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Archive for August 3rd, 2008

Uganda Government News: Museveni wants AU to handle Bashir issue

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

President Yoweri Museveni has said that the African Union should be leff to find a solution to the Darfur crisis, instead of indicting Sudanese President Omar El Bashir.

Museveni who addressed a press conference at State House Nakasero yesterday said that western countries prescribe wrong medicine for African problems, yet Africans can solve the problems by themselves.

He was reacting to the proposal by the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor to indict the Sudan president to face war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur.

Museveni said Uganda does not condemn nor condone the proposed indictments, but is for an African solution to the conflict in Darfur.

The President also talked at length about the need for him and the Kabaaka of Buganda to meet face to face and mend their souring relations.

But the Baganda have been insisting that according to tradition, the Kabaka can not meet with anyone to discuss issues, and whoever wants to discuss with the Kabaka has to do so with the Katikiro (Buganda kingdom prime minister).

But Museveni says it is unavoidable for the President to meet the Kabaka or any other cultural leader if they hold contentious views about issues that affect the people they are both concerned about.

He also defended the re-arresting of three Buganda kingdom officials after they had been released, instead blaming the Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate who ordered the unconditional release of the three officials.

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12-year-old with HIV to open world AIDS conference

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

MEXICO CITY: Keren Dunaway was 5 when her parents used drawings to explain to her that they both had the HIV virus and so didshe.

Now the 12-year-old is one of the most prominent AIDS activists in Latin America and a rarity in a region where few children are willing to break the silence and tell their classmates they have HIV for fear of rejection. She edits a children’s magazine on thevirus.

On Sunday evening, Keren shares the stage with the Mexican president and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as they open an international AIDSconference.

She flashes a dimpled smile, exposing a row of braces, and settles comfortably into her chair before expertly fastening on a microphone. She talks matter-of-factly about the virus she has had sincebirth.

“It’s like a little ball that has little dots, and is inside me, sort of swimming inside me,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press, curling her fist as she recalls what her parents explained to her with drawings longago.

Keren’s openness about her HIV status comes as the virus’s victims grow increasinglyyounger.

Worldwide, people ages 15-24 accounted for 45 percent of people infected with HIV in 2007, according to the 2008 U.N. AIDSreport.

In Latin America, 55,000 of the nearly 2 million people with the virus were under 15 years old, the vast majority of them infected by their mothers. Only 36 percent of pregnant women in the region receive medicine to prevent transmission, although that is an increase of 26 percent since2004.

And while more than 60 percent of the adults with HIV receive antiretroviral drugs in Latin America, only about one-third of children do. Experts say less research and funding has been dedicated to medicine for HIV-positive children, who require smaller doses and additional medication to offset the aggressiveness ofantiretrovirals.

Even so, children born with HIV are increasingly looking forward to longlives.

“There’s a whole new generation of young people that were born with HIV that are reaching adulthood. It presents very interesting challenges,” said Nils Katsberg, UNICEF’S director of Latin America and theCaribbean.

It won’t be easy encouraging HIV-positive children to speak out in Latin America, where talking openly about sexuality is oftentaboo.

When she first started school, Keren’s classmates refused to play with her. Speaking out about HIV made all the difference. At 9, she began accompanying her parents founders of the AIDS advocacy group “Llaves” on talks to schools. She has visited half-a-dozen countries to share herstory.

Last year, she started up “Llavecitas,” a children’s version of a magazine her parents publish. The Llaves foundation distributes 10,000 copies every two months acrossHonduras.

But too often, children with HIV “live in a culture of secrecy,” said Maria Villanueva Medina, a psychologist with Casa de la Sal, a group that runs an orphanage for children with HIV in MexicoCity.

“They can’t talk about their diagnosis in the school because they can be kicked out. They can’t talk about it in their communities with theirneighbors.”

At Casa de la Sal, children are told about the virus around the same age as Keren was, but few dare to tell their schoolmates even where theylive.

Casa de la Sal is adapting to a new reality. When it first opened 22 years ago, many of the children died by the time they reached their teens. Today, the orphanage has not had a death in 10 years. The government providesantiretrovirals.

Faced with the challenge of preparing the children for adulthood, the orphanage eventually began sending them to regular schools instead of giving classes within theinstitution.

The hope is that someday, many will be outspoken advocates for their owncause.

“We need to start getting young people involved in leadership again in HIV and AIDS because it’s easy to get kind of complacent,” said Joe Cristina, whose Los Angeles-based Children Affected by AIDS Foundation helps fund theorphanage.

