First Thing News on Wednesday, 16 May 2012.
While you were sleeping
One person was killed and several injured in an attack involving grenades at a bar in Mombasa, Kenya on Tuesday night. Police said the assailants tried to get into the Bella Vista sports bar, but were held back by guards. The attackers then tried to shoot over the security personnel and threw the explosives through the door, injuring at least six people, including a member of the security staff who later died. No one has claimed responsibility. This follows a radio-controlled bomb attack earlier on Tuesday in the Dadaab refugee camp on the Kenya-Somalia border, which killed a policeman. Telegraph, Daily Nation
A US official who spoke to Reuters on Tuesday said a deal to reopen supply lines from Pakistan into Afghanistan was virtually certain, although an agreement had yet to be signed and sealed. The new deal between the two countries could see higher costs for the US government to use Pakistani facilities, although the official didn’t cough up any specific details. Reuters, Christian Science Monitor
Another prominent member of the Syrian National Council opposition group resigned on Tuesday, shortly after the council re-elected incumbent Burhan Ghalioun for another three-month presidential term. Fawaz Tello quit claiming the organisation was no longer interested in democratic reform, nor attempting to unify Syrian opposition. Power games seem to be in the offing, as Tello said, “the efforts that I and others have been making have been thwarted by the personal ambitions of those holding the reins of the council”. He added that one of the prime reasons he left was a refusal by the SNC to attend an Arab League meeting with other opposition groups later this month.? Reuters, AFP
Spanish oil and gas company Repsol filed suit against the Argentine government, which seized control of Argentina’s largest energy company, YPF, in New York City on Tuesday. Repsol owned a majority stake in YPF before it was taken over, and is looking to recoup the $10.5-billion it lost in the process. The claim argues that Argentina reneged on an agreement to buy Class D shares of YPF if it ever sought control of the company, which used to be state-owned but was privatised in 1993. Mercopress, Bloomberg
Costa Rica is beginning to catch up with Brazil for the most cabinet ministers to leave or be sacked from one administration: its fifth casualty of the year departed on Tuesday for “personal reasons”. Justice minister Hernando Paris resigned from the cabinet of President Laura Chinchilla – a cabinet that finds itself in crisis as waves of corruption and tax-evasion scandals are keeping any official business from being dealt with. In fact, three major portfolios – justice, transport and sport – currently sit empty. Reuters
Coming up today
Cosatu secretary general Zwelenzima Vavi will address an international relations conference from 09:00. Quite ironically, at the same time Democratic Alliance national spokesman Mmusi Maimane will be laying charges against Cosatu leadership after violence broke out during a DA march to the federation’s headquarters yesterday.
Public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba will chat to the media ahead of a vote on his department’s budget in the National Assembly. Of all the departmental budgets, Gigaba’s should bear some of the closest scrutiny after major rail infrastructure upgrades were announced during the state of the nation address in February.??The department of labour will be holding public hearings at the Port Elizabeth Labour Centre as it conducts investigations into the civil engineering and security services industries, aiming to “[set] conditions of employment and minimum wages”.
A Dutch court will rule on Wednesday over whether the pro-paedophilia organisation, Martijn (which, since 1982, has lobbied for acceptance of sexual relations between minors and adults) should be allowed to exist.
Arsenal fans hold your collective breath: Robin van Persie has talks with club manager Arsène Wenger and CEO Ivan Gazidis about his future. To be clear on this importance, the chap scored 41 goals in 53 games last season.??Economic data: Retail trade sales March 2012 (Statistics SA)
Bloemfontein: 3°-17°, clear
Cape Town: 8°-20°, clear
Durban: 13°-21°, 15% chance of rain
East London: 14°-22°, clear
Johannesburg: 7°-16°, clear
Nelspruit: 12°-23°, partly cloudy
Pietermaritzburg: 6°-20°, clear
Polokwane: 11°-21°, partly cloudy
Port Elizabeth: 11°-20°, clear
Pretoria: 8°-19°, clear
In case you missed it
The charismatic politician-turned-businessman-turned-politician is having another go at the ANC presidency. He made a series of fatal blunders the last time around, which resulted in an abrupt climb-down from his soapbox. As the “Anyone But Zuma” campaign takes flight, it would perhaps be wise for him and his backers to avoid making the same mistakes again. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
South Africa is a tough place for people who are looking for angel or venture capital funding. The market is small and uncompetitive, but this needs to change if we want to grow the vibrant entrepreneurial sector that is so crucial to local economic growth. MANDY DE WAAL speaks to UK business angel and start-up mentor Permjot Valia about money, entrepreneurs and poverty.
When FW De Klerk agreed to do his friends at the South African Gold Coin Exchange a favour and cut the ribbon on their 30th Scoin shop, you can be sure he wasn’t betting on being at the centre of a media storm that had erupted four days previously. REBECCA DAVIS probably wouldn’t have been there otherwise.
It was always going to be easy for Julius Malema to draw a big crowd for his first media briefing since being expelled from the ANC. And he did some of his best work: talking tough on Richard Mdluli and the whole “I just can’t wait to be king” bombshell. But the real test, as ALEX ELISEEV writes, is whether he can keep the country’s attention.
You know the story and its underlying message: slow and steady wins the race. You probably don’t know the story of African economic under-development and Western economic growth, which is not quite as exciting. But the message, as outlined in a new IMF report, is similar – and it’s good news for the sluggish but increasingly stable African economies. By SIMON ALLISON.
First a Palestinian minister announced that a deal had been reached with Israel to end a weeks-long hunger strike by hundreds of prisoners. Then, various activists countered assertions of the reported deal, claiming the Palestinian Authority actually did not represent the hunger strikers and had no right to make such announcements on their behalf. The only certainty is that there is a crisis in the Palestinian leadership. By KHADIJA PATEL.
It’s been a bad week for business, not that there have been too many good weeks for business of late. Disaster at JP Morgan; disaster at Yahoo; another crappy internet “start up” hits the toilet. Can’t wait for that Facebook IPO? Perhaps you require a status update. By RICHARD POPLAK.
The greatest myth surrounding humanitarian aid is that those who provide assistance are noble actors independent from the realities of war. Médecin sans Frontiéres’ recent book Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed lays bare the compromises and justifications made in conflict zones – and GREG NICOLSON spoke to two of its contributors.
It promises to be a most unusual face-off: on Tuesday, the Democratic Alliance Youth is going to march to Cosatu House in Johannesburg to pressure the union federation to drop its opposition to the youth wage subsidy. The language in the run-up to the showdown has not been calm. Things could turn ugly. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
It is Friday night at one of my aunts. We are overeating as Jews do on Friday night. I am settling in to being bored for at least the next hour. The conversation drifts around the table for a few minutes until one of my uncles brings his particular brand of wit and insight to the proceedings.
Last Friday was World Fair Trade Day and this week is, locally, Fairtrade Coffee Week. Sure, a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, but is it more about superficially soothing one’s conscience or genuinely supporting fair trade? How do consumers know fair trade is really all that fair? IVO VEGTER does some digging – and decides fair trade coffee just isn’t his cup of tea.
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Photo: Mobasa hospitals are on high alert after a suspected grenade attack in the city. REUTERS.
"Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me 'old' when I would never call him 'short and fat?' Oh well I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!" ~ Donald J Trump