Weekly anb0528_01.txt #5

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WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 28-05-2003      PART #1/5

* Afrique. 3e centenaire des Spiritains - Ce matin, le pape a reçu le supérieur général et la direction de la Congrégation du St. Esprit, à l'occasion du 3ème centenaire de l'existence de la congrégation. Les Spiritains, comme on les appelle communément, furent fondés à Paris le 27 mai 1703 par Claude Poullart des Places. En 1848, ils fusionnaient avec la Congrégation du S. Coeur de Marie, du bienheureux F. Libermann. La congrégation s'est spécialisée dans l'activité missionnaire et est surtout active en Afrique, aux Antilles et en Amérique du Sud. (D'après Kerknet, Belgique, 26 mai 2003)

* Africa. Africa and the G8 Summit - 25 May: France's President Jacques Chirac has urged the Group of Eight leaders of the world's major industrial nations to put their differences behind them to restore confidence in renewed global growth at next weekend's summit at Evian, hosted by France. He stands by France's opposition to the US-led war in Iraq. But he appeared anxious to put this divisive episode behind him to ensure that his meetings later this week with US President George W. Bush -- first at the St Petersburg tricentennial celebration and then at Evian -- should avoid acrimony. "Although there is some anxiety [about the recent differences], I am convinced that Evian can convey a message of confidence in world economic growth," he said. "But to justify this message, it has to be credible and the confidence fully justified." He says the G8 leaders will not be making special comment on the dangers of a weak dollar and the strong euro in the wake of last week's meeting of G8 finance ministers. "I don't think the present situation requires any particular comment. What we have got to make clear to the world is that we are determined to use all our energies to work together," he says. 27 May: Leaders of the G8 industrialised nations will use a meeting with African leaders on 1 June to agree a plan for regional peacekeeping operations on the continent. Under the plan, support will be provided to regional organisations in Africa to enable them by 2010 to run their own peacekeeping operations. The G8 leaders will meet heads of state from South Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and Senegal at a working dinner in Evian, France, ahead of the official G8 summit meeting. Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general will also attend. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 27 May 2003)

* Africa. Action against the Media - Southern Africa: On 26 May, the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) said that women make up an average of only 17 percent of media sources in Southern Africa although they make up 52 percent of the population. "The Gender and Media Baseline Study, a joint initiative of MISA and Gender Links, a southern African NGO, found that these figures reached 26 percent in Angola, and a low 11 percent in Malawi, irrespective of whether they were in the public or private media. Women in the media were more likely to be identified as a wife, daughter or mother, than a man was likely to be identified as a husband, son or father". Algeria: On 26 May, Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) protested the suspended jail sentence handed down by an Algiers court against cartoonist Ali Dilem on 20 May 2003. Dilem, a cartoonist with the daily Liberté, received a suspended six-month sentence for a cartoon of the army's chief of staff, General Mohamed Lamari, published on 15 January 2002. The court also fined Dilem 20,000 dinars; fined Liberté's editor Abrous Outoudert 40,000 dinars; and fined the newspaper 300,000 dinars. Cameroon: On 27 May, RSF denounced as "a serious attack on press freedom", the Cameroon government's closing of a new radio station on 23 May, a day before it was due to go on air. Police surrounded the offices in Douala of the privately-owned Freedom FM and closed it on the orders of the communications minister, who said it did not have permission to broadcast. Eritrea: On 23 May, RSF called on the Eritrean authorities to put an immediate and unconditional end to the illegal imprisonment of 18 journalists, who are being held in an undisclosed location. Morocco: RSF has voiced deep concern about the condition of jailed newspaper editor Ali Lmrabet, who was rushed to Rabat's Avicenne hospital on 26 May and put on an intravenous drip. Lmrabet, who was imprisoned on 21 May, has been on hunger strike since 6 May. His physician said he is in a very weak condition. "He has not been able to drink since yesterday. He is throwing everything up. He has great difficulty talking, and he can no longer walk," the doctor said. RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard said the organisation is "terribly worried" and urged the authorities not to return Lmrabet to prison. "He must remain in hospital for a considerable period of time and must get the best treatment," Ménard said. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 27 May 2003)

* Africa. NEPAD Summit - 28 May: Leaders from across Africa are meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, to discuss the economic regeneration programme for Africa, known as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). It is a plan that has the backing of industrialised nations, who have promised increased aid in return for governance reforms across the continent. However, the project has been slow to get off the ground. It won much praise when it was launched as an African-led initiative to reform economises, fight corruption and promote democratic values. Last year, leaders of the G8 industrialised nations promised, in principle, to provide aid and debt relief in support of NEPAD. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 28 May 2003)

