Weekly anb10101.txt #7

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WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 10-10-2002  PART #1/7

* Africa. Profiteers re-route Africa-bound AIDS drugs to Europe - Nearly $18 million worth of reduced-price HIV drugs intended for Africa have been intercepted by profiteers and shipped back to Europe to be sold at marked-up prices, according to a current investigation. As a result of the scheme, nearly a quarter of the supply of the anti-retroviral drug Combivir that was intended for African patients has not reached them in the last year, said the drug's manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline. Instead, it and two other Glaxo HIV drugs were sold in Germany, the Netherlands, Britain and Switzerland by European wholesalers that now are under investigation. At least some of the drugs were shipped from a Glaxo factory in France and arrived in Africa, but the shipment "never made it out of the airport before it was turned back around by these wholesalers to Europe," said Raymond Salet, spokesman for the Dutch health care inspector's office. The drugs combat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The apparent thievery and fraud was described in an internal Glaxo document obtained by The Washington Post; it was confirmed by Glaxo and several European officials. Glaxo used air-freight companies to transport the medicine to Africa. On the ground, according to the documents and Glaxo executives, the shipments were moved from one company that handles customs clearances on imports to another, and then to an air-freight service employed by the profiteers and flown to Europe. Delivered to wholesalers there, the drugs made their way into the regular chain of commerce. Because the drugs were identical to European versions, "the pharmacists who bought them could innocently have thought they were their usual orders," Salet said. (The Washington Post, USA, 4 October 2002)

* Africa. The diamond industry - Representatives of the international diamond industry are meeting in Antwerp, Belgium, 7-8 October for a high profile conference to discuss International Diamond Policies and Strategies. US former vice-President Al Gore and President Festus Mogae of Botswana are expected to attend. However, Global Witness, after nearly four years of proposals and industry rhetoric, wonders whether the diamond industry has any strategy or policy for implementing the Kimberley Process regulations on 1 January 2003, especially the much-discussed industry run and audited system of warranties. On 1 January 2003, an international certification and verification system for rough diamonds, known as the Kimberley process, designed to eradicate the trade in conflict diamonds is to be simultaneously implemented by nearly 45 diamond-producing, trading and marketing countries, and the diamond industry. These procedures will be legally binding in national law and regulations. (Global Witness, 5 October 2002)

* Afrique. Les déplacés dans le monde - Les déplacés, victimes des conflits dans leur propre pays, sont 25 millions dans le monde, soit deux fois plus que les réfugiés, selon un rapport de Global IDP Project, une ONG basée à Genève et collaborant avec l'Onu. L'Afrique compte en 2002 plus de la moitié des déplacés par les conflits, soit 13,5 millions. Les déplacés sont souvent privés d'assistance et livrés à l'arbitraire. Seul un cinquième reçoit une assistance du Haut Commissariat pour les réfugiés, qui aide aussi 12 millions de personnes qui ont trouvé refuge à l'étranger. Le rapport, qui passe en revue 48 pays touchés, estime que dans 26 d'entre eux les gouvernements sont "directement responsables" des déplacements des populations. Dans les zones de conflit, les humanitaires se voient refuser par les combattants l'accès à des déplacés. L'étude reproche aussi aux donateurs de rester en général timorés alors qu'ils se montrent plus généreux quand les projecteurs sont braqués sur le sort de ces populations, comme en Afghanistan ou dans les Balkans. (Libération, France, 7 octobre 2002)

* Africa. Action against the Media - Congo RDC: On 7 October, Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) protested to the authorities of the RCD rebel movement, following the arrest of three journalists from an Uvira radio station. Eritrea: In a letter to the President of Eritrea (4 October), the organisation, Article 19, condemned the continued imprisonment of independent journalists, the denial of justice and the banning of the private press last year. Malawi: In an Alert on 17 September, the Media Institute of Southern Africa reported that the Catholic Church in Malawi has complained to the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority about Radio Islam saying that Radio Islam has aired what the Church describes as: "provocative and insulting programmes". Mozambique: In a Press Release (8 October), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) expressed alarm over serious irregularities int the investigation into the murder of journalist Carlos Cardosa and for the safety of journalists reporting on the official inquiry. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 8 October 2002)

