Sunday, July 31, 2011

President Mugabe Hails Uniformed Forces in Zimbabwe

President hails uniformed forces

Monday, 01 August 2011 02:00
By Innocent Ruwende
Zimbabwe Herald

PRESIDENT Mugabe has commended the uniformed forces for their professionalism and discipline which has seen them serve on United Nations observer and peacekeeping missions on several occasions.

Speaking at the 2011 President's Medal Shoot Competition at Cleveland Rifle Range in Harare yesterday, the Head of State and Government, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said their discipline and professionalism was a constant source of pride.

"So well have our forces acquitted themselves that, for years, and on several occasions, they have been called upon to serve on missions in Southern Africa and beyond under the United Nations observer and peacekeeping missions," he said.

On the competition, the President said it was an essential sporting event which is relevant and in line with the forces' crucial role of maintaining law and order and defending the country's sovereignty.

"The need for good weapon-handling and the development of marksmanship by uniformed forces are indeed requisite skills exercises essential for the forces that are at all times expected to react promptly and appropriately to any situation demanding their efficient use of weapons.

"Since its inception, the competition has seen an increasing number of non-uniformed participants and, this year, our latest addition to the competition are the participants from the Commander of the Army's Executive Interactive Initiative."

He said their participation in the shoot clearly demonstrates the level of confidence and trust invested in the uniformed forces by civilians.

President Mugabe said such events should continue to attract more civilian participants, whose role of the defence of the country's sovereignty is equally invaluable.

"It is also pleasing to note that the number of female participants in the Medal Shoot Competition is constantly increasing in this competition which used to be exclusively a male domain.

"This is as it should be, a true reflection of positive response to our calls for gender sensitivity and female representation in all activities of our country.

"Women should take the medal shoot competition seriously and match their male counterparts in every aspect of the competition, just as they do in other roles of defending and consolidating our hard won Independence," he said.

President Mugabe thanked Mbada Holdings and Natec Arms Zimbabwe for donating towards the competition.

Corporal Fredrick Gobo was this year's champion at arms and walked away with the Independence Trophy and US$2 600 cash. He was followed by Warrant Officer Class 1 Mike Masiya and Major Noel Ncube.

In the female category, Corporal Locadia Chakwakuka scooped the first prize and walked away with the Nehanda Trophy and US$1 100.

Sgt Evelyn Fimba and Sgt Winnet Bhero came second and third respectively.

Zanu-PF leaders urged to stay in touch with grassroots

Monday, 01 August 2011 02:00
From George Maponga in Masvingo

Zanu-PF leaders should maintain constant touch with grassroots members for the party to maintain its historic connection with the people, a senior party official has said.

The party's director in the commissariat department Retired Air Marshal Henry Muchena said senior party leaders should be abreast with challenges being faced by the people.

Addressing party leaders from Masvingo province during the provincial inter-district conference at the weekend, Rtd Air Marshal Muchena also called for unity in the province.

"What we are saying is that a person cannot be a leader if he or she does not have grassroots support, for one to be called a leader he or she must participate in the cell meetings, village meetings right up to the top because people are at the grassroots and you cannot be a leader if you do not know what is happening at the grassroots."

He said the leaders should make sure that there are familiar with activities in the villages.

"Even the war of liberation was won because of grassroots support, so we can only win back our support as a party if we are leaders who have a regular connection with the grassroots," he said.

Rtd Air Marshal Muchena said Masvingo was a party stronghold from independence. He blamed recent losses in elections on senior party members who had lost touch with the people.

"In 1980, when Zanu PF won the first free and fair elections 32 percent of the votes came from Masvingo province and during the 2008 elections Masvingo did not fare as expected," he said.

He challenged the leaders to mobilise and get back the supporters who did not vote for the party in the March 2008 harmonised elections.

The director said the leaders should not use factionalism to justify the loss in 2008 saying it was non-existant. "There is nothing called factionalism which people should take advantage of and claim that Zanu-PF is losing support in Masvingo because of factionalism.

Factionalism only exists to people who are not party supporters but those who support individuals and such people are not Zanu-PF members," he said.

Rtd Air Marshal Muchena warned against rumour-mongering which caused divisions within the party.

He said members should be guided by the party principles and ideologies to protect Zimbabwe's legacy of being a truly independent and sovereign country.

Provincial chairman, Cde Matuke said his party was geared to reclaim all the seats lost to the MDC in the last elections.

He urged party supporters to shun violence and campaign peacefully by articulating policies and programmes that are responsive to the people's needs.

The conference was attended by senior Zanu PF leaders in Masvingo among them Politburo members Cde Stan Mudenge, Josiah Hungwe and Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister Cde Titus Maluleke.

Empowerment of youth lauded

Monday, 01 August 2011 02:00
Herald Reporter

Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has hailed President Mugabe for his overwhelming commitment to youth empowerment and development.

Minister Kasukuwere said this at the Outstanding Young Persons of Zimbabwe Awards Ceremony of Junior Chamber International.

"President Mugabe over the past three months has created more time for young people than ever before in trying to make sure that the young Zimbabweans continue to excel in their respective fields and do the country proud."

The President, on June 27 to July 1 took with him several youth leaders to the African Union Summit meeting held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

"In that meeting President Mugabe emphasised the need for African governments to link African resources to the youth of the continent to ensure national development," Minister Kasukuwere said.

The President also spent the whole day on July 16 with the youths during the official opening of the Junior Parliament.

"In his address to the thousands of young people who witnessed the official opening of the Junior Parliament President Mugabe insisted that education remains the cornerstone of youth development in Zimbabwe," he said.

Minister Kasukuwere said President Mugabe also emphasised the need to make skills education relevant to the needs of Zimbabwe, especially in the mining sector.

President Mugabe last week attended the United Nations High Level meetingon youths in New York and was accompanied by youth leaders under the umbrella of the Zimbabwe Youth Council.

\"This has demonstrated that President Mugabe's commitment to youth development is unquestionable," he said.

Minister Kasukuwere, during the presentation of an award to young leaders, noted that President Mugabe's commitment was critical capital for youth development in Zimbabwe.

Republic of Peru President Ollanta Humala Sworn In

Peruvian President Humala Sworn In

President Ollanta Humala of the Republic of Peru, began his message to the nation by committing himself with all his energy to erasing his country’s exclusion and poverty and affirmed that he is taking up this challenge "with my word and my life."

He made this affirmation before Congress, presidents and friends in attendance, keeping faith with his election and with respect for the state of law, as he stated in his speech on assuming the presidency, swearing on the 1979 Constitution and not that of 1993, passed by the Alberto Fujimori government.

The Cuban delegation, headed by Vice President José Ramón Machado Ventura and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, was present at the inauguration ceremony, together with more than 100 representatives of Latin America countries.

In his speech, President Ollanta Humala also affirmed his promise "to work for a country in which everyone enjoys the same right to a dignified and at the same time, protected life." (SE)

Translated by Granma International

Machado Ventura arrives in Peru to attend Humala inauguration

LIMA— José Ramón Machado Ventura, First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers has arrived in Peru leading the Cuban delegation attending the inauguration of President Ollanta Humala. Upon arrival to the Air Force Group 8 terminal adjacent to Jorge Chávez international airport, he was received by Peruvian Minister of the Interior Miguel Hidalgo, who relayed outgoing President Alan García’s greetings.

