October 2007


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By Lester Pimentel

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) — Argentine bonds gained after first lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner won the country’s presidential election in a peaceful vote, dashing concern that the weekend could be marred by violence and claims of fraud.

“It’s post-election relief,” said Claudia Calich, who manages $1 billion in emerging-market debt for Invesco Inc. in New York. “There’s always a possibility that things can go wrong in any election.”

The government’s benchmark bond due in 2033 rose 4.25 cents on the dollar to 99.25 at 4:24 p.m. in New York, pushing the yield down 39 basis points to 8.34 percent, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. A basis point equals 0.01 percentage point. The bonds also gained on speculation that Fernandez may make a restructuring offer to creditors who held out of the country’s 2005 debt renegotiation.

“There’s market talk they may revisit the issue and offer better conditions,” Luis Costa, an emerging-market strategist at ING Bank NV in London.

Holders of about $20 billion of defaulted Argentine debt rejected the government’s 2005 offer that paid about 30 cents on the dollar. Failure to reach an accord with the holdouts has prevented Argentina from tapping international credit markets.

With 96.4 percent of polling stations reporting, Fernandez, a 54-year-old senator, had 44.9 percent support, compared with 23 percent for ex-congresswoman Elisa Carrio and 16.9 percent for former Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna, the electoral commission reported. Carrio conceded defeat early today.

The risk of owning Argentine bonds fell to the lowest since Oct. 18, according to data from Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Five-year credit-default swaps based on the country’s debt declined 13 basis points to 3.74 percentage points. That means it costs $374,000 to protect $10 million of the country’s debt from default.

Emerging-Market Bonds

Argentine local bonds also gained. The yield on Argentina’s 5.83 percent inflation-linked peso bonds due December 2033 fell 9 basis points to 7.60 percent, according to Citigroup Inc.’s unit in Argentina. The bond’s principal is adjusted based on the inflation rate. The yield is the lowest since Sept. 21.

Argentina’s rally led gains in emerging-market bonds today. The extra yield investors demand to own emerging-market dollar bonds instead of U.S. Treasuries narrowed 3 basis points to 1.97 percentage points, according to JPMorgan’s EMBI Plus index. The risk premium is the lowest since Oct. 18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lester Pimentel in New York at lpimentel1@bloomberg.net

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=aWSbSxxA.X3g&refer=news

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The world does not want to give Africa the credit of establishing the first university. Out of the first five universities, three were on the continent of Africa. Before we could talk about the University of Bologna, Italy (Europe’s first), the University of Paris, France or Cambridge and Oxford of the United Kingdom we had two of our own.

The University of Al-Karaouine was established in 859 AD (approx CE) at Fes in Morocco, Al-Azhar University was established in 989 AD (approx CE) at Cairo, Egypt and the famous University of Timbuktu was established in 1139 AD (approx CE) at Timbuktu in Mali. Timbuktu was actually established after Bologna which was established in 1089 AD (approx CE).

We lag behind all else despite the fact that even the first ever recorded civilizations started in Africa along the Nile River then moved into Mesopotamia, China, Greco-Roman and then the much talked about western civilizations. I guess we don’t seem to take pride in our work and we let others write history for us. The advent of new universities in Zambia needs to be encouraged. For instance our main focus for this week is Northrise University and the above video clip is a testament to Zambian ingenuity and entrepreneurship which must be encouraged by every Zambia loving citizen.

There is great demand for higher education in Zambia because every year nearly 20,000 students who graduate from high school are eligible for a university education but only 1,000 are accepted by UNZA and CBU leaving 19 in 20 without a college education unless they seek it abroad.

Compounded with the fact that 50% of the Zambian population is under the age of 15 years old, there is not only a need for future trained and skilled individuals needed to fill the 21st century job market but also a crisis mode dilemma on what to do with such untapped potential for future economic development.

Northrise University offers degree programs in Information Systems, Business Administration, Agricultural Science and Theology. These courses are offered for both evening and day schedules as can been seen for the fall 2007.

The university was established in 2004 and during its three of operations it has seen a need to reduce operational costs, encourage a Christian Centered learning environment as well as provide the much needed bridge between business as usual with an ethical structure second to none on the Zambian Enterprise scene.

Northrise Campus

In fact some of the world’s best universities were built on that platform. Cambridge in the UK was initially built around strong Judeo-Christian ethics, so was Harvard, Sanford, Texas Christian University – TCU, Yale and Princeton and we see Northrise University following the same steps as an Ivy League college in the few years to come.

classy-daddy-3.gifThe challenge remains for all of us, either to embrace the new university and encourage it to grow and blossom into one of the best in the world or to denigrate it and let others write history on our behalf.

