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Archive for March 20th, 2007

Guinea Bissau government suffers vote of no confidence

Posted by African Press International on March 20, 2007

Bissau (Guinea Bissau) The overwhelming majority of parliamentarians in Guinea Bissau Monday adopted a motion of no confidence against the government headed by Prime Minister Aristide Gomes, APA has learnt.

“The motion of no confidence, which was tabled by the parties signatory to the political and parliamentary stability pact – PAIGC, PRS, and PUSD – collected 58 votes for, 28 against and 8 abstentions,” Parliament speaker Francisco Benante said shortly after the counting of votes.

The motion follows emergency debates on the country’s political, economic and social situation, which was marked by a number of clashes between government sympathisers and adversaries, forcing the speaker of the National Popular Parliament (ANP) to suspend the discussions for over an hour.

Most speakers denounced what they decried as “the inability of the government headed by Prime Minister Aristide Gomez to fight corruption and bad governance while refusing economic and social progress to Guineans”.

President Joao Bernardo Viera now either has to dissolve the government, which has lost any legitimacy and request the new parliamentary majority to form a government of national union or he dissolves the Parliament and organise anticipated legislative elections within 90 days as stipulated by the Constitution.

But the Premier’s sympathisers said they could bring the case to the Supreme Court to give its ruling.

It can be recalled that the country’s Supreme Court had declared itself incompetent to hear a similar case in 1994.

News of the adopted motion of no confidence was a great relief to the people, especially students, teachers, housewives and other civil servants.

The Bissau dwellers took to the streets in jubilation, chanting slogans hostile to the government, which they accused of plunging the country into abject poverty.

 

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or + 47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Norwegians move in first into Palestine, while other nations are in the wait-and-see mood

Posted by African Press International on March 20, 2007

*”Norway’s recognition of the new Palestinian unity government isn’t unconditional. Norwegian diplomats are in Gaza this week, and will make clear that they have some expectations in return.

Norway’s deputy foreign minister Raymond Johansen (left) met Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza on Monday.

PHOTO: REUTERS


Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has declared support for the new Palestinian government.

PHOTO: Erlend Aas / SCANPIX

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg confirmed over the weekend that Norway welcomes the formation of the new government, which includes both the secular and moderate Fatah movement, representatives from the Islamic Hamas and independent politicians.

Stoltenberg said Norway, which has been trying to broker peace in the Middle East for years, would resume both political and economic contact with the Palestinians. That has made Palestinian representatives in Oslo hopeful that other European countries will follow and do the same.

Neither the US nor Israel is supporting the new Palestinian government and Israel has been urging the international community to maintain a Palestinian boycott. Norway has rejected this, and diplomat Raymond Johansen traveled to Gaza for new talks.

He made it clear on national radio Monday, however, that the Norwegians in turn expect an end to the violence in Gaza.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has said the Norwegians also expect the Palestinian government to respect international norms that apply to diplomatic agreements, and that the Palestinians must accept Israel’s right to exist.

Støre wants the new Palestinian government to be given a chance, and has asked Israel to meet it in a constructive manner. A new public opinion poll in Israel on Monday also indicated that a majority of Israelis want the same, and disagree with their own leaders’ decision against having contact with the Palestinians.

Some opposition politicians in Norway remain skeptical to the government’s embrace of the new Palestinians, with the Christian Democrats claiming Stoltenberg has been too quick to relieve pressure from the Palestinian authority.”*

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

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Counting the cost of heavy seas that battered the beach front in the early hours of Monday

Posted by African Press International on March 20, 2007

Durban (South Africa) Officials and residents along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline on the east coast of South Africa, are counting the cost of heavy seas that battered the beach front in the early hours of Monday.

Durban’s beach front areas were pounded by massive surf leaving the city’s famous Golden Mile littered with debris as emergency services rescued numerous people from hotels night clubs on the beach.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), together with the police Search and Rescue Unit evacuated nine people from the Isipingo Island hotel at the mouth of the Isipingo River near Durban International Airport.

