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Archive for February, 2007

Mr Yossi Gal of Israel calls for greater Nigerian-Israeli partnership

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) The senior deputy Director General of Political Affairs in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Mr. Yossi Gal, Wednesday called for greater Nigerian-Israeli partnership in science and technology.

Gal told journalists on Wednesday in Abuja that such partnership would further boost the cordial bilateral relations between the two countries.

The envoy said that although the relationship between Israel and Nigeria was solid, cordial and mutual, there was need to explore other areas of cooperation.

“Presently, Israel is working with Nigeria in the field of agriculture and aqua-technology,” he said.

He added that his country’s land mark achievement could largely be attributed to its technological development and that Israel was ready to assist Nigeria in this area.

Gal said that so far, 6000 Nigerians had been to Israel and that the desire to have more bilateral relations with Nigeria and Israel prompted his two-day visit to Nigeria.

The Israeli envoy said that his country was also ready to work with the Nigerian private sector and that Israel was ready to host Nigerian business and trade delegations.

According to Gal, some Nigerian academics are in Israel for one form of training or the other and that Israel and Nigeria also have a thriving cultural exchange programme. /APA

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Homocide arrests in Norway

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

*”Police announced the arrest of three men in connection with the death of Arild Lund, 56, of Drammen.
Lund was found dead in his own apartment in the end of January.

The three suspects are all in their 30s and from Lithuania, Søndre Buskerud police said today in a press release. The men have been working in Norway, and have had temporary contracts.

The three men were arrested at two different sites in Drammen and were being questioned on Wednesday afternoon. Police said that further arrests could result in the case.

Local police have been assisted by the National Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) and around 100 persons have been questioned so far in the investigation.

The autopsy report determined that Lund died as the result of severe violence, but police have yet to divulge details from the crime scene.”*

By Kristin Grøntoft and Jonathan Tisdall

*”/”*Lifted by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.aftenpostenENG

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Microsoft gets protection rights

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

*”A small Norwegian company is providing technology that Microsoft hopes will help prevent digital copyright violations.
Norwegian Harper Security has signed a licensing deal for their DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology with software colossus Microsoft, IT web site idg.no reports.

Harper’s innovation is based on combining the two types of copy protection most often used – digital ‘watermarking’, which adds information to media files about who has the rights to the file, and fingerprinting, which marks each file with information about the purchaser.

“It is clear that for a small player like Harper Security a deal like this is a big opportunity. We have worked with this since February 2006 and are very pleased to announce this now,” Ragnar Harper told Computerworld.no.

“The deal makes it possible for us to reach a global market, with a brand name like Microsoft behind us. It will help us in talks with potential clients in the rest of the world, and give us credibility,” Harper said.

Harper and co-founder Valery Pryamikov have built up several years of cooperation with Microsoft on various levels, and the technology behind Harper Audio Protector has been developed by Microsoft Research and Harper Security.

Harper Security views traditional DRM as a dead end, particularly since it is seen as consumer-hostile. Their solution does not limit the purchaser’s ability to use the files as they wish, which Harper says is a key reason users seek ways to circumvent copy protection.”*

By Jonathan Tisdall

*”/”*Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.aftenpostenENG

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Nigeria’s coming presidential elections is crucial for the continent

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) The Nigerian general elections, due in April are crucial to the stability of Africa, the director of the West African Affairs in the US State Department, Mr. Philip Carter, said here Wednesday.

Speaking while on a courtesy visit to the campaign headquarters of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja, Wednesday, Carter said on account of the importance of the election to Africa, his government sent him to confer with stakeholders, which include political parties, the electoral umpire, civil society organizations and others that play a role in the process in order to “have a sense of what is happening”.

The United States, he said wants the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to work towards the realization of free, fair, and acceptable elections in April so that stability could be guaranteed on the African continent.

Carter said the US government has invested so much in promoting democracy in Nigeria and was therefore keenly hoping that the current transition process would result in free, fair, and credible elections.

The National Secretary of the PDP, Chief Ojo Maduekwe assured Carter that the ruling party was very much concerned and working hard towards sustaining democracy where the rule of law is paramount, admitting that the situation was yet to be perfect.

