Saturday, April 2, 2011

U.S. special envoy departs for meetings on Sudan, Posted by Meosha Eaton

WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) - Newly appointed U.S. special envoy Princeton Lyman will depart on Saturday for meetings in Ethiopia and Sudan on the transition of South Sudan to independence in July, the State Department said.

Lyman was scheduled to participate in discussions in Ethiopia on security in Sudan before meeting senior Sudanese officials in Khartoum on North-South issues and on Darfur.

Following that, Lyman was to return to Ethiopia for discussions on economic arrangements between North and South Sudan.

President Barack Obama appointed Lyman, a veteran U.S. Africa hand and former ambassador to South Africa and Nigeria, as special envoy for Sudan on Thursday.

Lyman said he would work on outstanding issues such as border demarcation, citizenship and division of oil revenue on his trip, as well as agreement on the disputed border region of Abyei.

The State Department also said Robert Loftis, the acting U.S. coordinator for reconstruction and stabilization in Sudan, was to depart on Monday to meet U.S. officials in Juba and governors in southern Sudan on security and stabilization priorities. (Reporting by Charles Abbott, editing by Anthony Boadle)

Obama likely to announce re-election bid next week, Posted by Meosha Eaton

* Obama ahead of rivals in polls

* Declaration would allow him to start raising money (Updates with poll figures, Labor Department report)

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON, April 2 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is likely to announce plans next week to run for re-election and file campaign papers with the Federal Election Commission as early as Monday, a Democratic official said on Saturday.

Filing with the FEC would allow Obama, a Democrat, to start raising money for the 2012 campaign that is expected to shatter records in political spending.

The official said no final decision has been made about the timing of an announcement or filing.

Obama is in the middle of a budget battle with congressional Republicans and has focused his message in recent weeks on reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil and investing in innovation and education -- themes he likely will highlight in his bid to hold on to the White House next year.

At the same time, Obama has been defending U.S. involvement in military operations in Libya.

Republicans are pressing Democrats to make deep spending cuts to shrink the U.S. deficit, another issue that could play a crucial role in the campaign.

The Republican field of presidential challengers is still wide open, however, and no one has formally announced a bid.

Obama is expected to avoid overt campaigning while his potential Republican opponents compete against each other.

But he has started doing some fundraising events for his party in recent weeks. Formally announcing his candidacy would allow Obama to start filling his own campaign's coffers directly, too.

The president got a boost on Friday with a Labor Department report showing a slight decline in the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.8 percent. An improving economy is seen as critical to his re-election hopes.

Opinion surveys show U.S. voters are split over Obama. A Real Clear Politics average of several polls showed 47.4 percent of Americans approving of his performance in office and 46.6 percent disapproving.

Poll averages also show Obama beating potential Republican rivals including former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich. (Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Xavier Briand)

Update: Obama calls killings in Afghanistan outrageous, Posted by Meosha Eaton

WASHINGTON, April 2 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday described as "outrageous" the killings in Afghanistan triggered after the burning of a Koran by a radical fundamentalist Christian preacher in the United States.

"The desecration of any holy text, including the Koran, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

"However, to attack and kill innocent people in response is outrageous, and an affront to human decency and dignity," he said.

At least 10 people have been killed and 83 wounded in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, officials said on Saturday, on a second day of violent protests over the actions of extremist Christian preacher Terry Jones, who supervised the burning of the Koran in front of about 50 people at a church in Florida on March 20, according to his website.

A suicide attack also hit a NATO military base in the capital Kabul, the day after protesters overran a U.N. mission in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and killed seven foreign staff, in the deadliest attack on the U.N. in Afghanistan.

"No religion tolerates the slaughter and beheading of innocent people, and there is no justification for such a dishonorable and deplorable act," Obama said.

"Now is a time to draw upon the common humanity that we share, and that was so exemplified by the U.N. workers who lost their lives trying to help the people of Afghanistan."

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Will Dunham)

Obama calls killings in Afghanistan outrageous, Posted by Meosha Eaton

WASHINGTON, April 2 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday described as "outrageous" the killings in Afghanistan triggered after the burning of a Koran by a radical fundamentalist Christian preacher in the United States.

"The desecration of any holy text, including the Koran, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

"However, to attack and kill innocent people in response is outrageous, and an affront to human decency and dignity," he said.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Will Dunham)

World news outlook for the week from April 2, Posted by Meosha Eaton

Following are some of the main world news events expected in the next week (all times GMT). Asterisks denote new listings

- - - -


NIGERIA - Parliamentary elections. ** NAIROBI - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits Kenya.

MADRID - Spain's Socialist party meeting.

- - - -


KAZAKHSTAN - Presidential elections.

BANGKOK - U.N. climate talks (to April 8).

- - - -


TUNIS - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi visits Tunisia.

MILAN - (TBC) Next hearing in a trial over alleged fraud over the acquisition of television broadcasting rights. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi due to appear.

BAKU - Greek President Karlos Papoulias is expected to visit Azerbaijan.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane hosts a panel discussion on BRICS. ** ANKARA - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visits Turkey. ** WASHINGTON - International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn will preview the 2011 IMF/World Bank spring meetings in an address on "Global Challenges, Global Solutions" to students at George Washington University.

HAITI - Preliminary results of presidential run-off election set to be announced. ** TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to hold a news conference. ** RABAT - Britain's Prince Charles expected to visit Morocco.

ASSAM, India - Local elections, phase I.

TOKYO - Experts and officials from EU Naval Force, Japan self defence force and coast guard, Kenyan transport ministry, to meet over anti-pirazy operations (0200).

GENEVA - U.N. hosts annual space security conference (to April 5).

- - - -


WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

PARIS - French Ruling UMP party hosts debate on secularism. ** SEOUL - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak meets South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

ABU DHABI - IAEA energy advisers due to meet.

- - - -


ROME - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi expected to stand trial on charges of paying an underage girl for sex and abuse of office.

