world marked by violence and the thirst for power and profit. The history of slavery dates back to the earliest advanced, human civilizations. As early as the 7th century A.D, Africa became the epicenter of a human trafficking network that stretched across the globe. Nubian, Fulani, Mandinka, Songhai, Susu, Akan, Yoruba, Igbo, Kongo, Yao, Somali… more than twenty million Africans were deported, sold and enslaved. The scale of the trade was so immense that for a long time, it was impossible to untangle the mechanisms that drove this criminal system.

Part 1: https://youtu.be/InQvC9c-3K8
Part 2: https://youtu.be/v3ppAebUW54
Part 3: https://youtu.be/XMB7CpjIS9s
Part 4: https://youtu.be/yKwXuRAseIc

Antarctica: A message from another planet | DW Documentary


DW Documentary – Jan 2, 2021

The world’s major powers agree: the resources of Antarctica should be exploited peacefully. They have promised to promote peace and scientific research in Antarctica, and to protect its environment. But is this spirit real, or just a lot of talk?

This documentary features interviews with researchers, activists, diplomats, and military personnel from Spain, Russia, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, and the United States. There’s been much debate over how to share control of resources in Antarctica, which is the world’s oldest ecosystem. Critics say that behind the scenes, a game of high-stakes poker is underway. Could this competition end in armed conflict? Or will Antarctica serve as a model for peaceful international cooperation? This film addresses these complicated issues with in-depth analysis, accompanied by magnificent images of the Antarctic landscape. The documentary’s soundtrack was composed by Javier Weyler, former drummer of the Welsh rock band, the Stereophonics.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzJqbR2rPwY

Climate change in the Antarctic | DW Documentary

DW Documentary – Jan 7, 2021

Few places on Earth are as remote as the German research facility Neumayer Station III. The scientists who work at this outpost in Antarctica are studying the effects of climate change — under extreme conditions.

Journalist Matthias Ebert traveled to the station to find out more about their research. The scientists are particularly concerned about the speed at which Antarctic ice is melting – and its impact on global sea levels.

The researchers have also been studying a large colony of emperor penguins that lives near their facility — to find out more about how these birds are adapting to climate change.

Ebert reports on the daily lives of the scientists who work at the Neumayer Station, and how they cope with the extreme weather conditions, isolation, and cramped quarters. They’ve even managed to grow some of their own food in a greenhouse at the facility.

Ebert documents the damaging effect that global warming is having on the Antarctic, and the risk that this poses for the rest of the world.

Slavery routes – a short history of human trafficking (4/4) | DW Documentary

DW Documentary – Apr 4, 2020

Twenty million Africans were enslaved by European colonial powers. It was only in the 18th century that opposition to the slave trade formed in Europe. The final installment of this four-part series examines how slave revolts influenced public opinion. Africa was long at the center of the slave trade. In the 18th century, the abolitionist movement began gathering momentum in London, Paris and Washington. After the slave rebellion in the French colony of Saint Domingue (modern-day Haiti), and in the face of growing public outrage, Europe’s major powers abolished the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1807. But Europe was in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, and couldn’t afford to give up its slave workforce. To satisfy its need for raw materials, it relocated the frontiers of slavery and turned a blind eye to new forms of human exploitation in Brazil, the United States and Africa. When the slave trade was abolished in 1807, there were more Africans in captivity than ever before. Within 50 years, nearly 2.5 million men, women and children were deported. The ban was far from the end of slavery.

Slaves in Italy? | DW Documentary


DW Documentary

Yvan Sagnet from Cameroon is battling modern slavery in Italy’s agricultural sector. Sagnet once worked as a low-wage farmhand. Now he is fighting for the rights of seasonal farmworkers, taking criminal recruiters, or gangmasters, to court. Yvan Sagnet calls them slaves: the hundreds of thousands of seasonal farmworkers from Africa and eastern Europe on Italy’s fields. Without their labor the country would have no tomato, orange or olive harvest. But the workers are exploited and often forced to live under inhumane conditions in ruins or shanty towns called ghettos. In 2011 Sagnet himself briefly picked tomatoes on the fields near the southern Italian town of Nardò. For four days he labored to fill the 350-kilogram crates. He earned 14 euros a day, ten of which he had to hand over to the gangmaster, or Caporale, for transport and water. Caporale is the term for the criminal recruiters who control and exploit the workers. After a 14-hour day working under the blazing sun and even being beaten, Sagnet took home only four euros. He helped to organize the first strike among the farmhands. It was a success, and since then he has been an activist for the rights of the farmworkers and against the gangmasters. Despite death threats, he has set up an organization called NoCap, a label to certify produce farmed under ethically acceptable conditions. And he has taken his fight against exploitation and slavery to the courts. So far, the Italian justice system has responded slowly. It’s a fight that will take a long time to win.

