Blue-eyed humans have a single, common ancestor

From PhysOrg.com:

New research shows that people with blue eyes have a single, common ancestor. A team at the University of Copenhagen have tracked down a genetic mutation which took place 6-10,000 years ago and is the cause of the eye colour of all blue-eyed humans alive on the planet today.

“Originally, we all had brown eyes”, said Professor Eiberg from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology. “But a genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a “switch”, which literally “turned off” the ability to produce brown eyes”.

The OCA2 gene codes for the so-called P protein, which is involved in the production of melanin, the pigment that gives colour to our hair, eyes and skin. The “switch”, which is located in the gene adjacent to OCA2 does not, however, turn off the gene entirely, but rather limits its action to reducing the production of melanin in the iris – effectively “diluting” brown eyes to blue.

The switch’s effect on OCA2 is very specific. If the OCA2 gene had been completely destroyed or turned off, human beings would be without melanin in their hair, eyes or skin colour – a condition known as albinism.

Variation in the colour of the eyes from brown to green can all be explained by the amount of melanin in the iris, but blue-eyed individuals only have a small degree of variation in the amount of melanin in their eyes. “From this we can conclude that all blue-eyed individuals are linked to the same ancestor,” says Professor Eiberg. “They have all inherited the same switch at exactly the same spot in their DNA.” Brown-eyed individuals, by contrast, have considerable individual variation in the area of their DNA that controls melanin production.

Professor Eiberg and his team examined mitochondrial DNA and compared the eye colour of blue-eyed individuals in countries as diverse as Jordan, Denmark and Turkey. His findings are the latest in a decade of genetic research, which began in 1996, when Professor Eiberg first implicated the OCA2 gene as being responsible for eye colour.

The mutation of brown eyes to blue represents neither a positive nor a negative mutation. It is one of several mutations such as hair colour, baldness, freckles and beauty spots, which neither increases nor reduces a human’s chance of survival. As Professor Eiberg says, “it simply shows that nature is constantly shuffling the human genome, creating a genetic cocktail of human chromosomes and trying out different changes as it does so.”

Source: University of Copenhagen

Sunday Science Update #3

Last week was a busy week and I found myself pressed for time and unable to produce my Sunday Science Update. I stuck with the news though and tried my best to post relevant and interesting news items later in the week. Scroll down to check them out.

The news items from this week cover a wide range of topics, but i think you’ll find each one a fascinating. The last one is just for laughs.

First up, a brush with mass extinction? Nah, this asteroid is 334,000 miles shy. Though any closer and we might have to send Bruce Willis to handle it. In all seriousness though, the asteroid poses no threat to Earth and should be an excellent opportunity for novice sky gazers to see something they don’t see every night. Check the article out for information on how you can see it.

Asteroid to Make Rare Close Flyby of Earth
Physorg.com
Scientists are monitoring the orbit of asteroid 2007 TU24. The asteroid, believed to be between 150 meters (500 feet) and 610 meters (2,000 feet) in size, is expected to fly past Earth on Jan. 29, with its closest distance being about 537,500 kilometers (334,000 miles) at 12:33 a.m. Pacific time (3:33 a.m. Eastern time). It should be observable that night by amateur astronomers with modest-sized telescopes.

If Bruce Willis did have to go save the Earth from an asteroid, he might do it in one of Sir Richard Branson’s new Spaceship Two vehicles.

Virgin Galactic unveils designs for new spacecraft
VirginGalactic.com
Plans for a new commercial suborbital spacecraft were presented this week by Virgin Galactic, the space tourism arm of Virgin Atlantic, and Scaled Composites, maker of the first privately funded manned spacecraft.

It’s good that there are people like Sir Richard Branson out there. NASA’s fleet of spaceships is getting a bit rickety and with the doors open for new machines and new utilizations of the, pardon the word usage, space above our heads, things can only go forward. Branson is fully committed to revolutionizing space travel and making it available to… well, not my income bracket. But, AN income bracket. Go Branson.

And while Mr. Willis is up there flyin’ round space commercially, he can break out his new Sony digital camera.

Sony Cameras Wait for Baby to Smile
Physorg.com
Sony has improved the smile shutter feature, which enables the camera to detect multiple smiles, and delay the shot until everyone is smiling. The smile shutter feature can be set to prioritize children or adults, and the new models with the feature will wait to snap a picture when a child in the frame smiles – even if it´s just for a second.

