Sunday, 01 June 2008 20:00 Angela Joya Editorial Dept - Africa

Falling Wages, High Prices and the Failure of an Export-Oriented Economy  - In April 2008, after a wave of protests over low wages and high food prices, including an attempt to generate a general strike by many workers and social activists on April 6 and led by workers in the state-run textile industry, the Egyptian government suspended its export of rice and cement in order to meet local demand.

This suspension of exports is a response to the failure of the export-oriented economy that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) prescribed for Egypt in 1991.

More than a decade and a half of neoliberal reforms in Egypt has brought the Egyptian society to the brink of a deep social crisis.

Fearful of the collapse of the political order, the authoritarian political regime of President Hosni Mubarak recently conceded to the demands of the poor and the workers and promised a 30 percent wage increase for public servants and urged the private sector to offer similar compensation. As representatives of Egyptians workers have pointed out, the rising food prices while not being the main cause, has indeed exposed the dire situation of Egyptian workers and peasants who have suffered declining standards of living and increasing poverty since the mid-1990s.


Monday, 26 May 2008 20:00 Arab Media Watch Editorial Dept - Africa

Al-Haj Arab Media Watch expresses concern and surprise at the British press's almost total silence over the release on 1 May 2008 of Al Jazeera cameraman Sami Al-Haj from Guantanamo Bay, where he had been imprisoned without charge or trial for almost six years - the only journalist known to be held there.

The Guardian was the only national British newspaper to report his release, first as a news story by Martin Hodgson (US releases al-Jazeera cameraman, 2 May), then as a feature by Richard Norton-Taylor (The other Alan Johnston, 5 May). The Sudanese national's lawyer "said much of the western media had been slow to take up" his client's case, wrote Hodgson.

Likewise, Norton-Taylor wrote that had Al-Haj died in Guantanamo, his case would have received "the kind of publicity in the west that it has been given only by his employer." If there were similarities between Al-Haj and BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, who was kidnapped in Gaza last year, "there was one big difference - that is, in the amount of publicity and attention the two cases have attracted."

Thursday, 03 April 2008 19:00 Julie Stahl Editorial Dept - Africa

If Egypt really wants to stop Hamas from smuggling weapons and explosives into the Gaza Strip, it must build a security zone on its side of the Gaza border, a former Israeli National Security Advisor said on Friday. If it doesn't happen, Israel should disconnect itself completely from the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian terrorists continue to launch rockets and mortars at southern Israeli communities from the Gaza Strip. More than 1,260 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israeli civilians since the beginning of the year, the army said on Friday.

Tons of weapons and explosives continue to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip through the Egyptian border.

On Friday, an aide to Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter was shot and moderately wounded by Palestinian gunfire as the minister toured the area with a group of Canadian Jewish tourists. A group affiliated with al Qaeda claimed responsibility, although the claim has not been substantiated.


Thursday, 28 February 2008 19:00 Fadumo Awow Mohamed Editorial Dept - Africa

The Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliance emphatically calls upon the Canadian government and all human rights groups to denounce the approximately 18 Somali Canadians who are members of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG), a government which is complicit in committing atrocities against their own people.

These 18 individuals, after participating in what some commentators decree are war crimes in Somalia, return to Canada to enjoy peace, stability and a safety haven away from the violence.

In a report commissioned and released by Human Rights Watch in August 2007, titled Shell-Schocked: Civilians under siege in Mogadishu, the TFG is accused of looting property, impeding relief efforts for displaced people, conducting mass arrests, and allowing Ethopian military forces to indiscriminately bombard heavily populated areas of Mogadishu with artillery, loot hopsitals, and deliberately shooting and executing non-combatants.


Tuesday, 29 January 2008 19:00 Emma Reyes Editorial Dept - Africa

Just one month after the election of a new president, Kenya's people are again suffering from the effects of violence and what former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan described as "gross abuses of human rights."

According to U.N. observers, the new unrest has already driven 250,000 people from their homes, with thousands of dwellings destroyed as fights between rival communities escalate. Regrettably, top officials of many Western countries regard the continuing bloodshed in Kenya and other African countries as evidence of political immaturity and either refer to these nations with patronizing comments or simply ignore them.

"Western countries can't wipe their hands of these conflicts by writing them off as acts of uncivilized barbarians, since they themselves are responsible," said Rael, founder and leader of the Raelian Movement, in a statement released Monday. "Like Rwanda and many other African countries before this, Kenya is living out yet another drama that is 100 percent the legacy of the artificial borders imposed by colonization. And there will be many more."

During his conference tours in Africa, Rael has said it is more urgent than ever to return to the pre-colonization borders and states that made up the original kingdoms and empires of Kama (the name given to the African continent by native inhabitants before colonizers renamed it "Africa"). Only this will prevent additional genocides, he warned.


Wednesday, 14 November 2007 19:00 Chris Hattingh Editorial Dept - Africa

The DA in the NW is concerned about the impact of the latest shenanigans in the North West ANC - this time putting pressure on Premier Edna Molewa to resign - exacerbating the problems facing the already destabilized North West Government.

In a series of events, originating at the previous North West ANCs Provincial Congress, a faction within the NW ANC referring to them as the Taliban, removed people out of positions and deployed their own loyalists in line with a strategic document "The Eradication of the Popo Molefe Legacy".

During the past months it became evident that Premier Molewa has become a hostage in her own cabinet - this was particularly clear when the MEC for Finance Maureen Modiselle stated at a Portfolio Committee at Parliament that the North West "does not have a Dept of Agriculture" highlighting the serious and extended problems within that Department.

The repudiation of the MEC by the Premier sparked off a vicious series of events with the North West - former MEC Mandlenkosi Mayisela being one of the main casualties in this faction fighting having his ANC membership terminated after Premier Molewa allegedly refused to replace him with a member proposed by the Taliban.



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