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Archive for May 1st, 2008

May Day, May Day!

Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

Publisher: korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.aftenposteneng

Thursday, May 1st, is “May Day” for many people all over the world.

Maypoles are traditional ways of celebrating the First of May in many countries.

PHOTO: HENRIK WIDTH

“May Day” means different things to different people.

For many, it is the International Workers’ Day, or a celebration of the labour movement.

But the celebration has other origins, some very ancient, and different customs have become associated with it.

In addition, it occurs about halfway between the solstice and the equinox… Ok, thereabouts, anyway.

In Norway, May 1st is a national holiday, even though many people, at least the younger generation, dont seem to know quite why anymore.

Some people associate the day with pre-Christian indigenous celebrations — and the tradition of dancing around a maypole might be a part of this heritage.

And for many, May Day simply signifies the beginning of summer.

At any rate, now May Day has become celebrated around the world in all its many manifestations, and so it will be in Norway tomorrow.

This means there will be no news service on our English Web Desk. But we will be following the news, and hope to catch you up as soon as we are back in place on Friday, the day after.

Happy May Day everyone!

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Germany to offer technical assistance to Rwandan military in Darfur

Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

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

The German government is consulting the Rwandan defense officials on how best it can offer military assistance to the Rwandan peacekeeping contingent in the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur, a senior official said here Wednesday.

Speaking during a press conference in Kigali, the Rwandan minister of Information in the office of the Prime Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, said German government officials are seeking Rwandas advice on how to effectively handle the Darfur mission given the tremendous achievements registered by Rwandas military in various peacekeeping missions.

Germany credited Rwanda for her efforts to stabilize Sudans Darfur region by leading to a scale down in numerous death of people and stopping possible genocide from taking place.

It came from the German leadership that they wanted us to advise them on how to better shape the hybrid United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, Mushikiwabo said.

It is quite encouraging and it shows the level of trust and confidence the government of Germany has in us, Mushikiwabo said.

Rwanda has over 3000 troops in the Darfur conflict that has claimed over one million innocent lives.

The minister added that representatives of both governments would soon meet to determine what area the European nation could assist Rwanda.

Germany, whose engagements with Rwanda pre-date the arrival of Belgian colonialists after World War I in 1918, is one of Rwandas main development partners.

Under the existing financial cooperation, Germany last year joined Britain, Sweden and Belgium in channelling part of its aid to the countrys general budget support.

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Carl I Hagen throws in the political towel – He will now be out of politics. Immigrants celebrate his departure

Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.aftenposteneng

Norwegian politics will be boring without this man. He knows how to put the other parties on their toes and give them sleepless nights. He is tough when it comes to checking on the government ministers and what they deliver to the public. When ministers get lazy, Hagen, through his membership in the parliamentary control committe does not hesitate summoning them to be grilled in parliament. Some ministers when summoned may choose to give answers unsatisfactory and hope to get away with it, but that is when Hagen makes them sweat until they give proper answers.

Famous Norwegian politician Carl I Hagen is calling it quits from politics.

Chairman of the populist Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet), from 1978 to 2006, he has been vice-president of the Norwegian Parliament since 2005.

On Wednesday, he said he would not be running for reelection to the parliament.

After a long and controversial career, Carl I Hagen says he’s ready to retire from politics.

PHOTO: HÅKON MOSVOLD LARSEN

Hagen is turning 64 next week and says he wants to focus on his years as a pensioner.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg commented: “Hagen is a political opponent I have great respect for. Although we have been in disagreement in many cases and in many debates, I will come to miss him.”

Hagen’s many political opponents, and often the media, have painted him as being a populist and even a racist.

His political methods have been said to appeal to the masses by playing on their fears of foreigners, and especially immigrants.

However, he managed to build up the Progress Party to be one of the most popular in terms of voters in the country.

He once reportedly took part in a celebrity game-show, in which he expressed his love for America by riding an electric bull, wearing a cowboy hat and answering questions about his favorite singer—Elvis, of course.

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Martine put to rest

Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.aftenposteneng

We in API, send our heartfelt condolences to Martine’s family who have lost their dear child who had a bright future. May the good Lord keep her soul in eternal peace, and give a lasting comfort to the family. API

The murdered Norwegian student Martine Vik Magnussen was finally put to rest in Norway on Wednesday.

The funeral was held at Asker Church, outside Oslo. It was filled with mourners and overflowing with flowers, as Magnussens family and friends took their final farewell.

“Martine didn’t get so many years, but her life had so many colors and much depth,” said the priest.

Although her murdered body was identified in London as far back as March 17, investigations into the crime delayed the return of her body to Norway.

She was just 23 at the time she was found killed

Flowers and bouquets abounded at the funeral held for Martine Vik Magnussen in Asker Church.

PHOTO: KNUT FALCH/SCANPIX

Related stories:

  • Martines body to bereturned
  • Tribute to murderedstudent
  • Inquest delays return of studentsbody
  • Family of man sought in students death hires alawyer
  • Norwegian student probably strangled, Egyptiansought
  • Murder probe launched into London studentsdeath
  • Norwegian student feared dead inLondon
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    African Press International – api

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    Protocol problems in the Kenya government solved: Kibaki is nr 1, Kalonzo nr 2, while Raila remains nr 3. It is final.

    Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

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

    Now it is final. The protocol issue has been sorted once for all. The President is on the top followed by his vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and in the third place is the PM Raila Odinga. The government had to act swiftly after the embarassment that was caused during last weeks peace mission in the Rift Valley where Raila and Kalonzo were fighting for seniority infront of the memebrs of public.

    Now that things are clear, the PM has to be contended that he is udner the VP and the two should work together as a team in support of the President so that Kenya moves on in development.

