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Archive for June 7th, 2008

Thousands made homeless by landslide in Kenya

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

<By Leo Odera Omolo

A NATURAL calamity has struck the villages in Sacho, Division of Central Baringo constituency in the far North of the Rift Valley Province when landslide erupted sending thousands of people fleeing their homes.

So far reports from the area says 1,800 people have been rendered homeless as the thick mad from the hilltops continue sliding downhill sweeping homes.

The incident took place in Ngetmoi Location and forced hundreds of resident of the area to seek shelters in the neighbouring villages as the rain continue pounding the area incessantly ever since last week.

An eye witness said the villagers woke up in the morning last Tuesday in disbelief when they realized that a huge crack almost three-and half kilometers wide across the village had occurred destroying many houses and part of the nearby marketplace and a shopping centre. It left a huge gulles several meters deep.close to 200mhouses were destroyed which occurred at Timboiywo a small village located near Kabarnet town.

Sacho is an area, which is so significantly and historically important because it is the birthplace of the retired President Daniel Arap Moi. The grand old man of Kenya politics and self-styled professor of politics had represented Baringo Central constituency in Parliament for close to 42 years.And when he voluntarily retired in 2002, he had anointed his favourite son Gideon Moi who took the mantle of leadership of the area until last December 2007, when he was too swept out under the euphoria of ODM and Raila Odinga.,

The District Officer for the area Mr. Lazarus Kaasis said on phonr that the landslide was caused by heavy rains, but he warned the fleeing villagers from the affected that there was no alternative for them to be settled elsewhere.

The landslide also destroyed part of the termacked Kabarnet-Tenges where it left a trail of deep gulles..

Last year landslide claimed the lives of twenty Kenyans in Noerth Nandi district along the borders of Rift Valley and western Provinces when sliding mad buried many people while they were asleep.

A local mine and geologist expert Mr. John Kipseba was yesterday quoted as saying that the landslide could be attributed to the situation currently prevalent duringheavy rains. He warned motorists using Kabarnet-Tenges road to drive carefully as falling rocks and boulders were rolling downhill continuosly, adding that the situation would get even worse if the rains continue pounding the area..

One civic leader in the area said the residents had raised the issue during the KANU regime under President Daniel Moi stewardship, but nothing was done,

We informed the retired president {MOI} who was then the area MP, but nothing tangible came out of his promises,:said Coun Isaiyah Cheruiyot who represented the area in the Baring County Council., adding that the resident had been left tom wonder about what to do next under such a catastrophic calamity. He said the government has always been telling them to move out of the area, but has offered them no alternative land.

The civic leader said he had on many occasions raised the issue in the Council, but the civic body appeared to be toothless and cannot act tom render the residents any assistance. The residents are no longer sleeping at night due to fear and the noisey made of the mad sliding downhill.

The Baringo District Commissioner Mr Khamasi Shivogo toured the area with a team of top government officials to assess the situation. The landslide affected three villages at Timmboiywo,Kabatis and Ngetmoi.

According to residents the landslide had erupted in the area for the first time in 1987 and in 1997 again after the El Nino rains.

Ends

Leooderaomolo@YAHOO.COM

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API

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Kenya’s tourism sector is picking up and recovering from the effects of post-election violence and mayhem

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

By Leo Odera Omolo

The post election violence in Kenya early this year has had a devastating effect on the money minting tourism industry in the country.

Projections show that the countrys tourism earning could fall by 23 per cent to Kshs 50 billion{USD 8II million} in 2008.

According to the Kenya Tourists Board, Managing Director Dr, Ongonga Achieng, tourists arrival dropped to 134,000 visitors in the first quarters of 2008 from the early projected 315,000, This figure showed a sharp drop the number of tourists who visited the country during the same period and consequently a big drop in revenue.

The countrys tourism revenues plunged downward toKshs.8.08 billion {USD 128.2 million in the first quarter of 2008, from Kshs 17.8 billion{USD 359 million }in 2007.

The KTB chairman Mr. Grieves-Cook was last week quoted as having said that in the last week of May, 2008 there were almost as many bookings during the same period last year.

Despite the dent to Kenyas reputation as a politically stable and safe safari destination, the rate of her bookings as we into 2009, we should soon be back to normalcy, he said.

Western countries, he explained, have relaxed their travel advisories from Kenyas coast region, which accounts for about two thirds of tourism revenues, and some charter flights have resumed ferrying European tourists to then holiday resorts.

