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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 210 | 211 | (Page 212) | 213 | 214 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    SA's Amla seeks form in 100th TestSA's Amla seeks form in 100th Test Hashim Amla will become the eighth South African to appear in 100 Test matches in the third and final Test against Sri Lanka starting at the Wanderers Stadium tomorrow.

    Although South Africa are overwhelming favourites after comfortable wins in the first two Tests, the match has significance for the hosts and for Amla in particular.

    It will be a test of the team culture achieved under the captaincy of Faf du Plessis and an opportunity for Amla to bat his way out of a rare slump in form.

    Fast bowler Kyle Abbott shocked Du Plessis, his fellow players and team management during the second Test in Cape Town when he revealed that five months previously he had signed a Kolpak contract to play county cricket in England.

    Abbott's contract with Cricket South Africa was immediately cancelled, breaking up a match-winning fast bowling combination and creating doubt about the levels of trust within the camp. Abbott is just one of six current or recent international players to have chosen to go the Kolpak route, raising what Du Plessis described as a “red flag” for South African cricket.

    Although uncapped fast bowler Duanne Olivier was called up to join the squad, Abbott's likely replacement is existing squad member Wayne Parnell, a left-arm fast bowler who has had a stop-start career, mainly because of injuries. The most recent of Parnell's four Test appearances was three years ago. Parnell will add variety to the attack, although he may not be able to replicate the tight control exerted by Abbott in his new ball partnership with the accurate Vernon Philander.

    Parnell was released from the squad during the Cape Town Test and was man of the match for the Cape Cobras franchise, taking six wickets and hitting a century in a win against the Lions.

    Amla, by a distance the most experienced player in a team missing injured stars AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, has not hit a half-century in his most recent five Test matches, during which he has scored 195 runs at an average of 21.66.

    His slump has caused his career average to drop below 50 for the first time in four years.

    Amla's career average of 49.46 in nine matches at the Wanderers almost exactly replicates his career average of 49.45. He has hit two of his 25 Test centuries at the ground, most recently against Australia in November 2011.

    While there are concerns about Amla's batting form, most of South Africa's top order have fired during the series. Sri Lanka's batsmen, by contrast, have failed to come to terms with the pace, bounce and lateral movement of South African pitches. The tourists have managed just two individual half-centuries in the first two Tests and captain Angelo Mathews, with 149 runs at an average of 37.25, is the only batsman to have an average above 30. The Sri Lankan batsmen will need to show a major improvement on a pitch which traditionally offers fast bowlers the most assistance of any of South Africa's Test venues.

    The weather could be the biggest obstacle to South Africa achieving a clean sweep. Rain has affected preparations and more is predicted during the match.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 01/10/17--14:00: Athletes want cash
  • Athletes want cashAthletes want cashMarathon veteran Naigambo calls for change Preparing for a competition requires more than having shoes and clothes, and athletes want the preparatory funding system changed. Local athletes are calling for changes in the funding system used by sports federations when they qualify for major international events.

    Marathon coach Tobias Hiskia told Nampa last week athletes should get some of their funding in cash.

    “We know our federation (Athletics Namibia) does not have enough funds to sponsor athletes during qualifiers but those who qualify for major competitions like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Athletic Championships should at least be given a portion of the money in cash to buy their own food.”

    When athletes qualify for games like the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games, the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) transfers the funds for their preparation to the service providers or suppliers they use.

    Hiskia said athletes needed a clear mind ahead of major competitions. He said they should be given some of the money to pay for what they think is important for them.

    Beata Naigambo, who has represented Namibia at a number of international events, told this agency that athletes spent a lot of money preparing for competitions. She said the time has come for things to change.

    “We do not get funds to prepare for qualifiers. When we do qualify for events like the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, we usually get funds from the NNOC to prepare but food is not covered in that preparation money, which is not a good thing if you want a balanced diet,” she said.

    Naigambo added that those in the position of providing funds should start trusting the coaches, as they are more knowledgeable about what athletes need.

    “If I prepare for an event in Europe I use close to N$60 000 per trip of my own money but when I get to the national team I am not trusted with money as they don't give me a single cent to prepare, but they expect medals.

    “Upcoming athletes most of the time do not have the latest equipment and when they complain, they ask why is Beata not complaining, while they know I have been on the scene for a long time and I have managed to buy those things with my own money,” said Naigambo. Lavinia Haitope and Nangula Ekandjo agreed.

    “We are always forced to use our own money to pay coaches and people who help us train. All we want is for the people in the position of making decisions to give us some of the money allocated to the athletes for preparation when we qualify for major events,” they said.

    Erwin Naimhwaka, president of Athletics Namibia (AN), said they were going through a difficult financial time.

    “We do not have resources and funds to help these athletes who use their own resources to qualify for major competitions.”

    He said they wanted athletes to have peace of mind so they could focus on winning medals for the country and not worry about unpaid bills at home.

    He said AN did not have many restrictions on how preparation funds were used.

    “When athletes represent the country at the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, which falls under the NNOC, they are told how to use the funds because they have their own rules on how athletes should use the money.

    “But we will work on getting funds in the future to help athletes with qualifiers for major events,” he said.

    NNOC president Abner Xoagub said they used to give athletes preparation money in cash but there was no accountability from the athletes' side.

    “We get our money from the international bodies when preparing for Olympic Games or Commonwealth Games. We are required to write a report on how the funds are used as they have already specified what funds should be used for,” he said.

    He noted that in the past, athletes spent preparation money on electricity or personal items, which they could not account for.

    “In the end, it affected their training because they did not have enough money to pay for their training needs,” Xoagub said.

