Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another democracy threatens the Mideast

Another democracy threatens the Mideast
Published: May 08, 2008
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The 60th anniversary of Israel's founding has understandably focused much of the attention of Middle Eastern analysts on this old and familiar problem. But if they think this remains the prime security issue for the region, they may be looking in the wrong direction.

India this week successfully completed the testing program of its nuclear-capable Agni-3 missile, designed and developed by the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

The third test launch took place May 7, and flew 3,000 kilometers to its targeted impact site in the Indian Ocean south of the equator from the Dhamra base in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. The full range is 3,500 kilometers, which would bring Shanghai most of southern China into its range.

Welcome to the new security landscape of Asia, with China and India now capable of repeating what in the bad old days of the Cold war used to be called "the balance of terror" between nuclear superpowers.

Since India and China are each dependent on Middle Eastern oil exports which pass through the Indian Ocean, good relations between these two Asian giants is of prime importance to all Middle Eastern countries. And having less than comfortable memories of living under a similar state of nuclear deterrence between two superpowers during the Cold War, the Middle East is going to have to get used to it all over again.

Of course, the relationship between India and China is far more open and friendly than that between the United States and the old Soviet Union. And there are further nuclear complications in the region involving Israel and Pakistan and the possible nuclear ambitions of Iran.

India has already brought into operational deployment the 700-kilometer-range Agni-1 missile, which is presumably targeted on Pakistan, and the 2,000-kilometer-range Agni-2 missile, which can reach Iran and much of the Gulf. Even before its expected "stretch" to a 5,000 kilometer range, the new Agni-3 missile is capable of hitting targets across the entire Middle East, as well as deep inside China.

Like the nuclear weapon the Agni-3 is intended to carry, the missile is a product of home-grown Indian technology. By contrast, Pakistan's shorter-range missiles depend on Chinese and North Korean technology. Indeed, the Indians are frustrated at the lack of any progress on the vaunted American promise of technological cooperation on space and rocketry. And the U.S. still bans any country from using an Indian launch vehicle to launch a satellite that contains even a single U.S.-made component.

Despite American foot-dragging, India is a nuclear power with the missile capabilities to exert wide regional influence. It also deploys the most formidable navy in the region, which will be even more capable once the fleet of new French-built Scorpene submarines take to sea. The Middle East is going to have to learn to live with another democratic superpower flexing muscles in its back yard.

Monday, May 5, 2008

South Africa: New Stats Show Millions More HIV Positive
Cape Argus (Cape Town)

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Cape Argus (Cape Town)

4 May 2008
Posted to the web 4 May 2008

Eleanor Momberg

Shocking new Aids statistics reveal that 2 million more South Africans are infected with HIV than the most recent government estimates show.

According to statistics released by the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), more than 7,6 million South Africans are HIV-positive - 2,2 million more than the department of health's figures for 2007 state.

Of these, about 6,1 million are the economically active people between the ages of 20 and 64, who could contribute to the country's economy.

What makes these statistics more alarming is the fact that the data on which they are based are probably more reliable than the department of health's because they were collected at grassroots level and not based on estimates.

The DBSA's 2007/2008 statistics state that:

* 7,6 million South Africans are HIV-positive;

* more than 27 percent of men and women aged between 20 and 64 are HIV positive;

* more than 92 000 babies have been infected, either perinatally or through mother's milk, in the past year;

* the total number of Aids sick by mid-2007 was 1 287 844;

* nearly 722 000 people have died of Aids-related diseases in the past year, bringing the total number of such deaths since 2003 to more than 3,7 million;

* in 2003, the accumulated total Aids-related deaths stood at just under 1 million; and

* 1,2 million of the country's 1,49 million orphans have lost their parents to Aids and this number is expected to increase by more than 336 000 this year alone.

In contrast, the department of health stated last year that there were 5,4 million HIV-positive people in South Africa in 2006. And the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) estimated in its statistical summary for 2000 to 2015 that there would be 5,6 million HIV-positive people in the country this year.

The ASSA had also estimated that there would be 370 000 Aids deaths in 2008.

UNAids stated in its 2006 Global Report that 18,8 percent of the population of South Africa was infected, and that 320 000 people died of Aids-related deaths in the country during 2005.

The latest DBSA information on one of the biggest killers in South Africa was collected from clinics, local municipalities, development planners, morgues and funeral homes.

Updated annually, the figures are used by the bank to determine funding for municipal projects, such as the upgrading of infrastructure.

Mark Heywood, the director of the Aids Law Project at the University of the Witwatersrand, said the new data, although untested, reflected the fact that the Aids pandemic remained a massive challenge for the country.

"If these figures are accurate, the number of people dying is increasing and the number of people who should be receiving anti-retrovirals, and are not, is increasing," said Heywood.

"The social cost of this is going to be enormous. We are not doing enough as a country and there is a danger that we are becoming complacent because there are now institutions such as the National Aids Council, as well as the fact that the government's approach to HIV and Aids has changed."

The DBSA figures show that South Africa, a country with one of the highest HIV and Aids rates in the world, is reaching the peak of HIV infections and that intervention programmes are beginning to show some success.

Johan Calitz, a senior demographer at the DBSA, attributed the decrease in infections in some regions to the success of nutrition schemes run by NGOs, other non-governmental intervention programmes and the government's roll-out of antiretroviral drugs.

He said the number of infections was expected to "level out" by 2010, but that the death rate would continue to accelerate in the foreseeable future.

"I think it will drop from 2010, and that from 2014 the population will begin to stabilise," he said, adding that this was on the condition that rates of immigration did not increase.

Although the birthrate is declining nationally, and in particular in Gauteng, there is an increase in the total number of HIV-infected babies being born.

Prevalence rates at antenatal clinics have increased to 31,67 percent - up 2 percent from last year.

The good news is that the number of new infections in KwaZulu-Natal - the province worst affected by the pandemic - have dropped dramatically among adults aged between 20 and 59, despite the dramatic increase in the number of its Aids orphans.
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Of concern, Calitz said, was the very high percentage of economically active people between the ages of 20 and 64 who were HIV positive - more than 3,5 million women and more than 3,4 million men.

In Gauteng, there has been a marked decline in children under the age of four, down about 21 000 since 2003. Yet, there are about 2 000 more children under the age of four with HIV.

Some of the highest rates of infection now appear to be among men over 50 and women over 40, with the rate among those adults of child-bearing age apparently slowing down due to illness and death.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

How to Conquer Georgia

How to Conquer Georgia
30 April 2008By Yulia Latynina
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Letters to the editor should be sent by fax to (7-495) 232-6529, by e-mail to, or by post. The Moscow Times reserves the right to edit letters.

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Over the weekend, Foreign Ministry official Valery Kenyaikin cautioned Georgia against using NATO forces to resolve the territorial conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, saying Moscow would take "all possible measures to protect its citizens if fighting broke out" in these areas. It seems as though Russia is preparing for war with Georgia.

A few days ago I returned from Chechnya, where I observed the swift, bloodless routing of the Vostok regiment by military groups loyal to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. Vostok is a local military unit in Khankala, Chechnya, composed of ethnic Chechens that is formally a part of the 42nd Division of the General Staff's Main Intelligence Directorate.

There are several reasons why Vostok was defeated. When Kadyrov cracked down on the unit, Vostok's commander, Sulim Yamadayev, could not come to Chechnya for four days. While Kadyrov's forces were rounding up and bullying Vostok's fighters, Yamadayev was attending a meeting at the Defense Ministry.

In the first Chechen war, then-Brigadier General Yamadayev was probably in the mountains leading his troops, rather than attending meetings in Moscow. How effective can an army be when, during a military flare-up, its commander is attending meetings in Moscow instead of leading its troops on sight, where the conflict is taking place?

Second, while the defeated Vostok soldiers were chastised for "selling out to the Russians," Yamadayev's own division commander told the Vostok troops that their leader, Yamadayev, had been placed on a wanted list for his suspected criminal activity. I don't know who the Vostok soldiers sold out to, but it is clear who Yamadayev's division commander betrayed. Can an army wage war with a division commander like this?

