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Archive for July 24th, 2008

Norway won’t boycott Olympics in Beijing – Norwegians had threatened with boycott but gave up as other nations did not follow them

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

The Norwegian government won’t be boycotting the Olympics in Beijing. Despite concerns over human rights in China, the government will send two cabinet ministers to the games, and the royals will be there, too.

Cabinet minister Trond Giske will be going to Beijing after all.

PHOTO: MORTEN HOLM/SCANPIX

King Harald and Queen Sonja will attend the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics on August 8, along with Oil & Energy Minister Terje Riis-Johansen.

Crown Prince Haakon will attend the latter half of the games, and Minister of Culture Trond Giske will attend the closing ceremonies.

Giske was among the Norwegian politicians who kept the possibility open that the government would stay away from Beijing to protest human rights abuses by the Chinese communist government.

“This was discussed by the government, not least because of the boycott debate,” Giske told newspaper VG. “But there’s no international support for staying away, and there was never any intention that Norway would do so alone.”

A boycott, he noted, could have hurt the dialogue on human rights that does lurch along with the Chinese. Giske said he intended to use his stay in the country to take up human rights issues.

“I plan to meet with people from the publishing branch, and others who work with the press and freedom of expression,” he said.

Riis-Johansen, meanwhile, will host some meetings on energy politics.

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API/Aftenposteneng

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Beggars beg for trouble – Foreign beggars are being discriminated in Norway

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

An awkward power struggle has broken out among foreign and local beggars in Oslo, ironically over their street sales of a magazine whose very title calls for more equality in the capital.

Norwegian beggars are getting competition from foreign beggars, and conflicts are breaking out.

PHOTO: TRYGVE INDRELID

The conflict is over who should be allowed to peddle the magazine, which sells for NOK 50. Its sellers can keep half of the proceeds.

The magazine, called “=Oslo” (equal Oslo), was started up to help provide an income source to those who otherwise would beg for spare change on the streets of the capital. Many of its original sellers were Norwegian drug addicts.

Now, however, new groups of foreign beggars want to sell the magazine as well, reported newspaper Dagsavisen earlier this week. The magazine won’t let them, saying the sellers should be Norwegian and must be able to speak Norwegian.

That’s led to protests, and state authorities are investigating whether “=Oslo” is violating anti-discrimination laws. “If we find that =Oslo has broken the law, they’ll have to find a new solution for the foreigners,” said Ingeborg Grimsmo, Norway’s acting discrimination ombud.

Thorny issues also have broken out within an Oslo organization that serves the poor and offers them free food (Fattighuset). It has refused to give food to the foreign beggars, claiming that the foreigners try to sell the food on the street.

“We can’t have that,” said Johanna Engen, a board member at Fattighuset, arguing that it defies the purpose of the aid and can threaten donations.

The anti-discrimination authority is investigating whether Fattighuset can legally only give food to poor Norwegians and not poor foreigners. “There are important principles at stake,” Grimsmo said, arguing that the foreigners are becoming “more and more” stigmatized in Norway.

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API/Aftenposteneng

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Norwegians spared the pain of rising food prices

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

Most consumers in Norway aren’t reeling from the effects of spiraling food prices elsewhere in the world, at least not yet — largely because food prices in Norway already are so high, and so are incomes.

This family in Asker, west of Oslo, hasn’t felt much impact of higher prices. Their breakfast table includes several products from Norway’s protected industries but also a few players like Q-milk, which has challenged the country’s near dairy monopoly and brought some competition to the market.

PHOTO: TONE GEORGSEN

Norway’s produce, meat and dairy industries are highly regulated, mostly to protect the country’s agriculture industry against cheaper imports. That means consumers in Norway have long been accustomed to paying anywhere from double to four times the food prices found in many other countries, even for such basic items as milk, tomatoes or bread.

Norwegian farmers receive large subsidies and are allowed to charge relatively high prices for their goods. High tariffs, once again under fire this week at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting, have kept out many of the foreign food products that have rapidly risen in price. The relatively modest level of imports into Norway thus has shielded the local market from world market forces.

