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Ancient creatures threaten the food supply in Kenya | Instant News


NAIROBI, Kenya

Isabel Mberia points to corn crops on her farm in Tigania in the Meru region of eastern Kenya.

Ancient creatures threaten the food supply in Kenya

The morning air was filled with a muffled, buzzing cracking sound.

Instead of the usual green that people expect, the plants are filled with brownish-yellow grasshoppers chewing on the leaves and growing corn cobs.

“When Kenya was attacked by grasshoppers last year, we survived. They didn’t reach here, but this whole year we woke up one morning and people could barely see the sun, ”Mberia, 61, told Anadolu Agency. “There are millions of grasshoppers everywhere. Some people in the market said they had just migrated but they were still here eating it all. “

Its prized mango tree, among others, is in its fields, filled with grasshoppers. The tiny ancient creature that has been a nightmare for farmers since time immemorial is chewing on flowers, fruit, seeds, leaves, and even tree bark.

“There’s not much we can do about them. We tried to get rid of them but there were too many of them, ”said Mberia. “We’ve never had a food problem here. Together with my husband, in over 40 years of farming, we have never seen anything like it. This is the worst plague we have ever seen. Now food is very expensive because all of our food is being eaten. “

Biblical plague

Farmer Anne Kagendo, 48, also counted the losses and bemoaned the locust invasion that led to food shortages.

“They eat tomatoes, potatoes, corn, various beans, even cotton … who knows that grasshoppers eat cotton … even my neighbor’s wheat and bananas have been eaten,” he said. “This is clearly a biblical plague. I have never seen anything like this, they are merciless and hungry all the time. ”

Thousands of farmers in Meru Regency are counting huge losses because desert grasshoppers destroy agriculture every day. Locusts arrived at a time when most of the produce grown in eastern Kenya was ready to be harvested.

Farmers in Meru are among hundreds of thousands from 14 other districts of the 47 that make up Kenya, which was hit by a second wave of locust outbreaks that were twice as deadly as the one that hit Kenya in 2020.

The government said it had deployed spraying and surveillance planes to help deal with the pests and noted it had sufficient resources and was better equipped than 2020 to fight back.

Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna is pushing for collaborative efforts with Ethiopia and Somalia, from where grasshoppers migrate to Kenya, to eradicate pests.

“If Kenya is actively containing or combating locusts, it may not mean much if neighboring countries do not do the same,” he said in a statement.

Agriculture Minister Peter Munya told reporters that more than 75 herds had been reported in Kenya.

“We can’t fight grasshoppers in Somalia and Ethiopia where they breed. “What we can do is fight them in Kenya, because they are breeding in Kenya, it should be noted that the war against grasshoppers might last until June,” he said.

Armed with an estimated budget of 3.2 billion shillings, or $ 30 million, set aside to fight a second wave, Munya said Kenya was well equipped to fight the swarm and promised that in countries where livelihoods had been affected, governments would step in and offers crop and livestock interventions that include distribution of seeds and cereals, clean water and fertilizers among others.

The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

A one-square-kilometer swarm, a little over a mile and a half, contains up to 80 million locusts and can eat the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people. The number of grasshoppers increased 20-fold in three months with each new generation.

Food shortages

At the Mulika market in Tigania, residents complain that even though the government has guaranteed everything will be fine, food shortages have occurred.

“The price of foodstuffs, especially our basic needs … mostly vegetables, has increased three or even four times,” said Kagwiria Juliet.

He noted that residents are now forced to eat lots of cereals that have been dried and preserved.

However, the poultry business is booming.

“Our business is doing very well because grasshoppers are a good food source for poultry,” said trader Timothy Munya. “Birds love grasshoppers. We are not sure if we can meet the demand and many people choose foods like chicken because it is cheaper. “

The intensity of East African desert locusts has also been blamed on climate change with a focus on Cyclone Gati that hit the Somali coast in the Indian Ocean in November last year, the FAO said.

The East African food basket region receives heavy rainfall during the summer, promising farmers good yields and providing plentiful grazing land for nomadic herders.

But the torrential rains also provided food for the locust swarms that originated in Yemen, moved to Somalia and spread across East Africa.

Etienne Peterschmitt of the United Nations said in a statement: “Rain and wind are the two most favorable conditions for desert locusts to reproduce rapidly and spread over areas where they have been controlled.”

In Kenya, where grasshoppers have ripped through more than a quarter of counties across the country, nomadic farmers and herders have been left destroyed.


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Switzerland – Pastor Army has a new vocation at the forefront of the pandemic | Instant News


(MENAFN – Swissinfo)

Today, being an army chaplain means listening and talking more than doing religious rituals. Vbs / ddps

To support the troops, army chaplains increased their scope of operations. To deal with the stress caused by the pandemic, they are now offering psychological assistance to soldiers.