Tourism revenue, a key foreign exchange earner, fell 54 per cent in the first quarters of 2008.

A total of 1,045 million visitors arrive in the country in 2007, a 10 per cent increase from 948,174 that flew in during the previous year {2006}.

The organization together with other stakeholders intend to revisit the strategy used to revive the tourism sector after elections clashes of 1997, said Dr. Ongonga .

The tourism industry will focus on short term recovery efforts in existing markets such as the UK, a country, which supplied 203,494 tourists in 2007, and the US, which had 100,516,said Mr. Grieves-Cook.

In the next five years, the focus should be on these markets, which have ther potential to be turned around quickly and produce big numbers. The longer terms tourism potential lies in the middle class in India and China, who have expanding incomes and an urge to explore the world.

ALTHOUGH ONLY 18,766 Chinese visited Kenya in 2007, it was Kenyas fastest growing market, with a 27 per cent rise from 2006, said the KTB chairman.

The leisure traffic out of China will not be in Africa immediately, but that country will be a growing market. With more flights from China, Kenya could attract tourists to come and experience the countrys wildlife, noted Mr. Grieves-Cook

.Tourism generate some USD 500 million per year in hard currency earning, making the sector the countrys single largest source of foreign exchange.

The industry is backed up with wide range of wildlife, special white-sand beaches and all these combined brings one million foreign visitors to Kenya annually..

But a recent special study on the costs and benefits of tourism to the country- examining impact on the economy, biodiversity, environment and culture by four researchers from the Eldoret based Moi University show that it is adversely affects society and the environment.

The Kenya Tourist Board says it requires Kshs 1.5 million {USD 23.8 million} for its international market recovery efforts and publicity.

Ends

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

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API

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Raila against President Mugabe, but says he is doing it on personal basis, not as Kenya’s Prime Minister

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

Is it posssible to play separate roles this way? Become private when one wants and issue statements while at times working as Prime Minister?

Prime Minister jets back from S Africa

Written By:claire wanja

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has declared that Kenya was now ready to do business with other African countries and the international community.

Odinga said the post election period early this year when the country was rocked by massive skirmishes and which impacted negatively on the country’s development process, was now past after the successful formation of the grand coalition government.

The Prime Minister made the remarks at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport -JKIA- when he addressed members of the press upon arrival from Cape Town, South Africa where he had led a high powered Kenyan delegation to the three day World Economic Forum on Africa.

He was accompanied by Nairobi Metropolitan Development Minister Mutula Kilonzo.

The Premier said following the political upheavals of January and February, Kenya was the main focus at the forum,”but we announced to the whole world that the era was now over and we were more ready than ever, to do business with our African brothers and sisters as well as with the world at large”.

The Kenyan delegation to the forum included four cabinet ministers; Samuel Pogiso (Information and communications), Kipkalya Kones (Roads) Mutula Kilonzo (Nairobi Metropolitan Development) and Najib Balala (Tourism) as well as top companies CEO’S.

Odinga said the forum which was a resounding success, discussed amongst others how the private and public sectors in Africa could partner and complement one another to spur more economic growth; how Africa can access and penetrate foreign markets; how African economic regional blocs can bargain within themselves and with the international community and the surging food and fuel shortages.

The Prime Minister added that the forum also discussed how Africa could sustain the rising rates of GDP and also how ICT can be used to spur more economic development.

The PM also when in South Africa met with several heads of state, among them host President Thabo Mbeki, and those of Nigeria, Burundi and Ghana.

They all lauded us for the peace deal which resulted in the grand coalition”. He observed.

Odinga stood by his recent remarks on Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe but maintained that the sentiments were his own personal views and not the government’s, since they had not been discussed at the cabinet.

He however reiterated that the era of civil wars in Africa was no more, save for a few isolated cases.

“Why should it be that an election is held and results released after one month. Is this democracy?” he posed.

He regretted that the opposition and the media in Zimbabwe were still being continually harassed, yet the country was preparing for a run-off poll in about two weeks time.

He challenged African leaders to discuss African issues frankly and openly, noting that most of the current crop of African leaders was forward looking.

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African Press International – api , A KBC.ke story

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Njonjo dismisses amnesty debate – amnesty is normally given after a conviction

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

A Kenya standard story

By Philip Mwakio and Anderson Ojwang

Former Attorney General Charles Njonjo has said no amnesty can be granted before a conviction.

Speaking in Diani, South Coast, yesterday Njonjo rubbished the amnesty debate saying that one could not talk of amnesty before conviction.

