Tuesday, October 31, 2006


At least 67 people have been killed by floods in Ethiopia's eastern Ogaden region, aid workers say. Almost 300,000 have been affected after the Shabelle river burst its banks, an aid worker told the BBC. There are also unconfirmed reports that crocodiles have killed two people in the floods. Accurate information is hard to get from the remote area.
The area was also hit by devastating floods earlier this year, which killed hundreds and left thousands homeless.
The BBC's Amber Henshaw in Ethiopia says some people had only just returned home when they were forced to flee again following torrential rain.
Government spokesman Sisay Tadesse said measures were being taken to avoid a wider catastrophe in the Gode area about 650 km south-east of the capital, Addis Ababa.
Almost 20,000 metric tones of food aid have been sent to the remote region and more will soon be on its way.
The spokesman said they were also sending plastic sheeting, jerry cans and cooking equipment.



Green government plan 'a fiasco'
By Matthew Chapman Five Live Report

Governments are coming under pressure to protect the environment. Money pledged by the UK to help an African township cut energy costs is paying for bureaucrats and accountants, BBC's Five Live Report has found out. The donation was meant to make up for the pollution caused by the world leaders flying to last years G8 summit in Gleneagles hosted by Tony Blair.
The revelations led to Friends of the Earth calling the scheme "a fiasco".

Questions have also been raised about the UK government promoting firms that offset pollution with other measures. For example, under carbon offset schemes, companies are offering to plant trees or invest in energy saving projects on behalf of air travellers to compensate for the pollution their flights have caused. Ministers announced that last year's G8 meeting would be the first ever carbon neutral summit and pledged that £50,000 would be given to a scheme in a township in Cape Town which provided energy saving light bulbs and fuel efficient stoves to local residents. The money is being routed through the United Nations-run Clean Development Mechanism, which gives the stamp of approval to energy saving schemes.

The travel industry has come under scrutiny over its green credentials. However, the BBC has learned that the whole scheme has turned into a bureaucratic nightmare for the local council who face being left in debt. Council spokeswoman Shirene Rosenberg said the British money would have to be spent on auditors hired from an international accountancy firm who would check on the efficiency of the scheme. Other sources have said that one of the jobs of the auditors may be to count the light bulbs to check how many have been broken. "It's been a complicated and onerous process," said Ms Rosenberg. "It would definitely make the council think twice about being involved in another project like this."

The scheme allows the council to engage in carbon trading whereby they calculate how many tonnes of carbon dioxide could be saved by the project and then sell off these potential saved pollutants, or carbon rights, to Western donors like the UK government. South South North, an independent organisation involved in the project, has calculated that the scheme will raise £37,000 pounds from selling these carbon rights, which should then be invested back into the poverty stricken township.

However, they have then calculated that filling in all the forms demanded by CDM, as well as hiring auditors, will cost £54,000, leaving Cape Town council in debt to the tune of £17,000.
It has also emerged that the South African energy firm Eskom has launched its own scheme to supply energy efficient light bulbs in the very same area potentially replicated the work done on the project.

Environmental campaigners say the G8 leaders should have come up with a programme to reduce greenhouse gasses rather than get involved in carbon offset schemes. "The whole of this G8 offsets scheme has been a fiasco from start to finish," said Mike Childs of campaign group Friends of the Earth. "The government would have done better to concentrate on the supply of low energy light bulbs in the UK before moving on to Africa."
What tree?
The South African project was meant to help fulfil a promise by ministers to create a carbon-neutral government. The Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) has responded to the allegations saying that the government wanted the CDM system to become faster and more efficient. They also said that auditors were needed to check the project was delivering energy efficiency. Defra is thought to be weeks away from announcing which company will have the contract to handle up to £1m of government money aimed at buying carbon offsets to compensate for all the air travel taken by ministers and civil servants.

Can planting trees really help offset the effects of a plane journey?
One of the favourites is thought to be the Carbon Neutral Company, which along with Climate Care is being promoted on several government websites to airline travellers in the UK. The Carbon Neutral Company allows people to buy into forests in the UK, but despite references to "your forest" on their website, some customers do not realise they have not bought a tree with their money. Instead some mistakenly make the trek to a remote forest on the Isle of Skye. "Unfortunately yes they do seem to labour under that misconception," said Kevin Sutton, who manages the Orbst Forest on behalf of its owners, a government quango called Highlands and Island Enterprise. "They ask 'where is the tree that I bought?' I have to refer them back to the company," he explained.

What customers of the Carbon Neutral Company have bought stems from a contract between the company and the owners of the forest agreeing not to cut the tree down for 99 years. This allows the company to sell the carbon rights of each tree for 99 years. Several landowners contacted by the BBC, including the Highlands and Island Enterprise, said the forests were going to be grown anyway and being public forests were unlikely to have been cut down. They said the Carbon Neutral Company's investment was relatively small in the overall budgets of the forests. A spokesman for the Carbon Neutral Company said they had a raft of quality assurance measures in place to make sure that all their projects represented the best practice in the market. They said all their projects were continuously reviewed by an independent advisory board.

Matthew Chapman's report, Trading Trees can be heard on Five Live Report on Sunday 29 October at 1100 GMT and will also be available at the Five Live Report website.



Some 5,000 people have held a demonstration in the eastern Niger town of Diffa, calling on the government to go ahead with its plans to expel Arabs. The protesters accuse members of the 150,000-strong Mahamid Arab community of robbery and say their camels disturb the grazing of cattle and goats. A BBC reporter in the area says the dispute is largely related to competition for land and water.

The government last week reversed its policy of deporting the Arabs to Chad. Many of the Mahamid crossed into Niger more than 30 years ago to escape drought, famine and fighting in Chad. The decision to suspend the expulsions came after a cabinet meeting on Friday.

Originally nomads from Chad
150,000 live mainly in Diffa State
Many came after 1974 drought
More fled 1980s Chad fighting
Fought against 1990s Tuareg rebellion

Some say that the Mahamid, many of whom are wealthy and control the much of eastern Niger's economy, are backing a politician who plans to challenge President Mamadou Tandja in elections due in 2008. On Wednesday, Mahamid leaders told reporters they would defend themselves against attack and called on the United Nations to intervene. They insisted they were citizens of Niger and "have no other country to go to", after being given five days to leave the country.

Like the rest of the country, the east of Niger is extremely arid. With the Sahara desert expanding quite quickly, there are growing fears that the scarcity of water could spark future problems in many African countries in the region.


Monday, October 30, 2006


The plane reportedly burst into flames just after take-off.

Crash aftermath

Nigeria has suspended the licence of the airline involved in Sunday's crash, in which 96 people were killed. ADC's Boeing 737 passenger jet came down almost immediately after take-off from the capital, Abuja, on a flight to the northern city of Sokoto. Among the dead was the spiritual leader of Nigeria's Muslims, the Sultan of Sokoto. Nine people are reported to have survived the crash.
This is Nigeria's third major civilian air disaster in less than a year. ADC is one of Nigeria's most popular private airlines. Three days of national mourning have been announced for the victims and an inquiry has begun.
President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday visited Sokoto to pay his respects at the sultan's palace. "I have come with so much sadness and sorrow to condole the people and government of Sokoto and all Nigerians over this tragedy" he said. "The sultan was a man of peace who lived and died for peace.

Most shops and businesses are closed in Sokoto and the city's motorbike-taxi riders have parked their bikes out of respect for the deceased sultan. Residents are gathering at mosques and the sultan's palace to pray. The BBC's Alex Last in Nigeria says there is a lot of anger over the latest crash, as well as grief. "Nigeria's aviation industry needs urgent overhaul. This is one crash too many," said Ishaq Akintola, director of civil society group Muslim Rights Concern.
Nigeria's aviation minister has said the pilot ignored advice to wait for better weather before taking off.

"The pilot of the unfortunate accident refused to take advantage of the weather advice and the opinion of the [control] tower to exercise patience and allow the weather to clear for a safe take off," Aviation Minister Babalola Borishade said at a news conference. The jet came down just after take-off, ploughing into a cornfield about two kilometres from Abuja airport. Our correspondent says the plane broke up on impact, scattering debris and passengers' belongings across an area the size of a football pitch.

The body of the Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammadu Maccido - the spiritual leader of the country's estimated 70 million Muslims - was buried in Sokoto within hours of the crash. Several other leading Nigerian politicians, including one of the sultan's sons, were also killed in the crash. The survivors are being treated in a hospital in Abuja.
Corruption and corner-cutting
After visiting the crash site, Federal Territory Minister Mallam Nasir el-Rufai told the BBC that the condition of the plane was "deplorable", with "bald tyres".

Crash site eyewitness
In pictures: Nigeria crash

The government had already announced a plan to overhaul the aviation industry and improve safety following last year's disasters, in which more than 200 people died.
Last month 10 senior army commanders were killed when their military plane crashed.
Several airlines were grounded while safety checks were carried out. ADC planes were not involved in the crashes.
President Obasanjo blamed corruption and corner-cutting for poor safety standards.
Our correspondent says that air travel in Nigeria has boomed in recent years, but this crash will raise further questions as to how these safety reforms are being implemented.



