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LUSAKA, July 23 (Xinhua) — Kabinga Pande, national vice-chairman of Zambia’s ruling party the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), met here on Wednesday with a goodwill delegation of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

    During the meeting, the delegation’s chief Li Jinjun spoke highly of the friendship between the two parties, which the CPC regards as a “solid” cornerstone for a warm China-Zambia relationship.

    Li, who is vice minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, hoped the party-to-party communication would further strengthen the ties between China and Zambia.

    Li also appreciated MMD’s stance on issues related to Taiwan, Tibet and others.

    Pande hailed China’s achievements under the leadership of the CPC, adding the MMD is willing to learn governance experience from its Chinese counterpart.

    Pande also expressed gratitude to the CPC for its assistance and support since the two parties established communication in the1990s.

    He said cooperation between the CPC and MMD will be long-lasting and help promote the “all-weather” friendship shared by the two countries.

    The delegation also paid a courtesy call to vice-President Rupiah Banda and conveyed regards to Levy Mwanawasa, Zambia’s ailing president who is now under intensive care in France.

    Mwanawasa, while attending an African Union summit in Egypt late last month, was hit by a stroke and soon flown to Paris for treatment.

    The Chinese friendship delegation on Friday will continue its Africa tour in Tunisia at the invitation of the Tunisian Constitutional Democratic Rally. It will attend the party’s fifth national congress as CPC representative on July 30.

    The delegation just concluded a friendly visit to Malawi before flying to Zambia.

 
Editor: Amber Yao
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ABOUT 500 workers at Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) have been issued with summary dismissal letters following their two-day riotous behaviour in protest against alleged poor conditions of service. And Police have apprehended seven CCS workers in relation to the riot that took place on Tuesday at the copper smelter company.Both CCS company secretary, Sun Chuanqi, and Copperbelt permanent secretary, Jennifer Musonda, confirmed the figure of the dismissed workers in separate interviews yesterday. Mr Chuanqi revealed that company property worth about US$200,000 was allegedly destroyed by the irate workers during the riot.He said management was saddened that the workers rioted before the conclusion of negotiations with union representatives.

Mr Chuanqi said the workers had been given a grace period of three days within which to exculpate themselves and show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them.

He complained that work had been adversely affected by the workers’ riotous behaviour.

Mr Chuanqi warned that all workers identified as ring leaders would be dismissed from employment to discourage others from behaving in a similar manner.

By press time yesterday more than 19 alleged ring leaders had been identified while more than 66 workers collected their summary dismissal letters.

Mr Chuanqi appealed to workers to exculpate themselves within the stipulated time so that the innocent ones could be reinstated.

“We’re appealing to the workers to respond quickly to the summary dismissal letters so that those that did not take part in the riotous behaviour could be reinstated because work has been grossly affected and we need local manpower,” he said.

Mr Chuanqi said CCS belonged to Zambians and wondered why the workers destroyed what belonged to them simply because of a dispute that could have been resolved amicably.

“What we are building here also belongs to Zambians, so people must desist from destroying this investment. For those who will not come to collect their letters, we will follow them until they get them so that they can exculpate themselves,” he said.

However, Mr Chuanqi paid tribute to government for its continued support to Chinese investment in Zambia.

He also said the Chinese worker only identified as a Mr Li who was injured during the riot on Tuesday was discharged from the hospital.

And Mrs Musonda also confirmed that workers were served with summary dismissal letters when they reported for work yesterday.

A check by the Zambia Daily Mail crew yesterday at the CCS premises found several riot police officers manning the company.

Some Zambian workers were found waiting to collect their summary dismissal letters while others were reluctant to collect them, claiming that they did not take part in the riot.

Those spoken to said they were ignorant about the whole thing and that they were just forced by some of their colleagues to riot.

Copperbelt Police commanding officer, Antonneil Mutentwa, revealed that six officials of the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) and their member were apprehended by police in connection with the riot.

Mr Mutentwa said the union officials and their member were apprehended around 17: 45 hours on Tuesday.
NUMAW national secretary Albert Mando condemned the action by the workers to riot and damage company property.

