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Archive for June 20th, 2008

Why is Raila not meeting President Bush while in the US? Does Bush consider him junior?

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

When Prime Ministers from other countries like Israel, Norway, UK and many others visit America, they meet President Bush. How come Prime Minister Raila only meets the Secretary of State Rice and other junior officers in the Bush administration?

It is possible Bush and his men are being carefull not to show President Kibaki anything that may be seen as being favouritism towards a prime minister when it is known that Kibaki has the executive power in Kenya. He is the commander in Chief just like Bush and Raila is not. This may be one of the reasons. API

Raila reaps more goodies for Kenya

By Brian Adero and PMPSPrime Minister Raila Odinga reaped more goodies for Kenya during his American trip when he signed an agreement that opens the route for Kenya Airways direct flights to the US.

Raila and American Secretary of Transport Mary Peters signed the US-Kenya Open Skies Agreement for direct flights for airlines from both countries.

Kenya Airways, the only airline in Kenya with the capacity to fly across the Atlantic, can now reap from the lucrative opportunity.

The US also announced that its American Delta Airlines would fly direct to Nairobi from next year.

The agreement, internationally known as the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (Basa), is subject to upgrading of main airports to what is termed Category One Standard.

In anticipation of the agreement, the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), which attained ISO certification last week, on Thursday confirmed it was upgrading Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Category One Status.

Transport Permanent Secretary Abdulrazaq Adan Ali told The Standard that by November, the airport would have attained the status.

Raila signed the agreement with Peters just a day after the approval by congressmen, agencies and key US financiers to endorse Sh5.8 billion funding for rehabilitation following post-election violence.

Speaking at the US Transport Department in Washington, DC, Peters said America was keen to work with Kenyas Transport ministry on aviation.

Saying open skies were the standard for modern aviation, Peters pointed out: “We want to remove regulatory barriers to facilitate this aviation accord between Kenya and the US.”

The US has already signed 90 open-sky accords, 20 with African countries, she said.

Raila said Kenya would use the opportunity to link the national airline directly with New York, among other US cities.

“This will make it easier for horticulture and flower businesses,” said the PM.

Benefits

He indicated that the agreement would help Kenya acquire Category One air status and provide 24-hour services so that travellers would not have to go through Europe.

The PM said the agreement was a crucial link between transport and prosperity of Kenya and the US and noted it would increase the number of American tourists to Kenya.

“Our concentration has traditionally been in the European market,” said Raila.

Transport minister Chirau Mwakwere, who is in Railas entourage, said the agreement would provide a vital alternative for the business community and help market Kenyas tourism.

“Its been a long process of negotiations,” said Mwakwere.

In Nairobi, KAA Managing Director George Muhoho said: “The authority now joins organisations that have demonstrated full commitment to provide a service that consistently conforms to acceptable global standards.”

He went on: “The process to attain Category One Status is on and we are committed to that.”

Category One rating is a privilege for a country whose aviation standards conform to those set by International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Meanwhile, the US Corporate Council on Africa hosted Raila to a dinner in Washington attended by business people.

The PM told the meeting that one objective of the trip was to promote trade between Kenya and the US.

Corporate Council director Asfaw Alemayehu said its more than 180 members were looking for investment opportunities in Kenya, among them General Motors and Microsoft.

Earlier, the PM met US officials, among them Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Assistant Secretary for Africa Jendayi Frazer, congressmen and senators.

The Prime Minister held discussions with Rice at her office in Capitol Hill.

Raila and other officials return home on Friday night.