Not so with us here at the Zambian Chronicle, we will encourage and publicize it as much as we can, we will ring bells about it and we encourage others to do the same.

We highly commend both Moffat and Doreen Zimba who are the founders as we wish them God’s speed.

The Zambian government can take the challenge by also complimenting the efforts of the founders with new educational grants, sponsor a School of Agriculture research program under the auspices of the University of Zambia and the like – the list is endless.

That’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

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LUSAKA: Zambia has acknowledged that India’s assistance to Zambia has gone a long way in supplementing its development agenda.Finance and National Planning Deputy Minister Jonas Shakufuswa commended India for its continued technical and economic assistance.

The close historic interaction between the two countries has paved way for the establishment of diplomatic relations since Zambia’s independence in 1964, Shakufuswa said during the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation day (ITEC) in Lusaka last evening.

He noted that Indian investment is further contributing to Government’s economic recovery programme. Shakafuswa expressed hope that Zambian and Indian companies will continue to exploit the abundant resources in the country to explore new areas of cooperation.

The minister observed that cooperation between the two countries is a testimony of the commitment of both the governments towards promotion of south to south cooperation.

Speaking on the occasion, Indian High Commissioner to Zambia, River Wallang said ITEC is a vehicle which India utilises to channel its aid to Africa and other developing countries.

Wallang explained that the ITEC programme is based on India’s own experience in development. He disclosed that his country will this year alone provide about 4000 scholarships under ITEC in the civilian sector from which Zambia will have 60 places.

Wallang added that Indian government is currently working with the ministry of science and technology to set up two public computer learning kiosks to enhance computer learning skills among Zambians.

Source: Economic Times

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The Namakande Prospect comprises six ground radiometric anomalies which are being evaluated through a programme of reconnaissance geological mapping, geochemical soil sampling, rock-chip sampling and gamma-ray scintillometer surveying.

Assay results for the geochemical soil and rock-chip samples finalised to date have confirmed the presence of highly elevated uranium levels over a considerable area at the Namakande E target.

Peak assay values for rock-chip samples at Namakande E include values of 623 ppm U3O8, 464 ppm U3O8, 443 ppm U3O8, 393 ppm U3O8 and 250 ppm U3O8.

These samples occur over a strike length of greater than 1,400m, with supporting scintillometer readings extending the anomaly for a total strike-length of approximately 1,700m.

RC drill testing of the Namakande E target will commence once the drilling programme at the nearby Chisebuka prospect has been completed.

Kariba Valley JV Project: Namakande geochemical soil sampling and rock-chip assay results 

The Namakande uranium prospect in the Kariba Valley JV occurs 75km to the south-west of Albidon’s Njame uranium deposit, and some 25km north-east of the Company’s Chisebuka uranium prospect (Diagram 1). Namakande comprises a cluster of six ground radiometric anomalies (Namakande targets A through F) which were defined over Escarpment Grit Formation sediments by the Italian petroleum company AGIP in the late 1970’s (Diagram 2).

Albidon’s joint venture partner African Energy Resources (“AFR”) is evaluating these six targets through a programme of geological reconnaissance mapping, ground radiometric (gamma-ray scintillometer) surveys, geochemical soil sampling and rock-chip sampling. The reconnaissance geological mapping and scintillometer surveys have confirmed the presence of radiometric anomalies overlying coarse clastic sediments which are interpreted to be of Karoo age and likely to belong to the Escarpment Grit Formation.  

Assays for geochemical soil samples collected on a nominal 400m x 100m grid over targets A, D, E and F have been received. Coherent uranium in soil anomalism has been detected at the Namakande A, Namakande E and Namakande F targets, in all cases coincident with ground radiometric anomalies. Further soil sampling is required at Namakande A to assess the full extent of the uranium anomalism.

Namakande E Target 

The Namakande E target comprises two sub-anomalies as defined by ground radiometric surveying and confirmed by African Energy’s scintillometer survey (Diagram 3). Geochemical soil sampling on a 400m x 100m grid has confirmed the presence of elevated uranium in soil levels over the entire length of the southern sub-anomaly, with peak values up to 63 ppm U3O8 in soil and general values in the 12 ppm U3O8 to 49 ppm U3O8 range over an area measuring at least 1600 m long and over 100m wide (Diagram 4). Rock-chip assays from sporadic outcrop in the area of the soil anomaly has confirmed the local presence of moderate to high grade uranium in bedrock over a strike-length of 1400m. Peak values for the rock-chip samples include assays of 623 ppm U3O8, 464 ppm U3O8, 443 ppm U3O8, 393 ppm U3O8 and 250 ppm U3O8. Assay results for all rock-chip samples are available in the attached document.

