Weekly anb10104.txt #7

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 10-10-2002  PART #4/7

* Côte d'Ivoire. Inside Bouake - 8 October: A local source has told the Fides Service (Vatican City) that the "situation in Bouake is one of confusion. There are reports of fighting between government troops and rebels but it is difficult to ascertain the truth. What we know for certain is that the missionaries are still there with the people. We have been told that a few have left the eastern part of the city where there are more rebel troops, but the Cathedral is still open thanks to the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) who have remained at their post. All the missionaries are fully involved in helping the thousands of displaced persons". -- 9 October: MISNA has received reports of massacres conducted in at least two neighbourhoods of Bouake. During a temporary retreat, some rebels were attacked and in some cases even burned alive by local citizens. In a few hours, the rebels had regained control of the zones and unleashed all their fury on the residents, indiscriminately killing and beating them and devastating homes. After the uncertainty of the past days, it is clear that Bouake is firmly held by the rebels and the humanitarian situation is giving rise to serious concerns. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 10 October 2002)

* Egypte. Frères musulmans libérés - Le 8 octobre, douze membres des Frères musulmans, un groupe islamiste interdit, ont été libérés après une décision de justice faisant jurisprudence, donnant aux prisonniers politiques la même chance de libération anticipée que les autres détenus. En Egypte, les détenus peuvent bénéficier d'une libération anticipée pour bonne conduite après avoir purgé trois-quarts de leur peine. Les douze hommes avaient été condamnés en novembre 2000 à trois ans de prison pour leur appartenance aux Frères musulmans. Parmi les personnes relâchées, figure l'un des chefs du mouvement, Mokhtar Nouh, ancien membre du Parlement et membre du conseil consultatif des Frères musulmans. (AP, 9 octobre 2002)

* Egypt. USA accused of rewriting the rule book - On 8 October, Egypt accused the US of rewriting the rule book to make it more difficult for Iraq to comply with United Nations demands. Ahmed Mahar, Egyptian foreign minister, called for UN weapons inspectors to be sent back into Iraq as soon as possible and for Saddam Hussein's defiance of UN demands to be resolved peacefully. But he warned that the inspectors' return should not be "impeded" by US-led efforts to impose tougher conditions on Iraq. Egypt's support for any military action against Iraq by an American-led force will be essential if action is to have any chance of wider backing across the Middle East, but President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's leader, remains opposed. Mr Mahar criticised a speech by George W Bush, US president on 7 October, in which he appeared to set out wider conditions for Saddam Hussein. Rewriting the rules in the middle of the game may not be the best solution," he said in Cairo after meeting Jack Straw, Britain's foreign secretary. (Financial Times, UK, 9 October 2002)

* Erythrée. Menace de crise alimentaire - Plus d'un million d'Erythréens sont menacés par une crise alimentaire provoquée par la sécheresse prolongée dans leur pays. Tel est le signal d'alarme lancé par la FAO et le PAM dans un rapport conjoint publié cette semaine. Selon les deux agences, la récolte céréalière de cette année ne couvre qu'environ 15% des besoins alimentaires de l'Erythrée, au lieu des 40 à 50% dans une année normale. La communauté des donateurs devrait prévoir une aide de l'ordre de 280.000 tonnes de vivres pour combler le déficit. Cette crise survient alors que le pays se remet lentement de sa guerre avec l'Ethiopie: de nombreux agriculteurs se trouvent encore déplacés dans le pays et les opérations de rapatriement des réfugiés grèvent les ressources du pays. (Centre des nouvelles de l'Onu, 3 octobre 2002)

* Ethiopia. Coffee prices bitter for Ethiopia - 3 October: The decline in world coffee prices has led to a crisis for growers in Ethiopia, who describe it as the birthplace of coffee. More than one million Ethiopian coffee farmers, accounting for nearly 15 million households, have been affected by the continuing fall in the price paid to coffee producers globally. The International Coffee Organisation (ICO) says world coffee prices have fallen by 70% since 1997. Some Ethiopian farmers are now looking at alternative crops as they can no longer support their families on the meagre income from coffee. Some farmers have turned to begging to survive. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 3 October 2002)

