High court Deputy Registrar Dr. Mushabe Alex Karooho has on Wednesday ordered the Uganda Journalist Association (UJA), journalists Eric Yiga and Hannington Kisakye to compensate the Deputy Registrar Fred Waninda after losing the assault and torture case they filed against him.
Journalists have been asked to pay him Shs 10,803,000 as damages and costs in the torture and assault case they lost.
These dragged Waninda to court accusing him of assaulting them as they covered a case in which he was involved but unfortunately the case didn’t go on very well on the side of journalists after the matter being dismissed by High court judge Andrew Bashaija.
After receiving this judgment, Counsel Eron Kiiza asked his clients (Journalists) to keep calm as they await the outcome of the appeal they filed in court over the same matter.
He promised that he will ask court to stay execution of the matter until the appeal is done.
The journalists dragged the Judicial officer to court accusing him of assaulting them physically on top of damaging their cameras as they covered a land grabbing case in which Waninda was involved.
Dismissing the case before High court, Justice Bashaija ruled that there was no sufficient evidence brought before court and that the beating of journalists is not counted among human rights violations.
This matter has become the talk of the town especially among journalists who say it has set a bad precedent that has to be challenged so that journalists’ rights can be properly defended especially when on duty.
New designs, new technologies and new weapons are shaping the submarines of the future, which are being manufactured right now, in response to global demand for more potent and flexible designs.
Old Cold War fleets are being replaced and conventional subs – smaller but still useful – that can remain underwater for weeks are being built.
Non-nuclear submarines use combustion engines that need oxygen to work. These are fine on the surface but, submerged, they must rely on battery power to operate. Depending on the battery type, submarines cannot submerge for long and need to resurface to recharge their batteries, putting them in a vulnerable position and open to detection by the enemy.
Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) is a technology which solves that problem and allows a submarine to remain submerged and relatively safe for extended periods – weeks instead of days.
First invented in Sweden in the 1990s, AIP is now used in most non-nuclear submarines by 20 navies.
Only a few countries can afford to run nuclear-powered submarines. Extremely expensive to produce, the reactors of these submarines allow them to stay submerged almost indefinitely.
They can desalinate water for the crew to drink and produce oxygen from seawater for the crew to breathe. Their range is virtually unlimited, allowing them to travel anywhere in the world’s oceans, loaded with their apocalyptic cargo of nuclear missiles. They remain hidden, a guarantee that if an enemy were to strike the home country in a surprise attack, the sub would be able to deliver a retaliatory blow, a nuclear second strike.
With that in mind, attack subs also prowl the oceans, acting as a line of defence. Fast and sleek, they are designed to sink other subs, especially high-value enemy missile submarines. This endless, deadly game of cat and mouse is played out daily under the surface of the world’s oceans as each side hones the skills needed to destroy the other in the event of war.
Submarines have unique features that make them deadly, the chief one being their stealth. Able to travel undetected underwater, they can strike without warning, the most powerful among them containing missile arsenals that could single-handedly destroy a continent.
The quieter a sub, the stealthier it is. Sound is everything under the sea and billions have been invested into acoustic properties that will muffle a submarine’s engine, as well as in better hull designs which allow water to flow more quietly over the sub’s surface. These hulls are made of materials designed to absorb sonar waves – a sonic version of underwater radar – rather than reflect them back, making them more readily detectable.
Such technological advances allow subs to remain undetected but constant developments in anti-submarine technology are keeping pace – with new, improved ways to detect submarines, making them vulnerable to destruction.
I can hear you
It is getting harder and harder to hide under the ocean. Underwater sensors can now pick up a submarine’s acoustic trail with greater ease. These sensors can be released from helicopters or planes over an area where a sub is suspected of lurking. The sensors pick up the sub’s sound profile and send the information back to the waiting aircraft. Torpedoes are then dropped into the sea with the intention of homing in on the submarine – now stripped of the one thing keeping it safe – and destroying it.
Anti-submarine warfare is as old as submarines themselves, with designers continually inventing new ways to destroy these potent weapons. Sensors are not just dropped from aircraft; surface ships are also equipped with ever more powerful and sensitive sonar suites that can pick the minute sounds that subs, despite their best efforts, end up making. Some countries have strung whole chains of sensors together across likely approach ways.
During the Cold War, for instance, the United States installed one called SOSUS, or Sound Surveillance System, across what is known as the GIUK gap; the area of the Atlantic Ocean between Greenland, Iceland and the United Kingdom. This was and still is the likely approach route for Russian submarines heading from their bases in the Kola Peninsula near Murmansk into the North Atlantic. This impressive system, covering hundreds of kilometres, was able to detect even the best Soviet submarines at the time, providing the US with vital information about their location and direction of travel. The SOSUS nets were extremely effective during the Cold War at picking up submarines moving in and out of the Atlantic.
Russia still uses this route. Last year, it sent 10 submarines through this gap which, while 1,500km wide, is still considered a choke point for naval vessels. In one of the biggest Russian deployments since the end of the Cold War, the exercise was designed to test whether they could be detected by NATO. The resulting detection by Western navies showed Russia that they were still vulnerable to potential destruction.
