Friday, August 29, 2014

Boko Haram Captures Another Borno Town In Fresh Attacks
Damage from fighting in Borno State in northeast Nigeria.
Written by Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri
Nigerian Guardian

BOUYED by their recent gains and capture of communities in Borno State, Boko Haram gunmen, operating in over three dozen Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles at dawn on Thursday, invaded Dikwa town in the state, forcing many residents, including the Shehu of Dikwa, Muhammad Mast II Ibn Alamin Elkanemi, to flee to Maiduguri and other border villages with Cameroun.

  Dikwa is a border council headquarters and 85 kilometres Northeast of Maiduguri, the state capital. Although there were no reported loss of lives and property, Modu Bukar, who fled to Maiduguri yesterday morning, said some residents were scattered in different directions because of the insurgents.

  “Some of us had to flee last night along with members of our families to safer places, like Maiduguri. These gunmen are never to be trusted because they will say one thing today and the following day, they change and commence slitting people’s throats for not joining to fight their own cause.  

  “Their capture of towns and villages in Borno continued yesterday with the invasion of our town, the council headquarters of Dikwa, a border town with Cameroun,” Bukar said.

  He recounted how Dikwa was invaded: “There were sounds of explosions and gunfire heralding their arrival in this town and some of us immediately fled for fear of the unknown. The Shehu of Dikwa also fled his palace along with his family members and courtiers.”

  He also claimed that the insurgents took over the town and hoisted their flag with little resistance from security forces.

  Military sources yesterday in Maiduguri also confirmed the incident, stating that there were attempts by suspected insurgents to attack one of the border towns in northern Borno last night.

  “As at the time of receiving this report from Dikwa last night, there were no casualties on both civilians and property.  The insurgents are on rampage of claiming some towns and villages in Borno State,” said the military source.

  The invasion of Dikwa brings to 16 towns and villages already captured, including Gwoza, Marte, Ashgashiya, Wulgo, Banki andGambouru in central and southern parts of Borno State.

  The Nigerian military had earlier dismissed Boko Haram’s declaration of an “Islamic caliphate” as “empty,” insisting that no part of Nigeria would be conceded to the insurgents.

  Also yesterday, Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets bombed selected targets in Gwoza areas in an attempt to reclaim the capturedcouncil headquarters from the insurgents.
Palestinians Hold Parade, Rally in Gaza
Palestinians in Gaza celebrate victory of IDF in 50-day war.
Sat Aug 30, 2014 1:21AM GMT
presstv.ir

People of the Gaza Strip continue festivities for victory against the Israeli regime after seven weeks of aggression on Palestinians, Press TV reports.

On Friday, the Palestinian resistance group Islamic Jihad staged a parade and rally in Gaza City to mark the victory following 50 days of fighting.

The demonstrators praised armed resistance against the recent Israeli onslaught.

“Israel was broken during this war and the resistance fighters you see standing around here are determined to fight with the Zionist enemy until the complete liberation of Palestine,” said Dawud Shehab, a senior Islamic Jihad official, at the demonstration.

“We kept fighting until the last minute before the start of the truce and we will continue to train and equip our forces until the next battle with the enemy,” added Shehab.

The Egyptian-brokered truce, which took effect after Cairo negotiations on Tuesday, stipulates the ease of Israel’s seven-year-old blockade as well as the provision of a guarantee that Palestinian demands will be met.

Israeli warplanes and tanks started pounding the blockaded enclave in early July, inflicting heavy losses on the Palestinian land.

Nearly 2,140 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including women and children, were killed in 50 days of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza. Around 11,000 others were injured.

Tel Aviv says 69 Israelis were killed in the conflict, but Hamas puts the number at much higher.
Revolutionary Guards Commander Chief Says Iran Will Continue to Support Palestinian Resistance
Rockets from Gaza fired into Israeli occupied territories. 
Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:1PM GMT
presstv.ir

The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the Islamic Republic will continue to support the Palestinians against the Israeli aggression.

Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said in a message on Friday that resistance by the Palestinians in the face of the 51-day Israeli military aggression against the besieged Gaza Strip was the starting point for the collapse of the Zionist regime.

The Iranian commander also said the “revolutionary people of Iran and the IRGC” will continue to provide “defense and social” support to the Palestinians.

Elsewhere in his message, Jafari said the Palestinians’ defense infrastructure has to be strengthened as much as possible in the occupied West Bank, adding, “You (Palestinian resistance fighters) should increase the volume, range and precision of your missiles.”

The remarks come after Palestinian resistance groups and Israeli officials reached an agreement on a permanent ceasefire for the besieged Gaza Strip on August 26.

The Israeli regime launched a military campaign against Gaza in early July and later expanded its operation with a ground invasion.

More than 2,130 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip. Some 11,000 others were wounded.

Hamas Political Bureau chief, Khaled Meshaal, has flatly rejected any attempts to disarm the Palestinian resistance movement.

“The weapons of the resistance are sacred and we will not accept that they be on the agenda” of future talks with the Tel Aviv regime, Meshaal said at a press conference on Thursday.
Paris Considers Inviting Iran to Conference on ISIL Takfiris
EU Foreign Secretary Catherine Ashton with Iranian counterpart.
Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:27AM GMT
presstv.ir

French President Francois Hollande is considering inviting Iran to a conference he has proposed to address terror activities by the ISIL Takfiri group in Middle Eastern states.

In an address to a group of French diplomats, Hollande said the Islamic Republic could be an interlocutor on ways to deal with the dangers posed by the ISIL terrorist group that is wreaking havoc on Iraq and Syria, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

“It’s true that the crisis in Iraq has demonstrated our preoccupations aren’t always on diverging paths,” added the French leader.

The French president has proposed holding an international conference on the ISIL threats in the capital Paris within the coming weeks.

In similar remarks on August 20, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the country’s parliament that Paris plans to bring together Iran, Arab states and the permanent members of the UN Security Council to coordinate a comprehensive response to the ISIL Takfiri militants.

Having taken control of parts of Syria, the ISIL terrorist group sent its militants into neighboring Iraq in early June and quickly seized large swathes of the territory there.

The foreign-backed Takfiri militant group has terrorized various communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians and Izadi Kurds, in their advances in Iraq.
Pentagon: Iraq Operations Costing U.S. More Than $7.5 Million A Day

Zeke J Miller @ZekeJMiller  2:21 PM ET
Time.com    

The U.S. air and advisory campaign against the militants in Iraq is costing American taxpayers more than $7.5 million per day, the Pentagon said Friday.

The daily cost of the effort, which has included airstrikes and sending American military advisors to assist the Iraqi military on the ground, has hit $7.5 million on average, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby. The daily cost in recent weeks has been higher.

“So as you might imagine, it didn’t start out at $7.5 million per day. It’s been—as our [operational tempo] and as our activities have intensified, so too has the cost,” Kirby told reporters, offering the government’s first official assessment of the cost of the operation.

U.S. ground advisors were ordered into Iraq in June, while U.S. Central Command began airstrikes against the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), as well as humanitarian drops to assist encircled Iraqi minorities in early August. CENTCOM announced Friday that it had conducted four airstrikes in the vicinity of the critical Mosul Dam on Friday, bringing the total number of strikes since August 8 to 110.

Kirby said the Pentagon continues to believe it will be able to fund the operations through the current fiscal year ending Sept. 30 using its existing resources.

The dollar figure comes as the Pentagon is drawing up plans to expand the military campaign against ISIS in Iraq and potentially into Syria following the killing of American journalist James Foley more than a week ago. President Barack Obama said Thursday that no decision on strikes in Syria is imminent, but said he may have to ask Congress to provide additional funding for the campaign against ISIS for the next fiscal year.
Lavrov: No Proof Given For Western Allegations About Russian Troops in Ukraine
Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
August 29, 2014 09:10
Rt.com

Russia’s only reaction to NATO accusations of interfering militarily in Ukraine will be a consistent position of putting an end to bloodshed and establish dialogue between warring parties in Ukraine, Russia’s FM said.