    He added that sports federations should look for ways to help fund athletes to meet the government halfway.

    “At the moment, we do not have money to fund sport and we need to pull together to get our athletes all the resources they need to represent the country well,” said Xoagub. - Nampa



    HESRON KAPANGA

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    Ronaldo, Ranieri scoop FIFA awardsRonaldo, Ranieri scoop FIFA awardsMaradona backs 48-team World Cup FIFA hosted its football awards ceremony on Monday night, with Leicester City's Claudio Ranieri honoured as the best men's coach. Cristiano Ronaldo claimed FIFA's inaugural best player of the year award on Monday, the latest prize for the Real Madrid and Portugal star after a glittering 2016 for club and country.

    Leicester City's Claudio Ranieri received the best men's coach award following his side's fairytale Premier League triumph.

    But the night again belonged to the 31-year-old Ronaldo, who edged out long-time nemesis Lionel Messi for the trophy as well as France's Antoine Griezmann, the top player at this summer's European championship.

    Ronaldo had already won the Ballon d'Or after his third Champions League title, thanks largely to his 16 goals in 12 games, as well as triumphing with Portugal at Euro 2016 the country's first major prize.

    “2016 was the best year of my career,” Ronaldo said after being handed the prize from FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

    Ranieri, 65, who saw off Real boss Zinedine Zidane and Portugal manager Fernando Santos, said the best coach honour was “incredible” after receiving the prize from Argentine football legend Diego Maradona.

    Under Ranieri's leadership, Leicester pulled off one of the greatest shocks in English football history by defying title odds of 5 000-1 to lift the Premier League trophy last season. Having miraculously avoided relegation the previous season, the Foxes rode that wave of momentum all the way to the title.

    The prizes were based on a combined voting process involving national team coaches and captains, a select group of journalists and fans.

    Ronaldo took 34.5 per cent of the vote over 26.4 per cent to Messi, who skipped the awards show co-hosted by US actress and former “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria.

    Barcelona said Messi was focused on preparing for an upcoming match against Athletic Bilbao.

    US midfielder Carli Lloyd scooped the best women's player of 2016, the two-time Olympic gold medallist adding to her 2015 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year accolade.

    The American finished ahead of Brazilian star Marta and Germany's Melanie Behringer.

    She described 2016 as “bittersweet”, with the US failing to win a medal for the first time in women's Olympic football.

    Spain's La Liga accounted for nine of the 11 players in the FIFPro team of the year with Ronaldo and Messi headlining a star-studded line-up.

    Ronaldo was joined by Real team-mates Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric while the side comprised four Barcelona players with Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez joining Messi.

    Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer named to the FIFPro World 11 for the fourth year running was the only player selected without links to Spain's top two clubs.

    Juventus defender Dani Alves was included for a sixth time having helped Barca to a league and cup double before leaving the Camp Nou for Italy last June.

    FIFA also gave a fair play prize to the Colombian side Atletico Nacional. The team had asked South America's football governing body to award a regional club title to Chapecoense after most of the Brazilian side perished in a plane crash on the way to the first leg of the final.

    World football's governing body launched the new award series after ending its six-year collaboration with France Football magazine for the Ballon d'Or.

    The change is one of many implemented under Infantino, who took over FIFA last year pledging to lead it away from the scandals that dominated the end of Sepp Blatter's tenure. Speaking on the so-called “green carpet” outside the Zurich awards venue, Maradona said the prizes helped define a new FIFA identity.

    “After everything that was taken away from football, everything that was tainted by corruption, to see new people, new faces, that provides me with hope,” Maradona said.

    But the first 11 months of Infantino's administration have had their troubles, including massive and often contentious FIFA staff overhauls and an ethics probe that ultimately cleared Infantino of abusing his office.

    Infantino's biggest test to date is set for Tuesday, when FIFA's powerful governing council will decide whether to back his controversial push to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from its current 32-nation format.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    VW unveils new version of microbusVW unveils new version of microbusIn post-crisis bounce-back, VW late to the party The 21st century Volkswagen Bus will feature a retro-inspired design, but will be powered by a state-of-the-art electric drivetrain. Embattled German auto maker Volkswagen announced another step toward its corporate transformation on Monday, unveiling a new fully electric, autonomous prototype bus to join a coming family of electrified vehicles.

    The reimagining of the iconic VW “hippy bus” popular in the 1960s and 1970s is expected to hit the roads at some point after 2020.

    The plug-in concept van called the ID Buzz “stands for the new Volkswagen,” Herbert Diess, head of the division which produces VW's namesake cars, announced at the start of the Detroit auto show.

    The van, a sleeker more futuristic version of the 20th century relative, embodies what Volkswagen aims to be: “modern, positive, emotional, future-oriented,” he said.

    But auto industry analysts say questions hang over the company's efforts to reinvent itself after the emissions scandal known as “dieselgate” that involved one of the largest US consumer class action cases ever and eroded the company's reputation.

    Under a corporate plan announced in November, the company hopes to charge headlong into the already crowded American SUV market, develop new ride-hailing and digital technologies and begin producing millions of electric and hybrid cars over the next decade - all sectors in which competitors have had lengthy head starts.

    Jack Nerad, executive market analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said the VW plan, dubbed “Transform 2025+,” seemed to have less to do with the company's bottom line than it did with healing the blight on its reputation. “It almost strikes me as a public relations ploy versus an actual business strategy, something to take people's minds off of what was so bad,” he told AFP.

    Volkswagen shocked the world in 2015 when it admitted to deliberately configuring software on 11 million diesel cars worldwide to defeat pollution tests while emitting up to 40 times the permissible levels of harmful nitrogen oxide during actual driving.

