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Archive for May 21st, 2007

Posted by African Press International on May 21, 2007

Berne (Switzerland) Switzerland has opened its markets to African products following the Governments Reviewed Order of 16 March 2007 on tariff preferences, APA learnt Sunday from official sources.

The head of the Swiss government bilateral relations with the Middle East and Africa at the Swiss Economy Secretariat, Patrik Zimmerli, said the move will facilitate trade between the Helvetian country and developing nations.

Swiss businesspeople say the move was a major and unprecedented decision as it allows Africas 32 poorest countries, including Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to export to Switzerland duty free and without quota conditions.

The reviewed order also favours middle income countries such as Egypt, Morocco, and Gabon through tariff preferences with entry tax reductions for their products.

According to the Federal Customs Administration (AFD) statistics, African countries exported 97 types of products to Switzerland between January and December 2006.

The exported items include animals, arts work, antiquities, seafood (fish, crustaceous, molluscs), coffee, tea, spice and different fruits, representing between 0.1 and 45 percent of the countrys imports index.

Concerning Swiss exports to Africa, they inched down by 0.9 percent from over 2.272 billion Swiss francs (909.7 billion CFA francs) in 2002 to 2.239 billion Swiss francs (896.5 billion CFA francs) in 2005.

The moves lands Switzerland among the developed countries that have fulfilled their pledge at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial conference held in 2005 in Hong Kong.

It translates the zero tariff initiative adopted by the Federal Council (Swiss government) in 2001, which provides for progressive duty-free access for the products from the worlds poorest countries.

Swiss authorities said strengthening the competitiveness of developing countries is one of the key components in Bernes foreign economic strategy.

The European nation plans to support targeted trade promotion programmes in Africa to facilitate the entry of products into the Swiss market and eventually boost their export revenue.

Published by Korir, African Press International, API, africanpress@chell.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Posted by African Press International on May 21, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) The Catholic Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, Sunday urged the media worldwide, to positively mould childrens character culturally, morally, educationally and spiritually.

The complex challenges facing education today are often linked to the pervasive influence of the media as an aspect of the phenomenon of globalisation, facilitated by the rapid development of technology, the Pope said in a message read Sunday on his behalf by the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Okogie.

Hence, the media could profoundly shape the cultural environment of any society, and wished parents and teachers could educate children in the ways of truth and goodness and that they could be supported by the media if only it promoted fundamental human dignity.

Pope Benedict XVI stressed that the true values of marriage and family life, positive achievements and goals of humanity, required the media to be committed to effective formation and ethical standards.

Many people involved in social communications want to do what is right, but they are confronted with “special psychological pressures and ethical dilemmas, which at times compel lower standards.

Pope Benedict XVI said “any trend to produce programmes and products, including animated films and video games in the name of entertainment, which exalt violence and portray anti-social behaviour or trivialisation of human sexuality is a perversion.

He appealed to the leaders of the media industry to educate and encourage producers to safeguard the common good, uphold the truth, protect individual human dignity and promote respect for the needs of the family.

He said that the church was also a teacher of humanity and welcomed the opportunity to offer assistance to parents, educators, communicators and young people.

“So often, freedom is presented as a relentless search for pleasure or new experiences and that true freedom can never condemn the individual or a child to an insatiable quest for novelty, the Pope concluded.

The theme of this years commemoration: “Children and the Media: A Challenge for Education

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Spanish authorities Saturday night repatriated 600 illegal Senegalese immigrants who arrived in the country last week

Posted by African Press International on May 21, 2007

Madrid (Spain) Spanish authorities Saturday night repatriated 600 illegal Senegalese immigrants who arrived in the country last week, APA learnt Sunday from official sources.

The deportee are part of 750 illegal migrants repatriated after being intercepted by the Spanish security forces as they landed on the Canaries aboard makeshift boats, Spains Home Affairs minister Afredo Perez Rubalcaba told journalists.

