Wednesday 13 December 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 12/11/13)
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE Tue Dec 10, 2013 ---(Reuters) - The White House on Tuesday played down President Barack Obama's handshake with Cuban leader Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's memorial in South Africa, saying it went no further than pleasantries and does not signal a policy change. "Nothing was planned in terms of the president's role other than his remarks," the deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, told reporters traveling with Obama. "He really didn't do more than exchange greetings with (dignitaries on the podium) on his way to speak, it wasn't a substantive discussion." While the United States has relaxed prohibitions on family travel and remittances to Cuba and taken other steps to allow for greater contacts between the...
(Los Angeles Times 12/11/13)
JERUSALEM -- In a controversial move decried by human rights organizations, Israel's parliament passed a bill allowing migrants to be jailed without trial for a year. Under the law finalized early Tuesday after a heated late-night debate, Israeli authorities will be able to jail new migrants for a year if they slip over the border illegally, and detain others already in Israel in a new holding facility indefinitely. The law was intended to apply almost exclusively to African migrants who cross the border in uncontrolled stretches of open desert. In the past, most have come in from Egypt. It replaces a previous law, ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, that allowed migrants to be jailed for three years. The court...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/10/13)
(Reuters) - Israel's parliament has moved to ensure African migrants who enter the country illegally can be held without charge, despite a Supreme Court ruling that had struck down a previous detention law. Legislation approved late on Monday set a maximum detention period of one year for new illegal migrants, a change from a term of up to three years stipulated in a previous law annulled by the court in September. But with a newly-built Israeli border fence effectively choking off what had been a stream of African migrants crossing from Egypt, the new law could also have an impact on some of the estimated 50,000 mainly Sudanese and Eritrean nationals already in the Jewish state. The new regulations, which...
(BBC News Africa 12/10/13)
Nelson Mandela's daughter Makaziwe has told the BBC about the "wonderful" final hours of the former president, who died aged 95 last Thursday. Ms Mandela said his wife Graca, the children and grandchildren were all there to say goodbye. South Africa is observing a series of commemorations over the next week, leading up to the funeral on Sunday. More than 100 current or former heads of state or government will attend the funeral or Tuesday's national memorial. Makaziwe Mandela told the BBC's Komla Dumor: "Until the last moment he had us, you know... The children were there, the grandchildren were there, Graca was there, so we are always around him and even at the last moment, we were sitting with...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/10/13)
DUBAI---(Reuters) - Three state-owned Gulf firms are considering a joint bid for a minority stake in Occidental Petroleum Corp's (OXY.N) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) unit, a deal that could be worth between $8 billion and $10 billion, three banking sources said. Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Co MUDEV.UL, Qatar Petroleum QATPE.UL and Oman Oil Co have formed a consortium and have picked Citigroup (C.N) to advise them, the sources with knowledge of the matter said on Monday. They spoke on condition of anonymity as the information is not public. Occidental, the fourth-largest U.S. oil company, said in October it planned to sell a minority stake in its MENA operations as part of a restructuring meant to lift its valuation...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/10/13)
WASHINGTON ---(Reuters) - German engineering company Bilfinger SE (GBFG.DE) will pay $32 million to resolve U.S. criminal charges that it bribed Nigerian officials to obtain contracts on a gas project in the African nation, the Justice Department said on Monday. Prosecutors charged the company with paying more than $6 million in bribes, in violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Bilfinger worked with others to inflate the price of a bid by 3 percent to cover the cost of the payments, prosecutors said. The Justice Department said it agreed to defer the charges for three years and drop them if Bilfinger improves its controls and hires an independent monitor for 18 months to assess the company's compliance. Bilfinger Chief...
(The Arusha Times 12/09/13)
Effective 2015, citizens of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda will be traveling using a new generation East African Passport, a modern regional traveling document likely to replace their national ones. A communique from the Heads of States Summit, that took place in Uganda and made available here via the Arusha-based East African Community Secretariat, quoted the five presidents agreeing to launch the new EA passport by November 2015. The Communique was signed by Presidents: Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania; Yoweri Museveni of Uganda; Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya; Paul Kagame of Rwanda; and Pierre Nkurunzinza of Burundi last weekend in Kampala. The current East African Passport apparently is only valid within the five countries thus holders also had to depend on...