Third, Vostok's commanders did not pay the unit's soldiers their salary in full. Officers simply faked the signatures in the payrolls, and professional soldiers received less than what their contracts stipulated. This is common practice in the Russian armed forces, and you can imagine how this helps increase recruitment into so-called elite, professional military units. Sometimes, officers line conscripts up outside at 6:30 a.m. in temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius and tell them that they cannot return to their barracks until they sign contracts for professional military service. Can this type of army ever be fit for battle?

With these three elements taken into account, the Foreign Ministry's declaration that Russia will wage war if NATO invades Abkhazia is just as plausible as a declaration to protect Abkhazia in the event of a Martian invasion.

If Moscow is truly serious about defending Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it must send troops -- and not just additional peacekeeping forces -- there instead of merely making a lot of noise. Making empty threats like Kenyaikin's is a no-win tactic any way you look at it. By doing so, Moscow is perceived as an irresponsible and irrational state and doesn't gain any territory. In the end, Russia is neither feared nor respected.

There is a simple rule that is well known even to street bandits: If you brandish your gun, be prepared to fire. But when Moscow whips out its gun, it only shouts, "We are offended," and then shoves the pistol back into its holster.

But all is not lost. I have a proposal for our leaders that will help them conquer Georgia -- and it is quite simple. All the Kremlin has to do is to convince Georgian officers to attend a training course at the Defense Ministry. This would be a brilliant military tactic. We will teach the Georgian officers to attend meetings instead of battles.

Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.

Russia Will Send More Troops to Abkhazia

Russia Will Send More Troops to Abkhazia
30 April 2008By Matt Siegel / Staff WriterThe Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday that Russia would bolster its peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia in response to Georgian plans to invade the breakaway region.

Tbilisi denied that it had plans to invade the region, which has enjoyed de facto independence from Georgia since a separatist war in the 1990s.

The exchange marked a significant escalation in tensions between the two countries.

The Foreign Ministry said it had intelligence that Georgia had moved more than 1,500 servicemen into the upper Kodor Gorge region and was preparing "a bridgehead" in advance of an invasion.

"According to the information coming in, including from CIS peacekeepers in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone, Georgia is sending weapons, fuel and lubricants, food and other technical means, as well as personnel of the Georgian armed forces to Upper Kodor," the ministry said in a statement.

Russia already maintains a sizeable peacekeeping force in Abkhazia and another breakaway region, South Ossetia. Tbilisi accuses Russia of propping up the rebel governments.

Georgian Deputy Defense Minister Batu Kutelia said Interior Ministry servicemen were in Kodor Gorge but denied the presence of Defense Ministry forces.

"What we have there are only police forces to ensure security for the local population," he told Reuters.

"All recent UN monitoring missions confirmed that Georgia is behaving in this region in accordance with previous agreements," he said.

The United Nations monitoring mission in Tbilisi could not be reached to confirm Kutelia's comments on Tuesday. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which also has monitors in the region, was unable to comment on security conditions within the conflict zone.

Russia's Defense Ministry, meanwhile, vowed to use military force if necessary to protect Russian citizens in Abkhazia. Most residents in the region have Russian passports.

The ministry said in a statement that it would deliver "a suitable and tough response" to anyone who attacked Russian citizens, echoing comments made Friday by Valery Kenyaikin, the Foreign Ministry's special envoy for the Commonwealth of Independent States.

UN foreign policy chief Javier Solana planned to urge for calm from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday, said spokeswoman Christina Gallach. The pair was meeting in Luxembourg as part of ongoing EU-Russia talks.

"The basic message [Solana] is going to say is that we're right now in a process of escalation of tension and what we have to do on all sides is to calm down," she said by telephone from Luxembourg.

Relations between the two countries worsened earlier this month after Georgia accused the Russian military of shooting down an unmanned spy plane over Abkhazia, a charge denied by Moscow.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili convened an emergency meeting of his Security Council on Tuesday, the second such meeting in less than two weeks. Afterward, Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze told reporters that "from now on, we will consider any additional soldier or military hardware [in the Abkhaz conflict zone] as illegal, as potential aggressors and a potential source of destabilization." Saakashvili was to address the country on Georgian national television on Tuesday night. The address was to be made specifically to the residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Itar-Tass reported.

NATO meets on escalating Georgia-Russian tensions

NATO meets on escalating Georgia-Russian tensions
Published: April 30, 2008
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BRUSSELS: NATO ambassadors discussed escalating tensions between alliance hopeful Georgia and Russia on Wednesday ahead of a meeting with Moscow's NATO envoy.

The regular meetings come after Russia on Tuesday sent extra peacekeeping troops to Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region to counter what it called Georgian plans for an attack, prompting the European Union to accuse Moscow of stoking tensions.

A NATO spokesman said Georgia would be discussed at both meetings, but declined further comment.

On Monday, NATO ambassadors met Georgian presidential envoy David Bakradze in Brussels. They reiterated support for Georgia and criticized Russian warnings about the possible use of force.

In a further show of support, the 26-nation military alliance also announced plans for the envoys to visit Georgia before the end of the year.
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NATO accuses Russia of stirring tensions in rebel Georgia areas

The mounting crisis between the two ex-Soviet neighbors has alarmed Georgia's Western allies, who see Georgia as a future NATO member and a vital energy transit route.

After discussing Georgia with EU ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated that Moscow would use military force if Georgia attacked Abkhazia or a second Georgian separatist region, South Ossetia.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said after the talks that the Russian deployment of extra peacekeepers in Abkhazia was unwise at a time of rising tensions and reiterated EU support for Georgia's territorial integrity.

On Wednesday, Dimitrij Rupel, foreign minister of EU president Slovenia, said the European Union wanted to see the situation resolved in a "tolerant and diplomatic manner."

"After yesterday's talks I believe that this will happen," he told a news conference in Ljubljana.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom in Brussels and Manca Ulcar in Ljubljana.

U.S. says Iran, Syria destabilizing region

U.S. says Iran, Syria destabilizing region
By CLAUDE SALHANI (Editor, Middle East Times)
Published: April 30, 2008
A U.S. air force F-22 Raptor aircraft refuels 26,000 feet above Alaska. "Terrorists consider information operations a principal part of their effort," the latest country report on terrorism says, adding: "Use of the Internet for propaganda, recruiting, fundraising and, increasingly, training, has made the Internet a 'virtual safe haven.'" (Photo by DoD)
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The year 2007 was marked by the affiliation of regional insurgent groups with al-Qaida, who along with its associated networks remained the greatest terrorist threat to the United States and its partners in 2007, according to the 2007 Country Reports on Terrorism released by the U.S. State department Wednesday.

The report states that al-Qaida has reconstituted some of its pre-9/11 operational capabilities through the exploitation of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), replacement of captured or killed operational lieutenants, and the restoration of some central control by its top leadership, in particular Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Although Osama bin Laden remained the group's ideological figurehead, Zawahiri has emerged as al-Qaida's strategic and operational planner.

The report finds that al-Qaida and its affiliates seek to exploit local grievances for their own local and global purposes. "They pursue their own goals, often at large personal cost to the local population." They have become adaptive, reacting quickly in response to countermeasures. Al-Qaida utilizes terrorism, as well as subversion, propaganda, and open warfare; it seeks weapons of mass destruction in order to inflict the maximum possible damage on anyone who stands in its way, including other Muslims and/or elders, women, and children.

Combined efforts by the security forces of both Afghanistan and Pakistan have failed to quell the rise of al-Qaida. Rather, the group has now greater mobility and ability to conduct training and operational planning, "particularly that targeting Western Europe and the United States."

Proving their ability to adapt to rapidly changing situations al-Qaida has managed to replace "numerous senior operatives who were captured or killed.

Last year was marked by the affiliation of regional insurgent groups with al-Qaida, notably the growing threat in North Africa posed by the Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC). Following the September 2006 merger with al-Qaida, the GSPC renamed itself al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). AQIM is still primarily focused on the Algerian government.

In 2007 AQIM carried out eight suicide attacks that resulted in large numbers of government and civilian casualties. The group recruits suicide bombers from easily exploitable groups, such as the teenagers used in the July 11 and Sept. 8 attacks, or the elderly and terminally ill, as in the Dec. 11 UN attack.

