Monday, October 29, 2007

President Jakaya Kikwete in Hindu Mandal Hospital

President Jakaya Kikwete poses for a picture as he visits Community Development, Gender and Children minister Sofia Simba at her Hindu Mandal Hospital bed in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Suzana Manguli died on Saturday night fire

FORMER Harbours Assistant Public Relations Officer,Suzana Manguli was killed on saturday night,when fire razed her house along Chole street,Masaki in dar es Salaam. in picture,Siza lyimo (right),sister in law of Suzana looks at remnants of the house yesterday

Exporters of electric poles planning legal action on Maghembe

Natural Resources and Tourism minister Jumanne Maghembe

Tanzanian traders dealing in the export of electric poles in Mufindi District have threatened to sue Natural Resources and Tourism minister Jumanne Maghembe for allegedly issuing contradictory directives that have disrupted their businesses.

They have also made public their intention to seek President Jakaya Kikwete�s intervention on the matter, should that become necessary.

The development follows two recent statements issued by the minister, one effectively banning the exportation of the poles and the other appearing to reverse the position.

Initially, according to the dealers, the minister imposed a ban on the exportation of the item but a few days ago he issued another statement saying he had not imposed any such restriction after all.

`We suffered huge losses as a consequence of the contradictory government statements,` complained John Kalinga, one of the dealers.

It is reported that the dealers received the government restraining order through Sao Hill forest authorities, after which the traders officially wrote the minister a letter seeking clarification but without getting any response.

Three weeks later, according to Kalinga, the minister came up with another statement to the effect that the government had not restricted the exportation of electric poles.

`We find this unfair and unacceptable. The inspection, registration and issuance of licences for the exportation of consignments of electric poles have been halted for weeks now following minister Maghembe`s directive. We have already incurred heavy losses in between,` explained Kalinga.

Sources have told The Guardian that the inspection, registration and issuance of the said licenses are conducted by a consultant known as Timber and Pools Grader but this has not been confirmed.

The dealers say the government has been issuing permits to some traders to harvest trees in the Sao Hill forest for electric poles with the earlier ban still operational.

`These are not logs; they are not even timber. They are simple electric poles. Denying us permission to harvest and export products of this nature is completely unfair,` observed another dealer.

According to the recent reports, more than 100 trucks loaded with electric poles are still stranded in the Iringa municipality after being intercepted by the government authorities out to implement the minister`s first directive.

Sources say officials of the Mafinga-based Sao Hill forest halted the exportation of electric poles after receiving verbal instructions from headquarters of the Forest Department in Prof Maghembe`s ministry in Dar es Salaam.

This is now understood to have impacted negatively on current contracts between the government and the dealers on the export of electric poles.

`As we speak, several ships stand docked at the Dar es Salaam port waiting for electric poles to ferry to various foreign destinations. If the minister now says he has never issued an order banning the export of electric poles, who then issued then directive on his behalf?

The minister should speak up to clear the air,` noted another trader.

The dealers have called for President Kikwete`s intervention, saying that would help local investors who had responded to repeated government calls asking interested Tanzanians to come forward and invest in the country�s social and economic sectors.

Opposition`s `list of shame` now centres on...

Fiery opposition legislator Willibrod Slaa yesterday revealed what he called the contents of what he had promised to be a second list of the forces behind grand corruption in Tanzania, as compiled by opposition parties.

The first one was issued some weeks ago and centred only on individuals, mainly heavyweights in the public service, while the second one deals exclusively with corporate bodies.

The so-called lists of shame partly revolve around controversy over mining contracts with foreign investors as well as scandal allegations involving the accounts of the Bank of Tanzania, both of which have triggered differences of opinion between the government and a section of the opposition camp.

Accompanied by lawyer Tundu Lissu, the MP told a meeting of a coalition of four opposition parties that the second list involves phantom companies, believed to have been unlawfully and dubiously paid by the central bank for `shadowy` projects or activities.

Among those whose names appear on the current list are a finance company managed by three foreigners as sole directors, a government-owned firm, and three commercial banks under foreign management teams.

Slaa, who is just back from a tour of the US he says helped him learn more about the magnitude of corruption in Tanzania, alleged that the banks named were involved in dubious transactions between the central bank, the finance company and the government-owned firm.

The Karatu MP told his audience, comprising mainly journalists and members of the coalition members, that the transactions ended in the siphoning of undisclosed amounts of money from the government coffers.

He alleged that the central bank and the Finance ministry on separate occasions corruptly paid the finance firm a total of 10.484bn/- in a span of four months � specifically between August 1 and December 10, 2005 � and that the company entered into another dubious transaction with the government-owned firm.

There is documentary evidence that on May 1, 2004 the finance firm opened a bank account in Dar es Salaam at one of the commercial banks named.

`I am wondering how the company managed to open an account on International Workers Day (May Day),` noted Slaa, who is also Secretary General of the opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) - possibly referring to the fact that May Day is a public holiday and most banks are usually closed.

`It`s surprising to note that the company operated its account at zero digit for a whole year. As if that is not strange enough, it is not on the list of financial institutions in the country as per Bank of Tanzania report of August 21, this year,` added the legislator.

Slaa further alleged that the file on the said company that is supposed to be at the Business Registration and Licensing Authority (BRELA) is currently nowhere to be seen, while initially BRELA reports showed it was established in March 2004 and the names of its two Tanzanian shareholders were given.

He added that other documents indicate the government-owned firm implicated fulfilled registration procedures in February 2006 but opened an account with the same commercial bank named as long ago as January 1, 2003 � New Year`s Day and another public holiday.

`For a whole four months from August 1 to December 12, 2005, the government-owned firm was corruptly paid by the central bank a total of 4.742bn/-. Documents also show the same firm then paid two other companies a total of 3.363bn/-. This is a corruption syndicate that uses highly sophisticated techniques,` contended Lissu.

According to the lawyer, there has never been such a government-owned company and the one mentioned has no physical address and personnel to prove its presence although it is indicated that it has four stakeholders.

Slaa recently produced a list of senior government officials, among them cabinet ministers, saying they were masterminds of grand corruption and embezzlement of public funds.

