June 2008


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SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AFP) — Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa was taken to hospital with chest pains on the eve of an African Union summit in Egypt on Sunday but was in a stable condition, medical sources said.

Mwanawasa had been due to take part in meeting of the pan-African bloc’s Peace and Security Council on Sunday evening expected to be dominated by the crisis in his southern African country’s neighbour Zimbabwe.

But he was forced to skip the meeting after suffering acute chest pains which prompted his hospitalisation in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, medics and a delegate to the meeting said.

The Zambian government has had strained relations with Zimbabwe in recent months amid accusations from Harare that it has been in cahoots with Western governments in seeking to topple the government of President Robert Mugabe.

Unlike some other southern African heads of state, the Zambian president has taken a tough line against Mugabe’s regime, likening the economic meltdown across his country’s southern border to a “sinking Titanic”.

Mwanawasa, 59, has ruled Zambia since 2002. His predecessor Frederick Chiluba has since faced corruption investigations but the incumbent too has drawn accusations of nepotism and tribalism, even from within his own ruling party.

Copyright © 2008 AFP. All rights reserved.

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For our discussion we will define talent as your skills, your expertise, your technocracy, your athletic abilities, your competitive advantage or anything that sets you apart. If you want to pull the crowd, set yourself ablaze; Ed Louis Cole loved to say.

 

A former business executive who sat on many boards, an author and philosopher who wrote mind stimulating books like, the Potential Principle, Maximized Manhood, Communication, Sex and Money, and a mentor to me, the late Ed Louis Cole (MHSRIP) coined the above paraphrased subject line, quoted below verbatim.

 

“talent will take you to the top, but only character will keep you there …”

 

Now that we have defined talent, we need to define character. What is character, one would dare ask? I would like to call it the bedrock of your personality, that which defines who you really are.

 

I would like to believe it is that individual you really see when you look into the mirror; it is what you are when no one is looking and you are all by yourself, it is embedded in your genetic fiber, it is that private philosophy that determines your public performance, so to say.

 

I have been reading George Tenet’s book, “At the Center of the Storm, my years at the CIA” and one thing that keeps regurgitating itself in this book is how the world’s former chief spy’s Greek heritage seemed to shape his character. Character takes time to build, character can be developed.

 

As the longest serving CIA Director up to his time, sparing through both Republican and Democratic presidencies, each Commander in Chief, seemed to trust his judgment because his character set him apart. He writes of a scenario when things had gone bad at the CIA and he knew, he would be fired but there came a phone call from President Clinton telling him, he trusted his judgment.

 

Tenet explains how he felt after that call from the President. He told himself that every Jim and Jack was inconsequential, the only person that mattered in the entire world just called to let him know he was in his corner.

 

He describes another scenario during the run up the Iraq invasion, how President Bush called him to thank him after a serious confusion in one of the cabinet meetings that Tenet brought some level-headedness to.

 

It was not just his skills (George Tenet’s) that set him apart, his character did as well. He was reliable, consistent, dependable and trustworthy. He could be counted on and he was the go-to-guy when things got tough. Character, character, character …

 

Character uses logic, reason and defies emotion. There can never be great leadership without character; there can never be great breakthroughs without character. Character sees beyond short term fallacies that come at the expense of long term benefits.

 

We are not worried about talent, because everyone sees it; we are worried about character because only you know yourself best. Character is latent, it is invisible while its attributes are not – they are seen by everyone around you except yourself at times; character always comes up despite how disguised one may want it to be.

 

Here at the Zambian Chronicle, character is important to us … we know first hand why and how we have become the “Gold Standard” for any interactive site and blog for Zambians around the world and we would encourage you to take stock of yourself as well.

 

Character is the real you, so do you have a character problem? The good news is, you can change, you can shape it and you can rebuild the real you into someone the world would benefit from. Besides, you owe it to yourself because while talent will take you to the top, only character can keep you there …

 

History is full of stories of great athlets, movie actors, presidents and world leaders whose skills, expertise,  technocracy, athletic abilities, competitive advantage or anything that set them apart took them to top, but their character brought them down.

 

Do a personal audit today, check out your character and its flaws, we all can improve …

 

Live Long & Prosper; 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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UNITY, N.H. (AP) — Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton sought Friday to turn the page on their bitter, history-making fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, declaring the next chapter is about beating Republican John McCain.