The prices of Norway’s home-grown products, already expensive by world standards, thus haven’t been as affected as those on food in less-regulated markets. And the products that especially have soared in price, like rice and plant oils, are not a staple in the Norwegian diet and have never been imported in large quantity.

The regulations “that earlier have been the reason for high prices (in Norway) are now a bit a benefit that’s securing relatively lower prices,” Lasse Sandberg of the state statistic bureau SSB told newspaper Aftenposten.

Relatively high incomes in Norway also mean that the average Norwegian family can afford the country’s traditionally high prices. They spent just over 11 percent of their total annual consumption on food in 2006, compared to as much as 80 percent for families in the world’s poorest areas.

Higher energy costs and inflation, however, have sent prices for several Norwegian products up, not least milk. Some individual products are suddenly up as much as 20-30 percent at the grocery store. Food prices overall, though, have gone up just 3 percent over the past year, compared to 44 percent globally.

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API/Aftenposteneng

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Man sought after shooting at asylum center

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

Police were looking Tuesday for a man in his 50s in connection with shots that were fired late last week at an asylum center in Asker, west of Oslo.

Police stressed that the man isn’t necessarily a suspect in the shooting, but rather is viewed as a potential witness.

“The man hasnt contacted us, like we’d hoped,” Einar Aas of the Asker og Brum Police District told news bureau NTB. “Now we need to find out why he hasn’t contacted us.”

Aas said the man was seen Friday morning in the forested area on a hillside at Solstadlia where the shots came from. He then hitched a ride with a female motorist and asked to be let off at a bus stop near the E18 highway at Holmen.

Shots were fired at the Hvalstad asylum center around 8am. They pierced the center’s wall and hit a 16-year-old refugee from Somalia who was still in bed.

The teenager was shot in the stomach and has undergone several operations but is now believed to be in stable condition.

The shooting shocked staff and residents of the center, which cares for young refugees arriving alone in Norway. All were being offered crisis counseling.

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API/Aftenposteneng

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Young asylum seeker shot in his bed – 16 year-old Somali boy

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

A 16 year-old asylum seeker from Somalia, was shot and critically injured while sleeping in his bed at reception centre outside Oslo. He was hit in the stomach by a rifle round fired through the wall of his room. Police speculate that he may be a random victim.

The shot, which critically injured a 16 year-old asylum seeker, was shot from a distance through a wall at a reception centre outside Oslo.

PHOTO: FOTO: HANS O. TORGERSEN

All available units from the Asker and Brum police district have been mobilized and specialist teams and helicopters have been drafted in from neighbouring Oslo.

“This is an extremely serious event. We hope and pray that the 16 year-old will recover,” says police inspector Einar Aas of the Asker and Brum police.

The neighbourhood around the reception centre was cordoned off after the shooting and crime scene investigators have gone over the area.

No arrests had been made by Friday evening. In the mean time the youth was taken to Ullevl University Hospital where he underwent a series of operations to save his life.

Several witnesses remember hearing shots late Thursday evening and Friday morning. They were interviewed during the course of Friday afternoon.

The Hvalstad reception centre for asylum seekers aged 15 to 18, lies in a leafy low rise suburb south west of Oslo.

Police have discovered that several shots have been fired at two of the buildings at the centre. Police believe that 7.62 millimetre ammunition, common in hunting rifles and military weapons, was used.

Ballistics specialists are calculating where the shots were fired from.

Meanwhile the other residents of the centre are being attended to by a crisis team of counselors and translators.

“Our main concern is to make sure that we are doing as much as possible for the people living at the centre,” says smund Eide of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) to news bureau NTB.

Investigations will seek to discover whether the shooting was a random act, an accident or a hate crime.

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API/Aftenposteneng

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Raila heaps praise on Kibaki in UK tour – A genuine praise for a leader who refused to vacate the highest seat in the land.

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

By David OhitoPrime Minister Raila Odinga has said President Kibaki was not “a Robert Mugabe” as Britain opened its purse strings for the two leaders, whose bitter feud over the outcome of last years presidential elections almost tore the country apart.

The PM had first sought to show just how different Zimbabwe and Kenya were, before he described the warm working relationship with his political rival-turned-buddy.

