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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

 —————————————————————————————————————————————–

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.

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BBC Reports..

 

Difficult tasks await Kenyan MPs

By Karen Allen
BBC News, Nairobi

It had all the pageantry and trappings of a state ceremony.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga arrive at parliament

The two leaders agreed the power-sharing deal last week

The national anthem, the guard of honour, the ceremonial dress – but this was a unique opening of parliament.

Kenya’s lawmakers are under the spotlight in a way never seen before.

Kenyans still stunned by post-election violence are vesting their trust in leaders in a country where in the recent past, they have been badly let down.

More than half of the members of parliament are newcomers and they will be expected to hit the ground running, to turn up to vote and pave the way for a historic coalition.

A coalition aimed at restoring unity to what the president described as “one Kenya”.

Stumbling blocks

It was a week to the day that a power-sharing deal had been agreed between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

They shook hands in the presence of the world’s media, flanked by Kofi Annan and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

Opening of Kenyan parliament 6/03/08
The new parliament began with two minutes of silence

That was just the start of a process. In the coming weeks lawmakers will be expected to enact legislation that will amend the constitution and allow a grand coalition to be formed.

They then have to try to “sell” the idea of power sharing to their constituents, among them people who are now homeless or who have lost loved ones in the violence.

There are still potential stumbling blocks ahead – in particular, how power will be shared and how cabinet posts and other senior positions will be allocated.

But for Thursday’s ceremony the tone was conciliatory and upbeat.

After a two minute silence – first for parliamentarians killed in post-election violence and then for “ordinary” Kenyans who lost their lives, President Kibaki rose to his feet.

In a 30-minute speech he stressed the need for last week’s peace accord to be quickly enacted into law, but warned that it would require “goodwill, unity, good faith and integrity” of Kenya’s lawmakers.

Awkward realities

This country is emerging from one of the darkest periods of its history and the coming weeks will be a real test of the commitment of all sides to a durable peace.

A member of the Kikuyu Mungiki gang threatens a man with a machete in Nairobi's Kibera slum, 10 January 2008

Some 1,500 people died in unrest after disputed poll results

Kenyans will be forced to confront some awkward realities with the establishment of a truth, justice and reconciliation commission to investigate past injustices and violence blamed on supporters on all sides of the political fence.

They will also be forced to compromise.

There are concerns that a grand coalition will rob Kenyans of a real opposition.

This has effectively been a deal between two political blocks – those supporting President Kibaki’s PNU and those backing Raila Odinga’s ODM.

Earlier in the day, diplomats insisted the onus would be on the media to help keep the government in check.

But what is clear is that this could be the start of a new pragmatism in Kenyan politics. A chance for a new breed of politician to shine, putting aside a past where winner takes all.

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18 September 2007

Report on economical road building in Zambia, mp3 – download audio clip
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Engineers in southern Africa have developed a product called Ecobond – a non-toxic hybrid adhesive sealant for the construction of roads and buildings. Voice of America English to Africa reporter Danstan Kaunda in Lusaka, Zambia says that the new material could cut the cost of road construction in half.

The initial test project of Ecobond technology in Zambia involves the construction of a 300-kilometer stretch of road in Mpulungu, northern Zambia.

Ecobond is a combination of sawdust, paper sludge, palm fiber and other inorganic wastes chemically mixed with Urea Formaldehyde – a colorless chemical liquid. It is processed industrially on a large scale by the Pretoria-based plant Techneco, Ltd., of South Africa.  

In road construction, it’s mixed with gravel and then sprayed over the surface, before being compacted by a heavy roller, which also levels the surface. 

Kim Anderson is a Danish expert working on the project in Zambia.

He said Ecobond includes ingredients with chemical properties similar to so-called “cement” used by termites in making their mounds.  With Ecobond, the ingredients are mixed with clay.  So far, he says, the product has shown promise.

“The best proof that we have now is the [Ecobond] road that we have constructed in South Africa. It has been there of over 10 years now. There have been about over 11 million vehicles driving through there and thousands of other heavy trucks every week running on the same road [and still in good condition].” 

But the European Union says continuous research in such a technological development is needed to ensure durability in road construction before investing in it.

The EU has been supporting Zambia in various sectors such as rural development, education, health and mining. Jurgen Kettner is head of infrastructure development at the European Union:

“In the past, there were a lot of magic methods developed for making cheap and durable roads [in Africa]. They included the use of chemicals and other additional stuff, but at the end of the day, most of those [methods] turned out not to be durable of long-term structures.” 

The Ecobond roads are said to be much cheaper than conventional asphalt ones because most of the raw materials, like soil and gravel, are readily available.

