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  • RSS BBC News – Africa

    • South Sudan treason charges dropped April 24, 2014
      South Sudan withdraws charges against four top politicians accused of the alleged coup plot that triggered the civil war.
    • Kenyan officials wrangle over status April 24, 2014
      Kenyan MPs propose making it a criminal offence to address an official incorrectly, the latest move in a status struggle with newly created governors.
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      An Islamic court in northern Nigeria sentences a man of 63 to death by stoning for raping a girl of 10 and infecting her with HIV.
    • Lupita Nyong'o named most beautiful April 24, 2014
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    • Deadly car bomb strikes Nairobi April 23, 2014
      Four people, two of them police, are killed in the Kenyan capital Nairobi by a car bomb outside a police station.
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      At least 63 people have been killed after a freight train overloaded with passengers derailed in Katanga in south-eastern DR Congo, officials say.
    • Bomb 'kills senior Egypt policeman' April 23, 2014
      A senior Egyptian police officer has been killed by a bomb blast in the capital, Cairo, officials say.
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      South Africa's public broadcaster says it refused to broadcast an advert from the controversial politician Julius Malema, saying it incited violence.
    • Mali group says French hostage dead April 22, 2014
      Islamist militants in Mali say French hostage Gilberto Rodrigues Leal, who was kidnapped in 2012, is dead.
    • Three children found dead in London April 23, 2014
      A woman, originally from South Africa, is arrested after three children are found dead at a house in south London.
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      A Jewish lawyer in Morocco challenges the political establishment by asking to join the ruling Islamist PJD party, it is reported.
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      Environmental campaigners in Sudan are promoting the country as a tourist destination for bird watchers in a bid to boost revenue, which could then be used to protect nesting sites and rare birds from extinction.
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    • VIDEO: Ethiopia's Jewish community divided April 24, 2014
      Thousands of Ethiopian Jews have been left disappointed by an Israeli government decision to end a 30-year-old programme that saw tens thousands of Ethiopian Jews airlifted to the Holy Land.
    • VIDEO: Deadly car bomb strikes Nairobi April 24, 2014
      A car bomb has exploded outside a police station in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, killing four people.
    • VIDEO: Horror of S Sudan massacre filmed April 23, 2014
      The White House has strongly condemned the massacre of civilians in South Sudan calling it a betrayal of the people by their leaders.
    • VIDEO: Grim journey through 'new Rwanda' April 22, 2014
      The United Nations says the on-going conflict in South Sudan has a disturbing echo of events in Rwanda 20 years ago.
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      Mortgage applicants will face tougher questions about their lifestyle from lenders, under new rules about to come into force.
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      The US accuses Russia of "deception and destabilisation" in eastern Ukraine, warning of further sanctions unless Moscow defuses the crisis.
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      The government says it is making "urgent inquiries" into reports Whitehall computers were used to make insulting comments about the Hillsborough disaster.
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      Foreign prisoners are not being deported quickly enough to help cut costs and relieve overcrowding in jails, MPs warn.
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      US President Barack Obama arrives in Seoul for a visit that comes amid concern North Korea may be planning a fourth nuclear test.
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    • Coalition Church 'split' and AGM 'anger' - papers April 25, 2014
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      A young girl offered US First Lady Michelle Obama her father's CV during questions at the White House's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
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  • RSS Reuters: Politics

