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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 239 | 240 | (Page 241) | 242 | 243 | .... | 1152 | newer

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  • 02/02/17--14:00: A man for the ages
  • A man for the agesA man for the ages I was a pupil of Mr Katangolo in the class of 1970 together with other fellows such as Raimo Naanda, Lenin Kaukungwa, Sigfried Shimwafeni, Nico Kalomo, David Nuyoma, the late Jansen Kalomo, Lomboleni Sackeus, Maniki Kasheeta and others.

    I'm sure we will all agree that Mr Katangolo was a the strictest disciplinarian ever in our school career and this has paid off handsomely in many respects for us all in later life.

    Mr Katangolo was a great friend of my father Josef Simon Mbako, whom he succeeded as principal of Mandume when my father was transferred to start the new higher primary school, Namutoni. We were neighbours in Katutura and so we grew up as family. I remember the two gentlemen as community advisors helping with the settlement of many people who came from rural areas in search of work and better life for their families. They were both well-groomed in mannerisms, dress code and general appearance.

    Mr Katangolo was a legendary figure in the social fabric of Windhoek at the time. His influence as an eminent school principal extended far beyond his call of duty. He was a community leader imbued with a zeal for academic advancement. Few men were gifted with the attributes of this impressive man who commanded respect wherever he went. As a composer and singer he was accomplished until his last day on earth. The only person who challenged him in that respect was the equally legendary Mandume school principal before him, the late Mr David Hipondoka, who commanded the violin to hitherto unparalleled melodies.

    The feared cane for instilling discipline in unruly pupils was known as the 'Blue Monday', which Mr Katangolo mostly used on the buttocks of pupils who were guilty of misbehaviour over weekends. He knew the ins and outs of each and every family in the neighbourhood. It is therefore ironic that he left us on a Monday.

    Quite interestingly, Mr Katangolo was never given a negative nickname by the learners such as most senior teachers at the time were known by.

    I believe this had to do not only with fear of being caught out but also due to the tremendous respect which leaners and parents alike had for him. He was simply Mr Katangolo or 'Mitiri Gwetu' and the name elicited many positive vibes throughout the neighbourhood and

    beyond.



    HILIFA MBAKO

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  • 02/02/17--14:00: Cancer can be beaten
  • Cancer can be beatenCancer can be beatenThe fight lies in the heart Tomorrow is World Cancer Day and we commemorate the day with stories of survival. Here is the story of Blanche-Ann Hoffman's battle with cancer. Tears welled up my eyes as I put the phone down after cancer survivor Blanche-Ann Hoffman ended the conversation confirming her willingness to share her story.

    The mixed emotions stem from hearing the enchanted voice of Hoffman who has been cancer free for 14 years and the irony of having a husband who is bed-ridden with thyroid cancer since September 2016.

    My youngest child died of bone cancer at the tender of nine 15 years ago.

    But the story is not about me but about Hoffman's bittersweet journey and spirited fight against cancer.

    She is among many cancer survivors in Namibia whose story of survival will offer a glimmer of hope to many cancer sufferers.

    “I am clean now for 14 years,” Hoffman said before narrating the trauma she went through when the news was broken to her in

    2003.

    For more than a year, she complained about feeling funny but failed to convince her doctor, family and people around her about how serious it was.

    “I was complaining in 2003 that there was something wrong with me and there was something growing inside me but the doctors didn't believe me. They just put me from one birth control to another. In December I became very sick and the doctor told me to go for tests. I was bleeding from September 2002 to January 2003,” Hoffman said.

    The tests could not be done because in December the clinics for scans were closed. On 9 January, Hoffman who worked at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation as an administration assistant worked late and when she got home everyone was

    asleep.

    “I went to the toilet. As I was sitting on the toilet something happened. I felt like something was coming out, like I was having a miscarriage. I panicked.”

    That night her eldest daughter and her husband Horace took her to the hospital in the early hours of January 10. In the afternoon she was sent for sonar.

    She was diagnosed with a uterine tumour and was referred to a gynaecologist.