The opposition coalition gave the government 28 days to set up an independent commission to probe the allegations, failing which they would `decide on the next step`.

But the government has dismissed the charges as baseless, while some of those implicated have said they would seek legal redress for defamation.

Some high-profile members of the foreign diplomatic corps accredited to Tanzania have called on the government to respond to the allegations and act against those implicated.

However, the government has responded by calling for patience and understanding, insisting that the relevant State organs were continuing with investigations into the allegations.

Being too choosy on jobs is risky, cautions Karume

Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume

Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume has warned Zanzibaris against the long-standing practice in the Isles of discriminating against certain jobs even when no better option was readily available.

He said clinging to the culture was the wrong way to complement the comprehensive government-led strategies seeking to rid the Isles of grinding poverty.

President Karume issued the warning here yesterday when addressing a forum organised by the Zanzibar Labour, Youth Development, Women and Children Affairs ministry. It was convened to discuss employment issues.

`People should disabuse themselves of the habit of going only for specific jobs while shunning the rest. Doing so will help the government ease the problem of unemployment, which has assumed critical proportions, and speed up social and economic development for the benefit of all our people,` he stated.

He observed that his government had already drafted an employment policy as part of the implementation of the official manifesto of the ruling CCM, with the thrust on fast-tracking the Isles` development.

`In the policy, the government recognises the informal sector as a strategic and invaluable tool for the creation of jobs. That is why we have been making vigorous efforts to establish vocational education and training centres in both Unguja and Pemba,` added President Karume.

Zanzibar`s 2002 population census and financial report of 2004/05 show that seven per cent of the Isles` residents who are able to work have no jobs, most of the unemployed being young men and women.

The President said prevailing conditions do not allow Zanzibaris to select jobs, adding that it was important to remember that well-paying jobs call for specialised skills and competence that not everybody has.

Ibrahim Koroma, a Zanzibar-based Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Programme, meanwhile told the forum that the Zanzibar government`s commitment of reducing unemployment from seven to four by 2010 required hard work on the part of the government and all stakeholders.

`The main challenge facing the government today is how to mobilise funding amounting to $4.45m to facilitate effective implementation of the respective strategic plan,` he said.

`In this respect, UNDP is ready to extend its massive contribution to ensure the realisation of the plan, as it did to the programme aimed at strengthening capacities of government institutions in Zanzibar,` he added.

Zanzibar Chief Minister Shamsi Vuai Nahodha explained that some $7bn dollars was needed to strengthen the operations of vocational education and training centres and help them provide specialised courses aimed at reducing youth unemployment.

`The government had already withdrawn from direct economic activities but it remains as a facilitating agent assisting private sector in playing an active role in bringing about social and economic development by putting in place an attractive environment for local and foreign investors and entrepreneurs,` he said.

Tanzania acts on Stockholm Convention against...

Stockholm convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) meeting

Tanzania has started implementing the Stockholm convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to protect human health and avoid adverse environmental impacts.

The implementation which started by raising awareness on POPs to key players, is carried out by the Chemical Risks Experts Foundation of Tanzania (CREFT).

`Currently CREFT is conducting a series of seminars on `promotion of Awareness` on POPs and the Stockholm convention across the country` said an Association�s Executive chairman, Dr. Enock Masanja.

According to Dr. Masanja the main activities of the project include developing technical information, reviewing and identifying shortcomings in the existing policies and laws.

Other objectives are developing website with local information, developing information dossier on substitutes and alternatives, creating awareness and training stakeholders on POPs.

`This project, which is under the facilitation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grant Programme, aims at contributing to the general goal of implementing the convention` he stressed.

`The Stockholm POPs convention was adopted in 2001 and came into force in 2004 and. Tanzania has ratified the convention,` he said.

Water supply company in plans to recover 137m/-

The newly inaugurated Water Board for Songea Water and Sewerage Authority, Souwasa has vowed to recover all outstanding debts amounting to 137m/-.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony in Songea yesterday, the outgoing chairman of Souwasa, Adam Mwendowasaa informed the chief guest who is also the Regional Commissioner of Ruvuma, Monica Mbega that the chronic debtors were government and private institutions.

Classifying the debtors to shed light on the outstanding bills, Mwendowasaa named three well-known institutions that he said continued to enjoy the services but remained unwilling to clear their water bills.

The institutions with the amount owed in brackets include the Tanzania People`s Defence Forces (61.174m), the office of Ruvuma Regional Police Commander, (14,838,721/-) and Songea Girls` Secondary School, (13,465,745)

The chairman previously complained about unsatisfactory quality of service provided by Souwasa and the limited number of consumers despite the determination to make sure that more people had access to their services.

He said the outstanding debts dating back to five years now undermined the progress of the firm.

For her part, Mbega urged the board members to work closely with their clients and find ways to resolve the impasse for the improvement of the sector.

`I call upon members of the newly inaugurated water board (Songea) to arrange meetings with heads of departments and institutions to ensure the settlement of their water bills before Souwasa disconnects the supply,` Mbega insisted.

She reminded the board members of their obligation to abide by the national water sector development programme, especially the sub-programme focusing on supply of clean water and improved sewerage systems in urban areas.

Other institutions on the list include Ruvuma regional hospital, (1.2325m/-), Songea District Office, (1.6m/-), Songea Medical College, (2,669,746/-) and Songea boys, (2,547,355/-).

Others are Songea District Council Office, (1,471,620/-), Songea Municipal director, (2,350,123/-), Prisons in Ruvuma, (3,120,889/-), Songea Teachers Training College, (1,346,640/-), Ruvuma Administrative Secretary, (11,122,563/-) and Ruvuma Day Secondary School (775,000/-).

Bank challenges environmentalists to reduce global warming impact

Enviromentalists have been challenged to play their prime role in addressing the burning issue of scaling down the long term impacts of global warming in the country.

The challenge was made over the weekend in Dar es Salaam, by the Acting CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Saif Malik shortly after the bank announced its decision to inspire and engage environmental responsibility on a global scale.

He said the bank believes in long term sustainability and is committed to making positive impact on the world and its environment.