    • Arkansas judge strikes down voter ID law as unconstitutional April 25, 2014
      LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) - An Arkansas judge declared the state's new voter identification law unconstitutional on Thursday since it stipulates that voters must meet an additional requirement before casting a ballot.
    • Exclusive: Obama may call EU leaders in Russia sanctions push - sources April 25, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is expected to speak to several European leaders on Friday to try to nudge the EU toward fresh sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, sources familiar with the matter said.
    • Colorado lawmakers advance bill to crack down on 'revenge porn' April 25, 2014
      DENVER (Reuters) - A bill that would criminalize the posting of intimate images over the Internet as an act of humiliation - so-called "revenge porn" - passed its first test in the Colorado state legislature on Thursday, sailing unanimously through a key committee.
    • California lawmakers aim to tighten handgun restrictions April 25, 2014
      SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - A bill banning the sale of single-shot handguns that can be modified into semi-automatic weapons advanced in the California legislature on Thursday as lawmakers sought to close what the bill's supporters say is a loophole in the state's gun safety laws.
    • Senate panel to vote on Fischer, other Fed nominees on Tuesday April 24, 2014
      NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Banking Committee will vote next week on three nominees to the Federal Reserve's board, including Stanley Fischer for vice chairman, in a big step toward bulking up the U.S. central bank's depleted ranks.
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      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House is considering small steps in the near term to ease the threat of deportation for some undocumented immigrants, but advocates in communication with the administration expect President Barack Obama to make bigger changes later in the year.
    • Conservative group pulls photo of Colorado theater massacre from attack ad April 24, 2014
      DENVER (Reuters) - A conservative advocacy group has pulled a photograph used in an attack ad against Democratic Senator Mark Udall that depicted him with a grim-faced President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the Colorado theater massacre, after victims' families complained.
    • Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to 'super PACs' April 24, 2014
      NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new era of "super PACs" in state campaigns.
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      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - First lady Michelle Obama has switched her plans to address a high school commencement ceremony in Topeka, Kansas, in May after students protested that her presence would limit the number of family members they could invite to the ceremony.
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      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Banking Committee appears likely to back a bill to wind down government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to sources familiar with talks on the legislation.
    • Caroline Kennedy backs Hillary Clinton for 2016 April 24, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Caroline Kennedy, the current U.S. ambassador to Japan, says she would support Hillary Clinton if the former secretary of state seeks the presidency in 2016, and she hopes Clinton decides to run.
    • Obama reaffirms commitment to Japan on tour of Asia allies April 24, 2014
      TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama assured ally Japan on Thursday that Washington was committed to its defense, including of tiny isles at the heart of a row with China, but denied he had drawn any new "red line" and urged peaceful dialogue over the islands.
    • Mississippi sets 20-week limit on abortions April 24, 2014
      (Reuters) - Mississippi will ban abortions after more than 20 weeks of pregnancy from July, joining other conservative U.S. states that have placed restrictions on the procedure.
    • Pentagon dossier to detail secretive U.S. Afghan detainee policy April 24, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some of them have been locked up for a dozen years. Some are suspected fighters from Yemen, Russia or Pakistan, arrested by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere. Several have been linked to al Qaeda.
    • Obama seeks to ease Asian allies' doubts during visit to Japan April 23, 2014
      TOKYO (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will use a state visit to Japan on Thursday to try to reassure Tokyo and other Asian allies of his commitment to ramping up U.S. engagement in the region, despite Chinese complaints that Washington's real aim is to contain Beijing's rise.
    • Pentagon dossier to detail secretive U.S. Afghan detainee policy April 23, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some of them have been locked up for a dozen years. Some are suspected fighters from Yemen, Russia or Pakistan, arrested by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere. Several have been linked to al Qaeda.
    • Exclusive: White House considers former banking lawyer for Fed board - sources April 23, 2014
      NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former lawyer with the American Bankers Association is being considered by the White House as a possible nominee to the board of the Federal Reserve, according to sources familiar with the efforts
    • Vote delayed on loan guarantee for World Trade Center developer April 23, 2014
      NEW YORK (Reuters) - The board of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey on Wednesday delayed a scheduled vote on whether to provide $1.2 billion in loan guarantees to World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein, the latest holdup for the project.
    • Democratic governors challenge Connecticut campaign finance law April 23, 2014
      (Reuters) - The U.S. Democratic Governors' Association on Wednesday sued the state of Connecticut, saying its laws on political spending are unconstitutionally broad and limit the ability of political groups to buy independent ads backing candidates.
  • RSS CNN.com – Africa

