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EVENING REPORT: 08.11.2002
NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN BURUNDI GOVERNMENT AND REBELS FAIL.
DAR ES SALAAM: Negotiators from the Burundian government and Burundi's two largest rebel factions have failed to meet a deadline to sign a cease-fire agreement aimed at ending a nine-year civil war. The leaders of 14 regional governments had given the main faction of the Force for the Defence of Democracy and the National Liberation Forces 30 days to agree to a cease-fire with the Burundian interim government. Correspondent Linus Kai Kai was an observer at the talks in Dar es Salaam. He says the Forces for the Defence of Democracy and the Burundian government failed to agree on several issues, including the disarmament process.
A specialist on the Great Lakes region, Jan van Eck, says the failure of the Burundian peace talks bodes ill for Burundi's neighbours. Van Eck is from the Institute for International Political Studies at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma chaired the negotiations. Officials said Zuma was due to submit a report to the chairman of the Great Lakes Regional Initiative on Burundi, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. Kai Kai says Museveni will probably call a summit meeting to decide on further action.
IRAQ GIVEN LAST CHANCE TO ELIMINATE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.
UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council has approved a resolution giving Iraq one last chance to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction or face serious consequences. The resolution was drafted by the United States and co-sponsored by Britain. It gave Baghdad a week to accept the terms. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says the resolution will serve the cause of global peace and security.
ERITREA ACCUSED OF OFFERING RED SEA PORT AS BASE FOR U.S.
KHARTOUM: Sudan's Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail says Eritrea is offering the Red Sea port of Massawa as a military base for United States troops. Ismail says, however, that the US administration has denied taking a decision on accepting the Eritrean offer. He says his government is not as much concerned with that issue as it is with what he regarded as Eritrea's hostile attitude against its neighbours. Ismail has demanded that Eritrea refrain from interfering in Sudanese affairs, including the peace process. Eritrea is a member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, which is sponsoring peace negotiations between Khartoum and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army.
RWANDANS TO VOTE ON NEW DRAFT CONSTITUTION.
KIGALI: Rwanda is to put the draft of its new constitution to a referendum vote in March next year. The national electoral committee says this will mark the end of a transition period that began when the country's genocide was stopped in July 1994. A commission has been drawing up the new constitution since the beginning of the year. Before Rwanda's people vote on the new constitution, it must be approved by the government and validated by the national assembly. The electoral committee says both steps are due to be completed in November and December respectively.
WOMAN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH MWANAWASA'S DEATH.
PRETORIA: South African Police have arrested a 28-year-old woman in connection with the death of Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa's brother, Rex. Police say they arrested the woman at a block of flats in the capital, Pretoria, after following up leads. Mwanawasa was found dead in his room at the Best Western Pretoria Hotel on Saturday last week. His body was discovered by the owner of the hotel, Remmy Mukosa, who is also Mwanawasa's cousin. South African police spokesperson Mary Martins-Engelbrecht says the accused was arrested this morning.
E.U. REJECTS ZIM'S DEMAND FOR EUROPE AND BRITAIN TO COMPENSATE FARMERS.
BRUSSELS: The European Union has rejected Zimbabwe's demand for Europe and Britain to compensate white farmers evicted from their farms under Zimbabwe's land reform programme. Danish Minister for European Affairs, Berterl Haarder says the demand is unacceptable as the land reforms were conducted with - what he calls - minimum respect for the rule of law. The Zimbabwean government has seized most of the properties belonging to the country's four thousand-500 white farmers. Very few of them have been compensated so far. Haarder was speaking at the EU-SADC meeting in Maputo.
PEACE PLAN TO BE SUBMITTED TO IVORY COAST GOVERNMENT AND REBELS.
LOME: West African mediators say they will submit a peace plan to Ivory Coast rebels and government negotiators to try to end a conflict in the country. Mediators hope the plan will be signed by both sides this weekend, ending a conflict that has left hundreds dead after a failed coup in September. The Patriotic Movement of Ivory Coast tried to seize power on the 19th of September and holds the north of the country, which is a largely Muslim opposition stronghold. It wants President Laurent Gbagbo to resign and allow new elections. The Ivorian government has rejected the demand and is calling for rebels to disarm.