Sheikh Hilali again apologised for his comments. Australia's top Muslim cleric at the centre of a storm over his comments about immodestly dressed women has asked for "indefinite leave".
Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilali had asked for leave from his duties at Sydney's main Lakemba Mosque, he said in a statement read on his behalf.
Earlier, he was taken to hospital with chest pains after collapsing.
He again apologised for his comments comparing immodestly dressed women to "uncovered meat".
The pressure of the last couple of days has had an obvious effect on my health and wellbeing
Sheikh Hilali
He said his suggestion that women who did not wear a headscarf attracted sexual assault had been taken out of context and "misinterpreted".
But he conceded the analogy had been "inappropriate and unacceptable for the Australian society and the western society in general".
While Sydney's mosque association had suspended him for three months following the publication of his comments, Sheikh Hilali indicated at the end of last week he would not resign.
On Monday, at a meeting with the Lebanese Muslim Association, he collapsed and was rushed to hospital.
He was said to be in a stable condition but would remain in hospital for at least three days.

Born in Egypt
Aged 64
Imam in Sydney
Appointed mufti of Australia in 1989

Controversial mufti
Australia's Muslims fear backlash

Outside the hospital, Lebanese Muslim Association Tom Zreika released a statement from the sheikh, which said he had "asked for indefinite leave from my duties at Lakemba Mosque".
"The pressure of the last couple of days has had an obvious effect on my health and wellbeing. I ask the public to give my family and I some privacy, time and space to recover," the statement said.
His comments were delivered in a sermon to some 500 worshippers in Sydney last month, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
But it was not until they were published in The Australian newspaper last week that a wave of anger was unleashed.
"If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside... and the cats come and eat it... whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat?" Sheikh Hilali was quoted as asking during the sermon.
"If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab [headscarf], no problem would have occurred," he added.
'Lasting damage'
Despite the three-month suspension imposed by Muslim leaders, Sheikh Hilali has been under increasing pressure to resign as the Mufti of Australia.
Prime Minister John Howard said that "unless this matter is satisfactorily resolved by the Islamic community, there is a real worry that some lasting damage will be done."
Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward accused the imam of inciting rape and said he should be thrown out of the country.


Climate change fight 'can't wait'

At-a-glance: Stern Review
Analysis: A stark warning
Will Stern make a difference?
International battle ahead

The world cannot afford to wait before tackling climate change, the UK prime minister has warned.
A report by economist Sir Nicholas Stern suggests that global warming could shrink the global economy by 20%.
But taking action now would cost just 1% of global gross domestic product, the 700-page study says.
Tony Blair said the Stern Review showed that scientific evidence of global warming was "overwhelming" and its consequences "disastrous".
International response
The review coincides with the release of new data by the United Nations showing an upward trend in emission of greenhouse gases - a development for which Sir Nicholas said that rich countries must shoulder most of the responsibility.

Graph: How new CO2 targets could curb emissions

And Chancellor Gordon Brown promised the UK would lead the international response to tackle climate change.
Environment secretary David Miliband said the Queen's Speech would now feature a climate bill to establish an independent Carbon Committee to "work with government to reduce emissions over time and across the economy".
The report says that without action, up to 200 million people could become refugees as their homes are hit by drought or flood.
"Whilst there is much more we need to understand - both in science and economics - we know enough now to be clear about the magnitude of the risks, the timescale for action and how to act effectively," Sir Nicholas said.

We have the time and knowledge to act but only if we act internationally, strongly and urgently
Sir Nicholas Stern

Stern Review summary
Sir Nicholas' presentation
Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Download the reader here

"That's why I'm optimistic - having done this review - that we have the time and knowledge to act. But only if we act internationally, strongly and urgently."
Mr Blair said the consequences for the planet of inaction were "literally disastrous".
"This disaster is not set to happen in some science fiction future many years ahead, but in our lifetime," he said.
"Investment now will pay us back many times in the future, not just environmentally but economically as well."
"For every £1 invested now we can save £5, or possibly more, by acting now.
"We can't wait the five years it took to negotiate Kyoto - we simply don't have the time. We accept we have to go further (than Kyoto)."
Large risks
Sir Nicholas, a former chief economist of the World Bank, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Unless it's international, we will not make the reductions on the scale which will be required."

He went on: "What we have shown is the magnitude of these risks is very large and has to be taken into account in the kind of investments the world makes today and the consumption patterns it has."
The Stern Review forecasts that 1% of global gross domestic product (GDP) must be spent on tackling climate change immediately.
It warns that if no action is taken:
Floods from rising sea levels could displace up to 100 million people
Melting glaciers could cause water shortages for 1 in 6 of the world's population
Wildlife will be harmed; at worst up to 40% of species could become extinct
Droughts may create tens or even hundreds of millions of "climate refugees"
Clear objectives
The study is the first major contribution to the global warming debate by an economist, rather than an environmental scientist.
Mr Brown, who commissioned the report, has also recruited former US Vice President Al Gore as an environment adviser.
There is the greatest opportunity of all, the prize of securing and safeguarding the planet for our generations to come
Gordon Brown

Reactions to the Stern Review

"In the 20th century our national economic ambitions were the twin objectives of achieving stable economic growth and full employment," Mr Brown said.
"Now in the 21st century our new objectives are clear, they are threefold: growth, full employment and environmental care."
He said the green challenge was also an opportunity "for new markets, for new jobs, new technologies, new exports where companies, universities and social enterprises in Britain can lead the world".
"And then there is the greatest opportunity of all, the prize of securing and safeguarding the planet for our generations to come."
Mr Brown called for a long-term framework of a worldwide carbon market that would lead to "a low-carbon global economy". Among his plans are:
Reducing European-wide emissions by 30% by 2020, and at least 60% by 2050
By 2010, having 5% of all UK vehicles running on biofuels
Creating an independent environmental authority to work with the government
Establishing trade links with Brazil, Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica to ensure sustainable forestry
Working with China on clean coal technologies.
The review was welcomed by groups including the European Commission and business group the CBI.
"Provided we act with sufficient speed, we will not have to make a choice between averting climate change and promoting growth and investment," said head of the CBI, Richard Lambert.
Pia Hansen, of the European Commission said the report "clearly makes a case for action".
"Climate change is not a problem that Europe can afford to put into the 'too difficult' pile," she said.
"It is not an option to wait and see, and we must act now."

Return to the top



Rare unity over Serb constitution.
By Nick Hawton BBC News, Belgrade.

The vote marks a significant moment in modern Serb historyAs if on cue, the thunder and lightning burst across the Belgrade skyline as the Referendum Commission announced the result of the landmark vote.
A majority of the entire electorate of Serbia, around 3.4 million people, had voted to accept the country's first new constitution since the days of the former leader, Slobodan Milosevic.
"This is a moment for Serbia to rejoice," said the Prime Minister, Vojislav Kostunica.
"It is an historic moment, the start of a new period in the development of Serbia," he said.
In a rare share of unity, all the main political parties had backed the draft constitution.
Even the head of Serbia's Christian Orthodox Church, 92-year-old Patriarch Pavle cast his ballot, the first time he had voted in his life.
Serbian President Boris Tadic said the result showed the citizens supported a "European Serbia".
"We have accomplished one task. But we shouldn't celebrate too much. We have a lot of things to do tomorrow," said Mr Tadic.
Kosovo issue
One immediate task for tomorrow is the issue of Kosovo, something that has hung over the referendum campaign from the start.
Serbs living in Kosovo turned out in large numbers to support the new constitution.

We have accomplished one task but we shouldn't celebrate too much
Serbian President Boris Tadic
Some celebrated in the streets when the preliminary results were announced, waving Serbian flags and chanting: "Kosovo, we won't give you up." But the future is uncertain.
Kosovo is officially a part of Serbia but has been run by the UN since the war ended in 1999.
The vast majority of the population are Kosovo Albanians who are demanding independence from Serbia. Serbs want the province to remain a part of Serbia.
In perhaps the new constitution's most controversial part, the text proclaims the province to be an "integral part of the territory of Serbia".
Albanian political leaders have said the constitutional referendum in Serbia was irrelevant for their future.
The international community has said it wants a long-term solution to the Kosovo problem by the end of this year.
But the Serb and Albanian sides seem unlikely to reach agreement and a decision may be imposed by the international community.
'Electoral backlash'
One of the key reasons why this new draft constitution has been rushed through - and why a general election is likely to be called in the near future - is because Serbia's fragile government wants to be re-elected before a decision is made on the province's future.

A settlement for Kosovo's future remains elusiveSerb political leaders sense that Kosovo will be granted some form of independence. Any government which is in power in Belgrade if and when Kosovo gains independence could suffer an electoral backlash.
The parties in power want to be re-elected for a four-year mandate before any such decision is made.
Opposition groups accused the government of rushing through the text of the constitution without sufficient consultation. There were also allegations of ballot-rigging in the immediate aftermath of the vote.
The Serbian Parliament will officially proclaim the constitution in the next few days. There is then expected to be a general election either at the end of the year or the start of 2007.
Not much more than 50% of the Serbian electorate decided to take part in this constitutional referendum - a sign of the continuing apathy and disillusionment which afflicts political life here.
But in other ways this does mark a significant moment in modern Serbian history - finally updating the constitution that had been in use since the days of Slobodan Milosevic.


