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EVENING REPORT 12/11/02
SOMALI LEADERS SIGN COMMITMENT TO BAN LAND MINES.
ELDORET: The transitional government of Somalia and most of the country's faction leaders have signed a commitment with a humanitarian organisation to ban land mines in the areas they control. They have also called on the United States to lift a freeze on Somali assets imposed after the September eleven attacks on New York and Washington. The head of the humanitarian organisation, Geneva Call, says the agreement obliges the signatories to destroy and clear land mines and care for victims of the weapons. The organisation's president Elizabeth Decrey says the agreement, which was signed in Kenya, is a step forward in the peace process in Somalia.
PUBLIC HEALTH SPECIALISTS GATHER IN TANZANIA.
ARUSHA: More than 700 public health specialists have gathered in Arusha, Tanzania, to discuss how to get more of the 70 billion spent annually on health research directed towards diseases that ail the developing world. The Geneva-based Global Forum for Health says 10 percent of the 70 billion is devoted to 90 percent of the world's health problems. It says trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and cardiovascular disease account for more than 90 percent of health problems in the developing world. However, cancer and a variety of degenerative diseases that mainly affect people in more affluent societies receive the lion's share of the research dollars.
WORLD BANK AND I.M.F. APPROVE ETHIOPIA'S POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGY.
ADDIS ABABA: The World Bank and International Monetary Fund are said to have approved Ethiopia's poverty reduction strategy plan with reservations. The World Bank representative in Ethiopia, Ishac Diwan, says approval has been given for the plan at a meeting in Addis Ababa of international experts on the fight against poverty in Africa. The Ethiopian plan proposes using decentralisation, capacity building, rural development, food security, infrastructure improvement, education, the fight against AIDS and private sector partnerships to fight poverty.
TALKS TO END IVORY COAST WAR RESUME IN TOGO.
LOME: Talks to end the war in Ivory Coast have resumed in Togo after a rebel delegation visited President Gnassingbe Eyadema to collect a draft peace plan prepared by mediators. Togo's Foreign Minister Koffi Panou says the president received the rebel delegation, led by Colonel Bakayoko and Louis Dacoury-Tabley. The rebels walked out of talks after the murder in Abidjan last week of Dacoury-Tabley's brother. Chief rebel negotiator Guillame Soro returned to the rebel stronghold of Bouake yesterday, but mandated those left behind to re-start talks if they thought the conditions were right.
Meanwhile, a military analyst says the South African soldiers in war-torn Ivory Coast are technical advisors and not mercenaries. Earlier, the Ivorian government admitted for the first time that South African mercenaries were in the country to help the army counter a rebellion. Analyst at the Institute for Security Studies Henry Boshoff says there are only between five and ten South Africans involved. The South African government says it is investigating the validity of claims that South African mercenaries are helping the Ivory Coast army. The foreign affairs ministry says if the claims are found to be true, the full force of the law will be brought to bear on those involved.
U.N. CHIEF TO HOST MEETING WITH NIGERIAN AND CAMEROON LEADERS.
GENEVA: United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan is to host a meeting this week between the leaders of Nigeria and Cameroon to discuss a recent ruling on their border dispute. The summit in Geneva on Friday, marks the first between Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Cameroon's Paul Biya, since the International Court of Justice ruled in favour of Cameroon last month in the bitter row over the oil- and fisheries-rich Bakassi Peninsula. Ownership of the potential military flashpoint in the Gulf of Guinea has implications for fishing and offshore oil rights. Relations have been tense between Nigeria and Cameroon since the ruling.
AMERICAN NATIONAL SHOT DEAD BY ZIMBABWEAN POLICE.
HARARE: An American national has died in hospital in Zimbabwe after apparently being shot by police while trying to flee from a checkpoint in a vehicle without a valid permit. A police spokesperson has confirmed a report in the state-controlled Herald newspaper that the 54-year-old lecturer was shot after he tried to over-run a security roadblock in Zimbabwe's eastern town of Mutare. Journalist Brian Hungwe reports that officials at the U.S. embassy in Harare say they heard about the death, but are waiting for a report from the Zimbabwean authorities on the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
SWAZI ATTORNEY GENERAL TO BE SERVED WITH THIRD SUMMONS.
