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Archive for December 5th, 2007

Posted by African Press International on December 5, 2007

Just as top government officials are gathering in Bali for the UN Climate Change Conference comes news that carbon dioxide emissions at a new gas power plant in northern Norway are exceeding all limits.

Burn-off of excess gas at the Melkya plant is sending carbon emission soaring.

PHOTO: OLE MAGNUS RAPP

Newspaper Aftenposten reported Tuesday that the new plant at Melkya outside the Arctic city of Hammerfest spewed out 1.1 million tons of carbon emissions just in its first two months of operation.

That’s what was planned after 10 months of operation, not just two. The plant that’s handling gas from StatoilHydro’s new Snow White field isn’t exactly proving to be a showcase for Norwegian industry’s environmental measures.

Hundreds of thousands of tons of new emissions are expected to be released when operations resume at Melkya shortly after the conference in Bali is over.

Neither the technical operations at Melkya nor emissions levels have gone as planned. Aftenposten reported that the Snow White gas field is in danger of becoming “a climate-gas nightmare” for both Norwegian politicians and StatoilHydro officials.

In 2004, Statoil won permission from state anti-pollution authorities to emit no more than 15,000 tons of carbon gas a year under “normal operations” at Melkya. As the plant opening drew nearer, studies showed that level was far too low. Earlier this year, Statoil re-applied for, and won, permission to emit 200,000 tons a year.

Technical trouble
Snow White and Melkya formally opened in late August, amidst much fanfare, and the entire industrial complex was billed as having the world’s most climate-friendly technology. Emissions from the burn-off of excess gas from production, however, ended up reaching 1.099 million tons just between August 23 and October 23.

The plant has also been plagued by technical trouble, so much so that it had to shut down and remained closed this week.

Some of the trouble, and the high emission levels, has been attributed to start-up challenges, and officials believe emissions under normal operation will be much lower.

StatoilHydro itself, though, has warned that as much as 600,000 more tons of carbon emissions may result from the next start-up, when Melkya reopens. Officials admit they were too optimistic in predicting the far lower emissions levels that they did.

Breaking promises?
Norway, after signing the Kyoto agreement, has promised that carbon emissions from 2008 to 2012 won’t exceed 1 percent more than what was emitted in 1990. Last year’s emissions in Norway, however, were fully 8 percent above 1990s levels.

Melkya’s emissions alone mean Norway is in danger of failing to fulfill its promise, unless the country is able to make dramatic cuts and buy enough climate quotas from other countries. It’s an awkward situation for Norway’s allegedly environmentally oriented left-centre government, and opposition politicians are on the offensive.

“This increase in emissions is intolerable,” says Ivar Kristiansen of the Conservatives. “If we think we’re going to teach other countries how to reduce carbon emissions, it’s wise to keep our own backyard clean first.”

Lifted and published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@getmail.nosource,aftenposteneng

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Stolt-Nielsen avoids jail

Posted by African Press International on December 5, 2007

One of Norway’s major shipping companies has avoided huge fines and jail terms after winning an acquittal from a US court in a long-running cartel case.

Niels Stolt-Nielsen won’t be going to jail.

PHOTO: SVEIN ERIK FURULUND

Niels G Stolt-Nielsen, who inherited the top job in the chemical tanker firm run for years by his father, was clearly relieved that a judge in Philadelphia declared the company still eligible for amnesty by US regulatory officials.

The court decision confirms the rights of Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group under an amnesty deal it secured with the US Department of Justice in 2002.

Stolt-Nielsen, one of the world’s largest chemical tanker companies, had admitted to illegal price cooperation with three other chemical tanker firms including JO Tankers and Odfjell of Bergen and Tokyo Marine of Japan. Odfjell and JO Tankers settled with US authorities, paid large fines and saw its executives go to jail for several months.

Stolt-Nielsen, however, negotiated amnesty after agreeing to cooperate with regulators and testify against its former alleged cartel partners. The amnesty, however, was revoked in 2003.

The court decision late last week ruled against the revocation and deemed it binding. That leaves Stolt-Nielsen under amnesty protection, pending a Justice Department appeal.

Lifted and published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@getmail.no source.aftenposteneng

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Rwanda keen on plan to disarm groups operating in Congo

Posted by African Press International on December 5, 2007

Kigali (Rwanda) Fresh clashes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will not affect negotiations between Rwanda and DRC on disarming groups that attack Rwanda from Congolese territory, APA learnton Tuesday.

According to the Kigali Foreign Affairs office, Rwanda is keen on the new plan proposed by Kinshasa on December 1 on how to deal with rebel forces operating in the DRC.

\”The ongoing clashes will not affect the progress of the review of this new disarmament plan. We shall go ahead to make sure the critical issue between us (of genocide forces operating in DRC) is handled effectively,\” said Robert Masozera, spokesperson in the Rwandan Foreign Affairs Ministry.

This comes at a time when the DRC army has announced it has retaken three key towns formerly held by the forces of rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda, who claims he is defending his own Tutsi community against Rwandan Hutu rebels responsible for the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

The offensive by the DRC government forces, with logistical support from the United Nations, began on Monday.

\”The fighting in eastern Congo is none of our business now,\” Masozera told APA.

He said while Kigali has not made a formal response to the Kinshasa plan, it will table its concerns at the meeting of regional leaders in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on December 5.