Mexico riot police re-take Oaxaca.

Burning barricades were pulled down by federal police
Riot police move in

Mexican riot police have seized control of the southern city of Oaxaca, ending a five-month occupation by striking teachers and leftist activists.
The demonstrators had been calling for the resignation of the state governor.
The 4,000 federal officers, backed by armoured trucks and helicopters, met little resistance. One man is reported to have died in the operation.
The president ordered the action after gunmen killed three people, including a US journalist, on Friday.
The federal police were met with little resistance when they entered the city from several directions.
Water cannons were used to split up small groups of protesters. Barricades made of burning tyres and old furniture were pulled down.

In pictures: Oaxaca clashes

One man is reported to have died after being hit by a tear gas canister.
President Fox ordered the offensive on Saturday, a day after gunfire killed two Mexicans and a US cameraman working with independent news group Indymedia.
Interior Minister Carlos Abascal said it was necessary to send in troops to restore peace because of the "inability" of Governor Ulises Ruiz to handle the situation.
Political tensions
The demonstrators have been seeking to oust Gov Ruiz, whom they say has rigged elections and over-used force to try to break up the protest.
Thousands of schools have been closed since the strike began in May, leaving 1.3 million children out of school.
The teachers initially staged the walk-out, demanding higher pay and better working conditions.
However, after police attacked one of their demonstrations in June, they extended their demands to include a call for the resignation of Gov Ruiz. The teachers were joined in their protest by left-wing groups.
Some 70,000 teachers have voted to return to school on Monday - a move which may ease tensions in the city, says the BBC's Duncan Kennedy in Mexico.
However, some protesters have said they will continue to fight for the removal of Mr Ruiz.
President Fox, who leaves office on 1 December, may have succeeded in bringing the stand-off to an end, but the underlying political tensions remain, our correspondent says.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


## Booker T Washington ##


China's 20-year growth spurt
By Stephen Jessel BBC News, Lijiang.

Twenty five years ago, Stephen Jessel went out to what was then called Peking as the second BBC correspondent to be based in China.

Naxi music is sometimes called a 'living fossil' of Chinese music. For the last four years he has been back every year, but his latest visit left him more astounded at the pace of change than ever. In the afternoon the grannies of Lijiang come out to dance in the main square of the town, situated in breathtaking scenery two-and-a-half thousand metres up, under Jade Dragon Snow mountain in the cloudy high country of Yunnan in the far southwest.
The ladies wear the blue and white traditional dress of the Naxi minority which predominates in these parts, and blue peaked cloth caps.
In a long line they do a sort of shuffle: one, two, three, hop, check, turn.
The more adventurous tourists join in and the event is recorded by a battery of digital cameras and camcorders.
Diminishing character
Fifteen years ago, Lijiang must have been pure enchantment: before the earthquake that destroyed much of the south of the town and before it became a magnet for tourists.

Old cobbled streets are under threat from commercial enterprise
Cobbled streets run between tiled wooden two storey houses with tip-tilted eaves, flanked by streams of clean, clear running water.
At night thousands of red lanterns cast their warm glow.
But these days many of the wooden houses are reconstructions and virtually all are overpriced speciality food, gift and souvenir shops, restaurants and guesthouses.
Unesco world heritage site status, a new airport and the tourist boom have destroyed the old character, though traces of it can still be found in two neighbouring villages.
The streets are clogged with well-dressed visitors toting expensive cameras led by guides waving little coloured flags.
Imagine Venice in July. Think theme park.
But these are not Western tourists (who make up a negligible proportion of the town's visitors).
These are the newly affluent middle classes of China, ready and able to spend their swelling incomes on travel inside their enormous country.
Ideology and ambition
It is 25 years exactly since I arrived in China to take over from the BBC's first correspondent there, Philip Short.
Dear heaven, it was a drab, grim, surly place.
People's ambitions were known as the three rounds: a watch, a sewing machine and a bicycle
Foreigners were rare and unwelcome.
The cultural revolution was over but ideological slogans still pervaded daily life.
Holidays, such as they were, were taken at the Chinese New Year when millions packed into trains for brief visits to their families.
There is a Chinese word meaning to have fun or enjoy oneself - wanr - but not much "wanr-ing" took place in the monochrome early 1980s.
People's ambitions were known as the three rounds: a watch, a sewing machine and a bicycle.
Hong Kong-style
On the plane out of China at the end of my three-year stint, I swore I would never go back.

Three years later I broke that promise by filling in briefly for my successor and came back open-mouthed at the changes.
Fast forward to 2003 and a decision to put a toe back in the water with a trip to the south-west, which I had visited 20 years before.
Kunming, capital of Yunnan, had been a sleepy provincial town of wooden shop houses, the usual million bicycles, lights out at 2100.
Only now it had become Hong Kong: designer boutiques, neon, traffic jams, high rise buildings, teenagers on their mobile phones.
New goals
I got back last month from another trip, my fourth in as many years.
These have taken me to Lhasa in Tibet, Kashgar in the far north-west, Beijing in the east, Xi'an in the centre, Guangzhou - or Canton - in the south, and Chengdu and Chongqing in the south-west.
In the cities the transformation has been astounding
If I had not seen it I would not have believed it.
Never in history can the living standards of so many people have risen so fast.
I suppose that is what 20 years of explosive economic growth do for you.
People's ambitions have changed a little.
They now have their sights on a computer, a camcorder and a diamond ring.
It is true that on the back roads of the provinces you see villages where not much seems to have changed, but in the cities the transformation has been astounding... and in the space of a generation.
Passing the baton
I am quite aware that China remains an authoritarian police state; the dancing grannies of Lijiang are not paid but are, how shall we put it, encouraged by the authorities to strut their stuff.
But the state seems to have given up any attempt to control personal behaviour to judge from what you can see on the streets and back streets of the cities.
In 1984 I returned to Europe and the next year took over in Brussels from my colleague Paul Reynolds, whose young son James I met briefly at the time.
James is the new Beijing correspondent, to whom I sent all good wishes while observing that he cannot possibly have the remotest idea of what the place used to be like.
Every now and then I think I may be getting old.

From Our Own Correspondent was broadcast on Thursday, 26 October, 2006 at 1100 BST on BBC Radio 4. Please check the programme schedules for World Service transmission times.



Congolese voters' views: Run-off

Our panel of Congolese voters give their views on Sunday's presidential run-off vote which will conclude the country's first fully democratic polls since independence in 1960.

Adolphe AmbikileTeacher, 30Kinshasa
'I believe that Bemba will make my life better but sure, he is not God'

Leopold MusafiriEconomist, 39Bukavu
'Kabila's capability to confront and to manage crises is why I am going to vote for him'

Kudra KatemboStudent, 21Kisangani
'There are many reasons why I want Kabila to win but his vision is most necessary'

Alain MatuTeacher, 34Kinshasa
'Mr Bemba will put in place and implement laws and so easily solve our problems'

We asked our panel who they felt would make the best president. Read their views and then click on the links at the bottom of each page to respond to their comments and have your say.



Gordimer campaigned against censorship during the apartheid era. Former Booker winner and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, Nadine Gordimer, has been attacked at her home in South Africa.
Gordimer, 83, was assaulted when three men broke into her home in Johannesburg on Thursday, taking cash and jewellery. The author, who was locked in a store room with her maid while the burglars fled the scene, did not receive any serious injuries.
Police spokesman Sergeant Sanku Tsunke said no arrests had been made.
Despite demands to hand over her jewellery, Gordimer refused to part with her wedding ring from her marriage to art dealer Reinhold Cassirer, who died in 2001.
The author, who is well-known for her anti-apartheid works, was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1991.
Several of her novels, which include The Conservationist and July's People, were banned under the apartheid regime.
Her most recent work, Get A Life, was long-listed for the 2006 Booker prize.



The spiritual leader of Nigeria's Muslims was among those killed after a plane carrying about 100 people crashed near the capital, Abuja, officials say.
The Sultan of Sokoto Mohammadu Maccido and his son, a senator, and other northern leaders were on board the ADC airlines flight to the city of Sokoto.
The plane crashed in a storm shortly after take-off, state radio said. Four people have reportedly survived.
This is Nigeria's third major air disaster in a little over a year.
The BBC's Alex Last in Nigeria says twisted, smouldering remnants of the plane litter the crash site on the edge of Abuja airport.
Sokoto State government spokesman Mustapha Sheu said that the northern state's deputy governor, education commissioner and another senator were killed, along with the sultan and his son.
"The plane crashed and burst into flames at the outskirts of Abuja," said National Emergency Management Agency spokesman Ibrahim Farinloye.