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African Press International – api source.standard.ke

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A GRAND SCHEME TO TAME RAILA ODINGA EXPOSED

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

BY DICKENS WASONGA AND SHEM KOSSE
A well orchestrated plan has been hatched by a clique of disgruntled politicians keen on frustrating ODM supremo and the country’s second prime minister Raila Odinga ahead of the next general election.
The elaborate and well thought out plan includes among other strategies,a scheme to ensure that no majordevelopment project started by the government or a private investor kicks off in Raila’s own backyard.
The strategy is intended to ensure Raila’s political influence which has now spread throughout the country is curtailed and reduce his chances of clinching the country’s top seat come 2012.
If they succeed,the group plans to use such a backdrop to mount a huge campaign against the Langata MP who is largely believed by many to have won the last year’s controversial polls whose outcome plunged the country into total anarchy.
”If we succeed ,this will be our yard stick to prove to his supporters and all admirers that he failed to develop his own area and therefore can not be trusted to develop the entire country if elected president.”said a member of the group.
The team have been behind the contoversies sorrounding the mega development projects initiated in Nyanza such as the 2billion rice irrigation project in Yala swamp in Siaya,the Sondu Miriu power project in Nyakach,mollases plant in Kisumu and currently they have lit fire at the 3billion upgrading project at the Kisumu airport.
Like they didwith the Dominion farms in Yala ,the team have now emberked on a hate campaign and incitement of the locals against the airport project which has dragged on for almost two years since it was mooted.
A section of the clan now claim they are being pushed out of their land even though plans are at advanced stages to ensure that they are fairlly and fully compansated by the government.
The MD K.A.A George Muhohosaid Kisumu has a great potential to grow being the economic hub of the region but pointed out that due to bad politics the area continue to lag behind in terms of development.
The action oriented Muhoho added he would be happy to see the project succeed and not frustrated like those which stalled due to lack of political good will and community support.
Already the government has identified 800 acres of land in Muhoroni where those who will be displaced by the project will be ressettled. The agreement was reached after the community requested that they be given land instead of cash.
The dilapidated Usoma primary school which stand on the land earmarked for the projectwill be upgraded to a mordern status during the project implementation and money has been set aside to ensure that is archieved.
These, arccording to the airport manager are just a few of the gains that the project will give to the locals and he asked them to fully support it.
The group opposed to the projects are said to have enlisted the support of local NGOs whose brief is understood to be to raise funds to finance activities that will slow down the progress and later heap blame on Raila at an opportune time.
Key members of the team are those who served in senior government positions during the KANU reign with somehaving servedin the cabinet but are now bitter that they are in political limbo owing to Raila’s political influence.
However,such schemes have met fiercecriticism from the region’s proffessionals and opinion leaders who feel these are selfish people who have continued to mislead the community while only serving their egocentric interests.
Those who have a good sense of memory will recall that the now retired president Daniel Arap Moi used the same tricks to deal with the doyen of opposition politics the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
Today, Nyanza is considered, generally as a poor man’s province.All development projects meant for the area that time were either ”killed” or diverted elswhere during those days of siasa mbaya maisha mbaya.
A walk in any of the urban areas in the province gives a grim image of a dissolutioned lot.Many youths are jobless and idle. The government on the other hand continue to charn out statistics indicating that poverty levels are on the increase in the region once known to produce the best brains in the world of academia.
Nyanza, now only makes headline as the leading province on cases of TB and global scourge HIV/AIDS prevalence rates nationally thereby aggravating an already worse situation.
People of this region largely depended on sugar and cotton industries. While cotton closed shop long ago,the sugar sub-sector continue to perfom dismally with canegrowers going without pay for several months after cane delivery.
Many manufacturing firms which were oncevibrant and gave hope to a number of residents especially those who live in Kisumu have since collapsed while locals are not known to be lazy to work
These are a people made poorer and pushed to the back waters of society by a rotten system which conspired to starve a section of its citizenry of development and any progress simply because they chose to point out the wrongs committedagainst them.
It is on this background that the people of this region have decided that nobody will be allowed to stand on the way of any development projectinitiated whether by government or by a private investor.
The soft spokenairport manager Mr. joseph Okumu say the 22 -month project will create several jobs to the locals either directllyor indirectly andenhance the economic activities within Kisumu and its environs.
Currently,8 arlines operate at the facility which began operations in 1974.Kenya airways,Jet link express,East African airlines,Fly 540 .com,Executive turbine,Imatong airlines,Lakevic aviation airline which fly Kisumu-Entebbe route are some of the companies operating at the airport.Aerokenya which have 3 charter flights every Tuesday form part of the chain.
A spot check revealed that even before the project begin,already many locals have found work at the facility. Some have been employed parmanenlty while othershave beenhired as casuals by the operating airlines.
The airport alone has a workfoce of 250 and handles 700 passengers daily in the words of the manager .However he said the number of staffis expected to tripple once the airport upgading is completed.
Amongst those who are likely to be hired include cargo,forwarding and clearing agents,more air traffic controllers,ground handling staff,additional taxi operators and even hoteliers.
The manager promised that locals both skilled and unskilled will be given first priority during and after the project completion and urged them to back the project as the sure way of uplifting their living standards.
The expansion will see the facility handling upto 280 passengers per hour and big aircrafts such as B737,B767,Airbus 310 and its equivalent which can fly directly to Europe and Asia can land and take off.
Cargo terminal which willcarter for both fish exports and fresh produce will be built, further boosting the revenue base.
Mr Okumu also disclosed that new measures had been introduced such as better maintainace of facilities, like runways,taxi way, acquisition of ICT facilities,apron and better aircraft handling procedures to avoid delaysand improve efficiency.
Ken Pundo a prominentKisumu based lawyer while throwing his weight behind the project said itwill be of a lot of benefit to the entire East African region and COMESA states.
Pundo said that modalities for compensation was being negotiated adding that it will be pegged on the ruling market price and advised thelocal communitynot to worry because all the issues they have since raised were bieng fullyaddressed by KAA and government.
He said the PM toofully supports the project and the recent stakeholders meeting in Kisumuwhich endorsed it ,had his blessings.
The manager assured those who have land titles for block B and E which covers phase two of the project that they will be compensated by K.A.A while block A,C and D which is phase one of the project will be handled by the ministry of lands.
Block E will be used as parallel taxi way to the terminal building while block B is for extended runway and approach lighting.
These are thekind of projects that the group would want to see fail by employing dirty schemes upon realising that Raila’s political support and influence is ever growing.
The project is being undertaken by the Chinese Overseas Company(COVEC).
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African Press International – api