“We are not in support of what the workers did. We are also disappointed with what happened on Tuesday because the negotiations have not yet collapsed, so why strike or riot?” Mr Mando said.

Zambia Daily Mail

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Times of Zambia reports…

Chambishi fires 500

 ALL the 500 striking workers at Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) were yesterday fired while seven National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) branch officials were arrested and detained on Tuesday evening.

The workers were served with letters of summary dismissal by management in the morning.

The move by management was as a result of the riotous behaviour by the workers at the company premises on Tuesday morning.

Police said those arrested were detained at Kitwe Central Police Station to help with investigations.

The workers at the Chinese-owned company had been on strike since Monday, demanding improved conditions of service.

The situation worsened on Tuesday when the workers decided to become violent and damaged property worth millions of Kwacha.

Both CCS company secretary, Sun Chuanqi and NUMAW national secretary, Albert Mando, confirmed that all the 500 workers who took part in the work stoppage had been served with letters of summary dismissal and had been given three days in which to exculpate themselves.

But Mr Mando said it was unfortunate that management had decided to serve the workers with letters of summary dismissal, saying there was no reason to continue with negotiations when its members had been served with letters of dismissal.

He, however, said his union would work hard to ensure that the seven branch union officials, who had been arrested, were released so that negotiations could continue.

“Yes, I have been told that the management at the company has also served the workers with letters of summary dismissal, but it is unfortunate management has resolved to take this stance.

“This decision by management will affect our negotiations because how do we negotiate when our members have been given letters of summary dismissal,” Mr Mando said.

And speaking in an interview at CCS, Mr Chuanqi said the management at the company had decided to serve its workers with letters of summary dismissal as a way of disciplining them for their riotous behaviour, but that they were free to exculpate themselves.

He said management was eager to listen to the concerns of the workers, but was saddened that the workers quickly resolved to become riotous and damaged property at the company.

He said the Chinese investment in Zambia was there to benefit both Zambians and Chinese and there was no reason for Zambian workers to become violent and damage property.

“As management, we do not take pleasure in dismissing our employees, but we want them to know that violence does not pay and that they have to do things according to the law. Problems arise where there are people, but things must be done correctly,” Mr Chuanqi said.

And Mr Mando confirmed the detention of the seven union branch officials and that he was trying to secure their release.

Mr Mando, who was still at the Kitwe Central Police Station by Press time, said those arrested were branch chairman, Oswell Chibale Malume, vice-branch chairman, Christopher Yumba, branch secretary, Steven Kabwe, branch vice-secretary, Christopher Nkandu, treasurer, Kafwaya Ndombwani, vice-treasurer, Chanda Mhango and a shop steward, Kachinga Silungwe.

Mr Mando said the seven were picked up on Tuesday evening and had not been formally charged although they were still being interrogated.

“Yes I can confirm that seven of NUMAW branch officials at Chambishi Copper Smelter have been arrested and detained at Kitwe central police station. They were picked up around 18:00 hours on Tuesday.

“I am actually at the police station, but I have not talked to them because they are still being interrogated and have not been formally charged. As a union, we are trying to secure their release,” Mr Mando said.

The Times team which went to CCS found the place deserted with only armed police dotted all over to keep vigil.

End of report.

UN warns on food price inflation

Pakistani women at subsidised food store 03.03.08

Governments are urged to take action to help ease rising prices

The head of the UN World Food Programme has warned that the rise in basic food costs could continue until 2010.Josette Sheeran blamed soaring energy and grain prices, the effects of climate change and demand for biofuels.

Miss Sheeran has already warned that the WFP is considering plans to ration food aid due to a shortage of funds.

Some food prices rose 40% last year, and the WFP fears the world’s poorest will buy less food, less nutritious food or be forced to rely on aid.

Speaking after briefing the European Parliament, Miss Sheeran said the agency needed an extra $375m (244m euros; £187m) for food projects this year and $125m (81m euros; £93m) to transport it.

This is not a short-term bubble and will definitely continue
Josette Sheeran
WFP

She said she saw no quick solution to high food and fuel costs.

