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Archive for April 10th, 2007

Norway: Unhealthy products may be taxed heavily

Posted by African Press International on April 10, 2007

*”Norway’s government is considering imposing higher, punitive taxes on “unhealthy” products like soft drinks and reducing or removing sales tax on fresh fruit and vegetables. There’s disagreement, though, over how high the tax might be.

Politicians are considering taxing soft drinks more heavily…

PHOTO: INGAR STORFJELL


…and cutting taxes on fruit and vegetables.

PHOTO: INGAR STORFJELL

Norway has a long tradition of punitively taxing luxury items and products like alcoholic beverages and tobacco. Now the politicians are going after products that contain a lot of sugar, or are considered unhealthy.

That includes soft drinks and sweets, including chocolate. The current center-left coalition government already has eased taxes on sparkling water and raised them a bit on sugary sodas.

Some health advocates are arguing in favour of doubling the local version of sales tax (25 percent VAT called “moms”) on soft drinks (called brus in Norway) and removing tax from fruit. “The problem is that we eat much too much sugar… too little fruit and vegetables, and too many processed foods like potato chips,” Haakon Meyer, leader of a national nutrition council (Nasjonalt råd for ernæring) told newspaper Aftenposten.

A formal report from the ruling government coalition claims that “special taxes on unhealthy products can be one of several methods of improving nutrition among the population.” Health Minister Sylvia Brustad remains non-commital about what measures may ultimately be taken.

“I can’t say anything about what or when (any changes will occur),” she told Aftenposten. That’s apparently because the three parties making up the government have different opinions on the matter, and need to iron out their differences first.

A random sampling of consumer opinion seems to support a change. “When a liter of milk costs as much as a soft drink, something’s wrong,” said Helene Drivenes of Ås, one of several consumers questioned by Aftenposten.”*

By Nina Berglund

*”/”*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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Norway: The left wing party power struggle

Posted by African Press International on April 10, 2007

*”Power plays and intrigue continue to characterize internal politicking within Norway’s political parties themselves. Now top officials within the Liberal and Labour parties are the ones caught in conflicts.

Olaf Thommessen (left) and Lars Sponheim clearly don’t get along, even though they both have high positions in the Liberal Party.

PHOTO: Heiko Junge


Rolf Terje Klungland is leaving the parliament when this session is over.

PHOTO: Berg-Jacobsen Jon-Are

One would think the political parties had enough of a challenge quarreling with other parties. Instead, many use lots of energy quarreling with colleagues within their own ranks.

Lately it’s been former cabinet minister Lars Sponheim, head of the Liberal Party (Venstre), who’s at odds with deputy leader Olaf Thommessen.

It all started two weeks ago, when Thommessen (a successful businessman who’s been recovering from a brain aneurism) told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv that he was ready to take over as party leader if asked. “But I feel that I have to prove myself first,” he said.

Sponheim, who’s known for a rather large ego, apparently failed to see the degree of humbleness in Thommessen’s remarks that many others did. Sponheim was furious and responded with a tirade against Thommessen in the same paper just before Easter. Sponheim claimed Thommessen is not the party’s crown prince, that he lacks perseverance and has made many poor changes in his political career.

The highly public quarrel comes just before the Liberals’ annual meeting this coming weekend, and promises to divide the troops in a small party that clearly would do better with a sense of unity.

Meanwhile, in the Labour Party, longtime party faithful Rolf Terje Klungland says he feels ignored and harassed by the party leadership, and isn’t sure why he’s been “frozen out” of top party meetings. He fired salvos of his own against party secretary Martin Kolberg and others in a lengthy article in newspaper VG on Tuesday.

Kolberg denied Klungland has been shut out, saying he doesn’t understand the criticism.

Klungland, who collapsed in the parliament a few years ago after working long hours during the 2005 election campaign, has already announced he won’t run for re-election to the parliament. Now he says he’s looking forward to writing a book and taking off on a long sail tour.

By Nina Berglund

*”/”*Lifted by 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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Central Norway: Stormy weather keeps skiers indoors

Posted by African Press International on April 10, 2007

Central Norway

*”A skier who was reported missing in the mountains of central Norway was found in good shape Tuesday morning. The Red Cross reported fewer serious rescue missions during this year’s traditional Easter holiday, because stormy weather kept many people inside their hotels or cabins.

Some braved the winds to take one of the season’s last ski trips in the mountains.

PHOTO: MORTEN ØVERLIE

The popular Easter holiday started off well, with blue skies and sunshine over much of the country, but the weather took an abrupt change in the mountains, the west and up north on Wednesday. High winds, a major dump of snow and poor visibility closed many highways, left hundreds stranded in isolated lodges and prompted police and Red Cross officials to warn holidaymakers against setting off on cross-country ski trips.

