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Archive for April 18th, 2008

The Ugandan president lashes out at the West for prescribing solutions for Africa

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.standard.ke

Museveni’s outburst directed against the West comes at a time when The West likes to meddle in African Affairs. The Westerners seem to think they know better what is best for the African people. The Africans on the other hand wants the West to understand that they have brains and are able to do their own things right. We agree with Museveni on this. The West should back off and let the brilliant Africans look into their own affairs. Sometimes even less intelligent Westerners want to be involved in telling Africa what to do. What a shame that Africa accepts that to continue. Look at some expatriates? Some who are said to be expatriates in Africa cannon even get jobs in their own western countries because they are not qualified. They are dumped in Africa in the name of expartriates. API

Museveni hits at West for meddling in Africa

By Patrick Wachira

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni lashed out at foreign governments for prescribing solutions to African states, regardless of local conditions.

Museveni, who spoke during the swearing-in of ministers and Assistant ministers at State House, Nairobi, Thursday said foreign institutions thought they had solutions to local problems, but their prescriptions were unworkable.

He dismissed them, saying they had no vision. “In Uganda, we fight battles with these groups. Everyone is a lecturer on Africa!” he said.

He said foreign advice over local problems had been prescribed when his country wanted to build more dams, but was told there would be too much electricity.

The result of listening to such counsel? Uganda was hit by a shortage of electricity “because of these experts”.

“We were told: No! Build one at a time. They delayed us. Now we are building a dam at Bujagali and the problem of power will soon be solved,” he said.

Museveni chided foreign advisers over terminologies such as poverty alleviation. He said this implied that the problem should not be done away with, but suppressed.

“The biggest battle is with multi-lateral institutions, the World Bank and that crowd of people. They have no vision at all,” he said.

He caused laughter when he asked what “sustainable pregnancy” means.

Museveni also singled out the railway as an obstacle to development, saying it should be modernised. He described local railway lines as antiquated, saying they were only fit for the museum.

“We are ready to work with you. Uganda needs this railway to become a modern country. We cannot compete internationally with high transport costs,” he said.

At the same time, President Kibaki promised a new Constitution in a year.

He said Kenyans wanted and deserved a new constitutional dispensation.

He said the coalition Government would galvanise public concerns on the “few outstanding issues” that have stood in the way of a new constitution.

He dismissed calls for an opposition alliance, saying those behind it should stop pretending to be clever.

“Wacha kujifanya wewe ndiyo clever. Hawa watu wote wamesoma, na wanataka umoja na maendeleo” (Do not pretend to be so clever. Even other people are educated and they want unity and development).

The Government, he said, would turn the economy round.

He lamented that with the rising cost of fuel, prices of essential commodities had also risen and burdened majority of urban workers.

“We must revere this trend in order to improve the lives of wananchi,” he said.

The Head of State was speaking at State House, Nairobi, during the swearing-in ceremony for new ministers and assistant ministers.

He also announced that a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission would be established to foster the spirit of national healing ushered in by the new Government under the grand coalition.

Kibaki told Kenyans that the Government would finalise and publish the Inter-Ethnic Relations Bill, aimed at outlawing hate speech and crimes against humanity.

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Rift Valley ODM MPs to abandon ODM and Raila Odinga

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.kbc.ke

Even before they begin to rule, they want to break up. Each one thought by supporting ODM and Raila, they were going to be ministerial. They must wake up and understand that not everyone in the party can become a minister. They have to face the reality and work for the benefit of the people and the country, while luckily cashing in on huge salaries paid by the poor tax-payers. API

ODM MPs cry foul

Written By:Graham Kirwa

A section of ODM members of Parliament from Rift Valley are now threatening to abandon the party citing lack of consultations in key decisions.

The over 10 MPs cited the recent appointment of ministers, which they claim was discriminative locking out the greater Kericho district.

The move coming just a day after the swearing in of the grand coalition government is sending signals that all is not well in the Orange Democratic Movement.

The MPs who Friday claimed to represent the Rift Valley parliamentary group questioned why the greater Kericho which produced over 700-thousand votes for ODM was not considered for any ministerial post by the party.

The disgruntled MPs are now warning they might review ties with the party come the next elections.

The MPS further said they are contemplating on suing the government over the Mt. Elgon military operation alleging the security operation is characterized by intimidation and harassment.

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Raila is a different man in spirit and tactic, here demonstrated colour-wise by his suit

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.kbc.ke

Thursday the 17th april, a big day for the Kenyans

From left Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Former Prisident Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, President Mwai Emilio Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga moving to the dais where the cabinet is to be sworn in.

Raila Odinga may have known why he had to choose a different colour of the suit this day. On the photo before the swearing in of the cabinet, he is the only man who had not been sworn in. Kalonzo had been sworn in earlier when Kibaki formed the cabinet in January.