Unbelievable… cameras that wait for smiles. What’s next? Antibiotics that wait until you’re sick? Grass that doesn’t require mowing?

And finally, this bit of humor:

That’s all for this week. More science updates next week. Until then, uh… stay learned!

A New Epoch in Human History?

From Physorg.com

Man-made changes bring about new epoch in Earth’s history

Geologists from the University of Leicester propose that humankind has so altered the Earth that it has brought about an end to one epoch of Earth’s history and marked the start of a new epoch.

Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams at the University of Leicester and their colleagues on the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London have presented their research in the journal GSA Today.

In it, they suggest humans have so changed the Earth that on the planet the Holocene epoch has ended and we have entered a new epoch – the Anthropocene.

They have identified human impact through phenomena such as:

— Transformed patterns of sediment erosion and deposition worldwide
— Major disturbances to the carbon cycle and global temperature
— Wholesale changes to the world’s plants and animals
— Ocean acidification

The scientists analyzed a proposal made by Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen in 2002. He suggested the Earth had left the Holocene and started the Anthropocene era because of the global environmental effects of increased human population and economic development.

The researchers argue that the dominance of humans has so physically changed Earth that there is increasingly less justification for linking pre- and post-industrialized Earth within the same epoch – the Holocene.

The scientists said their findings present the scholarly groundwork for consideration by the International Commission on Stratigraphy for formal adoption of the Anthropocene as the youngest epoch of, and most recent addition to, the Earth’s geological timescale.

They state: “Sufficient evidence has emerged of stratigraphically significant change (both elapsed and imminent) for recognition of the Anthropocene—currently a vivid yet informal metaphor of global environmental change—as a new geological epoch to be considered for formalization by international discussion.”

Bond 22 named Quantum of Solace

Craig on location in Italy.

From the Associated Press:

IVER HEATH, England (AP) — “Quantum of Solace” is the title of the new James Bond film, the 22nd Bond adventure.

The title was revealed to reporters Thursday at Pinewood Studios outside of London, where the movie is being filmed.

Producer Michael G. Wilson said the title, chosen only a few days ago, was taken from a story by Bond creator Ian Fleming that appears in the collection “For Your Eyes Only.”

“We thought it was an intriguing title and referenced what happened to Bond and what is happening in the film,” he said.

Daniel Craig is returning as Agent 007. He picks up where 2006’s “Casino Royale” left off, with Bond contemplating revenge after his betrayal by his true love, Vesper Lynd.

“It is not a revenge movie,” said co-producer Barbara Broccoli. “It’s a lot more complicated than that. It has lots of action but it also deals with the inner turmoil Bond is feeling.”

Filming began at Pinewood Studios earlier this month. Location shooting is planned in Austria, Italy and Panama. Judi Dench returns as the MI-6 boss M and Mathieu Amalric (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”) plays the villain. Additions to the cast include Ukrainian actress Olga Kurylenko as mysterious Bond girl Camille.

“Quantum of Solace” is set to open in Britain and the United States on Nov. 7.

Michael Wilson has confirmed that the film will pick up “literally an hour after” Casino Royale’s conclusion.  In regards to Fleming’s story from the novel For Your Eyes Only, Quantum of Solace is not a spy story and Bond appears only in the background. The tale has Bond attending a boring dinner party at the Government House In Nassau with a group of socialites he can’t stand.

Bond makes an offensive remark after dinner when the other guests have left in order to stimulate conversation. This solicits a careful reply from the elderly Governor of The Bahamas who tells 007 a sad tale about a relationship between former civil servant Philip Masters stationed in Bermuda and air hostess, Rhoda Llewellyn. After meeting aboard a flight to London the two eventually married but after a time Rhoda became unhappy with her life as a housewife. She then began a long open affair with the eldest son of a rich Bermudan family. As a result Masters’ work deteriorated and he suffered a nervous breakdown.

After recovering he was given a break from Bermuda by the governor and sent on an assignment to Washington to negotiate fishing rights with the US. At the same time the governor’s wife had a talk with Rhoda just as her affair ended. Masters returned a few months later and decided to end his marriage, although he and Rhoda continued to appear as a happy couple in public. Masters returned alone to the UK, leaving a penniless Rhoda stranded in Bermuda, an act of which he’d been incapable of merely months earlier. But Masters never recovered emotionally, his vital spark never relit. The governor goes on to tell Bond how after a time Rhoda married a rich Canadian and seems to be happy, telling Bond that his dull dinner companions whom he found so boring were Rhoda and her new husband.

