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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Russia warns US off sanctions over Ukraine

Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov says such a move would "boomerang" during phone call with US counterpart John Kerry.
Russia has warned any US sanctions imposed on Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine will boomerang back on the United States, adding that Crimea has the right to self-determination as armed men tried to seize another Ukrainian military base on the peninsula.
In a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned against "hasty and reckless steps" that could harm Russian-American relations, the foreign ministry said on Friday. "Sanctions ... would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang," it added.
Kerry stressed the importance of resolving the situation through diplomacy and said he and Lavrov would continue to consult, the US State Department said. Putin's reaction is very revealing. It's as if he's been in a sort of deep freeze since the Cold War and hasn't moved with the times. British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg Russian President Vladimir Putin said after an hour-long call with US President Barack Obama that their positions on the former Soviet republic were still far apart. The exchange comes as Russia declared its support for the breakaway movement in Crimea, welcoming a delegation from the autonomous republic in Moscow. Obama announced the first sanctions against Russia on Thursday. Putin, who later on Friday opened the Paralympic Games in Sochi which have been boycotted by a string of Western dignitaries, said Ukraine's new, pro-Western authorities had acted illegitimately over the eastern, southeastern and Crimea regions.
"Russia cannot ignore calls for help and it acts accordingly, in full compliance with international law," he said. Serhiy Astakhov, an aide to the Ukrainian border guards' commander, said 30,000 Russian soldiers were now in Crimea, compared with the 11,000 permanently based with the Russian Black Sea fleet in the port of Sevastopol before the crisis. The Pentagon estimated as many as 20,000 Russian troops may be in Crimea. Putin denies the forces with no national insignia that are surrounding Ukrainian troops in their bases are under Moscow's command, although their vehicles have Russian military plates. The West has ridiculed his assertion. 'Deep freeze' On Saturday, Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged Putin to engage in a "civilised discussion" with the new government in Kiev. "Putin's reaction is very revealing. It's as if he's been in a sort of deep freeze since the Cold War and hasn't moved with the times," Clegg said. Former KGB spy Putin headed its successor, the Federal Security Service, shortly before he first became president in 2000.
"He gives every appearance of applying a KGB mentality rooted in the Cold War to new realities in 21st-century Europe," Clegg said.

Mtuhumiwa wa makosa ya kivita wa Jamuhuri ya Kidemokria ya Kongo

Mtuhumiwa wa makosa ya kivita wa Jamuhuri ya Kidemokria ya Kongo katika mahakama ya Kimataifa ya Makosa ya Jinai ICC, Bosco Ntaganda yupo njiani kuelekea katika sero ya Mahakama hiyo mjini The Hague. Generali Ntaganda ambaye alikuwa mhimili wa mgogoro wa Kaskazini mwa Jamuhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo, alijisalimisha katika ubalozi wa marekani mjini Kigali nchini Rwanda siku ya jumatatu.
Bosco Ntaganda anakabiliwa na mashtaka kumi ya makosa ya kivita na uhalifu dhidi ya binadamu ambayo amekuwa akiyakana. Tarehe kamili ya kusikilizwa kwa kesi yake inatarajiwa kujulikana hivi karibuni.
Bosco Ntaganda ni mtuhumiwa wa kwanza kujisalimisha mwenyewe katika mahakama hiyo ya ICC. Kwa upande wake Mwendesha mashtaka Mkuu wa mahakama hiyo Fatou Bensouda amesema kujisalimisha kwa Ntaganda limekuwa ni jambo zuri. "Hii ni siku njema kwa waathirika wa vita nchini Jamuhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo na katika utoaji haki duniani."Bi Fatou Bensouda aliambia BBC katika kipindi cha Focus on Afrika. "Leo wale wote walioathirika na mkono wa Bosco Ntaganda sasa wataangalia sheria ikichukua mkono wake" Amesema Bi Bensouda.
Akijulikana kwa jina la "The Terminator" Ntaganda alipigana na makundi kadhaa ya waasi na pia aliwahi kuwa askari wa Jeshi la Serikali ya Jamuhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo.
Katika siku za hivi karibuni inaaminika alikuwa mmoja wa viongozi wa kundi la waasi wa M23 ambalo limekuwa likipigana na majeshi ya serikali ya Jamuhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo.