    Kibaki’s powers remain the same. He is the one that makes all important appointments. And retains all executive powers.

    The photo below: Kibaki’s right hand is near Kalonzo, so we may as well say Kalonzo is his right hand man. API

    Kibaki, Raila powers spelt in dossier

    Story by BERNARD NAMUNANE

    A new structure of the government that spells out the powers and responsibilities of the President and the Prime Minister has been prepared.

    President Kibaki, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka (left), Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi(right) after the naming of Grand Coalition Cabinet at State House Nairobi last month. Photo/FILE

    The circular, which also outlines the role of Cabinet ministers, shows President Kibaki retaining most of his executive authority, including overall responsibility for the Cabinet, but ceding some of his duties such as chairing Cabinet sub-committees to Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

    Cabinet

    The Draft Government structure obtained by the Daily Nation but which has not yet been officially released, puts Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka in a somewhat awkward position by raising the possibility of the Presidents principal assistant sitting at Cabinet committee meetings chaired by Mr Odinga.

    But this can only happen when Mr Musyoka attends such meetings in his capacity as the Home Affairs minister.

    The Presidents powers and responsibilities, appearing under the banner of The Presidency and Cabinet Affairs, include State affairs and functions, executive authority of government, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Organisation of government business, Cabinet Affairs and Secretariat.

    The President is also responsible for all security dockets, appointment of the VP, Prime Minister, deputy prime ministers, ministers and assistant ministers, together with the hiring of judges, ambassadors and high commissioners and is overall responsible to parliament for the performance of the whole government.

    Mr Odinga, on the other hand, is responsible for coordination and supervision of the execution of the functions and affairs of the government, including those of ministers, chairing Cabinet committees, public service reforms and performance contracting, efficiency monitoring unit, inspection of State corporations, and any other duties assigned by the President.

    He is also responsible for the ministries of State for Public Service and the ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, although the two have substantive ministers.

    The move to spell the functions and powers of the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, deputy prime ministers and ministers could be seen as a quiet decision by the Government to end the protocol row that emerged last week as the grand coalition government toured the Rift Valley province to hasten the resettlement of people displaced from their homes by the post-election violence.

    It also seeks to end the growing sentiments by some ministers that President Kibaki and Mr Odinga share executive authority since they were signatories of the National Accord that brought into existence the grand coalition government.

    The Presidential circular, signed by the Head of Public Service, Mr Francis Muthaura, dated April 25, 2008, places Vice-President Musyoka in the second position, ahead of the PM.

    The circular that is labelled draft, further outlines the functions of seven new ministries in the 42-member Cabinet that were created to meet the expectations PNU and ODM leaders following the enactment of the National Accord.

    From the onset, Presidential Circular No.1/2008 whose title is Organisation of the Government of the Republic of Kenya states: This circular is issued with the authority of His Excellency the President and it contains appointments and changes made in the Government since the previous circular was issued on 9th August, 2007.

    Responsibilities

    It then explains: The ministerial portfolio responsibilities remain an internal matter for each ministry to determine within the broad scope of the listed functions, and these responsibilities will be varied as circumstances and needs arise. This circular supersedes all previous Presidential Circulars on the above subject.

    It is copied to all ministers, assistant ministers, permanent secretaries, provincial commissioners, Attorney General, State House Comptroller, Controller and Auditor General, Public Service Commission Secretary, Clerk to the National Assembly, Registrar of the High Court, and Electoral Commission of Kenya chairman.

    According to the circular, President Kibaki, who is the Head of State and Government, will preside over Cabinet affairs; State affairs and functions; appoint VP, PM, deputy PMs, ministers, assistant ministers; and chair all organs of security, among other responsibilities.

    However, he is accountable to Parliament on the overall performance of his government, it states. It is significant to note that the docket of Cabinet Affairs was hotly contested during the consultations on the naming of the coalition cabinet between President Kibaki and Mr Odinga with the latter insisting that it should be under him. Surprisingly, when the Cabinet was named, it had been dropped from the new ministries that were created.

    Under the Office of the President are the ministries of Internal Security, Defence, Special Programmes and State House.

    The circular describes Mr Musyoka as the principal assistant to the President and Leader of Government Business in Parliament. Mr Musyoka also heads the ministry of Home Affairs that deals with prisons and remand homes, criminal rehabilitation, and approved schools, among others.

    The ministry of National Heritage and Culture, and that of Immigration and Registration of Persons are under the VPs Office.

    The office of the PM, which is housed at the Treasury, is charged with the task of coordinating and supervising the execution of the affairs of the Government including ministries. Mr Odinga will also chair cabinet committees such as those on corruption, preside over Public Service Reforms and Performance Contracting and the dormant agency anti-corruption agency the Efficiency Monitoring Unit.

    The circular also places under Mr Odingas charge the Inspectorate of State Corporations and other duties that he will be assigned by the President in line with the National Accord.

    The two deputy premiers, Mr Musalia Mudavadi and Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, have the responsibility of deputising Mr Odinga in the coordination of government affairs and will also perform any other functions that the PM will assign them.

    Circular

    The circular defines the functions of the new ministries of Nairobi Metropolitan Development that was hived from that of Local Government, Fisheries that was split from Livestock and Fisheries, Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands, Industrialisation, Public Works, Forestry and Wildlife, and Medical Services.

    Nairobi Metropolitan Development, headed by Mbooni MP Mutula Kilonzo, will be responsible for the development of the Nairobi Metropolis and growth of areas under it, and craft strategy that covers transport system, upgrading of slums, planning and zoning areas, efficient water supply and waste management, investment in infrastructure and making the metropolis globally competitive.

    However, the National Urban and Metropolitan Areas Development Board remains under the docket of Local Government headed by Mr Mudavadi.

