- More than a year since President Marc Ravalomanana took power in Madagascar, close to an estimated one-third of the residents in the capital, Antananarivo, remain mired in poverty. "The truth is that nothing has changed. But I still believe President Ravalomanana will do something," said 36-year-old Aimeline Razanadrosoa. "We need everything - food, water, clothes; but also some money so that my children can go to school."

A special body spearheaded by the president has been created to step up Madagascar's HIV/AIDS prevention drive. Malagasy President Marc Ravalomanana, who is leading the initiative, will oversee a technical committee to implement the country's HIV/AIDS campaign.

The people of Madagascar are voting for the first time since the disputed elections almost a year ago that threw the island into political turmoil. The election is for candidates to Madagascar's parliament - but it is being seen as a crucial test of popularity and legitimacy for President Ravalomanana.

As the first anniversary of last year's disputed presidential elections approaches, Amnesty International has called for impartial and independent investigations into all reports of human rights violations and abuses unleashed in the context of the political unrest following the elections.

The African Union will this week suggest that Madagascar delay a general election planned for December 15, a senior South African official said on Sunday.