Joseph Kony child soldier returns to terrorised boyhood village

Homecoming offers first-hand glimpse into spiralling paranoia of war criminal and worlds shattered by the Lord’s Resistance Army

When he was 13 Edward was kidnapped by Ugandan rebels and forced to become a soldier in the Lord’s Resistance Army. He survived the longest–running guerrilla war in modern history by being a trusted confidante of Joseph Kony, the chief architect of the brutal insurgency.

Fourteen years later, with Kony on the run, Edward is returning to his childhood village, nervous about the reception he will receive after his role in terrorising his own people.

For more than two decades about 30,000 children abducted from northern Uganda provided the fuel for Kony’s cult-like LRA. A self-styled mystic who claimed to channel a host of spirits, his hazy aims of seizing power and ruling Uganda according to the biblical 10 commandments collapsed after his forces were chased across the Nile and out of the country in 2006. Since then he has roamed east central Africa‘s forests with a band of a few hundred children kidnapped from neighbouring countries.

Abkhazia pursues independence dream in Georgia’s lost paradise

Since breaking away from Georgia in the early 1990s, the Abkhaz feel poor and isolated

Daniel McLaughlin

 “We have to warn you about the situation over there,” the man in the little cabin said slowly, waving my passport towards the bend in the road. “It’s not necessarily safe for visitors. You have to be extremely cautious,” he continued in a weary monotone that drained his warning of any urgency.

“We just have to warn you, you understand?” he added a little apologetically. “It’s not easy for us if we have to get you back from Abkhazia.” The other plainclothes Georgian security officers in the cabin handed around the passport to relieve what looked like extreme boredom.

“I was born over there. It’s beautiful. My Abkhaz grandmother still lives there,” one said suddenly, dispelling the shadow of his colleague’s desultory warning. “Twenty years I lived there, all my youth. And then the war started and we had to leave.”

MIDDLE EAST

New hopes for Middle East peace talks


After years of stalemate, Israelis and Palestinians have agreed to hold talks again to solve the Middle East crisis. It’s a first success for US Secretary of State John Kerry who has been pushing for such talks.

How did the new talks come about?

US Secretary of State John Kerry can take credit for restarting peace talks. For the past weeks and months, he has been travelling to the Middle East again and again. Pressure, patience and discretion convinced Israelis and Palestinians to get together for talks.


Tepco now admits radioactive water entering the sea at Fukushima No. 1

Fisheries exec shocked by utility’s flip-flop on groundwater’s flow

AFP-JIJI


Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tepco on Monday admitted for the first time that radioactive groundwater is flowing into the sea, fueling fears that marine life is being poisoned.

The admission came a day after voters handed the largely pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — and ally New Komeito — a handsome majority in the Upper House.

Earlier this month, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said groundwater samples taken at the battered plant showed that levels of cesium-134 had shot up more than 110 times in a few days.

Foreign funding dries up for Latin American NGOs

Aid from foreign governments funds about half of Latin America’s civil society, but the global economic downturn has affected some of the biggest donors.

By Sibylla BrodzinskyCorrespondent

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA

Mónica Villota runs a small organization in Colombia’s troubled and violent Cauca region, helping farmers improve crop yields and their market access. The NGO, Esfera Azul (Blue Globe) also works to help farmers organize their communities to demand more schools, better roads, and improved healthcare services.

More than 150 farmers benefit from the NGO’s programs annually, but this year Ms. Villota has had to drop 50 farmers from the pool Esfera Azul serves and reduce her staff. All this because the organization’s main donor – the German Education Ministry – slashed its contribution to Esfera Azul by a third.

“With less money the number of people we can help shrinks,” says Villota. “We used to give the farmers we work [with] some of the raw materials they needed to get their crops growing,” she says. “This year, we couldn’t do that.”


ColaLife: Turning profits into healthy babies


Diarrhoea is one of the biggest killers of children in Africa. Cheap and simple remedies can be effective, but only if they reach those in need. So one British couple came up with a way to solve this delivery dilemma – by using something that was already there.

It is not really a main street, just a wide dusty red track between a scatter of huts and little stores that make up the village of Kanchele in southern Zambia. At one end there is a cluster of lively market stalls. At the other end, the men are playing pool. Hens and tiny chickens scratch the red earth.

It is a long way off the main road from the Zambian capital Lusaka to Livingstone near the Victoria Falls, bumping down 30 miles (50km) of increasingly rough tracks across the bush.