* Ethiopie. Crise humanitaire - Le 8 octobre, le PAM a appelé à une réaction immédiate afin de juguler la grave crise humanitaire qui se profile en Ethiopie. Selon l'agence onusienne, le nombre de personnes ayant besoin d'une aide alimentaire pourrait passer des 6 millions actuels à 10-14 millions l'année prochaine. Les récentes missions d'évaluations conjointes, effectuées dans tout le pays par le PAM, les donateurs et le gouvernement, révèlent d'importantes pertes en ce qui concerne les cultures de céréales et de sorgho, ainsi qu'un rétrécissement des aires de pacage et la réduction des sources d'eau du fait de la sécheresse qui perdure. (PANA, Sénégal, 8 octobre 2002)

* Ghana. L'or brille à nouveau - Grâce à la hausse des cours de l'or sur les marchés internationaux et à des mesures de contrôle des dépenses et frais de production, Ashanti Goldfiels, le géant ghanéen de l'or, est en voie de récupération. En effet, Ashanti, qui en 1999 était au seuil de la banqueroute, vient d'annoncer un profit net de 18,8 millions de dollars pour le deuxième trimestre de cette année. Son avenir semble assuré. (Al Ahram Hebdo, Egypte, 2-8 octobre 2002)

* Kenya. Uhuru presents nomination papers - 7 October: The battle for the successor of the retiring President Moi took on a more serious complexion when his preferred choice, Uhuru Kenyatta, submitted his nomination papers to Kanu headquarters in Nairobi today. Escorted by a huge crowd to the Kenyatta International Conference Centre that houses the party offices, the Local Government minister called on his rivals in the Rainbow Alliance to back him for the presidency. The event was characterised by confusion as a number of pro-Kenyatta Cabinet ministers, MPs, other leaders and journalists were locked out the venue where the Kanu executive director Mbaria Maina received the papers. The latter certified the papers, saying the candidate had met the mandatory requirement. These include a national identity card, a Kanu life membership card, and evidence of support from at least 12 branches in five provinces. A notable absentee from the escort that included ten Cabinet ministers and seven assistants and thousands of supporters, was President Moi, who, at the time, was in Kakamega to promote the Uhuru-for-President Project that has met stiff opposition especially in parts of the Rift Valley Province and most of Western Kenya. Mr Kenyatta has been in most of presidential entourages that have controversially criss-crossed the country in Moi's bid to market him. (Daily Nation, Kenya, 7 October 2002)

* Kenya. Meeting to decide on constitution reforms - 7 October: Constitution review commissioners and MPs start a crucial meeting today in Mombasa to decide whether the terms of Parliament and the President should be extended. The team will scrutinise each of the 299 clauses in the draft constitution and is expected to come up with recommendations to be put before Parliament. The members of the Ghai Commission and the Raila Odinga-led Parliamentary Select Committee will decide on whether to go into the General Election with minimum reforms or an entirely new constitution. The commission team will include Secretary Patrick Lumumba, Prof Yash Pal Ghai, Prof Okoth-Ogendo and Attorney-General Amos Wako. "We will be taking them through the draft and how we arrived at it," Mr Lumumba said. "If there is any other matter on the agenda, we will deal with as it comes." The meeting is being held against a backdrop of pressure from various groups, including the Law Society of Kenya, which is locked in a tussle with two judges who went to court seeking orders to stop the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission and the public from debating the draft document. (Daily Nation, Kenya, 7 October 2002)