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Kenya considers reopening of Somali border to better control refugee influx

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

The Kenyan cabinet is considering the re-opening of the Kenyan border with Somalia to exercise better control over the influx of refugees who have continued to cross the border despite the closure for 18 months, state owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) quoted the countrys minister for Immigration, Otieno Kajwang on Thursday.

Speaking during a visit to the Dadaab refugee camp in north-eastern Kenya, the minister said the government closed the border since January last year, when the Ethiopian forces drove away the Islamist militants who had ruled southern Somalia for six months, prompting the Kenyan government to close the border to block any attempts by the combatants to cross over with their weapons.

Minister Kajwang had accompanied the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres on a tour of the refugee camp.

Kenya is home to more than 230, 000 refugees, many of them from Somalia which has seen an exodus since January last year.

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API. source.apa

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Heavy gun battle kills 10 civilians, injures many in Somali capital

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

A heavy gun battle between Islamist insurgents and government soldiers aided by Ethiopian troops rocked the north of Mogadishu on Thursday afternoon, killing 10 civilians and wounding 20 others, residents and officials told APA.

The fighting began after the heavily armed Islamists attacked Gulwada Yasha camp, north of Mogadishu, where government soldiers are stationed, and after at about the same time, another gun battle rocked at the former soccer stadium in north Mogadishu, where the Ethiopian soldiers are stationed.

The fighting was followed by mortar shells which rained down on districts which are far from the areas of fighting. But both sides used heavy weapons including mortar shells, rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons.

