Carole Landry

Annan defuses row in Kenya crisis talks

Chief mediator Kofi Annan on Wednesday put Kenya's crisis talks back on course toward a deal after defusing a row over his plan for a ''grand coalition'' government to end post-election turmoil. Annan had irked negotiators for President Mwai Kibaki when he told Parliament on Tuesday that a power-sharing government could be a way out of the crisis.

France prepares to stub out smoking in cafés

Smokers in France are enjoying their last leisurely puffs on a cigarette over coffee or a glass of rouge before café, restaurants and nightclubs join a nationwide ban on smoking on January 1. Eleven months after smoking was outlawed in workplaces, schools, hospitals and shops, the ban is extending to bars and bistros.

Russia prepares to vote with all eyes on Putin

Final preparations were under way in Russia on Saturday for parliamentary elections expected to hand a sweeping victory to President Vladimir Putin's party, just three months before presidential polls. From Kamchatka to Kaliningrad, 109-million voters are eligible to cast ballots on Sunday in Russia's fifth parliamentary elections since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

World powers pledge to step up Darfur efforts

France, the United States, China and 15 other nations agreed on Monday to redouble efforts to end bloodshed in Sudan's Darfur region by supporting a new peace force and negotiations on a settlement. ''The international community simply cannot continue to sit by,'' US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said at the end of the one-day conference.

France urges world to be firm with Sudan

French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged world powers on Monday to take a tough line with Sudan if it balks at efforts to end bloodshed in Darfur, and argued that ignoring the situation was tantamount to complicity. ''Silence kills,'' Sarkozy told ministers from 20 nations taking part in a one-day meeting in Paris to shore up the peace process in Darfur.

Move to end use of child soldiers

Fifty-eight countries agreed on Tuesday to take action to protect children from being recruited as soldiers in wars, joining for the first time an effort that has been largely confined to NGOs. The 58 countries that signed up to the so-called Paris commitments at the end of a two-day conference include 10 of the 12 nations where an estimated 250 000 children bear arms.

Just how far have we come since June 16 1976?

South Africa on Friday marked the 30th anniversary of the Soweto uprising, one of the bloodiest chapters of apartheid, amid renewed debate over whether whites should own up to the atrocities of the former regime. Hundreds of black youths died at the hands of police in Soweto during protests against the enforced use of Afrikaans in schools that began on June 16 1976.

SA running out of options over Zimbabwe crisis

South Africa is running out of ideas on how to pull Zimbabwe out of its crisis, turning to the United Nations to take the lead after a series of failures in tackling its biggest foreign policy headache. President Thabo Mbeki is now pinning his hopes on outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to resolve the Zimbabwean imbroglio, although Harare has rejected UN intervention.

Angola’s oil province on difficult quest for peace

Angola's rebel province of Cabinda is on a difficult search for a settlement to end decades of separatist fighting in this patch of land that is the lifeline of the country's oil boom. A peace overture from the Angolan government is being received with skepticism -- although not rejected -- in the poor northern province where offshore oil generates billions of dollars to Luanda's coffers.

Aristide builds case for return to Haiti

Exiled Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide defended on Wednesday his decision to return home in the face of US reluctance, saying it was his right as a citizen of the Caribbean nation. ''I have the right to be back,'' Aristide said in an interview with international news agencies in Pretoria.

Blair joins like-minded leaders for SA summit

British Prime Minister Tony Blair joins a dozen like-minded leaders at a game lodge in South Africa at the weekend to discuss ways to push for fairer trade rules and advance their shared agenda. The summit marks the seventh gathering of centre-left leaders since the club was created in 1999 by Blair and former United States president Bill Clinton.

Tsotsi shines with compassionate look at crime

South African film sensation Tsotsi is winning acclaim with its raw and compassionate depiction of Johannesburg's criminal underworld, where poverty and HIV/Aids are mainstays of existence. The film tells the story of a 19-year-old ''tsotsi'', or thug, who is confronted with the depravity of his life while caring for a baby found in the back seat of a car he hijacked after shooting the mother.

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