Russia has spent billions upgrading its antiquated fleet with new designs that make already quiet submarines even quieter. The new Borei-class subs are faster, more manoeuvrable, with their new pump jet propulsor systems which have replaced traditional propellers, making them even quieter. There are now better missiles which carry multiple warheads, with greater ranges, allowing the subs to hit targets thousands of kilometres away. The Russian Navy plans to build 12 of them, with half going to the Northern Fleet and the other half to the Pacific.
The developments do not stop there. A new class of Russian submarine, the Khabarovsk, will be fitted to carry the giant superfast autonomous nuclear torpedo, Poseidon, in effect an underwater nuclear-powered drone, capable of speeds of up to 180km/h (112mph) and armed with a huge, multi-megaton nuclear warhead. The torpedo’s range is virtually unlimited and is designed to destroy ports, coastal cities and large fleet concentrations.
Russia is not the only country upgrading its submarines. France, the UK and the US are all developing and building the next class of missile and attack sub. They can dive deeper to avoid detection and advances in engine design mean they are even quieter and therefore stealthier than previous generations. Many of these designs have already been fielded, while others are near completion.
China and India are also working on their own improved nuclear sub designs in an effort to dominate their own seas and keep up with regional competitors. There can be setbacks. India’s first nuclear-powered missile sub, the INS Arihant, was damaged when a hatch was left open, allowing water to partially flood the sub. The design has since been finalised and a second missile sub, or SSBN, INS Arighat is undergoing trials.
It is not all about nuclear propulsion. Improvements in Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) now allow non-nuclear submarines some of the advantages of their nuclear cousins.
Able to stay submerged for weeks at a time, these cheaper submarines give middle-ranking naval powers an affordable way to enhance their naval firepower, while also using their stealthy abilities to gather intelligence and land special forces teams ashore, their mission flexibility giving their commanders more options.
Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs), are also starting to make their presence felt. These robot subs can gather intelligence, lay mines and sweep the seas around them for enemy vessels. The US navy is planning a whole range of them, such as Boeing’s Orca, with other navies following suit. Able to operate autonomously, they can stay at sea for months at a time, sending valuable data back to their headquarters while remaining hidden. At least that is the idea. No country has publicly claimed a robotic submersible that was found a few years ago by a Chinese fishing vessel in the South China Sea. It was capable of satellite communications and recording images, and was suspected by the Chinese authorities of being used to spy on Chinese naval activity in the area.
China itself is developing its own fleet of unmanned AI-controlled submarines that, once completed, will be capable of a wide variety of missions. Without having to worry about keeping a human crew safe, these robot subs can be smaller, stay at sea almost indefinitely and operate at greater depths as they can be built differently to withstand the incredible pressures of the very deep sea.
Even minor nuclear power North Korea is researching how to turn small, yet quiet diesel-electric subs into missile carriers for its fledgeling nuclear weapons arsenal. Pyongyang is keen to develop its own invulnerable second strike retaliatory capability, ensuring the survival of the country.
The advantages of staying undetected are not lost on crime syndicates and a new class of drug-smuggling submarine, or “narco-sub”, is being discovered by the Peruvian and Colombian authorities.
Often built on the banks of remote jungle rivers in South America, narco-subs have increased in size and sophistication allowing larger and larger payloads of drugs to be smuggled undetected.
Initially towed underwater by a surface vessel, they now have their own propulsion systems and can travel further and further, smuggling tonnes of drugs at a time up the coast and also, on occasion, rendezvous with merchant vessels far out to sea, transferring their cargo away from prying eyes. These are not true submarines in the sense that they can dive deep underwater as they stay just below the surface, avoiding the attention of coastguard vessels and naval patrols.
For submarines generally, the future is looking increasingly automated. Submarines will be able to do more with smaller crews or, in many cases, no crews at all.
As detection technology develops, so, too, will the stealthy abilities of subs as opposing navies try to outwit each other. These silent killers are able to watch and report on enemy activity and, in some cases, destroy their targets without anyone detecting their presence.
With enhanced weapons like hypersonic missiles being developed, submarines are growing deadlier with each new generation. While major powers are sticking with nuclear propulsion, other countries are investing in cheaper, yet capable alternatives.
New advances in fuel cells mean that these new, non-nuclear subs can stay underwater for weeks if not months. Developments in sensor technology and design allow them to run with far smaller crews while still increasing the range of missions they can undertake. In short, subs are here to stay and underwater warfare is about to enter a new and important phase.
The Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera, on Monday presided over the opening a Criminal Appeals session at the Masaka High Court.
The scientific session started off with a briefing session of the appellants at Masaka Main Prison where the Deputy Chief Justice led the panel of three other Justices, advocates and other stakeholders in the criminal justice system.
The DCJ informed the appellants that the main purpose of the visit was to explain to them the shift from the traditional physical appearance of the appellants before their lordships. He explained that submissions by appellants or their advocates, responses by the State and submissions in rejoinder were all on record.
He added that the court appearances were mainly for the advocates to highlight on the submissions earlier filed so that the Court could later write and deliver judgments.
He notified the stakeholders that the Court of Appeal has only 14 justices who were few compared to the workload they handle.
