Sunday, October 31, 2010

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal: Detroit Screening of New Documentary on Mon., November 1, 7:00pm



What: First Detroit Screening on Mon. Nov. 1, 7:00 p.m.
Where: 5920 Second Ave. at Antoinette, North of WSU Campus
Cost: Free Admission
Contact: 313.671.3715

Important Meeting As the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal Takes on Renewed Urgency With Upcoming Court Hearing

As one of the nation’s most closely-watched death row cases heads to
the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals on November 9, Baruch College
Professor of American History Johanna Fernandez teams up with director Kouross Esmaeli of Big Noise Films to investigate the controversial case of Mumia Abu-Jamal in their new film, Justice on Trial: The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Fernandez wrote and produced the film, which Esmaeli directed. Justice on Trial will receive its first Detroit screening at the weekly meeting of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice on Mon., November 1 at 7:00pm.

A trial court convicted Abu-Jamal of first-degree murder in the 1981
killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal was
sentenced to death and has been on death row since 1982. During the
intervening years, debate has raged between Abu-Jamal’s supporters and detractors, with his supporters maintaining his innocence and claiming that exculpatory evidence was suppressed during the trial.

In Justice on Trial, Fernandez asks what she describes as fundamental
questions about the workings of the criminal justice system and the
Abu-Jamal case—from his sentencing in 1982 to subsequent appeals.
According to Fernandez, Justice on Trial presents the legal and
factual arguments for reasonable doubt about the fairness of the
guilty verdict.

Abu-Jamal is an award-winning radio journalist who sits on death row
in a Western Pennsylvania prison where he has authored six books,
including the bestselling Live From Death Row. On orders from the
Supreme Court, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals will reconsider
reinstating the death penalty on Nov. 9. With the federal appeal on
the horizon, Fernandez and Esmaeli expedited completion of their
four-year project in order to participate in revived conversations
inspired by the case.

Trailer here: Democracy Now news clip on the film here:

Appeal for Labor Support in the Fight Against FBI Repression

From: "Tom Burke"
To: "info"
Sent: Saturday, October 30, 2010 8:20:29 PM
Subject: Stop FBI--Labor Union Materials

Sisters and Brothers:

On September 24, 2010, the FBI carried out coordinated raids on the homes and offices of 14 anti-war activists in Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan. During the raids the FBI confiscated everything from computers and mailing lists to children’s’ drawings and photos of Martin Luther King.

Ten of the 14 victims of the raid are union members in good-standing, among them 3 members of AFSCME Local 3800 (U of MN), one member of Teamsters Local 320 (U of MN), a member of Education Minnesota, and the chief steward of SEIU 73 (U of IL-Chicago). All are well-known and respected activists who, according to FBI spokespersons, were targeted because of their role in seeking justice for workers and other oppressed peoples throughout the world. In addition to having their homes invaded, they were subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury. They have not been arrested or charged with any crime.

By its nature, a grand jury is a dressed-up fishing expedition. Those called to testify are not allowed legal representation during their testimony. If they refuse to cooperate, they face imprisonment, jeopardizing their jobs, homes and families. If they agree to testify, they give credence to an illegitimate fishing expedition.

Every American has the constitutional right to advocate and organize for change in the foreign policy of the United States. These activists are entitled to a presumption of innocence under the United States Constitution. No acceptable justification or evidence has been presented for these raids and subpoenas and there is no reason to believe any will be forthcoming.

Four days prior to the September 24th raids, the Office of the Inspector General of the United States revealed that the FBI has systematically and illegally spied on political activists; that FBI director Robert Mueller lied to Congress about details of the surveillance; and that agents frequently confuse civil disobedience with “domestic terrorism.”

From the Industrial Workers of the World’s (IWW) fight for free speech in the 1910s to the major labor-inspired civil liberties court decisions of the 1930s the labor movement has often been in the forefront of defending the right to speak and protest. Trade unionists understood that without the ability to speak out, union efforts would be crushed. Of necessity, the fight for civil liberties went hand in hand with the fight for workers’ rights. What we see in these raids and grand jury subpoenas is reminiscent of the Palmer Raids and J Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO. The FBI and Department of Justice have long histories of exploiting public fears in order to disrupt trade union, civil rights and anti-war organizing.

Across the country organizations and individuals are standing together to protest the United States government’s attempt to silence and criminalize activism. Confronting power and privilege has never been popular in the United States. Anyone who has gone through a bitter strike knows all too well how the courts, the media and the government line up against striking workers. That’s why, as it has historically, the trade union movement must be at the forefront of defending the right to dissent.

We are writing to ask you to join us in taking a stand in support of our sisters and brothers who are facing this witch hunt. Unions across the country are passing resolutions denouncing the FBI raids and calling for an end to the grand jury investigation. A sample resolution is enclosed/attached, as well as a sign on letter for individual union members. Please introduce the resolution at your upcoming meetings.

To sign on to the letter, send your name, title, and whether it is for ID purposes only to If you would like somebody to speak about the raids at your meeting, contact Cherrene at 612-940-0660 or For more information go to

We are also asking for donations to help with the cost of legal defense. Checks can be written to: Committee to Stop FBI Repression, and mailed to PO Box 14183, Minneapolis, MN 55414.

An injury to one is an injury to all!

In solidarity,

Richard Berg, Past President, Teamsters 743

Phyllis Walker, President, AFSCME 3800

Cherrene Horazuk, Chief Steward, AFSCME 3800

Peter Rachleff, Labor Historian, Macalaster College

Gladys McKenzie, Field Representative, AFSCME Council 5

Joe Burns, Labor Attorney/Negotiator

Dave Riehle, former Local Chairman, United Transportation Union Local 650

U.S. Workers Far Behind Other Countries

U.S. workers far behind other countries

By Caleb T. Maupin
Published Oct 29, 2010 7:25 PM

The Central Intelligence Agency, a ruthless enforcer of Wall Street’s drive for profits, publishes “The World Factbook.” It gives updated statistics for every country, some of which measure quality of life and societal health, such as life expectancy, infant mortality, literacy, unemployment and industrial production. In this last of a series, some surprising facts are revealed, all using the CIA’s own statistics.

Proponents of U.S. capitalism call it the richest country in the world and use this to drum up patriotism and chauvinism. While it is true that there is more wealth in the U.S., it is mostly in the hands of a few and does not bring prosperity to the majority.

Even compared to most other imperialist countries, which also got rich from exploiting the labor and resources of much of the rest of the world, the U.S. is far behind in terms of life expectancy, literacy and infant mortality.

In France, Britain, Germany and other countries in the West, vast working class movements, often led by socialists and communists, won the use of some of the wealth for the people’s benefit. This was even truer when competition with the socialist countries of Eastern Europe and the USSR forced the rulers in the West to make concessions to the workers.

In Western Europe, mass movements after World War II won the implementation of national health care systems, free education from pre-school to college, long paid vacations, early retirement, and higher rates of union representation and workplace benefits. These came under attack once the USSR was dismantled. Yet even during the present economic crisis, when European governments are slashing social services and workers’ benefits, they are still at a much higher level than in the U.S.

The U.S. leads the way in promoting private health care, is trying to privatize public schools, and has a low minimum wage. As a result, the average person is less healthy and educated — and the statistics show it.

Canada, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Norway, Britain, Ireland and Germany have a higher life expectancy than the United States. This country is not “number one,” as many are led to believe, but is 49th in the world.

Even in relatively poor Greece, whose workers have been holding multiple general strikes to defend the reforms they had won, the average life expectancy is two years higher than in the United States. In Canada, people live 81.29 years on average compared to 78.24 years in the U.S.

According to the CIA Factbook, infant mortality in the U.S. averages 6.22 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. (All figures given here are estimates for 2010.) All the West European countries with nationalized health care or single-payer insurance have fewer than five deaths per 1,000 live births. In France, where the workers take to the streets in militant demonstrations and sometimes lock up their bosses in defense of their jobs, there are 3.33 infant deaths per 1,000 live births — about half the infant death rate here.

