DURBAN - The FIFA World Cup's legacy for South Africa is the education of youth through football, says Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe in Durban. "[FIFA president] Sepp Blatter put his head on the block by [showing] his confidence in South Africa," Motlanthe says, at a gala dinner to celebrate one hundred days before the start of the soccer tournament. He commends the work done by world soccer body FIFA, construction workers, engineers and sport administrators to prepare for the tournament, which starts on June 11. "We have ensured that we will host a successful tournament and that the quality of life for the vast majority of South Africans improves." Blatter spoke of the importance of bringing the World Cup to South Africa. "I was sure when I opened that envelope in 2004 that it would be Bafana Bafana," he says, referring to the day that South Africa was announced as the country to host the tournament. He thanked host cities for building stadiums that will enter "architectural history".
Africa & the world
NEW YORK - Families in some poor nations are trapped in cycles of illness and poverty as authorities fail to tackle chronic health problems or meet goals on child health and tuberculosis, scientists say. British and American researchers find that countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe with the highest rates of HIV/Aids and chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease are failing to meet goals on reducing child death rates and the spread of tuberculosis. Lesotho, for example, has seen a 25% rise in infant death rates over the past few decades and has one of the highest rates of HIV/Aids in the world, they write. In 2000, world leaders from 189 countries signed up to the Millennium Development Goals aiming to reduce child mortality by two-thirds and to halt and reverse the spread of tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/Aids by 2015. But the researchers say that tackling both chronic problems like heart disease and infectious diseases like tuberculosis at the same time can be far more effective than pursuing a narrow focus on a few diseases named in globally agreed targets. Reducing HIV - the virus that causes Aids - by 1%, or chronic diseases by 10% could help boost progress towards child health and tuberculosis targets by the equivalent of more than a decade of economic development, they say.
N'DJAMENA - Chad has accepted a United Nations (UN) proposal to extend the mandate of its peacekeeping force in the West African country to May 15, the UN secretary-general's special representative says. That gives the 5 000-strong mission, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (Minurcat), an extra two months after the force's mandate to secure aid for hundreds of thousands of refugees is due to expire. UN diplomats say they hope to use that time to work out a plan for a longer-term "phased withdrawal" of the force. Chadian President Idriss Deby says that he wants Minurcat to leave the country, while the UN says that withdrawing it would endanger refugees and civilians and humanitarian efforts. "We had a meeting with the President and later with the Prime Minister, and we have agreed that there will be an extension of two months . . . to May 15," Victor Angelo says. During the coming two months, Minurcat and the government will jointly plan the next steps, "with the understanding that there will be a serious reduction of military presence", Angelo says.
NIAMEY - Niger's military junta has named a 20-member provisional government which is intended to guide the West African uranium exporter to elections after last month's army takeover. Junta chief Major Salou Djibo has appointed five officers to the government in a decree. Last month, a junta spokesperson said that nobody who serves in the administration would be allowed to stand in elections, for which no date has been set yet. Apart from the Defence Ministry, headed by General Mamadou Ousseini, the other soldiers have been appointed to relatively minor departments. Civilian Prime Minister Mahamadou Danda, who was handed the job last month, keeps his position, according to the decree which was broadcast on State television.