BURUNDI – AFRICA / INTERNATIONAL : 18 JANVIER 2010 [Somali suburb in Kenya raided after riots]

{jcomments on}OMAR, AGNEWS, BXL, le 18 janvier 2010
www.presstv.ir,January 18, 2010–Kenyan security forces have raided a predominantly Somali suburb of the capital Nairobi and taken away scores of people, witnesses say.


Rwanda: Govt Won’t Stand Violation of the Laws – Interior Minister
Edmund Kagire/The New Times/allafrica.com/18 January 2010

Kigali — The Minister of Internal Security Sheikh Mussa Fazil Harerimana has warned presidential hopeful Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza against revisionist and Genocide denial pronouncements that are a clear violation of the country’s laws.

Ingabire who arrived in the country on Saturday to register her party ahead of this year’s Presidential elections started from a revisionist position, espousing theories on double genocide and denouncing Gacaca, referring to the court system as ‘ingoyi’ or shackles.

“She is welcome to Rwanda like any other Rwandan,” Harerimana told The New Times. “But what I need to emphasize to her is that we are country that is governed by the rule of law and anyone who violates these laws will be called to account.”

While visiting the Genocide memorial site, soon after her arrival, Ingabire made a statement claiming that there was double genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

She has equally announced that she’s leading a revolution of ‘Nyamwinshi’ or ethnic majority, a reference to the 1959 episode of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Her remarks have enraged survivors and ordinary Rwandans who called into different radio stations yesterday accusing the presidential hopeful of being “insensitive and a Genocide denier.”

They urged Ingabire to acquaint herself with the country’s newly enacted laws especially those relating to the fight against genocide.

Minister Harerimana warned that government does not tolerate any form of impunity and whoever violates the existing laws will have to answer accordingly.

“There’s no one above the law and we do not tolerate impunity. If she thinks that hoping to be a presidential candidate, gives her the license to violate the laws, then she’s in the wrong place,” the minister said.

Her remarks at the Genocide memorial site were seen by many as a mockery to those who died in the Genocide, an observation supported by her past utterances which reveal a deep sense of revisionism.

“She has clearly started on a wrong note,” Celestin Kayiranga a survivor told The New Times yesterday. “It’s simply pathetic and irritating to hear such remarks being made by a politician on the Rwandan soil today—-this is simply taking us many years backwards.”

Ingabire arrived in the country on Saturday after 16 years of self-imposed exile in Europe. She is the president of the United Democratic Forces (FDU-Inkingi).

Zambia: Banda Arrives in Rwanda
18 January 2010/Times of Zambia/allafrica.com

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has arrived in Kigali, Rwanda for talks with Rwandan President Paul Kagame on bilateral and other issues of common interest.

The Challenger plane carrying President Banda who is accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Kabinga Pande, touched down at Kigali International Airport at 17.00 hours.

Rwandan Prime Minister Bernard Makuza led several cabinet ministers and other senior government officials in welcoming President Banda.

Others on hand to receive the Zambian head of State was Zambia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Tanzania, also accredited to Rwanda, Patrick Ngoma.

After brief airport formalities, President Banda who is the current chairperson of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, was driven to Serena Hotel where he is staying.

Talks between the two leaders are scheduled for tomorrow at State House in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

This will be preceded by President Banda’s visit to Kigali Memorial Centre where 250,000 of over 1000,000 victims of the 1994 genocide, are buried.

Earlier, Mr Banda was seen off at Lusaka International Airport by Vice-President George Kunda, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ronnie Shikapwasha, Home Affairs Minister Lameck Mangani and Presidential Affairs Minister Ronald Mukuma.

Others were Works and Supply Minister Mike Mulongoti, Labour Minister Austin Liato, Lusaka Province Minister Charles Shawa, Defence chiefs, senior Government officials and MMD cadres.

And Mr Ngoma has spoken highly of the warm relations existing between Zambia and Rwanda saying the two countries have stood together on many issues of mutual and international interest.

Mr Ngoma was speaking in Kigali ahead of President Banda’s arrival at the invitation of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

He said the two leaders would consult each other on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues ahead of the African Union (AU) summit scheduled for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the end of this month.

Rwanda: Gov’t to Distribute Free Milk in Schools
Irene V. Nambi/The New Times/allafrica.com/18 January 2010

Kigali — Every Rwandan child will soon be able to take a pint of milk everyday as a government initiative that aims at supplementing their diets.

This was approved by cabinet meeting earlier this week where it was suggested that urgent activities be done to kick start this programme as soon as possible.

“It is a very good programme that will improve the health of the children as well as boost their level of academic performance. Most of the time children come to school with empty stomachs and we all know that a child who takes milk becomes very active.

We are therefore happy and look forward to the programme’s implementation,” Mathias Harebamungu, the Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education, told The New Times.

According to Harebamungu, the details of this initiative are under the Ministry of Agriculture.

“Our role as the Education Ministry is to ensure that all school going children get to benefit from the programme, but regarding when this will begin, or how often the milk will be distributed, is the role of a different ministry,” he added.

Efforts to reach the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, were futile as she could not answer calls.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, welcomed the new programme as one of the major means through which the country will raise stronger citizens for tomorrow.

“Such an idea that aims at giving milk to every child is a fantastic programme that we need to budget well and ensure that all our young children benefit. Milk boosts nutrition, and we believe that this initiative will begin with those with the highest need,” the official said.

Last year, the government took a strong stand to identify and treat malnourished children countrywide and Binagwaho notes that this new strategy will help accelerate efforts t
o curb malnutrition.

Rwanda: Governors Implore MINALOC On Capacity Building
Nasra Bishumba/The New Times/allafrica.com/ 18 January 2010

Kigali — The Governors of the four provinces of Rwanda and Kigali City have implored the Ministry of Local government (MINALOC) on the issue of low capacity and resources that is hindering the smooth running of their offices’ daily activities.

At a meeting that brought together the governors and the Minister of Local government, James Musoni on Friday, the governors said that the provincial offices were struggling with their daily activities because the number of provincial employees was still very low with limited.

The meeting, which was closed to the media, also discussed the retreat to be held next month that will bring together the governors, Executive Secretaries and MINALOC among others as they discuss different issues and formulate their 2010 budgets.

After governors voiced their concern over the low financial capacity that makes service delivery difficult, the meeting resolved that the matter would be looked into by supporting the provinces to acquire help in the fields of planning, infrastructure and financial accountability.

The meeting also resolved that MINALOC and the provincial administration would work together to source finances and projects to help temporary employees who would boost the provincial offices.

The attendants also agreed that the meeting bringing together the City council and MINALOC will convene once every month and will only focus on major issues discussed by Cabinet.

Rwanda: Central Prison Cleared of Swine Flu
Edwin Musoni/The New Times/allafrica.com/18 January 2010

Kigali — Government has lifted the quarantine on Kigali Central Prison that was imposed as a result of confirmed H1N1 influenza A, (swine flu) cases in the prison facility.

According to officials from the Ministry of Health, there are no any more cases of the flu prison.

The deadly flu hit the prison commonly known as 1930 early this month and spread faster than expected leaving over 400 prisoners infected.

In a function announcing the lift of the quarantine, the health coordinator in the Prison Dr. Innocent Gahima said that at the beginning, there were five laboratory confirmed cases at the prison in the first days of the spread.

“We created an isolation area and put about 400 prisoners who had the virus together but as per now we have managed to treat all of them and we have closed down the isolation area,” said Gahima.

According to the Head of the swine flu response team in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Justine Wane, during the exercise of wiping out the virus completely, his team of doctors received full cooperation from prisoners with the help of health peer educators.

The director of the prison, Dativa Mukanyangezi said that the government’s intervention was very fast and that preventive equipment was availed immediately.