    On the eve of the auto show, federal police arrested a VW executive in Miami on charges in the emissions scandal. He was due to appear in court Monday on charges of lying to federal regulators investigating the case.

    Volkswagen, which also produces the luxury Audi and Porsche brands, already reached agreements to fix or replace all the models sold in the US that had the defeat software, for a total of about $16 billion, including funds for environmental cleanup in California.

    The company also is nearing a US$2 billion settlement with US authorities to resolve the criminal probe, The New York Times reported Friday, citing people familiar with the negotiations.

    Just over a year after the scandal broke, Diess unveiled the three-pronged plan in which he said the company's namesake line of cars would “change radically.”

    “Very few things will stay as they are,” he announced in November.

    Speaking to reporters in Detroit on Sunday evening, Diess said Volkswagen's move into new markets was well timed.

    “We will have our major offensive in the 2020 when we think EVs will get in to volume,” he said, referring to electrified vehicles. “We have a very good stronghold in China where we have probably the main market for EVs. They will be strong.”

    In turning over a new leaf, however, Volkswagen appears to be late to the party.

    While VW-branded cars have long had only a sliver of the US market at around two percent, competitors have seen record US sales driven by consumer demand for SUVs and light trucks, which made up nearly two-thirds of sales in 2016. VW's US sales declined 7.6% last year to just under 323 000 units.

    And other players have long been in the race to produce mass-market, purely electric vehicles, including Chevrolet and Tesla, which are launching models in the US this year priced around US$30 000.

    While growing fast, the US market for hybrid and battery-electric vehicles is still very small, estimated at just under three percent in 2016, according to LMC Automotive.

    “I don't see the market going to electrics nearly as fast as they think it could or will, certainly not in North America,” Nerad of Kelley Blue Book said. “In North America, they haven't been a strong player for a long, long time anyway.”

    IHS Markit said last month that electrified vehicle sales might not reach 35% of the global market before 2040.

    Sandy Schwartz, president of the Cox Automotive consultancy, said the US market still holds prospects for a turnaround for Volkswagen.

    “I think people have a short memory. If they produce great cars, if they can really produce products that people want, they'll get this part behind them,” he told AFP.

    “I think there's a chance they could re-emerge but it is not going to happen in a year or two. This is going to take time before they get this behind them.”





    NAMPA/AFP

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    Tube strike hits millions of LondonersTube strike hits millions of LondonersTravel chaos continued into the night A 24-hour strike on London Underground has created major travel disruption in the capital and gridlocked streets. Millions of Londoners endured a chaotic start to the week on Monday after a strike shut down most of the Underground network, including many city centre stations.

    Clapham Junction, a major transport hub in the south of the capital, had to be evacuated in the morning rush hour due to overcrowding as passengers were forced onto packed overland trains to get to work.

    Ten of the 11 Tube lines were disrupted by the 24-hour strike by members of the RMT union, who walked out on Sunday evening in a dispute over job cuts and staffing levels. The strike officially ended at 6:00 pm on Monday, although some stations remained closed and a normal service was not expected to run until Tuesday morning.

    Commuters' woes were compounded by rainy weather as they faced lengthy waits for overcrowded buses or tried to squeeze into packed train carriages.

    “It's a real pain,” said finance worker Ross Kemp, waiting for a bus at King's Cross station, adding that he had “limited sympathy” for the striking Tube workers.

    Mayor Saqid Khan condemned the action and said a “good deal” which ensured safety and staffing levels was already on the table.

    “I share the deep frustration of millions of commuters whose journeys have been, and continue to be disrupted because of this completely unnecessary strike,” he wrote on Facebook. Mick Cash, the leader of the RMT, said he was prepared to talk further but warned that the loss of more than 830 jobs, many due to ticket office closures, had left the network struggling.

    “Five million people a day use the Tube and it's creaking at the seams,” he told AFP.

    “There aren't enough staff to make sure it runs safely. If we don't do something there's going to be something drastic go wrong.”

    He warned this was a particular problem as London faced a heightened security threat, and insisted many passengers supported the action.

    “The Tube users know that there's problems on the network, they see how overcrowded it is,” he said.

    Khan, meanwhile, said “huge progress” had already been made on addressing the dispute, urging unions to continue talks.

    “Londoners deserve a resolution to this without any further industrial action,” he said.

    Extra buses were laid on to replace some Tube services during the strike, but there were long queues and heavy traffic meant many passengers found it quicker to walk.

    Fiona Stockwell, a commuter at King's Cross, said she left home early to beat the rush but was “not really pleased about it”.

    She said the closure of staffed ticket offices in Tube stations was inevitable given that most people now used contactless tickets.

    “We have to adapt to new technology,” she said.

    London Underground is the world's oldest subway network, having opened in 1863, and records 1.34 billion journeys every year.

    Further disruption is expected this week as workers on the Southern rail service, which runs between London and the southern English coast, strike yesterday, Wednesday and Friday.

    It is the third strike on Southern since the beginning of December, as unions step up their opposition to plans to downgrade the role of the conductor on trains.



    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 01/10/17--14:00: Water woes for Groot Aub
  • Water woes for Groot AubWater woes for Groot AubBoreholes used by 6 000 people dry up Groot Aub has been experiencing water shortages for the past four years. Residents of Groot Aub, a settlement about 56 kilometres south of Windhoek, still experience water shortages four years on.

    The problem persists because the groundwater level in the two boreholes has dropped due to lack of rain.

    The boreholes belong to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, which works together with the Khomas Regional Council to maintain the boreholes used by about 6 000 people.

    Disgruntled residents told Nampa on Tuesday that the situation had become unbearable and a solution must be found.