“Mwai Kibaki is not Robert Mugabe,” Raila told an audience that included Lord David Steel at a packed Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.

In his lecture, Leadership and Democracy in Africa, Raila said: “Mugabes victory was accepted by the worlds longest serving President Omar Bongo of Gabon, with a strange logic. He was elected, he took an oath, and he is with us, so he is President.”

“But the situation in Zimbabwe is not the same as in Kenya. Our election itself was well conducted even if the count was not. The run-off election in Zimbabwe was universally condemned as a sham and the results of the first poll were never published except being told that Mugabe lost,” Raila said.

Peace building

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in a statement after meeting Raila and other members of the Kenyan delegation, marvelled at how quickly the country had regained its stride.

“Only six months ago, Kenya stood on the brink of civil war. Kenyas friends watched in fear as ethnic violence, displacement and insecurity gripped the country,” Brown said as he announced a 2 million (Sh268m) UK support for peace building.

“Kenya stepped away from the brink. Partly due to the leadership of President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga; partly due to the mediation efforts of Kofi Annan; and partly due to strong international support for reconciliation. But most of all because the Kenyan people turned their backs on violence and chose to work together,” Brown said.

He added: “I want to say today, as I did six months ago, that Britain will stand by Kenya as it opens a new chapter in its history. We welcome the Governments commitment to power sharing. We welcome the strenuous efforts made by all sides to live up to the expectations of the Kenyan people.”

The UK peace building financial pledge comes hot on the heels of another Sh5.8 billion pledged by the US Government in June, which Raila was promised when he led a Government delegation to America.

The pledge to fund reconstruction efforts got the approval of Congress and key US financiers.

Speaking to journalists earlier at a Downing Street Press conference with Raila, Brown said the Kenyan people had “chosen to work together” and the UK would play its part in helping the country rebuild.

On his part Raila said: “We welcome the commitment to power sharing. We welcome the strenuous efforts made by all sides to live up to the expectations of the Kenyan people and we will fulfil our promise to help with the rebuilding.”

UK and Kenya will also work together on a number of key issues, Brown said. They include combating drug trafficking, establishing a trade agreement in the Doha round of negotiations taking place this week in Geneva and building an East Africa stand-by brigade to help boost stability in the region.

Brown also said the UK and Kenya would work to “uphold democracy” in Africa and called for an end to violence against MDC supporters in Zimbabwe.

Raila said Zimbabweans had been “cheated of their will” in recent elections and that they deserved “better treatment”.

Entourage

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and his entourage were expected to link up with Raila in London.

Raila was accompanied by his wife, Ida, Cabinet Ministers John Michuki (Finance and Environment), Moses Wetangula (Foreign Affairs), Kiraitu Murungi (Energy), Mutula Kilonzo (Nairobi Metropolitan), Najib Balala (Tourism) and Mohamed Elmi (Northern Kenya and Arid Lands).

Speaking on his first trip as PM to the UK, where he wooed British investors and tourists, Raila said: “I commend President Kibaki for accepting the National Accord. The tragic events Kenya has recently lived through made us wiser as political leaders.”

Working in good faith

The PM said with the coalition agreement, leaders were working together to set a new path.

He said they worked in good faith through constant consultation and willingness to compromise.

“President Kibaki and I are determined to provide firm leadership and build democratic institutions to enshrine justice, equity and accountability.

“We will break with the corrupt past and create a new inclusive Kenya. We will lay the foundation of future growth through infrastructural development and create opportunities for long-term employment.”

Speaking at Chatham House in London the Palace of Westminster, the citadel of parliamentary democracy, Raila said: “I hope my visit will bring confidence to British investors and tourists on Kenya. Our nation is back on its feet.”

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API/Standard.ke

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Karadzic ‘aims to defend himself’: Arrested fugitive with new identity

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

Mr Karadzic reinvented himself as a devotee of alternative medicine

Radovan Karadzic in disguise

War crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic plans to conduct his own defence in his trial at The Hague, his lawyer says.

“Karadzic will have a legal team in Serbia that will help him with his defence but he will defend himself,” said lawyer Sveta Vujacic.