* Africa. Bush signs $15 billion AIDS-fighting plan - 28 May: President Bush has signed an emergency plan to help fight Aids in Africa and the Caribbean, describing measures against the disease as among the most urgent needs of the modern world. at a signing ceremony at the State Department, Mr Bush said Aids was filling graveyards, creating orphans and leaving millions in a desperate fight for their own lives across Africa. Mr Bush said his country had a moral duty to act -- and he called on Europe, Canada and Japan to follow Washington's example. The new measure allows the United States Government to spend $15bn on preventing the spread of Aids over the next five years. The legislation will nearly triple US contributions towards fighting Aids, but it must still be approved annually by the US Congress. The Director of a joint United Nations programme on HIV and Aids, Peter Piot, praised the initiative, saying the money could dramatically reduce deaths from the disease that has killed more than 20 million people. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 28 May 2003)

* Afrique de l'Ouest. Sommet de la CEDEAO - Les dirigeants de l'Afrique de l'Ouest se rencontreront le 28 mai dans la capitale nigériane Abuja, pour un sommet extraordinaire qui coïncide avec le 28e anniversaire de la CEDEAO. Parmi les points saillants du sommet figure notamment la signature d'une Déclaration portant sur un mécanisme sous-régional de paix et de sécurité, dans un contexte de conflits croissants au sein de certains Etats membres. Par ailleurs, les dirigeants participeront également à une réunion du comité de mise en oeuvre du NEPAD (Nouveau partenariat pour le développement de l'Afrique). Ils désigneront un groupe de personnalités chargées de mettre en oeuvre le mécanisme de revue par les pairs, dont l'objectif est d'assurer une meilleure gouvernance. Ils prendront également des dispositions pour veiller à ce que le NEPAD soit à l'ordre du jour du prochain sommet du G8, prévu en France. (PANA, Sénégal, 27 mai 2003)

* Algérie. Après le séisme - Le bilan du tremblement de terre s'aggrave de jour en jour. Le vendredi soir, 23 mai, le gouvernement faisait état de 1.600 morts et plus de 7.000 blessés. Mais des centaines de personnes restent écrasées sous les décombres de dizaines d'immeubles et de maisons dans les petites villes de Boumerdès, Reghaïa, Rouiba, Corso ou encore à Aïn Taya, à quelques dizaines de kilomètres à l'est d'Alger. - Le 24 mai, le président Bouteflika s'est rendu à Boumerdès, mais a été conspué par la foule qui exprimait sa colère contre un pouvoir accusé d'avoir été incapable de porter secours aux siens. - Le 25 mai, au soir, le bilan du séisme était passé à 2.162 morts (dont 1.273 dans la région de Boumerdès) et 8.965 blessés; le 26 mai, il était de 2.217 morts et 9.085 blessés, mais des centaines d'individus manquent toujours à l'appel. Le nombre de sans-abri s'élève à environ 15.000 personnes. L'inquiétude grandit quant aux risques d'épidémies dans les zones les plus touchées. Pendant ce temps, la colère s'enfle contre le gouvernement accusé de corruption et les promoteurs immobiliers qui y ont trouvé leur compte. Le président Bouteflika a ordonné une enquête pour déterminer les responsabilités dans les effondrements de dizaines d'immeubles. - Le 26 mai, les autorités ont pris une surprenante décision: l'interdiction de toute collecte de dons qui n'auraient pas été autorisée par la willaya (préfecture). En réalité, Alger redoute de voir les islamistes, très actifs dans la solidarité, marquer des points auprès de la population. - Le 27 mai au soir, une nouvelle secousse tellurique importante (5,8 sur l'échelle de Richter) a été ressentie dans la région d'Alger. Des immeubles se sont effondrés à Zemmouri et à Boumerdès. Neuf personnes pourraient avoir trouvé la mort et près de 200 autres ont été blessées. - Pendant ce temps, les tueries ne s'arrêtent pas. Dans la nuit du 26 au 27 mai, 14 personnes d'une même famille ont été assassinées à Tadjna, dans la région de Chlef (200 km à l'ouest d'Alger). Cette nouvelle tuerie intervient au lendemain d'un autre massacre de 8 personnes dans cette région réputée pour être une zone d'activité du Groupe islamiste armé (GIA). (ANB-BIA, de sources diverses, 27 mai 2003)