While the story does not include action elements, as other Fleming tales do, it attempts to posit that Bond’s adventures pale in comparison with real life drama. Bond reflects that the lives of the people he passes somewhat superficial judgments upon can in fact hide poignant episodes.

Latest News From ICROSS

KENYA CRISIS APPEAL
(21 January 2008)

ICROSS is working closely with the Ministry of Health and communities in the midst of the current crisis in Kenya. With hundreds dead, hundreds of thousands displaced and homeless there are immediate needs that must be met today.

While NGOs, local communities and villages are doing everything they can the scale of the crisis is difficult to manage without more support. Children are unable to go to school, there is no shelter for many and a lot of families who have lost their homes have also lost the little they possess. Together with the communities we work with we are identifying those most vulnerable including the old and sick we are working to help families return to a normal life responding to immediate needs in the communities we serve.

All ICROSS projects are fully operational. Our teams, which are comprised of members of the local communities, continued home visits to patients and the terminally ill throughout the riots and violence. All ICROSS staff remained at their posts throughout the violence and will continue to work. There is great heroism and compassion in every corner of every slum, many people are doing wonderful things. But there is fear and with so many small businesses destroyed and homes burnt there is a lot to do.

The Kenyan people have endured so much recently and with our help can rebuild. ICROSS has for 27 years been working with communities to ensure a better tomorrow. We need your help today to continue both the immediate and the long term programmes that remain the centre of our work.

www.icross.ie

The crazy train has just derailed…

This is a clip from the awards ceremony where Tom Cruise received the Freedom Medal of Valor award from his Scientology buddies. Watch this video and ask yourself this:

Does anyone have any idea what he is talking about?

Does he even know what he is talking about?

This man is truly brainwashed by this bullshit. The insane laugh around 4:30 is a good indication that this man is clearly a few quarters short of a dollar.

Tom Cruise – Authority on the Mind.

The BBC Brings Sexy Back

Riding on the coattails of a movement I am spearheading (Bring Sexy Back to Archaeology), the BBC has announced plans to produce a new series that would bring sexy back to archaeology.

Life on Mars creators to make ‘sexy’ archaeology drama
Metro.co.uk

The creators of the TV hit Life on Mars are set to make a BBC1 drama series that promises to make archaeology “sexy”.

Bone Kickers centres on a team of academics who take part in excavations in the historic city of Bath.

Their investigations into the past “will unlock dangers and mysteries in the present” in the six-part series, due to be screened next spring.

Polly Hill, BBC commissioning editor for independent drama, said: “Bone Kickers takes history and archaeology and makes it sexy, accessible and exciting.”

The BBC said: “Bone Kickers is a thrilling adventure series packed with historical mystery and contemporary relevance.”

The drama is being written by Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharaoh, two of the creators of time-travelling cop show Life on Mars.

Each episode will deal with a different historical period, from the excavation of the murdered 18th century slaves to the discovery of the True Cross.

Life on Mars, which finished earlier this year, is being remade for US viewers.

Ashes to Ashes, a sequel to the time-travelling police drama which starred John Simm and Philip Glenister, is being made in the UK with Spooks star Keeley Hawes.

You know where to find me BBC.

Martin Luther King Day

“Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’m willing to bet most Americans don’t know what today is, unless of course they have the day off from work. I’m also willing to bet that even fewer have ever listened to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘I have A Dream’ speech, despite being a masterpiece of rhetoric.

Listening to this speech is something I’ve made a habit out of for the past four years. It is a fine example of what Martin Luther King stood for – a UNITED States of America.  If you’ve never taken the time to listen to this speech, why not do it today?  If you have listened to it, why not listen to it again?

Some facts on the holiday:

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15.

Martin Luther King Day represents one of four federal holidays that commemorates an individual person.

The holiday is celebrated every year on the third Monday in January.

The holiday was first celebrated in 1986 but was not fully observed in all 50 states until 2000.

Sunday Science Update #2

I’m keeping my eye on the prize and continuing my efforts to stay up to date on science news. I’ve stumbled on a horde of new websites to help me with my resolution. With out further a do, I present the second Sunday Science Update – stories from the world of science that I find fascinating.