While the Oslo area basked in sunshine through Saturday, storms howled in such popular areas as Hardangervidda and Hemsedal. But it seems many vacationing Norwegians heeded the warnings and stayed inside.

One of the last search and rescue missions started Monday night near the border between the Sogn og Fjordane and Møre og Romsdal counties. A man was reported missing after he failed to turn up as agreed after a ski trip during the day.

Five snow-scooter patrols and three teams of search dogs found the man near Storlivtavnet and in relatively good shape despite his ordeal.

Oslo also received a surprise snowfall on Sunday but the weather was expected to warm up steadily throughout the week.”*

By Nina Berglund

*”/”*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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Aids medicine discovered long time ago

Posted by African Press International on April 10, 2007

The medicine for Aids was found long time ago even before Aids was discovered, it has never been revealed up to date because Africans believe that the subject S.E.X should not exist amongst them. Africans should learn to talk about sex openly as an educative subject before its too late or maybe its too late now.

Of course it should not be as open as the way the Europeans use it. So openly that it becomes stale…kissing openly infront of the kids, kissing in the trains and buses, lying naked at the beach when its summer…I like the way Africans handle S.E.X..especially when it comes to the practical part of it. They feel shy to expose their bodies, they feel shy to show their  private parts,they feel  shy to kiss.

I believe it makes Sex more lively,interesting and fun.The Europeans way of exposing everything is sometimes disgusting or maybe all the time
disgusting. You get used to them until you don’t want to see more of it. I mean you see it everywhere including  on Tv even before the kids go to sleep.. on the radio. The other day I was taking my kids to school. Listening to their favourite radio station, the voice.and the  host was repeatedly talking about Sex  the hard way (.cking.).

I did not know what to do and I was pretending to be concentrating on my driving wondering oh my God when is he going to play the next song? This is not the kind of Education am talking about.

The other day my son asked me Daddy how does one make a baby? I blushed I did not answer him I did not know what to say. What would I say? By…cking? No. Some one  help me!!! But later on I asked myself should I have told him really the truth?

Yes of course. But how would I have put it?Baba nani any tips? In case you are wondering what medicine can cure Aids. Here are some of them: masturbation.. Become a catholic father. Becoming a catholic nun. With these, you  would never be HIV POSITIVE!!!!

Of course we should accept our brothers and sisters who are already victims treat them well but still try to protect ourselves if possible.

By Clay Onyango, Sweden

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

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Kenya accuses Ugandans of violence

Posted by African Press International on April 10, 2007

By Reuben Olita

THE Kenyan government claims Ugandan rebels are helping Kenyan militiamen to cause havoc on the Kenyan side of Mount Elgon. So far, over 140 people have been killed and 60,000 displaced in clashes over land in the last six
months.

Some of the victims are said to have crossed into Uganda in search of refuge.

Kenya’s internal security minister, John Michuki, told Parliament last week that intelligence reports confirmed “Ugandan rebels” were fighting alongside the Sabaot Land Defence Forces, sparking fears of a regional conflict.

Michuki said the Kenyan authorities had forwarded the names of the rebels to the Ugandan Government, adding that some of the Kenyan rebels were gunned down across the border. A total of 290 suspects have been arrested, the minister announced, while 13 were killed and 23 injured.

But neither the Ugandan Police nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they knew anything about it. “I am not aware of any violent clashes involving Ugandans in Kenya,” said Gen. Kale Kayihura, the Police chief.

“I have not received any communication regarding this matter”, said James Mugume, permanent secretary in the foreign ministry.

Trouble in the Mount Elgon area started when phase three of a government settlement scheme failed to take off for lack of land. More than 7000 families had applied for only 1,732 plots available.

Those settled in an earlier scheme were ordered out to pave way for new allotees, triggering off violent clashes.

Posted to APN by Ham Mukasa

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

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HIV: Circumcision isn’t enough

Posted by African Press International on April 10, 2007

By JAN AJWANG

Experts argue that circumcision alone can never prevent the spread of HIV/Aids but it is yet to be understood by the layman.

 37- year old Mukasa is not circumcised but is considering it seriously. “I have heard that if you get circumcised, you cannot catch HIV/ Aids. I don’t have to use a condom or worry about all those other ways of keeping safe. I finally get a method that suits me.” he says. Mukasa is obviously oblivious of the almost negligible but very important fact surrounding the hyped
circumcision as an option to HIV/Aids prevention.