Mr Karadzic would be following former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who defended himself during his long-running trial at The Hague tribunal.

Mr Karadzic was captured on Monday after more than a decade in hiding.

He is being held in Belgrade pending his extradition to the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Dutch capital.

His lawyer says he will appeal against the extradition, but not until just before the deadline to do so, on Friday.

“He has asked for a haircut and a shave,” Mr Vujacic told Reuters news agency. “Today I expect to see him with his hair short and no beard.”

Mr Karadzic, 63, declared independence for Bosnian Serbs in 1991, sparking the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. He has been indicted for crimes against humanity and genocide over the massacre of up to 8,000 mainly-Muslim Bosniaks at Srebrenica in 1995.

He went into hiding in the years after the war, but was discovered to be posing as a doctor of alternative medicine in Belgrade.

He was arrested on a bus in a suburb of Serbia’s capital on Monday.

Serbia has been urged to follow up the arrest of Mr Karadzic by quickly catching his wartime commander, Ratko Mladic.

The US envoy at the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, said the US rejoiced at Mr Karadzic’s arrest and hoped Gen Mladic would soon meet a similar fate.

France said the European Union expected further arrests.

Ratko Mladic in 1995
Ratko Mladic has strong links with the Serbian military

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told the BBC that Mr Karadzic’s arrest showed his country was firmly committed to EU membership.

The arrest of Mr Karadzic and other indicted war criminals is one of the main conditions of Serbian progress towards joining the EU.

A new European-leaning government took office in Serbia earlier this month.

Life on the run

More details have emerged of Mr Karadzic’s life on the run practising alternative medicine under the name of Dragan Dabic.

Masquerading as an expert in human quantum energy, the fugitive was so confident in his disguise he even had his own website, and would give out business cards during alternative medicine lectures.

His card gave his name as D D David, D D apparently standing for his pseudonym Dragan Dabic.

THE CHARGES
Eleven counts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other atrocities
Charged over shelling Sarajevo during the city’s siege, in which some 12,000 civilians died
Allegedly organised the massacre of up to 8,000 Bosniak men and youths in Srebrenica
Targeted Bosniak and Croat political leaders, intellectuals and professionals
Unlawfully deported and transferred civilians because of national or religious identity
Destroyed homes, businesses and sacred sites
After Karadzic, is Mladic next?

Billed as Dabic, Spiritual Explorer, Mr Karadzic gave lectures comparing meditation and silent techniques practised by Orthodox monks. He spoke in Belgrade in May, and also in the town of Smederevo, east of the capital.

The BBC’s Nick Thorpe in Belgrade says the city is alive with speculation that the last two men on the tribunal’s wanted list – Gen Mladic, and Goran Hadzic, a former Serb politician wanted for “ethnic cleansing” in Croatia – could be arrested next.

Serbian intelligence officers were on the trail of Gen Mladic when they stumbled upon Mr Karadzic, said the office of Serbia’s war crimes prosecutor.

But Gen Mladic has strong links with the Serb army and might put up more resistance than Mr Karadzic, our correspondent says.

The Charge d’Affaires at the Serbian embassy in Washington, Vladimir Petrovic, told the BBC Mr Karadzic’s arrest showed Serbia was “fully committed to international law and its international obligations”.

“Serbia also is fully committed to joining the EU, and I think this is an example of a modern, European Serbia,” he added.

The EU Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn, said the arrest had moved Serbia closer to EU candidate status and should pave the way for closer trade ties.

Three criteria

Mr Karadzic was questioned by a Serbian judge on Tuesday, who ruled that he should be extradited.

Under Serbia’s law on co-operation with war crimes tribunal, three hurdles must be crossed before Mr Karadzic is sent to The Hague.

A magistrate must conclude that all conditions for extradition have been met. Mr Karadzic must be granted a chance to appeal and a special committee of the war crimes court must rule on that appeal. The whole process could take anything from three to nine days.

The UN says the Srebrenica massacre was part of a campaign to “terrorise and demoralise the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population”.

He has also been charged over the shelling of Sarajevo, and the use of 284 UN peacekeepers as human shields in May and June 1995.

