BURUNDI – AFRICA / INTERNATIONAL : 24 JANVIER 2010 [Italians move in to scupper Tullow’s Ugandan deal]

{jcomments on}OMAR, AGNEWS, BXL, le 24 janvier 2010 – The Sunday Times- January 24, 2010–ENI, the Italian energy giant, may give a cash sweetener of up to $300m (£186m) to the Ugandan government to convince it to approve a $1.5 billion purchase of oilfields and thwart a rival offer from Tullow, the FTSE 100 exploration group.

RWANDA

  

 


UGANDA

Italians move in to scupper Tullow’s Ugandan deal
The Sunday Times/ business.timesonline.co.uk/Danny Fortson / January 24, 2010

ENI, the Italian energy giant, may give a cash sweetener of up to $300m (£186m) to the Ugandan government to convince it to approve a $1.5 billion purchase of oilfields and thwart a rival offer from Tullow, the FTSE 100 exploration group.

The Italians’ potential offer is the latest twist in a bitter battle for control of three oil blocks in the Lake Albert basin in western Uganda.

Together the fields represent the largest onshore oil find in sub-Saharan Africa in decades. Their discovery, by a joint venture between Tullow and Heritage, another British oil firm, helped double Tullow’s share price last year, taking its value to £10.3 billion and making it one of Britain’s most valuable companies.

Heritage Oil agreed in November to sell its stake to Eni for $1.5 billion. Last week Tullow exercised its right under the joint-venture agreement to match the offer.

The move upset the Ugandan government. The energy minister threatened to veto Tullow’s move amid concerns that the country’s nascent oil industry would be in the hands of one company.

Aidan Heavey, Tullow’s chief executive, flew to Kampala this weekend for a meeting with the Ugandan president in a desperate effort to save the deal. His plan is to sell a share of all three blocks to one or two big partners that could help to develop the fields. Any ownership change must get government approval.

It is understood that Eni was this weekend considering putting additional cash of between $200m and $300m towards the deal. Some of this could go to Heritage investors, but most — or all — could go to the Ugandan government.

The Italians have been relentless in their pursuit of the deal. Franco Frattini, the Italian foreign minister, flew to Uganda last week to lobby for Eni, which proposed a multi-billion-dollar development plan for the fields. This includes a 1,300km pipeline to the coast and a refinery, projects far beyond Tullow’s financial and technical capabilities. Eni would need to make any change to the offer by tomorrow, when Heritage investors meet to approve the original deal.

Losing out to Eni would greatly complicate Tullow’s plans. The company had already launched a separate auction to sell part of its holdings in all three blocks. Bids for that process are due by the middle of next month. Several companies are understood to have expressed an interest, including Exxon Mobil, the American giant, and state-owned groups from China and India.

The president of Uganda said he would make his decision on the Heritage sale in the next two weeks.


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KENYA :

Cotu backs presidential system
BY SARAH WAMBUI/www.capitalfm.co.ke/ Jan 24

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24- The Central Organisation of Trade Unions has expressed support for the presidential system of government that was proposed by the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution three days ago.

COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli said at the weekend that a strong presidential system with checks and balances would unite Kenyans and fight corruption at all levels.

He argued that the existing hybrid system of governance in Kenya had created loopholes that allowed impunity and corruption to thrive.

“We are saying that a functional presidential system will keep us together, protect our boundaries and put Kenyans’ affairs into consideration. Kenya is a country that has tribal diversity and corruption really runs deep. Look at the hybrid system of governance; it’s like a snake that has no head or tail. You cannot tell who is leading who,” he said.

Mr Atwoli further explained that the hybrid system of governance had so far been pegged by corruption and theft with Kenyans losing billions of shillings in tax fraud.

“Kenyans continue losing property every day. We had the maize scandal where 5.8 million bags worth Sh23 billion disappeared then we had the oil scandal and Kenyans’ tax was again swindled,” he pointed out.

The union also took issue with human rights activists accusing them of derailing the constitution-making process.

