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Archive for November 13th, 2008

South Africa: Life expectancy lower than Iraq and African average

Posted by African Press International on November 13, 2008

Johannesburg (South Africa) – In South Africa, the life expectancy for men is 49 and for women 50.

The number of illiterate South African men is more than double than those in Zimbabwe. The life expectancy of South Africans is lower than the average in Africa and that of war-ravaged Iraq, a UN Population Fund report showed.

The data is contained in a report on the state of the world population in 2008 which was released by the United Nations Population Fund on Tuesday.

Beeld newspaper reported that, worldwide, men are expected to live until 65 and women until almost 70. But in Africa, men are expected to live until 52 and women until 54.

In South Africa, the life expectancy for men is 49 and for women 50. In Iraq, those figures are 58 and 62 for men and women respectively.

Australians expect to live long lives the life expectancy for men and women there are 79 and 84 respectively.

The report said South Africas HIV infection rate of 14.5 percent among men and 21.8 percent among women places it among the highest on the continent.

Developing countries are also responsible for the most births in the world. In developed countries, 23 babies are born for every 1,000 teenage girls aged between 15 and 19. In less developed countries, that number increases to 57 and in under-developed nations, the figure is 116.

The report also showed that the number of illiterate South African men is more than double than those in Zimbabwe. Illiteracy among South African men over 15-years-old is 16 percent as opposed to seven percent in Zimbabwe, Beeld said. Nineteen percent of South African women older than 15 are illiterate compared to 14 percent in Zimbabwe.
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API/Source.Sapa (South Africa) – November 13, 2008.

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Nigeria: Disappeared satellite “parked” to avoid accident in space

Posted by African Press International on November 13, 2008

Abuja (Nigeria) – The federal government yesterday explained that the Nigerian satellite reported to have disappeared in orbit was actually ‘parked’ in order to avoid an accident in space and to preserve the satellite from total destruction.

Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr Alhassan Zaku told State House Correspondents after yesterday’s Federal Executive Council meeting that the satellite developed a problem in its solar panel and after several efforts by the Chinese and Nigerian engineers to rectify it failed; a decision was reached that it should be moved out of the way of other satellites.

The minister who was reacting to media reports that NigComSat is missing in space however assured all patrons of the satellite as well as Nigerians that arrangements are being made to provide alternative services, using other satellite pending when the problems would be corrected.

He explained: “Our engineers who are manning the ground station here in Abuja, noticed that the satellite in the orbit was not being recharged, usually this is supposed to happen via solar energy. Usually when it is not being recharged it losses energy very fast, so when they noticed that, they quickly reported to the managing director.

About the same time, the station in China, of course the satellite was built and launched in China, noticed and also called to communicate what they have noticed but that they were working to see what they could do. Immediately, they summoned their engineers including the president of the company that built the satellite and they tried to see what they could do about the power being lost.

“When they found that it was becoming a bit difficult for them to manage, they contacted us to ask what they should do since it is our own. At around 9a.m I met with the MD and we looked at the options and decided that the best thing to do was to park it like you park a car.

Because if it is not parked there will be no energy left to move it but because there was still some energy left we decide to move it aside and park it in a safe place. Because if it is not done, it will lose all the energy and become like a loose canon which will keep rolling about hitting other satellites in orbit.

And of course almost all satellites are carrying loads that are paid for and once you make that damage you are liable. So we decided that they should park it while repairs continue” he said.

The minister reassured Nigerians that there was no cause for alarm as everything is being done to ensure that neither the federal government nor those subscribing to the satellite lose.

“However, we have also told them that in the event that it cannot be repaired our insurance companies have to replace it. It is insured so it will be replaced either they give us another one which is already in orbit or they build another one.

“Meanwhile, all the customers whose pay load we are carrying have been assured that we will migrate whatever we are carrying for them – TV, radio into another transponder so they need not fear at all, of course they are not going to pay anything. The cost will be borne by our own satellite because they paid for it.

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API/Source.Vanguard (Nigeria) – November 13, 2008.

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Zimbabwe: ZANU PF asks Mugabe to form government

Posted by African Press International on November 13, 2008

Harare (Zimbabwe) – Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU PF party has urged President Robert Mugabe to form an inclusive government immediately, government spokesman Sikahnyiso Ndlovu said.

Ndlovu, information minister in the old government and still holding that position pending formation of a new administration, said ZANU PF’s communist-style politburo urged Mugabe to invite the opposition MDC to join government in line with a ruling by southern African leaders on Sunday.

He told journalists in Harare: The ZANU PF politburo unanimously resolved that President Mugabe should, with immediate effect, proceed to form the inclusive government of Zimbabwe in full compliance with resolutions of the SADC extraordinary summit.”

Ndlovu said, as ruled by the SADC summit, the disputed ministry of home affairs would be co-managed by ZANU PF and the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC party.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders at an emergency summit in Johannesburg on Sunday ruled that Zimbabwe’s rival political leaders form a power-sharing government forthwith to end a debilitating political stalemate gripping the country since Mugabe’s controversial re-election last June.

The SADC, which brokered Zimbabwe’s September 15 power-sharing agreement, ruled that the MDC and ZANU PF co-manage the ministry of home affairs, in charge of the police and whose control had been a stumbling block to the formation of a unity government.

Tsvangirai who wants the MDC to have sole control of home affairs immediately rejected the call to co-manage the portfolio with ZANU PF and said his party would not join the unity government. He will meet the top leadership of his party to decide the next step forward, amid warnings by political analysts that he risks alienating himself from African leaders whose support he will still need to oust Mugabe if he insisted on defying the SADC ruling.

Ndlovu held out hope the MDC may yet change its mind and agree to join the inclusive government, telling reporters: The President is going to invite the MDC, its premature to say they have refused.

The smaller formation of the MDC led by academic Arthur Mutambara has said it respects the SADC resolution to form a unity government but may not participate in the government if Tsvangirai stays out.

ZANU PF insiders say they expect Mugabe to leave slots open in Cabinet hoping for a change of heart by the MDC but that he would eventually fill up all positions and move ahead with running the country if the opposition continued to refused to join the government.

Such a step by Mugabe would effectively kill what had appeared an historic power-sharing deal and which analysts had said was the best opportunity for Zimbabwe to begin on new chapter of national healing and economic recovery. The power-sharing deal that was brokered by former South African President Thabo Mbeki on behalf of SADC retains Mugabe as president while making Tsvangirai prime minister and Mutambara deputy prime minister.

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API/Source.ZimOnline (South Africa) – November 13, 2008.

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