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By ZamChro

It is very scary to see  Kwacha depreciating at a very fast rate. It is costing almost K6 000/per $1. The Jump from Nov’08 to February is just too enormous. This is what we predicated way back here at Zambian Chronicle, the collapse of the world economy is evidently has a lot of impact on the Zambian economy .

That is what happens when you are so dependent on the outside funding. Something is really wrong. This is what happened to Zimbabwe.

In America the economy is souring twice as much, although unlike Kwacha, the $ is appreciating. People are losing homes like crazy and job losses are sky rocketing.

US bank shares hit 17-year low yesterday on rising fears the government will have to nationalize troubled institutions such as Citigroup and Bank of America wiping out investors’ confidence as they feared government controlling of large portion of the financial sector.

According to the Financial Times report, Bank of America shares slid 14% to $3.93 their lowest point since 1984. Share in Citi were down 13.8%, closing at $2.51, their lowest since 1991.

There some options for the banks being discussed. One option, at least for Citi- would be to convert some or all of the government’s $45bn holding of preferred shares, as well as the $35bn in preferred shares held by sovereign wealth funds and other investors into common stock.

There is some refreshing news though from at least one country.

Canada has shown itself to be a pretty  good manager of the financial system in ways that haven’t always been in the United States. This is due to stricter regulation and their conservative culture, one that depends heavily on a vast and stable retail branch network, and clubby working relationship,.

Canada‘s banks have remained the strongest in the G7 and according to the October report by the world Economic Forum, the soundest in the world.

According to a Finance professor at the University of Toronto,  “… in Canada they do it the old fashioned way, where you need money you go to the bank and they will lend you no more than 75% of the value of your house. Canada is a more conservative place and as much as it limits growth in good times, that approach pays off when others begin a race to the bottom.”

It even gets better to know that there is a country like Canada in this world with reliable banks. Instead of our consulting Nigerians, it may be beneficial if President Banda would surround himself with world leaders like the Prime Minister of Canada.

In Canada, five banks the Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Bank of Montreal , Largely control the market through thousands of branches across the country, forcing geographic diversification and efficiencies of scale generally not found in US or other countries.

Canadian investment banks, as part of commercial banks, are more tightly regulated and kept in check by main institutions, which would pay a price for unwise investing.

The Financial Times reported that after President Obama’s first visit to Canada, he has decided on taking a path that other presidents have not taken in the past putting banks his agenda and staying open minded to new ideas.

More drama on the souring economy.

On another note, UBS has been sued on account of 52,000 Account holders. The Department of Justice sued the Swiss bank giant for records on thousands of U.S customers. The DOJ says UBS agreed to pay a $780Million fine and reveal information on 250 US customers to avoid prosecution but vowed to fight the broader disclosure. Though some think the end of secret Swiss banking is nigh.

Copyrights © 2009 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom. 

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2009 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.

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Greg Mitchell Tue Jul 22, 8:23 PM ET

An ABC-TV outlet in Houston, and now the Houston Chronicle, have posted a video taken at a political fundraiser for Pete Olson, featuring George W. Bush last week — capturing some embarrassing/revealing moments after, he noted, he had asked cameras to be turned off. 

The first moments form the July 18 event find him speaking almost incoherently in admitting, for once, that his friends in big business had screwed up: “There’s no question about it. Wall Street got drunk —that’s one of the reasons I asked you to turn off the TV cameras — it got drunk and now it’s got a hangover. The question is how long will it sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments.”

Then, making light of the foreclosure crisis, he said: “And then we got a housing issue… not in Houston, and evidently not in Dallas, because Laura’s over there trying to buy a house. [great laughter] I like Crawford but unfortunately after eight years of sacrifice, I am apparently no longer the decision maker.”

No one is saying how ABC’s Miya Shay got the video or how it emerged.

Greg Mitchell’s new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits — and the President — Fails on Iraq. He is editor of Editor & Publisher.