But al-Qaida has also suffered setbacks, as in Iraq. The group's alliance of convenience it enjoyed since the start of the U.S. invasion with Sunni groups came to an abrupt and violence divorce as many of these groups turned to support the U.S. war effort, forcing some fighters from Baghdad and Anbar province into the northern Iraqi provinces of Ninawa, Diyala, and Salah ad Din. Regardless of the progress achieved, al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) remains a threat.

And in Africa, the invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia in late 2006 and the subsequent deployment of African Union forces there have kept al-Qaida East Africa leadership, and elements of the Council of Islamic Courts that harbored them, on the run.

This did not prevent al-Qaida from launching a new assault using information as its primary weapon. According to the State Department al-Qaida has increased all throughout 2007 its propaganda efforts seeking to inspire support in Muslim populations, undermine Western confidence, and enhance the perception of a powerful worldwide movement.

"Terrorists consider information operations a principal part of their effort. Use of the Internet for propaganda, recruiting, fundraising and, increasingly, training, has made the Internet a 'virtual safe haven,'" states the report. "The international community has yet to muster a coordinated and effectively resourced program to counter extremist propaganda," warns the U.S. government analysis of the state of terrorism around the world.


Despite efforts by the Afghan government to strengthen its national institutions, the Taliban continued to threaten the security of Afghanistan. Taliban insurgents murdered local leaders and attacked Pakistani government outposts in the FATA.


Iran remains "the most significant state sponsor of terrorism," according to the U.S. State Department.

"A critically important element of Iranian national security strategy is its ability to conduct terrorist operations abroad. Iranian leaders believe this capability helps safeguard the regime by deterring United States or Israeli attacks, distracting and weakening the United States, enhancing Iran's regional influence through intimidation, and helping to drive the United States from the Middle East."

Hezbollah, designated a "Foreign Terrorist Organization," the report says, "is key to Iran's terrorism strategy."

The report points to the Lebanese Shiite organization Hezbollah as receiving support from Iran and Syria, and accuses them of continuing to undermine the elected government of Lebanon. "They remain a serious security threat," according to the U.S. State Department.

The Islamic republic is judged in the U.S. State department report of continuing "to threaten its neighbors and destabilize Iraq by providing weapons, training, and funding to select Iraqi Shia militants."

It also accuses what it calls Iran's "proxy groups" of perpetrating violence and killing U.S. troops.

Foreign terrorists continued to transit via Syria en route to and from Iraq; a report to Congress stated that nearly 90 percent of all foreign fighters entering Iraq are transiting from Syria. In addition, the government of Iran has recently begun an effort to expand commercial and diplomatic ties throughout the Western Hemisphere. Iran has, in the past, used diplomatic missions to support the activities of Hezbollah operatives.

Countries that continue to support terrorism undermines efforts to eliminate it, finds the 2007 Country Report on Terrorism.

Russian moves inflame tensions with Georgia

Russian moves inflame tensions with Georgia

01 May 2008 07:18
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Nato on Wednesday accused Russia of ramping up tensions with neighbour Georgia and said Moscow's rapid build-up of troops in the breakaway republic of Abkhazia threatened Georgia's territorial integrity.

The alliance called on Russia and Georgia to resolve their differences over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia's two rebel republics, amid ominous signs of a looming military confrontation.

Nato's Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, also derided Russian claims that a Nato jet may have shot down a Georgian drone last week over Abkhazia. Georgia says a Russian MiG-29 shot it down. Russia's Nato envoy had suggested the alliance was responsible.

"The secretary general had said he'd eat his tie if it turned out that a Nato Mig-29 had magically appeared in Abkhazia and shot down a Georgian drone," Nato spokesperson James Appathurai said.

"The steps taken [by Russia] ... and the rhetoric that has been used concerning the threat of force have undermined Georgia's territorial integrity," he declared.

On Tuesday, Russia accused Georgia of plotting to attack Abkhazia, and announced that it was deploying additional troops and military equipment in the region. About 1 000 Russian peacekeepers are already stationed in Abkhazia, which broke away from Georgia following a 1992 to 1993 war.

Georgia has denied it has plans to invade Abkhazia, a small and picturesque territory on the sub-tropical eastern coast of the Black Sea. Georgia's special presidential envoy, David Bakradze, has appealed for international solidarity, holding talks on Wednesday with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

"Georgia is being pushed to the edge of a precipice. Without credible and concerted reaction, we are confronted by the prospect of a situation similar to that in northern Cyprus or analogous to what occurred in Taiwan," Bakradze said.

He added: "Russia's end goal now appears to be to force Georgia into armed conflict. It would thus strip it of the opportunity to earn Nato membership, while finally annexing Georgia's territories."

Abkhazia's separatist leadership has echoed Russian claims that Georgia is massing forces in the Upper Kodori Valley -- a strategic enclave controlled by Georgian forces but inside rebel-held territory. About 1 500 troops were there, it said.

Recent developments are likely to alarm the United States and the EU. Both have expressed support for Georgia and its territorial integrity.

Russia has lifted economic sanctions against Abkhazia and given passports to most of its citizens. On Tuesday Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that Moscow had a right to defend them if they came under Georgian attack. On Wednesday night, Abkhazia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Shamba, confirmed Russia had boosted its troop contingent from 2 000 to 3 000. -- © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2008
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Monday, April 28, 2008

Die Mighty Men-saamtrek

Dis die begin van die einde van die stryd

Now its the End game :

26/04/2008 16:42 - (SA)
Hanlie Retief gesels met Angus Buchan

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Dis in Angus Buchan se stem, in sy eenvoudige, skoon woorde.

Dis ’n warmte wat jy vóél, 2 000 km ver, oor die telefoon.

“Jy bel my op die regte tyd,” sê Angus Buchan. “My hart loop oor vandag. Ek is emosioneel, ek is ’n bietjie oorstelp, want ’n wonderwerk het hier op my plaas gebeur. ’n Herlewing . . .”

Dis Maandagoggend. Die Mighty Men-saamtrek is skaars ure verby. Op sy plaas lê die spore van 60 000 mans nog in die stof.

Die hele Buchan-familie, skoonseuns de lot, het hul vingers stomp gewerk vir die konferensie. Die oudste seun het die sang (“met baie Afrikaanse gospelliedjies”) gelei, die ander het gehelp op die reuse-kampterrein. “Ons het toilette reg gehad, warm storte, drie gratis etes per dag,” sê hy en jy hoor: ons kon voorsien. Ons kon.

Sy vrou, Jill, is besig om in te pak vir ’n asemskep aan die kus ná al die organisasie en emosie van die naweek. “Jill sal my lós as ons nie ’n bietjie alleen wegbreek nie,” skerts hy.

Haar man behoort aan God. Haar man behoort aan almal.

Hy sukkel só om ’n paar minute afgeknyp te kry vir ons onderhoud dat hy naderhand maar koers kies na die plaas se kapel toe, “waar ons in vrede kan gesels”, lag hy in die drafstap.

“So ja, hier’s ek. Nou’s dit net ek en jy en God. Kan ons eers saambid voor die onderhoud begin?”

In ’n paar woorde vra hy seën op die onderhoud.

En dan vertél hy. Van daardie oseaan van gesigte, alkante toe, tot ver in die donkerte, met nie één man wat geroer het nie, aangegryp, wagtend op die boodskap, vir wat God gaan sê.

“Gód,” beklemtoon hy, “nie Angus nie,” net sodat jy nie dalk ’n wanindruk kry van dié nederige boer nie.

Dit eggo in die honderde e-pos-briewe en SMS’e wat Rapport oorstroom het: “Dit was die Here se naweek,” skryf die mense, “Oom Angus” was net hul gewaardeerde tussenganger.

“As jy gesien het hoe 60 000 mans op hul knieë hul sonde voor God bely, wéét jy dis net God wat dit kon doen.

“Sou enige van die groot Christelike leiers dit kon laat gebeur het? Nee. En ek die heel minste. Ek is nie ’n Ray Mc- Cauley of ’n Billy Graham nie. Ek is net ’n dienskneg van die Here.”