    • Luxury shoes made in Ghana April 15, 2014
      Fred Deegbe was standing outside a shop window five years ago, marveling at the shiny pair of wing-tip Oxfords he'd just bought, when he started wondering whether such beautiful designer shoes could ever be produced in his country, Ghana.
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      "It was like taking a big leap of faith."
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      African Voices meets James Ebo Whyte a passionate storyteller with a series of successful plays to his credit.
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      When gunmen stormed into Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, Abbas Gullet was one of the first emergency responders on the scene. As head of Kenya's Red Cross, he was in charge of coordinating services for people in need.
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      She started her business with just £100, lugging her beauty bag from door to door, but some 25 years later Grace Amey-Obeng has built a multi-million dollar cosmetics empire that's helping change the perception of beauty for many.
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    • Savannah from the sky March 13, 2014
      It's almost impossible for a photographer to find fresh visual perspectives these days. Brooklyn-based Zack Seckler had to travel to a different continent and strap into an ultra-light aircraft to find one. His Botswana series presents the country from between 50 and 500 feet, providing a unique and captivating view of the savannah.
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      No one knows where 77 abducted girls in Nigeria are -- and surprising still, no one's particularly shocked.
    • Slum dweller means business April 22, 2014
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    • Human viruses killing last gorillas? April 22, 2014
      They are the world's largest primates and yet the constant threat of illegal poaching, deforestation and now human diseases mean that soon the world's mountain gorillas could be completely wiped out. Meet the woman trying to fix the situation before it's too late.
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      The Center for African Family Studies in Nairobi has teamed up with Kenyan artist Michael Soi to create eye-catching condom wrappers to promote safe sex and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among young people.
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Archive for January 27th, 2007

Norwegian-led military base in Afghanistan attacked on Tuesday.

Posted by African Press International on January 27, 2007

“Demonstrators in Afghanistan, joining an international wave of Muslim fury over the publication of offensive cartoons, attacked a Norwegian-led military base on Tuesday. Four demonstrators were killed and at least 20 others injured.

Demonstrators in AfghanistanThe demonstrators threw stones and hand grenades at the offices and military camp of the Norwegian-led troops in the town of Maymana, capital of the Faryab province in western Afghanistan. That turned the protest action, which began peacefully, into “a violent episode,” according to an observer.

The 33 Norwegian military personnel on duty at the base were attacked by as many as 300 demonstrators. Five of the Norwegians were injured when they were hit by flying rocks and splinters from the grenades.

The Associated Press reported that the Norwegian soldiers used tear gas in an attempt to disperse the demonstrators. Two female passersby were reportedly hit by stones and taken to a local hospital.

The attack began in the late morning in Afghanistan. After a few hours, the demonstrators broke through the outside gate of the compound, and made their way into the outer areas of the military compound.

A Norwegian Defense Ministry spokesman said the demonstrators had begun to set fires, and a car inside the military camp was in flames. The soldiers called for backup, and a jet fighter swooped overhead in an effort to frighten the demonstrators.

“This is very dramatic and serious,” Commander Thom Knustad told Aftenposten.no. “This is an attack on a NATO base in Afghanistan.” The base is staffed mostly by about 50 soldiers from Norway and additional troops from Finland.

Flag-burning on Monday:
Norwegian Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strøm Erichsen had said Monday night that she was worried about incidents where the Norwegian flag was burned in Afghanistan, but she stressed that she believed Norwegian soldiers were safe.

The growing anger against Norway in Kabul occurred just as Norway was sending four F-16 fighter jets from a Norwegian base in Bodø to Afghanistan, to strengthen the NATO-led forces in the country.

Strøm-Erichsen acknowledged that the arrival of the jets added to the attention focused on the Norwegian presence in Afghanistan, but she said there were no plans to change any of the assignments for the Norwegian soldiers.

Norway evacuated its embassy in Kabul on Monday night, however, over concerns about the safety of its personnel.”

____________________________

Lifted story by Korir,

Published by African Press in Norway, APN, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739

source: AftenpostenENG

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A Norwegian transsexual wanted it all!

Posted by African Press International on January 27, 2007

“A transsexual Norwegian wanted two passports, one as a man and one as a woman, but his request was rejected.

The Norwegian, a 63-year-old crime fiction writer, applied to state officials in charge of enforcing sexual equality and anti-discrimination measures. The writer’s current passport only shows him as a man, which isn’t always how he appears as he undergoes treatment.

Both the Ministry of Justice and the state police agency, which issues passports in Norway, contended, though, that current regulations don’t allow issuance of two passports to the same person.

“A basic assumption in the issuance of a passport is that it shall apply to one identity, and that this shall be simple to control,” Magnar Aukrust of the justice ministry told Aftenposten.no.

The 63-year-old, however, claims it’s a “practical problem… which has meant that I have decided against making some trips.”

A letter from Norway’s National Hospital that confirms the Norwegian is under treatment for transsexuality has made it easier for him to travel in Europe. He hesitates, though, to travel outside Europe.”

________________________

Lifted story by Korir,

Published by African Press in Norway, APN, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739,

Source: AftenpostenENG

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | 1 Comment »

Immigrants increase in Norway.

