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MADAGASCAR: Cyclone kills at least 10 people
15 February 2012 (IRIN ), At least 10 people have died after Cyclone Giovanna struck Madagascar but details of its impact on the regions which bore the brunt of the category-four tropical storm remain sketchy, as communications and electricity supplies have been cut.
MADAGASCAR: Cyclone expected in high population areas
13 February 2012 (IRIN ), A category four tropical storm, Cyclone Giovanna, is expected to make landfall on 14 February close to the Madagascan east coast town of Toamasina and thereafter head for the capital Antananarivo.
MADAGASCAR: The “less is more” philosophy of rice production
31 January 2012 (IRIN ), Ernest Rakotoarivony, 45, was teased by some members of the Talata community, a small town 30km north of Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, after breaking with traditional rice cultivation methods and employing a technique taught to him by a Jesuit priest.
MADAGASCAR: Illegal rosewood trade continues
19 January 2012 (IRIN ), Environmentalists and the international community are trying to find ways of limiting the damage caused by an explosion in the illegal logging of precious hardwoods in Madagascar since a major political crisis began there nearly three years ago.
SOUTHERN AFRICA: Pick of the year 2011
29 December 2011 (IRIN ), In 2011 the global economic crisis combined with poor governance, financial mismanagement and unpredictable rainfall to push several southern African countries to the point of crisis. Others responded to rising unemployment and increased pressure on national budgets by hardening their attitude towards immigrants and closing their borders to asylum-seekers. IRIN covered developments from all over the region, but the following stories consistently grabbed headlines:
MADAGASCAR: Legal aid clinics help rural women
22 December 2011 (IRIN ), Legal aid clinics are playing an important role during Madagascar's current political and economic crisis, especially for poverty-hit rural women who are under-served by the country's ailing judicial system.
SOUTHERN AFRICA: Counter-trafficking measures trail commitments
12 December 2011 (IRIN ), At any given time, an estimated 130,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa are engaged in forced labour as a result of trafficking. It is a fraction of the global figure, which the International Labour Organization (ILO) puts at 2.5 million, but this highly lucrative and concealed crime is on the rise in Africa and traffickers usually operate with impunity.
CLIMATE CHANGE: Durban or bust - the Trans-African Caravan of Hope
2 December 2011 (IRIN ), Brandishing a plea for developed countries to make good their promises to reduce carbon emissions, 300 farmers, youths and activists took the scenic route to the COP17 conference in Durban, travelling more than 7,000km from Burundi in 17 days, through 10 eastern and southern African countries, aboard a convoy of buses draped in various national flags.
MADAGASCAR: Donors deliver despite sanctions
30 November 2011 (IRIN ), After more than two years of political crisis, Madagascar finally appears to be moving towards the restoration of democracy. A new prime minister has been appointed, and elections are planned for 2012. Donors who suspended aid to the impoverished island nation are watching these developments closely.
AFRICA: Sub-Saharan sanitation targets “two centuries away”
18 November 2011 (IRIN ), It will take two centuries for sub-Saharan Africa to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, according to NGO WaterAid, which calls on national leaders to commit 3.5 percent of their annual budget to the sector.

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