No facts about Russian military being present on the territory of Ukraine have ever been presented, Sergey Lavrov pointed out, while speculation on the issue has been voiced repeatedly, he stressed.

“It’s not the first time we’ve heard wild guesses, though facts have never been presented so far,” Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow.

“There have been reports about satellite imagery exposing Russian troop movements. They turned out to be images from videogames. The latest accusations happen to be much the same quality,” he said.

“We’ll react by remaining persistent in our policies to stay bloodshed and give a start to the nationwide dialogue and negotiations about the future of Ukraine, with participation of all Ukrainian regions and political forces, something that was agreed upon in Geneva back in April and in Berlin [in August], yet what is being so deliberately evaded by our Western partners now,” Lavrov said.

Sergey Lavrov pointed out that the only means to decrease the number of casualties among the civilian population in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions is by self-defense militia pushing Ukrainian troops and National Guards out.

“From a military point of view self-defense militia are doing a very simple thing – they are driving Ukrainian troops and National Guards from their positions used to shell peaceful cities, destroying kindergartens, schools, hospitals, Orthodox churches and infrastructure, and killing a large number of civilians,” Lavrov said.

“Definitely, to stop all this given the conditions of Kiev and its sponsors unwilling to fulfill unconditional ceasefire obligations, the only way to save lives of civilians and diminish the number of casualties is to force the Kiev forces out of their positions used for bombardment,” he said.

Russia prepares second humanitarian convoy to Ukraine combat zone

The Russian foreign minister says that in-principle consent on dispatching another batch of humanitarian aid for the devastated provinces of southeastern Ukraine has been reached with Kiev.

“The day before yesterday we received a note in answer from the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine, in which they gave in-principle consent to the proposal to send Russian humanitarian aid to the southeast and shared their considerations regarding logistics of the second convoy,” Sergey Lavrov said.

“Yesterday we sent a second note to Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, which took into account observations of the Ukrainian side,” the minister said, stressing that an answer to Kiev has been already sent.

A contact group will coordinate security guarantees of the second humanitarian convoy within days, Lavrov announced.

“We intend to reach an accord on the procedures with the Ukrainian side with participation of the International Red Cross, as well as negotiate security guarantees: of the Russian side in delivering the aid to the border, the Ukrainian side of transporting the aid through the territory controlled by the Kiev authorities and the self-defense forces ensuring secure passage of the convoy through the territory controlled by them,” said Lavrov at a press conference.
‘Anything US Touches Turns Into Libya or Iraq’: Putin Tells Youth Forum
Russian Federation President Vladimir Putiini addressing the Seliger
Annual Youth Forum on Aug. 29, 2014.
August 29, 2014 20:23

Vladimir Putin has criticized Washington’s unilateral actions on the international arena, saying that whatever it touches seems to be turning into Libya or Iraq. Below are the top 10 quotes from the Russian President’s speech at the Seliger youth forum.

Unilateral decisions made outside the United Nations are usually doomed to failure, Putin said Friday, while speaking at the “Seliger-2014” annual youth forum.

“Do you remember the joke: ‘Whatever Russians make, they always end up with a Kalashnikov?’ I get an impression that whatever Americans touch they always end up with Libya or Iraq,” Putin told the participants of the 10th forum held on Lake Seliger in Tver region, some 370 km north of Moscow.

“When decisions are made unilaterally, they always turn out to be short lived. And the other way round: it’s difficult to reach consensus at the UN because often opposite opinions and positions collide. But that is the only way to achieve long-term decisions,” he said.

When a decision is balanced and supported by key members of the international community, Putin said, everyone starts working in order fulfill it perfectly.

'UN won’t be needed if it serves only US and its allies'

Putin totally disagreed that the UN is inefficient. But the organization needs to be reformed and its instruments should be used efficiently.

The reform should become a result of a consensus reached by the overwhelming majority of the members of the organization, he said.

It is also necessary to preserve the fundamental grounds of the UN’s efficiency. In particular, only the Security Council should have the power to make decision on sanctions and the use of military force, Putin said. And these decisions must be obligatory for everyone. Such mechanisms should not be eroded. “Otherwise the UN will turn into the League of Nations,” the Russian President said.

The organization will lose its purpose if it is only an “instrument to serve foreign policy interests of only one country – in this case the US and its allies,” Putin. “Then it is not needed.”

Putin compared the shelling of east Ukrainian towns and cities by Kiev army to actions by the Nazi forces during the World War Two.

“Sad as it might seem, this reminds me of the events of World War II, when the German Nazi troops surrounded our cities, like Leningrad, and directly shelled those cities and their residents,” Putin said.

“Why they (Kiev) call this a military-humanitarian operation?” he said, adding that the conflicting sides should get to a negotiating table.

Ukrainians who did not support the coup mounted by “our western partners” with the backing of radical nationalists, are being suppressed by the military force, Putin said speaking about the situation in the neighboring state.

“We’re no fools. We saw symbolic cookies handed out on [by Victoria Nuland] Maidan, information support, political support. What that means? A full involvement of the US and European nations into the process of the power change: a violent unconstitutional power change.”

“And the part of the country that disagreed with that is being suppressed with the use of jets, artillery, multiple launch systems and tanks,” Putin said. “If these are today’s European values – I’m gravely disappointed.”

Putin said that Russia did not “annex” Crimea, as the peninsula’s reunion with Russia is often described by foreign media and politicians.

“We didn’t not annex it, we didn’t take it away. We gave people an opportunity to have their say and make a decision, which we took with respect. We protected them, I believe.”

“We had to protect our compatriots, who live there (in Crimea). When we look at events in Donbass, Lugansk, Odessa, it becomes clear to us what would have happened to Crimea if we had not taken measures to provide free expression of will to people.”

'Russia to beef up nuclear deterrence potential'

Russia is going to boost its military forces and nuclear deterrence potential, Putin told the youth forum.

“Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear states. It’s not words, it is the reality,” he said. “We are strengthening our nuclear deterrence forces, we are strengthening our armed forces…We are beefing up our potential and will continue doing so.”

This is being done “not to threaten anyone, “but to feel secure,” he added.

'Russia is not going to get involved in large-scale conflicts'

Russia will not get engaged in any large conflicts, but will defend itself in case of aggression, Putin warned.

“Russia is far from getting involved any large-scale conflicts. We don’t want that and we are not going to do it. And, naturally, we should always be ready to repel any aggression against Russia,” Putin said.

“Our partners – whatever condition their countries are in and whatever foreign policy concept they adhere to – should understand that it’s better not to mess with us,” Putin said. “Thank God, I believe it doesn’t occur to anyone to unleash a large-scale conflict with Russia.”

'Russia will seek acceptable compromises on Arctic'

Russia admits that other states have their interests in the Arctic – the region that is thought to contain vast reserves of oil and gas.

Both Russia and Canada, who along with the US, Norway and Denmark constitute the five states with Polar claims, have made legal attempts to secure their rights to large swathes of the Arctic, which is thought to contain 15 percent of the oil reserves and 30 percent of all natural gas in the world.

“We will take the interests of these states into consideration and seek acceptable compromises,” Putin said, adding that Russia would “naturally” also defend its own interests.

The five Arctic states - Canada, Denmark, Norway, the Russia and the US – have for several years now been in a bitter dispute over how to divide up this resource-rich ‘pie’.

'Crimea recognition will be long and tedious'

It will take a long while for Crimea to be internationally recognizes as part of Russia, Putin believes.

He said he finds it “strange” and referred to an example with the recognition of Kosovo independence where a political will and desire were enough to make such a decision “easily.”

He also recalled that in case with Kosovo, no referendum was held: the decision on independence was made by the parliament of the Serbian breakaway republic. In the situation with Crimea, there was both a decision by the parliament and a referendum. In Putin’s view, the latter was a more democratic way for a nation’s self-determination.
NATO Planning Rapid-deployment Force of 10,000 Troops to Counter Russia – Report
German troops who are a part of NATO-ISAF.
August 30, 2014 01:12
Rt.com

NATO is reportedly working towards the creation of an expeditionary force composed of 10,000 troops from seven different member states as a result of escalating tensions with Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

According to the Financial Times, the force’s creation will be spearheaded by Britain and involve contributions from Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, and the Netherlands. Canada is also interested in joining the group, but it’s not known what its final decision will be.

