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Summit to target Zimbabwe crisis

Published on August 16, 2008, by in Latest News!.

Article Source: FendyBt2 Official Website

Southern African leaders are set to start a two-day summit in Johannesburg, with hopes that stalled talks on Zimbabwe’s power-sharing may resume.

The Sadc gathering will be chaired by South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been mediating in the talks.

Both Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai are planning to attend the summit.

But Botswana’s President Seretse Khama Ian Khama has refused to attend because of Mr Mugabe’s presence.

Botswana’s government said he did not want the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to give legitimacy to the widely condemned second round of Zimbabwe’s presidential election in June, in which Mr Mugabe was the only candidate.

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President Mbeki is expected to brief his fellow heads of state on the power-sharing negotiations in Zimbabwe when the summit opens.

Ahead of the meeting, the South African leader held talks separately with Mr Mugabe, Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and Arthur Mutambara, head of a breakaway MDC faction.

Earlier, a spokesman for the Zimbabwean president, Patrick Chinamasa, said the negotiations would resume on the margins of the summit.

Mr Chinamasa told the state-run Herald newspaper that there was increasing pressure within the country to convene parliament and form a new government.

“We cannot continue wandering around without direction,” he said.

But an aide to Mr Tsvangirai insisted prospects for any further talks at the summit depended “on the sincerity of Robert Mugabe”.

"We knew negotiations would be difficult, but a resolution that represents anything other than the will of the Zimbabwean people would be a disaster for our country"
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai

The MDC leader arrived in Johannesburg on Friday after being temporarily stopped from flying when his passport was confiscated at Harare airport. The government refused to comment on the incident.

Mr Mbeki said the power-sharing talks in Harare were adjourned on Tuesday to allow Mr Tsvangirai time for reflection.

Mr Mbeki also denied that there was a breakdown in negotiations after reports that Mr Mutambara had signed a separate deal with Mr Mugabe.

Mr Tsvangirai warned that “a resolution that represents anything other than the will of the Zimbabwean people would be a disaster for our country”.

Sticking points in the power-sharing talks are reported to include:

  • the balance of power between Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai
  • the makeup of any coalition cabinet
  • control of Zimbabwe’s security forces
  • the possibility of an amnesty over post-election violence

The BBC’s Jonah Fisher in Johannesburg says Zimbabwe’s problems have spilled far beyond its borders, so fears that Sadc leaders have about its economic freefall and political deadlock are much more than just neighbourly concern.

Mr Mbeki pushed government and opposition leaders for three long days this week, but a power sharing deal remains elusive and his approach will once again be under scrutiny, our correspondent says.

"We don’t think it’s proper to sit around with somebody who has not been elected by the people"
Phandu Skelemani
Botswana Foreign Minister

There are many who think Mr Mbeki, who continues to pursue what he calls a policy of “quiet diplomacy”, just has not pushed his Zimbabwean counterpart hard enough, he adds.

Mr Mbeki has said he is determined to reach a deal and has promised to stay in Zimbabwe for six months to get one if necessary.

Correspondents say Botswana’s unprecedented move shows mounting opposition to Mr Mugabe’s rule among Zimbabwe’s neighbours.

Its government said Mr Mugabe should not be allowed to attend Sadc gatherings until his Zanu-PF party reached a settlement with opposition groups.

“We agree with the mediation, but we don’t think that people who are in these negotiations… should be attending as if they have won an election,” Botswana Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani told the BBC.

Sadc Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao said he respected Botswana’s decision, but insisted the remaining 13 members could still make binding decisions


This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation

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People gather for soldier funeral

Published on August 12, 2008, by in Latest News!.

Article Source: FendyBt2 Official Website

Mourners are gathering for the funeral of a soldier from Edinburgh who was shot dead in Afghanistan.

Sgt Jonathan Mathews, 35, of The Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, died on 28 July.

He was killed while on foot patrol in Helmand Province after his party came under enemy attack.

