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Archive for May, 2007

NORWAY: Transport Minister on the carpet – Tunnel danger raises alarm

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

Politicians were demanding an explanation after a large piece of concrete fell from the roof of a tunnel that was under repairs for an earlier collapse.

The Hanekleiv Tunnel, near Sande on the E-18 Highway through Vestfold, was the scene of structural collapse on Monday.

PHOTO: JON HAUGE

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Two construction workers were injured when the five-ton section of concrete fell inside the already-troubled Hanekleiv Tunnel in Vestfold County on Monday. All work inside the tunnel has been stopped and officials were huddling in crisis meetings on Tuesday.

Opposition politicians were demanding answers about Norwegian tunnel safety from Transport Minister Liv Signe Navarsete, and about safety procedures around the repair work itself.

Norway is known for its tunnels all over the country, but they’re all under probe after a string of accidents and near-accidents during the past year.

The accidents indicate the tunnels aren’t the engineering marvels they’re built up to be, with several characterized as unsafe.

Christmas collapse
Fairly new tunnels along the heavily trafficked E-18 highway south of Oslo have been closed for months after 200 cubic meters of rocks and earth showered down onto the roadway of the Hanekleiv Tunnel on Christmas Day last year.

Officials admitted then that it was sheer luck no one was injured or killed in the collapse inside the 1.7 kilometer-long tunnel. An investigation into the collapse led to the closure and subsequent reinforcement work being done on six other tunnels along the route.

The E-18 highway is one of the busiest in Norway, especially during the summer season when thousands of Oslo residents flock to their holiday homes along the southern coast.

Highway officials have been under pressure to secure the tunnels and get them re-opened before the summer traffic season begins in a few weeks. They denied suggestions, however, that the pressure led to Monday’s new collapse.

“We’re looking at this as purely an accident,” said road director Olav Søfteland, who otherwise declined comment.

Ironic praise
Project leader Tore Gomo of the state highway department (Statens vegvesen) said that although tunnel repairs have been conducted around the clock, he doesn’t think Monday’s accident has anything to do with time pressure.

Gomo claimed the state and contractor Veidekke have stressed health and safety issues during the tunnel repairs.

Norway’s tunnels, ironically enough, were widely praised in an article in the new June issue of the US-travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler. The writer marveled at Norway’s tunnel design, but clearly wasn’t aware of the controversy surrounding them during the past six months.

By Nina Berglund

Lifted by Korir and published by African Press iAftenposten English Web Desk
Nina Berglund/NTB

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Norway: Glowing article shokes Osloranians, raising eyebrows

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

A flattering article on Norway in the latest issue of a well-regarded travel magazine has delighted tourism industry officials, but left some Oslo residents bemused by the glowing description of their city.

PHOTO: COND NAST TRAVELER

The article on Norway in the June issue of Cond Nast Traveler’s US edition is positively glowing.

PHOTO: COND NAST TRAVELER

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The magazine, Cond Nast Traveler, teased the story on its cover, calling Norway “Europe’s Little Secret.” Its author marvelled over some heated sidewalks in Oslo, raved about the country’s tunnels, and was clearly impressed that the state was spending the equivalent of USD 300 million to build a bridge that will link two small towns across “a magnificent fjord.”

Blissfully unaware, it seems, that heated sidewalks have been around for years and are mostly found only downtown, that the country’s tunnels are riddled with safety concerns and several have been closed, and that constant budget contraints in urban areas make city dwellers question why so much can be spent on a bridge to benefit so few, in the name of district (and to some degree, pork-barrel) politics.

The article tried to answer its own theoretical question: “What happens when one of the most left-leaning countries in Europe unexpectedly strikes it rich?” It raved about the money being spent on the new Opera House under construction in Oslo (launched long before oil prices skyrocketed), complained a bit about high prices (long a product of high taxes and precious little economy of scale) and gushed about how Norwegians build things of beauty meant to last for a long time.

The Norwegians themselves were subject to vast generalizations, with those seen eating at a trendy waterfront restaurant described as “all… fit, tall and fashionably dressed” with “impossibly high cheekbones” and mostly blond.

The author frequented some of the best (and most expensive) restaurants and hotels on offer in a country already known for being expensive. Dinner even just for two at restaurants like “Bagatelle” in Oslo and “Eng Grd” on the island of Tjme (where the queen has a summer home) can easily cost nearly a week’s pay for most Norwegians not on an expense account. The author visited a posh spa, and was even invited to drink some bubbly with Queen Sonja and ride on her private boat.