“It is utter nonsense to speak of amnesty if no conviction has been effected. Amnesty means forgiveness, he said.

“You can only speak of amnesty when you have been convicted for an offence. One can only be forgiven by the State or whoever it is who has pardoned you. “This talk of amnesty is nonsense because it does not mean a thing,” he added.

At the same time political and religious leaders from North Rift also want the Government to employ the use of traditional courts to help in resolving the amnesty issue.

They have challenged the Government to make public the ethnic composition of those arrested over post-election violence.

Political and religious leaders asked the Government to come clean on the issue for Kenyans to believe that it was not engaged selective application of justice.

“Let us not hide in the name of calling for amnesty without knowing where the suspects come from and whether there was selective application of justice in the arrest of the suspects,” said the Reverend Maritim Rirei of Anglican Church of Kenya.

“Delayed amnesty for the suspects has negated peace building and reconciliation efforts among the internally displaced persons and the host communities,” said Rirei.

The amnesty debate has divided the Grand Coalition Cabinet with ministers affiliated to PNU calling for prosecution of suspects involved in the violence.

On its part, ODM led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga has stood its ground and stated that those arrested during the post- election violence ought to be released.

ODM has maintained that no reconciliation would be achieved if innocent youths in police cells and jails were not pardoned.

ODM further maintains that its supporters were protesting at the bungled presidential election results.

On Madaraka Day, President Kibaki said that investigation and prosecution of all post-election violence suspects will be carried out expeditiously and those found innocent would be released.

The President had directed police to move fast and conclude their investigations.

His Madaraka Day remarks drew the wrath of condemnation from a cross- section of mainly ODM leaders who expressed their dismay at the Presidents stand.

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API source.standard.ke

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Government contacting Genocide financier “secretly” – agency

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

Rwanda News Agency interviews API

Kigali, June 05 (RNA) – About a week ago Norway-based online agency African Press International (API) published the much publicized interview with suspected Rwandan Genocide financer Mr. Felicien Kabuga. Government of Rwanda and the UN tribunal for Rwanda are believed to have been caught off-guard – suddenly that a man with a $5million bounty on his head surfaces in an interview seeking to surrender to Rwanda. RNA put the different issues that the interview has raised to API Chief-Editor Kipter Korir, and below are the excerpts in which he reveals that government is secretly seeking to contact the man they have hunted for years.

RNA: Mr. Kipter Korir, could you just describe the circumstances leading up to the much publicized interview with Rwandan Genocide fugitive Felicien Kabuga and how you managed to secure it anyway.

Many media outlets and other institutions have treated our story on Kabuga and his presence in Norway at the time of interview with caution. It is not difficult to understand why many find it difficult to see the real picture in all that has happened, the fact that API met Mr Kabuga and even managed to secure an interview. Mr Kabuga travelled to Sweden in an effort to meet an elderly Sudanese man who is refugee in that country. While in that country, he discovered that the man he was looking for was not there. He managed, one way or another, to get information that a South Sudanese delegation led by the South Sudan President Salva Kiir was going to be in Norway for a conference.

It was at that time Mr Kabuga chose to travel to Oslo hoping the old man he was looking for in Sweden had found his way to Norway to meet his colleagues from South Sudan.

As things turned out, the Sudanese old man was not in Norway but had travelled to South Sudan. Those close to Kabuga, who met him in Norway, directed him to API’s Chief Editor who happens to be a friend to the Sudanese old man. After discussions on what Mr Kabuga wanted, the parties agreed on an interview on condition, API assisted Kabuga to connect with the Sudanese old man and another man of Ugandan origin now resident in the UK, so that the two men may initiate talks with the Rwanda Government for the purposes of reaching an agreement on a conditional surrender. Both men are close contacts of API’s Chief Editor.

RNA: The ICTR and Rwanda government are treating your purported interview with Mr. Kabuga as a ‘hoax’. There does not seem to be anything tangible as evidence to back up the interview.

API has noted that several media outlets have focused on the behaviour of the ICTR and the Rwanda government on how they have reacted to the story. As a media outlet, API does not go around distributing prove to institutions in order that those who read API articles may believe what is being written.

The Rwanda government and the ICTR has the opportunity to get in touch with API and find out the truth. The Rwanda government could have been satisfied if the Minister for Justice had taken contact and received the document that is supposed to be handed over to him in an effort to find ways and means to start talking.