`We have therefore introduced the environment challenge in order to raise awareness of the simple steps people can make to help reduce the world�s climate change such as air pollution, deforestation, water and land degradation,` he said.

Malik said through the campaign, they will look at four key categories which are water, land, forest air pollution, climate change and learning more.

`We believe that the total aggregated benefits of individual pledges have the potential to make significant difference` he said.

The bank will donate USD1m as part of the environment challenge to support vital environment conservation projects working in partnership with WWF.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Information, Culture and Sports Muhammed Seif Khatibu, commended the bank for its decision saying environmental and climatical changes issues have become a key agenda for the world.

`Tanzania cannot be left behind in the efforts to protect our environment; I commend both the bank and WWF for their partnerships,` he said.

The bank in collaboration with WWF has introduced the environment challenge as a key component of its global sustainability strategy and approach to tackle environmental issues.

Leaders call for more research at AMREF`s 50th anniversary

The First Lady Salma Kikwete

The First Lady Salma Kikwete has called upon Africa Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) to step up efforts in research to help reduce common and threatening diseases in the country.

She said the country had for years been overwhelmed by diseases that needed means to address such as research, to curb the problem.

Mama Kikwete was speaking in Dar es Salaam on Saturday, during the occasion to mark the Golden Jubilee of Africa Medical Research Foundation (AMREF).

She said that the fifty years had given them enough experience and should now be in a position to launch a massive campaign against poverty and HIV/Aids which was a major problem in the country.

`I call upon the institutions, organisation, stakeholders and sponsors to continue their support for our brothers and sisters who live with HIV/Aids by counseling, testing and helping them eradicate poverty,` she said.

The First Lady commended AMREF for attaining fifty years and for the enormous contribution to the government through health, water and social welfare.
AMREF announced its 10 year strategy focusing on ensuring quality health care reaches the targeted communities.

Speaking during the event, AMREF Chairperson, Prof. Mariam Were said that her organisation would continue to work with communities and government using creativity and innovation according to needs while listening to the people.

Prof Were said that this time AMREF was celebrating its success in changing lives and improving health in Africa.

The Minister of Health and Social Welfare Prof. David Mwakyusa said during the occasion that the organisation had made a remarkable contribution to educate the society about HIV/Aids and testing.

AMREF was established in Tanzania in 1957.

Kisarawe village leadership plans to sue parents denying their children education

Masaki Village Chairman in Kisarawe District, Coast Region, Ramadhani Mintanga has said it will take to court parents who fail to take their children to secondary schools under the pretext of poverty.

The warning was sounded recently during Standard Seven graduation ceremony held at Masaki Primary School at the school grounds in the village.

Mintanga called on the parents to get prepared to take their children to school when they are selected to join Form One instead of spending their money for staging dances for the children.

`Prepare your children for schooling instead of staging local dances if you wish them the best. I have seen many children loitering in the village though they had passed the national Standard Seven examinations,` he said.

He said many parents in the village were failing to take their children to school under the pretext of poverty, while they were spending a lot of money for ngomas.

The chairman said that he would like to see his village had educated people from primary school to university instead of loiterers who missed education after the parents failed to take them to schools.

Earlier, the school head teacher, Innocent Muyebe said during the ceremony, 88 out of 155 children who had started Standard One in 2001, succeeded to complete primary school education this year after sitting for the national exams.

The rest of the children failed in completing classes due to various reasons, including absenteeism, deaths and transfers.

Meanwhile, the Dar based Automobile Association of Tanzania (AAT) has agreed to be the patron of the school after it was requested by the parents.

The association�s supervisor, Athumani Hamisi on behalf of AAT deputy president Satinder Singh Birdi said during the ceremony that the association would help the school financially to solve its problems and it would also seek donors.

The school had various problems including shortages of teachers� houses, classrooms, desks, books, library, food, water and lacked toilets.

Somali prime minister steps down

Mr Yusuf (l) and his prime minister (r) have failed to secure peace

The prime minister of Somalia's transitional government, Ali Mohamed Ghedi, has resigned.

Mr Ghedi told MPs of his decision after handing in his resignation to President Abdullahi Ahmed Yusuf.

Mr Ghedi has been blamed for failing to quell the Islamist insurgency in Somalia and for bringing Ethiopian troops onto Somali soil.

On Sunday, thousands fled the capital, Mogadishu, after Ethiopian troops opened fire on protestors.

The tznews correspondent says that the prime minister's political future has for some time hung in the balance.

She says that despite efforts to salvage his job during talks at the weekend in Ethiopia, he has agreed to step down after pressure from within Somalia and the international community, in particular from the US.

Struggle to salvage Darfur talks

The Sirte talks have been 'rebranded' as a consultation phase

International mediators are struggling to save talks in Libya aimed at ending the four-year war in Darfur.

UN envoy Jan Eliasson said key rebel groups that are boycotting the talks would be given more time to prepare for negotiations with Sudan's government.

Mediators will now travel to Darfur to consult with the main rebel groups before actual peace negotiations are held at an unspecified date.

Some 200,000 people have died and two million have been displaced in the war.

Prison 'likely' in Chad child row

The workers say they were assured that the children were orphans

Chad's interior minister has said six French aid workers are likely to go to prison after attempting to fly more than 100 children out of eastern Chad.

Ahmat Mahamat Bachir told the tznews that a judge was expected to lay charges of child abduction against the workers.

Ten other people have been detained, including seven Spanish crew of the plane that was to be used by the charity, known as Zoe's Ark.

The charity has denied it planned to sell the children for adoption.

It has said the 103 children are orphans from Sudan's war-torn Darfur region.

However staff from the UN children's agency Unicef say many of the children, now being kept in an orphanage in Abeche, cry at night for their parents and say they are from villages in Chad.

Mr Bachir said the case would go before a judge on Monday.

"They made fake visas, which means they forged the documents. For us, abduction is more than a crime. They could be put in jail for several years.

"They committed the offence in Chad, so they would be imprisoned in Chad of course, it's very probable," he said.

The French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, Rama Yade, said the planned operation by the charity was "irresponsible" but that France would offer its citizens "maximum consular assistance".