Een van die punte van kritiek op die naweek is dat dit weinig meer was as bang, desperate mense wat nie meer herwaarts of derwaarts weet nie wat in ’n geestelike kudde saamgetrek het.

“Beslis nie,” sê Angus en bly ’n sekonde stil. “Hierdie is God se tyd. ’n Tyd vir die Here om te werk. Wat hier gebeur het, is groot, gróót.

“Ek het mans hier gesien wat nie met ’n lang paal aan ’n kerk sou raak nie. Hulle soek reguit antwoorde, maar hulle kry dit nie by die regering nie. En hulle soek nie teologie nie. Hulle soek Jesus.

“Ek dink hulle het gekom, want hulle’s honger en hulle soek die Waarheid. Daar’s vir hulle leuens vertel, of nie die volle waarheid nie. Die waarheid is die Woord van God.”

’n Man het vir hom gesê hy’t nie net met 60 000 mans gepraat nie, maar ook met al die gesinne wat hulle verteenwoordig, die maatskappye, skole en sportklubs, fabrieke, myne, plase . . .

“Nou word dit amper ’n pandemie deur die land. Daar gáán nie ’n herlewing wees nie, dit ís ’n herlewing, my girl!”

Hoekom dink hy het God hóm, Angus Buchan, gekies?

“Ek het daardie vraag al baie gevra. ‘Stru, ek weet nie . . . Van my hegte vriende sê dis omdat ek ’n hart vir mense het.”

Daar’s ’n krakie in sy stem en jy kan hoor hoe vroetel hy met sy sakdoek.

“Ek is nie ’n baie slim man nie. Maar ek ken God. Ek loop al dertig jaar die pad met Hom saam. Al wat ek dié naweek gedoen het, was om vir die mans te vertel wat God vir my gedoen het. En om hulle aan te moedig dat Jesus dit ook vir hulle kan doen.

“Ek’s ’n koninkryk-man, nie ’n em-pire-bouer nie. Ek rokkel nie mense van hul kerke af nie, maar motiveer hulle om in te skakel by hul kerkgemeenskappe.” Hy’t nie sy eie kerk nie, was nooit Bybelkollege toe nie, maar is deur die skool van die lewe.

Hy bly ’n oomblik stil. Bedink weer my vraag.

“Almal van ons het iewers ’n droom om iets te word, iets te beteken. My droom is om mense se lewe aan te raak. Dis nou ver oortref.”

Geloof ís Angus Buchan se lewe. Van 18 Februarie 1979, toe hy in ’n Greytownse kerkie opgestaan het vir God, deur sy lewe van misoeste en geil lande as aartappelboer, deur nege boeke, waarvan die treffer Faith Like Potatoes ’n fliek geword het, loop geloof . . . “tot by hierdie tent hier buite, die grootste ter wêreld. Miljoene rande het die afgelope twee maande deur my hande gegaan, in by die een hand, uit by die ander. Ons het nie begroot nie, God het betaal.”

Nie een keer het Angus Buchan van die verhoog af geld gevra nie. Geen mandjies is rondgestuur nie.

As jy glo, sê hy eenvoudig, sal God voorsien.

“Die naweek was ’n pluimpie vir julle Afrikaanssprekendes, julle was daar in jul menigte – 90% was Afrikaans. Wónderlik. Ek’s ’n Ingelsman. Ek’t vir God gevra hoekom gebruik Hy my en nie ’n Afrikaanse dominee nie . . .”

Hy’t dertig jaar gelede in Greytown aangekom en met níks ’n lewe begin. “Dis hoekom ek Suid-Afrika so liefhet. Dié land het vir my ’n lewe gegee.”

Onlangs in Australië, was hy tussen oud-Suid-Afrikaners wat huis toe verlang. “Mense moet besef hulle vat hul eie probleme saam, waar hulle ook al gaan. Voordat jy loop, stryk dit éérs uit. En onthou, elke land het maar sy probleme.

“As God vir jou sê jy moet gaan, dan moet jy. Maar as God dit nié sê nie, moet jy bly.”

Hoe gaan jy weet?

“Deur stiltetyd. Nie net ’n paar minute nie, die eerste uur van jou dag. As jy daarmee aanhou, sal jy hoor wat God vir jou sê.”

Hoekom Mighty Men – dis net ’n paar letters weg van Macho Men? En hoekom was vroue nie welkom nie?

Hy skater van die lag.

“Ek hoor sommer jy’s ’n regte Afrikaanse meisie wat reguit vrae vra! Ek’s ’n man vir reguit antwoorde.

“Die Bybel praat van Dawid se ‘mighty men who achieved great feats for God’. In ons samelewing word manlikheid afgebreek, mans verloor hul selfbeeld en selfvertroue, hulle voel ontoereikend. Hulle sleep ’n klomp pyn met hulle saam, uit die kinderjare, diensplig, regstellende aksie, afgeneemde plase . . .

“Ek het gevoel God wou hê ons moet die naweek gebruik om mans se manlikheid te herstel, om hulle weer ‘mighty men to God’ te maak.”

Mans moet weer hul regmatige plek in die huis inneem. “En dis nie bókant die vrou nie, maar langs haar. Praat maar met Jill, my vrou, my beste vriend . . . sy sal dádelik vir jou sê ek’s nie haar baas nie!

“As ’n man sy verantwoordelikhede abdikeer, word die vrou onseker en die kinders ongedissiplineerd. En dit kring uit na die hele land.

“Ek is ’n gesinsman, maar God het my dit op die hart gedruk om dié konferensie te reël j?is ter wille van vroue en kinders. Want hul mans en pa’s is stukkend.

“Hier, alleen, kon hulle sonder skaamkry voor die vroue práát oor hul woede, bitterheid, vrees, en die Heilige Gees kans gee om hulle gesond te maak.

“Dit het gewérk. Daar was soveel trane. Manne wat hul koppe op my skouer sit, wat dit nog nooit reggekry het om dinge net te laat gáán nie.

“Dit was nie ’n naweek van grappies of vermaak nie. Herlewing kom deur trane en gebrokenheid. Dit begin in die huis, waar gesinne weer verenig moet word. Dan kring dit uit, op en op, tot in die parlement!”

Hy lag saggies. “Nó? raak ek aan die brand!”

Maar die eintlike toets kom eers volgende week, volgende maand, as alles weer in die ou groewe terugval. As al die emosies van sy Mighty Men-saamtrek afgeblaas het soos ’n ou trekkerband . . .

Gaan dit hó??

“Ja, ek glo so, want dit was nie m?ne nie, dit was Gód se konferensie. Die bewyse daarvan sal in die pelgrims se lewe en getuienis wees. Ek het gepraat oor práktiese Christenskap, oor lewe-in-Jesus.

“Dis wat ek wéét: As ons na God terugdraai, sal Hy ons land genees. Dit het dié naweek begin.”

Hy bly ’n oomblik peinsend stil. Ver in die agtergrond hoor jy mense roep.

Dan sê hy, ter afsluiting: “As dit nié hou nie, dan’t ons gróót probleme in hierdie land. Die land het ’n tekort aan leierskap, aan mighty men.”

Lank nadat ons gegroet het, lank ná sy kort totsiens-gebed, verbeel ek hom nog daar op sy plaas. In sy blokkieshemp en boerehoed, met sy kenkuiltjie en glimlag.

Nederige dienskneg. Mighty man

Monday, March 10, 2008

Analysis: A Mideast nuclear war?

Analysis: A Mideast nuclear war?
By MARTIN WALKER (UPI Editor Emeritus)
Published: November 22, 2007
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Anthony Cordesman may be the most influential man in Washington that most people have never heard of. A former director of intelligence assessment for the secretary of defense and director of policy and planning in the Department of Energy, he is now the top strategic guru at the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

Most serious politicians and journalists have for some years based their analyses of the Iraq war and its aftermath on his universally respected research. Cordesman is a facts man who likes and reveres good data and cool, clinical analysis as the keystones of policymaking.

He has now turned his laser-like research and forensic intelligence skills to studying the real implication of the endless diplomatic minuet at the United Nations over Iran's nuclear ambitions. In the real world, this matters mainly because an Iranian nuclear capability would transform the power balance in the wider Middle East, and leave the region and the rest of us living under the constant prospect of a nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel.

