|Thursday, April 6, 2000,
call to end terrorism
starvation deaths in Ethiopia
killed ahead of Maoist strike
N-papers found on street
hurt in Pak court blast
envoy to Myanmar
|Elians father sticks to
terms for ravel
HAVANA, April 5 Cuba has ruled out an immediate trip to the USA for Elian Gonzalezs father, saying the six travel visas granted by Washington did not meet either of his proposals for taking charge of the boy.
Afro-European call to end terrorism
DUBAI, April 5 (UNI) The first Afro-European summit ended in Cairo last night with leaders from 67 nations condemning terrorism in all its forms, expressing opposition to giving any concessions to terrorists and vowing to back up democracies.
The summit leaders expressed their desire to strengthen cooperation to fight the menace of terrorism.
The two-day summit, attended by top leaders from the two continents, focused mainly on ways to overcome Africas $ 350 billion debt.
Regional news agencies said the summit leaders in their final statement, called the Cairo Declaration, expressed profound concern over the plight of six million refugees and 20 million homeless people in Africa.
Yesterdays session of the summit was devoted to Afro-European cooperation, combat of terrorism, human rights and issues of democracy as well as economic and social development, eradication of poverty and health and environmental issues.
The declaration indicated the European states readiness to help African nations to dismantle deadly mines, threatening the lives of the people of the continent, and confirmed efforts for forming a committee to study the thorny issues of African debts.
The summit has united us for the first time...We need to know each other better if we are to build a true partnership, said European Unions foreign policy Chief Javier Solana.
Reports said the European leaders pressed Africans on improving respect for human rights, making their countries more democratic and improve governance.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in his closing remarks, said: We witnessed the birth of a new partnership.
According to the declaration, the leaders agreed:
To give a new strategic dimension to the partnership between Africa and Europe for the 21st century through dialogue on economic, political, social and developmental issues.
To work together to integrate Africa into the world economy and enhance its prospects of economic development through trade liberalisation, encouraging private sector investment, regional cooperation and development aid.
To work for a reduction of Africas external debt through existing initiatives for highly indebted poor countries and to have a senior officials group from both regions submit a report to ministers on the issue within a reasonable timeframe.
To promote and fully respect human rights, end violence against women, ensure fundamental freedoms, including press freedom, and to support democracy, the rule of law, independent judiciaries and the holding of regular, transparent and free and fair elections.
To encourage efforts to promote good governance, take effective action to prevent and combat bribery, corruption and nepotism, and ensure that illegally=acquired public funds lodged in foreign banks are investigated and returned to their countries of origin.
To reinforce African and regional mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution by strengthening the mechanisms of African unity, developing an OAU early warning system and improving Africas own operational capabilities for peace-keeping and conflict resolution.
To take measures to stop the illegal exploitation of natural resources and illicit trade in high-value commodities and to increase cooperation against terrorism.
Mass starvation deaths in
ADDIS ABABA, April 5 (Reuters) Fourteen children are dying every day from famine in Ethiopias remote Ogaden region, a private relief group estimated on Tuesday.
Mohammoud Abdi, head of the Ogaden Welfare Society (OWS), said Danan district was worst-hit, with up to six children dying daily of famine and drought-related diseases, while Imi district and Gode and the surrounding areas were also badly affected.
The government says more than eight million Ethiopians are threatened by drought and will need food aid this year after a string of failed rainy seasons.
Chris McGreal of The Guardian in Johannesburg adds:
Europe is preparing to spearhead large aid deliveries to the Horn of Africa in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the famine that claimed close to a million lives in Ethiopia 15 years ago.
The United Nations warned that up to 16m people could face starvation within weeks after repeated crop failures caused by prolonged drought and years of conflict in the region. It appealed for $200m to address the crisis.
EUs Commissioner for Development, Mr Poul Nielson, has said donors plan to ship 800,000 tonnes of food to Ethiopia, where the bulk of people are at risk.
We are getting organised and we see this (famine) as a big threat coming, he said. Everybody is following this situation with very great concern ... if we now can plan in a reasonably professional way actually to move 800,000 tonnes, thats a good start.
We have people from the European Commission on site in the Horn of Africa today trying to assess the situation. It is indeed a major operation, he told this reporter on Tuesday.
The World Food Programme director, Ms Catherine Bertini, is scheduled to fly to the region next week to assess the extent of the crisis.
The Ethiopian government says 8m of its people face starvation. Millions more in Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and Djibouti are at risk.
Among the hardest-hit areas is the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia, where it has not rained in three years. Aid workers say dozens, if not hundreds, of children are dying each day from malnutrition and diseases such as measles and tuberculosis. Thousands of people have left their homes in search of water and food.
The problem now is to find efficient ways of delivering it. Continued fighting in Somalia makes distribution very difficult, as does the civil war in Sudan. The conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea has closed the port of Massawa in Eritrea and left Djibouti as the only port in the region open to handle food distribution. It is not large enough to cope with the amounts needed.
If we had peace and normal relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea, then the harbour of Massawa would also be available and the problem more manageable, Mr Nielson said.
As it is, a large proportion of food will probably have to be air-dropped, considerably increasing costs.
Britains international development secretary, Clare Short, said: The failure of the last three years rains is the root cause of Ethiopias current crisis, but there is little doubt that the continuing conflict with Eritrea is hampering the response to the relief effort and valuable resources are being diverted to perpetuating the conflict.
Ethiopia estimates that 1.2m tonnes of food aid will be required this year; only 15,000 tonnes have arrived so far. There is a severe shortage of high-energy food needed by people, particularly children, who are already malnourished.