"France is a good mother, we will be with these French nationals to protect them as far as we can, to guarantee their rights and we will never leave them," she told Europe 1 radio.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said the charity workers' actions were illegal and unacceptable.

Chad's President Idriss Deby has promised "severe punishment" for what he has described as a "kidnapping" or "child-trafficking" operation.

Denying it planned to sell the children for adoption, Zoe's Ark says it was given statements from tribal leaders that all the children were Darfur orphans with no known relatives.

The charity insists it was trying in good faith to take endangered children abroad for medical treatment.

However, a tznews reporter says the children appear to be in good health.

SAS grounds planes in safety fear

SAS fears problems with the plane could damage its image

Scandinavian airline SAS is to permanently stop flying Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 planes after several emergencies caused by landing gear problems.

The decision came after a plane carrying 44 people from Bergen, Norway, to Copenhagen made an emergency landing in Denmark on Saturday.

Nobody was seriously hurt in the incident, the third involving a Canadian-made Bombardier in two months.

The SAS board decided to "immediately discontinue" using the planes.

"Confidence in the Q400 has diminished considerably and our customers are becoming increasingly doubtful about flying in this type of aircraft," said chief executive Mats Jansson.

And the airline's deputy chief executive, John Dueholm, said the Dash 8-Q400 had seen "repeated quality-related problems".

"SAS's flight operations have always enjoyed an excellent reputation and there is a risk that use of the Dash 8-400 could eventually damage the SAS brand," he said.

Kirchner claims Argentine victory

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner consistently led the opinion polls

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has claimed victory in Argentina's presidential elections.

Partial official results, based on two-thirds of ballots being counted, gave her 43.6% of the vote.

Her nearest rival, former lawmaker Elisa Carrio, has admitted defeat with 22.6% of the vote.

If confirmed by the full count, Mrs Kirchner will succeed her husband Nestor Kirchner and become Argentina's first elected female president.

"We've won by a wide margin," she told supporters in a speech at her campaign headquarters at a hotel in Buenos Aires.

As her husband, the outgoing president, stood at her side, she said she would build on his work.

"We have repositioned the country, fought poverty and unemployment, all these tragedies that have hit Argentines," she said, referring to the country's recovery from the 2001 economic crash.

Exit polls showed Ms Carrio, who ran on an anti-corruption platform, took one out of four votes nationwide and did well with middle and upper-class voters in urban areas.

Ex-Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna won 19% of the vote, partial results showed.

Mrs Kirchner needs more than 45% of the full vote, or 40% with a 10 point lead over the next nearest candidate, to win the presidency without facing a second round of voting.

The partial count gives her an apparently unbeatable lead, with double the votes of her rivals.

Mr Kirchner has governed for the past four years, but surprised the nation by deciding not to seek a fresh term.

Polling was extended by one hour in some parts of the country to 1900 local time (2200 GMT) to accommodate a late rush of voters.

Besides a new president, voters were choosing eight provincial governors, a third of the Senate and about half of the Chamber of Deputies.

Some 27 million people were eligible to vote.

Japanese ship hijacked in Africa

Pirates have hijacked a Japanese ship off the East African coast - the latest in a series of similar incidents near the war-torn country of Somalia.
The vessel, thought to be a tanker with a crew of Burmese, Philippine and South Korean sailors, was seized in the Gulf of Aden early on Sunday.

Officials say they are trying to find out what the pirates' demands are.

The area is notorious for piracy - of 16 reported hijackings worldwide this year, 11 were off the Somali coast.

Life term for 'chessboard' killer

Alexander Pichushkin said he had killed 61 people

A Moscow court has sentenced serial killer Alexander Pichushkin, known to the Russian media as the "Bittsa maniac", to life imprisonment.

The Russian shop assistant was found guilty of 48 murders, which he once said he recorded on a chessboard.

Most of the murders were committed over five years in Bittsa Park, in Moscow's southern suburbs.

Pichushkin has never denied the charges. He was also found guilty on three counts of attempted murder.

The jury found there were no mitigating circumstances, and rejected a defence request to clear him of 18 of the killings. The prosecution requested a life sentence.

Woodland murders

Since 1996 Russia has observed a moratorium on the death penalty.

Pichushkin began his 14-year killing spree in Moscow in 1992, and was arrested in June 2006.

His victims were drowned in a sewer or bludgeoned to death with a hammer, investigators say.

In his final trial statement last week he told the court: "I alone decided the fate of 60 people... I was judge, prosecutor and executioner".

He described the killings as "a sort of ritual, my style, my handwriting".

Pichushkin originally said he planned to carry out 64 killings, one for each square on a chessboard.

But he later denied this, saying he would have carried on killing indefinitely if he had not been arrested. He puts the number of his victims at 61.

Many were elderly men who got drunk with him, investigators say, though he also killed three women.

The vigilance of a relative of one of the dead led to his capture.

Before the Pichushkin case came to light, Russia's most notorious serial killer in recent times was Andrei Chikatilo, who killed 53 women and children in the southern city of Rostov. He was convicted and executed in 1994.

Saudi king chides UK on terrorism

King Abdullah says Britain is not doing enough to fight terrorism

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has accused Britain of not doing enough to fight international terrorism, which he says could take 20 or 30 years to beat.

He was speaking in a BBC interview ahead of a state visit to the UK - the first by a Saudi monarch for 20 years.

He also said Britain failed to act on information passed by the Saudis which might have averted terrorist attacks.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says Whitehall officials have strenuously denied this.

King Abdullah is expected to arrive in the UK on Monday afternoon; his visit begins formally on Tuesday.

In the BBC interview he said the fight against terrorism needed much more effort by countries such as Britain and that al-Qaeda continued to be a big problem for his country.

BBC world affairs correspondent John Simpson says King Abdullah is annoyed that the rest of the world has largely failed to act on his proposal for a UN clearing house for information about terrorism.

Dollar plumbs new low versus euro

Analysts are predicting that the euro will be on top for some time

The US dollar slid to a new record low against the euro, as investors bet that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates to help the economy this week.

The dollar hit its weakest level since the common currency was launched in 1999 at $1.4438 per euro.