Mr Karadzic has denied the charges and refused to recognise the legitimacy of the UN tribunal.

He was a close ally of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who was himself extradited to The Hague tribunal in 2001, but died in 2006, shortly before a verdict was due to be delivered.

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API/BBC

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Zimbabwe: They meet and shake hands at long last, but will it bear fruit?

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

Zimbabwe talks pushed to Thursday

Written By:AFP,Posted: Wed, Jul 23, 2008

Full-scale talks aimed at resolving Zimbabwe’s months-long political crisis are not now expected to begin in neighbouring South Africa until Thursday, according to a report in state media.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, chief negotiator for President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, told the Herald newspaper it had been agreed with the opposition to begin the talks only when all the delegates were in place.

“All parties to the dialogue agreed that talks should begin on Thursday,” Chinamasa told the daily.

The talks had initially been due to begin on Tuesday but Chinamasa said that all the delegates should now arrive in South Africa by the end of Wednesday and would then “travel to the venue for the talks, wherever that would be”.

Chinamasa and ZANU-PF’s other senior negotiator Nicholas Goche stayed in Harare on Tuesday to attend a cabinet meeting while opposition officials also delayed their travel plans.

A source in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said its top negotiator Tendai Biti had flown out of Harare on Wednesday but it was not known whether the party’s Bulawayo-based chairman Lovemore Moyo had left.

Mugabe, main MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, head of a breakaway opposition faction, penned a memorandum of understanding on Monday to pave the way for fully-fledged talks.

Although the venue of the talks has been kept under wraps, the negotiations are expected to take place in the capital Pretoria.

The rivals have set themselves a tight two-week timeline to wrap up the talks aimed at agreeing on the line-up of a new government after disputed elections.

Already going through economic turmoil, Zimbabwe’s crisis deepened when Mugabe was re-elected in a one-man run-off last month after Tsvangirai pulled out, citing a campaign of intimidation and violence against his supporters that had killed dozens and injured thousands.

The vote was widely condemned in the West as a sham, with the European Union warning that it would not deal with a government unless headed by Tsvangirai.

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API/KBC.ke

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Worked for the Odingas, is now poor and ready to kill himself: PM Raila should help him.

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

My life died with Jaramogi

Published on 23/07/2008

By Amos Kareithi

The 42-year-old man who served one of Kenyas most prominent political families for 15 years is now a vagabond and a nervous wreck.

David Dimba Jakobuya was 20 when he was drafted into Jaramogis security detail and counted himself lucky to serve the man he had always admired. Little did he know that he was signing his ticket to perpetual poverty.

After a trip to the city from his tin shack single room in Satellite, Nairobi, Jackobuya clad in a ten-year-old grey striped suit rues the day he dedicated his life to politics.

It is evident I made the wrong investment by investing honesty and loyalty in politics which is dominated by greed and treachery, Jakobuya laments.

David Jakobuya during the interview. Photo: Evans Habil/Standard

Jakobuya joined Jaramogis team in 1987 at a time when it was considered dangerous to associate with him due to his political leanings. He survived the Mwakenya crackdown but now lives in abject poverty, never sure where the next meal will come from.

I had just escorted my uncle, Mhewa Ndede, who was an aide, to Tanzania, recalls Jakobuya. When he returned he was recruited to work as a sentry at the old mans Milimani residence in Kisumu. He rose through the ranks to become Jaramogis trusted aide and confidante and was initiated into the world of politics.

tasted his food

Overnight the son of a peasant who had dropped out of secondary school twice for lack of fees became a vital cog in the wheels of the second liberation. He had the power to admit or send away those seeking appointment with Jaramogi, a decision which could cripple ones career.

Initially, I was barber and learnt how to type. I was tasked with the responsibility of shaving Jaramogis hair, the former aide recalls.

His stay at Milimani was regularised and designated as personal assistant to Jaramogi, the Chairman of East Africa Spectre.

My last days with Jaramogi

It was my responsibility to keep Jaramogis diary. I also tasted his food. We were guarding against poisoning, he says. Jakobuya almost cries as he recalls how he wrecked his personal life pursuing a political struggle.