Machado Ventura emphasized Humala’s electoral victory as an example of the continuing advance of progressive forces in Latin America.

He also indicated that the President-elect has proposed a nationalist program to p`romote greater equity in the distribution of the country’s wealth and that Cuba wishes him success in this effort.

The Cuban additionally delegation includes Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla; Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra; Cuba’s newly designated ambassador to Peru, Juana Martínez González, and Luis Delfín Pérez, the outgoing ambassador. The group is invited to Humala’s inauguration, as well as events commemorating the 190th anniversary of Peru’s independence.

Rising Global Risks Leave South Africa Facing a Rough Ride

Rising global risks leave SA facing a rough ride

Jul 26 2011 16:01

South African investors should brace themselves for considerable market volatility in the months ahead, on the back of rising concerns over fiscal contraction in Europe, budget clashes and slow growth in the US, and slowing growth in China, among other issues, according to Rian le Roux, chief economist at Old Mutual Investment Group South Africa.

Le Roux cautions that it is investors' negative perceptions around these issues that are dominating equity and bond markets around the globe, and will continue to do so for some time. "This will favour emerging markets, including South Africa, as investment destinations, but the local market is still likely to suffer from big swings driven by this newsflow for the rest of the year," he says. "Investor sentiment is particularly fragile right now and we certainly won't escape it."

With fiscal tightening looming large in many big economies including the US, UK and most of Europe, and the global recovery having lost momentum (again), it is the combination of slowing growth and the acute debt problems in Europe and the USA that is causing the most worry. Political brinkmanship in the US is threatening the triple-A rating of US Treasury bonds. Failure to raise the debt ceiling and/or to effect a meaningful reduction in the budget deficit over the medium term could cause considerable turmoil in global financial markets.

"While neither of these two scenarios is likely to materialise, it is simply the fact that they are being debated that is sparking increasing investor unease," notes Le Roux.

"Just look at the price of gold, which is at an all-time record above $1 600/oz -- there seem to be very few safe-haven investments out there right now. The US economy is stuttering, China is slowing and Europe is overwhelmed by debt, while emerging markets are still perceived to be risky."

The implications of these deteriorating conditions, he says, are that the developed world is likely to maintain expansionary monetary policies for longer, and will continue to underperform developing countries, where inflation is the primary risk. This will maintain the attractive interest rate differentials in developing countries, lending further support to developing country currencies at the expense of the euro and US dollar.

"For South Africa, this means the rand could well stay stronger for longer, which will help keep inflation under control and probably delay any interest rate hikes until late this year or early 2012. At the same time, though, it continues to undermine our exports. So although we're experiencing a moderate recovery led by consumer spending, it remains uneven -- investment and export growth are lagging so that we're only likely to reach 3.7% GDP growth this year."

Le Roux believes inflation is not a significant threat to the economy, even though it is on the rise. "Over the next few months we do expect CPI to rise from 5% year on year currently to around 6% at year-end, but core inflation (excluding food and petrol costs) remains relatively subdued at 3.5% year on year. We're likely to see only a moderate up-cycle in inflation and interest rates ahead -- barring an unexpected rand sell-off. For example, we're pencilling in a total of 150 basis points in rate hikes through the cycle to the end of 2012."

"Risks," he says, "mainly stem from the global environment, with the rand's exchange rate remaining key."

Right now investor sentiment towards emerging markets remains relatively positive, but the fragile nature of the world economy means that sentiment could change very quickly. We aren't immune to contagion from a worsening debt crisis in the Eurozone, for example. At the same time, conflicting messages we send around foreign investment in SA and government ownership policies create further uncertainty, undermining that positive sentiment and, eventually, our longer-term economic growth prospects.

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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Nigerian Labour Discusses Implementation of Minimum Wage With Federal Government

Fed Govt, Labour shift talks on minimum wage

By John Ofikhenua
Nigerian Nation

Discussions between government and labour over the implementation of the national minimum wage was inconclusive last night.

After three hours, the meeting was adjourned till tomorrow.

Yesterday’s meeting was a continuation of Saturday’s meeting which was equally called off after a seeming disagreement between the Federal Government representatives and those of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

Minister of Labour and Productivity Chief Emeka Wogu, after the meeting at the Shehu Shagari House, Abuja, said: “The Federal Government and Labour met today (yesterday) in continuation of issues concerning the National Minimum Wage. We adjourned till tomorow for further negotiation.”

NLC Acting Secretary General Owei Lakemfa said there were no contending issues since government had agreed to implement the new minimum wage across the board.

He said: “What the government said on Saturday was that the minimum wage will be implemented across board. “There will be no discrimination. There are no contending issues; it is simply about implementation.”

He said labour leaders did not betray the confidence reposed in them by the workforce.

“The people know we are representing them. The Nigerian workers know we will never sell them. It is not about dictatorship. We will agree on some parts and see what we can do.”

It was gathered that the meeting was adjourned to calculate the quantum spread for grade level 01 to 16 by Tuesday.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; Wogu; Minister of Information Labaran Maku; Head of Service of the Federation Prof. Afolabi Oladapo and the Chairman, National Salaries and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Ebgune, were at the meeting.

The workers’ representatives were NLC Deputy President Comrade Mohammed Kiri; NLC Chief Economist Dr. Peter Ozon-Eso; NLC Acting Secretary General Comrade Owei Lakemfa; NLC Head of Human Resources Emma Ugwaja and the Trade Union Congress Secretary General, Comrade John Kolawole.

The labour leaders had on Saturday walked out on the Federal Government representatives , which culminated in the joint negotiating team holding different press briefings.

But Maku, who briefed reporters on behalf of the Government said the labour leaders left the meeting because they had not reached an agreement with government on the issue.

He said: “Labour believes we should not address a joint press conference until all the issues are reconciled.”

In a joint press conference at the Labour House, the NLC. TUC said :”The Federal Government team declined to discuss scenarios worked out by the Joint Government-Labour team. Rather, it made an offer which was completely unacceptable to the Labour team.”

The statement, signed by Lakemfa and Kolawole said the labour team, toavoid a deadlock, urged the Government to rethink its position and make a concrete offer.

On this basis, both sides decided to meet ayesterday.

The workers hoped that both parties woud reach a consensus tomorrow.

Russia Woos Nigeria on Nuclear Power Plant

Russia woos Nigeria on nuclear power plant

Monday, 01 August 2011 00:00
From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja
Nigerian Guardian

UNDETERRED by growing global concern over the application of nuclear technology for power generation, the Russian government has intensified pressure on Nigeria to adopt the technology to solve its power challenges.

To this effect, a high power delegation from the country was in Nigeria to meet with key government officials to explore the possibility of a nuclear power project for the nation.

Led by the Director-General of the Russian State Corporation (RUSATOM), Mr. Nikolay Spassy, the team visited the ministry of science and technology where it also preached its message of safe use of nuclear for power generation.

At the visit, Nigeria’s Science Minister, Prof. Ita Okon Bassey Ewa recalled that both countries in 2009 signed a cooperative agreement, noting that the pact was hardly implemented.

He stressed that in recognition of the urgency to turn around the power sector, Nigeria had ventured into exploring other sources of electricity. This desire, he added, led to the mandate given to the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) to explore nuclear energy for electricity generation.