The other factor for Raila is that the man likes to be noticed and a different suit does the trick here. Some people may see this as a simple thing. In politics and political games, everything has its meaning and politicians know that very well and do like to exploit that very well.

Raila has told the country that he will bring change to the country. We surely believe him because he is looking to capture the presidency. By proving his point now as the PM, people will consider him a good candidate for the presidency if he brings the much needed development to the country.

While doing so, he has to watch Kalonzo, the man who can change his footing any minute to a corner of conduciveness. He is also thinking to be president and for him he sees this is within reach because he has it now only that he is an assistant and the man in waiting.

It was interesting to see the former president Moi with the group. Looking at the photo, everything came back to mind. It reminded me of the days when Kofi Annan then UN secretary visited Kenya and was met at the airport by then:>

President Moi: Vice President Kibaki: Foreign affairs MInister Kalonzo and The Minister for Energy and Kanu Secretary General Raila Odinga. Those were the days. So all these men know eache other too well! This is a good photo for historical memory about the country and the game of politics.

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Spiritual Leaders Visit the Northwest

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu look to discover youthful compassion

By Monica Foster of The Skanner
Two revered spiritual leaders were in Seattle this week as part of the five-day Seeds of Compassion event, whose mission is to nurture kindness and compassion in the world, starting with children and all who touch their lives.
His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, the head of state and exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, appeared together Tuesday to talk about inspiring compassion in youth.
Love is a part of compassion no human being can do without, the Dalai Lama said. Everyone deep inside has some kind of goodness.

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Blindness has not stopped her in life: A teacher that does a job well

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.nation.ke

Shes blind but her students see a bright future

Story by KEZIAH KANYI
Bahati Girls High School in Nakuru has been topping the provincial school category for decades in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).

Mrs Eunice Oniala busy on her laptop, which has a special programme for the blind. Photo/FRANCIS MUREITHI

But what has escaped the attention of Kenyans is the fact that the school has been producing excellent results in English and Christian Religious Education (CRE). Nothing remarkable however, until one gets to know who is behind the success in the two subjects.

Visually impaired Eunice Njeri Oniala has been teaching the Bahati Girls for years. And whereas many would excuse themselves for their disability, Mrs Oniala has been thinking otherwise.

Second best

Apart from topping the provincial category, the school has been leading in the two subjects for the last one decade.

During last years KCSE, some 54 students scored As while 84 candidates scored B (plain) and above. Bahati secondary school was the second best provincial school in the country after Precious Blood last year.

For Mrs Oniala, her life in the classroom is almost similar to other teachers except that her students have to be extra attentive. Unlike other teachers, she does not write on the chalkboard.

I train my students to be attentive and inquisitive. I normally ask them questions every now and then to make sure that they are following, she said.

To catch up with the latest textbooks, Mrs Oniala has a helper who reads the books to her. As the assistant reads, she prepares short notes in her Braille.

Mrs Oniala was born with perfect eyesight. However, when she was six, she started experiencing eye problems. Within one year, one of the eyes was totally blind while the other was gradually losing the ability to see.

Her desperate parents sought medication from a traditional doctor, but the problem worsened.

Family gave up

By the time her parents sought professional help from a missionary nearby, it was too late. She was referred to Kenyatta National Hospital, but nothing could be done to bring back her eyesight.

After battling with the problem for sometime, the family gave up and she was later enrolled at Thika primary school, a special school for the visually impaired.

She was an excellent student and the urge to go on saw her secure a place at Kahuhia Girls secondary school where she did her Form Five and Six. Her results were good and she was admitted to Kenyatta University.

Upon completion of her degree course, she was posted as a teacher to Kilimambogo Teachers Training College in 1983.

She was transferred to Bondo Teachers College where she taught for six years, before being moved to Bahati Girls in 1996.

Mrs Oniala is a married mother of eight, four girls and four boys. Her eldest child is 31 years old. The last born is aged 11.

Her husband, Mr Andrew Stephen Oniala, a teacher at Bondo Teachers College, is partially blind. But all their children have no eye problems.

Her children have done well in their education. The eldest is an accountant with a firm in Nairobi, while her two daughters are students of Maseno and Kenyatta Universities. She currently lives with three of her children.

Needy orphans

Over the years, she has learnt to do most things on her own and it is clear that neatness and orderliness are important to her. She is able to retrieve everything with ease because she arranges them in ways best known to her.

In a bid to give back to the society, the family started a childrens home in 2006. With the help of the administration officers and the churches, she was able to identify needy orphans in Bahati area.

The home offered shelter to 15 girls and also took care of 20 other needy children, who were non-residents.

Unfortunately, she had to close down the home late last year due to lack of sponsors. She found other well established homes where the girls were accommodated.