Meanwhile, reports from Abidjan say the brother of a senior rebel official has died in police detention. The body of Benoit Dacoury-Tabley bore gunshot wounds. He is the brother of Louis Dacoury-Tabley, the European representative of the Patriotic Movement rebel group. Diplomats and rebel commanders had said earlier that if the death were confirmed, it risked sparking renewed clashes between the government and mutineers. The two sides are currently observing a fragile truce. Benoit Dacoury-Tabley was a doctor based in Abidjan.
MINORITY PARTIES TO BE ALLOWED TO TAKE PART IN NIGERIAN ELECTION.
LAGOS: The Supreme Court of Nigeria has overruled a decision by the country's National Election Commission to bar minority parties from taking part in next year's elections. The court held the exclusion was null and void. The judgement followed a legal challenge from five smaller parties that were debarred from registering for the poll. The National Election Commission gave no official response to the ruling. Nigeria is expected to hold legislative and presidential elections by the end of May next year.
RWANDA'S TRADITIONAL COURTS TO BE EXTENDED.
KIGALI: Judicial officials say Rwanda's system of semi-traditional local courts, created to try people accused of carrying out genocide in 1994, will be extended across the country from the 25th of next month. The Gacaca courts have been active in the 12 administrative districts of the country on a trial basis since mid-June. The authorities plan to set up about 11-thousand of them in all. Almost 100-thousand people are in Rwandan jails accused to taking part in the organised massacre of a million minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus between April and July 1994. The Gacaca are based on the traditional village meetings where elders settle disputes, but bring aspects of the jury system and court trials.
SUDANESE GOVERNMENT REJECTS U.N. REPORT ON COUNTRY.
KHARTOUM: The Sudanese government has criticised a report drawn up by the United Nations human rights rapporteur after a visit to the country last month. The government's advisory council on human rights' Yasser Sidahmed says Gerhart Baum's report is unbalanced as it does not refer to violations by the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army. He pointed out that the government, in response to suggestions by Baum, had set up a Christian advisory council within its guidance ministry and appointed a non-Muslim in the ministry's churches administration. Government officials say the reports is a violation of Sudan's sovereignty.
ZIM TREASON TRIAL POSTPONED UNTIL NEXT YEAR.
HARARE: The treason trial of Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and two of his colleagues, which was due to begin next week, has been postponed until February the third next year. The three have been accused of plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe. They deny the charges, which carry the death penalty. The Zimbabwean Attorney General said the trial was postponed following an urgent application by the three accused. The are asking for a copy of a videotape which, according to the State, implicates them in the alleged plot. Tsvangirai heads the Movement for Democratic Change party in Zimbabwe.
S.A. EDUCATION RECEIVES VITAL CASH INJECTION.
JOHANNESBURG: South African Education Minister Kadar Asmal has proclaimed an allotment of four-million dollars that will benefit a thousand students from impoverished communities. He announced this at the opening of a centre of higher learning in the city of Johannesburg. The students will study business administration and information technology. Asmal says the South African private sector is contributing a great deal of money towards national education.
AL QAEDA BEHIND BALI BOMBINGS: INDONESIAN POLICE.
JAKARTA: Indonesia says Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network was behind last month's devastating bombings on Bali island and that attackers wanted to kill as many Americans as possible. Defence Minister Matori Abdul Djalil says a detained Indonesian man who has confessed to participating in the bombings was a member of Jemaah Islamiah. This is a radical Southeast Asian Islamic network that has been linked to al Qaeda. His arrest marks the first big breakthrough in the investigation into the bombings on Bali, the most devastating in the world since the September eleventh attacks in the United States last year.
ICC WILL NOT EXPAND TECHNOLOGY AT NEXT YEAR'S WORLD CUP.
LONDON: The International Cricket Council, ICC, has decided not to expand the use of technology to assist umpires at the World Cup tournament in South Africa next year. After studying a report of the recent International Cricket Council Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka, the council identified several concerns with extending the use of television replays. These include: changes in the role and relationship of umpires; the inclusion of television producers in the decision making process; the significant costs associated with the introduction of the technology, and the training needs of officials to enable the effective use of expanded technology.
SPRINGBOK COACH NAMES 5 UNCAPPED PLAYERS IN NEW SQUAD.
JOHANNESBURG: Springbok coach Rudolf Straeuli has named five uncapped players in his 22-man squad for tomorrow's one-off test against France in Marseilles. He has also recalled experienced centre Robbie Fleck and utility back Butch James. The new caps are Jean de Villiers among the backs, and forwards Pedrie Wannenberg, Marco Wentzel, Bakkies Botha and Wessel Roux.