    Hoffman went to see the specialist who confirmed that Hoffman indeed had a tumour and needed to undergo a hysterectomy. She said at home she spoke to the Lord and asked God to tell her what was wrong with her. Hoffman said when she spoke to God, he replied 'cervical is where cancer

    starts'.

    As it turned out, Hoffman indeed had advanced cervical cancer which was diagnosed on 24 January 2003.

    “You feel like the death penalty has been announced. You feel like someone is telling you that you can die any minute. It is not a good feeling - it is something terrible. You feel death inside of you. It's horrible and I cannot explain how I was feeling. But I told myself I needed to fight something and get peace within myself.”

    Overwhelmed by the devastating news, Hoffman asked her husband to take her home and told him that she didn't want to see anyone. At home she locked herself in her bedroom. “And I was screaming and I was shouting and I was afraid. I asked for forgiveness from the Lord and I wanted to make peace with myself.”

    The doctor told Hoffman that because of the advanced stage of the cancer, no doctor in Namibia could help and she must urgently travel to South Africa.



    Back home

    After the surgery in South Africa she started on chemotherapy.

    “When my hair started falling out, I cried and that was the most hurtful thing. My daughter who was three cried every time I cried,” Hoffman said. She said the after-effects of chemotherapy were debilitating.

    Horace, Hoffman's husband said when the news was broken that his wife had cancer he was shocked. “There was no history of cancer in the family. You know the disbelief that sets in. You say no, they made a mistake this cannot be true. It's like a death sentence that is uttered. But I told my wife that the Lord had spoken to me and said she would not die.

    There was no counselling and I asked the doctor if we were going to get counselling. That time and I still think even now, Namibia still lacks in this area.”

    “What I want to tell the people out there is cancer can be cured if you stand on the Word and ask the Lord. The Lord says remind me about the promises that I have made and this is what I was doing,” said Hoffman who constantly referred to Jeremiah 30:17 as her pillar of

    strength.

    After numerous treatments and as the years went by, Hoffman was declared cancer-free and to this day the status quo remains. Hoffman said it was sad that despite her inspiring story no one has ever approached her to tell her story. “This is the first time.

    I am willing to talk to people and cancer patients. Anyone can come to me, Hoffman said. She can be contacted on 081 269 2334.



    DORCAS MHUNGU

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    Packed classrooms hamper learningPacked classrooms hamper learning The completion of several crucial capital projects is being hampered by the country's financial problems.

    Agriculture minister John Mutorwa said during his annual policy statement that the multibillion-dollar Neckartal Dam was one of the affected projects.

    He said because of the financial strains the country was facing, it was envisaged that the dam would only be completed this year.

    Mutorwa said those who criticised the Neckartal project should keep in mind that there had been no large water infrastructure projects or new storage dams since before independence.

    “At that time the population and the industrial development was not what it was today. The Neckartal Dam is important for the country. However, every time the government puts up infrastructure it is a waste of money.”

    Mutorwa stressed that without new water infrastructure the country would not develop. “This we have seen with the drought.”

    According to him the Neckartal Dam will transform the south of the country, even with all the problems it is experiencing.

    He also said that it was time for the Erongo Region to start getting water from the sea. Mutorwa said the desalination project could not be postponed any longer. “We cannot start seeing factories and industries closing down.”

    The ministry's deputy permanent secretary, Abraham Nehemia, said a sub-committee had been established under the Cabinet Committee on Water Supply Security that was primarily focusing on coastal water supply and the desalination plant.

    He said the water usage by mines and towns were outgrowing the supply in the Erongo Region.

    According to Nehemia the region's water consumption is 25 million cubic metres per year and the available water supply is only about 19 million cubic metres.

    Preliminary studies on a desalination plant have already been done and consultants have been appointed to carry out a full feasibility study.

    Mutorwa said the development of Green Scheme irrigation projects in the northern regions was also affected by government cutbacks.

    Examples were the Zone in Kavango West, the Liselo project in Zambezi, the expansion of the existing Etunda Green Scheme in Omusati and the Kalimbezi National Rice Project in the Zambezi Region.

