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Radio Havana Cuba Jan 31

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  • sipila@kominf.pp.fi
    Radio Havana Cuba Jan 31 http://www.radiohc.cu/homeing.htm Cuban President Fidel Castro Attends Inauguration of 12th International Book Fair Havana, January 31
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 31, 2003
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      Radio Havana Cuba Jan 31


      Cuban President Fidel Castro Attends Inauguration of 12th International Book

      Havana, January 31 (RHC)-- Cuban President Fidel Castro attended the
      inauguration of the 12th International Book Fair at the San Carlos de la
      Cabaña Fortress last night.

      This year's book fair is dedicated to Cuban poet and National Literature
      Prize winner Pablo Armando Fernández. Organizers predict that more than five
      million books will be sold at the annual fair, which ends on February 9th in
      Havana -- but will then be taken to more than 30 cities and towns across the
      island, extending until March 2nd.

      During last night's opening in Havana, Cuba's Minister of Culture Abel
      Prieto said that the book fair is a firm expression of the island's current
      Cultural Revolution.

      Mexico and Spain are the foreign countries with the largest representation
      at the 12th International Book Fair, where many writers and publishing
      houses from Latin America and especially the Andean Community are taking
      part. It was also announced yesterday that book fairgoers will find more
      than 200 titles by Cuban authors at this year's literary festival.

      Havana's International Book Fair includes cultural presentations by Cuban as
      well as foreign musicians, special roundtable discussions with
      world-renowned writers and film showings. A special area for children's
      books has been set up and the little ones will be entertained with parties
      and readings from their favorite books.


      Demonstration at US Embassy in Bolivia Demands Freedom for Cuban Five

      La Paz, January 31 (RHC)-- Protesters gathered in front of the US Embassy in
      the Bolivian capital on Thursday -- demanding the immediate release of the
      five Cuban political prisoners in the United States. Organizers of the
      demonstration handed embassy personnel a letter addressed to the US
      president, signed by a number of prominent Bolivian personalities.

      In related news, it was reported in the Dominican Republic that one of the
      lawyers for the Cuban Five says the men were unjustly convicted on charges
      without evidence. The news daily "La Nacion" quotes attorney Paul McKenna,
      who affirms that additional charges, including espionage, were added in
      order to get life sentences against three of the five. McKeena notes that
      during the trial, it was proven that the five Cubans were only trying to
      prevent terrorist activities against their country.


      Cuba-Canada Relations Expand and Strengthen

      Havana, January 31 (RHC)-- Bilateral relations between Cuba and Canada
      continue to expand and strengthen, according to Ottawa's Ambassador in
      Havana, Michael Small.

      The Canadian ambassador said that bilateral relations with Cuba will further
      increase during 2003, particularly in the tourism sector. Canada is Cuba's
      main market for tourists, with some 400,000 Canadian vacationers expected to
      visit the island this year.

      Ambassador Michael Small also pointed to the "Terry Fox Marathon against
      Cancer," which will take place this Sunday in all Cuban municipalities. He
      explained that the race is a tradition in Canada, with parallel marathons
      all over the world to promote the fight against cancer.


      Educators from More than 26 Nations to Attend Pedagogía 2003

      Havana, January 31 (RHC)-- More than 4000 academics and educational experts
      from some 26 countries will participate in the Educational Congress
      Pedagogía 2003, slated to begin on Monday, February 3rd, in the Cuban

      Cuban Education Minister Luis Ignacio Gómez told reporters in Havana that
      the aim of the scientific event is to promote exchange of experiences among
      experts in the field from around the world.

      For five days, delegates will gather together in seminars, roundtable
      discussions, workshops and TV conferences to debate issues such as today's
      neo-liberal globalization and its impact on education and university access.
      There will also be master lectures by renowned Cuban and foreign

      During the event, delegates will tour schools and educational centers here
      in Cuba, providing them with first-hand knowledge about the many new
      programs being implemented on the island in the educational sector.

