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Daily podcast – March 27, 2013.

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Daily podcast – March 27, 2013.

27th March 2013

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March 27, 2013.
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Zandile Mavuso.
Making headlines:

 

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A deal on a development bank eludes the Brics nations at the summit taking place in Durban.

Ethiopia's ruling coalition completes a smooth transition into power.

And, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommends that African troops in Mali become peacekeepers.

 

Brics nations failed on Tuesday to resolve differences over funding for, and the location of, a proposed joint development bank, indicating that the emerging powers group wouldn’t achieve the goal of a bank at a summit in South Africa.

Agreeing on the share of funding contributions for the Brics bank from each of the members – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – had already been a thorny issue for a group which brings together vastly disparate economies and governments.

The group wanted to set up its own development bank to reduce its reliance on Western financial institutions.

"There is positive movement, but there is no decision on the creation of the bank," Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said after finance ministers met before a formal summit of the Brics heads of state in the port of Durban.

 

Ethiopia's ruling coalition re-elected Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn as chairperson on Tuesday. This move completed a smooth transition after the death last year of his predecessor Meles Zenawi who kept a tight grip on power for 21 years.

Hailemariam, 47, was appointed premier in September, a month after the death of Meles, who was praised for steering economic growth into double figures but drew criticism from his opponents and rights groups for squeezing out dissent.

Peter Pham, director of the US-based Michael S. Ansari Africa Centre at the Atlantic Council think tank said the transition, which is the first peaceful transition in the history of modern Ethiopia, has gone smoothly.

Hailemariam said with the principles already set forth by the country’s late prime minister Meles Zenawi, he would carry on with efforts to develop Ethiopia.

 

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended to the Security Council on Tuesday that the African force currently in Mali should be converted into a UN peacekeeping operation and a separate combat force should be created to confront Islamist threats.

In a report to the 15-member Security Council, Ban recommended that the African force, known as AFISMA, become a UN peacekeeping force of some 11 200 troops and 1 440 police, but only once major combat ends.

The Security Council was due to be briefed on Wednesday regarding Ban's recommendations and diplomats hope a vote to approve the peacekeeping force can take place by mid-April. The UN-backed African force in Mali is due to take over from France when it starts withdrawing its 4 000 troops from the country in late April.

 

Also making headlines: 

Sudan asks rebel groups to help it prepare a new constitution as tensions in that country ease.

South Africa jails a Nigerian militant for 24 years for masterminding two deadly car bombings in the Nigerian capital.

Guinea's opposition leaders abandon talks with the government and threatened to resume their street protests

And, Kenya's Supreme Court hears a petition challenging the victory of Uhuru Kenyatta in the recent elections.

 

That's a roundup of news making headlines today.

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