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| By Benedict Nhlapo and Patience Rusere |
23 May 2008
Xenophobic attacks in South Africa spread late Thursday to Cape Town where mobs attacked businesses and homes owned by Zimbabweans and Somalis. Press reports said about 500 people fled a squatter camp to escape the attacks.
There were also reports of new attacks in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West provinces. But the official death toll remained at 42 while the number of displaced has been estimated to be as high as 50,000.
South Africa has about five million immigrants, and an estimated three million of them have come from Zimbabwe to escape political repression and economic crisis.
Malawi said Friday that it will evacuate any of its nationals in South Africa who want to come home. Mozambique declared a state of emergency so it can better cope with the 10-thousand Mozambicans who have fled across the border in recent days.
The United Nations refugee agency asked South Africa not to deport Zimbabweans seeking asylum, saying the crisis in their country prevents them from going back.
Johannesburg correspondent Benedict Nhlapo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe told reporter Patience Rusere that the South African government has not yet deployed soldiers as the office of President Thabo Mbeki said it would do.
Zimbabwean Ambassador to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo said Zimbabweans are not the only ones affected by the violence as he said the media has suggested.
He said Zimbabwean officials have compiled the names of 700 nationals who want to be repatriated and the first buses will head north this weekend.
Publication Date: 5/24/2008
Rwanda: UN Welcomes Surrender of Commander of Armed Group
UN News Service (New York)
23 May 2008
Posted to the web 24 May 2008
A high-level commander of an armed Rwandan group has laid down his arms and voluntarily returned to his own country, the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reported today.
The UN mission (MONUC) welcomed the voluntary repatriation of Colonel Faustin Sebuhura, also known as "Minani," to Rwanda, saying in a statement that Mr. Sebuhura was a hard-line member of the Forces Démocratiques de la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) in the south of the country in 1994.
MONUC said it welcomed Mr. Sebuhuru's decision to peacefully lay down his arms, despite the serious accusations that he faces.
The mission said it hoped that this decision by an important officer in the armed wing of the FDLR, which is active within the DRC, would serve as an example and bring about the disarmament and rapid voluntary return to Rwanda of numerous other combatants.
Under the Joint Nairobi Communiqué, DRC and Rwanda have agreed to work together against threats to peace and stability in the region. In March this year a Security Council resolution called on members of Rwandan armed groups operating in eastern DRC to surrender immediately to Congolese authorities and to MONUC.
The Council said these groups had to "immediately stop recruiting and using children, release all children associated with them, and put an end to gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse," adding that those responsible needed to be brought to justice.
Banque Centrale du Congo
Kinshasa | 23 Mai 2008 à 17:22:07
L'affaire sur le blanchiment de 80 millions de dollars de la Miba (Minière de Bakwanga) dite « Belgolaise » en 2003, rebondit cinq après. La Banque centrale du Congo (BCC) serait impliquée selon le parquet de Bruxelles. L'information a été relayée par la presse belge. Non, rétorque le gouverneur de la BCC. Co-accusée dans ce dossier, la Belgolaise de soutenir la BCC et d'éclairer la justice belge. Par ailleurs, elle retire ses parts d'actions à la Banque commerciale du Congo (BCDC), rapporte radiookapi.netLa Belgolaise annonce son retrait
Samedi 24 mai 2008
Les membres de la coordination
du Congrès Mondial des Congolais
Vivant à l'étranger, sortant de la RTBF
pour déposer le communiqué
COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE
Concerne : VAGUE DE XENOPHOBIE
EN AFRIQUE DU SUD CONTRE LES CONGOLAIS
Il nous revient qu'une vague inadmissible de xénophobie surfe sur l'Afrique du Sud et que parmi les victimes, il y a des ressortissants de la République démocratique du Congo.
La coordination du Congrès mondial des Congolais Vivant à l'Etranger tient à porter à l'opinion internationale ce qui suit :
En ce troisième millénaire, il est inadmissible de voir des images télévisées où des êtres humains sont voués à la vindicte populaire d'autres humains : battus et abattus comme du bétail.