Although no formal announcement has been made, British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to declare its formation at the upcoming NATO summit in Wales on September 4th.

Many specifics have yet to be worked out or announced, but planners are reportedly implementing ways to increase the number of soldiers involved even more if necessary. Air and naval units will be integrated into the group, as well as ground troops led by British commanders.

As noted by the Times, the creation of the force comes as a response to Russia’s involvement in the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, with the ultimate goal being to “create a fully functioning, division-sized force for rapid deployment and regular, frequent exercises.” NATO has accused Russia of deploying more than 1,000 troops into Ukraine to bolster separatists in the eastern part of the country.

Russia, however, insists that it does not have troops operating inside of Ukraine and has dismissed NATO’s assertions.

Despite the fact that NATO has opted not to act militarily in Ukraine – unnamed sources told Foreign Policy on Friday that there are no plans to confront Russia with anything more than stronger sanctions – Jonathan Eyal of the London-based Royal United Services Institute said the group needs to demonstrate that its eastern European members are just as integral to the alliance as other states.

“We need to end the idea of different zones of security in Europe,” he told the Financial Times. “We need to be talking about prepositioning, regular rotation of troops and making it very clear that we do not accept that the eastern Europeans are in some different category of membership of NATO.”

The revelation also arrives just a few days after NATO’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed interest in forming “a more visible presence” in Eastern Europe in the form of facilities capable of rapidly receiving “response forces” needed to counter Russia.

For his part, Russia’s envoy to NATO, Aleksandr Grushko, said any attempt to push stretch further into the region would impact Moscow’s own security planning.
Ten Ukrainian Soldiers Killed in East Ukraine in Past 24 Hours — Security Council
Donetsk People's Militia is prepared to allow a safe corridor for
encircled Ukrainian troops fighting on behalf of the US-backed
regime in Kiev.
August 29, 16:12 UTC+4

Militias of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics are carrying out operations to push Ukrainian troops far back from large cities

Militia in southeast Ukraine needs no Russian military aid — commander

KIEV, August 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Ten Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and another 30 wounded in Kiev’s military operation in the country’s east in the past 24 hours, the National Security and Defense Council said in its Twitter account on Friday.

Self-defense militias of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics are carrying out operations to push Ukrainian troops far back from large cities and deny them a possibility to shell densely populated residential areas with artillery and mortar fire.

Luhansk fighters are actively advancing north of the city, the local news agency Novorossiya reported on Friday, citing the militia’s combat reports.

“The situation in the north of Luhansk has improved and the militia has been able to seize the settlement of Privetnoye after a fourth attempt, making an advance from the village of Stukalova Balka,” Novorossiya said.

The militia headquarters “have received information that our fighters are storming the enemy positions in Shishkovo,” Novorossiya said.

Luhansk fighters have also approached the town of Schastye, the news agency said.

Luhansk militias have shelled a column of pro-Kiev troops near the city’s airport, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen and destroying four pieces of the armor, according to preliminary data.

The east Ukrainian militias have also shelled the Ukrainian army grouping encircled near Ilovaisk in the Donetsk Region with mortar fire on Friday morning, Novorossiya reported.

The Ukrainian army command confirmed that the militia shelled the pro-Kiev troops’ positions twice near the settlement of Chervonaya Polyana and the checkpoints near the villages of Georgiyevka and Luhanskaya. The shelling of the checkpoints near the town of Lutugino and the settlement of Gerasimovka continued for almost four hours.

The Luhansk fighters entered the town of Lutugino two days ago and approached a local TV tower after battles with the Ukrainian troops, the Novorossiya news agency said.

“The enemy smashed the tower with mortar salvoes, killing ten our soldiers,” the agency said. “The militias are engaged in heavy battles. The enemy is breaking into the apartments of residents to set up fire pockets there,” Novorossiya said.

Ukraine’s authorities have sent 150 police from the Kiev region as reinforcements for the Ukrainian troops, which are sustaining heavy losses, the news agency said.

“A new battalion dispatched to the east is composed of district police inspectors and personnel of the patrol and post service, investigation and other units of the regional police,” the news agency said.

The death toll of Ukrainian servicemen from the military operation that Kiev launched in the the country’s east on April 14, 2014 nears now to 789, press secretary of the National Security and Defense Council.

Ukrainian troops trapped by militias near Donetsk

The east Ukraine militia headquarters earlier reported that the Donetsk People’s Republic, which had formed united armed forces, launched a counteroffensive on August 24 and 25, encircling three large groupings of Ukrainian troops.

The Donetsk self-defense fighters blocked over 7,000 Ukrainian troops and over 400 pieces of the armor, the militia headquarters said.

The encircled pro-Kiev grouping included over 40 tanks, about 100 infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers and airborne combat vehicles and about 50 Grad and Uragan multiple launch rocket systems, the militia headquarters said.

Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said on Tuesday that militias had intensified fighting in the eastern and southern fronts in the Donetsk Region.

Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.

During the military operation, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled east.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Missouri Police Sued for $40 Million Over Actions in Ferguson Protests
Ferguson cops attack demonstrators in the aftermath of the killing
of Michael Brown.
5:06pm EDT
By Carey Gillam

(Reuters) - A group of people caught up in unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after a white officer killed a black teenager, sued local officials on Thursday, alleging civil rights violations through arrests and police assaults with rubber bullets and tear gas.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, says law enforcement met a broad public outcry over the Aug. 9 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown with "militaristic displays of force and weaponry," (and) engaged U.S. citizens "as if they were war combatants."

The lawsuit seeks a total of $40 million on behalf of six plaintiffs, including a 17-year-old boy who was with his mother in a fast-food restaurant when they were arrested. Each of the plaintiffs was caught up in interactions with police over a period from Aug. 11 to 13, the suit allege.

Named as defendants are the city of Ferguson, St. Louis County, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Delmar, Ferguson police officer Justin Cosmo, and other unnamed police officers from Ferguson and St. Louis County.

Neither the city, county nor police departments had any immediate comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit followed nearly two weeks of racial strife in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, where Brown's killing prompted protesters to take to the streets. Some stores were looted in nightly protests, and police responded with riot gear and moved in military equipment to try to quell the turmoil.

One of the plaintiffs alleges she and her son were in a McDonald's restaurant when several police officers with rifles ordered them out. According to the suit, an officer threw her to the ground and handcuffed her, with she and her son both arrested.

Another plaintiff alleges he was trying to visit his mother in Ferguson when several police officers in military uniforms in her neighborhood shot him with rubber bullets. When he fell over, he was beaten and sprayed with pepper spray, the lawsuit says.

Two other plaintiffs say they were peacefully protesting when officers in riot gear fired on them with tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades. A separate plaintiff says he was trying to record footage of the protests when police took his camera and arrested him.

"This is a blatant example of how police handle African-Americans ... how it can go terribly, terribly wrong. You have a right to peaceful assembly," said attorney Reginald Greene who brought the case.

Police have said police officer Darren Wilson shot Brown in an altercation on a residential street when the officer asked him to move out of the road. Some witnesses have reported that Brown was holding his hands up in surrender when he was shot multiple times, including twice in the head.

A St. Louis County grand jury has begun hearing evidence in the case. The U.S. Justice Department has opened its own investigation.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Peter Cooney)
South African Minister of Defense Mapisa-Nqakula: EFF's Parly Actions a National Security Threat
South African Minister of Defense Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
While evading questions about what measures might be taken against the EFF, the defence minister has accused the party of undermining Parliament

27 Aug 2014 07:26
Andisiwe Makinana
South Africa Mail & Guardian

The protest by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs during a parliamentary question and answer session on Thursday posed a threat to national security. This is according to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who told journalists on Tuesday morning that the EFF’s actions were a threat to national security and to everything else.

“It posed a threat to everybody inside that chamber but also to the institution. It undermined the institution of Parliament, it undermined our Constitution and everything which we are representing here,” said Mapisa-Nqakula, responding to a question from a journalist in Parliament.

