African Press International (API)

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Archive for July 2nd, 2013

Serbia and Kosovo closer to the EU

Posted by African Press International on July 2, 2013

– The statement of the EU Council marks an important step forward for European cooperation for Serbia and Kosovo. This progress is based on the two countries’ effort to normalise their relations. I commend the Governments of Kosovo and Serbia for the courage and leadership they have shown in this process, said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide

The heads of government in the EU agreed today to open accession negotiations with Serbia. They also decided to open negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo.

– The Governments in Belgrade and Prishtina have shown great determination and leadership in their efforts to normalise relations between Kosovo and Serbia and to facilitate practical cooperation between their two countries, said Eide.

Closer cooperation with the EU with a view to membership is of key importance for both Kosovo and Serbia. Both countries consider EU membership important in order to advance economic and social progress in their countries and maintain political stability in the region.

I also would like to commend the EU and Catherine Ashton for their active facilitation of the understanding between Kosovo and Serbia and for their support for the two government’s efforts to implement the understanding. This has led to both countries making historic steps towards EU-membership, said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.

Norway is continuing its close cooperation with the countries of the Western Balkans and the EU in order to support further positive developments in the region.

 

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Our Lives – looking up: Surveying household incomes in 10 countries

Posted by African Press International on July 2, 2013

Photo: IRIN
Surveying household incomes in 10 countries

NAIROBI,  –  Late last year, IRIN launched the series Our Lives, which interviewed 20 men and women in 10 countries about how they coped with the cost of living. Those testimonies have been updated, along with basic monthly income and expenditure data, providing a fascinating insight into people’s domestic affairs.

Eighteen of our respondents said their household incomes had improved or stayed the same since December 2012. For Kumari Magar, a maid in Nepal, a new job helped her household earnings nearly double, from $90 to $170.  “My new employers often give us clothes and leftover food, including vegetables each week. I hope they keep me for a long time,” she said.

John Tamba in Liberia also saw his wage packet swell with a promotion from an elementary school teacher to a district schools supervisor, although the monthly expenditure of his six-member household on food increased by 50 percent.

In KenyaMilicent Wanyama’s profits rose after she was able to add the sale of doughnuts to her breadcrumb business in the Ngomongo slums of Nairobi (some residents cannot afford an entire loaf), while Rashid Minhas in Pakistan was struggling as a taxi driver until a friend tipped him off to a better-paying factory job in Lahore.

Moloantoa Mokhomphatha in Lesotho, a builder, also feels his fortunes are beginning to change for the better. After enrolling in horticulture courses, he is now thinking about moving into the fruit business.

Increases in staple costs between December 2012 and April 2013

Using self-reported data, excluding ambiguous figures. Where both respondents from a country provided clear data, averages were used

And then there are the not-so-lucky. Among them is Samir Uddin, our street hawker in Mymensing, Bangladesh. His monthly earnings are down, his food bill is up, and he is struggling to repay a $400 loan he took out last year. “Either the government should control food prices or introduce a rationing system for the poor. Otherwise, we cannot survive,” he told IRIN.

Security guard Kenyi Chaplain Paul in South Sudan also saw his household income fall; his wife lost some of her pigs as a fine after they broke into a neighbour’s farm and ate the crops.

Food price increases have been the bane of virtually all the respondents interviewed. In Lesotho, maize flour was up by over 100 percent, and rice and vegetables by 40 percent in Nepal, they told IRIN. In a number of cases, people admitted to belt-tightening to get by.

Other changes in people’s lives over the last several months include a baby for restaurateur Mama Tembely Coulibaly in Mali, a new husband for Lorpu Kah in Liberia, and a touch of celebrity status for Liliana Lova Rahoaritsalamanirinarisoa, who was featured on Madagascar TV as a result of this series.

Stay tuned for the next IRIN instalment.

oa/rz source http://www.irinnews.org

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Egypt must find a political solution to the crisis

Posted by African Press International on July 2, 2013

“I am deeply concerned about the deadlocked political situation in Egypt. If the parties fail to find a political solution in the next few hours, the government could collapse, throwing the country into a serious crisis,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

Millions of people are taking part in the most massive protests Egypt has ever seen. Statements made by President Morsi, opposition leaders and the military indicate that a critical and decisive moment is imminent. Positions have hardened and many members of the Government have resigned. The way the crisis is resolved will have major consequences for Egypt’s future political development and for democratic development in the region as a whole.

Ever since President Morsi came to power, Norway has advocated that the authorities should initiate broad-based political processes and involve all segments of Egyptian society in the development of democracy. It is regrettable to have to acknowledge that this has not been achieved so far.

“Norway has supported, and will continue to support, the difficult transition to democratic rule in Egypt. We have maintained close contact with both the regime and the opposition, and we will continue our efforts to ensure that developments in the country are steered by the will of the people. I urge the parties to find a political solution based on constitutional measures and democratic values. No one benefits from the use of violence. It is essential that all parties refrain from violence, and the authorities have a particular responsibility to protect civilian demonstrators,” said Mr Eide.

 

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