Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Climate change warning for Sydney.
By Nick Bryant BBC News, Sydney.

Sydney is seen as one of the best cities to live in. A report on the effects of climate change in Australia paints an alarming picture of life in the city of Sydney.
It warns that if residents do not cut water consumption by more than 50% over the next 20 years, the city will become unsustainable.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation report also warns that temperatures could rise 5C above the predicted global average.
This would leave the city facing an almost permanent state of drought.
Rise in heat-related deaths
With its spectacular harbour and beautiful suburban beaches, Sydney is often portrayed as one of the most desirable cities to live in.
But this report paints a disturbing picture of how life here could be completely transformed by the year 2070, if climate change goes unchecked.
It warns of severe droughts nine out of every 10 years, a dramatic rise in the number of bush fires, and freak storm surges which could devastate the coastline.
Scientists predict that rainfall will fall by 40% by 2070, not only creating a massive water crisis, but producing double the number of bush fires.
Heat-related deaths would soar from a current average of 176 a year to 1,300.
Sydney would come to resemble the harsh, dry and inhospitable conditions of remote inland towns.
The government of New South Wales, which commissioned the report, has been alarmed by its findings.
The state premier called it a doomsday scenario, but one which the city and country had to confront.
Along with America, Australia has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, the only two major industrialised nations to do so.



The barrier is a massive structure consisting of walls and fences. Israeli officials say they are considering proposals to alter part of the route of the controversial barrier Israel is building in the West Bank.
The Haaretz newspaper said the new plans would push the barrier deeper into the occupied West Bank to encompass two isolated settlements.
The move would hem in almost 20,000 Palestinian villagers in two enclaves.
Israel says the barrier is needed for security. Opponents call it an illegal move to grab territory.
Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had already approved the new route, but this was denied by his office.
"The prime minister asked to look into the matter and announced that at the end of the necessary examinations the matter will be discussed by the cabinet," a statement said.
The two settlements, Nili and Naaleh, home to about 1,500 Jewish settlers, had requested the alteration of the barrier route, Haaretz said.
Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the move undermined "everything we're doing to revive the peace process".
The Palestinians want the whole West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967, as part of a future independent state.
Settlements are illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.



Six arrested over Pakistan rape.
Riaz Sohail BBC News, Karachi.

Police in southern Pakistan have arrested six men in connection with the kidnap and rape of a 16-year-old girl.
Eleven men are accused of carrying out the attack near the town of Ubaro, about 530km (330 miles) from Karachi.
The girl's family say the rape was in revenge for her cousin eloping with a female relative of the accused.
Doctors confirmed the teenager was raped after she underwent tests in hospital. Such attacks are not uncommon in rural Pakistan in tribal vendettas.
'Left naked'
The rape took place on the morning of 27 January in the village of Habib Labano near Ubaro.
The victim's father filed a complaint the same day in Ubaro police station, saying a group of 11 men had kidnapped his daughter, raped her and forced her to walk home naked.
The teenager suffered serious injuries in the attack and was left without any clothes.
Although police initially expressed scepticism over the attack, rape was confirmed in a medical examination carried out on Tuesday, following which the girl left hospital in Sukkur.
On Wednesday, hundreds of political activists and locals blocked the national highway that links Karachi's port to the north of the country for more than two hours in protest at the incident.
They accused police of not taking action against all the accused because they have the support of local influential people.
Women are often used as a means of settling tribal vendettas and honour that is perceived to have been slighted in rural Pakistan.
In 2002, a village council in Punjab province ordered the rape of a woman by men from another clan because of her brother's alleged affair with a woman from their family.
The case ignited international interest after the woman, Mukhtar Mai, chose to fight her case publicly.
Her fight helped rights groups and legislators galvanise support for changes in the country's laws which were recently amended.
Until then, rape victims risked prosecution under Pakistan's Islamic laws if they filed a complaint.


Australia denies Solomons plot.
By Phil Mercer BBC News, Sydney

Manasseh Sogavare's ties with Australia are strained. Australia's Prime Minister John Howard has denied an allegation his government offered a bounty for the murder of his counterpart in the Solomon Islands.
An Australian man has been charged in the Solomon Islands with conspiring to assassinate PM Manasseh Sogavare.
Mr Sogavare has been at the centre of a diplomatic row with Australia.
An Australian newspaper has published what it said were police documents that claimed assassins had planned to murder Mr Sogavare for money.
The paper said the bounty of $39,000 (£20,000) was sponsored by Australia.
The suggestion has drawn a rather bemused response from Mr Howard.
He said he knew very little about the alleged plot and denied any involvement in it.
"Did we try and get anybody to assassinate the prime minister of the Solomon Islands? Of course not," he said.
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also denied being part of any conspiracy.
In a statement, officials said the allegation was preposterous.
An Australian expatriate has been charged with plotting to kill Manasseh Sogavare.
Bill Johnson has been living in the Solomon Islands for more than a decade.
Lawyers for the 61-year-old war veteran said the charges against him were crazy.
They have insisted the prosecution's evidence amounted to nothing more than drunken conversation.
Mr Johnson his due back in court in the Solomon's capital, Honiara, next week.
Four other men have also been accused of planning to kill the prime minister.
Diplomatic relations between the Solomon Islands and Australia have been strained in recent months.
The Sogavare government is refusing to extradite its attorney-general Julian Motie, an Australian citizen who is wanted by the authorities in Canberra on child sex charges.



Herouxville has one immigrant family in its 1,300 population. Don't stone women to death, burn them or circumcise them, immigrants wishing to live in the town of Herouxville in Quebec, Canada, have been told.
The rules come in a new town council declaration on culture that Muslims have branded shocking and insulting.
Quebec is in the midst of a huge debate on integrating immigrant cultures.
Montreal police are investigating an officer who wrote a song called That's Enough Already, which says immigrants are undermining Quebec culture.
'Not racist'
Herouxville, which has one immigrant family in its population of about 1,300, is 160km (100 miles) north-east of Montreal.
Its council published the new rules on the town's website.
I was shocked and insulted to see these kinds of false stereotypes and ignorance about Islam and our religion - Salam Elmenyawi,Muslim Council of Montreal.
"We wish to inform these new arrivals that the way of life which they abandoned when they left their countries of origin cannot be recreated here," the declaration reads.
"We consider it completely outside norms to... kill women by stoning them in public, burning them alive, burning them with acid, circumcising them etc."
It points out that women are allowed to drive, vote, dance and own their own homes.
The rules ban Sikh children from carrying ceremonial daggers to school, even though the Supreme Court has ruled they can.
The man behind the declaration, councillor Andre Drouin, told the National Post newspaper the rules were not racist.
"We invite people from all nationalities, all languages, all sexual orientations, whatever, to come live with us, but we want them to know ahead of time how we live," he said.
Mr Drouin said there had been a number of recent incidents of culture clashes that meant the new rules were needed.
In one a Toronto judge ordered a Christmas tree removed from a court so as not to offend non-Christians. In another a Montreal gym installed frosted windows after a Hasidic synagogue complained the sight of adults exercising was offensive.

Mr Drouin said most e-mails were supportive of the new declaration.
However, the president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, Salam Elmenyawi, condemned the council, saying it had set back race relations decades.
He told Reuters news agency: "I was shocked and insulted to see these kinds of false stereotypes and ignorance about Islam and our religion."
A poll in a Montreal newspaper this month revealed that 59% of Quebecers admitted to some kind of racist feelings.
Montreal police are considering disciplinary action against the 37-year-old officer who wrote the song urging immigrants in Quebec to assimilate.
The song includes the lines: "We want to accept ethnics, but not at any price... if you're not happy with your fate, there's a place called the airport."
Police spokesman Yan Lafreniere said the song did not uphold the values of the Montreal police force and that the officer would be questioned as to his motives.


Osama Bin Laden's family has disowned him. A brother-in-law of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has been killed in a robbery in Madagascar, relatives say.
Jamal Khalifa was shot dead when a group of at least 20 armed men attacked his house and stole his belongings, his brother said from Saudi Arabia.
Mr Khalifa mined and traded precious stones on the Indian Ocean island and had denied media speculation that he helped to fund al-Qaeda activities.
The US accuses Bin Laden of masterminding the 9/11 suicide attacks.
Bin Laden has been disowned by his family in his native Saudi Arabia.
Mr Khalifa's brother Malek Khalifa said details of the incident were still sketchy, Reuters news agency reports.
"I don't think it was politically motivated," he told Al Arabiya television.
The al-Qaeda network is accused of links to radical groups in various parts of the world.



Many Nigerians earn their living from the poultry trade. A Nigerian woman who died suffering from flu symptoms has tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus, says a government minister.
It is the first bird flu death reported in sub-Saharan Africa since it first emerged in Nigeria a year ago.
The victim was a 22-year-old from the commercial capital, Lagos.
Health officials said inconclusive tests had also been carried out on her mother and two other people, all of whom died recently.
"Last night our team of 13 scientists were able to conclusively identify the case of avian influenza," Nigerian Information Minister Frank Nweke Jnr told a news conference in Lagos.
He said blood samples were now being sent to foreign laboratories and the findings are now with the World Health Organisation for further scrutiny.
More than 160 people have died of H5N1 bird flu since it's outbreak in December 2003 - most of them in South-East Asia
The UN had expressed concerns about the Nigerian government response to the disease - as poultry are still being moved around by local farmers despite an official quarantine and promised compensation for infected birds.