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    Mungiki gets political support from the money-men, while their leader in Jail, Njenga gets books from Raila

    Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

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

    Revelations of jailed Mungiki leader

    By Standard team


    Former MPs, (from left), Mr Norman Nyagah, Mr Njenga Karume and Mr Joseph Kamotho address journalists at the Serena Hotel, on Wednesday. They asked the Government to release Mungiki leader, Maina Njenga on bond and resettle the displaced people urgently. Picture by Stafford Ondego


    The Government has broken unprecedented ground by formally making contact with the outlawed Mungiki sect and launching talks with its jailed leader, Maina Njenga, in a bid to tame the groups daring excesses.

    Details of how the Government has sent high-level emissaries to talk with the Mungiki leader emerged in an exclusive first media interview he granted The Standard on Wednesday at the Naivasha Maximum Security Prison.

    As Njenga spoke in jail, an indicator of how the Government is changing tact in handling Mungiki was given by seven central Kenya politicians who called for his release. Former Cabinet ministers Mr Njenga Karume, Mr Joseph Kamotho, former MPs Mr Macharia Mukiri, Mr Waithaka Mwangi, Mrs Jane Kihara, Mr Daniel Karaba and Maragwa MP Mr Elias Mbau met in a Nairobi hotel from where they called for the sect leaders release.

    Njenga sounded optimistic of his possible release, saying he had told his family to stop the burial of his slain wife pending the outcome of the talks.

    In a lengthy three-hour interview, Njenga made stunning revelations, saying he had met with a delegation led by former Provincial Commissioner Mr Cyrus Maina, who broke ground for talks to seek peace between the Mungiki and the Government.

    Njenga said he had twice met the former Nairobi and Coast PC Maina, Catholic Priest Fr Ndikaru wa Teresia and ODM pointman Mr SK Thande.

    Maina and Fr Ndikaru, the latter who is well-known to Njenga, were said to have been sent by the Office of the President while Thande, the Langata Constituency Development Fund chairman, represented the Prime Ministers office.

    The first meeting took place last weekend but the initial contact was scuttled by the mysterious killing on Monday of two key Mungiki leaders on the Naivasha-Nairobi highway, Njenga said.

    Giving dialogue a chanceHe added that the two leaders, acting Mungiki political wing chairman Charles Ndungu Wagacha (chairman of the Kenya National Youth Alliance) and treasurer Naftali Irungu, were heading to Naivasha prison for a second scheduled meeting between him and the Government team, which aborted after they were killed.

    But despite the killing of his lieutenants, Njenga said he still held another meeting on Tuesday with the former PC and his team, in which he presented Mungiki tribulations as targets of the police.

    Njenga said despite the killing of his close allies, he agreed to the Government request to call on his sect to end all forms of violence and give dialogue a chance.

    “We believe our talks will bear fruit and I have directed all our followers to stop engaging in violence. Police should also stop killing innocent youths now. We want peace,” he said.

    Njenga claimed he had talked to Raila on phone over the ongoing situation of alleged police brutality. He said Raila told him that the Government was now different, and he could not allow it to oppress the poor.

    He said he spoke to Raila on April 21, in a telephone conversation also overheard by senior prison officers. The Mungiki leader claimed the PM assured him that justice would prevail as long as he served in Government.

    A fortnight ago, the PM had made a proposal to pursue peace with the banned sect.

    Njenga, who spoke in a secluded section of the prison while clad in the stripped prison uniform known by inmates as kunguru, said his two deputies who were killed had documents implicating police in arbitrary executions, which they wanted to hand to the Government team.

    “But we still managed to get photocopies of the documents later and handed them to for PC Maina on Tuesday to give to the President and the PM,” said Njenga.

    He blamed police for high-level the executions, including that of his wife early this month, saying they plotted to finish the groups top leadership.

    He claimed for the first time that his former lawyer, Juliana Orieyo who was killed mysteriously late last year was a victim of police execution.

    Executions politicalNjenga said he wanted the whole country to know of the start and progress of the talks between the sect and the Government.

    The officer-in-charge of the prison, Mr Patrick Mwenda, confirmed that emissaries had visited Njenga twice in a bid to find peace over the ongoing clashes between the sect followers and the police.

    Njenga said he would pursue the path to peace offered by the Government but demanded that police be restrained from killing suspected Mungiki youths.

    He spoke bitterly, with tears welling up in his eyes, of his slain wife Virginia Nyakio, and dismissed as police propaganda, claims that he may have ordered her death due to infidelity.

    Njenga said he had stopped the burial of his wife, her driver George Njoroge and the two men who were shot dead on Monday to await the outcome of the talks.

    “There is no need for us to bury them and allow for more such killings,” he said.

    The sect leader said all the four deceased were his relatives and he was in agony. But he encouraged his followers not to fear death and to soldier on as members of the movement.

    Njenga said the movement had demanded an overhaul of the leadership of the police force as “it was letting down the Government”.

    He demanded that Mungiki followers be allowed to give their views at the yet-to-be formed Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

    A composed Njenga, who was armed with three political books and a Bible, said the ongoing clash between police and Mungiki youths was political and vowed to solve it.

    Njenga caressed the books 48 Rules of Power and Nelson Mandelas Long Walk to Freedom, both of which he said were sent to him by Raila, and Cry of the Oppressed, which he said was given to him by Fr Ndikaru.

    “The war on succession in Central Kenya is behind the brutality that you are witnessing. A clique of the regions elite is fearing the Mungiki revolution and now they are using police to suppress and oppress the youths but we will not accept that. We believe the new Government will listen to us,” he said.

    He said the Central Kenya elite feared that the youths no longer supported them politically.