12 killed ahead of Maoist strike
KATHMANDU, April 5 (AFP) Twelve persons were killed in clashes between the police and Maoist insurgents ahead of a general strike called by the rebels, the police and officials said today.
At least seven guerrillas were killed in a shootout yesterday with the police in Mainidada village in Surkhet district, 480 km west of Kathmandu, the police said.
In Bhigri village in Pyuthan district, 390 km west of Kathmandu, five policemen were killed by a Maoist mine late yesterday, a Home Ministry spokesman said.
Security has been stepped up in Nepal ahead of a dawn-to-dusk strike planned by the insurgents for tomorrow.
The Maoists have threatened violence against anyone who disobeys the strike call.
Vehicles heading for Kathmandu have been stopped and checked through the week, and police has set up a special emergency telephone service.
Mori is new Japanese PM
TOKYO, April 5 (AFP) Japans Lower House of Parliament today chose 62-year-old Yoshiro Mori as the new Prime Minister after his friend and predecessor Keizo Obuchi suffered a stroke.
At this house we have decided to appoint Yoshiro Mori Prime Minister, said Lower House speaker Soichiro Ito.
The vote was an overwhelming 335 in favour of Mr Mori out of 488 valid ballots cast in the 500-seat Parliament. The rest of the votes were distributed between five other lawmakers.
The decision cannot be reversed by the upper house, which is scheduled to hold a symbolic vote on the matter within an hour.
Mr Obuchi was in a coma with brain damage after being hospitalised with a stroke on Sunday.
Mr Mori previously held the number two position as secretary general of the top Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
LDP lawmakers chose him as party president just before the parliamentary vote made him Prime Minister.
Reuters adds: A stern-looking Mr Mori a domestic political heavyweight but a diplomatic novice bowed to his party colleagues as he accepted their choice and pledged to pursue Mr Obuchis policies.
Secret N-papers found on street
LONDON, April 5 (AFP) Secret strategy documents about Britains nuclear weapons plans have turned up on a public pavement, according to press reports today. If confirmed, the discovery would be the third embarrassing security lapse in a month.
In March, newspapers reported how agents at the countrys two intelligence services lost laptop computers, one containing encrypted details on Northern Ireland and the other training information.
Now the Ministry of Defence has launched an inquiry into the reported find of documents on a pavement outside the Aldermaston nuclear weapons factory in Berkshire, northwest of London.
According to The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, the detail plans to reduce the size of warheads on submarine-based nuclear missiles, and joint projects with French and Americans.
7 hurt in Pak court blast
KARACHI, April 5 (AFP) At least seven persons, including three lawyers, were today injured in a bomb blast at a court in the southern Pakistani city of Hyderabad on the eve of the verdict in deposed Premier Nawaz Sharifs trial, the police said.
The bomb had been
planted on a motorbike at a parking lot inside the
district court complex in Hyderabad city, 160 km
northeast of here, they said. It exploded as a large
number of lawyers and clients were in the building.
Complaint against Hillary
WASHINGTON April 5 (AP) Special donation accounts for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rudolph Giuliani were illegal, two government watchdog groups said in a complaint filed with the United States Federal Election Commission. Common Cause and Democracy 21 yesterday asked the Justice Departments campaign finance task force to investigate.
The complaint targets accounts set up by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee to accept unlimited contributions, known as soft money", from unions, corporations and individuals.
Soft money cannot be spent on advertisements that specifically advocate for a candidate but can be used for general issue advertisements as well as get-out-the-vote and other party-building activities. However, it increasingly is being used for issue advertisements that benefit candidates.
Critics say soft money allows candidates to bypass campaign donation limits.
The campaigns of
First Lady Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani are thumbing
their noses at the federal campaign finance laws and
treating the voters of New York as if they were
fools, Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer said.
German President apologises
KALAVRYTA (Greece), April 5 (AP) At the site of the biggest civilian massacre by the Nazi forces in Greece, German President Johannes Rau faced sorrowful survivors with a long-awaited expression of grief and shame.
Villagers yesterday gathered on a rosemary-covered hill below a 10-metre memorial cross where the Nazi troops gunned down 1,463 men over the age of 15. Rau said: this place of memory should serve to remind Germans of their dark deeds.
UN envoy to Myanmar
UNITED NATIONS, April 5 (AP) UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Malaysias former UN Ambassador, Razali Ismail, as his special envoy to Myanmar and asked him to visit the country soon to discuss the restoration of democracy, a UN spokesman said today.
Ismail, currently serving as special adviser to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, will succeed Alvaro de Soto, the former UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs who is now Annans special representative on Cyprus.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, has faced repeated censure from the United Nations for human rights abuses and for refusing to recognise the 1990 general election victory of the party headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.
The UN General Assembly and Human Rights Commission have asked Annan to try to end the countrys isolation by opening a dialogue with government and opposition leaders.
The resolution urges the
Myanmar government to take all necessary
steps to restore democracy, open a dialogue with
Suu Kyi and other political leaders and to immediately
release political leaders and other political prisoners.
Elians father sticks to terms for travel
HAVANA, April 5 (Reuters) Cuba has ruled out an immediate trip to the USA for Elian Gonzalezs father, saying the six travel visas granted by Washington did not meet either of his proposals for taking charge of the boy.
Senior US diplomat in Cuba, Vicki Huddleston, personally handed over earlier yesterday six stamped passports for Elians father, stepmother, baby half brother and young cousin, as well as for a kindergarten teacher and a paediatrician.
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