May 6th, 2009
Zimbabwe Jails Activists Again
About two months after being released on bail, 18 prominent Zimbabwe rights activists have been thrown back into jail, accused of planning to overthrow longtime President Robert Mugabe. Many of those jailed are members of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change. And MDC officials say that the move could jeopardize the nation’s unity government Mugabe formed with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. “Today’s ruling seriously threatens not only the life and health of the inclusive government, but its longevity and durability,” said a statement from the group. The activists were arrested last December and held for three months. During that time, they claim they were tortured and coerced into making false confessions, reports the BBC. The latest indictment accuses the activist leaders of sabotage, terrorism and banditry.
Island Nation Offers Lifeline to Stressed Workforce
In response to the struggling economy, the Island nation of St Kitts and Nevis will sell government property people who earn minimum wage at a reduced price, reports the BBC. Prime Minister Denzil Douglas announced that the government will offer land at 43 cents per square foot of land to people earning $49.34 a week. The government will aid homeowners as well by creating a $3.8 million credit line to assist those who can’t manage to pay their mortgages.
April 6th, 2009
Zimbabwe Leader’s Grandson Dies
The grandson of Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, 2-year-old Sean Tsvangirai, drowned in a swimming pool Saturday afternoon, reports CNN. This is the second tragedy to hit the family t his year; last month Tsvangirai’s wife, Susan, died in a car crash. Sean was at Tsvangirai’s home when he was found. “He had wandered off and was found later in the pool of the house,” a spokesman for Tsvangirai said. Tsvangirai was attending a retreat for government officials in Victoria Falls at the time of the accident. The child will be laid to rest in the village of Buhera Monday.
New South African Party Feels ‘Intimidated’
The Congress of the People (COPE), a new South African political party hoping to make waves in this month’s elections, is accusing the powerhouse African National Congress (ANC) of trying to intimidate them by showing up to and disrupting their rallies, reports the BBC. ANC members have sent in loud hecklers to the COPE gatherings and some have blocked entrances to the rallies, according to COPE’s deputy leader Mbhazima Shilowa. The alleged actions are making a fair election nearly impossible, he said. ‘The ruling party has determined that any other party will not be allowed to campaign. I therefore cannot continue to say that the poll will be free and fair,” said Shilowa. COPE is made up of former ANC members and current loyalists to ex- President Thabo Mbeki, who was forced to step down last year under pressure from his party.
March 12th, 2009
World Lens: The King of Pop announces his comeback in Britain; Naomi Campbell strolls a Russian catwalk; and former President Bill Clinton and Rapper Wyclef visit Haiti. See pics.
Thousands Mourn Zimbabwe PM’s Wife
Tens of thousands of people came out Wednesday to celebrate the life of Susan Tsvangirai, wife of Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who died last week in a car crash, reports the BBC. Mourners also came out in force to the two memorial services on Tuesday, one of which was held at church where President Robert Mugabe spoke in front of mourners, the other at a Glamis Stadium, where about 30,000 where in attendance, according to Movement for Democratic Change party officials. Although Mugabe and Tsvangirai were staunch political rivals (the two decided to enter into a unity government last month) the controversial president showed a humane side while addressing mourners. “I think yesterday, we saw a part that we are not used to,” said MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti about Mugabe. “He is also a human being; he is a human being, like all of us.” Mrs. Tsvangirai was buried in the village of Buhera, which is 124 miles south of Harare. Biti recognized her as a revolutionary at Tuesday’s memorial at Glamis Stadium. She was “an activist and revolutionary in her own right. … She believed in the same values as her husband in wishing to bring about democratic change in Zimbabwe through a new, people-driven constitution.” The Tsvangirai family will be going to South Africa to rest for a few days, Biti said.