I had no time of my own. As Jaramogi aged, his needs increased. Now I had to spend my nights near his bedroom. I massaged him every night, he adds.

His salary by the time he left Spectre was Sh10,000, which he sent his family as he had no time for them.

I recall my last days with Jaramogi. I pleaded with him to take medicine, and my heart breaks for this marked the death of my dreams, he says. When Jaramogi died on January 20, 1994, Jakobuya was deployed as an aide to Raila. He says due to his job relations between him and some Nyanza politicians were strained, climaxing in an attempt on his life.

lost chances

Jakobuya is disillusioned when he should have been celebrating. I lost my wife in 2005. My first daughter died in 2000 and son in 2004. Now, I am jobless. My other three children are living with relatives, he says. In June 2004, Jakobuya threatened to sue the Odinga family for allegedly not paying him Sh7 million.

Throughout my service to Jaramogi and Raila, I never went on leave. I was not paid for overtime or extra duties, he adds.

Honesty in politics, Jakobuya says, is the worst policy and is writing a book on the subject.

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API/Standard.ke

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The MAU FOREST OPTIONS

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

The current saga about imminent MAU evictions in October is a crisis that must not be allowed to happen. First of all, I believe vacating and protecting MAU is not an option neither is it debatable. It is imperative, a must and long overdue. The debate is where the families affected will move to. My family lives at the very edge of Mau and I myself have good chunk of land along the Mau area. That is where I grew up, went to school and became the man (murenik ) that I am today. Deep in the tropical rain forest was my home for almost half of my life. Those days, the rain never stopped from morning till evening, from January to January. The rivers like Mara, Ambusket, Cheptuech, Chepkulo and others were much larger than the seasonal streams they have become today.

The bamboo trees were so huge that we carried water in them. The birds and monkey species were incomparable to anywhere else in the world. The plant and tree canopy species too and beautiful animals that made Mau one of the greatest treasures of Africa have long disappeared. The cedar and other hardwood and softwood trees that seemed indestructible are today nowhere to be found not only in the Mau but anywhere else in Africa. I mourn the loss of my beautiful childhood habitat that was the Western MAU escapement.

As to the options to the great loss of the Mau, the government needs to immediately identify alternative settlement for those who will be affected then move in fast to reforest the Mau. Rift Valley Politicians who seems to simply shout at anything initiated by the government especially by the Prime Minister have no vision or direction for the future of Kenya except their political survival. They pretend to be on the side of the people yet have no vision or plans for the communityʼs future survival. They are the same people who recently opposed the legislation for their selfish wages to be taxed. The people of Rift Valley and the rest of Kenya need to hear the truth about their future not political survival tactics of few individuals. The beauty and protection that Mau forest provides to the East African ecosystem and the people cannot be compromised at any cost. The Prime Minister Raila, must move on without fear to protect our unique treasure in the Mau. True leadership decisions are not made by the mobs but by visionaries.

David Bett

chamaa@yahoo.com

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API

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Amnesty International Wants President Sirleaf Veto Death Penalty Bill

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

From J. Cholo Brooks/Liberia

Liberian President

Following the confirmation by the Liberian Senate of a bill re-proposing the death penalty for

certain crimes, Amnesty International called on President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to veto the bill.

The surest way to address crime is to strengthen the criminal justice system and the capacity of law enforcement agencies not to carry out state killings, which have never been shown to be a deterrent, said Amnesty International.

According to Amnesty International press release and sent to the GNN, the bill, passed by the House of Representatives on 7 May and the Senate on 16 July, makes armed robbery, terrorism and hijacking capital offenses.

The move came despite the fact that in September 2005, Liberia acceded to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which obliges Liberia to take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty.

The Liberian government must fulfill its obligation under international law to abolish the death penalty, said Amnesty International. Rather than introducing legislation such as this bill, the Liberian government should introduce a constitutional provision abolishing the death penalty for all crimes.

This legislation is in bad faith, and entirely inconsistent with the object and purpose of the protocol to which the Liberian government acceded, which aims to abolish the death penalty.