Choosing a small New Hampshire community aptly named Unity for their first joint appearance since the campaign ended, Obama and Clinton stood on a platform before thousands of cheering, shouting supporters and took turns praising each other and urging party solidarity. She called the nominee-in-waiting a standup guy and he declared: “She rocks. She rocks.”

They came together in this hamlet where each won 107 votes in January’s primary. Body language rivaled campaign rhetoric as attention-getter of the day. And a pair rendered distant by a marathon campaign acted like teammates, alternately exhorting the rank-and-file to put any recriminations behind them.

Clinton noted that they had stood “toe to toe” against each other in a primary season fight that began almost two years ago and declared the time has come to “stand shoulder to shoulder” against the GOP. They seemed equally determined to regain a White House that their party hasn’t seen since her husband, President Clinton, left at the start of 2001.

“To anyone who voted for me and is now considering not voting or voting for Sen. (John) McCain, I strongly urge you to reconsider,” said Clinton, beseeching her supporters to join with Obama’s “to create an unstoppable force for change we can all believe in.”

In turn, Obama praised both Clinton and her husband as allies and pillars of the Democratic Party.

“We need them. We need them badly,” Obama said. “Not just my campaign, but the American people need their service and their vision and their wisdom in the months and years to come because that’s how we’re going to bring about unity in the Democratic Party. And that’s how we’re going to bring about unity in America.”

Moments earlier, the two snaked their way through some 6,000 people who gathered in a wide-open field and overflowed some bleacher seats in this town of 1,700.

Obama is seeking to become the country’s first black president; Clinton had sought to become the first woman to win the White House.

The reunification of these campaign rivals wasn’t without its awkward moments.

Despite the praise and smiles between the two, some in the crowd still sensed a space between them. Their embraces were slightly awkward, and Clinton stood with her hands clasped formally in front of her as Obama spoke.

Eileen Quill, a 64-year-old retired teacher from nearby Sunapee who had supported Clinton, said: “I think she’s usually a wonderful public speaker, and so is he, but she looked a little stiff and the whole thing wasn’t entirely comfortable.”

Aides said the atmosphere on the bus from the airport to the rally was “festive,” but said the two avoided talking about the campaign for the 90-minute ride. As they and their staffs ate a lunch of sandwiches and salads, Obama and Clinton made small talk, at one point commiserating and comparing stories about how difficult it is to live life under a microscope, as public figures do.

Friday’s joint appearance capped a turbulent Democratic primary season and tense post-race transition as the two went from foes to friends — at least publicly. This was the most visible event in a series of gestures the two senators have made over the past week to heal the hard feelings — between themselves as well as among their backers.

“Unity is not only a beautiful place as we can see, it’s a wonderful feeling, isn’t it? And I know when we start here in this field in Unity, we’ll end on the steps of the Capitol when Barack Obama takes the oath of office as our next president,” Clinton said from a podium as Obama sat next to her on a stool, coatless with his white shirt sleeves rolled up. She wore a powder blue pantsuit; he wore a light blue tie.

Wasting little time pressing Obama’s case, Clinton noted that McCain and the GOP probably hoped she wouldn’t join forces with Obama.

“But I’ve got news for them: We are one party; we are one America, and we are not going to rest until we take back our country and put it once again on the path to peace, prosperity and progress in the 21st century,” Clinton said to cheers.

Echoing Obama’s pitch, Clinton said McCain offered nothing more than a continuation of President Bush’s policies.

“In the end, Sen. McCain and President Bush are like two sides of the same coin, and it doesn’t amount to a whole lot of change,” Clinton said. “If you think we need a new course, a new agenda, then vote for Barack Obama and you will get the change that you need and deserve.”

“I’ve admired her as a leader, I’ve learned from her as a candidate. She rocks. She rocks. That’s the point I’m trying to make,” Obama added, responding to cheers from the crowd. “I know firsthand how good she is, how tough she is, how passionate she is, how committed she is the causes that brought all of us here today.”

Each needs the other now.

Associated Press Writer Beth Fouhy contributed to this story.

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Zambia is host to 113,000 refugees out of over two million refugees in Africa.

This is according to the report presented to 13th Session of the Executive Council of the African Union.

The Report on the situation of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons in Africa was submitted to the session in Sharm-El-Shaeikh in Egypt.