MBABANE: Swaziland Attorney General Phesheya Dlamini was expected to be served with a third summons today after failing to appear in court yesterday on charges of sedition, contempt of court and obstructing the course of justice. The charges were brought against Dlamini amid allegations that he intimidated three judges hearing the Zena Mahlangu case. Mahlangu's mother, Lindiwe Dlamini, sued the monarchy in Swaziland to prevent King Mswati from marrying her daughter. Bheki Matsebula reports that Phesheya Dlamini says that the summons are defective.
S.A. PRESIDENT SAYS POVERTY HAS BEEN REDUCED IN THE COUNTRY.
CAPE TOWN: South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki says the government's housing, water and electricity programmes, as well as the school feeding system, pensions and child support grants, have helped to loosen poverty's grip in the country. Addressing the National Council of Provinces on the government's progress, the president also noted that the international credit rating agency, Standard and Poor, had changed South Africa's rating from stable to positive. The South African president said there were challenges to overcome underdevelopment and poverty, especially in the historically black rural and urban areas.
TRADITIONAL LEADERS IN S.A. TOLD NOT TO THREATEN GOVERNMENT.
CAPE TOWN: South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has warned traditional leaders against making threats against the government if they are not happy with their role in local government structures. The president says the government is still involved in determining the role and place of traditional institutions to ensure they work in harmony with elected structures. The South African president says the way to resolve issues is through dialogue and not through parties threatening violence.
IRAQ SNUBS RESOLUTION ON DISARMING BAGHDAD.
BAGHDAD: Iraq's parliament has snubbed the United Nations and particularly the United States by voting unanimously against co-operating with a Security Council resolution on disarming Baghdad. Deputies have come up against the U.S.-drafted resolution as a violation of sovereignty and a pretext for war, but say they are leaving the final decision to President Saddam Hussein. American Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld says rejection by the 250-seat parliament is probably little more than an orchestrated show of defiance.
NIGERIA CONFERS HONOURS ON THREE FOOTBALLERS.
ABUJA: Nigeria has conferred national honours on English Premiership stars Nwankwo Kanu of Arsenal, Austin Okocha of Bolton and Chelsea defender Celestine Babayaro. Ogun State Governor Segun Osoba told reporters here Tuesday the players will receive Order of the Niger Awards for their contributions to Nigerian football. All three players are established internationals and featured at the last World Cup finals in South Korea and Japan. Last year, Shaibu Amodu was also awarded a national honour after becoming the first local coach to guide the country's team to the World Cup finals.
Prepared in Johannesburg, South Africa, by Micel Schnehage and Mbulelo Dlamini Maqhubu.
MIDDAY REPORT 12.11.2002.
CONGOLESE TALKS TO RESUME ON FRIDAY.
PRETORIA: Talks on a government of national unity for the Democratic Republic of Congo are scheduled to resume in South Africa on Friday this week. The negotiations are being held under the auspices of the United Nations envoy to Congo, Moustapha Niasse. The main parties involved in the latest round of dialogue are the Congolese government and rebel groups, the Congolese Rally for Democracy and the Congolese Liberation Movement. They are expected to be joined by the Mai-Mai tribal militia, who have served as allies of the Kinshasa government in fighting the rebels.
BILL CLINTON SPEAKS FOR AFRICA.
WASHINGTON: Former American President Bill Clinton says relief for the health problems, economic woes and violence plaguing Africa is being hindered by wide-spread ignorance in many industrial nations. These countries included the United States, where many viewed Africa as a single country rather than a continent. Clinton said this problem of ignorance of Africa was one the world would pay dearly for if it was not corrected. He said millions of Africans lived on less than a dollar a day and life expectancy in most nations was about 48 years and falling. Clinton said the AIDS pandemic was especially bad in Africa, where 28-million people were infected with the AIDS virus. Clinton said African nations with H.I.V. infection rates of 15 percent or higher should be given additional debt relief to help release revenues for anti-AIDS programs.