He said the party was poised to surpass its winning record in the 2003 elections in a way that legitimacy of the outcome would not be compromised.

“The PDP is confident of winning in many states because it is the only party that is working hard campaigning and canvassing for votes from the electorate,” said Madueke.
/APA

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Anti-Mugabe demonstration in Zambia with no impact

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

Windhoek (Namibia) The planned anti-Mugabe demonstration organized by civil society organizations during the current visit of the Zimbabwean leader to Namibia, missed to make much impact, APA observed here.

As few as 50 placard-wielding demonstrators gathered outside the Zimbabwean high commission in Windhoek on Wednesday morning to protest against Mugabe’s state visit.

The demonstration, staged by civil rights activists, was marked by a heavy police presence. The event also attracted a lot of media attention.

The demonstrators, predominantly whites, waved placards which read in part :’ Enough is Enough, ’No Land Seizures in Namibia’ and ’Nujoma Learn from Mandela Not Mugabe’, etc.

Speakers at the event castigated a report by the New Era newspaper in Windhoek for welcoming Mugabe and urged the publication to report about real things that are happening, citing the example of Zimbabwe teachers who have resorted to selling airtime cards on the streets in Namibia and many who have been reduced to beggars.

The main reason of the demonstration, according to a press statement by the National Society for Human Rights, was to add to the ever-growing international outrage over the dangerous human rights, humanitarian and human security situation, which is prevailing in Zimbabwe.

The press statement blamed Mugabe for the 1980s atrocities in Matabeleland where over 7 000 people were killed, the land reforms and the clean-up exercise dubbed ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ which displaced over 700 000 people.

For these and other alleged human rights violations, the activists called for Mugabe to be tried in the international courts.

Mugabe arrived in Namibia on Tuesday on a four-day state visit at the invitation of his Namibian host, President Hifikepunye Pohamba. /APA

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African nations urged to protect Congo forest

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) The 2004 Noble peace prize winner Professor Wangari Maathai on Wednesday urged African countries to protect the Congo forest from further damage.

Maathai said that the Congo forest, currently regarded as the only symbol of African forests, needs special protection by African countries.

“This forest is one of the very important forests in the world, like Amazon and the southeast Asia forests. It is important for Africa. I appeal to African countries to protect the Congo forest,” she said.

Maathai was speaking to journalists after giving a lecture to African security officers on environmental security at the ongoing regional forum on security.

She said environment ignorance and lack of awareness as well as poor budgeting for the environment resulted in environmental degradation in the continent.

“What we have seen is that African nations are not giving enough budgets for environmental protection as they are doing for defense ministries to buy weapons, and to other institutions. There are countries that don’t even have ministries for the environment. There is environmental ignorance in Africa,” Maathai said.

She asked African countries to increase budgets for environment protection as part of the ongoing efforts to fight desertification in the continent.

Maathai said Africa is currently facing greater environmental degradation and deforestation than ever before, which results in the loss of millions of lives annually through floods, crop failure, starvation and other related problems.

Million of people are getting poorer due to environmental degradation in our continent, she said.

Maathai proposed the inclusion of the study of the environment in African educational curriculum as part of the ongoing efforts to minimized desertification in the continent. /APA

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Government closure of The Independent newspaper in Liberia condemned

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

Monrovia (Liberia) Liberia’s media advocacy group ; the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has condemned the arbitrary closure of The Independent newspaper by government security forces on Tuesday afternoon.

In a press statement issued in Monrovia Tuesday evening, the Press Union also condemned the seizure of the newspaper’s offices without a court order and called on the government to unlock the newspaper’s doors and “submit to the rule of law”.

The PUL says while it “acknowledges the reckless ethical misconduct” of the newspaper, it will resist any attempt by the government to “institute mob justice” against the paper.

The Union in the statement urged President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf not to “allow her government to regress into mob justice, but to give chance to the judiciary to function, if there has been a violation by the newspaper.

The Information Ministry Tuesday revoked the operating licence of The Independent newspaper for one year, for publishing for the second time, obscene photos of the former minister of state for presidential affairs Willis Knuckles having sex with two women.

The ministry also sealed the offices of The Independent and warned the Sabannon Printing Press not to print the newspaper.