Au nom de tous les congolais vivant à l'étranger, nous coordination du Congrès Mondial des Congolais Vivant à l'Etranger tenons à faire la déclaration suivante :
- A l'intention Monsieur Thabu Mbeki, Président de l'Afrique du Sud
. Nous tenons à rappeler que la population noire d'Afrique du Sud a une grande dette vis-à-vis de tous les pays d'Afrique pour sa libération contre l'Apartheid et de fait, a un devoir minimum d'hospitalité…
. Nous demandons au Président Mbeki de prendre toutes les dispositions afin de sécuriser toutes les communautés étrangères vivant en Afrique du Sud. Et plus particulièrement les ressortissants de la République démocratique du Congo.
- À l'intention de la population Noire d'Afrique du Sud
. Nous demandons de faire preuve de beaucoup de retenues face à la crise économique qui frappe leur pays. La solution n'est pas de se livrer à la chasse à l'étranger, mais de sanctionner éventuellement dans les urnes le parti de monsieur Thabu Mbeki, lors des prochaines élections, s'ils considèrent celui-ci avoir été incapable de procurer du boulot à ses électeurs.
- à l'intention de monsieur Nelson Mandela, Prix Nobel de la Paix
. Nous lui demandons d'adresser un message fort à ses compatriotes pour qu'ils mettent fin à cette dérive xénophobe qui ne fait que ternir l'image de l'Afrique du Sud, futur pays organisateur de la prochaine coupe du monde de football. On ne peut pas vouloir rassembler le monde, et exclure du monde.
- à l'intention de monsieur Ban Kimoon, secrétaire Général de l'ONU,
Nous demandons de dépêcher dans les meilleurs délais en Afrique du Sud un représentant spécial pour que cessent ces pratiques d'un autre âge.
- À l'intention de l'Union européenne,
Nous demandons d'apporter un soutien humanitaire urgent à tous ceux qui ont été victimes de la bêtise humaine.
. À tous les congolais vivant en Afrique du Sud
. Nous envoyons un message de soutien. Nous leur demandons de constituer des comités d'entraide et de soutien de réaliser un recensement exhaustif de toutes les filles et de tous les fils du Grand Congo présents sur le sol sud-africain, et dresser un état de la situation. Nous restons à leur disposition pour toutes les démarches et tous les contacts nécessaires auprès des institutions internationales, à partir de Bruxelles, capitale de l'Europe.
Et aux grandes puissances nous disons :
À force de vouloir manipuler la mise en place des institutions dans nos pays africains, ils en arrivent à cautionner l'existence de régimes impopulaires qui poussent leurs citoyens à aller chercher bonheur et sécurité ailleurs, au prix de leurs vies.
Si la situation perdurait ou pourrissait, le gouvernement de monsieur THABU Mbeki devra être tenu pour responsable de toutes les pertes en biens ainsi qu'en vies humaines de tous les étrangers qui ont choisi l'Afrique du Sud comme seconde patrie. Nous pensons plus particulièrement aux ressortissants de la République démocratique du Congo.
Fait à Bruxelles, le 24 mai 2008
Pour la Coordination du Congrès Mondial des Congolais Vivant à l'étranger
Francis Tombolo KALOMBO Marcel NZUNDU Cheik FITA
Chargé de l'Action Culturelle Chargé des relations Chargé de l'action politique
Avec les institutions
May 24 2008 at 01:29PM
A SA National Defence Force soldier died in an explosion in Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), said the defence department on Saturday.
Corporal Sibusiso Dube, 30, died after an explosion at the Nyiragongo base in Goma on Friday.
A board of enquiry will be convened to determine the circumstances leading up to his death.
Dube was a field engineer in Bethlehem in the Free State before he was deployed to the DRC to support the United Nations Monuc Mission.
He is survived by his wife Zama Dube who lives in Umlazi, Durban.
