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December 19, 2019
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Clinton makes her mark in SA

first_imgUS secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s visitto South Africa focused on strengtheningties between the two countries.Addressing the political situation inZimbabwe, pledging support for the fightagainst HIV/Aids and building a bettertrading relationship with South Africa werealso high on her agenda.(Image: Nicky Rehbock) Hillary Clinton met South Africa’s Ministerof International Relations and CooperationMaite Nkoana-Mashabane at thePresidential Guesthouse in Pretoria duringher two-day diplomatic tour of thecountry. (Image: Nicky Rehbock)MEDIA CONTACTS• Reverie ZurbaUSAid media officer+27 83 417 6861• Sanjay SinghDepartment of International Relations andCooperation+27 83 288 3385USEFUL LINKS• Hillary Clinton ends successful SouthAfrica visit at housing project – guardian.co.uk• Hillary Clinton set to visit South Africa – SABC News• Clinton lauds SA’s economic policies– Independent OnlineNicky RehbockSouth Africa looks set to benefit from stronger ties with the United States following US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s two-day visit of the country from 7 to 8 August 2009.Speaking at a press conference at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria on 7 August, Clinton and South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane pledged to work hard to bolster relations between the two countries.“With our candour and creativity, through mutual respect, we can translate common thoughts into common action. The work that we do can translate to better lives. That’s why we’re strengthening ties,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.“There’s a lot to be done … we have a formidable agenda … but the minister and I are going to make sure our two countries work together for a positive impact on the world,” Clinton added.The commitment is welcomed after relations between the US and South Africa turned sour during Thabo Mbeki’s presidency, partly due to his denial that HIV causes Aids and his reluctance to put pressure on President Robert Mugabe over the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe.“There has indeed been a lack of coordination in our relations and we need to change that,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.Spreading Obama’s messageClinton’s whistle-stop visit to the country formed part of an 11-day, seven-state diplomatic tour of Africa, which kicked off in Kenya and is due to finish in Cape Verde. Other stops are Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Liberia.The African tour – Clinton’s longest overseas journey to date as the top US diplomat – aims to affirm US President Barack Obama’s dedication to tackling troubled spots across the continent.No surprise then that Zimbabwe was high on the US secretary’s agenda in South Africa.“You have three to four million Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa. It’s a cost to you. In Zimbabwe services need to be delivered to the people … we’ll be working closely with South Africa when it comes to Zimbabwe,” Clinton said.“We, as you know, are attempting to target the leadership of Zimbabwe with the sanctions we think that might influence their behaviour.“In South Africa you are free and you are working together. It is tragic that your neighbours do not have the same freedoms.“It is the responsibility of a leadership to do what it should to take care of its own people. I know that President Zuma is working very hard, as did President Mbeki before him, to try to change the attitude of the Zimbabwean leadership.”Clinton said Obama had committed, during a visit in June 2009 by Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, that the US would provide more help on education, health and all the basic necessities Zimbabweans need.Nkoana-Mashabane said, for its part, South Africa would continue to work with the people of Zimbabwe to press for the implementation of the power-sharing agreement signed by political leaders in the Southern African country in 2008.“We will continue to work with the people of Zimbabwe to fast-track the terms of the agreement. We want to encourage the government to move faster so the people of Zimbabwe don’t get impatient,” Nkoana-Mashabane added.Extending trading tiesOne of the outcomes of Clinton and Nkoana-Mashabane’s meeting was a commitment to extend trading ties between South Africa and the US.“We know the benefit of open markets and seek to deepen our bilateral relationship,” Clinton said.Economic ties between the two countries have a “lot of room” to grow, she said, adding that she was keen to explore the possibility of the establishment of a US-South Africa business council.“We’ll follow up on that in Washington next month.”Encouraging South Africa to trade with its African partners, Clinton said trade levels within the continent were extremely low.“South Africa cannot fulfil its economic potential if it exists as an island of relative prosperity amid a sea of untapped opportunity elsewhere on the continent.“In Africa there’s a market of 800-million people – this is one of the issues the minister and I will put on our agenda for a bilateral dialogue.”US support for fighting HIV/AidsClinton’s South Africa visit included a tour of a US-financed HIV/Aids clinic in Cullinan, north of Pretoria.There, she said, “We have to make up for lost time,” referring to South Africa’s past policies on HIV/Aids and the previous government’s delay in offering antiretroviral drugs through the public health system.“The US will be working closer with the South African government in a renewed fight against the scourge of HIV and Aids in the country and the continent. We stand ready to work with the South African government in whatever way is effective on this matter,” Clinton affirmed.Meeting with ZumaClinton’s aides confided that there were complications in trying to arrange a meeting with President Jacob Zuma, but the two finally got together on 8 August after the US entourage made a detour to Durban for the meeting.Zuma affirmed Nkoana-Mashabane’s statement made earlier that Clinton’s visit would help improve relationships between the US and South Africa, particularly in light of both nations having recently elected new administrators.“We are taking that relationship to a higher level,” Zuma said.According to Clinton, the “very substantive” talks with the South African president dealt with issues including Zimbabwe, Sudan and Somalia – as well as ensuring that the two nations work more closely on meeting “regional and global challenges for the betterment of both nations and the world”.Women’s monthAt a dinner in Pretoria to honour her visit, Clinton said she was pleased to be in the country during August, which is Women’s Month. She added that building a thriving economy depended on women being drawn into economic life.“There are so many examples of successful women in South Africa,” she said, noting that a focus on women was part of US foreign policy.Absa CEO Maria Ramos, celebrity and business woman Basetsana Kumalo, gynaecologist and philanthropist Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, poetry icon Lebo Mashile and veterans from the 1956 women’s march on the Union Buildings were among the distinguished guests at the dinner.“When I look at South Africa and I see the role that women played in the struggle for freedom and liberation, and the roles that women are playing now in every aspect of South African life, it is gratifying, but it is not satisfying,” Clinton told the audience.“Too many women in this country and across Africa and across the world, including in my country, are marginalised, are left behind, are denied the rights that every human being is entitled to.“We must remain committed to the full empowerment of women everywhere. And when we think about the poverty that grinds the spirit and the life out of so many women, we have to resolve to do our part, to make it easier for women to have the chance to live up to their God-given potential,” she said.• Do you have any queries or comments about this article? Email Nicky Rehbock at nickyr@mediaclubsouthafrica.comlast_img read more