    Njenga feared that innocent youths would continue to be killed under mysterious circumstances if the talks failed.

    He said there were no divisions in the sect, and challenged anyone with parallel leadership to come out and let the public know.

    He also revealed that his movement supported ODM in the last General Election and the sect feels it is now part of the Government.

    Njenga went ahead to urge Embakasi constituents to back an ODM candidate in the coming by-election, saying the late area MP, Mugabe Were, had been his personal friend.

    The Central Kenya leaders who supported Njenga demanded his release so that he could lead talks between the sect and the Government.

    “We ask for the release of Maina, even if on bond, so as to lead a delegation to see the PM. The PM has assured them that he would address their plight. Thats the way to go if we want to end the crisis,” he said.

    “Mr (Raila) Odinga has shown the wise way of ending the crisis. This is the only sure way of striking a compromise between the sect and Government. Bullets and guns will not end it,” said Karume, the immediate former Defence minister in Kibakis Government.

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    Zimbabwe run-off needed – This pleases Mugabe but angers the opposition

    Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

    Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.cnn

    JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) — A senior official with Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party (Magabe – right) said Wednesday a run-off vote was needed to decide the country’s presidential election immediately sparking anger from the opposition.

    art.women.ap.jpgWomen who are opposition party supporters spoke on April 29 of how they had their homes burnt by suspected Zanu PF supporters.
    The ZANU-PF source said a second round of voting was needed after much-delayed election results gave President Robert Mugabe 43 percent and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai 47 percent.

    A candidate must receive 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a presidential run-off in Zimbabwe.

    Asked if the results came from Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission, the official would not specify. “We have ways of knowing these things,” he said.

    A spokesman for Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change rejected the ZANU-PF figures as rigged and said the party would refuse to participate in any run-off vote.

    “ZANU-PF is trying to position a discussion about a run-off where there is no runoff,” Tsvangirai’s spokesman, George Sibotshiwe, told CNN. “(Mugabe) must concede defeat.”

    MDC maintains that, according to its count, Tsvangirai won 50.3 percent of the vote. It has repeatedly vowed not to accept a result other than an outright victory for Tsvangirai.

    Zimbabwean Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu would not confirm the ZANU-PF official’s data, telling CNN that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has not yet released its official results.

    The Commission was expected to submit the results of last month’s presidential race to the ruling and opposition parties on Thursday to begin the verification process.

    Sending the results to the rival parties would be the final step before making the March 29 vote results public, which Zimbabwe has been under intense international pressure to do.

    Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and the MDC will compare the results they have tallied from polling stations with the final ZEC count, commission head George Chiweshe said earlier Wednesday.

    Independent candidate Simba Makoni will also participate in the process.

    Once all parties are satisfied, they will sign verification forms and the results can be released, Chiweshe said. He added the ZEC could publicly announce its results in the event of a stalemate. He did not say when that would happen.

    A partial recount last weekend of the separate parliamentary election confirmed MDC wins there.

    Meanwhile, the MDC has failed in its bid to have the United Nations Security Council appoint a special envoy to address the country’s deteriorating political and humanitarian crisis.

    The council’s refusal means that the responsibility for naming such an envoy now rests with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    There has been widespread violence and accusations from the opposition that Mugabe and his supporters have orchestrated a plan to remain in control of government and weed out opposition supporters by general intimidation.

    Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the MDC, told CNN that the Security Council must take action.

    “If the U.N. fails Zimbabwe, then the U.N. is failing itself, failing the spirit of the founding fathers.” he said.

    U.S. PresidentGeorge W. Bush repeated his position on Tuesday that the opposition won Zimbabwe’s March 29 election.

    “The will of the people needs to be respected in Zimbabwe,” Bush said. “And it is clear that they voted for change, as they should have, because … Mr. Mugabe has failed the country.”

    Prior to Tuesday’s session, China and others opposed any Security Council discussion on the situation in Zimbabwe, considering it an internal matter.

    But with pictures of violence from the African nation being beamed around the world, all 15 nations on the council asked for a briefing from U.N. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe.

    The United States, Britain and France are in favor of an envoy going to Zimbabwe as a first step.

    But the motion to send a special envoy did not find the unanimous support required for the Security Council to appoint one.

    South Africa thinks its neighbor Zimbabwe should resolve its own problems.

    “It’s their country,” South Africa’s Ambassador Dumiasni Kumalo said. “We don’t need a special envoy.”

    The Mugabe government opposes the idea of an envoy. “The envoy has been suggested by the U.S., the UK, the usual suspects,” said Boniface Chidyausiku, Zimbabwe’s U.N. ambassador.

    “As far as we’re concerned, when an envoy comes to Zimbabwe, it’s got to be in agreement with the government of Zimbabwe.”

    Despite the differences, one former Security Council ambassador believes the current discussions are a start.

    “We’ve now got all 15 members of the council willing to talk about it, recognizing that the issue has become very serious,” said Colin Keating, former U.N. ambassador from New Zealand. “So I think that’s an important step.”

    A senior U.N. political officer said the secretary general will contact leaders in the region to discuss possible next steps in Zimbabwe.

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    Austrian incest dad vacationed in Thailand

    Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

    Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.cnn

    AMSTETTEN, Austria (CNN) — Josef Fritzl, the man Austrian police say has confessed to imprisoning his daughter for 24 years and fathering seven of her children, twice holidayed in Thailand while she remained trapped in a cellar below his house, according to German media reports.

    art.closejosef.gi.jpgJosef Fritzl appeared in court after admitting raping his daughter and fathering her seven children.

    Germany’s Bild newspaper quoted a holiday companion, identified only as Paul H, who said he and the 73-year-old Fritzl had traveled to Thailand together twice and spent time in each other’s homes.