Minister of Defence Mosiuoa Lekota, his department and the Chief of the SANDF General Godfrey Ngwenya have extended their condolences to the Dube's family. - Sapa
|Friday, 23rd May, 2008|| |
By Vision reporter
Once upon a time there was this girl who had four
boyfriends. She loved the 4th boyfriend the most and adored
him with rich robes and treated him to the finest of delicacies.
She gave him nothing but the best.She also loved the 3rd boyfriend very much and was always showing him off to neighboring
kingdoms. However, she feared that one day hewould leave her for another.She also loved her 2nd boyfriend. He was her confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with her. Whenever this girl faced a problem, she could confide in him, and he
would help her get through the difficult times.The girl's 1st boyfriend was a very loyal partner and had made great
contributions in maintaining her wealth and kingdom. However, she
did not love the first boyfriend. Although he loved her deeply, she
hardly took notice of him!One day, the girl fell ill and she knew her time was short. She thought of her luxurious life and wondered, ' I now have four boyfriends with me, but when I die, I'll be all alone.' Thus, she asked the 4th boyfriend, 'I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep
mecompany?' 'No way!', replied the 4th boyfriend, and he
walked away without another word.His answer cut like a sharp knife right into her heart. The sad girl then asked the 3rd boyfriend, 'I loved you all my life. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?' 'No!', replied the 3rd boyfriend. 'Life is too good! When you die, I'm going to marry someone else. Her heart sank and turned cold.She then asked the 2nd boyfriend, 'I have always turned to you for help and
you've always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me
and keep me company?' 'I'm sorry, I can't help you out this
time!', replied the 2nd boyfriend. 'At the very most, I can only
walk with you to your grave.' His answer struck her like
a bolt of lightning, and the girl was devastated.Then a voice called out: 'I'll go with you. I'll follow you no matter where you go.' The girl looked up, and there was her first boyfriend. He was very skinny as he suffered from malnutrition and neglect. Greatly grieved, the girl said, 'I should have taken much better careof you when I had the chance!' In truth, you have 4 boyfriends in your lives:
- Your 4th boyfriend is your body. No matter how much time and effort you lavish in making it look good, it will leave you when you die.
- Your 3rd boyfriend is yourpossessions, status and wealth.When you die, it will all go to others.
- Your 2nd boyfriend is your family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for you, the furthest they can stay by you is up to the grave.
- And your 1st boyfriend is your Soul. Often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world. However, your Soul is the only thing that will follow you where ever you go.Cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of you that will follow you to the throne of! God and continue with you throughout Eternity.Thought for the day:'Remember, when the world pushes you to your knees, you're in the perfect position to pray. I just did. Being happy doesn't mean everything's perfect. It means you've decided to see beyond the imperfections. God who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his son and master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.'Pass this on to someone you care about.
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Vietnam sets store by Rwanda ties, says president
At a meeting with visiting Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Hanoi Friday, he said the visit was a new development in the traditional friendship between the two countries.
Kagame told him Rwanda wanted to strengthen friendship and cooperation with Vietnam in agriculture, healthcare, education, trade and construction of infrastructure.
He hoped the two sides could increase student exchanges and that Vietnam would help his country produce drugs for malaria and other tropical diseases.
He asked Vietnam to send agricultural experts to his country to help develop wet rice, vegetable and aquaculture production.
The two leaders also discussed ways to improve bilateral ties and help expand cooperation with other countries in each other's neighborhood.
Discussing international and regional issues of common interest, the leaders agreed the two countries needed to step up coordination in international and regional forums.
Triet also accepted an invitation from Kagame to pay an official visit to Rwanda.
After their talks, the two witnessed the signing of agreements between the two governments on healthcare, education and agriculture.
On the same day, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem held a meeting with Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation Rosemary Museminari.
