Monday 30 July 2012

News Roundup from Xinhua

1. Gunmen kill policeman, injure 2 soldiers in north Nigeria
DAMATURU, Nigeria, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Gunmen suspected to be from the Boko Haram militia group killed a policeman in Nigeria's northeastern city of Damaturu on Sunday, police confirmed.
State commissioner of police Patrick Egbuniwe told Xinhua Sunday night that the gunmen ambushed a patrol of the Joint Task Force around the Nasarawa area of the city, killing one policeman.
"Some gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect ambushed a patrol vehicle killing one mobile policeman," he said.
Egbuniwe said two soldiers were seriously wounded in the ambush and were receiving treatment at a hospital in Damaturu, Yobe State's capital.
He also disclosed that the security forces were able to repel the attackers before a reinforcement was sent to the area. (Xinhua)

2. Kenya rules out outbreak of Ebola in Kenya
NAIROBI, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's health officials have dismissed fears of a possible outbreak of Ebola in the East African nation after 13 people died and seven more cases have been diagnosed in neighbouring Uganda last week.
Public Health Director in the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation Dr. Shanhaz Sharrif assured Kenyans that all systems have been put in place to avert any outbreak of the deadly diseases in Kenya.
"We are well prepared. We have put all systems in place to avert any outbreak of Ebola disease in the country. Kenyans are free to travel to Uganda and come back without worrying," Sharrif told Xinhua by telephone on Monday in Nairobi.
Shariff's remarks come after the an outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever Ebola was confirmed in Kibaale district of Western Uganda by the ministry of health, killing 13 people and more than 7 other cases having been diagnosed.
Kibaale district has a total population of about 646,700 people and is located at around 200 kilometres west of the Ugandan capital Kampala, and around 50 kilometers from the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.
"We wish to assure Kenyans that there is no cause for alarm. We are well prepared to deal with Ebola or any other haemorrhagic fever virus infection. Kenyans are no fear and should go about their business as usual," Sharrif said.
Fears gripped Kenya in November last year after a hotel vegetable supplier died of suspected Ebola attack at the largest referral hospital in Nairobi where she had been rushed for emergency treatment.
The country's top physician later announced that the 29 year- old Gladys Muthoni who died at the Kenyatta National Hospital in November 2011, tested negative to the Ebola Virus and urged the public not to panic as there was no case of Ebola in the country.
People crossing the border to Kenya from Uganda are have been required to go for thorough screening to curb a spread of the deadly disease.(Xinhua)

3. Zimbabwe's Chamber of Mines sues Zambian airline
LUSAKA, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe's Chamber of Mines has sued a Zambian airline for breach of a contract in which the airline was supposed to provide a chartered aircraft from the Zimbabwe's capital- Harare to another town Victoria Falls Town, the Post of Zambia reported on Monday.
In a statement of claimed failed in a High Court in Zambia, the Chamber of Mines wants the court to order Zambezi Airlines to pay them 59, 040 dollars, being the sum paid for a chartered plane from Harare to Victoria Falls Town, which the airline failed or neglected to provide.
According to the statement of claim, the Chamber of Mines of Zambia said it contacted the Zambian airline to charter one of its aircraft from Harare International Airport to Victoria Falls Town on May 26, 2011 in order to ferry delegates who were scheduled to attend an annual general meeting , according to the Post.
Though the airline confirmed that the aircraft would be available and that a sum of 59, 040 dollars was transferred into the airline's account, the aircraft never arrived on the material day as per agreement, a move that forced the organization to charter another plane from Air Zimbabwe.
The organization has further complained that by reason of the airline's failure to provide the plane as agreed, they suffered special damages and loss.
But the airline's lawyers have asked the court to dismiss the claim with costs denying all the allegations against their client, the Post said.
The lawyers have submitted that there was miscommunication on the part of the plaintiff, which miscommunication caused the defendant to avail the aircrafts at a later time, at which plane the plaintiff's delegates refused to use. (Xinhua)