The Press Union, however, also suspended the paper’s membership for three months for ethical transgression, while the government had earlier threatened court action against the paper when it printed the obscene photo for the first time, which resulted in the resignation of the minister.

In apparent compliance with the call by the PUL for the government not to violate the rule of law, the Information Ministry Wednesday reopened the offices of The Independent, but said the one year ban still remains in place. /APA

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Museveni to flag off troops to Somalia

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

Kampala (Uganda) A contingent of Ugandan troops for the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia will be flagged off on Thursday by President Yoweri Museveni.

Army spokesman Major Felix Kulayigye confirmed on Wednesday that the president will hand over the Ugandan flag to the commander of the Ugandan peacekeeping troops for Somalia, Col. Peter Elwelu.

Col. Elwelu was a brigade commander before being called for the Somalia assignment.

But the exact date of their departure is still not yet established, as Kulayigye refused to disclose the exact date saying that is not for the public to know.

The Uganda troops are going to Somalia amid reported threats by Somalia militias opposed to the deployment of an African Union force. The militias have threatened to “slaughter the African Union force at the gates of Somalia”.

But at a press conference on Tuesday, President Museveni said he has been holding discussions with the militias there so that they appreciate the mission of the African Union force.

Museveni said the African peacekeepers are going to help restore peace in the war-torn country.

He said, however, that the African force will be allowed to use force when they are provoked.

Early this month, the Uganda parliament passed a resolution allowing the deployment of the Uganda troops to Somalia. /APA

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Museveni ready for talks for peace in his country

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

Kampala (Uganda) Uganda President Yoweri Museveni is due to meet South Sudan President Salva Kiir to discuss the stalled northern Uganda peace talks that have been taking place in Juba, South Sudan.

The agreement to end hostilities between Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army expires on Wednesday, and Museveni has not ruled out a military option against the rebels if they re-enter Uganda from Sudan .

Museveni has said that the agreement was meant to help the rebels and not the Uganda government.

He told journalists on Tuesday in Kampala that the Uganda army has the capacity to fight and defeat the rebels

Museveni said the Uganda army would not follow the rebels inside Congo and Southern Sudan unless he gets consent of the two governments.

He assured the people of northern Uganda that they will continue enjoying the peace that had been restored in the area since the two warring sides signed the cessation of hostilities agreement in August of last year.

The stalled peace talks have raised concerns among the Ugandan population, with opposition MPs on Tuesday moving a motion urging the government and the rebels to give the peace talks another chance even without renewing the agreement of cessation of hostilities. /APA

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Senegalese President calls for the respect of the polls

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

Dakar (Senegal) An election observer mission of the inter-parliamentary committee of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (CIP-UEMOA) to Senegal’s presidential poll held on 25 February, Wednesday called for the “respect of the results of the polls,” APA noted here.

During a press conference, the eight-member mission hailed the smooth unfolding of the vote and the “maturity” the Senegalese electorate demonstrated on Election Day.

The electoral observers commended the home affair ministry and the autonomous national electoral commission (CENA) for the “sound electoral process”.

The UEMOA observers further appealed for the “rally of Senegalese political stakeholders and the civil society” to abide by “the same peace and consensus process and accept the results of the polls”.

The inter-parliamentary delegation said they noted “some mishaps” such as the unavailability of voting cards for some voters, which however “cannot nullify the results of the polls”.

The mission noted that the electoral campaign, which followed the vote, was “held in good conditions, despite some hitches”.

“The poll recorded a massive turnout and the votes were cast amid calm and serenity,” the observers said.

The head of the CIP-UEMOA delegation, Malian MP, Boubou Koita noted on Election Day that the mission members were deployed in four out of the 11 regions : Dakar, Thies, Louga (north), and Kaolack (central south).

The mission visited 183 polling stations including some in remote rural areas where no election observer “was deployed during the poll”.

“In some polling stations, members of the mission even attended the counting of votes,” Koita said, insisting that the visited localities were chosen at random”.

“There is no election observer mission that can visit all the polling stations scattered across the country ; the observers can only take a sample selection,” the CIP-UEMOA members explained.