Quarantines have not been working.
It is understood that the dead woman bought the infected chickens from a local farmer.
Dr Abdulsalam Nasidi, leader of Nigerian government's team of experts on bird flu, told the BBC News website that those that contracted the virus were those that had been dealing with the killing and preparation of the chicken and not those that ate it
"This goes to show that properly cooked chicken is safe, but handling infected birds can be hazardous," he said
Cross-infection to humans is relatively rare and usually occurs where people have been in close contact with infected birds.



Searches are being carried out at 12 addresses. Eight people have been arrested under the Terrorism Act in Birmingham in connection with an alleged plot to kidnap a member of the armed forces.
A number of addresses in the city have been sealed off after morning raids.
The operation, believed to have taken six months, involved police and security service MI5.
Senior security sources said a terror plot not aimed at mass casualties would mark "a different approach to terrorism in the UK".
BBC Home Affairs Correspondent Daniel Sandford said sources close to the investigation said the aim of the alleged plot was to kidnap a serving member of the armed forces, perhaps while they were on home leave.
He stressed the arrests were based on intelligence, which could prove to be wrong.
The Ministry of Defence said it could not confirm or deny reports of such a plot.

Police said 12 addresses in the Sparkhill, Washwood Heath, Kingstanding and Edgbaston areas of the city were targeted as part of the 0400 GMT raids.
All are still being searched.
Two houses and a general store in Alum Rock, near Washwood Heath, were raided.
The Maktabah book store in Stratford Road, Sparkhill, which is believed to sell Islamic literature, was also raided.
Police have cordoned off roads around Jackson Road and Foxton Road, in Alum Rock, and Poplar Road and Stratford Road, in Sparkhill.
Police have not confirmed any of the raided addresses.
The BBC's Phil Mackie said there had been some anger and cynicism among locals who had witnessed previous terror raids in the area without anyone being charged.
Baswant Kant, who lives in Stratford Road, near the junction with Poplar Road, said about 55 police officers "turned up in white vans" in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
"They went into shops and restaurants along the road - a lot of people got arrested," he said.
Saqib Hussain, of Sparkhill, said he had visited the raided book shop many times and "had never seen any suspicions of terrorist activity".
Mohamed Barber told BBC News his cousin was one of the men arrested in Alum Rock.
"We can vouch for him he is innocent. He doesn't even have time to go to Friday prayers - that's how busy he is," he added.
Abdul Ghaffoor, a regular shopper at the general store, said he had never heard politics being discussed in the shop.
Public co-operation
Leaders at the Alum Rock Islamic Centre, the main mosque in the area, said the community was shocked at events, but urged calm and appealed to people to co-operate with the police investigation.
Ayub Pervaz, the mosque's president, said: "Our view is very clear. If people have broken the law they should be brought to justice.
"But we also appeal for no trial by media. If any of those arrested turn out to be innocent, this should be made clear."
I hope everyone involved will act with the maximum restraint - John Reid.

Vehicles, including a white Transit van, have been removed from Alum Rock.
The eight are suspected of "the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism".
Home Secretary John Reid urged for restraint, but would not comment on the specific operation.
"I hope everyone involved will act with the maximum restraint. There is a major operation and investigation under way... there may be court proceedings."
A Home Office spokeswoman added: "This operation is a reminder of the real and serious nature of the terrorist threat we face."
The Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit ran the operation with the West Midlands Police, the Metropolitan Police and MI5.
In a statement, West Midlands Police asked for the "continued support and co-operation of the public".
"Our message to people living in the West Midlands is to remain vigilant," the statement added.



Africa leaders duck thorny issues.
By Adam Mynott BBC News, Addis Ababa.

Sudan's Mr Bashir failed to become AU chairman. The African Union (AU) summit closed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, without much, if any, progress on the two main issues facing the continent - resolving Sudan's Darfur crisis and stabilising Somalia.
A year ago the meeting of African leaders in Sudan was surrendered to one issue - who would lead the African Union for the next 12 months.
A repeat performance was threatened this time, as Sudan claimed it had been promised the top job.
Many African leaders, embarrassed by the ongoing Darfur conflict, refused to accept that President Omar al-Bashir, whose government has been accused of war crimes in Sudan, should lead the organisation.
In face of unanimous opposition, Sudan backed down and Ghana - in the 50th year since it became independent - was given the chairmanship for the coming year.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon - only one month into his tenure - was invited to the summit and he came determined to seek a breakthrough on Darfur.

Peacekeepers are wanted to replace Ethiopian soldiers in Somalia
He met Mr Bashir and told him that the only way to provide safety and security was to allow UN troops to start peacekeeping operations alongside the existing African Union (AU) force.
But the president remained completely unmoved.
He repeated that yes, he would allow extra resources to be given by the UN to the 7,000-strong AU force and yes the UN could provide some logistical back-up, but no to troops.
Mr Moon says Darfur is his top priority, but it looks as though he will face huge obstacles in attempts to achieve any meaningful progress.
Any delay in security improvements on the ground in Darfur means a worse and deepening misery for more than 2m people forced from their homes over the last four years and into displacement camps.
Somalia is the other crisis facing Africa after the defeat in December of the Islamist group that ruled much of Somalia for six months.
Africa faces some of the most dire effects of global warming.

The victorious transitional government - backed by Ethiopian troops - is struggling to maintain control in a country that has known nothing but anarchy over the past 16 years.
The AU says a stabilisation force of 8,000 troops is needed soon to help sort out the security in the country but the cost and other commitments mean only a handful of African countries have been prepared to contribute.
At the closing news conference the new AU chairman, President John Kufuor of Ghana, said that so far only 4,000 of the necessary 8,000 had been offered by African countries.
He said it remained an objective to get the full contingent of 8,000 and moves were going on to persuade African countries to contribute.
Energy opportunities
The main themes of the AU summit were science and climate change.
Africa faces some of the most dire effects of global warming.
Huge areas of the continent are turned to desert every year and there has been drought and flooding on a devastating scale in the past year in the Horn of Africa.
Sir Nicholas Stern, an adviser to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and author of the Stern Report, told the heads of African states that, yes, climate change posed threats to the continent.
But he said that adaptation to the threats of climate change also threw up opportunities in the shape of bio-fuel production, other alternative energies and sustainable development.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Two people have been arrested after a couple were tied to a tree and stoned to death for allegedly committing adultery, Pakistani police say.

They were killed in a village in Punjab province on Sunday. Police said those arrested were relatives of the woman.

A law passed in December 2004 at the instigation of President Pervez Musharraf introduced the death penalty for some so called "honour killings".

These are carried out because family honour is seen to have been violated.



Opposition parties in Japan are pressing Health Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa to step down for calling women "birth-giving machines".
The Democratic Party and two smaller parties are threatening to boycott budget hearings in parliament if Mr Yanagisawa, 71, does not quit.
The Democratic Party called the remarks inexcusable and said they violated women's human rights.
Mr Yanagisawa has apologised for his comments, which he made at the weekend.
The gaffe has caused embarrassment to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose popularity is slipping and who has already had one minister resign over political funding.
Mr Abe has rebuked the health minister for his remarks, but has dismissed calls for his resignation.
Tackling birth rate
Mr Yanagisawa had told a local political meeting "Because the number of birth-giving machines and devices is fixed, all we can ask for is for them to do their best per head."

Japanese children are fewer and further between
On Monday he told parliament he would "make every effort in the Abe government to work out measures to solve the problem of the low birth-rate."
Prime Minister Abe has pledged to bring in policies that will tackle the falling birth rate.
Japan has the world's highest ratio of elderly to young people.
The trend raises serious concerns about the country's future economic growth and how it can fund its pensions.
It also has forced Japan to question its attitude to immigration.


Manchester has been chosen as the surprise location of Britain's first Las Vegas-style super-casino.
The decision is a blow for Blackpool and London's former Millennium Dome, which were the bookmakers' favourites.
The licence will allow Manchester to build a venue for up to 1,250 unlimited-jackpot gaming machines.
Meanwhile, licences for "large" casinos were granted to Great Yarmouth, Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newham, Solihull and Southampton.
The Casino Advisory Panel also granted licences for "small" casinos to Bath and North East Somerset, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lindsey, Luton, Scarborough, Swansea, Torbay and Wolverhampton.
Manchester was a 16-1 outsider at the bookmakers to be selected as a test-bed for the UK's first regional "resort" casino.
There has been speculation that more super-casino licences might be awarded.
But the BBC understands that Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell will tell MPs later that there will definitely be no more granted during this Parliament.
Stephen Crow, chairman of the independent Casino Advisory Panel, said Manchester had been chosen because of its "very thorough consultation" with the local community and "the way it dealt with questions of problem gambling".


Great Yarmouth
Milton Keynes

Q&A: What is a super-casino?

"Manchester has a catchment area for a casino second only to that of London, and it is an area in need of regeneration at least as much as any of the others we observed," he added.
Professor Crow told BBC News 24 the panel's decision was "watertight" if it came to a legal challenge from any losing bidder.
But the prime minister's official spokesman said: "Tessa Jowell has to make up her mind whether to accept the panel's decision and then it goes to the House to vote on."
Councillor Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "This is fantastic news for Manchester, and the region.