Relatives and friends of the prisoners can now proceed with visiting the inmates.















Uganda Govt To Decide If Eni, Tullow Buy Heritage Oil Assets
By James Herron /online.wsj.com/Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES/ JANUARY 18, 2010

LONDON (Dow Jones)–The Ugandan government will decide whether Tullow Oil PLC (TLW.LN) or Eni SpA (E) will be allowed to purchase Heritage Oil PLC’s (HOIL.LN) two oil licenses in the country’s Lake Albert basin, Heritage said in a statement Monday.

“The Government will determine which transaction to approve in its role as final arbiter,” said the statement. “Heritage remains able to accept any superior proposal (unmatched by Tullow) made by any other party at any time prior to Heritage’s shareholders’ meeting on 25 January 2010,” where the transaction will be approved.

Heritage agreed last month to sell its half-share in Ugandan oil blocks 1 and 3A to Eni for up to $1.5 billion, but Tullow Oil decided Sunday to exercise its contractual rights to pre-empt the sale and purchase the blocks itself.

Tullow and Heritage have discovered around a billion barrels of oil in the three blocks in the Lake Albert Basin. Tullow and Heritage have equal shares in block 1 and 3A and Tullow has 100% of block 2.

Uganda’s government has been split over whether Tullow or Eni should buy Heritage’s assets.

Some officials at Uganda’s Energy Ministry and Minerals were strong supporters of Eni’s entry into Uganda and have previously expressed concern that allowing Tullow to pre-empt would give it too much control of Uganda’s oil industry.

However, other government officials gave their backing to Tullow, including the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Energy and Minerals who advised Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni against the Eni deal in a security briefing to the president seen by Dow Jones Newswires.

Tullow Chief Executive Aidan Heavey told Dow Jones Newswires Sunday that Tullow is acting with the full blessing of the government and he was confident it would approve the pre-emption.

Eni declined to comment.

Heritage said it expects to close the sale to either Tullow or Eni before the end of the first quarter.

“The successful monetization of the Company’s Ugandan interest highlights the importance of our first mover advantage strategy as Heritage was the pioneering company in the Albert Basin,” said Heritage Chief Executive Tony Buckingham.

Uganda, Libya Plan Talks on Oil Refinery, New Vision Reports
By Fred Ojambo/Bloomberg/Jan. 18

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) — Uganda will begin talks with Libya about building an oil refinery in the East African nation, New Vision reported, citing Ibrahim Ibrahim, manager of Oil Libya, a unit of the state-owned Libyan African Investment Portfolio.

The North African nation, which is seeking new investments and aims to consolidate existing ones in Uganda, is optimistic about the negotiations that begin today, the Kampala-based newspaper said.

Tullow Oil Plc and Heritage Oil Plc have discovered commercially viable deposits of oil in Uganda and plans are underway to set up a refinery.

news.brunei.fm/By NamNewsNetwork/2010/01/18

KAMPALA, Jan 18 (NNN-KBC) — Kenya and Uganda have affirmed their commitment to East African regional integration with the vice-presidents of both making bold statements here.

Kenyan Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka said Saturday that the region’s artificial borders were uneccessary barriers which would soon be abandoned in favour of free movement of citizens, good and services and roaring cross-border investments and trade.

Speaking at a dinner he hosted for the visiting Kenyan delegation, Uganda’s Professor Gilbert Bukenya saw the sharing of a common flag and currency in the future and praised the cordial relationship between Kenya and Uganda.

“Why can’t we share a common flag and why can’t we have a common currency. No one can tell the difference between a Kenyan and a Ugandan on the streets of London?” asked the Ugandan leader.

Musyoka noted that the people of East Africa were linked geographically, economically and culturally and their future survival was in integrating their economies and boosting cross-border trade. “Artificial borders must give way to more empowered, free-moving East Africans who are capable of working and investing in Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda,” he said.

He added that Kenya valued its bilateral relations with Uganda and would do everything within its power to keep the ties warm and strong. ” We have come to Kampala to affirm our strategic relations. Uganda remains Kenya’s number one trading partner. Mombasa remains your sea port of choice and the Kenya-Uganda Railway continues to bind us economically.”

The Kenyan vice-president was accompanied on the visit here by members of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), members of Parliament Eugene Wamalwa and Isack Muoki and Equity Bank chief executive James Mwangi.

Prof Bukenya said although trade between Uganda and Kenya was now heavily in favour of Kenya by 400 million USD annually, the gap was narrowing rapidly. — NNN-KBC











Somali suburb in Kenya raided after riots
Mon, 18 Jan 2010 / www.presstv.ir

Kenyan security forces have raided a predominantly Somali suburb of the capital Nairobi and taken away scores of people, witnesses say.

Eye-witnesses say the police were picking up people they considered to be Somalis, whether they had legitimate papers or not.

They say 16 Somali lawmakers had been detained so far by Kenyan police.

The raid followed a deadly protest against the detention of a Jamaican Muslim cleric in the heart of the capital on Friday.

Abdullah al-Faisal is accused of violating immigration regulations by preaching, according to the police and immigration officials.

The demonstration turned into violent street battles near a downtown mosque, which went on for more than eight hours.

Reports say one police officer was injured by a gunshot during the riot.

This is while counts of casualties relating to Friday protest differ from one to five and seven.

Kenyan Rights Campaigner Calls for Security Minister’s Dismissal
A leading member of Kenyans for Democracy and Justice, a political pressure group is calling for the dismissal of Internal Security Minister George Saitoti.
Peter Clottey/www1.voanews.com/18 January 2010

Washington, DC
A leading member of Kenyans for Democracy and Justice, a political pressure group is calling for the dismissal of Internal Security Minister George Saitoti. Okia Omtata said the security minister’s “incompetence” could plunge Kenya into yet another chaos similar to the 2007 post-election violence.

“It looks like he is not able to appreciate the docket he occupies because in the past few days there have been major security scares in this country. Traffic police looking for other things have stumbled upon military bombs loaded on public transport…we have had so many security lapses in this country that he is not being able to explain and he needs to be held accountable,” he said.

Minister Saitoti said over the weekend that demonstrations organized by a group of Muslim youths to protest the arrest of a radical Jamaican Muslim cleric were infiltrated by the hard line Somali insurgent group, Al-Shabab.

He also said that the government will soon open an inquiry into the protests that turned violence, adding that the jailed Jamaican Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal will soon be deported.

But Omtata said the minister is not proactive.

“We are saying that Professor Saitoti is totally incompetent. He is reactive in nature…that is why we are saying that maybe the security docket requires a slightly more competent individual who can be on top of things,” Omtata said.

Kenya’s media reported that the government failed to deport Faisal after Nigeria refused to give him a transit visa to Gambia. He is being held at Nairobi’s industrial area deportation.

Omtata said Minister Saitoti seems to be inundated with the weight of his job.

“It can overwhelm you like it has overwhelmed Professor Saitoti. So, I think that the security docket needs to be given to a professional who can understand that dynamics of terrorism. Right now we seem not to have an anti-terrorism law yet we are on the frontline of the war between the Arabs and the West,” Omtata said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Raila Odinga has ordered an investigation into the demonstrations organized by Kenyan Muslims to protest the arrest of the controversial Jamaican Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal.
The peaceful protest turned violent after the demonstrators reportedly pelted police officers with stones who in turn fired in the air and lobbed tear gas canisters.

Singapore, Kenya sign Air Services Agreement
By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia/ www.channelnewsasia.com/ 18 January 2010

SINGAPORE: Singapore and Kenya on Monday signed an Air Services Agreement.

The ceremony was witnessed by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the visiting Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga.

The signatories were the Transport Ministers of both countries.

Singapore’s Transport Ministry said under the Air Services Agreement, air carriers from Singapore and Kenya have the flexibility to operate any number of air services between and beyond both countries.