    “He went [to Thailand] without his wife; apparently she had to look after the children… once he had a very long massage from a young Thai girl at the beach. He really loved that,” Paul H told the newspaper, which featured video footage of Fritzl laughing and receiving a massage in Thailand on its Web site.

    “Once I saw how Josef bought an evening dress and racy lingerie for a very slim woman in Pattaya [Thailand] on the beach. He got really angry when he realized I saw him. Then he told me that he has a girlfriend on the side. The items were meant for her. He told me not to tell his wife.”

    The pair had also ventured to Oktoberfest.

    Paul H said he had visited Fritzl’s house three times, the last in 2005.

    “We sat out on the terrace and had a really nice evening… the kids were well behaved, however, they had a great respect for their father. They were never allowed downstairs into the cellar but we never thought anything of it,” he told Bild.

    “Now that I think of the dungeon down there, I feel really sick in the stomach.”

    Paul H said Fritzl was a DIY “genius,” constantly extending and building on to the house.

    Meanwhile, family members at the center of the incest and imprisonment case have held an “astonishing” reunion, medical officials said.

    “They met each other on Sunday morning,” clinic director Berthold Kepplinger told reporters Tuesday. “And it is astonishing how easy it worked, that the children came together and also it was astonishing how easy it happened that the grandmother and the mother came together.”

    Investigators say Fritzl held his daughter, Elisabeth, captive in a cellar for 24 years. He raped her repeatedly, they say, and eventually fathered seven of her children.

    Elisabeth and two of her children were reunited Sunday with three of her other children and her mother, Kepplinger said Tuesday. The three children and her mother lived in the home above the cellar.

    Elisabeth’s eldest child, 19-year-old Kerstin Fritzl, remains in hospital.

    A seventh child died years ago, shortly after birth. Fritzl told police he burned the infant’s body in a furnace.

    The story of the family’s imprisonment began to unravel a week ago, when Kerstin fell seriously ill with convulsions and was hospitalized.

    Timeline

    1977: Elisabeth Fritzl claims she was first abused by her father Josef when aged 11.

    1984: Elisabeth is allegedly lured into house cellar, drugged and handcuffed by her father. She is forced to write letters saying she has run away.

    1988: Her first child, Kerstin, is born.

    1989: Elisabeth gives birth to her first son, Stefan.

    1993: Nine-month-old Lisa is left on the doorstep of the Fritzl house.

    1994: Another child, Monika, arrives and is adopted by the Fritzls.

    1996: Elisabeth gives birth to twins, but one dies after three days. Josef allegedly burned the body.

    1997: Alexander, the surviving twin, joins the children upstairs.

    2003: A letter from Elisabeth arrives saying she had a second son, Felix, the previous year. He is raised in the cellar.

    2008:

    April 19:
    Kerstin is taken to that hospital after falling serious ill. Doctors discover that her grandfather is her father.

    April 20-27: Josef releases Elisabeth, Stefan and Felix and tells his wife they are returning.

    April 26:
    Police pick up Josef and Elisabeth near the hospital where Kerstin is being treated.

    April 27: Josef admits his guilt after Elisabeth’s statement.

    April 28: Police search house and discover cramped cellar with special security door.

    April 29: Josef appears in court.

    Austrian police Wednesday denied reports that they were investigating possible links between Fritzl and the unsolved murder of a woman.

    Franz Polzer, director of the Lower Austrian Bureau of Criminal Affairs, said Fritzl had owned an Austrian hotel near where a woman was found murdered decades ago. However, they were not investigating the incident at this stage.

    Meanwhile, an Austrian girl who was held prisoner in a basement for eight years said the family faced a long period of adjustment.

    Natascha Kampusch was 10 years old when she was kidnapped on her way to school in March 1998.

    She escaped from a bunker below the house of Wolfgang Priklopil in a suburb of Vienna in August 2007. Priklopil killed himself by throwing himself under a train only hours later.

    “Although they are now in a secret location, I believe it might have been even better to leave them where they were but that was probably impossible,” she said of the Fritzl family Tuesday.

    “Yes, because that was of course the environment they were used to and now they’re somewhere else. Pulling them abruptly out of this situation, without transition, to hold them and isolating them to some extent, it can’t be good for them.”

    Officials said Tuesday that DNA testing had confirmed Fritzl fathered the children.

    His DNA also was found on a letter sent to the Fritzl family that was made to look like it was from his daughter, Elisabeth, said Polzer. Authorities said Fritzl sent other letters over the years, leading the family to believe that Elisabeth was a runaway who had abandoned three of her children on their doorstep. He dictated at least one of the letters to his daughter, they said.

    Authorities said it did not appear that Fritzl’s wife, Rosemarie, was involved in or knew about her husband’s activities.

    Reports have surfaced in The Times of London and Austria’s Presse that Fritzl was convicted of sexual assault in the 1960s, but there is nothing in his record to confirm this, said District Governor Hans Heinz Lenze. He added, however, that records were expunged after a certain number of years.

    Prosecutors were checking archives to find the information, said Gerhard Sedlacek, prosecutor for the state of Poelten.

    The Times of London quoted a 50-year-old neighbor who said that when he was 10, he remembered “how we children were afraid to play near Mr. Fritzl’s house because of the rumors that he had raped a woman and spent some time in jail for it.” Fritzl led police to the cellar on Sunday. A day later, he confessed to raping his daughter, now 42, and keeping her and their children in captivity, police said.

    Fritzl was able to convince social service workers, friends and family that Elisabeth had run away in 1984, when she was about 18. The father, who police described as an authoritarian figure, forbade anyone from entering the cellar.

    In the cellar with Elisabeth were Kerstin and two sons, aged 5 and 18.