* Africa. Human Rights - Burundi: In a press release dated 7 October, Amnesty International called on the Heads of State meeting in Dar es Salaam to discuss the armed conflict in Burundi, to condemn in the strongest possible terms the escalation of unlawful killings of civilians in Burundi and to demand that the transitional government and armed political groups take immediate measures to improve the accountability of their armed forces. Egypt: On 1 October, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights appealed for the release of Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, former director of the Ibn Khaldoun Centre, because of his diminishing health. Dr Ibrahim is presently serving a seven year term in prison.-- On 8 October, Amnesty International said that its delegation has just returned from a fact-finding mission to Egypt, during which it was denied access to prisoners and detainees. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 8 October 2002)

* Africa. Global AIDS fund looks to tackle corruption - The global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria has appointed private auditors to oversee its projects in Asia and Africa in an attempt to cut corruption and inefficiency. The fund, a public-private partnership set up in January with United Nations backing, has appointed KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers to select local organisations in Tanzania and Sri Lanka that have the financial and medical infrastructure to run the fund's HIV, TB and Malaria control programmes. They will also monitor the operation of the programmes to ensure the money is spent as it was intended. The new effort for improving financial accountability was announced at IUATLD, the world congress on lung disease being held in Canada. It is the first time a major international donor has involved the private sector in such a large aid project. The decision to use auditors to monitor the programme comes less than a week after Dutch police seized AIDS drugs that had been illegally re-exported from Africa. The drugs were part of a scam to cash in on the steep difference between the cut price charged by in Africa by Western pharmaceutical companies and the price of the same drugs in Europe. (Financial Times, UK, 9 October 2002)

* Afrique. Forum des parlementaires sur le NEPAD - 8 octobre. A Cotonou, quelque 350 représentants parlementaires africains, européens et partenaires au développement du continent, participent au premier forum des parlementaires sur le Nouveau partenariat pour le développement de l'Afrique (NEPAD). L'objectif est d'étudier l'implication des populations africaines "pour relever le défi du développement socio-économique de l'Afrique". Il s'agira d'initier la mise en oeuvre des mécanismes de garantie de bonne gouvernance politique et économique pour sortir le continent du sous-développement et de la marginalisation. Les travaux dureront deux jours. - 9 octobre. A la clôture de la rencontre, les observateurs restaient sur leur faim. Le forum a laissé un goût d'inachevé, écrit le correspondant du Figaro. Ainsi, l'idée de "bonne gouvernance" pour lutter contre la corruption n'a pu dépasser le stade de déclaration d'intention. Le problème de la dette est lui aussi resté en l'état. Seul résultat concret, les participants ont décidé de créer dans chaque pays un comité de suivi. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 10 octobre 2002)

* Southern Africa. Mugabe shut out of senior regional role - Southern African leaders have barred Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe from assuming a senior role in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). He was scheduled to assume the rotating deputy chairmanship of the SADC, a post that would automatically lead him to becoming its chairman next year. Harare would also have become the scheduled venue for next year's meeting. Instead, Tanzania's President Benjamin Mkpapa has been appointed to the post. Next year's heads of state meeting will now take place in Tanzania. The new SADC chairman, Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos; his predecessor, Malawi's President Bakili Muluzi; and the SADC's executive secretary, Prega Ramsamy, all emphasised the need for regional stability during the summit's opening ceremony this week. (The Independent, UK, 3 October 2002)

* Southern Africa. Five countries bid for ivory - 9 October: Five Southern African countries have launched a bid to be allowed to sell ivory, despite a ban intended to protect elephants. They are seeking permission to sell 80 tonnes of ivory, arguing that their game parks have too many elephants and are not at risk of extinction. The trade in elephant products was outlawed in 1989, after poaching on a massive scale in the 1960s and 1970s led to a huge decline in elephant numbers in East Africa. The body which oversees the trade in endangered species is due to consider the southern African proposal in Chile next month. In 1999, the Convention of the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) allowed Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to hold a one-off sale of 60 tonnes of ivory to Japan. Now, South Africa and Zambia also want to be allowed to sell some of their ivory stockpiles. A meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the Botswana capital Gaborone agreed to support the bid and step up lobbying outside the region. However SADC executive secretary Preg Ramsay said that those countries who want to sell ivory should "intensify their law enforcement" to fight poaching. (BBC News, UK, 9 October 2002)

