Cameroon Fights Back and Beats Egypt 2-1 in African Cup Final

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Cameroon rose again after years of underachievement to win the African Cup of Nations title on Sunday with a fabulous goal in the 89th minute of the final for a 2-1 come-from-behind victory against mighty Egypt.

As the final whistle got nearer, substitute Vincent Aboubakar controlled the ball just outside the area, clipped it over a defender, and then shot past the goalkeeper to clinch Cameroon’s fifth African title and first since 2002.

On the international stage, I have been a Cameroon supporter since their participation in the Summer Olympics in 1984 – and I saw them play for the first time.

Family loyalty often ties my heartstrings to Italy on the world stage [better odds than the Scots side of the family I admit]; but, if there is a global match played and Cameroon is on the card, that is who I will support.

Bravo. Wonderful victory for the Indomitable Lions.

Polio emergency declared as war and bandits spread the virus

The spread of polio to countries previously considered free of the crippling disease is a global health emergency, the World Health Organization said, as the virus once driven to the brink of extinction mounts a comeback.

Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria pose the greatest risk of exporting the virus to other countries, and should ensure that residents have been vaccinated before they travel, the Geneva-based WHO said in a statement today after a meeting of its emergency committee. It’s only the second time the United Nations agency has declared a public health emergency of international concern, after the 2009 influenza pandemic.

Polio has resurged as military conflicts from Sudan to Pakistan disrupt vaccination campaigns, giving the virus a toehold. The number of cases reached a record low of 223 globally in 2012 and jumped to 417 last year, according to the WHO. There have been 74 cases this year, including 59 in Pakistan, during what is usually polio’s “low season,” the WHO said.

The disease’s spread, if unchecked, “could result in failure to eradicate globally one of the world’s most serious, vaccine-preventable diseases,” Bruce Aylward, the WHO’s assistant director general for polio, emergencies and country collaboration, told reporters in Geneva today. “The consequences of further international spread are particularly acute today given the large number of polio-free but conflict-torn and fragile states which have severely compromised routine immunization services.”

“Conflict makes it very difficult for the vaccinators to get to the children who need vaccine,” David Heymann, a professor of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said in an interview before the WHO’s announcement. “It’s been more difficult to finish than had been hoped.”

The polio virus, which is spread through feces, attacks the nervous system and can cause paralysis within hours, and death in as many as 10 percent of its victims. There is no cure. The disease can be prevented by vaccines

The resurgence of the virus “reminds us that, until it’s eradicated, it’s going to spread internationally and it’s going to find and paralyze susceptible kids,” Aylward said.

Resurgence, as well, of the question: what holds back progress for most of the people living on this planet? Is it stupidity or ignorance? My answer changes from week to week.

It takes a special kind of stupidity after all to make uninformed and ignorant decisions. Whether the ignorance is religion-based, hatred of furriners, paranoid rejection of science and info from educated folks who obviously don’t live in your own neighborhood/state/region/country/continent – doesn’t matter a whole boatload. Killing your kin and letting your children die sounds mostly stupid to me.

Con artist claims magic potion can double your money

An African man who claimed he could double your money simply by applying a magic potion to currency notes has been arrested at a Madrid bar where the Ecuadorean owner nearly fell victim to the ploy, said Spanish national police.

Police arrived in time to catch the suspected thief, from Cameroon, with 1,120 euros that had been handed over by the bar owner. The suspect, 28, alleged he had run out of magic potion and would need to go home to get some more, a police statement and spokesman said…

He told police the suspect had come to the bar a week earlier claiming he could double currency notes by applying a magic potion, the police statement said.

Taking a chance, the owner provided a 20 euro note, and the suspect mixed it with various white papers, applied a brown liquid and white power, and mixed it up with cotton. Presto, and there were soon three 20 euro notes visible, the owner told police.

“He returned my 20,” said Tepan, who’s lived 16 years in Spain and has owned the bar in central Madrid for 11 years. When the suspect came back last Saturday, the owner provided 1,120 euros in various currency notes, after the owner and the suspect agreed on how to split up the proceeds from the doubled money, the police said.

The suspect put the bills in an envelope and sealed it with tape. Then he applied the alleged magic potion, repeating this various times, but finally told the bar owner he had run out of the magic potion and would need to go home and get more. But he promised to leave the sealed envelope at the bar…

“I realized he was trying to take the money,” Tepan told CNN. A neighbor called the police and Tepan’s adult son arrived and locked the door to the street, with the suspect inside the bar.

The police arrived and opened the sealed envelope but found only white papers inside. Then they searched the suspect, and found the 1,120 euros hidden in his clothing, the police statement said.

This is one of the oldest cons in the world. Usually the bait is a bit more rational sounding – like found money. Falling for a magic potion is more than gullible.

Illegal logging of tropical rainforests down 50-75%

Efforts to tackle illegal destruction of the world’s rainforests have been a success, according to a new report that details a significant fall in unauthorised logging.

The Chatham House study, released today, says that illegal logging has dropped by between 50 and 75% across Cameroon, Indonesia and the Brazilian Amazon over the last decade; globally it has dropped by one-fifth since 2002.

The study credits actions taken by governments and pressure groups for the improvement, as well as greater responsibility across the private sector.

Sam Lawson, associate fellow at Chatham House and lead author of the report, said: “Up to a billion of the world’s poorest people are dependent on forests, and reductions in illegal logging are helping to protect their livelihoods.” The fall in illegal logging, if continued, could save billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and help the fight against global warming, the report says.

The change over the last decade has seen 17m hectares of forest saved from degradation, preventing the release of 1.2bn tonnes of CO2 emissions. Viewed another way, if the trees saved were legally logged and sold, this could bring an extra US$6.5bn in additional income to the forest nations.

Stephen O’Brien, international development minister, said: “In the world’s poorest countries, illegal logging fuels corruption and results in billions of pounds in lost revenue every year. For the hundreds of millions of people across the globe who depend on forests for their livelihood, curbing illegal logging means vital sources of income remain protected…

Mind, illegal logging ain’t halted. But, it’s great to see a combination of forces achieving the level of success that exists.

Folks always forget that crimes that seem to produce short-term gains even at the consumption end of the market cycle – in truth, screw everyone else along the supply chain. There isn’t anyone in manufacturing or distribution of illicit products who is earning as much as someone employed in legitimate work.

Nigeria returns Bakassi – and oil reserves – to Cameroon

Nigeria has relinquished control of the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula to its neighbor Cameroon despite fears the handover will provoke attacks from local armed groups who oppose it.

The Nigerian government agreed to transfer Bakassi two years ago in line with a 2002 International Court of Justice order but violence, political disputes and legal skirmishes had delayed it. About 50 people have been killed in border fighting in the last year alone.

Analysts said Cameroon will have to confront the deteriorating security situation before it can begin to exploit the region’s offshore oil reserves.

Heightened security concerns in Bakassi forced organizers to cancel a flag-exchanging ceremony at the peninsula’s main town Abana, relocating it instead to a safer venue in Calabar city, some 192 km (120 miles) away.

The two African countries, which nearly went to war over Bakassi on several occasions, have agreed to work together to explore for oil in the region, which could help boost Cameroon’s declining production of around 90,000 barrels per day.

More crappy decisions leftover from more blatant days of colonial empires. In this instance, resulting from Africa being carved up between Germany and Britain.

Too bad there isn’t punctuation which represents spitting in the direction of the crowned heads of Europe!