March 10th, 2009
Zimbabwe Leader Now Believes Crash Was Accident
After initial speculation, Zimbabwe opposition leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai now says that Friday’s car crash that killed his wife Susan was indeed an accident, reports CNN. “When something like that happens there is speculation, but I want to assure you if it was foul play, it is one in a thousand. It was an accident that took her life,” he said Monday. Officials from Tsvangirai’s Movement of Democratic Change had called the crash an assassination attempt. In addition, MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti, says the crash might not have happened had there been adequate security (in the form of a police escort) provided for the couple. They will conduct their own independent investigation. Last year’s disputed presidential elections left the African nation in turmoil. After months of negotiations, Tsvangirai entered into a unity government with longtime controversial President Robert Mugabe. For now, Tsvangirai, who sustained some injuries from the crash, is looking to move on. “Life has to go on and I’m certain that if she was here she would like life to go on. It will be difficult to fill the gap left be her,” he said.
Four Killed At Jamaica Nightclub
A shooting at a Jamaican nightclub early Sunday morning killed four and injured four people, reports the BBC. Five men carrying guns entered the Montego Bay club and shot bullets onto the crowded dance floor randomly, sending people scrambling to find cover, according to police. Investigators think the shooting was a part of a dispute between rival gangs.
March 9th, 2009
Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Injured, Wife Killed
A car crash left the wife of Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai dead and the leader himself injured in the ordeal, and as CNN reports, some are left questioning whether the tragedy really was an accident. Tsvangirai sustained head injuries in the crash and went to nearby Botswana for treatment. He and his wife of 31 years, Susan, were traveling between Buhera and the nation’s capital, Harare, when a truck crashed into their vehicle. Members of Tsvangirai’s party, the Movement for Democratic Change, recently announced that they will be holding a rally in honor of Mrs. Tsvangirai Tuesday, saying she was “a mother to all of us. She was a pillar and foundation to our prime minister.” She is set to be buried in Zimbabwe on Wednesday. Tsvangirai “will definitely be back in the country in time for the burial set for Wednesday and the other formalities that go with the funeral. But I cannot give the media his itinerary as that comprises his security,” MDC spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, said. Mrs. Tsvangirai left behind her husband and six children. Tsvangirai, who not too long ago became part of a unity government with controversial longtime President Robert Mugabe, reportedly told party members he believed the truck drove into them deliberately. Members of the MDC reportedly are conducting their own investigation. Former U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, Tom McDonald, told CNN, that he, too, was skeptical about the crash, considering it’s not the first time Mugabe’s political enemies were involved in car accidents in the nation. He pointed out past fatal wrecks involving former Employment Minister Border Gezi in 1999; Defense Minister Moven Mahachi in 2001; and a government official Elliot Manyika in 2008. He also said, though, that traffic accidents are common in the country.
Haiti Gets $5 Million to Rebuild Schools
Last week, the World Bank announced they will be giving Haiti $5 million to rebuild the schools that were damaged by several storms last year, reports Agence France Presse. In 2008, four huge back-to-back storms (Tropical Storm Fay and hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike) devastated a swathe of the Caribbean nation’s infrastructure, including 1,000 elementary schools. The damaged schools led to a shortened school year for about 200,000 students, said the World Bank in a statement. “The project will set the foundation for the revision of school designs, the use of some schools as community shelters in times of crisis, and increased community ownership in the schools to rebuilt,” a World Bank official said. In total, last year’s storms killed 793 people and caused about $500 million in damage.
February 13th, 2009
Will Sudan boycott Valentine’s Day?
Love-struck couples won’t be exchanging flowers, cards or candy in Sudan if some Muslim officials have their way. Clerics in the nation are calling for young people to boycott Valentine’s Day, saying it serves as a distraction to Muslims, reports the BBC. “Valentine’s Day comes from Western countries. I call on Muslims not to imitate Christians,” Muslim preacher Sheikh Hassan Hamid said in a statement released to Reuters. “The money that is spent on Valentine’s Day would be better spent encouraging young people to marry,” he continued. While public displays of affection very rarely happen in the predominantly Muslim nation, the holiday has become more and more popular over the past few years, with more and more shops selling Valentine’s Day cards, reports the news service. And in some parks a few young couples can sometimes be seen sitting together, although a distance apart.