December 17, 2019
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Innovation and Technology

first_imgMany of the reviews of Apple’s iPhone announcement last week described it as innovative.  Apple has been at the front of the pack of companies producing innovative products, and they’ve celebrated their success and focus on innovation as part of their Think Different marketing campaign.  Apple’s innovative technology products combine excellent design, usability and simplicity. Businesses are siezing on innovation as a road to competitive advantage, not only for technical innovation, but also innovation of business processes and business models.  Many vendors see competitive advantage in how they can package and deliver their retained knowledge by providing specialized/innovative services and consulting.Inventor and innovator Dean Karmen spoke at an NI Week conference about the process of invention and innovation.  Karmen is famous as the inventor of the Segway motorized walker but he has also made many, perhaps more significant, innovations such as the Autosyringe and a portable dialysis machine.In his keynote speech, Karmen outlined his “Rude Realities of Innovation”:Great technology alone rarely constitutes innovationRisk, failure and unpredictability are unavoidableFalling behind early is good, because you have more time to catch upSolving the solution is often the problemInnovation is often not inhibited by what you don’t know — it’s what you know that isn’t true.Innovation in a company should not be a spectator sport.  Everyone should be involved.To err is to be human, but it’s not company policy.Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful individuals can change the world.  It’s the only thing that ever has.Karmen comments that both pessimists and optimists can be innovators: optimists think about airplanes and pessimists think about parachutes.  The key is to be enthusiastic.last_img read more