KING OF SWAZILAND PURCHASES LUXURY PLANE.
MBABANE: King Mswati The Third of Swaziland will take delivery of an executive jet worth 45-million dollars before the end of this month. This is in spite of the fact that the parliament of Swaziland voted to cancel the purchase. The lawmakers cited as their motivation the social and economic problems facing the one-million people of Swaziland. The jet's purchase price is more than double the annual health budget of 20-million dollars. In August this year, United Nations agencies reported that 19-million dollars in emergency aid was needed to ensure the survival of a quarter of the Swazi population that has been left without sustenance because of drought-induced crop failures.
SOUTHERN AFRICA FACES DROUGHT.
PRETORIA: South African Farmers say the development of the weather phenomenon El Nino may have a stronger influence than initially expected and rain is desperately needed during the next three weeks to secure enough food for Southern Africa. South African Agro-meteorologist Johan van den Berg says South Africa's maize harvest is of critical importance to the famine-ravaged region, with the country producing the largest annual maize harvest on the continent. With drought and world supplies at a four-year-low, the local harvest is of critical importance. Current rainfall and planting forecasts indicate an expected maize harvest of around nine-million tonnes for next year. He says a somewhat stronger El Nino will probably have a negative effect on rainfall, especially next month and in January next year.
BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONER MAY MOVE OFFICE IN CAPE TOWN.
CAPE TOWN: After 65 years in the precincts of Parliament in this South African city, the British High Commission is considering giving up its prime location and relocating to another building in the city. No other diplomatic mission has offices in the precincts. A Public works department spokesperson says the South African government is interested in buying back the property to alleviate the problem of lack of space. The building, metres away from President Thabo Mbeki's Tuynhuys office, was bought by the British High Commission in 1937. The British managed to resist attempts by the former government to relocate the High Commission in the 1980s and early 1990s, but are now willing to move.
MISS WORLD PAGEANT IS ON.
LAGOS: At least 84 of the world's most beautiful women have arrived in Abuja, Nigeria to take part in the Miss World pageant. Observers say this has ended fears of a boycott of the event in protest against death by stoning sentences hanging over two young mothers in Nigeria. The Nigerian Junior Foreign Minister, Dubem Onyia, welcomed the contestants, saying that no Nigerian had ever been stoned to death and the central government would never allow any such sentence to be carried out. Islamic courts in northern Nigeria imposed the death sentences on the young women for the crime of adultery.
MORNING REPORT 12.11.2002.
FOREIGN MERCENARIES ARRIVE IN IVORY COAST.
ABIDJAN: The Ivorian government has announced that French, South African and Bulgarian mercenaries have arrived in Ivory Coast to help the army counter a rebellion. Officials said the fifty mercenaries were mainly helicopter pilots who had been hired to teach the army to handle new equipment it had acquired since the start of the rebel uprising in September this year. The hired soldiers would not fight alongside Ivorian loyalist forces. Reports say some of the mercenaries work for Sandline International, a company that provides military services. It has has operated in Sierra Leone in 1998 and in Papua New Guinea in 1997.
SOUTH AFRICA THREATENED WITH BOMBING CAMPAIGN.
PRETORIA: The South African Police are investigating threats of a Christmas campaign of violence by rightwingers claiming to have carried out the Soweto bombings in South Africa. A letter e-mailed to the news media, purported to be from the Boere Force organisation, threatens a campaign of violence unless detained rightwingers are freed. South African Police spokesperson Sally de Beer says authorities are assuming the letter is authentic and are tracing its origins. She says police will step up operations and visible policing over the festive season and there is no reason to panic. Police are looking for six rightwingers wanted on treason and terrorism charges. Meanwhile, a senior researcher at the South African Institute for Security Studies, Martin Schoenteich, says it will be difficult to arrest radical rightwingers because they appear to have divided themselves into small groups.
THREE CABINET MINISTERS DISMISSED IN CONGO.