CAIRO - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visits Egypt.

HAITI - Final results of presidential election to be announced.

ATHENS - World Trade Union Congress (to April 10).

- - - -


BUDAPEST - Economic & Financial Affairs Council (Informal) (to April 9).

WASHINGTON - The National Agricultural Landscapes Forum (to April 8).

BOGOR, Indonesia - Indonesia as the chair of ASEAN to host border talks between Cambodia and Thailand.

- - - -


PRAGUE - Anniversary of signing a bilateral treaty between the Russia and United States on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms , START-2 (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty).

PRAGUE - Czech President Vaclav Klaus to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (0700).

- - - -

SATURDAY, APRIL 9 ** NIGERIA - Presidential elections. ** REYKJAVIK - Iceland to hold a national vote on whether to accept a new Icesave deal.

U.S. special envoy departs for meetings on Sudan, Posted by Meosha Eaton

WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) - Newly appointed U.S. special envoy Princeton Lyman will depart on Saturday for meetings in Ethiopia and Sudan on the transition of South Sudan to independence in July, the State Department said.

Lyman was scheduled to participate in discussions in Ethiopia on security in Sudan before meeting senior Sudanese officials in Khartoum on North-South issues and on Darfur.

Following that, Lyman was to return to Ethiopia for discussions on economic arrangements between North and South Sudan.

President Barack Obama appointed Lyman, a veteran U.S. Africa hand and former ambassador to South Africa and Nigeria, as special envoy for Sudan on Thursday.

Lyman said he would work on outstanding issues such as border demarcation, citizenship and division of oil revenue on his trip, as well as agreement on the disputed border region of Abyei.

The State Department also said Robert Loftis, the acting U.S. coordinator for reconstruction and stabilization in Sudan, was to depart on Monday to meet U.S. officials in Juba and governors in southern Sudan on security and stabilization priorities. (Reporting by Charles Abbott, editing by Anthony Boadle)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Nation of Islam Support Gadhafi

Obama Administration adds .2m Jobs in March, Posted by Meosha Eaton

By Williams Ekanem

WASHINGTON - The Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee said employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 230,000 in March, marking 13 consecutive months of private employment growth.

A breakdown shows that private sector employers added 1.8 million jobs over that period, including more than half a million jobs in the last three months.
The unemployment rate fell for the fourth straight month to 8.8 percent.

The full percentage point drop in the unemployment rate over the past four months is the largest such decline since 1984, and, importantly, it has been driven primarily by increased employment, rather than people leaving the labor force, he indicated.

According to him, as long as millions of people are looking for jobs, there is still considerable work to do to replace the jobs lost in the downturn. Nonetheless, the steep decline in the jobless rate and the solid employment growth in recent months are encouraging.

He added that the last two months of private job gains have been the strongest in five years.

“We are seeing signs that the initiatives put in place by this Administration – such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment – are creating the conditions for sustained growth and job creation. We will continue to work with Congress to find ways to reduce spending, so that we can live within our means and focus on the investments that are most likely to help grow our economy and create jobs - investments in education, infrastructure, and clean energy,” he emphasized.

My Africa Channel Television found out that in addition to the increases last month, the estimates of private sector job growth for January (now +94,000) and February (now +240,000) were revised up significantly. Overall payroll employment rose by 216,000 in March. Payroll employment grew in almost every sector. Solid employment increases occurred in professional and business services (+78,000), education and health services (+45,000), leisure and hospitality (+37,000), wholesale and retail trade (+31,800), and manufacturing (+17,000). Local government experienced a decline of 15,000, and has shed jobs in 16 of the past 17 months.

The overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years, but there will surely be bumps in the road ahead. The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.

International Observers Advice Nigerian Electoral Body, Posted by Meosha Eaton

By Williams Ekanem

The Independent International Election Observation Missions to Nigeria has called on INEC to be truly independent and ensure transparency during and after the elections.

The foreign observer missions made the call in a statement issued in Abuja.

The statement was jointly signed by the European Union Election Observation Mission to Nigeria, Commonwealth Observer Group and the National Democratic Institution.

The missions advised INEC to accurately tabulate votes, saying that political parties and their supporters should also respect the code of conduct they signed with INEC.

They, however, recognised INEC’s efforts at administering the election process and the desire of the electorate to participate in genuine elections that would be free of intimidation and violence.

The missions encouraged security forces in the country to ensure a peaceful environment by maintaining the rule of law and safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process.

The statement quoted the missions as saying that they “ will in accordance with the declaration of principles for international election observation, independently issue their preliminary findings on the election process.’’

Another team of monitors from the European Union arrived the country on Thursday from Netherlands. The 60 observers are joining 50 that had arrived the country earlier.

The EU had said that a group of 52 long-term observers would be deployed across the country to observe the electoral process in their area of responsibility and report back to the core team in Abuja.
It added that 60 short-term observers would join the mission shortly before the elections to observe the polls.

A member of the 50-member team, Mr. Leonerdus Den-Biggelar, told journalists that they would be in the country for about three weeks or more depending on the outcome of the elections.
He said the purpose of the mission was to provide support for the development of Nigeria’s democratic institutions and procedures.

The EU Observation Mission is led by Chief Observer, Alojz Peterie, a member of the European Parliament.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, S. B. Ozigis, said: “The Minister of Interior, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho wishes to notify the general public that the Federal Government has directed that all land borders be closed from 12 noon on Friday, April 1, 2011 to 6 a.m. on Sunday, April 3, 2011. This is to ensure a peaceful and hitch-free conduct of the 2011 National Assembly elections taking place on April 2, 2011.