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Zambia expects investment of upto $3 billion this year. Commerce Deputy Minister, Dora Siliya however said the projected investment will only be attained with the full participation of the private sector.

Ms. Siliya was speakingin at a media breakfast organised by the World Bank and the Private sector Development Program.

World Bank Private Sector Development Program Specialist, Sylvia Solf was confident that government will speed up the process of making it easy to conduct business in Zambia.

And Zambia Business Forum Chairman, Pasmore Hamukoma said there is need to acknowledge the political will that government has shown in implementing the Reform programs.

Private Sector Development Program Coordinator, Kayula Siame called on government to address factors acting as a barrier.

Source: Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation

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

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.

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    ben-ali.jpgZine El Abidine Ben Ali was born on September 3, 1936 in Hammam-Sousse, to a family of moderate means, which brought him up to respect tradition and imbued him with a sense of dignity, patriotism and respect for others.

    From these values he developed a propensity for simplicity, hard work and rigor, as well as a sense of moderation and tolerance. While still in the Sousse secondary school, Ben Ali responded to the call of patriotic duty.

    Outraged by colonial oppression, he became active in the nationalist movement, acting as liaison between the regional structures of the Neo-Destour Party and the armed struggle. As a result, he was imprisoned and excluded from all educational establishments in Tunisia.

    Yet he did not give up his studies and soon resumed them with enough energy and determination to persevere into tertiary education after completing high school. Recognizing Ben Ali’s outstanding qualities, the party sent him abroad to pursue his higher training as part of a group that was to form the nucleus of the future national army.

    He first graduated from the Special Interservice School in Saint-Cyr (France), then from equally prestigious schools: the Artillery School in Châlons-sur-Marne (France), the Senior Intelligence School (Maryland, USA) and the School of Anti-Aircraft Field Artillery (Texas, USA).

    He also holds a degree in electronic engineering.“My interest in computer science,” he was later to say, “has had a considerable impact on the way I work, giving me a definite taste for Iogic, rigorous analysis and long-term planning which shuns improvisation.”

    The second stage in Ben Ali’s career was marked by a steady increase in responsibilities, due to his sense of duty, his readiness to Iisten to others and his capacity for rigorous analysis. Prior to making any decision, he would carefully consider available information, analyze situations and compare results.

    Once the decision is made, he personally sees it through to a successful conclusion thanks to diligent action and close follow-up.Summarizing this process to an American newspaper, he said in a nutshell: “I listen, I ponder, I act.”

    In 1964, while still a young staff officer, he created the Military Security Department which he directed for 10 years. ln 1974, he was appointed military attaché to Morocco and Spain. He was then assigned to the office of the Defense Minister before becoming Director General of National Security (December 1977).

    In April 1980, he was appointed Ambassador to Warsaw. At the end of his tour of duty in Poland, he returned to Tunisia in 1984, to serve, first, as Director General, then as Secretary of State (October 29, 1984), then as Minister of National Security (October 23, 1985). On April 28, 1986, he became Minister of the Interior, and in June of the same year a Member of the Political Bureau of the Socialist Destourian Party (PSD).

    He was soon appointed Assistant Secretary General of the PSD. Promoted to the rank of Minister of State in charge of the Interior in May 1987, he was appointed as Prime Minister on October 2, 1987, at the age of 51, while keeping the Interior portfolio.

    By the same token, he became Secretary General of the PSD.President Habib Bourguiba at the time was weakened by old age and illness, and was surrounded by seraglio intrigues. Ben Ali, however, remained above rivalries, and acted rather to ease the political climate, to promote openness to organizations such as the Tunisian League of Human Rights and to establish contacts with opposition parties.

    This won him the sympathy and respect of the entire political class, which considered him a man of dialogue and openness.As Prime Minister, Ben Ali took charge of a country in crisis. He confronted the situation with determination, foiled intrigues and took endless calming measures.