      The Cuban minister of education pointed to another two upcoming meetings
      here in Havana -- the first one between deans from ten universities in
      France and Cuba and another meeting of members of the Latin American and
      Caribbean Teachers Association.


      Black Farmers Eager to Sell Food to Cuba

      Washington, January 31 (RHC)-- The National Black Farmers Association is
      reportedly working on an agreement to sell some 20 million dollars in food
      to Cuba -- ranging from chicken to wheat. According to John Boyd, the
      president of the Association, more than 10,000 Black farmers would benefit
      from the agreement with the island.

      Speaking with reporters in Washington, the head of the National Black
      Farmers Association said his organization would be able to obtain "a
      contract directly with the farmers themselves and get them a fair price for
      their crops." He said he and other members of the NBFA met with Cuban
      government officials in November last year during a visit to the island,
      along with leaders of the National Association of Colored Peoples (NAACP).

      NBFA President John Boyd said the agreement will be to sell Cuba corn,
      soybeans, rice, wheat and chicken, all grown and raised by Black farmers in
      the United States.


      Governments of Spain and Great Britain Suffer Backlash in Their Efforts to
      Divide Europe Over Iraq

      London/Madrid, January 31 (RHC) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair and
      Spanish President José María Aznar are both facing backlash at home as the
      major protagonists of a pro-US initiative over Iraq without consulting
      France or Germany. In the aftermath of an open letter supporting
      Washington's Iraq war plans signed by 8 European countries and initiated by
      Aznar and Blair, in London a new poll revealed Friday that a record 84
      percent of Britons believe war against Iraq without United Nations approval
      is madness.

      In Madrid, a new survey Friday revealed that more than 74 percent of
      Spaniards are against war on Iraq even with UN approval, as Spanish media
      outlets blast Aznar for not listening to his people and for dividing Europe.
      The editorial pages of Spain's most important dailies, including El País and
      El Mundo, accused Aznar of abandoning Europe in his subservience to

      The letter has prompted angry responses around key European Union capitals,
      including Brussels, where officials called it divisive and expressed
      consternation at this latest outbreak of disarray in EU ranks just days
      after foreign ministers agreed on a policy of demanding that Iraq disarm,
      backing the UN route and supporting weapons inspectors. Besides Britain and
      Spain, the letter was signed by Denmark, Italy, Portugal and would-be EU
      members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, which Greece - holder of the
      EU presidency - called the "gang of eight" for undermining unity.


      Leaders of George Bush Family Religious Denominations Sound Off Against War
      on Iraq and US Foreign Policy

      Washington, January 31 (RHC) - US President George W. Bush and his former
      president father are coming under fire from their respective religious
      denominations. The US's National Council of Churches began airing a
      television commercial Friday in which a bishop of the United Methodist
      Church, President George Bush's denomination, says going to war against Iraq
      "violates God's law and the teachings of Jesus Christ."

      The 30-second ad, scheduled to appear several times a day over the next week
      on the CNN and Fox cable networks in New York and Washington, is part of an
      accelerating television, radio and print media campaign by Win Without War,
      a coalition of organizations opposed to invading Iraq. Win Without War's
      national director, former congressional representative Tom Andrews, said the
      choice of a Methodist bishop as a spokesman is intended to emphasize the
      opposition to war from America's mainstream churches and to convey that the
      peace movement is middle-of-the-road and patriotic.

      Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, the United Methodist Church's chief ecumenical
      officer, said "war will only create more terrorists and a more dangerous
      world for our children." The Washington Post reported that some national TV
      networks and local stations have rejected the antiwar coalition's efforts to
      buy advertising time. Nathan Naylor, a public relations executive involved
      in the ad campaign, said CNN, Fox and NBC declined to sell airtime on their
      national networks, so the coalition bought time locally from network
      affiliates and cable operators.

