Thursday, 31 March 2011

Press release Thursday 31 March 2011 For immediate use ED MILIBAND'S SPEECH AT THE LAUNCH OF LABOUR'S LOCAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN Check against delivery Ed Miliband MP, the Leader of the Labour Party, speaking at the launch of Labour's local election campaign, said: Thank you for those kind introductions. Thank you Jo, for letting us join you this morning at your fantastic school - and to all of you for coming. On May the Fifth it will be a year since the General Election. For many people the local elections are the first chance for people to reflect on whether our country is heading in the right direction. So I want to talk to you today about what I believe a re the big three challenges facing our country. - The cost of living crisis facing British Families; - Whether we can meet the British promise by which the next generation should always do better than the last And - how we build stronger communities. I wish this Conservative led government was addressing these challenges. I wish they understood that in tough times, we need to be ambitious about the kind of nation we should to be. The problem is that because they have decided to cut too far and too fast, they are taking the country in the wrong direction. 1. From Downing Street to your Street. We would halve the deficit in four years, and so the Tories say that there’s no real difference between us. The local elections show how wrong they are, because up and country, we can see how Tory values, Tory choices impact our local communities. Today we published new research that the Tory-led government’s cuts to local government will hit the average family with cuts of £182 per year. And that’s on top of the cuts to services, the threat of redundancy, the increase in VAT and the tax credit changes which will make the squeeze even tighter, for the squeezed middle. The scale and pace of these cuts threaten what I call the promise of Britain – the belief that the next generation must do be tter than the last. Sure Start centres are being closed. Tuition fees trebled. Education Maintenance Allowances and the Future Jobs Fund scrapped. The safety of our streets in the battle against crime is being put at risk by scrapping 12,000 police officers. While the youth services, leisure centres and after school clubs that help combat the causes of crime are being shut. These cuts threaten to unpick the very fabric of our communities. No one should be in any doubt: all these cuts are coming direct from Downing Street to your street. They go too far. And they are coming too fast. 2. Unfairness But not only are these cuts happening too far and too fast. We can see the values of this government in the way they make their cuts. In our most vulnerable communities, in cities like Manchester and Liverpool, the cuts are nearly twice as deep as the national average, and nearly ten times as deep as in places like Windsor. Communities across England face these threats. Great Yarmouth, Burnley, Corby, Thanet and West Somerset all face the highest level of cuts. It‘s not about North versus south, it’s about fair versus unfair. It’s the trademark of this government. The politics of division. 3. Labour values We can do something better. I want us to do more than simply protest. I want us to be able to protect. Labour councils are focusing – and will focus - on supporting front-line services. We want to keep communities strong and safe and share the burden of cuts as fairly as possible. Being a Labour council under this government is not going to be easy. Labour councillors are being forced to make some hard choices. But what matters to us is the chance to put our values into action. We know that means tough decisions. So Durham, for instance, facing cuts of £266 for an average family, the Labour council asked their residents, what they wanted to protect. They said adult social care, so Labour protected those services. But in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat-led Birmingham council, where we are today, adult social care cuts will hurt 11,000 vulnerable people. The Tories so-called “EasyCouncil” in Barnet, is closing eight children's centres and cutting sheltered housing wardens for the elderly. And when it comes to reducing waste, Labour’s Sandwell Council has cut the number of top managers by fifty per cent, so money can go to frontline services. In Liverpool, ranked by the Audit Commission as having the “worst financial management” in the country under the LibDems Labour’s Joe Anderson and his team found millions of pounds in efficiency savings. Their reward? Some of the biggest cuts in funding in the country. So Labour councils will strive to protect what matters most. Labour councillors will put the communities they serve first. We will try to make things a little fairer for hard pressed families. These are our values. These are the choices we'd make. If you want a strong first line of defence against cuts that are coming too far, too fast. If you want the tough decisions taken fairly and openly. If you want councillors who will be your voice in tough times Then vote Labour on May the Fifth.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

More than 40 Foreign Ministers and representatives from key regional organisations attended. These included the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, OIC Secretary General Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Prime Minister of Qatar, Foreign Ministers from key regional countries including Iraq, Jordan, UAE, and Morocco, Secretary Clinton, and Foreign Ministers from across Europe and NATO members, along with Secretary General Rasmussen. The Arab League, Lebanon and Tunisia were also represented.

Last updated at 2:13 (UK time) 30 Mar 2011 Latest news Ambassador appointments
Official statements

Full coverage:

Tuesday 29 March

Foreign Secretary's statement following the conference

Chair's statement
Prime Minister David Cameron's opening speech
Foreign Secretary ahead of the Libya conference
London Conference on Libya attendees list
Foreign Secretary meets Libyan Interim Transitional Council Special Envoy

