Zambia to start voter registration two years before elections

Lusaka - The southern African country of Zambia is set to start updating its voter register after aborting the overdue task for lack of time and money before last year's presidential by-election.

Electoral commission head Florence Mumba was quoted by state media as saying Tuesday that the commission would begin a continuous registration process in all 150 constituencies in the copper-rich country in June.

Zambia's parliament last week approved spending of 5 billion kwacha (around 900,000 dollars) for the exercise, which is seen as key to building trust in the electoral process in a country, where the last two national elections have been marred by contestation.

Roger Moore to help Israeli group fight AIDS in Africa

Jerusalem, Feb 24 : Former James Bond star Roger Moore will donate his fee from an appearance at the fourth International Eilat Chamber Music Festival to help fight AIDS in Africa.

The earnings will go to the Jerusalem AIDS Project (JAIP), an Israeli program that encourages male circumcision as a way of reducing AIDS and HIV.

The 81-year-old is narrating Saint Saens'' orchestral character piece Carnival of the Animals at the festival, now under way at the Herod''s Forum hotel.

Some 80 musicians from around the world are taking part, performing 14 concerts in six days. Master classes are also being held.

Moore has been a UNICEF `goodwill ambassador' since 1991, promoting women''s and children''s health.

Finnish president to visit West Africa

Tarja HalonenHelsinki - Finnish President Tarja Halonen was next month to visit four countries in West Africa, the president's office said Friday.

The March 3-12 tour opens in Senegal and includes meetings with President Abdoulaye Wade, followed by Liberia and talks with Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

In Liberia, the two female heads of state were also due to participate in a seminar on women's leadership.

Visits to Nigeria and Benin and meetings with Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua and Benin's President Yayi Bon cap the trip.

U2’s Edge is glad Bono ignored his advice not to discuss Africa’s poverty with Bush

Bush claims his decisions kept US safeLondon, February 20 : U2 member The Edge is glad that frontman Bono ignored his advice not to meet former U. S. President George W. Bush to discuss poverty in Africa.

The rocker, whose real name is David Evans, has revealed that he was of the opinion that Bono would have "custard pies" thrown at him for holding talks with the controversial Republican in a bid to ease the plight of less economically developed nations.

However, he says, he is happy that the Beautiful Day singer proved his critics wrong.

Hu heads to Mauritius after pledging aid to Africa

Hu heads to Mauritius after pledging aid to Africa Nairobi - Chinese President Hu Jintao was due in Mauritius Monday for the last stop on a four-country African tour during which he has already signed aid and loan deals worth over 100 million dollars.

Hu witnessed the signing of a 22-million-dollar aid deal for Tanzania in the capital Dar es Salaam on Sunday and met Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

Carla Bruni to visit AIDS programmes in Burkina Faso

Carla Bruni And Nicolas SarkozyGeneva  - Carla Bruni-Sarkozy will visit AIDS programmes in Burkina Faso on Wednesday, during her first trip as Global Ambassador for the protection of mothers and children against AIDS.

She received the position from the Global Fund last December, on World AIDS Day.

Nicolas Demey, a spokesman for the organization, said it was financing almost 45 million dollars worth of projects in the African nation, where 130,000 people are living with HIV or AIDS.

The fund is a mechanism for raising money to fight HIV, tuberculosis and malaria and has close ties to the United Nations.