Amnesty International urged the Liberian government to carry out a survey of current legislation with a view to abolishing the death penalty for all crimes, including in military penal codes.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a violation of the right to life and as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

Notes to editors:

According to Article 31 (1) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a treaty is to be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose. The presumption of good faith justifies the conclusion that states parties intend treaties to be effective.

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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API

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Spending a moment with Sumbeiywo discussing Sudan peace

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

On Saturday the 18th of July 2008, I had a rear opportunity to meet and interact with Gen (rtd) Lazarus Sumbeiywo, the famous mediator for the Sudan Peace Process. It was around lunch time when he was about to leave one of his private properties in Eldoret Town that he offered to verbally inform me, but on his personal perspective and capacity as a Kenyan and not as an official statement, about the fate of Sudan. Though very optimistic on the Peace Process that was signed years back and that was time consuming and challenging, he still assures the people of Sudan lasting peace. Even as the warrant for President Omar Al-Bashir may be reviewed after six weeks the only challenge comes in when Sudan begins to disintegrate. This could be in three regions; North, South and West of Sudan.

Previously an agreement on wealth sharing during the pre-interim and interim period was held at Naivasha in the year 2004 and witnessed by Lt. Gen. Lazaro K. Sumbeiywo (Rtd) on behalf of the IGAD Envoys.
The Government of the Republic of the Sudan and the Sudan Peopleʼs Liberation Movement/Sudan Peopleʼs Liberation Army (the Parties) had previously been conducting negotiations under the auspices of the IGAD Peace mediated Process; and having taken up the division of wealth in pursuit of comprehensive agreement, that will ensure a just and durable peace in the Sudan.

Now that they have reached an agreement on Wealth Sharing, covering the division of oil and non-oil revenues, the management of the oil sector, the monetary authority and the reconstruction of the South and
other war-affected areas during the Pre-Interim and Interim Period were agreed upon.

The parties agreed and confirmed that they were determined to build on this important Agreement until a comprehensive peace Agreement is reached.
It is within this context that the Parties agreed to continue negotiations on the remaining outstanding issues on the Conflict Areas and Power Sharing and subsequently negotiated for a comprehensive ceasefire
Agreement and Implementation Modalities in order to achieve a final comprehensive Peace Agreement in the Sudan .

OIL RESOURCES.

These were the guiding principles for the management and development of the petroleum
sector. The Parties agreed that the basis for an agreed and definitive framework for the management of the development of the petroleum sector during the Interim Period shall include the following:
Sustainable utilization of oil as a non-renewable natural resource consistent with:

a) the national interest and the public good;

b) the interest of the affected states/regions;

c) the interests of the local population in affected areas;

d) national environmental policies, biodiversity conservation guidelines, and cultural heritage protection principles.

Empowerment of the appropriate levels of government to develop and manage, in consultation with the relevant communities, the various stages of oil production within the overall framework for the management of petroleum development during the Interim Period. Give due attention to enabling policy environment for the flow of foreign direct investment by reducing risks associated with uncertainties regarding the outcome of the referendum on self-determination at the end of the Interim Period.

Establishment of a stable macroeconomic environment that emphasizes on the need to have stability of the petroleum sector. Persons enjoying rights in land shall be consulted and their views shall duly be taken into account in respect of decisions to develop subterranean natural resources from the area in which they have rights, and shall share in the benefits of that development. Persons enjoying rights in land are entitled to compensation on just terms arising from acquisition or development of land for the extraction of subterranean natural resources from the area in respect of which they have rights. The communities in whose areas development of subterranean natural resources occurs have the right to participate, through their respective states/regions, in the negotiation of contracts for the development of those resources.

Regardless of the contention over the ownership of land and associated natural resources, the Parties agree on a framework for the regulation and management of petroleum development in Sudan during the Interim Period.

Mundia Mundia Jnr.