The last year has been especially violent for Afghan civilians. More than 1,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2006, according to a report released by the international monitoring group, Human Rights Watch.
It says that the majority of the dead were killed by the Taleban or other anti-government forces.
It says more than 4,400 Afghans died in "conflict-related violence", twice as many as in 2005 and more than any year since the Taleban were ousted in 2001.
Meanwhile, a conference on Afghan reconstruction has begun in Germany.
The HRW report says that UN figures show that the conflict also displaced around 15,000 families - around 80,000 people - in southern Afghanistan.

Nato admits 'Afghan mistake'
UN urged to 'take action'

"The international security effort in Afghanistan has been hobbled by insufficient resources and the failure to effectively address the security concerns of the Afghan population," the report said.
"Taking into account Afghanistan's population and size, the 40,000 Nato and US-led coalition forces in the country are a small fraction of the security forces deployed in other recent post-conflict areas like the Balkans and East Timor.
"Many are limited by national laws to safe areas in Afghanistan or cannot act to protect ordinary Afghans adequately."

Nato has pledged to reduce the number of civilian deaths.
The report says that one year after pledging to improve human rights and basic security, the Afghan government and the international community have not fulfilled their objective.
"Kabul and its international backers have made little progress in providing basic needs like security, food, electricity, water and health care," HRW's Asia Research Director Sam Zarifi said.
He said that tens of thousands of Afghans do not feel safe enough to lead normal lives.
"Life is so dangerous that many Afghans are unable to go to school, get health care, or take goods to market," he said.
Suicide bombings
Earlier this month, Nato officials said their biggest mistake in Afghanistan in 2006 was killing innocent civilians, and that efforts are underway to reduce the number.
In the latest violence, police say a suicide bomber drove into a bus carrying Afghan soldiers in the city of Herat, injuring at least five people.
Three soldiers and two civilians are reported to be among the injured.

President Karzai is struggling to exert his authority.
Meanwhile a two-day international conference on the reconstruction of the country has begun in Germany following significant aid pledges from the US and the European Union (EU).
The meeting of international donors - hosted by Germany as the current G8 president - is being held as a follow-up to a conference in London last year when the international community launched a five-year plan, or "compact" to coordinate financial and military support.
But correspondents say that one year later, many regions of the country are still ravaged by violence, and President Karzai remains unable to enforce his authority in many areas.
Last week the US said that it planned to spend an additional $10.6bn in Afghanistan over two years and keep more than 3,000 US troops there for an additional four months.
The EU followed that by promising to contribute $777m over the next four years, with special efforts to strengthen the judiciary and fight corruption.



Protesters in south-east Bolivia have blocked the only road that links the country with Argentina and Paraguay.
They want more state control over oil and gas firms and say nationalisation has not gone far enough.
Demonstrators object to the fact that the president has renegotiated deals with foreign oil firms rather than take back control of the operations.
The blockade, in the city of Camiri, could disrupt fuel deliveries to the provincial capital, Santa Cruz.
The demonstrators from the Civic Committee of Camiri have said that until YPFB, the state oil firm, is restructured, they will not give up their protest.
It comes three days after the YPFB head quit alleging differences with the government of President Evo Morales.
The president has named former company adviser Manuel Morales Olivera as the firm's new head.
The new contracts with foreign firms are due to come into effect this week.
Bolivia has the second-largest natural gas reserves in South America after Venezuela.


Col Vall, who leads the military junta, is not standing in elections. Allies of Mauritania's ousted leader have united to back a presidential candidate in March's elections.
Correspondents say this makes Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, an independent, favourite as the 18-party coalition holds a majority in parliament.
Leaders of the military junta which seized power in 2005 are not standing.
Some accuse Mr Abdallahi of being a front man for the junta, but he is not seen as being close to the military, former president or the opposition.
The BBC's Ahmed Salem in the capital, Nouakchott, says as a result he is regarded as an independent.
A total of 21 candidates have registered for the polls which are to herald a return to civilian democracy.
The former opposition is divided, fielding four candidates, but argue that Mauritania needs to break with its coup-ridden past.
A group of army officers staged a bloodless coup in 2005 when Maaouiya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya, who had seized power 11 years earlier, was out of the country.
The coalition backing Mr Adallahi - calling itself The Charter - warns that the opposition candidates could be a threat to Mauritania's stability.



Carlos Gomes Jr received a written guarantee of his safety. Guinea-Bissau's former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Jr has left a UN diplomatic mission in the capital two weeks after seeking refuge there.
UN officials said he left after getting a written guarantee that a warrant for his arrest had been dropped.
He went into hiding after he accused the president of being behind the recent killing of an ex-military commander, which the government denies.
Joao Bernardo Vieira, a former military ruler, won elections in 2005.
Mr Gomes heads the main opposition African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), which said the elections had been rigged.
The polls came after a two-year peace process following the ousting of ex-President Kumba Yala.
Mr Vieira returned to Guinea-Bissau to contest the election after six years of exile in Portugal. He said he had come back as a "soldier of peace".
Government officials described Mr Gomes' charges against the president as slanderous and asked for them to be withdrawn.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon says he welcomes the resolution to the situation.
"The secretary-general is pleased that a mutually agreeable solution has been found to the disagreement," AP news agency quotes his spokesman as saying.



The attacks happened 450km east of the capital Algiers. Fifteen people have been killed in a clash between Islamist militants and Algerian security forces in the eastern region of Batna, local media report.
The militants carried out a rocket attack on an army post, killing five soldiers, while 10 Islamists reportedly died in an army counter-attack.
A BBC correspondent in Algeria says this is the most serious Islamist attack for several months.
They are thought to belong to a group now renamed "al-Qaeda in the Maghreb".
Earlier this week, the Salafist Group of Preaching and Combat (GSPC) announced that it had changed its name.
This latest clash comes amid repeated calls by the army to the general population to help them in their fight against armed militants.
The army has put up posters across north-central Algeria, urging people to give them any information they had about "terrorists".
It is the first time since the start of the violence linked to radical Islamists in 1992 that the army has used this method of gathering information on the militants.
The BBC's Mohammed Arezki Himeur in Algiers says the extensive use of posters by the army contrasts with the government's insistence that armed Islamist groups have been defeated with no chance of resurgence.
Last August, Algeria offered Islamic militants a six-month amnesty on condition of surrender, but fewer than 300 came forward.
Militants were promised immunity from prosecution provided they were not involved in serious crimes such as massacres, rapes and bombings.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Australia's drought is the worst on record. People in the Australian state of Queensland will soon have to start drinking water containing recycled sewage, the state premier has warned.
Premier Peter Beattie said he had scrapped a referendum on the issue, because there was no longer a choice.
He also warned other Australian states might eventually have to do the same because of mounting water shortages.
Water is already recycled in places like Singapore and the UK, but the idea is still unpopular in Australia.
But the country is currently suffering from a severe drought - the worst on record. Last week Prime Minister John Howard declared water security to be the biggest challenge currently facing Australia, and he announced a A$10bn ($7.7bn; £3.9bn) package to tackle the problem.
Mr Beattie said that falling water levels had left his state administration with no option but to introduce recycled water in south-eastern Queensland, starting from next year.
"We're not getting rain; we've got no choice," he told ABC radio.
"These are ugly decisions, but you either drink water or you die. There's no choice. It's liquid gold, it's a matter of life and death," he said.
Mr Howard supported Mr Beattie's comments, telling a Sydney radio station: "I've advocated recycling for a long time... I am very strongly in favour of recycling, and Mr Beattie is right."
But Mike Rann, the premier of South Australia, and Morris Iemma, the premier of New South Wales, rejected the Queensland plan - with Mr Rann ruling out using recycled sewage for anything but irrigation.
Malcolm Turnbull, the new environment and water resources minister, asked other states to be more open-minded on the issue.
"Don't rule out desalination because it is expensive, or recycling because it sounds yucky, or building a dam," Mr Turnbull told Australian media.
"Put everything on the table, assess all the economic, environmental and financial costs and then make a decision."
River row
Ahead of an election next year, Mr Howard and his federal administration are eager to be seen to be tackling environmental problems.
Mr Howard announced last week that the federal government wanted to take over the Murray-Darling river system - the country's most precious water resource, which provides supplies for most of Australia's irrigated farm land.
The controversial plan would be the biggest reform of water management in the country's history.
The four state governments which manage it are currently controlled by the opposition Labor party, which has argued that the new proposals represent an unacceptable power grab by the prime minister.



China's reforms have seen millions of people become migrants. More than 20 million Chinese children are living with grandparents or other relations after their parents left home to find work, an official report said.
The report, quoted in the China Daily, said some of the children suffered from loneliness and poor performance.
Their parents are among 150 million Chinese thought to work far from home, attracted by rapid economic growth in richer provinces.
Schooling is the main reason to leave children behind, analysts say.
Migrants have to pay school fees if they take children with them.
The report, prepared by the China National Children and Teenagers' Working Committee, found that in some poorer provinces, one in five children were living without their parents, and the proportion was increasing.
One recent survey, from Anhui province, found that such children had little communication with their parents.
The survey found that most migrants talked to their children by phone once or twice a month, and returned home only once a year, during Spring Festival.