This would mean, Cordesman suggests, some 16 million to 28 million Iranians dead within 21 days, and between 200,000 and 800,000 Israelis dead within the same time frame. The total of deaths beyond 21 days could rise very much higher, depending on civil defense and public health facilities, where Israel has a major advantage.

It is theoretically possible that the Israeli state, economy and organized society might just survive such an almost-mortal blow. Iran would not survive as an organized society. "Iranian recovery is not possible in the normal sense of the term," Cordesman notes.

The difference in the death tolls is largely because Israel is believed to have more nuclear weapons of very much higher yield (some of 1 megaton), and Israel is deploying the Arrow advanced anti-missile system in addition to its Patriot batteries. Fewer Iranian weapons would get through.

The difference in yield matters. The biggest bomb that Iran is expected to have is 100 kilotons, which can inflict third-degree burns on exposed flesh at 8 miles; Israel's 1-megaton bombs can inflict third-degree burns at 24 miles. Moreover, the radiation fallout from an airburst of such a 1-megaton bomb can kill unsheltered people at up to 80 miles within 18 hours as the radiation plume drifts. (Jordan, by the way, would suffer severe radiation damage from an Iranian strike on Tel Aviv.)

Cordesman assumes that Iran, with less than 30 nuclear warheads in the period after 2010, would aim for the main population centers of Tel Aviv and Haifa, while Israel would have more than 200 warheads and far better delivery systems, including cruise missiles launched from its 3 Dolphin-class submarines.

The assumption is that Israel would be going for Iran's nuclear development centers in Tehran, Natanz, Ardekan, Saghand, Gashin, Bushehr, Aral, Isfahan and Lashkar A'bad. Israel would also likely target the main population centers of Tehran, Tabriz, Qazvin, Isfahan, Shiraz, Yazd, Kerman, Qom, Ahwaz and Kermanshah. Cordesman points out that the city of Tehran, with a population of 15 million in its metropolitan area, is "a topographic basin with mountain reflector. Nearly ideal nuclear killing ground."

But it does not end there. Cordesman points out that Israel would need to keep a "reserve strike capability to ensure no other power can capitalize on Iranian strike." This means Israel would have to target "key Arab neighbors" - in particular Syria and Egypt.

Cordesman notes that Israel would have various options, including a limited nuclear strike on the region mainly inhabited by the Alawite minority from which come the ruling Assad dynasty. A full-scale Israeli attack on Syria would kill up to 18 million people within 21 days; Syrian recovery would not be possible. A Syrian attack with all its reputed chemical and biological warfare assets could kill up to 800,000 Israelis, but Israeli society would recover.

An Israeli attack on Egypt would likely strike at the main population centers of Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta, Port Said, Suez, Luxor and Aswan. Cordesman does not give a death toll here, but it would certainly be in the tens of millions. It would also destroy the Suez Canal and almost certainly destroy the Aswan Dam, sending monstrous floods down the Nile to sweep away the glowing rubble. It would mean the end of Egypt as a functioning society.

Cordesman also lists the oilwells, refineries and ports along the Gulf that could also be targets in the event of a mass nuclear response by an Israel convinced that it was being dealt a potentially mortal blow. Being contained within the region, such a nuclear exchange might not be Armageddon for the human race; it would certainly be Armageddon for the global economy.

So in clear, concise and chillingly forensic style, Cordesman spells out that the real stakes in the crisis that is building over Iran's nuclear ambitions would certainly include the end of Persian civilization, quite probably the end of Egyptian civilization, and the end of the Oil Age. This would also mean the end of globalization and the extraordinary accretions in world trade and growth and prosperity that are hauling hundreds of millions of Chinese and Indians and others out of poverty.

Cordesman concludes his chilling but dismayingly logical survey with the warning: "The only way to win is not to play

Analysis: Iran's secret Syrian plan
Analysis: Iran's secret Syrian plan
Published: November 19, 2007
Syria's President Bashar Assad. Some Lebanese commentators say Syria's alliance with Iran should not be a reason to isolate it from the Arab fold by boycotting next month's Arab summit in Damascus, saying this would only deepen the inter-Arab rifts and push Damascus further into Tehran's lap. (KRT via Newscom)
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Israel has been providing intelligence and satellite images to the U.S. about a secret Syrian nuclear program for several months, according to media reports. Discussions between Israel and the United States took place last summer regarding a possible strike. But when Israel found the matter so pressing that when they realized the U.S. was not ready to act, on September 6 they attacked a Syrian nuclear site. Hence the question: what is Syria really up to or more to the point what is Iran up to?

First, let's start with an underreported explosion that occurred in a Syrian military base outside Aleppo on July 26. Jane's Defense Weekly reported, citing Syrian defense sources, as saying the explosion took place during a test to fit a "Scud C" missile with a mustard-gas warhead. It quoted the sources as saying the explosion occurred when fuel caught fire in the missile production laboratory.

But there might be another explanation. Kuwait's Al Seyassah newspaper recently reported that a Shiite Lebanese religious cleric claimed the Iranians were allegedly supervising a chemical weapons manufacturing program and that tens of Iranian experts and engineers died as a result of that explosion. He also said Israelis attacked the base. He added that Western officials told him they received proof from Israel on the Syrian chemical weapons program. Even if Israel's involvement is not proven, what remains sure is that it must be very happy that a chemical weapons facility in Syria has been partly destroyed.

Now regarding the September 6 strike; while we may never know what really occurred, what remains sure is that the situation is direr than one could imagine and that most likely, Israel did not just bomb a nuclear site in the early stages. Indeed, the silence of the international community and especially the Arab world after the attack is a first, and it shows the gravity of what happened. Even though Syria and its Iranian sponsor are detested, and in the case of Iran feared, in the Muslim world, the fact that there was no condemnation of Israel at the U.N. could be interpreted as a tacit relief that Israel acted.

Another proof of what transpired came from ranking Republicans on the House Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Peter Hoekstra, who were briefed on the Israeli strike and sworn to secrecy. They wrote an op-ed in the October 20 Wall Street Journal clearly underlining the seriousness of the situation regarding both the North Korean and Iranian involvement in the Syrian arms program.

Finally, the fact that the Bush administration (including President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and most notably Defense Secretary Robert Gates) has been ramping up the rhetoric and taking action against Iran (including the latest sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) in the past week, might also be linked to what really happened in Syria.

The Syrian story is far from over: in fact, on October 23, Al Seyassah ran a story about potential new secret nuclear sites in Syria. According to Western sources cited by the paper, it is possible that Syria is developing other nuclear sites with the help of North Korea, Iran and Iraqi experts, the latter who fled their country at the start of the Iraq war in 2003. In fact, observation satellites have allegedly located in Syria at least two other sites similar to the one destroyed by Israel last month.

Iran's handwriting is all over the wall from the chemical to the nuclear arms program in Syria. Indeed, in research conducted last year as part of an article published in Washington's The Examiner, this reporter delved into Syrian's secret nuclear program, making the point that Syria might actually be "Plan B" for Iran. By helping develop nuclear sites in Syria, strikes on Iran might turn out to be useless. This was a smart strategy until Israel bombed the Syrian nuclear site on September 6 and made the world notice.

Monday, February 25, 2008

UN warns of new face of hunger

UN warns of new face of hunger

26 February 2008 07:17
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The United Nations on Monday warned that it no longer has enough money to keep global malnutrition at bay this year in the face of a dramatic upward surge in world commodity prices, which have created a "new face of hunger".

"We will have a problem in coming months," said Josette Sheeran, the head of the UN's World Food Programme (WFP). "We will have a significant gap if commodity prices remain this high, and we will need an extra half-a-billion dollars just to meet existing assessed needs."

With voluntary contributions from the world's wealthy nations, the WFP feeds 73-million people in 78 countries, less than a 10th of the total number of the world's undernourished. Its agreed budget for 2008 was $2,9-billion. But with annual food-price increases around the world of up to 40% and dramatic hikes in fuel costs, that budget is no longer enough even to maintain current food deliveries.