    Henry van Wyk, 51, who resides in the Oshakati informal settlement, said they could not even flush their toilets.

    “When nature calls you have to run to the bushes to relieve yourself. This is dangerous for the kids and women,” said Van Wyk.

    Rina Ellitson, 50, lives in a section of the settlement where water is sometimes unavailable for four days in a row.

    Water is rationed and they only receive water between 03:00 and 04:00.

    People use dirty water from wells, said Ellitson.

    “We all know that if you don't have water, you cannot really do anything especially us who have children to take care of,” she said.

    Ellitson added that those with cars drove to the boreholes on the other side of the settlement or to Rehoboth, some 50 kilometres away, to fill their water containers.

    “The situation is not good for the elderly people who have no cars.”

    Responding to Nampa's queries on Thursday, the regional councillor for the Windhoek Rural Constituency, Penina Inga Ita, said it was not only Groot Aub that was experiencing water shortages. Water shortages are experienced countrywide because of the drought of the past three years, Ita said.

    The politician said the settlement had enough groundwater but the problem was that it was used by a lot of people, including farmers who drilled boreholes illegally.

    NAMPA

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    SMEs deserve recognition – IindjiSMEs deserve recognition – Iindji The Northern Branch of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) will show its commitment towards local economic development by spearheading the promotion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

    NCCI Northern Branch chairperson Tomas Iindji said this in his New Year's message issued at the weekend.

    Iindji said SMEs' significant role in creating employment, eradicating poverty, increasing capacity building and accelerating local economic development deserved recognition.

    “The SME is a parallel sector to the government's national ambition to realise Vision 2030, National Development Plans (NDPs) and Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP),” he said.

    To accomplish this, he said, the government required committed running partners such as business people, the youth, banks and other partners to contribute to Namibia's economic growth.

    “It is now time that we redouble our effort and focus on youth in business, as those business categories still have energy to drive the economy going forward,” Iindji said.

    He urged young entrepreneurs to refrain from engaging with negative people because they would not build the economy and the nation but destroy the economy.

    “It is this time we need to focus on the genuine economic fight and think outside the box on survival in terms of business; let's own businesses and become legitimately rich,” he said.

    NAMPA

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    Thailand floods sever overland routesThailand floods sever overland routesAt least 25 people killed as record rainfall persists The unseasonal downpours have also put a dampener on Thailand's peak tourist period. Overland routes to Thailand's flood-hit south were severed on Tuesday after two bridges collapsed following days of torrential rain that has killed at least 25 people, including a five-year-old girl.

    The heaviest January rains for three decades have lashed the country's south for more than a week, affecting 1.1 million people across eleven provinces.

    The unseasonal downpours have also put a dampener on Thailand's peak tourist period, prompting cancellations on popular resort islands including Samui and Phangan.

    The Highways Department said the main road heading down Thailand's southern neck was closed after two bridges collapsed in Prachuab Kiri Khan province.

    Trains south have also been stopped by the rising floodwaters, increasing demand on already stretched flights to and from the flood-ravaged region.

    The death toll has crept up in recent days as floods have reached roof-top level in some areas.

    A five-year-old girl became the latest victim when a flash flood hit a van she was travelling in late Monday in Prachuab Kiri Khan province.

    “Her family climbed to the roof of the van to avoid the water but she fell in with her mother,” relief worker Rawiroj Thammee told AFP.

    “The girl was swept away... villagers found her body 200 metres from the van this morning (Tuesday).”

    January usually sees visitors flocking to southern Thailand's pristine beaches as monsoon rains abate and temperatures ease.

    But the region has been battered by what the Thai junta describes as the heaviest January rainfall in 30 years.

    In flood-hit areas of Surat Thani province, a tourist gateway to the party islands of Samui and Phangan, villagers said a week of rain had brought an unprecedented deluge.

    “Every year it floods, but not like this,” Chamnan Ingkaew, a village leader in Chaiya district told AFP.

    “There are 100 houses in my village, but we all had to leave and everything inside was lost... the water kept coming and coming, almost two metres high.”

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha on Tuesday said residents should have heeded evacuation warnings issued ahead of the floods.

    “Many people do not want to leave, they want to stay home,” he said, adding their reluctance was making the relief effort more pressing.

    Prayut, who also heads the ruling junta, said unbridled growth of towns and cities without planning for drainage was making Thailand increasingly vulnerable to floods.

    Vast tracts of the south - an agricultural hub for rubber, palm oil and fruit plantations - have been left under water while flash floods have caused deaths and widespread damage.

    Television images have shown villagers wading through muddy water in remote flooded hamlets, with a few salvaged belongings held above their heads.

    Soldiers have been deployed to provide relief packages and rescue stranded people in the worst-hit areas. Patients were evacuated by canoes as a hospital was swamped with waters in Prachuab Kiri Khan province.

    The rain is forecast to slacken over the next 24 hours.



    NAMPA/AFP

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    Trump names son-in-law senior White House advisorTrump names son-in-law senior White House advisor Donald Trump on Monday named son-in-law Jared Kushner as senior White House advisor, rewarding the man widely credited as the brains behind his election but courting serious legal and ethical concerns.

    The baby-faced real estate developer and magazine publisher, who turns 36 on Tuesday, will be the youngest top member of the administration, working closely with chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

    “Jared has been a tremendous asset and trusted advisor throughout the campaign and transition and I am proud to have him in a key leadership role in my administration,” announced the Republican president-elect.

    The appointment was announced two days before Trump is set to give his first news conference since the November election, in which he will detail plans for his own company and potential conflicts of interest while in the White House.