Mrs Oniala is a leader in the African Union of the Blind and has been the vice-chairperson of the womens committee for the last four years.

She is also an active member of the Kenya Union of the Blind.

She is a role model to many and a great inspiration to many others, who have had an encounter with her, especially her students.

Mrs Oniala has especially inspired members of the Kenya Union of the Blind, where she holds counselling sessions with them once every month.

Their honesty

The teacher says that she marks exams and continuous assessment tests in school without any problem. Her assistant usually reads what the student has written, word for word, and a good point is ticked.

If she does not agree with the point, she underlines. The students are equally helpful and if they complain about the marking, she takes it up with the assistant immediately.

This is, however, rare, says the teacher, who applauds the young girls for their honesty.

The 50-year-old teacher is a competent computer user and she types her exams and continuous assessment test on her own.

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Kenya takes serious steps to stamp out ethnic negativity

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.nation.ke

New department to address ethnicity

Story by MUCHEMI WACHIRA

A new department has been created to address negative ethnicity in the country.

The Government decided to create the department after realising that negative ethnicity is a major challenge facing the nation.

This problem is undoubtedly a major contributor to the violence that engulfed our country in the recent past, said President Kibaki. The President was addressing winners of this years Kenya Schools and Colleges National Drama Festival at State House Gardens in Nairobi.

The winners, who performed for President Kibaki, were accompanied by their teachers and Education minister Prof Sam Ongeri, Teachers Service Commission chairman, Mr Ibrahim Hussein and the Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary-general, Mr Francis Nganga.

President Kibaki said his Government will also table the Ethnic Relations Commission of Kenya Bill which is aimed at creating the institutional framework to address the issue of national cohesion.

My Government is committed to addressing this problem (negative ethnicity) to ensure that our diverse Kenyan communities live together harmoniously and in peace, he said.

I am also confident that the issue of constitutional review that we have committed to undertake within the next 12 months will adequately address our challenges.

He appealed to the Education ministries to learn from challenges faced by the education sector after the KCSE examinations fiasco.

We must appreciate that a credible national examinations is a key pillar to our education system. I would like to see systems put in place to ensure that the problem does not recur, he said.

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THE MUCH EXPECTED OIL AND GAS REVENUE COULD BE THE CAUSE OF DEMAND BY CUF FOR THE OUTONOMY OF ZANZIBAR FROM THE UNION