This content is published on February 16, 2021 – 09:00 February 16, 2021 – 09:00 Olivier Pauchard

Specialist in federal politics. Previously worked at the Swiss national news agency and at Radio Friborg.

More on the author | French Department

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    Pandemic and chaplain in the Swiss Armed Forces

Last spring, the army mobilized its troops to support civilian authorities during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. This is the first time since World War Two that the Swiss army has been deployed in this way. A new support mission – this time consisting mainly of volunteers – is ongoing through the end of March to deal with the second wave underway.

The soldiers might not be performing complex combat maneuvers, but their new mission was not necessarily psychologically easy. In this context, the Army Chaplain asked 35 priests to participate. There are currently five pastors available for those who need additional counseling.

“Imagine a young person who has to leave civilian life overnight ending up in a hospital caring for a dying person. For example, I recently met a 21-year-old soldier whose job was to prevent a patient from unplugging a medical tube. It is psychologically exhausting,” he said. Captain Stefan Junger, chief of the Army Chapel.

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Covid 19 coronavirus: COVID-19 patients died in hospital, two new cases in managed isolation | Instant News


The Health Ministry has revealed that a person who previously tested positive for Covid-19 had died after being hospitalized for treatment for a “serious condition not related to Covid-19”.

There are two new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation and there are no new cases in society at this time.

The ministry said in its daily 1pm update that it was “deeply saddened to confirm” the death of a patient with Covid-19 at North Shore Hospital.

The statement added: “The patient was transferred from a Managed Isolation Facility to hospital-level care for the treatment of serious conditions unrelated to Covid-19 on February 5.

“This person then returned a positive COVID-19 result after entering. This positive result has been reported before.

“Patients talk to families every day, either by zoom or telephone.”

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said: “On behalf of New Zealanders, I want to acknowledge the loss of this family.

“This is a time for all of us to give deep sympathy, while respecting the privacy of our family.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry said the new confirmed cases were linked to a person who traveled from India, via the United Arab Emirates, on February 9.

The number of confirmed cases in the country is 1972. The total number of tests processed by the laboratory to date is 1,583,469.

As of Friday, the lab processed 4,683 tests.

Of Friday’s cases in managed isolation cases, one arrived on January 26 from the UK and traveled via Singapore. They tested positive around day 16.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed that New Zealand’s frontline border workers will start receiving the first Covid-19 vaccinations from next Saturday.

Starting February 20, border workers and MIQ in Auckland will be offered the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

Speaking to media in Auckland this morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it would take about two to three weeks for 12,000 frontline workers to receive the injections.

After the launch is complete, their family members will be offered vaccinations.

“Health and care workers and those most at risk of Covid-19 will follow in the second quarter, before vaccination of the wider population in the second half of this year,” Ardern said.

He added that the full vaccination program would take a whole year to roll out as a whole.

“This will be New Zealand’s largest vaccination campaign.”

Today is the first time the Government has set any timetable for vaccine launches.

The only new Covid case yesterday arrived on February 8 from the US. Infections were retrieved as a result of day 0 testing.

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Optimist group: The survey revealed what the Kiwis are really upbeat about despite Covid-19 | Instant News


Lifestyle

Research released today shows Kiwis are very optimistic, with living here in New Zealand a major factor behind our optimism.

New Zealand has a fairly good reputation around the world as a beautiful place with great people.

But what do we Kiwis really think about each other and our country?

After the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2020 lockdown, you could be forgiven for thinking people were a little more pessimistic about life.

But research released today shows Kiwis are very optimistic, with living here in New Zealand a major factor behind our optimism.

In a study conducted by Tip Top, 82 percent of respondents described ourselves as optimists, with 9 out of 10 describing New Zealanders as positive.

Regardless of age, gender and wherever you live in the country, the majority are optimistic.

However, those over 60 years of age are the most optimistic and having children also helps you see the bright side of life.

While Covid-19 has caused chaos around the world, 85 percent of Kiwis continue to strive for optimism.

Those surveyed noted three main areas that gave them optimism for 2021.

Eighty-six percent were positive mostly about New Zealand’s natural beauty, 79 percent about our response to Covid-19 and 63 percent about our friendly people.

Three main things have helped us enter 2021 in a positive frame of mind: New Zealand's natural beauty (86 percent), our response to Covid-19 (79 percent), and friendly people (63 percent).  Photos / Files
Three main things have helped us enter 2021 in a positive frame of mind: New Zealand’s natural beauty (86 percent), our response to Covid-19 (79 percent), and friendly people (63 percent). Photos / Files

Only 2 percent said there was nothing to be optimistic about.

Most of those surveyed also believe New Zealand is one of the best countries on Earth.