However, there will be some restrictions on passenger services by Singapore carriers between Kenya and selected third countries.

According to Transport Minister Raymond Lim, the Agreement is a reflection of the warm ties between Singapore and Kenya, and underscores the commitment of both countries to cooperate on civil aviation and the liberalisation of air services.

With this agreement, Singapore and Kenyan air carriers will now have the flexibility to plan their commercial operations to capitalise on market opportunities in both countries.

– CNA/yb




Terrorist attack brings up safety issue for South Africa
By Lars Gesing /www.indenvertimes.com/ January 18, 2010

The time of preparation was long. Now, just a couple of days after 2010’s warm welcome, it’s five months until the first World Cup kick-off is going to happen in the Soccer City stadium, South Africa. Always having to fight doubts, organization committee clearly made it’s point. All venues are prepared, and even though Bafana, the yellow and green national squad, is far behind when it comes to being equal on the pitch, enthusiasm in the streets is obvious.

Still, this week, dark clouds of doubt appeared at the once so bright sky. When terrorists attacked Togolese national squad on their way to their hotel in Angola this weekend, an international uproar brought up familiar safety issues for South Africa. Africa Cup that is hosted by Angola right now is referred to as the big rehearsal for this summer’s event and terrorist attacks that killed three officials and injured one Togolese keeper badly just don’t fit in the picture the continent needs to evoke.

It was no surprise then that stars of European teams expressed their worries about safety in June and July. “We as players will be safe in South Africa, but what about our families and friends?”, German striker Mario Gomez asked.

The region Cabinda, where attacks happened, is referred to as dangerous and rough. Hosts in Angola knew that and asked all teams not to travel by bus. The question why Togolese team still didn’t take a plane as suggested hasn’t been answered so far. But for the problem itself, an answer is not of major importance anyways. It was obvious that the threat of attacks was existent, in a country that suffered in thirty years of civil war. Unlike Angola, civil war and the Apartheid regime in special are ruled over in South Africa for sixteen years now. But the country’s safety is threatened by one of the highest crime rates in the world. So the one big question remains: Will the World Cup 2010 be safe, not only for teams and officials, but for fans from all over the planet that plan to come to the Cape?

“Yes!”, Danny Jordaan, head of 2010 Organization Committee emphasizes. “Angola is not South Africa. You can’t compare the safety concepts. In recent history, we hosted 147 major sports events and never had any incidents”, said Jordan. A sign for the Committees major attempt to add another event to the long list is the fact that an additional 100.000 police officers are educated to guarantee safety in the streets and stadiums. “We don’t have to defend ourselves. There is no doubt that we will host a safe and successful World Cup.” Jordaans words are meant to give faith. He has to say them. And he knows it. Therefore, he continues and asks: “When there is a terrorist attack in Europe, who questions the decision to give the Olympic Games to London?

Nobody criticised the FIFA board for giving the World Cup 2006 to Germany when there was a war in the Kosovo.” Jordaan’s offensive counter-attack expresses the nervous state of mind he and his office are in. They are in the dilemma to be responsible for the success of an historic event. The first World Cup ever played on African soil will be a memorable moment. It has got to be a good tournament. It would be a devastating sign to the world if South Africa presents itself and his continent as unsecure and unable to warmly welcome their guests like the most cynic critics are just predicting in the face of last weekend’s attacks in Cabinda. Roughly five months remain for Jordaan and South Africa.








South African Union Wants Vodacom Probe Published, Report Says
By Alastair Reed/Bloomberg/Jan. 18

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) — South Africa’s Communications Workers Union wants Vodacom Group Ltd. to publish its report into alleged financial irregularities and violations of corporate governance, Business Report said.

The labor union will hold a meeting today to discuss ways of making Vodacom release the report, the Johannesburg-based newspaper reported, citing Aubrey Tshabalala, deputy chairman of the union in Gauteng province.

The report is confidential and won’t be published, said Vodacom spokesman Richard Boorman by mobile phone today.

“An independent investigation into the allegations made by a former employee was completed to the satisfaction of shareholders and in no cases was it deemed necessary to take action,” he said.

BHP, Vodacom, PSG, SABMiller: South Africa Equity Preview
By Ron Derby/Bloomberg/Jan. 18

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) — The following is a list of companies whose shares may have unusual price changes in South Africa. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names and prices are from the last close.

South Africa’s FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index fell 212.58, or 0.8 percent, to 27,929.22, bringing the decline for the week to 1.2 percent.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BIL SJ): BHP allocated $267 million in preapproval capital spending to accelerate the development of the Caval Ridge mine and stage three of the Hay Point coal terminal. The company made the announcement in a statement on its Web site.

Separately, copper rallied as London Metal Exchange prices continued to trade below those in Shanghai, encouraging purchases by Chinese traders. BHP, the world’s largest mining company, fell 4.31 rand, or 1.7 percent, to 247.99 rand.

Kumba Iron Ore Ltd. (KIO SJ): Goldman Sachs JBWere Pty. increased its forecast for iron-ore contract prices to a 35 percent gain in 2010 versus its previous forecast of 20 percent. Africa’s biggest producer of the steelmaking ingredient fell 2.60 rand, or 0.8 percent, to 325.90 rand.

PSG Group Ltd. (PSG SJ): The company increased its shareholding in Capitec Bank Holdings Ltd. (CPI SJ) to 34.78 percent. PSG rose 0.5 percent to 22.40 rand. Capitec dropped 0.5 percent to 75.60 rand.

SABMiller Plc (SAB SJ): SABMiller Plc’s Amalgamated Beverages Industries Ltd. said it is “hopeful” a strike started Dec. 22 over a wage dispute will be resolved by Jan. 18. The shares lost 0.8 percent to 215.51 rand.

Sasol Ltd. (SOL SJ): Crude oil fell for a sixth day, the longest decline in a month, on speculation supplies are more than sufficient to meet demand and as the dollar strengthened, reducing the investment appeal of commodities. Sasol, the world’s biggest maker of motor fuel from coal, lost 3.71 rand, or 1.2 percent, to 304.79.

Vodacom Group Ltd. (VOD SJ): Congolese Wireless Networks, the minority shareholder in Vodacom Congo Sprl, said the venture with Vodacom Group Ltd. is owed more than $166 million in dividends, according to a complaint filed Dec. 17 with Congo’s attorney general. The shares added 1.4 percent to 54.16 rand.

The following stocks will begin trading without the right to the latest dividends:

Clicks Group Ltd. (CLS SJ), Freeworld Coatings Ltd. (FWD SJ), Lewis Group Ltd. (LEW SJ), Netcare Ltd. (NTC SJ), Reunert Ltd. (RLO SJ).

Shares or American depositary receipts of the following South African companies closed as follows:

Anglo American Plc (AAUKY US) fell 1.3 percent to $22.09. AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (AU US) shed 2.8 percent to $40.81. BHP Billiton Plc (BBL US) fell 1.8 percent to $66.54. DRDGold Ltd. (DROOY US) climbed 1.1 percent to $7.46. Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI US) slipped 1.1 percent to $13.26. Harmony Gold Mining Co. (HMY US) shed 1.4 percent to $10.39. Impala Platinum Holdings Co. (IMPUY US) dropped 1.8 percent to $29. Sappi Ltd. (SPP US) added 0

South African charity group heads for Haiti
January 18, 2010/Source: Xinhua

A search and rescue team from South African charity organization Gift of the Givers arrived in Haiti later on Sunday via a land route from the Dominican Republic.

“Our 10-member search and rescue team was met by Catholic Relief Services in the Dominican Republic and was transported by road to Haiti. They will arrive in Haiti later today (Sunday),” said Gift of the Givers Chairman Dr Imtiaz Ismail Sooleiman in South Africa.