Conference photos (Foreign Office flickr)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Uganda Community Relief Association is a charitable organisation specialising in training, education, consultancy and research; with a special emphasis on the numeracy and literacy needs of adults and children in the minority and ethnic communities. UCRA designs and delivers a range of courses that will facilitate participants when finding a job; through developing soft skills, providing more self-confidence andby securing qualifications that should ultimately lead to employment. Above is their graduation ceremony Detention and Allegations of Torture of Political Activists in Zimbabwe Mar. 3: The United States is concerned about recent arrests in Zimbabwe targeting political and civil society activists. In recent weeks, there have been a number of other arrests of political and civil society activists. Full Text» Travel To Bolster North-South and Darfur Peace Processes Mar. 1: Ambassador Princeton Lyman and Ambassador Dane Smith will travel to the region in early March to support U.S. efforts to promote peace and stability in Sudan. Media Note» Conviction of Congolese Military Officers Accused of Mass Rapes Feb. 23: The United States Government welcomes the February 21st verdict and sentencing in the DRC of nine military personnel found guilty of ordering and carrying out mass rapes in the town of Fizi on New Year’s Day. Full
Interview With Bob Schieffer of CBS's Face the Nation Interview Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of StateSecretary of Defense Robert Gates Washington, DC March 27, 2011 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- QUESTION: Good morning again. And we are joined in the studio by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense. Madam Secretary, let me start with you. Tens of thousands of people have turned out protesting in Syria, which has been under the iron grip of the Asad for so many years now, one of the most repressive regimes in the world, I suppose. And when the demonstrators turned out, the regime opened fire and killed a number of civilians. Can we expect the United States to enter the conflict in the way we have entered the conflict in Libya? SECRETARY CLINTON: No. Each of these situations is unique, Bob. Certainly, we deplore the violence in Syria. We call, as we have on all of these governments during this period of the Arab Awakening, as some have called it, to be responding to their people’s needs, not to engage in violence, permit peaceful protests, and begin a process of economic and political reform. The situation in Libya, which engendered so much concern from around the international community, had a leader who used military force against the protestors from one end of his country to the other, who publically said things like, “We’ll show no mercy. We’ll go house to house.” And the international community moved with great speed, in part because there’s a history here. This is someone who has behaved in a way that caused grave concern in the past 40 plus years in the Arab world, the African world, Europe, and the United States. QUESTION: But, I mean, how can that be worse than what has happened in Syria over the years, where Bashar Asad’s father killed 25,000 people at a lick? I mean, they open fire with live ammunition on these civilians. Why is that different from Libya? SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I -- QUESTION: This is a friend of Iran, an enemy of Israel. SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, if there were a coalition of the international community, if there were the passage of Security Council resolution, if there were a call by the Arab League, if there was a condemnation that was universal – but that is not going to happen, because I don't think that it’s yet clear what will occur, what will unfold. There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer. What’s been happening there the last few weeks is deeply concerning, but there’s a difference between calling out aircraft and indiscriminately strafing and bombing your own cities and then police actions, which, frankly, have exceeded the use of force that any of us would want to see. QUESTION: Secretary Gates, you have strongly condemned Bashar Asad and said he must learn from Egypt. I think it’s fair to say he didn’t pay much attention to you. SECRETARY GATES: Well, that’s not a surprise. (Laughter.) No, what I -- QUESTION: Should he step down? SECRETARY GATES: What I said in – when I was in the Middle East was that the lesson should be – that should be taken from Egypt was where a military stood aside and allowed peaceful protests and allowed political events to take their course. That’s basically the lesson that I was talking about with respect to Asad. In terms of whether he should stand down or not, these kinds of things are up to the Syrians, up to the Libyans themselves. QUESTION: This whole region is in turmoil now, trouble in Bahrain, in Yemen, whose governments have been allies of ours in the fight against terrorism. Now there are demonstrations in Jordan, one of our closest allies in the Arab world. How do we decide which of these countries we’re going to help and which ones we’re not? SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Bob, we’re trying to help them all. I mean, there’s a lot of different ways of helping. We have certainly offered advice and counsel. I think the role that the United States played in Egypt, for example, particularly between our military, between Secretary Gates, Field Marshal Tantawi, between Admiral Mullen and his counterpart, was only possibly because of 30 years of close cooperation. So we have to look at each situation as we find it. We don’t have that kind of relationship with a country like Syria. We just sent back an ambassador for the first time after some years. And as you recall, the Administration decided we needed to do that because we wanted somebody on the inside. The Congress was not so convinced that it would make a difference. Each of these we are looking at and analyzing carefully. But we can’t draw some general sweeping conclusions about the entire region. QUESTION: Well, let’s talk about Libya a little then. We have – the UN resolution is in place. It’s established the no-fly zone. NATO is going to take over the operations there. But it does not call for regime change, and the President has said that Mr. Qadhafi has to go. That seems a bit contradictory. SECRETARY GATES: I don't think so. I think what you’re seeing is the difference between a military mission and a policy objective. The military mission is very limited and restricted to the establishment of the no-fly zone and for humanitarian purposes, to prevent Qadhafi from being able to use his armed forces to slaughter his own people. That’s it. And one of the things that I think is central is you don’t in a military campaign set as a mission or a goal something you’re not sure you can achieve. And if we’ve learned anything over the past number of years, regime change is very complicated and can be very expensive and can take a long time. And so I think the key here was establishing a military mission that was achievable. It was achievable on a limited period of time and it could be sustained. QUESTION: There are some people in the Pentagon quoted in various newspapers as saying this no-fly zone may last for three months or so. How long do you think this is going to be in place? SECRETARY GATES: I don't think anybody has any idea. SECRETARY CLINTON: But Bob, I think it’s important to take a step back and put this into context. When the Libyan people rose up, as their neighbors across the region were doing, and said look, we want to see a transition, it was after 42 years of erratic and brutal rule. Qadhafi’s response was to basically not just ignore but to threaten and then to act on those threats. Our country, along with many other countries, were watching this unfold. The United States Senate passed a resolution calling for a no-fly zone on March the 1st. As Bob reminded everybody, there’s a difference between calling for it and actually enforcing it. When the Security Council, in a really stunning vote of 10 to 5, 10-4, 5 abstentions, said look, take all necessary measures to fulfill this mission of protecting the Libyan people, it was a mission that the United States, of course, was going to be in the forefront of because of our unique capabilities. But look at the coalition of European, Canadian, Arab countries that have come together to say we’re going to make sure that we protect these civilians. The military mission is not the only part of what we’re doing. We have very tough sanctions that are ferreting out and freezing Qadhafi and Qadhafi family assets. We have a lot of diplomats and military leaders in Libya who are flipping, changing sides, defecting because they see the handwriting on the wall. We have an ongoing political effort that is really picking up steam to see if we can’t persuade -- QUESTION: So -- SECRETARY CLINTON: -- others to convince Qadhafi to leave. So, we see the planes going up, but that is just a piece of an overall strategy. QUESTION: Well, do you think