South Africa, World

While you were sleeping: 21 February 2018

By John Stupart 21 February 2018

Country braces for looming budget speech storm, New Zealand braces for literal storm, and sea levels to rise regardless of what we do now.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
Walt Whitman

 
 

How did a convict sentenced in 1996 to 10 years for robbery with aggravated circumstances find himself floating around the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung in 2012, flush with a cool R50-million aimed at stoking factional battles in the ANC? Continuing the tradition at Nasrec in December 2017, pressure was also allegedly placed on the SAPS to launder and spend R45-million to buy votes. Details of this and other horrors of the Shadow State were revealed by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate at a Scopa report-back on Tuesday. The clean-up has begun. 

 
 
 

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Trump backs minimal gun reform

President Donald Trump might just be on the path to getting something right this year. The president put his support behind reform aimed at banning “bump stocks” – attachments that make semi-automatic assault rifles fully automatic. Although last week’s school shooter did not use a bump stock, last year’s Las Vegas shooter did. With Trump behind reform, the collective panic among the right-wing Republican crazies will become quite tangible.

 

New Zealand cyclone strands tourists

Almost 1,000 tourists were left in the lurch in New Zealand’s Golden Bay. Cyclone Gita crashed against the region on Tuesday, cutting power, destroying roads and felling trees. Several local areas affected by Gita had declared a state of emergency, with a possible ferry service to be established to evacuate aforementioned tourists.

 

All hands on deck for Budget storm

While New Zealand deals with Gita, South Africans must brace themselves for a tough Budget speech today. Although there is renewed optimism in the wake of Jacob Zuma’s Valentine’s Day resignation gift a week ago, his Finance Minister has been left with a rather hot potato. Expectations of a turnaround plan for the country’s collapsing economy are high, but so too is the chance that massive increases in various taxes will be on the table. Smokers and those that drink, as usual, are virtually guaranteed to end up paying more.

 

Next decades vital for sea levels

Even if the Paris Climate Goals are fully met, the drawing down of greenhouse gas levels will determine not if, but rather how badly sea levels will rise. The difference, according to a new study by Climate Impact Research, could be between half a metre or six times that in the coming decades and centuries. Never before has teaching your children how to swim been more important.

 
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IN NUMBERS

$130,000

The cost of the safety net erected during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was deemed exorbitant but ultimately saved 19 lives.

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

Today in 1916 the Battle of Verdun begins.

The Can-Can was originally composed for an opera to play during a man’s descent into hell.

 

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