“It is a nine-hour long trip that requires a security escort from the Haitian side of the border.”

Haiti and the Dominican Republic share their territory on the island of Hispaniola.

Sooleiman said a second team with another 2.5 million rands worth of heavy equipment and a medical team with emergency medication would depart for Haiti on Monday.

“We are in the final stages of negotiation, hoping to arrange a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet with 100 tons of supplies to fly out later this week,” he said.

The South African rescue team started working on the quake- devastated island at 11:00 a. m. on Sunday.

“The team arrived safely at 3:00 a. m. South African time,” South African government international relations department spokesman Saul Molobi said in the afternoon.

“So far, so good. We haven’t received any reports to update us on the situation on the ground.”





Senegal offers Haitians a new life in Africa

The massive earthquake which struck Haiti last week is just the latest disaster to befall the Caribbean nation. Battered and bruised from both natural and political turmoil, once again Haitians will have to rebuild their lives.

But one man believes it is time for a radical solution. Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade has suggested a resettlement plan somewhere in Africa.

President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade explained to Euronews: “Take the case of Liberia, the Afro-Americans were transplanted there. Today those people are successfully integrated with the other African peoples, because they’re of African origin anyway, and they had originally been sent to the America’s against their will. So, it’s not really so extraordinary to transplant those who want, to find a piece of land somewhere in Africa, and, with the help of the international community, to create a city, and perhaps a whole country.”

A spokesperson for the president also told Euronews that if a region was found in Senegal, it would be in a fertile part of the country, although nothing official has been said about the costs of such a plan.

Fewer Americans think Obama has advanced race relations, poll shows
By Jennifer Agiesta and Jon Cohen/Washington Post Staff Writer/Monday, January 18, 2010

Soaring expectations about the effect of the first black president on U.S. race relations have collided with a more mundane reality, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

On the eve of President Obama’s inauguration a year ago, nearly six in 10 Americans said his presidency would advance cross-racial ties. Now, about four in 10 say it has done so.

The falloff has been highest among African Americans. Last January, three-quarters of blacks said they expected Obama’s presidency to help. In the new poll, 51 percent of African Americans say he has helped, a wider gap between expectations and performance than among whites.

Although most of all those polled view Obama’s election as a mark of progress for all African Americans, three in 10 say it is not indicative of broader change. About two-thirds see Obama’s election as a sign of progress for all blacks in the United States, a figure unchanged from last year, but about half say his time in office has not made much difference in race relations. One in eight say it has hurt relations.

The new poll showed little change in the views of African Americans’ current standing in society. About seven in 10 say blacks have already reached or will soon attain racial equality, about on par with the share saying so last January and during the 2008 presidential campaign. About two in 10 say equality will not happen in their lifetimes, and about one in 10 believe it will never happen.

African Americans’ views on achieving racial equality have become more pessimistic since the inauguration, returning to their preelection levels. The share saying blacks have reached racial equality dropped 9 percentage points, to 11 percent, and the percentage saying equality will not be achieved in their lifetimes climbed 9 points, to 32 percent. About one in five blacks say they will never achieve racial equality. Among whites, four in 10 say African Americans already have it and 31 percent say it will happen soon.

The political polarization that drives much opinion about Obama’s presidency carries over to perceptions of his impact on race relations as well. Among Democrats, about six in 10 say his presidency has helped race relations, compared with about four in 10 independents and just a quarter of Republicans. Expectations were high across party lines a year ago, with 75 percent of Democrats, 53 percent of independents and 43 percent of Republicans predicting that Obama’s would help relations.

There is less of a partisan divide on whether Obama’s election itself was a sign of progress for all blacks: 72 percent of Democrats say so, as do majorities of Republicans (59 percent) and independents (63 percent).

The poll was conducted by telephone from Jan. 12 to 15 among a random sample of 1,083 adults. The full results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. For the 153 African Americans polled, the results have an 8 percentage point margin of error.

Google in China Is Like China in Africa?
blogs.wsj.com/The Wall Street Journal/January 18, 2010

China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesman Yao Jian Friday, responding to questions about Google’s fate in China, made an interesting analogy: Google in China is like Chinese companies in Africa.

What Yao tried to say was that similar to China as it has sought to expand in Africa, Google has had to adapt to local rules in China. For China as for Google (GOOG), he implied, this has not always been easy.

“Recently Chinese companies operating overseas have met with a lot of problems…In Africa, [they relate to] how to respect the environment, respect local employment, respect local unions, respect local religion. These are all problems Chinese companies [expanding abroad] face,” Yao said.

“Logically, these are constraints of the host country – Africa or U.S. constraints [for example]. … The core goal is to comply with the laws of the host country. Don’t create pollution for others. Don’t create environmental problems for others. Africa is a green land. We need to fix more of their roads, give them employment, education, health, etc,” he said.

From there, Yao then pointed out that China is still developing and striving to build a “moderately prosperous society,” a phrase Chinese officials often use to describe their desired level of social and economic development. He said, “All foreign investors in China, including Google, should comply with international norms, respect the rules and regulations of the host country, respect the public interest and legal traditions and shoulder social responsibility.” The implication: Google by pressing its agenda could disrupt Chinese society.

Yao’s analogy doesn’t quite work. Chinese investors in Africa are involved in the extractive industry to bring oil and resources home to feed the dragon economy; their operations are not embedded in the domestic African market. Meanwhile, Google’s business is about getting netizens in China to click into its search engine. It hinges on trying to allow for the free flow of information in a major economy that is attempting to transition from years of central planning but one where the government still controls access to information.

China has yet to be tested in Africa on how it would deal with a situation where a big Chinese foreign investor runs up against the rules of its host country in such a fundamental way as Google has in China.

When that happens, China may find, as Google has found, that investing in a foreign country can be more complex than just following the letter of the law.

– J.R. Wu

New peace deal in Guinea offers hopes for stability in West Africa
Written by COCORIOKO REPORTERS /18 January 2010

The feared regional spillover of the chaos and instability from Guinea seems to have been averted . A new peace deal was struck in Burkina Faso on Friday with Guinea’s political rivals agreeing to form a transitional commission that will move Guinea towards presidential elections within the next six months. The junta leader of Guinea’s military government, Moussa Dadis Camara signed a joint declaration with his political rivals in Ouagadougou , Burkina Faso ,which saw Capt. Daddis Camara agreeing to go into temporary exile in Burkina Faso while his Deputy Sekouba Konate remains in control to form the proposed Civilian Commission . A Unity Government headed by a Prime Minister is to be formed.

The Transitional Commission will consist of 101 members from various walks of life and it will be led by a religious figure. No members of the junta, the transitional commission and anyone in military service allowed to participate in the elections . It was also agreed upon that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will despatch observers to ensure that the elections are free and fair.

The Transitional Government will also respect public freedom and freedom of the press and freedom of expression, and it will also safeguard personal and property safety .

This latest development in the Guinean crisis stunningly began unfolding when junta leader Daddis Camara, who had been receiving treatment in Morocco after being shot in the head by an aide , suddenly materialized in Burkina Faso on Tuesday. It was believed that Camara thought he was actually heading for Guinea only to find himself in Burkina Faso. It is believed that Western powers , especially the United States, kicked against Camara’s return to Guinea ,after a failed attempt to have the junta leader arrested in Rabat by the Moroccan authorities who turned down the order.

Liberia’s President , Mrs.Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, left for OUAGADOUGOU yesterday , amidst specualations that she was going there to help formalize and concretize the peace deal.

African Union Not Yet Ready to Lift Guinea Suspension, Says AU Official
Ramtane Lamamra, commissioner of the AU Peace and Security Council says Guinea will remain suspended until the restoration of constitutional rule
www1.voanews.com/James Butty/18 January 2010

Washington, DC
The commissioner of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council says the suspension of Guinea from the continental body would remain in place despite the military junta’s agreement to a transitional government.