it’s going well then? I mean, would you give it good marks so far? SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I think it’s going very well. SECRETARY GATES: I think the military mission has gone quite well. I think we have been successful a lot. There was never any doubt in my mind that we could quickly establish the no-fly zone and suppress his air defenses. But I think what has been extraordinary is seeing a number of different countries using their combat aircraft in a way to destroy some of his ground forces. That really involves and extraordinary discrimination of targets. And I pushed back when I was in Russia last week against the comments that both Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev had made about civilian casualties. The truth of the matter is we have trouble coming up with proof of any civilian casualties that we have been responsible for, but we do have a lot of intelligence reporting about Qadhafi taking the bodies of people he’s killed and putting them at the sites where we’ve attacked. We have been extremely careful in this military effort. And not just our pilots but the pilots of the other coalition air forces have really done and extraordinary job. QUESTION: He is taking bodies and putting them in places -- SECRETARY GATES: We have a number of reports of that. QUESTION: In more than one place, or -- SECRETARY GATES: Yes. QUESTION: How many places? SECRETARY GATES: We just get various reports on that. QUESTION: Well, let me ask you this. There are reports that we may arm the rebels. Is that, in fact, going to happen? SECRETARY CLINTON: There’s been no decision about that. We are in contact with the rebels. I’ve met with one of the leaders. We have ongoing discussions with them. We’ve sent both the ambassador that was assigned to Libya plus a young diplomat to have this ongoing dialogue with the opposition. But there’s a lot of ways that we can assist them, and we’re trying to discuss that with our allies in this effort. And we will be when I go to London on Tuesday. QUESTION: Let me just ask you this. Under this arms embargo and the resolution and so forth, could you, if you decided you needed to do that and wanted to do it, could you do it under the current -- SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. QUESTION: -- resolution? SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. QUESTION: You believe you could? SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, and the reason is because there is an arms embargo against the Qadhafi regime that was established in the first resolution, Resolution 1970, which applied to the entire country. In the follow-on resolution, 1973, there is an exception if countries or organizations were to choose to use that. QUESTION: Let me ask you this, Mr. Secretary. We say it's time for Qadhafi to go. You say that the military part of this, the no-fly zone, is going well. But I don't think anybody really believes that this rag-tag group of resistance fighters, as brave as they are, could actually topple this man, who has these tanks and artillery and that. SECRETARY CLINTON: He has a lot fewer now than he did a week ago. QUESTION: Well, exactly. But how’s the thing going on the ground? And do you really think that these people could topple him without some kind of help from the outside? SECRETARY GATES: Well, first of all, we prevented him from moving on toward Benghazi. Those forces were destroyed. We have evidence that he is withdrawing from Ajdabiyah and back further to the west. Because we’re not only striking his armor, we’re striking his logistics and supplies and things like that. And just to Secretary Clinton's point, we have things in our toolbox in addition to hammers. And so there are a lot of things that can go on here. His military can turn. We can see – we could see elements of his military turning, deciding this is a no-win proposition. The family is splitting. Any number of possibilities are out there, particularly as long as the international pressure continues and those around him see no future in staying with him. QUESTION: Well, having said all of that, do you think that's what is going to happen here? I mean can he – can these people really do this with just some help from up in the sky? SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Bob, I know how concerned people are. And obviously, the President will speak to the country Monday night, answer, I think, a lot of those concerns. This -- the Security Council acted a week ago Thursday. The effort to enforce a Security Council resolution is barely a week old. We’ve already seen quite significant progress on the ground. And Bob just said, we believe, based on the intelligence and what our military is seeing, the Qadhafi forces are withdrawing, moving to the west. Yes, this is not a well-organized fighting force that the opposition has. But they are getting more support from defectors, from the former Libyan Government military, and they are, as Bob said, very brave, moving forward, and beginning to regain -- QUESTION: Well -- SECRETARY CLINTON: -- ground that they lost when Qadhafi was brutalizing them by moving toward Benghazi. So, this is a really short period of time in any kind of military effort, but I think the results on the ground are pretty significant. SECRETARY GATES: I would just underscore the military attacks began, essentially, a week ago, last Saturday night. And don't underestimate the potential for elements of the regime themselves to crack. QUESTION: All right. SECRETARY GATES: And to turn. I mean it isn't just the opposition in Benghazi -- QUESTION: So you think his days are limited? SECRETARY GATES: I wouldn't be hanging any new pictures if I were him. (Laughter.) QUESTION: What would be an acceptable outcome? You want him out, but would you be satisfied if the country wound up partitioned or something of that nature? SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it's too soon to predict that. One of the reasons why we are forming a political contact group in London this coming week is because we want to get a unified political approach, just as we have forged a unified military approach. And as both Bob and I have said, there are many ways that this could move toward the end state. If you think about what happened in the 90s, it took a while for Milosevic to leave, but you could see his days were numbered, even though he wasn't yet out of office. And so there is a lot of ways that this could unfold. What is clear is that Qadhafi himself is losing ground. He has already lost legitimacy. And the people around him, based on all of the intelligence and all of the outreach that we ourselves are getting from some of those very same people, demonstrate an enormous amount of anxiety. And that will play itself out over time. SECRETARY GATES: Could I just make a broader point, Bob? We get so focused on these individual countries. I think we have lost sight of the extraordinary story that is going on in the Middle East. In the space of about two months, we’ve probably seen the most widespread dramatic change in the tectonic plates, if you will, politically, in that region since, certainly, the drive for independence in the 50s, and perhaps since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago. In virtually every country in the region there is turbulence. And we are in dark territory. I mean, even the changes in Eastern Europe in 1989 took place from a period from February to December – to November. And so when you think back of what has happened in just two months, this is really an extraordinary challenge for the Administration and, frankly, for other governments around the world in terms of how do we react to this, how do we deal with this. And I think the key, and where the President has tried to establish the principle, is here are our principles, here’s what we believe in, but then we’ll deal with each country one at a time, because we have to deal with the specific circumstances. But we can't lose sight of the historic and dramatic nature of what's going on and the fact there are no predetermined outcomes. SECRETARY CLINTON: And there are no perfect options. We are choosing among competing imperfect options. I mean if we were sitting here, and Benghazi had been taken, and tens of thousands of people had been slaughtered, and hundreds of thousands had fled, some of them over the border to Egypt, destabilizing Egypt during its particularly delicate transition, we would be sitting here, and people in the Congress and elsewhere would be saying, "Well, why didn't we do something?" So the problem is we are trying to, within the broader context of this extraordinary movement toward aspirations that are universal that people in the Middle East and North Africa are demanding for themselves, to support the broader goals but to be very clear about how we deal with individual countries as we stand for our values and our principles but have to take each one as it stands and where it is headed. QUESTION: Well, I want to thank both of you for your insights. SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. QUESTION: We really appreciate it. SECRETARY GATES: Thank you. # # # PRN: 2011/482

