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Zimbabweans have 'shortest lives'

Life in Zimbabwe is shorter than anywhere else in the world, with neither men nor women expected to live until 40, a new UN report says.

Zimbabwe's women have an average life expectancy of 34 years and men on average do not live past 37, it said.

The World Health Organisation report said women's life expectancy had fallen by two years in the last 12 months.

Correspondents say poverty because of the crumbling economy and deaths from Aids are responsible for the decline.

Zimbabwean women have the lowest life expectancy of women anywhere in the world, according to the report.

Women in the country are also more likely than men to be infected by the HIV virus.

'Economic meltdown'

According to the report, all 10 countries with the world's lowest life expectancy were in Africa.

People in Swaziland and Sierra Leone are also expected to die before they reach the age of 40, the report said.

Japan was said to have the highest life expectancy in the world, with people there living on average until 82.

According to the BBC's Africa editor, David Bamford, the latest figures are extraordinary for a country like Zimbabwe, which until 20 years ago, had a relatively high standard of living for Africa.

The HIV/Aids epidemic sweeping across southern Africa cannot alone be blamed for this - especially as recent figures show a slight drop in HIV infection rates in Zimbabwe.

Our correspondent says the key reason behind the drop in Zimbabwe's average life expectancy is the fall in the standard of living, triggered by an economic crisis.

Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk by an estimated 40% in the last seven years under President Robert Mugabe.
 
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Zimbabwe: Mugabe Renews Threat of Mine Grabs





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Business Day (Johannesburg)

April 19, 2006
Posted to the web April 19, 2006

Dumisani Muleya
Johannesburg

EMBATTLED Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe yesterday stirred controversy again by renewing his threat to grab 51% of foreign-owned mines, with 25% of that taken for free.

"We said we want 51% in favour of Zimbabwe and 49% in favour of the investors," Mugabe told a gathering at a local stadium in Harare to mark Zimbabwe's 26th anniversary of independence from Britain.

"The depleting resources, non-renewable resources, are ours in the first place. You, the investor, will get a reward, yes, but that reward should be balanced by what we keep for ourselves."

Mugabe's government last month said it had approved draft amendments to the mining law to facilitate a takeover of foreign-owned mines.

Panic rocked the mining sector, leading to a string of emergency meetings by stakeholders amid fears there would be a repeat of a policy similar to land seizures targeted at mines.

Implats CEO Keith Rumble met Mugabe last month to discuss the issue.

Implats, the world's second biggest platinum producer, has an 86,7% interest in the local-based Zimplats.

Other companies likely to be affected by the policy include SA's Anglo Platinum, UK-based Rio Tinto and Metallon, which is owned by South African tycoon Mzi Khumalo and others.

The mining sector is a pillar of the Zimbabwean economy, earning US$626m last year, which represents 44% of the country's total foreign currency revenues.

It contributes 4% to gross domestic product.

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Southern Africa
Economy, Business and Finance
Industry and Infrastructure
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Mining
Zimbabwe



Mugabe warned his political opponents that they were "playing with fire" if they sought to stage mass action to remove him from power.

He said he would not tolerate "violent demonstrations and terrorist activities" by political groups -- apparently the opposition Movement for Democratic Change -- calculated to oust him from office after 26 years at the helm.

"Anyone who dares to embark on a campaign of violence and terrorist activities to remove government from power will be inviting the full wrath of the law to descend mercilessly on him," Mugabe said.

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