      At the same time, a public dispute over war on Iraq and US foreign policy in
      general between the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church and former
      President George Bush continued Thursday. Presiding Bishop Frank T.
      Griswold, the leader of Bush father's own denomination, responded to
      criticism by the former president, saying that the American spirit of
      generosity must also be reflected in the nation's actions. Griswold
      initially drew attention with remarks he made in an interview with the
      Religion News Service, in which he said that the United States is rightfully
      loathed by a world that sees the country as greedy, self-interested and
      almost totally unconcerned about poverty, disease and suffering.

      Last Monday, in a speech carried on Fox News Channel, the senior Bush said
      Griswold's words were "highly offensive" and "uncalled-for." Meanwhile, more
      than 40 bishops and pastors of Protestant and Orthodox churches issued an
      open letter Friday imploring Bush to meet with antiwar religious leaders,
      which he has thus far refused to do.


      Desperate Venezuelan Opposition Seeks International Support as Support for
      Strike Dwindles

      Caracas, January 31 (RHC) - As backing for Venezuela's 60-day-old strike
      dwindled, a desperate rightwing opposition has asked for international
      support in their drive for an amendment shortening President Hugo Chávez's
      term. Diplomats from six nations, called the "Group of Friends of
      Venezuela", arrived in Caracas Thursday in another effort to seek solutions
      to the country's political crisis.

      The opposition has proposed an amendment that would cut Chávez's term from
      six years to four and clear the way for presidential and congressional
      elections this year, and also calls for a new elections council and a
      Supreme Court ruling to determine when a referendum on Chávez's rule can be
      held. But government representatives at negotiations mediated by the
      Organization of American States haven't shown any sign they will consent to
      a plan cutting Chávez's mandate. The Venezuelan president has vowed not to
      strike a deal with an opposition he refers to as a "coup-plotting

      Meanwhile, as shopping malls, banks, franchises and schools plan to reopen
      next week, and production is on the rise in the oil industry, AFP reported
      Friday in Caracas that the gasoline supply in the capital and outlying areas
      had improved substantially. The French news agency quipped that the
      61-day-old strike is weakening while its promoters refuse to put an end to


      Thousands of Mexican Farmers Converge on Capital in Anti-NAFTA Protest

      Mexico City, January 31 (RHC) - Thousands of Mexican farmers were converging
      on the capital Friday for what they're calling a "megamarch" to protest
      against the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA. Machete-carrying
      farmers were arriving from 6 Mexican states in buses, on tractors and on
      horseback. Some 25 campesino organizations have formed the Permanent
      Agrarian Congress in a movement dubbed "The countryside can't take more".
      Several grassroots, political and labor organizations have joined the

      Mexican President Vicente Fox has been engaged in a tug-of-war with the
      activists concerning a high-level dialogue over this year's lifting of
      tariffs on important agro products and on more government assistance for
      farmers. This week, 7 Catholic bishops publicly expressed their support for
      the farmers in a pastoral letter titled "For the dignity of the countryside,
      for the dignity of Mexico".

      They termed as unjust the rules governing Mexico's trade with its northern
      neighbors Canada and the United States, asserting that in Mexico NAFTA has
      only benefited a small group of large agro producers. The prelates stressed
      that trade agreements in no way constitute fatal and unalterable
      commitments. The Mexican bishops announced that they will seek a debate on
      the issue with sister denominations in Canada and the US.


