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Cablegate: Media Placements for May 2007

VZCZCXYZ0007
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHFN #0391/01 1721412
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211412Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY FREETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1165

UNCLAS FREETOWN 000391

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OIIP, AF/PD-LBEDICHEK AND J.SCHAMING-RONAN
DEPT ALSO FOR IIP/G/AF, AF/W/SL-AEOKEDIGI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KPAO SL
SUBJECT: MEDIA PLACEMENTS FOR MAY 2007

1. Post and Mission Activities/Press Releases:

A. On May 4, PEN Sierra Leone, a literary club, in collaboration
with the United States Embassy in Freetown, celebrated the 37th
anniversary of Earth day with an essay competition. In a prize
ceremony at the Embassy, the Ambassador said the celebrations were
to raise environmental awareness among Sierra Leoneans.
The local press reported as follows: "Sierra Leone
PEN, U.S. Embassy celebrate Earth Day" AWOKO 5/7
"U.S. Ambassador impressed with young pupils"
THE EXCLUSIVE 5/7

B. The Ambassador expressed satisfaction for President Kabbah, the
Minister of Gender and Children's Affairs, and the Parliamentary
Committee Chairman on Human Rights having provided critical support
for the Trafficking in Person Legislation Act that passed in 2005.
"Sierra Leone has done well, but Sierra Leone must continue to do
better," he said at a conference. He said the U.S. and other donors
would continue to support efforts to overcome the scourges of
trafficking in person and exploitation of child labor.

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The local press reported as follows:
"U.S. Ambassador commends Kabbah" THE SPARK 5/29

C. President Bush has announced the nomination of Ambassador June
Carter Perry, currently in Lesotho, to replace Ambassador Hull who
will become a professor. Ambassador Perry's biographic background
provided.

The local press reported as follows:
"George Bush replaces Ambassador Hull," CONCORD TIMES 5/2
"President Bush Names New Envoy to Sierra Leone," INDEPENDENT
OBSERVER 5/2; UNITY 5/3; AWARENESS TIMES 5/3
"New US Envoy to Sierra Leone named," AWOKO 5/2

D. The American Envoy will visit the District Prison of Moyamba on
May 2, 2007. The envoy's visit may be connected to the pivotal role
the prison plays in prison reform throughout the country.

"US Ambassador to visit Moyamba Prison," THE SPECTATOR, 5/2


2. KEY MEDIA STORIES

A. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) circulated a new
proposed timetable for the presidential and parliamentary elections,
suggesting a new elections date of August 11, 2007. The change of
date from July 28 is due to the constitutionally stipulated number
of days required between the closure of Parliament (now on June 25)
and Election Day.

The local press reported s follows:
"New Date for 2007 Elections" NEW CITIZEN 5/7
"Thorpe Proposes New Election Date" AWOKO 5/7


B. The Acting Director of National AIDS Secretariat in Freetown
says according to the 2006 UNAIDS report some 5,200 Sierra Leonean
children are living with HIV/AIDS in the country. Dr. Kargbo said
out of the 5,200 children living with the virus only 52 have been
identified and only 13 are now on anti-retroviral drugs. He said
government has opened about 90 Prevention of Mother to Child
transmission Centers (PMTCT) all over the country.

The local press reported as follows:
"5,200 Children Infected with HIV," 5/9

C. 46 chiefdoms out of 91 where the Arms for Development Project
operates have been verified and certified arms-free by the Sierra
Leone Police. The Officer Commanding (Fire Arms Dept) at Police
Headquarters said some 9,541 ammunition were collected from the
people in 91 chiefdoms where they have been operating.

The local press reported as follows:
"9,541 weapons collected in 46 chiefdoms" NEW VISION 5/10

D. A Sierra Leonean, Jacob Conteh, wrote of his experiences in
living in the United States. He said "Today, there is still a
distorted picture of America all over the world, especially in
Africa. Many feel that once they make it to America, they will
strike gold and become rich ... America definitely offers immense
opportunities ... But those opportunities come with a huge price ...
In my case I had to start as a cook, do many odd jobs, go to
graduate school, and climb through the ladder slowly before landing
a decent paying job." He further advised, "Perhaps before coming to
America, one should thoroughly examine the conditions here (USA).
If your aim of coming to America is to come here and make quick
money and return home to live happily after, then you have the wrong
motive." Conteh is now a Senior Editor living in Alexandria,
Virginia.

The local press reported as follows:
"Coming to America - Op Ed" CONCORD TIMES 5/14

HULL

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