Rubalcaba commended the invaluable aid from the Senegalese government for accepting its nationals.

He said other African countries – especially Morocco, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Guinea and Mali – are cooperating with his country to curb illegal migration.

The influx of African illegal immigrants to the Canaries resumed with renewed intensity last week when over a thousand took advantage of improved weather conditions to sail the Atlantic to the Spanish archipelago from Senegalese and Mauritanian coasts.

Spanish official announced that the other immigrants intercepted last week after landing on the Canary Island will be returned to their respective countries next week.

Rubalcaba warned illegal migration networks that he who illegally enters Spain will come out of it…We said it last week and we have done it, he noted.

Over 31,000 unlawful immigrants, mostly sub-Saharan Africans, landed on the Canaries onboard makeshift boats.

Published by Korir, African Press International, API, africanpress@chello.o tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Three international referees killed in the Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800 crash at Mbanga Pongo near Douala to be honoured

Posted by African Press International on May 21, 2007

Dakar (Senegal) The Cameroonian Football Association (FECAFOOT) will launch the wearing of red armbands and a minutes silence in stadiums in memory of three international referees killed in the Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800 crash at Mbanga Pongo near Douala, APA has learnt.

The three – Martin Omgba Zing, Engelbert Effa and Patrice Boungani Doda – were travelling to Kinshasa to officiate the first leg tie between DR Congos TP Mazembe and Zimbabwes Mwana Africa, counting for the fourth round of the Confederation Cup.

The tribute in stadiums will continue until the end of the late referees funerals.

African Football Confederation (CAF) chairperson Issa Hayatou of Cameroon mourned the disaster and invited the whole world to pray for the victims.

Cameroons authorities declared a national mourning day on Friday to honour the 114 killed in the mishap

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

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Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo has launched the disarmament process

Posted by African Press International on May 21, 2007

Guiglo (Cote dIvoire) Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo has launched the disarmament process of militias under the inter-Ivorian accord signed in Ouagadougou, APA has learnt.

In a festive gathering General Denis Maho Glofehi, who led the Forces de Resistance du Grand Ouest (Grand West resistance forces -FRGO) handed over some 1082 weapons to President Gbagbo – 782 calibre 12, 241 assault rifles, 3 rocket propellers and one 82mm mortar.

On his part, the Ivorian president handed over a token AK 47 gun to acting UN secretary general representative in Cote dIvoire, Abou Moussa.

The Ouagadougou accord says he is the one to whom the arms should be handed. Therefore I am handing these arms over to you, MrAbou Moussa. You are the one who decides what to do with them, Gbagbo said.

We are putting the war behind us, there is no need to drag it out uselessly. I am on your side, so be on mine. Prime Minister Soro and I will later visit the North to collect arms, Gbagbo continued.

He assured his compatriots in the western region that he will not fail them.

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I could not have failed to come here, because I signed the Ouagadougou peace accord. And I hail you all for laying down arms. I will not fail you. We will soon set up public service centres here, Gbagbo pledged.

We observed, since the Ouagadougou agreement, that the reasons why we took up arms have ceased existing. In these circumstances, the FRGO, which I lead, have no more reason to withhold weapons, the militia leader said.

On this Saturday 19 May 2007 I am handing over all the arms to you. From now on, those holding arms will account for their acts before the republican institutions, Glofehi warned.

He however demanded that his men be included in the ex-fighters national disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programme (PNDDR).

Official estimates say the militias number about 12,000 men.

Each former fighter will receive a 500,000 CFA-franc (770 euro) stipend in three instalments as an incentive to turn away from warfare.

The meeting ended with a big fire to burn obsolete and decades-old weapons in the presence of Ivorian and international authorities.

Under the Ouagadougou deal, the militia dismantling operation is slated for completion in two weeks time.

Several cabinet members, especially those from the region, took part in the ceremony in the absence of the erstwhile rebel leader appointed premier last March, Guillaume Soro.

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