Posted by African Press International on January 27, 2007

“Norway has been a popular destination for workers from Poland for years, and now their families are arriving as well. Children from Poland now make up the biggest group in local schools and day care centers.

“When the world changes, we see it here in the classroom,” teacher Vigdis Glømmen at Bekkestua School in the Oslo suburb of Bærum told newspaper Aftenposten.

Pakistani and Somalian children were most prevalent at the school 30 years ago. Now Mikolaj Leksander, age 8, symbolizes the immigrant demographics of today.

Liberalization of European border restrictions and Poland’s membership in the EU have made it much easier for Polish citizens to get work in Norway. A booming economy in Norway means Norway needs the Polish labour, and the Polish workers enjoy much higher pay in Norway than they do back home.

Many families stay behind in Poland when the father, most typically, travels to Norway for months at a time. Now, however, more Polish families are coming along.

Mikolaj has only been in Norway for four months, but already is gaining a grip on the language and enjoys going to school in Bekkestua. “And I like to go skating, along with drawing and mathematics,” Mikolaj said.

The children attend a so-called “transitional” class until their Norwegian proficiency is good enough that they can join a regular class. The number of Polish children in such classes in Oslo was up 40 percent last year, over 2005.

Nearly 2,000 Polish workers applied to bring their families to Norway last year, double the number of applications the year before.”

__________________ 

Lifted story by Korir,

Published by African Press in Norway, APN, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739 Source:AftenpostenENG

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Kibaki to run for a second term as Kenya’s president.

Posted by African Press International on January 27, 2007

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki

<Mr Kibaki.

The Standard reports that, “President Kibaki has declared he is willing and ready for a second term. The President said he was prepared to continue serving Kenyans as Head of State. The announcement puts to rest months of speculation over his candidature in the coming General Election, whose date he will be the one to announce.”

The president has been quiet and had kept people guessing whether he was ready for the second term.

Now that he has declared his candidature people will now start Even as speculating on which party he will be its flag bearer. While declaring his, “interest in a second term, the President did not say on which party ticket he would be running. But his allies have said the President is with them in Narc-Kenya and is their candidate. Kibaki got the nod from Kenyans in 2002 through the efforts of his current rivals – former minister Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka and Mr Najib Balala. The group campaigned for him while he was being treated in a London hospital following a road accident along the Nairobi-Machakos junction.”

Standard reports, “Interestingly, as Kibaki was throwing himself in the ring for another term those he had parted ways with two years ago had returned to the same spot where he had an accident, to launch a campaign to remove him from power. Kibaki, who was meeting a delegation of Maasai elders from Narok and Baringo districts at State House, said he is a leader of action who did not believe in rhetoric. He said he should be judged by his actions towards making Kenya a better country for all.”

Kibaki has told the nation, “Since I assumed the leadership of this country, I have been working towards improving the welfare of Kenyans and you can see for yourselves what we have achieved. After one finishes his two terms, he should give room for others because we do not want people to stick to leadership beyond the stipulated period.”

Kibaki took over from Moi on December 30, 2002, “with a promise that the coalition that brought him to power would be an example for Africa on what united people could do, with a shared vision. The Constitution allows the President two terms of five years. Were Kibaki to be re-elected for a second term, he would leave office in 2012.”

While declaring his interest other politicians who spoke at the function were “ministers Gedion Konchella, Prof George Saitoti, Musikari Kombo and Njenga Karume, Assistant Minister Stephen ole Ntutu and Rift Valley PC Noor Hassan Noor, among others.”

Now that politicians like Kombo decided to speak at the function where the president declared interest to run for the second term, speculations will now start as to Kombo’s intentions. He may be trying to be near the president in an effort to be awarded with the vice presidential post if Kibaki wins a second term,

There is also a question of minimum reforms on the constitution that the opposition is pushing for before the coming elections. It is not known whether the government will give in to the pressure.

By Korir,

Published by African Press in Norway, APN, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739, source.standard.ke.bbc.ph

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Two shot dead by gangsters in Kenya

Posted by African Press International on January 27, 2007

Map showing location of Nairobi, KenyaTwo women have died after being gunned down as the car they sat in was being carjacked in Nairobi.

It is reported that the vehicle belongs to the US embassy.

BBC reports that, “at least one of the women appeared to have been shot for not getting out of the vehicle quickly enough, they said.”