The minister said: “To remedy the poor action in the implementation of the agreement, follow up meetings are now being initiated to discuss the modalities for its implementation. A major component of the agreement is the design and implementation of the nuclear power plant.”

He disclosed that a draft project implementation agreement had been prepared and ready for signing by officials of Nigeria and Russia.

In his presentation, the Mr. Spassy reiterated that the benefits of nuclear power and sought the collaboration of Nigerian in the development of a power plant to generate electricity for the country.

This, he added, would be based on mutual trust between both countries.

His words, “Russia has a track record in the area of nuclear energy. The peaceful use of nuclear power is the bedrock of development, and the achievement of the goal of Vision 20,2020 of the Federal Government would depend heavily on the development of nuclear power plants in Nigeria.”

In another development, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has called on the German engineering company- SIEMENS, to venture into hydro-power generation in Nigeria.

NERC’s helmsman, Dr. Sam Amadi, who spoke in Abuja, when he received a team from the company in his office, said: “We are looking forward to Siemens to obtain a license to operate not just as an engineering procurement contract handling company but own a power plant.”

Speaking on behalf of the team, Ms. Sophia Armauski, described the visit as a follow up to the recent visit by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

She said, “the original idea was for German companies to bring their expertise in exchange for oil and gas. The chancellor was here recently and met with President Goodluck Jonathan. It was agreed there was the need to bring more life into the relationship. We are looking forward to new opportunities, that is why we here.”

Norway Terrorist Aimed to Mobilize Racism


Terrorist aimed to mobilize racism

Multinational working-class unity can defeat it

By John Catalinotto
Published Jul 27, 2011 4:24 PM

On July 22 a bomb attack on central Oslo and a massacre at an island Labor Party summer camp killed 76 people, most of them youths. It was the worst such tragedy in that country of 4.8 million people since World War II.

The world asked what crisis, what degeneration, could be poisoning society so that such a disaster would occur in a place as apparently free of strife as Norway.

The BBC, the New York Times and other corporate media throughout the U.S. and Europe immediately sought out “anti-terror experts,” who immediately blamed “Islamic terrorists.” The media repeated this charge at full volume. The experts even underlined NATO-member Norway’s quiet role in the occupation of Afghanistan and the bombing of Libya as the possible motives of what they called the “terrorist” acts.

They were completely wrong. Moreover, their own words and acts showed the media’s complicity in the crime.

Journalism Professor Rune Ottosen, cited in a Norwegian workers’ daily, Klassekampen (Class Struggle), said that the New York Times took “an unreasonably long time” to change its tune even after it was clear that a Christian Norwegian was the mass murderer. Then the media avoided calling the Norwegian a terrorist, let alone a Christian terrorist; he was instead labeled a “psychopath,” which removes political responsibility.

By now nearly everyone knows that 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, a self-proclaimed Christian and anti-Muslim, has admitted killing 76 people and wounding more than 100 on July 22. They know too that he did this as a political statement of hate for Islam and for “multiculturalism” and for anything resembling Marxism or workers’ solidarity.

Like the Arizona shooter Jared Loughner, Breivik’s terrorist act grew out of the racist and anti-immigrant politics that are the central organizing tools of ultra-right organizations in Europe like the National Front in France and the Northern League in Italy — and the Tea Party in the United States, which is the home office of racism.

In Norway the party of this type is the Progressive Party, to which Breivik belonged until 2006. This fascist-style ideology has been adopted — in a barely milder form — by mainstream capitalist politicians in Europe and North America.

Rather than combating racist ideology and right-wing fallacies, the mainstream capitalist parties and the corporate-owned media help the ultra-right create a political atmosphere poisoned by the worst sort of racism and anti-immigrant, anti-foreign, especially anti-Muslim, attitudes. The Times, the BBC and the capitalists do nothing to encourage multinational solidarity, especially among the working class. Thus they help create the septic mix that nurtures a killer like Breivik.

Unlike Loughner, Breivik left a 1,500-page manifesto documenting his plans and revealing his close ties with racist U.S. bloggers and anti-Muslim ideology. A New York Times article on July 25 exposed the role of U.S.-based ultra-rightists in Breivik’s development. There are 64 references in this document to Robert Spencer, who operates the U.S.-based “Jihad Watch” website, and that’s just one example.

Look behind these developments and you find the severe capitalist economic crisis. Its first victims were the oppressed countries, the former colonies. Workers and farmers trying to survive made their way at great cost to Europe and the United States to find work, and for years many did find work.

Now the crisis is hitting home in the imperialist countries. There is high unemployment overall. What is the solution for workers and oppressed communities?

Breivik’s ideological fellow-thinkers —including those like Glenn Beck, whose first reaction to the massacre was to attack Norway’s Labor Party — propose ratcheting up racism and expelling immigrants.

These “solutions” keep the working class divided and fighting each other for the steadily dwindling pool of jobs. The capitalists are just fine with that.

Like the Times and the BBC, the mainstream capitalist parties refuse to stand firm against this racism, as the capitalists don’t want to promote solidarity. They profit from keeping workers divided.

The only alternative is for the working class itself to develop and strengthen solidarity and unity among all workers, the unemployed, and those from oppressed nations — and to realize that our enemy is the wealthy capitalist class, not each other.

The racist, divisive aims and acts of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant neo-fascists can be stopped if workers, whether they are born in a country or immigrants, join together to struggle for jobs and for an end to the nightmare of capitalism worldwide.
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The Real Scandal Behind the Murdoch Empire

The real scandal behind the Murdoch empire

By Deirdre Griswold
Published Jul 30, 2011 7:04 AM

The scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World won’t make the giant media monopolies any less mouthpieces for the billionaire ruling class.

Heads will roll — they already have. That’s why executives get paid so well. They do the dirty work for the real owners of capital and sometimes get caught. Then it’s off with their heads and another high-paid flunky gets the job.

For example, Les Hinton, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, and Rebekah Brooks, head of Murdoch’s British papers, have been forced to resign, and Brooks has been arrested, but the global Murdoch media empire goes on.

Murdoch’s News Corp. owns not only tabloids like London’s News of the World (which just closed down), the Sun (London) and the New York Post, but also the staid Times of London, the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Dow Jones & Co., Far Eastern Economic Review, Fox television channels all over the world, the National Geographic channel, 20th Century Fox, HarperCollins publishers, plus literally hundreds of other newspapers and news, entertainment and business outlets.

Murdoch’s right-wing politics reek in all of them — in some more openly and crudely, in others more subdued. The question is, why were his lying flunkies outed this time? How come Murdoch didn’t have enough influence to cover it all up, as he undoubtedly has done before?

Is this huge scandal really over the greedy and crass behavior of his employees who, looking for juicy news copy, hacked the cellphone of an abducted teenager and then deleted messages from her voicemail, thus giving her parents false hope that the girl was still alive? This seemed to be the issue when the scandal first broke, but many other revelations followed that compromised British politicians and police officials.

There are probably several answers to the question of why the scandal has escalated. They can be boiled down to this: Murdoch has lots of money but he also has made lots of enemies in his own class of arrogant capitalists. One who tries to corner the world market, whether it’s in news or in oil, has to sink a lot of competitors. Murdoch was trying to take over Britain’s most lucrative satellite television company when the scandal broke.

Bow down to royalty

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, in the Communist Manifesto, described the executive branch of a capitalist government as “a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” When the consensus among the bourgeoisie is that one of their own has overreached himself and wants to take the whole pie, they expect the state to step in.

