Wednesday, 30 September 2015


An initiative in Thailand to create a single government-controlled gateway for international Internet traffic represents a clear danger to online freedoms, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement today. CPJ calls on Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to drop the proposed plan and stop harassing journalists and social media users.

According to news reports , the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology was ordered at a September 1 Cabinet meeting to establish a firewall to filter all Internet traffic entering and leaving Thailand. The written order, signed by Prayuth, said the gateway would "serve as a tool to control access to inappropriate sites and the influx of information from abroad," the reports said. Prayuth's order called on authorities to "expedite" the gateway's establishment.

State enterprises and private companies currently operate nine gateways to the Internet in Thailand, news reports said. Information and Communications Technology Minister Uttama Savanayana denied the single gateway initiative was designed to censor the Internet, but rather aimed to lower costs for online businesses, reports said. Uttama said the gateway project was still in the proposal phase and that if implemented would not violate users' personal data or access to information, the reports said. 

"Thailand needs fewer, not more, controls on the Internet," said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative. "Prayuth should scrap the one gateway plan and any other designs to block, censor, or surveil the Internet and Internet-based social media applications. Any new laws or plans to govern Thailand's Internet should be left for a new, elected administration, not his self-appointed military junta."  

The ruling junta, the National Council for Peace and Order, has sought to bolster online surveillance since seizing power in a May 2014 coup, CPJ research shows. Days after the coup, the NCPO made the creation of a single Internet gateway an "urgent priority" to be jointly managed by the army, police, National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, and National Intelligence Agency, according to reports. The gateway as proposed then would administer the Internet, govern websites and tackle provocative content, the reports said.

Cyber Security Bill approved by Prayuth's Cabinet in January aimed to establish a committee charged with detecting and countering online threats to national security, stability, the military and economy, news reports said. Under Section 35 of the bill, the committee would be authorized to access information on personal computers, cell phones and other electronic devises without a court order, news reports said. The bill is pending approval in the National Legislative Assembly.

Prayuth's military government has cracked down hard on online dissent, particularly for postings deemed as offensive to the Thai monarchy, a criminal offense punishable by 15 years in prison under the country's draconian lèse-majesté law. In the harshest sentence under the law in Thailand's modern history, a military court in August sentenced Pongsak Sriboonpeng, a tour guide, to 30 years in prison for six Facebook postings ruled as critical of the crown, according to news reports.

Newspaper reporter Pravit Rojanaphruk was held in military detention for three days this month over a tweet authorities saw as critical of Prayuth and the coup. Military authorities also erroneously accused him of sending tweets critical of a personnel rotation at the National Security Council which the reporter neither sent nor retweeted, Pravit told CPJ. Pravit was freed without charge but was required as a condition of his release to sign a form pledging not to become involved in any anti-junta activities or risk seizure of his personal assets, he told CPJ.  

Friday, 25 September 2015


Health Minister Joseph Kasonde has urged the new stream of nurses to be professional in
Health Minister Joseph Kasonde
the delivery of quality health care services to the public. Speaking when he officiated at the first ever combined graduation ceremony of 138 nurses and midwives from Mansa and Saint Pauls Nursing Schools respectively in Nchelenge District today, Dr Kasonde advised nurses to be committed to their work because nursing is a noble calling.

The 138 graduates include 54 Registered nurses, 72 Enrolled nurses and 12 Enrolled Midwives. He said Government has since adopted a four pillar strategy to provide adequate nursing human resource across the country through expansion and construction of nursing schools.

Dr Kasonde said provision of E-learning facilities in all nursing schools and private partnerships will enhance efforts of improving the health sector. He said government will soon implement the National Training Operational Plan specifically targeted towards scaling up the number of students who will graduate from all health training institutions in the country.

And General Nursing Council Registrar Universe Mulenga encouraged the nurses to put the interest of patients above their own personal interests.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015


Construction works for the upgrading and improvement of Water and sanitation infrastructure in Lusaka under the Lusaka Water Supply Sanitation and Drainage (LWSSD) projects has been deferred to 2016.
Topsy Sikalinda

Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) Public Relations Officer Topsy Sikalinda revealed in an interview in Lusaka today that the project has been rescheduled to the first quarter of 2016 and are expected to be completed in 2017.

Construction works were scheduled to start in October this year but have since been postponed to April 2016.

Mr. Sikalinda explained that the development has been caused by delays from the tender process meant to select contractors to undertake the Lusaka Water Supply Sanitation and Drainage (LWSSD) projects.

He said the water utility firm was to ensure that qualified contractors are selected who will ensure that works on the LWSSD projects are executed according to contract specifications and of good quality.

Mr. Sikalinda said once the process of selecting contractors is done, actual construction works will not take longer than the planning and design phase.

Over US$351 million has been injected into the project by Millennium Challenge Account funded by the United States government to improve water, sanitation and drainage system in Lusaka District.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


President Edgar Lungu
President Edgar Lungu says his government will continue promoting a private sector-driven economy in order to promote growth.

President Lungu said government is encouraging the setting up of joint venture projects between Zambia and foreign investors in areas of agriculture, manufacturing, mining, tourism, and energy and water development.

The President was speaking today at state house when he received credentials from ambassadors and high commissioners-designate from the republic of Italy, Greece, Kingdom of Spain, Iran, Pakistan and state of Israel.

The President hoped that the respective countries that have sent representatives to Zambia will have a lot to offer to enhance trade and investment with Zambia.

He urged the diplomats who have been accredited to Zambia to harness Zambia’s potential and increase their countries’ investment portfolio in the country.

The Head of State observed that Zambia’s central location offers a huge market for business considering her strategic geographic position.

Speaking before handing his letter of credence to President Lungu, Greece Ambassador designate to Zambia Leonidas Conovounesios said his country is impressed with the economic and social progress Zambia is making marked by high growth rate and attraction of foreign investments.

He disclosed that Greece is bring a delegation of 16 Greek enterprises to Zambia next month in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, trade, construction and renewable energy.

He added that his country admires how Zambia resolves the issue of refugees as it is a matter greatly preoccupying Europe today.

And Italian Ambassador to Zambia said his country needs Zambia as much as Zambia needs Italy because Italy is the second largest European industrial country and has skill and experience to help create economic output.

He said Zambia can derive fresh capital and experiences

Monday, 21 September 2015


From Willie Sitali in New York
New York, September 21, ZANIS---First Lady Esther Lungu has praised former United States of America president George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, for their strong commitment to addressing global issues like gender inequality and poor health.

The First Lady noted that her invitation by the Bush Institute to participate at the high-level meeting for First Ladies, where issues affecting humanity are top on the agenda, is a great honour to Zambia.

Mrs. Lungu said she will take advantage of her engagements in America to highlight the problem of cancer and HIV/AIDS as well as women and child issues which require urgent attention from the international community.

ZANIS reports from New York that the First Lady said this in an interview yesterday shortly before she flew to the city of Dallas Taxes for a series of meetings involving First Ladies and other dignitaries.

Mrs. Lungu stated that the involvement of First Ladies especially those from Africa in matters of health, gender equality and technology will help to advance the call for more action among developing nations in bettering the lives of the people.

She pledged to use her status as First Lady of Zambia to contribute positively to the well-being of the under-privileged in society.

The First Lady is in the United States of America to attend a series of high-level meetings in Dallas Taxes and New York.

During her engagement, Mrs. Lungu will interact with US First Lady Michelle Obama, former First Lady Laura Bush and other top dignitaries in discussing issues of women empowerment, health and globe technology.