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no

By Leo Odera Omolo recently in Dar
The recent unconfirmed rumours and reports indicating that there could be huge deposits of oil and gas laying under the sea bed along the coastline of the mainland Tanzania could be the source of discontent and stepped up agitation by the Civic United Front (CUF) in the Isles.,I can now authoritatively report.
The yet to be confirmed reports says there existed hugeof oil and gas deposits found in the narrow channel between the isles and the mainland Tanzania.
This is likely to degenerate into a volatile situation which need to be handled with extra caution by the government of the United republic of Tanzania. I could lead to a violent breakup of the union.
Political pundits and observers in both the twin islands of Zanzibar and Pemba say the politicians have launched the most aggressive campaign to have the borders separating the two union states re-drawn a fresh. If it is true there existed oil and gas along the border of the two union states it would have to be re-drawn a fresh once the exploration of the hydrocarbon commences, said one Zanzibar politician who requested for his anonymous in fear of a possible reprisal.
This writer spent three days in Dar Es Salaam last week and conducted some very exclusive interviews with Zanzibar politician as well as the supporters of the CUF and the ruling CCM parties and realized the CUF is rapidly making majorinroads into CCM stronghold in both the twin islands and was rapidly gaining massive support of the population within both islands of Zanzibar and Pemba.
The CUF is secretly circulating leaflets calling for political separation between the mainland Tanzania and the isles a head of the start of the oil exploration to avoid future border disputes between the two union states before the oil revenue began flowing in.
One of such secret leaflets availed to this writer, says in part the CUF is aware of the recent discovery of huge oil and gas deposits laying underneath of the sea bed along the channels separating the mainland and the isles and as such is pressing hard for greater political autonomous if not complete secessions or the breakup of the union.
Last Saturday thousands of CUF supporters braved the heavy downpour and took part in demonstrations in Zanzibar against the recent collapse o f the Mwafaka talks by CCM.
The demonstrators who were clad in red, white and blue vestments marched in the streets with their leaders ,carrying placards, denouncing CCM national executive committee {NEC} for calling for a referendum to determine now how Zanzibar which has remained as part of the Unted Republic of Tanzania and Zanzibar since 1964 should be ruled in the future.
The CUF chairman Prof Ibrahim Lipumba led the demonstration, accompanied by other party officials .The procession which was allowed by the police had started at Maisara near the home of Mama Fetma Karume,the mother of Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume.It was the late founding President Julius Kambarage Nyerere and the late leader of the Afro Shrazi Party Abeid Karume who created the union without having conducted a referendum.This happened soon after the violence overthrowing of the Sultanate century old rule which was considered as being pro-wealthy Arab traders at the expense of the indiginant people.
For many years, the late Dr. Nyerere using his political magnanimity held the union together despite sporadic protests by mainly Arabs CUF members in Pemba.
The demonstrators argued in one of the placards that there is no need for a referendum to determine the future of Zanzibar .It called upon the Zanzibaris to unite “this country is not for exclusive preserve of the Karume family CCM should stop playing with peace in Zanzibar.
Other placards read”conservatives ,you are ruining the country ,future generations will condemn you .We want a referendum on the union Kenya and Comoros your colleagues, Zanzibar is your home.
Some of the placards had messages directed at the Union government President Jakaya Kikwete seeking his personal intervention in the current political stand off.
Seemingly peaceful the demonstrators who had earlier gathered in the morning at Maisara to join the procession ,which passed through Kwa Raju,Miembeni,Komba Wapya and Mwanbeladu to Kibanda Maiti, where a charged public rally was held.
In his electrifying,but brief speech theCUF Secretary General Mr.Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad ruled out a return to the negotiating table with CCM for the Mwafaka talks and vowed that the party would continue its peaceful campaign for justice. CUF he said do not want violence but will opt for democratic means to make sure that it achieves its  rights” he said.
Saying that the political stand off could be solved amicably and peacefully but only if the ruling CCM could agree to sign the numerous agreement that had been reached before between the two parties after 14 months of grueling negotiations and talks while pointing an accusing finger at the CCM for reneging on all past agreements.
The radical CUF chief did not mince his word.He made it point blank clear that should the CCM fail to honour all the previous agreements,particularly the Mwafaka accord;then his party would not participate in the next general election scheduled for 2010 and would extend an appeal to the international community to reject the.CCM manulative tactics.
It was immediately reakised that even many CCM supporters in the Isles also took active part in the CUF demonstration sending the danger signal of the high degree of the existing, but mostintriguing dimension the parties of the union were taking.
Chadenna chairman Mr.Freeman Mbowe also addressed the CUF and urged them to clinch their fist and shout loudly saying “enough is enough” as the demonstrators resorting to the shouts of people power.
Observers and experts on union matters have told us that President Jakaya Kikwete should handle the latest waves protests in Zanzibar with extra care when dealing with sensitive matters of the union.
They were expressing the popular fears now persisting that the East Africa region can possibly become the battle ground following the recent discovery of oil and gas while citing the existing tension between Uganda and the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo over the oil reserve found in the Lake Albert that has recently witnessedt sporadic exchange of fires between the security forces of the two neighbouring states leading to intensive diplomatic activities in search of peaceful solutions
Meanwhile Tanzania has sered Tshs 1,002 billion (usd 954 million) by substituting imported diesel with locally produced natural gas to generate electricity since the year 2004.
According to the Ministry of energy and Minerals the savings from Songo Songo and Mnazi Bay gas to electricity projects were boosted by the discovery of more gas reserves in the eastern part of Songo Songo island at Nyuni.
This represents a saving of just over Tshs 1 trillion (usd 952.3 million) from the Songo Songo project from its inception by June 2004 to December 2007.and  Tshs 2.3 billion (usd 2.19 million) from the Mnazi Bay venture between december 2006 and  2007” said the report.
An Australai multinational oil company Ndovu Resources Limited that has for the past four years been exploring in the area for oil and gas reserves made the discovery.
This form is one of the eleven other currently exploring oil and gas reserves in 12 blocks located along the Indian Ocean coastline from Mtwara to Tanga.
The Songo Songo gas fields is reported to have an estimated 540 billion cubic feet of gas reserves while Mnazi Bay gas project has approximately 400 billion cubic feet of gas reserves.
Perhaps aware of this recent discovery of huge deposits of oil and gas in an area which is laying in the narrow sea channel separating the mainland and the isles, the Zanzibaris and Pemba politicians are out to make aquick kill by pressing for re-drawing of the border between the mainland and the isles .these arguments are based on superficies fears that are the exploration began the mainland could boost its oil revenue at the expense of Zanzibar.
This line of agitation has boosted the support of CUF which hitherto was only popular in Pemba but not in Zanzibar. But now there are reports of big drift of CCM members who are joining CUF not because of the alleged election fraudsof the past but due to a motive of demanding for the break up of the union so that each state can handle its own oil and gas revenue. The situation is so volatile and even some CCM Mps from Zanzibar are said to be secretly supporting CUF radical demand for a complete autonomy.
Ends
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Pope: US sex scandal badly handled

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.aljazeera

The pope is not expected to meet abused victims of paedophile priests [Reuters]

The comments are the pope’s harshest criticism yet of the bishops over sex abuse during his trip to the US.