“Two women died and 8 others, including six children of one of the dead women were seriously injured as they were sitting in front of their home and a mortar shell hit them,” Osman Olow, the uncle of the injured children, told APA by telephone.

This incident occurred at Laba Dhagah district of north Mogadishu.

The death toll is expected to rise as the clash took place when it was getting dark and all Mogadishu streets were blocked by government soldiers and Ethiopian troops for security purposes and no one was allowed to go anywhere near the affected areas.

Abdi Rahen Isee Adow, spokesmand of the Islamic Courts Union told APA by telephone that the insurgents killed 10 soldiers and chased them from their camp and he also confirmed that two of the Islamist militias died in the battle and three others were injured.

This ongoing violence in Mogadishu comes despite the new truce agreement recently signed between the Somali government and the opposition alliance based in Asmara, a group which included both moderates and hardliners, and which was meant to end the Iraq-style insurgency and usher in a ceasefire in the beleaguered capital city.

Somalia had been plunged in anarchy after the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, when warlords used their clan-based militias to fall over the dictator then fought each other for power, leading to constant inter-clan war which left thousands killed and millions displaced.

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API.source.apa

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Former CAR leader denounces being sidelined in all-inclusive political talks

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

The former Central African president Ange Felix Patasse has denounced his being sidelined from the all-inclusive political dialogue, a forum meant to bring about final peace in the Central African Republic after several military mutinies, said a release issued here Thursday.

“I denounce the tactics by the Bangui regime making every effort to keep me out of the political dialogue which, by the way, is a highly important national forum to restore lasting peace in the Central African Republic,” Patasse said in the release.

The document comes a few days ahead of the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement between the government and some armed groups.

The former head of state calls the national and international community to witness any consequences that would follow his exclusion from the political dialogue, a landmark forum that was initially billed to begin on 15 June.

The meeting was postponed to mid-July to allow the countrys authorities to seal a comprehensive peace agreement with the four rebel movements active in north-east of the country.

Another reason why it was put off was to pass a general amnesty law in accordance with the recommendations of the preparatory committee for the political dialogue and the international community.

Exiled in Togo since being ousted from power on 15 March 2005 through a putsch by incumbent president Franois Boziz, Patasss leadership of his former party; the CAR Peoples Liberation Movement (MLPC) of which he was expelled last year, is currently being contested.

He has put great expectations on his participation in the all-inclusive political dialogue to regain political momentum and revive his manifesto.

Martin Zigul, a former Prime Minister under Patass, now leads the MLPC.

The signing of a comprehensive peace agreement is expected to usher into general amnesty allowing Patasse to take part in the talks – as he is a former convict – without fearing arrest.

His former defence minister Jean Jacques Dmafouth, former security commander Abdoulaye Miskine, and former spokesman Prosper Ndoumba, who were also convicted, are expected to enjoy similar conditions.

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API.source.apa

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Late prominent Egyptian film director Saad Ardash laid to rest

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

The body of the renowned Egyptian film director Saad Ardash was laid to rest on Thursday after he died last Friday at age 84 years, in the United States while he was receiving treatment for cancer.

The body was returned to Egypt Thursday from USA and his funeral was attended by a large number of people from all walks of life, who included artists, politicians and journalists.

The late Saad Ardash was one of the most prominent artists in the Arab world in general and in Egypt in particular. He took part in several movies and television series during his career, which exceeded half a century.

He received a doctorate degree from the International Academy of Theatre in Rome in 1961.

The most important drama directed by Saad Ardash included “Fire and Olives” by the late playwright Alfred Faraj and “The Earth” taken from the novel “The Earth” by Abdel Rahman Al-Sharqawi, which was turned into a film by Youssef Chahin.

Ardash marked a milestone in Egyptian theatre and cinema. He addressed social and political issues through plays like “Road of Safety” or Sekat el-Salama by the late playwright Saad Eddin Wahba.

He directed “Caucasian chalk circle” a play which was one of the most important plays of German playwright Bertolt Brecht.