What made Murdoch vulnerable? For one thing, his minions had bribed security guards for Britain’s royal family to sell them the royals’ private phone numbers so their conversations could be hacked to produce titillating stories for his tabloids.

The bourgeoisie in Britain like having a monarchy that is considered sacrosanct. Hundreds of years ago, when they were struggling for political power, the burghers may have wanted a republic without all the expensive trappings of majesty, but those days are long gone. The royal family became a symbol of the British Empire and an untouchable buffer between the masses and the real ruling class — the capitalist oligarchs.

Thus, they consider the Murdoch machine’s trifling with royalty a danger to the supposed dignity of the entire ruling establishment. Disrespect and outright disdain for royalty is rife among the masses, especially the youth. But the bourgeoisie see Murdoch as a traitor for capitalizing on this.

The resignation of the two highest-ranking officials of Scotland Yard was another sign that the credibility of the capitalist state itself had been endangered by the Murdoch gang, whose deep pockets let them flout the law with impunity.

This is a time when the ruling class relies on the state to force austerity on the masses. The same kinds of cutbacks and layoffs in the public sector that are starting to roil workers in the U.S. have been shoved down the workers’ throats in Britain, despite huge demonstrations and the first general strike in decades. The bourgeoisie and their politicians need to clean up the image of the state.

Murdoch takeover bid fails

Another element that undoubtedly fed the desire to bring Murdoch down a peg or two was News Corp.’s attempt to take over British Sky Broadcasting, the country’s most lucrative satellite television network. It has more than 10 million paying subscribers, representing 36 percent of all the households in both Britain and Ireland. The government’s business secretary boasted he had “declared war” on Murdoch and would find a convenient legal excuse to block his takeover bid. (New York Times, July 23)

News Corp. already owned 39 percent of BSkyB. James Murdoch, son of Rupert, was made CEO of BSkyB in 2003. Four years later, despite shareholder objections, he was moved up to become “non-executive chairman,” replacing his father. Since the phone-hacking scandal went viral, News Corp.’s takeover bid has collapsed.

Don’t expect that all this means that the Murdoch media empire is finished, or that it will tone down its racist, anti-immigrant, misogynist content. A struggle within the ruling class can get messy, but the real big shots seldom go to jail or even have to pay more than pin money for their crimes. Besides, even the most genteel of capitalists need an unscrupulous media that doesn’t hesitate to dish out right-wing sensationalism to the public, especially in times of economic crisis.

The real scandal is that billionaires control and manipulate what the people read and view every day.

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Rising Food Prices & Forced Migration

Rising food prices & forced migration

By Heather Cottin
Published Jul 30, 2011 6:58 AM

“Food is a right” is not just a slogan. In 1999 the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights determined that food is actually a human right. But the price of food has doubled worldwide since 2000, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

The FAO publishes a monthly food price index. June 2011 figures show that food prices are 39 percent higher than in June 2010. (Business Insider, July 7) The right to eat is under attack.

The food profiteers claim that the law of supply and demand has caused the spike in food prices. Not enough supply, they claim. But world food production is greater than ever. Corn production has increased. Rice production is up 3 percent. (, May 11) This year wheat crops promise to surpass records. (Delta Farm Press, July 15)

Some capitalist apologists say that the price of wheat went up because of a bad harvest in Russia in 2010, which made the Russian government withhold wheat from the world market. In fact, the Swiss commodities firm Glencore forced the Russian government, which had sufficient wheat reserves, to impose a ban on exports. Glencore made a killing in the futures market. Wheat prices have increased by 70 percent since January 2010. But there was neither a shortfall in production nor any appreciable rise in demand. (Sri Lanka Daily News, April 23)

Corn is the mainstay of the Latin American and sub-Saharan African diets. Global corn production is up. So are corn prices. The U.S. produces almost 40 percent of the global corn supply. But this corn is not going to nourish people. It is feeding cars and industries.

The ethanol fuel industry now uses around 40 percent of corn produced in the U.S., up from around 7 percent a decade ago. (Business Insider, July 7) In the United States over the last five years, 100 percent of the increase in corn production has been for use in making ethanol fuel. (Domestic Fuel, July 18) The Obama administration has been promoting biofuels while speculators have driven up the price of corn futures by 82 percent. (, June 21)

Forced migration & small farmers

Agribusiness and “free trade” policies over the past 30 years forced farmers off their lands from Latin America to Africa, from Iowa to Ireland. Migration from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean was the result of policies of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the main driving force for promoting an industrial takeover of global agriculture. (Sri Lanka Daily News, April 23)

Poor family farmers could not compete when companies like Archer Daniels Midland, BASF, Bunge Ltd, Cargill, Coca-Cola, DuPont, General Mills, Kraft Foods, Metro AG, Monsanto, Nestle PepsiCo, SABMiller or Syngenta flooded the world market with low-priced grains. When the small farmers went out of business, the food giants bought up their land cheaply, and began to industrialize agriculture.

In Mexico and Central America, small farmers had their fields, growing corn and beans to feed their families. But beginning in the 1980s, they could no longer sell their surpluses, since agribusinesses had forced down the price of corn. The farmers, now displaced people, unsuccessfully sought work in the cities. Then they became forced migrants, seeking economic refuge in the United States.

African farmers suffered the same fate and ended up in Europe. Land formerly feeding people became coffee plantations and agribusiness started up flower production, while some companies in South America, Asia and Africa grew “upscale” fruits and vegetables for European and North American markets.

It was a standard capitalist trick. Drive down prices to drive people out of business, and then raise prices to clean up huge profits. It has impoverished family farmers since the beginning of capitalism, but it has never been so global in its virulence.

Rising food prices have sparked protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Malawi, Kenya, India, Bangladesh and a dozen other countries. Food prices have created greater poverty and hunger.

In Yemen, the price of bread has increased by 50 percent; flour, sugar and milk prices have risen between 40 percent and 60 percent, and the same is true for water. UNICEF finds 60 percent of Yemeni children affected by malnutrition, a figure that is higher than that found in sub-Saharan Africa. A quarter of the people in Yemen live on one meal a day. (, July 25)

Increases in food prices are creating hunger and famines that have nothing to do with drought or food shortages. This deadly situation is leading to more peoples’ resistance to governments that sit by while corporations profit and people starve.
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Deposed Egyptian Leader Facing Death Penalty

July 31, 2011 6:57 PM

Mubarak facing death penalty in Egypt trial

By Elizabeth Palmer

.(CBS News) An Egyptian court ruled today that former President Hosni Mubarak will go on trial this week for human rights abuses.

The 83-year-old Mubarak has been confined for months to a hospital in the seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh , where his supporters say he is too weak to stand trial.

CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports that the moment all Egypt had been waiting for happened Sunday, when the head of the criminal court - hidden behind a mountain of microphones -announced that Mubarak would stand trial, live and on television, on Wednesday.

For months, rumors that he was too sick to appear in court had angered Egyptians determined he should face justice.

"Our voices should be heard," says Mohamed Ashour. "I want to tell the prosecutor to make Mubarak's trial prompt, as it's been so long in coming."

Even a year ago, it seemed impossible that the untouchable Mubarak, who'd ruled Egypt with an iron fist for 30 years, would be brought so low, so fast.