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Press release Saturday 26th March 2011 For immediate use - For operational use Ed Miliband speech to the TUC rally Friends, we come here today from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, from all generations. Men, women and children with one simple message for this country and this government: there is an alternative. I look out at this extraordinary sea of faces gathered in this historic park and I feel profoundly moved by this moment. We come in the tradition of movements that have marched in peaceful but powerful protest for justice, fairness and political change. The suffragettes who fought for votes for women and won. The civil rights movement in America that fought against racism and won. The anti apartheid movement that fought the horror of that system and won. The cause may be different but in coming together today to realise our voice, we are standing on the shoulders of those who have marched and struggled for great causes in the past Our struggle is to fight to preserve, protect and defend the best of the services we cherish because they represent the best of the country we love. We know what the government will say: that this is a march of the minority. They are so wrong. David Cameron: you wanted to create the big society. This is the big society. The big society united against what your government is doing to our country. We stand today not as the minority, but as the voice of the mainstream majority in this country. The midwives from Kingston here to speak up for maternity services. The sure start workers from Hampshire here to speak up for children’s centres. The small business owners from Liverpool here to speak up for jobs. The teachers and students here to speak up for the next generation. We speak today for the mainstream of Britain because we are the mainstream of Britain. We recall the greatest moments of our country’s history. We remember what happened after the second world war when we faced enormous challenges but built a country fit for the future. The National Health Service Homes fit for heroes. The welfare state Out of the shadows of that time, we built a better society. Every one of us knows that today the country faces difficult times. But we know too there is a different way. We hold to some simple truths: We need jobs to cut the deficit. Unemployment is never a price worth paying. The next generation should never have their hopes sacrificed on the altar of dogmatic deficit reduction. There is a need for difficult choices, and some cuts. But, this government is going too far and too fast and destroying the fabric of our communities. Where is the fairness? They say we are all in this together. But how can it be right that while children’s centres close, it is business as usual for the bankers? How can it be right that while the cost of living goes up for everyone else, the government gives the banks a tax cut? We are not talking about the politics of envy, we are talking about the politics of fairness. We do not simply reject the government’s policies. We reject the narrowness of their vision, the injustice of their ideology and the poverty of their aspiration for our great country. They are the dividers not the unifiers. We reject their attempt to divide Britain. I grew up in the 1980s. This government is taking us back. Setting private sector against public sector. Setting those in work against those on benefits. Setting North against South. I say to David Cameron: The hundreds of thousands of people on this march reject your politics of division. It falls to us to be the unifiers of our country. That is why it is so important that this is a peaceful protest that wins public support. A protest remembered for its cause and for its purpose. And it falls to us to be the optimists too. We do need to cut the deficit. But we must also protect families struggling to get by. We must also protect the promise of Britain that the next generation does better than the last We must also preserve the things we value in our communities: the library, the citizen’s advice bureaux, the community centre. We know, from generations before us, that it is not just politicians who make change happen, it is people. And so when people ask, who will, stand up for our NHS? Let us say: we will When People ask who will stand up for our children’s centres, Let us say: we will When people ask who will stand up for the hopes and dreams of the next generation, Let us say: We will And when people ask us who will stand up for the mainstream majority in Britain, we say: We will. Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King said: The arc of the moral universe is long and it bends towards justice. But only if people bend it that way. You are those people standing up for our country. Standing up for justice Standing up for fairness Standing up for change Thank you for your commitment. We will prevail Thank you Ends
African Union Meeting on the Situation in Libya