MIDDAY REPORT 08/11/02
BUSINESS SHOULD DEMAND INTEGRITY IN DEALINGS WITH AFRICA: POWELL.
WASHINGTON: American Secretary of State Colin Powell has urged business executives to demand what he calls high standards of integrity in their dealings with the African nations in which they invest. Powell says this will lead those countries to remain determined to root out corruption. He was addressing the African Growth and Opportunity Act Business Roundtable in Washington. Powell emphasised President George W. Bush's proposal for Millennium Challenge Accounts, which would provide an extra five billion dollars in foreign assistance over three years to African countries that maintain democratic rule and show improvement in their economies.
POOR COUNTRIES MORE GENEROUS TO REFUGEES: U.N.
GENEVA: The United Nations refugee agency says the poorest countries have provided asylum and shelter for almost three-quarters of the world's refugees over the past decade. The finding is contained in a new edition of an annual yearbook published by the office for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, which provides an overview of forced migration between 1992 and last year. The yearbook reveals that developing countries were the source of 86 percent of refugees from 1992 to last year but also granted asylum to 72 percent of those fleeing.
CHOLERA KILLS OVER 20 PEOPLE IN NORTHERN NIGERIA: OFFICIALS.
LAGOS: Officials say more than 20 people have died in the past week from an outbreak of cholera in the northeastern Nigerian state of Taraba. Taraba State Governor Jolly Nyame has visited Lau district where the disease broke out. The governor promised to provide immediate medication and relief. Officials in the office of state health commissioner said that the disease was caused by a lack of clean drinking water in the area. Cholera is a water-borne viral disease characterised by diarrhoea, vomiting, muscle cramps and severe loss of body fluids.
C.A.R. PRESIDENT URGES REBELS TO LAY DOWN ARMS.
BANGUI: President Ange-Felix Patasse of the Central African Republic has urged rebels who tried to oust him in a six-day uprising to lay down their arms and also pledged that they would be safe. Meanwhile, about 750 people from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo who live in the Central African Republic were reportedly holed up in the compound of their embassy in Bangui. They said they had fled reprisal attacks on their community because of looting, rape and other abuses in Bangui by men of a Congolese rebel movement which helped Patasse secure his own capital.
ZAMBIA'S FOOD SECURITY HAS WORSENED: OFFICIAL.
LUSAKA: A government official says food security in Zambia has worsened. Over half of the country is reported to be facing severe food shortages, leaving more than three million people threatened with famine. Vice President Enock Kavindele says the domestic food deficit has been estimated at 760-thousand tons against a total national requirement of one-point-five million tons. Of this 640-thousand tons is a maize shortfall. Maize is the principal staple food. Zambia has been in the tight grip of severe drought sweeping across Southern Africa for two farming seasons resulting in widespread food shortages and hunger.
MISSING CHILDREN'S BODIES FOUND IN ANGOLA.
LISBON: Two bodies were found in shallow graves in the Bengo region, about 150 kilometres north of Luanda, the capital of Angola. The bodies were discovered by the Portuguese authorities this week. It's believed to be of the children that have been missing for a year. The case of the missing children was widely reported by Portuguese and Angolan media after their parents appealed to the authorities to solve the mystery. The Angolan Portuguese embassy suspects that the bodies are those of two children who were part of a hunting excursion. Eleven of its members - five Angolans and four Portuguese - were allegedly killed by Unita rebels in November, last year.
200-YEAR-OLD HUMAN SKULL FOUND ON S.A. BEACH.
EAST LONDON: In South Africa's Eastern Cape province East London's district surgeon says a human skull found at the Nahoon beach last month could be that of an indigenous woman murdered by a foreign visitor more than two 200 years ago. The weathered skull has a wound on the left side and a debate has begun among Eastern Cape academics as to the identity of the murderer. The district surgeon said he believed the skull to be that of a female Strandloper. The Strandloper's were Khoikhoi who lived in small groups along South Africa's Cape coast in the 18th and 19th centuries.
RETRIAL FOR EGYPTIAN JAILED FOR EXCEEDING MUSLIM MARRIAGE LIMITS.