    He strove to restore confidence, advocated logical and realistic solutions, and invariably made the higher interests of Tunisia prevail. During that disturbing period, President Bourguiba was increasingly subject to frequent lapses and was eventually disconnected from the realities of the country.

    On the strength of a medical report drawn up by seven specialists treating President Bourguiba, attesting to the latter’s incapacity, and by virtue of Article 57 of the Constitution, Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali assumed the highest executive office on November 7, 1987.

    The ensuing transition went smoothly and in full respect of constitutional legality, and the former president was treated with all due respect.From the moment of his investiture, President Ben Ali has made every effort to honor the commitments contained in his Declaration of November 7th: rule of law, sovereignty of the people, national reconciliation, respect for fundamental freedoms, democracy, pluralism, social justice, solidarity, hard work, openness and modernity.

    This program received the support of the overwhelming majority of Tunisians as it met their expectations.First of all, Ben Ali restored the vitality and credibility of the old Socialist Destourian Party (PSD), which had fallen into lethargy.

    Renaming it the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD), he renovated its structures, modernized its action methods and reformulated its discourse. The RCD opened up to the young, renewed its cadres, and restored free debate and a sense of initiative for the rank-and-file. This reinforced its credibility and its grassroots outreach, and widely enlarged its constituency.

    On the political plane, a climate of détente and national concord set in and numerous measures were taken to establish true democracy and lay the groundwork for the rule of law. The Constitution was amended to do away with lite presidency and automatic succession.

    The Economic and Social Council was re-structured, its prerogatives extended and its representation broadened to promote national consensus on major development options. A Constitutional Council was created soon after the Change of November 7th to guarantee, in both letter and spirit, the constitutionality of the laws.

    In 1998, a constitutional law provided that the opinions of the Constitutional Council be binding on all powers and all authorities.Freedom of expression was guaranteed, and the Press Code amended three times to modernize and liberalize public reporting conventions, and to provide journalists with adequate conditions to exercise their profession.

    Specific measures were taken in favor of the opinion press. A new reform of the Press Code was announced in 1999.A new law on parties was adopted in 1988. It redefined the procedure governing the establishment of political groups, giving pluralism a new impetus and an irreversible character. The early presidential and general elections of April 2, 1989 were the first in the country’s history to take place in absolute transparency and perfect conformity with the law.

    As a candidate of all Tunisians, across party fines, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was elected that year President of the Republic. The consensus in support of President Ben Ali was confirmed by his re-election on March 20, 1994, and on October 24, 1999, with a very large majority.

    The amended Electoral Code also promoted the multi-party system in the 1994 general elections, as it enabled, for the first time since Tunisia’s independence, the entry of the opposition into the Chamber of Deputies.

    The introduction in 1998 of new amendments into the Electoral Code allowed the opposition to win 20% of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies after the legislative elections held on October 24, 1999. The opposition won the same proportion of seats in the municipal elections held in the year 2000.

    Other amendments lowered the minimum age of candidates for the office of Deputy and guaranteed the right to run for office for all electors born of a Tunisian mother while, previously, only the elector born of a Tunisian father could be a candidate.

    The Constitution was also amended to allow for several candidates to run in the country’s presidential elections. For the first time in Tunisia’s history, the incumbent president was challenged by opposition candidates, during the elections held on October 24, 1999.

    President Ben Ali made Tunisia a pioneer country in the protection of human rights, seeing to the implementation of a comprehensive policy combining economic, social and cultural rights with civil and political rights.Just two weeks after the Change, a bill laying down the rules for pre-trial custody and preventive detention was adopted.

    The State Security Court and the office of State Prosecutor were abolished and so was hard labor.The 1984 United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Punishments or Treatments was ratified without reservation. The rights of the child are now protected by law, and the culture of human rights is promoted and widely disseminated.

