news update for 20 august 2008

ZAMBIA- Zambian president, Levy Mwanawasa, died in France yesterday nearly two months after suffering a stroke during an African Union conference. He was 59. Zambian state television broke the news of the death yesterday morning. “Fellow countrymen, with deep sorrow and grief, I would like to inform the people of Zambia that our president Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa died this morning at 10.30 hours,” said the vice-president, Rupiah Banda. A former lawyer, Mwanawasa was regarded as one of the Africa’s most progressive leaders. His efforts to tackle corruption helped win Zambia widespread debt relief. Under his leadership, Zambia’s economy grew at 5%, helped by the buoyant copper price, while inflation dropped to its lowest level in 30 years. But Mwanawasa admitted that the benefits had not trickled down sufficiently to the poor. Beyond Zambia, he became best known as a critic of Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, leading to strained relations between the neighbours.

US- Obama is close to picking a running mate. The media has ruminated over a cast of potential favourites: Tim Kaine, governor of the swing state of Virginia; Joe Biden, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, who is seen as an experienced voice on foreign policy; and Evan Bayh, the Indiana senator, who could help Obama shore up support in the midwest. It is viewed almost as a given that Hillary Clinton will not be on the ticket.

GEORGIA- The formal process leading to Georgia’s membership of NATO has begun, partly because of Russia’s occupation. In an interview with the Guardian in Tbilisi, foreign secretary  David  Miliband said Georgia had been given a “route map to membership” after the formation on Tuesday of a joint commission aimed at forging closer ties. Some European diplomats predicted Georgia’s membership would be put on hold due to the conflict with Russia that started on August 7. Miliband rejected that view, arguing the commission would have practical consequences. “In practical terms, NATO is offering close cooperation with the Georgian government and the Georgian military. That means helping the Georgians build up their capacity.

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~ by k-rock and l-jive on August 20, 2008.

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