Lake Victoria, the source of the White Nile could be reduced to a swamp within decades unless action is taken to save it according to the Executive Director of the UN Environmental Programme, quoted in THE TIMES (2nd November). The report compared past and present satellite pictures revealing the growing danger to African Lakes. The water level of Lake Victoria, which provided fishing and transport for 30 million people, had dropped by a metre in the past 10 years alone he said. (Thank you Simon Hardwick for this – Editor) .

In the November ‘Dar es Salaam Guide’ Gloria Mawji described what she said had been a fascinating exhibition in London in October – Working for Peanuts’ – by installation artist Patricia Derrick whose father had worked on the Tanganyika Groundnut Scheme in the late 1940s. The aim had been to use contemporary art, photography and documentation to shed light on the social effects and the illusory nature of the largest fully mechanised agricultural enterprise ever undertaken in Africa. It was intended to clear over 5 million acres of scrubland in six years and 30,000 men were employed. By 1951, when it the British government admitted defeat, £49 million had been sunk into the scheme without any significant quantities of groundnuts having been produced.

The British government through its nature conservation programme – the Darwin Initiative – has granted £144,268 to support black-wood conservation projects in Tanzania. The Mpingo Conservation Project in Kilwa and Fauna International of the United Kingdom received the grant for three-years. Other areas where the fund has been directed are research projects on black-wood conservation, and support to Kilwa District Council in managing the black-wood and other high value timber stocks. The Mpingo Project was founded in November 1995 and started off as a series of joint British-Tanzania student expeditions, which investigated the distribution, ecology and exploitation of Mpingo in southern Tanzania – Express.

The government has announced that ten new Arabica coffee varieties, developed at the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TACRI) at Lyamungu, Kilimanajro Region, are now ready for distribution to farmers. They were described at the inauguration ceremony as having outstanding performance and beverage quality.

The Chancellor of the Open University of Tanzania(OUT), Dr John Malecela, has declared former Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Geoffrey Mmari, Professor Emeritus. He conferred the award at a colourful prize giving ceremony during the 14th Convocation and AGM of the university. In his speech, Professor Ralph Masenge described Professor Mmari as a distinguished scholar of rare stature and calibre, who stands to be honoured by the institution he founded and nurtured during his 12 years of service.

uniProfessor Esther Mwaikambo, Vice-chancellor Hubert Kariuki Memorial University and vice president of the Britain-Tanzania Society (left), with Minister of Higher Education & Science Professor Pius Ngw’ando at the third graduation ceremony of the University on Nov 17th 2005

The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) has been ranked 13th out of 100 top African Universities, ahead of other universities in East Africa, in terms of the quality of education and research. According to a recent study by an international website research group, InternetLab, which has its headquarters in Madrid, UDSM is behind 11 South African universities and a US university based in Egypt. The criteria used in the exercise were teaching staff qualifications, the relevance of the academic programmes and the quality and usefulness of publications. The only local university that came close the UDSM in the list was the Morogoro-based Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), which ranks 56th – Guardian.

British Airways has chosen Tanzania as the setting for its new commercial to be shown as part of the airline’s in-flight entertainment and used at airports, exhibitions and other related events around the world. BA Tanzania Country Manager Saada Juma said that Tanzania had been selected from among 83 countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East and added that this was the first time that the carrier was using locations in Africa. The market in Zanzibar had been voted as the best scene for the film, beating famous sites in various big cities around the world – Guardian.

It has been discovered that many young people in Dodoma Region buy condoms for fashion only, but do not use them when they have sex. Research conducted by an organization which provides AIDS education has established that such a habit contributes greatly to the spread of HIV and AIDS. Young people were said to only buying condoms to satisfy their partners’ requests but then leave them unused – The Express.

A total of 7,090 remandees were languishing in Tanzania mainland prisons in 2004 awaiting trial, according to the International Federation for Human Rights Report for 2005. Some 34 prisoners on remand had spent 10 years in prison prior to trial. 93 had spent between 8 and 10 years in prison. Those having spent between 6 months and 2 years incarcerated totalled 2,561. 360 prisoners were awaiting execution – The Express..

Zanzibaris started getting their new national identity cards in mid-October. The main objective is to prevent local jobs from being taken by foreigners. Under the law, in the event of jobs falling vacant they can only be given to foreigners where there is no qualified Zanzibari. The cards are also designed to stem the rising crime wave and to ‘hedge the holders against unnecessary political disputes arising from registration of voters or when voting.’

Three foreign oil companies have won tenders for offshore oil exploration in southern Tanzania, the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) has announced. Managing Director Yona Killagane said that Statoil of Norway had won a block on the north of Mafia island, Petrobras of Brazil, a block east of Mafia and Ophir Energy of Australia/South Africa, a block close to the Mozambique border. Eleven companies were already engaged in exploration of gas and oil in Tanzania with 34 exploratory wells drilled in 280,000 square kilometres of land since 1950. Drilling an offshore well costs 30 million US dollars (Shs 33bn/-). The TPDC chief said it was too early to say when Tanzania would strike oil, but several technical reports showed great potential – Daily News.

There was a crime wave in Zanzibar in September. Gangsters robbed a wholesale shop of 34m/- in Darajani Street injuring a bystander. The incident took place just hours after gangsters opened fire on a car carrying prominent businessman Naushad Mohammed. No one was injured in the attack. Armed robbers also staged a daring raid on the Nungwi Village Hotel in Zanzibar on September 9 and made off with Shs 18 million and guest’s valuables including laptops, mobile phones and cash. This robbery followed a raid a week earlier on the Coral Reef Hotel where millions of shillings and valuables of an unspecified value were taken. They robbers also took two watches and eight mobile phones from members of the hotel’s staff before speeding off in a Suzuki Escudo whose registration number plates were hidden – Guardian.

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