The definition of national security is widely contested in South African politics. Opposition parties and civil society organisations have over the years voiced their unhappiness over the ANC’s proposed definition of national security, saying it was too broad, vague and open-ended and would give ministers unchecked discretion to decide what constitutes national security.

This was during Parliament’s processing of the controversial Protection of State Information Bill between 2010 and 2013. On Tuesday, Mapisa-Nqakula said that the security cluster ministers have instructed senior government officials to make recommendations on how to prevent such incidences.

While she evaded questions about the exact measures that might be taken against the offending MPs, her colleague Police Minister Nathi Nhleko revealed that the new measures would make it easy for police to arrest and remove from the Parliament precinct any person who is disrupting a sitting of the House or a committee of Parliament.

Measures put in place

Mapisa-Nqakula said that while Parliament was independent from the executive, the cluster could not stand idle. Mapisa-Nqakula said certain measures had been put in place with immediate effect by the security cluster to ensure that such an event never occurs again.

She pointed out that the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, which governs the conduct of MPs and members of the provincial legislatures, made provision for the police to arrest and remove from the precinct – on the order of the speaker – any person who creates or takes part in any disturbance in the precinct while Parliament is sitting.

“There are certain activities ... impede the exercise by Parliament .... interfere with Parliament ... section 11 of the Act provides that if any person who creates or disturbs the house may be arrested and removed from the precinct,” she said.

The police did not move in because there was no instruction from the speaker to do so, Mapisa-Nqakula said. “When the police came, they said they needed a clear instruction from the speaker of the National Assembly, because there was confusion in terms of the rules,” she said.

A number of senior ANC members have criticised the police’s delayed reaction and the fact that they did not arrest EFF MPs on their arrival in Parliament. Mapisa-Nqakula also revealed that it was she who instructed the police to ensure that when they go into the National Assembly chamber to evict EFF MPs who had staged a sit-in, there should not be a scuffle nor violence or manhandling of the MPs, but to rather ensure that they vacated the assembly.

She denied that the executive was interfering in the legislative arm of state, saying that if a similar incident had occurred in the courts, they would have reacted similarly. “There are rules and privileges and if you look at those rules, they say when there is immediate danger to the life or safety of any person or damage to any property; members of the security services may without obtaining such permission enter upon and take action in the precinct in so far as it is necessary to avert that danger,” she said.

According to Mapisa-Nqakula, while there was no heavy handedness in dealing with the matter, in future things will be different as there will be measures put in place to prevent a repetition of the incident.

‘Restraint’

Nhleko revealed that he had been the one who called the public order police to Parliament “because the order of the House had degenerated”. He said the police and other people on the scene, including ANC members, exercised “a lot of restraint” including in terms of the interventions from the security management’s point of view.

Nhleko described Thursday’s events as completely abnormal and said the measures that were being put in place had nothing to do with heavy-handedness “and everything to do with how we execute and enforce the provision that we have in the law”. This would allow for when or as a situation like Thursday’s arises, that requires the removal of MP or anybody from the Parliament precinct, for the police to effect arrest and relevant measures when the speaker makes such an order.

There were a lot more police in Parliament on Tuesday, the first day of a parliamentary sitting since the EFF disruption, than usual possibly as a result of the new security measures. Security was tighter at the entrances to Parliament and to parliamentary building with police who normally facilitate access into the precinct very strict in checking the credentials of those going in and out of the institution.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has raised concerns over the involvement of the security cluster ministers in public security matters, saying that it appeared to violate the most basic principle of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution. DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said he will request an urgent meeting of Parliament’s highest decision-making body, the Parliamentary Oversight Authority, to discuss the matter.

He said Mapisa-Nqakula’s statements that the executive “cannot stand idle as our democracy is undermined” was a veiled threat, which completely ignores Parliament’s responsibility to uphold its own rules and therefore handle the matter. “If anything, it is because the executive does not take parliamentary accountability seriously that we have ended up in this situation in the first place. It is important to note that Parliament holds the executive to account and not the other way around,” said Steenhuisen.

He said the parliamentary oversight authority must reject the infringement of its powers, and independence as a separate arm of the state, by the executive.
SACP Central Committee: Advance and Deepen Our Second, More Radical Phase of Democratic Transition
A SACP woman supporter.
24 August 2014

The SACP Central Committee (CC) met in Kliptown, Soweto over the weekend 22 - 24 August 2014. The CC discussed and contributed to a secretariat political report focused on the important African National Congress (ANC) December 2012 Mangaung National Conference resolution calling for a radical second phase of our democratic transition. The CC also discussed and took resolutions on several contemporary issues - including the serious challenges in the financial sector, the threat of proto-fascist hooliganism to our hard-won democratic advances, and the situation in Gaza, Palestine. The CC also used the opportunity to hold community meetings for several hours in Kliptown and nearby Eldorado Park on Saturday morning.

Giving context and content to the call for a second radical phase of our democratic transition

The CC noted that the ANC`s 2012 National Conference, the Alliance`s 2013 national summit, and President Zuma`s 2014 inauguration speech all placed the imperative of a second radical phase of our democratic transition centre stage. Since the 1994 democratic breakthrough a major redistributive programme has been under way, impacting significantly on the working class and poor. This massive redistributive effort has included 3 million subsidised houses, the extension of social grants to over 16 million South Africans, one the largest roll-outs of subsidised solar water heaters in the world, reaching over 400,000 poor households, and much more. Yet, despite this impressive and in many respects internationally unparalleled effort, there is the stubborn persistence of crisis levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

This reproduced crisis is rooted primarily in the untransformed character of our productive economy:

high levels of private monopoly concentration,
the domination of an increasingly financialised mineral-energy-banking complex that reproduces a weak manufacturing and Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise sector, and
SA`s subordinate location in the global imperialist value chain as a producer of un-beneficiated mineral resources.

The CC resolved that, in the coming weeks, the SACP will release a fuller discussion document that seeks to provide substantive context and content to the imperative of a second radical phase, and a programme of action to achieve it. The objective will be to stimulate discussion across our Alliance and in the wider public. The paper will seek to expose those who refuse to accept that there is a systemic crisis in our economy, and who favour business as usual. In defending the imperative of radicalism, the paper will distinguish a genuine radicalism from those who seek to reduce radicalism to hooliganism, or to a more aggressive promotion of private accumulation by a small elite of aspirant black capitalists.

The demise of African Bank and subsequent events in the past two weeks have dramatically illustrated precisely one of the core systemic choke-points within our economy.

A financial sector that continues to bleed SA dry

The SACP has never regarded the views of ratings agencies as anything other than self-interested advice to speculators. Moody`s downgrading of all SA`s banks in the aftermath of the demise of African Bank had little to do with its disapproval of speculative activity preying upon the poor, and everything to do with its disappointment that the Reserve Bank`s partial bail out and restructuring of African Bank was not loaded entirely onto the South African tax-payer, with major investors in the Bank being forced to take a 10% "haircut".

Nevertheless, whatever Moody`s reasoning, the fact is that the downgrade had its origins in the reckless promotion of unaffordable lending to working people and the poor. The CC noted that the involvement in one way or another of so-called reputable banks (and retailers) in these practices, has now emerged as a major threat to the reputation and credit-worthiness of the country. Those commentators who have grown accustomed to blaming the struggles of the working class for negative credit ratings must surely now be obliged to acknowledge the role of speculative profit-seeking by financial institutions.

The problem runs deeper than just the conventional financial institutions. The symbiotic relationship between African Bank and Ellerines underlines the degree to which wide swathes of our economy have become financialised. Increasingly, major retailers in basic consumer lines like furniture, clothing and food are gouging their profits not so much from what they sell as from punitive interest on credit advanced.

The SACP calls on all regulatory authorities, including the Reserve Bank and the National Credit Regulator, to root out "business models" predicated on promoting indebtedness among workers and the poor.