The funeral service for Sgt Mathews, who was from Penicuik, Midlothian, will take place at the town’s Sacred Heart RC Church.

He was in Afghanistan providing mentoring and training for the Afghan Army.

The shooting happened west of the town of Lashkar Gah, as UK troops patrolled alongside Afghan army personnel.

The soldier’s battalion was attached to 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment.

He leaves a wife, daughter and stepson.

At the time of his death, his family issued a statement saying Sgt Mathews had trained all his life to join the army and loved what he did


This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation

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Holmes takes lead in USPGA test

Published on August 9, 2008, by in Latest News!.

Article Source: FendyBt2 Official Website

By Rob Hodgetts

American JB Holmes will take a one-shot lead into the third round of the 90th USPGA Championship after another brutal day at Oakland Hills.

Holmes shot 68 to edge to one under with England’s Justin Rose (67), American Ben Curtis (67) and South Korea’s Charlie Wi (70) on level par.

Conditions became more difficult as the day wore on and Holmes’ early lead was never threatened.

Sergio Garcia was two over after a 73 and Phil Mickelson ended three over.

Penal rough close to fairways and greens and slick putting surfaces were the cause of much angst as most of the 156-man field struggled in Michigan.

“It’s easily the hardest golf course I’ve played,” said Garcia, who double-bogeyed the short 17th.

"It’s the kind of round I’ve been looking for to get myself back on the leaderboard and feeling the good vibes"
Justin Rose

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and America’s 2001 champion David Toms also reached the safety of the clubhouse early to sit at one over after rounds of 69 and 70 respectively.

Alongside Garcia on two over were Argentine Angel Cabrera, Americans Brandt Snedeker and Ken Duke, Australian Aaron Baddeley and India’s co-overnight leader Jeev Milkha Singh.

World number two Mickelson gave himself plenty of chances but struggled to make any putts and dropped three shots in his last five holes.

Holmes, Rose, Curtis and Wi, though, were delighted with their efforts.

“I hit the ball really well today,” said Holmes. “Sixty-eight is a great score. I am glad I got in with that but I also felt I left a few out there.”

"Obviously I’m still just having a hangover after winning the Open"
Padraig Harrington

Rose, who is clinging on to the final automatic qualifying spot for the European Ryder Cup team, added: “I’m ecstatic with that round of golf.

“It is my round of the year for sure. It’s the kind of round I’ve been looking for to get myself back on the leaderboard and feeling the good vibes.”

Curtis, the surprise 2003 Open champion, said: “I know I can win another [major]. It’s all about taking the opportunities I’m given.”

Double Open champion Padraig Harrington, Birkdale runner-up Ian Poulter and Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth were in a group on five over, along with JM Singh’s fellow overnight leader Robert Karlsson, who shot 77.

“I just ran out of steam,” Harrington said. “It was a struggle for me. I did my best to be ready for the week but clearly I’m not. What can I say, the harder I tried the worse it got. I haven’t got the focus this week. I’m just not with it.

“Obviously I’m still just having a hangover after winning the Open.”

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Your thoughts on the USPGA

Poulter, also chasing a Ryder Cup spot, added: “You are just trying not to bleed to death out there. It’s just like the PGA slice your throat on the first tee, and you have to try and make it round to the 18th without dying.”

Paul Casey, Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen were among those to finish six over, while Andres Romero, who was in the lead at two under after 16 when play was called off on Thursday, slumped to seven over after a 78.

The cut came at eight over and Casey said: “I honestly think that anyone who makes the cut has a chance of winning.”

Among those to miss out were Darren Clarke (+11), Vijay Singh (+12), Ross Fisher (+13), Oliver Wilson (+14), Lee Westwood (+15), Nick Dougherty (+19) and Colin Montgomerie, who ended 20 over after a second-round 84.

“It’s very difficult out there and I made it more so,” said Montgomerie.

American Hunter Mahan, who claimed players were treated like “slaves” at the Ryder Cup, also finished on 20 over


This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation

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