Newsflashes

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.
24 February, 2009
Harvard University's Nieman Journalism Lab has published a list of the top 15 American newspaper websites in 2008. According to Nielsen Online, which was the source for all data, the sites were ranked by average monthly unique visitors. The study showed an average rise of 12.1 percent in the number of users visiting the newspapers' websites.
23 February, 2009
The platinum-rich Limpopo community of Maandagshoek, near Burgersfort, is at war with itself, mining companies and the police over land use and the spoils of mining in the district. Land rights attorneys and community activists say the conflict is a consequence of the loss of individual land rights under customary law in SA’s tribal areas where the state has assumed ultimate trusteeship of the land.
23 February, 2009
An inquiry has blamed charges that the UNHCR South African office mishandled the humanitarian crisis that resulted from last year’s wave of xenophobic violence, on misunderstandings over the role of UNHCR. The UN says many of the concerns listed in a 25-page formal complaint by SA civil society organisations resulted from misconceptions of both the scope of the UNHCR’s mandate as well as its failure to address the misunderstandings.
23 February, 2009
African National Congress (ANC) president, Jacob Zuma, has blasted the Nelson Mandela Foundation in the wake of criticism that the 90-year-old's health and security were put at risk when he attended a party rally in the Eastern Cape. Zuma told about 20 000 supporters at a rally in Khayelitsha that the Foundation does not own former president, Nelson Mandela. He further told the supporters that he [Zuma] was shocked to read reports insinuating that Mandela had been forced to attend the rally.
23 February, 2009
Senior United Nations (UN) officials are preparing for a series of meetings with Zimbabwe's political leaders and UN colleagues dealing with the country's cholera epidemic and food crisis. The five-strong delegation will meet both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai during their five-day visit. Delegation spokes person John Nyaga says the team, led by the UN assistant secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Catherine Bragg, will hold an internal meeting with UN officials working on the ground in Zimbabwe.
20 February, 2009
Gauteng Housing MEC Nomvula Mokonyane, says her department will eradicate all informal settlements in the province by 2014. "So far, 12 informal settlements have been eradicated. A further 24 informal settlements are in the process of being eradicated... This will bring the provincial total of eradicated informal settlements to 36 in 2009", says Mokonyane. "We are, therefore, confident that our plan to eradicate informal settlements by 2014 is moving forward and more will be done to speed up delivery in remaining areas."
20 February, 2009
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says the upcoming national and provincial elections are unlikely to be delayed by the outcome of a Constitutional Court hearing on the right of South Africans living overseas to vote. IEC commissioner Fanie van der Merwe, told Parliament’s home affairs portfolio that the five court cases brought by South Africans living overseas, who are seeking the right to vote in the coming elections, cannot result in the postponement of the elections.
20 February, 2009
According to Statistics South Africa, the gross income earned by the farming sector during the financial year ending 28 February 2007 was R79,5 billion. Stats SA project manager, Moses Mnyaka, who released the key findings of the census of commercial agriculture 2007, says that there is a comparable increase of 49,2 percent from the R53,3 billion gross income recorded in the 2002 survey.
20 February, 2009
The Eastern Cape Housing Department says it will spend about R100 million on repairing over 1 000 defective RDP houses. Department spokesperson, Lwandile Sicwetsha, points out that work has resumed on fixing the defective houses in the Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo district municipalities, which were built after 1994. Sicwetsha says that the money came from the R552 million remaining in the department's budget for flagship projects, existing projects and new projects.
20 February, 2009
The Department of Health and Social Development in Limpopo has admitted that it is losing the war on cholera. It says the number of new cholera cases is still rising despite efforts to curb the spread of the disease. Department spokesperson, Phuti Seloba, says that there were 30 new cases recorded this week, bringngs to 4538 the total number of cases that have been seen since the outbreak of the disease in November last year.

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