* Algeria. Earthquake aftermath - 23 May: International teams are arriving in Algeria to join the desperate hunt for survivors of a huge earthquake that has devastated the north of the country. Hundreds -- perhaps thousands of people -- have been trapped under collapsed buildings since the 21 May's evening's tremor. Powerful after-shocks hitting the capital Algiers and surrounding area are persuading many people to spend the night in parks and open spaces. An interior ministry spokesman says that the death toll now stands at 1,117 while nearly 7,000 are thought to have been injured. "Unfortunately we have not finished establishing these increasingly tragic figures," Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia says. 24 May: Nations from South Africa to Germany have been pledging aid to Algeria, where the death toll from the earthquake is now believed to be more than 1,600. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies -- which has a team of experts on the scene -- is coordinating relief efforts. The agency has already requested $1.5m to provide assistance including medicines, food and blankets. Scores of bodies continue to be pulled from the rubble of Algeria's earthquake as rescuers race against time to find remaining survivors. Among the reported successes was the rescue of an two-and-half-year-old girl, pulled alive from the remains of a collapsed building. The discovery --reported by state radio -- gives hope to those combing the rubble as international rescuers and aid workers step up their efforts, sending specially trained dogs and listening devices. 25 May:International rescuers in Algeria have called off their search for survivors of the earthquake which has killed more than 2,000 people. A member of the UK's rescue contingent says: "The chances of finding anyone alive were now so minimal that we feel putting our own people into buildings would be more risk". According to figures released by the Algerian interior ministry, yesterday, at least 2,047 died in the quake, with 8,626 injured. But officials fear the final toll could exceed 3,000 fatalities. The government plans to set up an emergency housing committee to build new homes for survivors. There is widespread anger at the lack of temporary housing in the stricken area, where thousands are sleeping in the open. The main priorities are now clean water and sanitation for people in the disaster zone, who remain traumatised by continuing aftershocks, our correspondent says. 26 May: Health and aid workers have stepped up relief efforts in the region of Algeria hit by the earthquake. Workers have fanned out across the region on the eastern coast of the country with the aim of preventing outbreaks of diseases such as cholera. Medics and aid workers said so far there were no signs of diarrhoea epidemics among the population, but there was a risk they would flare up in the makeshift camps many residents have been forced to live in after their houses were destroyed. Today, the authorities promise to investigate whether shoddy construction work was to blame for the high death toll in last week's earthquake. 27 May: A strong aftershock has hit northern Algeria where an earthquake last week left more than 2,000 dead and thousands more injured and homeless. The latest tremor, with a magnitude of up to 5.8, caused widespread panic, with residents running into the streets as buildings swayed and in some cases collapsed. At least 200 people were reported injured by state television in Algiers and also Boumerdes -- one of the cities worst hit by last week's quake -- and there were unconfirmed reports of further deaths. "Families rushed out of buildings. Everyone took to the streets. In central Algiers people were scared, real scared, holding their children and babies in their arms," a Reuters correspondent in the city said. The new tremor's epicentre appeared to have been in Zemmouri, around 50 km east of the capital, Algiers and close to the epicentre of the 21 May earthquake. (ANB-BIA, Belgium, 27 May 2003)

* Angola. Lutte contre les clandestins - La police nationale angolaise s'inquiète de l'intensification de l'immigration clandestine et envisage de renforcer le contrôle de ses frontières. Depuis la fin de la guerre civile, en avril 2002, le phénomène a pris des proportions alarmantes, notamment dans le nord et l'est du pays. Le gouvernement estime que ces clandestins, venus majoritairement du Congo-RDC pour exploiter le diamant, portent gravement préjudice à l'économie nationale. (J.A.I.), France, 25 mai 2003)

* Burkina Faso. Pénurie d'eau à Ouagadougou - Le 22 mai, le gouvernement a annoncé de nouvelles mesures plus strictes visant à conserver l'eau de la capitale Ouagadougou. Les pénuries ont atteint des niveaux critiques dans la ville et certains habitants ont passé les trois derniers jours devant des robinets secs. Des camions-citernes seront utilisés pour approvisionner ces quartiers. La température atteint 44 degrés pendant la journée et les principaux réservoirs d'eau de la capitale ont commencé à tarir, aggravant les pénuries chroniques dans cette ville peuplée de 1,2 million d'habitants. Le prix de l'eau achetée de citernes privées a été multiplié par dix à cause de la pénurie. (IRIN, Abidjan, 23 mai 2003)

Weekly anb0528 - #1/5