    A new law was enacted in 1999 with the aim of reducing the period of pre-trial custody, instituting public service work as a sentence instead of imprisonment (provided that the convicted person accepts it freely); and defining torture according to international standards.

    The purpose of the law was to harmonize national legislation with the relevant United Nations Convention which Tunisia had ratified unreservedly. Moreover, a bill was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies to establish the rule of dual jurisdiction in criminal cases and to create the position of magistrate in charge of the implementation of sentences.

    Authority over detention facilities and their administration were also transferred to the Ministry of Justice. Since November 7, 1987, President Ben Ali has expressed his unwavering commitment to the emancipation of women and his determination to further women’s rights.

    The National Pact, a culmination of the national reconciliation drive engineered by Ben Ali, was endorsed by all the country’s political and social tendencies and currents, thus sanctioning national consensus. A general amnesty law was decreed.

    President Ben Ali announced, on February 13, 2002, the introduction of a major constitutional reform bill aimed at consolidating the bases of the republican system of government, further anchoring democracy and promoting human rights and public freedoms. The proposed reform is considered the broadest and most far-reaching in the history of post-independence Tunisia.

    The reform bill gives a high profile to human rights and freedoms within the body of the Constitution, consecrates pluralism in presidential elections, and introduces a greater role of Parliament in the oversight of government activity, while preserving the characteristics of the presidential system of government.

    Among the other provisions of the reform bill is the creation of a second legislative body beside the Chamber of Deputies. The reform bill broadens the role of the Constitutional Council, consolidates its independence and entrusts it with the task of monitoring presidential and legislative elections at all stages.

    Based on his deep belief in the will of people as an over-riding imperative, President Ben Ali decided to submit the bill, after its adoption by Parliament, to a popular referendum, so as to make sure that the intended reform truly reflects the people’s choices and aspirations.

    To put the country back to work, President Ben Ali succeeded in clearing the social climate by rehabilitating the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), instituting dialogue between management and labor, and making labor a cardinal value.

    This was done out of the conviction that there cannot be any social justice or progress without the creation of wealth and without a concerted effort to ensure production and creativity.The economic reforms introduced against this background have enabled the country to achieve a sustained economic growth rate of about 5 percent and to lower the inflation rate to 2.7 percent.

    A national program for modernization and upgrading of the industrial fabric has been developed in collaboration with the European Union, with which Tunisia signed an association and free-trade agreement in 1995.

    The country’s modern infrastructure, favorable legislation and climate of stability and growth have attracted an increasing number of foreign investors. The economic success of the Tunisian model is recognized all over the world and some observers have even called it “the Tunisian miracle.

    In June 2000, Tunisia was ranked as the most competitive country in Africa by the World Economic Forum 2000-2001 Report. in 2006, it reiterated the,feat by being ranci the most competitive country in Africa and in the Arab world by the same WEF. For period 2007-2008 Tunisia still took first place in Africa.

    No doubt the humanistic approach to social realities will prove to be one of the dominant features of President Ben Ali’s personality and record. A man of the people, he constantly listens to citizens, and espouses their concerns and expectations. What he has accomplished in this respect is based on a genuine sympathy with the underprivileged and a rejection of exclusion, together with investing in disadvantaged regions and creating equal opportunities for all.

    As a result, the poverty rate has been lowered to 4.2 percent and the middle classes now account for 80 percent of the population. Thus it is deep appreciation, even affection, that Tunisians feel when they see their president making impromptu visits to deprived districts, steep mountain areas or social, educational and economic institutions.

    Ben Ali strives to give concrete expression to the concept of national solidarity, which is the foundation of his social policy. His visits are invariably followed with immediate action, sometimes in the form of a cabinet meeting the same day, which he chairs in person, to make appropriate decisions.

    It was after such a visit to one of the remote areas of the country in December 1992 that the president decided to create the National Solidarity Fund, commonly known as “26-26 Fund” after its bank account number.