The late artist worked as professor and head of acting and directing department at the Institute of Drama and Arts in Egypt.

The late artist reaped numerous awards and medals including the Order of Arts and Sciences in 1967 and the State Award of the Supreme Council of Culture.

He published a lot of artistic studies and researches for artistic and cultural periodicals in Egypt and the Arab world.

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API.source.apa

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Ugandan president offers to help end terrorism, Islamophobia

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

Jean M. Tamba, special correspondent

Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Wednesday availed himself to world leaders with his rich ideas and experience in a bid to end global terrorism and Islamophobia.

He observed that many people and particularly those in the fore-front in fighting these vices, still harbour profound confusion over what really terrorism entails and hence the difficulties in combating it.

President Museveni made the statement when addressing the opening session of the 35 session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

You cannot call an attack on a military convoy as terrorism, because the bomb or whatever the attackers used in carrying out the attack is a military weaponAmerica cannot attack and condemns attacks against itwe all including America can work it out, Museveni, a one-time guerrilla commander-turned president said.

He recalled that there were pockets of inter-religious hatred and violent confrontations in the country but have all disappeared thanks to the advent of the political movements that swept across the country with him in the driving seat.

In Uganda, Christians and Muslims worship in their houses and churches or mosques as they wish and it stays thereand when it comes to national issues, there is no religious sentiment whatsoever, he said.

He enticed the richer member countries of the OIC to invest massively in the 5.5 trillion-dollar market that the organization has and thereby strengthen cooperation, economic prosperity and alleviate poverty within the member states.

I do not believe in hypocrisy and that is why I prefer direct diplomacy. So, if we really want to overcome our common enemies including poverty, now is the time we need to do so using the huge potentials we have as members states of this organization, he said.

Hundreds of delegates from all 57 member states including the Organisations Secretary General, Prof. Ekmeleddine Ishanoglu, as well as observer missions from about a dozen non member states and the United Nations are attending the two-day session at the Monyonyo resort in Kampala.

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API.source.apa

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Liberian Senator Arrested, Charged With Murder

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

A junior Senator of one of Liberia’s leeward counties, Margibi County has been charged with murder after being found guilty of ordering group of men to butchered to death 13 field workers in the County.

The Senator, Roland Kaine was disrobed of his legislative immunities after he was found of masterminding the killing of the thirteen field workers, most of whom were young men hired by an official of government, Charles Bennie to brush his disputed rubber farm land in the county.

The dispute between Bennie, an official of the Ministry of Commerce, and the senator over farmland some 75 kilometers east of the central town of Kakata, the administrative city of the county.

Bennie said he had been in dispute over the land for some time now with Kaine, who represents Margibi County. Bennie says a court has already ruled the farmland belongs to him but the senator continues to claim it as his ancestral land.

Bennie accused Kaine’s security men of leading the attackers, but the senator has denied the allegations.

The Liberian government has vowed to take a tough line, “It will be an illusion on their part to think that they are above the law. No stone will be left unturned in this case, 13 people dead represent just too much casualties,” Information Minister Laurence Bropleh told journalists in Monrovia.

Justice Minister Phillip Banks told a local station in Monrovia that the government will ask for the death penalty for the perpetrators.

“In this case the death penalty will be applied as the law requires. This is the only way this nonsense killing will stop in the country,” he said.

The government is under a lot of pressure from various human rights groups in Liberia to set an example in this case.

“Government must find the perpetrators and bring them to book,” Dixon Gblah, head of Foundation for International Dignity FIND, said here in Monrovia.

“If government fails to do so, that could lead us to another chaotic situation in this country,” he warned.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expressed concern this week about the rising number of land disputes in Liberia. The authorities have talked about setting up a land commission to arbitrate in the disputes.