Scroll back through the archives of windyharbor.com and you’ll find a short piece I did on dark matter. In this piece, I cited dark matter as a evidence that the kitchen sink was permanantly occupied and therefore adding my dirty dishes in it made no difference. I’ve always been fascinated on the idea that space isn’t empty, but is in fact occupied by a mysterious form of matter that amazingly accounts for most of the mass in the universe. Therefore, when I stumbled across this article, my attention was instantly fixed on it.

Astronomers produce first detailed map of dark matter in a supercluster
Physorg.com

For the first time astronomers are able to see indirect evidence of dark matter and how this invisible force impacts on the crowded and violent lives of galaxies. University of British Columbia researcher Catherine Heymans has produced the highest resolution map of dark matter ever captured before.

Next up is an older article, someting I stumbled upon over at the Scientific American website. Ignoring the picture from the failed sitcom Cavemen, I plunged into this article with great interest. Neanderthals, our larger brained, more robust, but slightly shorter cousins vanished from the Earth somewhere around 30,000 years ago. They were fascinating creatures and one of the primary reasons I became interested in human evolution. This article explores the possibility of Neanderthals being able to speak. Now you might be thinking big deal- my dog can talk. But remember, there is a big difference between speech and communication. Every creature has a way of communicating, but the ability to speak- to articulate the tongue and lips in such a way that specific sounds are produced, is much trickier. A majority of the research up to this point has been focused on studying skeletal remains, in particular a tiny hole in the skull through which passes a tiny nerve called the hypoglossal. However, there is a very limited number of Neanderthal skeletons available to study. Now scientists are turning to genetics. How cool is that? If examining Neanderthal genetics can answer this question, I’m interested to know what other questions could be answered under the microscope.

Cave Speak: Did Neanderthals Talk?
SciAm.com

Discovery of the human variant of the FOXP2 gene in Neandertals suggests they may have had language skills.

Lastly, a link to a website that deserves everyones attention. Sciencedebate2008.com seeks to hold a presidential debate on science and technology among the candidates. Considering the shit thats’ come out of Huckabee’s mouth the past few months, this could be one hell of a show. But in fact, much to my disappointment, this debate would not be about finding out which candidate is smarter, but rather a forum for them to share their views on specific facets of science and technology. With everything that is happening in our world today (especially global warming), this is more than a great idea, it is a necessity. The debate already has the support of dozens of influential figures, including Nobel prize winners, politicians, respected educators, scientist, and Bill Nye the Science Guy! Please take the time to head over to the website and sign the petition showing your support for a Presidential Science Debate!

That’s all for this week!

Update on the violence in Kenya

Press release from ICROSS:

Since December 27th, hundreds of people have been killed and thousands injured in post electoral violence across Kenya. Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly the very poor, have been displaced and are homeless. ICROSS is working in communities devastated by the violence and is doing all it can to help. Currently, all of our projects are running normally with AIDS home care, vulnerable children and child survival programmes fully operational. In many villages, however, the conditions have worsened with many people still fleeing or becoming victims of violence. The challenges we will face over the next few months will be daunting. All staff have cancelled their leave; we are bringing in more volunteers and redeploying teams to areas of need. We in turn need as much help as we can get to provide essential assistance to victims of violence in our project areas, specifically Nakuru in the Rift Valley. The humanitarian crisis facing so many who have been forced to flee is stretching all Government, NGO and international resources. We are asking all our friends worldwide to help by donating anything they. We assure all our friends that all core projects are running normally and will continue to do so. We will be updating this news throughout the current crisis.

Dr. Michael Elmore-Meegan
International Director ICROSS, Kenya
www.icross.ie

Sunday Science Update #1

As part of my resolution to add more content to the website, I’ve decided to set aside each Sunday to post links to fascinating stories in science. The stories will be plucked from several different fields, anything from archaeology to zoology. Some will be controversial, others may be a tad bit bizarre, but its all in an effort to get myself more involved in science. Hopefully you get something out of it as well. So, here we go:

The first item I found a few weeks ago. This deals with the evolution of the human brain and new evidence that suggests our diets were responsible for our growth in brain size.