“In the same vein, vehicular movements have been restricted nationwide from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on the election day, Saturday, April 2, 2011. Only INEC vehicles, security operatives specially assigned for election duties as well as those on essential and emergency duties, would be allowed to ply the roads.
“The minister of Interior, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho would like to use this medium to urge all Nigerians to ensure a very smooth, peaceful and successful elections,” he said.
All the major stakeholders in the conduct of polls: INEC, the Nigeria Police and sister security services, the political parties, civil society organisations, and election monitors have said they have done what is needed to guarantee hitch-free conduct of the elections.
Officials of the electoral umpire, the police and other bodies in various states of the federation involved in the preparation for the elections told The Guardian that they are set for the exercise.
In some states, soldiers have been deployed in the streets, who were seen demonstrating their readiness to maintain law and order during the polls.

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday sang an usual song when it called for the immediate removal of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Hafiz Ringim for allegedly spearheading the rigging machinery of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

ACN National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, made the call at a news conference in Lagos yesterday. He said the party’s leadership would not watch and allow a repeat of the “disgraceful and destructive conduct of the PDP, which characterised the 2007 general elections.”

Among the national leaders of the party present at the event were former Lagos State Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his successor Babatunde Raji Fashola, Alhaji Yusuf Alli, Dr. Audu Ogbe, Alhaji Lawal Shuaibu and Dr. Muiz Banire, the ACN National Legal Adviser.

Ethiopia PM says anti-dam groups keep Africa poor, Posted by Meosha Eaton

* Ethiopia building huge dams to beat power shortages

* Says western campaigners only focus on Africa

By Barry Malone

ADDIS ABABA, March 31 (Reuters) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi denounced Westerners on Thursday campaigning against hydropower dam projects in Africa as "borderline criminal" and said they were helping to keep Africans poor.

Ethiopia is building five hydropower dams -- some funded by the World Bank -- and announced on Wednesday that it would shortly start building a huge 5,250 megawatt (MW) dam on the Nile, despite an escalating row with Egypt over the river's use.

Western NGOs have been campaigning against some of the dams on environmental or human rights grounds.

"These people will not allow the disturbance of butterflies even if this means millions of people have to be subjected to the deadliest killer disease of all -- poverty," Meles told a conference on hydropower in Africa in Addis Ababa.

"I am not a believer in conspiracy theories but, if I were, I would conclude that these people want Africa to remain as it is with all its misery and poverty so they can come and visit nature in its pristine state in winter every so often."

Meles said the groups were from Europe and the U.S.

Power shortages are common in Africa and have hindered investment, even though the continent has abundant potential resources of solar, hydro, oil, gas, coal and geothermal power.

Ethiopia aims to produce 15,000MW of power within 10 years as part of a plan to spend $12 billion over 25 years to overcome chronic power shortages and export to other African countries.

One of the Ethiopian dams, the 1.4 billion euro Gibe III that is expected to generate 1,800MW, has been the subject of a major international campaign over the rights of tribal people.

Over 400 NGOs led by Survival International this month signed a petition against Gibe III. They say that 200,000 Ethiopians who rely on fishing and farming may become dependent on aid to survive if the dam goes ahead.

Meles said the impact of the dam projects would be "negligible" and those affected would be compensated.

"These groups have done virtually nothing to stop their countries from building all the dams they can while at the same time single-handedly subjecting our planet to the threat of catastrophe because of global warming," Meles said.

"(Yet) they are trying to stop projects in poor countries like Ethiopia that are infinitely more environmentally and socially responsible."

Meles is Africa's usual lead negotiator at climate change talks and has in the past suggested European carbon emissions caused his country's 1984/85 famine.

(Editing by Richard Lough and Elizabeth Fullerton)

Frenchman found dead in Ivory Coast capital, Posted by Meosha Eaton

PARIS, April 1 (Reuters) - A Frenchman was found dead in a hotel in the Ivory Coast capital as fighting intensified between forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo and rival presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara, a French foreign ministry source said.

The unidentified man's body was found in a hotel room in Yamoussoukro.

"A French compatriot was shot dead and we are looking to establish the circumstances surrounding his death," the source said.

He declined to identify the man and could not confirm the death was linked to recent violence over the contested Nov. 28 election result. (Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Louise Ireland

France says Ivory Coast's Gbagbo must stand down, Posted by Meosha Eaton

PARIS, April 1 (Reuters) - France said on Friday Ivory Coast presidential claimant Laurent Gbagbo must stand down at once, end violence and hand over power to rival Alassane Ouattara.

"It is urgent to bring a definitive end to the crisis triggered by Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to recognise his defeat," President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said in a statement after Sarkozy met key ministers to discuss the crisis in Ivory Coast. (Reporting by Marc Angrand; editing by Andrew Dobbie)

UN's Ban calls for I.Coast's Gbagbo to step down, Posted by Meosha Eaton

NAIROBI, April 1 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday said he wants Ivory Coast's presidential claimant Laurent Gbagbo to cede power to his rival Alassane Ouattara.

"I renew my call for Mr Gbagbo to step down and hand over power to ... Allasane Ouattara. I want to remind all those who commit serious violations of human rights ... will be held accountable," Ban told a news conference in the Kenyan capital.

"Mr Gbagbo should immediately cede power ... to Allasane Ouattara. Let us see how this accountability (issue) goes. He must first stop killing civilians and stop fighting against his people."

Something Must be Done to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-------Senator McCain, Posted by Meosha Eaton

By Williams Ekanem

Republican Senator John McCain on Thursday said that something has to be done about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

That is why, according to him, he is co-sponsoring the bill to end bailout of the companies. The bill is being re-introduced for the third time according to Congressman Jeb Hensarling R-Texas, to put the companies on a path towards privatization because the failures of the two government-sponsored enterprises have directly cost tax payers more than $150 billion.

Also speaking, Financial Services Committee Chairman, Spencer Bachus said, “reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is a top priority for commerce. The bill vice chairman, Hensarling has proposed a fulfillment of the commitment Republicans made when we urged Democrats to include reform in their bill to restructure financial services regulation. Republicans will continue to offer solutions that wind down the operations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order to protect the taxpayers from another bailout and to reform the entire housing finance system.”