This all clearly made a favourable impression, which resulted in the favourable article, which ironically appeared just as Norway’s foreign minister was clamouring for means to boost Norway’s reputation overseas. He may not need to clamour any more.

‘Fantastic’
“Oh, so fantastic,” was the first reaction from information director Hilde Charlotte Solheim in NHO Reiseliv, the travel industry branch of Norway’s main employers’ organization.

Solheim described the value of the article to consumer website Forbruker.no as “invaluable.” She noted that Norway “has little money to use on paid-advertising aimed at the American market,” so the overwhelmingly positive article in a magazine like Cond Nast Traveler is “incredibly important.”

Harald Hansen of the state marketing and promotional agency Innovasjon Norge agreed, and is convinced more tourists will travel to Norway as a result of the article.

Solheim also was thrilled that Queen Sonja would devote so much time to Cond Nasts reporter, and she praised the queens efforts to promote Norwegian tourism. “She’s made a fantastic contribution that has impressed many,” Solheim said.

The magazine among them. Forbruker.no, owned by newspaper Aftenposten, described Cond Nast’s article as “a long tribute to Norway.” It didn’t bother to take issue with its description of Oslo as “exquisitely clean and safe,” even though the paper has written volumes on the citys littering, tagging and crime problems.

Maybe because every now and then, even the modest Norwegians allow themselves to bask in the glow of such praise, deserved or not.

By Nina Berglund

Lifted and published by Korir, African Press in Norway (APN)/ African Press International (API) africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.aftenposteneng

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Norway: A fire in a gas cylinder near a construction site in Oslo Tuesday morning spurred local evacuations

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

A fire in a gas cylinder near a construction site in Oslo Tuesday morning spurred local evacuations and the closure of one of the area’s busiest tunnels.

The fire broke out near the construction site of a new housing complex.

PHOTO: FRED GJESTAD

The fire started in the Lodalen area east of downtown, which is the construction site of the Kvrnerbyen housing development.

Police closed the busy Vlerenga Tunnel, the opening of which runs adjacent to the site, and traffic had to be diverted over narrow city streets at Galgeberg.

Vidar Hjulsad of the Oslo Police District told Aftenposten.no that the fire in the gas cylinder itself wasnt so dramatic, but if the cylinder ignited others, “this could be really bad.”

Police also evacuated everyone within 300 meters of the fire for fear of explosion, and air traffic was prohibited over the area.

Attempts were made to cool down the cylinders, and police sharpshooters were called in to try firing at them, to empty them before they could ignite.

They succeeded, and the drama was over after a few hours.

Lifted and published by Korir, African Press in Norway (APN)/ African Press International (API) africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.AftenpostenEng

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G-8 meeting gets underway

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

The foreign ministers of Afghanistan and Pakistan were to meet with their Group of Eight counterparts Wednesday amid concern that acrimony between the two Asian neighbors is helping the Taliban inflict mounting losses on NATO troops and Afghan civilians.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose country holds the G-8 presidency, helped broker the meeting with Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta and his Pakistani counterpart, Khurshid Kasuri, during a trip to both countries this month.

Other officials on hand included U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway (APN)/ African Press International (API) africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.AP

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Norway: A suspected killer pleads not guilty

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

An Iranian man charged with stabbing his wife to death outside a crisis center in Drammen last autumn pleaded not guilty when his trial started on Tuesday. The 44-year-old man also said in court that he was certain his wife had cheated on him, and he blamed her brother for being a bad influence on her. The brother, he claimed, had become “too European,” and gave the dead woman “inappropriate advice.”

The 39-year-old mother of three was stabbed more than 20 times outside the Betzy Crisis Center in Drammen last year. She’d been moved there from another crisis center in Brum, just west of Oslo, for her own protection after she left her husband, but he tracked her down.

“I asked her if she would come back home with me,” her husband said. “I told her the children weren’t doing well without her. She said that she would come back.”

He waited for her outside the center until she emerged with a girlfriend. Hes charged with stabbing her in broad daylight after he approached her, but he testified that he doesnt remember much about what happened that day last October.