Evolving Bigger Brains Through Cooking: A Q&A with Richard Wrangham
Scientific America

A couple of million years ago or so, our hominid ancestors began exchanging their lowbrow looks for forehead prominence. The trigger for the large, calorie-hungry brains of ours is cooking, argues Richard W. Wrangham, the Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

The second article comes as quite a shock. I never imagined that paleontologists would find a mummified dinosaur, but there it is. This is a huge breakthorough in paleontology. It was only after some deeper delving that I discovered this is the fourth dinosaur fossil to be considered mummified.  Now the tissue has decayed over the past 77 million years, replaced by minerals, but this fossil will provide scientists with loads of data that is normally absent from fossil finds.  Definitely something to keep an eye on.

Mummified Dinosaur Heads to Texas
Physorg.com

A mummified dinosaur discovered on the Hi-Line is heading to the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, where it will be studied and displayed for more than a year.

Next up, this one. Pretty straightforward, but nonetheless interesting. I’m amazed how radically our understanding of the universe has evolved just in my lifetime. While we can never know everything about its development, its good to see constant breakthroughs being made.

Distant star sheds light on birth of planets
Physorg.com

Astronomers poring over a young star 180 light years from Earth have found evidence that stellar birth can lead to the formation of a planet only millions of years later, a mere blink on the cosmic timescale.

I may comment further on these stories at a later date. In the meantime, check them out – really fascinating stuff.

The world just got a bit crazier…

Stumbled across this beauty today. Thought I’d share it with everyone who was looking for a good laugh.

Green Light for Institute on Creation in Texas

By Ralph Blumenthal
Published: December 19, 2007

HOUSTON — A Texas higher education panel has recommended allowing a Bible-based group called the Institute for Creation Research to offer online master’s degrees in science education.

The action comes weeks after the Texas Education Agency’s director of science, Christine Castillo Comer, lost her job after superiors accused her of displaying bias against creationism and failing to be “neutral” over the teaching of evolution.

The state’s commissioner of higher education, Raymund A. Paredes, said late Monday that he was aware of the institute’s opposition to evolution but was withholding judgment until the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board meets Jan. 24 to rule on the recommendation, made last Friday, by the board’s certification advisory council.

Henry Morris III, the chief executive of the Institute for Creation Research, said Tuesday that the proposed curriculum, taught in California, used faculty and textbooks “from all the top schools” along with, he said, the “value added” of challenges to standard teachings of evolution.

“Where the difference is, we provide both sides of the story,” Mr. Morris said. On its Web site, the institute declares, “All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the creation week” and says it “equips believers with evidences of the Bible’s accuracy and authority through scientific research, educational programs, and media presentations, all conducted within a thoroughly biblical framework.”

Please apply pressure to the brakes right the fu*k now. Is this guy for real? Apparently this gentleman has never opened a grade school text book. As an individual with great interest in the creation of the universe as well as the evolution of life on this planet, I have a hard time understanding how anyone can consciously brush off the amount of scientific evidence that has disproved the “six days of creation” story presented in the bible. Ever heard of a little group of creatures called dinosaurs? There are mountains (full of fossils) of evidence to back up evolution and absolutely zero evidence to back up the smut the creationists are peddling.

It also says “the harmful consequences of evolutionary thinking on families and society (abortion, promiscuity, drug abuse, homosexuality and many others) are evident all around us.”

How did evolutionary thinking suddenly become responsible for abortion, promiscuity, drug abuse, and homosexuality? If anything, evolutionary thinking has brought us to a better understanding of how life, not just human life, but all life functions and survives.

Asked how the institute could educate students to teach science, Dr. Paredes, who holds a doctorate in American civilization from the University of Texas and served 10 years as vice chancellor for academic development at the University of California, said, “I don’t know. I’m not a scientist.”

Dazzle us anyways…

He said he had no ready explanation for the panel’s recommendation. “I asked about the decision,” Dr. Paredes said Monday in a phone interview from Austin. “I got a three-inch-thick folder an hour ago. We’re going to give it a full review.” But, he said, “If it’s approved, we’ll make sure it’s of high quality.”

Approval would allow the institute, which moved to Dallas this year from near San Diego, to offer the online graduate program almost immediately while seeking accreditation from national academic authorities like the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges within two years.

California wasn’t crazy enough.