* West Africa. Coastal regions threatened by sewage - The coastal regions of West Africa are among the most threatened by land-based pollution such as untreated sewage discharge, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) reported on 3 October. In a report detailing the global threat to coastal populations and the environment from untreated sewage discharges, UNEP called for wastewater emission targets, saying this would be a key step to cleaning up the seas. The report says the South Asian seas face the highest risk of pollution resulting from 825 million people living without basic sanitation services. West and central African have 107 million and East Africa 19 million. Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director, said: "Lack of adequate sanitation has been emerging as one of the biggest threats to human health. It is estimated that global economic burden due to ill-health, disease and death related to the pollution of coastal waters is running at US $16 billion a year". (IRIN, Kenya, 3 October 2002)

* Algérie. Islamistes tués - Le 4 octobre, les forces de sécurité ont tué cinq islamistes armés, lors d'un ratissage dans la région de Relizane (300 km à l'ouest d'Alger), rapportaient les journaux algériens. Cette opération, qui se poursuit, avait été déclenchée au lendemain de l'assassinat par un groupe armé de 7 personnes le 28 septembre, dans ce maquis réputé être une zone d'activité du Groupe islamique armé (GIA). -- 9 octobre. Les forces de sécurité ont encore abattu dix hommes armés dans le maquis de Remka (préfecture de Relizane), a-t-on appris de sources locales. D'autre part, huit terroristes ont été arrêtés dans la préfecture de Khenchela (450 km au sud-est d'Alger) à la suite d'une minutieuse enquête. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 9 octobre 2002)

* Algeria. In Kabylie, violence resumes before municipal elections - 6 October: A general strike called in the entire region of Kabylie and demonstrations on 5 October led to clashes between protestors and security forces. An error was made to programme the two events on the same day because it also coincided with the anniversary of the 1988 uprising that precipitated the end of one party's rule in Algeria. It also coincided with the last phase campaigns for local government elections to be held on 10 October. The elections are rejected by representatives of Kabylie village committees who prevented several candidates from holding campaign rallies. Kabylie, which boycotted legislative election with a turnout rate of less than 6 percent, intends to repeat the same scenario. However, one of the region's main political parties, the Socialist Forces Front (FFS) has decided to participate in the forthcoming poll. Clashes between demonstrators and security forces occurred in various parts of Kabylie on 5 October because they were banned. Delegates of Kabylie villages committees have warned that what happened then was just "a general rehearsal" for what will happen on 10 October polling day. 10 October: The FFS could be the main casualty in municipal elections being held today, amid fears of violence in the Kabylie region. The Front de Libération Nationale, the party that led Algeria to independence, is expected to dominate as it did in May's parliamentary elections. But analysts say the FFS, hitherto one of the most articulate voices of opposition to the rule of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his military-backed regime, could be severely damaged after deciding to put forward candidates following its boycott of the parliamentary poll. The party, led by its veteran leader Hocein Ait Ahmed, who lives in exile in Switzerland, draws its support from Kabylie. Several of its offices in the region have been attacked since campaigning began. More violence is expected, today, as security forces trying to keep the polling stations open clash with local youths, who organise themselves through tribal structures known as the Aarches, intent on enforcing a boycott. "In my view Hocein Ait Ahmed has made a grave error of judgment, believing that the Aarches is a small movement without links to Kabyle society. But they are the representatives of young people who continue to feel extremely frustrated and angry," Kadi Ihssan, a journalist and political analyst, said on 9 October from Algiers. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 10 October 2002)

* Algérie. Elections locales -affrontements - Le 5 octobre, la grève générale et les marches dans toute la Kabylie ont tourné aux affrontements entre manifestants et forces de sécurité. Les élections locales, prévues pour le jeudi 10 octobre, ont été rejetées par les délégués des comités de villages kabyles qui, tout au long de la campagne électorale, ont empêché de nombreux candidats de tenir leurs meetings. Le 7 octobre, la campagne électorale s'est achevée en Algérie, tandis que les opérations de vote ont commencé dans les bureaux itinérants réservés aux régions reculées du sud du pays. Le 8 octobre, de nombreuses bourgades de la Kabylie ont encore été le théâtre de scènes d'émeutes entre la population et les policiers. - 10 octobre. Quelque 17 millions d'électeurs sont appelés aux urnes pour renouveler les assemblées populaires communales et les assemblées de wilaya (conseils généraux). Depuis une semaine, un impressionnant dispositif de sécurité est déployé dans toute la Kabylie pour assurer la sécurité des électeurs. (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 10 octobre 2002)

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