    CNN’s Phil Black, Nadine Schmidt and Eileen Hsieh contributed to this story.

    _____________________
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    Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

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

    Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria will on Thursday participate in Cote dIvoires 9th edition of the cycling tour dubbed: “lOr Blanc” (White gold) alongside nine local teams.

    The participation of the foreign teams is intended to spur the Ivorian runners and make them acquire experience, organisers said.

    Fifty cyclists will take part in the competition. The tour will take on its old route by passing by the towns of Korhogo, Boundiali and Ferke, northern cities under the control of the former rebel group New Forces.

    The “Or Blanc” will be run on 810.7Km, divided into 12 stages including six half-stages. The competition has a prize named after the head of state, Laurent Gbagbo trophy, as well as a special “fair-play” prize.

    The event starts Thursday at the village of the president, Mama, and ends next 09 May in Korhogo in the north of the country.

    Fofana Ahmed won the previous edition.

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    Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

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

    The Government will not compensate depositors who lost billions of shillings in collapsed investment schemes.

    Finance Assistant Minister Dr Oburu Oginga. Photo/FILE

    However, he said, the Government had taken steps including curbing the proliferation of the schemes, cautioning the public, setting up a taskforce and filing fraud cases against the promoters of the schemes.

    Mr Franklin Linturi (Igembe South, Kanu) sought to be told if the minister knew that several Kenyans lost billions of shillings last year when the investment schemes, known infamously as pyramid schemes collapsed.

    The MP also wanted to know what steps the Government was taking to compensate the affected depositors.

    Illegal entities

    Dr Oginga described the pyramid schemes as illegal entities which CBK does not supervise. He added: True, CBK froze accounts of some of the pyramid schemes, but we can only pay the affected investors following court orders.

    Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba claimed the schemes had been sponsored by political parties to reap from Kenyans ahead of the General Election.

    Mr Kiema Kilonzo (Mutito, ODM-K) said Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka had in his campaigns last year promised that those who lost money in the collapsed schemes would be compensated. He is now in the Government and could we know if that promise was a mere campaign gimmick?

    The VP concurred, but clarified that the Finance ministry was not responsible for statements made during campaigns.

    Central Imenti MP Gitobu Imanyara (CCU) asked how many pyramid scheme operators had been taken to court, while Vihigas Yusuf Chanzu (ODM) said his constituents had lost about Sh40 million in the scandal.

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    Granny who defied protocol to air her views – Kibaki orders she gets immediate help

    Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

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

    Story by WATORO KAMAU

    The elderly woman, who on Saturday had a rare opportunity to present her problems to President Kibaki during a peace rally in Molo, has had a life full of misery.

    Nyambura makes for the dais to present her grievances to President Kibaki. Photo/ JOSEPH KIHERI

    Ms Mary Nyambura, 70, was among internal refugees who had assembled at the Molo stadium to listen to President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga address their plight.

    The elderly woman caught the Presidents attention as she struggled with security personnel who were trying to restrain her.

    An interview with her neighbours and friends revealed that the elderly woman appears to suffer from some form of depression following a trail of misfortunes in her life.

    Her ordeal

    Neighbours told the Nation that she often woke up at night and start screaming and narrating her ordeal to anybody who bothers to listen.

    Her neighbours at the Mau Summit police station, where internal refugees persons are camping, said that she was assaulted by police on the eve of the rally after she woke up at night and started screaming.

    The two officers who beat her were new at the police station and did not understand her. The officers said her screams were causing tension in the camp as other occupants thought the camp was being raided, a neighbour said.

    The neighbour, however, said they were used to her screams and none of the camps residents was bothered about her.

    We normally reprimand her and ask her to keep quiet which she normally does, but the two officers beat her thoroughly as she pleaded for mercy, the neighbour explained.

    They narrated to the Nation a trail of misfortunes that had befallen her and which they attributed to her apparent worsening state of mental health.

    They said she was a mother of four, but all her three sons died, leaving her with a daughter.

    Three years ago, Ms Nyambura lost her two grandsons, aged five and 11 years, after they were hit by a speeding car as they were crossing the busy Eldoret-Nakuru highway at Total trading centre.

    Ms Nyambura suffered yet another blow when her house and her household goods were torched by arsonist when post-election violence flared up in Total area early this year.

    Her daughter, who was married in Keringet area in Kuresoi constituency, was displaced in the violence.

    It is against such background that Ms Nyambura wanted to meet the President.

    Ms Nyambura requested that the Government provide her with shelter.

    She also told the President that she felt that there was a bad omen hovering around her and which was responsible for her childrens death.

    The hawk-eyed Presidential guards, who had lined up in front of the crowd, spotted Ms Nyambura immediately she stood up listening to the Presidential speech.

    The security officers swung into action when Ms Nyambura told them that she wanted to meet the President.

    It was at this juncture that the President spotted the security team struggle with the woman, and ordered them to stop harassing her.

    Wewe wacha yeye. Hawa wanataka kushika mtu kwa mkutano. Wachana na yeye. Wacha kusumbua yeye, the President ordered. The incident took place at about 30 metres from the Presidential dais.

    After the President ordered the security officers to leave the woman alone Molo MP Joseph Kiuna left the main dais and conferred with the woman who agreed to sit down before he returned to the dais.

    Immediately the President concluded his address, he summoned her.

    Act promptly

    He listened attentively for some few minutes as she explained her plight before referring her to Rift Valley provincial commissioner Noor Hassan Noor who was also present.

    The woman requested the President to issue her with a letter directing the PC to address her plight but the president explained that there was no point of issuing her with such a letter as the administrator would act promptly.

