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/ 2 June 2008

UK: Mugabe’s presence at food summit ‘obscene’

Britain criticised as obscene the presence of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at this week’s global food summit in Rome, saying he had inflicted shortages on millions of his own people by his ”profound misrule”. Mugabe flew into Rome late on Sunday, making his first official trip abroad since elections condemned by Western leaders as fraudulent.

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/ 2 June 2008

Mugabe in Rome for food summit

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe flew into Rome for a global food summit on Sunday, his first official trip abroad since elections condemned by Western and opposition leaders as fraudulent. A British Foreign Office spokesperson said: ”It is a matter of concern to us and we would prefer that he did not attend.”

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/ 2 May 2008

Israel urged to end blockade of Gaza as talks begin

Israel will be urged on Friday to ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip to avert a humanitarian disaster as the Middle East ”quartet” meets to consider the state of the faltering peace process. Oxfam and five other United Kingdom aid agencies are calling for the quartet to end its ”complacency” by putting the ”highest diplomatic pressure” on Israel.

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/ 1 May 2008

Gordon Brown faces first electoral test

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, his popularity plunging and his reputation for economic competence under fire, faced his first electoral test on Thursday since taking over from Tony Blair in June. The local council seats up for grabs in England and Wales, alongside a high-profile clash to pick the next mayor of London, were last contested in 2004.

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/ 25 April 2008

Judges should have wisdom, wit and courage

Recently Chief Justice Pius Langa gave an address on the relationship between the media and the judiciary in which he said he hoped one day it might be possible for our judges to be ”ordinary” men and women. To be fair, he was responding to a question raising concern about the extraordinary pressure our transition is placing on judge.

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/ 23 April 2008

Ticket, please, Mr Blair …

Former British prime minister Tony Blair was left red-faced when he was caught travelling on a train without a ticket and said he had no cash to pay the fare, a report said on Wednesday. Blair was confronted by a ticket inspector as he travelled to Heathrow airport to catch a flight to the United States on Monday.

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/ 2 April 2008

Irish Prime Minister Ahern to step down

Bertie Ahern will step down as Ireland’s Prime Minister on May 6, bowing to pressure for him to go early following a series of embarrassing appearances in the witness stand at an anti-corruption tribunal. Ahern, flanked by his Cabinet colleagues, announced his intention to resign to reporters in Dublin.

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/ 30 March 2008

Prospect of French Nato return tilts power balance

The prospect of France returning to Nato’s military command after more than four decades of estrangement is tilting the balance of transatlantic relations. The United States is courting France as a new partner in leadership, overshadowing Britain and Germany, diplomats and analysts say, even though President Nicolas Sarkozy is likely to skirt the reintegration issue at this week’s Bucharest summit.

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/ 28 March 2008

Embroidered memories

The most psychologically intriguing possibility regarding Hillary Clinton’s recollection of coming under sniper fire in Bosnia is that, for her, the memory is entirely accurate. Regardless of what the conditions on the ground objectively were, she was frightened about going there and felt apprehensive throughout a tour which she hoped/feared might have to be abandoned.

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/ 27 March 2008

Makoni: Fixing Zim could take a decade

Restoring inflation-ravaged Zimbabwe to its previous status as a model of economic prosperity could take more than a decade, presidential challenger Simba Makoni said ahead of this weekend’s elections. In an interview late on Wednesday, he said he wanted to banish the climate of fear that he says now pervades the nation.