Lower interest rates can weaken a currency as investors move funds to assets that enjoy a higher return.

The dollar's slide helped drive oil prices to a new record above $93 and sent gold prices to a 28-year high.

The US central bank, the Federal Reserve, is widely expected to cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point to 4.5% on Wednesday to limit economic damage from the housing market downturn.

Oil prices break through $93 mark

Traders are watching developments on the Turkish border

Oil prices have risen to fresh highs due to a combination of the weak dollar, supply concerns in Mexico and continued tensions in northern Iraq.

In early Asian trading on Monday, US light crude broke through $93 a barrel for the first time, hitting $93.20 before easing back slightly to $93.06.

London's Brent also hit a new high of $89.90 a barrel, up $1.21.

Some analysts believe oil prices will hit $100 a barrel before the end of 2007 if current pressures persist.

'Bone cement' for spinal injuries

Burst spinal fractures often require highly complex and invasive surgery

Belfast researchers are developing a new "bone cement" which could give hope to spinal injury victims.

Medical engineers at Queen's University believe the material could help those injured in car crashes for example.

The biological cements, designed to repair burst spinal fractures, are being developed and tested in a project between Queen's and Leeds University.

It is hoped use of the material would be much less invasive and reduce recovery times and NHS costs.

The team has been awarded almost £500,000 to develop and examine the effects of novel cement materials for the treatment of burst fractures.

Bone cements are already used to strengthen damaged vertebrae of patients with diseases such as osteoporosis.

Smoking 'raises psoriasis risk'

Cigarette smoke contains hundreds of toxins

Smokers have a higher risk of developing psoriasis, a study suggests.

US researchers found that heavier smokers have a greater risk of the skin condition and this only falls back to normal 20 years after quitting.

The study of 79,000 nurses published in the American Journal of Medicine also found that people with psoriasis who smoke had more severe disease.

It is thought that toxins in cigarette smoke may affect parts of the immune system associated with psoriasis.

Psoriasis, which occurs when the skin replaces itself too quickly, affects more than one million people in the UK. There are many different forms.

It usually appears as red, scaly patches that when scraped or scratched reveal fine silvery scales.

Previous research has reported links between smoking and psoriasis but was unable to look at whether smoking occurred before the onset of the condition.

Long-term data

The researchers reported 887 cases of psoriasis in nurses who took part in the 14-year study.

Compared with women who never smoked, the risk of psoriasis was 37% higher among past smokers and 78% higher among current smokers.

The more people had smoked over the years, the higher their risk and it took a couple of decades after stopping smoking before the risk fell back to that of non-smokers.

The team also found that exposure to passive smoke during pregnancy or childhood was associated with an increased risk of psoriasis.

Study leader, Dr Hyon Choi, researcher at Harvard Medical School in Boston and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, said the findings provided a clear incentive for those with psoriasis to stop smoking as well as those at risk of the condition.

"Beyond the potential effect on psoriasis, smoking cessation would lead to a better overall clinical outcome in psoriasis patients, who often suffer co-morbidities related to smoking," he said.

Stopping smoking may decrease the level of smoke induced inflammation in the body by lowering levels of circulating immune cells, he added.

Gladys Edwards, chief executive of the UK's Psoriasis Association, said: "We have always recommended that people with psoriasis should aim to cease smoking for their general health and to help improve their psoriasis.

"This study suggests that there is a stronger link between smoking and the risk of developing psoriasis and this clearly merits further research.

"Psoriasis, however, is an immensely complex condition - there are people with psoriasis who do not and have never smoked."

Africa waiting for net revolution

Africa's internet users are among the minority

More than a third of Africa's citizens should have access to broadband internet by 2012, a conference of technology leaders is set to hear.

Fewer than four out of 100 Africans currently use the internet, and broadband penetration is below 1%.

The barriers to broadband access are key talking points at the Connect Africa meeting in Kigali, in Rwanda.

Dr Hamadoun Toure, head of the International Telecommunication Union has called for "immediate action".

The conference features representations from organisations such as the World Bank, World Health Organization and United Nations, as well as high-profile technology leaders such as Intel's chairman Craig Barrett.

The attendees were all invited to make financial commitments to improving technology and telecoms in the continent. More than $3bn has been pledged so far.

Dr Toure said that despite the bleak picture of access issues in Africa there was plenty of opportunity.

He told the tznews: "If you have just 1% of broadband access today you have 99% of opportunity.

"The good news is that Africa has had the highest growth in mobile use globally - twice the global average over the past three years.

"For the first time economic indicators are positive from Africa."

In Rwanda, access to the net is limited and high-speed connections are rare, the BBC's Digital Planet programme was told by officials and users in the country.

"Not many students are able to connect to the internet at the same time," said Marie-Josee Ufitamahoro, a student at Kigali institute of technology.

"For example, a class of 40 students requires each pupil to be connected, so what we need is bigger bandwidth so we can share ideas with other students in other parts of the world."

Albert Butare, Rwanda's state minister for telecommunications and energy, said the issue of bandwidth was critical.

"It's what governs the speed of the internet, the quality of the connection, whether or not you can do video conferencing," he said.

"If you are talking about telemedicine or distance learning, you need images and clear audio."

Dr Toure said the conference needed to take action on regulatory issues in some African countries, which often tie down the roll-out of net access. "The heads of state present will give assurances to the private sector on the availability of competition and the creation of a proper regulatory environment for them in which to evolve," he said. "The private sector from outside Africa and inside will make fruitful partnerships."

One of the biggest problems facing internet development in Africa is a lack of interconnectivity. More than 70% of internet traffic within Africa is routed outside the continent, driving up costs for business and consumers.

"This is a serious problem and will be discussed," said Dr Toure.

But he said Africa should not be looking for special treatment from the technology private sector.

"Africa has to create the opportunities; Africa doesn't need charity," he said.

"We need to make sure we have a good environment that will attract private sector investment. There's nothing wrong with making profits in Africa."

The International Telecommunications Union says more than $8bn was invested in telecommunications infrastructure across Africa in 2005.

Dr Toure said the challenge for the ITU, technology leaders and companies was to help Africa meet its Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

In the technology sphere, that means easy access to information and communication technology for more than half of the continent's population within eight years.