The CIA has to admit that socialist Cuba, with 5.82 deaths per 1,000 live births, also has a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S., even though it started its socialist construction with an economy distorted by centuries of colonial and imperialist oppression.

It is clear that the “free market” policies of U.S. capitalists have been a disaster for the working class. If U.S. workers want a longer life expectancy and a lower infant mortality rate, both of which are signs of basic societal health, it is clear that they need to fight for their interests as a class. The capitalist propaganda that says demanding government action is “disrespectful” or “un-American” has clearly harmed the health of the people in this country.

In the current economic crisis, the U.S. capitalist government is seeking to cut back the minimal social programs that do exist. Only mass movements of the people can force concessions from the bosses and the government so life can get better, not worse, for working people.

As U.S. communists who organized workers during the Great Depression proclaimed, the workers need to understand that their choice is simple: “Fight or starve!”
Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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Dilma Roussef Rides Economic Boom to Brazil's Presidency

Rousseff rides economic boom to Brazil's presidency

9:11pm EDT
By Brian Winter

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Former guerrilla leader Dilma Rousseff won Brazil's presidential election in resounding fashion on Sunday after promising to stick to policies that have lifted millions from poverty and made Brazil one of the world's hottest economies.

The ruling party's candidate won 55.96 percent of valid votes compared to 44.04 percent for the opposition's Jose Serra, with 99 percent of ballots counted.

Hundreds of supporters gathered on the streets of Sao Paulo and the capital Brasilia, dancing and waving red flags for both the Workers' Party and the labor unions that form its base.

The result completed an unlikely journey for Rousseff that took her from jail and brutal torture by her military captors in the 1970s to become the first woman to lead Latin America's largest economy.

An economist and former energy minister who leans left but has become more pragmatic over time, Rousseff had never run for elected office. Yet she received decisive support from Brazil's wildly popular President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who plucked her from relative obscurity to succeed him.

"I think she will continue Lula's work," said Elizabete Gomes da Silva, a factory worker in Sao Paulo. "He governed for the people who needed him most -- the poorest."

During Lula's eight years in office, his stable fiscal policies and social programs helped lift 20 million Brazilians, or more than 10 percent of the population, out of poverty.

The burgeoning middle class is snapping up cars and building houses at a pace never seen in Brazil before, helping make it a rare bright spot in the global economy along with other developing giants such as China and India.

That legacy was simply too much for Serra to overcome.

Serra mustered just enough support in the first round of voting on October 3 to force a runoff, and briefly closed in on Rousseff in subsequent polls. But she pulled away in the final two weeks as the focus shifted away from her views on social issues such as abortion and back to Lula's economic record.

Rousseff is Lula's former chief of staff and vows to build on his successes by upgrading Brazil's woeful roads, schools and other infrastructure as the country prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

She also seeks to exploit Brazil's newfound offshore oil wealth and expand the state's role in the energy sector while continuing to court private investment.

"Her government will focus primarily on solving Brazil's bottlenecks," Fernando Pimentel, a close adviser to her campaign, said in a recent interview.

Rousseff lacks Lula's charisma or his clout in Congress, and some investors worry hers could be a status-quo presidency in which she fails to pass economic reforms that could reduce Brazil's high cost of doing business.

Some also fear she could expand the state's role too much in some areas while failing to rein in heavy budget spending, which has pressured Brazil's real and helped make it the world's most overvalued currency by some measures.

Still, Brazil's stock market, bonds and currency all posted gains in the run-up to the vote -- a stark contrast to the financial panic that preceded the 2002 election of Lula, a former radical.


Rousseff's road to the presidency of the world's eighth-biggest economy was hardly traditional.

The daughter of a well-to-do Bulgarian immigrant, Rousseff joined a leftist guerrilla group during the 1960s and resisted the military dictatorship of that era. She was then jailed for three years and repeatedly tortured with electric shocks.

Upon her release from prison in 1973, she moderated her views and studied economics. She ascended through a range of mid-level government posts in southern Brazil and never showed much political ambition until Lula made her his energy minister, his chief of staff, and then his chosen successor.

Lula has acknowledged Rousseff lacks political experience but chose her because of her skill as a technocrat and administrator.

He says those qualities will be critical over the next four years as Brazil tries to bring its infrastructure in line with its ambitions as an emerging world power.

Lula, 65, was barred by the constitution from running for a third consecutive term, but the election of a close lieutenant without a long-standing base of her own may also allow him to remain involved in policy after he steps down on January 1.

On the eve of the election, Rousseff herself said: "Lula will always be present in my government."

Rousseff survived a bout of moderate cancer last year. More recently, she overcame a last-minute corruption scandal that forced a former top aide to resign.


In coming days, Rousseff will be under scrutiny to see whether she makes difficult economic reforms a priority, and whether she fills top cabinet posts with members of the market-friendly wing of her Workers' Party.

The winner of Brazil's presidential election often holds a news conference the day after the vote.

Rousseff's ruling coalition will enjoy a wide majority in Congress that, in theory, should even give her the 60 percent of votes necessary to pass constitutional amendments.

In practice, though, the fractious nature of Brazilian politics -- there are 10 parties in her coalition -- will challenge Rousseff's relatively unproven skills as a dealmaker. She will also face an emboldened opposition PSDB party, which despite Serra's apparent defeat is already vowing to be tougher on her than they were on Lula.

"We cannot let the executive (branch) impose everything, as if this were a monarchy," said Aecio Neves, a senator-elect from Minas Gerais and the likely new leader of the opposition.

Still, the focus for now is on Rousseff and how she plans to continue Brazil's recent run of prosperity.

"The country has never been as good as it is now," said Milton Carneiro, an engineer who voted for Rousseff at a school in Brasilia. "I hope things will continue this way."

(Additional reporting by Eduardo Simoes and Peter Murphy; Editing by Todd Benson and Kieran Murray)

Dilma Rousseff Wins Brazil Election

Rousseff wins Brazil election

Ruling party candidate has defeated rival Jose Serra in vote and will become Brazil's first female president

Last Modified: 01 Nov 2010 00:40 GMT

Dilma Rouseff's campaign was heavily centred on her close links to incumbent Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Dilma Rousseff has won Brazil's presidential election and will become the first woman to lead the Latin American economic powerhouse.

Rousseff was declared winner of Sunday's poll by more than 10 percentage points, beating rival Jose Serra with 55.5 per cent of valid votes cast to his 44.5 per cent.

The 62 year-old former guerilla leader will be sworn in as the country's president on January 1 after running a campaign that highlighted her links to outgoing president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Rousseff vowed on Sunday to eradicate poverty affecting 20 million people in her nation, in her first pledge as president-elect.

"I reiterate my fundamental promise: the eradication of poverty," the leftwinger said in her victory speech in Brasilia. "We must not rest while there are Brazilians going hungry."

"Eradicating extreme poverty is my goal. But I humbly ask for the support of all who can help the country bridge the gap dividing us and make us a developed nation."

Silva used his 80 per cent approval ratings to campaign for Rousseff, his former chief of staff and political protege.

Rousseff will take power in a nation on rise, a country that will host the 2014 World Cup and that is expected to be the globe's fifth-largest economy by the time it hosts the 2016 Summer Olympics.

"Her government will focus primarily on solving Brazil's bottlenecks," Fernando Pimentel, a close adviser to her campaign, said in a recent interview.

Competant technocrat

Rousseff never has held elected office and lacks the charisma that transformed Silva from a one-time shoeshine boy into one of the globe's most popular leaders.

In the 1960s she fought against the military dictatorship ruling Brazil in the 1960s, spending time in prison before studying economics and making a name for herself as a compentant technocrat.

She held a range of mid-level government posts before Silva made her his energy minister, chief of staff, and then named her as his political successor.

Silva has served two four-year terms and is barred by Brazil's constitution from running for a third. He has batted down chatter in Brazil's press that he is setting himself up for a new run at the presidency in 2014, which would be legally allowed.

That does not mean many voters don't want him to stay. "If Lula ran for president 10 times, I would vote for him 10 times," said Marisa Santos, a 43-year-old selling her homemade jewelry on a Sao Paulo street.