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API

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Responding for a request for help

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

Dear Nozizwe,

We cannot help you but the www.wspchs.org will know to whom you should be directed to in South Africa. You do not need to pay fees for surgery and consultations and there is a compassionate program already evident in South Africa. First contact the Wspchs, and then they will offer you the contact details.
Warm regards,
Aubyn Marath MD
On Jul 1, 2008, at 5:10 AM, Nozizwe Dhlamini wrote:

Dear friends


I am a lady aged 27, residing in Zimbabwe, Africa seeking any kind of assistance to enable me to undergo a heart operation. I have been diagnised with a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)and a mitral valve incompetancy. This condition requires an urgent operation to repair the Ventricular Septal Defect and replace the incompetent Mitral Valve (MVR). The heart surgery cannot be done in Zimbabwe unfortunately due to lack of equipment and skilled doctors. My local physician had referred me to South Africa to a Specialist Cardiothoracic Surgeon who charged ZAR300 000 in total for the procedure; which was became a milestone for me as i live under harsh economic conditions of our country. The amount is equivalent to US$40 000. My health continues to deteriorate day after day and i can hardly execute my daily duties. I am desparate for any well wisher who can sponser me with cash or kind. I am also prepared to be taken anywhere else in the world for this operation because i am desperate for life.


Ihave attached copies of my Echo-test results; the most recent going back to 2007. Also attached is a referral letter from mylocal doctor and a responce from the South African Cardiothoracic Surgeon. You can reply to the following e-mail adress: sibonakalisodube@yahoo.com. If your organisationcant help, kindly forward this letter to any organisations and individuals you feel may assist. Thank you in advance and God bless you.


Yours sincerely


Sibonakaliso dube


Contact Telephones: 00263- 912 896688 or 00263- 9- 474435

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API

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Hon Mwau, the new Kamba leader?

Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

This is the type of LEADER we in KAMBALAND have been crying for,foralong time. Man of action. Man who wants to pull his own people from poverty.Man who does not delight in seeing his people in poverty. Not the type of backward and primitive leader like KALONZO who wants to be seen as a success alone in his constituency. Kalonzo is on record as a man who can never benefit any body norhelp anybody. He delights in seeing poverty and failures so that he knows he will only be the undisputed leader. What a useless leader? How may development projects has he innitiated,how many youths has he elevated from poverty, how many intelligent children from poor families that can not raise school fees does he help?

Only God knows.This is the type of leader that the Kambas need to face out.Proud for nothing, useless. God bless Mwau, and may he give you the vision to transform that constituency into a real model one that will be the envy of all constituencies in Kenya. One Mr.Mwau one thing you should not forgett is to empower your people with quality education. Build also a MODEL SCHOOLS in KILOME for boys and girls that will produce future leaders to continue your dream. I am one of your leutenants in your vision. USICHOKE MWAU. You are a born leader.


Mumo Mutinda
1701 west saint catherine
Louisville KY 40210
USA

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API

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Posted by African Press International on July 24, 2008

From rose cupo

July 18, 2008)
May I share a story with you?

Dear Mike,

Last night I fell asleep with the radio on. And I woke up hearing you speak about the recent loss of your dear wife.

When I heard you conveying the story of flying into New York City for the first time since she died, I was so moved by your words.

You spoke of the pilot dipping the wing in order to view the wonderful Manhattan skyline. And how your wife loved the city. And how you were the passenger sitting there crying like a baby.

I could really relate to your words, as we share a similar story.

My brother died very suddenly in 1996. His immune system was so weakened by being HIV Positive, that his body was unable to fight off the infection that ended up killing him.

Shortly after his loss, I found myself walking alone around Manhattan waiting for an appointment to go and retrieve his things from his office. He was a film executive.

Well, there was a man sitting on the sidewalk with a sign stating that he had AIDS and to please help. He was so sick.

I gave him some money and asked him How are you doing?

He replied, Well, Im still alive.

You can probably imagine what happened next.

When you lose someone so dear to you, you just never know when such a wave of emotion is going to well-up inside of you.

I found myself wishing I had remembered to bring my sunglasses.

The man looked at me with a puzzled look on his gaunt face. Maybe he thought I was crying for him. And I was.

Thank you, Mike, for sharing your story which must be so painful for you.

Im sitting here crying as I write this. It does get easier but will always be a part of you.

Its wonderful being human, isnt it?!

— A Listener

http://www.myspace.com/koostapo

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API

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