Newsflashes

7 July, 2009
Global aid agency Oxfam says impoverished communities like Nassapir in Uganda are already being hit hard by the effects of global warming, including increased drought. Interviews conducted by Oxfam with farmers in 15 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America show that seasons are shrinking in number and variety. Oxfam programme researcher, John Magrath, says: "We think that 'changing seasonality' may be one of the most significant impacts of climate change for poor farmers, and that is happening now."
7 July, 2009
Human rights organisations have welcomed the release of more than 300 Zimbabwean refugees, saying their arrests have been unreasonable. In a joint press statement, Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and the AIDS Law Project (ALP), point out that, "Dropping the spurious charges of loitering strengthens our conviction that homeless people are being targeted just because they are homeless and vulnerable."
6 July, 2009
Sexual harassment of South Africa’s 1.2 million domestic workers is rife. This is according to the Sexual Harassment Education Project. The organisation says that data from 2003 indicates that domestic workers may account for as many as 86 percent of sexual harassment victims in the country. It further states that the number of sexual harassment cases reported by domestic workers had increased since March 2009 as a result of workshops which acquainted them of their rights.
6 July, 2009
The Irish government says senior officials have arrived in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum to negotiate the release of an Irish aid worker and her Ugandan colleague kidnapped in Darfur. Unidentified gunmen and seized Sharon Commins of Dublin and her colleague, Hilda Kuwuki, from the Darfur base of the Irish aid agency GOAL. No group has claimed responsibility for their abduction. The delegation plans to meet with leaders of Sudan, the United Nations and other aid agency officials, and international diplomats with experience in kidnappings.
6 July, 2009
KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC, Ina Cronje, says mobile technology and broadband need to be considered to latch onto “first class, real time” service delivery. Speaking at a breakfast meeting in Durban, Cronje stressed that the utilisation of technologies is paramount to maximise benefits from services for government planning. “In order to utilise the mobile platform, we as KwaZulu-Natal need to ensure that there is a pipeline of appropriate skills to develop the required mobile applications,” explained Cronje.
6 July, 2009
The United Nations (UN) has warned that the global economic crisis will likely hamper efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which, in part, are already lagging behind the targets.
3 July, 2009
Improved economic policies in Zimbabwe have led to a "nascent" recovery in the economy. This is according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF, however, is of the view that the country must clear more than US$1.1 billion in arrears to creditors before it can qualify for IMF financial aid. IMF mission chief to Zimbabwe, Vitaliy Kramarenko, noted that Zimbabwe will need to pay its arrears to the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank, in order to get help from the donors.
3 July, 2009
The World Bank has urged African countries should focus on lowering the cost of broadband access to help boost their economies. In its latest report, the bank found a strong link between gross domestic product (GDP) growth and broadband access, underlying the need for stimulus programmes in which governments have allocated billions of dollars to expand high-speed Internet access to fight recession.
3 July, 2009
The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) has warned that restricting migration is not the solution to South Africa's problems, and could even hamper the country's development. It its newly-released report, CoRMSA says that as the economy slow down, with South Africans beginning to lose jobs, there will be growing pressure for even more restrictive migration policies.
3 July, 2009
The contested Regulation of Interception of Communications Amendment Act, which requires service providers to take the personal details of all people buying SIM cards for cellphones, came into operation this week. From 1 July 2009 the agents will be required to take the details of all new customers and will be given 18 months to record the personal details of users of their networks. Finance Minister Jeff Radebe warned of heavy penalties for cellphone companies that fail to comply, adding that failure to comply is an offence.
3 July, 2009
The World Wide Fund’s (WWF) Richard Worthington has put President Jacob Zuma and other world leaders on the spot, saying that developing countries have to "rise to the occasion" if the world hopes to counter the rise in global temperatures. Worthington acknowledged South Africa has set a positive example in international negotiations – but noted the implementation of long term strategies are lacking at national level.
1 July, 2009
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (Zimrights) has called on the country’s government to enact laws that make torture a criminal and cruel offence that cannot be pardoned. Marking the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the forum’s director, Okay Machisa, pointed out that government should sign, ratify and domesticate the Charter against Torture.
1 July, 2009
A new report released by Oxfam International has called on governments and donor countries to prioritise investments in agriculture as a way of fighting poverty. The ‘Investing in Poor Farmers Pays: Rethinking How to Invest in Agriculture’ report notes that investing in agriculture will also help to ensure food security and mitigating climate change.
1 July, 2009
A United Nations (UN) independent human rights expert, Catarina de Albuquerque, has praised Egypt for making great strides in improving access to drinking water and says the country is well-situated to address remaining challenges related to water and sanitation. De Albuquerque, who was wrapping up her eight-day visit to the country, said: "The level of political and financial commitment to tackle these complicated issues is to be commended".
30 June, 2009
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is off the hook following a complaint by the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) to an Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) committee over its blacklisting controversy. ICASA’s Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) ruled it had no jurisdiction over the public broadcaster's journalistic independence and internal functions.

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