Rousseff's victory was not as straightforward as many predicted.

In the first round of the presidential election on October 3, Rousseff got 46.9 per cent of the votes, falling just short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff. Serra finished second with 32.6 per cent.

Marina Silva, a former environment minister and no relation to the president, took 20 million votes, leaving Rousseff and Serra to scramble for her supporters during the second round

About 135 million voters were obliged to cast ballots on Sunday. Under Brazilian law, voting is mandatory for citizens between the ages of 18 and 70.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Iran Not Ready to Talk on Nuclear Program

Iran not ready to talk on nuclear


TEHRAN-- Iran will not discuss its nuclear programme at talks with global powers, an adviser to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday, adding fresh doubt to the chances of a negotiated end to its stand-off with the West.

Iran said last Friday it was ready to resume talks which stalled more than a year ago and led to tightened sanctions against the Islamic Republic which many countries fear is seeking nuclear weapons, something it denies.

Both sides have said the talks could happen after Nov. 10, but Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a media adviser to the president, said they would not cover the nuclear issue — the one subject the other countries want to address.

"We will not be talking with the Western party about the nuclear energy issue in this round of the negotiations," Javanfekr said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

The P5+1 group — the permanent members of the UN Security Council: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany — want Iran to suspend uranium enrichment which can have both civilian and military uses, in exchange for trade and diplomatic benefits on offer since 2006.

Iran said its nuclear ambitions are purely peaceful and denies it is seeking nuclear arms, but it has refused to accept demands from the UN Security Council to halt enrichment and has been subjected to tightened sanctions since June aimed at getting it to comply.

Sceptics accuse Iran of stalling talks while it continues to stockpile nuclear material. Iran insists it has a right to enrichment under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Javanfekr said the P5+1 countries had yet to address Ahmadinejad’s conditions for resuming talks. He did not say what the talks would cover if they do not address the nuclear issue.

In a television interview last Saturday night, Ahmadinejad reiterated his position that the other parties should say whether they come to the table as Iran’s friends.

"From the very beginning we told them that they have no option but negotiating with Iran. But it should be based on justice," he said on state-run TV.

"(We ask) on the basis of what framework are you going to negotiate? Is it based on justice and respect? But they do not dare announce it yet."

Ahmadinejad has also asked the parties to declare their opinion on Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal. Israel says a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten its very existence and does not rule out striking Iran militarily to stop that happening.

Ahmadinejad said talks could happen even if Iran was not satisfied with the responses, but that: "We will negotiate one way with friends, another way with enemies."

He did not specify whether that meant Iran would enter negotiations but refuse to address the nuclear issue.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast remained optimistic that the talks — which EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton proposed holding in Vienna from November 15 to 17 — would still happen.

"The contacts and consultations are under way and we are hopeful we will reach agreement over the details for the talks including the time, place and the content of the negotiation," he was quoted as saying by Fars.

Tehran has appeared keener on resuming talks on a stalled plan for it to send low-enriched uranium abroad and receive higher-grade fuel for a medical research reactor in return.

Western diplomats say that, even if the fuel exchange idea were revived, it would not resolve farther-reaching concerns about Iran’s nuclear plans which it must also agree to discuss.

The US State Department said this week Washington and EU nations were preparing a new offer to Iran on a swap that would include tougher conditions than those Tehran rejected last year. — Reuters.

Zimbabwe News Update: EU Accepts Envoy; Farmers Awarded Grant; Meeting Fuel Needs

EU accepts Zim envoy

By Tinashe Farawo
Zimbabwe Herald

The European Union will not interfere with President Mugabe’s redeployment of ambassadors because the matter is internal, the recently appointed EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Aldo Dell’Ariccia, has said.

In an interview last week, Mr Dell’Ariccia said the posting of diplomats should be left to individual sovereign states.

“This is a reflection of internal matters, which must be dealt with internally,” said Mr Dell’ Ariccia shortly after making his contribution on the sanctions on Zimbabwe debate organised by a local NGO.

In his contribution, Mr Dell’Ariccia said the EU would continue engaging Zimbabwe because it was strategic to the bloc’s economic interests.

Early last month, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wrote letters to the UN, EU and South Africa demanding the expulsion of some recently redeployed diplomats in those countries.

South Africa did not respond to PM Tsvangirai’s letter.

MDC secretary-general Professor Welshman Ncube yesterday said problems could not be solved by writing letters to foreigners or addressing rallies.

“Yes, there are problems but they cannot be solved in the media or by writing letters to foreigners but through negotiations,” he said.

Prof Ncube distanced his party from the letters written to EU and SA.

“We do not subscribe to those letters written to various international bodies and governments because we believe in dialogue,” he said.

A fortnight ago, the United Nations dismissed the MDC-T leader’s plea for the world body not to recognise the deployment of Ambassador Chitsaka Chipaziwa as Zimbabwe’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York.

UN deputy spokesperson Mr Farham Haq brushed aside PM Tsvangirai’s letter, arguing Ambassador Chipaziwa was properly accredited.

“The appointment of an ambassador is an internal matter for a member state which is to be decided upon in accordance with the provisions of its own domestic law.

“Ambassador Chipaziwa was properly accredited as Permanent Representative of the Republic of Zimbabwe to the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 28 June 2010.

“We will be bound by the letter of his accreditation until advised otherwise by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he said.

Mr Dell’Ariccia’s statement last week put to rest the debate on whether diplomats redeployed by President Mugabe should be accepted by those countries or not.

Speaking after Tuesday’s debate, political analyst Dr Tafataona Mahoso said it was shocking that the PM (Tsvangirai) still thought outsiders could solve the country’s internal problems.

“I find it quite offensive when the PM still thinks that our erstwhile enemies are our saviours, yet they have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that they don’t wish us well,” he said.

PM Tsvangirai also came under fire from his partners in the inclusive Government for trying to rope in foreigners in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.

President Mugabe last month said PM Tsvangi-rai’s letters to the UN and other countries on the issue of ambassadors were mere politicking and “absolutely nonsensical,” pointing out that all due processes had been followed.

The President in May reassigned several serving diplomats in line with the Constitution.

A2 farmers must shun handouts

Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Herald

WE want to commend the Government for coming up with the US$30 million farming inputs scheme for communal and small-scale farmers.

Communal farmers, in particular, have traditionally produced the bulk of the country’s staple food, maize and, as such, they deserve all the support that can be mobilised for production.

We believe that if there is any group of farmers that should be supported, it is communal farmers for they have proved over the years that they genuinely need the support and that when given the inputs, such as fertiliser and seed, they always put them to productive use.

While Government’s support for the communal, old resettlement, A1 and small-scale farmers has been hailed as positive contribution to achieving food security, there has been an outcry among some A2 farmers who feel Government should have come up with a similar scheme for them.

We, however, tend to disagree with that as we strongly believe that A2 farmers are in the business of farming and, as such, should not depend on Government handouts. A2 farmers are in business, like any other people in other sectors, and should thus approach banks for loans to finance their operations.

They should be able to craft bankable proposals and cash-flow projections to borrow money for productive purposes. A2 farmers should be that group of people that is deemed to have the capacity in terms of financial resources to fund their production and should not expect much by way of support from the Government.

We believe the outcry from some of the A2 farmers is misplaced as, using the property and machinery they have, they can easily get funding from financial institutions.

Some commercial banks are extending loans to A2 farmers and instead of wailing these farmers should take advantage of the window the banks have opened for them. They need to show proof of their offer letters and the ability to repay the loans. They must also provide collateral security, which most of them indicated they possessed upon being given the farms.

Most A2 farmers indicated they had resources to enable them to stand on their own, without depending heavily on the Government. We wonder where that capacity has suddenly vanished to for them to clamour, like communal farmers, for inputs support.

It would have made sense to demand Government support in the absence of a borrowing window from banks. We believe serious farmers will always take farming as a business and approach banks for funding.