Beware of false rumours being spread about retirement funds

The SACP calls upon workers and public servants not to resign on the basis of unfounded rumours that government is planning to take away people`s hard-earned pensions and prevent them from accessing their funds. In some cases these rumours are being deliberately fanned by anti-Alliance elements in the union movement for their own narrow political ends. We are aware of teachers and health-care workers who are resigning from their jobs in order to access their money in the mistaken belief that they may be denied access to their funds in the future.

Those fanning these rumours are acting in the most irresponsible way. Not only are the rumours wrong, they expose those panicked into resigning to serious losses. For instance, if you resign in order to withdraw your retirement funds only R25 000 of those savings are tax free. Whereas on retirement R500,000 is tax free.

The rumour-mongers are deliberately confusing retirement reforms under way directed at provident funds. There are currently no measures in place to force workers on resigning from their jobs to preserve their retirement savings. What will take effect from March next year is that only when they retire will members of a provident fund be obliged to use two-thirds of what they have saved after March 2015 to purchase an annuity (a monthly pension). However, whatever has been saved up till March 2015 will still be available as a lump sum on retirement.

In the case of public servants, their pensions are regulated in terms of the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF) rules. The GEPF will not change at this stage. Government is obliged to consult workers before any proposals or reforms can be put into law. Proposals by government aimed at lowering charges on pension funds, encouraging workers to keep their savings until retirement, and convert some of their retirement savings into income at retirement are some of the proposals for consultation with all workers.

The SACP calls upon Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration to disseminate information to all workers, assuring them that the law has not changed and that workers have access to their hard-earned pension funds.

Defend our democratic institutions from hooliganism

The Communist Party way back in the 1920s was the pioneering political formation in calling for a democratic, non-racial, one-person one-vote parliament in our country. Communists have suffered persecution and even death in the struggle for this important objective. Parliament is a critical institution within our new democracy. It is a place in which the people`s representatives develop and pass legislation and hold the executive publicly to account. In our multi-party democracy we should welcome robust debate and all parties, whether a majority party or a minority party should be respected. Even the smallest party in Parliament has the honour of and obligation to represent the hundreds or tens of thousands of South Africans who voted for it.

While major strides have been made since 1994 in the transformation of Parliament and other legislatures in our country, the SACP agrees with those who believe that Parliament must continue to move away from what is sometimes a limiting decorum inherited from an earlier colonial era.

We believe that all political parties, whatever the differences among them, currently represented in Parliament share these general views and values - with one exception. The leadership of the EFF is in Parliament in order to discredit and smash it. As the German playwright Bertolt Brecht observed of the 1930s, while the emergent National Socialist Nazi party engaged in provocative hooliganism in the Reichstag, one of the hall-marks of fascism is its inclination to turn politics into theatre. In its formative years, it is the politics of pseudo-military hooliganism. In power, IF they come to power, the theatre turns into Nuremburg-style, mass military displays of leader worship and nationalistic chauvinism. We cannot allow this trajectory to take hold within our institutions. We call on all South Africans, including those members of the EFF parliamentary caucus who are themselves increasingly alarmed by the bus they have boarded, to isolate this dangerous cancer within our body politic.

The leader of the EFF, whose case with receiver of revenue SARS is back in court tomorrow, is acting with all of the reckless disdain of someone with nothing to lose. His behaviour, not just in Parliament in Cape Town last week, but in the Gauteng legislature, continues along the same trajectory of anarchic plunder and wrecking of anything in his way that characterised his conduct in Limpopo and as leader of the ANC Youth League, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. Long before Malema`s belated expulsion from the ANC, the SACP characterised this tendency as "embryonic fascism". We stand by this characterisation. Some commentators today, like German liberals in the 1930s, dismiss this characterisation. We are told that for fascism to breed it needs to be suckled by sectors of capital. But this is exactly the case here - Malema has long been supported by wealthy funders, principally but not only the most decadent factions of capital. We welcome reports that SARS is investigating the source of payments for Malema`s tax debt. It is SARS on behalf of the people of South Africa that needs to be saying to Malema and his dodgy backers: "Pay back the money".

Parliament is not the only corner-stone of our democracy under threat. The Party is deeply concerned at the ongoing turmoil in the NPA. Likewise, while respecting the office of the Public Protector, the Party is concerned at the constant over-reaching by Advocate Thuli Madonsela that wittingly or unwittingly plays into an anti-democratic regime-change agenda that seeks to portray the entirety of government as corrupt. At the same time as members of the ANC-led movement we must acknowledge that corruption and maladministration within government and within our movement does exist - always with the active complicity of private sector elements. We must deal decisively with corruption and unethical behaviour in order to defeat the threat to our democracy.

Apartheid Zionist Israel is guilty of war crimes and genocide

The horrific mass death and destruction in occupied Gaza continues. The SACP reaffirms its condemnation of the multiple war crimes and genocide perpetrated by apartheid Zionist Israel. The Party salutes the growing numbers of South Africans, including a growing number of South African Jews who have actively come out to express horror and condemnation. This has included one of the largest marches in South Africa`s history involving hundreds of thousands in Cape Town. The SACP and Young Communist League of SA have been active participants along with a wide range of formations in these activities.

The Central Committee expressed its full support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement`s campaign for a boycott of G4S Security company. This is the company that runs Israel`s illegal detention facilities, torture centres and prisons. G4S has a strong presence in SA, including at ACSA airports. We say: boycott G4S. The CC also calls on our authorities to deal decisively with South African citizens who are illegally serving in the Israeli army.

Swaziland autocracy continues

The CC condemned the arrest of the President of Pudemo who has now been charged, for the third time, with sedition. The charge carries a potential death sentence and it is particularly concerning that Swaziland recently advertised for the position of an official state hangman. The SACP is also concerned about recent moves by our own Department of Home Affairs to expel Swazi political refugees living in SA. We have taken up this matter with the department and we insist that these comrades must not be returned to Swaziland to face certain detention, torture and possible murder.

Ebola

The CC received a brief report on government`s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The CC commended the rapid precautionary measures put into place by government. The Party also noted the opportunism of DA Gauteng leader Jack Bloom in spreading rumours about a non-existent Ebola case in SA. What is required is calm heads, vigilance, and a common and united South African response - not party political opportunism.

Issued by the SACP Central Committee, Kliptown, Soweto

Enquiries:
Alex Mashilo: Spokesperson
Mobile: 082 9200 308
Office: 011 339 3621/2
Email: alexmashilo.sacp@gmail.com and alex@sacp.org.za
Twitter: @2SACP
Zimbabwe Vice-President Mujuru Opens DNA Testing Center
Zimbabwe Vice-President Joice Mujuru at the opening of the DNA
testing center in Harare on Aug. 28, 2014.
August 29, 2014
Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

Acting President Joice Mujuru yesterday officially opened the country’s first DNA testing centre, bringing local solutions in the fight against sexual abuse as well as other criminal and civil matters.
Speaking during the official launch of the African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (AiBST) DNA Testing Centre in partnership with Wilkins Hospital in Harare yesterday, Acting President Mujuru said the centre came with a revolution, which totally changes the law and order as well as judiciary landscape in Zimbabwe.

“The police and the justice system will benefit the most in their endeavour to establish scientific facts as opposed to crude opinions that are sometimes traded as the truth,” she said.

“DNA has the phenomenal power to distinguish one person from the other, hence creates a unique signature for that person.

“The police can, therefore, collect DNA contacting evidence from a crime scene such as blood, hair, saliva, bone and other tissue and compare the DNA profile, from these trace evidence with that obtained from suspects of the crime.”

Acting President Mujuru said the availability of local capacity in DNA technology implied a reduction of sending samples outside the country for testing.

AiBST DNA testing centre, she said, was able to identify disaster victims in the past, having worked with the ministries of Home Affairs and Health and Child Care in identifying victims of the Chisumbanje tanker fire recently.

Acting President Mujuru said the laboratory will produce results of DNA tests within two weeks.

“The police, the law makers and many stakeholders in the fight against sexual abuse and violence are, therefore, encouraged to formulate working frameworks with the AiBST DNA Testing Centre, so that the ugly figures of over 5 000 rape cases a year and over 3 000 unsolved outstanding rape cases in courts become a thing of the past,” she said.