Keren writes an upbeat editorial each week. (“I want to congratulate all the boys and girls who have graduated and got good grades. Keep it up!!”) She is now popular among herclassmates.

She takes singing and acting lessons, dreams of going to Hollywood and breathlessly notes that she shares the same Zodiac sign Sagittarius and favorite color purple with her teen idol, MileyCyrus.

“Sometimes I have so much fun that I forget I have this” virus, shesaid.

But she often gets e-mails from other children with HIV worried about telling the truth to theirfriends.

“I tell them to first explain about the disease, how its transmitted, how it can’t be transmitted, what it is,” she said. “And then they should tell them with confidence that they have it if theywant.”

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API/haraldtribune

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Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

By Sunday Standard Team

President Kibakis final day in office could be some four years away but not so the jostling for his shoes. The succession game is not just playing out within the Presidents Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement.

The ripple effect is being felt in the higher cadres of the Civil Service, especially within the security class that steered the country as it stumbled through a flawed election and subsequent blood letting.

On Thursday the cast perceived to be repositioning itself for 2012s return march, met in private under the chairmanship of the Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura. Present were the Director General of National Security Intelligence Service Major-General Michael Gichangi, Police Commissioner Major-General Hussein Ali and Administration Police Commandant Kinuthua Mbugua who has just earned himself a two-year contract.

Mbugua was expected to retire last month, after attaining the mandatory retirement age of 55, for civil servants.

Also present was Mr Francis Kimemia, the Office of the President technocrat who was elevated to Permanent Secretary for Internal Security in Kibakis second term, and Youth Affairs PS Mr Mburugu Kinuthia.

The agenda, on the face value, was the replacement of the besieged Prison Commandant Gilbert Omondi, who could be ejected as early as next week. Key faces absent in the meeting, and who traditionally are instrumental in transition, were the Attorney General Amos Wako, Chief Justice Evan Gicheru and the Chief of General Staff General Jeremiah Kianga.

The meeting was not, however, one such that they had to be, for it was just one cog in the wheel. But it is to these offices that the nation will look up to, apart from the elective positions, for a smooth transition. It is on their shoulders, or that of their replacements, that the task of averting the kind of violence that took Kenya to the precipice of a civil war early in the year, is avoided.

Informed sources, however, say this is the non-political brotherhood that influence, if not manage the Kibaki succession, albeit on the sideline, and in the boardroom. That would however depend on whether their contracts would be extended when they lapse.

Appointed in 2002 Muthaura, 62, was to have quit the Civil Service seven years ago, but closeness with the President has earned him successive renewals of his contract, the last being last year. There are no signs he is about to bow out, even as others are ejected when they approach retirement age.

Gichangi, 50, has a security of tenure and though appointed in 2006, his current contract lapses in 2010, but he is entitled to a renewal.

Ali, 52, crossed over from the military in 2004 to head the police. Though his contract was renewed, it is not clear when it hits the rock bottom.

Born in 1950 and appointed to head the military in 2005, Kiangas tenure lapses next August, but could in the precedent set by his predecessor General Joseph Kibwana, accept a shorter contract against the so-called Tonje rules in the Force.

The rules require a general retires at 58 or after serving four years, whichever comes first.

Born in 1945, and now aged with a security of tenure, the Constitution is silent on when the AG should retire. But he could go on his volition, but also following recommendation by a tribunal.

Born in 1942, Gicheru who is now 65 enjoys security of tenure like other members of the Bench until the age of 74. He is therefore due to for retirement in 2017. In all likelihood the two shall be in office as Kenyans prepare for a fourth President.

Kimemia who took over from Mr Cyrus Gituai, is a younger face, and even though his profile could not be downloaded from the Government website, he could be in his late 40s. He could therefore, unless he is moved, be one of the key managers of the coming transition. It cannot be ruled out that Mbugua could, like Muthaura, get another extension after 2010. The AP, which he commands, was mentioned adversely in connection with alleged rigging claims in the last election.

Electoral Commission of Kenya, being the oversight body, could be reformed in the coming constitutional review, amid accusations it has structural weaknesses that nearly took the country to war. Part of the reforms could target about 20 of 22 commissioners whose five-year contracts were unilaterally renewed by the President, against the 1997 Inter-Party Parliamentary Group agreement. But even if their tenures are not affected, it will still be the Presidents discretion in 2010 to appoint a new cast or renew their contracts.

