- Storm Gaemi to hit central Vietnam, coffee at risk
- World Bank names former ICC prosecutor to head corruption panel
- Guinea's Conde sacks 11 ministers in surprise cabinet shake-up
Posted: 05 Oct 2012 08:26 PM PDT
HANOI (Reuters) - Tropical storm Gaemi is forecast to slam into Vietnam's central coast later on Saturday, dumping heavy rains and strong winds in the Central Highlands coffee belt, which could result in a decline in output, the government and traders said.
The storm, the seventh to hit Vietnam this year, would be centred near the coastal provinces of Binh Dinh and Phu Yen, with winds travelling at up to 74 km (46 miles) per hour, a government statement said.
It would weaken after landfall and move further west by Sunday, dumping wind and heavy rains in the northern part of the Central Highlands while en route to Cambodia, the statement said.
"Rain may not harm coffee cherries now but strong wind can cause young cherries to drop," said a coffee trader from Daklak, the country's largest coffee growing province and one of the five provinces in the Central Highlands.
The northern part of the region includes the provinces of Kontum and Gia Lai, which are the smallest in terms of coffee areas among the five, ranking after Daklak, Lam Dong and Dak Nong.
Around 80 percent of Vietnam's coffee comes from the region, where harvesting of the new 2012/2013 crop will begin in 10 days, with output initially expected to ease 7-10 percent from a record high 1.6 million tonnes in the previous 2011/2012 season.
A larger decline could tighten supply from the world's largest robusta producer, putting pressure on prices. Demand for robusta is expected to be strong in the current season, with steady buying seen in Europe's market this week.
Vietnam, with a north-south coastline, is widely exposed to storms and typhoons. More than 200 people have been killed or missing in the first nine months due to natural disasters including floods and landslides, government data show.
(Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)
Copyright © 2012 Reuters
Posted: 05 Oct 2012 07:01 PM PDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court will lead a review of Bangladesh's investigation of alleged corruption tied to a major bridge project, the World Bank said late on Friday.
Luis Moreno Ocampo will head the three-member panel and deliver a report to the World Bank, one of several steps necessary for the Washington-based development institution to resume its $1.2 billion line of credit. Ocampo sought to prosecute individuals for crimes against humanity at the ICC, located in The Hague, Netherlands.
The World Bank cancelled funding for the Padma River development in Bangladesh in June, saying it had "credible evidence" of high-level corruption among Bangladeshi government officials.
The Padma Multipurpose Bridge, at 4 miles (6.2 km) long, would be the longest water crossing in the country, linking the underdeveloped south with the capital Dhaka and the main port of Chittagong.
The bank said it would resume financing of the project once agreed measures with the government were implemented.
These include an outside panel of experts to assess the credibility of the government's investigation into allegations of corruption in the bridge project by the specially appointed Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh (ACC).
Joining Ocampo on the panel are Timothy Tong, the former commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption in Hong Kong, and Richard Alderman, former director of Britain's Serious Fraud Office.
A report of its findings will also go to the government.
Bangladesh, as agreed, put all officials suspected of involvement in the alleged corruption on leave until a full investigation is completed, the World Bank said previously.
The other measures agreed were the appointment of a special inquiry and prosecution team within the ACC to conduct the investigation; and the introduction of new procurement arrangements for the project, with more oversight and transparency to ensure clean construction of the bridge.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the development lender is committed to ensuring the Padma project is implemented with integrity.
"This panel creates a unique opportunity for the people of Bangladesh to raise the bar on transparency, public accountability and governance," Kim said in the statement.
Two former executives from Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc, which bid to supervise the contractor on the bridge project, appeared in a Toronto court in July accused of bribing officials in Bangladesh.
Canada launched an investigation last year into allegations of corruption in the bridge bidding process after the World Bank brought the issue to their attention.
Copyright © 2012 Reuters
Posted: 05 Oct 2012 06:00 PM PDT
CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea's President Alpha Conde sacked 11 of his government ministers in a surprise cabinet reshuffle announced on state television late on Friday.
The statement from the presidency gave no reason for the shake-up, but the move comes amid heightened tensions in the world's top supplier of the aluminium ore bauxite over long-delayed parliamentary elections.
Among the principle changes was the nomination of former prime minister and career diplomat FranÃ§ois Louceny Fall to the post of state minister for foreign affairs.
Agriculture Minster Jean Marc Telliano and Construction and Urban Development Minister Mathurin Bangoura, whose conspicuous acquisition of wealth while in office had raised public accusations of corruption, were both sacked.
"Telliano was a problem for the president. He weakened Conde in respect to his fight against corruption. General Bangoura was seen in a bit the same manner," a source close to the presidency, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.
In addition to Bangoura, two other generals were dismissed, removing from the government the last remaining vestiges of a 2008-2010 military junta that seized power following the death of long-time dictator Lansana Conte.
President Conde was elected in late 2010 in a vote that ended military rule but which was tainted by deadly riots and opposition complaints of fraud.
His government has been trying to organise legislative elections, the last major step in the transition back to civilian rule and is key to unlocking millions of dollars in frozen aid. But progress has been slowed by opposition worries that the electoral body is biased.
Dozens of people were injured and at least one was killed in violent clashes between government and opposition supporters in the capital Conakry last month.
(Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Eric Walsh)
Copyright © 2012 Reuters
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