CAIRO: An Egyptian court has ordered a retrial for a wealthy businessman who was sentenced in January to seven years of forced labour for having five wives and having entered brief marriages with 29 minors. The court gave no reason for the retrial of Sayed Ragab al-Sawarki, who was found guilty of exceeding the Muslim marriage limit of having four wives at any one time. He was also found guilty of entering what was described as brief unions with 29 girls under 15 years old by having their ages falsified on official documents.
AUSTRALIA TO SPEND ABOUT $US 4-MILLION ON SOUTH AFRICA.
BLOEMFONTEIN: The Australian government will spend about four million dollars over three years on a project to enhance local governance in South Africa. Australian High Commission spokesperson, Sally Mackay, announced this in Bloemfontein, in the Free State province, at the inaugural seminar of the South Africa-Australia Local Governance Partnership - the SAALGP. Mackay says the project aims to build the capacity of municipalities to deliver essential services and infrastructure. The Free State and Kwazulu Natal provinces were chosen as pilot provinces for the SAALGP project.
WEST AFRICA GROUP RESCHEDULES SINGLE CURRENCY FOR 2005.
CONAKRY: The leaders of five West African countries have set a 2005 deadline for launching a single regional currency. Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, the only members of the 15-strong Economic Community of West African States - ECOWAS - which do not use the CFA franc, revised initial plans under which they would have launched a central bank and common currency in January next year. The leaders of countries in the West African Monetary Zone announced the new timeline in a final declaration following their summit in the Guinea capital, Conakry.
NIGERIAN INFLATION DROPS TO 14.8 PERCENT: OFFICIAL.
ABUJA: Presidential economic adviser Magnus Kpakol says Nigeria's inflation rate dropped from 15-point-six percent in August to 14-point-eight percent in September. Kpakol says the decline was due to the decreasing price of food, drink, and household goods. He says in the past three months, Nigeria's once volatile currency, the naira, stabilised at between 125 and 127 to the dollar following the introduction of an auction system of foreign exchange.
MORNING REPORT 08/11/02
BURUNDI TALKS TO GO ON.
DAR ES SALAAM: Reports say renewed fighting between government forces and Hutu rebels in central Burundi is not expected to affect the progress of peace talks in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. One of the main rebel groups at the Burundian peace talks, the Forces for the Defence of Democracy, has described the negotiations as a failure. A rebel spokesperson, Jelas Ndabinabe, says the dialogue is going very badly. At least 200-thousand people have been killed civil strife between Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi since 1993.
18 KENYANS DIE IN FERRY DISASTER.
KISUMU: At least 18 Kenyans are feared drowned after a passenger ferry crossing Lake Victoria struck the wreck of another vessel and capsized. Police say rescuers have pulled nine bodies from the water while another 12 people managed to swim three kilometres to shore after the boat sank in bad weather. Police say hopes are fading of finding any more survivors from the wreck of the small motorboat, which was carrying about 30 people. They say the boat was carrying mainly Kenyan fishermen and traders, but there is no record of the exact number of passengers on board.
LARGE ARMS CACHE DESTROYED IN MOZAMBIQUE.
PRETORIA: The South African Police Service says a large arms cache comprising missiles and mortar bombs has been destroyed in Mozambique as part of an exercise to rid the country of weapons. Spokesperson Director Sally de Beer says stockpiles of weapons and other armaments were recovered in various parts of Mozambique during a 14-day operation which started last month. She says Operation Rachel is a joint initiative between the South African police and their Mozambican counterparts to identify and destroy arms. The arms destroyed included 82 missiles, 70 mortar bombs, 42 grenade launchers, more than four million rounds of ammunition and almost one-thousand-200 firearms.
WORLD IS LOSING RACE TO HALVE POVERTY, U.N. CHIEF WARNS.
NEW YORK: United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has sounded a warning that the world is losing the race to halve extreme poverty within 12 years as pledged at the U.N. Millennium Summit. He stressed that it was up to the rich and poor governments of the world to take action to see that this goal was met. U.N. sources note that Asia has made a small dent in the number of people living on less than one dollar a day over the past decade, but the number in Africa is virtually unchanged.
SWAZI KING SUSPENDS TRANSPORT MINISTER.
MBABANE: Swazi monarch, King Mswati The Third, has suspended transport minister Titus Mlangeni for alleged involvement in corruption involving the sale of a Royal Swazi Airline passenger jet earlier this year. Mlangeni's indefinite suspension followed a vote of no confidence passed on him by parliament. It also came as submissions were made to Mswati by a parliamentary select committee through Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini this week. The scandal involves large sums of money allegedly paid to Mlangeni in bribes and sales of the jet and aircraft spare parts to certain South African and Dubai companies.