Table Mountain fire erupts in Cape Town, forces evacuation at nearby campus


Guardian News

Published on Apr 18, 2021

A wildfire on the slopes of South Africa’s Table Mountain forced University of Cape Town students to evacuate, as runaway flames set several campus buildings ablaze and firefighters used helicopters to water-bomb the area. The fire started early near a memorial to politician Cecil Rhodes, located on Devils Peak, another part of Cape Town’s mountainous backdrop, before spreading rapidly up the slopes. The university, ranked among the best on the continent, is largely built on the slopes of Devil’s Peak and is situated close to where the fire started Students evacuate Cape Town university as fire damages historic buildings

Arctic Amplification Connections to Extreme Weather Events – Complexities Abound: 2 of 2


Paul Beckwith

Published on Apr 18, 2021

One of the obvious consequences of abrupt climate system change is the large increase we have experienced in the frequency, severity, and duration of extreme weather events. In addition, these events are happening in regions where they did not happen before, for example, we have had large, previously unheard of snowfalls in some of the driest deserts in the world.

The top down, elevator pitch that I have used for many years is based on the fundamental physics of why the Jet Stream exists in the first place, which is due to the cold Arctic – warmer lower latitudes temperature difference creating a pressure difference driving the high altitude winds (jet streams) along with the Coriolis force effects deflecting winds to the right in the Northern Hemisphere. As the Arctic warms at much greater rates than lower latitudes, the lower temperature gradient (thus pressure gradient) means the jet streams must slow, and thus they become much wavier in the North-South direction. Under the ridges of the Jet stream waves (Rossby Waves) there is high pressure and heat that has moved northward, while in the troughs of the waves cold dry air spills southward. If the wave locations are persistent (blocked) we can get long duration anomalously hot conditions under the ridges, and long duration storms, torrential rainfall, and flooding in the troughs.

This explains why the tremendously rapid Arctic warming is leading to increases in the frequency, severity, and duration of extreme weather events, from a top-down viewpoint.

Bottom-up is more difficult, and the devil is always in the details. In the latter section of my Part 1 video, and in all of my Part 2 video, I discuss a new peer reviewed scientific paper called “How do intermittency and simultaneous processes obfuscate the Arctic influence on midlatitude winter extreme weather events?”.

Since extreme weather events are presently affecting billions of people around the planet, getting at the details is vitally important, in fact it was mentioned that there were 146 recent papers looking into the details of these connections. There is a lot of complexity and confusion, and the connections vary critically depending on the season, for example late fall/early winter the lack of Arctic sea ice in the Barent-Kara Sea, the Chuckhi-Beaufort Sea, and Baffin Bay have been connected to extreme winter cold and snowfall in Eurasia, extreme weather conditions in North America, etc… In late winter, the Stratospheric Polar Vortex often radically undergoes Sudden Stratospheric Warming, leading to large outbreaks of cold Arctic air infiltrating into much lower latitudes in North America and Eurasia.

Clearly, we still have a lot to learn, but it seems impossible to me that rapid Arctic changes can occur without having profound effects on lower latitude weather extremes. I think these connections will become more obvious and resolved as we get closer and closer to complete loss of Arctic sea ice within the next few years.

Coronavirus-related deaths top three million worldwide


CGTN Africa

Published on Apr 18, 2021

The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has topped three million. This comes as the World Health Organization warned that the world was approaching the highest rate of infections so far. The situation has been intensified by setbacks in vaccination campaigns globally and a deepening crisis in countries such as Brazil, India and France. Worldwide, there have been over 140 million cases recorded. Africa is reporting more than 4.4 million infections and nearly 118,000 deaths.

For details on the situation in Africa CGTN spoke to Dr. Ahmed Ogwell, Deputy Director at the Africa CDC.