La garde rapprochée QUOTIDIEN : mercredi 21 mai 2008 Depuis le début de sa campagne, Barack Obama s'est entouré d'une équipe soudée et efficace. Revue des cinq majeurs.Il est le faiseur d'images et le gardien du message. Stratège politique qui a bâti sa réputation en faisant élire plusieurs politiciens afro-américains à la tête de grandes villes et au gouvernorat du Massachusetts (Deval Patrick), cet ancien journaliste de 53 ans est le plus proche conseiller d'Obama. Le sénateur a une confiance absolue en lui. Les deux hommes se sont rencontrés en 1992 à Chicago. Axelrod dirige la campagne victorieuse d'Obama au Sénat en 2004. Pendant quatre ans, il suit les faits et gestes de son poulain, prend des notes, le filme au privé et au public pour pouvoir raconter l'homme. Car si Axelrod croit aux idées, il est convaincu que le messager compte tout autant. «Si nous menons une campagne conventionnelle, avec un candidat conventionnel, nous perdons», disait-il au New York Times il y a un an. C'est l'amie de longue date du couple. Elle a d'abord connu Michelle, qu'elle a engagée dans les années 1990 à la mairie de Chicago. Toutes ses campagnes, depuis ses débuts dans l'Illinois, Barack Obama les a décidées en consultant d'abord Valerie Jarrett, 52 ans. Si elle est de plus en plus présente dans son entourage, Jarett n'est pas salariée par la campagne. Celle que l'on surnomme parfois la femme la plus puissante de Chicago (elle fut présidente de la Bourse puis directrice de l'urbanisme à la mairie) se réserve le rôle de confidente. C'est elle qui transmet les critiques les plus sévères. « Un employé reste un employé, un ami a le devoir dire des choses, même désagréables », disait-elle il y a peu sur la chaîne de radio nationale. Bien que directeur de la campagne, il est le plus discret des membres de la garde rapprochée. Fuyant les projecteurs, méthodique pour ne pas dire obsessionnel, Plouffe, 40 ans, ne jure que par la carte électorale qu'il maîtrise comme peu de stratèges politiques. La victoire en Iowa, c'est lui. L'insistance à être présent dans les 50 états pour ne laisser aucun vote (et surtout aucun délégué) au hasard, c'est encore lui. Il a aussi insisté pour réserver une partie du trésor de guerre d'Obama pour l'après-Super Tuesday, quand la campagne de sa rivale a sombré dans le rouge. En quelques semaines, il est devenu le cauchemar des stratèges d'Hillary Clinton qui avaient misé sur une victoire-éclair dans les grands Etats. Responsable des relations avec la presse, il est un peu l'outsider de cette équipe, même s'il est un ami de Plouffe. Ses méthodes politiques passées font de lui un dur qui n'a pas peur des coups bas. Engagé dès 2004, il est celui qui décrypte les méandres du Sénat pour le jeune sénateur. Gibbs, 36 ans, a le mérite de connaître la presse de Washington et les défis d'une campagne présidentielle. Il fut directeur de presse durant la première partie de celle du candidat démocrate John Kerry en 2004. On le dit archi-loyal. Un poste à la Maison Blanche lui paraît acquis si son patron gagne en novembre. C'est le sondeur en chef, l'une des étoiles montantes du parti démocrate. Engagé par le président du parti Howard Dean, il n'a de cesse d'insister sur l'importance de mettre en exergue la diversité du parti comme instrument du changement. Un message qui ne pouvait que convenir au candidat Obama. Belcher, 38 ans, fut aussi le sondeur d'Emily's List, une organisation défendant l'avancée des femmes en politique et qui soutient aujourd'hui Hillary Clinton. Il a abondamment travaillé sur les électeurs «religieux» et ceux votant contre leurs «intérêts personnels», se spécialisant sur les électeurs modestes votant républicain. Il insiste sur la nécessité d'élargir la base du parti aux Hispaniques, notamment.____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ __
Former OIOS Investigator Says, Accountability Delayed
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, May 23 -- Faced with evidence that UN peacekeepers traded guns for gold with rogue militia leaders in the Eastern Congo, the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services engaged in a cover-up and issued a whitewash report, its deputy chief investigator in the Congo announced in a detailed article published Friday morning. At the noon briefing at UN Headquarters, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe for a response to the expose, if the militia leaders have been re-interviewed, as OIOS chief Inga-Britt Ahlenius said she was trying to bring about, and for a briefing by Ms. Ahlenius. Video here, from Minute 20:03.