Country star Wagoner dies at 80

Porter Wagoner enjoyed a revival towards the end of his career

Country musician Porter Wagoner, who helped launch the career of Dolly Parton, has died in Nashville aged 80 after suffering lung cancer.

The singer, famed for his rhinestone suits, had his own US TV show which ran for 21 years until 1981.

From 1967-74, Parton performed duets with Wagoner until finding worldwide fame as a solo singer.

In 2002 he was inducted into the the Country Hall of Fame and marked his 50th year at the Grand Ole Opry in May.

Pete Fisher, general manager of the famous Nashville concert hall, said: "His passion for the Opry and all of country music was truly immeasurable."

Yanga win as Simba falter

The newly-promoted Toto Africans of Mwanza hit Simba 3-2 in a Vodacom Premier League match played at the Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza yesterday.

Philipo Arando scored two goals for Toto Africans in the 45th and 59th minutes while the other goal was registered in the 57th minute by Simba defender Said Kokoo when he was trying to clear the ball from danger.

Lethal striker Joseph Kaniki scored the first goal for Simba in the 79th minute before Haruna Moshi added the second in the injury time.

In Arusha, Yanga hit JKT Ruvu 1-0 in another Premier League match played at the Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium.

The lone goal for the Dar side was scored by Maurice Sunguti in the 13th minute when the scorer used an Abdi Kassim cross to beat goalie Shaaban Dihile.

JKT Ruvu who dominated the game, tried to equalise in the 20th and 67t minutes through Aruna Adolf and Sostenes Manyasi respectively but failed to break Yanga defence.

Hosts JKT Ruvu were reduced to a 10-man when Kessy Mapande was given marching orders for fouling Credo Mwaipopo in the 86th minute.

Yanga coach said after the match that his team played well although JKT Ruvu applied unnecessarily uncalled for tackles.

`Winning this match is a motivation to my team ahead of our Wednesday`s game against Prisons,` Chamangwana said.

JKT Ruvu coach Felix Minziro claimed that the referee was not fair to his team. `Referee has been favouring Yanga just from the beginning of the match,` Minziro said.

JKT Ruvu:Shaaban Dihile, Mrisho Mnubi, Kessy Mapande, George Ossey, Hassan Juma, George Minja, Haruna Adolph, Greyson Haule, Bakari Kondo, Hussein Bunu, Sosthenes Manyasi.

Yanga:Jackson Chove, Fred Mbuna, Abubakar Mtiro, Wisdomu Ndlovu, Hamisi Yussuf, Credo Mwaipopo, Waziri Mahadhi/Gaudence Mwaikimba, Abuu Ramadhan, Thomas Maurice/Amri Kiemba, Maurice Sunguti/Mrisho Ngasa, Abdi Kassim.

Tamwa to award ten anti-corruption singers

Left Ichikaeli Maro the present Chairperson, right Edda Sanga the former TAMWA Chairperson.

The Tanzania Media Women Association (Tamwa) has organised a music concert in Dar es Salaam which will be used to award 10 best anti-corruption singers.

Tamwa Executive Director Ananilea Nkya said yesterday that her organisation would award 10 singers who will compose best anti-corruption songs.

`For the musicians to win the awards, they are supposed to produce songs indicating specific public offices/ sectors where corruption takes place, what form of corruption, how it happens and, if possible, who is involved,` she said in a statement.

She said the aim of the awards was to make musicians do necessary assignments to enable them deliver effective messages that will make the public hate corruption and facilitate exposure of corrupt elements so as to empower responsible organs to take action to end the evil.

The awards to be competed for are hip-hop, Bongo Flava, traditional music, reggae and rap to mention but a few.

Last year, Tamwa organised a similar music competition whereby three musicians were awarded. They are Mwinjuma Muumin, Stara Thomas and King Kiki.

Contrary to last year, in this year`s event Tamwa will award not less than 10 best anti-corruption songs.

Tamwa is campaigning against corruption because it has a negative impact on the rights of people, especially the poor.

Six foreign teams are here for Nyerere Cup

Six foreign handball teams have arrived in the country ready to compete in the inauguration Nyerere Cup which starts today at the Indoor Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

The General Secretary of the Tanzania Handball Association (Taha), Sudi Omary, named the teams as the Heritage (men) and Police (women) from Kinshasa, TP Mazembe (men) and SCOMI -Mikish (women) from Lubumbashi, (DRC) and Cereal (men and women) from Kenya.

Zanzibar will be represented by Matarumbeta (men and women) and Nyuki (men).

Tanzania Mainland will be represented by JKT Ruvu, Dar Stars (women) and Ngome (men).

Omary said that teams from South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Mozambique, Mauritius and Ethiopia who had earlier promised to come would not come.

`They confirmed to come before we exchanged date to give room for the Tanzania Basketball Federation (TBF) to stage their Taifa Cup,` he said.

The Nyerere Handball Cup will be held every year to commemorate the death of the late Father of Nation Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

Pam Eric wins Open fishing competition

Pam Eric won Vodacom Latham Open Fishing Competition 2007 in Sinda Island in Indian Ocean, Dar es Salaam.

Pam won the title after catching a 61.5 kg sail fish to beat other 80 opponents who were also in the race.

Jason Alexiou was named the winner of the most trivially giant catcher. He caught a 29kg fish.

The competitors used 16 boats in a two-day fishing competition sponsored by Vodacom Tanzania.

Alexiou said that this year`s event was very tough because it attracted most experienced competitors.

`The fishing climate was unfavourable because we had to go far to catch the fish,` he said.

Vodacom Head of Communications and Sponsorship Ephraim Mafuru said that his firm was happy to sponsor the event for the third year running.

The competition which started on Saturday at the Dar es Salaam Yacht Club was closed by Vodacom Managing Director Dietlof Mare who awarded winners in the different categories.

African football dates

Please note that all dates are subject to change.

