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Somalia's al-Shabab join al-Qaeda Islamist militant group al-Shabab, which controls much of Somalia, releases a joint video with al-Qaeda, formally announcing the two groups have merged.

Somalia: Al-Shabab bombs Mogadishu cafe At least 15 people have been killed and more than 20 people injured when a car bomb exploded near a cafe in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, officials say. The vehicle was parked close to the Hotel Muna, often frequented by Somali politicians and itself the target of an attack by militants in August 2010. The al-Shabab group said it carried out the Wednesday afternoon blast.

SOUTH AFRICA: Malema cronies looted Limpopo – report Polokwane - Limpopo-based cronies of ANCYL president Julius Malema allegedly spent millions of rand of taxpayers' money on properties, cars and parties, the Sunday Independent has reported. It claimed that engineer Lesiba Gwangwa was at the centre. Gwangwa was Malema's business partner and the sole director of On-Point and SGL Engineering Projects. The two companies were previously or currently owned by Malema and his Ratang Family Trust. Both companies have scored more than R400m worth of known Limpopo municipal tenders since 2007.

The companies are being investigated for tender fraud and corruption by the SA Revenue Service, public protector Thuli Madonsela and the elite investigating unit, the Hawks. The national government stepped in and placed five departments in Limpopo under administration in January after tender fraud brought the province to the brink of collapse. - SAPA



South Africa: Business Confidence Falls in January — Business confidence fell to its lowest level since May 2010, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) said.

SOUTH AFRICA: SA. Stop kidding yourself 10 February 2012, - More and more we hear that South Africa is looking at the Chinese model in order to grow the economy and reduce unemployment. This through the Chinese model of more interest in state capitalism through state owned enterprises. The government is absolutely kidding itself. As much as I am totally opposed to the Chinese plan for African re­ colonization, which this continent cannot see or does not want to see, their system does work for them in China. However, for many reasons Africa will NEVER make it work. The Chinese state rules through a system of discipline, which they strictly enforce. All the glaring problems that are currently plaguing this country just do not happen in China. Whereas here corruption is endemic, in China it is not tolerated. Their municipalities work because their officials are accountable and are held accountable. This system permeates throughout their country. Their policing works. Their education system works. Their health system works. They have service delivery. In this country, these are all a shambles. This shambolic situation is as a direct result of this country’s civil servants being largely employed because of political patronage rather than ability. The culture of entitlement amongst civil servants in South Africa is endemic. Not a day goes by without this theft of resources making news. This does not only apply to South Africa. It has become the norm throughout post independent Africa. So why would should it be any different here? Unfortunately, all we need do is look north to see the consequence of it.

President Zuma, in his ‘State of the Nation’ address says that the state is to invest heavily in infrastructural development. Right now, the state cannot pay for the milk to supply its failing health system. Where will the money come from? This country has a rapidly diminishing tax base. The government has raised close to thirty new taxes since 1994 and continues to demand more and more in the form of toll taxes etc. Winston Churchill once said, ‘I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle’ so where would the money come from. My guess is that the Chinese will put their hand up. No doubt, South Africa will accept their aid remembering that the Chinese love Africans! Not. They want Africa.

The only way South Africa or anyone other country in Africa will operate on the Chinese model is when the Chinese have control. It needs to be remembered that everyone in China is held accountable even down to the number of children they may have. This is the one Chinese model that Africa would do well to emulate. The Chinese have no Unions. The Chinese tolerate no demonstrations. You work your long days and long weeks quietly and accept what they pay you with no recourse to striking. The Chinese have the death sentence and they use it thousands of time each year. They execute people in China for the same crimes that South Africans would get a pat on the wrist for. Under their system many government officials in South Africa would probably have been not available to listen to the ‘State of the Nation’ address.

So if South Africa wishes to reduce unemployment through infrastructural development in order to move the country forward and need a model to follow, rather look to Mauritius. They have made it work and have nowhere near the resources of South Africa. So look at how they did it and keep, as far away from China as possible .If you open your eyes and look then think, you have to see that without China taking over, the Chinese model will not work under your watchl.

SOUTH AFRICA: Cape Town to host 6th Africa Economic Forum, 2012 - Global Pacific & Partners on Monday announced that the sixth Africa Economic Forum would take place in Cape Town, South Africa, from 5-7 March, 2012.

SUDAN: Chinese workers freed in Sudan, flown to Kenya BBC 7 February 2012 - A group of Chinese workers kidnapped by rebels in Sudan has been freed and flown to Kenya, officials from both countries say. The construction workers were released to the International Committee of the Red Cross on Tuesday, 11 days after they were abducted. They had been held in Sudan's restive border state of South Kordofan. The road construction workers were taken captive when rebels from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) stormed their camp on 28 January.