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Acting Deputy SpokesmanOffice of Press Relations
Washington, DC

March 26, 2011


The United States commends the African Union for convening a meeting of the international community in Addis Ababa yesterday to discuss the situation in Libya. The African Union has an important role to play in the resolution of the Libyan crisis. We are especially grateful for the emphasis the African Union placed on the effective protection of civilians and the urgent need to extend humanitarian assistance to those affected by the violence. We also commend the African Union for reiterating its commitment to a resolution to the crisis that is within the framework of international legal structures, including United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.

Friday, 25 March 2011

EFCC Director General Farida Waziri speaking at the Anti - money laundering and Fiancial crimes conference in London

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Alana Leissle-BEN TV Interviewing the finance minister of Ghana
Ghana minister of finance was awarded the African finance minister of the year by FT

Team at BEN TV

CPA Sec Gen Dr William Shija

CPA Sec Gen Dr William Shija, Alana Leissle-BEN TV, Luciano-CPA Outside Buckingham Palace

The secretary general of the commonwealth parliamentary association met H.M Queen Elizabeth II this week to update her on the work of the CPA especially the forthcoming annual CPA meeting in July that will be held in the UK. H.M was eager to know about the theme of the conference which is reinforcing democracy, given the fact that this year’s theme of the commonwealth is women as agents of change. Dr Shija briefed her majesty about the topics that will be discussed at the conference which will include immigration, climate change and conflict resolution. Should you need more information about the conference please visit

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Violence in Yemen

Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateWashington, DC

March 18, 2011


The United States is alarmed by today's violence in Sana'a against anti-government protesters and is seeking to verify reports that this is the result of actions by security forces. We have seen increased numbers of deaths and injuries at demonstrations throughout Yemen in the past two weeks and I join President Obama in strongly condemning this violence. We call on Yemeni security forces to exercise maximum restraint, refrain from violence, and permit citizens to freely and peacefully express their views.

We extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives and call on President Saleh to uphold his promise to protect peaceful demonstrators. All perpetrators of violence should be held accountable and brought to justice.

The Yemeni people, like people everywhere, have the universal rights to demonstrate peacefully, to freely assemble, and to express themselves without fear of intimidation or death. A solution to Yemen's problems will not be found through security measures. We support dialogue as the path to a peaceful solution to Yemen’s current political situation. This must include genuine participation by all sides in an open and transparent process that addresses the legitimate concerns of all Yemeni people, including their political and economic aspirations.

Monday, 21 March 2011

On Monday, March 21, 2011, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero will hold a conversation with Harriet Babbitt, Co-Chair, Global Water Challenge, on Global Water Issues, in recognition of the international observance of World Water Day, which takes place March 22. The discussion will be moderated by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Cheryl Benton. The event will be streamed live on and DipNote, the Department of State’s official blog, at 4:00 p.m. EDT. Members of the general public are invited to participate by submitting questions, some of which will be selected for response during the live broadcast.

This is part of the Conversations with America video series coordinated by the Bureau of Public Affairs, in which the State Department's senior leadership hosts conversations live, online, with leaders of prominent non-governmental organizations. The discussions aim to provide a candid view of how leaders from civil society engage the Department on pressing foreign policy issues.

View the text and video from other Conversations with America by following the links below:

Conversations with America : Diplomacy in the 21st Century: Stabilization and Conflict Prevention (February 25, 2011)
Conversations with America: The State Department's Internet Freedom Strategy (February 18, 2011)
Conversations with America: International Disability Rights (February 17, 2011)
Conversations with America: U.S. Efforts to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (February 8, 2011)
Conversations with America: Haiti in 2011: The Way Forward (January 10, 2011)
Conversations with America: Leading Through Civilian Power: The First QDDR (January 6, 2011)
Conversations with America: The Millennium Development Goals (September 16, 2010)
Conversations with America: A Discussion on PEPFAR (August 10, 2010)
Conversations with America: A Discussion on the NEW START Treaty (July 29, 2010)
Conversations with America: U.S. Engagement with Muslim Communities (July 9, 2010)
Conversations with America: The U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue (June 8, 2010)
Conversations with America: A Discussion on Afghanistan and Pakistan (April 19, 2010)

