|Zimbabwe denounces US over
opposition win declaration
President Morgan Tsvangirai speaks to the press in Maputo. The
trip to Mozambique is the latest leg in a series of diplomatic
visits by Tsvangirai designed to pressurize arch rival President
Robert Mugabe (AFP)
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe on Saturday denounced as
“patently false” US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi
Frazer’s declaration that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
won a clear victory in last month’s disputed elections.
“Frazer has no moral or legal authority to make unfounded
announcements on our domestic processes,” Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa was quoted as saying by the state-controlled
“Even the figures published on the MDC (Movement for Democratic
Change) website on April 2 do not make Morgan Tsvangirai an
Frazer told reporters in South Africa Thursday: “The most
credible results we have today are a clear victory for Morgan
Tsvangirai in the first round and maybe a total victory.”
But Chinamasa dismissed her declaration as “patently false,
inflammatory, irresponsible and uncalled for.”
“No one...has the prerogative at law to usurp the constitutional
role of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the will of
the people of Zimbabwe to impose Morgan Tsvangirai as the next
president of Zimbabwe outside the electoral process,” Chinamasa
was quoted as saying.
“Pending the release of the official results by the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission no individual, corporate entity or country
has any authority to declare a result.”
Zimbabweans went to the polls on March 29 to elect a president,
lawmakers and councillors.
Nearly a month later, ZEC has yet to announce the presidential
results. Following the delays in the announcement the MDC
declared its president the outright winner citing figures
collected from polling stations.
But veteran President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party said none of
the four presidential candidates had garnered the required
majority and that the party was gearing up for a run-off.
back in India
Tibetans want a stop to media attacks
pro-Tibet spectator (C) reacts against pro-China spectators
before the Beijing Olympic torch relay in Nagano on April 26,
2008. The Japanese leg of the Olympic torch relay ended after
completing a four-hour course amid protests and scuffles that
injured at least four people, witnesses said. AFP
(AFP) - Dalai Lama returned Saturday to India as the
exile Tibet government told China to stop attacking the
spiritual leader following Beijing’s offer to hold talks to
defuse the Tibetan issue.
The spiritual icon arrived in the Indian capital from a two-week
US trip where he sought Washington’s help in improving the
situation in his homeland and met followers.
He was due to fly to the hill station of Dharamshala, where his
exile government is based, later in the day, officials said.
“He is back in New Delhi” and would travel on to Dharamshala
later on Saturday, an official of his office said.
The office declined to give exact details of the 72-year-old’s
itinerary but said he had no public engagements planned in
Dharamshala where he has lived since fleeing Tibet following a
failed uprising there against Beijing in 1959.
His return came after China’s official Xinhua news agency said
on Friday government officials would meet “in coming days” with
one of his envoys.
The announcement drew praise from the United States and around
the world amid hope it could lead to a solution to the recent
But on Saturday, China’s media kept up its attacks on the Dalai
Lama with the state press accusing him of destabilising the
“The vilification of His Holiness must be stopped by the Chinese
authorities because these attacks hurt the sentiments of Tibetan
people very deeply,” exile Tibet government spokesman Thubten
Samphel told AFP.
The continuation of the vilification was “unnecessarily
provocative,” Samphel said by telephone from Dharamshala.
“Instead of defusing the situation, it is making it more tense,”
he said. “This attempt to demonise His Holiness will not work.”
The Chinese “must stop this campaign, they must stop repression
(in Tibet) and they must tackle the real causes” of the unrest
China’s People’s Daily on Saturday reported only briefly
Beijing’s talks offer as it published scathing articles on the
Dalai Lama, one of which denounced him as “the chief ringleader
of activities to sabotage the normal religious order of Tibet.”
On Friday, the Dalai Lama welcomed China’s offer to meet his
envoy for talks after weeks of protests over Tibet and repeated
calls from the exiled spiritual leader for dialogue with Beijing
The Dalai Lama’s spokesman Tenzin Talka described the offer as
“a step in the right direction” and said “only face-to-face
meetings can lead to a resolution of the Tibetan issue.”
But in a later statement the exile government said on Friday it
would “require normalcy in the situation in the Tibetan areas
for the formal resumption of the talks.”
It added it was committed “to take all steps, including informal
meetings, to continue in bringing about this.”