“The very essence of the American dream is to leave your children with more freedom, greater opportunity and a higher standard of living than you enjoyed. Part of that dream is to own a home, Hensarling said. “Our goal is to help home-buyers stay home-owners, and free taxpayers of the burden that comes when homes get sold to buyers who simply cant afford them.”

Hensarling’s GSE reform legislation was originally introduced in 2008. Similar legislation was included in the Republican financial reform legislation H.R 3310, the Consumer Protection and Regulatory Enhancement Act. It was reintroduced in march 2010 and was later offered as an amendment to the Democrat’s financial regulatory reform bill now known as Dodd-Frank. Senator McCain offered an amendment to the financial regulation bill that was modeled after Hensarling’s legislation.

Republicans Oppose Obama on Energy Security, Introduce Alternative Bill, Posted by Meosha Eaton

By Williams Ekanem

Barely 24 hours after President Barack Obama announced plans to reducing United States oil imports by one-third by 2025, congressmen from the rival Republican Party has condemned his proposals and introduced a bicameral bill.

Coined as the 3-D Act, sponsors say the legislation would take immediate steps to address the urgent need for greater domestic energy production, job creation and deficit reduction.

Sponsored by Congressman Rob Bishop R-UT, Senator David Vitter R-LA the bill is tagged, the domestic jobs, domestic energy and deficit reduction Act 2011 is expected by the sponsors to create two million jobs, $10 trillion in economic activity and $2 trillion in federal tax receipts in 30 years.
Addressing Congressional Correspondents on Thursday, Senator Vitter said that the President in his speech on energy the previous night “offered some vague platitudes, but no concrete plans to rein in the rising gas prices, even as they climb toward $4 per gallon.

Worried by this development informed why “we are laying out a far different path by introducing our legislation. The 3-D Act would unleash our vast domestic energy potential to create American jobs, help free us from our reliance on foreign oil and bring to reduce our $14 trillion national debt,” Senator Vitter stated.

The 3-D Act, he indicated is co-sponsored by 25 original House members and 30 Senators and has garnered support from organizations such as Americas for Limited Government, Western Roundtable, Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity etc.

Also speaking, Senator John Barrassso said, “instead of announcing bold steps to fully develop America’s energy, President Obama set a long range energy goal without a realistic way to get there. A great goal without a great strategy will be a failure and Republicans have a better way forward that will ease the pain at the pump. Our bill will help America develop all of the above energy, create jobs and lower the deficit.”

Only the previous evening, the president called for the US to cut oil imports by one-third by 2025. He also reiterated a goal made in his State of the Union speech to generate 80 percent of the nation’s electricity from “clean energy” sources by 2035.

According to the President, “over the next two years, we’ll help entrepreneurs break ground for four next-generation biorefineries -– each with a capacity of more than 20 million gallons per year. And going forward, we should look for ways to reform biofuels incentives to make sure that they’re meeting today’s challenges and that they’re also saving taxpayers money.

So as we replace oil with fuels like natural gas and biofuels, we can also reduce our dependence by making cars and trucks that use less oil in the first place. Seventy percent of our petroleum consumption goes to transportation -- 70 percent. And by the way, so does the second biggest chunk of most families’ budgets goes into transportation. And that’s why one of the best ways to make our economy less dependent on oil and save folks more money is to make our transportation sector more efficient.”

UN News: UN chief urges ‘bold’ action to transform global AIDS response, Posted by Menelik Zeleke

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R), UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé and Rebecca Awiti, an HIV positive mother of triplets
31 March 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged world leaders to take bold decisions to tackle the AIDS epidemic, as he launched a new United Nations report that warns that recent gains, while laudable, are fragile.

The report, “Uniting for universal access: towards zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths,” comes 30 years into the AIDS epidemic and just months ahead of a high-level meeting of the General Assembly in June on the issue.

“Ten years ago, the international community came together at the General Assembly special session on HIV/AIDS and set targets for the year 2010. Now it is time to take a hard look at where we failed … where we succeeded … and why,” Mr. Ban said at the launch of the report in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

The report, based on data from 182 countries, highlights that the global rate of new HIV infections is declining, treatment access is expanding and the world has made significant strides in reducing HIV transmission from mother to child.

For example, between 2001 and 2009, the rate of new HIV infections in 33 countries – including 22 in sub-Saharan Africa – fell by at least 25 per cent. By the end of 2010, more than 6 million people were on antiretroviral treatment in low- and middle-income countries. And for the first time, in 2009, global coverage of services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV exceeded 50 per cent.

Despite these achievements, the report underscores that the gains are fragile. For every person who starts antiretroviral treatment, two people become newly infected with HIV, and every day 7,000 people are newly infected, including 1,000 children.

“Thirty years into the epidemic, it is imperative for us to re-energise the response today for success in the years ahead,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), who joined Mr. Ban for the launch of the report.

“Gains in HIV prevention and antiretroviral treatment are significant, but we need to do more to stop people from becoming infected – an HIV prevention revolution is needed now more than ever,” he added.

The Secretary-General recommends five actions in the report to strengthen the AIDS response, including harnessing the energy of young people for an HIV prevention revolution and revitalizing the push towards achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2015.

He also recommends working with countries to make HIV programmes more cost effective, efficient and sustainable; promoting the health, human rights and dignity of women and girls; and ensuring mutual accountability in the AIDS response to translate commitments into action.

“World leaders have a unique opportunity at this critical moment to evaluate achievements and gaps in the global AIDS response,” said Mr. Ban. “We must take bold decisions that will dramatically transform the AIDS response and help us move towards an HIV-free generation.”

He calls on all stakeholders to support the recommendations in the report and use them to work towards realizing six global targets. The first is to reduce by 50 per cent the sexual transmission of HIV – including among key populations, such as young people, men who have sex with men, in the context of sex work; and prevent all new HIV infections as a result of injecting drug use.