It noted that the refugees population in Zambia had slightly gone down from 115,000 in January this year to 113,00 in June this year.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kabinga Pande is attending the two-day African Union Executive Council Session comprising Foreign Affairs Ministers in Africa.

The AU’s Executive Council Meeting will make recommendations which AU’s Head of State and Government Summit which opens Monday.

The report said most of the refugees in the country were in camps in Western, North-Western, Northern and Luapula provinces while the rest reside outside the camps.

It said most of the refugees were from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) while others were in Burundi, Rwanda and Somalia.

Source: ZNBC

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LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambian inflation accelerated to 12.1 percent year-on-year in June from 10.9 percent in May, largely due to rising food prices, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) said on Thursday.

“The increase in the inflation rate from 10.9 percent in May 2008 to 12.1 percent in June 2008 is attributed to the increase in the cost of food,” it said.

“The rise in the price of sugar alone accounted for 1.0 percentage point out of the total increase of 1.2 percentage points.”

The June figure takes inflation further away from the government’s target of 7 percent by the end of 2008, which the country’s finance minister warned earlier this month may not be achieved due to high international food and fuel costs.

Zambia, which has vast copper reserves, has agreed to try keep inflation within single digits and maintain a stable exchange rate in return for increased funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Annual GDP growth has averaged 5 percent over the past five years.

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LUSAKA, June 26 (Reuters) – Zambia slashed its fuel import duties on Thursday in a bid to cushion copper mines and other consumers from the impact of rising global oil prices, Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande said. 

Magande, who also announced a hike in pump prices of finished petroleum products, said the cut back in taxes had allowed the government to avoid a possible abnormal rise in pump prices that could have choked industrial output. 

He said customs duty on diesel had been reduced by half to 15 percent while import duty for petrol would come down to 45 percent from 60 percent. 

A 15 percent customs duty on kerosene was scrapped. 

“The total revenue loss as a result of these reductions in tax rates for the remainder of the year will be 127 billion (Zambian) kwacha,” Magande told journalists. 

Diesel pump prices were raised to 7,237 Zambian kwacha from 6,400 kwacha per litre while petrol prices were increased to 8,355 kwacha from 7,616 kwacha. 

The finance minister said the increases could have been higher without the reduction in the fuel import duty. 

“It is evident from the (new) price levels … that the measure taken by the government of reducing taxes has a positive impact on pump prices,” he said. 

Magande said the country’s bill for crude oil imports had risen by 66 percent to $118 million for a 90,000 tonnes shipment of crude oil due to arrive in July from $71.5 million for a similar shipment of crude oil in December 2007. 

Zambia uses huge amounts of diesel to run its vast copper mines, the country’s economic lifeblood. Exchange rate: $1=3,300 (Reporting By Shapi Shacinda; editing by James Jukwey)

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From

The AFL-CIO endorsed Obama Thursday.
The AFL-CIO endorsed Obama Thursday.

(CNN)—The AFL-CIO endorsed Sen. Barack Obama Thursday, kicking one of the broadest grassroots mobilizations in recent history into “high gear.”

“In so many ways―on jobs, health care, gas prices and the war in Iraq―our country is headed in the wrong direction,” AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said in a statement announcing the endorsement. “Barack Obama has proven from his days as an organizer, to his time in the Senate and his historic run for the presidency, that he’s leading the fight to turn around America.”

The endorsement is expected to help rally support around the presumptive Democratic nominee in the critical swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota where union voters make up between 25 and 35 percent of the total vote. 

With an outreach of more than 13 million registered voters in 24 ‘top-tier’ states, the AFL-CIO will send volunteers to the homes of 300,000 union voters, with the 56 member-unions collectively spending more than $200 million in the 2008 election between the presidential, Senate, and House races nationwide.

“We’ll work our hearts out for Barack Obama,” said AFSCME President and AFL-CIO Political Committee Chair Gerald McEntee. “Our program is going to be worker to worker and neighbor to neighbor. We’re ready to mobilize. We’re ready to rock and roll. This country and our people are ready for change.”

The group has been running an active campaign against presumptive Republican nominee John McCain since early March, aimed at defining the Arizona senator’s stances on jobs, trade and health care among union members. Currently, AFL-CIO volunteers have knocked on 60,000 doors and distributed 1.5 million flyers critical of the Arizona senator’s economic record.

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