(AL Jazeera 12/09/13)
African leaders have moved closer to the creation of a military force capable of intervening in crises like the one in the Central African Republic. Leaders attending a two-day summit on peace and security at the Elysee Palace in Paris have reached broad agreement on France's proposals to turn plans agreed in principle earlier this year into a reality. France has offered to provide equipment, logistical support and coordination for the force, and will seek to persuade its European Union partners to help with financing. Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's defence minister, said on Friday that the force could be operational by 2015 and that France would train 20,000 African troops a year for five years. Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland, reporting...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/09/13)
LONDON ----(Reuters) - Bob Diamond, the former boss of Barclays (BARC.L), is set to return to banking by listing a shell company in London in the next few weeks to invest in the African financial sector, a source familiar with the matter said. Diamond, who was ousted from Barclays last year after the Libor rate-rigging scandal, is finalizing plans to list Atlas Mara, a cash vehicle set up with billionaire entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar, chief executive of Mara Group, the source said. The vehicle will be managed by Atlas Merchant Capital, the merchant bank Diamond has set up in New York with a view to expand into sub-Sahara African banks and financial services. It is being advised by Citigroup (C.N), the...
(AFP (eng) 12/09/13)
JOHANNESBURG, December 9, 2013 (AFP) - South Africa raced Monday to meet the unprecedented logistical challenge of hosting close to 100 world leaders flying in from every corner of the globe for the state funeral of freedom icon Nelson Mandela. "The world literally is coming to South Africa," said the government's head of public diplomacy, Clayson Monyela. "I don't think it has ever happened before," Monyela said of the wave of 91 heads of state and government, including US President Barack Obama, descending on the country. Many will join the 80,000 people expected to cram Tuesday into the FNB stadium in Soweto for a sweeping, emotional tribute to their inspirational first black president. The memorial service, in the venue where...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/09/13)
WASHINGTON---(Reuters) - A minimalist U.S. budget deal that congressional negotiators hope to reach in coming days will do almost nothing to tame rising federal debt, but it could usher in a nearly two-year fiscal truce, minimizing the risk of future funding crises and government shutdowns. If the accord comes together, it would blunt some of the automatic "sequester" spending cuts and set funding levels at around $1 trillion for fiscal 2014 and 2015 for government agencies and programs from the military to national parks. Such a deal would not address an increase in the federal borrowing limit, which is expected to come up again by the spring, leaving conservatives a pressure point to try to exploit. However, it might restore...
(AFP 12/08/13)
JOHANNESBURG, December 8, 2013 (AFP) - Fifty-three heads of state and government have so far confirmed attendance at upcoming memorial events for peace icon Nelson Mandela, South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said Sunday. The dignitaries will include US President Barack Obama, along with three former American presidents, Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron. There has been "unprecedented interest" to attend the statesman's funeral week after he died Thursday night, Nkoana-Mashabane told a news conference in Johannesburg. Many leaders will attend a memorial service Tuesday at the Soccer City stadium, where Mandela made his last major public appearance during the 2010 football World Cup. A smaller group would travel to the Nobel...