Sunday, 20 March 2011

19 March 2011


At the invitation of President of the French Republic, M. Nicolas SARKOZY, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations ; Mr. José Luis Zapatero, President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, Mrs. Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany ; Mr. Steven Harper, Prime Minister of Canada; Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affaires of the State of Qatar ; Mr. Donald Tusk, President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Poland ; Mr. Lars Loekke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark ; Mr. Silvio Berlusconi, President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic ; Mr. George Papandreou, Prime Minister de la Hellenic Republic ; Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway ; Mr. Yves Leterme, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium ; Mr. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ; Mr. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands ; Mr. Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States ; Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council ; Mrs. Catherine Ashton, European Union High Representative for Foreign affairs and Security policy ; Mr. Hoshyar Mahmoud Zebari, Foreign minister of the Republic of Irak ; Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates ;Mrs. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States of America ; Mr. Nasser Joudeh, Foreign minister of the Kingdom of Jordan ; Mr. Taïeb Fassi-Fihri, Foreign minister of the Kingdom of Morocco.

At the end of the summit, the following declaration was adopted:
Since 15 February this year, the Libyan people have been peacefully expressing the rejection of their leaders and their aspiration for change. In the face of these legitimate requests coming from all over the country, the Libyan regime has carried out a growing brutal crackdown, using weapons of war against his own people and perpetrating against them grave and massive violations of humanitarian law.
Despite the demands which the Security Council expressed in UNSCR 1970 on 26 February, despite the condemnations of the Arab League, African Union, Organization of the Islamic Conference’s Secretary-General and European Union, as well as very many governments in the world, the Libyan regime has stepped up its violence in order to impose by force its will on that of its people.
This situation is intolerable.
We express our satisfaction after the adoption of UNSC 1973 which, inter alia, demands an immediate and complete ceasefire, authorises the taking of all necessary measures to protect civilians against attacks and establishes a no-fly zone over Libya. Finally, it strengthened and clarified the arms embargo vis-à-vis the Libyan regime and the rules applicable to the Libyan asset freeze, in particular on the National Oil Company, and travel restrictions against the Gaddafi’s regime.
While contributing in differentiated way to the implementation of UNSCR 1973, we are determined to act collectively and resolutely to give full effect to these decisions.
Muammar Gaddafi and those executing his orders must immediately end the acts of violence carried out against civilians, to withdraw from all areas they have entered by force, return to their compounds, and allow full humanitarian access. We reiterate that the Security Council took the view that Libyan regime’s forces actions may amount to crimes against humanity and that, to this end, it has referred the matter to the International Criminal Court.
We are determined to take all necessary action, including military, consistent with UNSCR 1973, to ensure compliance with all its requirements.
We assure the Libyan people of our determination to be at their side to help them realise their aspirations and build their future and institutions within a democratic framework.
We recall that UN Security Council resolution 1973 does not allow for any occupation of, or attempt to occupy the Libyan territory.
We pay tribute to the courageous action of the Libyan National Transition Council (NTC) and all the Libyans in positions of responsibility who have courageously disassociated themselves from the Libyan regime and given the NTC their support.
Our commitment is for the long term: we will not let Colonel Gaddafi and his regime go on defying the will of the international community and scorning that of his people. We will continue our aid to the Libyans so that they can rebuild their country, fully respecting Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Urgent Press Release.
For the attention of Advance Planning Desk’s

EMBARGO: Immediate release

Date 16th March 2011.

Smiley Culture’s Family Call Press Conference
The family of UK reggae star Smiley Culture aka David Emmanuel, who died Tuesday 15th March in suspicious circumstances during a raid on his home by the Metropolitan Police Serious Crime Squad, will be holding a press conference at the Karibu Education Centre 7 Gresham Rd Brixton SW9 7PH, Thursday 17th March at 12 noon.

In attendance and speaking on behalf of the Emmanuel family will be Merlin Emmanuel. A long time friend and associate of Smiley’s, Asher Senator will speak along with other members of his immediate family.

Lee Jasper Chair of the London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium will chair the press conference.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


From Her Majesty the queen, head of the commonwealth

Last week, on the 8th March, we marked the hundredth anniversary of the first international Women’s Day. The idea having a women’s day was first proposed against the backdrop of the rapid industrialization of the early 20th centaury. From small beginnings, this idea has grown become a widely recognized way of celebrating women around the world. While some people use this day to acknowledge the love, admiration and respect for women, others use it to remember the great social and political strides made both by and for woman in the last 100years. There is no right or wrong approach.

In the commonwealth every year 26milion girls are born; and this equates to one new baby girl arriving every second of every day. In the time it takes hold the commonwealth Observance Service at Westminster Abbey, nearly 4000 girls will have been born in Commonwealth lands. And every one of these births marks the start of a new life, a journey which begins with the hopes of parents, families, and communities, and which is continued through the aspirations of those girls themselves.