ICC yamtia hatiani Katanga wa DRC

Mahakama ya kimataifa ya jinai ICC imempata na hatia ya uhalifu wa kivita mbabe wa kivita kutoka Jamhuri ya kidemokrasi ya Congo, Germain Katanga. Hata hivyo Katanga hakukutwa na hatia katika shtaka la udhalilishaji wa kijinsia.
Alituhumiwa kuhusika na mauaji ya wanavijiji zaidi ya 200 mwaka 2003 katika jimbo la Ituri lenye utajiri wa dhahabu, kaskazini mashariki mwa Congo. Katanga ni mtu wa pili kupatikana na hatia ya uhalifu wa kivita katika mahakama ya ICC tangu ianzishwe mjini The Hague, Uholanzi mwaka 2002.
Katika shambulio hilo lililotokea mnamo Februari 24, 2003 watu 200 waliuawa katika kijiji cha Bogoro karibu na mpaka wa Uganda,Katanga wakati huo akiwa Kamanda wa kundi la waasi la Patriotic Resistance Force of Ituri (FRPI) lililotekeleza mauahi hayo. Ukanda wa Afrika ya Kati
Mwendesha mashtaka amesema nia yao kuu ilikuwa kuangamiza kijiji kizima. Germain Katanga kwa jina la utani Simba alikanusha mashtaka hayo yote dhidi yake .

Friday, December 13, 2013

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” — Nelson Mandela We know all South Africans and indeed the world join us in this profound sense of loss and sadness on the death of our beloved Founder, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences are with the Mandela Family and friends at this time. Let us stand together now and in the days ahead, and do what needs to be done to honour with dignity Tata Madiba. We know you share with many of us the same passionate wish to see Nelson Mandela’s legacy being kept alive and made available to the world. His legacy lives on in all of us – it is in our hands now. Hamba kahle Madiba.

North Korea executes leader's uncle as a traitor

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) —
North Korea said Friday that it executed Kim Jong Un's uncle as a traitor for trying to seize supreme power, a stunning end for the leader's former mentor, long considered the country's No. 2. Related Stories More purges may follow execution of Kim's uncle Associated Press North Korea executes Kim Jong Un's uncle Associated Press N. Korea announces execution of leader's 'traitor' uncle AFP North Korea executes leader's powerful uncle in rare public purge Reuters North Korea purges Kim Jong Un's powerful uncle Associated Press In a sharp reversal of the popular image of Jang Song Thaek as a kindly uncle guiding young leader Kim Jong Un as he consolidated power, the North's official Korean Central News Agency indicated that Jang instead saw the death of Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, in December 2011 as an opportunity to challenge his nephew and win power.
womanizing, gambling and taking drugs, and said he'd been "eliminated" from all his posts. But Friday's allegations, which couldn't be independently confirmed, were linked to a claim that he tried "to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state." Pyongyang's statement called him a "traitor to the nation for all ages," ''worse than a dog" and "despicable human scum" who planned a military coup — rhetoric often reserved in state propaganda for South Korean leaders. State media said Jang was tried for treason by a special military tribunal and executed Thursday. In the North Korean capital, people crowded around billboards in a subway station displaying the morning paper and news of the execution. North Korea's main newspaper Rodong Sinmun ran a headline on its website that said: "Eternal traitor firmly punished." A radio broadcast of the news was piped into the subway. People sat quietly and listened as the announcer listed Jang's crimes. During his two years in power, Kim Jong Un has overseen nuclear and missile tests, other high-profile purges and a barrage of threats this spring, including vows of nuclear strikes against Washington and Seoul. In contrast, his father, Kim Jong Il, took a much lower public profile when he rose to power after the death of his father, Kim Il Sung, in 1994. It's not clear what Jang's execution and Kim Jong Un's very public approach to leadership say about the future of a country notoriously difficult for outsiders to interpret. Some analysts see the public pillorying of such a senior official, and one related to the leader, as a sign of the young ruler coming into his own and solidifying his grip on power. "Whatever problems it faced, North Korea has usually acted in a way to bolster its leaders," said Chin Hee-gwan, a professor at South Korea's Inje University. "By showing a little bit of a reign of terror, it's likely that Kim Jong Un's power will be further consolidated." North Korea Executes Leader's Uncle As Traitor Play video North Korea Executes Leader's Uncle As Traitor But others see signs of dangerous instability and an indication that behind the scenes, Kim Jong Un's rise has not been as smooth as previously thought. "North Korea's announcement is like an acknowledgement that Kim Jong Un's government is still in a transitional period," said Lim Eul Chul, a North Korea expert at South Korea's Kyungnam University. The execution could be followed by more purges, Lim predicted, but Kim Jong Un will eventually ease up in his approach to domestic affairs because he'll face a bigger crisis if he fails to revive the struggling economy and improve people's living standards. There are fears in Seoul that the removal of Jang and his followers — two of his aides were executed last month, South Korea's National Intelligence Service said — could lead to a miscalculation or even an attack on the South. Top South Korean presidential security and government ministers held an unscheduled meeting Friday to discuss Jang's execution and its aftermath, according to the presidential Blue House. Seoul's Defense Ministry said the North Korean military has not shown any unusual activities and that there is not any suspicious activity at the North's nuclear test site and missile launch pads. There are also questions about what the purge means for North Korea's relationship with its only major ally, China. Jang had been seen as the leading supporter of Chinese-style economic reforms and an important link between Pyongyang and Beijing. Although the high-level purges over the last two years could indicate confidence, Victor Cha, a former senior White House adviser on Asia, said he sees signs of "a lot of churn in the system." "If he has to go as high as purging and then executing Jang, it tells you that everything's not normal in the system," said Cha, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington. "When you take out Jang, you're not taking out just one person — you're taking out scores if not hundreds of other people in the system. It's got to have some ripple effect." North Korea has recently turned to attempts at diplomacy with South Korea and the United States. But tensions have remained high since Pyongyang's threats in March and April, which included warnings that it would restart nuclear bomb fuel production. There was no immediate word about the fate of Jang's wife, Kim Kyong Hui, the younger sister of Kim Jong Il, although some analysts believe that because she is directly related to the nation's founder, Kim Il Sung, and has been reportedly ill, she may be spared Jang's fate. She was also seen as an important mentor to Kim Jong Un after her brother's 2011 death. The White House said that "if confirmed, this is another example of the extreme brutality of the North Korean regime." The KCNA report was unusually specific in its accusations at times. For instance, it criticized Jang for not rising and applauding his nephew's appointment to a senior position because Jang "thought that if Kim Jong Un's base and system for leading the army were consolidated, this would lay a stumbling block in the way of grabbing the power." One resident in Pyongyang, Kim Un Song, a doctor at a hospital, said she was surprised at the news but supported the execution. "We trust and believe only in Marshal Kim Jong Un. Anti-revolutionary elements can't shake our faith. I don't know if there are more out there, but they will never shake our faith," she said. "It's very good that he was executed."