Leads Nigeria's 70m Muslims
Sokoto base for 19th Century jihad, spreading Islam across northern Nigeria
Sokoto still Nigeria's centre for Islamic learning
"President Olusegun Obasanjo is deeply and profoundly shocked and saddened by the news of the reported air crash," presidential spokeswoman Oluremi Oyo said in a statement.
The president has ordered an investigation, she said.
Nigeria's Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) secretary-general Lateef Adegbite described the sultan's death as a tragedy, reports the AFP news agency.
"We are devastated by the tragic plane crash. It has left the Muslim faithfuls without leadership," he said.
Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Bafarawa announced five days of mourning for the sultan and the other victims of the crash, AFP reports.
AP news agency says that the plane was a Boeing 727.
The government had already announced a major plan to overhaul the aviation industry and improve safety following last year's disasters, which killed more than 200 people.
Several airlines were grounded while safety checks were carried out.
ADC planes were not involved in last year's crashes.
The president himself blamed corruption and corner-cutting for poor safety standards.
Last month 10 senior army commanders were killed when their military plane crashed.
Our correspondent says that air travel in Nigeria has boomed in recent years, but this crash will raise further questions as to how these safety reforms are being implement.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Humour abounds amid Lagos chaos
By Kieran Cooke BBC News, Nigeria.

Nigeria is Africa's most populous country and has the potential to be one of the richest, but has been plagued by corruption since independence in 1960. But as our correspondent found on a visit to the sprawling city of Lagos, there's another side to life - the unfailing humour with which Nigerians confront the trials of daily living.

It happened as the aircraft was about to lift off. A muffled explosion followed by a grating, turbulent sound, rather like a dishwasher gone berserk.
We were flung forward as engines were reversed, brakes slammed on.
The ornate red hat of the podgy man next to me went flying down the cabin, closely followed by a pile of newspapers, a handbag and, the most strange sight of all, a carton of washing powder.
My friend Ibim, a local journalist intent on showing me what she called "the real Nigeria" far away from Lagos, grabbed my thigh in a blood-stopping clasp. We came to a halt, slightly skewed, not far from the end of the runway.
What was most impressive about the incident at Lagos airport - besides the split second decision making of the pilot - was the behaviour of those on board.
Lagos is one of those places where you wonder just how anything manages to function
No screams, no tears. A shrugging of shoulders - and then, chuckles and laughter.
"You see," said Ibim. "We Nigerians can take anything."
It is as if locals combat the haphazard, often frightening world they inhabit with bellyfuls of humour.
"Welcome to Nigeria, the happiest country in Africa" says the sign at the airport - while another carries a more worrying message - "Mind the Roof", it says.
We limped back to the terminal. The pilot - he had a Russian accent - announced that there had been what he called a "bird strike".

Lagos buses carry messages as well as people around the city
It must have been some bird. After inspection, one of the two engines was found to be more or less wrecked.
Lagos is one of those places where you wonder just how anything manages to function. It is a city of, well, no-one is entirely sure of the population, but estimates vary between 13-15 million.
Built on a swamp and a series of islands, it is sinking. There is no mass transit system, no proper sewage network, drinking water for only a small portion of the city, and a power supply that is more off than on.
All this in a country which is one of the world's biggest oil producers but where the majority live in poverty. Nigeria recently celebrated 46 years of independence. Reading the newspapers was a sad business.
"Where did we go wrong?" they asked. Education and health systems which were among the best in Africa, in shambles.

For years the state coffers have been pillaged by the privileged few: again the figures vary widely, but there is no doubt billions of pounds have "gone missing" from state funds over the years.
And yet - amid all the chaos, the potholes and the blackouts - there is a vibrant energy about Lagos, a sense of living on the edge and again, that humour.
Sit in a Lagos traffic jam and look at the dented, people-crammed yellow buses that limp and belch their way round the city.
All seem to have messages elegantly written on them.
"Such is Life" says one. "No Tension" says another - horn blaring.
Ugly hulks
And - painted on the side of a particularly rusty, blue-smoking, smashed-up-looking bus, my favourite, thought provoking, message: "The downfall of man is not the end of his life."
In 1991, the capital was moved from Lagos to the far more orderly, new city of Abuja in the centre of the country. All over Lagos there are the abandoned, ugly hulks of what were once central government offices and ministries.
But each weekend officials scurry back from Abuja to this sinking city by the sea, seeming to crave its chaos and its madness.
Such is the state of Lagos traffic - it is not unusual for people to spend six hours a day getting to and from work - that many people do not go shopping, rather the shops come to them.

Lagos, despite its problems, is a 'vibrant' city
You can buy everything you need from hawkers who patrol the queues of buses, cars and trucks.
Need a curtain rail? No problem, just wind down the car window.
A mirror? Your groceries? A book, chair or a lampshade? It is all there, in the midst of the choking traffic. One man even had armfuls of toilet seats on offer.
One of the more important roadside industries is the manufacture of formidable looking iron doors and gates.
Vibrant music
The wealthy of Lagos live in fortresses - high walls topped with rolls of razor wire. Armed guards. Surveillance cameras.
But then, there is the other side of life. One of the most vibrant music scenes in Africa. Churches of every description side by side with mosques. A strong literary culture.
Back at the airport there is an announcement.
"The replacement aircraft is being serviced" said a cheery voice. "You'll be on your way just as soon as we've put the plane back together again."
Ibim and I - and the other passengers - collapsed in fits of thigh-grabbing, shoulder-thumping laughter.
We did get there in the end.

From Our Own Correspondent was broadcast on Saturday, 28 October, 2006 at 1130 BST on BBC Radio 4. Please check the programme schedules for World Service transmission times.



Dear Family and Friends,

There were about sixty people standing in a line that snaked across the car park outside a post office a few days before the end of the month. This is October and the month notorious for seethingly hot temperatures and this day was no exception. Before 8.30 in the morning jerseys and jackets had been discarded, most people were wearing slip slops or sandals and short sleeved tops. The queue was made up of people waiting to draw money out of post office savings accounts. A few minutes before opening time a man emerged carrying a small pile of brown cardboard squares, each the size of a thumbnail. On each scrap of grimy, slimy cardboard was written a number from one to fifty and the man prepared to start giving them out to the people in the line. A peaceful, patient line turned immediately into chaos and it was like watching a spreading pool of petrol and waiting for someone to drop a match. Louts that hadn't been in the queue ran across the car park to grab a square of cardboard, desperate people at the back surged forward, arms stretched out, voices rose up and angry shouts were heard. Then suddenly it was over, the squares of cardboard had been issued and it was simple - no bit of cardboard equals no money for you. Only the people with a numbered square of cardboard would be able to draw their money out today - there just isn't enough money to go round anymore and so the levels of deprivation increase another peg.

I drafted this letter one day before rural council and mayoral elections got underway across the country. In the run up to the vote it has been blatantly obvious that the ruling party are as bereft of ideas as the post office is of money. Year after year, election after election - absolutely nothing changes. In the last week the President of the Council of Chiefs publicly declared that villagers who did not vote for the ruling party would be evicted from their homes. TV news reports have showed ruling party officials addressing rallies and from both speakers and audiences its just the same old same old. The clenched fist-raising in praise of the ruling party, the stream of "pasi na" (down with) slogans which are declared about anyone who dares to differ, and the predictable shouting and berating by the leaders and candidates who don't seem to know how to charm or persuade audiences and so they just tell them off. Ever present too is the huge range of clothing decorated with the President's face and the gyrating women dancing frantically in front of the candidates. All this takes place outside in the open in the dripping October sun and there is no laughter, pleasure or even interest on peoples faces. Zimbabwe's rural infrastructure is crumbling, everyone sees and knows it - roads, clinics, schools, boreholes and transport systems. It is not all hard to know who to vote for in rural elections. It is very very hard to pay attention to the shouting, berating and anger of prospective candidates when you know this and some of the other facts about life in Zimbabwe this week: A four rung, five foot wooden ladder, unvarnished and untreated cost 76 thousand dollars, this is 8 times more than the monthly wage of a garden, house or farm worker. A consultation and filling at a private dentist costs 38.5 thousand dollars - this is more than most government school teachers take home in a normal month. One orange from a roadside vendor this week cost 550 dollars - this was how much a 1000 acre farm cost just a little over ten years ago - a farm with 2 dams, a dairy, tobacco barn, trading store, large farmhouse and 10 farm workers houses.

This week it doesn't matter where you go or who you talk to, rural or urban, everywhere the clarion call is the same - how much longer. Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.

Copyright cathy buckle 28 October 2006. http:/africantears.netfirms.com My books "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available from: orders@africabookcentre.com

Friday, October 27, 2006


'Irreverent' comedian India bound
By Alastair Lawson BBC News.