One man was killed during the SPLM-N attack - his body was earlier handed over to the Chinese embassy in Khartoum. The SPLM-N - which used to fight alongside the rulers of now independent South Sudan - has been battling government forces in South Kordofan for more than six months. Correspondents say Beijing is a key supporter of the Khartoum government but the abduction - the third involving Chinese nationals since 2004 - has strained relations. China buys much of the oil produced in both Sudan and South Sudan and is a major supplier of weapons to Khartoum. South Sudan's new leaders deny Khartoum's accusations that they are backing the SPLM-N.



Syria has always been western target 08.02.2012 US, UK: Targeting Syria by Felicity Arbuthnot

"'The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history." --George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair, 1903-1950.) For anyone in two minds about what is really going on in Syria, and whether President Assad, hailed a decade ago as "A Modern Day Attaturk," has become the latest megalomaniacal despot, to whose people a US-led posse of nations, must deliver "freedom," with weapons of mass home, people, nation and livlihood destruction, here is a salutary tale from modern history.

Have the more recent sabre rattlings against Syria* been based on US-UK government papers, only discovered in 2003 - and since air brushed (or erroneously omitted) from even BBC timelines, on that country? In late 2003, the year of the Iraq invasion, Matthew Jones, a Reader in International History, at London's Royal Holloway College, discovered "frighteningly frank" documents: 1957 plans between then UK Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, and then President, Dwight Eisenhower, endorsing: "a CIA-MI6 plan to stage fake border incidents as an excuse for an invasion of Syria by Syria's pro-western neighbours." (ii)

At the heart of the plan was the assassination of the perceived power behind then President Shukri al-Quwatli. Those targeted were: Abd al-Hamid Sarraj, Head of Military Intelligence; Afif al-Bizri, Chief of Syrian General Staff: and Khalid Bakdash, who headed the Syrian Communist Party. The document was drawn up in Washington in the September of 1957:

"In order to facilitate the action of liberative (sic) forces, reduce the capabilities of the regime to organize and direct its military actions ... to bring about the desired results in the shortest possible time, a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals. "Their removal should be accomplished early in the course of the uprising and intervention, and in the light of circumstances existing at the time."

In the light of President Assad's current allegations of foreign forces and interventions, cross border incursions (as Colonel Quadddafi's before him, so sneered at by Western governments and media - and and, of course, ultimately proved so resoundingly correct.) there are some fascinating, salutary phrases:



"Once a political decision has been reached to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria, CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main (sic) incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals. "Incidents should not be concentrated in Damascus ... care should be taken to avoid causing key leaders of the Syrian regime to take additional personal protection measures." Further : a "necessary degree of fear .. frontier incidents and (staged) border clashes," would "provide a pretext for intervention," by Iraq and Jordan - then still under British mandate.

Syria was to be: "made to appear as sponsor of plots, sabotage and violence directed against neighbouring governments ... the CIA and SIS should use ... capabilitites in both psychological and action fields to augment tension." Incursions into Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, would involve: "sabotage, national conspiracies and various strong arms activities," were, advised the document, to be blamed on Damascus.

In late December 2011, an opposition "Syria National Council" was announced, to "liberate the country." Representatives met with Hilary Clinton. There now seems to be a US - endorsed "Syrian Revolutionary Council." The Eisenhower-Macmillan plan was for the funding of the: "Free Syria Committee" and "arming of political factions with paramilitary or other actionist capabilities" within Syria. CIA-MI6, planned fomenting internal uprisings and replacing the Ba'ath-Communist-leaning government, with a Western, user-friendly one. Expecting this to be met by public hostility, they planned to: "probably need to rely first on repressive measures and arbitrary exercise of power."

The document was signed off in both London and Washington. It was, wrote Macmillan in his diary: "a most formidable report." A report which was: "withheld even from British Chiefs of Staff ..."

Washington and Whitehall had become concerned at Syria's increasingly pro-Soviet, rather than pro-Western sympathies - and the Ba'ath (Pan Arab) and Communist party alliance, also largely allied within the Syrian army. However, even political concerns were trumped by Syria then controlling a main pipeline from the Western bonanza of Iraq's oil fields, in those pre-Saddam Hussein days. Briefly put: in 1957, Syria allied with Moscow (which included an agreement for military and economic aid) and also recognized China - then as now, the then Soviet Union warned the West against intervening in Syria.

Syria is unchanged as an independent minded country, and the loyalties remain. It broadly remains the cradle of the Pan Arab ideal of Ba'athism, standing alone, since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. In 1957, this independent mindedness caused Loy Henderson, a Senior State Department official, to say that: "the present regime in Syria had to go ..."

Ultimately, the plan was not used since, British mandate or not, neighbouring countries refused to play. However, the project, overtly, bears striking similarity to the reality of events over the last decade, in Syria - and the region. In a near 1957 re-run, Britain's Foreign Minister, William Hague, has said President Assad "will feel emboldened" by the UN Russia-China vote in Syria's favour.

