Archive for February 15, 2012

Lightning also struck a match in South Africa

All 11 members of a football team were killed by a bolt of lightning which left the other team unhurt, a Congolese newspaper has reported.

Thirty other people received burns at the match in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kinshasa daily newspaper L’Avenir said local opinion – known to believe in charms and spells – was divided over whether someone had cursed the team.

The two sides were drawing 1-1 in the match in eastern Kasai Province when the lightning struck the visiting team.

“The athletes from [the home team] Basanga curiously came out of this catastrophe unscathed,” the paper said.

There was no official confirmation of the report – a rebel war affects much of the east of the country.

The first strike

In a similar incident at the weekend, a premier league soccer match in Johannesburg was brought to an abrupt end when lightning struck the ground.

Half the players from both teams – the Jomo Cosmos and the Moroka Swallows – dropped to the turf.

Several writhed on the grass holding their ears and their eyes. Spectators and coaching staff ran onto the pitch to help. Fortunately no-one was killed.

Lightning kills an entire football team

FOOTBALL FANS in the central African state of Congo were hurling accusations of witchcraft at each other yesterday after a freak blast of lightning struck dead an entire team on the playing field while their opponents were left completely untouched.

The bizarre blow by the weather to all 11 members of the football team was reported in the daily newspaper L’Avenir in Kinshasa, the capital of Congo.

“Lightning killed at a stroke 11 young people aged between 20 and 35 years during a football match,” the newspaper reported . It went on to say that 30 other people had received burns at the weekend match, held in the eastern province of Kasai. “The athletes from Basanga [the home team] curiously came out of this catastrophe unscathed.”

The suspicion that the black arts might be involved arose firstly because the opposing team emerged unharmed and then again because the score at the time was a delicately balanced one all.

“The exact nature of the lightning has divided the population in this region which is known for its use of fetishes in football,” the newspaper commented.

Much of the detail about the match remains obscure as the Congo – officially known as the Democratic Republic of Congo – remains stricken by civil war between the government of Laurent Kabila and rebel forces, backed by neighbouring Rwanda, in the east of the country.

Witchcraft is often blamed for adverse natural phenomena throughout western and central Africa. It is relatively frequent for football teams to hire witchdoctors to place hexes on their opponents.

In a similar, though less deadly incident in South Africa over the weekend, six players from a local team were hurt when lightning struck the playing field during a thunderstorm.

Did lightning kill an entire team?

“What is the largest number of game-ending injuries to have occurred to a single team during a match?” enquires Bob Sedlak.

The tragic case of Bena Tshadi in the Democratic Republic of Congo apparently holds this unfortunate record, Bob, after a truly freak blast of lightning wiped them out mid-game. Back in October 1998, Bena Tshadi were drawing 1-1 with visitors Basanga in the eastern province of Kasai when a true bolt from the blue struck. “Lightning killed at a stroke 11 young people aged between 20 and 35 years during a football match,’ reported the daily newspaper L’Avenir in Kinshasa. The account added that while 30 other people received burns, “the athletes from Basanga curiously came out of this catastrophe unscathed.”

Immediately, accusations of witchcraft arose; many teams across central and western Africa are known to employ the services of witchdoctors to put curses on their opponents. “The exact nature of the lightning has divided the population in this region which is known for its use of fetishes in football,” added the newspaper. However, there has never been any official confirmation of L’Avenir’s report as much of the area was stricken by civil war.

This isn’t the sole instance of lightning striking a football match, however. Just days before the Bena Tshadi incident, a South African Premier League game was abandoned after seven players and the referee were sent sprawling to the turf. As a Guardian report from the time explained: “Two players from Moroko Swallows were kept in hospital but the coach of opposition Jomo Cosmos hinted that some Swallows players had faked injury. ‘Our observation was that only two players were seriously injured but more fell down,’ he said. The Swallows were 2-0 down with 12 minutes to go.”

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Oil talks between Khartoum and Juba fail to produce a breakthrough

February 14, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The current round of talks between north and South Sudan on oil will likely be adjourned and resumed in two weeks time, an official in Khartoum said today.

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Pagan Amum, South Sudan’s chief negotiator (AFP)

The two sides have been unable to reach a middle ground during almost five days of negotiations in the Ethiopian capital that are moderated by the African Union High-Level implementation Panel (AUHIP).

In this round, Khartoum’s delegation tabled a paper detailing its position on oil transit fees and how it should be calculated per barrel of crude exported by South Sudan through the pipelines.

But South Sudan’s negotiating team led by Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) Secretary General Pagan Amum rejected Khartoum’s demand of $36 per barrel saying that this represents no change from previous figures.

In the past, Juba said that the fair fee should be around $1 per barrel of oil.

The Sudanese foreign ministry spokesperson Al-Obeid Marwih said that the two sides will return to the negotiating table by the end of this month. He revealed that a preliminary accord could be signed on other post secession issues such as borders and trade.

Specialised committees from the two countries will convene later this month to continue discussions on trade as well citizenship issues.

In a related issue, SPLM Secretary General said that Khartoum seized 2.4 million barrels of its oil in a continuation of measures implemented by the Sudanese government since late last year, which brings total volume of crude seized to 6 million barrels.

This included 1.2 million barrels taken in December, four shipments totalling roughly 2.5 million barrels in January and another 2.4 million barrels reported this month, according to figures provided to Reuters by South Sudan’s negotiating team in Addis Ababa.

“Yesterday we have been informed that the government of Sudan has again stolen 2.4 million barrels of our best quality crude oil,” Amum said, according to Reuters.

South Sudan took with it three quarters of Sudan’s daily oil production of 500,000 barrels when it seceded in July under a 2005 peace deal that ended more than two decades of civil war between the two sides.