From J. Cholo Brooks CEO Global News Network, Nic. -Publisher of The Star Newspaper- Website: http://www.gnn.theliberiantimes.com Mobile Phone: +2316461010/+2315461010

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African Press International – api

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An open letter to Anthony: Justice Must Be Seen, To Be Done.

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

Letter to Cafcass- Anthony Douglas- Guardians supposed to look after Childs Best Interest

Dear Anthony,
I am writing to you, really just to prove to the court in Strasbourg that I have done so.
Also to keep it as a record for the future history of our children, so they can see for themselves how all those in charge of caring for them failed to do so.
No doubt- it will come under crimes against humanity in 2012.
Your name is on that list.
Why??
For failure to listen to the truth from children.
For cognitively projecting your own unresolved issues onto service users.
For failure to protect children from known violent parents.
For failure to think for yourself and being a sheep obeying your evil money making master.
For allowing your employees to mentally abuse and psychologically torture innocent children.
For allowing your stall to say to the court.
“It does NOT MATTER if children are abused or not in care of LA- as long as they speak about it.”
THIS SUMS CAFCASS UP.
For allowing guardians to lie to high court clerks- because he lost in court case- thus depriving a child and his parents of family life.
For not stopping Guardians choosing their friends as psychoogists etc, when the law says- it must be independent.
I mean you and your team are clearly providing prisoners for the future- in order to make money- as children are the commodity.
This is why your organisation is labelled CRAFTYCRAP by service users.
Now, assuming this has reached your consciousness, and I hope it has- otherwise you are in the wrong job- I would very much like you to meet some real children- not chosen by social workers and primed/brainwashed into saying things to please you.
Real living children- allowed by your staff to be raped, abused, tortured, drugged, prostituted out, used in porn, etc.for years- as they were in the chosen care of the LA.
A failed mentally ill foster carer allowed to continue to abuse all children- even when the eldset got his own lawyer to tell the judge of what was happening.
Ah yes- all sanctioned by one of your Guardians- supposed to be in the childs best interest.
Then again- Best Interest of the Child was Hitler’s slogan first- used to fool the people that he really cared about them.
We are now in Strasbourg, where all truth will be revealed, all reports shown to real men and women.
Either way- all documents and evidence is recorded and kept on each continent- so the children can see when they are 18- 2012- just exactly how much your people really cared about them.
It will be like Australia- Aboriginees- only worse.
How about you make a move right now to learn the real truth about legally trafficed children- and some of your employees are party to this crime-before the veil lifts and all the world sees what has been happening in secret family courts.
Lady Justice sends you a torch now- a final chance for you- to help the children properly and give them their own voice back.
Not taking phones off them, and locking them up in institutions because they say they love their parents.
Such barbarity must stop.
You are in a position of power for a reason.
You can make the difference if you choose.
You now have two choices- Good or Evil.
You decide- as it is that simple Anthony.
Kind Regards.
Catherine Mills. BA, HdipEd, CTG, TTG, Dip Personnel Management.

Justice Must Be Seen, To Be Done.

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PUBLISHED BY AFRICAN PRESS INTERNATIONAL – API

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Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

By guest author, Robin Maynard

Prime Ministers are easier to persuade of the benefits of GM crops than the public or those the GM industry claims its products will help, the poor and hungry in developing countries. Responding to the last governments GM Nation? debate, 85% of the British public opposed GM crops being grown in the UK and the Africa Group, representing all African countries bar South Africa, signed a declaration in 1998 condemning GM giant Monsantos earlier attempts to characterise GM crops as the solution to world hunger. But Gordon like Tony cant see through the GM gloss.

GM crops werent designed to feed the world, but to extend the profitability of the agrochemical companies producing them and for the first generation of GM crops, the shelf-life of the pesticides used with them. Round-up Ready soya linked together Monsantos number one selling herbicide (which was about to come off patent) with soya, the worlds biggest commodity crop. A cunning marketing strategy, rather than a noble world hunger-solving mission most of that GM soya feeds livestock in wealthier countries not poor people in the South.