The shortfall is all the more worrying as it comes at a time when populations, many in urban areas, who had thought themselves secure in their food supply, are now unable to afford basic foodstuffs. Afghanistan has recently added an extra 2,5-million people to the number it says are at risk of malnutrition

"This is the new face of hunger," Sheeran said. "There is food on shelves but people are priced out of the market. There is vulnerability in urban areas we have not seen before. There are food riots in countries where we have not seen them before."

WFP officials say the extraordinary increases in the global price of basic foods were caused by a "perfect storm" of factors, including a rise in demand for animal feed from increasingly prosperous populations in India and China, the use of more land and agricultural produce for biofuels, and climate change.

The impact has been felt around the world.

Food riots have broken out in Morocco, Yemen, Mexico, Guinea, Mauritania, Senegal and Uzbekistan, and Pakistan has reintroduced rationing for the first time in two decades. Russia has frozen the price of milk, bread, eggs and cooking oil for six months. Thailand is also planning a freeze on food staples.

After protests around Indonesia, Jakarta has increased public food subsidies. India has banned the export of rice, except the high-quality basmati variety.

"For us, the main concern is for the poorest countries and the net food buyers," said Frederic Mousseau, a humanitarian policy adviser at Oxfam. "For the poorest populations, 50% to 80% of income goes on food purchases. We are concerned now about an immediate increase in malnutrition in these countries, and the landless, the farm workers there, all those who are living on the edge."

Much of the blame has been put on the transfer of land and grains to the production of biofuel. But its impact has been outweighed by the sharp growth in demand from a new middle class in China and India for meat and other foods, which were previously viewed as luxuries.

"The fundamental cause is high income growth," said Joachim von Braun, the head of the International Food Policy Research Institute. "I estimate this is half the story. The biofuels is another 30%. Then there are weather-induced erratic changes, which caused irritation in world food markets. These things have eaten into world levels of grain storage.

"The lower the reserves, the more nervous the markets become, and the increased volatility is particularly detrimental to the poor, who have small assets."

The impact of climate change will amplify that already dangerous volatility. Record flooding in West Africa, a prolonged drought in Australia and unusually severe snowstorms in China have all had an impact on food production.

"The climate-change factor is so far small but it is bound to get bigger," Von Braun said. "That is the long-term worry and the markets are trying to internalise it."

The WFP is holding an emergency meeting in Rome on Friday, at which its senior managers will meet board members to brief them on the scale of the problem. There will then be a case-by-case assessment of the seriousness of the situation in the affected countries, before the WFP formally asks for an increased budget at its executive board meeting in June.

But the donor countries are also facing higher fuel and transport costs. For the biggest US food-aid programme, non-food costs now account for 65% of total programme expenditure.

Global impact: Where inflation bites deepest

1. United States
The last time America's grain silos were so empty was in the early Seventies, when the Soviet Union bought much of the harvest. Washington is telling the WFP it is facing a 40% increase in food commodity prices compared with last year, and higher fuel bills to transport it, so the US, the biggest single food aid contributor, will radically cut the amount it gives away.

2. Morocco
Thirty-four people jailed this month for taking part in riots over food prices.

3. Egypt
The world's largest importer of wheat has been hard hit by the global price rises, and most of the increase will be absorbed in increased subsidies. The government has also had to relax the rules on who is eligible for food aid, adding an extra 10,5-million people.

4. Eritrea
It could be one of the states hardest hit in Africa because of its reliance on imports. The price rises will hit urban populations not previously thought vulnerable to a lack of food.

5. Zimbabwe
With annual inflation of 100 000% and unemployment at 80%, price increases on staples can only worsen the severe food shortages.

6. Yemen
Prices of bread and other staples have nearly doubled in the past four months, sparking riots in which at least a dozen people were killed.

7. Russia
The government struck a deal with producers last year to freeze the price of milk, eggs, vegetable oil, bread and kefir (a fermented milk drink). The freeze was due to last until the end of January but was extended for another three months.

8. Afghanistan
President Hamid Karzai has asked the WFP to feed an extra 2,5-million people, who are now in danger of malnutrition as a result of a harsh winter and the effect of high world prices in a country that is heavily dependent on imports.

9. Pakistan
President Pervez Musharraf announced this month that Pakistan would be going back to ration cards for the first time since the 1980s after the sharp increase in the price of staples. These will help the poor (nearly half the population) buy subsidised flour, wheat, sugar, pulses and cooking fat from state-owned outlets.

10. India
The government will spend 250-billion rupees on food security. India is the world's second biggest wheat producer but bought 5,5-million tonnes in 2006, and 1,8-million tonnes last year, driving up world prices. It has banned the export of all forms of rice other than luxury basmati.

11. China
Unusually severe blizzards have dramatically cut agricultural production and sent prices for food staples soaring. The overall food inflation rate is 18,2%. The cost of pork has increased by more than half. The cost of food was rising fast even before the bad weather moved in, as an increasingly prosperous population began to demand as staples agricultural products previously seen as luxuries. The government has increased taxes and imposed quotas on food exports, while removing duties on food imports.

12. Thailand
The government is planning to freeze prices of rice, cooking oil and noodles.

13. Malaysia and the Philippines
Malaysia is planning strategic stockpiles of the country's staples. Meanwhile, the Philippines has made an unusual plea to Vietnam to guarantee its rice supplies. Imports were previously left to the global market.

14. Indonesia
Food price rises have triggered protests and the government has had to increase its food subsidies by over a third to contain public anger.

FAQ: Food prices
Few winners and many losers

What is the problem?
In the three decades to 2005, world food prices fell by about three-quarters in inflation-adjusted terms, according to the Economist food prices index. Since then they have risen by 75%, with much of that coming in the past year. Wheat prices have doubled, while maize, Soya and oilseeds are at record highs.

Why are food prices rising?
The booming world economy has driven up prices for all commodities. Changes in diets have also played a big part. Meat consumption in many countries has soared, pushing up demand for the grain needed by cattle. Demand for biofuels has also risen strongly. This year, for example, one third of the US maize crop will go to make biofuels. Moreover, the gradual reform and liberalisation of agricultural subsidy programmes in the US and Europe have reduced the butter and grain mountains of yesteryear by eliminating overproduction.

Who are the winners and losers?
Farmers are the obvious winners, as are poor countries that rely extensively on food exports. But consumers are having to pay more, and the urban poor in many developing states will be hardest hit, as they often spend more than a third of their income on food.

How long are prices likely to be high?
The US Department for Agriculture says the country's wheat stocks are at their lowest for 50 years and demand will continue to exceed supply this year. There is potential to bring more land into production in countries such as Ukraine, but that could take time. And as all foodstuffs have risen sharply in price there is little incentive for farmers to switch from one crop to another.

What about the EU's common agricultural policy?
High food prices certainly remove the need to subsidise farmers and so there is a chance, say experts, that badly needed reductions in CAP subsidies, which cost European taxpayers dearly, could now be within reach.

Are other commodity prices also rising?
Oil, metals and coal have seen their prices rise strongly as the global economy has expanded rapidly, driving up demand for almost everything, particularly from emerging economies such as China and India. Some economists think speculation may also play a part. Disappointed by the subprime collapse and falling property values in many countries, investors have piled money into commodities. -- © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2008

Sheep Aids hits hundreds of farms

Sheep Aids hits hundreds of farms

February 25 2008 at 07:22AM

By Karen Breytenbach

The Department of Agriculture has appealed to Western Cape sheep farmers to remain calm in the face of the spread to hundreds of farms of Ovine Johne's Disease, better known as "sheep Aids" because of the emaciation it causes.

The disease was first detected on 47 farms in Caledon, Ceres and Mossel Bay a decade ago, but has slowly spread to hundreds of farms, especially in the Caledon area and Southern Cape. Some cases were also reported in Cradock in Eastern Cape.

But the Western Cape Agriculture Department has moved to reassure farmers that their interests would be protected. "The situation is under control, we have vets working on it full-time," said spokesperson Alie van Jaarsveld.

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'The situation is under control'
Johne's Disease (OJD), or paratuberculosis, is a chronic and contagious disease found worldwide, characterised by persistent diarrhoea, weight loss, debilitation and eventual death.

