Inflation rate soars past record
HARARE — Zimbabwe‘s inflation rate has leapt to a record high, official data showed yesterday, raising pressure on President Robert Mugabe to ease an economic crisis that foes hope will weaken the veteran leader.
Zimbabwe’s inflation rate — already the highest in the world — hit 7,634.8 percent last month, reminding Zimbabweans there is no relief in sight from daily hardships including chronic food, fuel and foreign currency shortages.
Although the government says the inflation figure is correct, many analysts and critics say it is likely much higher. The International Monetary Fund said last month that inflation may reach 100,000 percent by year’s end.
Mr. Mugabe has accused some businesses of raising prices without justification as part of a Western plot to oust him.
Nutrition for AIDS no substitute for drugs
JOHANNESBURG — Good nutrition, while important for those on antiretroviral medication, does not prevent HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, a study by South African scientists said yesterday.
The Academy of Science of South Africa found “no evidence that healthier eating is any substitute for correctly used medical drugs.”
“The panel has concluded that no food, no component made from food, and no food supplement has been identified in any credible study as an effective alternative to appropriate medication,” said lead researcher Barry Mendelow.
South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has claimed that the use of garlic, lemon and other vegetables — earning her the nickname Dr. Beetroot — could contain the epidemic.
10,000 refugees arrive from Congo
KAMPALA — As many as 10,000 Congolese refugees have crossed the border into Uganda in the past two days, fleeing violence in their villages, local government officials said yesterday.
Some said they fled after villagers protested the failure of U.N. peacekeepers to improve security in their remote southeastern Congolese territory.
Refugees told of demonstrators hurling rocks at U.N. troops, and some said they feared the situation would deteriorate, said David Masereka, the district commissioner of Kisoro, which sits along the border with Congo.
Darfur rebel faction reconsiders talks
NAIROBI, Kenya — A leading Darfur rebel faction said yesterday that it was reassessing its commitment to an internationally sponsored peace initiative in the light of raids by Sudanese government forces.
“On Monday night, government of Sudan forces attacked Kalma camp [in southern Darfur] with some 35 Land Cruisers and 1,500 troops,” said Nouri Abdalla, a spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Movement faction of Ahmed Abdel Shafi.
“Five people were killed in the raid, two of them were children and around 40 rebels were arrested,” he told Agence France-Presse by phone from Kampala. The casualties could not be independently verified.
Insecticide nets halve child malaria deaths
NAIROBI — Kenya last week announced it almost halved malaria deaths among small children by using insecticidal nets, spurring the World Health Organization to advocate free nets for all as it tackles Africa’s deadliest disease.
Health Minister Charity Ngilu said distribution of 13.4 million nets over the past five years among children and pregnant women had helped curtail infections, a key success against a disease threatening 40 percent of the world’s population.
Malaria kills 34,000 children younger than 5 each year in Kenya, and threatens the lives of more than 25 million of its population of 34 million people, the ministry said.
From wire dispatches and staff reports