Ramtane Lamamra said the African Union would not rush into lifting the suspension because the international community is committed to the restoration of democracy in Guinea through free and fair elections.

“I am afraid Guinea will remain suspended until the restoration of democratic order…one has to be careful not to rush to lifting sanctions because that can be a signal that could be wrongly understood by some quarters, and they would think that the international community would not be particularly demanding on the conditions of free and fair elections,” Lamamra said.

He said the African Union is pleased with the mediation efforts of Burkina Faso President Blaise Campaore.

“We are grateful to President Campaore, his time, his energy, his dedication. This was not an easy mediation and he is now recording a significant success,” Lamamra said.

Lamamra hoped that the agreement reached through the mediation of President Campaore would be a turning point in the management of the Guinea crisis.

The deal, signed last Friday by wounded military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara and interim leader General Sekouba Konate in Burkina Faso calls for a unity government and elections within six months.

Lamamra said the African Union welcomes Captain Camara’s decision to stay out of Guinea and not try to reclaim power.

“The development announced in Ouagadougou is certainly a positive one. Obviously Captain Dadis Camara had become an obstacle for the peaceful democratic transition in the country,” he said.

Lamamra recalled that over a year ago Captain Dadis Camara undertook the commitment not to stand for election but then changed his mind which he said led to high tension and eventually the September 2009 killing of pro-democracy demonstrators.

But Lamamra said the African Union and hopefully the people of Guinea are looking forward to implementing the new agreement.

“Within the next six months, the country will be ruled by a new prime minister appointed by the opposition parties and elections will take place at the end of this new transition with the active participation of all the political forces,” he said.

He said the African Union will do everything within its power to make the new agreement a success.

The African Union suspended Guinea after the December 2008 coup that brought Captain Dadis Camara to power.

The AU also imposed sanctions on the military government following the killing of opposition supporters last year at a soccer stadium

More South African aid for Haiti
Imraan Karolia /www.eyewitnessnews.co.za/18012010

Government was on Monday preparing to send a second team of medical professionals to Haiti.

The group, comprising mainly of forensic pathologists, will help identify bodies recovered from the rubble in Port-au-Prince.

The team will help officials from Rescue South Africa who are searching for survivors and victims of Tuesday’s earthquake.
Meanwhile, medics and rescue personnel from Rescue South Africa were being accompanied by United Nations security officials in rescue efforts in Haiti.

Rescue SA’s first search in Port-au-Prince disaster zone turned up more than 35 bodies but no survivors.

Rescue SA search captain said the crew must not forget about safety when getting caught up in the situation on the ground and placed emphasises on personal hygiene.

On Sunday four survivors were pulled from the rubble by an international search and rescue team and although chances were fading for anyone still trapped in the rubble, the South African members said they will not stop looking.
(Edited by Lenyaro Sello)

Fearful Haiti quake survivors turn to God for help
Catherine Bremer/Reuters/ Jan 18, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Survivors of Haiti’s devastating earthquake gave thanks to God on Sunday, in churches if they were still standing, or on the street, out of fear of dangerous aftershocks.

“It has been a week for thanking God for protecting us. We are suffering a lot. Praying helps us,” said evangelical worshiper Anne Pierre, 64, who lost her home but whose family is safe “thanks to God.”

So many churches were damaged in Tuesday’s quake which wrecked Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, that religious Haitians sheltering in tent cities were asking Catholic priests to hold masses at their makeshift camps.

The city’s once-majestic Notre Dame cathedral lay in ruins, but some people went to pray near its rubble for the Roman Catholic priests and parishioners killed when it toppled.

They also grieved the loss of the beloved leader of Haiti’s Catholic Church, Archbishop of Port-au-Prince Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, who died when his residence collapsed and he fell to the ground outside, smashing his head.

“I was totally numb when I saw his house crumbled,” Vatican envoy Bernadito Auza told Reuters at his hilltop home, which was not damaged.

“The loss is unimaginable,” he said of the loss of Catholic churches, convents and seminaries. “It will take us decades to replace what we have lost.”

Among those who died in churches were dozens of children who were being handed food donations at a church in the nearby town of Legane, where the earthquake’s epicenter hit, Auza said.

Since Tuesday’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake, hundreds of thousands of Haitians have slept out in the streets, singing hymns for comfort and praying in the darkness.

About 80 percent of Haitians are Catholic and 16 percent Protestant, though more than half the population are believed to practice voodoo, a religion with roots in Africa.

Many Haitians have turned to God for an explanation of their impoverished country’s worst catastrophe in living memory, which has killed up to 200,000 people.

At Saint Jean Bosco, an intact Catholic Church in a less damaged part of town, smartly dressed worshipers sang and clapped with their outstretched palms in the air.

“This increases our faith, despite everything. He (God) has protected us,” said Dania Aly, 22.


Despite the chaos, death and destruction, one evangelical congregation turned out in suits and ties, pressed white shirts and polished shoes for a Sunday service at the Assembly of God church in the suburb of Petionville.

The women wore smart white linen dresses and head scarves. But the service took place on the street in front of the church, even though it was undamaged, because people are still scared of going inside due to frequent quake aftershocks.

From a lectern on the sidewalk, pastor Joseph Pierre Roy led a service of prayers and songs in French and Creole.

“We are thanking God for protecting our church. This is the grace of God,” he said.

At Port-au-Prince’s demolished cathedral, a wrinkled, toothless old woman sat in the rubble with tears in her eyes, a bag of clothes and a container of water by her side.

“I lost so much. I am still trembling from the earthquake,” she said.

Nearby, a blind man strummed a guitar and sang softly.

“I am singing for my country, for the razed presidential palace, for the razed justice palace, for my dead father, my dead sister,” he sang.

“What has happened to Haiti I can’t put into words. There aren’t enough tears for all my sorrow.”

(Reporting by Catherine Bremer, writing by Anthony Boadle, editing by Pascal Fletcher and Eric Beech)

Africa: Responding to Haiti’s Hour of Need
18 January 2010/Daily Trust/allafrica.com

A devastating earthquake tore through the Caribbean nation of Haiti on January 13, smashing homes offices and reducing large portions of the capital, Port-Au-Prince to rubble, claiming lives estimated in the tens of thousands. Practically no sector of the Haitian society was spared as the Presidential Villa, the seat of government; schools, hospitals and the United Nations (UN) building were destroyed among others. The catastrophe has thrown the country’s leaders and indeed global community, in quandary.

The tremors and aftershocks of the earthquake were felt as far out as Jamaica, Cuba and the neighbouring Dominican Republic. Rescue efforts were hampered by the extensive damage done to the country’s fragile infrastructure such as roads, air and sea ports and the grinding poverty which may have compromised the people’s ability to prepare for such devastation or to have the equipment required for rescue at such emergencies.

Haiti is described as one of the poorest states of the western hemisphere surviving solely on fishing and sugarcane. An estimated 80 per cent of the Haitian population live well below a dollar a day. The country has not been lucky as it has been plagued by leadership incongruities occasioned by brutal and even cannibalistic dictatorship which has hampered its progress over time.

Haiti’s geographical location makes it prone to natural disasters such as annual floods and hurricanes. The last political crisis not only caused social ripples but economic ones for which the country was still trying to grapple with. The country was simply ill-prepared for a crisis of this gargantuan magnitude.

Expectedly, the world has risen to the challenge of helping this long-suffering nation, to nurse its wounds and nurture itself back to its feet. Judging by the enormity of the disaster, this would take awhile, but it is far from a hopeless situation. Haiti stands as a testament to man’s inhumanity to man, a powerful reminder, if we ever needed one, of the relics of four centuries of slavery. Africa owes a lot to Haiti and should be among the first to offer help in this time of Haiti’s need.