NOT A VACCINE:  Although it is preventive, circumcision is not a ticket to a reckless sex life.
Experts argue that circumcision alone can never prevent the spread of HIV/Aids but it is yet to be understood by the layman. In Uganda, many
people are storming clinics, hospitals and quack ‘surgeons’ for circumcision, barely informed or sensitised in detail about how exactly they
will survive HIV through it.

It can’t be ruled out either that the many local ‘surgeons’ who circumcise within the community could also be as ignorant. While many are excited about this information on circumcision, others still grapple with understanding
basic knowledge on HIV/Aids.

Yet it is now official from WHO and UNAIDS, the United Nations joint programme on HIV/Aids that male circumcision is recommended as an option to fight against the scourge.

A joint statement by the two bodies, recommended that male circumcision be
included as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention package.’Countries with high rates of heterosexual HIV infection and low rates of male circumcision now have an additional intervention which can reduce the risk of HIV
infection in heterosexual men,” the statement quotes Dr Kevin De Cock, the Director of HIV/ Aids department in WHO.

Adding that ‘scaling up male circumcision in such countries will result in immediate benefit to individuals. However it will be a number of years before we can expect to see an impact on the epidemic from such investment.”

This came from evidence after an international expert meeting earlier in the month. It comprised experts who had carried out randomised trials on circumcision that had proven that it reduced the risk of acquired infection of HIV/ Aids by 60 percent.

The trials were done in Kisumu in Kenya, Rakai in Uganda and Orange Farm in South Africa. The recommendations come with the need for extensive sensitisation.
“It has been known that male circumcision is good and many men have done it, however recommending it as a measure is quite controversial because some people may think that it is the only way and may not consider the other options of prevention,” says Dr Vincent Karuhanga of Friends’ Poly Clinic, Kampala Road.

He argues that under some circumstances the promotion of circumcision could down play the important ABC crusade. ” The best way it can work is by first carrying out massive education on circumcision and emphasising that the practice alone cannot save them,” Karuhanga says. Compared to abstinence, Being Faithful and Condom use, circumcision at sixty percent still gives a
forty percent risk exposure, which must not be ignored.

“People should not rush for circumcision as the ultimate, because there are many circumcised men who have been affected by HIV. Although they are less likely to acquire HIV/ Aids that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are
totally safe.

WHO and UNAIDS however recommend that there should be counselling for men and their sexual partners, ‘to prevent them from developing a false sense of security and engaging in high risk behaviours that could undermine the partial protection provided by male circumcision.’

They also advise that the health services need to be strengthened to provide quality services. Circumcision under the best clinical and hygienic conditions comes at a high price and many Ugandans cannot afford it. For instance Kibuli Muslim Hospital charges between Shs30,000- 60,000 depending on the condition of the patient.

In other private clinics the cost is even higher at an average of Shs50,000 to 100,000.
This leaves the local ‘surgeons in the community or at the mosque as an option because they are supposedly cheaper.

According to Dr Mahmoud El- Gazar, the Kibuli Hospital Director, the hospital also receives many casuality cases of circumcision gone wrong, courtesy of untrained personnel or poor hygienic conditions.

Dr Jacinto Amandua the Commissioner of clinical services acknowledged the reception of the report and recommendations but said that it would require consideration first.

“There is some evidence that circumcision can prevent the spread of HIV to a certain extent, but we shall have to adopt it depending on the decision of the government,” he told Daily Monitor in an interview.

He also argued that although circumcision is a common practice it has been recommended before for health and hygienic reasons so recommending it for HIV prevention is as controversial as condom use. It is not good for it to be thought to work alone and therefore a lot has to be done for people to eventually understand it’s new role.

Posted to APN by Ham Mukasa

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

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Madagascar approves the strengthening of presidential powers

Posted by African Press International on April 10, 2007

Antananarivo (Madagascar) 75% of the Malagasy people have approved the reinforcement of the President’s powers, according to the provisional results following last Wednesday’s referendum released by the Home Affairs Ministers’ offices.

The review of the constitution, which the referendum approved, is also expected to strengthen the President’s powers by allowing him to govern by edict in case of emergency and disaster.

The referendum, whose main question was ; “Do you agree with reviewing the constitution for the prompt and sustainable development of the region in a bid to improve Malagasy living standards ?”. They also approved the introduction of English as the country’s official language next to French and Malagasy. The “Yes” further confirms the suppression of the country’s six autonomous provinces.

More than 2 million Malagasy, about 75.24% of votes said « yes » to the constitution review, against 25% who said “no” that is to say 707,687 votes, while about 86% of the ballot papers coming from 17,586 polling stations had been counted on Saturday.