ECK chairman Samuel Kivuitu is on a shorter term, and may not oversee the elections of the fourth President.

But if the tradition that saw him in 1997 take over from the late Justice Chesoni whom he deputised, then Mr Kihara Muttu, the Presidents former family lawyer, could succeed Kivuitu.

New prisons boss

When the top guns met on Thursday night, we are reliably informed, the name of Mr George McAGoye was floated as a suitable replacement for Omondi.

McAgoye was at one point tipped to take over from Mbugua, but was transferred to Public Works Ministry as an under secretary.

His possible appointment at the Prisons Department will further push him away from the now sought after position of the AP Commandant.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka under whom the Prisons Department falls, and who is touted as the possible presidential candidate for PNU in 2012, is expected by the Office of the President and security technocrats to endorse McAgoye. This will be followed by formal appointment any time this week by President Kibaki.

But a confidante of the VP said they already have another person in mind.

The changes in this arm of security were set on course by last weeks release of a report by a team appointed to probe the mess in the department.

This week, Ministry of Defence is expected to issue a ministerial statement in Parliament on allegations of political interference, nepotism, cronyism and skewed promotions in the military.

The Government was asked by Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale, whether it is alive to the possible consequences of discontent within the military.

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Published by Chief Editor Korir, African Press International – API/ Source.standard.ke

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South African Vice President Stops over in Luanda

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

Luanda, 08/03 The South African vice-president, Phumzile Mlambo-Nguka, arrived last Saturday in Luanda, in transit to Mexico, where she will participate in the 17th International Conference on AIDS, to happen on 03-08 August in that country.

During his arrival, Phumzile Nguka, who did not speak to the press, received welcome greetings at Luandas 04 de Fevereiro International Airport by the South African ambassador To Angola He Kubheka, with whom she talked for about an hour and half, while the aeroplane was being refuelled.

The International Conference on AIDS, which is held every two years, gathers over 20,000 health professional, scientists, governments representatives, journalists, religious leaders and people who are infected with HIV.

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Published by Chief Editor Korir, African Press International – API/Source.angolapress

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Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

(ENTEBBE) The Ugandan President today said he does not condemn the indictment by the International Criminal Court Prosecutor adding that African are to blame for not investigating Darfur crimes.

Yoweri Museveni

The ICCs prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked pre-trial judges on Monday to issue arrest warrants for Sudans head of state.

Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. Judges are expected to take months to study the evidence before deciding whether to order Al-Bashirs arrest.

“The correct position of the AU should be to investigate ourselves. We dont condemn the indictments but the AU should conduct investigations itself so that we decide on our own,” Yoweri Museveni said in a press conference on Saturday.

“You may get people misbehaving. Is it Bashir who ordered them to do so?” Museveni wondered, replying to a journalists question.

“You cannot stand up and say: Dont touch Bashir because he is a president. Suppose he made those mistakes. If you take that position, you will be ignoring the right of the victims,” he added.

After talks with the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on July 30 in Kampala, Museveni supported the African Unions position that Bashir be given time to implement a ceasefire in the western Sudan region of Darfur.

Eight days before on July 22, Museveni held talks with the Sudanese First Vice President, Salva Kiir Mayadrit. In a joint press conference, the Ugandan President said Bashirs indictment would hinder the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Due to his bad relations with president Bashir, Museveni was the sole head of state to be met by Salva Kiir Mayadrit who is also the head of a crisis committee to deal will Darfur crimes case against the Sudanese president.

Museveni further said he believed that Sudan had also “committed war crimes by supporting the Ugandan rebel Lords Resistance Army” which fight against Museveni army since 21 year in northern Uganda

“The Lords Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony, using bases in Sudan and with the backing of Khartoum government has caused untold suffering to millions of people in northern Uganda,” he said.

Since the rejection of LRA leader, Joseph Kony, to sign a deal with Ugandan government, president Museveni steps up criticism against the Sudanese government.

On April 30, he lashed out at Khartoum saying is works to destabilise his government. He further said that U army is not fighting the rebel LRA but the Sudanese army.

In the past the Ugandan government accused regularly Khartoum of supplying arms, food and shelter to Kony in order to fight his government. But Kampala had stopped these accusations following the signing of a peace deal between Sudanese government and the former rebel SPLA in January 2005.

However in November 2006, Uganda renewed its allegations saying that Khartoum had created “Sudan LRA” and ordered it to attack civilians in the region.

