From what I have read it is geographical. The closest mirror.
I suggest setting up the repos with easy-urpmi. http://easyurpmi.zarb.org/
You may follow the instructions, or make your selections more personalised, pick your own mirror, achitecture and what repos you want.
Then copy and paste the lines to a shell/terminal like konsole, and wait for the downloads to finish.
Now you have an updated repository database on your system, so when you type
urpmi will check your database then goto the site and download the package kate.
I hope this helps you, Glenn
edit> near the top of the http://easyurpmi.zarb.org/
page, select "switch to the old interface"
Automatic Mandriva Linux Media Setup
If you are using 2008.0 or older version, switch to the old interface.
If you are using smartpm instead of urpmi, switch to smartpm mode.
Now you can set it up without the "auto" list stuff.
personally, I use smart, but I still use the old interface to select repos from where I like.
Sometimes, from here in Aus. Brazil is faster than TW or Japan, because of the daylight-night time network congestion, but that is just my (2c)opinion <edit GW