But back in January, millions of Egyptians, sick of chronic corruption and poverty, took to the streets demanding he step down.

More than 800 people were killed in what's become known as the revolution, but in the end, the people - backed by the army - got their way.

For a few weeks, life seemed to return to normal, and the mood was upbeat with fresh elections slated for the fall.

Gradually though, the crowds who hoped for political change saw only foot-dragging by the generals in charge, and the demonstrations started up again.

This past Friday, there were tens of thousands of people back in Cairo's Tahrir Square. One of their key demands was that Mubarak, his two sons and eight other cronies should face charges that include the killing of protestors back in the spring, and corruption.

"He was the symbol of the regime that the Egyptians wanted to change. Bringing him forward to justice in a transparent way depicts or at least symbolizes a process of accountability and transparency," says Rabad el Mahdi, professor of political science at American University Cairo.

Whatever the outcome, this is a watershed moment in the Middle East. If convicted, one of the most powerful dictators in the region, and longtime ally of America, could actually face the death penalty.

Libyan Patriots Persecuted in Rebel-held Benghazi

Libya rebels persecute patriots

August 1, 2011 - 10:59AM

Libyan rebels have rounded up at least 63 people in an ongoing bid to tighten security in the eastern city of Benghazi and rout armed groups loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, a spokesman told AFP.

"This morning we caught about 38 and later today more than 25," Mustafa al-Sagazly said on Monday.

The arrests come hot on the heels of a five-hour raid on a roadside factory, which rebels said was the base of operations of an armed group taking orders from Gaddafi's regime and suspected in the assassination of their army chief.

"Four of our fighters were killed in the operation," said Sagazly.

He said five Gaddafi loyalists were also killed in the clashes.

Traffic in Benghazi returned to normal on the eve of Ramadan and there were signs on the streets in support of the rebel forces that carried out the raid by order of the ministry of interior.

"We all support the February 17 brigade," read a banner hanging from a highway overpass in reference to one of the key forces behind the operation to dismantle the group that was blamed for prison breaks last week.

"There were high ranking prisoners of war" among those who escaped from two detention centres last week, February 17 brigade leader Ismail al-Salabi told reporters.

He said only a "small minority" escaped his brigade during the dawn raid.

The site of the fierce shoot-out that left surrounding residences pockmarked by bullets became a magnet for curious spectators during the day but by nightfall rebels had beefed up security in the area.

Security forces patrolled the streets late into the night as shoppers stocked up ahead of the of the Muslim holy month of fasting and prayer.

"Everything is stable and secure tonight," Sagazly said. "There are no confrontations."

Rebels, he said, continued searching for members of the pro-Gaddafi group.

"Some of them run away and we are trying to catch them all over the city," he said. "We are arresting them, that's all."

The NTC this week issued repeated warnings to militia groups -or kataebs - that remain outside its command to either join its fighters on the front or security forces in Benghazi.

African Union Consults With Somalian TFG Government Over Drought

AU consults with Somalian gov't over drought

ADDIS ABABA, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Erastus Mwencha visited the Somali capital Mogadishu to assess humanitarian situation, the pan- African bloc said in a statement on Sunday.

Mwencha consulted with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia on possible ways of addressing the crisis, which is mainly resulted from the current drought, the African Union (AU) said.

During the visit, Mwencha saw for himself the humanitarian situation in Mogadishu and announced that the AUC is planning to hold a conference on Aug. 9 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to rally support for those affected by the drought.

The deputy chairperson said 500,000 U. S. dollars had been given by the AU to alleviate the famine.

At the 285th Meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, the famine was highlighted as a priority.

The statement said Jerry Rawlings, the AU high representative for Somalia, was called upon to lead efforts to highlight the crisis on the African continent to the world and advocate for more assistance from African nations.

He said, "This is not a time for second thoughts, or any hesitation. Not for more than twenty years has the continent faced such a catastrophe of food shortages that we are seeing today in the Horn of Africa. To build a prosperous and peaceful future on the continent we must come together to help our African brothers."

According to the statement, during his visit to the internally displaced persons (IDP) camp near the Mogadishu International Airport, Mwencha decried the terrible suffering of Somalis who have been displaced by food shortages and the lack of assistance because of the block by extremists.

The demand for emergency food aid in the areas under the Somali government control continues to considerably outstrip supply, the statement said.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kenya Minister Accused by the United Nations of Funding Somalian Resistance

Minister and MP gave cash to resistance group

Somali women carry weapons during a demonstration organised by the islamist Al-Shabaab group which is fighting the Somali government in Suqa Holaha neighbourhood of Mogadishu, on July 5. A Kenya cabinet minister and a nominated MP are among prominent Kenyans funding the activities of the Al Shabaab terror group, a new United Nations report cliams.

Kenya Nation
Thursday, July 28 2011 at 22:23

A Cabinet minister and a nominated MP are among prominent Kenyans funding the activities of the Al Shabaab terror group, claims a new United Nations report.

The Cabinet minister is said to have donated Sh200,000 for the construction of a mosque in 2009, but the funds were wired to an account operated by the terrorist outfit which controls huge parts of Somalia.

The report also accuses the Nominated MP of donating Sh500,000 to an account operated by a leading Al Shabaab financier on February 17 this year.

The report however says that it has no evidence that the minister was aware that his donation would be used to finance the terror group’s activities.

The report also says the Nominated MP confirmed being a close friend of a leading Al Shabaab financier during an interview with the UN Monitoring Group.

Rebuilding mosque

She, however, denied knowledge that the funds were being used to help the terror group’s activities in Kenya and the war-torn Somalia, believing she was contributing to reconstruction of a mosque.

According to the report, the terror group, which has close ties with al Qaeda has established extensive funding, recruiting and training networks in Kenya and recruited between 200 and 500 Kenyan youths who are currently fighting to overthrow the UN backed Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu.

Al Shabaab has also set up connections with other Jihadist groups across the continent, the report states.

According to the report on Somalia and Eritrea, majority of the Kenyan youths recruited to Al Shabaab are from non-Somali communities.

“In the past, al Shabaab’s presence in Kenya has been concentrated primarily within the ethnic Somali community.

But since 2009, the Group has rapidly expanded its influence and membership to non-Somali Kenyan nationals,” the report said.

The report says Al Shabaab activities are mainly conducted by the Muslim Youth Centre based at Pumwani in Nairobi.

The report says the centre is used to recruit Kenyan youths into the terror group.

United Nations Extends Arms Embargo Against Eritrea

UN extends arms embargo mandate in Somalia, Eritrea

Updated: 2011-07-30 11:14

(Xinhua)UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council voted unanimously Friday in favor of extending the mandate of its Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea for another year, which is tasked with monitoring an arms embargo on those countries.

Security Council Resolution 2002 approved the extension of the group's mandate, condemning "flows of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia and Eritrea in violation of the Somalia arms embargo and the Eritrea arms embargo", and calling the violations a "serious threat towards peace and stability in the region".

The current mandate of the group was set to expire on July 31, 2011.

The resolution further requested the UN secretary-general to take necessary administrative measures to re-establish the group consisting of eight experts to fulfill its mandate.

The arms embargo was first placed on Somalia by the council in 1992, after the country's government collapsed and civil war broke out. An arms embargo was placed on Eritrea in 2009 after it was found to have been helping to arm Somali rebel groups and refused to withdraw its troops from its contested border with Djibouti.