“The AiBST DNA Testing Laboratory conducts paternity tests. This means that the civil courts can rapidly address issues of disputed paternity and solve issues of child maintenance without resorting to endless debates which cost people time and money.”

Acting President Mujuru said the  laboratory  would  also  help  in identifying lost relatives, for example liberation war heroes whose mass graves are being  discovered.

Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi said his ministry was looking into ways of strengthening collaboration with AiBST in a quest to reduce the burden of sexual violence and abuse.

“In this vein, we should be able to have DNA databases of criminals, which make it easy for us to keep track of repeat offenders,” he said.

“Accordingly, the Police Forensic Science Laboratory will work with AiBST in integrating DNA testing for the tests it conducts in investigations.”

Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said AiBST demonstrated that it could deliver in the area of research.

“The laboratory can also help in testing women who are at risk of contracting breast cancer at an early age,” he said.
“Our scientists are now coming up and sprouting.”

Founder and chief executive of AiBST, Professor Collen Masimirembwa said his organisation could create employment for more people if given enough space to operate from.

Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said the opening of the centre came at a time when the city was aiming at becoming a World Class City by 2025.

AiBST charges US$500 to conclude a standard paternity test, which costs nearly US$200 in South Africa where samples from Zimbabwe were being sent.
China, African Diplomats Praise President Mugabe
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe greeted by Speaker of 
People's Republic of China Assembly Zhang Dejiang during 
the Southern African leader's state visit to the country 
on Aug. 27, 2014.
August 27, 2014
Lloyd Gumbo in BEIJING, China
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mugabe yesterday met African diplomats based here, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Speaker of the National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang in separate meetings, where they described him as an African statesman who stood up to challenge the West despite the imposition of sanctions on the country.Zimbabwe’s ambassador to China, Cde Fredrick Shava, said it had become a tradition for African diplomats to meet Heads of State visiting China on state visits.

Ambassadors took turns to praise President Mugabe after he addressed them on the developments in Zimbabwe, Africa and his visit to China.

Sierra Leone ambassador, Mr Victor Bockarie, was the first to heap praises on President Mugabe.

“You are a man we admire in our part of Africa. You are indeed a true son of Africa. You are standing the test of our former colonial bosses on the issue of land… Thank you for your endurance even if sanctions have been put on your doorstep,” said Ambassador Bockarie.

He implored President Mugabe to raise the threat of Ebola on the continent at the forthcoming African Union Summit.

Liberia’s ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Mr Mckniley Thomas, chipped in: “We are also great admirers of His Excellency, the President, a great son of Africa.”

A Nigerian representative praised President Mugabe for being the only leader who had told white people to back off.

In his remarks, President Mugabe said it was important for Africa to unite against imperialists.

He chronicled the bilateral dispute between Harare and London saying it arose after the country redistributed land to the landless majority.

He reiterated that it was important for Africans to add value to their natural resources in order for them to realise full benefits from the same.

President Mugabe said there was need for adequate infrastructure for the continent to fully industrialise.

He said Africa expected South Africa to take the lead in the industrialisation process of other African states, but to no avail since the economy in that country was still under white control.

President Mugabe said other countries on the continent would be patient with South Africa to address the skewed ownership of resources for the whole continent to benefit.

He said it was important for countries to merge businesses if they were similar so that they could improve their performance.

He blasted the West for killing former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi under the guise of protecting civilians.

That country, he said had remained ungovernable while at the same time bemoaning problems bedevilling South Sudan where authorities in that country were on each other’s throat.

Premier Keqiang said the Sino-Zimbabwe relations had continued to grow because of mutual respect between the two countries.

“Our two countries have always grown our relationship on the basis of mutual respect and equality and I believe that this visit by you to China this time will be further impetus to the growth of our bilateral ties,” he said.

President Mugabe said: “We came on a State visit which we hoped as it was going to be accompanied by a programme to discuss cooperation and therefore we hoped would produce for us the necessary aid assistance from China that we need in order for us to boost our economy, to get the various sectors of our economy moving even as they are suffering from the burden of illegal sanctions imposed by Britain, Europe and America. And some discussions have taken place already.”

Mr Dejiang also praised President Mugabe for being a statesman.

“Mr President, you are a great leader of Zimbabwe and you are also one of the great champions in Africa.  For a very long time you have made very important and significant contributions to the independence and development of Zimbabwe and the independence and liberation of Africa and I would like to pay tribute to you for your contribution,” he  said.
Zanu-PF Youths to Brief President Mugabe
ZANU-PF Youth League militants at a conference recently.
August 29, 2014
Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

MEMBERS of the Zanu-PF Youth League are mobilising to give President Mugabe a resounding welcome from his state visit to China and will take the opportunity to brief him on all that transpired in his absence upon his arrival at Harare International Airport on Sunday.

This comes amid reports that some Zanu-PF provincial committees want youth leaders who supported the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe to assume the position of National Secretary for Women’s Affairs to be expelled from the party and have started “disciplinary” procedures against them.

The youth leaders say they are also being victimised for refusing to chant a controversial slogan which puts other members of the Presidium at par with the party’s First Secretary and President.

The purges have started with Harare and Mashonaland West where some of the youth leaders are being summoned to appear before disciplinary committees on charges insiders described as “frivolous”.

Youth leaders from other provinces said they were not being victimised, but were aware of the situation.

Speaking to The Herald yesterday, Zanu-PF Harare Provincial Youth League chairman, Cde Godwin Gomwe, said youths would take that opportunity to brief the President on all political developments that took place while he was away.

“In light of these developments, the Zanu-PF Harare Youth League will spearhead the mobilisation of all youths to be on hand to receive the President when he touches down in Harare on Sunday. As the Youth Chairman of the capital city, I will be coordinating with colleagues from other provinces to ensure a befitting welcome for our hero and President who has once again done the nation proud.

“This will give us an opportunity to provide a brief to His Excellency on the political developments that have been transpiring whilst he was away. As is well known, the Zanu-PF Youth is the vanguard of the party and stands ready to defend and preserve our hard won independence,” Cde Gomwe said.

He said in the wake of the MDC-T’s crushing defeat last year, and subsequent implosion the Westerners had turned to destabilising Zanu-PF from within.

“We have information that the machinations of the West towards their regime change agenda have changed their strategy and now seek to effect regime change from within Zanu-PF.

‘’The West recognises that the MDC formations, in their treacherous colours are now a spent force and are therefore trying to destabilise His Excellency President Mugabe by using internal saboteurs. This is part of what happened during our just ended Youth Conference.”

Internecine fighting in Zanu-PF came to a head over the past week manifest in the assault of deputy youth chairman for Harare province, Cde Edison Takataka in the presence of Politburo member Cde Tendai Savanhu in Mbare on Sunday.

Cde Takataka was accused of organising some youths that attended the Women’s League meeting in Mazowe early this month that endorsed the First Lady Amai Mugabe’s candidature to take over the league’s leadership during the party’s congress in December.

In Mashonaland West province, youth leader Cde Vengai Musengi is reportedly being victmised for doing the same, while there were foiled maneuvers to oust Cde Gomwe.

There was also a war of words among Harare provincial leaders pitting chairman Cde Amos Midzi and Politburo member Cde Cleveria Chizema, the most senior Politburo member in Harare, while party national chairman Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo, gagged all party officials from speaking to the media on party issues.

Cde Gomwe lauded President Mugabe for the deals he clinched on behalf of the country during his ongoing State visit to China.

“It is very uplifting to note that Cde Mugabe was accorded the highest possible honour ever accorded to a visiting Head of State in China.

It is also notable that His Excellency was given a 21 gun salute as well as a fly past. All the organs of the Chinese defence and security forces saluted the President,” Cde Gomwe said.

Cde Gomwe said the deals would see massive investments from China in infrastructural development projects.

“It is with great pleasure that the Zanu-PF Youth League in Harare wishes to extend its gratitude and congratulations to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces who is also the President and First Secretary of Zanu PF on the manner in which he has been received and the victories he has scored for Zim Asset on his trip to China,” Cde Gomwe said.