December 3, 2019
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NRC update: Relatives of former President Fakhruddin Ali Ahamed, Sepoy Mutiny fighter excluded in final draft

first_img Mr. Ahmed is in good company. Omar Saaduddin Ahmed, great-grandson of Bahadur Gaonburah — a legendary figure in eastern Assam’s Jorhat who participated in the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 and was sent to the Andaman Cellular Jail.“I don’t know how to react,” said Mr. Omar Ahmed, who retired as the vice-principal of a local college years ago, on finding that his name was missing from the NRC.‘Deliberate exclusion’Political parties such as All India United Democratic Front have attributed the exclusion of names of many genuine Indian citizens to parochial NRC officials besides vindictive police officials and Foreigners’ Tribunal members. “There are reports that documents have been rejected deliberately,” party leader Aminul Islam said.The exclusion of the name of Shah Alam Bhuyan, an assistant sub-inspector of Assam Police recruited in 1985 and resident of Roumari Pathar in Barpeta district, has been cited as an instance. He was marked a D-voter despite his father Affaz Uddin Bhuyan figuring in the 1951 NRC.Linguistic and religious minority organisations said there were scores of people whose ancestors figured in the 1951 NRC, but were missing from the updated register 67 years later. The list included Nihar Dhali of Udalguri, declared an Indian by a Foreigners’ Tribunal but marked D-voter again. The name of his father Keshav Dhali is in the 1951 NRC.‘Doubtful process’Similar is the case of Subrata Dey, who died in the Goalpara detention camp for declared foreigners on May 26. His father Krishna Pada Dey was listed in the 1951 NRC as a 10-year-old along with his grandfather Manoranjan Dey, 40, grandmother Makhan Bala Dey, 26, and uncle Dwij Pada Dey. “Such cases makes the very process of marking ‘D’ or ‘doubtful voters’ under doubt,” said Bidhayak D. Purkayastha, an activist for linguistic minority rights. Barak Valley sheds ‘Bangladeshi tag’ The complete draft of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) has proved to be a great leveller, as it excluded people across the social spectrum — from daily-wagers and marginal farmers to soldiers and MLAs.Among the 40,07,707 people dropped from the list allegedly for lack of proper documents were former President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed’s nephew Ziauddin Ali Ahmed and his family.No guarantees“It seems being related to a former President of India is no guarantee for inclusion in NRC. But we are a bit worried because the name of my father (Ekramuddin Ali Ahmed) is not in the legacy data,” Mr. Ahmed said from Rangiya, about 50 km from Guwahati.Also Readlast_img read more

December 3, 2019
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What is the Jammu & Kashmir crisis all about?

first_imgWhat is it? The situation in Kashmir is volatile and drifting into a negative sphere on two counts: rising violence and the shrinking space of regional mainstream parties after the four-phase urban local bodies elections on October 16. The spiral of violence showed no sign of let-up even after Governor Satya Pal Malik was sworn in as the new head of the State on August 23. There are many markers that the Governor has so far failed to stop the situation from deteriorating and ensure that all alienated sections, especially the Hurriyat, make a positive move. According to official figures, over 78 militants, 90% of them local recruits, were killed in the past 12 weeks, with militancy gaining ground in north and central Kashmir. General Officer Commanding of the Army’s 15 Corps Lt. Gen. A.K. Bhatt admitted that the north was comparatively less militancy-hit than south Kashmir. “Unlike the youth in south Kashmir, people in north Kashmir had chosen a path of peace, which I will try to maintain.” He expressed fears that militant infiltration from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir into north Kashmir would increase ahead of winter.That the situation has worsened in October is evident from the number of security operations, militant attacks and stone-throwing, with over 100 protesters injured in clashes. A total of 12 civilians were killed. Seven civilians died in a controversial blast at an encounter site in Kulgam, where the Army-led operation neutralised three Jaish-e-Muhammad militants on October 22. Locals alleged that the forces failed to sanitise the site of the operation as per the standard operation procedure (SOP) laid down in 2012. However, the security agencies blame civilians for converging on the site immediately after the encounter was over. It has only fuelled more anger in south Kashmir. There are more worrying trends for security agencies. Srinagar, declared a militancy-free zone once, saw the return of house-to-house operations by security forces. Four militants and a civilian were killed in a fortnight of heavy gunfights. Fear of large-scale street protests during and after the encounters forced the authorities to close all educational institutions and cancel examinations. How did it come about? The Centre’s decision to hold urban local bodies elections in October acted as a force multiplier for violence. Even the mainstream regional parties, National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), decided to boycott these polls, given the “anxiety and alienation” in Kashmir over a number of issues, including the questioning of special status in the Supreme Court. The regional parties described the civic bodies polls as “an imposition by the Centre.” It’s for the first time that urban local bodies polls were held with no regional party fielding any candidate. The new Governor failed to convince the parties to join the fray. Instead, he ticked them off, saying their “boycott was posturing for Assembly elections.”Why does it matter? However, the poll results were disappointing and far below expectations. From over 80% polling in the panchayat elections in 2011, the voter turnout came down to 35.1% in the entire State, while the Kashmir Valley and Srinagar saw 5% turnout, even lower than in 1996 when militancy was at its peak. The winning of the BJP candidates at 35 wards in the boycott-hit and volatile south Kashmir has only added to people’s anxiety. What lies ahead? The decision to hold the civic polls has cast a shadow on upcoming elections in the State, including the panchayat polls to be held in November. The State is also awaiting Assembly elections after the PDP-BJP government fell in August this year. Both the NC and the PDP are yet to show any interest in these polls. It strengthens the separatists’ argument that boycott remains the only option for all parties till resolution of the Kashmir issue.last_img read more