President Paul Kagame and other heads of state from the region, as well as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, are expected to attend the Addis Ababa meeting to discuss the escalating conflicts in the Great Lakes region.

“This Addis Ababa meeting will play a great role in forging consensus amongst key stakeholders on the disarmament of armed groups in the region, ” the government spokesperson, Laurent Nkusi, told APA.

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@getmail.no

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US, African leaders hold summit on regional conflicts

Posted by African Press International on December 5, 2007

Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) A mini summit between the United States and Africa started on Wednesday in Addis Ababa with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice representing the US government.

African leaders from East Africa and the Great Lakes region are attending the summit on conflicts in the region.

So far presidents of Uganda and Rwanda and the prime ministers of Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have arrived have arrived in the Ethiopian capital for the summit amid tight security.

African Union officials are also attending the closed summit where leaders are expected to discuss various issues related to security and conflicts in Africa, particularly in the Great Lakes region.

Leaders from Kenya and Djibouti are also expected to attend the summit.

The summit is essentially a meeting of the Tripartite Plus Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo heads of state, foreign ministers and defense ministers.

The Tripartite Plus group was established by the United States to facilitate dialogue and build confidence among the four countries in the Great Lakes region.

The meeting is expected to develop strategies and common security mechanisms to address various problems in the region.

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@getmail.no

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Mauritius intensifies war against drug trafficking

Posted by African Press International on December 5, 2007

Port Louis (Mauritius) The government of Mauritius has intensified its war against drug trafficking with more seizures of the properties of drug barons, APA has learnt Wednesday.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday in Port Lousi, the capital, the Drug Commissioner, Radha Nunkoo, explained that she has recommended to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) the seizure of the properties of some 17 drug traffickers, valued at some US$0.8 million.

The commissioner said following her recommendations, the DPP has already started procedures at the Supreme Court to effect seizures in four cases and that such actions in the remaining 14 cases will be taken in January.

Nunkoo pointed out that her office is coming out with a series of recommendations to reinforce the procedures concerning seizures. Banks and notaries, she said, will have to be immediately notified as a Freezing Order of the property of a drug trafficker has been issued by a court of law.

Banks will also have to take action to block the accounts of such persons and render the Automatic Teller Machines inoperable for them immediately as the accused is arrested by the police, she said.

Among other recommendations, the commissioner has asked that drug traffickers be compelled to swear to an affidavit concerning the amount of property they have and that a special unit be set up at the office of the DPP to follow up cases of property seizures ordered by a court.

Ms Nunkoo added that so as to speed up the inquiries relating to the drug problem, a Hearing Room has been set up at her office to interrogate alleged drug traffickers on the value of their properties, with a minimum of 10 cases to be heard each week.

The commissioner lamented the fact that there has been no let down in drug trafficking in the country as more than 520 cases have already been referred to her office this year.

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@getmail.no

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Treason case in Liberia

Posted by African Press International on December 5, 2007

Monrovia (Liberia) Lebanese national Jacob Karen, the third witness produced by the state in the ongoing treason trial, has denied any knowledge of a coup plot, APA learnt on Tuesday.

According to court records, Karem told the Criminal Court A in Monrovia Monday that he had known defendant Charles Juluie for a long time, and that he was contacted by Julue to help transport former Armed Forces of Liberia colonel Andrew Dorbor to Grand Gedeh County.

He admitted that he gave Colonel Dorbor and an unnamed person 70 US dollars as transportation and hotel fees in Ganta where he (Karen) resides.

“They went to me in the morning and they took the car and left and since that time I have not seen them again until today,” Karen told the court.

The Lebanese national was investigated by the National Security Agency (NSA), on allegations that he had made available funding to facilitate the transportation of arms and ammunition for the alleged coup plotters to overthrow the Ellen-led government.

Earlier, the second state witness, James Kenneh testified that before his arrest in the Cote dIvoire, Colonel Dorbor held a secret meeting with Charles Julue in the eastern Monrovia suburb of Congo Town to hatch the coup plot.

The NSA investigator denied detaining Col. Dorbor beyond 48 hours as alleged by defense lawyers.

The hearing continues Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Presiding Judge Charles Williams has agreed with prosecuting lawyers to screen the tape implicating suspects Charles Julue and Dorbor in the treason charges.

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@getmail.no

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Senior officials in SPLM kicked out of the movement

Posted by African Press International on December 5, 2007

Khartoum (Sudan) South Sudan ruling Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) on Monday dismissed two senior officials, APA learned on Tuesday.

Reports from South Sudan said Sudans First Vice President and President of the government of Southern Sudan and the chairman of the SPLM, Salva Kiir Mayardit, announced the dismissal of Telar Deng and Aleu Ayeng Aleu from the movements political bureau, the Interim National Council, and the movement itself, effective December 1.

SPLM deputy secretary general Yasir Arman in Khartoum confirmed the dismissal of the two members on Tuesday, saying that the decision was taken in the light of an investigative report on statements made by Deng and Aleu accusing some members of the SPLM of plotting against the SPLM chairman.

Aleu, former State Minister of Justice in the government of national unity who was dismissed from the ministerial position last August for accusing the Ugandan government of involvement in the plane crash that killed SPLM leader John Garang.

Meanwhile, Deng who was State Minister in the government of national unity and newly proposed State Minister in the Ministry of Justice, recently accused the SPLMs secretary general Pagan Amum of plotting against the SPLM chairman.

Published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@getmail.no

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