Thursday, September 12, 2013

World Bank Issues Regional Health Reports

Hassana Ousmane rests her head against the bed where her 21-month-old daughter, Zeinab, suffering from malaria, rests at the Princess Marie Louise Children's Hospital in Accra, Ghana, April 25, 2012.
The World Bank has released new reports outlining the health challenges facing six major regions. Those challenges include not only many types of disease, but road accidents as well. The bank says the reports will help policymakers develop evidence-based health programs after the Millennium Development Goals expire. The World Bank has released the reports in conjunction with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Timothy Evans is the bank’s director of Health, Nutrition and Population. “What we see when we look beyond the global picture is that there’s a lot of regional specificity to trends in the burden of disease. And so the regional focus just allows us more detail and attention to what’s happening in different regions of the world.” He said the world is too diverse to have a one-size-fits-all health plan. “That doesn’t work anywhere,” he said, “That doesn’t work globally. It doesn’t work regionally. It doesn’t even work within a country. So the more understanding you have of context and need the better able the system is to respond appropriately.” Evans outlined the ongoing health challenges for sub-Saharan Africa. “The big one remains communicable diseases. That relates to HIV and malaria, but also the childhood killers – diarrhea and pneumonia – being two of the biggest. And of all the regions in the world, sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where there are more deaths and life years lost from communicable diseases than other types of illness or injury,” he said. Dramatic progress has been made against malaria through insecticide treated bed nets and indoor spraying. As for HIV/AIDS, greater access to antiretroviral drugs has saved many lives. Nevertheless, the World Bank regional report says these two diseases remain major health problems. Road accidents are also a top killer, not only in sub-Saharan Africa, but in most of the regions studied. Evans said, “What we’re seeing is a dramatic surge in mortality and injury from road traffic accidents. And this is a reflection of many, many, many more vehicles on the road – great increases in vehicle ownership -- and very inadequate investments in the infrastructure related to road traffic safety.” The World Bank official said that the road accident fatality rates in Africa are a hundred times greater than those in the United States. In North Africa and the Middle East, the MENA region, the health concerns are a bit different than those in sub-Saharan Africa. “The large majority of the burden of disease is tied up in what we call the non-communicable diseases – the chronic illnesses -- diseases of aging and lifestyle. And so problems with high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stroke. These are the lion’s share of the burden of disease in the MENA region,” he said. Much of North Africa and the Middle East has experienced and is experiencing violence and conflict. Evans says that has a direct effect on the health of populations in those countries – Syria, Libya and Egypt, for example. Evans said, “Health does well in conditions of security. Health is really threatened in conditions of insecurity and it relates to some of the terrible violence that you see, which is often associated with situations where the normal rule of law has been lost and there’s armed violence and other sorts of problems. But the second is that the uncertainty often leads to mass movements of people across borders [and] into territories where they’re not necessarily welcome.” What’s more, violence and conflict cause many skilled professionals to leave causing a brain drain. The World Bank has also issued health reports for other four other regions. In South Asia, much progress has been made regarding communicable diseases and maternal health. However, the region is hard hit by chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Child undernutrition also remains a big problem. East Asia and the Pacific have some of the world’s highest rates of diabetes and a high fatality rate from road accidents. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the World Bank says alcohol related illnesses are a major problem, along with communicable diseases, such as HIV. And the Latin America and the Caribbean region is seeing an increase in ischemic heart disease or reduced blood flow to the heart, as well as big increases in depression and low back pain. The World Bank provides two forms of support for the regions: loans and information to help formulate health plans. The information is expected to be used to evaluate the success of the expiring Millennium Development Goals and in deciding what, if anything, will replace them after 2015.