Row over Kenya's crime curfew
By Wanyama Chebusiri BBC News, Nyeri.

Some 25 people have lost their jobs at the White Rhino Hotel. Kenya's authorities have imposed a curfew in the central town of Nyeri to curb widespread crime in the area.
Nyeri District Commissioner Michael Mwangi says the town has seen a rise in muggings and carjackings, which he blames on an increase in alcohol consumption and the growth of nightclubs.
All bars and clubs have been ordered to close business by 2300, sparking uproar among revellers and business people.
Nyeri, some 150 kilometres from the capital, Nairobi, is President Mwai Kibaki's home town and he represents a constituency in the area. It is the only town in Kenya were such action is being taken.
Lost business
"Rampant insecurity was the order of the day in Nyeri town. Street mugging, carjacking, thuggery were common occurrence, this is why the district security committee and the local liquor licensing committee agreed that we must control the consumption of alcohol," said Mr Mwangi.
My husband comes home early and I am no longer worried about him being arrested or getting mugged
Janet NjokiHowever, bar and nightclub operators say these security measures which have been characterised by massive police swoops, are undermining economic activity in the town.
They say business has reduced drastically since the curfew was introduced.
"I have laid off more than 25 workers because I can no longer afford to pay them. Most hotels and bars have lost close to 80% of business because customers no longer frequent the places due to these rules," says Lucy Kairo, a representative of the Nyeri Bar and Hotels Owners Association.
The order has drawn mixed reactions from local residents.
Some women in Nyeri town are happy about these new restrictions.
Safe town
"I support these laws because now my husband comes home early and I am no longer worried about him being arrested or getting mugged in the middle of the night," said Janet Njoki.
Bar patrons and youth however argue the order is curtailing their freedom and want it revoked.
"The police are trained to search and identify criminals - closing bars early does not make any sense - they should look for them elsewhere not where people are enjoying their hard-earned cash peacefully," says John Njagi.
But the district commissioner insists that since the introduction of the order, criminality has dropped by 60% and Nyeri town is now one of the safest places in Kenya today.


Lubanga denies three war crimes charges. The only permanent international war crimes court is due to rule on whether to put a Democratic Republic of Congo militia leader on trial.
Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) are to decide whether there is enough evidence to proceed with charges against Thomas Lubanga.
Prosecutors allege that children as young as 10 were forced to fight for him. He denies war crimes charges.
If the judges proceed, it would be the first trial at The Hague-based ICC.
The five-year DR Congo conflict led to an estimated four million deaths.
The US strongly opposed the creation of the ICC, fearing the political prosecution of its soldiers.
The ICC was designed to end the need for the various ad hoc war crimes courts which have recently been established, including the chambers created to deal with war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia and the genocide in Rwanda.
Mr Lubanga, 45, led the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia in DR Congo's north-eastern Ituri district, where fighting continued long after the official end of the five-year war in 2003.
Death threats
"Lubanga made children train to kill, Lubanga made them kill and Lubanga let the children die... in hostilities," prosecution lawyer Ekkehard Withopf told the court during a hearing last November.
The prosecution says children as young as 10 were snatched as they walked to school and forced to fight for Mr Lubanga's ethnic Hema militia against their Lendu rivals.

Profile: Thomas Lubanga

The child soldiers were later instructed "to kill all Lendu including men, women and children", a prosecution statement says, based on testimony from six children.
His lawyers say he was trying to end the conflict and is being punished by the international community for refusing to give mining concessions in areas he controlled to foreign firms.
Referring to his enemies, he once told UN peacekeepers: "Those who have committed genocide or massacres have to be punished."
The BBC's Mark Doyle says the conflict in Ituri manifests itself as an ethnic war, but its root cause is the criminal mining of the region's gold and other minerals.
Lobby group Human Rights Watch says some 60,000 civilians have been slaughtered in Ituri province by various militias.
It calls for them all to be investigated, along with government officials from DR Congo and others who may be implicated from neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Thousands of passengers will be hit by the strike. Talks between British Airways and the Transport & General Workers Union (T&G) aimed at averting a strike by cabin crew have resumed, the airline says.
Both sides want to reach an agreement to avoid a 48-hour walkout on Tuesday 30 January and Wednesday 31 January.
The dispute is over sickness absence, pay and staffing at the airline.
BA has already cancelled all flights out of Heathrow and domestic and European flights out of Gatwick for the strike's duration.
The BBC has learned that the talks - being personally led by BA chief execuitve Willie Walsh - are being held in secret to avoid undue pressure on the negotiators.
'Day and night'
Earlier, BA had sent an e-mail to customers to say that the strikes were going ahead.
In its message BA said that it "was committed to finding a resolution" to the proposed strike.
It had been reported in the Mail On Sunday that the company was paying cash 'sweeteners' to tempt staff to break any potential strike, but BA says any money is simply expenses to cover taxi journeys made by non union staff who will work during the strike and want to avoid picket lines.
"We are working day and night to try to come to an agreement with the T&G that will stop any further planned strikes from taking place," it added.
Unless a solution to the dispute is found a second three-day strike is possible for 5 to 7 February, and a third three-day strike possible for 12 to 14 February.
Sick leave row
If the strike goes ahead, all flights from Heathrow airport will be cancelled, as well as all domestic and European BA-operated flights to and from Gatwick.

HEATHROW No flights out. Some long-haul arrivals
GATWICK No domestic or European flights. Up to six of the nine long-haul flights will operate
MANCHESTER Flights to New York will operate normally

British Airways strike Q&A

Each side has been arguing that the other is being unreasonable in the dispute over pay and sick leave.
BA has said it wants customers to have sufficient warning of its contingency plans for the strike days, to give them enough time to make alternative travel arrangements.
Passengers due to travel on one of the strike days can either change their flights to another date, at no extra charge, or else gain a full refund.
New rules
In all, 1,300 BA flights will be cancelled over the two days.
Out of the airline's 14,000 cabin crew, about 11,000 are members of the T&G - 96% of whom voted for strike action.
It is the travelling public that suffers from disruptions due to industrial actions such as these
Diana, Johannesburg.

Send us your comments
Profile: Willie Walsh

They have complained that a new regime on sickness pay, introduced 18 months ago, means they are forced to work when they are ill.
BA insists the measures were needed to cut high levels of sickness absence.
Staff now take an average of 12 days sick leave each year - down from 22 days before the new rules were brought in, the airline says.
Starter pay rates for crew members, overall pay grading and promotion opportunities are also subject to dispute, with the union unhappy that the starting wage for staff is £10,000.
The union also wants the introduction of a single pay arrangement for cabin crew staff, rather than the existing two tier system, with staff who joined after 1997 being paid less than those employed before that date.



Christopher Zalla directed the award-winning film 'Padre Nuestro'. Two Latin American dramas have scooped awards at this year's Sundance independent film festival.
Padre Nuestro (Our Father) tells the story of an illegal immigrant from Mexico seeking his father in New York and was given the Grand Jury Prize.
Manda Bala (Send A Bullet), a film portraying the violence of modern Brazilian society, also won an award.
More than 120 films have been screened during the 10-day festival which takes place in Park City, Utah.
The director of the 2007 edition of the competition, Geoffrey Gilmore, said it has been a "landmark year" for the festival.
"For so many different reasons, this work is exceptional in terms of how much of it will get into the marketplace, and the range of issues and maturity of the film-makers," he said.
Iraq focus
The director of Padre Nuestro, which won the award for best drama by a US film-maker, said the film wanted to highlight New York as a city of immigrants.
"When we filmed the movie we talked to a lot of people crossing the borders, and they were just families - families coming to feed themselves and reunite with their family," Christopher Zalla said.
Manda Bala, which examines corruption and crime in Brazil, was given the documentary jury's top honour.
An Israeli film entitled Sweet Mud which explores the relationship between a young boy and his mentally ill mother won the World Cinema prize.
The Audience Award for best drama was given to a film which portrays a father who must tell his children that their mother has been killed in Iraq.
The director of Grace is Gone, starring John Cusak, said he wanted to "show what really happened to bring us to this horrific state".
Charles Ferguson's film is one of which several influenced by the Iraq conflict at this year's Sundance festival.



PNG women killed over 'sorcery'
By Phil Mercer BBC News, Sydney.

Policing tight-knit traditional communities can be difficult. Police in Papua New Guinea say four women accused of using sorcery to cause a fatal road crash have been murdered.
It is believed the victims were tortured by fellow villagers in a remote highland region 400km (250 miles) north of capital Port Moresby.
Police believe they were forced to confess to witchcraft after they were stabbed with hot metal rods.
Human rights campaigners say it is not uncommon in Papua New Guinea for women suspected of witchcraft to be killed.
These four women had been accused by fellow villagers of using sorcery to cause a car crash in which three prison guards died.
A senior police officer said it appeared the killings took place last October and that a tip-off from tribal elders had eventually alerted the authorities.
The women's bodies were found hidden in an old pit.
It is not clear if any charges will be laid.
Tight-knit communities
Superstition has always been part of life in Papua New Guinea.
Death and mysterious illness are sometimes blamed on evil curses and suspected sorcerers are often blamed and then killed.
Researchers have found that the victims are usually elderly women with little influence in the village.
Prosecuting those who kill these so-called magic makers within tight-knit communities is problematic, with potential witnesses often refusing to speak to the police.
Christianity is a powerful force in Papua New Guinea, but many people still believe in sorcery.
Those suffering from HIV and Aids are often seen as the victims of witchcraft.
Papua New Guinea has the highest HIV rate in the South Pacific - aid agencies warn of an epidemic spiralling out of control - but many people do not understand how it is spread.
In the past, some Aids victims have been thrown off bridges or dumped into graves to die.