The other goals are to eliminate HIV transmission from mother to child; reduce by 50 per cent tuberculosis deaths in people living with HIV; ensure HIV treatment for 13 million people; reduce by 50 per cent the number of countries with HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence; and ensure equal access to education for children orphaned and made vulnerable by AIDS.

The report also encourages countries to prioritize funding for HIV programmes, especially in light of the fact that international funding for HIV assistance declined for the first time in 2009.

“The HIV response faces a moment of truth,” Mr. Ban writes in his report. “This year, we have a unique opportunity to take stock of progress and to critically and honestly assess the barriers that keep us shackled to a reality in which the epidemic continues to outpace the response.”

UN News: Press Conference: Secretary-General’s Report on HIV/AIDS , Posted by Menelik Zeleke

31 March 2011

Launch of the Secretary-General’s Report on HIV/AIDS. The speaker will be Dr. Mari Ortega, Deputy Director, The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Pragati Pascale of DPI will moderate the press conference

UN News: Stevie Wonder - Message of Solidarity to the People of Japan , Posted by Menelik Zeleke

31 March 2011

Stevie Wonder, United Nations Messenger of Peace [In English with Japanese subtitles]

Several UN Messengers of Peace have recorded public service announcements (PSAs) in which they express their solidarity for the people of Japan in the wake of the disaster. Please help spread these messages by sharing them with family or friends in Japan.

On 11 March 2011 a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami strucked Japan, killing more than 10,000 people and destroying towns, villages and large swathes of infrastructure.

UN News: Michael Douglas - Message of Solidarity to the People of Japan , Posted by Menelik Zeleke

31 March 2011

Michael Douglas, United Nations Messenger of Peace [In English with Japanese subtitles]

Several UN Messengers of Peace have recorded public service announcements (PSAs) in which they express their solidarity for the people of Japan in the wake of the disaster. Please help spread these messages by sharing them with family or friends in Japan.

On 11 March 2011 a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami strucked Japan, killing more than 10,000 people and destroying towns, villages and large swathes of infrastructure.

UN News: Ban Ki-moon - Message of Solidarity to the People of Japan , Posted by Menelik Zeleke

31 March 2011

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [In Japanese]

Several UN Messengers of Peace have recorded public service announcements (PSAs) in which they express their solidarity for the people of Japan in the wake of the disaster. Please help spread these messages by sharing them with family or friends in Japan.

On 11 March 2011 a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami strucked Japan, killing more than 10,000 people and destroying towns, villages and large swathes of infrastructure.

Gaddafi Key Ally Resigns

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Close to 30,000 dead or missing in Japana and disaster still brewing, Posted by Meosha Eaton

According to the latest reports, there are over 28,000 deaths and missing persons in lieu of the recent March 11 earthquake and tusanami. It appears that the situation continues to get worse for Japan with the recent nuclear and radiation crisis.  What is next? It's hard to say with the radiation leak still not under control.

Hundreds of engineers have been toiling for nearly three weeks to cool the plant's reactors and avert a meltdown of fuel rods. While that scenario has receded, highly tainted water has been found in some reactors and in concrete tunnels outside.

Readings have also showed radioactive iodine in the sea off the plant at record levels and radiation has been in tap water in Tokyo and in tiny traces abroad.

Experts say a lack of information and some inconsistent data have made it hard to understand what is happening at Fukushima, which appears to have moved from a core-meltdown phase to one in which the management of released radioactivity is paramount.

The situation has taken a new turn with contaminated water, causing officials to call on France nuclear experts for assistance.

The head of the French nuclear reactor maker -- one of France's most powerful female executives -- travelled to Tokyo with three French experts in radioactive water contamination.

The French experts will be based in the Tokyo area and not at the acual nuclear site.
Their participation could help facilitate the developments on the disaster.

Intelligence on Libya rebels shows hints of Qaeda, Posted by Meosha Eaton

* Coalition still compiling picture of Libya opposition

* Rebels struggling against Gaddafi's loyalist troops (Adds Gaddafi on al Qaeda, paragraph 11; Levin on arming Libyan rebels, paragraphs 14-15)

By Missy Ryan and Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON, March 29 (Reuters) - Intelligence on the rebel forces battling Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has shown "flickers" of al Qaeda or Hezbollah presence but there is still no detailed picture of the emerging opposition, NATO's top operations commander said on Tuesday.

"We are examining very closely the content, composition, the personalities, who are the leaders of these opposition forces," Admiral James Stavridis, NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe and also commander of U.S. European Command, said during testimony at the U.S. Senate.

Gaddafi's troops on Tuesday reversed the westward charge of rebel forces as world powers met in London more than a week after the United States and other nations launched a military campaign aimed at protecting Libyan civilians.

While Stavridis said the opposition's leadership appeared to be "responsible men and women" fighting Gaddafi, he said that "we have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential al Qaeda, Hezbollah. We've seen different things."

"But at this point I don't have detail sufficient to say there is a significant al Qaeda presence or any other terrorist presence," he said.

The Pentagon says it is not communicating officially with the Libyan rebels.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice disagreed that al Qaeda was involved in the rebel movement.

"I would like to think I'm reading much of the same stuff and no," Rice told Fox News when asked whether she had seen any evidence to support Stavridis' assessment.

"I think we can't rule out the possibility that extremist elements could filter into any segment of Libyan society and it's something clearly we will watch carefully for," she added.

The United States has appointed veteran diplomat Chris Stevens as envoy to the Libyan rebels in Benghazi and expect him to go there soon to get a "clearer picture" of the rebel leadership, U.S. officials said. France has also dispatched an envoy to Benghazi, a diplomatic source said.

Gaddafi has said that al Qaeda sleeper cells were behind the uprising, that those opposed to his rule had been brainwashed by Osama bin Laden and that their milk and coffee had been spiked with hallucinogenic drugs.