In California, the only other state where Mr. Morris said the institute was offering degrees, it won recognition from the state superintendent of public instruction in 1981 but was denied license renewal in 1988. The institute sued and in 1992 won a $225,000 settlement that allowed it to continue offering degrees; it now operates under the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Dr. Morris said his program was accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, which is not recognized by Texas.

Last month, in a sign that Texas was being drawn deeper into creationism controversy, Ms. Comer, 57, was put under pressure to resign as science director after forwarding an e-mail message about a talk by a creationism critic, Barbara Forrest, a professor at Southeastern Louisiana State University.

Lizzette Reynolds, a deputy commissioner who called for Ms. Comer’s dismissal, later told The Austin American-Statesman she was surprised she resigned. Ms. Reynolds did not respond to a message left at her office.

The Texas Education commissioner, Robert Scott, told The Dallas Morning News that Ms. Comer was not forced out over the message, adding, “You can be in favor of science without bashing people’s faith.” He did not return phone calls to his office.

Ms. Comer said the commissioner should show her where she was bashing anyone’s faith. “He just doesn’t get it,” she said.

When are people going to stop riding the Intelligent Design train? Likely never, but I thought I’d ask anyways. Can you imagine spending an entire year working on your one page thesis?

“God did it.”

Here is your diploma, best of luck!

Sometimes, I can only shake my head and wonder how some people made it out of the womb.

Flickr Update

I had a chance to use my new Canon Rebel XTi this week and can say with out a doubt its the best camera I’ve ever wielded (even when compared to my Nikon FE, and that’s a classic). I’ve got a notebook full of photography ideas I’ve compiled over the last few years and now, with a shiny 10.1mp camera, I can start taking some shots.

The Kibera Battlefield

As anger over the recent elections in Kenya escalates, feelings manifest in the form of violence and murder. I’ve been keeping a sharp eye on the news these past few days, with both interest in the outcome of this election and concern for the safety of friends who live in Nairobi. It seems things get worse each day with the leaders of both political parties accusing the other of violence. Outside nations, including the US, are now requesting that Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga work together to stop the violence.

In recent days, Kibera, one of the world’s largest slum has transformed into a war zone. This article highlights some of what has been happening in the past few days:

Defiance under fire in Kibera
By Josphat Makori
BBC News, Kibera slum, Nairobi

Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum, has been turned into one large battlefield. The sound of gunshots rent the air for most of a night and day of terror.From early morning thousands of residents engaged police in running battles as they tried to make their way to the city centre, where Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga had called for a public rally.

Thousands of residents carrying tree branches and chanting anti-government slogans defied the police.

They were met with hundreds of heavily armed anti-riot police who had been deployed on all roads leading out of the slum.

For the better part of the day it was a contest of might against numbers.

Police used tear gas canisters, water cannon and live bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowd that was protesting at the declaration of President Mwai Kibaki as the winner of the presidential election just concluded.

The crowds grew bigger and bigger as the day progressed, prompting the police to form a human wall to confront the crowds.

Marching and singing defiantly, the crowds at one point dared the police to shoot them as they started marching right into the contingent of policemen mounted in trucks or on foot.Arranging themselves in battle formation, the police cocked their guns and pointed water cannon at the crowd.

Still the youths surged forward, this time chanting even louder: “No Raila, no peace!”

Then the police started shooting jets of water and live bullets into the air.

For a while dozens of policemen were firing simultaneously, the deafening noise finally sending the crowd scampering for safety.

But a few minutes later the crowd regrouped vowing to fight on, no matter what it took.

“We are now marching to town, we know that change never comes on a silver platter,” one young man told me.

“There must be sacrifice and this is the cause we have taken up.”

“We are ready to die if that is what it takes,” another young man said.

Walking around Kibera, the picture was one of destruction and death.

The air was still filled with smoke from the smouldering houses, cars and car tyres that were burnt overnight by the protesting youths.One of the largest markets in the slum was burnt down, while property of an unknown value has been looted.

At least three people were confirmed dead last night even though residents claim the death toll is higher.

Police say they will intensify security to ensure peace is restored.

In statement to the press, Police Commissioner Maj Gen Hussein Ali said the force would deal firmly with anyone who engaged in lawlessness.

Meanwhile Mr Odinga blamed the violence on the government and electoral commission for what he claims is a trampling on the rights of people and a denial of their right to choose.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/7166349.stm
Published: 2007/12/31 19:12:48 GMT
© BBC MMVIII