It is considered a problem in South Africa because it is hard to detect and can cause losses of up to 20 percent of sheep in very infected flocks.

During a 1996/7 survey of 1 718 farms, when 47 showed infection, tests were ineffective, causing half of infected farms to skip detection.

Van Jaarsveld said an official count of sheep affected was not available yet, but the mutton market could suffer if it spread further and it was decided on slaughtering.

For now, the Small Stock Health Advisory Body has urged that heavily infected areas be declared "OJD Control Areas" to allow free movement of live
animals within these confines, but to prevent their transportation to the outside world, except for slaughter.
'We have vets working on it full-time'

The body also advised farmers to vaccinate their sheep and announced the requirement of vendor declarations on their flocks' OJD status.

OJD surveys would be conducted in areas that had not so far come across infection.

Van Jaarsveld said the enforcement of the Animal Disease Regulations, requiring the isolation and slaughter of infected animals and the isolation and testing of all animals in contact with them, would hit sheep farmers hard.

"In an effort to minimise this impact, but at the same time to prevent spread of this disease to uninfected flocks and areas, the veterinary services... launched an intensive round of workshops and meetings with the view to formulate a policy to address this situation," Van Jaarsveld said.

This led to the formation of the advisory body, which will present its final policy proposals to Agriculture Minister Lulu Xingwana and provincial authorities for acceptance and promulgation into law.

The provincial department would also provide funding for post-graduate research on OJD.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Isaiah 30 (New International Version)

Isaiah 30 (New International Version)

New International Version (NIV)

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Isaiah 30

Woe to the Obstinate Nation
1 "Woe to the obstinate children,"
declares the LORD,
"to those who carry out plans that are not mine,
forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit,
heaping sin upon sin;

2 who go down to Egypt
without consulting me;
who look for help to Pharaoh's protection,
to Egypt's shade for refuge.

3 But Pharaoh's protection will be to your shame,
Egypt's shade will bring you disgrace.

4 Though they have officials in Zoan
and their envoys have arrived in Hanes,

5 everyone will be put to shame
because of a people useless to them,
who bring neither help nor advantage,
but only shame and disgrace."

6 An oracle concerning the animals of the Negev:
Through a land of hardship and distress,
of lions and lionesses,
of adders and darting snakes,
the envoys carry their riches on donkeys' backs,
their treasures on the humps of camels,
to that unprofitable nation,

7 to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless.
Therefore I call her
Rahab the Do-Nothing.

8 Go now, write it on a tablet for them,
inscribe it on a scroll,
that for the days to come
it may be an everlasting witness.

9 These are rebellious people, deceitful children,
children unwilling to listen to the LORD's instruction.

10 They say to the seers,
"See no more visions!"
and to the prophets,
"Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,
prophesy illusions.

11 Leave this way,
get off this path,
and stop confronting us
with the Holy One of Israel!"

12 Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says:
"Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,

13 this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly, in an instant.

14 It will break in pieces like pottery,
shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found
for taking coals from a hearth
or scooping water out of a cistern."

15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.

16 You said, 'No, we will flee on horses.'
Therefore you will flee!
You said, 'We will ride off on swift horses.'
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!

17 A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill."

18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

19 O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." 22 Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, "Away with you!"

23 He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. 24 The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel. 25 In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. 26 The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the LORD binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.

27 See, the Name of the LORD comes from afar,
with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke;
his lips are full of wrath,
and his tongue is a consuming fire.

28 His breath is like a rushing torrent,
rising up to the neck.
He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction;
he places in the jaws of the peoples
a bit that leads them astray.

29 And you will sing
as on the night you celebrate a holy festival;
your hearts will rejoice
as when people go up with flutes
to the mountain of the LORD,
to the Rock of Israel.

30 The LORD will cause men to hear his majestic voice
and will make them see his arm coming down
with raging anger and consuming fire,
with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail.

31 The voice of the LORD will shatter Assyria;
with his scepter he will strike them down.

32 Every stroke the LORD lays on them
with his punishing rod
will be to the music of tambourines and harps,
as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm.

33 Topheth has long been prepared;
it has been made ready for the king.
Its fire pit has been made deep and wide,
with an abundance of fire and wood;
the breath of the LORD,
like a stream of burning sulfur,
sets it ablaze.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

South Africa - Civil War or Peaceful split?

South Africa - Civil War or Peaceful split?

South Africa - Civil war or Peaceful split?
By Mike Smith – Cape Town 9 December 2007

Watching the current power struggle within the ANC, it is clear that the party can no longer exist in its current form after the Polokwane conference or in the run-up to the 2009 elections. A split is inevitable. This will be no peaceful divorce. The split will be messy and we will see similar scenes as that of the early ‘90s; Xhosas against Zulus, Communism against Tribal Nationalism, basically one big orgy of violence and death.

In the early ‘90s the white population of South Africa was mostly excluded from this fight and it was only the army and police who actually got involved trying to keep the sides separate. This time around it will be different. Whites will be sucked into this future conflict and it will be during this time that we might see the Afrikaners reclaiming their two Boer Republics. The Zulu’s will claim KwaZulu Natal and the Cape Coloureds along with some liberal whites will claim the Cape. This break-up of South Africa is a serious possibility if we look at some examples.

The first example is the former Yugoslavia, an artificially created Kingdom since 1918 and an artificially created Socialist state since 1943, until its breakup in 1991. Yugoslavia today are split up into six independent countries and two autonomous provinces and it serves as an example of what happens when different races, cultures and religions are forced together in the name of multiculturalism, diversity and “Nation building”. It is artificial and it cannot last!

We further saw in Yugoslavia that the Communist never give up land or grants a people autonomous rule without a fight. The various freedom wars were bloody and the conflicts are still not fully solved, as can be noted in Kosovo.

A bloody civil war is not always the answer. Are there examples of countries that have had peaceful splits? Yes certainly.

Norway peacefully separated from Sweden in 1905. Norway's growing dissatisfaction with the union with Sweden during the late 19th century combined with nationalism prompted the dissolution of the union. After a national referendum confirmed the people's preference for a monarchy over a republic, the Norwegian government offered the throne of Norway to the Danish Prince Carl and Parliament unanimously elected him king. He took the name of Haakon VII, after the medieval kings of independent Norway. Today the relationship between Norway and Sweden is better than it ever was when they were in a union.

Czechoslovakia is another example. In February 1948 the Communists seized power, winning an electoral victory in May. The country was divided into 19 regions and, in 1960, into 10 regions plus Prague and Bratislava. During the 1960’s there were some uprisings and calls for democratic change, but in 1968 the USSR sent 600,000 troops to brutally suppress these demonstrations and return rule to the orthodox line.

Influenced by events elsewhere in Eastern Europe, a series of initially student-led pro-democracy rallies were held in Prague in November 1989. The 10 million Czechs saw economic reform as more important than State reform, which was high on the priority list of the 5 million Slovaks. Instead of fighting and blocking each other, the Czechs and the Slovaks decided that a split would be in the best interest of both sides. Many people who were opposed to the split, said that it would be catastrophic, but it went smoothly. Buildings in the Czech part were given to the Czechs and those in Slovakia to the Slovaks. Moving assets and debt were split up evenly and the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic became sovereign states on 1 January 1993.

Recently we have seen the creation of the Scottish parliament, giving the Scots more self rule and it might even lead to an independent Scotland in the future. I certainly will not rule that possibility out.

In Belgium we see the Dutch speaking Flemish wanting to break away from the French speaking Wallonians. The Flemish are economically stronger than the Wallonians and so strong is the cultural and language divide between these two groups, that less than one percent of all Belgium marriages are between Flemish and Wallonians; this in a country where these two groups are both white and Christian. People there say that the split is coming soon, it is only a matter of time and the fuse of the powder keg is burning ever shorter. I certainly hope that the split will be a peaceful one.