When the government categorically spells out publicly that they will not talk to Kabuga, while at the same time allowing their embassy to engage in secret contacts, such public move by the government serves to destroy the spirit of the intended talks. The government should have taken time to receive the document containing important information, thereafter decide whether or not to engage in formal talks.

By doing so, the government will be showing a will to listen to Kabuga’s story and make a fair judgement on whether to accept his conditions or not.

RNA: Mr. Kabuga has rarely spoken in the media directly, the only journalist who met him died later, how would he have trusted you?

API has noted that some media outlets do not have time for Kabuga because he has been accused of genocide. And yet many people tend to say an accused person is innocent until proven guilty. API has been contacted by many media outlets and other international government branches who emphasize that the only journalist who met Kabuga in Kenya died later. As far as API is concerned, nobody has come forward with clear evidence that the journalist who died was killed by Kabuga. API has understood that the murdered journalist had plans to lure Kabuga to a police trap. API has no intention to lure any accused person or persons to police traps. API will remain professional in interviews and will not be party to colluding with others to net people being searched for by any international body.

This, however, does not mean API condones any form of crimes, be it genocide or any other. We are now dealing with a man who has decided to reach out and surrender. The fact that API has become the only media to break the story does not make the story to be a hoax as some would like to have it fall into that category. Many have asked how Kabuga could have trusted API. This only leads API to believe that some have taken the narrow path that has led to underestimate Mr Kabuga. API chooses to believe that a man who has managed to hide for many years, having many friends, and buying his way for safe hiding, knows when to trust and who to trust depending on the place and timing.

RNA: Anybody that has tried to blackmail him into a trap has seen their fate. Surely, if you met Mr. Kabuga you must be very scared?

Kabuga has been accused of genocide in Rwanda. Some who have followed the genocide stories in Rwanda are saddened. And yet they must not forget that every story has two sides. Kabuga has decided to surrender because he wants to tell his side of the story to the Rwanda government. If he is guilty, it does not mean that everyone he meets has to fear for his life. API has reported a story as it is and has no reason to be afraid of the man because API has not misreported the facts. And API has not in any way held in its map to blackmail Mr Kabuga, but just to pass on the message on the request for talks geared to a conditional surrender.

RNA: The ICTR says the purported interview is just meant to disorganize its search that has been focused on Kenya to indicate that he is not there, so they are not taking the assertion that he is in Oslo seriously.

API has noted that ICTR is relaxed on the issue because they are of the opinion that Mr Kabuga is in Kenya and not Norway. Every institution has the right to believe or not, any given information at any given time. API goes by the correctness of the interview and will publicise more information on the issue when the Rwanda government decides to take the matter more seriously

RNA: One of the last articles says Rwanda had expressed interest to move forward with possible negotiations with Mr. Kabuga. But officials here are not saying anything to that effect. How true can the public be about what you publish?

In our articles, API has categorically stated that Kabuga is not in Kenya. API has also stated that Rwanda has expressed goodwill to start the talks. API appreciates the move and thanks the Embassy of Rwanda in Belgium for taking great interest in the story and by negotiating a way to meet and get evidence on what Kabuga is presenting, all in the effort to start the talks in one of the Scandinavian countries. The communication with the embassy will soon bear fruit because, as API understands it, the participant is mandated by the Government to proceed.

RNA: From your meeting with Mr. Kabuga, how would you describe him?

On seeing Kabuga, one notices he is a tired man. It is, however, not difficult to understand that he means what he says when he now wants to go back home. His health seems to dictate the day to day program when it comes to his activities. The man is now aged and he expresses sadness for what happened to his country in 1994.

RNA: Some observers are saying the timing of your articles is very suspicious: just after the Kenyan ruling; before the ICTR is to report to the UN Security Council. The suspicion is that somebody is behind it all and you are just doing their job. Don’t you think there is some reason in all this?

This is a serious matter that concerns many institutions and people. Due to the fact that Mr Kabuga is the most wanted man, and that he has not given interviews since going into hiding, has led many people to be suspicious on the timing of the articles. To think or even imagine that the timing has any hidden agenda is uncalled for, and primitive, because the interview is not one API was aware of in advance that it was going to take place. It was only after being contacted for a meeting in connection with the search for the Sudanese old man, whom Mr Kabuga wanted to meet in Oslo, that API requested for the interview and was reluctantly granted with conditions.