The Monitoring Group is charged with overseeing the sanctions and investigating any violations.

Resolution 2002 reaffirmed "the importance of enhancing the monitoring of the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes through persistent and vigilant investigation into the violations, bearing in mind that strict enforcement of the arms embargoes will improve the overall security situation in the region".

US Growth Falling Short in 2011

U.S. growth falling short

Catherine Rampell, New York Times
Friday, July 29, 2011

Washington --The economy slowed to a snail's pace in the first half of 2011, underscoring a growing risk that the recovery itself may hang in the balance with budget and debt decisions in Washington.

The broadest measure of the economy, the gross domestic product, grew at an annual rate of less than 1 percent in the first half of the year, the Commerce Department reported Friday. The figures for the first quarter and the second quarter, 0.4 percent and 1.3 percent respectively, were well below what economists were expecting and signified a sharp slowdown from the early months of the recovery. The government also revised data going back to 2003 that showed the recession was deeper, and the recovery weaker, than initially believed.

"There's nothing that you can look at here that is signaling some revival in growth in the second half of the year, and, in fact, we may see another catastrophically weak quarter next quarter if things go wrong next week," said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight, referring to the debt-ceiling negotiations.

With so little growth, the economy can hardly withstand further shocks from home or abroad, and worrisome signals continue to emanate from heavily indebted European countries. If the domestic economy were to contract, any new recession would originate on President Obama's watch - unlike the last one, which began a year before he was elected.

Drags on growth

If Congress leaves existing budget plans intact, some of the government's economic assistance, like the payroll tax cut, will phase out and thereby act as a drag on growth.

And by many economists' thinking, whatever additional budget cuts Congress eventually agrees to (or does not) will weaken the economy even further.

On the one hand, if legislators cannot come to an agreement to raise the debt ceiling by Tuesday, the United States may be unable to pay all its bills. Borrowing costs across the economy could then surge because so many interest rates are pegged to how much it costs the federal government to borrow. The forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers has predicted that the resulting financial mayhem would most likely plunge the economy back into recession.

On the other hand, if legislators do reach an agreement, it will probably include austerity measures that could chip away at the already fragile recovery. Spending cuts - particularly if they take effect sooner rather than later, as some of the House's more conservative members want - will weaken the economy, since so many industries and workers are directly or indirectly dependent on government activity.

Macroeconomic Advisers has estimated that the plan of Sen. Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who serves as majority leader, for example, could shave a half a percentage point off growth as its spending cuts peak.

Citing the debt reductions that Congress undertook in 1937 that ushered in the most severe phase of the Great Depression, some economists fear that imposing austerity measures too soon could likewise result in a recessionary relapse.

Simply prolonging the debt negotiations could also damage prospects for growth in the third quarter, as businesses and families wait to make big purchases until the threat of a federal default subsides.

"The business and consumer uncertainty over whether the government will be able to pay its bills is the biggest thing weighing around our neck right now," said Austan Goolsbee, departing chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers.

Smaller economy

The economy is smaller today than it was before the Great Recession began in 2007, though the country's labor force and production capacity have grown. The outlook for digging out of that hole is getting weaker by the day, and analysts across Wall Street have begun slashing their forecasts for output and job growth for the rest of this year.

Usually, a sharp recession is followed by a sharp recovery, meaning the recovery growth rate is far faster than the long-term average growth rate; last quarter, though, output grew at less than half of the average rate seen in the 60 years preceding the Great Recession.

Particularly distressing to economists is that consumer spending - which, alongside housing, usually leads the way in a recovery - has been extraordinarily weak in recent quarters. Inflation-adjusted consumer spending in the second quarter barely budged, increasing just 0.1 percent at an annual rate, the Commerce Department report showed.

"People are spending more, but that spending is being absorbed in higher prices, not in buying more stuff," said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics.

"Sometimes it feels like I'm a physicist who's been flipped into a different universe trying to explain these revisions, rather than an economist tracking output growth," Ryding said. "The economy is clearly performing poorly, though we don't know quite how poorly because these individual quarterly revisions can sometimes be something of a joke."

NATO Attacks Libyan State Television Satellite Dishes

NATO attacks Gadhafi's TV broadcast capability

Alliance spokesman says three satellite transmission stations hit by airstrike

Col. Roland Lavoie of NATO said three satellite dishes were destroyed in an air strike. He said the attack was aimed at preventing Moammar Gadhafi's regime from broadcasting intimidating and oppressive messages that incite hatred and "mobilize its supporters against civilians."

Late Friday, several explosions rocked Tripoli, and Libyan state television said airstrikes had hit civilian targets.

The attack came as Libyan rebels said the gunmen who shot dead their military chief were members of an Islamist-linked militia that is allied to their struggle to overthrow Gadhafi.

The assassination of Abdel Fattah Younes, apparently by his own side, has hurt the opposition just as it was winning broader international recognition and launching an offensive in the west of the country.

It will deepen concerns among the rebels' Western backers including the United States, keen to see them prevail in a five-month-old civil war but frustrated by their lack of unity and nervous about the influence of Islamists.

After 24 hours of confusion, rebel minister Ali Tarhouni said Younes had been killed by members of the Obaida Ibn Jarrah Brigade, a militia allied to the rebels and named after one of the companions of the Prophet Mohammad, suggesting that Islamist elements were involved.

Tarhouni told reporters in Benghazi on Friday that a militia leader who had gone to fetch Younes from the front line had been arrested and had confessed that his subordinates had carried out the killing.

"It was not him. His lieutenants did it," Tarhouni said, adding that the killers were still at large.

Rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said on Thursday Younes had been recalled for questioning to Benghazi but was killed before he arrived. Relatives said they retrieved a burned and bullet-riddled body.

Calls for unity

Younes took part in the coup that brought Gaddafi to power in 1969 and served him for four decades. He quit as interior minister in February and defected to the side of the rebels, becoming their military chief.

Parts of the opposition distrusted him because of his long and close ties to Gaddafi.

One rebel commander, who asked not to be named, said Islamists whom Younes had targeted in his job as interior minister may have killed him in retaliation.

"Some of those Islamists are now fighting with the rebels and they have always refused to fight under Younes's command and have always viewed him with suspicion," he said.

"Abdel Jalil could not directly accuse the Islamists because he fears them. And I don't think the investigation will lead anywhere. They don't dare to touch the Islamists."

The government in Tripoli said al Qaeda was to blame.

Rebels who rose up against Gadhafi's 41-year rule in February have seized swathes of the country but remain poorly equipped and are still far from ousting him, despite support from NATO airstrikes.

The United States, which like some 30 other nations has formally recognised the opposition, said Younes's death was a blow but called for solidarity among the rebels.

"What's important is that they work both diligently and transparently to ensure the unity of the Libyan opposition," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in Washington.

On Friday, weeping relatives and supporters brought Younes's coffin into the main square of Benghazi to mourn him, as fighters fired guns in the air.

Portugal's envoy to the United Nations said on Friday a Security Council panel was prepared to end months of deadlock and release Libyan assets frozen under U.N. sanctions, in order to buy humanitarian aid.

Friday, July 29, 2011

North and South Korea Agree to Talks

Two Koreas agree talks in rush of peaceful gestures

Tue, Jul 26 2011
By Jeremy Laurence

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea agreed on Tuesday to a third round of talks with South Korea aimed at resolving a long-running row over a shuttered joint tourist resort in the North.