Those who have been doing well in the previous seasons can always invest in the business.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with the Government, if it so wishes, funding A2 farmers but we want to discourage A2 farmers from sitting on their laurels in the hope their operations would be funded by the Government.

The farmers must go out of their way to seek their own funding and when they make a profit to always remember to set aside a certain percentage to fund farming operations and in the process move away from being dependent on the Government.

We hope to see A2 farmers making a beeline to the banks to get money to finance their production and boost food security.

Zim can ‘grow’ its own fuel

By Garikai Chengu

ZIMBABWE’S agrarian revolution is proving to be a resounding success on several fronts, not least the extent to which it is promoting economic independence.

In order to achieve energy independence Zimbabwe must embark on yet another agrarian revolution, this time fuelled by ethanol.

Ethanol is a clean-burning motor fuel that is produced from renewable sources such as sugar cane. Ethanol can be blended with petrol or diesel, effectively allowing Zimbabwe to “grow” some of its own fuel.

Currently, Zimbabwe does not blend ethanol in its fuel nor does the nation have legislation that regulates and promotes the investment, production, marketing, and use of ethanol.

However, such legislation would unlock several enormous benefits of ethanol use for the nation, namely: energy independence, rural development and job creation and finally combating climate change.

The importance of Zimbabwe weaning itself off dependence on foreign oil is highlighted by, firstly, the fact that Zimbabwe is a non-oil producing country with comparatively high costs of importing oil due to its landlocked nature.

Secondly, the foreseeable persistent increase in prevailing international oil prices means that the nation will have to spend more of its scarce foreign exchange resources to obtain the same amount of fuel, putting pressure on the country’s balance of payments position.

By ensuring that ethanol constitutes up to 25 percent of transport fuel, Zimbabwe can reduce its dependence on foreign oil and lower exposure to the price volatility of the international oil market.

The production and use of ethanol would benefit the economy on all levels — local, provincial and national. From the metropolitan areas where drivers would fill up with a domestically produced fuel, to the local communities where the crops are grown and processed, Zimbabwean-made ethanol shall help propel the economy.

A prime example of how ethanol production can benefit local communities, by promoting rural development and creating employment, is the ongoing construction of the biggest ethanol plant in Africa in Chipinge.

By March 2011, the billion dollar ethanol project will produce 100 million litres of ethanol per annum, which is about 20 percent of the country’s total fuel requirements.

Ethanol holds the promise of contributing to rural development by creating jobs in feedstock production, biofuel manufacture and the transport and distribution of feedstock and products. In fact, the ethanol plant in Chipinge will employ over 7 000 people.

Ten thousand hectares has also been set aside for local farmers to be contracted to grow sugar-cane.

Quite aside from ethanol’s contribution to energy independence and rural development, Government should throw its weight behind ethanol as a means of combating climate change.

By signing the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement connected to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Zimbabwe has committed to reduce fossil fuel use, thereby reducing carbon emissions and helping to curb climate change and global warming.

In this respect, biofuels like ethanol have one enormous, overwhelming plus-point, which is that they are carbon-neutral.

When fossil fuels, oil, gas or coal are burned in cars or power stations, they add to the net amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas, which is the main cause of global warming.

The carbon they release is new to the atmosphere, because it has been buried deep within the earth for millions of years. On the other hand, when biofuels like ethanol are burned, they are only releasing the carbon dioxide which was absorbed from the atmosphere by the crops used to produce them as they grew. Biofuels are therefore classed as a renewable energy source.

Despite the fact that ethanol is home-grown, clean and renewable, Government only approved a draft energy policy for the first time in 2008 since achieving independence in 1980. However, Government is still yet to formulate a comprehensive policy on ethanol.

Government must draft comprehensive legislation that regulates and promotes the investment, production, marketing and use of ethanol. The absence of firm mandates or incentives has slowed any meaningful development of the biofuels sector.

The legislation must create incentives around two main areas: the use of ethanol and its production.

Regarding ethanol use, the legislation should provide various levels of exemption from motor fuel excise taxes for blenders and a mandatory fuel blend of, say, 25 percent ethanol and 75 percent petrol for filling stations.

Concerning ethanol production, the legislation should create incentives designed to encourage development of production facilities including: income tax credits for small ethanol producers, direct financing or guaranteed loans for capital construction, and direct subsidies for production.

Government should have no difficulty creating such generous incentives for the ethanol industry because ethanol is just about the only renewable-energy initiative that will have broad political support.

Nationalists would love it because it offers the possibility that Zimbabwe may wean itself off dependence on foreign oil. Farmers would love it because it would provide a new source of subsidy.

The automotive industry would love it, because it reckons that switching to a green fuel will take the global warming heat off cars.

The national oil industry would love it because the use of ethanol as a fuel additive means it is business as usual, at least for the time being.

Politicians will certainly love it because by subsidising ethanol they can please all those constituencies.

Besides, in all likelihood taxpayers won’t seem to notice that they are footing the bill.

But what they will notice is a cheaper, clean-burning, renewable energy source that will see us switch from dwindling foreign oil wells to boundless fields of crops to satisfy our energy needs. —
Garikai Chengu is a Researcher at Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He can be contacted at The views expressed herein are solely those of Garikai Chengu.

Ivory Coast Calm as Voters Go to the Polls

Cote d’Ivoire calm as voters go to the polls


ABIDJAN. Millions of Ivorians went to the polls yesterday for their first chance in a decade to choose a president and observers said the long-delayed vote was proceeding peacefully.

The election in the world’s top cocoa-grower is aimed at reuniting a nation split in two by a 2002-2003 civil war and whose once-healthy economy has been hamstrung by political deadlock that has forced six postponements of election dates.

"This is a day of joy. We all thought it would never even happen and now it actually is . . . The crisis is finished," said medical worker George Assamoi, 40, as he waited to vote at a school in the commercial capital Abidjan.

Virtually no public transport and very few taxis were working in Abidjan, whose streets were dotted with the armoured vehicles of UN peacekeepers posted to strategic positions.

"I can see that people have come out to vote massively and there is complete peace that is existing in this centre and also elsewhere that I have visited," UN force commander Major General Abdul Hafiz said, visiting a polling station in Abidjan.

Voting began at 0700 GMT and after a few hours most polling stations visited by Reuters journalists were open, despite some initial delays. Long lines of voters spilled out onto streets from schools that are hosting polling booths.

"Many polling stations opened so late, even 2 or more hours late because they didn’t have the (ballot book) stickers arrive on time," noted European Union observer mission head Cristian Dan Preda.

The roots of the war and the subsequent political stalemate go back to a dispute over nationality and who is eligible to vote in a country whose lush farm land attracted immigrants from across West Africa. Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo’s main rivals are Henri Konan Bedie, a former president ousted in a 1999 coup, and Alassane Ouattara, a former prime minister and IMF official.

The vote is needed to enable reforms to a cocoa sector that supplies more than two-thirds of the market but is in decline.

Analysts say there is a strong chance that losers will challenge the outcome but for now, candidates said they were happy with the organisation of the election.

"The polls are going ahead peacefully. We are happy," Bedie told reporters after voting.

Partly owing to the regional and ethnic support bases of the three main candidates, outright victory is unlikely in the first round of voting, meaning a runoff should be held on November 28.

Most analysts following the election in the former French colony make Gbagbo the favourite to win that runoff against one or other of his two main rivals. — Reuters.

Tanzania President Kikwete Likely to Win Second Term

Tanzanian President Kikwete Likely to Win Second Term in Elections Today

By Sarah McGregor and Wilfred Mwakalosi - Oct 31, 2010

Tanzanians held a peaceful election that will probably hand President Jakaya Kikwete a second and final five-year term to implement policies aimed at strengthening East Africa’s second-biggest economy.

Kikwete, the candidate of the Chama cha Mapinduzi party, has the support of about 71.2 percent of voters, according to an opinion poll conducted by the University of Dar es Salaam this month. The 60-year-old leader is trailed by five other candidates, including Wilbrod Slaa of the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo party, his closest challenger.