27: Etoile du Sahel (TUN) v Ahly (EGY), Sousse, African Champions League final, first leg


2-4: CS Sfaxien (TUN) v El Merriekh (SUD) Confederation Cup final, first leg
9-11: Ahly v Etoile du Sahel, Cairo, African Champions League final, second leg
16: Djibouti v Somalia, World Cup qualifier
16: Friendly: France v Morocco, Paris
16-18: Olympic Games qualifiers men's group matches
17-21: Four Nation tournament in Ghana
17: Friendly: South Africa v USA, Johannesburg
17: Friendly: United Arab Emirates v Senegal, Dubai
17: Friendly: Australia v Nigiera, London
17: Guinea Bissau v Sierra Leone, World Cup preliminary round second leg
17: Djibouti v Somalia, World Cup preliminary round
17: Comoros v Madagascar, World Cup preliminary round, second leg
20: Friendly: Switzerland v Nigeria, Berne
20: Friendly: South Africa v Canada, Berne
21: Friendly: Austria v Tunisia, Vienna
21: Friendly: Morocco v Senegal, Vienna
25: World Cup qualifying draw, Durban
23-25: El Merreikh v CS Sfaxien, Confederation Cup final, second leg


7-9: Olympic Games qualifiers women's group matches 9: Friendly: Egypt v Uruguay, Cairo


20 January-10 February: African Cup of Nations finals, Ghana
15-17 February: Olympic Games qualifiers women's group matches
14-16 March: Olympic Games qualifiers women's group matches
26 March: Olympic Games qualifiers men's group matches
28-30 May: Fifa Congress, Sydney Australia
6-8 June: 2010 World Cup qualifiers
20-22 June: 2010 World Cup qualifiers
30 December-17 January: Fifa U-20 Women's World Cup, Chile


14-27 June: Confederations Cup, South Africa


11 June-11July: World Cup finals, South Africa

Triple injury blow hits Liverpool

Alonso had only returned from a similar metatarsal injury

Liverpool players Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano all face spells out after suffering injuries in Sunday's 1-1 draw against Arsenal.

Alonso (metatarsal) and Torres (abductor muscle) both had recurrences of the injuries which had kept them out for a month before the game.

Alonso limped off after 68 minutes while Torres was replaced by Peter Crouch at half-time.

Mascherano suffered a foot injury and left with his foot in a medical boot.

Manager Rafael Benitez said: "Alonso has suffered the same injury again, the metatarsal, he felt something go in his foot.

"Torres also has a similar injury, a problem with an abductor muscle. Maybe he is not as bad as before. But he could not work as hard as we wanted, we wanted his pace and it was not available.

"He just was not fit. We talked beforehand and he said he was fine. Now we must wait again, he had been out for some time and we have been pushing to get him back, but he has not been right and he still is not right.

"I will need to check with the doctor to see how the players are in the next two days."

Benitez admitted his side paid the price for the injuries they experienced during the game at Anfield.

"We had problems when we lost Torres and then Alonso. We could not control the midfield then, we also had Mascherano with a foot injury and had lost (Mohamed) Sissoko beforehand with sickness," he said.

"In the end there were too many problems against a really good team."

But he praised the contribution of his captain Steven Gerrard who netted Liverpool's goal after a difficult week.

"Stevie has been playing better and this was a very good performance," he added.

"We had a plan to use the strikers wide and for Stevie to attack through the middle with two holding players behind.

"But when we started losing players through injury, it just became too difficult to get forward.

"What pleased me most was the commitment of the players, our supporters should be happy with the efforts they put in against a very good team like Arsenal.

"Arsenal are playing well, a fantastic team. But it is too early, we are six points behind with a game in hand and there is a long way to go yet."

Football results

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Barclays Premier League
Bolton 1-1 Aston Villa
Derby 0-2 Everton
Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal
Tottenham 1-2 Blackburn

Coca-Cola Football League One
Doncaster 4-2 Leyton Orient

Clydesdale Bank Premier League
Aberdeen 1-1 Falkirk
Dundee Utd 2-1 Rangers

FA Tesco Women's Premier League
Blackburn Ladies 6-0 Charlton Women
Leeds Utd Ladies 2-1 Birmingham Ladies

The FA Women's Cup Sponsored by E.ON
AFC Wimbledon Ladies 5-4 Barking Ladies
Bradford City Ladies 2-1 Peterlee Town Ladies
Copsewood Ladies 4-0 Alfreton Ladies
Frome Town Ladies 2-0 Penzance Ladies
Gillingham 1-0 Ipswich Town Ladies
Hereford Pegasus 0-4 T.N.S Ladies
QPR Ladies 3-1 Reading
Welwyn Ladies 2-0 Dag & Red Ladies
West Auckland Ladies 2-1 Chester City
Wolverhampton Ladies 1-3 Radcliffe Ladies

Murray upbeat on Masters Cup bid

Murray is poised to make the prestigious season finale in China

Andy Murray says he will go into the season's final ranking tournament in Paris relaxed even though a Masters Cup place in Shanghai will be at stake.

The Scot's third ATP career title win in St Petersburg left him just three points off the final qualifying spot.

But he says he has little to lose after a three-month wrist injury lay-off.

"Of all the guys, I have the least pressure of making it into Shanghai because I wasn't expecting to have a chance of qualifying," Murray said.

The 20-year-old, who saw off Fernando Verdasco in straight sets in Russia on Sunday, is currently 11th in the ATP Race ahead of this week's Paris Masters.

Already qualified for the eight-man end-of-season Masters Cup are Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko, Andy Roddick and David Ferrer.

That leaves two places up for grabs in Paris, with Fernando Gonzalez and Tommy Haas currently in seventh and eighth but Tommy Robredo, James Blake and now Murray in contention.

"Having missed two Grand Slams through injury and been short of confidence throughout August, his late surge to the verge of the elite top eight has been remarkable," says BBC Radio 5 Live's Jonathan Overend.

"As his rivals for Shanghai falter, Murray is the only man yet to qualify who is getting consistent results at the moment.

"Two places remain, they will be decided in Paris. If Murray can do better than Haas, Robredo and Blake, his surge up the rails will be complete and China will beckon."

And Murray, who missed almost three months of the season with a wrist injury, believes he is in good shape to capitalise on an unexpected opportunity.

