Monday, 24 June 2013

Mandela in critical condition

Former South African president Nelson Mandela in London on June 26, 2008/AFP
Former South African president Nelson Mandela in London on June 26, 2008/AFP
JOHANNESBURG, Jun 24 – Nelson Mandela is in a critical condition in hospital, South Africa’s presidency said late on Sunday, marking a sudden and significant deterioration in the health of the former leader and anti-apartheid hero.
“The condition of former president Nelson Mandela, who is still in hospital in Pretoria, has become critical,” said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj, 16 days after Mandela was admitted for treatment for a lung infection.
Mandela, now a frail 94-year-old, was previously said to be in a serious but stable condition.
But after more than two weeks of intensive treatment at Pretoria’s Mediclinic Heart Hospital, his condition is said to have deteriorated over the weekend.
President Jacob Zuma visited Mandela on Sunday evening and was told by doctors “that the former president’s condition had become critical over the past 24 hours.”
Mandela, who became South Africa’s first black president in 1994, is due to celebrate his 95th birthday on July 18.
He has been hospitalised four times since December, mostly for the pulmonary condition that has plagued him for years.
Throughout most of the last week his condition was said to be improving, and there had been suggestions from his family that he may be released.
Zuma sought to assure the country that medics were now doing all they could to save his life.
“The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands,” Zuma said, using the revered leader’s clan name.
Zuma was accompanied to the hospital by the ruling ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
At the hospital, the two also met with Mandela’s wife Graca Machel, who has been by Mandela’s bedside since he was taken ill, and they discussed the condition of the Nobel Peace laureate.

An IMF fact-finding mission met Somali authorities over the past week in Nairobi/XINHUA-File
An IMF fact-finding mission met Somali authorities over the past week in Nairobi/XINHUA-File
WASHINGTON, Jun 24 – The International Monetary Fund on Monday said it had renewed dialogue with Somalia after a 22-year break linked to unrest and political instability.
An IMF fact-finding mission met Somali authorities over the past week in Nairobi, the IMF said, following the Fund’s recognition of the Somali government in April.
The two sides “held constructive discussions to explore ways in which the Fund can provide policy advice and technical assistance to Somalia,” the global lender said in a statement.
“This important step will allow Fund staff to work with the Somali authorities to set up a mechanism under which international assistance can be prioritized and coordinated.”
In April, the IMF took the first step in resuming relations with Somalia by formally recognizing the government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, which took office in September 2012.
The IMF move had followed other support for the Somali government from the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and a number of IMF member countries.
Somalia, one of the world’s poorest countries, has been enmeshed in civil conflict and chronic fighting between warlords since the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
The transitional government, backed by an African force, faces continued violence from the Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab Islamist militant group.
The IMF said that Somalia faced significant economic challenges.
“Its economy has traditionally relied on fishing and agriculture. As it gradually emerges from a prolonged period of internal strife, few economic activities have survived, and much is needed to place it on the path to recovery,” the IMF said.
The Washington-based institution hailed the authorities’ commitment to work toward restoring peace and security, establishing good governance and the rule of law and rebuilding the economy.
“The IMF remains committed to the ongoing dialogue with the Somali Federal Government and discussions will continue in the weeks ahead.”