Angola + 4 more

Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 30 November

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ZIMBABWE: Cholera outbreak
Eight people have died of cholera following an outbreak in the north of the country, the official daily, 'The Herald' reported on Tuesday.

The deaths were reported in Mashonaland West. The newspaper quoted health officials as saying 130 people had contracted the disease over the past month.

ZIMBABWE: Foreign currency restrictions

Zimbabwean exporters holding corporate foreign currency accounts will have to change half their holdings into local currency within 60 days under a plan by Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa to support the country's dwindling foreign exchange reserves, media reports said on Tuesday.

Last year all corporate foreign currency accounts were ordered closed, but in August, they were reopened on orders from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Analysts said the move follows the IMF's decision in October to suspend funds to Zimbabwe over confusion on the cost of its intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and failure to heed economic reform recommendations.

ZIMBABWE: Rights group warns on journalists

The World Association of Newspapers said on Tuesday it had written to President Robert Mugabe expressing its concern at alleged threats against three Zimbabwean journalists.

Bengt Braun, president of the Paris-based association, which claims to represent more than 17,000 publications in 93 countries, described the threats against the three, Ray Choto, Basildon Peta and Ibbo Mandaza, as serious. "We respectfully remind you that it is the duty of the state to ensure that journalists are able to carry out their professional duties without fear of attack and intimidation," the letter said. "We urge you to do your utmost to ensure that Mr. Choto, Mr. Peta and Mr. Mandaza are able to continue carrying out their professional duties in safety." The letter was copied to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General, of UNESCO.

MOZAMBIQUE: SA troops deployed for elections

South Africa has deployed more than 100 members of its Defence Force in northern Mozambique to assist in the country's second democratic elections, the South African Press Association reported on Tuesday.

The troops will use five helicopters and three planes to fly about one million ballot papers to outlying areas which cannot be reached by road, it said, adding that the Mozambique government had requested South Africa's help.

MOZAMBIQUE: Opposition party cites harassment

The main opposition party in Mozambique, RENAMO, has said that harassment of its officials is endangering the fairness of the forthcoming general elections in parts of the western province of Tete, PANA news agency reported on Tuesday.

It quoted RENAMO election office spokesman, Gulamo Jafar, as telling a news conference that in three districts of Tete "we run the risk of not being able to appoint polling station monitors" - a right to which all parties are entitled. He said "aggression and harassment" by the ruling FRELIMO party and the local authorities might make it impossible for RENAMO to recruit monitors for the areas concerned.

ANGOLA: Japanese aid

Japan has announced a new emergency aid package of US $3.8 million for Angola though the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.

In a dispatch quoting the foreign ministry, it said the funds would be used to help feed people some of the hundreds of thousands displaced in fighting between government forces and UNITA rebels.

BOTSWANA: US gives money to fight AIDS

The US government will donate a significant amount of its US $1 billion anti-AIDS funding to Botswana to help fight the pandemic in a country where it is estimated that one in every eight people are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, media reports said.

The reports quoted outgoing US ambassador to Botswana, Robert Krueger, as saying that Botswana will get millions of dollars, although he did not reveal the exact amount pending an announcement by Botswana's government. The main components of the donation will focus on prevention, better care for HIV positive sufferers, assisting AIDS orphans and establishing a training and counselling centre, the reports added.

SWAZILAND: Constitutional review

The chairman of the Swaziland Constitutional Review Commission, Prince Mangaliso, has said the commission will complete its survey for submission to King Mswati by the year 2001, PANA news agency reported on Tuesday.

Prince Mangaliso told a news conference that the canvassing of public views would be completed by August, prior to a full analysis. The commission has already solicited the views of over 18,000 people around the kingdom which shares borders with Mozambique and South Africa. PANA also quoted him as saying there was no guarantee that the next general elections in 2003 would be conducted under a new constitution. Earlier this year, King Mswati set December as the commission's deadline, but he later extended it to 2000.

[ENDS]

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