"I had a lot of time to rest down and I think I've only played 14 or 15 tournaments this year so I'm pretty well rested," the British number one explained.

"There's one tournament to go and I still have a chance of getting to Shanghai.

"I'm going to try my best and if I win a couple of matches I have a good chance."

Murray, seeded 15th, has a first-round bye in Paris and will play Juan Monaco or Jarkko Nieminen in his opening match, with world number three Novak Djokovic a possible third-round opponent.

Bourdy registers maiden tour win

Bourdy overcame early nerves to hold off his rivals for the title

Frenchman Gregory Bourdy held off the challenge of England's Sam Little to win the Mallorca Classic with a three-under-par final round 67 at Pula.

The 25-year-old produced a bogey-free round to finish two strokes clear with a 12-under total of 268.

Little's hopes of victory faded when he three-putted for a bogey at 15, but four birdies also earned him a 67 and secured his tour card for 2008.

Dutchman Robert-Jan Derksen (70) took third place on nine-under.

And Derksen, who had shared the lead with Bourdy after three rounds, was followed home on seven-under by Scotland's Alastair Forsyth, who sank six birdies in an excellent 66.

There was disappointment for Spanish fans, however, as Sergio Garcia struggled to a 73 and finished in a tie for 16th place on three-under.

A total of 24 players were within six shots of the lead at the start of the final round, but it was Bourdy, from Bordeaux, who established a clear advantage with three birdies in six holes around the turn.

Runner-up Little urges on an approach during the final round

His only anxious moment thereafter came at the 16th where he pulled his tee-shot into the rough and only just cleared the water in front of the green with his approach.

Bourdy duly collected his par and later struck a magnificent tee-shot at the 203-yard last, but could not quite round things off in style as his putt for a birdie two lipped out.

He knocked in a two-footer for par, however, and was drenched in champagne by compatriots Thomas Levet and Christian Cevaer before collecting his trophy and a £238,000 cheque.

"This is fantastic to get my first win. I started off nervously and got lucky on the first three holes to make par but after that my game was much better.

"I thought my second shot on the 16th was in the water, I was a bit lucky there, but I'm delighted to win and qualify for the Volvo Masters. I knew I needed to finish in the top three and I made it," Bourdy said afterwards.

The outcome was just as sweet for Little, who began the tournament 136th on the Order of Merit but moved up 60 places with his best-ever result, bettering his fifth place at the Madeira Island Open four years ago.

"It was my great escape, but playing like I have this week, showed me I was good enough not to have to struggle like I have," the 32-year-old Londoner said.

Fellow Briton Richard Finch, another player under threat at the start of the week, also did enough with a 72 for joint seventh place which lifted him from 124th to 110th on the list, with only the top 117 keeping cards for next year.

Home town immortalises Hamilton

A street in Stevenage will be named after the F1 driver

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton is to have a street named after him in his Hertfordshire home town.

Stevenage Borough Council has decided to honour the 22-year-old in a new town centre development to mark his racing achievements.

"The success of Lewis has given everyone in Stevenage a real boost," Sharon Taylor, council leader, said.

Hamilton narrowly missed winning the Formula One world championship title in his first season.

Ms Taylor added: "Everyone in the town is enormously proud of the fact that Lewis comes from Stevenage.

"In particular, our young people see him as a role model and his achievements have definitely raised their aspiration levels.

"He has really helped to put the town on the map."

The exact name of the street is yet to be confirmed.

Calzaghe will retire in 12 months

Calzaghe is unbeaten in 43 fights

Britain's Joe Calzaghe plans to fight for one more year before retiring.

The 35-year-old will add the WBC and WBA belts to his WBO super middleweight title if he beats Mikkel Kessler at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

He told the tznews Sport: "I realise the end is near. I'm not going to be an Evander Holyfield and fight at 44, getting my head punched in.

"I'm giving myself a 12-month span to keep at the top and then I'll let it go. There'll be no comebacks."

Calzaghe is unbeaten in 43 fights but he admitted he is starting to feel his age.

"I realise I'm getting to that point in my career where you're not going to improve and you slowly decline, that's nature," he said.

"Is it getting easier? No way, it's not getting easier making the weight and everything, of course not.

"But I still believe I'm at my peak, I still believe I've got a lot to give, I still believe I've got great fights in me."

Calzaghe added he will have fulfilled all his ambitions if he overcomes unbeaten Dane Kessler in Cardiff.

The Welshman already holds the WBO belt and won the IBF title with victory over Jeff Lacy before relinquishing it a year ago.

"Winning this fight, I will add the WBC/WBA belt to my collection which means I have all four belts," he said.

"I'm ring champion, what else could I possibly achieve?"

Cheruiyot too strong for GB pair

Yelling and Yamauchi have enjoyed numerous battles in recent years

Rose Cheruiyot strolled to victory in the Great South Run from British duo Hayley Yelling and Mara Yamauchi.

The Kenyan won the 10-mile race in 53 minutes 44 seconds in wet and windy conditions in Portsmouth.

But the real contest happened behind where Yelling outsprinted Yamauchi in the final stages to take second.

Kenya's world marathon champion Luke Kibet clocked 47 minutes 31 seconds to beat Spain's Chema Martinez and Jonathan Maiyo in the men's race.

It was a polished display from Kibet who was always prominent in a four-man breakaway field, until taking charge of the race in the last 2.5 miles.

And his compatriot Cheruiyot, who finished six minutes behind Yamauchi in the world championship marathon in Japan, returned to form on the south coast and led by 23 seconds at halfway.

Behind her, Yelling and Yamauchi fought a cat-and-mouse duel until the final 600m when Yelling made what looked a winning break until Yamauchi pulled her back.

But Yamauchi had to acknowledge defeat as she failed to respond to another desperate sustained charge from her rival.

"I could feel her behind me so I just kept my head down and pushed as hard as I could," said Yelling after holding on by a second in a time of 54:12.

Yamauchi, who for the last two years has been the country's number one distance runner in the absence of Paula Radcliffe, lowered her personal best by over 90 seconds.

But Liz Yelling was still feeling the effects of her outstanding fourth place in the Chicago Marathon three weeks ago as she finished 11th in 58:02.