Adding that the Judiciary management was in consultation with the Executive and Parliament to ensure that there are regional of courts of appeal to handle the ever increasing appeals.
“Our cry is to have regional courts to handle these sessions. This will make it easier to handle these cases and it will also reduce delays in management of appeals.” The plan is to have a Court of Appeal in Masaka, Mubende, Gulu, Mbale, Mbarara and Jinja for the start before rolling it out to other regions.
The Deputy Chief Justice noted that the method of procedure by way of video conferencing was the best in the circumstances amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
The head of panel, Justice Cheborion Barishaki, on behalf of Judges, Stephen Musota and Muzamiru Kibeedi reassured the appellants that they are committed to deliver judgments within 60 days upon closure of the session.
He added that 41 appeals will be heard and determined. Of these, 22 are Aggravated Defilement, 14 for Murder, four for Aggravated Robbery and one for Rape. Justice Barishaki observed that as rape cases go down, the ones against Aggravated Defilement were going up which was not pleasant.
Justice Barishaki pointed out that the Masaka session had delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and other constraints.
One of the appellants, Mbazira Joseph Bob, thanked the panel for the planned session but raised some concerns.
These included the fact that court proceedings and judgments are not availed to appellants on time and that cause listing at times does not follow the first in first out strategy.
The DCJ said the Judiciary alongside its JLOS partners such as the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution and Prisons were adopting a joint-cause listing process to ensure that the cases cause-listed follow the principle of first in and first out.
On her part, the Masaka Resident Judge, Victoria Nkwanga Katamba, welcomed the Session. She added that the workload at court is quite high and through their prison visits they have established that prison capacity is overwhelmed. She expressed gratitude for the session and undertook to use innovations such as sessions, Plea Bargaining and weeding out to reduce on the congestion.
The Officer in Charge of Masaka Main Prison, Deogratius Ogwabit expressed concern about the congestion in the Prison facility he heads adding that it was constructed to cater for 252 prisoners but currently it accommodates 1,288 prisoners.
Of this number, 1,209 are male while 79 are female. A total of 589 accused persons are committed to the High Court for trial. The prison also had a total of 52 appellants of whom 41 had been cause-listed for hearing in ongoing session.
He went further and expressed gratitude for such sessions which he described as useful especially in the process of decongesting the prison.
At the opening day, Eight cases were handled and the appellants were closely following via video conferencing Technology
More than 250 NGOs have urgently called on international governments to increase aid and save more than 34 million people on the brink of starvation this year.
In an open letter (PDF) addressed to world leaders on Tuesday, groups working to fight against inequality said up to 270 million people are acutely food insecure with millions “teetering on the very edge of famine”.
“The combined impacts of conflict, climate change and inequality, coupled with the COVID-19 crisis, have led to an acute food insecurity situation around the world,” the letter, whose key signatories include Oxfam, Save the Children, and the International Rescue Committee, read.
“Needs already cannot be met, and we are increasingly likely to face multiple famines if we do not respond now,” the letter, which came in conjunction with the UN’s call for action to avert famine, added.
In a joint statement, the aid groups noted that a year on since the UN warned of “famine of biblical proportions”, donors have only funded five percent of this year’s $7.8bn food security appeal.
The statement said that the amount of additional funding called for by the UN’s World Food Programme amounts to $5.5bn, which is equivalent to less than 26 hours of the $1.9 trillion that countries spend per year on the military.
“The richest countries are slashing their food aid even as millions of people go hungry; this is an extraordinary political failure,” Oxfam’s executive director, Gabriela Bucher, said.
“They must urgently reverse these decisions. And we must confront the fundamental drivers of starvation – global hunger is not about lack of food, but a lack of equality.”
‘I thought about suicide’
While at least $5.5bn is needed in urgent food and agricultural assistance to avert the imminent risk of famine, millions more is needed to provide health care, clean water and other essential, basic services, the statement said.
At the end of last year, the UN estimated that 270 million people were either at high risk of, or already facing, severe levels of hunger. Some 174 people in 58 countries have reached that level and are at risk of dying from malnutrition or lack of food, the groups said.
They warned that this figure will likely increase in the coming months if no actions are taken, and noted that conflict is the biggest driver of global hunger.
Key conflicts in Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Northern Nigeria are forcing millions to the brink of starvation.
The joint statement included testimonies from people living in conflict zones and dire humanitarian conditions.
Fadya, from Lahj governorate in Yemen, recalled how she considered suicide “several times”.
“When humanitarian workers came to my hut, they thought I had food because smoke was coming from my kitchen. But I was not cooking food for my children – instead I could only give them hot water and herbs, after which they went to sleep hungry,” she said.
“I thought about suicide several times but I did not do it because of my children.”
The open letter further warned that funding alone is not sufficient.
“The situation requires urgent action, at a scale we are simply not seeing. If no urgent action is taken, lives will be lost.”
Countries need to take immediate political action to stop these conflicts from continuing, and need to address rising inequality, the groups said.
“It is imperative that we raise our collective voices to secure the international attention this cause deserves before it is too late,” they said in closing remarks.