Newsflashes

17 February, 2009
Scientists have warned that the use of crop-based biofuels could speed up rather than slow down global warming by fuelling the destruction of rainforests. They say once heralded as the answer to oil, biofuels have become increasingly controversial because of their impact on food prices and the amount of energy it takes to produce them. They argue that biofuels have the potential to pump far more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than they could possibly save as a replacement for fossil fuels.
17 February, 2009
The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) has renewed its efforts to have the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) articles of association amended in line with legislation and to remove government interference in the broadcaster. The FXI believes that the articles are unlawful and unconstitutional and should be amended. The organisation says that unless this is done by the end of March 2009, it will seek a court order compelling the Minister oCommunications and the SABC to do so.
17 February, 2009
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has denied comments attributed to it that Nigeria is not among countries in Sub-Sahara Africa capable of attaining Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. The comments come after Tuyi Mebawondu, who was referred to as UNDP consultant, said that UNDP did not reckon with Nigeria as one of the Sub-Saharan African countries capable of attaining any of the MDGs in 2015.
17 February, 2009
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has condemned the shooting of a Pretoria News journalist by police during a demonstration at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). In a press statement, the organisation called on the Independent Complaints Directorate to investigate the incident. "Our information is that police fired rubber bullets indiscriminately at protesters after a member of the protesting crowd threw an object at them," says SANEF.
17 February, 2009
The Sekhukhune District Municipality in Limpopo says it needs about R6 billion for the supply of clean water and sanitation to its 1,3 million people in order to fight the spread of cholera. The municipality’s manager, Ishmael Kgetjepe points out that the shortage of toilets in rural areas often forced villagers to use open fields to relieve themselves. He argues that when it rains the excrement is washed into rivers, contaminating them. Kgetejepe says that the money is needed to improve the situation.
13 February, 2009
Finance Minister Trevor Manuel's 2009 budget outlined cautious plans to aid some of South Africa's struggling business sectors, namely mining and the motor industry, in the face of growing economic turmoil.
13 February, 2009
According to his 2009 Budget, the department will receive an additional R932 million to screen all pregnant women, step up the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and to improve drug regimens by implementing dual-and triple-therapy.
13 February, 2009
Finance minister Trevor Manuel has set aside R5.4 billion for safety and security to be ploughed into technology solutions.
13 February, 2009
Finance Minister Trevor Manuel's 2009/10 budget allows for a R161bn increase in allocations for improving the quality of education, health, crime fighting, public employment programmes and infrastructure investment. Manuel said this meant 5.1% real growth in spending on public services over the next three years. This money will be targeted specifically to achieve five enduring principles, the first of which is protecting the poor during the period of slower economic growth that lay ahead.
13 February, 2009
South Africa ramped up spending in its 2009 budget and cut taxes to counter a global slowdown and boost an economy seen limping to its lowest rate of growth in more than a decade.
13 February, 2009
Here are the highlights (and lowlights) from Finance Minister Trevor Manuel's budget speech to parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday.
11 February, 2009
The International Red Cross Federation says that it might have to suspend its effort against the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe unless it gets an infusion of donor funding. The head of the relief agency's Africa operations, John Roche, says that Red Cross has less than half the US$9 million it needs. The media has quoted Roche as saying operations will cease in four weeks unless international donors come up with more money.
10 February, 2009
President Kgalema Motlanthe has sent the contentious Broadcasting Amendment Bill back to the National Assembly unsigned. The president referred the Broadcasting Amendment Bill back to Parliament for reconsideration over concerns about constitutionality. The bill makes it possible for Parliament to fire either individuals on the South African Broadcasting Corporation board or the board as a whole.
10 February, 2009
The Nelson Mandela Foundation has launched an initiative to promote peace in divided communities previously plagued by xenophobic attacks. Head of the dialogue programme, Mothomang Diaho, points out that: “We cannot deny the fact that there have really been traumatised communities and that is why the focus is on those communities where there have been attacks.”
10 February, 2009
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) says it will liaise with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to report threats of violence and intimidation towards journalists. SANEF chairperson, Henry Jeffreys, points out that council members have been particularly concerned about the possibility of violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

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