      Nuclear North Korea and Instability in Afghanistan as Washington Continues
      to Beat Iraq War Drums

      Washington/Kabul, January 31 (RHC) - As Washington orchestrates war in Iraq,
      nuclear activity has been detected in North Korea and a week of violence in
      Afghanistan suggests increasing instability in that country. Spy satellites
      over North Korea have reportedly detected what appear to be trucks moving
      the country's stockpile of 8,000 nuclear fuel rods out of storage, which
      according to The Washington Post is prompting fears within the Bush
      administration that the country is preparing to produce a half-dozen nuclear

      The White House has said nothing publicly about the truck activity,
      deflecting questions about the subject. American intelligence analysts have
      reportedly informally concluded that the movement of the rods, combined with
      other activity that now appears under way at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear
      facility, could allow the country to begin producing bomb-grade plutonium by
      the end of March. But Bush administration officials have striven to avoid
      creating a crisis atmosphere with North Korea, which has drawn a great deal
      of criticism from those who see glaring contradictions in foreign policy
      positions regarding Iraq as compared to North Korea.

      In Afghanistan, meanwhile, an explosion killing 18 bus passengers in the
      south of the country came just days after US forces engaged in their
      fiercest battle in 10 months. Eighteen Taliban and/or Al Qaida rebels were
      killed, but the rest of a group of some 80 seem to have slipped away despite
      massive bombardments of a cave complex where they had hidden.. In the
      northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, where warlords continue to vie for power
      despite an ongoing United Nations-backed disarmament program, a bomb
      exploded last Sunday on the roof of an unoccupied UN office.

      Hours earlier, in eastern Nangarhar province, two Afghan security officers
      were killed when a UN convoy came under fire from unidentified attackers.
      Special UN representative in Afghanistan Lakdar Brahimi said the country's
      peace process is far from being assured, pointing to reports from several
      sources indicating growing support for remnants of the Taliban - which is
      said to be regrouping.


      P.O. Box 66
      00841 Helsinki
      Phone +358-40-7177941
      Fax +358-9-7591081

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    • Heikki Sipilä
      Radio Havana Cuba Jan 31 http://www.radiohc.cu/homeing.htm Cuba Spotlighted at World Social Forum Havana, January 31 (RHC)-- The 5th World Social Forum
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 31, 2005
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        Radio Havana Cuba Jan 31


        Cuba Spotlighted at World Social Forum

        Havana, January 31 (RHC)-- The 5th World Social Forum dedicated several
        spaces to Cuba at the gathering that concludes Monday in Porto Alegre,

        Activities related to the island included the presentation of the book
        "Minister Che Guevara: Testimonies of a Colleague," by Tirso Saenz, who
        worked alongside the guerrilla fighter as deputy Minister of Industry in

        Coinciding with the Social Forum, the signing of a cooperation agreement
        between Cuba´s Prensa Latina News Agency and Brazil's Inverta Journalism
        Cooperative will allow the island's press outlet to offer information
        services in Brazil.

        Over the weekend, Cuban labor leader Leonel González, spoke at the
        Continental Assembly against the Free Trade Area of the Americas, war,
        militarization and debt.

        González pointed out that the bilateral free trade agreements promoted by
        the United States aim to achieve the same goal as the Free Trade Area for
        the Americas (FTAA), which is seen as a new form of colonization of the
        continent. He called on those seeking alternative types of cooperation and
        integration to participate in the upcoming meeting against the FTAA
        scheduled for April, in Havana.

        At another work session, the president of the Cuban parliament's economic
        commission, Osvaldo Martínez, outlined the important prospects of the recent
        oil discovery in Cuba and the cooperation agreements reached with Venezuela
        and China.

        The forum also included the participation in different conferences of the
        vice president of the Cuban Friendship Institute, Ricardo Rodríguez, the
        President of the José Martí Youth Movement, Carlos Rodríguez, and University
        Student Federation member Ernesto Fernández.

        Documentary on the Cuban Five Tours the United States

        Havana, January 31 (RHC)-- A documentary on the five Cuban political
        prisoners incarcerated in the United States for fighting terrorism, is being
        shown in various cities across the United States through February 27.

        Co-directed by Radio Havana Cuba journalist Bernie Dwyer, and Cuban
        television producer Roberto Ruíz, the documentary "Mission Against Terror"
        will be shown in 30 US cities according to the Antiterrorist web site.

