Angola, officially the Republic of Angola (Portuguese: República de Angola, Kongo: Repubilika ya Ngola), is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean. The exclave province of Cabinda has a border with the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Angola was a Portuguese overseas territory from the 16th century to 1975. After independence, Angola was the scene of an intense civil war from 1975 to 2002. The country is the second-largest petroleum and diamond producer in sub-Saharan Africa; however, its life expectancy and infant mortality rates are both among the worst ranked in the world.
In August 2006, a peace treaty was signed with a faction of the FLEC, a separatist guerrilla group from the Cabinda exclave in the North, which is still active. About 65% of Angola’s oil comes from that region.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has drastically cut the daily production of oil by 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd). In a decision reached in Oran, Algeria, energy ministers from all 12 OPEC members agreed to make the largest cut in OPEC’s history.
Oil prices have fallen from a high of $140 in July to just around $40; a decrease of $100. OPEC has cut 4.2 million bpd since September, when the price of oil decreased suddenly over fears of a global recession and lower usage of oil.
With this new decrease, production by OPEC members will be 24.845 million bpd. Saudi Arabia is taking the majority of the cut by decreasing their production by 1.2 bpd. Read More…
Health authorities from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the government of Angola have revealed that bromide poisoning may be the source of a mystery illness first reported in early October.
The outbreak of over 400 reported cases of a neurological disorder was centred in the Cacuaco district of Angola’s capital city Luanda. A majority of the afflicted have been children under the age of 15. There have been no deaths attributed directly to the disorder.
According to a statement in the state-run AngolaPress, symptoms have included “sleepiness, blear-eyedness, dizziness and difficulty to speak, walk and extreme tiredness.” WHO described the drowsiness as being so severe that the patient would require “painful stimuli” to be awoken.
Results from laboratory tests carried out in London and Munich indicated elevated levels of bromide present in the blood and kitchen salt samples examined. It is suspected that sodium chloride (table salt) may have been contaminated with sodium bromide, an agent used in pharmaceuticals and industry.
However, authorities caution that more investigation is required to determine the source and cause of the illness. Consequently, further testing of blood, food and water has been initiated.
On Wednesday, WHO dispatched additional technical and support personnel to Angola to assist local health officials.