The car was stopped at the outskirts of the city. “The incident took place in Kinoo, some 12 miles (20km) west of the capital. The men were armed with rifles.”

When going to press, “the identities of the women have not been released and the US embassy in Nairobi has not confirmed the incident.”

Kenya police spokesman Gideon Kibunjah is quoted by the media saying, “There was a person who was driving and an elderly lady who took too long to get out of the vehicle and the gangsters shot them and threw them out.”

The two were rushed to the hospital after the incident but were confirmed dead on arrival.

Nairobi has become dangerous because there are many gangsters who have become experts in carjackings. They target tourists and the rich.

By Korir,

Published by African Press in Norway, APN, africanpress@chello.no, tel. +47 932 99 739

source.bbc

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

A weekend scam or ….?

Posted by African Press International on January 27, 2007

APN received the email below and we feel it is right to publish it and let the readers judge.

We believe it is scam.

We publish it without corrections.

______________________________________________________________ 

—– Original Message —–

From: rita keita

To: rita_keita01@yahoo.co.uk

Sent: Friday, January 26, 2007 3:32 PM

Subject: SORROW AND TEARS FROM RITA KEITA

FROM RITA KEITA

NO 18 BURLEDA STREET

ABIDJAN COTE D.IVOIRE

MY DEAR

Happy newyear

i wish you blessing and prosperity this 2007

please i am in deep sorrow and tears writing to you,please dont hide your ear in listening me

my name is rita keita the first daughter of MISS RITA KEITA , my father joe Keita died last two years and my mother died on 17th of july 2006 in a brief illness and since then things are not the same and we are six in number five girls and one boy, i am the senior one in family, i am 19 years old, since my parent died no one care for us evn to go school we are not going to school again and most problem is that since my parent died my younger ones is always falling sick i will be runing up and down to fined medicine that i will give them so that they will get well and even to eat is a problem only what i do is that me and the one that i senior direct will go into the market begine to look for any person that will look for a helper that will help am carry his or her load we will go and help the person after that the person will give us small money then we take it buy food to eat, please may you have simpathy on us, i dont want to put myself in any bad behavior because sometime i will start to cry and my mind start telling me to go and sleep with men so that they give me money, but after i think and said that i will not do that thing, because my parent did not train me in that way, i plead you in the name of GOD to help us,i dont want to be a harlot, please any little amount that you can afford to give us even if the money will help me start a hawcking trade i will like it, than for me to be a harlot, but if i start hawcking trade any little money gain that come from it i will use it to take care of my younger ones, please may god touch you to help us, am not telling you to give us big money is only small money that i can use to start a small hawcking trade, instead for me to involve myself to be a harlot. Please me and my younger ones is plaeding for your help. thanks am waiting for your reply, may god bless you and your and your family.

yours sincerly;   RITA KEITA

____________________________

 To our readers: Judge the above. Is it a weekend scam?

Published by African Press in Norway, APN, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739

___________________

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Is it the end of the Jose era?

Posted by African Press International on January 27, 2007

COMMENT ON THIS STORY
 
DIDIER DROGBA has become the first Chelsea player to admit the Jose Mourinho era seems to be coming to an end.

The African goal machine has taken a vicious swipe at forces within the club he believes are deliberately undermining the Special One.

He claims team spirit has disappeared and blames perpetual feuding for the dramatic slide in Chelsea’s title defence.

Drogba also warned he would be tempted to follow Mourinho if he quit for another club, claiming the Premiership will be stale and joyless without the charismatic Portuguese.

The striker, 28, said: “We have lacked aggression and determination in the last few games and against Liverpool looked nothing like a team challenging for our Premiership title.

“Perhaps this is the end of the Mourinho era. Over the last few months it is true this Chelsea side has been unrecognisable. I only wish I knew where our team spirit has gone.

“I just cannot understand why Mourinho is being attacked — particularly from within his own club. It’s now obvious to all of us this club is no longer a compact unit.”

Drogba knows his contribution of 50 goals in little more than 100 games gives him some clout within the club — and he is not afraid to use it.

He recently signed a new £100,000-per-week contract taking him to 2010 but is already talking about quitting in protest at the treatment on Mourinho.

The Ivory Coast star said: “I know people are just going to turn around and say I am Mourinho’s pet but I simply don’t care. Jose truly is the Special One and it would be a shame for him not to continue here.
“The truth is that not everyone at this club is pulling in the same direction — and that is immensely dangerous.