Ms. Okabe replied, "Normally I do not represent OIOS as you know, but in response to these questions these you just asked, OIOS does have a number of points, so I'm going to read them, but this is really for follow-up with OIOS." She referred to a "background" briefing given on April 28 by a senior - but not the most senior - OIOS official, who insisted that his name not be used. What was presented at that briefing is directly contradicted by the new information from former OIOS investigator Matthias Basanisi. As Inner City Press pointed this out, Ms. Okabe put down her talking points and said, "I will provide you this after the briefing."
The five points that OIOS had given to Ms. Okabe are, in full, as follows:
- OIOS categorically denies all the accusations by Mr. Basanisi as baseless.
-Professional investigations cannot rely on rumor and unsubstantiated allegations, and require corroboration and evidence to draw definitive conclusions.
-During the course of his investigation, Mr. Basanisi was not able to provide credible corroboration of a single allegation. In fact, he never progressed further than cataloguing allegations.
-OIOS reiterates that it drew the right conclusions based on the evidence. As in all cases, OIOS applied common quality control procedures to examine and test whether evidence has be adduced.
-Should, however new evidence come to light -- OIOS will investigate.
Inner City Press asked Ms. Okabe, regarding just the first of the five points, if OIOS disputes that Mr. Basanisi was its deputy chief investigator in the Congo from 2005 to 2007. Ms. Okabe said, "This is what OIOS gave me. I don't speak for OIOS." Who does?
An obvious question for Ms. Ahlenius to answer is, "Did OIOS remove Mr. Basanisi and others from the Congo investigation when they resisted attempts to influence the outcome?"
Gold mine in Congo: OIOS cover-up not shown, but becoming apparent
Previously, Ms. Ahlenius told Inner City Press by e-mail that "given the fact that the persons known as 'Dragon' and 'Kung FU' respectively have changed their statements from denying obtaining any armaments from UN peacekeepers in their interviews with OIOS on 19 and 20 of July 2007, OIOS investigators in Kinshasa currently are making efforts to obtain access to them." That was more than three weeks ago. Have the interviews taken place? Inner City Press hopes to have more on this, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, soon.
Questions on which more is hope for from Mr. Basanisi include, who attempted to "influence the outcome"? Were such persons in his chain of command? If so, who? Are such persons still in the employ of the United Nations? If not, why?
Mr. Basanisi asserts that the reason for the whitewash is that the UN needs to continue to receive troops from Pakistan and India, and therefore covers-up abuses committed by these contingents. This would imply that the pressure to quash his report came from Peacekeeping -- that is, either Jean-Marie Guehenno or the just-passed head of the Department of Field Support Jane Holl Lute. Guehenno has already confirmed that he is leaving -- still unanswered is the question of which Frenchman will replace him, Jean-Maurice Ripert, Jean Arnault or some other. Jane Holl Lute, who was passed over to head DFS in favor of Susana Malcorra, is said to be preparing to leave. Some analogize this to the way the mere repatriation of accused peacekeepers keeps accountability from ever taking place. Time, then, is of the essence, and these questions must be answered.
Answers -- which Inner City Press has sought without success from Ban Ki-moon himself -- are particularly important in light of two audits of the Office of Internal Oversight Services which OIOS chief Inga-Britt Ahlenius told Inner City Press she owned and would not release have been put online by Inner City Press, here (1st) and here (2nd).
"OIOS suffers from an ineffective and unclear structure, lack of independent budget and limited to no administrative support (check in and separating procedures, travel arrangements, etc.), poor management, conflicts at the senior management level, lack of communication inside ID/OIOS as well as with stakeholders and clients of ID/OIOS, lack of standard operating procedures and constant disagreements with regard to the scope of some of the investigative procedures of the division. This has obviously resulted in instability, high turnover rates and non-optimal working conditions for investigators."