He claimed he didn’t stab her more than 20 times. “I don’t think it was more than four or five times,” he said in court.

The murder is the first outside a crisis center in Norway ever.

By Nina Berglund

Lifted and published by African Press in Norway (APN)/ African Press International (API) africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.aftenposteneng

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Norway: A chase that resulted in arrest

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

The rural area around Oslo’s airport at Gardermoen was the scene early Wednesday of a wild car chase, a car hijacking and a police raid on a farm house, where the two suspects leading the chase had sought refuge.

Police arrested the two men after they gave themselves up.

PHOTO: FRED GJESTAD


Armed police cordoned off the area around the farm house, and closed Highway 35 adjacent to the airport.

PHOTO: FRED C. GJESTAD

The drama began around 5am, when police in Oslo spotted a stolen truck. They started following the truck north on the E6 highway and that ultimately led to a high-speed car chase.

The truck pulled into the Shell gas station at Skedsmovollen and its driver apparently tried to scare off police by crashing into the structures over the gas pumps and tearing down its live electrical wiring.

A police helicopter was called in and the chase continued through the countryside, with more police cars joining in. It was interrupted, however, when the truck’s tires were punctured by a mat of spikes that the police had spread over the road.

But then the driver of the truck jumped out and was immediately picked up by an another man, who came driving by in a stolen car. The chase resumed until that car also was halted by a spike mat.

The two occupants then jumped out, stopped a car passing by and forced its driver to hand over the keys. They then drove to a farm in Nannestad, near the airport’s runways, where they tried to barricade themselves in a house on the property.

A female occupant of the house and several children were inside and they reportedly hid while police surrounded the house. The two men eventually turned themselves in, just before 8am.

The armed police action closed Highway 35, the main link to the airport from the west. A crisis team was called in to provide support for the woman and children in the house, and the owner of the car that was hijacked.

It remained unclear who the two men are, but reports emerged that they have police records and were suspected of vehicle theft.

ByNina Berglund

Lifted and published by Korir, African Press in Norway (APN) / African Press International (API) africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.aftenposten.eng

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Norway: Rape suspect chooses to confess

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

A 30-year-old man taken into custody earlier this month has admitted to the rape of a 48-year-old woman in Oslo’s Grnerlkka district on May 4.

The rape was characterized as especially brutal, and it left the victim badly beaten.

Police arrested the 30-year-old suspect about a week after the rape occurred, and also have tied him to a series of other rapes in Oslo during the past several months.

Pl-Fredrik Hjort Kraby of the Oslo Police District said the suspect, originally from Somalia, has admitted to the charges that he beat and raped the woman in Nordre Gate.

The suspect still hasn’t been charged with at least two other rapes that were similar in nature to the one on May 4th.

Lifted and published by Korir, African Press in Norway (APN)/ African Press International (API) africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.AftenpostenEng

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Norway: Jobless rate remains low

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

Figures released Wednesday indicate that Norway continues to experience record low unemployment. The unemployment rate remained at 2.7 percent in March, the same as in February. That’s slightly down from 2.8 percent in December, according to state statistics bureau SSB.

After adjustments for seasonal variations, the figures showed 13,000 more people were employed in Norway in March.

The number of people registered as unemployed by state labour agency NAV declined by 3,000 from December 2006 to March 2007. Its figures showed an unemployment rate of just 2 percent, lower than SSB’s rate because it only reflects those registered as unemployed while SSB’s figures include non-registered as well.

Lifted and published by Korir, African Press in Norway (APN/ African Press International (API) africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.AftenpostenEng Desk/NTB

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Liberian President Sirleaf Hold Talks With British P.M. in Freetown

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

From Our Africa Correspondent J. Cholo Brooks/Liberia

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Wednesday held talks with British Prime Minister, Tony Blair on the outskirts of the Sierra Leonean capital, Freetown.

Madam Sirleaf thanked Mr. Blair for the UKs decision to cancel the bilateral debt Liberia owes the country.


She also appealed to Great Britain to continue its support toward the countrys reconstruction efforts.

The President urged Mr. Blair to help in canceling the countrys multilateral debt by giving his support during the G-8 Summit.

In response, Mr. Blair said he was impressed with the level of progress taking place in Liberia.

The outgoing British Prime Minister assured President Johnson-Sirleaf he would do whatever he could to help Liberia move forward.