The heavy weather also forced the closure of all port operations in Durban. Two women at Durban’s popular Blue Lagoon were washed off their feet when a freak wave broke over the bollards and crashed into the parking lot in the early hours of Monday. Emergency services spokesperson Chris Botha said the women were taken to Addington Hospital with cuts, bruises and lacerations.

Spokesperson of the National Ports Authority, Jyothi Naidoo said on Monday that the port had been closed to incoming vessels since Sunday night and that all departures and arrivals had stopped shortly after midnight. “It is still closed. There is a five-metre swell and a wind speed of 45 knots at the harbour entrance,” she said.

On Durban’s beachfront, some restaurants and shops were damaged after two freak waves “roughly three metres high” struck between 2 and 3am, Monday morning.

Restaurants and other shops in the area were battered. Windows were shattered and doors were completely broken down. Fourteen workers who were trapped inside the restaurants were rescued by emergency services and taken to various hospitals in the early hours of Monday morning.

Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service has issued a national warning that high seas with wave heights in excess of seven metres are expected along the southern KwaZulu-Natal coastline.

The Weather Service had earlier predicted that waves would reach five metres, but the storm has been upgraded. The Durban Disaster Management team has been locked in a meeting since Monday morning to decide whether homes situated along beaches should be evacuated before the storm.

 

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Nigeria and Cuba enters into partnership

Posted by African Press International on March 20, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) Nigeria has entered into a partnership with Cuba for the development of high yield sugarcane seedlings to enhance its production capacity of brown sugar, said the Director General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. David Okongwu in Abuja Monday.

Addressing journalists Monday, Dr. Okongwu said one of the interesting aspects of partnership is their willingness to introduce high yield sugarcane seedling from Cuba to Nigerian soil depending on its adaptability.

“We are highly optimistic that the brown sugar technology, when fully replicated in all the sugarcane-producing communities in Nigeria, will be a veritable tool for wealth creation and poverty alleviation in our local communities.” He described Cuba as one of the leading nations in sugar production.

Dr. Okongwu said NOTAP had also made tremendous strides in commercialisation of the brown sugar project, and that apart from the Kona Mada plant in Abuja, other plants in Omor, Anambra State and Ibaa in Rivers State are nearing completion.

Dr. Okongwu was speaking during the 2007 African Union (AU) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (AU-WIPO) Invention and Innovation Award held in Abuja, meant to address critical problems in Africa and the attainment of the millennium development goals. He said the AU and the WIPO jointly instituted the award to recognise African technologists and scientists.

According to him, the AU and WIPO believed that science and technology should be related to the people’s daily lives, methods of work and survival concepts. They also believed that Africa should commit itself to developing science and technology, which address basic societal problems through both the so-called “low science” and “high science” perspectives to propel Africa’s socio-economic development.

 

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or + 47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Weather delays Color Line’s ferry Christian IV

Posted by African Press International on March 20, 2007

*”A cruise ferry with 1,700 passengers on board could finally tie up back in its home port of Kristiansand on Monday, 17 hours late. Color Line’s ferry Christian IV should have sailed from Hirtshals at the northern tip of Denmark at 1:45pm on Sunday, but bad weather seriously delayed its departure.

That’s because the vessel initially had been delayed out of Kristiansand, so was late in arriving in Hirtshals for the return voyage. Then it couldn’t tie up there at all, because winds were too strong.

The vessel then was sent to another port a bit further south, at Fredrikshavn, because officials thought it might be easier to tie up there. It wasn’t, and the vessel spent hours offshore, facing into the wind, waiting for the wind to die down.

That didn’t happen until nearly midnight. Passengers who had been waiting for the vessel in Denmark since early that afternoon could finally board, while many of those on board had traveled for what was supposed to be a quick shopping trip to Denmark. They had to just stay on board and sail back.

The journey usually takes less than five hours. It ended up taking more than double that.

Passengers finally could disembark back in Kristiansand at noon on Monday. Many told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that the voyage was far from pleasant.

“There was poor information and poor follow-up,” said passenger Tore Johansen. “It looked like a pigpen on the ship. There wasn’t enough toilet paper and it wasn’t even possible to get any water.”

Color Line officials apologized for the inconvenience, but noted that the weather delays were beyond their control.”*

By Nina Berglund

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

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