    This decision was warmly welcomed by Tunisians, who demonstrated their solidarity by responding to the appeal of the president with generous donations to the fund.The mission of the “26-26 Fund” is to end isolation, improve living conditions in deprived areas and enable their inhabitants to undertake income-generating projects.

    Building on the exceptional success of this fund in fighting poverty, a new fund, the National Employment Fund, also known as the “21-21 Fund”, has been launched for the purpose of creating job opportunities.In addition, the creation of the Tunisian Solidarity Bank and the establishment of a micro-credit system have made it possible to finance thousands of small projects every year, create jobs for young graduates and promote enterprise.

    The educational reform which made school attendance compulsory until the age of 16, has raised the schooling rate for 6 year-old children to more than 99 percent, fostered openness, tolerance and innovation, and has further promoted equality between men and women.

    Such equality has been reinforced by a host of avant-garde measures taken by Ben Ali. The Code of Personal Status, one of the most advanced in the world with respect to women, has been strengthened and gender equality is now a feature of daily life. After the 1999 legislative elections, the number of women in the Chamber of Deputies has virtually doubled.

    As a result of the numerous presidential initiatives in favor of women, and particularly the measures of August 13, 1992, Tunisian women, more than just having their gains and basic rights guaranteed, became full partners to men in all fields of development.On the foreign plane, President Ben Ali has instituted an active and dynamic diplomacy.

    Working for the integration of the entire Maghreb, the establishment of an inter-Arab consensus and the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean area of co-development, Ben Ali is actively contributing to the search for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. His chairmanship of the Organization of African Unity highlighted his commitment to seeking negotiated solutions to the conflicts afflicting the continent and to preventing new ones.

    In September 2000, the UN General assembly adopted this humanitarian project, paying tribute to this initiative which aims at establishing a mechanism for the consecration of universal values and ensuring a better future for the whole mankind.

    UNESCO’s designation of Tunis as Regional Cultural Capital in 1997 marked Tunisia’s growing cultural influence and its ability to contribute to dialogue among civilizations. At the instigation of its president, Tunisia’s entry into the arena of new communication technologies has been facilitated by numerous government incentives.

    All universities and high schools are connected to the Internet. A program has been launched to connect public libraries to the worldwide web.In 1998, upon an initiative of Tunisia’s President, the International Union of Telecommunications( ITU), an organization affiliated to the United Nations, decides to hold a World Summit on the Information Society.

    The Summit took place in two distinct phases, being hosted by Geneva in 2003 and Tunis in November 2005. By many accounts, the Tunis Summit which is also known as the ” Summit of solutions” was a tremendous success both at the organizational and the conceptual levels. It will be crowned by the adoption of two major texts: the ” Tunis commitment” and the ” Tunis Agenda”.

    President Ben Ali is married and is the father of six children. His wife, Mrs Leila Ben Ali, is active in a number of Tunisian and international charities, working to promote the causes of women, families and children.

    The other presidents in the running included Zambian President and current Chairperson for SADC nations, Dr. Levy P Mwanawasa, SC. who came in second, Namibian President Nifikepunye Pohamba in third place, President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique in fourth place, President Mamaduo Tandia of Niger for fifth classy-daddy-3.gifplace, President of Botswana Dr. Festus Mogae in sixth and President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana as seventh …

    Special thanks go to our friends at Tunisia Online, the World Economic Forum, The Global Peace Index Group, Global Competitive Index Group, Economic Times, Time Magazine, Financial Times, CBS, WSJ Online and many others too numerous to mention … thanks a trillion. Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

    CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

    Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

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    The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
    Posted to the web 10 December 2007

    THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has decided to attend the National Constitution Conference (NCC) and fight for a better Republican Constitution within the conference.

    UPND President Hakainde Hichilema said in Lusaka yesterday although the party was not happy about the Government’s refusal to amend the NCC Act and address various concerns, it decided to attend the NCC in the interest of the nation.

