Friday, 8 February 2013

Tunisians gather to bury slain opposition leader

Thousands of Tunisians gathered at their capital, Tunis for the funeral of opposition leader Chokri Belaid who was killed on Wednesday outside his home by an unknown gunman. Belaid was a popular human rights activist and a staunch critic of the government which is led by the Islamist Ennahda party. Tunisia's unions have blamed the government, but Ennahda has denied accusations and condemned the killing. Protests and clashes have broken out across Tunisia. One police officer has been killed and another is in a coma. According to Tunisian media, over a dozen Ennahda offices were attacked overnight. Unions have called a general strike to coincide with Belaid's burial. A number of flights have been canceled, and some universities and schools will be closed through the weekend. Adding to tensions and highlighting divisions within the ruling party, Ennahda rejected a proposal on Thursday by Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali to form a national unity government, saying the prime minister had not consulted with the party prior to making the announcement.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Ayatollah Khamenei rejects talks with US

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei strongly rejected an offer by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden for direct talks over the country's nuclear development program in remarks posted on his website on Thursday. Biden made the offer on Saturday saying the U.S. was ready to hold one-on-one talks with Iran "when the Iranian leadership, supreme leader, is serious." However, Khamenei maintained that talks would not solve the problem. He wrote, "You take up arms against the nation of Iran and say: 'negotiate or we fire.' But you should know that pressure and negotiations are not compatible and our nation will not be intimidated into actions." The statement came after the U.S. Treasury Department announced new economic sanctions on Wednesday as sanctions that were enacted in August 2012 took effect. The new sanctions target companies involved in inhibiting the flow of information and cracking down on dissent such as the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting and its director, the Iran Cyber Police, the Communications Regulatory Authority, and Iran Electronics Industries which makes equipment used for jamming and monitoring. The sanctions from last summer will target companies connected with Iran's energy, petrochemical, insurance, financial, and shipping sectors. While one senior U.S. official said the move is "a significant turning of the screw" others are more skeptical. According to another senior U.S. official, "The people may be suffering in Iran, but the supreme leader isn't, and he's the only one who counts."

Monday, 4 February 2013

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Hollande atua Timbuktu: Aja kuwapa sapoti wanajeshi wake


Kupitia wahisani
Rais wa Ufaransa, Francois Hollande, amewasili mjini Timbuktu, Mali, ambako wanajeshi wa Ufaransa na Mali waliukomboa kutoka kwa wapiganaji wa Kiislamu siku sita zilizopita.

Waandishi wa habari wa kimataifa huko anasema Bwana Hollande amepokelewa kwa shangwe kwa sababu watu wa Timbuktu wamepumua kuwa utawala wa kikatili umemalizika. Kiongozi huyo wa Ufaransa - akifuatana na mawaziri kadha - anafanya ziara ya siku moja nchini Mali ili kuwaunga mkono wanajeshi wake. 

Akizungumza mjini Paris kabla ya kuondoka, Bwana Hollande alieleza azma ya safari yake:

"Nakwenda Mali kuwaambia wanajeshi wetu jinsi tunavyowaunga mkono na kuwapa moyo na kwamba tunawaonea fahari. Nakwenda Mali kuwezesha majeshi ya Afrika yajiunge nasi haraka iwezekanavyo, na kuwaambia kwamba tunawahitaji kuwa sehemu ya kikosi cha kimataifa.
 
Pia nakwenda Mali kuhakikisha kwamba kutakuwa na mazungumzo ya kisiasa - kwa vile sasa imewakimbiza wapiganaji - mazungumzo ya kutafuta utulivu na mkataba wa amani."