This year, the Commonwealth celebrates the important role that women already play in every walk of life and in every Commonwealth country from the richest to the poorest areas, across continents and oceans, from villages to places of international debate, in every culture and faith recognizing that women are ‘agents of change’ in so many ways: as mothers and sisters, teachers and doctors, artists and craftspeople, smallholders and entrepreneurs, and as leaders of our societies, unleashing the potential of those around them

And also this year, the Commonwealth reflects on what more could be achieved if women were able to pay an even larger role. For example, I am encouraged that last year the Commonwealth launched a global effort to train and support half a million more midwives worldwide.

In all this work the commendable goal is to create a greater opportunity for women as children and adults to pursue their hopes and dreams, to attain their goals, and to make best use of their talents and knowledge.

This year, and on Commonwealth Day especially, as governments continue to search for new ways to tackle these important challenges, let us all give a thought to the practical ways in which we, as individuals or as groups, can provide support to girls and women- so that everyone can have a chance of a fuller and more rewarding life, wherever they happen to be born.

Remarks Preceding Meeting With Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of StateCairo, Egypt

March 16, 2011


It was very exciting and moving for me to go to Tahrir Square and to have some sense of what those amazing days must have been like here in Cairo.

I'm so looking forward to helping in any way that we can in this transformation and all the work that needs to be done.

I was just saying to one of the ministers that we have an expression: It's like drinking from a fire hose. There is so much to be done. But the United States stands ready to help in every way possible to translate what happened in Tahrir Square into the new reality for Egypt.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Torture survivors let down
By Frances Webber
10 March 2011, 4:00pm
An audit of UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials' responses to medical reports concerning vulnerable detainees, including torture survivors, demonstrates a frightening lack of care.
The UKBA report, Detention Centre Rule 35 Audit, 'seeks', in its own words, 'to address the perception among some NGOs that the UK Border Agency fails to comply with ... policy and detains thousands of torture victims every year'. The findings of the audit provide no comfort to critics and vindicate concerns that torture allegations are not taken seriously.
For years now, campaigners have argued that the UKBA does not follow its own policy whereby vulnerable people including torture survivors should not be detained. A 2006 test case[1] exposed the routine failure of detention centre medical staff to screen new arrivals for signs of torture or physical and mental illness, as required by the immigration rules - because UKBA refused to pay them to do the screening. As a result, signs of torture were not being picked up and torture survivors were unlawfully being detained. Since then the issue of detention of torture victims has received more scrutiny. Both
Medical Justice and the The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture urged the UKBA to audit its procedures to see whether torture survivors were in fact being inappropriately detained. The UKBA audit was conducted a year ago but was only released on 1 March 2011.
The somewhat obscure title of the report refers not to the on-arrival screening duty (Rule 34 of the 2001 Detention Centre rules), but to Rule 35, which imposes duties on medical staff to report to managers whenever they become aware of detainees whose health is likely to be affected badly by detention, including those suspected of having suicidal intentions, as well as on persons who may have been victims of torture. Under the rule, managers of detention centres must send copies of 'Rule 35' medical reports to the UKBA 'without delay'. In practice, medical staff give a copy of Rule 35 reports to on-site UKBA staff, who are required by Detention Services Order 03/2008 to send it on within 24 hours to the detainee's 'case owner' with responsibility for the decision to detain, who must review the person's detention within 48 hours. Clearly, the purpose of the exercise is to remove extremely vulnerable people from the harmful environment of detention as quickly as possible.
The audit looked at all the cases in November and December 2009 when a Rule 35 report was submitted to UKBA, to see whether UKBA officials responded promptly and appropriately. It found that in only 35 per cent of cases did UKBA officials respond within the 48-hour time limit.
It is unclear whether all Rule 35 reports were examined or just those where torture was alleged: the executive summary suggests that all cases where medical staff reported on the health of detainees were included, while the text of the audit suggests that it was limited to allegations of torture. In any event, during the two months covered by the audit, a total of 216 Rule 35 reports were received, in respect of 190 detainees (out of the total of 6,666 people who were detained during the period). In only sixty-seven cases (35 per cent) did UKBA staff respond within the required 48-hour period, and in one-third of the cases 'case owners' failed to respond to the medical report. The audit states that in all but ten cases, there was evidence from the case file that the allegation of torture had been taken into account, although there had been no formal response, but it is not clear how - in particular, whether there was a detention review.
This is bad enough, indicating as it does a fairly devastating failure on the part of UKBA officials to respond promptly to serious medical concerns - but the most shocking findings are left until last. The review of detention resulted in release in only 9 per cent of the cases; in the other 91 per cent of cases, the information contained in the Rule 35 report made no difference to the decision to detain. We are given no explanation whatever for this extraordinary finding, which suggests that case owners are simply disregarding medical evidence - after all, they are not medically qualified - or that they are not applying policy which states that torture survivors and those for whom detention carries unacceptable risks should not be detained. The other shocking statistic is that only twenty-six of individuals subject to a Rule 35 report - 14 per cent - were granted any form of status, whether refugee status or humanitarian or discretionary leave, while ninety - 47 per cent - were refused and removed, and another seventy-four - 39 per cent - were refused or claims are still ongoing.
These latter findings go to the heart of UKBA decision-making. They suggest that case owners are either provided with inadequate medical information, or that they are simply not equipped to take vital decisions about the detention of asylum claimants or about the strength of their claims. But the report fails to discuss the implications of its own findings. It is full of management-speak about 'improving communications across business areas to drive up performance', 'sampling and data quality checks', arranging 'roll-out of improved recording and monitoring systems'. With this kind of language, it is perhaps not surprising that elementary human truths are lost. Nowhere does the report ask: Do the medical reports provide enough information for case owners? What is the quality of the information provided? Or is it that case owners have no understanding of the reports they read? Why do those responsible for people in detention appear not to care about their welfare, even where there is evidence that they have been tortured? The audit demonstrates that the business model of performance indicators and box-ticking is fundamentally flawed when it comes to dealing with damaged and vulnerable people. The meaning of torture, the experience of asylum seekers, the inhumanity of current detention practices - all these the audit signally fails to address.
Since the audit was carried out, things have got even worse, accordiAdd Videong to Medical Justice, which points out that the latest HM Inspector of Prisons report on Colnbrook detention centre (August 2010) noted that of 125 Rule 35 reports UKBA had received, only sixty-one had been replied to (49 per cent). HMIP reports: 'The paucity of information provided by health services staff gave case owners little reason to consider release and most replies were equally brief and unhelpful.'
In a statement, Medical Justice expressed its bitter disappointment with the audit, which it says 'fails miserably and is symbolic of UKBA's lack of commitment to safeguarding vulnerable detainees'. The organisation intends to lodge a complaint about the inadequacy of the audit and to demand disclosure of the raw data on which the audit was based. According to Medical Justice's Clinical Advisor, Dr Frank Arnold, they 'regularly see the outcome of Rule 35 failures; torture survivors and people with serious medical and psychiatric conditions who are routinely and inappropriately detained. Many people fleeing from regimes our government says it abhors are routinely subjected to being wrongfully and harmfully detained each year.'