“The assessment is that we are facing high food prices at least for the next couple of years,” she said.

Miss Sheeran said global food reserves were at their lowest level in 30 years – with enough to cover the need for emergency deliveries for 53 days, compared with 169 days in 2007.

Biofuel prices

Among the contributing factors to high food prices is biofuel production.

Miss Sheeran says demand for crops to produce biofuels is increasing prices for food stuffs such as palm oil.

Miss Sheeran said governments needed “to look more carefully at the link between the acceleration in biofuels and food supply and give more thought to it”.

The WFP says countries where price rises are expected to have a most direct impact include Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Haiti, Djibouti, the Gambia, Tajikistan, Togo, Chad, Benin, Burma, Cameroon, Niger, Senegal, Yemen and Cuba.

Areas where the WFP is already seeing an impact include:

  • Afghanistan: 2.5 million people in Afghanistan cannot afford the price of wheat, which rose more than 60% in 2007
  • Bangladesh: The price of rice has risen 25% to 30% over the last three months. In 2007, the price rose about 70%.
  • El Salvador: Rural communities are buying 50% less food than they did 18 months ago with the same amount of money. This means their nutritional intake, on an already poor diet, is cut by half.
  • Anger over rising food prices have already led to riots in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Senegal and Morocco.

    The BBC is planning a special day of coverage of this issue on Tuesday 11 March, online, on radio and on TV.
  • Wed 5 Mar 2008, 15:50 GMT

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    By Shapi Shacinda

    LUSAKA (Reuters) – Chinese management of Zambia’s Chambishi smelter was in the process on Wednesday of firing more than 500 employees following riots at the plant, a union official said on Wednesday.

    The riots on Tuesday highlighted tensions between Zambian workers and Chinese managers in the mining industry — the country’s economic lifeblood — while Beijing pushes ahead with a relentless investment drive in Africa.

    Albert Mando, general secretary of the National Union of Mining and Allied Workers (Numaw), said workers were sent home and dismissal letters were being prepared. He said seven union officials were arrested, which was confirmed by police.

    “We have been taken by surprise because the union has been told all the workers, over 500 of them, are in the process of receiving dismissal letters. The workers have been given three days in which to appeal against the dismissals,” Mando told Reuters by telephone.

    There was no immediate comment from Chambishi’s management.

    The riots over pay at the smelter on Tuesday injured a Chinese manager and damaged property, officials said.

    INVESTMENT POLITICS

    Zambia’s vast copper mines are a major employer in the southern African country and its leaders are under pressure to show Chinese investment will benefit its 12 million people.

    Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has vowed to fight political opponents who try to limit or frustrate Chinese investments in the mineral-rich southern African nation.

    The growing presence of Chinese firms in Zambia has prompted an anti-Chinese backlash in some parts of the country, with the main opposition party accusing Mwanawasa of allowing the Asian newcomers to exploit workers.

    China has focused its African ventures on mining companies as well as oil to feed its exploding economy. But is is diversifying into areas such as banking.

    The country’s investment drive in Africa has drawn fire from Western nations and aid groups, who accuse Beijing of turning a blind eye to misrule, corruption and human rights abuses.

    China argues it is spreading prosperity in the world’s poorest continent where the West has failed.

    The police chief for the restive mineral-rich Copperbelt province, Antonnell Mutentwa, said the seven union officials had been apprehended to help police with investigations.

    “We will decide the next course of action after interviewing them and conducting investigations,” Mutentwa told Reuters by telephone.

    Chambishi Smelter, which will cost more than $200 million to construct, is part of China’s planned $900 million investment in the mining town of Chambishi, which the government has turned into a tax-free economic zone to attract Chinese investment.

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    HONG KONG –

    China’s first home-built airliner was set to meet the world Friday.

    The state-controlled China Aviation Industry Corp. I, or AVIC I, the nation’s biggest plane manufacturer, was scheduled to roll out its first completed regional jet, the ARJ21-700, at a 600 million yuan ($81 million) assembly facility in Shanghai.

