- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 19, 2009

SOUTH AFRICA

HIV/AIDS treatment robust amid recession

PRETORIA | The global recession is not dampening America’s international drive to stop AIDS, the head of the campaign said Wednesday.

Eric Goosby also described a new era of cooperation with South Africa, the nation that bears the greatest AIDS burden and where officials are turning around policies once led by a president and a health minister who denied HIV causes AIDS.

International aid groups have expressed fears that the international economic downturn threatens AIDS funding. Mr. Goosby, who heads the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR, acknowledged the economy was a concern and that other U.S. government departments were cutting back.

But Mr. Goosby said President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have assured him that his program remains among “the highest priorities.”

SOMALIA

Woman stoned to death for affair

MOGADISHU | A judge for an Islamic militant group in Somalia says a woman has been stoned to death and her boyfriend given 100 lashes for having an affair.

Sheik Ibrahim Abdirahman, the judge for the group al-Shabab, says the woman was killed Tuesday in front of a crowd of about 200 people near the town of Wajid.

Sheik Abdirahman says the 20-year-old woman had an affair with a 29-year-old unmarried man and gave birth to a stillborn child.

The militants that control much of southern Somalia and have links to al Qaeda have imposed a harsh version of Islam’s Shariah law.

GABON

Bongo to make first foreign trip

PARIS | Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo, was expected to arrive in France on Wednesday for his first trip since he succeeded his father, who made Paris almost a second home as leader of the oil-rich former French colony.

Mr. Bongo’s trip comes less than three weeks after French judges threw out a lawsuit alleging that, under his late father, members of his family bought several luxury Paris properties with embezzled Gabonese public funds.

The elder Bongo, Omar Bongo Ondimba, was France’s closest ally in Africa throughout his 41-year reign and the key figure in the murky network of trade and political ties known to anti-corruption activists as “FranceAfrique.”

Bongo was one of three African presidents named in lawsuits by Transparency International, which monitors global corruption. He died in Spain in June.

NIGERIA

Competition with EU worries trade officials

ABUJA | Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest economy, will not sign free-trade deals with the European Union until it is sure it can comfortably compete, a minister said Wednesday.

“Nigeria has not signed the EPA,” Commerce and Industry Minister Achike Udenwa told Agence France-Presse, adding that “there are still negotiations going on.”

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are pacts that would require African and Caribbean nations to gradually open their markets to European goods in exchange for open access to European markets.

They are meant to replace trade deals that have previously given European countries preferential market access to former colonies.

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