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Archive for December 21st, 2007

No charges in Obiora case

Posted by African Press International on December 21, 2007

A demonstration in May 2007 after the Special unit for police affairs dropped the Obiora case. The center banner asks if Obiora choked himself to death.

PHOTO: Stian Lysberg Solum / SCANPIX
The Attorney General has ruled that no crime was committed when Eugene Obiora died during his arrest in Trondheim in September 2006.

Obiora, 48, died after four policemen put him in a chokehold and forced him to the ground on his stomach at a public office in Trondheim.

The new investigation, sparked by widespread protest after an internal police investigation found no wrongdoing, concluded that there are no grounds to prosecute the police officers involved in the arrest.

The Attorney General writes that the arrest situation was such that it was permissible to use such dangerous methods. A central issue has been to what extent the officers realized that the application of such force could result in death.

The Police Academy has said that forcing a subject to the ground on their stomach is standard procedure in the arrest of uncooperative people, and that knowledge about the choking mechanism was not widely known at the Academy, the Police Directorate or even health personnel before the Obiora case.

The new report concludes that enough doubt exists about what the officers could or should have understood about the deterioration of Obiora’s condition, and so insufficient evidence to support a prosecution.

The conclusion is in line with that of the Special unit for police affairs, which investigated the Obiora arrest twice.

Lawyer Abid Q. Raja has taken up the case for Obiora’s next of kin, and based the demand for a prosecution of willful murder based on the Norwegian-Nigerian being choked twice, once in the office, and one more time outside.

The case has generated considerable public outcry, with demonstrations and actions keeping the controversy alive.

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

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Halal butcher caught

Posted by African Press International on December 21, 2007

The availability, processing and labelling of halal products in Norway has caused much confusion.

PHOTO: SHAHRIAR NOURI

Food Safety Authority inspectors apparently uncovered an illegal halal butchery operation on a surprise visit to a farm in stfold County on Thursday afternoon.

The Muslim practice of halal, where the animal is not anesthetized before killing, and is bled to death by having its carotid artery cut, is illegal in Norway, for violation of animal treatment laws.

“This is a severe violation of the Animal Protection Act and it will be viewed very seriously,” said Kirsti Ullsfoss, FSA district chief for the region.

Ullsfoss said that this is the first time an illegal butcher has been caught red-handed.

“Several times we have arrived after the slaughter and seen clear signs. But something like this is a new experience for us,” Ullsfoss told NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting).

The FSA has contacted police and will lodge a formal complaint on Friday.

The farmer insists that nothing illegal has been going on on his farm.

“It isn’t illegal to sell live sheep from your own farm,” Ole Martin Eggen told newspaper Smaalenene’s web site.

Eggen said many Muslims visit his farm to buy sheep, and claimed he had a routine for avoiding any illegal activity.

“I help the new owners kill the animal they have bought. It is not leagl to cut the throat of a live animal in Norway, so I shoot the sheep in the forehead first. I tell the Muslims that the sheep has had a mild anesthetic. I don’t think they understand that the animal is dead after I use the rifle. Afterwards the Muslims cut the sheep’s throat. When it is done this way the animal bleeds the right way, according to the Muslims. In fact today I had a whole family come for a halal butchering, and they had a little ceremony together,” the farmer said.

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

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Chaos continues at Gardermoen

Posted by African Press International on December 21, 2007

Gardermoen on Friday morning.

PHOTO: TONE GEORGSEN

Freezing fog has paralyzed air traffic at Oslo’s Gardermoen International Airport (OSL), with many stranded passengers spending the night in the departure hall.

Your rights
Cancellations: Provisions, hotel accommodation if necessary. Choice of refund or rerouting of ticket.

Standard compensation of between 250-600 euros, depending on distance of flight. Airlines are exempted from paying compensation if they can document that the cancellation was due to extraordinary circumstances.

Delays: A flight delay over two hours entitles you to provisions, and hotel accommodation if necessary. A delay of over five hours entitles a refund of the ticket price, if the journey is not taken.

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About 70,000 passengers can be affected by the difficult weather conditions.

“There is no change weather-wise here this morning. It is -11C (12F) on the ground and 5C (41F) at 3,000 feet, so we are getting a great deal of humidity. This humidity becomes ice on the engines. With no wind, there is no indication that the weather will change, and the delays will continue through the day,” said OSL information chief Jo Kobro at 8 a.m. on Friday.

Kobro urged passengers to contact their airlines and turn up early. At 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning most planes had left on schedule but several of the day’s departures are already canceled or delayed.