“I am very grateful for the PSC but those human rights activists should stop interfering with the process and give the PSC time to conduct its duties. If we get to 2012 without a constitution, things might get chaotic and we don’t want that,” he said.

Mr Atwoli also emphasised the need for a new Constitution saying the time was right. He also asked the PSC to consider marginalized groups while recommending parliamentary seats to various groups of people.

“They have given women their seats and we now want the PSC to distribute the remaining 12 seats equally to workers, the disabled and the youth on Monday,” he said.

He alleged that the government was not committed to Agenda Item Four of the national accord and that it was instead focusing on things that would not benefit Kenyans.

“They have diverted their attention to other things; no one is talking about reforms and the Agenda Four package has the life of a Kenyan. It has institutional reforms, the constitution, land reforms, poverty eradication, empowering the youth by creating employment opportunities,” he said.

He said that the country’s gap between the rich and the poor would continue widening if the government failed to establish more public schools.

“I was shocked that the country does not have enough positions in secondary schools for those who sat for their primary school exams last year. The poor cannot afford to pay for private schools so their children will be left out,” he said.

He took issue with the government’s crackdown on illegal immigrants saying that the government should focus on nipping corruption at its roots. He explained that if the government wanted to permanently deal with the issue of illegal foreigners in the country then it had to change its systems and create effective checks.

He further alleged that foreigners bought their way into the country and obtained national identity cards through illegal channels.

“I am telling the government not to bother itself with deporting foreigners in the country. It should instead focus on cleaning its systems because if you are a foreigner who wants to get an Identity card, all you have to do is call with your Sh3,000 and are told to wait at your hotel. Before long you have an ID and come tomorrow you have already bought land and started developing it,” he said. 

 

 



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AFRICA / AU :

Ethiopia – With 10 new orders for 737-800, Ethiopian now has 45 aircraft in order
01/24/10/ by nazret.com

Ethiopia’s flag carrier Ethiopian airlines has announced a purchase order for ten Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft for a list price of $767 million. Both Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing confirmed the report, in statements posted on their websites. Ethiopian airlines now operates 37 aircraft and has 45 aircraft in order, the largest order in the company’s history.

Ethiopian has 10 orders for the Dreamliner Boeing 787 which it will start receiving in July 2011. Ethiopian has placed an order for Boeing 787 in 2005 and will be the first carrier to operate Boeing 787 outside of Asia. Ethiopian recently confirmed an order for 5 Boeing 777 which are expected to begin service in 2011, in addition the airline has orders for 8 Bombardier Q400 and 12 Airbus 350-900.

Ethiopian airlines is the most profitable airline in Africa and flies to more destinations in Africa than any other airline.

Ethiopian Airlines Fleet

•10 Boeing 767-300ER
•8 Boeing 757-200ER
•5 Boeing 737-700
•3 Boeing 737-800
•5 Fokker 50
•2 Boeing 757-260F (Freight)
•2 Boeing 747F (Freight)
•2 MD-11 F (Freight)
•8 Bombardier Q400 (March 2010)
•5 Boeing 777-200LR (November 2010)
•8 Boeing 787-8 (July 2011)
•10 Boing 737-800 (Nov 2011)
•2 Boeing 787-9 (2011)
•12 Airbus 350-900 (2017)
Total: 82 aircraft
Source: Ethiopian Airlines, nazret.com

 

 



UN /ONU :

What to do about Haiti
The U.S. and international community must provide immediate aid, then help plan a future for it that includes a functioning government.
www.latimes.com/January 24, 2010

Even now, despite the haunting images, the unending tales of loss and broken survival, it is difficult to fathom the scale of devastation in Haiti. The estimated 200,000 dead on half the island of Hispaniola is similar to the toll from South Asia’s tsunami five years ago — but that was across 14 countries. Haiti’s approximately 1.5 million homeless is nearly quadruple the population of New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina struck. At least two-thirds of Port-au-Prince has been leveled. The country’s capital and its government, quite simply, have been reduced to scree.