    Speaking during a Press briefing at the UPND secretariat, Mr Hichilema said the UPND National Management Committee (NMC) resolved that the party should continue fighting the battle of the Constitution within the NCC, the referendum and finally in Parliament.

    “At the level reached in the Constitution making process, our party’s NMC which met on Friday December 7, 2007 decided to carry the fight into NCC.“As a party, the UPND will continue to act as a whistle blower in the Constitution making process and fight any machinations to make a bad Constitution for the people of Zambia,” he said.

    Mr Hichilema said when the NCC Bill went to Parliament, UPND moved amendments to take into account stakeholders’ concerns.He said the concerns were, among other things, the need to increase the composition of the NCC and include those who decided to stay away.

    “In our attempt to achieve amicable resolution of outstanding issues which many stakeholders felt were not addressed in the NCC Act, we also held meetings with the Ministers of Justice, Information and Lands. “Subsequently we wrote letters to the Head of state dated October 9 2007 and a reminder dated November 18 both of which were not responded to,” he said.

    Mr Hichilema said the UPND members of Parliament (MPs) and councillors would fight for the interests of the Zambian people.He said the UPND had been consistent on the Constitution making process and that it wanted a Constitution that would stand the taste of time.

    Mr Hichilema said at the NCC, the party would fight among many other things, that the republican president should be elected by 50 per cent plus one of the valid votes.The election date, Mr Hichilema said, should be enshrined in the Constitution and that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should be independent.

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    He said stakeholders such as the Church and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) should be represented on the ECZ, as was the case in South Africa and Mozambique.

    “The Chief Justice should not be the returning officer for the presidential elections, but the chairperson of the independent electoral commission,” he said.

    The UPND also recommended that there should be a mixed proportional representation system of elections to Parliament.

    Mr Hichilema said MPs defecting to other political parties and creating unnecessary by-elections should not be allowed to re-contest their seats for the remaining life of that Parliament.

    Chief Government spokesperson Mike Mulongoti welcomed the decision by the UPND.Mr Mulongoti said, however, it was sad that the UPND had taken a confrontational stance on the NCC by saying that it would give the MMD a good run in the Constitution making process.

    “For us as Government we welcome the participation. The spirit should be for people to go to the conference. It is about making a law and the MMD is going there just like any other party,” he said. 

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    Published:Dec 07, 2007

    Zambia’s government has begun renegotiating fixed tax agreements held by international mining firms with a view to effecting the new tax measures early next year.

    Zambia’s finance minister announced plans to increase taxes paid by copper mining firms so that the Zambians can also reap the benefit of high copper prices and the commodity boom.

    Revenues from copper, which is currently trading at about US$3.00/lb on the international market, make up more than half of Zambia’s gross domestic product.

    Most big mining firms in Zambia signed legally binding development agreements with the government, allowing them to operate at a fixed tax rate for a period between 15 to 25 years.

    According to The Times of Zambia, these agreements for lower taxes were signed with investors at a time when the prices of copper on the foreign market were very low.

    The concessions were granted to the mining investors in 2000, but their tax contribution no longer corresponds with their revenues following soaring metal prices on the international market.

    Announcing plans to increase the royalties paid by copper mining firms, Zambia’s finance and national planning minister Ng’andu Magande said it had become apparent that there was a need for further reform in the country’s fiscal and regulatory regime if the people of Zambia were to benefit equitably from their natural resources.

    Magande said copper mining firms in Zambia were expected to earn US$3.5 billion in revenue this year, but would only pay a tax contribution of US$198 million to government, “which is low”.

    “It is therefore important that mining companies should contribute more to the government,” Magande said.

    He said a lot of work had already been done towards developing an optimal fiscal and regulatory regime for the mining sector, and he expected to be able to provide a comprehensive statement on the new mining tax regime in the country’s 2008 budget address.

    However, he warned the planned optimal fiscal and regulatory regime when implemented might render the current and future development agreements irrelevant.