(AFP (eng) 12/07/13)
JOHANNESBURG, December 7, 2013 (AFP) - South Africa on Saturday began preparations to host US President Barack Obama and other world leaders eager to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela during 10 days of mourning for the anti-apartheid icon. On Friday President Jacob Zuma announced the mourning period for Mandela, the founding father of modern South Africa and its first black leader, after he died late Thursday aged 95, surrounded by friends and family. Obama, America's first black president, will travel to South Africa next week, the White House said, joining a raft of world leaders for a huge December 10 memorial service. Mandela's body will lie in state in Pretoria for three days before he receives a state burial...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/13)
An ex-guard of Rwandan President Paul Kagame who was illegally seized in Uganda and sent back to Kigali, on Friday changed his plea to guilty of planning an uprising against the state. Joel Mutabazi, 37, who was forcibly returned to Rwanda by Ugandan police in October, had initially pleaded not guilty at a public hearing on Monday to charges including terrorism, formation of an armed group and murder. But after his trial was moved behind closed doors he "accepted all offences except that of terrorism," his lawyer Antoinette Mukamusoni said, without being able to explain the change. The lawyer did not attend the hearing as she was at "another trial". A trial date has not yet been set. Rwandan police...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/13)
PARIS, December 6, 2013 (AFP) - The death of Nelson Mandela weighed on African leaders as they gathered in Paris Friday for a summit focused on security and France's military intervention in the Central African Republic. Some 40 African leaders have flown into the French capital for two days of talks on security and economic issues, as Paris looks to revive its influence on the continent in the face of the growing clout of China and other developing economies. President Francois Hollande was to open the summit at 1300 GMT with a tribute to Mandela, who died late Thursday aged 95. "His death will no doubt weigh on the summit," Congo-Brazzaville President Denis Sassou Nguesso told AFP. "It will be...
(Voice of America 12/06/13)
NAIROBI — Mourning the loss of a man who bridged South Africa's racial divide, many Africans hope their leaders today will be inspired by Nelson Mandela to heal another rift widening dangerously across the continent: the wealth gap. “We need the next Mandela to fight for the poor,” said Thomas Kozzih, 30, a community worker in Nairobi's Kibera slum - an expanse of metal shacks butting up against smart new flats that testify to Africa's new growth that has left many behind. Nelson Mandela 1918 - Born in Transkei, South Africa 1944 - Joined African National Congress 1956 - Charged with treason, later acquitted 1962 - Convicted of sabotage and sentenced to 5 years 1964 - Sentenced to life in...
(AL Jazeera 12/06/13)
Minutes after news of the passing away of former South African president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, tributes and speeches started streaming in. United States President Barack Obama was one of the first global leaders to speak out following the news that the country's first black president had passed away. Speaking from the White House on Thursday, Obama said he was one of the countless millions around the world who was influenced by the anti-apartheid activist Mandela. US President Barack Obama Obama met with Mandela's family earlier this year when he visited South Africa, but he did not meet with the ailing leader, who was hospitalised throughout the US president's visit. Obama told the media that had been inspired by Mandela, who...
(Tanzania Daily News 12/05/13)
African countries still lack political will to implement the Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), promulgated by the African Union (AU) in 2007. Speaking in Dar es Salaam, State of the Union (SOTU) Coordinator, Ms Jamillah Mwanjisi, said the agreement could act as a roadmap in encouraging better governance across the continent. SOTU is a coalition of civil society organisations working together to hold African governments accountable for the ratification and implementation of African Union decisions at the country level. According to Mwanjisi, the ACDEG Charter sets out international standards of good governance and democracy in such areas as rule of law, free and fair elections and condemning unconstitutional changes of government. "Some countries are using the charter as...
(Voice of America 12/05/13)
French President Francois Hollande told African leaders that France is ready to double its aid and trade to the continent over the next five years. Hollande made the announcement Wednesday ahead of the formal opening on Friday of the annual Africa-France summit. Hollande also said the increased ties would mean thousands more jobs in France. “If we're only looking at the interests of France, we can estimate that 200,000 jobs could be created in five years if we doubled our exports to the African continent. So that's my objective. France must double its trade with Africa,” said Hollande. Senegalese President Macky Sall welcomed the news, as did the presidents of Cote d'Ivoire and Tanzania. "Africa is growing. It's becoming more...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/05/13)
PARIS ---(Reuters) - President Francois Hollande told African leaders on Wednesday France was ready to double its aid and trade to the continent over the next five years. The target, announced at a conference in Paris ahead of the formal opening on Friday of the annual Africa-France summit, is part of an effort by France to win back African business in the face of growing rivalry from China and others. "Africa's time has come - and France should see that as an opportunity," Hollande told the conference. "The road between France and Africa is not a one-way street," he told assembled leaders such as Ivory Coast's Alassane Ouattara. Hollande said France would look to double its global aid to the...

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