        The effort is being co-sponsored by the National Committee to Free the Cuban
        Five, the National Network in Solidarity with Cuba and other local
        committees in support of the Five.

        The five Cubans - Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, René
        González and Fernando González - were arrested in 1998 and received unjust
        and excessive sentences (a total of four life terms plus 75 years) for
        having infiltrated Miami-based rightwing Cuban-American groups involved in
        terrorist activities directed against the island.

        The 48-minute documentary, "Mission Against Terror" includes interviews with
        the president of the Cuban Parliament, Ricardo Alaróon; former CIA agent
        Philip Agee, US civil rights attorney Leonard Weinglass, and relatives of
        the five Cuban political prisoners - as well as information on anti-Cuba
        terrorist activities.

        The case of the Five is currently awaiting the results of an appeal
        presented before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta last March.

        Sri Lankan Prime Minister Says he Appreciates Cuba's Aid

        Colombo, January 31 (RHC)-Sri Lanka´s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, said
        that his government appreciates the aid offered by Cuba. He added that the
        Cuban government has given its maximum support by sending medical personnel
        and medicine.

        The Sri Lankan official was speaking to journalists from Cuban television
        and Granma newspaper. He said that Cuban president Fidel Castro, has been a
        hero to him since his student days.

        Mahinda gave a detailed explanation of the tragic effects of the December
        26th tsunami which destroyed extensive areas of the archipelago's coasts and
        killed over 40 thousand people including many foreigners. The natural
        disaster destroyed schools, hospitals and bridges.

        The Sri Lankan official stressed the massive international aid sent to his
        country from the United States, Russia, China, India, Palestine, Israel,
        Cuba, Australia, Japan and the United Nations.

        The Sri Lankan Prime Minister transmitted his "sincere, good wishes to Fidel
        Castro" and urged him to take care of himself.

        He said that the Cuban medical brigade is working well in Sri Lanka because
        of the good bilateral relations between both countries and he recalled the
        special friendship between the Cuban leader and Sri Lankan leader, Sirimavo

        Preparations in Full Swing for Upcoming Municipal Elections

        Havana, January 31 (RHC)-- Over 78,500 people are engaged in the update of
        voter registration rolls for upcoming municipal elections to take place
        across the island. The high level of activism was described as "typical in
        Cuban elections, by the president of the National Electoral Commission,
        Roberto Díaz Sotolongo.

        Sotolongo, who is also the Justice Minister, explained that the first lists
        will be released and posted in public places between February 15 and March
        17, so that citizens will have time to revise their individual background
        information - if necessary - and have electoral authorities in their
        districts make necessary changes.

        The election official also reported that on January 27 and 28, the
        presidents and secretaries of the 14 provincial electoral commissions, and
        the special municipality of the Isle of Youth, participated in a seminar on
        electoral laws and regulations.

        The seminars dealt with ethical issues during the electoral process, how
        districts are defined, the nomination of candidates, the voting process in
        general and the verification of results.

        Cuban Foreign Minister to Visit Brazil

        Habana, January 31 (RHC)-Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque, will
        travel to Brazil on an official visit on February 2nd at the invitation of
        his Brazilian counterpart, Celso Luis Nenes Amorim.

        The traditional ties between the two countries were strengthened in 2003
        when Cuban President Fidel Castro visited Brazil and his counterpart from
        the South American nation Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva, visited the island.

        The Cuban Foreign Minister's visit to Brazil will include meetings with
        high-ranking officials and is aimed at expanding the already friendly ties.

        Cuba and China Sign Important Oil Contract

        Havana, Janaury 31 (RHC)- Cuba and China have signed an important contract
        on the shared production of one of the island's potential oilfields.

        The agreement was signed on Sunday in Havana between the island's
        Cubapetroleo oil company and China's SINOPEC, one of the ten largest oil
        firms in the world.

        The contract is another example of the expanding political and commercial
        relations between both countries.