Stavridis' comments came a day after President Barack Obama made his case for action in Libya in a televised address to Americans, who are wary of another war with U.S. troops already in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While Obama has said Gaddafi should leave power, he stressed the military mission endorsed by the United Nations was limited to protecting civilians and enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said he believed the Obama administration was considering the pluses and minuses of arming the Libyan rebels. Levin said consensus with U.S. allies would be needed on the matter since NATO had agreed to take charge of the military mission in Libya.

"I believe he (Obama) will continue to weigh carefully the pros and cons of providing offensive arms such as heavy vehicles and artillery to the opposition," Levin said at the hearing where Stavridis was testifying.

Even as the rebels struggle against Gaddafi's better-armed, better-organized troops, Stavridis said the long-time Libyan leader was likely to go if the coalition brought a range of military power to bear against him.

"If we work all the elements of power, we have a more than reasonable chance of Gaddafi leaving, because the entire international community is arrayed against him," he said.

Senators' questions about the make-up of the Libyan opposition reflect skepticism in Congress about U.S. preparedness for the campaign. It also underscores worries about who might take over in Libya if Gaddafi does go.

"It's premature to say what is our exit strategy until we have a little more clarity moving forward," Stavridis said.

The Libya campaign has also intensified fears in Congress about the high cost of military activities overseas.

The war in Afghanistan costs the United States around $9 billion a month. Stavridis said the Libya mission had cost "hundreds of millions of dollars" so far. (Writing by Missy Ryan; Editing by John O'Callaghan, Deborah Charles and Eric Walsh)

Misrata rebels say under intense Libya attack, Posted by Meosha Eaton

* Rebels say pro-Gaddafi forces mount fierce attack

* Humanitarian situation is "catastrophic"

* British PM says Misrata suffering "murderous attacks"

(Adds new quote from rebels, more details)

By Hamid Ould Ahmed

ALGIERS, March 29 (Reuters) - Rebels in the Libyan city of Misrata said they had come under intense attack on Tuesday by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, and appealed to governments meeting in London to help them.

"Gaddafi's forces are launching intensive and vicious military campaigns against us in Misrata," rebel spokesman Mohamed said by satellite telephone. "They are determined to capture the city. Today was tough for the rebels."

Misrata, under siege for several weeks, is the last big rebel stronghold in western Libya. Some Western leaders cite it as proof that foreign military intervention must carry on if it is to protect civilian lives in the Libyan conflict.

Accounts from the city speak of bombardments killing dozens of people, sniper fire from rooftops, and food and water running out.

"The humanitarian situation is catastrophic. There is a shortage of food and medicine. The hospital is no longer able to deal with the situation," rebel spokesman Sami said.

Another rebel spokesman, Saadoun el Misrati, said a total of nine people had been killed on Tuesday. Rebels in the eastern city of Benghazi, their main stronghold, said 124 civilians had been killed in the past nine days in Misrata, a city of 300,000 people.

"Gaddafi's forces went into houses in Zawabi, which is near Tripoli street, and killed four brothers and two of their neighbours," Misrati said. "We are sure they have positioned snipers on the rooftops of these houses."


In London, where more than 40 governments and international bodies met to discuss Libya's future, British Prime Minister David Cameron said: "As I speak, people in Misrata continue to suffer murderous attacks from the regime."

Reports from Misrata, about 200 km (125 miles) east of the capital Tripoli, could not be independently verified because Libyan officials have not allowed journalists to work freely there.

Authorities in Tripoli say the insurgents are Islamist militants holding the population hostage.

The Al Jazeera news channel said that Qatar was sending ships to Misrata to evacuate Egyptians trapped there.

A Libyan doctor based in Britain who said he was in contact with people in Misrata urged Western governments to do more to protect the city's civilians from attack.

"The coalition force should stop this ongoing massacre," he said. "Either they are fully committed to protecting these civilians or should leave them to their destiny."

Western air strikes have targeted an air base near Misrata and some positions held by pro-Gaddafi forces.

Rebel spokesman Mohamed said the planes had bombed pro-government Gaddafi vessels near the port that had tried on Saturday night to land forces in Misrata.

But rebels say government troops have driven heavy armour into the city, making it difficult to hit them from the air. (Additional reporting by Michael Georgy in Tripoli, Joseph Nasr in Berlin and Miriam Karouny in Beirut; Writing by Adam Tanner; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Obama Appeals to Gbagbo to Hand Over Power

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Presidency Opposes House Stand on Home Modification Program, Posted by Meosha Eaton

By Williams Ekanem, Capitol Hill Correspondent for MACTV News

The Executive Office of the President says it strongly oppose the House of Representative passage of H.R 839-HAMP Termination act which would eliminate the Department of Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

According to the statement of administration policy the program offers eligible homeowners an opportunity to lower their mortgage payments, helping individuals avoid foreclosure and leading to the protection of home values and the preservation of homeownership.

A statement dated March 29, 2011 made available to My Africa Channel Television stated that the Administration is committed to helping struggling American homeowners stay in their homes, and has taken many steps over the last two years to stabilize what was a rapidly-declining housing market.

“As tens of thousands of responsible American homeowners struggling with their mortgages receive permanent assistance each month from HAMP, the Administration believes that continuation of HAMP is important to the Nation’s sustained economic recovery.”
Accordingly, the statement indicated that , “if the President is presented with H.R. 839, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Representative McHenry, R-NC sponsored the bill and is supported by eight cosponsors.

Meles : High time for Africa to discuss on alternative dev't paradigms, Posted by Meosha Eaton

Addis Ababa, March 28, 2011 (Addis Ababa) - Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said that it is high time for Africa that issues of alternative development paradigms be discussed.

Meles said comparative studies of Africa's development and that of a number of Asian countries have shown that the neo-liberal paradigm cannot bring about economic transformation or sustained and accelerated growth.

Meles was speaking here on Monday at the opening of the 4th Joint AU/ECA Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development .