The CIP-UEMOA mission was composed of MPs from Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, and collaborators of the chairman of the Bamako-based committee./ APA

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Highest-rated nominees for the African Football Confederation – Golden Ball

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

Dakar (Senegal) Cameroonian forward and FC Barcelona player Samuel Eto’o and Ivorian striker Didier Drogba are the highest-rated nominees for the African Football Confederation (CAF) Best African Player of 2006 award dubbed “Golden Ball” Thursday in Accra, Ghana.

Eto’o, who won the last three editions, grabbed a razor’s edge victory over Drogba (English Premier League) during the 2005 edition, with 108 points against 106.

But this year’s contest between the two promises to be tighter as both are among the world’s best footballers.

Eto’o has been instrumental in Barcelona’s triumph in the Champions League and the Spanish Liga’s victory, signing 26 goals to lift the best striker trophy.

Even though Cameroon was knocked out in the quarterfinals, Eto’o singled himself out, scoring five goals during the Egypt-hosted Cup of African Nations (CAN) to emerge as the leading player of the contest.

A September 2006 injury sidelined Eto’o for four months and the football star is just back on.

For his part, Drogba won a second title with Chelsea and was crucial in his country’s advance to the CAN 2006 final and to the German World Cup the same year.

In the same vein, he has assumed a role in Chelsea’s games since the 2006-2007 season kicked off.

His critical contribution earned him a main player status in the London squad where some, however, had said he would be sidelined as a regular after Ukraine’s Andrei Chevtchenko joined the team in the close of the season.

Third nominee, midfielder Michael Essien of Ghana, is expected to end at the third place as in 2005 despite performing well with English champions, Chelsea, and Ghana’s Black Stars to contribute in raising his team to the last World Cup’s round of sixteen.

The trio were among a list of five CAF nominees released last November, while Nigeria’s Nwanko Kanu and Egypt’s Mohamed Aboutrika were knocked off in the first short listing.

CAF will also reward other African football actors on the sidelines of the awards event Thursday.

Best male player 2006

Didier Drogba (Chelsea, Cote d’Ivoire)

Michael Essien (Chelsea, Ghana)

Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona, Cameroon)

Best coach

Manuel Jose (Al Ahly, Egypt)

Patrick Liewig (ASEC, Cote d’Ivoire)

Hassan Shehata (Egypt’s national squad)

Best National Team

Cote d’Ivoire

Egypt

Ghana

Africa’s best club player

Mohamed Aboutreika (Al Ahly, Egypt)

Nafti Abdelkrim (Club Sportif Sfaxien, Tunisia)

Didier Ya Konan (ASEC, Cote d’Ivoire)

Year’s best Club

Al Ahly (Egypt)

ASEC (Cote d’Ivoire)

Etoile Sahel (Tunisia)

Best hopeful

Mbarek Boussoufa (Anderlecht, Morocco)

Asamoah Gyan (Udinese, Ghana)

Taye Taiwo (Marseille, Nigeria)

Best female player

Portia Modise (South Africa)

Sheila Okai (Ghana)

Cynthia Uwak (Nigeria)
/APA

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Ghanaians are in top gear to welcome Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

Accra (Ghana) When the announcement came on Tuesday from Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Nana Akuffo Addo, that 24 African heads of state have confirmed their participation in Ghana’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations, the name of President Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe among the guests rang a bell among many Ghanaians.

This is because Mugabe is seen here by some politicians, social commentators and students of politics as a hero fighting for the cause of the African people.

President Mugabe’s link with Ghana dates back to the pre-independence struggle, which brought him from the then Southern Rhodesia to Ghana to study the process of attaining independence for his country from Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana.

As a result of that, President Mugabe married a Ghanaian woman, the late Sally Mugabe, who hailed from Sekondi Takoradi, in the Western Region of Ghana.

APA has learnt here that President Mugabe is the one most Ghanaians were yearning to see as he is adored for still championing the African cause in the 21st Century.

Ghana’s 50th independence celebration falls on Tuesday 6th March and according to Nana Akuffo Addo, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, would be the guest of honour.

The others expected to grace the occasion include Presidents Festus Mogae of Botswana, Muamar al Ghadafi of Libya, Paul Biya of Cameroon, Faure Gnassingbe of Togo, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Pedro Pires of Cape Verde Islands, Armando Emelio Guebuza of Mozambique, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania, Blaise Compoare of Burkina Faso and Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia.