Associate Professor Chris Krägeloh from the AUT Department of Psychology and Neuroscience said it seemed the Kiwi was ready to tackle the more challenges it faced.

“Research clearly links optimism to well-being and happiness. The results of this survey show that New Zealanders appear ready to face whatever challenges 2021 will present.”

“Of course, the reasons for optimism are mixed, and our predictions for the future are always adjusted depending on what we see in the news.”

Because the Kiwis are feeling more optimistic today than they were six months ago (half said they have improved), the researchers also asked what they were looking forward to this year.

Community, family time, and the Covid-19 vaccine were all named by more than 50 percent of those questioned.

“It appears that New Zealand as a whole is very resilient and may benefit from less disruption to life during the 2020 lockdown than other countries, which will set them well for a positive outlook in 2021,” said Associate Professor Krägeloh.

“Previous international welfare surveys show New Zealand as a relatively quiet country – less socially inclined than people in European countries. This in turn could have a less disruptive effect on last year’s Kiwi social welfare, and a sense of optimism. higher for next year.

“As such, relatively quiet New Zealanders can handle lockdowns better than people in other countries, but of course that doesn’t mean New Zealanders shouldn’t hang out for ice cream, hook up and give each other a boost for the future. “

Other findings include:

• 60 percent of Kiwis are optimistic about New Zealanders working together on things that matter

• 59 percent are optimistic about a Covid-19 vaccine for everyone

• 55 percent are optimistic about spending time with family

• 37 percent said being able to travel to another Covid-19-free country was the thing they were most optimistic about

• 4 out of 10 Kiwis have made New Year’s resolutions – and the more optimistic you are, the more likely you are to make them

• New Zealanders rate their optimism for the next year as 7 out of 10

The survey was conducted between January 7 and 12, with 750 Kiwis over 18 from across the country participating.

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Spy: The ups and downs of Miss New Zealand | Instant News


A montage of the former Miss New Zealand winner is featured in an upcoming documentary about the competition.

An interesting documentary is being made about the ups and downs of the Miss New Zealand competition.

During the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, winning the title was the equivalent of becoming an All Black in terms of fame. But now, competition is barely making a ripple.

Documentary filmmaker Neil Gussey says the winner of the competition from that era is Lady Di. She was right, they accompanied royals on women’s magazine covers over the decades and many have had very successful careers in the world of fashion, beauty, and television.

“This documentary is an exciting journey back in time, talking to various winners and reminiscing about their experiences in their years in office,” said Gussey, who has worked with some of the biggest names in the business as a photographer since the 80’s.

He has selected nine winners from the years he thinks stood out the most from both their victories and beyond.

These include our most famous beauty queen Lorraine Downes, who became our first Miss Universe in 1983, and Elaine Daley (Miscall), who was a celebrity for decades when she finished second at Miss World in 1963.

Mrs World 1987 winner Barbara McDowell will appear and Gussey says some of the funniest stories have come from Tracey Allan and her mother, Lorraine, who named Miss Mother and Daughter New Zealand 1988 and flew to Guam and reached the finals.

Alongside interviews with previous winners, Gussey has interviewed several famous faces and industry experts, including Colin Mathura-Jeffree, Paula Ryan, Dame Trelise Cooper, Di Goldsworthy and of course the eyes and ears of the time, the great David Hartnell, to tell the background. behind him and is it really a fairy tale to everyone.

One thing people often forget, Gussey says, is that we nearly lost Miss Universe three years before Downes took the crown in 1983 at Denyse Borley (Nottle)

“Two days before the final of Miss Universe 1980, the press photographer chose Denyse as the winner of Miss Photogenic and she shot up and, out of 75 contestants, was the same favorite to win, along with Miss Sweden and Miss USA with bookies odds of 3-1. “

Nottle was runner up 2nd and went on to become a successful international model working in Europe for many years and is now based in London.

Documentary filmmaker Neil Gussey is working on a document that explores the Miss New Zealand competition.
Documentary filmmaker Neil Gussey is working on a document that explores the Miss New Zealand competition.

Gussey thinks the peak of the competition will be the mid-80s, when Downes took the crown and the number of views on TV was very high.

In regards to the fall in competition, he said it happened in 1989, when TVNZ stopped playing and time had passed. Gussey said he has seen a revival in the modern era with the rise of reality TV and social media.

She includes Holly Michelle Cassidy from 2013, who competed in Russia for Miss Universe when Donald Trump was running the competition, and Jess Tyson from 2018, who went to Miss World and reached the top six.

Gussey hopes the interview will be completed by the end of August. Look forward to major film screenings at the Event Theater with all proceeds going to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Center.

The film will then be put on various film festivals next year and be available to watch online.

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