Jo O'Meara was shown mimicking Shilpa Shetty's voice. Former pop singer Jo O'Meara has denied being racist after her eviction from Channel 4's Celebrity Big Brother.
"I'm not a racist person at all, I know I'm not," the ex-S Club 7 star said.
Along with Jade Goody, O'Meara was part of a group accused of racist bullying against Indian actress Shilpa Shetty, causing an international outcry.
O'Meara and actress Cleo Rocos left in a double eviction and emerged to a mixture of boos and cheers after chants of "get Jo out" from the crowd.
O'Meara received almost 48% of the vote, while 28% of viewers wanted Rocos to go.
Shilpa did aggravate me a lot - it's not because I'm racist
Jo O'MearaAfter being shown TV headlines about the furore and clips of her behaviour, O'Meara admitted: "It does look very bad, it does."
But she told host Davina McCall the edited version of events distorted what really went on.
"Looking at it like that, it looks absolutely terrible and it didn't feel terrible in there," she said.
"I'm not a racist person at all. My cousin is married to an Indian man for one, and my cousins are half-Indian and their family is with me all the time."

Cleo Rocos (left) and Jo O'Meara received 76% of the votes in totalO'Meara was shown mimicking Shetty's voice but she responded: "We was doing that with her and she was finding that really funny."
Asked about disparaging comments toward Shetty, she replied: "I didn't never mean it in that way. I didn't even know I was doing it. It wasn't a personal attack at all."
She added: "I'm not going to deny that Shilpa did aggravate me a lot - I don't know why. You can't click with everybody you meet.
"It's not because I'm racist at all. I think she's a very beautiful, very elegant woman."
For much of the stay in the house, Shetty was guarded and "I didn't trust her for a long time", O'Meara said.
A spokeswoman for the show said O'Meara would not attend the post-show press conference to give her "a bit of time to digest" what had happened.

Goody has denied being racist but admitted making racist commentsThe live crowd returned on Friday after Goody was met with silence because of security fears when she was evicted last week.
Presenter Davina McCall started the programme by saying: "This series of Celebrity Big Brother has divided the nation like never before and we genuinely regret any offence this has caused some people."
Shetty, former A-Team actor Dirk Benedict and ex-Steps singer Ian "H" Watkins were also up for eviction.
Shetty is now odds-on favourite to win when the show ends on Sunday.
Pop star Jermaine Jackson, model Danielle Lloyd and Goody's boyfriend Jack Tweed are also still in the reality TV house.
Police investigation
Meanwhile, Hertfordshire Police have contacted Goody and her mother Jackiey Budden, who was also on the show, with a view to interviewing the pair.
Before Friday's show, a police spokeswoman said: "An investigation into allegations of racist behaviour inside the Celebrity Big Brother house is continuing.
"Hertfordshire Constabulary can confirm police will be making approaches to speak to housemates if and when appropriate once they have left the house.
"We are also making contact with two of the housemates who have already been evicted but at this stage no interviews have taken place."
Goody has denied being racist but told the News of the World she admitted making racist comments.



Six soldiers have been killed and 20 injured in attacks by Shia militants in the north of Yemen, officials say.
The attacks on military and security forces' bases in Saada province were led by prominent Shia militant Abel Malek al-Houthi, a statement said.
Details of which installations were attacked have not been released.
The security forces have clashed many times with northern Shias over the last three years, after a Shia uprising against the government in 2004.
That rebellion was led by Shia Muslim cleric Hussein al-Houthi, the brother of the man accused of leading this latest attack.
Hussein Badr Eddin al-Houthi died in the 2004 revolt, but forces loyal to him have continued with their anti-government campaign since.
US alliance
The rebels accuse the government of being too closely connected to Washington, which has supplied equipment and training for Yemen's security forces as part of its worldwide war on terror.
The Yemeni government says the Shias led by Abel Malek al-Houthi are trying to bring in Shia religious rule.
The statement from the Saada security committee relating to the latest violence gave no details of casualties among the Shias, whom it described as "saboteurs".
In it officials pledge to stamp out such violence, saying:
"The local authority and the armed and security forces in the province of Saada... will carry out their duties in preserving security and stability and ending these acts of sabotage carried out by these criminals".



Segolene Royal is trailing Nicolas Sarkozy in the polls. French presidential candidate Segolene Royal has been lured into another gaffe by a comedian during a hoax call.
Prankster Gerald Dahan pretended to be the premier of Quebec. During their conversation, Ms Royal said most French would back independence for Corsica.
A series of blunders by Ms Royal, notably on foreign policy issues, are seen as having undermined her campaign.
However, her camp again alleged dirty tricks, claiming the call was set up by allies of her rival Nicolas Sarkozy.
Patrick Mennucci, the deputy director of Ms Royal's campaign, accused the Sarkozy camp of launching "stink bombs".
"We think that it was all a set up by [Mr Sarkozy's party] the UMP. Dahan is obviously affiliated to the UMP. He has taken part in several meetings of this organisation," Mr Mennucci said.
But another Royal aide played the gaffe down. "Jokes happen. We should treat these things with a pinch of salt," said Jack Lang.
'No joke'
Mr Dahan put on a Quebecois accent and played the part of the Canadian province's leader, Jean Charest.
During the call, he said offering support for Quebec's independence was like backing Corsica's secession from France.
"The French people wouldn't be opposed to the idea," Ms Royal replied.
The Socialist candidate added, with a laugh: "But don't repeat that or we'll have another scandal on our hands."

Gerald Dahan is famous for his hoax telephone calls.
Mr Sarkozy, France's interior minister, who has taken a hard line against Corsican separatists, was quick to respond.
"For me, Corsica isn't a joke... It is the Republic," he said.
While Ms Royal's remark was obviously made light-heartedly, it appears to confirm the impression that she is not safe on big issues, especially foreign ones, says the BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris.
Her comments on Quebec drew a rebuke from the Canadian prime minister; she has been criticised for praising the Chinese justice system; and she guessed wrongly the number of nuclear submarines in the French navy.
She is trailing Mr Sarkozy in the polls, but has claimed he is fighting a dirty campaign.
The Socialists allege the interior minister ordered intelligence agents to dig dirt on a member of Ms Royal's team, and made false accusations about her tax arrangements.



Tens of thousands of protesters have demonstrated in Washington to demand the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
The rally comes days before Congress is to discuss President George W Bush's new strategy for Iraq - including the despatch of 21,500 additional troops.
The protesters, chanting "Bring the troops home", were joined by Vietnam War-era protester, actress Jane Fonda.
Violence continued in Iraq on Saturday, with at least 15 killed in a suicide bomb attack in a Baghdad market.
The BBC's James Coomarasamy in Washington says this anti-war rally at the foot of the US Capitol was a marked shift away from the White House and on to Congress.
The protesters want Congress, now run by the Democrats, to block funding for the president's new strategy, our correspondent says.
Jane Fonda, the Hollywood actress who angered many Americans by visiting Hanoi in 1972 during the Vietnam War, told the crowd: "I haven't spoken at an anti-war rally for 34 years. But silence is no longer an option."
Our fellow Americans are dying as we stand here today
Sean Penn, actor
She added: "I'm so sad that we still have to do this, that we did not learn the lessons from the Vietnam War."
Fonda was joined by fellow actors Sean Penn and Tim Robbins.
Robbins said: "What we need is courage, courage and conviction and we need people to represent the voice of the American people, a very clear voice last November, a voice that said: 'We're done with this war'."
The Democrats took control of both Houses in November's mid-term election, sparking Mr Bush's decision to form a new strategy for Iraq.
But our correspondent says Congress has so far balked at using the power of funding and only a handful of staunch anti-war Congressmen were present at the rally.

A man brings a child to hospital after Saturday's Baghdad bombing.
Although nearly all Democrats and a growing numbers of Republicans oppose the president's plans, he says, senators have not been able to agree yet on a single non-binding resolution expressing their concerns.
At the rally a coffin covered with a US flag and a pair of military boots was put on display.
Organisers also filled a large bin with tags bearing the names of Iraqis who have died.
More than a dozen veterans, anti-war activists, religious heads and actors addressed the crowd.
A small counter-protest held up a Fonda doll with the sign "Jane Fonda American Traitor".
Mr Bush reportedly reaffirmed his commitment to the troop increase in a phone call with Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki on Saturday.
White House national security adviser spokesman Gordon Johndroe said: "Americans want to see a conclusion to the war in Iraq and the new strategy is designed to do just that."
Violence continued in Iraq on Saturday:
At least 15 people were killed and 55 injured when twin suicide car bomb attacks struck a market in the mainly Shia New Baghdad district
Iraqi police said eight computer firm employees were kidnapped by men in police uniforms in central Baghdad
The US military said it had killed 14 suspected insurgents during an air strike on a building used as a hideout south of Baquba
The US military announced the death of seven more soldiers. Three were killed by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad on Saturday, two by roadside bombs in Diyala province on Friday and two by a bomb in east Baghdad on Thursday.
Also on Saturday, Russia said it planned to question the US on its increasing military presence in the Middle East.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he would seek an explanation during a visit to Washington next week.
He also said it was his "deep conviction that Iran and Syria should not be isolated and must be involved in the settlement process".



