Category Archives: General

Hungary: ‘Porgy and Bess’ Cast Asked to Be African American

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY The Hungarian State Opera has asked the nearly all-white cast for its production of “Porgy and Bess” to self-identify as African American.

The Hungarian performers were asked to sign a statement declaring that “African-American origin and identity is an inseparable part of my identity” and made being in “Porgy and Bess” “a special joy,” Hungary’s index.hu news site reported.

Hungarian broadcaster ATV reported Tuesday that 15 of 28 cast members signed the statement. One man in the State Opera production is from Guinea-Bissau in west Africa and another’s father is from there.

The State Opera’s casting of the seminal folk opera set in the American south ran into trouble with George and Ira Gershwin’s estates. The brothers and collaborator DuBose Heyward created “Porgy and Bess” for black performers, and the Gershwin estates say only black performers may appear in it now.

The Hungarian show “is not permitted in its current form and contradicts the work’s staging requirements,” a statement from the rights holders says on the opera’s website. Asking cast members to identify as African American appears to be the opera’s way around the dispute.

‘No public registry of skin color’

Opera director Szilvester Okovacs told ATV that since Hungary doesn’t record the race of individuals, he preferred to ask the cast.

“There is no public registry of skin color in Hungary … and I can’t really say about the cast if it meets or not the requirement, so I’d rather ask them,” Okovacs said.

The State Opera’s “Porgy and Bess” premiered in January 2018 and is performed in English, with Hungarian and English subtitles. Seven more performances are planned in 2019.

It moves the setting from Charleston, South Carolina, to a refugee camp in an airplane hangar. A commentary for the classicalhive.com website said it was “not ‘Porgy and Bess.”‘

“It is their own narrative set to the music of ‘Porgy and Bess.’ Which is a mess and misses the point completely,” the website said.

Source: Voice of America

Uganda Says Arrests Made in Kidnapping of American Tourist

KAMPALA Ugandan police say they have arrested some people over the kidnapping last week of an American tourist who has since been freed.

Police did not specify how many people were arrested but said they are “actively investigating” the kidnapping which took place on April 2 in a national park.

The victims – Kim Endicott of Costa Mesa, California, and local driver Jean-Paul Mirenge – were freed Sunday.

Police said the hunt for the kidnappers, including “raids and extensive searches,” is taking place in southwestern Uganda.

U.S. President Donald Trump has urged Ugandan authorities to find the perpetrators.

The kidnappers had demanded a $500,000 ransom after abducting the two at gunpoint.

Ugandan officials say no ransom was paid, but a tourism operator said that money was paid to secure Endicott’s release.

Source: Voice of America

Uganda Says Arrests Made in Kidnapping of American Tourist

KAMPALA Ugandan police say they have arrested some people over the kidnapping last week of an American tourist who has since been freed.

Police did not specify how many people were arrested but said they are “actively investigating” the kidnapping which took place on April 2 in a national park.

The victims – Kim Endicott of Costa Mesa, California, and local driver Jean-Paul Mirenge – were freed Sunday.

Police said the hunt for the kidnappers, including “raids and extensive searches,” is taking place in southwestern Uganda.

U.S. President Donald Trump has urged Ugandan authorities to find the perpetrators.

The kidnappers had demanded a $500,000 ransom after abducting the two at gunpoint.

Ugandan officials say no ransom was paid, but a tourism operator said that money was paid to secure Endicott’s release.

Source: Voice of America

Mauritania: HDPN Progress Snapshot

Operational Context:

Mauritania is confronted by a wide range of chronic vulnerabilities. Due to food deficit, the country must import 70% percent of its food. Environmental degradation and the adverse effects of climate change affect rural productivity; the country is regularly exposed to acute humanitarian needs, including high levels of food insecurity (often over 25%), as well as malnutrition exceeding the emergency thresholds of 2% SAM and/or 10% MAM. The protracted presence of over 53,000 refugees from Mali compounds the range of humanitarian needs.