Violent rioting against Chinese rule erupted in the regional
capital Lhasa on March 14, and quickly spread across huge areas
of the Tibetan plateau, casting a shadow over the Beijing
Olympics in August.
China had hoped the Games would be symbolic of its rising status
but instead they have has become a target for critics of
Beijing’s rule over Tibet and its human rights record.
Anand Ojha, a political analyst at Delhi University, said the
talks invitation may prove hollow.
“Who says China has blinked? It’s Chinese chequers as this
invitation takes out the wind from the Tibetans’ campaign of
protests ahead of the Olympics which was a becoming a matter of
huge concern for China,” he said.
Zimbabwe opposition leads as recount results
HARARE (AFP) -
Zimbabwe’s main opposition took a lead as results from a partial
recount of last month’s general elections trickled in, a state
daily reported Saturday.
The Herald newspaper said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
had released seven more results bringing the total number of
constituencies where results have been announced to 10.
Out of the 10 constituencies, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) retained six parliamentary seats while
President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union -
Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) retained four.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission spokesman Utloile Silaigwana told
AFP: “We have so far finished counting in 14 constituencies. The
results will be announced in due course.”
The commission ordered a recount in 23 of the 210 constituencies
after ZANU-PF alleged that some election officials counted votes
in favour of the opposition.
Official results from the March 29 elections showed ZANU-PF had
lost its traditional parliamentary majority to the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Nearly a month after the joint polls, ZEC is yet to announce the
presidential results but the MDC claims its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai won the required majority.
But ZANU-PF says there was no outright winner and the party is
gearing up for a run-off.
McCain says Obama
is the candidate of Hamas
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Republican John McCain took a shot at
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama on Friday, saying
he was the candidate for the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.
“I think it’s very clear who Hamas wants to be the next
president of the United States,” said McCain, his party’s
presumptive presidential nominee, in a conversation with
According to a transcript posted on the website of the Weekly
Standard magazine, he said: “I think that people should
understand that I will be Hamas’s worst nightmare ... If Senator
Obama is favored by Hamas I think people can make judgments
Obama says he considers Hamas a terrorist organization, and he
condemned the recent meeting between Democratic former president
Jimmy Carter and Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal in Damascus.
He sparked controversy by saying he was ready to meet with
Iranian, Cuban or North Korea leaders if he is elected
president, but said he would not meet with the leaders of Hamas.
Obama also affirmed recently that if elected, he would “work
with Israel to isolate terrorist groups like Hamas, target their
resources, and support Israel’s right and capability to defend
itself from any attack.”
Sex-for-grades claim prompts uni
University has ordered the suspension of a lecturer following
allegations that he offered a female student better grades in
exchange for oral sex. Thammasat rector Surapol Nitikraipoj went
on national television yesterday to apologise to the public,
students and parents.
He said he had suspended Kamthorn Cherdchukiat, 33, an
engineering lecturer, effective from yesterday.
The teacher was arrested on Wednesday after one of his female
students, 21, filed a complaint with police on April 9 alleging
he had approached her and offered her a good grade if she would
agree to perform oral sex.
The third-year student refused and filed a complaint with
The student, who asked not to be named, said that on March 27,
the teacher called her into his office to say she had performed
poorly in an exam.
Offering to help, the teacher asked her to perform oral sex on
him and in return he would give her a higher grade, the student
claimed. The student said she declined the offer.
A few days later, the teacher told her to meet him again, when
he repeated the offer, the student said. She said she decided to
take the matter to the police.
Yesterday, another female student at Thammasat complained to
police about the lecturer. She said she had performed oral sex
for a better grade but was too embarrassed to step forward.
Mr Surapol said a panel would conduct a disciplinary
investigation into Mr Kamthorn. The inquiry is expected to take
‘’[If found guilty] Mr Kamthorn could be dismissed from the
civil service, a maximum penalty under university regulations,’’
the rector said.
‘’His action would be recorded, which means he cannot apply for
any other civil service position. He could not apply for
teaching posts elsewhere, either.
‘’The university regrets the incident and apologises,’’ Mr
He told the engineering faculty to re-check grades given by Mr
Kamthorn over the last 12 months to see if any students were
treated shoddily by the lecturer. -Bangkok Post