If clearing the rubble, burying the dead and tending the wounded were all that confronted the international community in Haiti, it would be an enormous task. But one need only reflect back on the country a day before the magnitude 7.0 earthquake to comprehend the true magnitude of the challenge ahead. Eighty percent of the population lived in poverty, and nearly half was illiterate. Huge swaths of Port-au-Prince had no drinking water, sewage systems or electrical service — at least not provided by the state. The government often seemed to exist in name only, exercising weak leadership with rampant corruption. Most of those with college educations fled at the first opportunity, depriving the country of an educated bureaucracy and managerial class.

These systemic problems persisted despite the fact that most of the world’s major charitable organizations worked in Haiti, and the country received roughly $2 billion in foreign assistance from the United States alone over the last 20 years. Now, in the aftermath of the earthquake, development experts estimate that Haiti will need that much annually for several years, and continued aid for decades to come.

The international community responded quickly to Haiti’s tragedy. Forty-three rescue crews flew in from around the globe, while U.S. troops arrived to keep order, distribute food and, hopefully, to counter the memory of U.S. occupation with a demonstration of humanitarian relief. Governments pledged nearly $1 billion last week, and more poured in from private donors via telephones and text messages. This is heartening. It is also just a beginning.

Haiti’s myriad demands may be unprecedented, and there is no obvious model to follow for successfully redeveloping the country. International groups have rebuilt infrastructure after natural disasters, as they did in Indonesia following the tsunami. They have helped to establish the rule of law after man-made disasters such as the genocide in Rwanda, and engaged in nation-building, as when they supported Nelson Mandela’s post-apartheid South Africa. But Haiti needs infrastructure, an economic base and a full-functioning government. Besides funding, the country lacks the dynamic leadership and trained workforce necessary to emerge from the rubble and, as former President Clinton proposed, “build back better.”

Naturally the United States must play a leading role in the reconstruction of Haiti, which is only about 700 miles from our shores and culturally connected by more than a million Americans of Haitian descent. That said, the United States alone does not have the capacity to meet Haiti’s needs. Nor should we. Reconstruction must be an international effort with the United Nations, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank at the forefront. All of Haiti’s neighbors, from the Dominican Republic and Mexico to Cuba and Venezuela, have a stake in ensuring stability and preventing an exodus of desperate Haitians. France has colonial ties; Canada has a large Haitian community; and there should be shared responsibility among the rest of the developed nations as well.

Reconstruction must be coordinated and carried out in collaboration with Haitians themselves. In the past, corruption and weak leadership have prompted international organizations to build parallel networks of schools, hospitals and even water projects that then further undermined the role of the state. This time they must find ways to funnel aid through the Haitian government and private sector, but with mechanisms in place to ensure the money is not lost to mismanagement and corruption. Haitians must be empowered to decide what to rebuild and how they want to do it. Should the capital be reconstituted in Port-au-Prince? Is it possible to create viable, self-sustaining villages elsewhere? What is the right mix of agriculture and manufacturing to guarantee the country’s future? Haitians have a right to choose how to spend the aid, and those footing the bill are entitled to demand transparency and accountability. Haitians should be trained to manage the money — perhaps by hired members of the diaspora — then held to high standards.

Some people say that Haiti is hopeless — because it’s cursed, inherently corrupt, or simply because its problems are too great. There are those who argue that the problem extends far beyond Haiti — that wealthy countries have spent trillions of dollars across the developing world and still have not figured out how to use foreign aid effectively to transform an economy and pull a country out of poverty. Theories on how to do so have been tried, abandoned and recycled. The debate continues between those who advocate massive transformational approaches and those who argue for incremental change.

