The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 24, 1998 · Page 3
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March 24, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 3

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Tuesday, March 24, 1998
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Page 3
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TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 1998 3A THE PALM BEACH POST i I Ghana welcomes Clinton with a roar I Pope seeks freedom ! for Nigerian captives AFRICA .Senegal Uganda, Rwanda Atlantic Ocean Botswana S South Africa J 1,000 Miles . rr : UNA LAWSONblatl flrlis Video, audio and updates at Palm Beach Interactive: Reuters '" ABUJA, Nigeria Pope John Paul ended his three-day visit to Nigeria Monday with an appeal to the multiethnic African nation to leave behind its divisions and work toward unity and peace. The 77-year-old pontiff delivered a very clear message on his second visit to Africa's most populous country that human dignity and rights were a guiding principle in strengthening democracy. He also urged Catholic bishops to speak out for justice and freedom. "The time is ripe for your nation to gather its material riches and spiritual energies so that everything that causes division may be left behind and replaced by unity, solidarity and peace," the pope said during the official departure ceremony at Abuja's international airport. The Vatican has given Nigerian authorities a list of about 60 detainees, drawn up with the help of relatives, human rights groups and foreign governments, that it wants freed. "Your prayers, blessing and words of advice will inspire us in the pursuit of genuine national reconciliation," military ruler Gen. Sani Abacha said in a farewell address to the pope at the departure ceremony. But he made no specific mention of detainees. A Vatican spokesman declined to reveal the names on the list but said it contained well-known prisoners. It is thought to include Moshood Abiola, detained after apparently winning 1993 elections, and leading opposition and trade union leaders. Abacha, like about half of the 104 million Nigerians, is a Muslim. Opponents and human rights groups accuse his government of repeated rights violations. J' I f. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Ghanaian children wave flags as President Clinton's motorcade passes along the outskirts of Accra on Monday. Officials estimated the crowd at 500,000, the largest Clinton has seen as president. I 'jnt .'oeiated Press ACCRA, Ghana Buoyed by the biggest crowd of his presidency, President Clinton hailed "the new face of Africa" and its growing peace, prosperity and democracy as he opened a historic six-nation tour on Monday. While poverty and war still trouble parts of the continent, Clinton said Americans must shake off "the stereotypes that have warped our view and weakened our understanding of Africa." Dictatorships have fallen in many countries, Clinton said, and half of the 48 nations of sub-Saharan Africa now have elected governments. Where business was once stifled, "now Africans are embracing economic reform," the president said on a mission to applaud political reforms and open the door for U.S.-African trade. Clinton's message was almost lost to a few seconds of dramatic video that showed him being jostled by an enthusiastic crowd. After waiting for hours in temperatures that hovered near 100 degrees, the massive crowd roared at the sight of Clinton in Independence Square, a sprawling parade ground alongside the Gulf of Guinea. After weeks of sex-scandal publicity back home, the White House happily passed along Ghanaian government estimates of more than 500,000 people. Clinton's press secretary said the audience was "the largest he's erywhere reconciliation will jgz place recrimination." r Yet, Clinton acknowledged that Africa is not free from peril' He cited genocide in Rwanda; -civil wars in Sierra Leone, Liberia; Congo and the Republic of Com-go, a military dictatorship in Ni- geria and continent-wide poverty, malnutrition, disease, illiteracy and unemployment. Ghana is considered one of Africa's success stories, with a. 2 percent economic growth ratev; Yet, a drought has caused an en-.' , ergy crisis resulting in regular; -. power outages of 12 hours a day.- - Clinton told Rawlings the.;' United States will guarantee a $67 ' million loan from the Transportation Department for the ffixP.-Z. chase of two barge-mounted power plants from the Westing- , house Corp. :";' After a daylong stay, Clinton ,. flew to Uganda. "Africa is not going to be found wanting as we approach the 21st century," said Rawlings, wearing a batakari, a smock-like shirt with leopard trim. "My dream for this trip is that together we might do the things so that 100 years from now, your grandchildren and mine will look back and say this was the beginning of a new African renaissance," Clinton said. "With a new century coming into view, old patterns are fading away," he said. "The Cold War is gone. Colonialism is gone. Apartheid is gone. Remnants of past troubles remain, but surely there will come a time when ev- over scarce bottles of water. Police and military security whipped people with belts and canes to keep order. Thousands of people drifted away from the square as the ceremony droned on. Accra, once an Atlantic port for slave traders, was the gateway for Clinton's 12-day, 21,000-mile journey to Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana and Senegal. The United States sees Africa as a huge potential market, with per capita income rising in 31 countries. The population of sub-Saharan Africa is projected to double to 1.5 billion in 27 years. Clinton's journey is the longest foreign trip of his presidency Boynton firm provides air ambulance for pope the first splash Medical Industries has made since January, when it bought Clearwater-based Global Air Charter. Medical Industries issued 1.4 million shares in restricted stock for Global, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Medical Industries, formerly known as Heart Labs, has had a devil of a time the past three years, reporting losses and a hassle with overseas investors who said they didn't get their promised stock. Despite its boast of serving the Pope, the company's stock (Nasdaq: MIOA) fell 3 cents Monday, to $1.75 a share. By Stephen Pounds Palm Beach Post Staff Writer BOYNTON BEACH Medical Industries of America's first break in the air ambulance business took on religious implications. One of its six aircraft, a Lear 36, escorted Pope John Paul II during his weekend trip to Nigeria. The Medical Industries team and aircraft were on call 24 hours a day in case the Pope were to fall ill. "It is believed that this was the first occasion in which a dedicated air ambulance was placed on standby for a Papal visit to any country anywhere in the world," the company said in a news release Monday. The announcement was and the first time an American president has visited any of the six countries on his trip map. Sitting in oversized wing chairs under an umbrella protecting them from the midday sun, Clinton and President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana watched dancers in native costumes move to the pounding of African drums. Clinton's wife, Hillary, and Rawlings' wife, Nana, sat nearby. Rawlings has held power since a military coup in 1981. He has run in two elections, winning easily both times. He assured Clinton that Ghana is committed to freedom and justice and is "ready and able to do business in today's liberalized and competitive market place." seen as president, maybe one of the largest any American president has ever seen." Last July's visit to Bucharest, Romania, cheered by tens of thousands, had been the benchmark. But the huge turnout and intense heat brought problems. Crowds surged toward Clinton to shake his hand, endangering people pressed against metal barriers. An obviously alarmed Clinton waved crowds to stop, and he shouted, "Back up! Back up!" Spokesman Mike McCurry "said Clinton was worried about the people in front being injured. Fights broke out in the crowd Easy Pay Tire Co. goodveais 1231 N. Dixie hwy. 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