Nigerian police have arrested two people over the killing of a Belgian businessman near the city of Warri.
The man was shot dead overnight near the southern city in the heart of Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region.
The regional police commissioner said the man's Nigerian girlfriend and his driver had been arrested on suspicion of involvement in his death.
The commissioner said it was suspected that the pair had hired hit-men to carry out the killing.
"The suspect[s], his Nigerian girlfriend and his driver have been arrested," Udom Ekpoudom said.
He said the death was not linked to a spate of kidnappings targeting foreign workers in the oil-rich region.
But a spokesman from the Belgian foreign affairs ministry in Brussels told Agence France Presse that the killing happened during a botched kidnap attempt when a gunshot hit the man.
Many Niger Delta residents live in poverty, and taking hostages for ransom has become increasingly common.


Dear Family and Friends,

A large black snake showed up in my garden this week. I believe it was an Egyptian Cobra and it seemed to come from no where and without any warning. It's that time of year when animal encounters increase. It is wet, hot and humid and there is thick, tall bush everywhere you look - including on un-mown road sides and uncleared drains in the residential suburbs of the towns. I watched in horror as the snake approached my chickens. It raised its head, began to spread a hood and I could not believe that the chickens just stood there, completely still, seemingly paralyzed. The hens did not move a muscle or make a sound as death literally stared them in the face. I didn't wait any longer and soon the missiles began to fly. At last, perhaps buoyed by the noisy support, the hens woke up from their stupor. Feathers were ruffled, necks craned and a great clucking and alarmed babbling started up, and carried on for a considerable time. Many missiles later the snake retreated down a hole in the corner of the garden and now I know it's there but can't do anything except wait for the next encounter. The garden is tended, the grass is short and on the surface everything looks serene and peaceful, but I know its just an illusion and that at any time all hell will break loose again.

We have become a country full of illusions and this rainy season the tricks,mirrors and juggling acts are very battered indeed. In many small towns we seem to be moving perilously close to a ticking time bomb.This week on state sponsored TV came a headline report of Kwekwe town being "on the edge of collapse" as miners are digging right under the railway lines. From Bindura came news that the municipal department responsible for housing has been closed until further notice. It seems that the receipts for money being paid to the department differed hugely between the top and duplicate copies and a huge fraud has been playing out to the detriment of the town.

In Marondera when the dust bins had not been collected for three weeks recently, the local Health Inspector was contacted. He was sympathetic to the obvious effects of uncollected garbage at this time of year - the smell, flies, mosquitoes rats and health hazard but said there was nothing he could do. The fuel intended for the refuse removal trucks had been reallocated to the army for land tillage. The large government hospital, and in fact most of Marondera town, continues to have major water shortages. Public toilets at the hospital outpatients unit are closed but desperate patients continue to use them as they wait for five or more hours just to see a nurse as the doctors are still on strike. The toilet floors are apparently thick with maggots and horrors you would expect in a sewer, not a major provincial government hospital.

And so the appearance of things being under control in Zimbabwe is just ashaky illusion. Someone told me this week that there is bright light at the end of the tunnel. Its from an express train coming straight at us and we are standing right in its path, blinded by the light, unable to move. Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.

Copyright cathy buckle 27January 2007. My books: "African Tears"and "Beyond Tears" are available from@ Tosubscribe/unsubscribe to this newsletter, please write to:

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Ghana king burial draws thousands
By Will Ross BBC News, Accra.

Crowds wore the traditional red and black of mourning. A royal funeral in Ghana's capital, Accra, has drawn tens of thousands of people and brought business in the city to a standstill.
The king, or paramount chief, of the Ga population, Nii Amugi II, died 18 months ago but was finally being buried on Saturday.
The funeral was delayed partly because of ongoing disputes over who should succeed him.
The Ga are one of the main ethnic groups in the south of the country.
Celebration of life
Nii Amugi II was given a musical send-off as tens of thousands of people, wearing the traditional red and black of mourning, thronged his palace.
Ghana is a country where democracy is seen to be working but the people have certainly not lost their sense of tradition.
Almost everything in Accra was put on hold for the funeral. Internet cafes, bars, supermarkets and all other business shut down.
Kings and chiefs across the country still have a huge following and power, which means the country's political leaders have to tread very carefully.
Diplomats from around the world attended the funeral and were at times startled by the sudden firing of old smoking muskets.
It may have taken 18 months for the late king to be buried but that is no record.
Last year the traditional ruler of Ghana's northern Dagomba kingdom was buried four years after he was murdered.
Disputes over who should succeed him were long and violent and still have not been finally resolved.
Funerals in Ghana are anything but sombre and are more of a celebration of life.
The huge crowds that have been paying their last respects to the Nii Amugi II are likely to keep the festivities going well into the night.


S Africa hospitals delayed by Cup
By Martin Plaut BBC News .

South Africa is set to stage a World Cup on African soil for the first time. A hospital building programme in South Africa has been put back, to help pay for the football World Cup which the country is hosting in 2010.
Two hospitals in the remote Northern Cape have been told their buildings will be delayed because of cuts in government spending.
The rising cost to South Africa of hosting the World Cup is beginning to take its toll on government spending.
A new 200-bed hospital in De Aar is to be delayed - so is another in Upington.
A spokeswoman for the Northern Cape health department, Shelley Fielding, said money had been diverted to prepare for 2010.
"The hospital building programme will resume in 2008/9 financial year. Other provinces are also affected," Ms Fielding said.
The South African treasury said spending on health was increasing but did not deny that the money had been transferred.
The cost of providing new and renovated stadiums for the World Cup is rising rapidly, with construction bills hundreds of millions of dollars over budget.
A spokesman for the opposition Democratic Alliance has put this down to inadequate government planning.
But President Thabo Mbeki has staked South Africa's reputation on the event, and nothing is likely to stand in its way.



Tamil diaspora 'feel' the violence.
By Debabani Majumdar BBC News, London

Mr Thevaraja's wife and children live in eastern Sri Lanka.
Thangaraja Thevaraja is sitting in his east London home wondering when he will next hear from his wife and three children in Sri Lanka.
A former policeman in Batticaloa district, he was forced to leave his job by the Tamil Tiger rebels, who ordered all Tamils, the country's ethnic minority, to quit the police and armed forces.
The 44-year-old fled to the UK in 2001 after being arrested by police on suspicion of supporting the rebels.
They are fighting for a separate homeland for the country's 3.1m-strong Tamil population following decades of alleged discrimination by the majority Sinhalese.
But instead of things improving he had to watch from thousands of miles away as his home village Kallar, in Batticaloa, was wiped out by the tsunami in 2004, forcing his family to live in a temporary shelter ever since.
He has since learned that his nephew was abducted, and days later found dead, and that his 14-year-old son is now too scared to go to school.
Human rights groups have frequently criticised both rebels and government troops of carrying out abductions.

Mr Thevaraja cried as he recalled his infrequent, hurried conversations with his family.
"My son was so shocked by my nephew's death that he refuses to step out of the house. My wife is also scared that he may be abducted," he said in Tamil, speaking through a translator.
"I feel guilty and sad about leaving them there but I don't know what to do. I might be arrested if I go back."
Six years on he is still waiting for asylum to be granted before he tries to get the rest of his family over.
His is one of about 100,000 Sri Lankan Tamils living in London alone - with 5,000 settled in Newham, east London.
Many have similar stories to tell, but do not want to be named, fearing for their families' safety in Sri Lanka.
An estimated 65,000 people have died in Sri Lanka's civil war and the 2002 ceasefire between the government and the Tigers now seems to exist only on paper. More than 3,600 were killed last year and tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced during the recent violence.

My father's house was in ruins, the roof and windows were falling off and I couldn't find any of my friends
Councillor Paul SathianesanPaul Sathianesan, a councillor in Newham since 1998, said he came to the UK as an asylum seeker in 1985 from the Jaffna peninsula to escape the violence.
He visited Jaffna in 2003 planning to help the local community, but was shattered to see the devastation caused by the conflict.
"My father's house was in ruins, the roof and windows were falling off and I couldn't find any of my friends.
"There was an air of emptiness and people looked grey, thin and scared."
The expatriate community over the years has tried to invest in their former villages and cities but this has become very difficult.
Mr Vellupillai Bose, who owns an estate agency in East Ham, said he and 10 friends purchased land in the capital Colombo to build residential buildings but they had to abandon the project after the violence worsened soon after presidential elections in November 2005.