The ICTR wants to believe that Kabuga is in Kenya, because the institution will soon report on Kenya to the UN Security Council and the Council members may decide to impose sanctions on Kenya. having been accused of giving refuge to Kabuga. API is not in a position to change the ICTR’s way of looking at things, because they have their own machinery, and if their machinery confirms to them that Kabuga is hiding in Kenya, that remains to be seen when the man resurfaces one way or another. (End)

ARI-RNA/ Interview /FMW/ 05. 06. 08/ 09 : 30 GMT

Rwanda News Agency/Agence Rwandaise d’Information (ARI/RNA)
B.P. 453 Kigali-Rwanda
Tel : (250) 587215/514674
Fax : (250) 587216
Email : rna@rwanda1.com
http://www.rnanews.com

UPI distributes certain third party submissions from official government news agencies, such as this article. Since UPI does not control the material included in these submissions, UPI does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity or quality of the material in such submissions, and UPI does not endorse any of the views or opinions expressed therein.

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26 students pregnant in same school

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

Twenty-six students of the Guthrie Rubber Plantation School in northwestern Bomi County, have been expelled from the institution after it was discovered that they were pregnant, sources told APA onFriday.

A source from the school told reporters in Monrovia Friday that the students are between 13 and 32 years of age.

The Guthrie Rubber Plantation management which runs the school, has meanwhile instituted an investigation into the unprecedented number of pregnancies at the school which has an enrolment of about 250 students.

The management has threatened to dismiss any school teacher involved in pregnating any of the students, but a report received prior to the investigation suggests that two of the students were impregnated by the principal of the school.

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API source.apa

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Ban urges Sudan to cooperate with ICC on Darfur war crimes

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Sudan to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure justice for the victims of crimes committed in the war-torn Darfur region following reports by the Courts Prosecutor to the Security Council that the country is deliberately attacking civilians.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban Thursday said he was deeply concerned about the reported lack of cooperation of the Sudanese Government with prosecutors at the ICC, which is based in The Hague.

There can be no sustainable peace without justice, the statement said. Peace and justice go hand in hand. Impunity for the serious crimes committed in Darfur cannot be accepted.

A Security Council resolution from 2005 requires Sudan to fully cooperate with the ICC and obliges the country to arrest and surrender those indicted by the Court.

In his address to the Council earlier today, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo issued a strong warning that without increased assistance from the international community people in Darfur will be eliminated.

Addressing an open meeting of the 15-member body, he said that citizens from the Sudan are being deliberately attacked by Sudanese officials. The entire Darfur region is a crime scene. Despite promises and denials, over the last five years, millions of civilians have been targeted by officials who vowed to protect them. Impunity reigns.

Despite arrest warrants being issued last April for Ahmad Harun, former Sudanese Minister of State for the Interior and now the Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, and Ali Kushayb, a leader of a pro-Government Janjaweed militia, the two men accused of committing war crimes have yet to be apprehended.

This year alone, the Janjaweed, who are integrated into the Sudanese security apparatus and stationed in the vicinity of camps, have forced over 100,000 people from their homes using systematic attacks including rapes and land usurpation.

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Published by Korir, Chief Editor, African Press International – api africanpress@getmail.no

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OECD Voices Inflation Concern Amid Food, Energy Price Hikes

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

Economic ministers from the 30-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) wrapped up their two-day meeting Thursday with a chair’s summary voicing concern over inflation stemming from food and energy price hikes. They also said the fast growth of emerging economies lies behind the surges in food and energy prices.

On sovereign wealth funds, the economic ministers urged recipient nations to ensure free investment activities by such funds. The ministers, however, also called on sovereign wealth funds to ensure transparency in their investment activities, while welcoming the contribution of such funds to global economic growth. [Kyodo News (Japan)/Factiva]

Dow Jones writes that Ministers from the OECDs member countries said Thursday the overall economic performance of their countries has beaten forecasts. They agreed that the overall performance has been better than could be expected, the OECD said in an official document that closed the annual ministerial meeting of its member countries. On the financial market front, the situation has improved since March, but current credit conditions are restraining investment, continued the document. [Dow Jones/Factiva]

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Published by Chief Editor Korir, africanpress@getmail.no African Press International – api

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Donors pledge $6.5 billion at UN food summit: FAO chief

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

Donors pledged some $6.5 billion dollars to fight hunger and poverty at the UN food summit, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Chief Jacques Diouf announced on Thursday. Major pledges came from the Islamic Development Bank ($1.5 billion), France ($1.5 billion), the World Bank ($1.2 billion) and the African Development Bank ($1.0 billion). Other contributors included Spain, Britain, Japan, Kuwait, Venezuela and The Netherlands, Diouf said.

