Compiled by Jehron Muhammad
Obama warns Kenyan president and prime minister
President Obama issued a “stern warning” to President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya, according to news reports. He called on the politicians “to lower the political tension” (resolve differences), and to ensure that neither departed from the “spirit of the National Accord as crafted by former UN chief Kofi Annan.” There have been rumblings of discord in the effort to pull the competing leaders together for the good of the country. Violence exploded after January 2008 presidential balloting with Mr. Kibaki accused by Odinga supporters of stealing the election. On his second stop after attending the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Johnnie Carson, the new U.S. assistant secretary of state, responded to the recent bickering in Kenya. “The U.S. is ready to take necessary steps should the coalition fail to implement the Annan agreement,” he said.
Kenyan Tourism Board wins award
At a recent awards ceremony recently in Durban, South Africa, the Kenyan Tourism Board was declared winner of the Good Safari Guide award in the “best tourism marketing board category.” Kenya beat out Mozambique, South Africa, Gambia and Zambia.
Mauritania’s military leader to run for president
Ignoring aid freezes and international condemnations “for his coup,” General Mohamad Ould Abdel Aziz announced his resignation in mid-May so he could pave his way to stand in the polls, the first since he ousted the Saharan Islamic state’s first elected leader in an army takeover.
In a related story, some are saying his recent “tackling what has been a taboo subject in Mauritania–the killing of hundreds of mostly Black soldiers under the military rule of President Maaouva Sid’ Ahmed Ould Taya two decades ago,” is a way of garnering much needed votes.
Airlines that transported aid involved in arms trafficking
A just released study said 90 percent of air carriers “involved in arms trafficking were also used by aid groups and peacekeepers.” The Swedish-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said “the worst case was Sudan. All air firms there listed for illicit arms transfers were also used for aid.”
U.S. security firms push arms to ‘global terrorists?’
According to the online service Sudan Watch, U.S. private security firms, including Dyncorp, hired air cargo carrier Aerolift to assist in handling “the trafficking of arms to militias which the U.S. government have designated ‘global terrorists.’ ” In 2006, the UN Security Council accused Aerolift of being involved in arms trading, and supplying “weapons to an Islamist militia that controls much of Southern Somalia.”
Samuel Jackson purchased rights to pirate negotiator story
Kenyan pirate negotiator Andrew Mwangura, who heads the non-profit East African Seafarers’ Assistance Program, was “told to his surprise that he is scheduled to be the subject of a Hollywood film, and that his role would be played by none other than Samuel Jackson,” according to a recent media report. Variety magazine recently reported that Jackson’s Uppity Films and Andras Hamori’s H20 Motion Pictures had secured the “life rights to Mwangura’s story.”
African Union held infrastructure investment talks
According to an article published in the Tripoli Post, “Africa needs about $20 billion” annually for infrastructure development, “and the African Union is in talks with donors, including the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Union.” “Finance is a big issue. Our infrastructure requirements now would be something between $15 billion and $20 billion a year,” AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Maxwell M. Mkwezalamba, told Down Jones Newswire.
Nigeria unions to start protests
The main labor movement in Nigeria, according to news reports, “is starting rallies to protest against rising fuel prices, low minimum wages and slow electoral reform changes.” The report cited a Nigeria Labor Congress plan “to begin with a march in the commercial capital, Lagos.”It also warned of further rallies around the country if the government of the oil-rich country does not meet its demands. The government has said the protests may be used “to cause chaos,” and urged the NLC to return to negotiations. Nigeria imports some 85 percent of its oil petroleum products needs, despite being the world’s biggest crude oil exporter.