Idea Kadhafi will step down ‘ridiculous,’ says son 

The charred hand of a pro-Kadhafi fighter is seen as Libyan rebel fighters buried him in a communal grave near the western gate of Ajdabiya.

Libyan rebels rejected an African Union initiative for a truce accepted by Moamer Kadhafi, and said the only solution was the strongman’s ouster, an idea his son called “ridiculous.”

The rebel rejection came after NATO chiefs warned that any deal must be “credible and verifiable,” and as alliance warplanes were again in action against heavy Kadhafi weaponry pounding Ajdabiya and Misrata.

A delegation of leaders mandated by the African Union (AU) to stop the fighting in Libya arrived late Monday in the Algerian capital for two days of talks with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, APS news agency reported.

“We are working to find a solution to this complex question and we are continuing our efforts to get out of this crisis,” Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was quoted as saying on arrival.

He was accompanied by Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso, AU Commission chairman Jean Ping and Ugandan Foreign Minister Henry Oryem Okello, APS said.

Kadhafi has accepted a proposed “roadmap” calling for an immediate ceasefire, boosted humanitarian aid and dialogue between the two sides, but the insurgents have rejected the plan, saying Kadhafi must go immediately.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also stuck to US demands for Kadhafi to step down and leave Libya as part of a peaceful transition, but declined to comment on the proposed African Union deal before being fully briefed.

She told a news conference in Washington however that “there needs to be a transition that reflects the will of the Libyan people and the departure of Kadhafi from power and from Libya.”

Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam admitted that it was time for “new blood” in Libya, but called talk of his father stepping down “ridiculous.”

“The Libyan Guide (Kadhafi) does not want to control everything. He is at an advanced age. We would like to bring a new elite of young people onto the scene to lead the country and direct local affairs,” he told France’s BFM TV.

“We need new blood — that is what we want for the future — but talk of the Guide leaving is truly ridiculous,” he added.

In Benghazi, rebel leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil said the African initiative did not go far enough.

“From the first day the demand of our people has been the ouster of Kadhafi and the fall of his regime,” he said.

“Kadhafi and his sons must leave immediately if they want to be safe… Any initiative that does not include the people’s demand, the popular demand, essential demand, we cannot possibly recognise.”

NATO, meanwhile, said it struck more loyalist targets around Ajdabiya and the besieged port of Misrata on Sunday and Monday, destroying 11 Kadhafi regime tanks and five military vehicles.

The regime warned that any foreign intervention under the pretext of bringing aid into Misrata would be met by “staunch armed resistance,” the official JANA news agency quoted the foreign ministry as saying.

Diplomats in Brussels said on Friday that the EU was gearing up to deploy military assets for a humanitarian mission to evacuate wounded from Misrata and deliver food, water and medicine to the city.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned that warplanes will keep pounding Libyan forces as long as civilians are at risk.

“I would also like to stress that the guiding principle for us will be how to implement the UN Security Council resolution fully, that is to protect the civilians against any attack,” he said.

Shamsiddin Abdulmolah, a spokesman for the rebels’ Transitional National Council, welcomed the African Union efforts, but demanded Kadhafi’s overthrow.

“The people must be allowed to go into the streets to express their opinion and the soldiers must return to their barracks,” he told AFP.

“If people are free to come out and demonstrate in Tripoli, then that’s it. I imagine all of Libya will be liberated within moments.”

He also demanded the release of hundreds of people missing since the outbreak of the popular uprising and believed to be held by Kadhafi’s forces.

South African President Jacob Zuma said earlier that Tripoli had accepted the African Union plan for a ceasefire.

“We also in this communique are making a call on NATO to cease the bombings to allow and to give a ceasefire a chance,” he said.

The rebels, however, doubted Kadhafi would adhere to a truce.

“The world has seen these offers of ceasefires before and within 15 minutes (Kadhafi) starts shooting again,” Abdulmolah said.

The rebels have said they would negotiate a political transition to democracy with certain senior regime figures, but only on the condition that Kadhafi and his sons leave Libya.