Police display posters of victims of gang violence in the area
"All clauses were finalised but things got worse after the elections. Now we have decided to sell the land. We can't do business in this situation."
He has taken his family to Colombo for vacations but he has not been able to visit Jaffna, his hometown, since 1998.
He fears the younger generation who were born and bred here will not be as attached to their homeland.
Arjuna Subramaniam, 21, acknowledges this.
I am aware of all the problems there but I can't relate to it
Arjuna Subramaniam
His parents follow news and politics closely as many of their relatives are still there, but he feels alienated.
"I love the country and I loved the time I spent there on vacations.
"I am aware of all the problems there but I can't relate to it. I have a different life here."
The community, which has been dealing with the news of mounting violence in Sri Lanka, have been confronted with a new challenge closer home.
Tamil gangs
Since 2000 at least 10 people have been killed in gang-related incidents spurring the Metropolitan Police to set up a special task force, Enver, to tackle Tamil gangs and crime.
Mr Sathianesan recently held a public consultation - where police, youth and other local agencies were invited - to talk about an issue which was "damaging race relations and the image of the community".
He hopes they will overcome the hurdle.
"The next generation shouldn't be given hatred as heritage, we want to see them enjoy love, peace and safety."



Mulrunji Doomadgee's death sparked angry protests. An Australian police officer at the centre of a high-profile death in custody of an Aboriginal man is set to face manslaughter charges.
The move was announced by Queensland's attorney-general following a review of previous decisions in the case.
Senior Sergeant Christopher Hurley was accused by a coroner of causing the death of Cameron Doomadgee, 36, while he was in custody in 2004.
A 2006 decision not to press charges angered his community on Palm Island.
But the new decision that Sgt Hurley should face charges has angered the police, who are threatening to strike over the move.
Snr Sgt Hurley has been suspended from his job.
State attorney-general Kerry Shrine said he was acting on the advice of former New South Wales chief justice Sir Laurence Street, who was asked to review the previous decision by prosecutors not to pursue the case.
"Sir Laurence has advised me that he believes sufficient admissible evidence exists to support the institution of criminal proceedings," he said.
"Furthermore, Sir Laurence believes there is a reasonable prospect of a conviction."
Mr Doomadgee, also known as Mulrunji, was found dead in a cell in the Palm Island local police station after he was arrested for being drunk in public.
He had suffered broken ribs and a ruptured liver and spleen.

'No charges' over death
Coroner accuses police
Protests rock Palm Island

His death, and the lack of any arrests or charges, prompted serious disturbances on Queensland's Palm Island, where an aboriginal settlement has been established since 1918.
The police station and court were burned to the ground.
A coroner at an inquest in September 2006 said Snr Sgt Hurley had been responsible for Mr Doomadgee's death, and accused the police of failing to investigate the death properly.
But the director of public prosecutions, Leanne Clare, ruled in December 2006 that there was not enough evidence to press charges, and called Mr Doomadgee's death a "terrible accident".
Mr Doomadgee's lawyer, Andrew Boe, described the latest decision as a "landmark".
"This is the first time a criminal charge has followed a death in custody in Australia's history," he said.
But the Queensland Police Union said its members were "furious" and were considering strike action.
"Police right across the state are incensed at this political interference and over the next few days we'll consult with them about what actions they will like to take," the union's vice-president Denis Fitzpatrick was quoted as saying.



10 things we didn't know last week

Snippets from the week's news, harvested, diced and sliced for your convenience.

1. The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, was asked to be on Celebrity Big Brother.

2. Rail passenger numbers could increase by 30-40% in the next 10 years. (More details)

3. Dishcloths are purged of 99% of their bacteria during two minutes in a microwave. (More details)

4. But they can pretty easily catch fire while doing so. (More details)

5. Only four postcodes in the UK do not have a Tesco. They are the Outer Hebrides, the Shetlands, Orkney and Harrogate.

6. Uninsured vehicles are 10 times more likely to be involved in hit-and-run crashes.

7. Guinness turns out red, rather than black, if the barley is roasted for less time than normal.

8. Today presenter John Humphrys gets up one minute before 4am and is in the BBC studio at 16 mins past.

9. People who live within 500 metres of a motorway grow up with significantly reduced lung capacity.

10. A haddock's mating call starts as a slow knocking sound, before turning into a quicker hum similar to a small motorcycle revving its engine. (More details.

Sources where stories not linked: 1, Press Association. 5, Evening Standard, Wednesday. 6, Times, Friday. 7. Times, Friday. 8, Press Gazette. 9. Guardian, Friday.



Officials said birds on neighbouring farms would also be culled. Officials in Japan have confirmed that a recent outbreak of bird flu at a poultry farm was the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus.
The outbreak, at a farm in Hyuga, is the second to strike Japan's main chicken-producing region of Miyazaki.
Samples taken from 3,000 dead chickens from the farm revealed that all had been infected with the H5N1 virus.
Officials said they had begun slaughtering the farm's remaining 49,000 birds on Friday.
A further 50,000 chickens from a farm neighbouring the one that suffered the outbreak will also be killed as a precautionary measure, an official said.
There have been a number of H5N1 outbreaks in Japan since early 2004, but there have been no human deaths from the virus.
The earlier H5N1 outbreak occured in mid-January at a farm in the same region.
Health officials across Asia are on alert as a growing number of countries have reported cases in both birds and humans in recent weeks.
Since the H5N1 virus emerged in South East Asia in late 2003, it has claimed more than 150 lives around the world.
There are fears the virus could mutate to a form which could be easily passed from human to human, triggering a pandemic and potentially putting millions of lives at risk.


Bill and Melinda Gates used $30bn to set up their foundation. The UK government is an important "change agent" to keep Africa on the international agenda, according to Microsoft boss Bill Gates.
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had managed to get the continent's plight on the agenda of world leaders, he said.
Gavi, an aid organisation sponsored by Mr Gates, announced on Friday that its vaccination programme had so far saved the lives of 2.3m children in Africa.
Mr Gates told the BBC this proved that aid programmes could deliver success.
Not everything had gone well, he admitted, but overall the programme had met its targets.
Climate change v Africa
Speaking at the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Gates and his wife Melinda said Gavi - which has committed $2.6bn (£1.3bn) to support immunisation programmes in 70 developing countries - had only made an impact because governments had supported the cause.
Mr Gates said Africa had failed to follow Asia's path of rapid economic development because it had a different spread of diseases, geography and quality of governance.
Asked whether they were worried that the issue of climate change could push the plight of Africa from the agenda, Mr Gates said he believed that the world should be able to keep more than one issue on top of its mind.
Melinda Gates, however, said while Africa was still high on the agenda of the G8 group of industrialised nations, one had to be careful not to let it slip, because it would "take us a long time to help Africa".
Mr Gates is the world's richest man, and he and his wife had contributed about $30bn to set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which focuses on health and education initiatives.
In June last year the world's second-richest man, Warren Buffett, said he would donate $37bn of his money to be administered by the Gates foundation.


Risk of civil war haunts Beirut
By Martin Patience BBC News, Beirut.

Last summer, Beirut's southern suburbs were echoing with the sound of terrifying booms.
Many bomb-scarred structures remain in Beirut's southern suburbs.
Israeli warplanes pounded the Hezbollah stronghold in its 34-day-long war with the Shia movement led by Hassan Nasrallah.
Clouds of dust swirled through the warren of streets here as a series of Hezbollah offices and apartment blocks were reduced to rubble.
The streets were almost deserted apart from Hezbollah fighters who roamed their streets on Vesper scooters and were left dashing for cover when they heard the deafening explosions following the latest Israeli bombing run.
Visiting the same area six months later, I find the suburbs a very different place.
Tensions remain
The pot-holed streets are choked with battered Mercedes, trucks and the occasional bike.
Some Hezbollah fighters are now directing the traffic, says my taxi driver.
Most of the rubble from the collapsed buildings has been cleared away by trucks, although many bomb-scarred structures still remain.
In a few of these buildings, families have moved back into the apartments, their towels and bed sheets hanging from the balconies to dry in the midday sun.
While the clouds of dust may have cleared, tensions still remain.
Nobody here expects an immediate Israeli assault - although Israeli warplanes regularly buzz the suburbs.

Resident are worried by trouble coming not from the skies, but closer to home.
Instead, they are looking at the trouble closer to home.
The continuing showdown between the Lebanese government and the opposition is raising the spectre of serious sectarian violence in Lebanon.
Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, has led mass demonstrations and strike action to try to force Lebanon's pro-Western government to resign.
Increasingly, the action is accompanied by violence, exposing the sectarian divides in Lebanese society.
On Thursday, rival groups of students clashed at Beirut's Arab university, leaving four dead.
Here in the southern suburbs, the vast majority of the residents stand squarely behind Hezbollah.
They believe that the current government - headed by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora - is corrupt and unrepresentative of the population.
Rising fears
But many are worried that the current violence could quickly spiral out of control.
Every day it gets worse here. There is fear among the old and the young about a possible civil war
Hassan Monshek, taxi driver"If the government stays in power then there will be killings day after day on both sides and nobody will be able to control it," says Mohammed Mousa, an electrician.
The 31-year-old insists that there is an "80 percent" chance of civil war.
While that opinion may seem stark, it is shared by many here who believe the country is staring into the abyss unless one side or the other backs down.
Hassan Monshek, 25, is a taxi driver but he is refusing to leave the southern suburbs fearful that his car will be set on fire or he will be attacked in another part of the city.
"Every day it gets worse here," he says.
"There is fear among the old and the young about a possible civil war."
For the residents of the southern suburbs, memories of their war with Israel seem to be fading as they are consumed by something far more disturbing.



