Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Stories that got my attention - 25 June 2008

Here are a couple of interesting and/or noteworthy stories that caught my attention this morning:

Mhambi: Is Nelson Mandela's silence on Zimbabwe OK?

Much is currently being made in the British Press of Nelson Mandela's visit to the UK for the concert celebration of his 90th birthday.

Not because of the planned star studded line up mind you. But because Mandela has not condemned Robert Mugabe's government of late...

Constitutionally Speaking: What happens when 5 judges retire?

Next year five judges of the Constitutional Court will come to the end of their 15 year term and will have to retire. These are Chief Justice Pius Langa and Justices Kate O’Regan, Albie Sachs, Yvonne Mgoro and Tollie Madala. Justices O’Regan, Sachs and Mokgoro have been consistently the most progressive voices on the court and it is difficult not to worry about the direction the court will take with five fresh faces on its benches.

Although there are some safeguards built into the Constitution regarding the appointment of judges, the process of appointing Constitutional Court judges are potentially open to political manipulation...

south africa THE GOOD NEWS: SA ad agency wins Grand Prix at Cannes

South African advertising agency DDB (SA) won the Grand Prix award in the Press category at the 55th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival held in Cannes, France this week.

From more than 7 400 global entries in the press category, DDB (SA) scooped the coveted premier award for their Energizer campaign...

south africa THE GOOD NEWS: SA documentary wins World TV Award

A South African film has won the best documentary award in the 2008 World TV Awards.

The documentary, entitled "The Letter", deals with the personal stories emerging from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. Through the story of a mother, who in search of closure and reconciliation, writes a letter to her son's killers, the film aims to increase public awareness around issues of diversity, tolerance and peace...

BBC News: US to ignore Zimbabwe poll result

The US will not recognise the outcome of Friday's presidential election run-off in Zimbabwe, a senior state department official has said.

Jendayi Frazer told the BBC Robert Mugabe could not claim a legitimate victory amid the current campaign of violence against the opposition...

My comments: Will South Africa follow a similar approach? I wish, but I don't see any chance of that happening. It will probably also not achieve much. It's a little like putting your hands in front of your eyes and saying - you're not there, I won't acknowledge you. Who do you talk to in order to end the charade? But at least the US is indicating that it doesn't approve of the current madness. Could South Africa's Government at least convey that message in public - 'Bob, you're a naughty boy and we don't like it'?. Once again I don't see this happening. I'm still depressed about Zim.

BBC News: Landmark Florida Everglades deal

US conservationists are hailing a landmark agreement under which the state of Florida will buy a huge tract of land from a major sugar company.

The US Sugar Corp has tentatively agreed to close down and sell the 800sq km of land it owns in the Everglades to Florida for $1.75bn (£890m).

Florida's governor said the agreement was as important as the creation of America's first national park.

The swampy Everglades is one of America's most unusual ecosystems...

BBC News: Biofuel use 'increasing poverty'

The replacement of traditional fuels with biofuels has dragged more than 30 million people worldwide into poverty, an aid agency report says.

Oxfam says so-called green policies in developed countries are contributing to the world's soaring food prices, which hit the poor hardest.

The group also says biofuels will do nothing to combat climate change.

Its report urges the EU to scrap a target of making 10% of all transport run on renewable resources by 2020.

Oxfam estimates the EU's target could multiply carbon emissions 70-fold by 2020 by changing the use of land...

BBC News: Bill Clinton endorses Obama bid

Former US President Bill Clinton has announced for the first time his support of fellow Democrat Barack Obama's bid for the White House.

Mr Clinton's wife Hillary was Mr Obama's biggest rival for the party nomination, and he was often critical of Mr Obama on the campaign trail.

Mr Clinton's spokesman said he was committed to working for an Obama win.

Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton are to hold a joint rally on Friday, but Mr Clinton will be in Europe and will not attend...

BBC News: Record sale for Monet masterpiece

A Claude Monet painting, Le Bassin Aux Nympheas, has fetched a record £40.9m for the artist's work at auction.

The identity of the victorious bidder at Christie's, London, has not been made public. The painting had been expected to fetch £24m.

Painted in 1919 in Giverny in France it has been seen in public just once in the past 80 years.

Monet's 1873 Le Pont du chemin de fer a Argenteuil, which sold in May, had held the previous record of £20.9m...

BBC News: Children terrified by SA xenophobia

Ten-year-old Fortune watched a man being shot dead in front of him as he accompanied his mother to the grocer's store.

Another 10-year-old saw men armed with clubs and guns preparing for an attack.

"I was scared," he says, "so I prayed."

Both children have been receiving counselling after a wave of anti-immigrant attacks in South Africa last month.

Their school called in art therapist Michelle Booth when teachers realised that many pupils had been traumatised by violence - which they had either suffered directly or witnessed...

TIMESONLINE: Outrage over £200m UK investment in Zimbabwe

Anglo American, the London-based mining giant, is to make what is believed to be the largest foreign investment in Zimbabwe to date, just as the British Government puts pressure on companies to withdraw from the country.

Anglo will invest $400 million (£200 million) to build a platinum mine in Zimbabwe — a move that has raised concern among some of the company’s shareholders and been condemned by politicians.

The Foreign Office was investigating tonight whether the company’s investment breached sanctions against Zimbabwe. Anglo insisted that its involvement in the country did not break the law.

The decision, which was criticised roundly as likely to give succour — and possibly money — to the Mugabe regime, is in stark contrast to the policy of nearly all other main British corporations in Zimbabwe. They are either withdrawing from the country or waiting for Mr Mugabe to be deposed before expanding their businesses...

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