Museveni took power through a military coup in 1986, three years before Bashir seized power in Khartoum.

(ST)

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Published by Chief Editor Korir, African Press International – API/ SourceSudanTribune

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Men in Norway overrate their driving skills

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

Despite the fact that men are overrepresented in Norwegian car accident statistics, they still think more highly of their driving abilities than women do.

A poll carried out by research firm Respons, shows that 39 percent of male drivers think that they are better drivers than the average. Only 18 percent of women assume the same about themselves.

Men between the ages of 30 and 59 are most confident in their driving. However, a review of traffic accidents carried out by daily newspaper Dagsavisen, showed that 58 of the 68 deaths on the roads in the first six months of this year, involved men.

“Men on average drive about 50 percent further than women. Even when this is taken into account, male drivers still have twice as much chance as women of dying in road accidents or being involved in accidents where someone else dies,” says chief researcher Fridulv Sagberg at the Norwegian Centre for Transport Research to Dagsavisen.

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Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

Weeks of tropical temperatures makes swimming enjoyable throughout most of the country.

Bathers flock to the water at Hvalstrand west of Oslo.

PHOTO: OLAV OLSEN

Swimming in the sea or in many of Norways lakes even in summer, is often best described as a short, sharp, shock. Recently however better temperatures have attracted more people to spend time in the water.

Water temperatures topping 20 degrees Celsius are to be found throughout Southern Norway and water quality is usually good. On Thursday, however local authorities in Brum, west of Oslo, recommended that bathers avoid the local beaches for a few days. Thunderstorms earlier in the week had caused drains to overflow, depositing some untreated sewage in the rivers.

According to Aftenposten.nos weather service, the lowest bathing temperature reported was 13 degrees from the Passvik river, which forms part of the border between Finnmark County and Russia in North-Eastern Norway. This is closer to the temperatures most swimmers have to accept on an ordinary summer’s day in most of Norway.

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API/sourceAftenposteneng

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Togolese opposition calls on govt to step down over handling of floods

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

Togos main opposition Union of Forces for Change (UFC) has called on the government to resign following the flooding in the southern part of the country, a reliable source has disclosed to APA.

The opposition Action Committee for Renewal (CAR) has also proposed the setting up of a solidarity fund to support the victims.

In a declaration made available to APA on Friday, UFC called for “the resignation of the current government”.

“After more than forty years of improvisation, amateurism, mismanagement and massive human rights violations without any prospect or vision of society, its time for the ruling Togolese Peoples Rally (RPT) regime to admit its failure to lead the country and step down”, UFC first vice-chairman, Patrick Lawson, wrote in the declaration.

The party official decried the indescribable poor condition of roads in Togo which “no longer meet the national needs” and he shared the grief of the flood victims.

The flooding hit the Lom Commune, the prefectures of Ogou, Haho, Zio, Av, Yoto, Vo and the Gulf, and destroyed about ten bridges, houses, crops and caused human losses.

The party official denounced the tragedies being experienced by the victims who have been left to themselves.

On Thursday, some party members brought food supplies to the flood victims in the eastern suburb of Lom.

“Faced with this disaster, the government has held repeated cabinet meetings in an attempt to rouse the pity of the international community from which it is expecting resources which will be diverted and wasted unpunished if there is no institutional control”, Lawson added, while warning that one does not play with the life of an entire people and get away with it.

For his part, CAR chairman, former Prime Minister Yaovi Agboyibo, issued a statement expressing his sympathy with the victims of the bad weather before urging the Togolese government to set up a solidarity fund “to which all people of goodwill will contribute in order to relieve the grief of the stricken population”.

The southern part of Togo has recently been experiencing serious flooding that have left 9 people killed, more than 10, 000 homeless and extensive property damage according to several sources close to the rescue services.

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API/sourceAPA

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Mandela calls for more disciplined amongst South African leadership

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

Now as much as ever in our history, South Africa requires disciplined leaders, former president Nelson Mandela said at a birthday celebration in his honour in Pretoria on Saturday.

He said the ANC were inheritors of a great organization, one that had existed for almost a century.

“It is now in your hands to uphold the best and the noblest of that history.

“I would be nothing without the ANC. I thank the ANC for having given meaning to my 90 years on this planet,” he said.

Mandela asked the public not to celebrate him as an individual but to celebrate the achievements and reaffirm the values of a great organization, one that has existed for almost a hundred years.

He also urged the public to celebrate and reaffirm the principles of collective leadership and inclusiveness.

