- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2007

SOMALIA

Insurgency threatens stability in Horn

NAIROBI, Kenya — An increasingly sophisticated insurgency and political intrigue are threatening to tumble Somalia back into chaos and spread instability in the volatile Horn of Africa region, the Associated Press reported yesterday from Nairobi.

Diplomats, analysts and aid workers fear that unless Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi steps down or at least brings opponents into his government, violence will consume Somalia again.

Mr. Gedi said yesterday that almost daily attacks by insurgents are undermining the government’s ability to bring peace and assert authority. He made the comments while in Nairobi to appeal for $32 million in foreign aid to finance a Somali reconciliation conference next month.

SOUTH AFRICA

Government proposes new approach to HIV

JOHANNESBURG — The government yesterday proposed a five-year plan to halve the number of new HIV infections in South Africa, saying it had failed to persuade young people to change their sexual behavior.

It also said the country needs to better address the stigma associated with the disease, which discourages many people from being tested, and said it will expand its treatment and care program to cover 80 percent of people with AIDS.

The report’s frankness and the warmth with which it was received by AIDS activists marked a turnaround in official rhetoric about the killer disease after years of offering policies that many said went against medical advice. The health minister, in particular, has been criticized for promoting nutritional remedies such as garlic and lemons to fight the disease.

ETHIOPIA

5 Europeans freed; 8 Africans missing

ADDIS ABABA — Five Europeans freed by kidnappers said yesterday that they were treated well and expressed gratitude to the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia that led to their release.

However, in a statement from the British Foreign Office in London, the five diplomats and relatives said they were worried about eight Ethiopians abducted with the group who are still missing.

“We are very worried that the Ethiopians who were accompanying us are all still being held. We would not want anything to be said that might inadvertently jeopardize their safe release,” the statement said.

Weekly notes …

Billionaire George Soros in London pledged $3 million yesterday to fight a deadly strain of tuberculosis in Africa. Since an outbreak of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis — XDR-TB — was identified in South Africa last year, health specialists have issued warnings about its spread, but little concrete action has been taken. … South African trade unions and church leaders called their government’s tepid response to the political unrest in Zimbabwe shameful and damaging to South Africa’s post-apartheid reputation as an advocate of human rights. While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the European Union strongly denounced the Harare government for its brutal crackdown on dissenters this week, adjacent South Africa maintained that the problems could be resolved only by Zimbabweans.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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