    Kushner, who is married to Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka, was credited with masterminding a data-driven campaign that focused on message tailoring and harnessing social media to an unprecedented extent.

    The transition said that Kushner, whom Forbes estimates is worth US$1.8 billion with his parents and brother, will forego his salary while serving in the administration.

    The announcement made no direct reference to nepotism laws or other potential conflicts of interest for which Kushner has hired a legal team.

    A federal law, passed after then-president John F. Kennedy appointed his brother as attorney general, prohibits any president from hiring a relative.

    Given Trump's reliance on Kushner, advisors have already spent weeks saying there could be more leeway for a White House rather than a cabinet job.

    But The New York Times at the weekend spotlighted what it called the “ethical thicket” that Kushner would have to navigate while advising his father-in-law on policy that could affect his business holdings.

    Under his leadership, real estate group Kushner Companies has completed more than US$14 billion in transactions and US$7 billion in acquisitions since 2007, according to its website.

    He and his brother co-founded an investment company. He is an active investor in technology companies and sits on the boards of several start-ups, as well as the left-leaning Democrat mayor of New York's broadband taskforce.

    Kushner's lawyer said he would resign as CEO of Kushner Companies and “divest substantial assets in accordance with federal guidelines.”



    NAMPA/AFP

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    Thousands throng Rafsanjani funeralThousands throng Rafsanjani funeralHuge crowds at ex-president's funeral Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have turned out in the capital for the funeral of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Hundreds of thousands of mourners led by Iran's supreme leader gathered at Tehran University early yesterday for the funeral of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

    State television showed people pouring on to the streets around the campus where Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led the eulogies for Rafsanjani despite their “differences”.

    President Hassan Rouhani, parliament speaker Ali Larijani and his brother judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani accompanied the supreme leader at the prayers.

    Former president Mohammad Khatami, an ally of Rafsanjani but long out of favour with the regime, was not part of the official delegation at the service.

    The heavyweight politician, who died on Sunday at the age of 82, will be buried inside the crypt of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

    Khomeini's mausoleum is in south Tehran.

    Black banners were raised in Tehran and some posters showed the supreme leader and Rafsanjani together smiling. Another poster said “good bye, old combatant”.

    Free bus or metro travel was provided to the funeral venue.

    Since Rafsanjani's death, messages of condolence have poured in both from at home and abroad.

    Even the White House sent a message, unprecedented since the 1979 revolution that led to cutting of ties between Tehran and Washington.

    “Former president Rafsanjani was a prominent figure throughout the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States sends our condolences to his family and loved ones,” spokesman Josh Ernest said.

    “He was a consequential figure inside Iran. But you know, for what potential impact this could have on Iranian policy, I wouldn't speculate.”

    One of Iran's most controversial figures in the West, the head of its Revolutionary Guards' foreign operations division, Major General Qassem Suleimani, was seen at the funeral.

    Rafsanjani was a father-figure for Iran's moderate and reformist camps.

    He fell out of the regime's highest inner circle after the 2009 re-election of hardline former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when he spoke out against the use of lethal force on protesters who claimed the vote was rigged.

    Video clips published on social media showed pockets of mourners in the streets around the funeral venue chanting slogans in support of Khatami and fellow reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi.

    Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, two of the losing candidates in the 2009 election, have been under house arrest since 2011 for leading the so-called Green Movement protests that the regime calls “sedition”.

    Khatami is under a strict media ban and often prevented from attending public events.

    Rafsanjani's son Mohsen invited people to attend the service “in full tranquillity”.

    “Ayatollah Rafsanjani's concern was unity... and we should show off our unity to the world,” he said on Monday.



    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 01/10/17--14:00: Jammeh faces isolation
  • Jammeh faces isolationJammeh faces isolationPressure mounts on Gambian leader Three West African presidents will once again return to Gambia to persuade Yahya Jammeh to stick to his original promise to go quietly. West African leaders announced on Monday they would return to Gambia to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step down, as the strongman was left looking increasingly isolated at home and abroad.

    The mandate for Jammeh's five-year term runs out on January 18, after which president-elect Adama Barrow is supposed to take power.

    Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari would accompany Liberian counterpart Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ghana's former president John Dramani Mahama to impress upon Jammeh “the imperative to respect the constitution”, Nigeria's foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama said in Abuja.

    The same West African leaders at a meeting in Abuja, along with Senegalese President Macky Sall, expressed concern about worsening security, including a crackdown on the media, which has seen a number of radio stations taken off air, Onyeama said.

    Onyeama said the hope is that a peaceful transfer of power will take place, but that force may be used as a last resort.



    Imminent defections

    “Violence should be avoided but nothing is ruled out,” he told reporters.

    The same leaders had made a previous attempt at mediation with both sides of The Gambia's political crisis in mid-December but failed to bring a result.

    In Banjul, rumours swirled of imminent defections from Jammeh's government, while it was confirmed the leader who has been in power for 22 years had fired The Gambia's ambassadors to 12 different nations, apparently for disloyalty.

    All the envoys had expressed their support for Barrow in late December, and asked Jammeh to step aside and respect the result of the December 1 election that delivered the opposition leader a narrow victory.

    “I do not know why President Yahya Jammeh terminated their services, but I can tell you that these are the ambassadors that congratulated and endorsed President-elect Adama Barrow for his election victory,” a foreign ministry source told AFP on condition of anonymity.



    Judge shortage?

    Meanwhile it appeared increasingly clear there would not be the requisite number of judges on Tuesday sitting for Jammeh's Supreme Court case against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), seeking to have the election result overturned.

    Nigerian and Gambian legal experts told AFP that although five Nigerian judges and one from Sierra Leone had been invited to hear the case, none had responded.

