Newsflashes

4 March, 2009
The collapsed  health, water and sanitation systems in Zimbabwe is compounding the raging cholera epidemic in the country, which according to medical experts could see the number of cholera cases double to 123 000 and go beyond May. According to aid agencies, the number of people dying at home, with no access to healthcare and little money for basic dehydration products such as sugar and salt, is now at 60 percent. The outbreak is continuing to make inroads into rural areas and threatening neighbouring countries.
4 March, 2009
The United States (US) is boycotting the upcoming UN Conference on Racism scheduled to take place from 20-24 April. At the inaugural racism conference held in Durban in 2001 Israel and US delegate walked out in protest against a bid by Arab nations to adopt a resolution that equated Zionism with racism.
4 March, 2009
The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has come under the spotlight over the Media Practitioners Act, which it is argued, undermines media freedom and allows the government to regulate the media. "In the last few months there seems to be increasing indicators of growing intolerance of free speech, such as political parties clamping down on free-speaking members and government coming down hard on critical press," says Mogopodi Lekorwe, a senior lecturer in the department of political and administrative studies at the University of Botswana.
4 March, 2009
A month after the Sunday Independent reported that the SABC had run up a deficit of R500m, the Mail & Guardian reports that the deficit now stands at R700m. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is appalled, as this report, if correct, indicates that the public broadcaster has lost R200m in one month.
4 March, 2009
CAF Southern Africa is asking South Africans to “volunteer for change” during the Employee Volunteer Week which runs from 9-15 March 2009. The 2009 Employee Volunteer Week has a specific emphasis on skills transfer i.e. the empowerment of local people and communities to improve their well-being through the transfer of appropriate knowledge and skills. CAF Southern Africa will connect volunteers with a wide range of activities aimed at matching the skills and interests of volunteers with the critical needs of communities.
4 March, 2009
Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, says South Africa must brace themselves for a dark winter, as electricity blackouts are expected. “The country cannot afford any delays to this important transformation process. The delay on electricity distribution restructuring has been too costly to the country and the economy,” Sonjica said in Johannesburg yesterday. A target to centralise the distribution of electricity through the state-owned EDI Holdings last year has already lapsed. The deadline has since been extended by another three years.
4 March, 2009
South Africa has become a net importer of food as much of its land remains fallow. Food security is now also threatened  as once-productive farms lie abandoned causing shortages of staple foods. In the midst of rising food prices, at least 50% of land reform projects have failed, meaning that for many people involved, their circumstances have not improved. South Africa now imports more food than it exports and local production of grain, fruit and vegetables can no longer keep pace with the growing population.
26 February, 2009
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has announced that it will withdraw its complaint with the police against Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO). political party SABC spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, points out that, “The corporation has decided to rather engage with AZAPO’s leadership to ensure that a similar incident does not happen in the future.”
26 February, 2009
The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) says a record number of black students sat for and passed the final qualifying examination towards becoming chartered accountants. Of the 200 candidates who passed with flying colours, 142 were black, of which 107 were African.
26 February, 2009
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has shelved the mobile television licence process until it can finalise the allocation of frequencies for broadcasting services. ICASA says that it will be in the interest of the communications industry at large to finalise the digital migration policy and frequency band plan before licensing any mobile digital video broadcasting services.
26 February, 2009
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has warned that registering South Africans living abroad to vote in the upcoming national elections will be very difficult. This is according to the commission’s answering papers in the Constitutional Court, after an application by Freedom Front Plus for South Africans living abroad, who are already registered to vote, to be allowed to vote overseas.
26 February, 2009
According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, up to 75 percent of all perpetrators of human trafficking are women. The report notes that apart from being offenders themselves, over 70 percent of women are victims of trafficking. UNODC national project coordinator for trafficking, Johan Kruger, points out that South Africa was identified as a destination country for trafficked persons, which could be linked to poverty.
26 February, 2009
Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel, has announced that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is considering the investment of US$2 billion into Zimbabwe’s reconstruction. Manuel points out that, “There’s a document... that actually splits the immediate costs over the next 10 months into two amounts of about a billion dollars each. The other is about a billion dollars for emergencies in education, health, municipal services and some infrastructure.”
25 February, 2009
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated US$100 million to research into vaginal gels and other products which could help dramatically cut HIV infection rates. According to the Maryland-based International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), the donation was made after clinical trials of one product posted "encouraging results” In a press statement, IPM points out that, “Safe and effective microbicides have the potential to save millions of lives by giving women an HIV prevention option that they can initiate and control."
24 February, 2009
The United Nations, Vodafone, and the Rockefeller Foundation's mHealth Alliance have announced their intention to join in a "mobile health" effort to use mobile technology to provide better healthcare worldwide. The alliance aims to unite existing projects to improve healthcare using mobile technology. It will also guide governments, NGOs, and mobile firms on how they can save lives in the developing world.

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