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Mubarak passes on African Union summit

China gives Zambia 53 million dollars for mobile hospitals
Lusaka (AFP) July 26, 2010 - China on Monday gave Zambia a 53 million dollar loan to build mobile hospitals to serve rural communities, following a visit by a top Chinese official. Dai Bingguo, a member of China's State Council, or cabinet, also said China would provide 4.4 million dollars to existing projects, including a new stadium, housing for civil servants and new government complex. "China will continue to provide assistance to Zambia and we shall give a grant of 30 million yuan (4.4 million dollars) to be used to the already agreed projects and 361 million yuan (53 million dollar) concessional loan for mobile hospitals," Dai Bingguo said. Dai is in Zambia for a two-day state visit and met with vice president George Kunda.

Zambia's health facilities, particularly for the rural communities, lack even basic supplies while in rural areas people have to walk for miles to the nearest clinic. The dire state of the nation's public health has been underscored by an outbreak of measles that killed 88 people over the last two months, with the capital Lusaka the hardest-hit part of the country. It is the worst outbreak of the disease in seven years. President Rupiah Banda said in March that his country had turned to China for financial help because of its attractive interest rates. China has emerged as a major investor, trade partner and donor across Africa, drawing accusations of fostering a neo-colonialist attitude toward the continent. Beijing has also been criticised for befriending the isolated governments in Sudan and Zimbabwe in a cynical bid to lock up resources needed to fuel expansion of its economy.

African Union to reinforce Somalia force: Ethiopian minister
Kampala (AFP) July 26, 2010 - Leaders of the African Union agreed at a summit on Monday to reinforce the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia to counter Shebab insurgents, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin told AFP. "This summit has just approved the requests made by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD)," a six-nation east African grouping, which had asked for 2,000 extra troops, said. They would reinforce the 600 Ugandan and Burundian soldiers already in Mogadishu for the African Union. He added: "The summit has approved calls for reinforcing the budget of AMISOM (the AU mission in Somalia) and its equipment." The Shebab, an Islamist extremist group that controls most of central and western, Somalia, has claimed responsiblity for two bomb attacks in Uganda's capital Kampala on July 11.

They killed 76 people gathered to watch telecasts of the World Cup final. It has said the aim of the attacks was to force the withdrawal of AU troops who have been helping to sustain Somalia's transitional government, whose authority is limited only to a few districts of the capital Mogadishu. "We are now at a stage in which all Africans understand the urgency of the situation," Seyoum said. "We all think that AMISOM must be reinforced immediately, along wih the means of action of the Somali transitional government." The African Union summit, which formally ends Tuesday, acknowledged the "whatever reinforcement of the military force there is, it would not be able to resolve by itself the Somali problem overall," Seyoum said. "The priority must therefore be to reinforce the security forces, the police, and the civil and financial institutions of the transitional government," he said.
by Staff Writers
Cairo (UPI) Jul 26, 2010
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has sent his prime minister to the African Union summit in Uganda, increasing speculation about the elderly leader's health.

Mubarak, 82, has been in power for 29 years and had gall bladder surgery at Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany in March. Mosques across Egypt were instructed by the government to pray for the president's health.

The president's aides gave no reason for Mubarak's cancellation of this trip to Kampala, Uganda, for the AU summit. Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif is to attend.

Mubarak has periodically canceled meetings in the past several months but has also been in the public eye most weeks.

Even though doctors in Germany gave him a clean bill of health, worries have persisted. These appeared allayed last week when Mubarak appeared on television for 10 minutes to give a national address. He appeared strong, but thinner than usual, as he spoke on the eve of the annual Revolution Day to commemorate the military coup that toppled the monarchy in 1952.

During his television address he said economic growth and social justice are the main political goals and he also urged all politicians to work toward attaining them.

"While I look forward to parliamentary elections that push forward our democratic experience, I call on all political parties to come up with ideas and visions to deal with these priorities, on which there is no disagreement," Mubarak said.

The country will have elections in October for its 454-seat lower house. The last elections were in 2005 when the National Democratic Party took more than 310 seats.

Mubarak, a former Spitefire pilot in the Egyptian air force, is the fourth president of Egypt. He was appointed vice president in 1975, and became president in October 1981 immediately after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat.

Mubarak ends his fifth 6-year term next year and he hasn't stated whether he run for a sixth term.

As Mubarak ages amid health concerns, the population speculates about his successor. It is widely thought that he is grooming his banker son Gamal, 46, who is considered a market modernizer and who heads up the policy committee of the National Democratic Party.

Jimmy, as Gamal is affectionately called, studied at the American University in Cairo and was 11 years at Bank of America in Cairo and London.

While Egypt has moved toward a more market-oriented economy under Mubarak, there is impatience among the rural population who say they have yet to benefit from increased national wealth. Around one-fifth of Egypt's 78 million people live on less than $1 a day.

This could make Gamal's road to the presidency a bumpy one if he is associated too much with his father's policies.

The main opposition -- and banned -- left-of-center Muslim Brotherhood, which took one-fifth of the parliamentary seats in 2005 presidential elections, says Gamal isn't liked by the people.

"He has no popularity at all and I don't think he has the ability to control such a big country," Brotherhood's spokesman Essam al-Erian said.

Another possible contender in a presidential election is Egypt's powerful intelligence director, Omar Suleiman, 72. He is said to be well regarded by the Israelis and Palestinians for his attempts to mediate peace deals.

Many people are also waiting for firmer International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei to declare his political intentions. ElBaradei returned to Egypt last year and is said to be assessing the political climate. He' only said he wants to be an agent of change for Egypt.

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