The Premier said the primary objective of a developmental state would be to bring about radical transformation of the political economy of a country such that value creation through producing globally competitive products and services becomes the only dominant path to wealth accumulation.

He said this task is done through both removing all bottlenecks to production activities, including by providing comprehensive support to such actors and by systematically eliminating the sources of unproductive rent-seeking activities.

Meles said the present meeting should enable to explore the possibilities of a new development paradigm centered on the establishment of developmental states.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Jean Ping on the occasion said Africa registered 5.7 per cent economic growth in 2010 budget year.

Dr. Ping said structural change is significant to make sustainable the economic growth and also curb basic development problems of the African people.

Therefore, Africans are expected to implement new alternative development principle, he said.

UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ECA, Abdoulie Janneh on his part stressed the need for African states to play significant role in the efforts to speed up development.

The theme of the conference entitled "Governing Development in Africa" indicates that states are expected to play significant role towards the same goal, he said.

What happend to Libya, revisiting the pledge to remedy "backwardness,"

A look into the history of Libya from he November 17, 2010  Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Country Profiles:

For most of their history, the peoples of Libya have been subjected to varying degrees of foreign control. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, and Byzantines ruled all or parts of Libya. Although the Greeks and Romans left impressive ruins at Cyrene, Leptis Magna, and Sabratha, little else remains today to testify to the presence of these ancient cultures.

The Arabs conquered Libya in the seventh century A.D. In the following centuries, most of the indigenous peoples adopted Islam and the Arabic language and culture. The Ottoman Turks conquered the country in the mid-16th century. Libya remained part of their empire, although at times virtually autonomous, until Italy invaded in 1911 and, in the face of years of resistance, made Libya a colony.

In 1934, Italy adopted the name "Libya" (used by the Greeks for all of North Africa, except Egypt) as the official name of the colony, which consisted of the Provinces of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, and Fezzan. King Idris I, Emir of Cyrenaica, led Libyan resistance to Italian occupation between the two world wars. Allied forces removed Axis powers from Libya in February 1943. Tripolitania and Cyrenaica came under separate British administration, while the French controlled Fezzan. In 1944, Idris returned from exile in Cairo but declined to resume permanent residence in Cyrenaica until the removal in 1947 of some aspects of foreign control. Under the terms of the 1947 peace treaty with the Allies, Italy relinquished all claims to Libya.

On November 21, 1949, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution stating that Libya should become independent before January 1, 1952. King Idris I represented Libya in the subsequent UN negotiations. When Libya declared its independence on December 24, 1951, it was the first country to achieve independence through the United Nations and one of the first former European possessions in Africa to gain independence. Libya was proclaimed a constitutional and a hereditary monarchy under King Idris.

The discovery of significant oil reserves in 1959 and the subsequent income from petroleum sales enabled what had been one of the world's poorest countries to become extremely wealthy, as measured by per capita GDP. Although oil drastically improved Libya's finances, popular resentment grew as wealth was increasingly concentrated in the hands of the elite. This discontent continued to mount with the rise throughout the Arab world of Nasserism and the idea of Arab unity.

On September 1, 1969, a small group of military officers led by then 28-year-old army officer Mu'ammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi staged a coup d'état against King Idris, who was subsequently exiled to Egypt. The new regime, headed by the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic. Qadhafi emerged as leader of the RCC and eventually as de facto head of state, a political role he still plays. The Libyan Government asserts that Qadhafi currently holds no official position, although he is referred to in government statements and the official press as the "Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution," among other honorifics.

The new RCC's motto became "freedom, socialism, and unity." It pledged itself to remedy "backwardness," take an active role in the Palestinian cause, promote Arab unity, and encourage domestic policies based on social justice, non-exploitation, and an equitable distribution of wealth.

An early objective of the new government was withdrawal of all foreign military installations from Libya. Following negotiations, British military installations at Tobruk and nearby El Adem were closed in March 1970, and U.S. facilities at Wheelus Air Force Base near Tripoli were closed in June 1970. That July, the Libyan Government ordered the expulsion of several thousand Italian residents. By 1971, libraries and cultural centers operated by foreign governments were ordered closed.

In the 1970s, Libya claimed leadership of Arab and African revolutionary forces and sought active roles in international organizations. Late in the 1970s, Libyan embassies were re-designated as "people's bureaus," as Qadhafi sought to portray Libyan foreign policy as an expression of the popular will. The people's bureaus, aided by Libyan religious, political, educational, and business institutions overseas, attempted to export Qadhafi's revolutionary philosophy abroad.

Qadhafi's confrontational foreign policies and use of terrorism, as well as Libya's growing friendship with the U.S.S.R., led to increased tensions with the West in the 1980s. Following a terrorist bombing at a discotheque in West Berlin frequented by American military personnel, in 1986 the U.S. retaliated militarily against targets in Libya, and imposed broad unilateral economic sanctions.

After Libya was implicated in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, UN sanctions were imposed in 1992. UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) passed in 1992 and 1993 obliged Libya to fulfill requirements related to the Pan Am 103 bombing before sanctions could be lifted. Qadhafi initially refused to comply with these requirements, leading to Libya's political and economic isolation for most of the 1990s.

In 1999, Libya fulfilled one of the UNSCR requirements by surrendering two Libyans who were suspected to have been involved with the bombing for trial before a Scottish court in the Netherlands. One of these suspects, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, was found guilty; the other was acquitted. Al-Megrahi's conviction was upheld on appeal in 2002. On August 19, 2009, al-Megrahi was released from Scottish prison on compassionate grounds due to a terminal illness and returned to Libya. In August 2003, Libya fulfilled the remaining UNSCR requirements, including acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of appropriate compensation to the victims' families. UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003. U.S. International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)-based sanctions were lifted September 20, 2004.

On December 19, 2003, Libya publicly announced its intention to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)-class missile programs. Since that time, Libya has cooperated with the U.S., the U.K., the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya has also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and has become a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. These were important steps toward full diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Libya.