    China hopes that the ARJ21, or Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st Century, will be competitive with regional jets made by Canada’s Bombardier and Brazil’s Embraer (nyse: ERJnews people ).

    China is in the midst of a major expansion of its air network, and it would like to make sure that a good chunk of the spending stays in the country.

    The government is currently carrying out a five-year plan to buy 500 jets and build 48 airports. Boeing projects that Chinese carriers will spend $340 billion over the next two decades to buy 3,400 planes. (See: ” Boeing Raises Forecast For Chinese Plane Demand“)

    The ARJ21-700 is designed to carry 78 to 90 passengers on flights of 1,200 to 2,000 sea miles, making it capable of serving on more than 98% of domestic routes.

    After an online vote by 400,000 Chinese netizens, the model has been named xiangfeng, which means flying phoenix, AVIC I said Friday.

    The maiden flight of the short-haul plane is scheduled for March. AVIC I has received 73 orders for the plane from domestic carriers and aircraft leasing companies, including Shandong Airlines Co., Shanghai Airlines Co. and the government of Laos. The state-run aircraft manufacturer plans to begin delivering planes to customers in September 2009.

    At the Paris Air Show earlier this year, Bombardier Aerospace, the world’s No. 3 aircraft maker, entered into an agreement to help the Chinese company develop an extended 90- to 149-seat version of the ARJ21-700 that will meet certification standards for use in the West. The Canadian aviation behemoth will help its Chinese partner to market the jet overseas, receiving royalties on sales. (See ” Bombardier To Help China Reach Skies“)

    China’s state-controlled aviation industry also is working to produce jumbo jets by 2020, aiming to challenge Boeing (nyse: BAnews people ) and EADS (other-otc: EADSYnews people ) unit Airbus.

    Source: FORBES.COM AIRLINES NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 25, 2007

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    Li Changchun (R), member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau, shakes hands with Zambia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Kabinga Pande, also vice president of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), in Beijing, China, Nov. 14, 2007.  (Xinhua Photo)

    Li Changchun (R), member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau, shakes hands with Zambia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Kabinga Pande, also vice president of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), in Beijing, China, Nov. 14, 2007.  (Xinhua Photo)

     

        BEIJING, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) — Senior CPC leader Li Changchun met with Kabinga Pande, vice president of Zambia’s Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), on Wednesday, calling on the two sides to step up bilateral ties.

        Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Central Committee Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC), highlighted the development of China’s relations with Zambia since the two nations forged diplomatic relations 43 years ago. He said that the friendly and cooperative relations between the two nations had set an example for ties between China and other African nations.

        The two countries have shared a solid historical and social foundation to boost ties, Li said, noting that the two sides maintained frequent high-level exchange, expanded their political mutual trust and had forged close coordination on many international issues in recent years.

        He expressed his appreciation to Zambia’s long-term adherence to the one-China policy, saying that the CPC valued its ties with MMD and would make concerted efforts with the MMD side to boost bilateral cooperation.

        “I hope the cooperation will serve not only to increase mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples and two parties, but also to help boost bilateral relations,” the CPC leader said.

        Pande, also Zambia’s Foreign Minister and a special envoy of Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, extended his congratulations on the successful convening of the 17th National Congress of the CPC. He said he hoped to fortify the friendly relations between the two countries.

        He reiterated that Zambia would continue to stick to the one-China policy.

        Pande arrived here on Sunday as a guest of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee.

        In addition to Beijing, he will also visit China’s economic powerhouse Shanghai and Nanchang in Jiangxi Province. While in the central province he will study China’s rural development and poverty alleviation, an official with the department said.

    Editor: Jiang Yuxia

     

    Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-11/14/content_7075319.htm

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    September 30th, 2007 

    By Momar Visaya/Asianjournal.com  

    NEW YORK — World leaders, CEOs, celebrities and scholars gathered for the opening of the third annual Clinton Global Initiative conference. 

    Former President Bill Clinton welcomed the participants from 72 countries and the 52 current and former heads of States who made their way across town from the UN General Assembly. “We are faced with problems that the government is not solving, or the government cannot solve alone,” Clinton said. 

