Portal:Guinea-Bissau/Selected article

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Balafoon.jpg

The balafon (bala, balaphone) is a resonated frame, wooden keyed percussion idiophone of West Africa; part of the idiophone family of tuned percussion instruments that includes the xylophone, marimba, glockenspiel, and the vibraphone. Sound is produced by striking the tuned keys with two padded sticks.

Believed to have been developed independently of the Southern African and South American instruments now called the marimba, oral histories of the balafon date it to at least the rise of the Mali Empire in the 12th century CE. Balafon is a Manding name, but variations exist across West Africa, including the balangi in Sierra Leone and the gyil of the Dagaaba, Lobi and Gurunsi from Ghana, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire. similar instruments are played in parts of Central Africa, with the ancient Kingdom of Kongo denoting the instrument as palaku. (Read more...)
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Least Developed Countries map.svg

Least developed country (LDC) is the name given to a country which, according to the United Nations, exhibits the lowest indicators of socioeconomic development, with the lowest Human Development Index ratings of all countries in the world.

Countries may "graduate" out of the LDC classification when indicators exceed these criteria. The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States coordinates UN support and provides advocacy services for Least Developed Countries.

The classification currently (as of 29 January 2009) applies to 49 countries. In 2007, the United Nations graduated Cape Verde from the category of Least Developed Countries, only the second time it has happened to any country. The first country to graduate from LDC status was Botswana in 1994. Samoa may become the third country to graduate, with a decision on this issue initially scheduled for 2008. As of February 2009, the decision on Samoa's status was still "pending". (Read more...)
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Psittacus erithacus -perching on tray-8d.jpg

The African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is a medium-sized parrot endemic to primary and secondary rainforest of West and Central Africa. Experts regard it as one of the most intelligent birds. They feed primarily on palm nuts, seeds, fruits, leafy matter, and have even been observed eating snails. Their overall gentle nature and their inclination and ability to mimic speech have made them popular pets. This has led many to be captured from the wild and sold into the pet trade. The African Grey Parrot is listed on CITES appendix II, which restricts trade of wild caught species, because wild populations can not sustain trapping for the pet trade.

Grey parrots depend on large old trees for the natural hollows they use for nesting. Studies in Guinea and Guinea-Bissau have found that the preferred species of nesting trees are also preferred timber species. There is a positive relationship between the status of the species and the status of primary forest: where the forests are declining, so too are populations of Grey parrots. (Read more...)
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