Shazia Mirza has performed in the US and Europe (pictures by Steve Ullathorne)
"I'm Shazia Mirza," she once famously said soon after the World Trade Centre attacks of 2001. "At least that's what it says on my pilot's licence."
Now this self-declared rarity - a young British Muslim female comedian - is about to take her highly acclaimed stand-up act to India.
And no-one need be in any doubt that the gags will flow thick and fast.
She will perform in the states of Maharashtra and Goa - promising to be "irreverent but not offensive".
Next month's tour is part of a programme funded by the UK's worldwide cultural body, the British Council, aimed at young people in India.
Parental myths
"My show is entitled 'Fun in Paradise'," Ms Mirza told the BBC News website.
"One of the aims is to dispel one of my mother's maxims when I was a child growing up in Birmingham.
"She said that life was not about having fun - you can have fun in paradise."

I feel that I'm making a difference just by standing on that stage as a young British Muslim woman - Shazia Mirza.
Ms Mirza, 30, says that the show also dispels other parental myths such as:

holidays are only for white people
all white women are whores
women should not drink or listen to rock music
it is wrong to wear make-up and low tops
her Uncle Latif wears high heels because he is ashamed of being short.

Ms Mirza says that she and her parents enjoy a warm relationship, even if they did have one or two "misconceptions" about life in the UK in general and Uncle Latif's choice of footwear in particular.
Her show does not just poke fun at her parents "somewhat conservative" values, though.
It also contains an entertaining description of a meeting with the queen and the joys of attending her first rock concert.
"It was given by UB40 and they were brilliant - but I didn't tell my parents that," she says.
'My religion'
Simon Gammell, director of the British Council's West India branch, said that the comedian was invited as part of a wider programme of work to reach out to young Indian people using a variety of art forms including stand-up comedy, music and film.
"Her visit is designed to foster greater mutual understanding between the two countries and to present the UK as a contemporary, fun-loving country which is prepared to debate the issues of the day in an open and civilised environment," he said.

I think if I were a practising Muslim and a stripper, then there would be a problem - but there isn't a problem with me being a practising Muslim and a stand-up comic
Shazia Mirza
Mr Gammell said the question of Muslim women wearing the veil - a contentious issue in Britain at the moment - would not feature among the comedian's jokes.
Although she has never travelled to India before, Ms Mirza does have family connections in South Asia - her mother was from Punjab in India and her father was from Rawalpindi in Pakistan.
"I am looking forward to going to the beauty salons there," she jokes, "because I am told they are brilliant at moving unwanted bodily hair."
Does she worry that her show may offend some in India?
"I try not to tell jokes about my religion," she says. "My aim is to make people laugh and think at the same time.
"I have often had men come up to me after my shows and ask: 'Is it true that [Muslim] women have to walk behind their husband, is that true?' - I say 'Yes, they look better from behind'."
But Ms Mirza insists her work is not just for laughs. She sometimes performs wearing a head scarf and describes herself as a "devout Muslim".
But she is keen to challenge the view held by some in the West that "all Muslim women are oppressed, all Asian women have arranged marriages and women are not funny".
"I feel that I'm making a difference just by standing on that stage as a young British Muslim woman.
"It shows that we Muslims can laugh and have fun just as much as anybody else."


The growth of 'online Jihadism'
By Frank Gardner BBC Security Correspondent, Norway.

Housed in a shallow valley just outside Oslo is the Norwegian Defence Research Institute. Propaganda is the primary purpose of using the net, say researchersIt is an unremarkable place to look at, but inside sits one of Europe's leading teams of researchers into the growing phenomenon known as "online Jihadism", or al-Qaeda-inspired extremism on the internet.
They are neither intelligence agents nor soldiers, but academics who use their fluent Arabic to produce unclassified research.
Like many who study this subject, they disguise their real identity by using false Arabic names and proxy addresses.
Brynjar Lia, a senior team member and author of an acclaimed book about terrorism and the internet, says al-Qaeda and its affiliates use the internet for several purposes.
Training for interrogations
"Propaganda, calling people to jihad, is the primary purpose," he said.
"It has always been like that from the beginning, but secondly it is to communicate to the internal community of jihadis with the message to continue to fight and build up the spirit of combat, and also internal communication with cell members and so on.
"This can be via e-mail or encrypted messages. Usually they don't use much encryption, they only use easy codes, simple codes that can be read by people but interpreted as something that doesn't have anything to do with terrorism.
These forums are like the sort of town square of online jihadism
Thomas HegghammerNorwegian Defence Research Institute
"Then there is also the external audience, those enemies who they want to frighten and terrorise.
"The idea is to produce videos that are very scary, like decapitations and other similar movies.
"Then there is also the electronic jihad part of it, which is to destroy enemy websites which are critical of the jihadi movement.
"The last area is training. That could be anything from providing security instructions, how to withstand interrogations, how to evade surveillance but it could also be how to produce explosives, how to put together a mine, how to place the mine and so on."
English subtitles
In the last year, say the Norwegian analysts, the jihadists have been adapting their online recruiting efforts to target audiences in Europe, including Britain.
Videos of speeches, such as those by al-Qaeda chief strategist Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, now come with English subtitles.
One of the areas where jihadist propagandists have been most successful and innovative is in targeting the youth market
Al-Qaeda's Californian-born spokesman Adam Gadahn addresses Western audiences in American English, drawing attention to what he sees as the hypocrisy of Western civilisation.
Other jihadi videos are being dubbed into German, Spanish, Swedish and other European languages with the aims of both attracting potential recruits and intimidating those seen as the enemy.
Other innovations include increasingly high quality film footage, fresh from the battlefields of Iraq or Afghanistan, and sophisticated instructions on bomb-making and weapon handling.
But one of the areas where jihadist propagandists have been most successful and innovative is in targeting the youth market, reaching out to teenagers and young men through internet chat rooms in cyberspace.
Their attention is grabbed by catchy videos like the 2004 rap hit Dirty Kuffar by Sheikh Terra, online games where points are scored by simulating attacks on US soldiers with the click of a mouse, and even a video equating goals scored in the World Cup with improvised bomb attacks on coalition forces in Iraq, accompanied by tumultuous applause.
Governments slow
Thomas Hegghammer from the Norwegian Defence Research Institute describes how al-Qaeda sympathisers log onto certain internet forums to discuss the films and the latest news from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, always trying to stay one step ahead of the authorities.
"These forums are like the sort of town square of online jihadism, it's where people meet to collect information and discuss topics," he said.
"If you look at the address it's quite anonymous, it's just numbers and this is because they move around all the time to avoid hackers and government agencies that try and take them down, so some of these sites more around on a weekly basis or even daily basis and the way you find these addresses is from other forums.
I believe the British have been happy just to monitor the internet
Camille TawilOnline jihadism expert
"So there is always a redundancy. So if one forum is shut down then you go to the other one to get the new address."
Western governments have been slow to wake up to the enormous potential for jihadists to recruit over the internet, but British officials now believe that, after face-to-face meetings, the internet has become the prime means of radicalisation and recruitment.
The problem has been urgently debated at this week's meeting of European security and interior ministers in Stratford-upon-Avon.
"The home secretary takes it very seriously," said a Home Office official, adding: "We are engaged in a battle of ideas and values."
'Lost battle'
But one London-based Arab journalist who monitors online jihadism contends that the British government is essentially passive when it comes to the wave of jihadist propaganda out there on the internet.
Camille Tawil said: "I believe the British have been happy just to monitor the internet.
"My impression is that they believe it's a lost battle to counter the al-Qaeda message on the internet.
"The Americans however have been a little bit ahead of the British in countering that message.
"What they do is they have people who pretend to be Islamic militants trying to lure some people from al-Qaeda or extremists into saying something, and that would lead to their arrest - however in Britain we haven't seen anything like this.
"The Americans are well ahead of the British in this."
British government officials deny they are doing nothing, but not surprisingly they decline to discuss anything to do with secret intelligence operations.
"We are doing a number of things, some overt and some covert," says the Home Office official, adding with a degree of weary candour: "But we admit some of them are not working".



Australia is suffering one of its worst droughts for decades. Australia is to build one of the world's biggest solar power plants as part of a major new strategy by the government to combat climate change.
Canberra said it would be contributing A$75m (US$57m) to the A$420m plant due to be built in the state of Victoria.
The government also announced A$50m in funding towards a major project to reduce carbon emissions from coal.
Australia, a leading exporter in coal - has been criticised for failing to sign the Kyoto Protocol.
The government had argued that the 1997 agreement on greenhouse gas emissions would damage the domestic economy.
But the country has been forced to confront the issue of climate change with a prolonged drought - the worst in a century - that is destroying the livelihoods of thousands of farmers.
National grid
On Monday, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the government would be investing A$500m (US$379m) in clean technology.
One of the first projects to get funding is what Finance Minister Peter Costello said aimed to be the "biggest photovoltaic project in the world".
The plant in Victoria will use mirrored panels to concentrate the sun's rays and produce power that can go into the national grid, he told Australian radio.
Work is due to get under way in 2008 and reach full capacity by 2013.
The government is also investing in a A$360m pilot project, based at an existing coal-fired power station also in Victoria, which is aimed at capturing and storing carbon emissions.
"This will make a major contribution to emission reduction in Australia and it just shows practical, considered, financially viable, workable technologies which can improve the emissions problem that will help us on our way to reduce global warming," Mr Costello said.


