Thursday, March 18, 2010
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Brad Dubbelman.
Zimbabwe's feuding leaders were upbeat yesterday about talks brokered by South African President Jacob Zuma to help resolve differences in their unity government.
The year-old power-sharing deal has stabilised the economy but squabbling within the fragile alliance over policy and the slow pace of reforms have held back progress and stand in the way of fresh elections.
Both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were positive after talking separately with Zuma in a central Harare hotel yesterday, where all the parties are due to meet today.
Zuma was appointed to mediate in the crisis by the Southern African Development Community, taking over from former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who brokered the original deal in late 2008.
The world's poorest nations are likely to become increasingly dependent on food imports, while global exports become more concentrated in a few countries, said United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation economist Alexander Sarris yesterday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Agra Europe's Outlook for Agriculture 2010 conference, Sarris said that many least developed countries, or LDCs, are not only becoming more import dependent, but becoming less able to afford the imports. Supplies will also become more focused in countries such as Russia and Brazil, which have unused fertile land and may obtain more strategic importance in exchange for food, he said.
Sarris said that the concentration of production in some areas will lead to an increase in global trade. "Despite countries calling for food self-sufficiency it looks like we are going towards more trade," he said, adding that agriculture does, however, offer a much-needed opportunity to generate growth in developing nations.
President Jacob Zuma has requested a report from the South African Police Service (SAPS) on an incident between his protection unit and a reporter. It was reported yesterday that 702 Eyewitness News reporter Tshepo Lesole was grabbed by bodyguards and forced to delete pictures he had taken while Zuma was visiting the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital on Tuesday.
Zuma's spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said that the Presidency recognises the need for the media to be able to freely and effectively cover the President's activities, while recognising that the Presidential protection unit has a responsibility to guarantee the President's safety at all times. Magwenya said that Zuma's protection was the responsibility of the SAPS and that the Presidency played "no direct role in this function".
Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille has asked President Zuma for an urgent meeting to discuss the issue of so-called "blue-light bullies".
Also making headlines:
South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says that he will not make his HIV/Aids test results public as this may put pressure on others to do so.
The United Nations Security Council demands that the Côte d'Ivoire holds much-delayed elections as soon as possible.
South African President Jacob Zuma is to visit Uganda with a business delegation to scout for investment opportunities in the country's budding oil sector.
And, Nigeria's Acting President Goodluck Jonathan dissolves the Cabinet in a bid to consolidate his authority.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.