Previous rounds of protracted negotiations failed to yield an agreement on a fair charge to transport South Sudan’s oil through Sudan’s infrastructure, triggering a crisis that saw Khartoum confiscating oil and Juba suspending production all together.

Juba has been insisting that it must be reimbursed for the oil Khartoum says it confiscated to make up for unpaid fees.

Amum said Sudan had released two vessels that had been waiting to load South Sudanese crude at Port Sudan but another six had arrived. Eight in total are now prevented from entering the port, he said.

“Six vessels were ready to come and load oil that they already bought, but they are not allowed to come to Port Sudan,” the senior SPLM official said.

“These companies are not coming because they have been informed that the oil they bought from South Sudan has been stolen by the government of Sudan,” he added.

Last week, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir described Juba’s decision to halt oil production is “suicide”.

He accused Juba of seeking to strangle his country economically by this move but he dismissed it saying that his country’s gold exports are booming.


Sudan Fails to Reach Oil Deal With South Sudan
Wall Street Journal
By NICHOLAS BARIYO Sudan on Tuesday failed to reach a much-awaited deal on oil transit fees with its land-locked neighbor, South Sudan, and seized an additional 2.4 million barrels of oil shipments, officials said late Tuesday.

South Sudan Oil Dispute Raises Specter Of War
Eurasia Review
By Gabe Joselow South Sudan and Sudan have been engaged in a war of words since the south stopped pumping oil to the north in a dispute about pricing. Both sides have warned that a return to violence is a possibility. South Sudan is retooling its armed

SOUTH SUDAN: Briefing ? life without oil
Reuters AlertNet
South Sudan, one of the poorest countries in the world, reliant on oil for 98 percent of its revenues, in January took the drastic step of halting crude production, as a row with former civil war foe Sudan over transit fees hit a deadlock.

South Sudan accuses Sudan of breaking peace pact
By JOHN HEILPRIN JUBA, South Sudan (AP) – South Sudan is accusing its northern neighbor Sudan of violating a non-aggression agreement between the two nations just hours after it was signed. South Sudanese military officials on Tuesday said Sudan

Asia-Pacific Crude-Pyrenees hits fresh high on tight supply
Reuters Africa
SINGAPORE, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Australian heavy sweet crude surged in Asia on Wednesday with Pyrenees trading at a fresh high in April after storms reduced output and as South Sudan stopped exports. No resolution is in sight for a resumption of output

Bangladesh Officials Discuss Investment With Ministry of Commerce
By Misuk Moses Mule, 15 February 2012 Juba — The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment, Garang Diing Akuang and the Bangladesh delegation yesterday discussed plans of investment in South Sudan. The discussion was held at the minister’s office

South Sudan’s VP declares his net worth, urges peers to do same
Sudan Tribune
February 14, 2012 (JUBA) – The Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, Riek Machar, has officially declared his personal income, assets and liabilities while calling on all constitutional post-holders in the country to do the same.

South Sudan in dire need of unity
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Brent holds above $118 as supply trumps Euro zone woes

By Jessica Jaganathan | SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Brent crude held above $118 on Wednesday as supply concerns in the Middle East sparked by tensions over Iran and disruptions in South Sudantrumped a worrisome outlook for Greece, which could face a messy 

Attack on South Sudan reporter sparks critical debate
CPJ Press Freedom Online (blog)
By Tom Rhodes/CPJ East Africa Consultant February is the hottest month in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, and Mading Ngor, a reporter and presenter for the Catholic-owned Bakhita FM, trudged his way through the heat to cover parliament proceedings

SG at KPMG Summit; Sudan/South Sudan; Advancement of Women; Madagascar; and more
UN Dispatch
Sudan/S. Sudan: The UN Security Council on Tuesday called on Sudan and rebels in areas borderingSouth Sudan to grant immediate access for UN aid workers to the turbulent region, expressing “deep and growing alarm” at rising hunger levels…

South Sudan accuses Sudan of breaking peace pact
The Associated Press
JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan on Tuesday accused its northern neighbor Sudan of bombing a border town, violating a non-aggression agreement between the two nations just hours after it was signed. South Sudanese military officials said Sudan 
South Sudan accuses Sudan of breaking peace pact
U-T San Diego
The establishment of the DRA is part of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, signed by the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement. (AP Photo/UNAMID, Albert Gonzalez Farran) — AP JUBA, South Sudan — South Sudan on Tuesday 
South Sudan in dire need of unity
The Citizen Daily
You need JavaScript enabled to view it In a short article entitled ‘the Myth of South Sudan‘, published in Pambazuka News, Issue No. 569 of February 2012, Makol Bona Malwal has the following to say: “Most South Sudanese have little idea what the 
IOM says Sudanese deal struck over resettlement
CBS News
(AP) GENEVA — A half-million South Sudanese people living in Sudan will have the choice to go home after a new deal was struck between the two countries, but a fast-approaching deadline leaves little time to make the difficult journey, an 
Israel’s Spacecom looks to boost South Sudan telecommunications
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CAIRO: Israel’s leading communications satellite company Spacecom, which operates the AMOS satellites across the world, hopes that recent discussions with South Sudan will help boost its role in the young country’s communications and telecommunications 
Attack on South Sudan reporter sparks critical debateBy Tom Rhodes/CPJ East Africa Consultant

February is the hottest month in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, and Mading Ngor, a reporter and presenter for the Catholic-owned Bakhita FM, trudged his way through the heat to cover parliament proceedings last week — only to be thrown unceremoniously out of the assembly. “Before I had time to argue, four security guards pinned me to the ground and dragged me across the floor, tearing up my trousers” Ngor, a hard-hitting, critical journalist, told me.

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