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Swaziland

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Swaziland: Women find strength in numbers
3 January 2013 - Swazi women are organizing to promote their rights and welfare, convinced that discriminatory laws are at odds with the essential roles they play in their families and in their country's economy. The Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civil Organizations has noted that the Swazi government has signed various international accords pledging to end gender discrimination, but it has never enacted legislation to put those pledges into action. In the past year, the Swaziland Single Mothers Association (SWAMASO), which aims to improve the lives of single mothers and reduce high teen pregnancy rates, doubled its membership. Other women's groups include the Swazi Women for Positive Living, the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse, and the Swaziland Young Women's Network. (more)

Swaziland: Alternative crops take root
6 May 2007 - After years of cajoling by nongovernmental organizations and Swaziland's ministry of agriculture to plant drought-resistant crops and diversify from maize, the staple food, small-scale farmers are finally heeding the message. (more)

Swaziland: Women plough ahead in farming
26 April 2007 - The women of Swaziland, once legally powerless to do anything, have taken agriculture in their own hands, ensuring that their families are provided for. (more)

Swaziland: Volunteers provide essential services in cash-shy towns
17 April 2007 - Volunteers from the community and welfare nongovernmental organisations are regularly called upon to perform services that would normally be provided by municipal governments and financed by taxpayers, in order to help their under-resourced local government. (more)

Swaziland: Crimes against children reduced by a third
17 November 2006 - A year after establishing a specialised unit to combat domestic violence and child abuse, Swaziland is claiming to have reduced crimes against children by a third. (more)

Swaziland finally tackling corruption
17 July 2006 - King Mswati III, Swaziland's executive monarch, has finally signed a law empowering the government's Anti-Corruption Unit, 10 years after the body was established. (more)

Swaziland focusing on children
24 June 2006 - Swaziland is drawing up legislation focusing on the protection of children's rights. (more)

Swaziland: King says democracy is too expensive
28 April 2006 - Sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, King Mswati of Swaziland, said his country is not ready for political parties and criticized foreign governments for meddling in the internal affairs of the country he has ruled for 20 years. (more)

Swaziland: New approach to shanty towns gives residents rights and responsibilities
11 January 2006 - Authorities in Swaziland are trying a new approach: rather than bulldozing shanty towns, they will give dwellers land rights, provide utilities, and enable residents to obtain home-improvement funds to rebuild on their plots and transform their own communities and quality of life. (more)


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Sweden: Teens' poor breakfast choices predict later health problems
7 February 2014 - Teenagers who didn't eat a good breakfast were more likely to be obese and have elevated blood sugar in middle age, a new study shows. Researchers at Umea University in Sweden found that teens who reported eating no breakfast or only sweets were two-thirds more likely to develop a cluster of risk factors linked to heart disease and diabetes when they were in their 40s than their peers who ate more substantial morning meals. 'It may be that eating breakfast aids in keeping to a healthier diet the rest of the day,' the study's lead author, Maria Wennberg, told Reuters Health in an email. Kids who miss breakfast experience hunger surges and tend to overeat later in the day, Dr. David Ludwig, a pediatrics and nutrition researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said. In the study, those who reported missing breakfast or eating a poor-quality one as a teenager were 68 per cent more likely to have metabolic syndrome in middle age. About 35 per cent of US adults have metabolic syndrome, according to the American Heart Association. In addition to a large waistline and high blood sugar, components of the syndrome include high blood pressure and low 'good' cholesterol. (more)

Swaziland: IMF walks away from the Kingdom
18 May 2012 - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has withdrawn its advisory team from Swaziland, saying it is unable to support the government's proposed financial reform programme. The IMF was assisting the government in implementing the Fiscal Adjustment Roadmap (FAR), to right-size the budget, where government spending currently exceeds its revenue. Swaziland's severe financial woes began after the global slowdown in 2008, when revenue from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) plummeted. The union -- comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland -- applies a common set of tariffs and disproportionately distributes the revenue to member states. The spending habits of King Mswati III - sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch - and the royal household are routinely splashed across newspapers, from the overseas shopping trips of his 13 wives to a 'birthday present' for the king this year of a multimillion-dollar private jet. The South African daily newspaper, The Star, reported on 17 May that one of Mswati's wives had run up a bill of US$65,000 at a luxury Johannesburg hotel during her month-long stay. About two-thirds of Swaziland's 1.1 million population live in chronic poverty in a food insecure country that also has the world's highest HIV/AIDS prevalence, with one in four people aged 15-49 infected. (more)

Swaziland: Appeals for international aid fall on deaf ears
29 August 2007 - Despite the worst harvest in the country's recorded history, drought, and the aftermath of fires that destroyed crops and plantations, Swaziland's appeals for international assistance are falling on deaf donor ears. (more)

Swaziland: Economic decline as investors spurn kingdom
8 April 2007 - Poor management of its resources, unskilled labour, and the inability to attract foreign investors has left the land-locked country of Swaziland highly dependent on neighbouring South Africa. Overgrazing, soil depletion, and successive years of drought have left around a quarter of the population dependent on food aid since 2002. (more)

Swaziland: Growing number of children working
14 November 2006 - Rights activists have demanded laws to protect Swaziland's children, particularly its growing population of AIDS orphans, from being exploited as cheap labour. According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) orphans are twice as likely to engage in child labour, while a World Bank study pointed out that Swaziland has the highest number of school dropouts in Southern Africa. (more)

Swaziland: Global pollution, not home-grown overgrazing causing desertification
13 June 2006 - Swaziland says global warming is the key culprit in encroaching desertification. (more)

Swaziland: Well-connected loansharks swim in a sea of poverty
26 April 2006 - The Swazi media have launched an attack on the country's exploitative moneylenders who are often the only source of finance for the poor, and in doing so have exposed the reach of the networks. (more)

Government reports poverty on the increase in Swaziland
24 February 2006 - Releasing Swaziland's budget this week, Finance Minister Majozi Sithole revealed that two-thirds of the population earned less than a dollar a day. An estimated 69 per cent of the population survive on about US$21 a month, enough only to buy a loaf of bread per day. (more)

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