Gardermoen was hit by a combination of cold and fog all of Thursday, and with iced engines there were few takeoffs. On Friday morning only ten planes an hour were being allowed to take off.

“It looks to be a relatively chaotic day,” said information chief Thomas Midteide in SAS Norway. “We are doing everything we can to get people home for Christmas, but if the planes don’t get permission to leave the ground it is difficult.”

Midteide said that buses and other alternatives would be taken into use if necessary.

Frustrated passengers told Aftenposten.no that they had spent the night on the floor in the departure hall and other places.

“At 1:30 a.m. SAS announced over the loudspeakers that their staff were tired after working 13 hours in a row so they had to close and get some sleep,” a passenger said around 3 a.m. on Friday. “There is no food or bottled water and there is no one from SAS to ask for information.”

At 6:3o a.m. the same passenger was on the airport train, returning to Oslo.

“I have spent the night on a stone floor and now I have given up. I am infuriated by such incredibly bad service. The queue went through the entire airport. People have been sleeping on baggage carts. Families with small children have spent the night there, you feel terribly sorry for them,” the passenger told Aftenposten.no.

“There have been many passengers overnight at Gardermoen. In the end it was impossible to find hotel rooms for them, so they had to use benches and whatever at the airport. We offered them what we had,” Kobro told news agency NTB.

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

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CHALLENGES AFTER ELECTIONS

Posted by African Press International on December 21, 2007

The 2007 general election in Kenya will bequeath the nation a new political dispensation. New political careers will be built as well as others brought to a halt through retirement, defeats, and others will need to take hibernation and rejuvenation for a future come back. Going by the heated campaigns and opinion polls, Kenya is likely to be in a major paradigm shift no matter who wins the presidency. The level of political awareness amongst the highly demanding electorate is quite high and the country is gearing to performance based leadership.

So what happens after all is settled, and the important presidential election is finally settled? To start with the incoming president whether Kibaki, Raila or Kalonzo will have his plate full of work which need to be urgently done and what need to be planned and what need to be accomplished before the next general election after 2007.The incoming president after the 2007 poll will have no time and cannot afford to engage in boondoggle and other time wasting halitosis politics as seems to have been engulfing the nation.

His job is simply cut out and he will require the energy of a tractor or a thousand horses, and unfortunately he may never have good sleep. It’s a matter of conjecture whether the incoming president will afford the many goodies for his many sycophants and communities who as expected will have their arms ready for. Just to name a few these are issues which he will have to grapple with; tribalism, constitution review, free education in primary and secondary, reforms in the judiciary, reforms in the police force, teachers wages, environmental
degradation, infrastructure improvement, housing, rising fuel prices, slums, unemployment, insecurity, government divestiture such as Safaricom, traffic jams and road congestion, reforms in the money market and capital markets , hawkers menace, the evil and the irritating evil road carnage, tourism, global warming, the hawkers problem, education, devolution of funds and various governance structures, direct election of mayors, diplomacy, the growing and important Diaspora economy and many more. The job is un-enviable but very powerful, enticing, lucrative and highly desired. However to succeed the incoming may need to be ‘insomniatic’.

The promises made during the campaigns are astronomical. But perhaps if implemented properly they are the roadmap to economic take-off. But though some look a bit in the fantasy world, they probably capture some of the desires we would rather achieve in the near future if our nation is to remain cohesive enough to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. The road ahead is bumpy and quite challenging and it will require the courage similar or greater of other pace setters like former presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt both of US, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, former prime minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad, former UK prime minister sir Winston Churchill , former South Korea’s president Kim Dae Jung famed for his sunshine policy with North Korea and Africa’s and South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. The courage required to transform a nation to a modern economy and democracy is immense and any of the victor will need to have so much.

It will also behove him to openly court local and international
investors to invest heavily in the fast emerging economy called Kenya. It is also prudent to be in good books with all major multilateral donors in as much we feel that we can support the economy with our taxes. Kenya’s diplomatic clout is just too small relative to the opportunities available. By now Kenya should be the diplomatic destination of choice for world powers and emerging powers of the world when they are courting Africa alongside South Africa and Nigeria.

In an upshot, the president will need to be not only always awake but also running. To establish an enduring legacy of excellence is not easy. Not even near ease with due regard to a very tribally conscious and politically charged nation like Kenya. Past history in colonialismand post independence governments have wounded Kenyans so much that they can hardly trust anybody any longer. But the opportunities are there. Good luck to the leader and to all leaders. We have a duty to make Kenya great.

harrison-ikunda.jpg<By Harrison  Mwirigi  Ikunda,
Nairobi, Kenya.

Published by API/APN africanpress@chello.no

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