An economist who served for a decade as foreign minister prior to taking office in 2005, Kikwete’s policies have helped generate average annual growth of 6.7 percent, according to International Monetary Fund data.

Kikwete has scored lower marks in the war against graft, a key platform in his 2005 campaign. Tanzania’s ranking slipped to 116th from 93rd on an index of the world’s most corrupt countries compiled by Berlin-based Transparency International.

“Life was hard five years ago, and it still is today,” Duiko Juma, 42, a worker on a ship transporting cement, he said as he waited in line at a voting station in Dar es Salaam. “I want change for development: safe water, good jobs, hospitals. I don’t know if any candidate would deliver on that.”

Several reports of names being excluded from the voters’ lists inside polling stations and delays are nothing to be worried about, Paul East, former attorney general of New Zealand and head of the Commonwealth observation team, said today.


The vote was “peaceful and orderly,” said East from the coastal town of Bagamoyo, north of Dar es Salaam.

Initial reports indicate voter turnout may have been as low as 40 percent, David Martin, chief observer for the European Union’s vote-monitoring mission to Tanzania, said in an interview in Dar es Salaam. About three cases of ballot-stuffing were exposed, Martin said.

The northern town of Arusha and the area east of Lake Victoria, where candidates and their supporters have been running negative campaigns, are potential “hotspots” in the period waiting for results and afterward, Martin said.

“We hope people will respect the results but that is hard to predict,” he said.

During his five-year term, Kikwete increased spending on roads and energy projects, using higher tax revenue and donor funding, while keeping government borrowing in check. Kikwete has pledged to maintain fiscal policies that are expected to drive the economic growth rate to 6.5 percent this year and 6.7 percent in 2011, the IMF said on Oct. 6. That compares with average growth rates of 5 percent and 5.5 percent expected in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa in the same periods.

Failure on Graft

Critics say Kikwete’s record on tackling corruption has been sullied by a failure to prosecute graft cases.

In January 2008, Kikwete fired Central Bank Governor Daudi Ballali following an irregular-payments scandal over which Prime Minister Edward Lowassa resigned. In a separate incident that year, Andrew Chenge stepped down as infrastructure development minister after being investigated in a bribery probe involving BAE Systems Plc. Ballali died in May 2008 and no government ministers were prosecuted in either of the cases.

Donors to Tanzania announced in May they planned to cut their pledges in the 2010-11 fiscal year by about $220 million to $534 million.

Tanzania is Africa’s fourth-largest gold exporter after South Africa, Ghana and Mali. Companies including Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest producer of the precious metal, and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. have mines in the country.

Coffee, Gold

Slaa, a former Roman Catholic priest with a Ph.D. in canon law, has vowed to review mining contracts to ensure every Tanzanian sees the benefit of country’s natural resource.

The country’s domestic product was $21.6 billion with a gross national income per capita of $500 in 2009 for a population of 43.7 million, according to World Bank data. That compares with an average of $1,096 for sub-Saharan Africa. The total size of the economy is second only to Kenya in the East African region.

Tanzania is the continent’s fifth-biggest producer of coffee, after Ethiopia, Uganda, Ivory Coast and Cameroon, and the world’s sole source of tanzanite, a violet-blue precious stone.

Tanzanians voted today to elect a president for the union, which includes the mainland as well as the Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar. There was a second ballot to choose Zanzibar’s president and parliament.

On Zanzibar, clashes followed the last two elections in 2000 and 2005, after the opposition accused the island’s president, Amani Abeid Karume, and his CCM party of vote- rigging. A power-sharing deal agreed in July eased tensions. There was no sign of violence in Zanzibar today, East said.

About 20 million people registered to vote in the elections. Final results are expected on Nov. 2 or Nov. 3.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at; Wilfred Mwakalosi in Dar es Salaam via Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at

Zimbabwe News: ZANU-PF Chair Says 'Let's Empower Our People'

Let’s empower our people.

Morris Mkwate
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

LAST week Zimbabwe’s former Ambassador to South Africa, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, returned home after serving in Pretoria for 10 years. His tour of duty came to an end after he was elected Zanu-PF national chairman at the party’s Congress last December. Our Deputy News Editor MORRIS MKWATE spoke to Cde Khaya Moyo on his diplomatic career and the possibility of national elections being held next year.

Below are excerpts of the interview.

Question: Ambassador, you were in diplomatic service for a decade. May you describe your experience during this period?

Answer: Indeed, I have been in diplomatic service for the past 10 years, accredited to South Africa, Lesotho, Mauritius and Madagascar.

It was an assignment which I will forever cherish because, before my posting, I had just completed 10 years as minister in the Government of Zimbabwe.

This was, of course, in various portfolios: Industry and Commerce; Transport and Energy as well as Mines, Environment and Tourism.

I found my assignment most challenging because as this was at the beginning of the 21st century and there were so many challenges facing Zimbabwe, particularly after we had embarked on the land reform programme. The West, that is Europe led by Britain and also the United States, did not take kindly to the measures we had taken to restore land to its rightful owners. There was a barrage of anti-Zimbabwe campaigns including, naturally, where I was posted as ambassador. This was clearly reflected by the media in those countries and the media being owned by the very same people who felt offended by our move to return our land to the Zimbabwean people.

Fortunately, I happened to be out there at a time when South Africa was now led by leaders who had also come out of the dark days of apartheid and with whom we had worked during the liberation struggle and stayed together in various countries particularly the Frontline States then. We, therefore, immediately struck a common chord in terms of tackling these vicious attacks on the leadership of our country. Our diplomatic relations with South Africa remain excellent.

Our people now have easy travel while efforts are being made for people to regularise their stay in that country.

Question: What strategies did you employ to repel these attacks you speak of?

Answer: The strategies were mainly based on our experiences as former liberation movements.

We were aware that it was not only Zimbabwe targeted; it was also the entire region which was also ultimately a target as evidenced by events which had taken place in Zambia when the trade union movement supported by the West took over the reins of power.

We were aware that efforts were also being made in Zimbabwe to ensure the trade union movement also took over the reins of power.

Hence the programme devised by the West called regime change. This was of necessity meant to spread across the Southern African region including Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and Angola.

Ultimately, the objective was that all former liberation movements must never rule in this region because of the resources which are found in this part of the world be they minerals; wildlife; agricultural products; manufacturing; horticulture, all types of resources. That was their target; that by having governments that would dance to their tune and programme they would continue to benefit from our vast resources and keep their industries and economies running.

Question: What evidence shows that Sadc countries share Zanu-PF’s line of thought and, if they do, are they holding strong against the West?

Answer: We are holding strong. Not long ago, the liberation movements — Zanu-PF, the ANC of South Africa, Swapo of Namibia, MPLA of Angola, Frelimo of Mozambique and Chama Cha Mapinduzi of Tanzania — held a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (Africa Chapter in Dar es Salaam). In due course, there will be a summit of all former liberation movements led by our respective presidents to consolidate this unity of purpose to repel this effort by our former colonisers to recolonise us. We have taken political oath that we shall never be colonies again.

We are now looking at jealously guarding against interference by these external forces in our daily lives and also to defend our respective sovereignties and also the banner of Sadc.

So, we are moving in the right direction. I think our erstwhile colonisers have not succeeded in their efforts to implement their programme of regime change in Zimbabwe in particular. We are determined as a people and as a party, Zanu-PF, to defend our freedom and independence.

Question: Last year, you were elected Zanu-PF national chairman. A general perception emerged then that handling politics at such a high level would be difficult for one with a diplomatic background like yours?

Answer: Well, I have always been in politics right from the 1960s when we still had the National Democratic Party; we had Zapu then we had a split when Zanu came into play and we have continued to work as Zanu-PF.

I am lucky that I was special assistant to the late Dr Joshua Nkomo for many years. I have been in politics for a very long time and even on our return in 1980 after having participated in the liberation struggle for almost 15 years including benefiting from the party’s programme of education by going to some universities and also going through military training in Eastern countries particularly in the then German Democratic Republic.

I continued to be a member of the central committee for all these parties including after the signing of the Unity Accord.