    Zambia’s mineral royalty is pegged at 0.6%, which is said to be one of the lowest in the world, but government intends to increase it to around three percent.

    Source: The Times – RSA

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    lpm.jpgLUSAKA (AFP) — Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has urged the British prime minister to continue speaking out against Zimbabwe until a solution is found to the country’s crises, media reported Sunday.

    Mwanawasa, who heads the southern African regional bloc SADC, welcomed the pressure Gordon Brown was putting on Harare but expressed disappointment at his boycott of next weekend’s EU-Africa summit in Portugal, reports said.

    The British premier has said he would not attend the meeting if Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is there.

    “I have said the nation faces a lot of challenges. Now, he (Brown) shouldn’t get tired of speaking and he must continue until the harvest (of his efforts),” privately-owned The Sunday Post newspaper quoted Mwanawasa as saying.

    “I appeal to Brown and the entire British nation that they should continue with their efforts until the situation in Zimbabwe has been resolved,” he was quoted as telling reporters on Saturday in Lusaka.

    State-owned newspapers such as The Sunday Mail and The Sunday Times also reported the story. “Do not give up on Zimbabwe”, wrote the Mail’s headline.

    Zimbabwe is currently in the throes of an economic crisis.

    sadcmap.jpgIt has the world’s highest rate of inflation — about 8,000 percent — while four in every five people are unemployed and 80 percent of the population live below the poverty threshold.

    Mwanawasa, who spoke as he was leaving for Germany, en route to Portugal for the summit, welcomed the fact that Brown has agreed to send a representative to the Lisbon meeting.

    The Zambian leader, who heads the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), once likened the situation in neighbouring Zimbabwe to that of a ‘sinking titanic’ where citizens were jumping out to seek refuge in other countries.

    Copyright © 2007 AFP. All rights reserved

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    Boxer Esther Phiri (l.) weighed in Friday before defending her title by defeating Belinda Laracuente of the US (r.) in Lusaka, Zambia.Lusaka, Zambia – The surge of young Zambian girls chanting “Esth-ah, Esth-ah, Esth-ah!” told the story Saturday night as Esther Phiri waved triumphantly to the crowd at Woodlands Stadium in the Zambian capital of Lusaka.

    Moments earlier, Ms. Phiri had successfully defended her Global Boxing Union super featherweight world title, winning against Belinda Laracuente, a more experienced and polished American fighter, and adding another victory to her improbable run as the first female boxing champion from this southern African nation.

    To many observers, Phiri – a single mother and former street vendor with little education who is now a household name – could strike a large blow for women in a country where major gender inequalities remain in everything from sports to politics to HIV/AIDS.

    That’s a tall order for a young woman who only recently emerged from Mutendere – the impoverished area that many of Lusaka’s urban poor call home – and who is now grappling with the confusion of newfound fame. But with encouragement from her corporate sponsor, the National Milling Corporation Ltd., the soft-spoken Phiri is beginning to use her celebrity to set an example for Zambian children.

    Phiri says she sees herself as a role model for Africans. “It’s not good to be staying idle,” she says, explaining that young girls in Zambia’s hardscrabble neighborhoods often fall prey to drinking and prostitution. “I just give them encouragement. “Everything has changed because of boxing,” Phiri adds.

    Before, “I lacked something to do with my life. God blesses me through boxing.” After her father died when she was in sixth grade, Phiri – one of eight children – was forced to leave school and sell vegetables on the street. Then, at the age of 16, she became pregnant.

    How Phiri got her start as a boxer

    But after taking up boxing as part of a local initiative promoting HIV-awareness and participation in sports, Phiri was introduced in 2003 to Anthony “Preacher Man” Mwamba, a retired Zambian boxer who advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and now works as a trainer.