The money will benefit countries hard hit by the current world food crisis, allowing them to grow enough food for themselves in the coming planting seasons, and helping them to achieve continuing food security through investment in agriculture and research, FAO said in a statement. [Agence France Presse/Factiva]

Meanwhile Thomson Reuters reports that The World Food Program (WFP) hopes to offer small farmers multiple-year contracts for their crops to allow them to invest in yield-boosting fertilizers and seeds, helping to ease a global food crisis.

About 80 percent of cash donations the UN agency receives are spent buying wheat, rice and other crops from farmers in poor countries, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said on Thursday.

The WFP has the infrastructure might and the logistics might to go into farmers who are remote and say that: If you produce 10,000 tones this year, we will buy it, and guarantee it at this price.’ Then they can organize around that promise. And this can help break the cycle of poverty, she said. [Thomson Reuters/Factiva]

NYT notes that A three-day UN conference on spiraling food costs concluded late on Thursday with the delegates calling on countries and financial institutions to provide more food for the world’s poor and increase agriculture production to ensure adequate supplies in the future.

The final declaration, completed Thursday, sought urgent and coordinated action to address the problems associated with higher food prices, to raise food production, to lower trade barriers and to increase research in agriculture. … [The New York Times/Factiva]

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Published by African Press International – api Chief Editor Korir, africanpress@getmail.noI

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News in brief

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

Also in this Edition; Briefly Noted Zimbabwe‘s government has ordered all humanitarian aid groups to suspend their operations in the nation - a prohibition that relief agencies estimate will deprive two million people of food aid and other basic assistance. [The New York Times/Factiva]

South Africa‘s Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said Thursday that HIV infection rates among pregnant women declined for the second straight year and claimed it was proof of the success of government policies. Full results of the annual survey will be released in the coming weeks, she told parliament. [The Washington Post/Factiva]

World Bank Managing Director Juan Jose Daboub, will begin a tour of Central America Sunday, where he will visit Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. During the tour, Daboub will meet with members of governments, private sector representatives and civil society, and will visit some projects financed by the agency, he explained in a teleconference. [Thomson Reuters/Factiva]

Subsidies that distort farm trade should be abolished, although that is not possible in the current round of world trade talks, Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said on Thursday. [Thomson Reuters/Factiva]

US President George W. Bush on Thursday pressed fellow rich nations to make good on their pledges to provide $60 billion to help African countries combat diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDS. The G8 nations promised the money at their summit in Germany last year but set no timetable for disbursing the funds, raising some questions about the commitment to help the world’s poorest continent. [Thomson Reuters/Factiva]

World Bank Country Director for China David Dollar says the reconstruction process in Sichuan may last as long as eight years. The World Bank has pledged to lend its expertise to the process. [China Daily/Factiva]

The Chinese government said on Thursday it had mobilized state-owned enterprises to build 1million prefabricated houses in three months for survivors of last month’s devastating earthquake. [The Financial Times (UK)/Factiva]

Indonesia‘s Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar said on Thursday that events in Jakarta, hit by flooding due to unusually high tides this week, served as a timely warning of the impact of global warming on coastal cities. He urged G8 countries to show their commitment to tackling global warming, which threatens many coastal and low-lying areas. [Thomson Reuters/Factiva]

Indonesia has changed its policy on reporting bird flu cases and will only announce the death toll from the disease every six months, the health minister said on Thursday. [Thomson Reuters/Factiva]

Central banks in Indonesia and the Philippines increased benchmark interest rates by 25 basis points on Thursday. It is the latest sign of policymakers attempting to contain soaring inflation driven by rocketing oil and food prices. [The Financial Times (UK)/Factiva]

A two-hundred strong assessment team will be deployed to the Irrawaddy delta area beginning Thursday, Secretary-General of ASEAN revealed after a meeting with Tripartite Core Group in Yangon. The ASEAN-UN-Myanmar Tripartite Core Group agreed that after two days of intense briefing for their Emergency Rapid Assessment Team (ERAT), they are now ready to move into the cyclone stricken remote delta areas to begin full assessment of the extent of the damage and the urgent needs of the victims of Cyclone Nargis. [BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific/Factiva]