Russia warns of 'catastrophe' if N.Korea restarts reactor

Russia warns of 'catastrophe' if N.Korea restarts reactor
Russia on Thursday warned of a potential "man-made catastrophe" if North Korea restarts an ageing plutonium reactor to boost its stockpile of nuclear weapons, after US experts spotted steam rising from the Yongbyon facility. The reactor, which was completed in 1986, is outdated and North Korea could suffer a major disaster if it is restarted, a Russian diplomatic source told the Interfax news agency. The warning came after researchers at the US-Korea Institute said Wednesday that satellite images taken on August 31 showed plumes of white steam rising from a building next to the reactor. "Our main concern is linked to a very likely man-made disaster as a consequence. The reactor is in a nightmarish state, it is a design dating back to the 1950s," the Russian source said. "For the Korean peninsula this could entail terrible consequences, if not a man-made catastrophe." The US envoy on North Korea meanwhile said the reported restart of the reactor would be "a misstep on the part of North Korea".
View gallery." North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility. Russia has warned of a potential "man-made catastrophe" if … "If it turns out that these reports are true that North Korea has restarted the five-megawatt plutonium reactor, this would be a very serious matter," Glyn Davies told reporters after meeting Japanese foreign ministry officials in Tokyo. Such a move would "seriously violate the United Nations Security Council resolutions" and North Korea's commitments under a 2005 joint statement after six-party talks, Davies said. The Russian diplomat speaking to Interfax said he did not know for sure whether North Korea had relaunched the facility mothballed in 2007. "It is obvious that some works are being conducted, and for a long time at that. According to some signs, steps were indeed being taken to relaunch it," the diplomat said. "We do not have any information that the reactor has been relaunched." The image examined by researchers at the US-Korea Institute shows that North Korea "appears to have put the reactor into operation", researchers Nick Hansen and Jeffrey Lewis wrote on the institute's blog, 38 North. View gallery." This August 6, 2012 satellite image shows the Yongbyon … This August 6, 2012 satellite image provide by GeoEye on August 22, 2012 shows the Yongbyon Nuclear … But the white steam "could simply be testing of the generator", the Russian diplomatic source cited by Interfax cautioned. The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said it was unable to verify the claim since North Korea has barred its inspectors since 2009. "We are aware of the media report," said spokeswoman Gill Tudor. "The agency continues its monitoring of the DPRK's nuclear activities by available means, such as satellite imagery analysis." North Korea declared in April that it would restart all facilities at Yongbyon to "bolster the nuclear armed force both in quality and quantity". The pledge came at a period of high international tension after North Korea defiantly carried out a third nuclear test in February and threatened to attack the United States over its reaction. View gallery." South Korean officials inspect North Korea's Yongbyon … South Korean officials inspect North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex, on January 16, 2009. (AFP Pho … Yet Pyongyang has more recently embarked on something of a charm offensive, agreeing to reopen a joint industrial zone with South Korea and to resume reunions of families separated by the Korean War. The Soviet Union played a key role in helping build the first nuclear complex at Yongbyon in the 1950s and 1960s, although North Korea itself built the plutonium reactor, which became operational in 1986. In 2007, North Korea shut down the Yongbyon reactor under a six-nation aid-for-disarmament deal and publicly knocked down its cooling tower. The reactor was the totalitarian state's sole way of producing plutonium, which it used to conduct its first two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. Pyongyang is currently believed to have enough plutonium for about six bombs. The Yongbyon reactor is capable of producing six kilogrammes (13 pounds) of plutonium a year -- enough for one nuclear bomb. In recent weeks, North Korea has indicated its willingness to resume six-party talks on its nuclear programme, involving the United States, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea. The US point man on North Korea said Thursday that Washington hopes for "meaningful, authentic and credible six-party talks". But he also added: "There is an issue right now what are six-party talks to be about," insisting that Pyongyang could not set any agenda beyond scrapping its nuclear programme.