The men felt their only option was to return home, lawyers said. Human rights group Amnesty International says it is deeply concerned for the safety of two terror suspects who were deported from the UK.
The organisation claims the Algerian men - known only as Q and K - were sent back to their homeland "despite the risk that they would be tortured".
The two men were flown from the UK on 20 January, having dropped their appeals against deportation orders.
Amnesty has claimed the men are being held by Algeria's military police.
They were always at risk of torture and should never have been returned to Algeria
Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen
Q and K were first arrested in Britain under the anti-terrorism act of 2001, but in December 2004 the Law Lords ruled that detention without charge under this act was unlawful and the two men were released.
Amnesty says the case against the men was never disclosed to them.
The organisation believes both were arrested by Algeria's military police, the DRS, on Wednesday and have been in custody every since.
It says the DRS has a well documented record of torture and that Britain knowingly deported the men despite this risk.
Amnesty International UK director, Kate Allen said: "We are deeply concerned that these men are at risk of torture.
"The DRS is known to particularly target people suspected of having information about terrorism.
"As these men have been labelled 'suspected international terrorists' by the UK authorities, they were always at risk of torture and should never have been returned to Algeria."
Radical Algerian terror cells
Earlier, the Home Office said it was not the first time that suspected terrorists had been deported to Algeria - two men were sent back in June last year.
The men were among a group of 27 foreigners held because of fears that they are a threat to national security.
Some of the men, who cannot be named due to a court order, have been held without trial for more than four years.
The men were all suspected terrorists and some were believed to have connections to radical Algerian terror cells.
Their lawyers said the suspects could no longer bear indefinite detention and felt their only option was to agree to go back home.
Human rights campaigners claims that they will be tortured have been denied by Algeria and the British government says it has assurances that the men will not be mistreated.
The government said it intended to deport the other men who have also withdrawn their appeals against deportation as soon as possible, a spokeswoman added.


Friday, January 26, 2007


Condom use is key in preventing the spread of HIV. Seven out of 10 young women do not believe they are at any risk of being infected with HIV, a survey has found.
The poll, commissioned by The Body Shop and MTV, also found 92% do not think a condom is an essential handbag item on a night out.
Two-thirds of the 1,064 women aged 16 to 30 surveyed thought it would spoil their chances of having sex.
But campaigners warn that complacency about HIV is hindering efforts to curb the spread of disease.
Under-investment in HIV awareness and lack of comprehensive sex and relationships education in schools has led to decreased knowledge of the risks of HIV transmission
Yusef Azad, National AIDS Trust
Worldwide figures show that more than half of the 4.3 million people newly diagnosed with HIV last year were under the age of 24.
The Health Protection Agency estimates around 63,500 UK adults were living with HIV in 2005 - with as many as a third unaware of their infection.
The survey also found:
More than one in 10 (14%) said it was a man's responsibility to carry the condom
One in 10 said they thought a woman who carries a condom is "easy" and sleeps around
Nearly half (47%) said they ignored the subject of condoms when talking to their friends about their sex life
Just 32% make it a priority to ask new partners about their sexual history
Seven out of 10 said they would feel embarrassed if a condom fell out of their handbag in the ladies' toilet
Chris Davis, global campaigns manager for The Body Shop, said: "It's worrying that so many young women don't think they are at risk from HIV and think it is somebody else's problem - such as those in developing countries, homosexuals or drug users.
"In fact, figures show that HIV infections are spreading fast among girls and women in major cities of the developed world too."
The survey forms part of the global Spray to Change Attitudes campaign, launched to raise funds for the Staying Alive Foundation, which aims to prevent the spread of HIV among young people.
More responsibility
Yusef Azad, director of policy and campaigns at the National AIDS Trust, said: "Unfortunately in this country, under-investment in HIV awareness and lack of comprehensive sex and relationships education in schools has led to decreased knowledge of the risks of HIV transmission.
"Women in the UK are not at highest risk, but any act of unprotected sex can pass on HIV, and it is important people know how to protect themselves."
Lisa Power, of the HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust warned against complacency.
She said: "If young women - and men - continue to be complacent about their sexual health we are going to see a far greater epidemic in HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in the UK.
"It is vital that sexually active women carry condoms and take responsibility for protecting themselves, especially as they are at greater risk of getting HIV than men through heterosexual sex."


VIEWPOINT : Calestous Juma

Animal cloning can help deliver environmental benefits in developing nations, says Professor Caletous Juma.

In this week's Green Room, he argues that biotechnology could ensure the survival of rare cattle breeds that are well suited to cope with harsh conditions.

Anticipated impacts of climate change are likely to have far-reaching implications for the livestock industries of poor nations After five years of study, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that food from cloned animals is safe to eat.
Some consumer organisations, however, remain uneasy about the decision and are calling for an examination of the ethical aspects of cloning.
While their concerns are understandable, they fail to take into account the potential environmental benefits of cloning, especially for developing countries.
For example, anticipated impacts of climate change are likely to have far-reaching implications for the livestock industries of poor nations, especially those in Africa.
Adapting to such disruptions will require additional investments in technological innovation, including animal cloning for food and conservation.
Africa's farming systems are already under stress. Cattle breeds resistant to diseases such as sleeping sickness are dwindling at an alarming rate as local farmers adopt larger zebu breeds to replace their hardier but smaller taurine relatives.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that nearly 1,500, or 30%, of livestock breeds are threatened with extinction, most of which are in developing countries. Less than 100 are currently being conserved.
Ecological disruption is likely to accelerate such trends. Slowing the decline will require the use of reproductive techniques such as animal cloning for predictable livestock production, in addition to expanded breeding conservation programmes.
Seeking stability
Adapting to ecological disruption and maintaining economic stability could benefit from cloning.
This will help farmers in developing countries increase meat and milk production without the use of expensive hormones, antibiotics and chemicals. Such uses could also have positive environmental benefits.

Arguments need to be considered in light of new scientific evidence and the needs of developing countries Researchers have already started to use cloning for conservation purposes.
The US-based Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species has produced wildcat kittens (Felis libyca) from cloned adults.
Scientists are hoping to use cloning to save threatened species such as Vietnam's saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), gaur (Bos gaurus) and banteng (Bos javanicus) and the wild water buffalo (Bubalus arnee).
In 2004, for example, Indian scientists announced a plan to spend $1m (£500,000) to clone the endangered Asian lion because less than 300 of the animals were estimated to exist.
Other endangered species, especially fish and amphibians, could also benefit from assisted reproductive techniques such as cloning.
Consumer organisations, however, raise legitimate safety and ethical concerns about cloning. Their arguments need to be considered in light of new scientific evidence and the needs of developing countries.
For example, take safety. The peer-reviewed journal Theriogenology has published a collection of articles that examined the health of cloned animals, their nutritional composition and other relevant parameters.
They came to the same conclusions as the FDA. And a nutritional study by France's National Agricultural Research Institute (INRA) showed no differences between meat and milk products of cloned animals and their traditional counterparts.
A study covering some 100 parameters of specific proteins and nutrients carried out by Japan's Kagoshima Prefectural Cattle Breeding Development Institute and the University of Connecticut showed that beef from cloned cattle could not be distinguished from that obtained from traditionally bred cattle.
Food from cloned animals is therefore as safe as its conventional counterpart.
Researchers at Japan's Research Institute for Animal Science in Biochemistry and Toxicology revealed that there were no significant changes in the urine and blood of rats arising from the consumption of meat and milk from cloned cattle.
There are ethical concerns that need to addressed, especially those related to animal welfare.
A study conducted by Argentine, American and Brazilian scientists has concluded there is an increase in the frequency of health risks posed to cloned cattle in parts of their life cycle. However, the study does not show that cloning poses risks that are qualitatively different from those posed by conventional means.
Animal welfare is an important aspect of our humanity and should be addressed by improving animal breeding and management techniques and not by outlawing their use.
The scientific community should continue to work closely with animal experts and ethicists to monitor and help improve the ethical standards of cloning techniques.
Ethical dilema
The needs of developing countries, on other the hand, raise new ethical issues. Their most urgent concerns are associated with having access to techniques that will help them adapt their production system to changing ecologies and markets.
Cloning is more expensive than conventional breeding methods. While the economic benefits of cloned animals may offset the initial investment, many of the world's poor farmers cannot afford the high cost of cloned animals, with prices of up to $20,000 (£10,000) per clone.

Africa to face more droughts
Climate change to dry Africa

The main limiting factor is the lack of domestic technical capacity in poor countries to apply cloning techniques for economic and conservation purposes.
One way forward is to create research partnerships that will help developing countries become genuine partners in the development and use of cloning techniques. Such arrangements will also help promote consumer acceptance of products from cloned animals in developing countries.
Contributing to advances in such technologies would not only help developing countries raise the quality of their animal products, but they would also help them use the techniques to restore endangered species.
Critics of cloning are justified to raise concerns about the safety and ethical aspects of cloning, but their concerns should take into account the possible benefits of cloning for conservation purposes.
There is no guarantee that cloning would have a major impact on the wider threats to species survival, but foregoing the use of these techniques would raise new ethical concerns.
Calestous Juma is a professor of international development at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and co-chairs a high-level expert panel of the African Union on modern biotechnology
The Green Room is a series of opinion pieces on environmental topics running weekly on the BBC News website
Do you agree with Calestous Juma? Should we find ways to help poorer countries develop cloning techniques? Or are you sceptical about the science? Send us your views using the link below:
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