If we now turn our attention to South Africa, it is only logical to deduce that South Africa will go the same way as Yugoslavia. South Africa was also artificially created in 1910. The two British colonies of the Cape and Natal along with the two former Boer Republics of the ZAR and the Orange Freestate, were forced together into the Union of South Africa and former autonomous states were reduced to mere provinces. When the ANC took over, they made it nine provinces and artificially created what Mandela refers to as “The Rainbow Nation”. South Africa has nine official languages and fourteen major tribes or ethnic groupings, each with its own distinct culture, traditions and religion. It is madness to think that these groups will live “peacefully” together for much longer. The Marxist, terrorist ANC’s policies of multiculturalism and ethnic diversity is a ticking nuclear time bomb, let alone a burning fuse on a powder keg.

My prediction is that the break up of South Africa will start in KwaZulu-Natal with some student uprisings. The Zulus want to be independent; next will follow the two Boer Republics and lastly the Cape. It is during this time that other smaller nations will also claim independence and new borders will be defined.

A peaceful split would definitely be in the best interest of all, but somehow I do not think it will be possible; not as long as the Communists are in control of South Africa.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Zechariah 14

10And from Geba to Rimmon in the Negeb, all the land shall turn into a plain; but Jerusalem shall remain exalted in its place. From the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate; and from the Tower of Hananel to the king's wine presses,
they shall occupy her. Never again shall she be doomed; Jerusalem shall abide in security.
And this shall be the plague with which the LORD shall strike all the nations that have fought against Jerusalem: their flesh shall rot while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall rot in their sockets, and their tongues shall rot in their mouths.
On that day there shall be among them a great tumult from the LORD: every man shall seize the hand of his neighbor, and the hand of each shall be raised against that of his neighbor.

woord vir die dag ...........................gee net so 6 maande
Judah also shall fight against Jerusalem. The riches of all the surrounding nations shall be gathered together, gold, silver, and garments, in great abundance.
Similar to this plague shall be the plague upon the horses, mules, camels, asses, and upon all the beasts that are in those camps.
All who are left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem shall come up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the feast of Booths.
If any of the families of the earth does not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, no rain shall fall upon them.
And if the family of Egypt does not come up, or enter, upon them shall fall the plague which the LORD will inflict upon all the nations that do not come up to celebrate the feast of Booths.
This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to celebrate the feast of Booths.
On that day there shall be upon the bells of the horses, "Holy to the LORD." The pots in the house of the LORD shall be as the libation bowls before the altar.
And every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holy to the LORD of hosts; and all who come to sacrifice shall take them and cook in them. On that day there shall no longer be any merchant in the house of the LORD of hosts.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Zuma: 'n geleentheid vir die Afrikaner?

Zuma: 'n geleentheid vir die Afrikaner? PDF Druk Epos
Geskryf deur Dan Roodt
Woensdag, 19 Desember 2007

ImageTeen dié tyd weet almal dat Jacob Zuma die ANC-leierskapsverkiesing loshande gewen het met 2 329 stemme teenoor Mbeki se 1 505. Die Zuma-faksie het ook skoonskip gemaak sover dit die res van die hoogste posisies in die party betref.

Dat Zuma daarin geslaag het om Mbeki te klop, is geen geringe prestasie nie. Immers geniet Mbeki die steun van die sakewêreld, die media, die koloniale mag Brittanje wat hom oor die afgelope jare konstant met Suid-Afrika bemoei, asook die oorblyfsels van die vorige Afrikaner-establishment in die vorm van Nasionale Pers, Marthinus van Schalkwyk en die Afrikanerbond. Een van die segsmanne van dié groepering, prof. Willie Esterhuyse, het ʼn sleutelrol onder Mbeki gespeel om hom van inligting te voorsien oor hoe Afrikaners beter verdeel en verdruk kon word.

Met Zuma se verkiesing betree die land ʼn nuwe, potensieel stormagtige fase. Terwyl Zuma oor die afgelope jaar of twee uitgereik het na Afrikaners, is sy oorwinning egter ook verseker deur die linkse faksie in die vorm van Cosatu, die ANC-jeugliga en die SAKP. Watter invloed die linkse faksie oor hom uitoefen, is in dié stadium nog onseker.

Vanuit die buiteland gaan daar groot druk op Zuma toegepas word om nie te veel aan Suid-Afrika se ekonomiese beleid te torring nie. As ons praat van die buiteland, dan is dit veral Groot Brittanje wat sal poog om soos altyd in die verlede ons binnelandse beleid te beïnvloed om Britse belange voorop te stel.

Die mynhuise word hoofsaaklik uit Londen beheer en dus sal Brittanje wil sien dat mynwinste en –produksie nie geraak word nie. Daarteenoor staan Brittanje, asook die vele Britse nie-regeringsorganisasies wat in die land bedrywig is, radikale grondhervorming voor sodat Afrikanerboere finaal van hul eiendom ontneem kan word. Soos mnr. Willie Lewies van die TLU dit al so dikwels gestel het, sal die grondlose Afrikaner in daardie geval ʼn “swerwersvolk” word.

Die Boer-Britstryd gaan dus onder Zuma se presidentskap voortduur en afhangend van wie se kant hy kies, sal Afrikaners dit moet ontgeld, aldan nie. Vanweë die feit dat Brittanje, asook die VSA, tot dusver die Mbeki-faksie geondersteun het, wil dit voorkom asof Afrikaners darem ʼn billike kans staan om invloed op ʼn Zumaregering uit te oefen. Sodoende kan ons boere, asook Afrikaanse onderwys en kultuur, van die gewisse ondergang gered word waarvoor hulle onder Mbeki bestem was.

Op Pietersburg was die ANC duidelik sterk verdeel tussen die Zuma- en Mbeki-faksies. Die vraag is nou: kan die ANC in die afsienbare toekoms in twee skeur? Myns insiens is dié moontlikheid glad nie uitgesluit nie. Die Mbeki-faksie het nog glad nie gaan lê ná die bloedneus by die partykongres nie. Hulle beheer nog steeds die staatsapparaat en mag dit gebruik om Zuma nog verder in hofsake vas te draai of hom selfs tronk toe te stuur. In so ʼn geval sal die Zuma-faksie waarskynlik tot revolusionêre optrede in die vorm van massa-aksie, betogings en selfs die bestorming van die Uniegebou oorgaan om die Mbeki-faksie uit die kussings te lig.

Soos gesê, geniet Mbeki steeds die steun van Brittanje en kan die Britte via hul magtige media en hul intelligensiediens allerlei planne bedink om Zuma uit die weg te ruim, letterlik of figuurlik.

Wat Afrikaners egter moet besef, is dat die volgende twee jaar aan ons geleenthede bied om te midde van die grootskaalse verdeeldheid in ANC-geledere, asook die Britte wat beheer begin verloor, ons belange te bevorder en moontlik selfs terug te keer na die politieke spel in Suid-Afrika.

Hoewel hy taamlik onvoorspelbaar is en te eniger tyd ʼn ommeswaai kan maak, is die populistiese Zuma ʼn interessante figuur in die SA politiek. Anders as Mandela of Mbeki, word hy nie soos ʼn marionet vanuit Engeland beheer nie en geniet hy steun op voetsoolvlak en veral onder Zoeloes. Hy is die spreekwoordelike swart Piet in die pak kaarte wat die spel deurmekaar kan krap.

Ons Afrikaners moet nou begin saamstaan en kyk of ons nie hier ʼn paar kastaiings uit die vuur kan krap nie. Reeds meer as ʼn jaar gelede het ʼn klein groepie van ons die versiendheid gehad om te sien dat daar ʼn magsverskuiwing aan die kom was en het daarom vroegtydig met Zuma gesprek begin voer. Hierdie gesprekke moet voortgaan en ons moet probeer om in ruil vir Afrikanersteun toegewings van Zuma te verkry, veral indien hy onder druk van die Mbeki-faksie, die Britte, asook Groot Besigheid in Suid-Afrika, sou kom.

Die logika van “my vyand se vyand is my vriend” wil hê dat Zuma die Afrikaner se vriend is. Dit mag ook wees dat die Afrikaner-Zoeloe-alliansie waaroor daar al jare lank in regse Afrikanerkringe gedroom word, met Zuma se hulp tot stand kan kom.

So iets sal egter slegs gebeur indien Afrikaners met verbeelding, intelligensie en vasberadenheid begin optree.