The genetic modifications made to the main GM crops in the field are not for increasing yields, but to enable the plants to tolerate larger applications of particular pesticides or build-in inherent insect pest resistance. So no surprises that published studies show GM crops have at best the same and in many cases lower yields than non-GM crops. Youd think the PM and environment minister, Phil Woolas, would know this, given their Chief Scientist at Defra (the food and farming ministry), Bob Watson has just chaired an international assessment, which concluded GM crops had little to offer the world in solving poverty, hunger or climate change (causing the GM industry representative to storm out of the process).

The 400 scientists signing up to the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development declared, Business as Usual is no longer an option and that a shift to agroecological food production is needed. For Business as Usual read the old model of agriculture dependent on vast amounts of oil and fossil-fuel derived inputs, like chemical fertilisers and pesticides. GM crops are just the latest addition to this model.

As climate change bites and oil becomes scarcer and more expensive, a shift to less oil-dependent, fertiliser-free agroecological farming is a necessity not an indulgence as agribusiness seeks to characterise and diminish organic farming, the most widely practised form of agroecological farming. When a UN FAO conference last year concluded a shift to organic farming in sub-Saharan Africa could be beneficial , it drew immediate fire from the industry lobby, Croplife International, which demanded FAO clarify, its position on the role of organic agriculture, vis--vis the need for modern technologies and inputs, in supporting global food and security. The organisation duly obliged issuing a press release diluting its support for organic farming. The battle-lines are drawn between shifting to truly sustainable global food production or maintaining that designed predominantly for profit generation.

Robin Maynard is the Campaigns Director of the Soil Association

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API.SOURCE. THE INDEPENDET

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Kenya comes out strong on Mugabe

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

Kenya has asked Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to respect the wishes of his people by ensuring next weeks presidential run-off is free and fair.

In a clear departure from Kenyas long held policy of non-interference in other nations affairs, a Government statement signed by the Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula said recent developments in Zimbabwe were unacceptable to all people in Africa.

As a nation, we therefore call upon President Mugabe to respect the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe. Having accepted a re-run, President Mugabe should ensure it is within the tenets of acceptable standards of elections and democratic practice. Anything less is an affront to the evolving democratic culture in Africa, said Mr Wetangula.

Kenyas Prime Minister Raila Odinga has taken a similar stance over the last two weeks. Speaking at the recent World Economic Forum-Africa held in South Africa and during his current visit to the US, Mr Odinga has criticised Mr Mugabes handling of the presidential run-off and described the situation in Zimbabwe as an an eyesore for the African continent.

Mr Odinga repeated the criticism on Wednesday when he met US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington DC where he asked the international community to intervene in Zimbabwe in the same way it did in Bosnia.

The official Government statement said: We note with concern information from Zimbabwe on the roadblocks being created to the re-run campaigns of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Party. These kind of activities are unhelpful and undermine the very enterprise of election the parties have agreed to.

We therefore call upon all parties, in particular President Mugabe, to adhere to the Harare Principles that have guided democratic development within the larger Commonwealth, Mr Wetangula said.

The Foreign Affairs minister said Kenyas position was informed by its long standing policy on political processes with other states, particularly in Africa: This position is guided by our foreign policy goal on internal affairs of states and as enshrined in the African Union Charter, espoused at the 10th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, held in Addis Ababa from 31 January to 2 February 2008 which aptly recognised challenges of elections in Africa.

He said Kenya also subscribes to the AU position mandating the regional bloc Southern Africa Development Community – to lead the African process in Zimbabwe.

