Daily Archives: April 3, 2018


SEOUL– The corruption verdict and sentencing of South Korea’s former president Park Geun-hye will be televised live, in a case that could see her jailed for 30 years.

The 66-year-old Park, daughter of a former dictator, was ousted from power in March 2017 following months of street protests.

She has been in police custody for almost a year over a wide-ranging corruption scandal, which exposed shady links between big business and politics.

The Seoul Central District Court said it would allow the verdict and sentencing of Park, set for Friday April 6 afternoon, to be broadcast live on television due to high public interest.

Prosecutors have demanded a 30-year-jail sentence and a 118.5 billion won ($110 million) fine for Park, saying she must take responsibility for the scandal as the former president.

Park is accused of colluding with her secret confidante and long-time friend Choi Soon-sil, who has been convicted and jailed, for taking tens of millions of dollars from conglomerates in return for policy favours.

It is unclear whether Park will attend court Friday as she has boycotted her hearings since the court extended her detention last October.



ACCRA — Ghana’s Ministry of Finance (MoF), in co-operation with the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will organize a conference on Moving Beyond Aid: Domestic Revenue Mobilization” for G-20 Compact with Africa (CWA) countries.

The two-day conference, to be held here on Wednesday and Thursday will bring together senior government officials and representatives of revenue agencies from eight countries — Benin, CAte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tunisia.

The organizers said in a media statement here Monday that various development partners, experts and representatives of civil society would also attend the conference which will provide Compact with Africa (CWA) countries a common platform for knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer learning on revenue mobilization as well as ways to overcome aid dependence, ease financing constraints, and enhance growth prospects – all key elements to achieve prosperity without jeopardising debt sustainability.

The conference will also help CWA countries deal with institutional and political constraints in revenue mobilization, improving tax compliance, and alleviating base erosion and profit shifting by multinational companies.

It will focus on common domestic revenue mobilization (DRM) challenges and propose short and medium-term growth-friendly revenue-enhancing solutions.

The CWA was initiated by the German Presidency in the Finance Track, endorsed by the Group of 20 (G-20) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Baden-Baden, Germany, in March 2017, to promote private investment in Africa, including in infrastructure.

The CWA initiative aims to attract private investment to the CWA countries by ensuring macro-economic stability, investment-friendly tax systems to help maintain fiscal discipline, while providing adequate financing for governments’ development needs.



ACCRA — African Development Bank (AfDB) President Dr Akinwumi Adesina has called for a more aggressive push towards agro-industrialization by African governments so as to drive sustainable economic growth on thecontinent.

It is time the continent moves to the top of the global food value chain by adding value to what it has been producing, Adesina said in a statement received here Monday.

Referring to the enormous benefits Africa stood to enjoy through the processing of raw cocoa beans into chocolate, he noted that the continent now received just about five per cent of the 100 billion US dollars of the annual chocolate value.

With experts predicting that the demand for chocolate is most likely to continue, he said this was a huge opportunity which should be seized by the cocoa producer countries.

Africa accounts for about 75 per cent of the world’s cocoa production, with Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana being the top two producers, but has not been able to cut for itself a bigger slice of the global chocolate market value because it has just been exporting the raw beans.

The statement said the situation should radically change and that the leading producers could not continue to be stuck at the bottom of the value chain, dominated instead of dominating.

African farmers sweat, while others eat sweets. While the price of cocoa has hit an all-time low, profits of global manufacturers of chocolate have hit an all-time high. It’s time to process Africa’s cocoa in Africa, and end Africa being at the bottom of the global value chain, the statement said.

The AfDB has been leading a call to action for Africa to agro-industrialize and says this is the key to economic transformation. Africa must not be locked at the bottom – it must rapidly add value to what it leads the world in producing.

It should start producing chocolate to compete with Belgium, Switzerland, United States, France and the others. This is the way forward to bring in more money, boost production and provide job opportunities.

