First Thing with Simon Williamson: China, Japan to start direct currency trading

First Thing with Simon Williamson: China, Japan to start direct currency trading

Tuesday, 29 May 2012.

China and Japan will start direct trading of their respective yuan and yen currencies – in other words, according to the BBC, they will cease using the US dollar as the intermediary. China’s central bank said the new plans would come into effect from 1 June, and should help facilitate increased trade between Asia’s two largest economies.

British deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, of the Liberal Democrats, may have finally found something reasonably hefty with which to smack his owner, I mean coalition partner, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. In a speech reported on Monday, only to be delivered on Tuesday, Clegg said that the UK’s political leaders queued up (as the British do) to “bow and scrape” before media emperor Rupert Murdoch. Clegg will say, “The whole thing was rotten, and it inevitably came crashing down.”
TelegraphMail Online

The Democratic Republic of Congo is investigating alleged Rwandan support for a new armed insurgency in the eastern part of the DRC. The country’s communications minister, Lambert Mende, has however been careful to tiptoe around the allegations. Speaking to Reuters he said: “Rwanda is denying it, and we don’t have any reason to doubt what they’re saying at this time.” A confidential UN report leaked to the BBC claims the newly formed militia has Rwanda-nationals who were recruited inside Rwanda.

The government of the Canadian province of Quebec opened talks with student leaders on Monday in a bid to end 16 weeks of an often-violent strike by students. Protesting against the government’s plans to hike the cost of tertiary tuition by 75% over seven years, some 150,000 angry students have messed with the operations of Montreal, even going as far as shutting down the underground rail system with smoke bombs. The provincial government wants a resolution before the Montreal Grand Prix on 10 June, but prior resolutions, which face a vote by student leaders, have all been rejected.
Globe and MailMontreal Gazette

South Africa’s top tennis players qualified for the second round of theFrench Open. Kevin Anderson’s fifth set was however longer than both his arms put together as he beat Portugal’s Rui Machado 11-9 after the first four sets went 7-6, 6-7, 4-6, 6-1. Chanelle Scheepers beat Spain’s Laura Pous Tio 6-4, 2-6, 6-1, to play 27th seed Nadia Petrova in the next round.

In case you haven’t had your fill of The Spear, the ANC leads a march to the Goodman Gallery from 10:00 to protest against Brett Murray’s painting. The painting of course no longer depicts President Jacob Zuma’s penis, as it has been defaced (or de-headed) but the march will go ahead anyway. ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu has warned motorists to avoid streets around the gallery – as one of them is Jan Smuts Avenue, that’s unlikely.

The Film and Publications Board will also rule on the status of The Spearpainting from 09:00.

The National Youth Development Agency and the Presidency will brief the media about programmes due to take place during Youth Month (that’s June). If the NYDA budget is anything to go by, we expect the journalists present to be fed caviar with golden spoons by an Oppenheimer. The theme of Youth Month this year is, “Together We Can Do More to Build Infrastructure and Fight Youth Unemployment, Poverty and Inequality”. The generous NYDA budget must pay per word.

Texas goes to the polls to vote in primaries on Tuesday, an event which was delayed from Super Tuesday (on 10 March) due to issues over congressional redistricting. While the race for the Republican presidential nomination is largely moot, more battles between Tea Party Republicans and those from the establishment loom.

State-owned enterprises will be examined in parliament on Tuesday: Transnet will brief the portfolio committee on public enterprises on its infrastructure programme, and South African Airways will chat about its turnaround programme.

Economic data: Gross Domestic Product Q1 2012 (Statistics SA).

Bloemfontein: 4°-19°, clear
Cape Town: 12°-17°, 45% chance of rain
Durban: 16°-26°, clear
East London: 17°-28°, clear
Johannesburg: 6°-16°, clear
Nelspruit: 9°-25°, partly cloudy
Pietermaritzburg: 10°-26°, clear
Polokwane: 5°-22°, partly cloudy
Port Elizabeth: 11°-21°, clear
Source: Weather24

ANC vs City Press: What lies beneath
Some say it was the ANC’s best chance to steer public attention away from its disastrous handling of the economy. Some say they just couldn’t wait to spark an outrage so people would stop talking about textbooks being five months late in Limpopo. Some say the public stopped thinking about Richard Mdluli when a painting went up in the Goodman Gallery. All we know, it’s called The Spear.

Mkhwanazi’s glorious, possibly last, shot at Mdluli
Ballsy acting national police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi has defied the government and taken the Richard Mdluli saga seriously, finally succeeding in suspending the former crime intelligence boss on the weekend. The move may give the president a pretty good reason to shift Mkhwanazi, but there’s a lesson to be learned here.

