Category Archives: Energy & Power


BEIJING– South Africa and China have signed five bilateral agreements during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State visit to China Sunday.

This brings to almost 20 the number of agreements signed between the two republics within two months.

During his visit to South Africa in July, Chinese President Xi Jingping signed agreements worth over 200 billion Rand (about 13.6 billion US dollars).

Sunday’s agreements ranged from a Memorandum of Understanding on Climate Change to agreements in the fields of transportation and trade.

Both presidents also discussed ways to strengthen their respective political parties, the African National Congress (ANC) and the Communist Party of China.


Duterte Calls Hitler ‘Insane’ at Holocaust Memorial

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who once compared himself to Hitler, paid a solemn visit to Israel’s national Holocaust memorial on Monday, branding the Nazi leader “insane” as he lamented the Nazi genocide of an estimated 6 million Jews.
The comments marked a dramatic turnaround for Duterte, who just two years ago had compared his anti-drug campaign to the Holocaust and said he would be “happy to slaughter” 3 million addicts. He later apologized.
Duterte, known for his profane outbursts and accused of committing widespread human rights abuses, spoke quietly and respectfully during his stop at the Yad Vashem memorial. He said the Holocaust should never be repeated and that “despots” have no place in the modern world.
“I could not imagine a country obeying an insane leader, and I could not ever fathom the spectacle of the human being going into a killing spree, murdering old men, women and children. I hope this will not happen again,” he said.
“There is always a lesson to learn: that despots and leaders who show insanity, they should be disposed of at the first instance,” he said.
Duterte, the first Philippine president to visit Israel, has received a warm welcome from the government, despite criticism that it is embracing a leader accused of rights abuses in his deadly crackdown on drug dealers. The agenda reportedly also is expected to include an arms sale to the Philippines.
Duterte and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu oversaw the signing of three agreements in trade, science and care-giving. Netanyahu highlighted the countries’ long friendship, how the Philippines took in Jewish refugees after World War II and was the only Asian nation to vote for Israel’s establishment. He noted how in recent years Filipino health aides have assisted the elderly in Israel, including Netanyahu’s own father.
“We remember our friends, and that friendship has blossomed over the years and especially over the last few years,” Netanyahu told Duterte. “There has been a remarkable phenomenon in Israel where thousands and thousands of families have taken heart from the support given by Filipino caretakers for the elderly.”
Duterte thanked Israel for hosting some 28,000 Filipino workers and for assisting his country in its times of need.
“We share the same passion for peace, we share the same passion for human beings but also we share the same passion of not allowing our country to be destroyed by those who have the corrupt ideology, who know nothing but to kill and destroy. And in this sense Israel can expect any help that the Philippines can extend to your country,” he said at a joint appearance with Netanyahu.
The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1957. Netanyahu has worked to cultivate allies in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where many countries have historically shunned Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.
But Netanyahu has come under fire for embracing Duterte, whose forces are accused of killing thousands in anti-drug raids since he took office in 2016. Duterte drew outrage that year when he compared his anti-drug campaign to the Holocaust, and himself to Hitler, before being forced to apologize.
More recently, he pressured a woman into kissing him on stage and said there would be many rape cases in a Philippine city “if there were many beautiful women.”
Official Philippine police tallies place the number of suspects killed in police-led anti-drug raids at more than 4,500 since Duterte took office. International human rights watchdogs have cited far higher death tolls. Duterte, a 73-year-old former government prosecutor, denies condoning extrajudicial killings but has openly threatened drug dealers with death.
His visit is also to include a stop at a monument commemorating the Philippines’ rescue of Jews during the Holocaust.

Source: Voice of America

UN Official Sees Over $1B in Fresh Aid for Lake Chad Region

More than $1 billion in fresh aid will likely be pledged at a conference of donors to the drought-plagued region around Lake Chad, U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said on Monday.
A famine was averted in the region last year largely thanks to international aid, but millions of people in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon were still in dire need of help, Lowcock told reporters on the sidelines of the Berlin conference.
“The crisis is not over. There are still 10 million people who need lifesaving assistance,” he said. “A quarter of the people we are trying to reach are displaced from their homes and the only means of staying alive they have is what is provided by humanitarian organizations.”
Lowcock said last year’s donor conference in Oslo, Norway had raised $672 million in funds for the region, and he expected to double that amount this year, which will allow more work to be done addressing underlying problems in the region.
Detailed pledges were not immediately available. Over 50 delegations are attending the conference.
Germany, a key destination for migrants fleeing Africa and non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council from 2019, is co-hosting a two-day conference with Norway, Nigeria and the United Nations to drum up support for the region.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition had vowed to help African nations improve conditions to keep people from embarking on treacherous journeys to try to reach Europe.
German Development Minister Gerd Mueller, just back from a visit to Chad, said 2.4 million people have already fled the region due to climate change and violence blamed on the Boko Haram insurgent movement and Islamic State.
“We need a joint European solution. And the international community must get far more engaged for the overall region to give these people a chance for survival and undercut a breeding ground for terrorism,” Mueller said in a statement.
He said it was vital that donors actually provided the funds they pledged, noting that only third of the needs identified by international organizations had been covered to date.
Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Development Program, warned that more people could flee the region unless the international community stepped in to provide long-term perspectives for people in the region.
“We should remember that we made a mistake eight years ago when the Syria crisis began and many people were forced to flee,” he told reporter in an interview, noting that U.N. agencies were forced in that case to close hospitals and schools and halve food rations due to a shortage of funds.

Source: Voice of America


SOWETO (SOUTH AFRICA)– Foreign shops remain closed in South AFrica’s Soweto, following days of violence and widespread looting this past week.

Residents went on a rampage on Wednesday, accusing foreign shop owners of selling expired food.

Ironically some looted the expired food. The unrest left four people dead and 27 arrested.

Bellal Hossain, a Bangladesh national, is among the few brave enough to keep their shops open.

He has been running his business for nine years and has been attacked four times.

“At the moment we are also scared to do business nicely in this place because those people when you see them you can see how they are like an animal, the attacking is like that they attack us now, if it’s like that we are not going to stay in South Africa, we going to leave South Africa”

With the shops closed residents are feeling the pinch, Sibusiso Zwane walked three kilometres to buy food.

“It’s an inconvenience because we now have to walk long distances. I have walked all this way just to buy these three items. They were really helping us.”

However for local businesses the closure means a spin-off in profits.


Media Report: US Considers Shutting Down Counterterrirsm Units in Africa

The Pentagon is looking at pulling nearly all U.S. commandos from Niger and shutting down most elite counterterrorism units across Africa, according to a media report.

Pentagon officials tell The New York Times U.S. military outposts in Cameroon, Kenya, Libya and Tunisia would also be closed if Defense Secretary Jim Mattis approves the plans, but the U.S. would still have a large military presence in Nigeria and Somalia.

According to the Times, the move is part of a shift in U.S. strategy from battling insurgents to focusing on potential large-scale fighting.

But it also comes after a militant attack on U.S. soldiers in Niger last year left four Americans dead, which the Pentagon admitted was a failure on its part.

The newspaper reports hundreds of U.S. troops across Africa would be reassigned under the plan. But General Thomas Waldhauser, head of the African Command, had previously told the Times the U.S. would not “walk away” and abandon its mission to train local forces in counterterrorism operations.

Some U.S. defense officials oppose the plan to close down military posts in Africa, saying it could cut U.S. influence at a time when China and Russia are looking to bolster theirs.

But one official told the Times that African countries have developed extremely capable counterterrorism forces and many do not need a permanent U.S. presence.

Source: Voice of America