Some of the deals agreed during President Mugabe’s visit include funding agreements and feasibility studies of power projects, road dualisation and railway line construction, telecommunications, agriculture and tourism.

A memorandum of understanding for feasibility studies on the digitalisation of the national broadcaster ZBC and Transmedia ahead of the June 2015 International Telecommunications Union deadline after which all broadcasters should have switched to digital.

The Chinese also extended a $24 million grant for the construction of infrastructure that includes schools and clinics in resettlement areas.
A Pearl of Wisdom Now Presides Over SADC
Zimbabwe President Mugabe takes control of regional SADC.
August 29, 2014 Opinion & Analysis
Obi Egbuna Jnr Correspondent
Zimbabwe Herald

WHEN President Mugabe assumed the mantle of leadership of Sadc last weekend, that infamous adage experience is the best teacher, took on a very special and historic slant, in relationship to African regional and continental politics. We aren’t quite sure why Albert Einstein stated “Experience is the greatest enemy of intuition”, our only response is simply that unfortunately he never had the chance to meet and speak with President Mugabe.

As Zimbabweans are only one year removed from an election that sent a bold and emphatic message to the entire world, they now have the honour and privilege of leading Africa’s most politically and economically stable region, for one whole calendar year.

What became glaringly obvious was that the congratulatory messages given by neighbouring heads of state, could not be classified a mere exercise of futility, on the contrary they were in awe of President Mugabe’s health, enthusiasm and attention to detail. We must remember it was not too long ago, that US Congressional hearings on Zimbabwe had taken on the character of a watchdog mechanism giving updates on President Mugabe’s medical status, attempting to paint the picture that due to President Mugabe’s “declining” health former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was a more logical choice to elect to be President of Zimbabwe.

Some who testified even claimed to know how many times President Mugabe left the country for health-related reasons. It would be safe to say Zimbabweans are more comfortable with President Mugabe in critical condition than with Tsvangirai fit as a fiddle.

Another extremely interesting dynamic to pay close attention to is how the US-EU alliance will attempt to manipulate the deputy chairman of Sadc, Botswana’s President Ian Khama, who offended the Sadc community a few years ago when he prematurely and opportunistically volunteered Botswana’s air space for a US-EU invasion of Zimbabwe.

If President Khama appreciates the history of Sadc in particular and African history in general, he should verify with his predecessor Festus Mogae, that it was Dr Simbi Mubako, the former Zimbabwean ambassador, who helped write Botswana’s constitution.

To see President Mugabe at the helm of Sadc is beneficial for the collective intellect of African youth worldwide, who at this juncture are being force-fed an inaccurate narrative, that the history of Sadc is merely the history of South Africa and the African National Congress.

The fact that Sadc and Zimbabwe’s history as a sovereign nation must be stressed both on the African continent and Diaspora, which reveals President Mugabe has demonstrated that defending Sadc’s territorial integrity and Zimbabwe’s sovereignty go hand- in-hand.

The truth is throughout the years President Mugabe has been very humble when it comes to sharing how Zimbabwe has demonstrated its loyalty and patriotism to the Sadc region. It would be an epic gesture if South African President Jacob Zuma lets the international community know long before the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security existed Cde Josiah Magama Tongogara had fought as a guerrilla in Zambia and Mozambique, while it is only natural to marvel at Cde Tongogara’s patriotism all over Sadc battlefields, the fact they predate Zanla guerrilla camps in Mozambique and Zambia is even more astonishing.

The theme of the summit “Sadc Strategy for Economic Transformation: Leveraging the Region’s Diverse Resources for Sustainable Economic and Social Development through Beneficiation and Value Addition” draws a striking resemblance to the second All- African Peoples Conference In Tunis in January of 1960.

When President Mugabe raised the question “How can we proudly claim SADC to be our own organisation when close to 60 percent of the programmes are externally funded? The economic and social resolution from that gathering comes to mind “Considering that foreign powers sometimes use their economic aid as a means of endeavouring to divide the African territories and isolate the independent states from territories still under colonial rule”.

“Economic and social resolution considering the underdeveloped state of African economies which is a result of the colonial system and foreign domination;

“Considering that economic growth and development constitute the surest guarantee of the freedom of the African continent;

“Considering the tendency of colonialist countries to substitute economic for political domination and thus rob the newly won independence of the African states its true content.”

The third conference which occurred in March 1961 also stands out because of the denunciation of Joseph Kasavubu, Moise Tshombe, Mobutu Sese Seko and Albert Kalonji in connection with the assassination of that great son of Africa, Patrice Lumumba.

Zimbabweans have another reason to wave their flag, as at the ongoing 104th edition of the Harare Agricultural Show President Mugabe reminded those in attendance that agriculture was the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s economy.

It is also a welcome bonus that according to the SADC magazine Southern Africa Today it was announced that Zimbabwe has recorded one of the best maize performances in the last 20 years. In that same publication the story entitled “China Contributes to African Green Revolution”, Kizito Sizuka highlights the work being done at the Gwebi Agricultural Demonstration Centre where Zimbabwe and China agreed to build a facility back in 2009.

The story confirms the centre, built in 2012 on 100 hectares, has trained 3 000 Zimbabwean students and has been managed by China but will be handed over to Zimbabwe next year.

For those Africans based in the US who are functioning from the understanding that China is Africa’s next colonizer, what is even worse than peddling this baseless falsehood due to lack of information, you are indirectly calling President Mugabe a neo-colonialist and Zimbabwe a neo-colony.

When the true history of Africa is written President Mugabe will not only be remembered as the face of land reclamation, but the face behind Africa-Asian relations that broke Europe’s grip on Africa. It would not be extreme to name the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development programme that mandate’s African governments should spend 10 percent of their national budgets on agriculture in honour of President Mugabe.

Another point worthy of mention when it comes to SADC is President Mugabe and Zimbabwe’s generosity when it comes to allowing several of its SADC neighbours to use Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Victoria Falls) to promote its tourism portfolios.

It can be confirmed that thousands of travellers to the countries close to Zimbabwe’s borders have visited this historic site know it as one of the world’s Seven Wonders, and had absolutely no idea they were on Zimbabwean soil.

If President Mugabe was a publicity hound when this occurs wouldn’t he be pounding the pavement notifying every tourist imaginable that they were in Zimbabwe? At the summit President Mugabe did the exact opposite when he encouraged all attendees to take in the beauty of Mosi-oa-Tunya before they left the summit and returned to their respective countries.

When President Mugabe reaffirmed Zimbabwe and Sadc’s commitment to its unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people, it reminded the African world that the Zionist state of Israel still has yet to answer for its military and political support for apartheid in South Africa and Rhodesia and mercenary installations in Mozambique and Angola.

We know that the world is focused on Zimbabwe because of its diamonds and platinum, since we know the most valuable resource is the human resource, failure to urge Africans not to overlook the 90-year-old pearl of wisdom who presides over Zimbabwe would truly be a tragedy.

Obi Egbuna Jnr is the US correspondent to The Herald and a US-based member of the Zimbabwe-Cuba Friendship Association. His email is obiegbuna15@gmail.com
China-Zimbabwe Deals to Create More Jobs
Zimbabwe and China have signed numerous cooperation agreements.
August 28, 2014
Farirai Machivenyika  Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

JUSTICE, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said deals struck by President Mugabe during his State visit to China and other policies contained in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, will result in the creation of jobs when implementation is complete.Minister Mnangagwa said this while responding to questions in the National Assembly yesterday.

“We are committed to ensuring that our pledges as contained in our economic policies are fulfilled. As we speak, the head of the country is out and most of you have heard of the agreements that have been struck. You have to appreciate what we are doing,” Minister Mnangagwa said.

He said a number of projects have been earmarked in various sectors among them energy, transport and agriculture among others that would result in the creation of jobs.

“Obviously, some of the projects will not happen overnight, but people will appreciate what we are doing when they come to fruition,” he said.

Zimbabwe has struck a number of deals targeting infrastructure development especially in the energy, transport and communications and agriculture sectors among others. The minister also said Zimbabweans had voted overwhelmingly for Zanu-PF because they had confidence in the party’s policies as contained in its manifesto and Zim-Asset.