The Bank’s call reinforces the significance of recently signed cocoa agreement between Ghana and Cote D’ Ivoire – the Abidjan Declaration, which seeks to better the pricing regime, harmonize cocoa marketing policies, intensify collaboration in the field of scientific research and processing of the raw beans for consumption locally, regionally and internationally.



JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Monday, he is suspending a landmark agreement with the UN, to resettle African asylum seekers, hours after he first announced the deal.

The resettlement deal was supposed to cancel a government plan, to deport from Israel, thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers, and instead resettle half of them in Western countries, and allow the others to remain in Israel.

The announcement on the agreement, with the United Nations Refugee Agency, triggered harsh criticism by ultra-nationalist activists, who demanded to deport all of the asylum seekers, and top cabinet ministers, who said, they were not consulted about the deal in advance.

About seven hours after Netanyahu lauded the agreement, as a “good deal,” in a televised press conference, he said the deal is “suspended.”

In a post on his Facebook page, Netanyahu said that, he and Interior Minister, Arieh Deri, would meet with “representatives of southern Tel Aviv” on Tuesday (today), where most of the asylum seekers are located.


Environmental Affairs ready for upcoming winter fire season

Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working on Fire team ready for upcoming winter fire season

The Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working on Fire has been hard at work during the last few months as its firefighters were busy preparing for the 2018 Winter Fire Season which usually starts in early June.

Just over 4 000 firefighters stationed at 160 bases throughout South Africa will be ready for the start of the Winter Fire Season which could last up to the end of November this year.

Yellow Card Training Camps will be undertaken in Northern provinces during April, aimed at ensuring that all firefighters are fit and ready to be on active duty during this upcoming fire season.

Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, lauded the Working in Fire firefighters for their foresight and hard work in preparing for the fire seasons in good time.

These firefighters are professionally trained to suppress veld and forest fires, and have been deployed throughout the country to reduce the personal and economic harm caused by unwanted wildfires, said Minister Molewa.

The entire country was gripped in one of the most devastating droughts in living memory over the last two to three years with some parts still being severely impacted on by droughts with a negative effect on the economy as a whole.

As a result of the current drought experienced throughout the country a very difficult Winter Fire Season is expected, however through partnerships with Provincial Disaster Management Centres, Fire Protection Associations, SANParks, various private and public landowners and local municipalities, the department will be able to respond quickly in rendering a highly skilled veldfire suppression service which is unparalleled anywhere in the country.

Working on Fire has also established a National Deployment team which can be dispatched to anywhere in the country to assist farmers and land owners with fire suppression efforts.

Minister Molewa has urged landowners to work with Working on Fire so that they can be assisted with the development of clear integrated fire management services which includes amongst others, prescribed burning, fuel load reduction, community fire awareness, early detection and fire suppression plans.

The Working on Fire team will also launch the Community Fire Awareness Campaigns throughout the country in April and these campaigns will be aimed at teaching communities how to be fire safe in order to prevent unwanted veld and forest fires and to raise awareness of the risk of veld and forest fires, while empowering those at risk to take responsibility to reduce the danger and impact of fires in their communities.

Working on Fire will do presentations that will highlight the threat of fires and how to reduce fire risks in communities. Firefighters will demonstrate how to construct fire breaks and do fuel reduction which helps eliminate fire spread in case of a fire.

Minister Molewa has reiterated the importance for South Africa as a whole, in adapting to climate change, referring to recent natural disasters like the droughts, fires and floods.

We also urge communities to be more vigilant during this fire season and not to start unnecessary fires particularly during dry days this winter, said Minister Molewa.

Communities should also take extra care by removing unnecessary rubble on their properties which can pose a serious fire risk, and to cut down overhanging tree branches close to their properties and clean their gutters as the leaves that end up in these gutters also can pose a fire risk.

Houses next to grasslands need to ensure that there is sufficient fire breaks between their properties and these grasslands.

For safety precautions, members of the community should ensure that they have the contact details of their local fire authorities at hand should there be a fire emergency.

Source: Government of South Africa