Saturday, 12 March 2011


Africa is bidding to host the world's most powerful radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). When constructed, in 2025, it will have 50 times greater sensitivity than any other radio telescope on Earth. The SKA will probe the edges of our universe, even before the first stars and galaxies that formed after the Big Bang. This telescope will contribute to answering fundamental questions in astronomy, physics and cosmology, including the nature of dark energy and dark matter.

South Africa is leading the African bid and has already legislated to create 12.5 million hectares of protected area - or radio astronomy reserve. This area is also referred to as the Karoo Central Astronomy Advantage Area, offering low levels of radio frequency interference, very little light pollution, basic infrastructure of roads, electricity and communication.

The human story began in Africa and it can also be the place where we find answers to the story of our universe. Please help us bring the SKA project to Africa by informing the readers of Ubuntu platform about the project and the advantages of the South African SKA bid. I've created a comprehensive resource that you're welcome to explore and borrow from:

Please let me know if you have any questions or need more information. If you are able to post about this, I'd love to get the link to your post.

Thank you,


Rod Marcel
The Leader of the Revolution conducted a phone call with President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, of Equatorial Guinea, the current president of AU, within the frame work of following up the measures being taken by African Union in the light of current events in Libya.President Teodoro informed the Leader in the phone call on the latest procedures for forming African finding facts committee to investigate and uncover the facts."A UN Security Council, on the level of presidents, is going to meet in order to discuss and decide the proper resolutions that are not based on facts and news fabricated by foreign media", AU current president Teodro told the Leader.President Teodoro Nguema went on saying through the phone call," African representatives at a UN security council meeting will stress the importance of settling its issues by itself and allowing no foreign intervention in one of its states' internal issues.A number of analysts, following up this events taking place in Libya, began to see the reality of these facts, as well as the foreign media men and correspondents, who are being allowed to enter Libya, after making a number of express interviews with the Leader started to change their previous attitudes referring to the sound attitudes for China, Russia and Algeria towards the events in Libya

Residents in Alsalam Area in Benghazi city revolted against the terrorist bands who had taken the control of the city during the last days.Eyewitnesses in Alsalam area stated that a fight between the terrorist band members, who had seduced the residents of Alsalam area and had spread fear among them, and the residents took place.

Czech Republic announced its categorical refusal for the possibility of executing any military action against Libya.Russian Voice Radio stated yesterday that Czech Republic president, heading his country delegation at an extraordinary summit of EU on last Friday, warned the risk of taking improper resolutions towards the events in Libya such those resolutions sponsored by US government and implemented by NATO against a number of world states
The Leader of the Revolution phoned yesterday Wednesday President, Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz, of Mauritania in the framework of constant talks and cooperation between them on the affairs of common interests.The Mauritanian president in the phone call expressed his solidarity and Mauritanian people's solidarity in facing this conspiracy that targets Libyans' security and stability. President Mohamed went on affirming the Africans concern on settling their issues by themselves and stressing on the importance of standing on the facts that were based on real events and not on fabricated news broadcast by foreign media.

President, Malam Bacai, of Guinea Bissau conducted a phone call today Thursday afternoon with the Leader of the Revolution through which he expressed his solidarity and Guinean people's solidarity with Libyans in countering the conspiracies that are targeting Libyans' security, stability and achievements realized by Elfateh Revolution and the Leader.It is known that this phone call comes within the series of phone calls conducted by most African presidents with the Leader to underline his pioneering role in the unity of Africa and the importance of Great Jamahiriya position in the African continent march towards promoting the presence of African space among other spaces in the world.