There are no easy answers for Haiti, but there are certain truths: First, we have a moral obligation to respond to an emergency when people are in need of food, water and shelter. Second, we cannot wall ourselves off from the problems of the rest of the world, and least of all those countries near our shores. We must break the tired pattern of responding to a crisis in Haiti, promising help and then quickly losing interest. Haiti’s needs are long term. Just to match the success of the Dominican Republic on the other half of the island, Haiti needs investment in education, agriculture and industry. Hopefully some of the 200 companies that sent representatives to an Inter-American Development Bank conference with Clinton in October will follow through with investments now. The goal is neither to occupy Haiti nor to turn it into a protectorate of the U.N. It is to help Haiti stand on its own.  

 

 



USA :

Groups explain nature, importance of census
By Holly Prestidge /www2.timesdispatch.com/ January 24, 2010

Mistrust of government and a lack of understanding about what the census is about often mean many people — particularly African-American men between 18 and 35 — go uncounted.

Some Richmond-area groups are trying to spread the word to that demographic that being counted benefits their communities.

Representatives with the Richmond and other Virginia chapters of the Concerned Black Men, the U.S. Census Bureau and Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones’ office met yesterday to talk about strategies for reaching these men for the 2010 census count.

“Traditionally, [African-American males] have not always returned their census form and now we’re working with groups to make sure that happens,” said Ronald E. Brown, U.S. Census Bureau partnership coordinator for the Charlotte, N.C., region, which includes Virginia. That means reaching out to them where they are, he said.

“Midnight basketball games, barber shops — that’s where we know that age group frequents,” Brown said.

Jeffrey Bourne, deputy chief of staff for the Jones administration, said it comes down to making people understand what the census means. He said hundreds of billions of dollars come to Virginia annually based on the state’s head count, and that money pays for Title I education funding, Medicaid, roads and other social safety net programs.

“For a city like Richmond, those are the most important government services,” Bourne said. It also has an impact on the state’s political representation because congressional seats are determined based on a state’s population.

But just getting to people can be the hardest part of the count, Bourne said.

“Some of the barriers we face are everything from not understanding what the census is, to whether or not the information is really going to be confidential,” Bourne said. As an example, he explained that someone living in public housing may not open the door to the census taker because more people might be living there than allowed under the lease and they feel they’ll get in trouble for it.

“It’s confidential,” Bourne said of the census information. “We don’t care whether or not your lease says two people or 10 people.”

The city “just wants to know how many people are living inside its borders,” he added.

Because of that mistrust, Concerned Black Men of Richmond President Melvin Brown said it’s important that people share this information with their neighbors and their communities.

Bourne echoed those comments, saying the familiar face within the community can make the most difference — not politicians.

“That’s where the rubber meets the road,” he said.
 

 

 


CANADA :

Police in Alberta play down appearance here of African mafia
By NADIA MOHARIB/Calgary Sun/Sunday, January 24, 2010

Despite some arrests here, Mounties in Alberta say they aren’t seeing evidence of this province becoming a safe haven for gang members from Manitoba.

A recent report by the Winnipeg police organized Crime unit said some members of a street gang there are travelling between cities in Western Canada to steer clear of the long-arm of the law.

The report estimates there are about 40 to 50 members of the African Mafia street gang.

Police in Alberta have arrested members of the gang, some of whom have ended up in the southern community of Brooks, which has a large African population, according to the 20-page report submitted as an exhibit at the drug-trafficking sentencing of two high-ranking African Mafia members.

RCMP Sgt. Patrick Webb, who works in southern Alberta, said gang members certainly move from province to province to do business but there are no indications this one is being used as a hide-out or that the African Mafia gang has set up shop here.

“It’s possible, we’re just not seeing it in any big numbers,” he said Saturday.

“We can certainly say there are always criminals, especially gang members moving from point to point.

“As pressure gets greater in one location they will move on to another location but we haven’t seen that as a real general trend yet.”

The gang was founded six years ago and consists mostly of young men in their teens or 20s from countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone.

The number of people in the loosely-organized gang varies due to those who are killed, jailed or deported.

“The African Mafia do not have a clubhouse and do not have weekly meetings,” says the report.

“They can, however, make decisions as a group on criminal matters such as how the group should retaliate against rival gang members or how to deal with a member or associate when he steals from the gang or provides police with a statement against the gang.”