Nigeria has long engaged with Haiti; it has reiterated that engagement in several respects prior to this disaster. It has a contingent of its own police force among the UN peace keeping force in that country; and has assisted it through the Technical Aid Corps (TAC). However, this is not an excuse for the country and indeed other parts of the continent to lag behind in the global call for assistance to this country in its moment of need. Distance may hamper immediate physical help to our brothers and sisters in need but it should not prevent us from sending our widow’s mite in cash and kind. We call on the African Union (AU) and other regional bodies to find a coordinated response. A national relief effort, in which willing Nigerians may take part, would be a good idea.

We commend the urgency and the promptness with which world leaders reacted to the unfolding crisis in Haiti. For the dead not to complicate the lives of the lucky survivors there is need for speedy but proper burial. Those in need of urgent medical attention should be attended to. Governments, agencies and organisations that have pledged one thing or the other, need to urgently redeem their pledges. The utter despair in that country is leading to desperation; it is a dangerous condition that should be handled with the utmost delicateness and tact. Many of the survivors have nothing left to lose and may portend grave danger to those still clinging to the flicker of hope; they must be helped to find their bearings and guided to rebuild their lives again.

news.brunei.fm/By NamNewsNetwork /2010/01/18

CAIRO, Jan 18 (NNN-SUNA) — The fifth annual meeting of the Arab League and the African Union (AU) Commission, co-chaired by League Secretary-General, Amr Moussa and AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping, has welcomed the serious efforts being exerted by Qatar within the context of the Arab-African initiative for the solution of the Darfur issue, in co-operation with the Unietd Nation-African chief mediator.

The meeting, which concluded its sittings Sunday in Cairo, urged in its final communiqué the armed movements in Darfur to participate fully in the coming negotiations in Doha for achieving peace in Darfur.

The meeting stressed the importance of accord between the two partners in Darfur in western Sudan and complete implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between northern and southern Sudan.

The meeting affirmed the importance of unity as a vital option to protect the entity and stability of Sudan a whole region.

Meanwhile, the meeting also affirmed its full support to the rights of the Palestinian people for self-autonomy and to establish their independent state with Quds as its capital.

Meanwhile, League Deputy Secretary-General Ahmed bin Hali has expressed the League’s appreciation of the positive progress in Sudanese-Chadian relations, indicating that this progress will have positive impact on the reconciliation in Darfur.

In a press statement issued before his departure for Doha at the head of an Arab League delegation to take part in the Technical Workshop on Peace in Darfur, due to begin Monday in the Qatari capital, he also lauded the great efforts of Qatar for the solution of the Darfur issue. — NNN-SUNA

PELE OFFSIDE – Safa criticises soccer icon over 2010 security
Ramatsiyi Moholoa/www.sowetan.co.za/18 January 2010

BRAZILIAN soccer icon Edson Arantes do Nascimento is the last person who should complain about security issues in South Africa ahead of the 2010 World Cup Cup. Safa boss Kirsten Nematandani said yesterday the man, popularly known as Pele, had been to this country many times and left without a scratch.

Nematandani was reacting to reports in which Pele was quoted as saying the attack on the Togolese national team in Angola would have an effect on the security of the World Cup. Togo withdrew from the tournament after their bus was ambushed on arrival in Cabinda on January 8.

“We want to assure the world that they will be safe in South Africa,” said Nematandani, who is also a board member of the LOC.

“People must remember that Africa has 52 countries. Angola is far away from South Africa.
“There is a perception in the world that Africa is a one country where people know each other.
“If that’s really what Pele said, then he’s being unfair. The security will be tight during the World Cup.”
He said Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and many other Brazilians felt safe here.
“There are many Brazilian soccer players and officials working in South Africa, in fact former Bafana coach Joel Santana, also returned to Brazil without a scratch.
“Brazil national team has been to South Africa on three occasions, the most recent one during last years Confederations Cup.”

Pele said Nelson Mandela’s presence could be key.

“What happened with Togo had an effect on the World Cup organisation,” Pele told AP.
“I hope it turns out well. People are worried about Nelson Mandela’s health. He’s a man that has the support of all South Africans.

“The biggest worry at Fifa is if something happens to Mandela.”
Fifa media officer Delia Fischer said: “Fifa president Sepp Blatter has said Madiba is architect of the 2010 World Cup. He is hoping to be with him at Soccer City when Bafana Bafana play Mexico in the opening match on June 11.”






Coulter: Harry Reid’s problem
January 18, 2010 /By Ann Coulter /staugustine.com

The recently released book “Game Change” reports that Sen. Harry Reid said America would vote for Barack Obama because he was a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

The book also says Bill Clinton called Sen. Ted Kennedy to ask for his endorsement of Hillary over Obama, saying of Obama: “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.”

And we already knew that Obama’s own vice president, Joe Biden, called Obama “articulate” and “clean” during the campaign. (So you can see why Biden got the vice presidential nod over Reid.)

Democrats regularly say things that would end the career of any conservative who said them. And still, blacks give 90 percent of their votes to the Democrats.

Reid apologized to President Obama, and Obama accepted the apology using his “white voice.” So now all is forgiven.

Clinton also called Obama to apologize, but ended up asking him to bring everybody some coffee.

Now the only people waiting for an apology are the American people who want an apology from Nevada for giving us Harry Reid.

Reid will be the guest of honor at a luncheon in Las Vegas this week hosted by a group called “African-Americans for Harry Reid.” That’s if you can call two people a “group.”

They used to be called “African-Americans for David Duke,” but that was mostly a social thing. Now they’re doing real political organizing.

If this gets off the ground, “African-Americans for Harry Reid” will be a political juggernaut that cannot be denied. Their motto: “We Will Be Heard — As Soon As I Get This Gentleman’s Coffee.”

Reid has also picked up an endorsement from the United Light-Skinned Negro College Fund. And Tiger Woods is considering endorsing him. He is the one light-skinned half-black guy right now who’s thrilled with Reid’s comments.

Reid’s defenders don’t have much to work with. Their best idea so far is that at least he said “Negro” and not “Nigra.”

Liberals are saying that since Reid was pointing out Obama’s pale hue in support of his run for the presidency, it was OK to praise his skin color and non-Negro dialect. (Reid is denying reports that in 2007 he said to Obama: “You should run. You people are good at that.”)

In fact, Reid didn’t endorse Obama until after Hillary dropped out of the race. It turns out, he also admired Hillary for her light skin and the fact that she only uses a Negro dialect when she wants to.

In the alternative, liberals are defending Reid by claiming he said nothing that wasn’t true, though he may have used “an unusual set” of words — as light-skinned Reid-defender Harold Ford Jr. put it.

As long as we’re mulling the real meaning of Reid’s words and not just gasping in awe at the sorts of things Democrats get away with saying, I think Reid owes America an apology for accusing the entire country of racism. A country, let us note, that just elected a manifestly unqualified, at least partially black man president.

On the other hand, Reid couldn’t have been expecting Republicans to vote for a Democrat, so I gather Reid was accusing only Democratic voters of being racists.

I don’t disagree with that, but I’d like to get it in writing.

I think the Democratic platform should include a statement that the Democrats will not vote for dark-skinned blacks with a Negro dialect. Check with Harry Reid on the precise wording, but something along the lines of “no one darker than Deepak Chopra.”

The “whereas” clauses can include the Democrats’ history of supporting slavery, segregation, racial preferences, George Wallace and Bull Connor — and also a precis of their treatment of dark-skinned Clarence Thomas.

BREAKING NEWS: Hoping to curry favor with the African-American community, Sen. Reid was arrested late this afternoon after breaking into his own home.