“It is clear to the players that our bad results have only one explanation: The poor atmosphere around the club. It’s not rocket science or a big secret.

“As long as everybody is not on the same wavelength, the team will keep on struggling. Speaking personally I simply cannot understand why we have put ourselves in such a difficult situation.

“If people dismiss what I’m saying as keeping in with Mourinho then they are wrong. I know what I owe him and so do men like John Terry and Frank Lampard.

“The gaffer improved us as players and we have to support him now. If he was to leave, it’s not the case that I would just follow him blindly. But this is a man who made me come here, improved me as a player, helped me win trophies and who also extended my contract.

“I wouldn’t simply follow him anywhere but if he left and wanted me then I’d only have to ask myself a few questions.”

Drogba’s outburst is likely to anger Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who is already lining up Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini to replace Mourinho.

But it will steel the resolve of fans, players and staff who support the Blues’ boss. And they remain determined to retain their Premiership title for the boss.

Drogba added: “I know we don’t look or feel sure of ourselves at the moment. But we have to hang on to our belief and our dreams.

“The end of this season can still be wonderful and glorious. Perhaps we are only suffering a bad blip because of the atmosphere in the club.

“It’s clear some people in England don’t like him, but without Mourinho Chelsea simply wouldn’t be where they are now.

“In fact the Premiership also owes him. The boss’ provocative edge has also given a new lease of life to this league.

“Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are fine coaches but they will never be as ‘box-office’ as Jose Mourinho.

“If you are around him everyone has fun — he’s been fresh, new but, above all, talented.”

By Longstory/Cutshort

Published by African Press in Norway, APN, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Whitaker and Idi Amin

Posted by African Press International on January 27, 2007

Whitaker  met Amin’s family and generals for the role

Actor Forest Whitaker has told the BBC about the intense effort he put in to generate his Oscar-nominated performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King Of Scotland.
Forest Whitaker has already won a Golden Globe for his performance in the Last King of Scotland.

It charts the fictional relationship between Amin and a young, excited Scottish doctor, played by James McAvoy.

Whitaker is now odds-on to follow it with the best actor Oscar.

The actor went to the extent of learning Swahili for the role – taking him four months to lose the Ugandan accent after filming ended – as well as watching endless hours of footage of Amin’s speeches.

He also hung around the market in the capital Kampala, meeting people who knew the dictator.

“Everyone had stories,” he told BBC World Service’s On Screen programme.

“Many of the people I met had a dual feeling of him in the first place – some had relatives who had been killed during the regime, but there remained the feeling that he had also done certain great things for the country.

“That reconciliation was something that I needed to understand in order to play the character.”

Jovial and charismatic

Whitaker’s performance has been particularly praised for capturing Amin’s mannerisms and voice so much that he gives an utterly convincing performance despite not actually resembling the dictator very much.

“We don’t really look alike – I’m three shades lighter than him, 40-50lbs lighter than him, my face structure is different,” he said.

 
The Golden Globes are seen as indicators for the Oscars
“Luckily, I suppose that people felt the spirit of the man came across – and that’s great.”

Indeed, critics have noted at many points in the film, the man whose regime is estimated to have killed 300,000 people appears as pleasant, entertaining company.

“When I looked at the interviews and some of the documentaries that were made about him, I was struck by that ability he had to be jovial, to bring people in, to be charismatic,” Whitaker said.

“That was something I borrowed from the research.”

In fact, the film’s director, Kevin MacDonald, has said that he feared this more jovial side might dominate, and that Whitaker was not “dark-minded” enough to play Amin.

The actor said that had to find “areas of paranoia, fear and, at times, anger” in his performance, and was grateful that MacDonald moved production to Uganda early to give him time to prepare.

Whitaker added he had come to realise some of the difficulties for Amin, with hostile countries around and other leaders trying to kill him, coupled with his confusion of trying to lead the country with his simple soldier background.

“You can understand how some of these things could have occurred,” he added.

Meanwhile, he said that while he was very happy with the talk about a potential Oscar, he did not know what to expect.

“It’s always great when people talk well about your work,” he added.

“You certainly don’t know what will happen after the nominations.

“You just try to live in the positive energy that people seem to be putting out around me and my work – and around this film, because I think that kind of talk helps the film.”

By Longstory/Cutshort

Published by African Press in Norway, APN, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739 source.bbc

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

 
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