The blast was the worst terror attack in Argentina's history. Iran has strongly criticised charges against former high-level Iranian officials over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires.
Argentine prosecutors are calling for the arrest of former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani and seven others.
Iranian authorities are accused of directing Lebanese militia group Hezbollah to carry out the attack, which killed 85 people and injured 300.
The Iranian foreign ministry described the move as "a Zionist plot".
Hezbollah and Iran both deny that they were involved in the blast.
Speaking on state radio, foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hoseyni said: "The new fabrications are conducted within the framework of a Zionist plot."
Mr Hoseyni said the charges were intended to divert "world attention from the perpetration of crimes by the Zionists against women and children in Palestine".
The blast, on 18 July 1994, reduced the seven-storey Jewish-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) community centre to rubble.
No-one has ever been convicted of the attack, but the current government has said it is determined to secure justice.
Over the years, the case has been marked by rumours of cover-ups and accusations of incompetence, but little in the way of hard evidence.
Minor figures have been named, including a policeman who sold the van used in the attack, but no-one has been convicted.
Local Jewish groups have long said the bombing bore the hallmarks of Iranian-backed Islamic militants.
Iran has repeatedly and vehemently denied any involvement in the attack.
Last November, an Argentine prosecutor said a member of Hezbollah was behind the attack and had been identified in a joint operation by Argentine intelligence and the FBI.
But Hezbollah said that the man, Ibrahim Hussein Berro, had died in southern Lebanon while fighting Israel.
The 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 29 people, also remains unsolved.

Thursday, October 26, 2006



## Elbert Hubbard ##


Three Kenyan university lecturers, who are also trade union leaders, have been sacked for taking part in illegal strike action.
More than 3,500 teachers walked out on Monday at six universities, calling for big pay rises and better conditions.
A Nairobi judge had ordered that they return to their classrooms by Wednesday or face disciplinary action.
Kenya's education minister told the BBC he backed any action the universities take against lecturers still on strike.
Unions are calling for the reinstatement of the three teachers and say they will continue with the strike.
"Despite the court order, we shall be out of the classrooms until the government comes to the negotiating table," union leader Sammy Kubasu told AFP news agency.
The strike at Kenya's publicly funded universities is the third by lecturers in 12 years.



President Kabila's ally Nzanga Mobutu was seized in his hometown. A key ally of DR Congo's President Joseph Kabila has been seized ahead of Sunday's run-off presidential election, according to UN sources. Nzanga Mobutu, son of late Congolese ruler Mobutu Sese Seko, was campaigning on behalf of President Kabila in Gbadolite, in the north of the country. Supporters of rival candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba seized him at a radio station, the sources said. It comes after rioting broke out at a prison in the capital Kinshasa. The brother of Mr Mobutu told AFP news agency that shots were fired when Nzanga Mobutu went to the Radio Liberte offices in Gbadolite.

Gbadolite is the Mobutu family's home town but Mr Bemba has strong support there. The apparent hostage-taking comes just hours after rioting broke out at the main prison in Kinshasa. The BBC's Arnaud Zajtman says the situation is quiet after several hours of gunfire.

Kabila's kingdom
Bemba: rebel contender

Reports of casualties vary. Some inmates have said three people were killed, others said five, says our correspondent. The head of police told him that nine people were injured but no-one was killed. The riot started after relatives were stopped from bringing food to prisoners after a breakout earlier in the week. The escapees were convicted of killing former President Laurent Kabila.

Joseph Kabila, his son, faces former rebel leader Mr Bemba in Sunday's presidential run-off. The 14 soldiers who escaped on Monday had been sentenced to death for their role in the 2001 assassination. They were among scores of people convicted for Laurent Kabila's death. Our correspondent says the event around the prison on Thursday afternoon looked spontaneous. But he says those accused of Mr Kabila's murder expected to be freed before the election as part of an amnesty but the Supreme Court ruled against it. Shortly after the riot began he and another reporter were detained by the authorities. They were released several hours later. Tensions are high in DR Congo ahead of Sunday's presidential vote because the two candidates were belligerents in the civil war and both still have loyal armed forces.

The second round will conclude the country's first fully democratic polls since independence in 1960.



Mo Ibrahim wants to combat corruption in Africa. A $5m prize for Africa's most effective head of state is being launched by one of the continent's top businessmen.
UK-based mobile phone entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim - who was born in Egypt - is behind the plan to rate governance in 53 African countries each year.
The contest, launched in London, will award winning leaders $5m (£2.7m) over 10 years when they leave office, plus $200,000 (£107,000) a year for life.
"We need to remove corruption and improve governance," Mr Ibrahim said. Then the continent would not need any aid, said Mr Ibrahim, who sold Cel Tel, his pan-African mobile phone company, to MTC in Kuwait for $3.4bn (£1.8bn) last year.

The Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership is being launched on Thursday.
The award will go to African heads of state who deliver security, health, education and economic development to their constituents.
In an interview with the Financial Times newspaper, Mr Ibrahim, 60, said leaders had no life after office.
"Suddenly all the mansions, cars, food, wine is withdrawn. Some find it difficult to rent a house in the capital. That incites corruption; it incites people to cling to power.
"The prize will offer essentially good people, who may be wavering, the chance to opt for the good life after office," said Mr Ibrahim.

BBC Africa analyst Martin Plaut said it would be the world's richest prize - exceeding the $1.3m (£700,000) awarded by the Nobel Peace Prize.
The people who are doing badly and are killing their own people or stealing state resources are going to carry on doing that -Patrick Smith, Africa Confidential.
It will be available only to a president who democratically transfers power to his successor.
Harvard University will assess how well the president has served his or her people while in office.
Nelson Mandela, former US President Bill Clinton and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan are among those who have welcomed the initiative.
Mr Mandela described it as an example to the world. Mr Clinton said he wished Mr Ibrahim and his foundation "much success in its important work".

And Mr Annan thanked the businessman for "establishing such a generous prize as an incentive".
But not everyone agrees.
Patrick Smith, of specialist publication Africa Confidential, said: "The people who know what to do and have done well are already doing it.
"And the people who are doing badly and are killing their own people or stealing state resources are going to carry on doing that."
Africa has one of the world's richest concentrations of minerals precious metals, yet 300 million of its residents live on less than a dollar a day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


The foundation gets an average of 1,000 alerts from users each month. More than 30,000 websites containing child pornography have been removed in the last 10 years, new figures show.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said the key to addressing the problem was a partnership between the public, global authorities and web providers.
The number of these sites from the UK and containing illegal material fell from 18% to 0.2% in the decade.
The figures marked the IWF's first 10 years and its chief executive Peter Robbins said reporting porn was vital.
He said: "We need to get people reporting these incidents.
"Any complaint against something here in the UK we can deal with through the IWF, otherwise we advise the relevant country through their hotline, if they have one, or the police that there is a problem."
He added: "It's a partnership approach - we get in touch with the hosting provider to get them to remove it, and try to find out who the person was that put it up there so they can be dealt with."


85% relate to suspected child abuse websites
10% relate to suspected criminally obscene websites
5% relate to incitement to suspected racial hatred websites

Tackling child abuse online

Since its inception in 1996, the IWF has received on average 1,000 reports of illegal internet content each month - a total of 120,000 reports. The vast majority concern suspected child abuse websites.
In its first year, it received 615 complaints. In 2006 it has had 27,750.
Although the number of UK websites providing such content has fallen, the severity of the images has significantly increased in the last 12 months.
Mr Robbins blames this on pay-per-view sites that use sophisticated means to avoid detection.
The IWF released the data to mark its 10th anniversary at a conference in central London of police, local authorities, government officials and the IT industry.
Message boards
Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said: "The government is determined to do everything it can to protect children from the insidious use of the internet by paedophiles.
"It is crucial to raise awareness amongst UK internet users about the IWF as a vehicle to report their inadvertent exposure to illegal content."
He said if web users came across pornography accidentally they should report it to the police without fear of prosecution.
Over the past decade, 51% of the illegal images were thought to have come from the US, 20% from Russia, 7% from Spain, 5% from Japan and 1.6% from the UK.
The IWF works with 24 countries which have set up equivalent organisations.
Technological developments and increasingly sophisticated tracing methods target online photo sharing services and message boards as well as newsgroups and websites.


Olive harvest sparks tensions.
By Martin Patience BBC News, Jerusalem

Some Palestinians fear going to the groves on their own. Before dawn, Kanaan al-Jamal, 38, hauls his two young children from their beds and along with his wife they set off to tend the olive groves close to their home.
In olive groves dotted across the rolling West Bank, Palestinian farmers are preparing for the harvest: pruning the trees, collecting spoilt olives, and preparing ground sheets under the trees to catch the fruit.
But the Palestinian farmers are also preparing for violent clashes.
"It's a difficult time," says Mr Jamal, referring to the harvest. "But the olive tree is part of our religion; it is part of our culture."
During the olive picking season, tensions run high between Jewish settlers and the Israeli military on the one hand, and Palestinian farmers on the other.
Access Problems
Many of the West Bank's olive groves lie close to Jewish settlements and there are frequent clashes between the two sides.
For years settlers have been attacking Palestinian farmers and chopping down their trees.
But this olive picking season is set to be different, insists the Israeli army.