    The Gambia relies on foreign nationals as judges due to a shortage of Gambians with the requisite training and experience.

    Jammeh and his political party have now lodged three separate legal complaints with the Supreme Court alleging manipulation of ballot counting by the IEC and intimidation of supporters.

    Gambian legal expert Aziz Bensouda said a quick resolution was unlikely and constitutionally Jammeh still had to step down by the end of his mandate.

    “In the absence of a court and the pure impossibility of the parties being served in time to appear and enter a response, it seems that an adjournment of the case will be the most likely outcome,” he told AFP.

    Jammeh's own lawyer Edward Gomez said he did not know how many judges would appear on the day.

    “Judges have been employed for the Supreme Court, they have been appointed,” he told AFP by phone.

    “Now whether they are here or they are not, I am in no position to tell you.”

    Chief justice Emmanuel Fagbenle is the panel's only sitting judge, as the Supreme Court has lain dormant since May 2015.

    Several judges were fired after they commuted the death sentences of former military officers to life imprisonment.



    Radio shutdowns

    A climate of tension and uncertainty has gripped the Gambian capital in recent days with the closure of several radio stations and arrests of those selling t-shirts sporting Barrow's face. The staff of popular private Gambian radio station Paradise FM, shut down late on Sunday by authorities, told AFP they had lodged a complaint and vowed to keep broadcasting if an explanation was not provided by the information ministry. “We told them [the ministry] that we are going to resume broadcasting if we don't hear from them,” said Ebou Jaiteh, manager of Paradise FM.



    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 01/10/17--14:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day FOR FIDEL: Cuban troops participate in a military parade in honour of recently deceased Cuban leader Fidel Castro at Revolution Square in Havana last week. Photo: NAMPA/AFP

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  • 01/10/17--14:00: Where is the Afcon fever?
  • Where is the Afcon fever?Where is the Afcon fever? The biggest continental football showpiece will officially kick-off this weekend in Gabon.



    The Total Africa Cup of Nations is indeed upon us and this time around there is general consensus that the tournament has no clear favourites as all teams are capable of doing well.



    Reigning champions Ivory Coast, who won the title in Equatorial Guinea in 2015, are still regarded as strong contenders even though they will be without their inspirational skipper Yaya Toure, who has quit international football to concentrate on his Manchester City career.



    Countries like Ghana, Algeria, Egypt, Mali, Senegal and Cameroon also have an outside chance of winning this year's tournament.



    Our only SADC representatives Zimbabwe surprised all and sundry with their magical form during the qualification stage, but are drawn into a tough group along with Algeria, Tunisia and Senegal.



    But in football it is current form that matters and the Zimbabwean Warriors will likely fancy their chances and emulate Zambia who in 2012 won their first Africa Cup of Nations title by beating tournament favourites Ivory Coast in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.



    Although the Africa Cup of Nations is just a mere three days away it is safe to say that Namibian football lovers in general are yet to be caught by this year's Afcon fever. Surely local sport lovers are disappointed by the status of football in the country, particularly the fact that the Namibia Premier League is yet to start due to a funding crisis.



    In the absence of a local football league, many soccer enthusiasts have found consolation with European leagues like the English Premier League and La Liga which they follow religiously.



    The fact that Namibia has not qualified has also dampened spirits as there has been no keen interest leading up to the Afcon finals.



    However this should not deter us from spreading the fever and telling the world that we too are a football-crazy continent.

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    Learner registration in Kunene underwayLearner registration in Kunene underway Schools in Kunene are struggling to keep up with the demand for space for learners, with some forced to take in almost double the amount of children they can actually accommodate.

    One such school is the Opuwo Primary School, which has the capacity to accommodate 700 learners, but has so far registered 1 200 learners for this academic year.

    School principal Albert Tjiuma told Nampa that the growing number of learners in the region is forcing the school to exceed their capacity.

    “The school has 39 teachers and each classroom has 35 learners. Due to the shortage of classrooms we have two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon,” Tjiuma said.

    Periods are cut by about 10 minutes to ensure that both sections are accommodated, which in turn means the completion of the curriculum by teachers is affected.

    “Learners also have to walk very early from far to be at school at 07:00 and some areas are dangerous,” a worried Tjiuma said.

    Another problem is that parents ignore the application process.

    Opuwo circuit inspector Chris Tjivikua told this agency parents do not apply for spaces for their children at the end of the year, which delays the commencement of the teaching process at the beginning of the year when registration has to be sorted.

    “While teaching is to start tomorrow, teachers will be bothered by parents who still are trying to have their children registered. This not only affects the school's performance as teachers may run behind schedule with the curriculum, but also affects the learners as some learners may go without classes for weeks,” the inspector said.

    The principal of Putuavanga Senior Secondary School, Wayne Tjipueja echoed Tjiuma's sentiments.

    Tjipueja, who heads one of the best performing schools in the Kunene Region, says at times parents do not apply but want their children to attend the best schools.

    “The other challenge we face is learners who passed Grade 10 through Namcol who have to do Grade 11,” he said.

    Classes are expected to commence countrywide today.



    NAMPA

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    New Year's celebrations pollute Swakop beachesNew Year's celebrations pollute Swakop beaches The Ministry of Environment and Tourism might in the future seek police assistance to expel illegal overnighters from Swakopmund beaches and impose fines for littering.

    Overnighting on beaches was banned in 2015 because holidaymakers left behind rubbish and damaged the ecosystems at Long Beach and Mile 4.

    “We are left with no option but to call the police to assist us, because people do not want to cooperate,” said park warden Jeremia Lamek on Monday.