Pope Benedict XVI has admitted that the priest sex abuse scandal in the US has sometimes been “very badly handled” by the Roman Catholic Church.
But the pontiff also blamed the breakdown of moral values in the country.
The pope made the remarks at a prayer service with hundreds of US bishops at a national shrine in Washington on Wednesday.

The pope and president said terrorism must be fought while protecting human rights [EPA]

During his flight to the US, he had said he was “deeply ashamed” of the scandal and would fight to keep paedophiles out of the priesthood.

But he also addressed the church’s sex abuse problems in the wider context of secularism and the over promotion of sex.

“What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?” he said.

The pope made the comments critical of the Roman Catholic clergy after a talk by Francis George, a cardinal and president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Clergy scandal

George said the consequences of the clergy abuse scandal “and of its being sometimes very badly handled by bishops makes both the personal faith of some Catholics and the public life of the church herself more problematic”.

The pope concurred, saying: “Responding to this situation has not been easy and, as the president of your episcopal conference has indicated, it was sometimes very badly handled.”
The trip is the first by a Roman Catholic pope since a wave of abuse scandals came to light in the US in 2002, provoking legal action that led to more than $2bn in settlements.

The pope, however, is not expected to meet abused victims of paedophile priests, and one group of victims, the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (Snap), said more had to be done.

“We’re way beyond the point at which an apology, a nice gesture, a few soothing words and promises, will be meaningful,” Snap said in a statement quoted by AFP.

 The pope began his six-day visit to the US with a ceremony at the White House including more than 9,000 guests.

Diplomacy urged

Only the second pope to visit the White House and the firstto do so in 29 years, Benedict called on the US to use diplomacy to resolve international disputes during a speech at the White House.

“America has traditionally shown herself generous in meeting immediate human needs, fostering development and offering relief to the victims of natural catastrophes,” he said.

“I am confident that this concern for the greater human family will continue to find expression in support for the patient efforts of international diplomacy to resolve conflicts and promote progress.”

A joint statement stressed a common desire by the pope and George Bush, the US president, to seek a peaceful Middle East with the creation of an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side at peace with Israel.
They also expressed “their mutual support for the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon” and denounced terrorism.

Confronting terrorism

“They further touched on the need to confront terrorism with appropriate means that respect the human person and his or her rights,” the statement said.

On the issue of immigration, that has caused conflict between the US and the Vatican, both men said they understood the need “for a co-ordinated policy regarding immigration, especially their humane treatment and the well being of their families” the statement said.

The pope had said in his White House speech that the US must do “everything possible to fight … all forms of violence so that immigrants may lead dignified lives”.

Hispanics make up nearly 40 per cent of the 70 million Catholics in the US, and are increasingly targeted in efforts to crack down on illegal immigrants.

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Samsung chief indicted over tax

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.aljazeera

 Lee said he took moral and legal responsibility for the case and would look into reforming the group [AFP]

The South Korean chairman of the Samsung group has been indicted for tax evasion and breach of trust.

The special prosecutor indicted nine other senior Samsung executives, although he said Lee and the others would not be arrested.

The investigation was launched in January after a former senior legal executive at the group accused some of its top management of hiding money and keeping a slush fund of more than $200m to bribe officials.
The special prosecutor cleared Samsung of the bribery allegations but said there was a conspiracy at the firm to hide billions of dollars in Lee’s assets and top executives also worked to secretly transfer wealth to Lee’s children.
Jail unlikely
Lee could face up to life in prison but analysts say he will very likely escape prolonged jail time because judges have often been lenient towards corporate leaders convicted of wrongdoing, saying jailing them could hurt South Korea’s economy.
“The criminal acts subject to indictment today constituted grave crimes because the amount of tax evaded and profits taken by violation of duties were astronomical figures,” the prosecutor said in his findings.
A spokesman for the Samsung Group declined to comment.
Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest maker of computer memory chips and flat-screen televisions, is the Samsung Group’s flagship company.
The country’s family-owned conglomerates known as “chaebol”, which powered South Korea from the ashes of the 1950-53 Korean War to become Asia’s fourth-largest economy, have been accused for years of having opaque management.
Some of their leaders have been convicted of white-collar crime, but have avoided long jail sentences.
Lee, who was questioned twice this month, said last week he took moral and legal responsibility for the case and would look into reforming management practice at the group.
Samsung said last week the comments did not mean Lee or anyone in the top management would step down. It has repeatedly denied allegations of wrongdoing.
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Hamas vows to avenge Gaza deaths

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.aljazeera

A missile hit the car of a Reuters cameraman despite being clearly marked as a media vehicle [AFP]

The Hamas movement has said that all options are open to avenge the killing of 17 Palestinians, including five children and a cameraman, during clashes with Israeli troops.