A two-year court battle led by human rights groups now means that the Israeli army is required to beef up its protection of Palestinian olive farmers and allow them full access to their lands.
Palestinian farmers often require a permit from the army to visit their lands which lie close to Jewish settlements.
Last month, Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz announced that anyone interfering or harassing the farmers during the picking season would be dealt with severely.
Israeli Human rights groups are praising the move but say more needs to be done.
"I think the military has finally realised that it will have to offer some protection for the Palestinian farmers," says Sarit Michaeli, a spokeswoman for the Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem.
"But access often depends on commanders in local areas and on a day-to-day basis."

Israeli police try to keep the farmers and the settlers apart.
Mr Jamal, however, says that the Israeli army frequently prevents farmers from his town of Assera Shamiliya - located 5km north of Nablus - reaching their land.
"They say we have to co-ordinate with them," he says. "But it's impossible and it often takes days to get a permit. We don't bother. Why should we? It's our land."
Mr Jamal says that Israeli soldiers riding in military jeeps often appear in the town's groves. The soldiers fire tear gas and live bullets and bark at the villagers through loudspeakers to leave the area, he says.
Bumper Harvest
Some human rights groups accompany the Palestinian farmers to their groves to ensure they can gather their harvest.
Rabbi Ascherman, co-director of Rabbis for Human Rights, insists that the presence of his group helps the Palestinians negotiate with the army and ward off attacks by Jewish settlers.
"But the ideal situation would be if we didn't need to be there," he says. "The ideal situation would be if the farmers could just harvest in peace."
For Mr Jamal and his family the coming weeks mean earlier mornings and harder work. But this is only the start, he says.
Problems arise when Palestinian farmers try and sell their produce because transport restrictions in the West Bank.
"When we start trying to sell the olives it's a whole new battle with the Israeli authorities," says Mr Jamal.


The army has been unable to end the rebellion. Security has been tightened in the Chad capital, N'Djamena, amid reports that rebels are moving towards the city.
A BBC correspondent says that tanks are stationed in key areas, such as outside the presidential palace, and military vehicles are on patrol.
Troops have been recalled to base despite the Muslim holiday of Eid - the biggest festival of the year in Chad.
The rebels began their offensive in the east at the weekend but are now said to be near the central town of Mongo.
The BBC's Stephanie Hancock in Chad says there are reports that the outskirts of the capital are heavily fortified with government troops.
Rapid advance
On Monday night, the rebels claimed to have seized the town of Am Timan, some 600km from N'Djamena but they are now reported to be just five hours' drive from the capital.
The government has denied that Am Timan had fallen and urged the capital's residents to stay calm.

In pictures: Janjaweed in Chad

"The government appeals to the population to remain calm and to go normally about one's business," said spokesman Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor.
On Sunday, the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD) rebel seized the small town of Gos Beida.
Our correspondent says there has also been fierce fighting in the border town of Ade.
In April, the rebels took just four days to reach the capital, which they entered, before being repelled.
Chad says the government of neighbouring Sudan backs the rebels - claims denied by Khartoum.
Sudan in turn accuses Chad of backing rebels in the war-torn Darfur region.
Eastern Chad has a similar ethnic make-up to Darfur, where Arab militias are accused of carrying out a genocide against black Africans.


The waste is believed to have caused the deaths of 10 people. A Dutch lawyer representing some 1,000 victims of toxic waste dumped in Ivory Coast says he is suing the company that shipped the waste there.
Dutch firm Trafigura has denied responsibility for dumping the waste in the city of Abidjan, saying it employed a local company to dispose of it.
But the lawyer says Trafigura should pay $12.5m within two weeks as a preliminary settlement.
Ten people died and many thousands more needed treatment after the dumping.
About 40,000 people were treated in hospital for nausea, breathing problems and nosebleeds.
Correspondents say other legal teams are preparing cases against the people that handled the waste.
"Trafigura is responsible because they knew what it [the waste] was or they should have known," Dutch lawyer Bob van der Goen told Reuters news agency.

Instead of being incinerated the waste was dumped. "They should have known that Ivory Coast couldn't process this waste. They should have known the danger for people and the environment."
Journalist Pauline Bax in Abidjan says the lawyer believes this is just a preliminary claim and the real amount will be much higher.
Ten people, including two French Trafigura executives, have been charged in connection with the discharge.
Trafigura first attempted to discharge the chemical slops, which contains mercaptan, from one of its tankers, the Probo Koala in the Dutch port of Amsterdam in early August.
But the company that was to dispose of the waste suddenly increased its charges dramatically - asking for 40 times more to treat the waste.
Trafigura refused, and the tanker proceeded to Nigeria.
There it tried to offload the waste, but again failed to reach an agreement with two local firms.
It was only in Ivory Coast that it managed to find a company to handle the waste at a cost the company would accept.
On 19 August the waste was discharged near Abidjan. Two weeks later the first complaints arose.
Instead of being incinerated as it should have been, the waste had been dumped.


Jerry Rawlings was president for 19 years. Ghana's President John Kufuor has accused his predecessor Jerry Rawlings of trying to solicit funds for a coup.

Mr Kufuor told a by-election rally that he had credible intelligence reports that Mr Rawlings had asked an unnamed oil-rich country for money. Mr Rawlings seized power in 1979 and 1981 but stood down at the 2000 elections, in which Mr Kufuor beat the candidate of Mr Rawlings' NDC party.

The former president has not commented on the allegations. Ghana is generally seen as one of the most stable countries in West Africa. Mr Kufuor was re-elected in 2004. He was speaking at a rally ahead of Tuesday's by-election in Offinso South constituency.


Two Egyptians have been jailed by a US court after pleading guilty to enslaving a 10-year-old Egyptian girl at their south California home.
Abdel Nasser Ibrahim was given three years in prison while his ex-wife, Amal Motelib, received a 22-month sentence.
They were also ordered to pay more than $76,000 (£40,500) to the girl for two years of forced labour during which she served the couple's family of seven.
She worked 16-hour days and was denied access to education, prosecutors said.
Ibrahim and Motelib will be deported after serving their sentences, officials said.
"The young victim in this case was subject to inhumane conditions that included both physical and verbal abuse," US Attorney Debra Wong Yang said.
The girl, who is now 16, has been granted a visa allowing her to stay in the US.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


South Africa will be the first African country to host the World Cup.
South Africa president Thabo Mbeki has vowed that his country will confound international sceptics by meeting all its deadlines and stage a well-organised World Cup in 2010.
Speaking at a workshop attended by senior officials from football's world governing body Fifa, Mbeki said his government would spare no effort to ensure the tournament passes off smoothly when it is staged in Africa for the first time.
"There is absolutely no reason why 2010 will not surprise the sceptics not only about the prowess of the millions of African footballers, but also about Africa's capacity successfully to provide an outstanding home for a global tournament of universal joy and celebration," said Mbeki in Cape Town on Tuesday.
"Each and every one of us will spare no effort to ensure that everything necessary for a truly successful (tournament) is done on time, and preferably ahead of schedule, meeting all the specifications set by Fifa and all the things expected us by the billions of football fans across the world."
Fifa president Sepp Blatter voiced concerns last month that construction and renovation of the 10 stadia due to stage matches had still to begin in earnest, saying he had "yet to see the pickaxes and spades needed to start the work".
German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, the chief organiser of this year's finals, also warned recently that the tournament in South Africa was "beset by big problems".
However Danny Jordaan, the head of the 2010 local organising committee insisted last week that South Africa was "well ahead of plans based on a timeframe set by us and Fifa."
Mbeki is due to stand down a year before the finals but he said that a successful tournament would be his government's main priority.
"I would like to assure the Fifa delegation that is with us today that our government and the entirety of our people have dedicated the period up to 2010 to the resounding success of the World Cup," he said.


The government of Niger has ordered around 150,000 Arabs who live in the east of the country to leave.
Most of the Arabs, known as Mahamid, are nomads who have fled conflict in Chad. A BBC correspondent says many have lived in Niger for decades.
The governor of Diffa State, where most of the Mahamid live, told them it was "high time" to pack and return to Chad.
No reason for the order has been given, but government officials are meeting local elders in the capital, Niamey.
The BBC Idy Baraou in Niamey says many Mahamid are citizens of Niger and hold senior positions in the army, government and business.
Others look after camels and donkeys around Lake Chad.
But other communities in Niger often accuse the Mahamid of theft and rape.
Our correspondent says police have rounded up several hundred Mahamid at Kabalewa village, 75 km east of Diffa.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Zambia has announced its first discoveries of oil and gas reserves.
The discoveries were made in western Zambia, near the border with Angola, already a major oil exporter.
President Levy Mwanawasa said that samples from 12 sites have proved positive in tests conducted in Germany.
Exploration had been carried out for the past two years, as part of efforts to diversify the economy away from copper exports.
'Strengthen the economy'
Mr Mwanawasa said the government would now appoint a special cabinet committee to select foreign oil firms to conduct comprehensive exploration.