“Let no individual, section, faction or group ever regard itself as greater than the organization and the common good of all our people.

“Our nation comes from a history of deep division and strife, let us never through our deeds or words take our people back down that road,” he said.

Mandela said South Africans had fought hard and sacrificed much for democracy.

“Protect, defend, consolidate and advance democracy – within the organization and in national life,” Mandela said.

He also said that South Africans should reaffirm their fundamental commitment to creating a better life for all, particularly the poor and marginalized.

“Poverty and deprivation in our midst demean all of us. We came together as a nation to end the scourge of apartheid.

“Today, we are challenged to end poverty and all its attendant suffering,” he said.

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API/sourceAPA

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Ethiopia reveals plans to produce 130 million litres of ethanol annually

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

Ethiopia announced on Saturday plans to produce 130 million litres of ethanol annually to tackle the rising cost of oil.

According to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, efforts are being exerted to raise Ethiopias production of ethanol to 130 million litres within the next five years.

The decision to increase the production of ethanol was made by the government following the rising oil price in the international market.

Ethiopia is spending around US$500 million to buy oil for its consumption every year.

The Ethiopian State Minister of Mines and Energy, Sinkinesh Ejigu said that ethanol is currently being produced only at the Fincha Sugar Factory from molasses in Addis Ababa.

However, the minster indicated that there are preparations to produce more ethanol at Metehara and Wonji sugar factories.

These two factories are making preparations to produce ethanol shortly while Tendaho, which is under construction, will also commence production on completion, Ejigu said.

She was speaking at the on going national conference organized to discuss about the use of ethanol in the country.

An extensive plan is underway to utilize ethanol for vehicles by mixing it with benzene and to substitute it for domestic fuel as well as export the surplus, Ejigu added.

Former United States President Bill Clinton, who made a visit to Ethiopia during the last two days also promised to support Ethiopias ethanol production under the Clinton Foundation, which is mainly working on the fight against malaria and HIV/AIDS.

The production of ethanol in the country is expected to save Ethiopias annual expenditure on oil importation.

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API/sourceAPA

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Lightning struck out trains – Norway

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

Thunderstorm put on quite a show over Oslo on Tuesday night.

Some train lines and Oslo’s public transport system were disrupted after a sudden and severe thunderstorm hit southern Norway Tuesday night.

Lightning struck the main T-bane station at Majorstuen, and service was still plagued by delays on Wednesday.

A train from Bergen that was due into Oslo at 11pm was nearly two hours delayed, because of a power failure caused by the thunderstorm.

Heavy rains also loosened some manhole covers around Oslo, and emergency crews were called out 38 times until the thunderstorm let up around 2am Wednesday.

“Weve really been rolling,” said Lars Evensen, operations leader of the Nordre Buskerud Police District in Hnefoss. “Alarms were ringing over town.”

Heavy rain that followed the initial lightning bolts almost immediately eased the danger of fires. In Oslo, the lightning and thunder was dramatic, and went on for hours.

State meteorologists said record warm temperatures in recent days set off the thunderstorm, which hadn’t been expected to hit until closer to the weekend.

Oslo remained under mostly cloudy skies on Wednesday with some patches of blue. More showers were expected towards evening and on Thursday and Friday, with near-constant rain predicted for Saturday, clearing somewhat on Sunday.

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API/sourceaftenposteneng

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Solar eclipse seen by thousands

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

Norway has experienced its first solar eclipse since 1954. Spectators gathered round a big screen in Oslo to see pictures relayed from a surveillance plane in the Arctic.

The sun was totally eclipsed when the moon passed in front of it on Friday.

PHOTO: STIG FOSS / LUFTFORSVARET

In Oslo approximately half the sun’s disk was covered by the moon. Further north, increasing parts of the sun were obscured.

At Longyearbyen on Svalbard, 93 percent was covered by the moon. Kvitya, an island North-East of the Svalbard archipelago, experienced a total eclipse for one and a half minutes.

Thousands gathered in Oslos Frogner Park to see live television coverage from the Arctic, and to see the local partial eclipse through safety glasses.

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API/sourceAftenposteneng

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IMF boss hails relations with Mauritania as excellent

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

The Director General of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mr. Dominique Strauss Kahn on Friday in Nouakchott described relations between Mauritania and the Fund as an example to be followed by other countries.

Mr. Strauss Kahn was holding a news conference, on the sidelines of the meeting of the African apex banks governors to the IMF and the World Bank.

