Newsflashes

14 April, 2009
Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister, Lulu Xingwana, and an entourage of about 30 land affairs and provincial and municipal officials have invaded a land-reform beneficiary’s farm and summarily evicted the occupiers in the Yzerfontein area in eastern Gauteng. Legal experts have described the seizure, which is part of government’s “use it or lose it” approach to redeem some of the government’s many failed land-reformed projects, as a violation of the constitution and of land tenure legislation.
14 April, 2009
Mail & Guardian Online's Thought Leader blogger, Azad Essa, has clinched the best political blog award at the South African Blog Awards ceremony in Cape Town.  "It is obviously very surprising to have won 'best political blog' considering especially how serious some of the other blogs are,” says Essa.
14 April, 2009
The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) says that at least 90 women have been raped and 180 villagers killed over the past two months by rebels and government forces in the volatile eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Senior researcher at HRW and an expert on the DRC, Anneke van Woudenberg, points out that, "The FDLR are deliberately killing and raping Congolese civilians as apparent punishment for the military operations against them."
14 April, 2009
Social networking site, Facebook, was expecting to welcome its 200 millionth user on 8 April 2009. Site co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, points out that, “We are working hard to build a service that everyone, everywhere can use, whether they are a person, a company, a president or an organisation working for change."
14 April, 2009
Telkom has announced that a consortium of telecoms operators have signed a deal that will pave the way for the laying of South Africa's undersea cable around West Africa to Europe. In a press statement, Telkom points out that the US$600 million West Africa Cable System will boost broadband capacity and could cut comparatively high Internet tariffs in Africa's biggest economy. The company states that the 14 000 kilometre long cable system will be supplied by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks and is expected to be completed by 2011.
7 April, 2009
The United Nations has appealed for US$35 million to "save lives" in Madagascar, where over three million people need help following political instability and natural disasters. In a press statement, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), points out that, “To prevent the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, the Madagascar Humanitarian Country Team is seeking US$35.7 million to save lives."
7 April, 2009
The British arm of Oxfam says hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are still displaced and suffering abuse and hunger as a result of an operation targeting Hutu militia. The organisation says that there had been reports of reprisal attacks on civilians, insecurity and widespread looting. Head of Oxfam in the DRC, Marcel Stoessel, points out that, “Homes and shops are being looted and ransacked, women and girls are being raped, and civilians are being forced to flee, many for the third or fourth time.”
7 April, 2009
The Presidency has announced that Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri has died of natural causes. “Matsepe-Casaburri, who hadn’t been well in the last couple of months, died at a Pretoria hospital. She was 71,” said spokesperson Thabo Masebe. Matsepe-Casaburri was admitted to the hospital about three weeks ago.
6 April, 2009
Zimbabwe Democracy Now has called for an immediate resignation of Zimbabwe Prisons Commissioner, Paradzai Zimonde, and his two Deputy Commissioners. The comments come after documentary evidence showed that prison management and staff have, over the years, reported to their superiors on the appalling conditions in Zimbabwe’s jails.
6 April, 2009
The University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) is launching South Africa’s first specialised postgraduate programme in corporate social investment (CSI) from June 2009. The Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice in CSI (PGDIP CSI) is a landmark offering that will provide a comprehensive CSI curriculum and give South Africans the framework to align CSI with core business strategy to make it sustainable and successful.
6 April, 2009
Aid agencies have warned that devastating floods that have hit 220 000 people in Angola could cause food shortages in a country where farming remains poor after decades of war. Catholic Relief Services’ Juan Sheenan, point out that, "Food security is always an issue in Cunene. It is very dry and arid most the year but then when the rains come, they come with such force they wash away a lot of crops which makes things worse."
6 April, 2009
A leading human rights group in Malawi has welcomed a court decision to turn down an application by US pop star Madonna to adopt a second child from the southern African country. Malawi's Human Rights Consultative Committee chairperson, Undule Mwaksungula, said, "We are very happy. I think it's the right decision, the right ruling...I don't think the welfare of Malawian children can be solved by inter-country adoptions."
6 April, 2009
Health Minister Barbara Hogan has called for a regional plan to deal with the HIV pandemic and tuberculosis. Addressing more than 4 000 delegates at the fourth South African AIDS Conference last week, Hogan pointed out that it is foolish to think that South Africa could scale up prevention and treatment in isolation from its neighbouring countries.
6 April, 2009
The Electoral Court has upheld the disqualification of 110 candidates by Chief Electoral Officer Pansy Tlakula. In a press statement, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) indicated that it will make its reasons for the decision available in due course because of the urgency of the matter.
6 April, 2009
The Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has laid a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) against African National Congress President Jacob Zuma's statement regarding white South Africans. CCR spokesperson, Dave Steward argued that Zuma's comments constitute unfair discrimination against non-Afrikaans-speaking white South Africans on the basis of their race, ethnic origin, colour, culture and language.

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