Published by African Press in Norway (APN/ African Press International (API) africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Norway: After months of hype over Norway’s oil wealth and pro-environmental policies, clouds seemed to gather this week

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

After months of hype over Norway’s oil wealth and pro-environmental policies, clouds seemed to gather this week. Some experts claim the oil has been pumped out too quickly, an international researcher blasted Norway’s lack of progress in sustainable development, and state oil company Statoil even reported a decline in profits.

Norway’s oil fields may be yielding sharply lower amounts of oil and gas 20 years from now.

PHOTO: STATOIL


Oil and Energy Minister Odd Roger Enoksen remained optimistic, after calling in experts this week.

PHOTO: Erlend Aas / SCANPIX


Statoil CEO Helge Lund had to report lower operating profits.

PHOTO: BJRN SIGURDSN

Norway, which likes to promote a green environmental profile, hasn’t been practicing what it preaches, claims professor Wiliam Lafferty. He just wrote an article for the magazine European Environment that claims Norway’s leaders talk a lot about the need for sustainable development, but fail to do much about it.

Lafferty told newspaper Dagsavisen that politicians have failed to follow through themselves on former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland’s call for sustainable development. He blamed that on the ever-growing importance of the country’s oil and gas industries.

Former Environmental Minister Thorbjrn Berntsen of the Labour Party agrees. “We have disappeared into an oil haze, and run around in shopping centers and buy and buy and buy,” said Berntsen, a longtime Labour Party veteran. “Our garbage piles mount, while we buy things and then throw them away faster and faster, completely in defiance of the Brundtland Commission’s report.”

Berntsen is the only one of Norway’s environmental ministers over the past 15 years to get high marks from Lafferty, who examined Norwegian environmental policies from 1987 until today. He claims that Sweden, Canada and Germany are examples of countries that have developed far more effective strategies to support sustainable development.

Dwindling supplies
Meanwhile, others claim Norway has been draining its offshore oil fields much too quickly in recent years, and that oil and gas production will fall by 63 percent in 20 years if no new fields are found.

The country’s own Oil Directorate made the ominous projection, but is quick to claim that it thinks that fully a fourth of the oil in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea hasn’t been found yet.

Others are more critical, after noting that Norway’s exploitation of its oil resources has tripled since 1986. “I think coming generations will condemn this generation up and down because we exploited the oil and gas as quickly has we have, and then burned it up,” Terje Nustad of oil workers union SAFE told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

He claimed Norway has been far too focused on pumping up as much oil and gas as possible, and that the government’s policies are misguided.

Profit decline
State oil company Statoil on Monday reported a 28 percent fall in first-quarter operating profits, to NOK 23.79 billion, blaming lower oil and gas prices.

The result disappointed analysts but Statoil Chief Executive Helge Lund said the results were still “strong.” The company, however, faced technical challenges at some of its new fields, where delays have forced Statoil to trim output targets for 2007.

By Nina Berglund, Aftenposten English Web Desk

Published by African Press in Norway (APN)/ African Press International (API) africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

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Man clad only in underwear and T-shirt wresteled a wild leaopard

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

By ARON HELLER, Associated Press Writer Tue May 29, 6:03 PM ET

JERUSALEM – A man clad only in underwear and a T-shirt wrestled a wild leopard to the floor and pinned it for 20 minutes after the cat leapt through a window of his home and hopped into bed with his sleeping family.

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“This kind of thing doesn’t happen every day,” said 49-year-old Arthur Du Mosch, a nature guide. “I don’t know why I did it. I wasn’t thinking, I just acted.”

Raviv Shapira, who heads the southern district of the Israel Nature and Parks Protection Authority, said a half dozen leopards have been spotted recently near Du Mosch’s small community of Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev desert in southern Israel, although they rarely threaten humans.

Shapira said it was probably food that lured the big cat. Leopards living near humans are usually too old to hunt in the wild and resort to chasing down domestic dogs and cats for food, he added.

Du Mosch’s pet cat was in the bed with him at the time, along with his young daughter who had been frightened by a mosquito in her own room.

Shapira said the leopard was very weak when park rangers arrived at Du Mosch’s home after the surprise late-night visit. He said nature officials would likely release it back into the wild.

Du Mosch said he probably would not have been able to control the big cat were it in better health. As a nature guide, he said, he was familiar with animals and did his best to hold down the leopard without harming it. He said he took it all in stride, “but the kids were excited.”