KINSHASA: Congolese President Joseph Kabila has suspended three of his cabinet Ministers named in a United Nations report on corruption in Congo. The suspended men are, Minister of Security and Public Order Mwenze Kongola, Minister of the Presidency Augustin Katumba Mwanke, and Minister for Planning and Reconstruction Denis Kalume. Officials said the men would be given time to prepare a defence against the allegations. The three are among 54 people named in the U.N. report as leaders of a network that is exploiting Congo's natural resources.
ZIMBABWEAN OPPOSITION LEADER TO BE HONOURED.
HARARE: The leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, is to be honoured this month for his pro-democracy struggle by an international group of political consultants. The Movement for Democratic Change says its leader, Tsvangirai, is to receive the 2002 Democracy Medal from the International Association of Political Consultants at its annual meeting next week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Association says Tsvangirai is to be honoured for courageously fostering, promoting and sustaining the democratic process.
SOUTH AFRICAN DEPUTY PRESIDENT TO MEET UGANDAN PRESIDENT.
KAMPALA: South Africa's Deputy President Jacob Zuma is to meet Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni today to discuss the latest developments in the Burundian ceasefire negotiations. Museveni is the chairman of the Great Lakes Regional Initiative on Burundi, while Zuma is acting as peace talks facilitator. On Friday last week, two of the main warring parties in Burundi failed to find agreement on a ceasefire to end the nine-year civil war in the country. The South African presidency says the leadership of the region now has to provide direction on the way forward. More than 200-thousand people have died in Burundi's civil war.
SUDAN READY TO SHARE POWER WITH OPPOSITION.
KHARTOUM: Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail says his country is willing to share its power and wealth with rebels in the hopes of ending a 19-year war and preserving the unity of Africa's largest country. Ismail says they want to give the south confidence and a high participation in power. Khartoum and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army are holding peace talks in Machakos, Kenya, which follow a framework deal in July that allows southerners to opt for independence after a six-year period of administrative autonomy. The two sides agreed ON a ceasefire last month but both have accused the other of violating it. The truce is supposed to last for the duration of the peace talks.
CATTLE RUSTLERS RUN AMUCK IN KENYA.
NAIROBI: Police say suspected cattle rustlers have shot and killed three people and wounded three others when they raided a village in Kenya's northwestern district of Turkana. Police spokesman King'ori Mwangi says the attackers also stole an unknown number of goats during the raid late on Saturday. Mwangi said the raiders are believed to be Pokot tribesmen from the neighbouring Pokot district. Mwangi said extra units of the army and the police had been deployed in the affected area to prevent further outbreaks of violence. Early this year suspected Pokot cattle rustlers reportedly drove away one-thousand heads of cattle and two-thousand goats after killing some 39 in the western Marakwet district.
UN SUPPLIES MAIZE TO HUNGRY IN ZAMBIA DESPITE GOVERNMENT OBJECTIONS.
LUSAKA: The United Nations World Food Programme says it has supplied American maize, which could include genetically-modified supplies, to refugees in Zambia despite a government ban on genetically-modified food aid. Zambia, one of six southern African countries facing severe food shortages, has been at the centre of a debate over the safety of genetically-modified foods after it banned biotech maize last month. A W.F.P. spokesperson says the agency fed American maize to refugees in six camps in the first week of this month because it did not have enough time to switch its American maize stocks.
GLOBAL FORUM FOR HEALTH RESEARCH TO DISCUSS AFRICA.
DAR ES SALAAM: More than 700 health experts from a hundred countries are due to gather in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha for the Global Forum for Health Research's annual meeting, which this year will focus on Africa. The organisers say delegates will wrap up their series of meetings on Friday. The sixth meeting of the Global Forum for Health Research is co-organised by Tanzania's National Institute for Medical Research and will focus on actions undertaken in the health research domain by African institutions - in particular in the fight against AIDS and malaria and their impact. The delegates include representatives of governments, research institutions, aid organisations, non-governmental organisations, women's groups, the private sector and media.
Prepared in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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