I was also in the Politburo as deputy secretary for administration and when I left for South Africa as ambassador I continued to be a member of the Politburo as deputy secretary for legal affairs. Therefore, there was no conflict in terms of my role as ambassador because to be ambassador you have to be a political animal to understand the dynamics of world diplomacy.

So, there was no conflict at all. I continued and when I was elected national chairman at our last Congress, I obviously could not continue as ambassador because it is a very demanding and more or less full-time role here as national chairman.

Question: There is a possibility that Zimbabwe could hold elections next year. Is Zanu-PF prepared?

Answer: As a revolutionary party, Zanu-PF is ever ready, ever ready for any election at any given time.

We are not new to the scene or newcomers to the field. We are not established from outside — we are home-grown and the people are with us because they know where we came from together, where we are today despite the imposition of illegal economic sanctions and they know our destiny. Our approach is to listen to the people and act as one.

Question: Does the party have adequate resources to mount an effective campaign against the MDC-T, which is viewed as foreign-funded?

Answer: Not viewed. We know that they receive foreign funds! They are a creation of the West and we know that. But our people in general are not purchasable. We have a proud people who fought for their liberation, who are principled and no amount of money will alter what thousands of their children perished for during the liberation war.

We are our own political liberators so shall we be our own economic liberators. The world is not made of the West. Actually they constitute a very small part of the world. The world is Africa; the world is the entire Asia, including China; the world is the entire membership of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) and therefore the world is on our side.
Question: The resources?

Answer: We are very ready, very prepared. We have never gone begging like others who only came in yesterday. We know that those who stood by us during the liberation struggle will continue to stand by us during this period of attempts to implement regime change.

Question: In the last election, Zanu-PF mentioned that the Western-imposed economic sanctions on the country gave the MDC-T unfair advantage during election time. There is talk of elections being held next year, yet the sanctions still linger.

Answer: We continue to say sanctions must go. They are illegal. Sadc, Africa, the Non-Aligned Movement say they are illegal they must go. And therefore if three-quarters of the world says so, surely they must go.

You cannot impose sanctions on people just because they have taken what belongs to them. I cannot own land in Britain myself. It’s unheard of. So why should we be an exception and be squatters in our own country when we have all the land we liberated? Some want to call the sanctions “restrictive measures”, a very strange description of what affects our people on a daily basis.

We have no lines of credit as Government, particularly from the West; we have no balance of payments support from the Breton Woods Institutions; our industries have no spare parts because they are aligned to industries in the West.

There has been a massive loss of jobs and to call these developments “restrictive measures” can only be a plural insult to our people.

Question: The Zanu-PF commissariat has been on a countrywide campaign to “rejuvenate” party structures. What does Zanu-PF mean by “rejuvenation” and has this “rejuvenation” been achieved?

Answer: No structure is permanent in terms of office-bearers. Some are getting old, the young are growing up fast and everybody with capacity, capability must be given the chance to propel the revolution guided, of course, by the party’s constitution.

Every structure has to be dynamic; it can’t be static and this is exactly what we are doing. Every structure must breathe. We don’t want any dormant structure. So people must gear themselves for even a tougher struggle than the war of liberation because economic liberation has its own tough challenges. This is why we are embarking on the issue of indigenisation and empowerment.

The land is now there, let people utilise it. Let us empower our people. As the President has often said, we don’t want people to be satisfied that they are CEOs of companies owned by someone out there in Britain. We want you to be the CEO of your own company. Own the resources of your country. They are yours, they are God-given. We must utilise them to the benefit of our entire people.

Question: Zanu-PF and its leadership attributed the party’s dismal performance in the 2008 harmonised elections partly to divisions within the party ranks. If the party is ready for an election anytime soon, does this mean it is more united?

Answer: We have always been really united. We have had to carry out a post-mortem of what exactly took place in 2008.

It is not that the people voted against Zanu-PF. It is because, in some cases, there was imposition of candidates and this must never be allowed to happen.

In some cases, we had even two candidates from the same party Zanu-PF standing in one constituency and that should never happen again.

If someone qualifies to stand in a constituency according to laid-down regulations and wins a primary election, that person must not be hindered from representing people in that particular constituency.

There was also a lot of apathy due to some of these factors. You will notice from the results statistically that in a constituency of 25 000 people, for example, only 10 000 voted and those 10 000 were shared between Zanu-PF, MDC-T and other parties.

Where were the other 15 000? Obviously, they just stayed home. It is more of apathy, which we must avoid from the beginning. People should go for the candidate of their choice as long as they meet the regulations for standing for Parliament. We are as strong as ever.

Question: In previous polls, your party was accused of unleashing violence as part of a strategy to secure a favourable outcome. The same quarters that made the allegations have “raised fears” that Zanu-PF might unleash violence if elections were held next year. What is your comment on these allegations?

Answer: We have security forces in this country. The police to maintain law and order.

A number of Zanu-PF members have been assaulted, beaten and killed. However, these are never mentioned because the media which carries this voice is the same media which supports the MDC-T.

It is mainly media from the West. That’s where the owners are. This includes pirate radio stations, which are still beaming green lies about Zanu-PF.

Just produce one, if somebody has committed a crime, to the police. But they have not done that. The police have a duty to maintain law and order.

If a Zanu-PF member has committed a crime, surely the police have a duty to deal with him or her just like they would with an MDC member or any other person who does not belong to any party.

Police know what to do if this is reported. This is why you get to a situation where you get lies about appointments of ambassadors; no ambassador was appointed recently. There was a reshuffle, yes. The Constitution allows the President to do that. Lies about reappointments of governors: It’s an extension of their function because we have all agreed that governors must move, according to our agreement, concurrently with the removal of sanctions. We are not hearing them talking about the removal of sanctions. So what should we do? The only ambassadors who were appointed were the MDC ambassadors. These ones were in situ and therefore these are the lies we hear everytime.

Question: Zimbabweans endured a protracted electoral period in 2008 when the harmonised elections failed to yield an outright winner in the race for the presidency. Is it not too soon for the country to hold an election next year?

Answer: It can’t be too soon because we agreed; we signed the GPA and the GPA gave us a roadmap that within two years we should be in a position to have a referendum and hold elections.

It’s not too early, I know that, because some people are now scared of it. To me it’s an excuse, hiding by one’s finger and that cannot be acceptable. Let us implement the GPA to its logical conclusion.

Question: What is your opinion on the performance of the inclusive Government?

Answer: A lot has been achieved since the formation of the inclusive Government. A lot also remains undone and the major issue we believe is seriously outstanding is the removal of sanctions.

That is the major issue the inclusive Government was supposed to work on. The Prime Minister went all over the West and came back empty-handed. We were told money would be raised, billions coming — nothing has come. On that score, it has been a futile exercise.

But there are areas in which we see a lot of improvement. Then acting Minister of Finance Cde Patrick Chinamasa introduced the multi-currency system.

People are generally seeing the economy improving albeit slowly.

The shops are full and the problem could be the circulation of currency while the salaries, I know, are still very low, particularly for civil servants.

All these have to be attended to.

They are very depressing salaries. We also notice that some of our colleagues in the inclusive Government have not learnt one thing: if there is a problem in your home you don’t always run out of the gate to the neighbours and say we have a problem here.

That’s not how to run a home and if you cannot run a home, it will be very difficult to run a country.

You don’t write letters to the whole world about matters you are supposed to be discussing in your home. It’s a terrible weakness of leadership.

Question: What major outcome are you expecting from the Zanu-PF annual conference scheduled for December?

Answer: The major effort is the theme of the conference. We have already set a co-ordinating committee which is looking at various issues affecting the party. This committee is chaired by me as national chairman. This year’s theme is “Total Control of Our Resources Through Indigenisation”.

That theme will guide the conference because we are looking back at what we have achieved since the last conference.

Yemen Government Arrest Woman Over U.S. Allegations

Yemen makes bomb-plot arrest

Female suspect held in Sanaa a day after parcels containing explosive material sparked global security alert

Last Modified: 31 Oct 2010 06:05 GMT

Yemen has arrested a female student suspected of mailing the explosive parcels from the country to the US that sparked a global security alert, sources say.