Syria: The Security Council and the Responsibility to Protect
The United Nations observers in Syria told the Security Council on Sunday that 116 people were killed. More were wounded – most of them were victims of shelling, others of gunshots. And yet, as outrage and despair grows, any kind of intervention seems unlikely. This is Nato’s fault, KHADIJA PATEL argues.

Egypt divides on familiar fault lines
The battle lines have been drawn. There will be a run-off election to determine who will be Egypt’s first post-revolutionary president, and it will pit the old rivals against each other once more: the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood, for so long the oppressed opposition, against Egypt’s old oppressors, the disturbingly popular remnants of Mubarak’s regime. Revolution? What revolution? By SIMON ALLISON

Lesotho election: Prime Minister leading the race – but not by enough
The word in Maseru is that long-term Prime Minister Phakalitha Mosisili has won his fourth election, but only just. This gives him the chance to form a government, and lead it – if he can persuade a few unscrupulous opposition politicians to cross the floor. But this won’t be as easy as it sounds, given the enemies he’s made along the way. By SIMON ALLISON.

Analysis: The Spear a perfect smokescreen as Zuma ponders his police problem
The rolling protest action over Brett Murray’s controversial The Spear painting looks set to intensify this week as more ANC-aligned organisations pledge to participate in the mass march to the Goodman Gallery on Tuesday. With all eyes on the gallery, President Jacob Zuma may buy time to ponder what to do about the cursed police service. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

Crime: Cold case files, South Johannesburg, chapter 1
This week, 13 years after Tendani “Betty” Ketani was kidnapped and murdered, her family may finally start getting some answers about why she was killed. A breakthrough in the case came after the amazing discovery of a confession letter hidden under a carpet. ALEX ELISEEV broke the story and explores what the next chapter may hold.

SA communists: Spitting mad over that painting
On the eve of the national congress of the South African Communist Party, its central committee met and issued a statement about things like its Draft Programme 2012 – 2017. But the press conference was taken up by something else: The Spear. SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande in particular was seeing red.

City Press buckles to ANC demands – and threats
After a total onslaught by the tripartite alliance, City Press has capitulated to ANC demands to remove the image of “The Spear” painting from its website. Editor-in-chief Ferial Haffajee says her decision was driven by a need to bring calm and to protect her editorial team – she also experienced hurtful personal misogynist attacks. By MANDY DE WAAL.

Twenty20: Brilliant Bisla and cool Kallis blast KKR to glory
The Kolkata Knight Riders were crowned IPL champions as the glitzy competition reached a thrilling climax in Chennai on Sunday. But it wasn’t cut and dried. Match report by ANT SIMS.

Le Grand Cirque Adrenaline: where heaven meets humanity
You must be truly, madly crackers to devise some of the contraptions that star in Le Grand Cirque Adrenaline, back in Johannesburg with a new show that’s pure razzamatazz and sensory overload. By LESLEY STONES

The Art and Artifice of Culture: A week to remember in SA’s self image
The past two weeks have been quite a time for art in South Africa – perhaps like no other such period in the country’s cultural history. After days of increasingly sharp, politicised criticism, a piece of political provocative art was disfigured by two men while it was hanging on exhibition in Johannesburg’s Goodman Gallery. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.

Jay Naidoo: Ma Emma – The true spear of the nation
While the media and middle class intellectuals make battle over a bad painting along largely racial lines, the young remain badly educated and therefore without prospects. Who caused this betrayal? The same people who gave birth to our democracy and now insist their dignity has been affronted. Our youngsters can learn a lot from Ma Emma Mashinini, 83.

Johann Redelinghuys: Nationhood – Our fragile national self-esteem
Who are we? Do we as South Africans have a national character? Other nations do, but we seem fragmented, overly sensitive to criticism and yearning for any bit of positive feedback. JOHANN REDELINGHUYS wonders how we could get a life already.

Sipho Hlongwane: The Spear – Millions of people were insulted
It is too simplistic to simply posit the debate over the Zuma painting as being between the right to freedom of expression and the right not to have one’s dignity unfairly impugned. This matter also has to do with how we should deal with the legacy of apartheid, SIPHO HLONGWANE argues.

Subscribe to our morning First Thing e-mail here


Photo: An attendant walks past Japanese (L) and Chinese national flags before a meeting between Japan’s Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and his counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing, November 23, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Lee.


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.