I. Shared Vision:

In the spirit of the 2030 Agenda and the World Humanitarian Summit, and in consultation with the Mauritanian government, the UNS in Mauritania has engaged with NGOs and other partners in an integrated planning process that began in 2017. This process provides the basis for a more structured humanitarian-development integration in the Partnership Framework for sustainable Development (CPDD, 2018-2022). Specific reasons for this integration in Mauritania are of two types. First, strategic considerations: Mauritania faces chronic and recurrent vulnerabilities with acute humanitarian needs (in terms of malnutrition and food insecurity for example): these imply a critical need for immediate humanitarian response to assist the most vulnerable. However, a humanitarian response alone is not enough to change the context and “shift from assistance to the elimination of needs”: the integration of a humanitarian / development approach is therefore very necessary. The second basic reason for the integration of the two planning processes is the need to improve the efficiency, also considering the limited human and financial resources available. It is imperative to minimize duplication and maximize efficiency, one of the key indications of the World Summit on Humanitarian Action.

To ensure the impact of development actions on the reduction of vulnerability, it is necessary for the UNS to work with the Government to ensure coherence of policies and programmatic frameworks with the analysis of structural and cyclical risks and vulnerabilities. Any action should focus on strengthening local capacity to reduce direct interventions and parallel systems. This notion implies joint work towards collective achievements and a synergistic use of added value by the different actors.

While sectoral policies, particularly regarding economic growth and human capital development, will address some of the structural causes of the chronic vulnerabilities, coordinated action in disaster and risk management will seek to put in place preventive measures, strengthen national and local preparedness for cyclical shocks. Resilience at the decentralized level (both of communities and institutions) will be supported by these efforts. This will be achieved through accompanying measures to economic empowerment, improved food security conditions, improved access to basic social services, capacity-building activities in different areas, including disaster preparedness and response management. It is essential to ensure more effective coordination in mobilizing resources / sources of funding as well as strengthen partnerships.

Source: Inter-Agency Standing Committee

Mauritania: HDPN Progress Snapshot

Operational Context:

Mauritania is confronted by a wide range of chronic vulnerabilities. Due to food deficit, the country must import 70% percent of its food. Environmental degradation and the adverse effects of climate change affect rural productivity; the country is regularly exposed to acute humanitarian needs, including high levels of food insecurity (often over 25%), as well as malnutrition exceeding the emergency thresholds of 2% SAM and/or 10% MAM. The protracted presence of over 53,000 refugees from Mali compounds the range of humanitarian needs.

I. Shared Vision:

In the spirit of the 2030 Agenda and the World Humanitarian Summit, and in consultation with the Mauritanian government, the UNS in Mauritania has engaged with NGOs and other partners in an integrated planning process that began in 2017. This process provides the basis for a more structured humanitarian-development integration in the Partnership Framework for sustainable Development (CPDD, 2018-2022). Specific reasons for this integration in Mauritania are of two types. First, strategic considerations: Mauritania faces chronic and recurrent vulnerabilities with acute humanitarian needs (in terms of malnutrition and food insecurity for example): these imply a critical need for immediate humanitarian response to assist the most vulnerable. However, a humanitarian response alone is not enough to change the context and “shift from assistance to the elimination of needs”: the integration of a humanitarian / development approach is therefore very necessary. The second basic reason for the integration of the two planning processes is the need to improve the efficiency, also considering the limited human and financial resources available. It is imperative to minimize duplication and maximize efficiency, one of the key indications of the World Summit on Humanitarian Action.

To ensure the impact of development actions on the reduction of vulnerability, it is necessary for the UNS to work with the Government to ensure coherence of policies and programmatic frameworks with the analysis of structural and cyclical risks and vulnerabilities. Any action should focus on strengthening local capacity to reduce direct interventions and parallel systems. This notion implies joint work towards collective achievements and a synergistic use of added value by the different actors.

While sectoral policies, particularly regarding economic growth and human capital development, will address some of the structural causes of the chronic vulnerabilities, coordinated action in disaster and risk management will seek to put in place preventive measures, strengthen national and local preparedness for cyclical shocks. Resilience at the decentralized level (both of communities and institutions) will be supported by these efforts. This will be achieved through accompanying measures to economic empowerment, improved food security conditions, improved access to basic social services, capacity-building activities in different areas, including disaster preparedness and response management. It is essential to ensure more effective coordination in mobilizing resources / sources of funding as well as strengthen partnerships.

Source: Inter-Agency Standing Committee