Posted to APN/API by Pauline Onyango

African Press in Norway (APN)/ African Press International (API) africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 63 00 2525

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Uganda: Problems of the 1961 conference

Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

BY the time the independence constitutional conference started in London on September 18, 1961, Buganda had won, for itself, an autonomous regional status. This formed the basis for complications in the conferences proceedings. The kingdoms delegation insisted on assurances from the colonial secretary that her (Bugandas) autonomy would not be endangered, when Britain transferred power to an independent central government.

Bugandas autonomy was reached in a constitutional conference which took place at Entebbe from July 17-July 24, 1961, between the governors team and the Buganda constitutional committee, accompanied by two London Queen Councillors, Mr. E.F.N. Gratiaen and Mr. Phineas Quass, in which the kingdom was given complete control over most of the services within her area. Although the kingdom was also given the option to train her own police with seconded officers from the central government, control over the provincial police was denied and final decision on courts, towns and finance, were deferred.

The road to the London conference started with the governments appointment of a committee of thirteen members to consider and recommend the future constitutional developments of the country.

Specifically, the committee was mandated to consider and to recommend to the government, the form of direct elections for representative members of the legislative council to be introduced in 1961 and the number of representative seats to be filled. Objections to the composition of the committee which had a prevalence of expatriates came from various people, including the president of the Makerere branch of the Progressive Party, John Ssebaana Kizito, the present President of the Democratic Party (DP), who argued that the future of the country should be shaped by local authorities.

He appealed to political parties to rally behind local authorities to take the initiative in discussing and agreeing on an acceptable constitution. The work of the committee, which was later known as the Wild Committee, after its chairman, was disrupted by a boycott of non-African shops outside the main towns and of cigarettes and beer which was announced by an all-party Uganda National Movement at the largest political rally ever seen in Uganda.

There was also a declaration on unilateral independence for Buganda by the Lukiiko which refused to have dealings with the committee. After the Wild Committee had made its report which was widely discussed, elections were announced on August 22, 1960 but not without obstacles. At the time of announcement, a Buganda delegation was in London for talks with the colonial secretary. In moving a motion to boycott the elections, Abu Mayanja, then Minister of Education, said it was contemptuous of Her Majestys government to announce and start registration of voters, one of the issues at the London talks.

The election boycott was defied by the DP in a move which set
the tone for future political developments in the country. In a witch-hunt by the Lukiiko of traitors who had defied the boycott and registered, Abu Mayanjas name was included which forced him to declare that the boycott was announced because Bugandas independence had failed and its promoters were looking for scapegoats to avoid the public wrath. Notwithstanding the boycott, the colonial secretary, MacLeod, on a visit to the country, told the press on September 22, 1960 that the elections would take place throughout the country. With DPs national victory at the polls though with a slender percentage of electors in Buganda, Ben Kiwanuka its president general, formed the government and preparations for the independence constitutional conference went into top gear, following the appointment of Lord Musters committee with a brief study to recommend the future form of government and the question of future relationships of the central government with other authorities.

The conference opened on September 18, 1961, moving the colonial secretary to describe it as the most difficult one in his career. First, the Buganda members of the delegation refused to participate in the main conference, claiming that they were in London purposely to hold discussions with the colonial secretary about the future of the kingdom. Their separate talks with the colonial secretary caused rancour in other delegations which sent an angry memorandum over the matter to the colonial secretary. After the Kabaka had held private talks with MacLeod in London, he sent two emissaries to Uganda to try and convince an obstinate Lukiiko to allow its delegates to participate in the main conference.

Many people were relieved when the Lukiiko recanted and Abu Mayanja as usual spoke for many when he welcomed the new spirit of cooperation, adding that it is good to see the Lukiiko adopting a policy for which some of us were so recently denounced as traitors. The next hitch hit the conference when the DP delegation together with those from Toro, Ankole and Acholi, walked out over the proposed indirect elections of Bugandas representatives to the national assembly. When they later returned to the conference, Kiwanuka boasted that the secretary of state had retracted the indirect elections and as such, his party had won its point but as is the nature of politics, the issue was returned to the table and passed when DP could do very little to stop it. Perhaps the most intricate problem at the conference was the issue of the lost counties forming the territories which had been transferred from Bunyoro to Buganda.