Hilary ("We came, we saw, he died") Clinton, has called for "friends of a democratic Syria" to unite and rally against the Assad government: "We need to work together to send them a clear message: you cannot hold back the future at the point of a gun," said the woman filmed purportedly watching the extrajudicial, illegal assassination of maybe, or maybe not, Osma Bin Laden and others - but certainly people were murdered - by US illegal invaders - at the point of lots of guns. Supremely ironically, she was speaking in Munich (5th February) historically: "The birth place of the Nazi party."

The Russia-China veto at the UN on actions against Syria has been condemned by the US varyingly as: "disgusting, shameful, deplorable, a travesty." Eye opening is the list of US vetoes to be found at (iii). Jaw dropping double standards can only be wondered at (again). Perhaps the bottom line is: in 1957, Iraq's oil was at the top of the agenda, of which Syria held an important key. Today, it is Iran's - and as Michel Chossudovsky notes so succinctly: "The road to Tehran is through Damascus."

Tanzania: Barclays Bank's CEO Backs Fat Perks for Senior Executives COMMERCIAL banks' Chief Executive Officers deserve bonuses despite the struggling economies because they had worked for the payments, according to Barclays Bank Tanzania Limited Managing Director Maina Kihara. IF EVER A ‘MOTIVATION’ JOKE!

Tanzania: Bankers, Councils Cited in Massive Swindling Scams Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam) By Alvar Mwakyusa, 10 February 2012 — THE Controller and Auditor General, Mr Ludovick Utouh, has accused some officials in local government authorities of colluding with bankers to swindle public funds. Mr Utouh said this at a news conference here to unveil four performance (value for money) audit reports and a special report on Kishapu District Council in Shinyanga Region. "Through audits at Kilosa District (Morogoro) and Rombo (Kilimanjaro) we have proved that some officials in the district councils collude with bank officials to steal from the government," Mr Utouh said.

Tunisia: Tataouine, the Setting of Star Wars, Covered in Snow Tunisia Live (Tunis) By Houda Mzioudet, 6 February 2012 - Residents of the southern Tunisian towns of Tataouine and Matmata, small desert cities that furnished the setting for Star Wars movies, woke up to an unusual sight today: snow. The snow started to fall overnight from Sunday to Monday, leaving a thin layer that was enough to transform the landscape from an arid desert to a glistening-white tundra. The town of Matmata, home to traditional underground "troglodyte" structures inhabited by the indigenous North Africans, the Amazighs, has not witnessed snow fall since 1962, according to Radio Tataouine.

WEF DAVOS, THE EVER POPULAR TOPLESS PROTEST GROUP ‘FEMEN’



Whitney Houston a legend – Cowell 2012-02-12 15:29

Los Angeles - Pop legend Whitney Houston, who was found dead on Saturday, was the vocal star of a generation whose soaring voice broke records and inspired millions of fans before substance abuse sent her on a downward spiral. "She was a legend. These people don't come around often," British television host and producer Simon Cowell, of American Idol and Britain's Got Talent fame, told CNN television. "No one could sell a song like Whitney." "I am absolutely devastated by this news. I'm so sad for her," said Cowell, known for his normally rough edges. "She was undoubtedly one of the greatest superstars of all time. One of the greatest voices, you know, in our lifetime we're likely to ever hear," Cowell said. "And to hear this news, it's really, really upset me." - SAPA



Zebra stripes evolved to keep biting flies at bay 9 Feb 2012 By Victoria Gill Science reporter, BBC Nature



The team placed the sticky model horses in a fly-infested field

Why zebras evolved their characteristic black-and-white stripes has been the subject of decades of debate among scientists. Now researchers from Hungary and Sweden claim to have solved the mystery. The stripes, they say, came about to keep away blood-sucking flies. They report in the Journal of Experimental Biology that this pattern of narrow stripes makes zebras "unattractive" to the flies. They key to this effect is in how the striped patterns reflect light.

"We started off studying horses with black, brown or white coats," explained Susanne Akesson from Lund University, a member of the international research team that carried out the study. "We found that in the black and brown horses, we get horizontally polarised light." This effect made the dark-coloured horses very attractive to flies. It means that the light that bounces off the horse's dark coat - and travels in waves to the eyes of a hungry fly - moves along a horizontal plane, like a snake slithering along with its body flat to the floor.

Dr Akesson and her colleagues found that horseflies, or tabanids, were very attracted by these "flat" waves of light.

"From a white coat, you get unpolarised light [reflected]," she explained. Unpolarised light waves travel along any and every plane, and are much less attractive to flies. As a result, white-coated horses are much less troubled by horseflies than their dark-coloured relatives.

Horseflies prevent the animals they bite from grazing, as well as carrying blood-borne diseases


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