A rush of diplomatic contacts between the two Koreas and the United States, plus a shipment of food aid from the South on Tuesday, raised hopes for a resumption of long-delayed aid-for-denuclearization talks.

Seoul had proposed a new round of dialogue for Friday to discuss Pyongyang's threat to strip a South Korean company of its assets at the resort, and added it was also willing to discuss a resumption of tourism links.

The North said in a letter to the unification ministry, the office that deals with inter-Korean affairs in Seoul, that it agreed to hold working-level talks on the condition that South Korea brings private businessmen.

"But if the South does not bring businessmen or uses the talks for the purpose of interfering with negotiations on asset settlement, talks will be unnecessary and firm action on legal disposal of South's real estate in Kumgang will be taken," the ministry quoted the letter as saying.

In June, the North said it had revised a law overseeing the joint tourism project, effectively ending Hyundai Asan's contract to run exclusively all cross-border tours to the resort.

The North says it wants to redevelop the resort. It has been shuttered since 2008 after Seoul suspended tours following the fatal shooting of a South Korean tourist there.

Mount Kumgang had been a source of hard currency for the destitute North under two liberal governments in the South before President Lee Myung-bak took office in 2008.

Analysts say the North is trying to push the South into reopening tourism links to the resort to raise cash.


Tensions have eased on the divided peninsula since two attacks last year killed 50 South Koreans. Last week the two Koreas' nuclear envoys and foreign ministers met for the first time in more than two years.

On Tuesday, Kim Kye-gwan, the North's first vice foreign minister, left for the United States where he is expected to meet Stephen Bosworth, Washington's top envoy on North Korea.

The visit by Kim, one of the key strategists in Pyongyang's nuclear talks with Washington, is his first since March 2007. Bosworth and Kim last met in Pyongyang in December 2009, a few months after the North walked out of six-party talks.

The flurry of diplomacy has raised hopes for the resumption of long-stalled nuclear talks. But both Seoul and Washington insist the terms for dialogue have not changed and that Pyongyang must first prove it is serious about denuclearizing.

In another sign of improving relations, a dozen trucks laden with 300 tons of flour crossed the South-North border on Tuesday in the first such delivery of flour aid since the North's deadly attack on a South Korean island in November.

(Additional reporting by Ju-min Park; editing by Robert Woodward)

Turkish Military in Turmoil as Senior Commanders Quit

Turkey's military in turmoil as top brass quit

10:34pm EDT
By Simon Cameron-Moore

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey faced turmoil within its military on Saturday after the country's four most senior commanders quit in protest over the detention of 250 officers on charges of conspiring against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government.

Chief of General Staff General Isik Kosaner stepped down on Friday evening along with the army, navy and air force commanders, plunging NATO's second largest armed forces into uncertainty just days before a key promotions board convenes.

In a farewell message to "brothers in arms," Kosaner said it was impossible for him to continue in his role as he was unable to defend the rights of men who had been detained as a consequence of a flawed judicial process.

Relations between the secularist military and Erdogan's socially conservative Justice and Development Party (AK) have been fraught since it first won power in 2002, due to mistrust of the AK's Islamist roots.

In years gone by, Turkey's generals were more likely to mount a coup than quit, but Erdogan has ended the military's past dominance through a series of reforms aimed at advancing Turkey's chances of joining the European Union.

The subordination of the generals was starkly demonstrated last year when police began detaining scores of officers over "Operation Sledgehammer," an alleged plot against Erdogan's government discussed at a military seminar in 2003.

The officers say Sledgehammer was merely a war game exercise and the evidence against them has been fabricated.

Some 250 military personnel are currently in jail, including 173 serving and 77 retired personnel. Most of them are held on charges related to Sledgehammer.

According to media reports, a prosecutor investigating another alleged military plot on Friday sought the arrest of 22 people including the commander of the Aegean army.

The detentions have sapped morale and spread mistrust and suspicion among the officer corps, and many had been looking for Kosaner to take a stand since his appointment last August.

More than 40 serving generals, almost a tenth of Turkey's commanders, are under arrest, accused of a various plots to bring down the AK party.

"It is clear as day that this extraordinary development has opened the door to a serious state crisis," said Devlet Bahceli, head of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party.

Analysts see little political threat to Erdogan's supremacy. His AK won a third consecutive term, taking 50 percent of the vote in a parliamentary election in June.

The departures of Kosaner and the others could give Erdogan a chance to fill the top brass with officers more friendly to his party, raising the possibility of more officers retiring early, or quitting.

Though the sudden manner of their going is embarrassing, it could gift Erdogan a decisive victory over a military that sees itself as guardian of the secularist state envisioned by the soldier statesman and founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Erdogan marked out Kosaner's successor on Friday, as his office put out a statement naming paramilitary Gendarmerie commander General Necdet Ozel as new head of land forces, and acting deputy chief of general staff, effectively making him next in line when Kosaner hands over the baton.

The statement said the four commanders had retired and made no mention of the reasons why. It said a meeting of the Supreme Military Council, which meets twice-yearly to make key appointments, would go ahead as planned on Monday, showing Erdogan in a hurry to restore the chain of command and present an image of business as usual.

Though well used to Turkey's turbulent politics, investors can easily take fright given the fragile state of world markets.

Just last week the central bank was forced to take steps to halt a sharp fall in the lira currency due to concern over the vulnerability of the Turkish economy to external shocks.

(Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

President Mugabe Returns to Zimbabwe From United Nations Meeting in New York

President returns from New York

Friday, 29 July 2011 02:00
Herald Reporter

PRESIDENT Mugabe has returned from New York where he was attending the United Nations high level meeting on youth. The Head of State and Government who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, was met at the Harare International Airport by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu and State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi.

President Mugabe also met Senegalese President Abudulaye Wade during a stop-over in Dakar. The two leaders had more than an hour long closed door meeting. No details of the meeting were readily available.

The President, who was accompanied by Foreign Affair Minister Simbabrashe Mumbengegwi and Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere addressed the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

The UN high level meeting was devoted to tackling challenges facing youth and exploring their potential to bring about change in societies and the world at large.

The meeting adopted an outcome document that calls for strategies to give young people a chance to find decent work while urging countries to take effective measures in protecting them from terrorism and other negative elements.

Pelican Bay Prison Hunger Strikers Declare Victory

Pelican Bay prison hunger strikers declare victory

By Sharon Danann
Published Jul 27, 2011 4:22 PM

Leaders of the hunger strike in the Security Housing Unit at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison accepted an offer July 20 from the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation and have ended their weeks-long action.

Members of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition confirmed reports of the hunger strike’s end after speaking with some of the prisoners involved. (, July 22)

The CDCR reported that as of 1 p.m. on July 20 all those who had been fasting at Pelican Bay had resumed eating. (, July 22)

Having been without food for 21 days, the leaders opted to “live to fight for justice another day,” according to mediator Dorsey Nunn. (, July 22) The CDCR offer included expanded educational programs, wall calendars and all-weather caps. The CDCR also committed to a review of SHU and gang-related policies.

A key accomplishment of the hunger strike has been to bring attention to the issue of torture in U.S. prisons. Currently inmates at Pelican Bay cannot be transferred out of their confinement in the SHU unless they turn in someone else for gang-related activities. Prisoners opposed to doing so on principle or in fear of retribution, or who have no such information, including those in the SHU for political beliefs, have been locked in SHUs indefinitely. Black Panther members incarcerated in the 1970s are among the inmates who have spent decades in isolation.