4. Israeli police investigate killing of Palestinian
JERUSALEM, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Israeli police said Monday that they have opened an investigation into a shooting incident in which border police troops opened fire at a Palestinian vehicle at a checkpoint north of Jerusalem earlier in the day, killing one person and wounding two others.
A police spokesman said officers repeatedly called out for the vehicle to stop and fired when its occupants failed to comply.
Palestinian medical sources said the Palestinians were traveling to pray in Jerusalem.
Two injured were transferred to a hospital in Ramallah. Another one who sustained critical injuries died of wounds shortly upon arrival at a hospital in Jerusalem.
Local daily Ha'aretz reported that an Israeli officer was lightly injured from shrapnel.
The police spokesman said the Palestinians "intended to harm the officers," according to the report. (Xinhua)

5. Escalating battles produce massive refugees in north Syrian
DAMASCUS, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Raging fighting in Syria's northern city of Aleppo have forced 200,000 Syrians to flee this week, and many more were trapped in the last two days, the United Nations said Sunday.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said in a statement that massive refugees have fled the most populous city and many are trapped, appealing for safe access to Aleppo for aid groups.
Amos said that many people in the commercial hub of some 2.5 million crowded into basements seeking refuge from the intense bombardment by artillery and helicopters.
"They urgently need food, mattresses and blankets, hygiene supplies and drinking water," she said. "I call on all parties to the fighting to ensure that they do not target civilians and that they allow humanitarian organizations safe access."
Helicopter gunships bombarded Aleppo and the thud of artillery boomed across neighborhoods as government forces and rebels fought for control of Syria's largest city.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, on a surprise visit to key ally Iran last week, said the rebels "will definitely be defeated" in Aleppo, even as a rebel commander boasted the city would become a "graveyard" for the army's tanks.
"We believe that all the anti-Syrian forces have gathered in Aleppo to fight the government ... and they will definitely be defeated," he told a joint news conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
A pro-government daily said last week that the battle in Aleppo was "the mother of all battles," adding that the army had started a very delicate operation to root out terrorism and regain control of the city.
The armed rebels were reported to have suffered heavy losses and retreated from one of the restive neighborhoods.
Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League joint envoy to Syria, expressed concern about the situation in Aleppo on Saturday, saying he feared an imminent battle there.
He urged both sides to hold back, saying only a political solution could end a conflict.
"The escalation of the military build-up in Aleppo and the surrounding area is further evidence of the need for the international community to come together to persuade the parties that only a political transition, leading to a political settlement, will resolve this crisis," he said.
The battles in Aleppo started a week ago, when the armed rebels started "to free Aleppo" after being dislodged from the capital. (Xinhua)

6. UN human rights envoy renews Myanmar visit
YANGON, July 30 (Xinhua) -- United Nations human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana is due to arrive Nay Pyi Taw via Yangon later on Monday on a trip to Myanmar to further assess the human rights situation in the southeast Asian country, according to official sources.
It is Quintana's sixth visit to Myanmar since he was appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the country in March 2008 and the third since a new government was installed in Myanmar in March 2011.
During his six-day mission until Aug. 4, Quintana will meet government officials, lawmakers, judicial officials, advisers to the President, Central Peace-Making Group and the National Human Rights Commission, the sources said, adding that he will be arranged to visit Sittawy, capital of western Rakhine state, hit by sectarian riot in June along with Maungtaw.
He is also scheduled to meet Rakhine ethnic organizations in Yangon during the visit.
Quintana last visited the country in February, during which, he said, he witnessed positive impact in the country but adding that serious challenges remain and be addressed.
Quintana encouraged Myanmar to demonstrate concrete progress in improving its human rights situation, calling on the international community to remain engaged and support and assist the government during this important time, especially before its assumption of the chairpersonship of ASEAN in 2014.
Quintana presented his assessment report to the UN Human Rights Council in March and the next report to the General Assembly be in October.
During his February Myanmar visit, Quintana toured Kayin and Mon states where he also met with local government chiefs. (Xinhua)

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