Re-elected last December, President Marc Ravalomanana has been insisting ever since on the importance of this constitutional reform for the country’s economic and social 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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DRC former rebels join national army – a strengthening of peace in the country

Posted by African Press International on April 10, 2007

Kinshasa (DR Congo) The leader of the Front for national integration (FNI), Peter Karim and the cadres of his armed group were on Saturday integrated into the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) during a ceremonial parade which was organised in Kpandroma, an area located about 175km in the north of Buna, in the Eastern Province (north-east of DRC).

The FARDC’s staff in Ituri handed the stripes dedicated to the senior officers of the national army to seven cadres of FNI, including the commanding officer Peter Karim who was promoted Colonel of FARDC.

Out of the FNI’s 340 fighters who were already disarmed, only 100 candidates for integration in FARDC attended the ceremonial parade, according to Radio Okapi, the station of the United Nations Mission in the DRC (MONUC).

Only the FNI’s subalterns stayed in the bush with their fighters who would readily join the national army, an officer integrated in FARDC said.

The FNI is one of the armed groups operating in the eastern province of Ituri , in the DRC.

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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UEMOA gives financial aid to Togo

Posted by African Press International on April 10, 2007

Lome (Togo) The West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) at the weekend granted Togo 2.6 billion CFA francs subsidy to construct 300 boreholes across the country, APA observes.

Togolese Finance, Budget and Privatisation minister Adji Otèth Ayassor and the chairman of the Burkina Faso-based UEMOA Commission, Soumaila Cissé, signed the funding agreement.

“The construction of 300 boreholes equipped with human-powered pumps is a response to the safe water needs of 75,000 people,” Ayassor said.

“It is expected to reduce water-borne diseases through improved health conditions and to ease the water burdens of our mothers and wives to allow them better engage in revenue-yielding activities,” the minister stressed.

Access to potable water is a thorny problem in Togo, which has an estimated population of 5.3 million.

The 2004 World Human Development report reveals that 46 percent of the Togolese population lack access to built water sources, especially in rural areas where a paltry 36 percent have access to safe drinking water.

Grouping eight West African countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire , Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo -, UEMOA is an extension of the West African Monetary Union (UMOA).

Set up in 1994, UEMOA aims at reunifying national economic areas towards turning the Union into a growing attractive market for investors in a harmonised consolidated macroeconomic framework.

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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Archbishop of Dakar calls for brotherly relationship world-wide

Posted by African Press International on April 10, 2007

Dakar (Senegal) The head of the Catholic Church in Senegal, Archbishop Theodore Adrien Sarr, who is Archbishop of Dakar on Sunday on the occasion of Easter celebrations called for “brotherly and interdependent” relationships between Africa and the rest of the world.

There is need to build up both « new Africa and a new world”, the Archbishop preached, adding that the preoccupations with faith should not lure us into forgetting life on earth.

“Trying to find out the realities beyond does not at all mean lack of interest in the realities on earth, such as life in our societies, owning and managing properties on earth, and conduct of political activities by nations”, he underscored.

In the same move, he urged all the Christians to get involved in the “promotion” of people’s development, “to pay attention” to human rights and built up peace in all our working and living places.

“It is also necessary to continue the mission of Jesus Christ which consists of leading men and the universe towards God,” he said.

Archbishop Adrien Sarr also made it clear that this search for the “realities beyond” does not after all mean a loss of interest in the world’s realities.

“The reason why we are living is then to get to happy life along with the Christ” he said.

Easter, which commemorates Christ’s death and resurrection, follows 40 days of Lent among Catholics.

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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Kenya Politics: Narc-Kenya Scandivavia

Posted by African Press International on April 10, 2007

It is with the strongerst terms possible that Narc-K Scandinavia take this opportunaty to call for the end of clashes at Mt Elgon and any other part of our country!!!

It has come to our notice that in every election year since 1992,politicians issue inflamatory statements to win votes thereby making ordinally mwananchi to fight each other….,this should not happen in a
democracy we have been enjoying since Hon Kibaki took power!

Those behind this massacre should be brought to books and justice put on them..We in Narc-K Scandinavia fail to understand how clans which have been living together from 1974 can just wake up and start fighting each other in the
name of the “LAND DISPUTE”. The Director of police Operations Mr David Kimaiyo,the police  boss Ali,the minister of Internal security Hon.Michuki should make sure peace prevail in the areas affected with immediate effect!

Police have been accused of raping women and defiling girls at these volatile areas….Are police to keep peace or take advantage of the
situation????? The REAL rootcause of these fightings should be known and lasting solutions made soonest!!

Daniel Mwaura Njuguna
Chairman Narc-Kenya Scandinavia

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

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