The United Nations Committee Against Torture has stated that long-term solitary confinement is in violation of prohibitions against torture, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Supporters of the courageous prisoners continued to hit the streets with rallies July 22 and 23 in Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Chino, Calif.; and in Los Angeles, Chicago and Montreal. Plans are going forward for a march on CDCR headquarters in Sacramento, Calif.; a rally at the California State building in San Francisco; and a meeting with family members and loved ones of prisoners in Oakland.

High-spirited activists marched up the quarter-mile driveway of Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, Ohio, on July 23, drumming on paint buckets and pots, until they were turned back by guards near the gate to the Supermax. In Baltimore on July 21, the blazing heat did not stop protesters outside the city jail from drawing support from passersby, who responded positively to the “Jobs not jails” theme.

Struggle against torture continues

The hunger strike has continued at three California state prisons. More than 400 inmates are refusing food at Corcoran and more than 100 at Tehachapi. The PHSS blog quoted a friend of a Calipatria prison hunger striker as saying, “I’m 100 percent sure that at least 300 prisoners are still supporting each other and going strong, refusing food and demanding the CDCR change conditions of solitary confinement and policies around gang validation.” (July 20)

According to a spokesperson for the court-appointed receiver overseeing prison health care, an inmate at Tehachapi had lost 29 pounds. (Los Angeles Times, July 19) The CDCR claimed to be medically monitoring 49 prisoners who had lost more than 10 pounds, but prisoner advocates disputed both the numbers and the quality of medical attention, most of which was “drive-by checks.” (PHSS conference call, July 18)

The PHSS was aware of “dozens” of hunger strikers who had lost over 20 pounds and who were experiencing fainting or irregular heartbeats. Nunn stated that the prison hospital at Pelican Bay was filled with inmates receiving fluids by IV.

Some had “started to refuse water,” but many others were having trouble keeping ingested water down. Nunn added, “It is truly a matter of luck and/or untiring spirit that nobody has died so far.” (, July 20)

PHSS is encouraging solidarity actions to continue to make sure the CDCR makes good on its promises and to prevent retaliation against hunger strikers. Hunger strikers not in SHUs have been thrown in solitary as punishment for acts of solidarity. (PHSS blog, July 22)

This historic hunger strike of 6,600 inmates, uniting without regard to race, religion, ethnicity or group affiliation, has inspired prisoners and supporters to new acts of courage and defiance. Support the California hunger strikers and build the prisoners’ movement everywhere!

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ANC Youth Leader Threatens to Take Legal Action Against City Press in South Africa

Malema: By the way, City Press, I'll see you in court

Jul 28 2011 17:12

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has spoken out on reports that his "secret" family trust is being used to launder bribes, saying that he plans to sue City Press for defamation, the newspaper's website reported on Thursday.

Speaking in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape, Malema reportedly warned that the name of the "ape" who was quoted in reports as saying he had paid R200000 into the youth league leader's Ratanang trust, as a reward for helping him secure a lucrative tender, would be exposed by court action against the newspaper.

Malema's trust issues

In the wake of the ANC Youth League's defiant response to corruption allegations concerning Julius Malema's "secret" trust fund, we speak to M&G politics reporter Matuma Letsoalo for insight into what this scandal means for the youth league president's future.

But Malema's lawyer said he had not received any instructions from Malema to launch defamation proceedings.

Malema repeated the youth league's insistence that the controversial family trust fund associated with him is being used to fund charitable causes, City Press reported on its website on Thursday afternoon.

Malema said he wouldn't have taken bribes "knowing that my enemies are out to destroy me".

Charitable causes

He said many business people had deposited money into the Ratanang Family Trust's account because he had approached them to fund charitable causes.

He wouldn't put the names of his son and grandmother on the trust fund if it was meant to carry out illegal activities.

"How many leaders and public figures have got trusts and community trusts? In South Africa there is not what we call secret trusts, there is nothing like that," he said, objecting to the description of a "secret trust" in the report.

"This trust they are talking about is a trust that continues to help the poorest of the poor. It is that trust that donated wheelchairs here," he said.

He said there was no proof that an unnamed businessman deposited R200000 into his account.

"We don't have a problem with that. You must give us a receipt [of payment], because if you deposited into the account it means there is a paper trail.

Let them lock me up, then
"That trust has built churches, that trust has built houses for the poor, that trust has taken so many kids to school, and that trust will continue to do that. I don't care who says what. If they want to lock me up for what I believe in, let them do that," Malema said.

He said City Press, which reported on the trust on Sunday, was protecting an "alleged corrupter" while exposing the "alleged corrupted".

"Why is City Press protecting a criminal who has paid a bribe and who has accepted that [he has paid] a bribe? Such a person must be exposed. And by the way, I'm taking you to court City Press for defamation of character. In your defence you'll be forced to reveal this ape," he said.

Malema's attorney Marothi Ledwaba, who represented the youth leader in his failed bid to stop City Press from publishing the story on Saturday, said he had not received any instruction from Malema to sue the paper.

"I can confirm that our client has not instructed us to do so," he said.

Man shot 'over Malema'
Malema was in Queenstown for the court case of a white man who allegedly shot his black neighbour following an argument over the youth league leader, City Press continued.

The wounded man, Siyabonga Ndabeni, remained in hospital, and his neighbour Gerdus Greyvenstein was remanded in custody after he appeared for a bail application on Thursday morning.

Following the article on Sunday, the Freedom Front Plus laid a complaint of corruption against Malema, saying the police should investigate where he gets his money from after the trust report, and an earlier report that he was building a R16-million house in Sandton, while being a salaried worker for the league.

This week the league defended him by calling the City Press journalists and editor "puppets" of "masters" bent on protecting ill-gotten wealth. -- Sapa

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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South African Fuel Strike Over: Unions Accept 8.5% Pay Hike

Fuel strike over: Unions accept 8.5% pay hike

SOUTH AFRICA - Jul 28 2011 15:29

Industrial action in the chemical and fuel sectors has come to an end after employers reached an agreement on wage increases on Thursday.

The nationwide strike began on the July 11 and saw hundreds of petrol stations run dry as approximately 70 000 workers left their posts.

The Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu) along with the General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (Giwusa) accepted an across the board wage increase of 8.5%, along with a 10% for the lowest paid workers.

"It's not what we set out to achieve but it's a reasonable conclusion seeing as though the employers were offering only 7%," John Appolis Ceppwawu's national policy coordinator told the Mail & Guardian.

Trade union Solidarity stopped industrial action after only one day and have also signed Thursday's agreement.

The minimum wage for workers in the sector was raised to R4 400 from R4 000 and antenatal leave of two days for pregnant women was introduced as part of agreement.

The deal will run for a period of one year following the previous agreement which was effective for two years.

Appolis warned that industrial action still remains on the table if deemed necessary.

"If we can't find an amicable solution when negotiations roll around again, we could strike again," he said.

Despite Thursday's agreement, industrial action across the country is due to intensify with workers in the gold mining sector due to go on strike on Thursday evening.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), South Africa's biggest union, is pushing for a 14% wage increase across the board.

Major companies expected to be immediately affected include AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold and Gold Fields.

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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