The arrest took place on Saturday in the capital, Sanaa, after security forces surrounded a house where the suspect was hiding.

The woman's lawyer said she was a "quiet student" with no known links of religious or political groups. Her mother was also detained, but was not a prime suspect, the lawyer said.

A Yemeni security official said the woman, a medical student in her 20s, had been traced through a telephone number she left with a cargo company.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, confirmed her arrest, saying: "Yemen is determined to fight terror but will not allow anyone to intervene in its affairs."

Security officials have been on high alert since the UK and the United Arab Emirates intercepted two packages containing explosive material that were being shipped by air from Yemen, destined for synagogues in Chicago.

The packages were discovered on Friday at East Midlands Airport, in Nottingham, north of London, and at a courier facility in Dubai.

Qatar Airways said one of the packages was carried on board one of its passenger aircraft from Sanaa to Dubai via Doha, the Qatari capital.

The carrier stated that "the explosives discovered were of a sophisticated nature whereby they could not be detected by x-ray screening or trained sniffer dogs," and were only discovered after an intelligence tip off.

Yemeni authorities seized and examined up to 26 suspect parcels on Saturday. They are also engaged in a heated search for al-Qaeda fighters in Yemen, where Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born Muslim religious leader, is named as being linked to the plot.

Heightened alerts

The failed plot has prompted scrutiny of airport security in the UK, where Theresa May, the home secretary, announced a ban on all unaccompanied cargo coming from Yemen into the country.

Security has also increased in the US, where the postal service has temporarily stopped accepting inbound mail originating in Yemen.

Al Jazeera's Monica Villamizar, reporting from Washington, DC, said that US authorities now consider Yemen and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to be "more of a threat to the US and its interests now than even Afghanistan and Pakistan".

She also said that US investigators will now look at previously shipped packages from Yemen to determine if they were used as a "dry run" by al-Qaeda.

Police in Dubai said the package they found bore the hallmarks of al-Qaeda. They also said that the ink cartridge found at the sorting facility was packed with pentaerythritol tetranitrate, or PETN, confirming what Jane Harman, a Democratic congresswoman from California who was briefed on the incident, had told the New York Times newspaper earlier,

PETN is the same substance that was packed into the underwear of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man who attempted to ignite a bomb on board an airliner over the US on December 25 last year. The police said the explosive materials were wired to a mobile phone SIM card hidden inside the printer.

Intercepted packages

The package found in the UK was on board a UPS cargo aircraft, while the other, in Dubai, was found in a FedEx sorting facility.

Bob Ayers, an independent security analyst, told Al Jazeera that cargo is subject to less stringent security screening than passenger luggage.

The screening of cargo has been a point of debate in the US; in 2007, congress directed the Transportation Security Administration to screen all cargo carried on passenger flights beginning this year, according to US media.

"Cargo is in big pallets, it's wrapped, its prepared for shipment," Ayers said. "You can't X-ray the large pallet in many cases. You don't tear it apart because its already been pre-packaged, so cargo has always been less rigorously inspected than baggage going into a passenger aircraft."

Both UPS and FedEx said they had halted all packages being sent from Yemen to the US while the incident is investigated.

In September, a large fire broke out in the cargo hold of a UPS cargo jet shortly after it took off from the Dubai airport. The plane crashed, killing both crew members. Our correspondent said that investigators will probably now check to see if any cargo from Yemen was on board.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

WWP National Conference Uniting to Fight Capitalism

WWP national conference Uniting to fight capitalism

By Kathy Durkin
New York
Published Oct 29, 2010 7:58 PM

Activists from around the country will attend the Workers World Party national conference being held Nov. 12-14 in New York City. A major goal of this year’s gathering is to prepare for 2011 as “a new year to fight back against capitalism, racism, war and repression,” and to press forward in the struggle for world socialism.

This year’s assembly will take place in the midst of the ongoing capitalist crisis, which has hit working and poor people hard with massive unemployment, foreclosures, and cuts in health care and education across the country. The “jobless recovery” is clearly a disaster for millions of people.

Conference participants will tackle key questions including: How can left forces best fight back against this crisis? What impact will the Nov. 2 midterm elections have on progressive movements and struggles? What conclusions can be drawn from these developments?

Of primary concern will be how the struggle can be intensified against this heinous capitalist system — which is at the root of these crises — and how to raise high the banner of socialism. How can it be shown that a world without oppression, exploitation, poverty and war is possible, where the wealth of society is used for the benefit of humanity, not stolen by the corporate elite?

Workers World Party and Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) join together year-round with many progressive forces from coast to coast to organize on economic, anti-racist and anti-war issues; to oppose attacks on immigrants, political repression against activists and lesbian/gay/bi/trans/queer bashing; to defend the rights of women, youth, the elderly and the disabled; and to expose corporate injury to the environment.

Those who are organizing on these issues and say it’s time to fight back, unite and oppose this profit-hungry system and organize for a socialist future should plan to attend this conference.

WWP extends an invitation to all like-minded organizations and individuals to attend and join in the discussions and planning for how to organize in the coming year on the crucial issues of the day.

Vital to this gathering will be exchanges of ideas and strategies on how progressive forces can best move the struggle forward and build a united front to develop the anti-capitalist, pro-socialist struggle and place it as an urgent item on the progressive movement’s agenda for the coming year.

The conference will feature plenaries, including performances by people’s artists, “open mike” sessions and breakout groups. There will be opportunities for reports and discussion by activists from around the country, representing crucial struggles and movements of the workers and oppressed.

To pre-register for the conference, and to get up-to-date logistics and schedule information, see Political materials being prepared for conference discussion will also be posted there.

Donations — which are very much needed to help with conference expenses, such as hall rental, sound equipment, childcare, food, transportation and more — can be made at that website. To reach organizers by phone, call 212-627-2994.
Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Detroit Marxism Class Discusses Right of Oppressed Nations to Self-Determination, Today at 5:00pm

Detroit Marxism Class Discusses Right of Oppressed Nations to Self-Determination Today at 5:00pm

The third Workers World Marxism class on the Right of Oppressed Nations to Self-Determination as enunciated by V.I. Lenin, will take place this Saturday, October 30, 2010, 5:00 pm at 5920 Second, Detroit, MI 48202.

The class will be lead by Abayomi Azikiwe. Below is a link to the source material for this week's class and the one to follow. Written handouts of the material will be provided at the class so reading the material in advance is not required. Dinner will be provided. The first two classes have been excellent discussions on the relevancy of Marxist theory to the current crisis facing the working class.

The classes lead to a national Workers World conference in New York City the weekend of November 12-14. We are organizing transportation to the conference from Detroit. Anyone who is interested in going should call 313-680-5508. Also visit the new Detroit workers world website at . It includes a link to the national Workers World website where you can get more information on the November conference.

Jerry Goldberg

Saturday, October 30, 5 p.m.
5920 Second Avenue, Detroit
Just north of Wayne State University and I-94, one block west of Cass, at Antoinette
The Right of Nations to Self-Determination by V.I. Lenin
WWP Discussion Leader: Abayomi Azikiwe

Saturday, November 6, 5 p.m.
5920 Second Avenue, Detroit
Just north of Wayne State University and I-94, one block west of Cass, at Antoinette
Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State by Frederick Engels
WWP Discussion Leader: Martha Grevatt

Former South African President Mbeki Agrees to Work With U.S. Over South Sudan Referendum

Mbeki agree to work closely with US over South Sudan referendum – White House

Saturday 30 October 2010
Sudan Tribune

October 29, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — Former South Africa’s President and head of African Union panel on Sudan has agreed to coordinate efforts with US administration to settle divergences over Abyei referendum and post referendum outstanding issues.

U.S. President Barack Obama ( President Barack Obama in a telephone call with Thabo Mbeki on Friday stressed on the need to expedite the ongoing efforts to settle differences between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

The two parties failed this month during talks in Addis Ababa brokered by the US envoy to Sudan Scott Gration to agree on who has the right to participate in the referendum on the future of Abyei area.