Obama Explains US Mission in Libya

BACK OFF SOCIAL SECURITY! Posted by Meosha Eaton, Capitol Hill Correspondent

ECONOMIST, Posted by Meosha Eaton


I Consulted with Congress Leadership before Taking Action---Obama Says on Libya, Posted by Meosha Eaton

By Williams Ekanem for MACTV News

Against the growing criticism that United States President, Barack Obama took a unilateral decision to attack Libya, the President said yesterday that he consulted with bipartisan leadership at the Congress before taking action.

In an address to the nation at the National Defense University, Obama said, “after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

Giving justification for leading the initial attack, the United States President said that “in the face of the world’s condemnation, Gaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people.

Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. Supplies of food and fuel were choked off. The water for hundreds of thousands of people in Misratah was shut off. Cities and towns were shelled, mosques destroyed, and apartment buildings reduced to rubble.

Military jets and helicopter gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assault from the air.”

According to Obama, “ confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I ordered warships into the Mediterranean. European allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing. The Libyan opposition, and the Arab League, appealed to the world to save lives in Libya.

At my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass an historic Resolution that authorized a No Fly Zone to stop the regime’s attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.”

In assessing the effect of the action so far, Obama said that, “we hit Gaddafi’s troops in neighboring Ajdabiya, allowing the opposition to drive them out. We hit his air defenses, which paved the way for a No Fly Zone.

We targeted tanks and military assets that had been choking off towns and cities and we cut off much of their source of supply. And tonight, I can report that we have stopped Gaddafi’s deadly advance.”

On the next steps forward, he indicated that Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton is to meet with representatives of the opposition in London on Tuesday where she will meet with the Libyan opposition and consult with more than thirty nations.

These discussions, he stated, will focus on what kind of political effort is necessary to pressure Gaddafi, while also supporting a transition to the future that the Libyan people deserve. This is because while the military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives, the United States will continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to its people.

“Going forward, the lead in enforcing the No Fly Zone and protecting civilians on the ground will transition to our allies and partners, and I am fully confident that our coalition will keep the pressure on Gaddafi’s remaining forces.

In that effort, the United States will play a supporting role – including intelligence, logistical support, search and rescue assistance, and capabilities to jam regime communications.

Because of this transition to a broader, NATO-based coalition, the risk and cost of this operation – to our military, and to American taxpayers – will be reduced significantly,” the President added.
Substantiating his resolve to attack Libya, Obama insisted that, “to brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are.

Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”


By William Reed, for Business Exchange

Saying that "It's time for Gadhafi to go," President Barack Obama joined a coalition of colonialist countries to invade Africa. Ignoring protests from leaders of the African Union, Obama partnered with NATO’s (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) league of neo-colonialists to “get Gadhafi”.

Black Americans would do well not to drink from the same cup of Kool Aid as has Obama. We should be aware that Western media’s characterizations of Gadhafi as “crazy” and “a brutal dictator” deserve due scrutiny. Mainstream media in NATO countries have played a major role in demonization of Gadhafi to get the acceptance across the world these imperialists’ intervention in a civil matter.

Black Americans would do well to not to drink from the same cup of Kool Aid as Obama; who ignoring the call of the African Union, joined with old colonialist powers to "get Gadhafi”. The West’s mainstream media is enjoined in telling the same ole story: that Gadhafi “is crazy”, “a brutal dictator”, that “this is not about oil” and that “we will be in and out quickly”. The corporate media has played a superb role piling on in the demonization of Gadhafi toward getting the world’s outright acceptance of the imperialists’ intervention in an internal and civil matter.

Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich said Obama has committed “an impeachable offense”. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said Obama should have a meeting with Gadhafi and that “you can’t order him to step down and get out, who the hell you think you are?”

Obama failed to notice the African Union’s caution that “Libya’s territorial integrity should be respected” and that “outsiders have armed Libya’s rebels to get access to the country’s oil”. Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe called Libya “an African issue that should get its solutions from Africans and not from Europe and America” Mugabe was joined by South African President Jacob Zuma in saying that “the arming of the rebels in Libya by the Americans and other foreign western powers is a direct attack on African sovereignty and a clear demonstration of foreign interference”.

Where Libya’s revolts fuelled by economic issues as the media would have us believe? Black Americans are as foolish as Obama if they try to perceive what is happening in Libya within a Eurocentric perspective. Libya's system and the battle now taking place are outside of Westerners’ imagination. Libya’s young people are well dressed, fed and educated. Libyans earn more per capita than the British. Libya's wealth has been fairly spread throughout society. Every Libyan gets free, and often excellent, education, medical and health services. New colleges and hospitals are impressive by any international standard. All Libyans have a house or a flat, a car and most have televisions, video recorders and telephones.

Gadhafi has been target of aggression from the West since the 1980s. News coverage by Western media is oversimplified, misleading and stacked toward getting rid of Gadhafi. An array of anti-Gadhafi spokespersons, most living outside Libya, has been paraded in front of us. The media and their selected commentators have done their best to manufacture an opinion that Gadhafi is just another tyrant amassing large sums of money in Swiss bank accounts. In contrast to Western depictions, Libya utilized revenue from its oil to develop the country and its people. Instead of letting people know that Libya has one of the world’s highest standards of living, Western media and Obama will lead you to believe “we need to go save them”.

Before they endorse this move by Obama “to save the world” through military might, Blacks should ask themselves: “Which country has the bloodiest history of genocide, slavery, invasions, coups, installing and backing brutal regimes, bombings, massacres and mass destruction, including the use of nuclear weapons? Which government imprisons its own people, in particular its minorities, at the highest rate in the world? Do we want to continue these practices? America’s first Black President is proving himself “one of the boys” when it comes to participating in, and being a part of, imperialists’ interventions.

(William Reed is available for speaking/seminar projects via