International News Briefs

Courtesy of GIN News Services | 3/18/2009, 2:08 p.m.

Riots Break Out Over Activists' Death in Kenya

Rioting has broken out in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi as human rights groups increase pressure on the government for the ''assassinations'' of two rights activists. The twin killings of Oscar Kamau Kingara and John Paul Oulo, shot dead in their car, sparked a riot in which a student was shot dead. Three policemen were later arrested in connection with the student's death. ''It is extremely troubling when those working to defend human rights in Kenya can be assassinated in broad daylight in the middle of Nairobi,'' said Philip Alston, who last month released a report accusing Kenya's police of running death squads. Police deny any involvement in the killings of the two activists.
Death of Opposition Leader's Wife ''A Shattering Blow''

Susan Tsvangirai, wife of Zimbabwe prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, was killed in a car accident Courtesy Photo
The death of Susan Tsvangirai, wife of Zimbabwe's opposition leader and new prime minister, has been a shattering personal blow to Morgan Tsvangirai as well their family and close friends in the Movement for Democratic Change. Mrs. Tsvangirai was instantly killed when an on-coming vehicle, said to be under contract to USAID on a routine delivery, crashed into her husband€s motorcade. Mr. Tsvangirai escaped with superficial wounds. The news sent a shock wave through the Zimbabwean community, some of whom linked the death to the ruling group.

Nonetheless, President Robert Mugabe was among the first to console Mr. Tsvangirai on hearing the news of his wife's death. At the memorial service, the President called the crash €the hand of God.€ ''This is a difficult moment for our colleague. He has lost a partner and we must all rally to support him and lessen his burden,€ Mugabe said. Speaking to mourners outside his house in Harare, Mr. Tsvangirai said: ''It was an accident which unfortunately took a life.

I want to thank God for giving me 31 years with my wife. We know that we shall all die, but let's celebrate the life of Susan because we have gone through trials and tribulations together.€ Most of the new unity cabinet attended the memorial service in the capital Harare, on the eve of her burial. Afterwards, some 20,000 gathered for a stadium memorial. Meanwhile, the driver of the truck that hit the couple's car has been charged with culpable homicide. He blamed the collision on the poor state of the road.

Noted Ethiopian Filmmaker Takes Top Movie Prize
Award-winning director Haile Gerima captured the top prize for his new feature film €Teza€ in Africa€s premier film festival that recently closed. A historical drama spotlighting the harsh years spent under strongman Mengistu Haile Mariam (1974-1991), the film was praised for its strength, depth and poetry conveying the dashed hopes of a returning intellectual elite. Stunning village vistas and shoulder-dancing amid ululations in bars capture an expressive, vital Ethiopian culture.

''The message of the film is peace,'' said Selome Gerima, associate producer of the film and sister of the U.S.-based, Ethiopian-born director, speaking to the Reuters news agency as she carried off the Golden Stallion of Yennenga, Africa's ''Oscar.€ Over 300 films were shown at the 40th pan-African Fespaco film festival in Burkina Faso €" many urged change on the continent. In €Nothing But The Truth,'' from South Africa, director and lead actor John Kani asserts that post-apartheid freedom's dividends have not been realized. ''We need to establish an African filmmakers' bank,'' Selome Gerima told Reuters on winning the award. She is building four new 35mm cinemas for the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and hopes it will help African cinema to go it alone.