    Mr Noor asked the woman to report to his office the following morning to have her problem sorted out. She was escorted from the dais by a team of security officers as t- apihe police band prepared to play the national anthem.

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    10 Parliamentary commission members to earn as cabinet ministers

    Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

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

    Kenya get the largest number of ministers in world. Cabinet ministers and assistant minister number 93. And they earn a huge salary.

    Now parliament has appointed 10 members of parliament to form a commission and they will be earning the same as the ministers – WAU, where is Kenya getting all the money?

    Commissioners appointed to oversee house business

    Parliament Wednesday formed crucial house committees that will ensure that house businesses run effectively.

    The committees instituted by the house business committee however saw women MPs receive a raw deal.

    The Parliamentary Service commission PSC, which manages the affairs of parliament, was also constituted.

    The 10-member committee including the speaker and leader of government business has eight other new members who are tasked with looking at the MPs welfare, parliamentary staff employment, tender and procurement, and finance.

    The new members are Joseph Lekuton, Peter Mwathi, Walter Nyambati, Kamau Jamleck, Zakayo Cheruiyot, Chris Okemo, Olago Aluoch and Joseph Murgor.

    The members will be referred to as commissioners and will earn an allowances equivalent to that of a minister.

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    Grand Cabinet to cost Sh33bn in two months

    Story by JEFF OTIENO and BENARD NAMUNANE
    Taxpayers will pay Sh33 billion to fund the grand coalition Cabinet in the next two months alone.

    Tresury building, Nairobi. Photo/ FILE

    The programmes had been factored into the Budget for the current financial year which ends in June.

    The high cost of managing the expanded Cabinet became clear in a mini-budget presented by Finance minister Amos Kimunya in Parliament Tuesday..

    Besides shifting money from key programmes, the Government will have to come up with new measures to raise an extra Sh22.3 billion to meet the costs of running the new ministries and pay for other priority needs, including resettling internal refugees and mitigating against the effects of post-election violence.

    The appointment of a record number of 42 ministers in the grand coalition formed by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga ignored calls by civil society and other groups for a lean Cabinet.

    Endorse estimates

    Parliament is expected to endorse Mr Kimunyas estimates to enable the new ministries carry out their functions before the next Budget is read in mid-June.

    The extra funds will finance the new office of the Prime Minister, which is to get Sh243.9 million as recurrent vote and 183.4 million for development, bringing the total to Sh427.3 million.

    The PMs office, whose role is to supervise and coordinate government affairs, was created after the signing of the National Accord that allowed for power-sharing between President Kibakis PNU and Mr Odingas ODM.

    The President had already appointed 17 ministers from PNU and its partners in Kanu and ODM Kenya, but then expanded the Cabinet to incorporate the former opposition ODM. This made it necessary to split several ministries and create some new ones.

    Among the entirely new dockets are the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development headed by Mr Mutula Kilonzo, which gets Sh41.5 million, and the Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands, headed by Mr Ibrahim Elmi Mohamed that gets Sh42.4 million for recurrent expenditure and Sh1.8 billion for various projects.

    Most of the others were split from existing ministries. They include the Forestry and Wildlife ministry that will need Sh3.2 billion to pay salaries and other expenses and Sh1.5 billion as development expenditure

    The Medical Services ministry headed by Prof Anyang Nyongo has been allocated Sh102.2 million as recurrent expenditure. It has not been allocated funding for development. It was formerly part of the Ministry of Health.

    The Ministry of Industrialisation headed by Mr Henry Kosgey is to get Sh1.17 billion as recurrent and Sh503 million for its development expenditures. Some of the money is expected to come from the Trade ministry under Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta. He will be asked to surrender Sh950.9 million.

    And the Ministry of Fisheries, which was hived off the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, has asked for Sh717.9 million as recurrent and Sh213 million as development expenditure.

    The Ministry of Public Works, which was split from the Roads ministry, will need Sh791.7 million as recurrent expenditure and Sh1.7 billion for various projects countrywide.

    New roads

    In the development budget, money allocated to roads will be reduced by Sh2.58 billion, meaning that rehabilitation and construction of new roads is likely to be affected for the next two months.

    To fund the new ministries, the Government had to reduce money allocated to some key ministries with the major casualty being Education whose recurrent expenditure will be reduced by Sh9.8 billion if approved by Parliament.

    The Ministry of Finance, a key player in preparing the mini-budget, will lose Sh3.2 billion from its recurrent expenditure estimates, while the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, headed by Mr John Michuki will lose Sh2.1 billion from its recurrent vote, probably reallocated to the new Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife.

    The State Law Office, whose core duty is to formulate Bills, new laws and regulations will be required to give up Sh150 million from its current budget. The recurrent budget for the National Assembly will be reduced by Sh384 million.

    Another Sh284 million will come from the recurrent budget for the Ministry of Special Programmes, while the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commissions budget will be reduced by Sh37.3 million.

    The Ministry of Roads will also have to do with a reduced budget as it will be required to surrender Sh550 million after creation of a separate Ministry of Public Works.

    The Ministry of Tourism, which has surrendered Wildlife docket, has been asked to return 66.8 million from its recurrent budget. This could affect marketing strategies even as the industry seeks to recover from the effects of post-election violence.

    The Information ministry will give up Sh29.9 million from its recurrent budget.

    Afforestation will also be affected because the development budget for the Ministry of Environment will be reduced by Sh1.1 billion.

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    Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

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

    South African Nobel literature laureate Nadine Gordimer on Wednesday rejected claims by international and local human rights organisations that her upcoming trip to Jerusalem to attend a writers festival would lend legitimacy to the Israeli state.

    Gordimer, who has come under severe pressure in South Africa and abroad to boycott the International Writers Festival in Jerusalem because it coincides with the Israeli states 60th celebrations, said the concerns were “misconceived”.

