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Zimbabwe's envoy to Australia defects, asks Canberra for asylum

Zimbabwe's ambassador to Australia has defected and asked Canberra for asylum, saying she fears for her safety if she returns home when her term ends next week, reports said early Saturday. "Once the elections of 31 July were stolen by the current government -- which is illegitimate -- I knew that this was the end of the line," said Jacqueline Zwambila, who is aligned to Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Zimbabwe projects 6.1 percent growth for 2014

Zimbabwe's finance minister Patrick Chinamasa on Thursday projected 6.1 percent economic growth next year despite the country's failure to meet its economic targets this year amid a perennial cash crunch. Presenting a $4.4 billion budget for 2014 to parliament, Chinamasa said the economy was expected to record "strong growth of about 6.1 percent... anchored on the strong recovery of agriculture (and the) improved performance of the mining and construction sectors."

Mugabe lashes out at divisions in party eyeing successors

Africa's oldest leader, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, on Friday denounced divisions in his ZANU-PF party as factions aligned themselves with senior members hoping to become his successor. "We cannot build a united party when we divide people into camps of those who belong to so and so and those who belong to so and so," the 89-year-old told thousands of stalwarts at an annual conference of the ruling party. The veteran leader, in power for 33 years, began a new five-year term in August after winning disputed elections.

Economic woes, factionalism haunt Mugabe party ahead of meeting

Zimbabwe's ruling party opens its annual conference Thursday with the twin spectres of the moribund economy and infighting over veteran President Robert Mugabe's succession casting long shadows. The three-day conference is ZANU-PF's last before its elective congress next year and comes against the backdrop of renewed clashes among contenders to succeed Mugabe,who at 89 is Africa's oldest head of state.

U.S., China complementary in Africa: envoy

U.S., China complementary in Africa: envoy HARARE, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- The United States does not view China as its threat in Africa, but sees the work being done by the two countries on the continent as complementary, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton said on Monday. Speaking at a joint press conference with visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs Shannon Smith, Wharton said the U.S. was not in any way competing with the Chinese in Africa.

Mugabe rules out exception for foreign firms in Zimbabwe

Mugabe rules out exception for foreign firms in Zimbabwe HARARE, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe said on Sunday that no sector will be spared from the indigenization law, quashing recent media reports that platinum miners could be exempted from the rule if they establish a refinery. Zimbabwe's law enacted in 2010 requires foreign businesses operating in the country to cede at least 51 percent of the share- holding to black Zimbabweans. Implementation started first from the mining sector which is a pillar to the country's fragile economy.

Over 100 die in Zimbabwe jail 'death traps': rights group

More than 100 prisoners have died this year in Zimbabwean prisons which have been hit by food shortages due to a lack of funds, a rights group said Tuesday. "More than 100 prisoners have perished in Zimbabwe's prisons since January 2013 as the country's correctional centres turn into death traps," Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said in a statement. The group said justice and prison services officials had told a parliamentary committee that the prisoners died "owing to nutrition-related illnesses induced by food shortages and natural causes".

Zimbabwe prison death rate rises

Zimbabwe prison death rate rises HARARE, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- The death rate in Zimbabwe's prisons has risen significantly in recent years as authorities battle to provide inmates with adequate food, parliament heard on Monday. Zimbabwe Prison Service Deputy Commissioner Agrey Machingauta told a parliamentary committee that the prison deaths had doubled to 100 per year in recent years due to inadequate food and the HIV and AIDS pandemic.

Blair denies pressuring S.Africa to topple Mugabe

Former British prime minister Tony Blair denied Wednesday putting pressure on South Africa while he was in office to help remove Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe in a military operation. South Africa's ex-president Thabo Mbeki claimed in an interview that Britain had urged it to topple Mugabe when a political and economic crisis escalated in the late 2000s. But Blair's spokesman denied this had happened.

Zimbabwe vows to ban foreigners from some businesses

Zimbabwe will press ahead with controversial plans to ban foreigners from owning bakeries, barber shops, estate agencies and a host of other businesses, officials said Wednesday. "Foreigners operating in reserved sectors of the economy have been given January 1 as the deadline to comply with regulations," a government official told AFP. The businesses to be owned by locals include bakeries, barber shops, beauty salons, estate agencies, grain mills, milk processing plants, retail outlets, tobacco processing, transport and valet services.
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