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A bit of a think: notes from a dawdler
He has just announced that he will stick around until 2010 at least. The hapless fools on the government benches of Zimbabwe’s parliament are about to rewrite the constitution, postponing the next presidential election and allowing Mugabe to stay in power until 2010.
In other countries, this kind of legal and political outrage would galvanise the opposition. But not in Zimbabwe.
Sadly, the bitterly divided Movement for Democratic Change is a shambles. Its leading figures are far too busy fighting one another to place any pressure on the regime.
So Mugabe’s calamitous rule will continue and Zimbabwe will drift on into ruin. The truth is that the world is giving up on Zimbabwe.
It's usually a yes or a no, or quite often, a sorry.:)
Australian city rejects Sudanese refugees
15 Dec 2006 03:39:33 GMT
By Rob Taylor
CANBERRA, Dec 15 (Reuters) - A group of Sudanese refugees has been refused residence in Australia's most "Friendly Town" because of fears they could spark a repeat of the race riots that gripped Sydney a year ago.
City officials in the regional city of Tamworth said on Friday they had rejected residency for five Sudanese families because they could stir racial unrest in the city, 260 km (163 miles) northwest of Sydney.
"We need to change the (refugee) programme significantly because of the cultural difference of African people, things such as their respect of women in their community," Mayor James Treloar told Reuters, dismissing fears of a divisive race row.
Tamworth in January hosts Australia's largest country music festival and recently won a tourism award naming the busy rural hub as the country's premier "Friendly Town".
But Treloar said local people and some "redneck elements" had aired concerns at a council meeting about 12 other Sudanese already living in the city, saying most had come before local courts for crimes ranging from dangerous driving to rape.
"They will not take a direction from authorities, so we've got a fairly significant cultural problem," he said, adding that health services for Tamworth's 40,000 population were already stretched.
Local churches said they would launch a petition calling on the council to reverse its decision, which was a response to an immigration department programme to resettle refugees in regional areas to help reverse a drift of Australians to major cities.
Several councillors and business leaders said they would try to overturn the decision, arguing that the arrival of the refugees would not fuel the kind of tensions that led to last December's Sydney beach riots where mainly-white surfers battled Lebanese-Australians.
"It will reflect on Tamworth and I feel it will be somewhat of a negative effect. To say that we can't provide for another five families is I think a bit ridiculous," Tamworth Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Max Cathcart told ABC radio.
Australia is a nation of immigrants, with nearly one in four of the country's 20 million people born overseas. Almost six million people have settled in the country since 1945 and Australia plans to accept about 144,000 new immigrants in 2006-07.
But the government is concerned the rapid transformation could fuel tensions and recently announced new citizenship tests to force new citizens to pass an English-language test and questions on Australian values such as "mateship".
I [...] assert the preponderance of Sudan to work and collaborate with the ACP member states on the one hand and the international community on the other, in order to achieve our common goals and interests, such as keeping of peace, security and stability, under the prevalence of justice, equality and respect of sovereignty of other states, in addition to the foremost of our priorities: sustained development and eradication of poverty.Following endorsement by member countries at the Summit, the ACP's president for the next two years will be - guess who? - President of the Republic of the Sudan, His Excellency Mr Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir. Mr al-Bashir's name has also been endorsed by Human Rights Watch as one of those individuals who should be investigated by the International Criminal Court. Hmm.
May I mention [...] that the experience of our country in attaining peace is worthy to be noted, for it has relied on the recognition of cultural, ethnic and religious diversity. No doubt, agreement on the legal and constitutional formula, which makes of such diversity a source for strength and consolidation, [will] require[...] a long time to fulfil.
We, however, shall endeavour to make of diversity a tool for consolidation, and [...] the implementation of the peace agreements [will] be carried [out] in a manner which shall disseminate the spirit of loving concord, equity, justice and peace among all citizens.
May I indicate here that the noble principles of democracy and good government are principles in which we believe and [are] exalted by our teachings, values and traditions across our countries.
Many of our countries do suffer from conflicts and disputes created by colonial powers and further aggravated by poverty, backwardness, and the lack of recognition of the root causes therein. It is high time, however, to surpass and address them through dialogue, as you realize we witness a new phase of the world of today wherein its people are availed to closely interact, thanks be to [...] information technology, migration, travelling and cross-movement of individuals and cash, so we are now living in a world that looks like a small village. This situation urges that a culture of peaceful coexistence, respect for human rights, prevalence of justice and lifting of injustice on vulnerable societies be installed in addition to [...] endeavours [...] by governments to realize a better life for their citizens.
Darfur, Sudan, 2006.
There is no peace whatsoever in Darfur. To a great extent this is the responsibility of the Government.- Jan Pronk, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Weblog nr 38, 27 November 2006.
As of December 2005, more than half of Darfur's six million people - Arabs and non-Arabs, pastoralists and farmers - now suffer the effects of a collapsed economy, little or no freedom of movement, and the loss of livelihoods from looted and destroyed property. More than two million displaced victims of "ethnic cleansing" in Darfur remain confined in camps, some for more than two years, where they are almost entirely dependent on foreign assistance and remain vulnerable to violence. Most displaced persons are unable to return to their rural homes due to the insecurity created by government forces and Janjaweed [militias]. Where individuals have attempted to return, they face continuing harassment and deadly attacks from growing numbers of armed groups, including the rebel movements, in some cases at the hands of the same persons who forcibly displaced them.- "Entrenching impunity: government responsibility for international crimes in Darfur: I. Summary," Human Rights Watch, vol. 17, no. 17a (December 2005).
Crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Sudanese military and militia forces have included the targeted killing, summary execution, assault and rape of thousands of civilians, the destruction of hundreds of villages, the theft of millions of livestock, and the forced displacement of more than two million people.- "Entrenching impunity: government responsibility for international crimes in Darfur: III. Background," Human Rights Watch, vol. 17, no. 17a (December 2005).
The rebel groups in Darfur are also responsible for serious abuses, including killings, rape and abductions of civilians, attacks on humanitarian convoys, and theft of livestock, that are war crimes.
Escalating attacks on international and Sudanese aid workers and [African Union (AU)] personnel demonstrate that these groups are increasingly viewed by the warring parties as legitimate targets, a situation that jeopardizes the delivery of essential humanitarian assistance to more than three million people, or half of Darfur's population.
[Among the lawyers at Amal Center in Nyala, South Darfur, is] Thuriya Haroon Daldon, who is teasingly nicknamed Mrs ICC by local judges and, unusually for a woman here, drives herself around in a van. Thuriya Haroon's first case with Amal was in 2001, representing a group of men who said they had been tortured by national-security officers. "I submitted the names of the torturers to the attorney general, but until now there's no permission even to pursue the case, and no answer," she said, and laughed. A frank woman with a friendly but firm aspect, Thuriya Haroon uses laughter to fend off the realities of death and cruelty that now fill her workday. "Instead, we face harassment," she said. "They follow us, watch us. And until now the victims say to me: 'What do you do? We give our stories, and those who tortured us are on the streets.' Sometimes I'm ashamed. I've done nothing." She has handled hundreds of rape cases, for example, and until now: "No one has been convicted of rape in all of Darfur. We've had only two cases of immoral behavior. They were sentenced to six months."- Elizabeth Rubin, "If not peace, then justice," New York Times Magazine, 02 April 2006.
Since August 2004, the Amal Center has compiled information on more than 72,000 cases [of torture and abuse].
It's not that no one has been connected by Sudanese courts to the genocide. They have convicted several men who did not want to take part in it: Darfurian Air Force pilots who refused to fly bombing missions over their homeland. They are serving 10 to 20 years in Kober prison in Khartoum.
The main reason other international [television] stations don't always cover Africa well is - not because execs think viewers aren't interested, because they know very well that public attention is shaped by their decisions - but simply money. It costs a lot to send people into Congo and Darfur, [...]- Andrew Stroehlein, "Great hopes for Al Jazeera International," Reuters AlertNet, 03 November 2006.
While one of the world's worst humanitarian crises continues some 600 miles away in Darfur, across Khartoum bridges are being built, office towers are popping up, supermarkets are opening and flatbed trucks hauling plasma TVs fight their way through thickening traffic.- Jeffrey Gettleman, "War in Sudan? Not where the oil wealth flows," New York Times, 24 October 2006.
Despite the image of Sudan as a land of cracked earth and starving people, the economy is booming, with little help from the West. Oil has turned it into one of the fastest growing economies in Africa - if not the world - emboldening the nation's already belligerent government and giving it the wherewithal to resist Western demands to end the conflict in Darfur.
The boom is also strengthening the government's hand at home. Over the past few years, [President] Mr. Bashir has been on an infrastructure binge, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into roads, bridges, power plants, hospitals and schools, projects that tend to boost any government's popularity. Mr. Bashir seems to desperately need it, with many people across the country, not just in Darfur, openly rebelling against his rule.
[According to Abda Yahia el-Mahdi, a former finance minister, now in private consulting] more than 70 percent of the government's share of oil profits is spent on defense. A government priority is to manufacture guns and ammunition domestically, in case external supplies are cut off.
UN Sudan Bulletin 06 Dec 2006: West Darfur: Twenty five children, who were abandoned when their parents fled to Chad, were reported in need of food.- United Nations Country Team in Sudan, "United Nations Sudan Bulletin 06 Dec 2006," ReliefWeb Latest Updates.
My most humbling moment was the birth of my first grandchild. No! Wait! It was when I won the office Grand National sweepstake in 1999. God bless you, Bobbyjo! Idiot gamer (M, 61). One eye on a meaningful relationship, the other on the William Hill Saturday quick-pick cards. Box no. 23/03Oh, bless 'em. Aren't they cute? :)
This advert began as a limp but over the following weeks it developed into this magnificent sprint. Woman, 36. Probably as good as you’ll ever get. Stop whingeing and kiss me. Box no. 23/04
Young, charming, thoughtful, attractive, sporty, zesty, intelligent. None of these are me, but if you’d like to spend an afternoon or more considering alternative adjectives to be applied to 53-year old cantankerous dipshit, write now to box no 2202
2 out of every 10 times I’m absolutely correct. Man, 35, (Islington). Non-smoker, academic, caring, solvent, passionate, articulate, full head of hair. Box no. 2203
Your Christmas bookings now taken! Pathetic man, 37. Box no. 2207
I thank my stars for Melvin. I think of him with gratitude when I am going to sleep, grateful that he exists,— that Melvin who is such a trial to his mother. Yet he is agreeable to me as a tinge of russet on the hillside. I would fain give thanks morning and evening for my blessings. Awkward, gawky, loose-hung, dragging his legs after him. He is my contemporary and neighbor. He is one tribe, I am another, and we are not at war.He is one tribe, I am another, and we are not at war.