Democrats couldn’t win an election without the black vote, but the Democratic Party keeps treating blacks like stage props, wheeling them out for photo-ops and marches now and then but almost never putting them in charge of anything important.

President Bush appointed the first black secretary of state and then the first black female secretary of state. Meanwhile, the closest black woman to Bill Clinton was his secretary, Betty Currie.

The one sitting black Supreme Court justice, Clarence Thomas, was appointed by a Republican.

The head of the Republican National Committee is black — medium-skinned, but liberals treated Michael Steele like a dark-skinned black when they threw Oreo cookies at him during the Maryland gubernatorial campaign in 2002.

After the 2000 election, Democrats had a chance to make one of the rare smart Democrats, Donna Brazile, head of the Democratic National Committee. Brazile had just run a perfectly respectable campaign on behalf of that bumbling buffoon Al Gore.

She also happens to be black. Again, blacks give 90 percent of their votes to the Democrats.

But the Democrats skipped over Brazile and handed the DNC chairmanship to the goofy white guy in lime green pants, Howard Dean.

UPDATE: Harry Reid has just apologized to the light-skinned people of Haiti for the 7.0 earthquake that hit them Tuesday afternoon.

The single most insulting remark made about blacks in my lifetime was Bill Clinton’s announcement — after being caught in the most humiliating sex scandal in world history — that he was “the first black president.”

He did not call himself “the first black president” when liberals were dancing and singing to Fleetwood Mac at his inauguration.

He did not call himself “the first black president” when he was feeling our pain and being lionized by the media. He did not call himself “the first black president” when he was trying to socialize health care or passing welfare reform.

Not until he became a national embarrassment did Clinton recognize that he was “the first black president.”

At least he could finally get his own coffee.













Lihir Gold CEO Resigns
By REBECCA THURLOW /online.wsj.com/JANUARY 18, 2010

SYDNEY — Lihir Gold Ltd. said Monday that Chief Executive Arthur Hood has resigned and will step down immediately.

The gold mining company has appointed Chief Financial Officer Phil Baker as interim chief executive pending a global search for a new CEO.

Hood said that after more than four years as CEO, he has achieved his main goal of overseeing the transformation of Lihir from a single mine operation to a multi-mine company producing more than one million ounces of gold a year.

“Lihir Gold is now one of the world’s leading gold producers and is consistently performing very well, with excellent growth options for the future,” Hood said in a statement.

“It is therefore the right time for me to step aside to enable an orderly transition to a new CEO,” he said.

Baker said Hood’s contract was due to expire around September this year.

“Rather than him staying on until that point in time, he thought and the board thought it was much better to implement transitionary arrangements,” Baker told Dow Jones Newswires.

“It is always a bit difficult if you have someone in the chair and you are conducting a global search. That’s a bit awkward in any case.”

Chairman Ross Garnaut thanked Hood for his contribution to the company, noting that Lihir’s share price has increased from 1.63 Australian dollars (US$1.5) at the time Hood’s appointment was announced in September 2005, to 3.29 Australian dollars on Friday.

“Arthur has successfully led Lihir Gold through a major growth phase, which has seen production increase from around 600,000 ounces per year in 2005 to more than 1.1 million ounces in 2009, with diversified operations in Papua New Guinea, Australia and West Africa,” Garnaut said.

“He built a strong management team to take the company forward into its next phase of growth, and under his stewardship the group’s financial position has been significantly enhanced.”

Lihir, said its production for the 2009 full year was another record at 1.12 million ounces, in line with guidance for the year of 1.0 million-1.2 million.

Baker, who has been CFO at Lihir since January 2007, will present the miner’s fourth quarter production report on Jan. 22.

“We are extremely well positioned. Things are going very well for the company,” Baker said.

Lihir is well underway with a major expansion plan concluding next year that aims to lift operating capacity at its flagship mine in Papua New Guinea to one million troy ounces a year.

It is also studying the possibility of expansion in West Africa.

“Our strategy is focused on organic growth right at the present time,” said Baker. “We’ve got a lot on our plate and we’ve got very well formulated plans and we are very focused on good execution of those plans.”

The miner always looks at mergers and acquisitions to supplement its organic growth options, he said.

“But there is nothing going to be announced in the short term on that,” he said.

Write to Rebecca Thurlow at rebecca.thurlow@dowjones.com












EU: Somali pirates release Greek supertanker
The Associated Press /Monday, January 18, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya — The spokesman for the EU’s anti-piracy force says Somali pirates have released a Greek supertanker and its crew of 28 after the delivery of a ransom.

Cmdr. John Harbour says pirates left the Greek-flagged Maran Centaurus Monday morning. The European Union Naval Force is monitoring the ship as it leaves Somali waters.

The ship was hijacked Nov. 29 about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) off the Somali coast. It was carrying crude oil from Saudi Arabia destined for the United States.

A Somali middleman, who helped negotiate for the release of the ship, says pirates collected $5.5 million Sunday afternoon and left the ship Monday morning. The figure could not be immediately confirmed.

The middleman spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals.

EU states divided over jump to 30% cut in CO2
LEIGH PHILLIPS/euobserver.com/18.01.2010

European Union member states are divided over the bloc’s pledge to raise its CO2 commitment up to a 30 percent cut by 2020 in the wake of the Copenhagen UN climate summit debacle.

Environment ministers from across the bloc over the weekend met in Seville, Spain, to assess the reasons for the failure in the Danish capital in December and to map out the EU’s next moves.

As part of the so-called Copenhagen Accord cobbled together by the US, China, South Africa, Brazil and India outside the UN process, the 30-odd signatories to the document are to submit their greenhouse gas reduction pledges by the end of January.

But it appears unlikely that the EU will move to the upper end of a 20-30 percent range before this deadline, given the limited reduction commitments made by other major emitters. The US has said it will commit to a 17 percent reduction, but only on 2005 levels, which is equivalent to just a three to four percent cut using the same 1990 baseline as Brussels.

EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas conceded that there was no unanimity around the table.

Some countries had never been in favour of the move to a 30 percent cut, but after the UN climate conference in December ended acrimoniously, with rich countries pitted bitterly against their poorer counterparts and without an official result in which other major emitters had committed to significant emissions reductions, such a jump has become even more controversial.

The UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Spain, currently holding the EU’s six-month rotating presidency, all back a jump to 30 percent, while Italy and Poland remain set dead against such a move.

“We definitely think we should maintain the 30 percent offer. We think it is very, very important. It has always been a conditional offer but it is a very important signal that it is maintained,” UK energy and climate minister Ed Miliband told reporters.

French environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo added: “It is not a question of going to 30 percent blindly. Nobody would accept that. We will go to 30 percent depending on the commitments that are published.”

Italy and Poland fear costs for domestic industry and households will be raised sharply without similar commitments by other powers, however.

As a compromise position, Belgium has suggested a move to a reduction pledge of 25 percent.






Media convergence, Chinese-style
By Craig Stephen / MarketWatch/jan. 18, 2010

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Ask most tech analysts about Google’s proposed exit from China and there is disbelief the global search leader would retreat from a market with 400 million Web users, principals or not.

From old media tycoons, you might get a wry smile and a roll of the eyes.

China is also a market with over 400 million TV households and a mouth-watering billion-plus viewers. But you are unlikely to find a foreign TV company that still thinks it has a hope in hell of accessing in a meaningful way.

The bruised old media giants can offer a few painful lessons. Trying to succeed by self-regulation, currying favor and hoping good behavior over time will be rewarded are all no guarantees of success.

Back in 1994, Star TV controversially took the BBC news channel off its satellite airing in China in order to placate mainland sensibilities. Fast forward more than a decade, and it still ended up with no answer to China and a sea of red ink as the regulatory screws progressively tightened. Viacom , Time Warner and others all have their own hard luck stories to share.