ZIMBABWE OFFICIAL DIED OF CHLOROQUINE POISONING: REPORT.
HARARE: Pathologists say a top opposition official who was found dead in a Zimbabwe prison last month died of chloroquine poisoning. The announcement of the cause of death of Movement for Democratic Change spokesperson Learnmore Jongwe was eagerly awaited. The opposition holds the government responsible for his death. Chloroquine is used in Zimbabwe to treat malaria. It's not immediately clear where Jongwe got the drug from and whether he took an overdose. Jongwe had been held in prison in Harare since he allegedly murdered his wife in a domestic dispute in July.
Still in Zimbabwe, Britain has slapped visa requirements on visiting Zimbabweans to stem what it calls a growing abuse of immigration controls by Zimbabwean nationals. Home Secretary David Blunkett says the move aims to stop hundreds of Zimbabweans who come to Britain every year and abscond after being refused entry. Last year, more than two-thousand-500 Zimbabwean nationals were refused entry and were sent home.
SIX PEOPLE IN MOZAMBIQUE PERISH IN HEAVY FLOODING.
MAPUTO: Reports from Mozambique say at least six people have perished in heavy flooding in the central province of Sofala, where violent storms uprooted trees and left many homeless. Officials said about four-thousand people lost their homes to the storms. The rains have also hit the southern province of Gaza and the north-western province of Tete, where damage and power outages have driven hundreds of people from their homes. The rains came after two years of severe flooding in Mozambique.
W.F.P. TO ADD VITAMINS TO MAIZE FOR SOUTHERN AFRICA.
JOHANNESBURG: The World Food Programme says it will add vitamins to maize for millions of hungry Southern Africans in a bid to boost nutrition in people living with HIV/AIDS. The United Nations agency is helping supply food aid to 14 million people facing severe shortages in the region, which also suffers from one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world. The move was announced after a two-day meeting of UN agencies and non-governmental organisations in, Johannesburg, South Africa where the food and AIDS crises topped the agenda. Southern Africa is facing its worst famine threat in a decade, with drought and political mismanagement blamed for food shortages in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland.
THOUSANDS OF BASOTHO FACING FAMINE.
BLOEMFONTEIN: The Lesotho Disaster Management Authority says hundreds of thousands of Basotho are facing famine. Spokesperson Matseliso Mojaki says aid distribution has already started. She says those being helped include orphans, old people and the disabled. Mojaki says people are receiving a months supply of maize, cooking oil and peas. She says those receiving aid get food parcels on a monthly basis and distribution is expected to continue until June next year. The Lesotho government is also helping villagers with ploughing to try and avoid another crop failure next season.
FORMER ZAMBIAN CABINET MINISTER FLEES TO CONGO.
LUSAKA: Former Zambian cabinet minister, Katele Kalumba, has fled to neighbouring Congo. Officials say he is wanted by a task force investigating people suspected of allegedly plundering the Zambian economy. They warned that he would be arrested. Kalumba was Finance and National Development Minister in the cabinet of ex-President Frederick Chiluba in the 1990s. Observers say that during this period, millions of dollars in state funds were allegedly stolen from state funds and placed in foreign banks.
BOTSWANA WON'T BACK DOWN ON RELOCATING SAN COMMUNITY.
GABORONE: Botswana's President, Festus Mogae, says he will not back down on the controversial drive undertaken by his government to relocate the San community out of the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve. Botswana is home to about 65-thousand San people. The San is believed to be the first inhabitants of the diamond rich wild game enclosure. Botswana is being petitioned by international human rights groups, including Survival International. President Mogae has defended the relocation initiative as being in the interests of the San community, which he says should be able to access education
WEST AFRICAN LEADERS AGREE ON PEACEKEEPING MISSION.
LOME: Top military leaders for West Africa's regional grouping, ECOWAS, have agreed on a peacekeeping mission for the Ivory Coast. The African troops are to take over from the French, who have been keeping government soldiers and rebels apart. The agreement was reached at a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, while Ivorian government negotiators and rebels met in Lome, Togo. ECOWAS spokesperson, Sheik Shiarah, says west African super power Nigeria says it will not send troops to Ivory Coast.