The warning on Thursday came as residents of the Gaza Strip prepared to bury the dead.

In a statement published on the internet, the armed wing of Hamas called on its fighters to attack Israel in every place and with all means available.

Three Israeli soldiers were also killed before the military withdrew from the Gaza Strip late on Wednesday.Ehud Olmert, Israels prime minister, said that Hamas was responsible forthe violence.

Direct responsibility
There is a war in Gaza and we will act against terrorism. Last year we killed more than 200 terrorists.

The surge in violence came after a relatively quiet month and threatened to unravel an Egyptian effort to mediate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

In the days deadliest attack, an Israeli helicopter fired four missiles at targets near the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.

We consider that Hamas bears sole, direct responsibility for what happened in Gaza and it will pay the price, he said in an interview with Israels Maariv newspaper.

At least 12 Palestinians, including five children aged between 12 and 15, were killed in that attack, Dr Moaiya Hassanain of the Palestinian health ministry said.

Cameraman killed

On Thursday, the funeral ofFadl Shanaa, a Reuters cameraman, was killed with two Palestinian civilians when a missile hit his vehicle. He had been travelling to the al-Bureij camp to cover the aftermath of the air raid there.
An Israeli military spokesman expressed regret but said journalists entered a combat zone at their own risk.
We regret the death of a photographer,but it must be pointed out that theres a war going on against armed terrorists who are extremists and dangerous.
Members of the media or civilians put themselves in danger by entering a combat zone.

The Palestinian Journalists Union declared a one-day strike for Thursday to protest the killing of Shana.

His death is a stark reminder of the risks our Palestinian colleagues take every day to cover the news in Gaza, the Foreign Press Association, representing journalists in Israel and the Palestinian territories, said.

Sophisticated ambush

Earlier on Wednesday, five Palestinians, all of them from the armed wing of the Hamas movement, were killed in clashes with Israeli troops.

The Israeli army said it lost three soldiers and that three more were wounded in an exchange of fire near the security fence between Israel and the Palestinian territory.

Hamas said that it killed the soldiers in a sophisticated ambush in Gaza City.

Israelsaid the soldiers entered Gaza in pursuit of two Hamas fighters who planted a bomb near the border and were ambushed by another Hamas force.

Hamas said that it carried out a sophisticated
ambush on Israeli forces in Gaza City[AFP]

Security has been stepped up across Israel for the week-long Jewish Passover holiday beginning on Saturday, with restrictions on the occupied West Bank tightened and police reinforcements deployed throughout the country.

Over the next ten days thousands of policemen will be deployed in the whole country in all sorts of places, streets and commercial centres, Micky Rosenfeld, Israeli police spokesman, told the AFP news agency.

There is no concrete threat for the holidays, but the usual threats that we are used to.

Meanwhile on Thursday, two Islamic Jihad fightersdied during an exchange of fire with Israeli troopsduring an incursion in the West Bank town of Qabatiya.

Islamic Jihad said that the men killed were Bilal Komel, a commander long-wanted by Israel, and 19-year-old Ayed Zakarna.

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40 dead, 111 wounded in DR Congo plane crash: hospital sources

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

Tuesdays plane crash in Goma in eastern DR Congo killed 40 people and wounded 111, Governor Julien Paluku quoted hospital sources on Thursday.

While the causes of the accident were still being investigated on Thursday, a controversy erupted between the Airways Authority (RVA) and Congolese airlines Hewa Bora Airway (HBA), the owner of the crashed airliner.

The airliner had 79 passengers and 6 crew members on board.

HBA which is banned for several weeks in Belgium, attributes the disaster to weather conditions and the slippery condition of the runway.

But RVA blames a technical failure leading to an explosion of the DC 9 while the plane was about to take off.

However, the black box will help make progress in the enquiry into the crash as ordered by President Joseph Kabila.

Meanwhile, Congolese opposition Congo Liberation Movement (MLC) of Jean-Pierre Bemba blames the lack of a government policy to sanitize the aviation sector.

The party has called for a serious enquiry to bring to book those responsible for the crash.

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African Press International – api

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Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

South Africa President Thabo Mbeki has defended his “quiet diplomacy” approach in Zimbabwe, saying that “loud diplomacy” was not diplomacy and that his “no crisis” assessment had been misinterpreted by the world media.

Speaking during an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporations New York City Bureau in the USA on Thursday, Mbeki said: “This story which says I said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe, I haven\t the slightest clue where it comes from.”

He was speaking following a special UN Security Council session in New York, where African leaders were pressed to act on the post-election impasse in Zimbabwe.