Zimbabwe’s New Prime Minister Meets Political Prisoners
On his first full day as prime minister, former Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai visited the nation’s political prisoners, reports CNN. Many rights activists and supporters of his party, Movement for Democratic Change, remain in prison, accused of trying to oust longtime President Robert Mugabe. While he isn’t sure whether they can be released soon, he’s confident his visit helped to lift their spirits. “Others are in good shape, but others, you know what happens in confinement. But their spirits are very high. …I’m happy that we managed to give them some moral support,” Tsvangirai said. Tsvangirai was sworn in Wednesday as part of a new unity government with Mugabe. The two were also scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss Cabinet picks. “I’m going to hand over our list to the president for the Cabinet for tomorrow,” he told reporters. The leaders have their work cut out for them as the struggling nation is facing a growing cholera epidemic that has killed close to 4,000 people, and an economic meltdown that has caused teachers, doctors and nurses to go on strike for pay. Tsvangirai asked for them to return to work to get paid in foreign money. “We have to find the money to pay them. …We must find something to alleviate the plight of our people who have been receiving worthless currency,” he said. “If you are going to have a productive workforce, then you must boost the morale of the workers.”
February 3rd, 2009
Zimbabwe Leaders Hope to Unify Gov’t
Zimbabwe leaders will meet Tuesday in hopes of finalizing a power-sharing deal that has been in the works since September, reports CNN. After months of talks, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, agreed to join a unity government with longtime leader Robert Mugabe’s party ZANU-Pf Friday. In the coalition government, Mugabe will retain his title and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai will serve as prime minister. “It remains our fervent hope that the outstanding issues are successfully resolved followed by debate, passing and enactment” of an amendment allowing the unity government to be formed. The amendment is needed for Tsvangirai to be sworn in next week. Some key points of contention, though, are fair division of important cabinet posts, the release of party members currently detained and the constitutional amendment. The country has seen its share of difficulties during the political violence and uncertainty that plagued 2008. The out-of-control inflation rate has caused the nation to ditch its own currency, and a cholera epidemic has claimed the lives of thousands of people.
No Drugs Were on Obama’s Half Bro
Police dropped weed charges against Obama’s half brother.
October 14th, 2008
Zimbabwe opposition leader threatens to quit. Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he would resign from the nation’s unity government if President Robert Mugabe won’t give up his party’s power over important ministries, reports CNN. After two disputed elections, the two leaders signed a power-sharing deal in September, agreeing to split power within the government between the two parties. But Tsvangirai says Mugabe’s party, Zanu-Pf, was given control over the defense, justice, home and foreign affairs ministries, while his party, the Movement for Democratic Change, was given control over less important ministries. “An idiot wouldn’t accept that. That is not power sharing, it is power grabbing” Tsvangirai, who was appointed prime minister under the plan, told a crowd of thousands of supporters. “Robert Mugabe, stop that because if you don’t, we have no right to be part of such an arrangement,” he said. If Zanu-Pf is in control of the of the nation’s army, then MDC should be in control of the nation’s police force, Tsvangirai argues. Ousted South African President Thabo Mbeki is due to return to the nation Monday to mediate talks between the two leaders. Mugabe spokesman George Charamba defended the way power was divided and accused MDC of having outside influence. “The fact that rival political parties in Europe and America are all comfortable in partnering with the MDC here means the MDC is politically colorless except the color that comes from outside,” Charamba told a local paper.
T.D. Jakes excites thousands of South Africans. Popular U.S. preacher TD Jakes electrified a crowd of over 100,000 South Africans during his Mega Fest event this weekend, reports the Times. The Mega Fest, which has brought out hundreds of thousands of people since its inception in 2004, occurred outside of the U.S. for the first time. Many in the diverse crowd (which included thousands of Americans) were crying and falling out during Jakes’ sermon; one woman even said she had been healed and got out of her wheelchair. Jakes’ talked about a theme popular in this year’s election in the U.S.: change. “A change is coming,” he said. “Everyone is talking about change. Barack Obama is talking about change. Now John McCain is talking about change. The change is coming, but it is not coming from government, it is not coming from the White House, it is coming from the church house,” he said. A health fair, called MegaCare, also provided over 500 health checks and HIV tests during the festival.