ZIMBABWE BANS BRITISH-BASED CHARITIES AND POLITICAL FIGURES.
HARARE: Zimbabwe has banned two British-based charities as part of a tit-for-tat exchange of new diplomatic restrictions with Britain. The charities are the Westminster Foundation and the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust. The Zimbabwean government has repeatedly accused both organisations in the past of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe's Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, says Prime Minister Tony Blair and 119 other British political figures have also been banned from travelling to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe also said it would require all Britons to have visas to enter Zimbabwe. This came soon after Britain announced similar visa requirements for all Zimbabweans. Britain Home Secretary David Blunkett had said this was to deal with significant abuse of immigrations controls.
ACT ON ZIMBABWE: AMNESTY AND THREE HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS.
JOHANNESBURG: Amnesty International and three other human rights groups have urged the Southern African and European ministers meeting in Mozambique this week to act against human rights violations in Zimbabwe. Amnesty International, South Africa's Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and the Amani Trust of Zimbabwe say they have received reports that opposition supporters are being denied food aid. Ministers of the Southern African Development Community and the European Union are holding a two-day summit in Maputo that ends today.
MAURITANIA IS VIOLATING HUMAN RIGHTS: AMNESTY.
LONDON: Amnesty International says Mauritania is violating human rights by practising slavery. It said this was in spite of the fact that slavery was officially abolished in Mauritania in 1981. Amnesty says no concrete steps appear to have been taken to make the abolition a reality. It called on the Mauritanian government to stop denying that slavery existed and expressed the hope that it would be eradicated soon. A United Nations study published in August last year said a tradition of enslavement of Africans by Arab Moors persisted in Mauritania.
AL-QAEDA CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR BALI BOMB BLAST.
PRETORIA: Capetonian Morné Viljoen, is expected back in South Africa at the end of the month after his ordeal following the Bali bomb blast in Indonesia. Viljoen, who received second degree burns to his body following the explosion, has regained consciousness in an Australian hospital. Foreign Affairs department spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa says Viljoen is recovering well. The Bali blast left over 180 people dead and scores wounded. Mamoepa says Viljoen will be transferred to South Africa for further treatment.
Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda has reportedly claimed responsibility for the deadly night night club bombing which killed more than a 180 people in Bali, Indonesia last month. A website known to carry al-Qaeda messages says it was one in a series of al-Qaeda attacks. Reports says al-Qaeda want to show that it will strike in Arab and Islamic countries to target what it calls the "Jewish-Crusader alliance".
TUNISIA RELEASES FOUR POLITICAL PRISONERS.
TUNIS: Tunisia has released four political prisoners in an amnesty to mark the 15th anniversary of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's accession to power. The Tunisian Human Rights League said the freed detainees were leading Communist figures, Ammar Amroussia and Abdejabbar Madouri, and Islamist dissidents, Abdallah Zouari and Fethi Karoud. Ben Ali took power in 1987, after he arranged for doctors to declare the then president-for-life Habib Bourguiba senile and unfit to rule.
DISARM OR FACE WAR: U.S. ON IRAQ.
WASHINGTON: The United States, in what it calls Iraq's last chance to disarm or face war, is pushing the United Nations Security Council to adopt a tough resolution by today, and veto-holders France and Russia are edging closer to agreeing. The six-page draft gives U.N. arms inspectors powers, including unrestricted rights to enter Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's palace compounds. The resolution is the result of eight weeks of negotiations on scrapping any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons of mass destruction Iraq may have. It was formally presented to council members on Wednesday this week and is under review. U.N. Secretary General Koffi Anna says he hopes there is a broad consensus on the resolution.
MOROCCO AIMS FOR AFRICAN NATIONS CUP SEMI-FINALS.
RABAT: Morocco's new coach Badou Zaki says he will resign if his team fail to reach the 2004 African Nations Cup's semi-finals. Zaki replaced Portuguese coach Umberto Coelho in September. Zaki say the main goal agrees with the Moroccan football federation is to reach the semi-finals of the 2004 African Nations Cup in Tunisia. Coelho was fired after Morocco failed to reach the 2002 World Cup finals or progress beyond the group stage of this year's African Nations Cup in Mali.
Prepared in Johannesburg, South Africa, by Mbulelo Dlamini Maqhubu.
Source Channel Africa
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