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Archive for January 12th, 2007

The film – The last King of Scotland!

Posted by African Press International on January 12, 2007

Rated (15 years and up)
123mins 4/5

ONE of the darkest chapters in African history comes under the spotlight in this enjoyable drama examining the friendship between a naive Scottish doctor and Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada.

Forest Whitaker is already being tipped for an Oscar for his awesome performance as the brutal tyrant, but co-star James McAvoy is just as good in his less starry role.

Based on the novel by Giles Foden, McAvoy plays recently-qualified medic Nicholas Garrigan who decides to leave his native Scotland to help the poor. After spinning a globe in his bedroom, he randomly picks the African country and heads to a remote village to work in a small clinic.

But after a chance encounter with Amin, Nick accepts the offer of a job as his personal physician, a decision that will eventually put him in terrible danger. And he doesn’t help things by falling for Idi’s girl (Kerry Washington).

Kicking off just before Amin’s 1971 coup, the country’s new leader comes across as an endearingly eccentric character who only wants the best for his people. But with power comes paranoia, leading to appalling cruelty which Nick unwittingly becomes party to.

The Last King Of Scotland isn’t a film that particularly surprises.
Right from the off it’s easy to see where things are going, a problem not helped by some extremely heavy-handed symbolism. In one scene early on, we see Nick literally getting blood on his hands while witnessing the torture of some would-be assassins.

Then, as his world comes crashing down later in the movie, we get to see birds of prey circling. Nice cinematic flourishes maybe, but a bit obvious.

Yet for all that, it’s a riveting and brilliantly paced film. We may know what’s around the corner, but it’s still a great journey.
Performance-wise, it seems certain Whitaker will get that Oscar nod for superbly conveying Amin’s weird mix of buffoonery and cold-bloodedness.

McAvoy, meanwhile, probably won’t get the recognition he deserves. He brilliantly gets across the ‘My God, is this really happening to me?’ wonder of his situation at the start, although later it becomes very hard to relate to his character since it’s unclear whether we should pity or condemn him.

Apparently his part is based on Bob Astles, a Kent factory foreman who became the dictator’s right-hand man and who now lives anonymously in Wimbledon.

But whatever its flaws, The Last King Of Scotland is entertaining enough to be the first great film of 2007.

On a separate note, London’s ICA is now showing General Idi Amin Dada, a 1974 documentary shot with the dictator’s co-operation that’s as disturbing as it is utterly fascinating.

The movie is on in London !


By Shortcut, For African Press in Norway, APN

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The jury system in Norway may be abolished!

Posted by African Press International on January 12, 2007

If the jury system is abolished, it will be easier to take up old cases where injustice may have been the cause in the sentencing of the accused person.

According to Janne Krisitansen, head of the commission that looks into cases, and determines if they should be heard in the courts when there is suspicion a conviction may be unjustified, the problem with the jury system, is the fact that there is no requirement in the law, that makes the jury to give explanation, or give reasons on how they arrive at their decision.

The commision has now recommended that the jury system be abolished, because they believe that will enable justice to be done.

The commision wants the jury system to be replaced by a system that makes it compulsory to give a reason on why the accused is being convicted.

It is the commission’s duty to look into requests from convicts, when they want their cases to be heard in the courts again. And with the jury system, it is difficult for the commission to know the reasons behind a conviction by a jury.

By Korir, African Press in Norway, APN,, source.(ANB)

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Winning 2006 BBC African Footballer of the year!

Posted by African Press International on January 12, 2007

The BBC has reported that, “Ghana and Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has won the 2006 BBC African Footballer of the Year award. In a live public vote on Friday, Essien received nearly twice as many votes as Ahly and Egypt play maker Mohamed Aboutrika and Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba.”

This was the “first time in the history of the prize, the winner was decided live during the BBC World Service’s flagship African sports programme Fast Track.”

In choosing the footballer of the year, “The BBC award takes into account the football calendar from January to December 2006 and includes domestic leagues, both the UEFA and CAF Champions League tournaments.”

This is celebratory because it icludes all …., “The African Nations Cup, the World Cup and the World Club Cup….within this period.”

By Ira Ndunda, African Press in Norway,

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50 couples in polygamous relationships given decent wedding by Cameroon’s government!

Posted by African Press International on January 12, 2007

A wedding couple laugh and hug The government in Cameroon gave a decent weeding to  50 couples. The couples are already living in polygamous relationships.

BBC reports that, “Cameroon’s first lady Chantal Biya offered gifts to the newly weds, mostly Muslim couples, at the all-expenses paid ceremony in the capital, Yaounde. The women’s affairs minister said the event was aimed at providing legal protection to concubines.”

It has been reported that many people choose not to wed, “as they fear a wedding will be costly and to register the union costs up to $25.”

There were over 1,000 guests attending the colourful wedding, “in the gardens of the National Museum on Thursday.”

One of the men who wedded is a 47-year-old man, who told the media that he was at the ceremony to marry three women at the same time.

A man marrying three women exchange rings< 47 year-old weds 3 women at one go!

He was quoted saying, “I have 17 children. All of us live together but each wife has her own kitchen.”

BBC reports that, “Women’s Affairs Minister Suzan Mbombak said she hoped the event would encourage other unmarried women living with a partner to get legally wed”, adding that “the children of such unions would than have more protection in the eyes of the law.”

The government’s assistance to the couples has come about because many couples choose not to marry due to high costs.

By Korir, African Press in Norway, APN,,

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Lt-Gen Michael Maples, said Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan remained a haven for al-Qaeda and other militants.

Posted by African Press International on January 12, 2007

John Negroponte

<Mr Negroponte.

BBC has reported that, “the head of US spying operations says the leaders of al-Qaeda have found a secure hideout in Pakistan from where they are rebuilding their strength.”

The US has been fighting al-Qaeda for a number of years now, yet the ,”National Intelligence Director John Negroponte said al-Qaeda was strengthening itself across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.”

Pakistan under president Musharaf has been a good supporter of US search for al-Qaeda leaders. The US believes some operatives are stationed in Pakistan and yet, “there was no immediate reaction from the Pakistani government.”

BBC has reported that, “earlier this week, the US carried out air strikes in Somalia targeting what it believed to be members of al-Qaeda. Mr Negroponte told a Senate committee that al-Qaeda was still the militant organisation that posed the greatest threat to US interests.”

And according to Negroponte, “the organisation was cultivating stronger operational capabilities and relationships that radiated out of Pakistan.”

In the US, “the head of the US Defence Intelligence Agency, Lt-Gen Michael Maples, said Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan remained a haven for al-Qaeda and other militants.”

By Korir, African Press in Norway, APN,,

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