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/ 23 May 2008

Ban: Burma agrees to allow in ‘all’ aid workers

In an apparent breakthrough for delivering help to millions of Burma’s cyclone survivors, the military government agreed to allow in ”all” aid workers, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said on Friday. The UN Secretary General met junta supremo Than Shwe in his remote new capital of Naypyidaw for more than two hours to ask him to permit more foreign expertise.

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/ 23 May 2008

Impassive Burma junta chief greets UN’s Ban

With an impassive handshake, BUrma junta supremo Than Shwe greeted Ban Ki-moon in his remote new capital on Friday at the apex of a high-stakes aid mission by the United Nations chief for the victims of Cyclone Nargis. The 75-year-old Senior General’s stony-faced silence gave no clues as to whether he would overcome his deep suspicions of the outside world.

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/ 3 May 2008

Mugabe to contest Zimbabwe run-off

Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe accepted that the opposition’s Morgan Tsvangirai won more votes in the presidential election and will contest a run-off in a political battle that has raised fears of bloodshed. Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) cried foul after Zimbabwe’s electoral body announced on Friday that he had won 47,9% of the vote

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/ 31 March 2008

Zimbabwe election results trickle out

Zimbabwe’s opposition was level with President Robert Mugabe’s party and two of his ministers lost their seats on Monday as election results trickled out, but counting delays fuelled suspicions of rigging. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said unofficial tallies showed Morgan Tsvangirai had 60% of the presidential vote.

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/ 29 March 2008

Merkel won’t attend opening of Beijing Olympics

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Friday became the first world leader to decide not to attend the Olympics in Beijing. As pressure built for concerted Western protests to China over the crackdown in Tibet, European Union leaders prepared to discuss the crisis for the first time on Saturday, amid a rift over whether to boycott the Olympics.

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/ 10 March 2008

Zim slams election smear campaign

A ”virulent and vicious” smear campaign is being waged against Zimbabwe over the list of observers invited to witness the country’s elections on March 29, the country’s ambassador to South Africa, Simon Moyo, said on Monday. The campaign is being driven by the West and certain sections of the South African media, he said in a statement.

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/ 29 February 2008

Sudan told to speed deployment of peacekeepers

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband called Friday for Sudan to speed up the deployment of peacekeepers to Darfur and to end aerial bombing in the troubled region’s western districts. Miliband said the international community is united in the need for a hybrid United Nations-African Union force, but the effort is stalled by a lack of necessary support from Khartoum.

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/ 29 January 2008

Kenyan forces struggle to contain violence

Kenyan security forces struggled on Tuesday to contain escalating violence as the post-election unrest claimed its first victim among the country’s politicians. Heavily armed Kenyan army soldiers patrolled the volatile Rift Valley capital, Nakuru, on Tuesday while paramilitary police guarded the town of Naivasha, the new epicentre of tribal fighting.

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/ 17 January 2008

Russian envoy: ‘Now we really have a crisis’

The diplomatic stand-off with Russia entered a dangerous new phase on Wednesday as British officials denounced ”a pattern of intimidation” by Russia’s security services against British Council staff. The Foreign Office complained of unacceptable behaviour, after Russians working at British Council offices were called in for questioning by the FSB.

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/ 16 January 2008

UK warns Russia after council staff summoned

Britain warned Russia on Wednesday that any attempt to intimidate staff of its cultural arm was ”completely unacceptable” after Russia’s state security service summoned local employees to speak to its officers. Britain’s consulate in St Petersburg said the British Council office in the northern city had been forced to shut temporarily.

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/ 11 January 2008

Kenya opposition to resume mass action

Kenya’s opposition said on Friday it planned to restart protests across the East African nation against President Mwai Kibaki’s disputed re-election after the failure of African Union mediation. Kibaki’s government has made clear it will not tolerate opposition marches. Previous protests have led to bloody clashes between opposition supporters and security forces.

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/ 8 January 2008

Peace talks rejected in Kenya

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki announced part of his new Cabinet on Tuesday, including Amos Kimunya as Finance Minister, amid a political crisis that has cost nearly 500 lives. Meanwhile, opposition leader Raila Odinga has rejected bilateral talks with Kibaki, dimming hopes for a breakthrough to end the turmoil.

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/ 4 January 2008

UK police team in Pakistan for Bhutto probe

A British police team flew into Pakistan on Friday to help probe the killing of Benazir Bhutto after President Pervez Musharraf admitted he was unhappy with his country’s handling of the investigation. The detectives from an elite anti-terrorism team at Scotland Yard flew in amid raging controversy over the assassination of the opposition leader.