Forward Programme at Namakande 

Site preparation for a nominal 400m x 100m drilling programme at Namakande E will commence in November.

On completion of the current drilling programme at Chisebuka, and subject to the commencement of seasonal rains, the drill rig will mobilise to Namakande to commence reconnaissance drill testing of the Namakande E target. This drill rig has been secured for the remainder of 2007 and for the entire 2008 field season and will be used throughout the Company’s Zambian projects. 

Field evaluation of the Namakande A, B, C and F targets is scheduled for November. The evaluations will determine what further sampling is required at these areas to define drilling targets for 2008.

Background 

The Chisebuka and Namakande uranium prospects are situated approximately 120km south-west of Lusaka within the Kariba Valley Joint Venture Project. The JV tenements are owned by Albidon, and African Energy can earn a 30% equity interest in the Kariba Valley Project by completing expenditure of A$1 million on the Project, and can increase this to 70% equity interest by completing a Pre-Feasibility Study on an Indicated Resource.

The Njame uranium deposit and the Gwabe uranium mineralisation are located approximately 80km south-east of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, and form part of the Chirundu Joint Venture Project. The JV tenements are owned by Albidon, and African Energy has earned a 30% equity interest in the Chirundu Project and can increase this to 70% equity interest by completing a Pre-Feasibility Study on an Indicated Resource.

The Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves (the ‘JORC Code’) sets out minimum standards, recommendations and guidelines for Public Reporting in Australasia of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves. The information contained in this announcement has been presented in accordance with the JORC Code and references to “Inferred Resources” and “Indicated Resources” are to those terms as defined in the JORC Code.  

Information in this report relating to Exploration results, Mineral Resources or Ore Reserves is based on information compiled by Dr Frazer Tabeart (an employee of African Energy Resources Limited) who is a member of The Australian Institute of Geoscientists. Dr Tabeart has sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity which he is undertaking to qualify as a Competent Person under the 2004 Edition of the Australasian Code for reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves. Dr Tabeart consents to the inclusion of the data in the form and context in which it appears.

If you have any queries please contact the Chief Financial Officer, Nicholas Day or Managing Director, Dale Rogers on +61 8 9211 4600 or email nickd@albidon.com

Albidon’s nominated adviser is RFC Corporate Finance Ltd, contact Stephen Allen +61 8 9480 2500.

Additional information may also be viewed on Albidon’s website at www.albidon.com
http://www.albidon.com

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(Nairobi)

Lusaka

The government has dismissed concerns expressed this week by the Catholic Church that a new law to guide constitutional reforms is defective.

On Tuesday, the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) emphatically rejected the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) Act, saying it could not “deliver a new constitution that will be embraced as legitimate by the people of Zambia, and stand the test of time.”

In response, Defense Minister and acting chief government spokesperson George Mpombo said ZEC gave “the impression that it seeks to dominate and overturn decisions made by the majority,” the Times of Zambia reported.

He said that although ZEC was calling for consensus on the Constitution-making process, it had at the same time taken a position that suggested that it would not bend on its demands, negating the principle of give-and-take required to reach consensus.

The minister refuted assertions by ZEC that the NCC Act was a product of only politicians, saying several stakeholders, including well-meaning churches and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), trade unions and professional bodies, were part to the NCC and its process of enactment.

Mr Mpombo said that the NCC Act, in place of a Constituent Assembly (CA), was not a departure from the recommendations of the Mung’omba Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) even on the question of either amending or replacing the current Constitution.

He also said that the Government was not encouraging division and alienation of different groups of people with divergent views in the Constitution-making process.

Source: Catholic Information Service for Africa

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(Nairobi)

Lusaka

The Catholic Church today emphatically rejected the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) Act, saying it could not deliver a people-driven Constitution.

“Can the NCC Act, in its current form, deliver a new constitution that will be embraced as legitimate by the people of Zambia, and stand the test of time? The answer is no! This is because the Act, as many groups have pointed, is fundamentally flawed,” the Church said.

In a statement read to the press in Lusaka by Arcbhishop Telesphore Mpundu, President of Zambia Episcopal Conference, the Church said its members would only sit in the NCC if the law was revised.

The church also rejected calls that those who are aggrieved should take their grievances to the Conference. “What is being overlooked is that the NCC Act will not be on the menu at the Conference. By the time the NCC starts to meet, the members of the NCC will have made a solemn oath to abide by the Act. Is it not logical, therefore, that the time to re-look at the Act is now rather than later?”

The bishops raised five objections to the NCC Act. First, the law departs from the clear recommendation by the people that a new Constitution be written. It suggests that it will be up to the Conference to determine the need for a new Constitution.