    At the end of last year, the ministry made an exception allowing revellers to overnight on the beach without permits during the festive season, but only if they kept it clean.

    But after the New Year's celebrations garbage was strewn on the beaches in the Dorob National Park.

    Normally, visitors without a permit to overnight are expected to vacate the park by 21:00 or risk fines.

    Lamek and 10 temporary cleaners from the Namibian Coast Conservation and Management Project (Nacoma) have been cleaning Long Beach every morning since the beginning of the 2016/17 festive season.

    Lamek said many visitors spent the night on the beach on New Year's Eve and park wardens could not control them, hence the decision to call in the police next time.

    On Monday, Mile 4 was still a mess, with ash and beer bottles scattered along the shore.

    “Mile 4 is still dirty as we have been focusing on Long Beach where a lot of people were. But we will pick up the bottles and bury the ash,” said the warden.

    Lamek's team will wrap up the cleaning campaign on Wednesday. Long Beach was clean by Monday.

    “Over the festive season, I issued fines totalling to N$4 500. Mostly illegal quad biking and overnighting,” Lamek said.

    Illegal quad biking and overnighting carry a N$500 fine, while an illegal fire on the beach incurs a fine of N$250.

    Lamek urged revellers to pick up their rubbish when the party is over and throw it in the bins provided.

    “The rule of thumb is whatever you bring in, take it out with you,” said Lamek.



    NAMPA

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    Amarika water crisis continuesAmarika water crisis continuesN$200m desalination plant still out of order There appears to be no end in sight to the water problems plaguing the people of Amarika in the Omusati Region. The governor of Omusati Region, Erginus Endjala, says all efforts to address the water crisis at Amarika have failed.

    Endjala, who described the situation as a disaster, also confirmed that the N$200 million desalination plant donated by Germany was out of order and that the region had no capacity to fix it.

    According to Endjala, most of the communities in Omusati have potable water except the people of Amarika. The settlement of Amarika is situated about 70km south of Okahao.

    “The Amarika situation is serious and we do not know how to assist them (people),” he said.

    “The government tried to drill boreholes for them, but their underground water is salty.”

    The governor said that it was also impossible to get clean drinking water to the people of Amarika via a pipeline at this stage, arguing that the long distance would affect the water pressure.

    “It is unfortunate that Amarika benefited from one of the most expensive and sophisticated desalination plants, but it is not functioning anymore. The Germans went back and our local people have no capacity to repair it,” he said.

    Endjala also said the plant was not a permanent solution to the water crisis at Amarika adding that plans are underway for the government to take over the plant.

    “Currently we have two options to resolve the Amarika water situation. One option is to drill boreholes near Etosha and pump water to Amarika using water pipes. Another option is for the government to take over the desalination plant. The latter will be done with assistance from GIZ in order to get experienced technicians to repair it.”

    Endjala, however, said both options are costly and will take time. He said the option to take water from Etosha to Amarika was prohibitive and time consuming considering the long distance that the water will be ferried saying it will not happen anytime soon.

    In 2006, the German/Namibia research project CuveWaters, through Integrated Water Resources Management and using funds from the German education and research ministry (BMBF), installed two solar-powered desalination plants at Amarika and Akutsima for N$200 million.

    The system is capable of producing 3.3 cubic metres of clean drinking water daily, but the plant broke down immediately after it was handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in 2010.

    In 2015, the agriculture ministry and CuveWaters agreed on final optimisation and maintenance works.

    Amarika residents said the plant was idle for two years from 2013 until it was repaired in 2015 but the plant only pumped water for just one month and broke down again.

    Local people who were trained were only shown how to operate the system and maintain external components but they were not taught how to maintain the technical and electronic aspects of the water system.

    According to sources, the people who were trained cannot detect what is wrong when the plant stops working.

    Endjala said currently, the regional council is supplying drinking water to Amarika residents using the council water tanker, but because it is the only tanker in the region, the water deliveries cannot be done regularly.



    ILENI NANDJATO

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    Train accident at Walvis stationTrain accident at Walvis station DERAILED: A TransNamib business-class coach derailed in Walvis Bay yesterday. No one was injured since the coach was empty when it derailed. This happened within the perimeters of Walvis Bay station at approximately 18:30. TransNamib workers arrived at the scene and started repairing the damaged track.

    PHOTO: OTIS FINCK

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    Grade 10 failures allowed to repeatGrade 10 failures allowed to repeat About 2 430 candidates who did not pass their Grade 10 examinations last year and are 17 years and younger will be allowed to repeat the grade this year.

    This was announced by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture Permanent Secretary, Sanet Steenkamp in statement yesterday saying that it has become customary for the ministry to allow candidates who sat for the Junior Secondary Certificate Grade 10 examinations and who have failed to repeat in the formal education full-time. For the 2015 Grade 10 examinations, 3 432 candidates were allowed to repeat in 2016 and 2 258 (65.8%) qualified for Grade 11. Steenkamp said that learners are eligible to repeat Grade 10 preferably at their former schools on a full-time basis. Learners may repeat on a voluntary basis provided their school of choice can accommodate them or alternatively they may opt for registration at Namcol or any part-time institution registered with the ministry. Furthermore, learners who did not meet the requirements for Grade 11 and are older than 17 years of age are advised to consider enrolment with Namcol or at part-time institutions registered with the ministry to improve their results in one or more subjects. Steenkamp further urged learners to work hard to achieve the required points needed to be able to continue with Grade 11 on a full time basis before they are 21 years old. Meanwhile candidates who were enrolled at Namcol and have obtained the minimum required points for admission to Grade 11, but are over the age of 21 are advised to enrol with Namcol until they complete their secondary education. Alternatively Steenkamp said candidates who have an interest in a vocational career are encouraged to register with Vocational Training Centres through the Namibia Training Authority to improve their skills in vocational education and training.