Anderson said Ecobond roads are less energy-consuming than asphalt road. A main component in an asphalt road – bitmap — has to be heated before being applied to a surface:

“The good thing with the Ecobond road construction is that we do not use too much energy or oil, petrol and not even diesel like it is the case with asphalt roads. This makes it about 50 to 60 per cent cheaper. “

Ecobond was also used in making bricks for the Eastgate Shopping Mall in Harare, Zimbabwe.

So far it seems to be cheap, durable and environmentally friendly.  If it tests well in Zambia, Ecobond will also be extended to other southern African countries like Botswana and Malawi.

http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/2007-09-18-voa36.cfm

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GWACHEON, South Korea (AP) — South Korea announced Wednesday that a 30-year-old expert in artificial intelligence will be the country’s first person in space when he flies on a Russian Soyuz capsule to the International Space Station early next year.

art.skora.astronaut.ap.jpg

South Korea’s Ko San, a 30-year-old robotics expert, will be the country’s first person in space.

The Ministry of Science and Technology selected Ko San, who works at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, Vice Science Minister Chung Yoon said.

Ko, who has a master’s degree in artificial intelligence from the elite Seoul National University, beat out Yi Soo-yeon, a 29-year-old female mechanical engineer, following performance and other tests during their training in Russia.

Ko will work on the international space station for about a week with two Russian cosmonauts in April, conducting scientific experiments. Yi will remain in a space mission backup role.

“I am so happy this very moment and thank you,” Ko said in a statement issued by the ministry.

Ko previously worked on computer vision and artificial intelligence at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, but plans to carry out research into robotics after the space mission.

South Korea is scheduled to complete the country’s first space center in Goheung, 293 miles south of Seoul, by the end of next year, a move aimed at laying technical and scientific groundwork for its own space exploration in coming decades.

Since 1992, South Korea has had 11 satellites launched, mostly for space and ocean observation and communications, according to the ministry.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/space/09/05/skorea.astronaut.ap/index.html#cnnSTCText

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President HE Levy P Mwanawasa SC. was quoted to have said “… each country had its own sovereignty to decide on any matter and Zambia would not allow the establishment of a military base in the country … as Zambia, we will not be giving sanctuary and I think I can speak on behalf of the SADC region that none of us is interested …” 

This was in response to a question as to whether Zambia would welcome the offer from the United States of America to move AFRICOM’s headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Zambia under the command of General Ward. The president is believed to have said this before boarding his Challenger Jet for the official opening of the Trade Fair in Swaziland.General William E. “Kip” Ward Deputy Commander, U.S. European Command

General William E. (Kip) Ward is currently Deputy Commander, Headquarters US European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. 

USEUCOM is responsible for the day to day operational activities for US forces operating across 92 countries in Europe, Africa, Russia, parts of Asia and the Middle East, the Mediterranean and most of the Atlantic Ocean.

He (General Ward) was commissioned into the Infantry in June 1971.  His military education includes the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses, US Army Command and General Staff College, and US Army War College. 

He holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Political Science from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelors of Art Degree in Political Science from Morgan State University. His military service has included overseas tours in Korea, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia, Israel, two tours in Germany, and a wide variety of assignments in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.

According to the official press release from the Pentagon last month, U.S. Africa Command’s (AFRICOM) foremost mission is to help Africans achieve their own security, not to extend the scope of the war on terrorism or secure African resources, a top Pentagon official said.

“The United States spends approximately $9 billion a year in Africa, funding programs in such areas as health, development, trade promotion, and good governance,” Theresa Whelan, deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs, told members of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa and global health recently.

“In contrast, security-related programs receive only about $250 million a year.”AFRICOM will play a supportive role as Africans continue to build democratic institutions and establish good governance across the continent, she said. “Our security cooperation with Africa is one aspect of our collaboration with Africa, but it is a small part of our overall relationship,” she added.

The Defense Department currently divides responsibility for Africa among three combatant commands: European Command, Pacific Command and Central Command.

AFRICOM, slated to stand up in October, is a three-pronged defense, diplomatic and economic effort designed to enable U.S. government elements to work in concert with African partners without the “bureaucratic divisions” created by a shared command structure, Whelan said.

But why the hostility towards AFRICOM?

Whelan addressed the “many misconceptions” about AFRICOM’s structure and purpose.

“Some people believe that we are establishing AFRICOM solely to fight terrorism or to secure oil resources or to discourage China. This is not true,” she said. Though violent extremism is “a cause for concern and needs to be addressed,” countering this threat is not AFRICOM’s singular mission, she said.