And how many telecoms operators thought they might get a piece of the 700-million-strong mainland mobile-phone market? A few token shares were the best Vodafone could hope for, or a roaming agreement from behemoth China Mobile , despite China’s entry into the World Trade Organization almost a decade ago.

The Internet was different, as a new industry and a seemingly level playing field where strong ideas and entrepreneurs lead, rather than those with state connections and market strongholds. And no one, including mainland Chinese regulators, really knew how big and important it would get, becoming a huge source of video and other content. It began with far less overt restrictions on foreign companies than, say, TV or telecoms had.

But over time, regulation of the Web in China has only increased.

When Google chose to locate its operations and servers inside the great firewall of China in 2006, it agreed to censor its searches. The explanation was that it’s better to be inside China in some capacity than not at all. No doubt, it also thought it could also make a good return.

But it has failed to make a dent in Baidu’s market leadership, with regulation an added competitive burden.

This varies from outright cutting off content to employing armies of censors to scrutinize search results. Sometimes sites out of favor end up running slow as bandwidth is limited. The upshot is that China is able to also favor industry leaders on the Web as in TV, telecoms or many other industries. Web companies such as Baidu, Alibaba or Soho are seen as closely aligned with the government.

Another issue for international companies is that they must play by their own set of rules. Google will not provide links to illegal music or video files that many search competitors provide en masse. And until China implements proper copyright enforcement — it’s making small steps — the playing field will remain even more lopsided.

It is worth considering what other Web leaders with foreign ownership might face a similar dilemma to that of Google. Some analysts have been pushing Tencent as a beneficiary of the potential Google departure, with its search engine soso.com. But one cautionary note: Tencent still has a significant foreign shareholder in South Africa TV giant Naspers with 35%. They could encounter roadblocks ahead or potentially be an acquisition target.

Looking forward, the regulatory situation is also in flux.

It could just be a coincidence that on the same day Google announced its potential China exit, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao approved plans to expedite the convergence of the telecom network, broadcasting network and Internet during a State Council meeting. It is hard to know exactly what lies ahead, but it would not be surprising if foreign Internet companies will have to become more local or face further restrictions.

It is pretty clear Chinese media will not follow any model of Western-type regulation now, or any time soon. It’s just too critical to the control of the population, and with that, the longevity of the one-party government.

This is one reason so many foreign media companies in China have had to beat an embarrassing retreat. Google may not be going out on a high note, but at least it’s keeping its head held high.






















Google in China and Beyond
asiasentinel.com/Written by Philip Bowring /Monday, 18 January 2010

Beijing starts to dare western retaliation

China has not been this proud in the last 200 years or more. But pride begets reactions, not least against those who believe their place in the world needs more acknowledgment from others, be they current top dogs like the United States or aspirants such as India.

Diverse recent issues suggest that China is beginning to irritate others in a way that not only undercuts its claims that its rise is wholly “peaceful” but could soon lead to some more overt retaliation.

“China has managed – with very little effort – to piss off practically everyone it deals with in its ascent to heaven,” says a security analyst. “I’ve no doubt that in the interests of rebalancing the Sino-American relationship – and perhaps ramping the betting interest – national and commercial interests would be happy to see China put on the back foot. Beijing’s response will also probably do the country few favors, predictably mixing outrage with menaces coupled with its traditional tactic of seeking to separate allies by rewarding ‘correct’ and punishing ‘negative’ behavior.”

As far as the US is concerned, the Google episode, in which the Internet behemoth has threatened to quit China over issues of censorship, hacking and spying on dissidents by the Chinese government, stands out as potentially more of a tipping point than issues such as exchange rates and naval research rights in the South China Sea.

Two issues stand out about Google. The first is that it underlines the unequal playing field on which foreign companies operate in China whenever a local competitor is available. There is of course nothing new in that. But it needs an issue like Google to bring that home to a US public which has scant knowledge of these issues and fondly imagines that trading with and investing in China will bring it to liberal democracy.

Google may in reality be no more ethical than any other firm, but its willingness to sacrifice a China market (which it probably knows it can’t win, given the predominance of China’s home-grown search engine Baidu) has focused attention on issues of profits versus ethics in US business. Idealism still has a place in a moralistic US and it should not be forgotten that Google’s co-founder Sergei Brin was a refugee from an oppressive Soviet Union.

As Main Street fights back against Wall Street, the issues of what America is supposed to stand for – liberty and democracy – may come back into sharper domestic focus. As well, there are plenty of members in the US Congress who first have no love for China and second would love to humble the administration of President Barack Obama over his globalist stance on both trade and diplomacy.

The Google episode also brings home to the US quite how aggressive China is capable of being, not merely in conducting spying and quiet infiltration of Google but actually appearing to attack it. Other countries, not least the US, use the internet for spying. But by making its attempts to infiltrate the US so obvious, China may have touched a nerve which will not be easily quieted. This is just the kind of high profile issue to which the US public, not to mention Congress, is prone to respond. This is not shoes or stainless steel. It mixes commerce with ethics and national security.

Of course the US – and Google – may well have known for quite a while of China’s efforts to infiltrate its computers. Google’s timing in announcing the effort and its own decision not to continue censoring content looks linked to the appointment three weeks ago by the US of a Cyber Security coordinator – Howard Schwartz, a one-time chief security officer for Microsoft.

For sure, many US companies – whether Silicon Valley tech leaders or buyers of cheap Chinese produce like retailers Walmart –will want to forget the Google episode and concentrate on business as usual with China. But sentiment and politics may have other ideas with trade deficits, US unemployment, exchange rates all coming into play again.

At least as significantly, China has also succeeded in infuriating India. By choosing this time, when it supposed to be focusing on the mutual benefits of rising trade, to play up its claims to much of Arunachal Pradesh, in the process blocking an ADB loan, China has reminded India of its own relative weakness. The consequence can only be to fertilize the tacit US-India alliance and make new restrictions on Chinese imports, under the guise of anti-dumping, more frequent. It has also helped shift Delhi towards a more cooperative attitude towards Bangladesh as seen in the recent state visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed to India.

At the Copenhagen climate change conference, India (and Brazil and South Africa) appeared to line up with China as defender of developing countries’ rights vis-a-vis the old but now reforming western polluters. But Delhi is clearly having second thoughts about the wisdom of this stance, or at least the alliance with China.

Straws in the wind included a column in the International Herald Tribune by Brahma Chellaney, a prominent professor at the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi and known for his links to India’s defense and foreign ministries. Chellaney said that China had “cleverly deflected pressure by hiding behind small, poor countries” and so the world’s largest polluter escaped without any binding commitments on emission cuts. India had committed a “folly,” he said, by joining hands with China which on the climate issue was “not the self-touted rising superpower but a scheming power that uses poor states as a front to obstruct progress”.

Whether or not other China allies feel the same way has yet to be seen. But Brazil has evidently become more cautious about how it deals with its major customer for iron ore. By arresting China-based officers of Australia’s iron ore giant Rio Tinto, China may have thought that it would not only soften up Rio but also send a message to Brazil’s giant, and rival supplier to the Australians, Vale do Rio Doce.

But the Brazilians appear to have seen through China’s strong-arm tactics. China may be the largest market for iron ore, but they have stuck together with the Australians, not been divided, and have decided to negotiate new price setting contracts first not with China but with Japan. One reason for this is simply that China itself now has no common stand, with an industry riven by corruption and rivalries.

But the other is that trading partners are starting to see that the importance of the China market now makes it important not to allow succeed in its divide and rule tactics vis a vis suppliers. The more arrogant China’s behavior, the more resistance is building at ground level even as diplomats and ministers continue to talk, for public consumption, about China as a gentle emerging giant.

EN BREF, CE 18 janvier 2010 … AGNEWS / OMAR, BXL,18/01/2010


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