    “When we met that time she was just a novice, but she had heart,” says Mr. Mwamba, who took Phiri under his wing. “She didn’t even know she could be someone.” By July of 2005, Mwamba had Phiri in the ring. Her early fights included a draw and a series of losses, and there were no frills – they traveled long distances by bus.

    Male boxers didn’t make things easy. “They used to insult me,” says Phiri with a laugh, recalling how they said she just came to the ring because she wanted to be near the men.

    But in late 2006, Phiri stepped into an unscheduled fight in Nairobi, Kenya, with the the reigning Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF) Intercontinental Junior Lightweight titleholder, Kelli Cofer of Ohio, and won an eight-round decision. The win and the resulting publicity made Phiri a household name.

    Billboards with her picture line streets and the government television broadcaster carries her fights live. Newly rich by Zambian standards, Phiri, her daughter, and her mother now live in a bigger house in a middle-class Lusaka neighborhood. National Milling is paying for Phiri, who was previously illiterate, to complete her education and to learn to drive her new car.

    The champ gives back

    Phiri has donated money and clothes to a local orphanage and visits with players in a youth soccer league. In talks with kids, Phiri stresses the importance of sports as a way to boost confidence for young Zambian women and help them avoid the pitfalls of sexually transmitted infections and early pregnancy.

    “She’s ventured into ground that was a domain for men,” says Mwiika Malindima, chairman of the Gender and Media Southern Africa Network in Zambia. “I think she’s a role model for many women.” But Mr. Malindima and others would like to see her do more community work with women.

    And Zarina Geloo, a local newspaper owner, says that the largely uneducated Phiri, surrounded by men in the world of boxing, is still not fully aware of just how influential she could be in her new role as a prominent female citizen. Navigating the challenges of fame has not been easy, Phiri says.

    She’s receiving advice from all corners, including Zambia’s president, Levy Mwanawasa, who met with Phiri and counseled her to be wary of men and not to squander her newfound fame and fortune. Aside from boxing, Phiri wants to finish school and says she has a “business mind.”

    Phiri’s next fight is in March, and her promoters are dreaming of securing a bout in Las Vegas. Still, while Phiri now holds two world titles, finding other sponsors for a female boxer in the region remains a challenge. But many Zambians, including males, are just happy to have a champion.

    As one young Zambian man shouted with a smile upon seeing an American leave Phiri’s Saturday night victory – “Zambia is strong!”

    Source: Christian Science Monitor


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    U.S. President George W. Bush greets Bridget Michelo Chisenga of the Catholic Relief Service of Zambia after a World AIDS Day meeting at the Calvery United Methodist Church in Mount Airy, Maryland, November 30, 2007.   

    Meanwhile, President Bush is urging Congress to approve the doubling of the U.S. commitment in the global fight against HIV and AIDS.


     Bush announced his intent to double America’s commitment to fighting global HIV/AIDS with the addition of $30 billion for the next five years.  

    Mr. Bush Friday said he was confident that U.S. lawmakers would show leadership by authorizing his proposal to spend $30 billion over the next five years.

    Mr. Bush spoke after meeting in a Maryland church with AIDS activists from various religious communities. He said World AIDS Day is a time of both sadness and hope. The day is marked around the world each year on December 1.

    He said those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS are mourned, while there is hope for improvements in the lives of those who are infected, and in eradicating the infection.

    Mr. Bush also announced he and his wife Laura Bush will travel to sub-Saharan Africa early next year, possibly including Zambia in his itinerary. Should that happen, Mr. Bush would be the first sitting US President to ever visit the Zambian Enterprise.

    classy-daddy-3.gifIn a statement for World AIDS Day, the head of UNAIDS, Peter Piot, said there is still a serious shortfall in resources for AIDS, and stigma and discrimination surrounding the disease continue to prevail.

    UNAIDS last week lowered its estimate of worldwide HIV infections, saying 32.7 million people were living with the virus in 2006 – nearly seven million fewer than previously estimated. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS … thanks a trillion.

    Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

    CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

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