He hailed Mauritania for its economic reforms, which he said, are aimed at alleviating poverty, which affects a large portion of this North-west African countrys population.

About his institutions mission, Mr. Strauss Kahn insisted that the IMF seeks to stabilise the world economy and develop the economic potentialities of member countries.

As for the current world crisis, the IMF boss insisted on the fact that it stems from the increasing oil and food prices, and the oil producing countries refusal to export their product, adding that the Breton Woods institutions (World Bank and IMF) have nothing to do with this global crisis.

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apa/SOURCE.APA

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Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

Benins President Yayi Boni on Saturday in Parakou (about 450 km north of Cotonou) raised local star Anglique Kidjo to the rank of commander of the countrys national order of merit for loyal services rendered to the nation.

“Anglique Kidjo symbolizes a monument of the Beninese culture. A worldwide star that is Benins pride not only in Africa but all over the world”, the minister of Culture, Crafts and Tourism, Soumanou Tolba said.

To show the whole nations gratitude to this singer, he went on to say, President Yayi Boni has decided to elevate her to the rank of commander of Benins national order of merit.

Accepting the honour, the Beninese music diva said she was proud not only to be Beninese but also to have taken Benins culture to the heart of the world music.

“I am proud not only to be a Beninese national but also to have taken the Beninese culture worldwide. Today this culture is feeding music in the Caribbean, the West Indies, Cuba and several other European and Asian countries”, she averred.

She urged her other compatriots to fully participate in the development of their country.

“My dear brothers and sisters in Benin, let us try to culturally and economically build this country towards a bright future”, she advised.

Born on 14 July 1960 in Ouidah, Anglique Kidjo is a renowned author-cum-composer and singer and she is influenced by afro beat, Zouk, Congolese rumba, jazz, gospel music and Latin music.

As a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, Anglique Kidjo sings with a strong and clear voice in French, Fon, Mina and English.

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Questions being asked in Kenya

Posted by African Press International on August 3, 2008

Report queries land resettlement

By Joseph Murimi

Questions have re-emerged over how former President Kenyattas regime spent the $100 million given by the British Government at independence to settle the displaced.

A document obtained by The Standard on Sunday revealed that the amount (Sh6.7 billion at current rates) was given to help address land issues including buying of land owned by European settlers.

The deal was a product of negotiations for independence at the Lancaster House Conference in London ahead independence from British colonialism in December 1963.

The money was given to the independence new Government in loans and grants.

On Thursday Lands PS Dorothy Angote re-opened the emotive land issue when she said problems began when the first regime after independence failed to settle citizens who were displaced by the colonialists despite the cash provided for the purpose from the UK.

A letter from the British High Commission in Nairobi, signed by Jonathan Bradbury (political section) in 1997, says it is the responsibility of the Government to settle all outstanding land claims.

Bradbury absolves the British Government on any claims saying the money was provided for and that it was the duty of the Kenyan Government to resolve the land issues.

“The British Government agreed to provide the new Kenyan Government with US$100 million in grants and loans to enable it to settle issues, including the purchase of land farmed by European settlers,” reads the letter.

Deal agreed in Lancaster

Further, the letter states: “It has been the responsibility of the Kenyan Government since independence to settle outstanding land claims with indigenous tribes and this remains the case.

The request for some sort of compensation therefore lies with the present Government, who are responsible for any land claims and settlement.”

The deal was agreed at during the Lancaster House conference where it was agreed that Kenya be granted independence in December 1963. The letter was in reply to another one written by members of the Pokot community who wanted to know the whereabouts of their compensation for land taken from them.

And yesterday, the members of the Pokot community revisited the issue alleging they were short-changed by the Kenyatta regime. Chairman of the Pokot Professionals Charles Chedotm said the community never benefited from the money paid as compensation for land they lost in Trans Nzoia District.

He said members of the community were evicted from the land in 1922 when Kenya was a British protectorate. The land was given to the white settlers.

He claimed that the community has suffered historical injustices after losing the ancestral land, which he says stretches from Soy, Kachibora to River Nzoia.

“Pokot community became marginalised economically, socially, politically and even educationally and, to date, continue to live in abject poverty,” said Chedotm.

The community blames the Kenyatta Government over the injustices decrying oppression given that even after the colonialists left, the land was not returned to them.

He said unless the land question is settled once and for all, tribal clashes would not end and the country would remain volatile.

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API/sourceStandard.ke

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