The issue bogged down the conference until it was postponed to be determined at a referendum to be held two years after independence, after the Buganda delegation assumed that it
had Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) concurrence, that if it formed the government, the referendum would not be held. As it turned out, the referendum was held in 1964 and Buganda lost two counties which raptured her flirtation with UPC. What had been expected to be the thorniest issue namely Bugandas demand for federalism turned out to be a nonsequitar after UPC circulated a memorandum in which it recommended full federal status to all kingdoms arguing that by granting that the central government would not be weakened as such and that the country would have a strong unifying factor.

From his retirement in Dorset, UK, H.M. Grace who moulded many of the countrys future leaders as headmaster of Kings College Budo, wrote a letter in the Uganda Argus of September 1960, advising against a rigid central government: If we agreed to this and stood aside we would watch what would be inevitable an independent Uganda handed over to civil strife.

By A good muganda
Ham Mukasa
www.hammukasa.com
www.hgmconsult.com
www.buganda.com

Published by African Press in Norway (APN)/ African Press International (API) africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Posted by African Press International on May 31, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) Nigerias new President Umaru Yaradua Tuesday pledged to embark on a comprehensive electoral reform to correct perceived lapses in the Nigerian electoral system.

Speaking shortly after he was sworn in as Nigerias new president in Abuja, Yaradua said he would set up a national panel to review the entire electoral process to bring it to acceptable international standards.

He acknowledged that the April general elections had some observed flaws, saying, however that such should not deter Nigeria from deepening the democratic process.

Yaradua announced that the proposed panel would be a national priority after the end of the legal processes over the outcome of the polls.

He advised aggrieved parties to embrace and seek redress at the election petition tribunals.

There are still pockets of protests against the irregularities in the April elections that produced Yaradua and there are some cases pending in the election tribunals in Nigeria.

Yaradua assured more than 12 Heads of State and Governments, including the Chairman of ECOWAS and President of Ghana, John Kufuor, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and President Paul Biya of Cameroon that the new administration in Nigeria would work for the eradication of poverty and conflict in Africa.

Yaradua said that Nigeria would work towards integration in Africa, peace and progress in the world, and commended the outgoing Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, for laying enduring legacies for Nigeria,.

Speaking on the perennial crisis in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, Yaradua said that he would use every resources available and with the support of all Nigerians to tackle the crisis.

The new Nigerian president further pledged to institute a drastic change in electricity generation and transmission in the next four years in an attempt to end the energy crisis.

Yaradua said that he would tackle the problem of infrastructure, work towards job creation and tackle the problem of security of lives and property.

However, two former Heads of State of Nigeria, retired Major General Mohammadu Buhari and General Ibrahim Babangida did not attend the ceremony as well as the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway(APN) / African Press International, (API) africanpress@chello.no tel+4793299739 or+4763002525 source.apa

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Posted by African Press International on May 30, 2007

Blantyre (Malawi) The Malawi Nation newspapers editorial on Monday blasted President Bingu wa Mutharikas remarks made Saturday at the ordination of a Catholic bishop (Alessandro Pagani) in Mangochi District as being insensitive to all Malawians.

In his remarks, Mutharika described unnamed politicians whom he said were trying to put a wedge between Moslems and Christians in the country as confusionists and agents of Satan.

But the Nation in its editorial said that Mutharikas remarks were unbecoming at such an occasion which was highly patronised by people from all religions in the country.

It was unfortunate that President Bingu wa Mutharika brought an element of conflict between some religions, a reality that could not be supported by the attendance we saw, where all faiths sat with the Catholics to welcome the new bishop, the daily said in its editorial.

It added, It would really have been nice if, as some commentators have already said, the president had limited his speech to issues of the day.

According to the pro-opposition tabloid, This was a day never to be marred by anything, let alone individual observations like the ones held by the president.

As the opposition says, it is time Mutharika learned to properly tailor his speeches for his audiences.

Opposition parties like the former ruling United Democratic Front and the Peoples Progressive Movement condemned Mutharikas speech as wrong and inappropriate.

The editorial concluded: At the bottom of it all, he is surely aware that Malawians are a united people. They know what they want, which is why they do things together, as was the case in Mangochi on Saturday.

The Malawi Nation newspapers editorial on Monday blasted President Bingu wa Mutharikas remarks

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