Daily Archives: January 10, 2018


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The University of Malaya (UM) has been chosen by Merck Foundation to train healthcare practitioners from Africa, Southeast Asia and developing countries in the field of diabetes, oncology, hypertension and infertility starting this year.

Merck Foundation chief executive officer, Dr Rasha Kelej said that UM was the first university in the country to collaborate with Merck Foundation to empower quality and equitable healthcare in developing countries.

With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Merck and UM here today, the fellowship programme has now being extended from three countries currently.

“The foundation has collaborated with University of Nairobi in Kenya, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai in India and University of Alexandria, Cairo in Egypt since Sept 2016 on the same field of work, she said.

In 2017, over 100 candidates from Africa and Asia have benefited from the programme and with UM in the list, the foundation aimed to increase the expert level of medical practitioners especially from Africa further.

Only one candidate from each field will be chosen by Merck to undergo the two-year intensive training that will be held in UM.

Meanwhile, UM Faculty of Medicine’s dean Prof Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said the collaboration exemplified an effort to help improve healthcare quality for the under deserved community around the world.



JOHANNESBURG, South Africa’s State-owned power utility Eskom says its finances have deteriorated further to a point where it now describes its situation as dire.

The parastatal, which is struggling to raise money in capital markets, is currently 23 billion Rand (about 1.864 billion US dollars) in the red.

In recent years, Eskom has become synonymous with corruption allegations and boardroom dramas. This has now landed the State-owned company in deep financial trouble.

Eskom needs to raise 60 billion Rand per annum in order to complete the construction of its Medupi and Kusile power stations in five years’ time. It has managed to raise about half of that amount for this year. Securing the rest of the money is proving to be difficult and to make matters worse, money generated from the sale of electricity continues to dwindle amidst the current weak economy.

The decision by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to deny it a 20 per cent electricity tariff hike which it wanted for this year and instead allowing it only a 5.0 per cent increase will make another 30-billion-Rand hole in Eskom’s finances.

It is not ruling out retrenchments. Unions say they are gravely concerned about the situation at Eskom. However, they are reluctant to talk openly ahead of the start of wage negotiations in April.

Lately, the government is not in the mood of dishing out bailouts to parastatals due to its own financial constraints arising from dwindling tax revenue. What the future holds for Eskom this year is a big unknown.


Somaliland Parliament Passes First Bill Criminalizing Rape

WASHINGTON / HARGEISA The parliament in the self-declared republic of Somaliland has approved a bill criminalizing rape for the first time, and requiring prison terms for individuals convicted of the crime.

The bill, passed Saturday, is the first of its kind in Somaliland criminalizing not only rape but all gender-based violations against women. It lays out a process to investigate the cases and prosecute perpetrators.

The bill now goes to the upper house of parliament and could be the first major legislation signed by President Muse Bihi Abdi who was elected in November.

Women’s organizations and human rights activists in Somaliland welcomed the passage of the bill, which was approved by 46 of the 51 MPs present.

Among those praising the parliamentary approval was Nafisa Yusuf Mohamed, the executive director of Nagaad, a women’s organization based in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland.

We have been working on this bill since 2011. It has gone through different processes, but we are very happy that it has been adopted, she told VOA Somali. The people of Somaliland have welcomed it, we congratulate the parliament for discharging their duties.

Under the bill, an attempted rape conviction would carry a four to seven-year jail sentence. An individual who rapes a victim using force or threats would get 15 to 20 years. If the victim is under the age of 15, the perpetrator gets 20 to 25 years.

Attackers who cause bodily harm or infect their victim with HIV in addition to committing rape would receive life in prison.

An increasing number of reported rape cases are related to gang rape. Gang rape was not mentioned in the existing penal code, but the new bill has a specific provision for gang rape which carries 20 to 25 years imprisonment.

Recently, the Somaliland Human Rights Center said rape is one of the least reported crimes in Somaliland. It said that in 2017, 81 rape cases were prosecuted, a small number compared to the number of alleged victims.

No more mediation by elders

In the past, elders have mediated between the families of the rapist and the victim, often leading to a lack of justice for the victim. In few cases, a victim ended up marrying her rapist under pressure from her family or the elders.

Mohamed Hersi Farah is an elder who performed mediations but says he stopped it in 2006.

Before we intervened in individual cases and we dealt with clans, and there were no laws. But now there are gang rapes with more than 10 people involved [in a case]. We didn’t know where to start, Farah said.

The new bill criminalizes mediation and other attempts to solve rape cases outside the courts.

Anyone who attempts or mediate a rape case in this way could go to jail. We hope this will scare those who performed this outside the court who will now realize the government will jail them,” says the chairman of the human rights center, lawyer Guled Ahmed Jama.

Jama says he welcomes the fact the bill specifically focuses on rape and gender based violations and empowers law enforcement agencies powers to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators.

This is a modern bill specifically on rape, previously rape was just an article under the penal code; this is a comprehensive bill, he said.

Somaliland declared secession from rest of Somalia in May 1991 but so far failed to gain international recognition.

Source: Voice of America

Deputy President Ramaphosa to lead SA delegation to Davos

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the South African delegation to the 48th World Economic Forum annual meeting that will take place on 23-26 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

The meeting will take place under the theme; Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World, and will promote renewed commitment to international collaboration as a way of solving critical global challenges.

The meeting will bring together over 2500 leaders from business, government, international organisations, civil society, academia and the arts.

The Deputy President led the delegation to the 2017 Davos meeting as well.

The South African delegation will comprise Ministers and business leaders, with the Minister of Finance, Mr Malusi Gigaba as the lead Minister and coordinator.

President Jacob Zuma has wished the delegation well in the annual meeting which provides an important platform to market and showcase the country to global business and other key international stakeholders.

President Zuma will lead the country’s delegation to the 30th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, scheduled to take place from 22-29 January 2018., with the President attending the African Peer Review Mechanism/NEPAD sessions on 27 January and the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union scheduled to take place 28-29 January 2018.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

Arts and Culture on media accreditation for the burial and commemoration of Prof. Kgositsile

Media accreditation application for the burial and commemoration of South Africa’s National Poet Laureate, Prof. Kgositsile

Members of the media are invited to apply for accreditation for the burial and commemoration of the renowned liberation struggle stalwart and South Africa’s National Poet Laureate, Prof. Keorapetse Kgositsile.

To apply for media accreditation, kindly fill the attached SSA template. The deadline for submission is Friday, 12 January 2018 at 16h00.

You are also kindly requested to verify your identification details when completing the template.

Source: Government of South Africa