"These results confirm the presence of oil and gas in the sub-surface of the two districts of Chavuma and Zambezi," he said.
He said he hoped they could also look for oil in other parts of the country.
"It is hoped that the country will see more exploration and extraction activities for oil and gas in different parts that would strengthen the country's economy," said Mr Mwanawasa.
The president won a second term in office in September, having campaigned on his economic record.
Western donors have praised him for boosting economic growth above 5% and attracting foreign investments, helped by his anti-corruption campaign.
Yet Mr Mwanawasa's main rival for the presidency, Michael Sata, alleged that he was cheated of victory.


## Norman Vincent Peale ##


Slum dispute over Commonwealth Games.
By John Sudworth BBC News, Delhi.

The Indian air rifle shot Tejawini Stewart hopes to triumph at the next Commonwealth Games.
Naresh Halder, his wife and five children have just moved home.
They used to live on the banks of the Yamuna river, the polluted waterway that winds its sluggish way through the centre of Delhi.
But the Halders were forcibly relocated.
"Near the Yamuna, my kids were safe because we knew the community there, they were going to a government school and I had work, but here I have no way of finding a job," Naresh says.
Homes demolished
The new plot of land that the family has been allocated is more than 40km, and three bus rides, from the centre of Delhi.
In the last two years, more than a quarter of a million people have had their homes demolished along the banks of the Yamuna.
The city authorities plan to make Delhi completely slum-free in time for the arrival of thousands of foreign athletes and spectators for the next Commonwealth Games, due to be held here in 2010.
"World class city" is a phrase you often hear associated with the forthcoming tournament.
Delhi's Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, sees the Games as a chance to modernise.

This clearance had to be done, and it has been done
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit
"They're a watershed, a kind of mark," she says. "The ambition is to create a world class city. Please don't think it's a magic wand, that just by saying it's going to happen it will. But that's the ambition."
There's a lot to do. More than US$1bn will be spent overhauling the city's transport links, securing reliable electricity and water supplies, and regenerating the city centre, not to mention building the sports facilities.
But it is the slum clearances that some people fear are at odds with one of the mission statements of the Commonwealth Games: "To develop sport for the benefit of the people."
'Kicked and shoved'
The "athletes' village" will be built on part of the east bank of the Yamuna, now cleared of slum dwellers.
Those who have been relocated, albeit many miles away, are actually the lucky ones.

The site for the Games has yet to be developed
Dr Kirin Martin, a paediatrician and founder of Asha, a charity that provides support to slum dwellers in Delhi, says many people didn't qualify for alternative housing.
"Many of them actually just moved to patches of land elsewhere in the city," she says, "and again they were just kicked and shoved by the police only to go to yet another place.
"I think that if the athletes ever came to know at what cost these facilities are being created, they would be very unhappy.
"People have been living here for 15 or 20 years... is this the way to treat a poor man?"
The authorities insist Delhi will be slum-free in time for the Games. More slums face demolition.
'City for the rich'
Chief Minister Dikshit says more than 100,000 low-cost homes are being built, and ultimately the strategy will serve the long term interests of the poor.
"The poorest residents have been moved because the Yamuna had to be cleaned up anyway," she says.
"All of those who qualify are being given their little plots of land, with water, power and schools. It takes a little time, there are problems, but we will overcome them.

The Indian table tennis team will be hoping to win in 2010
"This clearance had to be done, and it has been done."
Dr Kirin Martin says it falls a long way short of what is needed.
If the Games are a catalyst for building a new Delhi, she believes it is one that does not include the poor.
"It's only going to be a world class city for the rich," she says.
"You can't ever see any of these benefits coming to the urban poor, who form one third of this city's population.
"So what world class city are we talking about for these people?"


The probe relates to the United Nations oil-for-food programme. French oil firm Total says its head of exploration and production, Christophe de Margerie, is being investigated over claims that he paid bribes to win bids. A French judge has also placed former Total executive Bernard de Combret under investigation.
Total said the allegations centred on deals relating to the United Nations oil-for-food programme in Iraq.
The lawyer for Mr de Margerie, who is due to become Total's chief executive, said the inquiry was "groundless".
Total support
A number of global figures have been caught up in the oil-for-food scandal, and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in September that he took personal responsibility for the failures of the programme.
In September, a report by an independent panel told the UN that it had found instances of "illicit, unethical and corrupt" behaviour within the $64bn scheme.
It concluded that the UN was in urgent need of sweeping reform.
A French judge is now investigating claims that Mr de Margerie paid illegal kickbacks to win favours for his company between 1996 and 2002.
The investigation into Mr de Combret focuses on the years between 2000 and 2002.
Countering the latest claims, Total said that it wanted to "reassure Mr de Margerie of its total support".
Total added that "at no time did the group circumvent the UN embargo against Iraq" and that it "strictly adhered to the rules of the oil-for-food programme".
"The group has never purchased, either directly or indirectly, oil that has been smuggled illegally from Iraq," it added.



DR Congo's justice for sale
By Joseph Winter BBC News, Kinshasa,

Lawyers are trained to never admit being satisfied, but those in the Democratic Republic of Congo have more reason than most to complain.

Octavius Nasena says being a lawyer in DR Congo is frustrating"I've already paid the judge, so why should I pay you too?" is a question they have to contend with from their clients.
After many years when the law was basically whatever the rich and powerful wanted it to be, DR Congo's legal system needs to be rebuilt, almost from scratch.
This is one of the tasks awaiting whoever wins this week's presidential election run-off.
Lawyer Octavius Nasena recounts a case when someone dared to question why his opponent in a property dispute had brazenly given an envelope full of money to the judge.
"After he complained, the judge called the police to arrest my client on charges of insulting him," Mr Nasena told the BBC News website.
The lawyer complained to the authorities, who ordered the judge's chambers to be searched, despite the judge's protestations that no-one had the right to know the contents of his private correspondence.
An envelope matching the one described by the client was found containing $1,000 in cash, and the judge was eventually suspended, although he was not disbarred.
Sharp practice
Mr Nasena says he comes across many more cases of corruption which are less blatant and so it is hard to find evidence.
"It is frustrating to work as a lawyer here," he says.

If you put most judges in the world in the conditions we have to put up with, they would simply refuse to work
Judge Philippe Vokayandiki MbumbaOn the streets of the capital, Kinshasa, it is not hard to find evidence of sharp legal practices.
Many property owners have resorted to writing: "Beware of conmen, this house is not for sale" on the walls of their houses.
When justice is for sale, you do not always need title deeds to sell a house, and the rightful owner may need considerable patience and funding to get their property back.
However, a representative of DR Congo's judges says the extent of the corruption has been exaggerated.
"Our judges are not corrupt," says Philippe Vokayandiki Mbumba, president of the Congolese Union of Christian Magistrates, Synchremac.
"If you put most judges in the world in the conditions we have to put up with, they would simply refuse to work."
He says that judge in DR Congo do not get paid a salary, just an allowance which until recently was just $100 a month.
Mr Mbumba says that paying judges properly is the first step towards eliminating the temptation to take bribes.
And far more money - in the right places - is needed for DR Congo's legal system to run really smoothly.
Although the court building I am interviewing Mr Mbumba in is new, it does not have a telephone line - people have to turn up in person if they want to contact court officials.

Owners write warnings, saying their property is not for saleThere are also no computers.
"We write all our judgements by hand and secretaries then type them up, so we do the work twice," he says.
Lots of judges have already resigned because they cannot work in such conditions, further undermining DR Congo's legal system, he says.
As he talks, the cry of "thief" goes up from the overcrowded district which threatens to engulf the smart new aid donor-funded courthouse where he works.
Many Congolese prefer to exact their own justice rather than rely on the fragile state system.
Two-way bribery
Another lawyer, Didier Dimina, says that a functioning judiciary is the basis of a successful state - which DR Congo is hoping to become, following years of conflict and mismanagement.
He says that foreign investors will not put their job-creating funds in a country where the laws are not properly enforced.
"Our laws are fine in theory," he says. "But the reality is another matter."
Mr Dimina says the situation is slightly better than in the days of Mobutu Sese Seko, when his word was the law.
He points to the case of a group of soldiers, who were last year convicted of mass rape on the basis of international war crimes law, as offering a glimmer of hope for DR Congo's judiciary.
Mr Dimina hopes that whoever wins this month's presidential election will continue to make progress but he is not overly confident.
He says that following each of the changes in government in the past decade, things have improved for a while, before the new rulers have ended up copying their predecessors - even in the little things.
"When ministers and even their relatives feel they can speed through red lights, it gives a signal that those in power feel they can break the law," he says.
In the meantime, lawyers will continue to struggle to work normally.
So how do they answer when clients ask why they should be paid?
"Because the other party may have bribed the judge as well and so the case may just be decided on the law," Mr Nasena says.