Global food price rises may push some Afghan farmers to plant wheat instead of opium but officials say any real switch will only come from government pressure as poppies are still more profitable. This year’s worldwide jump in prices has hit Afghanistan hard, with wheat – the country’s dietary staple food – doubling in some areas and reports of people eating grass to survive. [Agence France Presse/Factiva]

The sovereign ratings of Middle Eastern states could be hit by the political and economic risks caused by soaring inflation across the region, Moody’s ratings agency said yesterday. Poorer regional states, such as Egypt and Jordan, are most likely to be affected in the short term, as inflation prompts strikes and fiscal loosening by governments under pressure. [The Financial Times (UK)/Factiva]

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African Press International – api Chief Editor Korir africanpress@getmail.no

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World Bank Says Food Crisis Can Be Opportunity For Africa

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

The current food crisis may be an opportunity to revive Africa’s farming industry, a senior official at the World Bank, which is doubling agricultural lending to the continent to boost production, said on Thursday.

Vice-President for Africa Obiageli Ezekwesili said the World Bank aimed to help countries implement policy and institutional reforms to boost food production, and to help farmers access research and information and adopt new technologies. This is an awakening for Africa to prioritize agriculture, which used to be a competitive advantage in the past, she told Thomson Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) for Africa.

Ezekwesili said African countries in the most vulnerable group should have food support grants for their people but that intervention had to be targeted so it reached those in need.

We will use our expertise to support institutions in the agricultural sector, because a lot of challenges of making agriculture work in Africa have been about institutional drawbacks and deficiencies, Ezekwesili said. [Thomson Reuters/Factiva]

In related WEF news, Xinhua writes that Participants in the 18th WEF on Africa said on Thursday that governments, multilateral organizations and aid agencies should ensure that African smallholders receive the inputs they need for the next planting season and create the conditions for sustained growth in agriculture to tackle the food crisis.

In a session entitled Food Insecurity: A Perfect Storm, the panelists believed that despite the critical nature of the challenge, people should have the reason to remain optimistic.

Experts said the private sector had already been working with small farmers to move in this direction and can do more in partnership with governments, multilateral agencies and civil society organizations. They suggested more partnerships between large and small retailers to help shorten supply lines. [Xinhua/Factiva]

AFP notes that Solving Africa’s power crisis will require greater energy efficiency and countries making better use of renewable resources, the WEF heard Thursday. The continent, where 600 million people still don’t have electricity, has to think of better ways to promote energy efficiency while reducing enormous losses of energy from people illegally plugging into the electricity grid. [Agence France Presse/Factiva]

Thomson Reuters reports that Poor African farmers can boost export revenues from agriculture by billions of dollars if they use intellectual property as part of their business plans, a report released at the WEF said on Thursday. The report by Washington-based non-profit organization Light Years IP and supported by Britain’s Department for International Development, focuses on the potential intellectual property (IP) to raise income for low earning producers in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the course of doing this study, we came to realize that across 14 products there could be an average increase of 230 to 350 percent in the income that could come back to the developing countries, Ron Layton, chief executive officer of Light Years IP told reporters. [Thomson Reuters/Factiva]

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Published by Chief Editor Korir, africanpress@getmail.no African Press International – API

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Viva Obama

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

Now that Senator Barrack Obama is the democratic nominee for the presidency in American 2008 presidential vote, pray that racism doesn’t cut him to size to warrant John McCain of the Republicans victory.

George W. Bush though highly discredited had his time, success and obvious failures. But another term for Republicans could herald disaster!

Trust the republicans for more wars, more divisiveness and selfishness. Change is inevitable and very necessary than before.

Viva Obama!

By Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda, Kenya

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API

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Hillary Clinton, Dick Morris, Barack Obama, Raila Odinga (Things do have a way of coming full circle)

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

Commentary

Author : sisterrosetta (IP: 72.208.130.215 , ip72-208-130-215.ph.ph.cox.net)


Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=72.208.130.215

Hillary Still in the Game

Thursday, June 5, 2008 5:03 PM

By: Dick Morris &amp; Eileen McGann

http://www.newsmax.com/morris/hillary_clinton_obama/2008/06/05/102070.html

Why wont Hillary just concede that she has lost and pull out of the race? Why does she persist in keeping her delegates in line for her and not releasing them to Obama? Why does she feign party unity while, in fact, undermining it?

The Clintons never do anything without a lot of thinking and planning. There is no benign explanation for her maneuvers. They have several options that they are deliberately keeping open by their increasingly awkward positioning.