“Natural resources represent Africa’s current and future wealth, but in an open-market environment, many benefit,” she continued. “Ironically, the U.S., China, and other countries share a common interest — that of a secure environment in Africa, and that’s AFRICOM’s objective.“AFRICOM is about helping Africans build greater capacity to assure their own security,” she added.

The United States does not seek to compete with or discourage African leadership and initiative, Whelan said. Rather, AFRICOM will benefit it its partners on the continent prevent security issues from escalating without U.S. intervention.

“U.S. security is enhanced when African nations themselves endeavor successfully to address and resolve emerging security issues before they become so serious that they require considerable international resources and intervention to resolve,” she said.

U.S. Africa Command also will support other U.S. agencies in implementing other programs that promote regional stability, Whelan noted, calling AFRICOM an “innovative command.”

Unlike other commands, AFRICOM will be staffed by a large number of State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development members, including a senior Foreign Service officer to serve as the military commander’s civilian deputy. This deputy will plan and oversee the majority of AFRICOM’s security-assistance work, she said.

Are the reasons for rebuffing the offer valid?

We are sure that the president and his advisors have looked at this issue with different eyes and are probably right in their assertions but the issue of speaking for SADC and or on behalf of others in the Sub-Saharan region is what led Zambia into poverty once.

President Kenneth Kaunda despite so many accolades made serious mistakes by believing that all other heads of state in the Non-Aligned Movement were on the same page. For instance, while Kaunda declared sanctions against South Africa, Botswana and Namibia were trading freely with the Boers but always wore a different face when in his company. Their economies thrilled and ours suffered.

It is common knowledge that most African leaders tend to discourage each other in public about such offers while in the dark of the night make arterial overtures at respective US embassies when no one is watching. We would not even be surprised if other nations were in the forefront discouraging Zambia, all the while eagerly waiting for such an offer themselves.

But why Zambia? Because it already has initial capacity …

It is currently common knowledge that the newly elected Liberian president has been heavily lobbying the US State Department so the US can establish the AFRICOM in her country.

However, the US government thinks that Liberia may not be the best fit since its population is unskilled and the transition may take longer due to human resource reasons while Zambia is very favorable in every aspect feasible. When it comes to the issue sovereignty, we are hoping that the president simply misspoke.

The largest military base in Europe is in Germany and that country has the third largest economy in the world. Former Chancellor Schroeder was a serious opponent of the Iraq invasions even.

Japan houses the largest US base in Asia Pacific – Guam, it is the world’s second largest economy and is usually very vocal against the United States as can be proven with the Kyoto Agreement. South Korea has US military base and still a sovereign nation. Eight of the world’s most prosperous nations house US military bases and are very sovereign.

Is the Xenophobia China centric?

Could be … China is investing heavily on the continent and its investments are taking other developed nations by storm. It is believed that by 2009, the Chinese economy could surpass Germany’s making it the third largest in the world.

With China’s huge demand for natural resources, it is investing now so that it can have a greater steak when it comes time to control means of production and could be in the forefront of propagandizing for its national interest.The United States on the other hand is very interested in Africa as well. It is believed that almost 25% of oil and gas to that country will be coming from Africa soon. This is a very important economic apparatus for the world’s largest economy. Overall, if you are going to spend $9 billion a year of your own money for humanitarian purposes, you would want to keep an eye on it … Our suggestion to the president is that he looks at this proposal with an open mind, other African leaders could be saying all they can because of nothing but jealous. They could be doing things that are derogatory because they were not asked first and China could be worried that with AFRICOM housed in Zambia, it might not be able to exploit the Zambian workers the way it like to …

As for our sovereignty, we are a sovereign nation; no one can take that away from us, and we really aren’t offering sanctuary to the Americans, they can do a lot of things without our permission if they wanted to.

They already own 9 out of 10 deep space technology stations around the world; they are the world’s indispensable super power and it is no wonder European leaders first visit the US immediately after they are elected.

When Angela Merkel became the German Chancellor, guess where she went first after her victory, when Nicolas Sarkozy won the French presidency this summer he went to the United States before taking his victory tour holiday. Tony Blair’s successor Gordon Brown went to Camp David even before he issued his desire to work with HE Levy P Mwanawasa, SC.

Whether we like it or not, AFRICOM will be established in Africa somewhere, that somewhere better be Zambia and if not, why not? US Commands are already in place on three continents in different sovereign nations.

AFRICOM comes with added value to our enterprise and the economic benefits as well as prestige derived therefrom surpasses all else; that’s the memo from the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

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(below in the comment line is an except from Dr Wafula Okumu Head, African Security Analysis Program, Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, South Africa, testimony given to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, “Africa Command: Opportunity for Enhanced Engagement or the Militarization of U.S.-Africa Relations?” August 2, 2007)