Meanwhile, Minister Mnangagwa said Government had printed over 500 000 copies of the new Constitution in English, Shona and Ndebele and would be distributed throughout the country’s 10 provinces beginning next month.

“The Ministry of Justice has a responsibility to make efforts so that Zimbabwean citizens are fully aware of the content and substance of our Constitution. To that extent, we have printed over half a million copies of the constitution in three languages Shona, English and Ndebele,” he said.

The minister said they were mobilising resources to print more copies in other minority languages as required under the constitution.

He said law enforcement agencies had also been given copies of the new Constitution to acquaint themselves with its provisions.
At Least 129 Ukrainian Soldiers Surrender to Donetsk Militia
Anti-fascist fighters in eastern Ukraine have surrounded forces
from Kiev.
pravda.ru
27.08.2014
13:25

At least 129 soldiers and fighters of the National Guard of Ukraine surrendered to the militia in the village of Starobeshevo, the Donetsk region.

"In the militia-controlled settlement of Starobeshevo, the Donetsk region, 129 Ukrainian servicemen and National Guard fighters voluntarily surrendered in the morning on August 27," representatives of headquarters of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk told RIA Novosti.

The Ukrainian soldiers laid down their arms and went out to the militias carrying white flags, vesti.ru reports.

According to the militia, during the night battles in the suburbs of Donetsk, the Ukrainian army lost 25 men in killed and wounded. The Ukrainian troops also lost two armored personnel carriers, a tank and an ammunition depot. Militiamen destroyed four Grad multiple rocket launchers, two tanks and two armored vehicles, representatives of the headquarters of the republic said.

In the Luhansk region - near the village of Valuiskoye - the militia disabled five vehicles with ammunition. According to the militia, eight Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the battles. In total, on August 27, the Ukrainian troops lost five tanks, seven armored vehicles, four multiple rocket launchers Grad, two ammunition depots and five vehicles.

In April, the Kiev authorities started military operations against the Ukrainian citizens in the Donbass, who disagreed with the outcome of the February coup in the country. According to the UN, more than 2,000 civilians were killed, about 5,000 were injured and over 300,000 were displaced as a result of criminal actions of the Kiev government.

On August 21, CyberBerkut hackers posted interesting information on the net exposing actual losses of the Ukrainian army during the military operation in eastern Ukraine. According to them, from June 20 to August 15, according to reports from Ukrainian military officials, the militia seized from the Ukrainian Army 65 T-64 tanks, 69 infantry fighting vehicles, 39 BTR vehicles,  24 Grad multiple launchers and a lot of other weapons.
Obama Threatens Russia With New Sanctions Over Ukraine
Russian trucks delivering assistance to eastern Ukraine.
August 28, 2014 20:28
Rt.com

President Barack Obama acknowledged during an impromptu press conference on Thursday afternoon that the United States is considering new sanctions to impose against Russia over the escalating crisis in Ukraine.

From the White House, Pres. Obama told reporters that he’s certain Russia is playing a direct role in the ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine between anti-Kiev separatists and the country’s military, and that the US is weighing further sanctions to intensify the restrictions previously waged against Moscow.

“As a result of the action Russia has already taken and the major sanctions we’ve imposed,” Obama said, “Russia is already more isolated than any time since the end of the cold war.”

“The separatists are backed, trained, armed, financed by Russia. Throughout this process we’ve seen deep Russian involvement in everything that they’ve done,” Obama added.

That behavior, he added, “will only bring more cost and consequences to Russia.” After speaking with allies, Obama continued, he expects a new wave of sanctions to come soon. The president is expected to meet with NATO partners next week, and said the US “will continue to stand firm with our allies and partners” to protect Ukraine from further encroachment.

“In our consultation with our European allies,” Obama said, “…my expectation is we will take additional steps, primary because we have not seen any meaningful action on the part of Russia to try and actually resolve this in a diplomatic fashion.”

Earlier Thursday, US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said during a press conference that there are “additional tools and sanctions” being considered against Russia.

Psaki and the president’s remarks sandwiched a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York City, during which representatives from the US, United Kingdom, Australia and others all urged Russia to refrain from further escalating the situation near its border with eastern Ukraine.

“In the face of this threat, the cost of inaction is unacceptable," Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, said during the meeting.

Vitaly Churkin, Power's Russian counterpart, deflected blame and warned the US: "Stop interfering in the affairs of sovereign states."

On his part, Pres. Obama added that the US has ruled out the possibility of a military response.

“We are not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem. What we’re doing is to mobilize the international community to apply pressure on Russia. But I think it is very important to recognize that a military solution for this problem is not going to be forthcoming,” he said.

“Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but a number of those states who are close by are,” he added, “and we take our Article Five commitments to defend each other very seriously — and that includes the smallest NATO member as well as the largest.”
'No Russian Troops in Ukraine': Moscow's OSCE Rep Responds to Kiev's Claims
Members of the People's Republic of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

August 28, 2014 10:27
Rt.com

The OSCE was told there was no Russian presence spotted across the Ukraine border, refuting Thursday's claims that a full-scale invasion was underway. Both the Ukrainian monitoring team head and Russia's representative have given a firm 'no.'

The chorus of allegations about Russia's military invasion of Ukraine had President Poroshenko calling for an emergency meeting of the country’s security and defense council, while Prime Minister Yatsenyuk on Thursday called for a Russian asset freeze.

No actual evidence has been given either by either foreign governments or the media, apart from claims that photographs exist that someone had "seen."

"I have made a decision to cancel my working visit to the Republic of Turkey due to sharp aggravation of the situation in Donetsk region, particularly in Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevo, as Russian troops were brought into Ukraine," Petro Poroshenko said in a statement on his website.

The Russian representative to the OSCE Andrey Kelin, meanwhile, has given a firm response to the allegations, saying that “we have said that no Russian involvement has been spotted, there are no soldiers or equipment present.”

“Accusations relating to convoys of armored personnel carriers have been heard during the past week and the week before that,” he said. “All of them were proven false back then, and are being proven false again now.”

Poroshenko, in the meantime, is going to call for a meeting of the UN Security Council. "The world must provide assessment of sharp aggravation of the situation in Ukraine," he added.

The Ukrainian president added that on Thursday there will be a meeting of the Security and Defense Council of Ukraine to elaborate the plan for further action.

"The President must stay in Kyiv today," he said.

Given the confusion arising out of the recent capture of Russian paratroopers and the subsequent videos with interviews released by the Ukrainian security services, tensions were easily stoked over Thursday's supposed invasion. Now, the government is going to the US, EU and the G7 to ask for a freeze on Russian assets until their troops withdraw.

Meanwhile, the OSCE has announced that it’s calling an emergency meeting in Vienna – for the second time in August.

When the head of its Ukraine mission, Paul Picard, was asked if the monitoring team saw any evidence of Russia crossing the border with troops and tanks, the answer was “no.” He told journalists of round-the-clock surveillance by a team of 16 people. The team said “we are hearing shooting, but it’s difficult to tell just how far.”

This didn’t stop the Ukrainian government from alleging that the border town of Novoazovsk in the south-east has fallen under Russian control – a mix of troops and members of the eastern-Ukrainian uprising.

Ukraine's own representative to the OSCE, Ihor Prokopchuk also said that "what we registered was a direct invasion of the Russian military into the eastern regions of Ukraine... an act of aggression."

For his part, Russian envoy Kelin said “We only know that the mayor of Novoazovsk said that after 10 rounds of artillery were heard, the Ukrainian soldiers retreated from the city, and the self-defense forces entered,” .

He added that "the Ukrainian ambassador has offered no claims to counter this information."

The Western media has been exploding with allegations, with everyone from the CNN to the New York Times going about the task in a very similar manner: quoting Ukrainian politicians' views on Russia, as well as US figures, the ambassador to Ukraine and the State Department. One similarity could be spotted: they all centered on passionate statements - no evidence - and were followed by a big background into things that took place over the past week.

Whenever there was any mention of someone actually seeing Russian tanks, it seemed a mobile phone was never on hand to take a photograph.