Heres what theyre up to:

1. The Obama Stumbles Option

As Hillary says, June is early in politics when the convention is not to be held until the end of August, unusually late for a Democratic conclave. And, as Tip ONeill says a week is a long time in politics. So is three months.

Rumors abound about incriminating material on Obama. The potential for misstep is amplified now that he adjusts to a new task of taking on McCain who knows how many other preachers there are in the closet? Hillarys skilled force of private detectives, who we once called the secret police, are doubtless diving into garbage dumpsters all over America to come up with whatever they can.

Hillary wants to be there to exploit any mistakes. She will be watching and waiting. Suppose Obama flubs a line on the campaign trail or damaging material emerges from the Rezko prosecution?

Hillary will indicate her continued availability as an alternative. Remember that superdelegates can change their minds anytime they want. Now they are leaving Hillary to back Obama, the winner, but they could easily go the other way. By not releasing her pledged delegates, she remains within striking distance of the nomination if an Obama faux pas leads to an exodus of superdelegates from his camp.

2. Hillary for VP

By remaining a force at the convention, Hillary might be in a position to bail out a faltering Obama campaign by going on the ticket. There is no love lost between the two candidates. Hillary knows that Obama will not choose her voluntarily as his running mate. But if Obama falters, he might just need the shot in the arm Hillary would represent. By remaining in the shadows as a potential threat to wrest away the nomination, she might leverage her position to make Obama put her on the ticket.

She wants to be VP in case Obama loses so she can be positioned for 2012 and in case he wins so she can shoot for the stars in 2016. And, she doesnt want anyone else to have the job so as not to create a potential rival.

3. The “I Told You So” Option

By remaining viable and keeping her delegates, Hillary stays in play through the convention. Her aides and associates can be counted on to dump on Obama subtly and, often, anonymously, as he moves forward.

If Obama loses the election, and did not take her on his ticket, she can run as the I told you so candidate in 2012, much as Ronald Reagan capitalized on Gerald Fords defeat in 1976, after Reagan had unsuccessfully sought the nomination, to bolster his credentials in 1980.

4. Paying Off Her Debts

By staying, at least partially, in the game, Hillary can continue to raise money and pay off her debts. And she can hold out a bargaining position to force Obama to do more and more to help her to raise money.

Debts to her vendors are one thing. She can always raise funds to pay them off in the future. But the election law makes it illegal for her to pay herself back any sum above $250,000 after the Democratic Convention. Since she has lent her campaign at least $11 million, she wants to get as much of it back as possible before the convention deadline.

Hillary may set her candidacy aside for the moment. But her fortunes will continue to rise and fall inversely with Obamas.

Should he hit a rough patch, Hillarys numbers are bound to improve, strengthening her bargaining position for funds or for the VP slot or, possibly giving her enough momentum to reopen the contest.

Thats her game.

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API

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Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

President Yoweri Museveni has warned that theUgandan army is now more prepared than before to militarily deal with rebel leader Joseph Kony should he attempt to attack to enter again from Congo.

In his state of the nation address on Thursday in parliament, Museveni called upon the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to smoke Kony and his Lords Resistance Army (LRA) from their hide out in the Garamba national park.

He said the rehabilitation of the northern region that has been disturbed by the two decade insurgency will go ahead with or without the rebel leader signing the peace agreement with the government.

The rebel boss refused to sign the peace agreement after lengthy talks in the Southern Sudan capital of Juba, saying he had not comprehended the traditional justice system and the operations of the special division of the high court to try war crimes.

In his speech, President Museveni also attacked the members of the opposition and sections of the press for making irresponsible statements that scare away would be investors.

He attacked some media houses which he said spread hatred amongst Ugandans and promised to deal with them legally. He gave an example of a newspaper which, according to him, he had sold the Uganda dairy corporation.

The head of state also said that the high prices of food should be used as an advantage by those who produce food by producing more.

The Ugandan parliament is expected to debate and react to his address during its current session.

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API source.apa

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Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2008

Eight members of the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA)s junior team will represent the country at the Southern Region Athletics Championships that kick off in Harare on Saturday, APA has learnt.

Team manager Lucia Masheane said the team consists of six males and two females selected at the national junior championship earlier this year.

The are Mosito Lehata, Relebohile Mosito, Lethusang Monehela, Leeto Raselemane, Ntele Thoto, Mopeli Malefane, Ntebaleng Let\sela and Ntoetse Kamele.

The championships are an annual event aimed at promoting athletics in the Southern Africa.

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API source.apa

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