Mbeki, who this week announced the adjournment sine die of the discussions over Abyei and other issues, is supposed to co-chair the next round of talks with the special US president special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration.

The White House, in a press statement released today, said that Obama discussed with Mbeki "the importance of moving ahead aggressively to support the negotiations and resisting any entreaties to delay".

"President Mbeki described his most recent efforts, and they agreed to continue closely coordinating AU and U.S. efforts to ensure on time referenda."

In accordance to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed on 9 January 2005, the southern Sudanese have to determine if they want to establish an independent state in their region or not. Abyei population should vote to say if they want to be part of the south or the north.

During a recent meeting, the Sudanese presidency agreed to develop a common vision on the social and economic relations between northern and southern Sudan regardless of the referendum outcome.

They also consented that the commissions working on the outstanding issues, including Abyei and border demarcation have to take in account this common vision which should be adopted first.

Flawed Vote in Sudan Could Spark War, Says Report

Flawed vote in Sudan could spark war: report

Saturday,30 October, 2010, at 12:01 PM Doha Time
Gulf Times

A disputed outcome in a referendum on self-determination for southern Sudan could reignite one of Africa’s longest and bloodiest wars, an advocacy group warned yesterday.

The vote scheduled for January is the end-game of a 2005 peace deal ending more than two decades of civil war between northern and southern Sudan, and most experts predict southern Sudanese will vote to create the world’s newest nation state.

But the credibility of the ballot is under threat from logistical problems and from deliberate stalling on the part of northern politicians hostile to the prospect of southern independence, the not-for-profit Rift Valley Institute said.

“In the event of a vote against unity, a southern referendum with serious technical flaws would damage the legitimacy of secession,” the report entitled ‘Race Against Time’ said.

“A disputed result would hold serious risks in terms of a potential return to north-south military confrontation.”

The 65-page report said time pressure made it “increasingly unlikely that the (referendum) will be conducted without procedural deficiencies”. Lack of clarity in the voting process or the disenfranchisement of large numbers of voters could lead to questions about the result’s validity.

The northern ruling National Congress Party has said it would accept the referendum result but always adds the caveat “if it is a free and fair process”.

The report said the referendum commission had to exert a “Herculean” effort to ensure the referendum vote was perceived as fairer than presidential and parliamentary elections held in April this year, which were criticised by opposition groups.

The head of the southern referendum commission said on Thursday it would be a “miracle” if the vote took place on time given the tight deadline and logistical problems.

Some Security Council members have said they would accept a short technical delay. The report said this may be required to maintain the credibility of the vote.

lA regional meeting on the situation in Sudan which was due to start in Addis Ababa yesterday was postponed, diplomats said.

The Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) summit was moved from Nairobi to Addis, notably over unease at Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s possible attendance, earlier this week.

But a meeting of foreign ministers yesterday due to kick off the two-day summit in the Ethiopian capital never took place.

Zimbabwe on Recovery Path, Says Vice-President Mujuru

Zim on recovery path — VP Mujuru

From Golden Sibanda in Victoria Falls
Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Herald

Vice President Joice Mujuru has said political stability has set Zimbabwe on the path to recovery, but warned a lot remains to be done for the economy to flourish.

VP Mujuru made the remark in a speech read on her behalf by Minister of State in her office, Sylvester Nguni, at the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe-Institute of Admini-stration and Commerce joint annual congress here on Thursday.

She said, "The introduction of the multi-currency system in January 2009 positioned the economy on the recovery path. The consummation of the inclusive Government in mid-February 2009 added the required political stability and positioned our country on the stability and growth mode.

"Be that as it may, a lot still remains to be done for us to have a fully recovered and flourishing economy."

She said Zimbabwe had the requisite human and natural resources to thrive but negative perceptions and illegal Western sanctions were hampering growth and development.

"The unsavoury perception and, coupled with sanctions, makes it difficult for us, as a nation, to mobilise external sources of finance necessary to resuscitate our economy," she said.

VP Mujuru hailed Emcoz and IAC for coming together to hold a joint congress under the theme "Inclusive Business for Economic Revival" and pointed out that every Zimbabwean, within or outside the border, had a role to play in economic revival.

VP Mujuru also lauded business for committing itself to the United Nations’ Global Compact to be implemented through the ambit of the International Labour Organisation’s Work Agenda for the formally employed.

The compact seeks to promote companies’ respect and concern for people and the environment.

VP Mujuru implored employers to go beyond corporate social responsibility by incorporating the marginalised and disadvantaged through employee share ownership schemes and other facilities.

Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paurina Mpariwa added that the Global Compact showed companies’ commitment to self-regulation by observing international human rights best practices.

She said her ministry was undertaking productivity mainstreaming in its policy, programmes and labour laws and that parties in the Tripartite Negotiating Forum were working together to make the national productivity institute operational. Minister Mpariwa also commended business for committing to the Kadoma Declaration, launched by President Mugabe earlier this year.

Brazil Worker's Party Presidential Candidate Dilma Rousseff Cruises Through Last TV Debate

Brazil's Rousseff cruises through last TV debate

11:32pm EDT
By Stuart Grudgings

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian ruling party candidate Dilma Rousseff cruised through the final television debate with her presidential rival on Friday as another poll showed her heading for a convincing win in Sunday's runoff election.

Opposition candidate Jose Serra had a last chance to win over undecided voters on Brazil's most-watched channel, but he opted not to go on the attack in a debate that had no heated exchanges between the candidates.

The debate on Globo television was in a "town hall" format with the candidates discussing questions from undecided voters, leaving little room for Serra to corner the former chief of staff of outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

As she has throughout the campaign, Rousseff repeatedly stressed Brazil's huge economic strides under Lula, the wildly popular former union boss who hand-picked her to succeed him.

"The economy is growing, people are going up in the world, 28 million Brazilians have left poverty and I'll bring the remaining 20 million out of poverty," said Rousseff, the candidate of the left-leaning Workers' Party.

Rousseff, a 62-year-old career bureaucrat, leads Serra by a comfortable double-digit margin and is on track to become the first woman to be elected Brazil's president, opinion polls show.

A Datafolha survey released on Friday showed her holding steady with a 10-point lead. Rousseff had 50 percent of voter support compared to Serra's 40 percent. The previous Datafolha poll on Tuesday showed Rousseff leading Serra by 49 percent to 38 percent.

Former Sao Paulo state Governor Serra has failed to convincingly win any of the debates so far as Rousseff has fended off his attacks on her lack of experience and alleged involvement in graft scandals.

The Globo debate has been a closely watched event in Brazilian presidential races since 1989, when a poor performance by Lula in his first run for the top job tipped the election in favor of Fernando Collor.

Serra used the debate to push his argument that Brazil should be doing better and is facing growing barriers to its growth, such as an expensive currency, a high tax burden and decrepit infrastructure.

Barring a major corruption scandal, which seems unlikely so close to election day, or a huge collective opinion poll error, the former leftist militant Rousseff appears certain to win.


Rousseff would have a 12-point lead, with 56 percent versus 44 percent for Serra, once blank and void ballots are excluded, as they are on election day, the new Datafolha poll showed. Voting is mandatory in Brazil, but some leave their ballots blank to show dissatisfaction with the candidates.

Rousseff has regained momentum after a drop in support several weeks ago caused by doubts about her religious beliefs and her alleged involvement in corruption scandals.

Such concerns probably deprived her of an outright victory in the election's first round on October 3.

She has since steered the discussion back to the eight years of strong economic growth under Lula.

If she wins, Rousseff is expected to continue Lula's mix of market-friendly policies and social programs while expanding the role of the state in some areas of the economy.

Datafolha surveyed 4,205 people on Thursday for the poll, which had a margin of error of 2 percentage points. Five percent plan to submit blank votes or not vote for either candidate, while 4 percent were undecided.

(Additional reporting by Brian Ellsworth in Rio and Hugo Bachega in Sao Paulo; Editing by Stacey Joyce)