* Kenya. La grève des enseignants - La grève des enseignants kényans entre dans sa troisième semaine, menaçant de perturber les examens nationaux prévus dans deux semaines. Le puissant syndicat national des enseignants (KNUT), fort de 240.000 membres, a appelé à la grève suite à un conflit salarial. Le conflit remonte à 1997, lorsque le gouvernement a accordé une hausse salariale de 150 à 200% à appliquer en cinq phases, mais seule la première phase a été exécutée. En vue d'assurer la tenue des examens comme prévu, le gouvernement réfléchit à des mesures alternatives, comme le rappel d'enseignants à la retraite, pour les superviser. Le 8 octobre, le ministre de l'Education a eu des discussions avec les responsables du KNUT, mais le ministre des Finances a affirmé avec force que les paiements réclamés par les enseignants rendraient le gouvernement à court de liquidités. (PANA, Sénégal, 9 octobre 2002)

* Kenya. Courts paralysed by strike - 9 October: Kenya's court system has ground to a halt. Courts across the country have been paralysed after lawyers went on an unprecedented one-day strike. Hundreds of lawyers marched through the streets of Nairobi waving banners, and sporting yellow ribbons of protest. In downtown Nairobi, a large crowd gathered. It was a protest unlike any other. Many had on their long advocates' robes, one or two wore their grey legal wigs. They waved placards emblazoned with the slogan: "Why Hire a Lawyer When You Can Buy a Judge?" The lawyers are protesting against legal moves to prevent constitutional reform of the judiciary. A new draft constitution recommended sweeping changes, including early retirement, and a tribunal to hear cases of judicial corruption. Not surprisingly, the proposals have not gone down well with the judges. Two of them have lodged a suit to block the changes. But most Kenyans support the reforms, believing their judges to be corrupt and open to bribes. The new draft constitution has been drawn up after months of painstaking public consultation. If the judges succeed in their case, the fear is that the entire constitutional review process will collapse. As the lawyers marched through the streets, members of the public shouted out: "Keep up the good work". (BBC News, UK, 9 October 2002)

* Libya/Lebanon. Shi'ite group threatens Gadhafi - A shadowy Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim group threatened vengeance on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and his country on 6 October over the disappearance of a charismatic cleric 24 years ago. Lebanese Shi'ites have long believed Libya kidnapped and killed Imam Musa al-Sadr, who organized Lebanon's 1.2 million dispossessed Shi'ites, during a visit to Libya in 1978. Libya says Sadr, founder of the pro-Syrian Shi'ite Amal movement, left the country safely. But Lebanese Shi'ites have demanded that Tripoli explain his fate. The Shi'ite Sadr Brigades said proof of Libya's involvement had reached them recently from Iran. "The killing of the leader imam and his companions was confirmed to us through reliable news that reached our brothers in Iran a long time ago and we were able to get a few weeks ago," the statement said. "We shall avenge the blood of the martyred imam...in the appropriate way and at the appropriate time. We shall strike without mercy the interests of Gadhafi and his men in every place on the face of the earth in revenge," it said. It called on Lebanon to sever diplomatic ties with Libya. Libya sent out a call in August for information on the fate of Sadr, after the issue resurfaced several months ago at an Arab summit in Beirut. Shi'ites had protested against allowing Gadhafi to attend the summit and the Sadr Brigades warned they would take unspecified action if he did. (CNN, USA, 6 October 2002)

* Malawi. New party created - 7 October: Several Malawian professionals and businessmen have formed a political movement which they say is aimed at institutionalising democracy and human development in the southern African nation. The Progressive People's Movement (PPM) has since July this year been offering training to people at grassroots levels on democracy, human rights and good governance. Leading personalities associated with the group include Malawian lawyers Ralph Kasambara, Modecai Msiska, Temwa Nyirenda and Masauko Msungama. Malawi Chambers of Commerce and Industry's president Jimmy Koreia - Mpatsa, prominent businessmen and professionals Patrick Khembo, Chokani Mhango, Saulosi Chilima and Martin Kansichi are also in the movement. (PANA, Senegal, 7 October 2002)

Weekly anb1010.txt - #4/7