    “My solidarity with our struggle against apartheid surely can leave no doubt in the minds of my comrades and others concerned that I do not support the present (Israeli) government and deplore many of its actions.” Gordimer told journalists at a press conference in Cape Town that there was “misinformation” about her visit.

    She would be in Israel from May 11 to 15 and also wanted to help foster talks between Israelis and Palestinians. Since her trip to Israel was announced last month, there has been a strong lobby appealing to the 84-year-old, who is Jewish, not to take part in the event.

    However, Gordimer said she was not going to Israel under the “auspices” of the Israeli government, but was honouring an invitation by the Konrad Adenauer Institute. “The purpose of my visit, the conditions on which I have agreed to participate, are for writers to discuss their responsibilities to their art, their communities, their countries and the world we share,” said Gordimer

    Two weeks ago, the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BCUP) urged Gordimer to reconsider her trip, saying it was “dispiriting” that a writer of her standing was prepared to appear in a city that was under military occupation and “founded on ethnic cleansing”.

    “By taking part in an event substantially funded by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you (Gordimer) will be lending credibility to a state that has for decades subjected Palestinian towns and villages to collective punishment and that boasts of its extrajudicial killings,” the BCUP said.

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    Diamond miner finds ancient ship laden with treasure in Namibia

    Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

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

    Namibia\s largest diamond miner, NamDeb, has found the wreckage of an ancient sailing ship laden with treasures, including six bronze cannons, thousands of Spanish and Portuguese gold coins and more than 50 elephant tusks.

    NamDeb, owned 5-50 by the Namibian government and global diamond miner, De Beers, said on Wednesday that it has discovered evidence of what might turn out to be the oldest sub-Saharan shipwreck yet discovered.

    The wreckage was discovered in the area behind a seawall used to push back the Atlantic Ocean in order to search for diamonds in Namibia\s Sperrgebeit or forbidden zone.

    Diamond mining at the Sperrgebeit requires marine miners to literally push back the powerful Atlantic Ocean by means of massive sea walls.

    On April 1 Bob Burrell, NamDeb\s head of Mineral Resource Department, found some rounded copper ingots and the remains of three bronze cannons in the sand on the Sperrgebeit.

    NamDeb said that the shipwreck could date back to the late 1400 or early 1500, making it a discovery of global significance.

    Geologists identified the cannons as Spanish Breach-loaders of a type popular in the early 1500s.

    The site yielded a wealth of objects, including six bronze cannons, several tonnes of copper, over 50 elephant tusks, pewter tableware, navigational instruments, weapons, personal items and thousands of Spanish and Portuguese gold coins.

    All mining operations were halted, the site secured and Dr. Dieter Noli, an archaeological expert in the Sperrgebeit, was brought into the project and identified the cannons as Spanish breach loaders of a type popular in the 1500s, NamDeb said.

    Most coins are of gold and all appear to have been minted in the late 1400s and 1500s.

    This, combined with all other evidence, raises the distinct possibility of the ship concerned having been a contemporary of those used by the likes of Diaz, Da Gama and Columbus – thus making the site of immense national and international importance, NamDeb said.

    A NamDeb official, Hilifa Mbako, said that the government will claim ownership of the treasure.

    By law, discoveries of this nature belong to the state. The discovery was found in our mining area, but the treasure belongs to the state, Mbako said.

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    Former AFRC commander concludes giving evidence in Taylor trial

    Posted by African Press International on May 1, 2008

    Publisher: Korir africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

    Prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the former Liberian leader Charles Taylor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Alimamy Bobson Sesay completed his testimony on Tuesday, with Defense Counsel Morris Anyah completing his cross-examination, and Prosecutor Shyamala Alagendra conducting a brief re-examination, a release from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

    Anyah began the day by asking Sesay about Liberians fighting in Sierra Leone. He showed the witness prosecution notes from a previous statement in which Sesay had told prosecutors that of the Liberians sent to reinforce AFRC/RUF forces in 1998 and 1999, he only knew of Special Task Force (STF) members. (According to previous testimony, STF members had part of their roots in the army of former Liberian President Samuel Doe and the anti-Taylor rebel movement ULIMO.) Sesay explained that when they first came, he and others had assumed they were all STF, until the commander who brought them, 05″, introduced a number of them as being former fighters of Taylors National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL). Anyah pointed to evidence from a previous witness, Perry Kamara, that the Liberians in the Red Lion Battalion were former bodyguards of Liberian RUF commander Dennis Mingo (Superman). Sesay said he didnt know about that and didnt dispute it, but stood by his contention that Commander 05 introduced some of the Liberians as being former NPFL fighters.

    Sesay admitted to ordering 10 year-old soldiers to amputate the arms of civilians, shooting civilians in mosques, participating in the burning-to-death of eight civilians in a house in the village of Karina, the abduction of 30 women there, the killing of one of their babies, killings of civilians in Kukuna, and looting from civilians. He testified that he participated in Operation Pay Yourself, and Operation Spare No Soul. Asked how he felt at the time, Sesay said he did not feel good about it. He said these were orders, and that if they were refused, there would be consequences from the commander.

    Sesay angrily denied a suggestion from Anyah that he had killed one of his bush wives by firing an AK-47 into her vagina after suspecting her of having sex with a junior RUF member, and that Saj Musa had ordered Sesays execution following the incident. The witness said that if he had done such a thing, he would have told the court, just as hed admitted the other crimes. He said that the bush wife he abducted in Freetown had admitted to witchcraft during the retreat from Freetown and had named several other women.

    Charles Taylor is being tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict in Sierra Leone

    The trial has been adjourned until Monday, May 5.

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