        Cloud of Skepticism Hangs Over Iraq Following US-backed Elections

        Baghdad, January 31 (RHC)-- A cloud of skepticism hangs over Iraq following
        Sunday's US-backed elections in the occupied Arab nation. With suicide and
        mortar attacks claiming the lives of at least 16 people, resistance forces
        continued their offensive.

        Authorities imposed a virtual state of siege and tens of thousands of Iraqi
        and mainly US foreign troops took up positions to try to provide security
        for what many political analysts were calling nothing more than "a media
        event." The Iraqi government closed the borders and Baghdad international
        airport for the election weekend. There was also a night-time curfew across
        most of the country and authorities banned travel between provinces.

        Despite the heavy security, resistance attacks continued. In the deadliest
        attack, a suicide bomber struck outside a polling center in Baghdad, killing
        seven civilians and two policemen. Earlier, a suicide bomber struck in an
        upmarket area of the capital Baghdad, killing a policeman and injuring four

        A mortar fell on a polling station in the Shiite locality of Sadr City in
        eastern Baghdad, leaving four dead. A similar attack in Balad, just north of
        the capital, killed two others.

        Some news agencies reported a high turnout during Sunday's elections in
        Iraq, but others noted that only a little more than half of those eligible
        to vote actually went to the polls to cast their ballots. Saddam Hussein's
        hometown of Tikrit was said to resemble a ghost town. One reporter said he
        went to eight polling stations, where the staff told him that no one had

        British C-130 Crashes Near Baghdad

        Baghdad, January 31 (RHC)-- At least ten British troops were killed when the
        transport plane they were travelling in crashed in central Iraq. The Royal
        Air Force C-130 Hercules, which can carry up to 128 troops, went down
        northwest of Baghdad on Sunday, scattering wreckage over a large area.

        Britain's biggest single loss since the invasion of Iraq, the crash is
        currently being investigated by teams from London and Washington. A military
        expert quoted on BBC radio in Britain said it was possible the C-130 could
        have been shot down, but the British defense ministry refused to speculate
        on the cause.

        The ministry also declined to comment on reports in the Daily Telegraph and
        Daily Mirror that members of Britain's elite Special Air Service (SAS) were
        aboard the flight.

        Britain's domestic Press Association newswire quoted military sources in
        Iraq as saying the transport plane rarely travels north of Baghdad. The
        sources said the aircraft was primarily used to ferry troops from the
        British sector headquarters in Basra, the main southern city, to the

        A military officer in Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the
        plane had been heading to Balad, which lies 70 kilometers north of Baghdad.
        Balad houses one of the largest US airbases in Iraq and has two runways,
        according to the Press Association. Its 25-square-kilometer airfield is
        protected by a 20-kilometer security perimeter.

        British Air Vice-Marshall Tony Mason admitted that the crash, which occurred
        during attacks aimed at sabotaging the US-sponsored elections in Iraq, could
        have been caused by "hostile action." He noted that the crash site covered a
        wide area, "which suggests impact in the air rather than on the ground."

        The previous largest single loss of British lives was eight soldiers killed
        in a helicopter accident on March 21, 2003. Prior to the crash, 76 British
        troops had lost their lives in Iraq in combat or accidents.

        Britain currently has about 7,500 troops in Iraq.

        Washington's Administration of Occupied Iraq Loses Nine Billion Dollars

        New York, January 31 (RHC)-- The United States lost track of some nine
        billion dollars earmarked for Iraq's reconstruction. According to a report
        appearing in Time magazine, the so-called 'Coalition Provisional Authority'
        led by Washington misplaced nine billion dollars it transferred to Iraqi
        government ministries.

        In the latest edition of Time, which hit US newsstands on Monday, a
        published report shows that the provisional administration's treasury was
        "open to fraud, kickbacks and misappropriation of funds." Written by the
        inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, the audit
        demonstrates lax accounting and inadequate disclosure.

