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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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(Moscow) — Vladimir Putin’s party won more than 60 percent of the vote with nearly half of precincts counted Sunday in a parliamentary election that could pave the way for him to remain the country’s leader even after he steps down as president.

The vote followed a tense Kremlin campaign that relied on a combination of persuasion and intimidation to ensure victory for Putin’s United Russia party.

With ballots from 47.1 percent of precincts counted, United Russia was leading with 63.2 percent, while the Communists — the only opposition party to win seats — trailed with 11.5 percent, the Central Election Commission said. Exit polls seemed to corroborate the early results.

The Kremlin has portrayed the election as a plebiscite on Putin’s nearly eight years as president — with the promise that a major victory would allow him somehow to remain the country’s leader after his second term ends next year.

Putin is constitutionally prohibited from running for a third consecutive term, but he clearly wants to stay in power. A movement has sprung up in recent weeks to urge him to become a “national leader,” though what duties and powers that would entail are unclear.

Source: Time Magazine

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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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