Speaking to SABC reporters after the meeting, Mbeki said his declaration in the Zimbabwean capital Harare at the weekend that there was no crisis was in response to a question about “the elections… not about the socio-economic conditions or anything like that.”

Mbeki, SADCs mediator in Zimbabwe, has been under fire in recent days for down-playing the tensions in South Africas northern neighbour.

Examining criticism of his softly-softly approach to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, Mbeki asked: “What is loud diplomacy? Well it is not diplomacy, it cant be.”

While some countries “may shout,” southern African countries had a responsibility to try to broker agreement between Mugabes Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Mbeki said.

“I am quite certain it would be wrong for us to be shouting at the ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission),” he said.

Nineteen days after Zimbabweans voted in presidential elections, the state-controlled ZEC has yet to release the results.

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South African opposition enter the fray about Zimbabwe arms shipment

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

Reports of a shipment of arms in South African waters, allegedly destined for Zimbabwe, has sparked a political outcry, with parties calling on the government to block the consignment to Zimbabwes army.

The South African Defence Secretary, January Masilela, who chairs the Scrutiny Committee of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC, said on Thursday that there was nothing wrong with the “conveyance” of a Chinese consignment of arms to Zimbabwe. He said the consignment was a “simple” transaction between China and Zimbabwe.

Masilela added that South Africa had no jurisdiction over sovereign states which bought arms from each other. He said the Zimbabwean government had applied for a conveyance permit with his department and there was “no problem” in issuing it.

“As far as we are concerned, the consignment is within international laws since there are no embargoes on Zimbabwe on any list of the African Union, SADC (Southern African Development Community), EU, US, or the UN.

He rebuffed political parties calls for the South African authorities to stop the consignment and said he was “strictly” adhering to international standards. “We work on a legal regime. We are not aware of any resolution against the government of Zimbabwe. This is a normal thing, a normal conveyance that was dealt with at a lower level,” said Masilela.

The national spokesperson on defence for the opposition Democratic Alliance, Rafeek Shah called on the government on Thursday to intervene and prevent the delivery of the weapons.

“It is imperative that action is taken to ensure that these weapons are not allowed to destabilise what is already a precarious situation in Zimbabwe,” he said.

The spokesman of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Musa Zondi said the party condemned Zimbabwes purchase of arms at a time when its people were living in poverty.

The spokesman if the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), Patrick Craven said: “We are going to discuss this and see if theres any action we can take. I dont want to pre-empt any decision.”

The ruling party was however more cautious, saying it was “clueless” about the shipment and needed to have the facts before commenting

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Taylor defense completes cross-examination of former RUF radio operator

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir, api africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

Protected prosecution witness TF1-516, a former radio operator of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) of Sierra Leone, completed his testimony on Wednesday at the ongoing trial of the former Liberian leader at the Special Criminal Court for Sierra Leone being held at The Hague, says a press release from court.

At the conclusion of its cross-examination of prosecution witness TF1-516, the defence counsel Morris Anyah sought to raise doubts about the witnesss credibility through a number of means.

The witness testified that he did not know whether Foday Sankoh and Johnny Paul Koroma had been in Liberia following the July 1999 Lome Peace Accords.

Anyah wondered how the witness, who testified that while working as a radio operator he had still been able to listen to RUF radio communications, could not have known that after the July 1999 Lome Peace Accord, Sankoh had spent an entire week in Monrovia meeting various people including Johnny Paul Koroma.

Further, he expressed disbelief that the witness would not have known that Sankoh and Koroma attended an elaborate ceremony in October 1999 prior to their return to Sierra Leone.

The witness said that he left Liberia in 2001 and later on joined the disarmament program in Sierra Leone.

Counsel Anyah spent part of the day quizzing the witness about various facts.

He asked the witness to name members of the Liberian Special Security Service (headed by Benjamin Yeaten) and the Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU). Anyah also asked the witness if he knew several individuals, but the witness said he did not remember them.

Defense counsel Morris Anyah finished his cross-examination just before the lunch break, and then prosecutor Mohamed Bangura conducted a brief re-examination on items raised during the cross-examination.

Bangura established that the witness had never been interviewed by Sierra Leones Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), as had been implied by the defense on cross-examination.

The witness said he knew that a group of Sierra Leoneans he had met in Liberia had crossed into the country with Sam Bockarie and had been trained for the Liberian ATU because he used to speak to them. He listed several of their names.

Before the witness left the stand, the prosecution moved to admit all documents presented during his testimony into evidence.

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African Press International – api

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Taking oath of office – They lined up one after one. They are 94 in total. Costly for the tax payers

Posted by African Press International on April 18, 2008

Publisher: Korir api africanpress@getmail.no source.kbc.ke

Grand Coalition Cabinet sworn-in

Written By:PPS,Posted: Thu, Apr 17, 2008

President Mwai Kibaki Thursday witnessed the historic swearing-in of newly appointed Grand coalition Cabinet Ministers and Assistant Ministers at State House, Nairobi.