It says police have difficulty dealing with the gang’s intimidation of victims and witnesses for fear of reprisal, and a rule among members not to cooperate with officers.

The report also outlines violence in Winnipeg spawned from a turf battle over drugs between the African Mafia and Mad Cowz culminating in the killing of teen Phil Haiart, a bystander caught in the crossfire between the gangs in 2005.

Some later left the African Mafia and formed another gang called ABM, or All ‘Bout Money.

Winnipeg police say an ABM member opened fire at African Mafia members in a vehicle during a 2008 daytime shooting.

– with files by CP




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CHINA :

Environment ministers of China, Brazil and South Africa to meet Ramesh today
January 24th, 2010/ by ANI /www.thaindian.com

New Delhi, Jan 24 (ANI): The environment ministers of China, Brazil and South Africa are scheduled to meet Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh today to work out a common strategy ahead of formal-climate change negotiations.

The meeting has been convened with a view to have consultations among BASIC countries and evolve a coordinated approach to climate change related issues during 2010 in the run up to the next crucial meet to be held in Mexico at the end of this year.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday called for maintaining the unity and solidarity of the four emerging economies – Brazil, South Africa, India and China.

He addressed the environment ministers of these four major economies, who called on him, on the eve of a meeting for finalising these countries’ future course of action ahead of the January 31 deadline for conveying their stand on the Copenhagen Accord.

The BASIC delegates included National Development and Reform Commission of China Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua, Brazilian Environment Minister Carlos Minc, South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica and Jairam Ramesh.

Besides chalking out a climate change strategy, the BASIC members will work out the targets and actions that the group has to submit under the Copenhagen Accord by January 31.

India and the three other BASIC nations brokered a deal with the U.S. to take note of the accord. The accord did not set binding targets for a cut in greenhouse gas emissions. However, it suggested passage of a binding deal at the next round of climate talks in Mexico.

While 29 countries, including India, accepted the Copenhagen Accord, it was opposed by several lesser developed countries, including small island nations, and Sunday’s meeting is expected to decide how to take them on board. (ANI)

 


 


INDIA :

 

CLIMATE CHANGE: After Copenhagen, Back to Basics for BASIC Bloc
By Ranjit Devraj/www.ipsnews.net/Jan 24, 2010

NEW DELHI, Jan 24, 2010 (IPS) – As environment ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) prepared to meet in the Indian capital on Sunday to draw up a post-Copenhagen strategy, there were great expectations on the role they could play in pushing a consensus on how the world should go about dealing with climate change.

“The BASIC countries should push for a legally binding agreement on the two-degree Celsius limit in temperature rise that was driven by science and ensure that all other countries that were left out sign on before the [November] Mexico meet, according to a timetable,’’ said Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, chief of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), speaking to reporters in the Indian capital on Saturday.

The Latin American country is hosting a key climate change conference toward the end of this year. Mexico had said it hoped to see a binding international agreement adopted by both rich and poor countries.

Pachauri was emphatic that what was called for was as simple as all the developed countries agreeing to a “change in lifestyle” and giving up “wasteful and profligate practices.”

The BASIC meeting is the first multilateral meeting after last month’s United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen ended only with a non-binding, tentative Copenhagen Accord. It is taking place with only one week left before the Jan. 31 deadline for several major countries to submit to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) plans on reducing emissions under the accord, negotiated by the BASIC group and the United States on Dec. 19, 2009.

Noting the poor response to the terms of the accord, such as drawing up terms for a 30-billion-U.S. dollar financial package for countries that are likely to be hit hardest by climate change for the 2010-12 period, the UNFCCC’s executive secretary Yvo de Boer was reported as saying that the Jan. 31 deadline was a “soft deadline.”

The BASIC countries, considered to be major polluters in the developing world, are themselves expected to spell out their own non-binding, voluntary plans for reducing carbon dioxide emissions after their meeting in New Delhi this week.

Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, a former diplomat and one of India’s top climate negotiators, told IPS that the Jan. 31 deadline had not been extended. “The Copenhagen agreement was for a consensus … but since that has not happened, countries can still associate themselves with the agreement at the [UNFCCC] secretariat and the list of countries can be updated later.”

At the Copenhagen negotiations, Dasgupta had maintained that the developing countries had insufficient financial and technological capacities to deal with the impact of climate change while they need to achieve a certain level of social and economic development in order to eradicate poverty quickly.

India has consistently resisted mandatory emission limits at climate change negotiations on the grounds that agreeing to caps could potentially curb the growth of its emerging economy. It also maintained that negotiations should be based on the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, under which industrialised nations committed to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by an average of five percent against 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

India has emerged as a major player along with the other BASIC countries in climate negotiations.

At Copenhagen, India, considered the world’s fifth largest GHG emitter, said it was prepared to cut its carbon intensity [a measure of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of production] by 20 to 25 percent by 2020; China, now ranked as the world’s largest polluter, by 40 to 45 percent; Brazil, by as much as 39 percent; and South Africa, by 34 percent.

India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh differentiates between the developing countries’ “survival emissions” and the developed world’s “lifestyle emissions” but hopes India does not end up being isolated by taking too rigid a position.

Ramesh expressed belief that the Copenhagen agreement was inadequate and that the chances for a consensus before the Mexico climate conference were dim because the western world was “unwilling to compromise on their lifestyles and the developing countries cannot compromise on development.”

Indian environmentalists argue that India is already a low-carbon economy since two-thirds of its 1.1 billion population live frugal lifestyles in rural villages, where regular power supply is a luxury. According to climate campaigner and energy expert Girish Sant, India’s energy emissions need to increase rather than decrease in order to raise the country’s living standards.

As for China, it has been argued that its 700 million people live in rural areas and low-carbon lives. Seen in per capita terms, the communist country’s carbon emissions are far less than those of developed countries and are largely produced for basic subsistence. Also, much of its polluting industries cater to demand for its manufactures by other countries.

What is almost certain to emerge out of the New Delhi talks is the creation of a fund set up by the BASIC countries to help the more vulnerable developing countries deal with climate change. “This has the potential of helping to bridge differences within the developing world and (stave off) accusations of a sellout by BASIC,” said an Indian official who declined to be named, citing briefing rules.

The official said there was a sense that BASIC could improve its negotiating strength by taking along most of the members of the Group of 77 countries. The proposals, he said, may include technical and administrative assistance.

At Copenhagen, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had announced that climate funds would be set up by BASIC to help less developed countries. Brazil has already been providing satellite imagery to its Latin American neighbours and to some African countries to help assess the destruction of forests. Other areas of cooperation with least developed countries include passing on knowhow on using ethanol as a green automotive fuel.

“The BASIC group, as a new power, must ensure that vulnerable countries are not negatively affected by their actions or excluded from the negotiation process. They also need to scale up their domestic mitigation targets and think about contributing finance and technology for adaptation and mitigation actions on climate change in other developing nations,” said Marcelo Furtado, Greenpeace Brazil’s executive director in a statement issued ahead of the New Delhi meet.

Siddharth Pathak, policy officer on climate and energy for Greenpeace India, said that the BASIC countries “have to live up to the international roles they must play in addressing climate change.” He added that the Copenhagen Accord was “insufficient to deliver the necessary measures to tackle climate change.”

Pathak cited a confidential note from the UNFCCC secretariat showing that even if the Copenhagen accord were to be followed, “global temperatures would rise above three degrees Celsius, much higher than the safe limit established by science.”

The UNFCCC has already warned that any rise in temperature above two degrees Celsius could lead to a catastrophic rise in sea levels and inundate island countries and coastal cities, spelling the doom of many species of animals and plants and the destruction of many of the world’s agricultural economies.

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EN BREF, CE 24 janvier 2010 … AGNEWS / OMAR, BXL,24/01/2010

 

 

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