First Thing: bad night for BP; Eskom results

First Thing: bad night for BP; Eskom results

Last night: BP under investigation, Florida gets oil, Japan PM resigns, Jamaica declares gang war, dodgy leader for Suriname. Coming up today: Eskom annuals, Zuma in India, Motlanthe answers questions, kids and the World Cup, missionaries gather.

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The Daily Maverick
Wednesday, 2 June 2010

It had been expected for some time, but that didn’t stop the official announcement from ripping another $20 billion chunk out of BP’s market value. The US attorney general announced that the full might of his justice department would be thrown behind investigations, both criminal and civil, into the Gulf of Mexico spill and its aftermath. That means looking for false statements, cases of obstruction of justice, and sacrificial goats in general.
Washington Post, Guardian

And just to keep things interesting for BP, an oil slick was spotted less than 15 kilometres off the coast of Florida. It will probably hit the famous Pensacola Beach in that state by today or tomorrow. Officials are still waiting for BP to cough up the money for removal machinery, and will likely get nasty about the delay today.
News Herald, St Petersburg Times

Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama announced he will today tender his resignation, just nine months after taking office in a landslide election victory. During his short term his popularity has plunged from above 70% to below 20%, almost entirely because his failure to force a US military base on Okinawa to be moved, as he had promised.
Kyodo News, CNN

Jamaican prime minister Bruce Golding effectively declared war on the gangs that control large parts of the island, as well as the drug trade with America. While defending himself from possible parliamentary censure over battles that killed more than 70 civilians during the search for drug kingpin Christopher “Dudus” Coke, Golding vowed direct, unequivocal and presumably bloody confrontation with the gangs. Coke remains at large, but his brother has been arrested.
AP, Jamaica Observer

Two-time coup leader and convicted drug trafficker Desi Bouterse said he plans to become President of Suriname, even though the coalition government he has cobbled together still lacks the two-thirds majority to put him into office. If he fails to reach that absolute majority, the vote for the presidency goes to an assembly of regional councils, where his victory is far from assured.

The US Supreme Court ruled that foreign government officials do not qualify for immunity granted to the states they serve, leaving Mohamed Ali Samantar, the former prime minister of Somalia, open to possible civil claims in US courts. Samantar, who now lives in Virginia, is accused of torture and worse during the 1980s. His claim of immunity was backed by Israel, Saudi Arabia and former American attorneys general, all claiming that actions on behalf of a sovereign nation should leave the individual blameless.
LA Times, Voice of America



Eskom is due to release its (preliminary) annual financial results for the last year. Which will give us another angle to figure out in just how much trouble it is, especially once its lenders, current and future, get hold of the numbers and subject them to a level of scrutiny never seen before.

Fresh from France, President Jacob Zuma is looking in on India for the next three days. The Presidency points out that this is Zuma’s first trip to Asia since taking office, but has failed to note that Indian exchange rules prevent MTN from becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of an Indian company. Presumably those rules will come up during talks on trade.

As usual, that leaves deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe to do all the real work. He’s in the National Council of Provinces to answer questions this afternoon. Sounds like there may be a couple of nasty ones coming up.

Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has rounded up a couple of other ministers, and all of them will be talking to the media about child safety during the World Cup. There have been a couple of local and provincial initiatives to keep kids out of trouble during the over-long holidays they’ll enjoy this month, but no concerted national effort. Yet.

Everybody who is anybody in organised Christianity is in Edinburgh today for the start of a World Missionary Conference. Two things make the gathering potentially interesting: Afghanistan this week suspended permission for some Christian relief agencies to operate in that country, saying they may be guilty of proselytising; and one of the leaders of the gathering, South African born theologian Daryl Balia, seems to be involved in the type of political cat fight you’d expect at a Cope conference rather than a gathering of churches.

Economic data: May vehicle sales numbers from Naamsa.



Analysis: World Cup will give SA a serotonin shot, but not much money
Surprise. Surprise. After South Africa was sold the promise of gold at the end of the Fifa rainbow, economists say it is unlikely we’ll get any sustained financial benefit from hosting the Soccer World Cup. But hey, we’ll be happier for a little while.

It’s official: the vuvuzela will be allowed at World Cup games
Suck it up, sissy foreign teams. The World Cup organisers have finally succumbed to the inevitable and proclaimed South Africa’s favourite cultural weapon, the vuvuzela, will be allowed in stadiums. During games. Let a thousand plastic flowers blare.

Artists, hangers-on call for boycott of World Cup concert, avoid threats of violence, just
You shouldn’t go to the massive concert on the night before the World Cup starts because, depending on who you listen to: it isn’t African enough; the promoters were sanction-busters; soccer players didn’t get free tickets to World Cup matches; the local organising committee is a bunch of lying scumbags; and concert tickets are too expensive. But if you do go you’ll be safe – except if you aren’t.

Analysis: Israelis score astonishing own goal
For a secret commando raid, it took place almost live on the world’s TV screens, and nothing about it seems to have gone according to plan. Now the fallout is coming fast and furious.

Mark Shuttleworth, still fighting the Beast from Redmond, still standing
What do you do once you’ve made billions and seen the world from outer space? If you’re Mark Shuttleworth, only the biggest challenge makes sense. And if that means taking on Microsoft by creating a sustainable business that distributes the best free software in the world, hell, why not?

Ivo Vegter: The Fifa conquistadors are coming!
The moment we’ve been waiting for has arrived. Fifa is in town, with its batallion of jackbooted lawyers. Assume the position.

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