        The report says that on one payroll, for example, only 602 of the 8,206
        names could be confirmed, with no paper trail existing for the rest of the
        cash. Another report said the so-called Coalition Authority allowed Iraqi
        officials to delay reporting the 2.5 billion dollars the interim government
        received in oil-for-food money last year.

        Leaders Meet in Nigeria for African Union Summit

        Abuja, January 31 (RHC)-- African leaders resumed talks aimed at reaching a
        non-aggression pact and finding solutions to crises in Ivory Coast and
        Sudan, after UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urged sanctions be considered
        against Khartoum to end the conflict in the western Darfur region.

        The continent's fight against AIDS, which killed some 2.3 million Africans
        in 2004 alone, were also a part of discussions on the final day of the
        two-day African Union summit in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

        Some 40 heads of state attending the fourth summit of the pan-African body
        since its inception in 2001 -- replacing the Organization of African Unity
        -- spent Sunday behind closed doors grappling with the long-running
        conflicts from Ivory Coast to Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

        Discussions about a greater leadership role for Africa at the United Nations
        -- including African seats on the powerful Security Council -- were expected
        to be a focus of the summit, but were put on the back burner in favor of
        conflict resolution and a pact for non-aggression and stability, including
        the possibility of a standing African Union peacekeeping force.

        Chronic instability in Africa has hindered development, sending some 300
        million of the continent's 830 million people into abject poverty --
        surviving on less than one dollar per day without access to clean water or
        effective sanitation.

        Many of the desperately poor are refugees, among them an estimated 1.6
        million Sudanese who have fled an explosive two years of violence in the
        western Darfur region, creating the world's largest humanitarian crisis.

        UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told a press conference Sunday that he would
        urge the UN Security Council to reconsider applying sanctions against Sudan
        for the "gross violations of human rights" that have occurred in Darfur.
        Noting that the Security Council had considered sanctions and had not been
        able to move forward because of some divisions, the UN official said
        sanctions "should still be on the table."

        Ivory Coast's deadly impasse also took center stage at the meeting of
        African heads of state, following an inconclusive summit of the AU's Peace
        and Security Council in Gabon, which took place on January 11th.

        Tsunami Death Toll Continues to Rise

        Jakarta, January 31 (RHC)-- Aid workers say they need more medicines in
        Indonesia's tsunami-hit Aceh province as diseases continued to threaten the
        survivors of the disaster that has now killed up to 286,000 people.

        On the Thai island of Phuket, tourism ministers and experts met to discuss
        ways of luring visitors back onto beaches after the worst natural disaster
        to hit the multi-billion dollar holiday industry.

        And, as thousands more bodies were buried in the Indonesian province of
        Aceh, the corpses of victims were being painstakingly exhumed on Sri Lanka
        by Interpol teams trying to identify foreigners killed by the deadly waves.

        Indonesia's health ministry said Monday it had buried another 7000 bodies
        since last week, revising its toll of those presumed dead to almost 233,000
        in and around Aceh, the area worst affected by the tsunami.

        As aid continued to help millions of survivors, Indonesian officials and
        separatist rebels in Aceh said despite inconclusive talks in Helsinki, they
        still hoped a truce could be struck to safeguard relief efforts. Justice
        Minister Hamid Awaluddin, one of the government negotiators at the talks,
        said rebels had expressed willingness to consider an offer of autonomy as a
        way to end three decades of struggle over the resource-rich province.

        Meanwhile, the deputy head of Indonesia's Red Crescent Society, Gunwawan,
        warned that although there was now a surplus of foreign doctors, more
        medicines were needed as seasonal diseases such as malaria and dengue broke

        In Sri Lanka, the task of reopening mass graves was underway -- hunting for
        the remains of foreigners believed to be among the 31,000 killed on the


        P.O. Box 182
        00811 Helsinki
        Phone +358-40-7177941
        Fax +358-9-7591081

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