November 18, 2019
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Let The March Madness Begin!

first_imgThursday marks something of a national holiday for American sports fans, when office productivity plummets. The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, better known as March Madness or the Big Dance, begins in earnest.A few play-in games have already happened, but Thursday and Friday feature the real opening extravaganza: 16 games each day, from noon to midnight.The single-elimination tournament means every game is a must-win for all 68 schools, producing tense, dramatic finishes. Upsets are eagerly anticipated as elites like Kentucky fend off unknowns trying to spark an improbable run and become the next tournament darling, like last year’s Dayton.Fanatics, novices and even President Barack Obama are trying to predict the winners of every game of every round by completing an estimated 70 million tournament brackets, according to the American Gaming Association — that’s more brackets completed than votes cast in the last presidential election. Here’s a brief explanation of how a basketball tournament transcended sports to become a national craze:MADNESS FROM THE STARTCollege basketball has long filled the gap in the American sports calendar when baseball and football are dormant. In 1939, Oregon beat Ohio State in the inaugural eight-team tournament.It seems modest now, but it was a risky venture: a year earlier the rival National Invitational Tournament had begun at New York’s old Madison Square Garden, already the most famous venue in basketball.The two tournaments competed for years, before the NCAA, as college sports’ governing body, managed to force member schools to participate in its tournament if they were invited (the NIT still exists as a consolation tournament).The NCAA field kept growing as TV coverage spurred interest, so more spots were given to smaller schools. The potential for a David to slay a Goliath set the stage for what remains the most-watched basketball game ever: the 1979 final pitting little-known Indiana State, led by Larry Bird, against powerhouse Michigan State, led by Magic Johnson.A quarter of U.S. homes tuned in for the classic game that transformed Bird and Johnson into rival superstars and catapulted college basketball into the American consciousness.THE BIG DANCE GETS BIGGERThe fledgling ESPN cable network began broadcasting the tournament’s oft-ignored early rounds in 1980, giving national exposure to lesser-known schools. CBS popularized the term “March Madness” through the 1980s as unlikely champions like North Carolina State and Villanova captivated Americans.TV ratings skyrocketed, and so did revenue for the NCAA. In 2013, according to the latest figures available from Kantar Media, TV advertising revenue was a staggering $1.15 billion, more than even the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl (though pro football, by far the most popular American sport, has far fewer postseason games).This year, 68 schools play in 14 venues across the U.S. Every game will be on TV and streaming online. The champion must win six games as the field winnows, from the Sweet 16 to the Elite Eight to the Final Four. The semifinals and championship will be played April 4-6 in a football stadium in Indianapolis.AN AMERICAN OBSESSION: BRACKETS! UPSETS!Fans competing in online bracket pools — often for money, though that’s technically illegal — have up until the moment the first game tips shortly after noon Eastern (0400 GMT) Thursday.Brackets will be busted by unpredictable upsets, like tiny Mercer’s dethroning of Duke last year. One of the most famous upsets was achieved in 2001 by Hampton.Who does Kentucky, this tournament’s overwhelming favorite, play in its first game? Hampton. That game just happens to be scheduled for prime-time on March 20. Kentucky is favored to win by 32 points, according to oddsmakers. But in March, anything is possible.(RICK FREEMAN, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more