Secondly, of the expected 502 delegates to the Conference, 337 are politicians and government-related participants, the church said. Many other stakeholders will be shut out.In addition, the law provides for wide classes of participants without specifying how they will be chosen.

The third objection is that the Act gives sweeping powers to the Conference that, in the light of the same skewed composition, can undo the basic demands of the people in the past 20 years.

Fourthly, the Church expressed fears that the role of Parliament as provided for in the NCC Act could lead to mere amendments to the current Constitution, ainstead of writing of a new one. “The NCC Act brings back parliament to play a role even before the referendum. Given the number of times parliament has failed us, this should be looked at again.”

Finally, the law gives the President a “blank cheque” to dissolve the Conference if he deems it necessary, or extend its lifespan for as long as he wishes.

“Given the serious problems that have been cited regarding the Act, it means that if the NCC is forced to go ahead without attending to the issues referred to here, then the outcome will lack legitimacy. Legitimacy can only be achieved through consensus,” the bishops said.

“If these contentious issues are thoroughly dealt with, we shall only be too happy to participate in the Conference. If, however, this fails, then we reserve the right to stay away from the Conference. We do not want to give legitimacy to a process which lacks proper consensus,” they added.

Source: Catholic Information Service for Africa

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Vidya Ram, 10.17.07, 2:35 PM ET

LONDON –

The new Open Skies agreement between American and the European Union may increase the number of airlines allowed to traverse the Atlantic, but with the majority of landing slots controlled by a few carriers, in practice it’s hard for new ones to break in, especially from the U.S. side. The solution? Joint ventures, like the one announced on Wednesday by Air France and Delta Air Lines.

The airlines announced that they had signed a deal to share sales and costs on certain trans-Atlantic routes. The first phase, which will begin in April 2008, will include flights between Air France’s hubs in Paris and Lyon and Delta’s hubs in New York, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City. The airlines will also launch new flights from London’s Heathrow Airport to Los Angeles and Atlanta. In a second phase, all flights between Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as in North America, will be included in the joint venture. The agreement will run till 2016 to begin with, after which it could be renewed every three years.

The airlines said that the venture was expected to generate $1.5 billion in sales annually in the first phase till 2010, after which it could generate as much as $8 billion a year.

These kinds of ventures will enable American airlines to break into the trans-Atlantic busineds, currently dominated by the likes of British Airways and Richard Branson’s privately held Virgin Atlantic. European airlines will also gain much greater access to U.S. domestic flights.

Air France (nyse: AKHnews people ) closed up 33 euro cents (47 cents), or 1.2%, at 26.89 euros ($38.17), in Paris on Wednesday. Earlier in the week airline stocks fell across Europe as the price of oil has surged to new records, crossing the $86 a barrel barrier for the first time on Tuesday. British Airways (other-otc: BAIRYnews people ) ended the day up 10 pence (20 cents), or 2.4%, at £4.28 ($8.72) in London, while Lufthansa (other-otc: DLAKFnews people ) closed up 11 euro cents (15 cents), or 0.5%, at 20.69 euros ($29.37.) in Frankfurt.Delta Air Lines (nyse: DALnews people ) rose by 34 cents, or 1.7%, to $20.42, in midday trading in New York.

“This agreement marks an unprecedented move to offer our customers a greater choice of routes and schedules,” said Air-France KLM Chief Executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta.

ABN Amro analyst Andrew Lobbenberg, said that joint ventures such as the one announced on Wednesday had been expected following an agreement between the American government and the European Commission, which will allow American carriers to fly to airports in the European Union and then on to further destinations.

“Air France can see the benefit of the KLM-Northwest joint venture,” said Lobbenberg, referring to a profitable deal between KLM and Northwest Airlines (nyse: NWAnews people ), under which the American company can use KLM’s hubs while the Dutch airline receives a share of the revenue. The agreement between Air France and Delta is expected to replicate that model. “With regulatory permission Air France is hoping to bind the four of them together,” said Lobbenberg. Air France and KLM are part of the same company, Air France-KLM, although they operate independently from hubs in Paris and Amsterdam. Together they are Europe’s largest airline and have been eyeing a number of potential acquisitions including Alitalia (other-otc: ALAIFnews people ) and Iberia (other-otc: IBRLFnews people ).

Air France-KLM’s Spinetta said that the airlines would begin discussions on a four-way joint venture if the U.S. government gives them the go ahead. America had previously denied their application for antitrust immunity in 2005, but the airlines reapplied in June.

http://www.forbes.com/2007/10/17/delta-air-update-markets-equity-cx_vr_1017markets25.html?partner=airlines_newsletter

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