Ghana was the first African country in sub-Saharan Africa to attain independence from the British colonial rule on 6th March 1957, which spread across the continent like a wild fire. /APA

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Tanzanian President Kikwete’s visit to Norway started successfully yesterday; says Ambassador Ben Moses

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

Speaking to African Press, the Ambassador was happy that the President’s visit to Norway started well, a sign of good cooperation between the two countries.

On arrival in Norway, the President met with government officials and businessmen before retiring for the night; says the ambassador

Today, the president used time to acquaint himself with Norwegian companies and meet top company officials outside Oslo, the capital city. The aim of such meetings is to strengthen relationships between Norway and Tanzania.

The president decided to wind up his meeting in Norway by speaking to Tanzanian nationals in the country, some of whom are refugees and others immigrants, including those married to Norwegians.

According to the Ambassador, the President’s open door policy makes it possible to face the questions fielded by Tanzanians who want to know more about home and the development that President Kikwete has achieved within the short time in the office.

For the president, such a meeting gives him opportunity to meet party loyalists and those that do not belong to his political party, in order to make them understand the need for unity as a team and develop the nation together, now that politics of campaign is over.

The meeting between the President and the Tanzanians in Norway was a private affair to discus home politics and was expected that those who want to fight for their rights as voters will get time to put direct questions to the President.

Speaking to the Ambassador, APN was told of the presidents effort to push forward Tanzania’s development, and his effort to do so resulted in the visits he is now undertaking to Scandinavian countries.

Ambassador Moses tells APN that he will accompany his president tomorrow, Thursday morning as he starts his official visit to Denmark.

APN wishes the President well in his visit to Denmark.

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Lesotho’s state council advises the King

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

Maseru (Lesotho) Members of the State Council of Lesotho Thursday met to advise King Letsie III on the appointment of 11 new members of the senate.

A press statement from the office of the senior Private Secretary to the King an secretary to the Council of State, Mr Mabotse Lerotholi, gioving the names of the 11 new members of the Council. They include retired politicians, medical doctors, teachers and people from various other professions.

The Senate is scheduled to meet on Thursday, in preparation for the first meeting of the first session of the seventh parliament.

The major task of the day will be for members to elect the President of Senate and to be sworn-in.

Lesotho’s Senate comprises 22 chiefs, who are ex-officio members of Senate, together with 11 nominees of the King.

The nominated Senators have usually been drawn from a wide spectrum of experienced politicians, distinguished academics and citizens who have made significant contributions to the life of the nation. Several ministers of government have, over the years, been appointed from among the ranks of these eleven nominated Senators.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has already selected members of his new cabinet and they are due to be sworn in on Thursday./ APA

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Aliens from Ethiopia intercepted inside oil tanker

Posted by African Press International on February 28, 2007

Lilongwe (Malawi) Malawi police in the southwestern district of Mwanza bordering Mozambique have intercepted an oil tanker carrying 46 illegal aliens from Ethiopia on their way to South Africa to seek jobs, APA learnt on Wednesday.

Immigration Officer Philimon Mwalweni said the illegal immigrants entered through Karonga, a northern district bordering Tanzania, as asylum seekers and were in the country waiting for their documents to be processed into refugee status.

However, the men had other ideas about waiting for bureaucracy to give them the requested documents, he said.

The group, all men, piled into the oily vessel but were clever enough to leave the opening ajar to avoid suffocation from the fumes of the oil remnants, he explained.

Mwalweni added, “We impounded a truck belonging to F.A. Lambert, a local businessman in Blantyre, after a tip-off from the public that the empty oil tanker has carried people inside it.”

Mwalweni said the oil tanker’s driver, Bernard Chisamba, told them the trip was organised by a local Malawian trafficker named Stuart Ndege who pledged to pay him 143,000 kwacha (US$1,000) to ferry the group to Zobue, a border town in Mozambique next to Mwanza.

According to Mwalweni, Ndege has been arrested and charged with human trafficking and will appear before a court of law soon.

The Ethiopians have been sent back to meet UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) officials and those of the Home Affairs Ministry for a decision on what to with the aliens. /APA

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