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API. SOURCE.NATION.KE

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Pressure grows on defiant Mugabe

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

Robert Mugabe, the embattled president of Zimbabwe who keeps clinging to power despite killings and chaos in the streets, is losing support of fellow African leaders. In the strongest regional condemnation yet of pre-election violence, a group of southern African ministers said Thursday that next week’s election is “very unlikely to be free and fair.” Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Membe spoke out on behalf of a peace and security troika of nations from the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Tanzania is also current chairman of the African Union. Membe said he and the foreign ministers of Swaziland and Angola would write to their presidents “so that they do something urgently so that we can save Zimbabwe,” after their observers already inside the country saw two people shot dead in front of them on June 17. Mugabe is accused by opponents, Western countries and human rights groups of orchestrating a campaign of killings and intimidation to keep his 28-year hold on power in the once prosperous country, its economy now in ruins. Mugabe lost the first round vote to Morgan Tsvangirai on March 29, but the opposition leader fell short of the outright majority needed to avoid a second round, according to official results. South African President Thabo Mbeki has urged Mugabe to cancel the run-off and negotiate a deal with the opposition, South Africa’s Business Day newspaper said on Thursday.

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Top cop battles breast cancer

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

On Monday she was in the news, calling for thousands of new police officers within the next decade. On Tuesday she was out on patrol. On Thursday, the director of The Norwegian Police will undergo surgery for breast cancer.

Police Director Ingelin Killengreen is going on sick leave.

PHOTO: DAG GRUNDSETH

Ingelin Killengreen, who’s in charge of the 27 districts making up Norway’s single, integrated police service, reportedly understood that newspaper VG planned to write about her cancer diagnosis in Wednesday’s edition.

Killengreen, age 60, opted against elaborating on the situation,or offering any personal comments.

The police directorate reported that Killengreen initially will be put on sick leave for three weeks, beginning from the day she will undergo surgery. Karoline Johnsrud of the police directorate said that the assistant director of the Norwegian Police, Vidar Refvik, will take over Killengreen’s duties while she is out on sick leave.

Killengreen is a lawyer with a long career in law enforcement. She was Oslo’s chief of police before being named state director of police in 2000.

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Prostitutes’ ranks thin after waves of arrests

Posted by African Press International on June 20, 2008

There’s been a marked decline in the number of prostitutes on the streets of Oslo this week. The decline follows two waves of arrests aimed at cracking down on human trafficking.

Scenes like this, where Nigerian prostitutes try to snare new customers, have led to police action against the world’s oldest profession in Oslo.

PHOTO: JAN TOMAS ESPEDAL

Police in Oslo arrested nearly 70 persons earlier this week, all of them tied to the Nigerian circles of prostitutes who have been aggressively going after customers on downtown streets during the past year.

Of the 66 persons rounded up, 18 have been charged with offenses including human trafficking, pimping and dealing in stolen property. Prostitution itself is not illegal in Norway, but pimping is. Anyone considered to have organized prostitutes’ activities is subject to prosecution, and a new law also opens for prosecution of persons buying sexual services.

All the persons arrested were women, except one. Most were held pending examination of their identity papers and proof of resident status.

It’s believed that most of the active foreign prostitutes in Oslo have obtained resident status in another European country, thus giving them permission to live and work in Norway. Even athough Norway is not a member of the European Union, it is part of economic trade and cooperation agreements that allow EU residents to freely move across borders.

The 18 charged with serious offenses are aged 25 to 40 years. Those charged with human trafficking are suspected of transporting large sums of money out of Norway, believed to be individual prostitutes’ revenues.

Defense attorney John Christian Elden, who represents 16 of the women, claimed the laws against human trafficking and pimping were being misused. “If two girls protect each other and try to help each other, both risk being criminals,” he said.

Police and city officials, however, have been responding to massive complaints from Oslo residents about the pushy presence of prostitutes on the streets. They’ve been known to harass potential clients, and most are thought to belong to so-called “madames” who’ve helped them get established.

A Norwegian aid group that helps prostitutes with health and other issues generally supported the “clean-up,” provided police can prove illegal exploitation of the women. “But we have to wait and see whether the police manage to distinguish between victims and criminals,” said Liv Jessen of the group, called Pro-senter. “It’s not always so simple.”

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