Meanwhile, Libya’s former foreign minister Mussa Kussa, who is in Britain after defecting from Moamer Kadhafi’s regime, told the BBC Monday that the restive nation could become a “new Somalia” if civil war broke out.

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South African days


Duong Truong Thien Ly hopes she will receive online votes from fellow Vietnamese and Vietnam-lovers all over the world to qualify for the Miss World semifinals

Vietnam’s Miss World contestant says it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.

Duong Truong Thien Ly appears to have fallen in love with South Africa.

Since the Miss World pageant began on November 16, Ly and more than 110 other contestants have shot their introduction videos, attended the welcoming gala and gone sightseeing in South Africa.

Last week, they visited Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto. There, they paid tribute to Pieterson, a 12- year-old student who was killed when apartheid authorities opened fire on protesters during the 1976 Soweto student movement.

Despite traveling and a demanding contest schedule, Ly said she’d never felt better.

HOW TO VOTE FOR DUONG TRUONG THIEN LY:

* Enter the website http://www.missworld.com and log in with your current email address or by creating a new email address.

* Choose Contestant –>select a country–> Vietnam–> go. ^ When the screen turns over to a new page with a photo of Ly, choose 10.

* Your vote will appear on the left corner at the bottom of the screen.

“The other contestants and I all feel very happy and relaxed. It’s really fascinating to learn about South Africa and its incredible culture,” she said.

“South Africa is much more beautiful than I thought, it is rich in culture and traditions and its people are wonderful. I go from one surprise to another. One month is not enough to discover this country,” said the stress-free beauty queen.

“I’ll bring my family back here one day, especially my wildlife-loving father and his friends. It’s really fantastic!”

Ly said she’s not worried about strong contenders such as Miss Venezuela, Miss United States and Miss Thailand.

“We’re all dreaming of victory, but I’m just trying to make the jurors, contestants and viewers remember who I am and the country I represent,” she said.

Though several international bookmakers have ranked Ly as one of the top contenders for the Miss World crown this year, she said she’s not overconfident.

But she did say she was proud to have won the support of both foreign and Vietnamese observers. Ly said she was also glad that Miss People’s Choice, the contestant who receives most votes from viewers on the Internet, will qualify for the semi-final.

Vietnam’s Miss World 2008 contestant Duong Truong Thien Ly (C) poses with Miss Thailand (R) and Miss Indonesia in South Africa

She said this boosts her chances.

The contest results will be announced at the grand finale on December 13.

Ly hopes to receive votes from Vietnamese all over the world.

“But I’m not worried about coming home empty-handed. My presence at this pageant is a victory already.

“Each contestant has her own beauty, not winning the title doesn’t mean we are losers. How valuable can beauty really be if we’re all only worried about winning?”

She added the greatest prize is everyone’s wholehearted support and the memorable experiences she’s having in South Africa.

The beauty queen said she will play the guitar and sing a song for the talent portion of the contest and display her swimming skills for the sports section.

She will wear an evening gown by top designer Nguyen Cong Tri, who will also be her make-up advisor during the contest.

For the traditional costume round, Ly will don an ao dai (Vietnamese traditional tunic) designed by famed designer Sy Hoang.

Global bookmakers say Duong Truong Thien Ly is among the top contenders for the next Miss World crown, according to globalbeauties.com.

According to last week’s postings, Boyle Sports had ranked Ly and Miss Ecuador as tied for third at 12 to 1 odds while Ly was also ranked third by Stan James’ ranking with odds of 14 to 1.

Ly, a second runner up at Miss Universe Vietnam 2008, has the best pre-competition odds any Vietnamese Miss World contestant has ever had.

The 19-year-old woman, who is a sophomore in communications at Saint Mary’s College in the US, finished third at the International Modeling and Talent Association’s contest in New York this August.

The 1.69-meter beauty queen was chosen to attend the pageant in Johannesburg, South Africa, to replace Miss Vietnam 2008 Tran Thi Thuy Dung after Dung was disqualified for not having graduated from high school.

Reported by Da Ly