Leading the lot in swearing allegiance to the President and the state was Mr. Raila Odinga who becomes the second Prime Minister in Kenya and two Deputy Prime Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta, who is also the Minister for Trade, and Musalia Mudavadi, the Local Government Minister.

Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Amb. Francis Muthaura conducted the colourful ceremony.

President Kibaki, in his address to the nation, said the first task of the coalition Government was to deal with the resettlement of displaced persons now living in camps as refugees or being hosted by well wishers, adding that it was unacceptable for Kenyans to be prevented from accessing their property.

“We have a beautiful country and every Kenyan has a right to legally live, work, conduct business or own property anywhere in the country,” the President said and reassured that the Government was accelerating resettlement programmes by setting up the necessary security infrastructure to ensure that people returning to their farms are secure.

The Head of state said the Government was committed to ensuring that implementation of Grand coalition policies, in the next five years, would free from the indignity at least 50 per cent of the people living in absolute poverty.

President Kibaki said, ” If we achieve this goal, the grand coalition will have served its true purpose, which is to unite all Kenyan leaders in a joint and effective war against poverty, ignorance, prosperity and equitable development.”

The President challenged the Cabinet Ministers and Assistant Ministers to be result oriented and excel in their portfolios, as Kenyans would be monitoring their performance and the quality and timeliness of the services their ministries provide.

“I encourage you to closely monitor and oversee the activities of your ministries in order to ensure that wananchi receive the benefits they expect and in particular, that they are not frustrated by corrupt and inefficient officials,” the Head of State said.

He said political leaders had agreed that Kenyans want peace, unity, more opportunities for employment and higher quality of life, which cannot be realized in a divided Nation.

“I urge all of us to consider today as a fresh start for our country towards lasting peace, prosperity and equitable development. Let us join hands as a nation, with everyone doing their part, to build a new Kenya,” the Head of State said.

The President asked leaders in the Grand Coalition Government to disseminate the message of reconciliation and peace to the grassroots, saying the cycle of violence must come to an end.

On its part, President Kibaki said the Government will draw up a policy for inter-ethnic relations, table a bill in Parliament for the establishment of an Inter-ethnic Commission and pass laws prohibiting hate speeches and crimes against humanity.

He said the Grand Coalition Government was also in the process of establishing a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, which would go a long way in facilitating national healing and reconciliation.

Stressing that Kenyans want and deserve a new constitutional dispensation, President Kibaki said as the grand coalition, had committed itself to deliver on the promise within a year.

“As a grand coalition, we are better placed to conclude the long standing issue of constitution review. The coalition is better placed to galvanize public consensus on the few contentious issues that have been outstanding,” Said the Head of State noting that the process had dragged on for more than 15 years.

On the economy, President Kibaki regretted that increased cost of foodstuffs and transportation had become a financial burden for the majority of urban workers, a trend that should be reversed in order to improve the lives of wananchi.

In this regard, the Head of State urged wananchi to shun negative ethnicity, unite and focus on developing the country.

“Kenya’s economy is inter-twined with the economies of our neighboring countries, and therefore, any disruption or inefficiencies in our economy has a negative impact to our neighbors and vice versa,” The President said.

He asked all Kenyans to cultivate a culture of continuous consultation, saying it was only by working as a team that the political leaders would be able to inspire public servants to achieve the extraordinary performance levels that must be attained so as to meet the political, social and economic expectations of Kenyans.

The President said formation of the grand coalition was a recognition that neither individual interests should be allowed to over-ride the greater good of the nation nor personal interests be allowed to undermine the aspirations of the people.

He thanked the entire political leadership, religious and trade unions for fully supporting him and Prime Minister Odinga in their initiatives to form and make the grand coalition work for peace and unity of all Kenyans.

The President also appreciated the support received from African Union, neighboring countries, the mediating team led by former UN secretary General Koffi Annan, friendly countries and well wishers in the search for a lasting solution to the post-election challenges.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka thanked President Kibaki, Prime Minister Odinga and all Kenyans for overcoming the challenges that were threatening to tear the country apart and urged all to jealously guard the newly found national unity.

On his part, Prime Minister Odinga thanked President Kibaki for showing statesmanship in the negotiations that led to the resolution of the political impasse and the formation of the Grand Coalition Government that signal greater unity and prosperity for the country.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan congratulated Kenyans for setting up the grand coalition as a solution to the post-election violence that rocked the county and asked them to fully support the Government’s efforts to return the country to normalcy.

Tanzania’s Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, retired Heads of State Daniel arap Moi of Kenya and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi and members of the diplomatic corps among other dignitaries graced the occasion.

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African Press International – api

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