    President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former US Vice President Al Gore led the opening plenary. They were joined by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Walmart President and CEO H. Lee Scott, Jr., Archbishop Emeritus and spiritual leader Desmond Tutu and The World Bank Group President Robert Zeellick. 

    Clinton introduced the opening plenary panelists, and prefaced his introduction of President Arroyo. He proudly announced that Arroyo was an old friend and a college classmate at Georgetown University. “We’ve been friends for a long, long time,” Clinton said of Arroyo, “and her country’s economy is on the way up and it’s in a very good shape.” 

    The former US president also acknowledged the fact that the Philippines “had its fair share of internal conflict brought about by differences in ideology and religion” and asked Arroyo how her government is trying to promote reconciliation in the country. 

    “We have developed a paradigm for peace in Mindanao using both soft and hard power,” Arroyo remarked. Soft power, she explained, is about development, while hard power focused on military efforts to attain peace. 

    “We do it through interfaith dialogues to promote lasting peace and political stability in our country,” Arroyo said, and explained that her government has been exerting efforts to deepen understanding among various faiths and cultures particularly in parts of Mindanao. 

    The annual meeting is the epicenter for global philanthropy and the forum for people who want to get involved and to make a difference. “We’re here because the world is bedeviled by growing inequality. We’re here because we accept our shared responsibility for correcting our problems and we’re here because we believe we can make a difference,” Clinton said. 

    The conference is focused on finding ways to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems such as lack of education, poverty alleviation, global health, energy and climate change. Among the notable attendees were former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, tennis star Andre Agassi and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. 

    Former Vice President Gore brought in more passion to the plenary by sharing his thoughts and ideas about how the world needs more action, rather than talk. “The US has to lead the world in solving this climate crisis and I challenge President Bush to take that step,” Gore said, “The effort to solve the climate crisis is the key to solving other problems.” 

    On the other hand, Archbishop Desmond Tutu brought in the lighter side, nonetheless thought-provoking. “Someone in San Francisco approached me and said, ‘Archbishop Mandela!’,” he said laughing, “two for the price of one.” 

    Clinton introduced Tutu, saying that he had one of the best one-liners at the conference last year. The archbishop likened religion to a knife. “You can use it to slice bread, which is good, or you can also use it to slice off your neighbor’s arm, which is bad,” he said. 

    Arroyo said that terrorists use religion to cause warfare and that something must be done in order to promote more understanding. President Karzai summed it up, saying that it is the “misuse of religion for political purposes that creates the problems.”

    In her closing remark, Arroyo thanked Clinton for the opportunity to share to the world that the Philippines had a 7.5% growth rate in the last quarter. 

    The last remark, from Desmond Tutu, capped the opening plenary. “How about us helping God realize His utopian dream? God dreams that we could all live in harmony as members of one family – the gays, the lesbians, the so-called straight…,” he said, as he was cut-off by a thunderous applause, and as the camera panned to Clinton, the former president remarked smiling, “It’s up right there with the knife comment.”  

    Meanwhile, according to Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Dr. Mwanawasa urged countries in the west to redeem themselves before criticizing China for giving more aid to Africa.

    Speaking when he answered questions from members of staff of the Clinton Global Initiative, the president said governments in the west were often reluctant to finance development projects in Africa. 

    Dr. Mwanawasa said Africa and Zambia in particular is in a hurry to develop and China has come out a dependable partner. The President said very soon, China will embark on a $900 million economic zone project on the Copperbelt where over 60,000 people will be employed.  

    The president said also said those wishing to help the country develop are most welcome. On the Zimbawean question, Dr. Mwanawasa reiterated that if Mr Robert Mugabe is not invited to the EU/Africa summit scheduled for Portugal in December, then the whole SADC region will not attend.  

    He said the SADC member states strongly feel that isolating Mr. Mugabe was not the answer. Dr. Mwanawasa, who is also the SADC chairman, said the leaders in the region were well resolved to continue engaging Mr. Mugabe in dialogue rather than isolating him as the west would rather do.    

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