Bank of Tanzania new currency release in 2011
The Bank of Tanzania has issued a new series of banknotes which will circulate side by side with the current notes which were introduced in 2003, until these are gradually withdrawn from circulation. Changes include the portraits of founders of the Nation, the late Mwalimu Julius Kamabarage Nyerere on the one thousand and the late Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume on the five hundred denominations. The other notes show Tanzania’s wildlife heritage with the Lion, the Rhino and the Elephant. Various new technologies are also included in an effort to curb the problem of counterfeiting.

Ghailani Partially Cleared
Tanzanian Ahmed Ghailani (36) who has been in a New York court charged with taking part in a worldwide terrorist plot, which killed 236 people in the bombing of the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998, has been cleared of 284 out of 285 criminal counts. The jury found him guilty on November 17 of just one count – conspiring to destroy buildings and property of the US, which carries a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison. Ghailani was captured in Pakistan in 2004, held by the Central Intelligence Agency for more than two years and subjected to so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, which the defence called torture. He was later transferred to the US naval base at Guantanamo – Guardian.

Mkapa for the Sudan
The United Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, has appointed former President Benjamin Mkapa the leader of a special panel to monitor the referendum in Southern Sudan. Other members of the panel according to the Citizen are former Portugal Foreign minister Antonio Monteiro and former Nepal Election Commission chairman Bhojraj Pokharel.

New rôle for rats?
Sokoine University of Agriculture in collaboration with ‘Apopo HeroRats’ are looking at prospects of mounting cameras on rats following earthquakes to help in the search for human beings. Dogs can only sniff those lying on the surface. The organisers are looking for funding for equipment including cameras that won’t burden the rats, wireless devices to project the images to a visual device, microphones, torches and also training of the rats so that that they know when to return when they come across a body. It is hoped to use the same concept being used in Mozambique to detect landmines. Over 1.9 million square metres of land of has been returned to the local population there.

Apopo is a social enterprise that deploys rat technology for humanitarian purposes and is currently employing 143 staff in Tanzania and Mozambique and has over 300 rats in various stages of breeding, training or implementation.

The Serengeti Highway
[See background in TA 97] A network of 56 environmental non-governmental organisations asked the government in December not to tarmac a 53 km section of the proposed 480 km Arusha-Musoma highway through the Serengeti National Park as it is an important corridor for seasonal migration of wildebeest. The project has drawn the attention of activists from around the world.

An official from Serengeti Environmental Protection and Development Association said that the majority of people backed the road due to its socio-economic importance – Guardian.

Rise in Pass Rates
53.5% Standard Seven pupils passed the examinations that determine those entitled to join secondary schools. This is an improvement of 4.1% over the previous year. 48% of the successful pupils were girls and 59% boys. Pass rates increased for Swahili (71% compared with 69%) mathematics (25% compared with 21%) and science (56% compared with 53%) – Citizen.

Project Fame
Uganda’s Davis Ntare emerged the winner of Tusker Project Fame reality show in November to claim the KSh5 million ($62,000) prize. Tanzania’s Peter Msechu finished in second place, with Kenyans Stephen Nyabwa and Amileena Mwenesi in third and fourth places respectively. A total of 18 contestants spent eight weeks at the academy and were coached on improving their vocal, instrumental, dance and performing skills.

Lilanga wows Paris

Hermes scarf with Lilanga design at Paris airport - Photo Osei G Kofi www.africancolours.com

As a sign that the “tinga tinga” style has become an internationally accepted art style, Hermes of Paris have brought out one of their famous silk scarves screen printed with a design by the late George Lilanga. Lilanga’s work has been displayed outside Africa since the late seventies, at the Mary Knoll Ossining Centre in New York in 1978 and in a 1985 travelling exhibition that stopped in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. He also took part in the landmark “Africa Remix” road show which passed through Europe, Japan and Houston in 2004-2006.

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