The second report, on the "culture" of OIOS and compiled by Michel Girodo, states for example that, "secrecy and central control of information facilitated independence but also insulated managers from external review."
The fact that Ms. Ahlenius refused to release these on her own is, if anything, more troubling. The refusal to disclose could not be blamed on member states. She told Inner City Press, "It is my document." Now what does she say? Watch this site.
* * *
| By Claudia Blume |
23 May 2008
Four years ago, the Asian tsunami laid bare the region's inability to cope with large disasters. As a result, governments, non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies pledged to improve disaster preparedness and response. At a time when Asia is dealing with two major disasters, Claudia Blume in Hong Kong takes a look at whether disaster preparedness has improved.
|Couple searches through rubble for loved ones in Beichuan, 20 May 2008|
While countries in the region are used to disasters, the enormous devastation brought about by the tsunami in December 2004 was unprecedented. Nations were in a state of shock - not only because of the massive loss of life and property but also because of how un-prepared they had been for such a disaster. Governments and aid organizations pledged to be ready for future disasters.
Experts say much has been achieved since then. Jerry Talbot, the head of the Indian Ocean tsunami operation at the International Federation of the Red Cross in Geneva, says countries are now better prepared for disasters. He says one example is the Maldives, which did not have a disaster plan before the tsunami.
"The awareness now is very high," he said. "The clear plan that is being implemented - they are setting up structures around that plan, they are setting up regional disaster focal points. And one of the key things in the Maldives is logistics of course - how do they actually reach these small, isolated pockets of people? So this is a clear example of where there has been a major change."
|Schoolchildren run for safety during tsunami drill at Sanur beach in Denpasar, on Bali island (2006 File)|
"I think we can point probably to Bengkulu last year in Indonesia, where there was an early warning set up," Talbot said. "Millions of people were evacuated at a very small loss of life. If we compare that to the tsunami time we see a big change."
|In this photo released by Democratic Voice of Burma, a tree falls over a car after tropical cyclone Nargis hit Rangoon, 02 May 2008|
The Asian Disaster Preparedness Center - or ADPC - was set up in Bangkok in the 1980s to strengthen disaster risk management systems. After the tsunami, it became an early warning center for more than 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean - not only for tsunamis, but also for other disasters such as typhoons and floods.
Bhichit Rattakul, executive director of the ADPC, says his center works with governments to help them integrate disaster management into their national action plans. A number of countries have already done that, he says, and what needs to be done now is to make sure disaster management remains a long-term commitment.
"This sustainability is very important and very vital - both the commitment in the budget, from the local government as well the national government, and the commitment to work with people at local level and community level would be a very vital step to have the disaster management sustained," he said.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations pledged after the tsunami to establish systems to provide early information and support to members hit by disasters. This month, ASEAN was supposed to open a coordinating center for humanitarian assistance, which would work with international organizations to coordinate relief efforts. But the opening was postponed because of the disasters in China and Burma.
Richard Rumsey is regional emergency director for the aid organization World Vision. He says private groups, the U.N. and donors are much better now at coordinating relief efforts.
"A lot of work has been done to develop much better coordination mechanisms between us so that we talk to each other prior to a disaster happening and do contingency planning - who will do what, where, when and how - that sort of thing," Rumsey said.
Rumsey says aid organizations are quite stretched by the two disasters in Asia at the moment. But he says larger organizations such as his are prepared for multiple disasters as they have a presence in most countries in the region and enough trained staff who can quickly respond.
However, Rumsey notes that getting help to cyclone victims in Burma poses a particular challenge. His organization usually works alongside official systems in a country. But in Burma, he says, this means applying gentle pressure to a government that is wary of outsiders to bring help to affected people.
Burma's government has resisted most efforts to bring in emergency supplies and international relief workers to help the survivors of Cyclone Nargis. But aid groups and the United Nations say that aid is steadily, if slowly, flowing in to the country and they expect efforts to expand in the coming days.