    Steenkamp also added that learners and parents should remember that fulltime repetition of Grade 10 will lead to forfeiting of points that were obtained previously.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Tribalism, corruption claims at OnandjabaTribalism, corruption claims at OnandjabaActivists demand answers on land sales A pressure group at the settlement says it is tired of being blindfolded by “corrupt officials”. Community members say the issue of plots being dished out illegally and tribal remarks made by some residents in the area is stagnating development of the settlement.

    “We don't have access to land. Young qualified professionals don't want to work here because they don't want to rent. There is too much corruption in Onandjaba and these are not things we are just talking about but there is proof for anyone to see. We are tired of being blindfolded by corrupt officials,” one of the residents said during a community meeting held on Sunday at Onandjaba settlement in Okalongo Constituency which was organised by the Okalongo Based Development Community Body (OBDCB).

    The OBDCB had organised the meeting to inform the community about progress of its activities and future development plans for the Okalongo settlement area.

    Very few people attended the meeting.

    During the deliberations, the community members were briefed about the petition which they handed over to the regional council in May 2016 and directed to President Hage Geingob who was petitioned to investigate the illegal land deals in the area.

    Geingob was also petitioned to remove the Onandjaba settlement control officer Amandus Kandowa from office, whom they are accusing of selling plots illegally to prominent government officials and business people.

    The Office of the President responded to the petition in a letter dated 17 October 2016 confirming receipt of the petition and that consultations were being conducted with the regional governor Erginus Endjala.

    This prompted Endjala to set up a meeting on 13 December 2016 with the community members from the area. During that meeting, issues were raised regarding illegal land deals and the tribalism in Okalongo.

    At this meeting, a temporary five-member committee was established to investigate these allegations.

    The findings are yet to be presented but Namibian Sun is reliably informed that investigations have been conducted.

    During Sunday's meeting, the OBDCB also tackled the issue of tribalism claims levelled against them saying the alleged corrupt officials being accused of corruption are making the accusations to discredit them.

    “They want to make it a tribal issue because we are asking them about their corrupt ways,” OBDCB's secretary, Jordaan Thomas said.

    “We don't want their positions; we just want them to do their work in a fair and transparent manner.”

    Thomas also read out a letter dated 30 May 2016 issued by Okalongo Constituency Councillor Laurentius Iipinge directed to the secretary of the eight traditional authorities, Maria Angungu in which concerns about the OBDCB were raised.

    Thomas questioned why a leader would write such a letter saying Iipinge should be thankful to the group for exposing corruption in the area instead of acting against the his organisation.

    He further added that there is no act in the country which opposes the establishment of a community based group aimed at lobbying the government to fast track development.

    In his letter Iipinge said the body was established only after he was elected into office as councillor in December 2015 but according to Thomas, the body was established in 2013 and had worked with the previous councillor.

    “The body was inadvertently established to derail me from performing my tasks within the scope of the Local Authority Act and in line with other political programs,” the letter read. This week Iipinge confirmed to Namibian Sun the content of the letter saying that he wrote the letter with the intention of involving the traditional authorities to issue an interdict to the body not to continuing with its activities.

    “This body has been introduced after I entered office and two of the members of this body were candidates competing with me during the 2015 regional council election,” Iipinge said.

    “I wrote the letter because I had concerns and I still have them and I am still waiting for the traditional authorities to get back to me,” Iipinge further said.



    KENYA KAMBOWE

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  • 01/10/17--14:00: Bail for 7 in tax-fraud case
  • Bail for 7 in tax-fraud caseBail for 7 in tax-fraud case Magistrate Rhivermo Williams has granted bail to seven of the 13 people involved in fraud at the Inland Revenue Department in Walvis Bay.

    They were granted bail of N$10 000 each.

    Six of the accused - Henry Visagie, Jacqueline Imbili, Leonardo Roselli, Michael Mclobo, Jeanette Garoes and Anna Marie Mutilifa - were told they might make formal bail applications at a later stage.

    The case was postponed to 21 February for further investigation.

    The accused allegedly defrauded the Ministry of Finance of more than N$2 million between 1 April 2013 and November 2016.

    Three of the accused, who were employed at the Inland Revenue Department, allegedly forged Pay As You Earn (PAYE5) certificates using the names of 21 friends and relatives. They then processed tax refunds in these people's names.

    State prosecutor Tuihaleni Hilikuete apposed bail for six of the accused and said they were close friends of the State witnesses.

    She also informed Magistrate Williams that Garoes and Mutilifa had already attempted to interfere with the investigation.

    “They will interfere with the investigation and other witnesses. They should also not be granted bail due to the strong public interest,” she argued.

    Morne Feris, Willemina Visagie, Quinton Mathews, Marlon Pins, Velancio Muller, Patrick Titus and Lukas Shailemo were granted bail and were told not to interfere directly or indirectly with the investigation should they manage to post bail.

    Willemina, who is the wife of taxation officer Henry Visagie, was instructed not to access her husband's bank accounts while out on bail.

    Shailemo must report twice a week at the Rosh Pinah police station.

    Muller told the court he was unemployed and could not afford N$10 000 bail. He requested a reduction to N$6 000 but Magistrate Williams refused his request due to the seriousness of the offence.

    Three of the accused are represented by Liesl Heyman, with Wouter Rossouw representing Leonardo Roselli, who is an Italian national. Rossouw told the court that his client needed an interpreter and said he was unable to communicate properly with him.





    OTIS FINCK

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