    Other projects that will be affected are the Ongwediva National Agricultural Technology Centre, the Ondangwa Central Veterinary Laboratory Project, the Rundu Abattoir and Meat Processing Plant and the Uvungu-Vungu Dairy Project.

    Mutorwa said some bigger projects must be tackled through public-private partnerships.

    ELLANIE SMIT

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    Packed classrooms hamper learningPacked classrooms hamper learning Teachers in the Ohangwena Region are teaching classes of up to 50 learners following the unexpectedly good grade 10 pass rate of last year.

    The approved maximum number is 40 learners in a class.

    At the beginning of this academic year, Ohangwena's education director, Isak Hamatwi, confirmed to Namibian Sun that he was battling to place grade 11 learners.

    He said the region promoted 3 154 learners to grade 11, but only 2 750 learners could be admitted according to the approved 1:40 ratio of one teacher per 40 learners.

    A school principal in the region told Namibian Sun that all grade 11 classes in the region were overcrowded.

    Learners are sharing chairs and desks and teachers are finding it hard to cope.

    “The region sent us these children but they did not provide us with extra chairs and desks for learners. Some learners spend the whole class standing or seated without desks,” the source said.

    “Teachers move around in the classroom to monitor learners and they cannot give enough attention to each learner. The situation is also frustrating to teachers. How do you expect learners to perform well in a situation like this?”

    Hamatwi confirmed this and said the region was doing everything possible to improve the situation.

    Earlier he had told Namibian Sun that the region had 404 learners that could not be placed. However, they squeezed them into already over-enrolled schools.

    They had no option but to increase the teacher-learner ratio in secondary schools to 1:44, 1:45, 1:46 and even 1:47 just to make sure that all learners were placed.

    He said even after adjusting the ratio, there were still 160 learners without places.

    They were sent to Shituwa Senior Secondary School, where the principal, Hendrick Nghinyengwasha, was not ready to receive them and sent them home until he could make provision for them. Usually this school only enrols 120 learners, but this year it had to squeeze in the extra 160 learners too. These learners returned to class on 23 January.

    “We are assessing this situation and one of the possible alternatives is to remove some of the grade 8 learners from senior secondary schools. We are planning to dedicate 60% of our directorate's 2017/18 development budget to the construction of a full-fledged junior secondary school at Eenhana to house grades 8 and 9 only, so that Eenhana Senior Secondary and Haimbili Haufiku Senior Secondary will only teach grades 10, 11 and 12,” he said. Hamatwi said this was in line with ministry plans that should be implemented by 2020.

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    ICC withdrawal a point of principleICC withdrawal a point of principleWater projects affected by cutbacks Constitutional law experts are sceptical about the establishment of an African court of human rights to replace the International Criminal Court. Namibia's intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) is based on the principle of self-respect and trust in robust local, regional and continental institutions.

    Nevertheless, local experts and human rights advocates warn that such withdrawal could create a negative impression of Namibia's commitment to human rights.

    The proposed withdrawal of African states from the world court has raised serious concerns about whether Africa is able to provide an effective and reliable alternative watchdog to replace the ICC.

    The minister of international relations and cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, yesterday emphasised that once the African Court of Justice and Human Rights and other instruments were in place, African countries could address human rights violations.

    External input from bodies such as the ICC would become redundant as these bodies, in addition to robust national institutions, could deal with the issues, the minister said.

    Nandi-Ndaitwah said the recent resolution made by AU member states to collectively withdraw from the ICC was non-binding. It allowed states in favour of withdrawal to unite in their “unanimous understanding that Africa needs to have its own institutions to look at issues of impunity,” she said.



    Nandi-Ndaitwah argued that the ICC was in fact a last-resort mechanism and could only become involved once internal mechanisms in an individual country had been exhausted.

    She said since independence Namibia had and put in place strong and independent institutions.

    If the need arose, these robust institutions could be reinforced by an African criminal court. “Then you don't really need to rely on the ICC,” she said.

    “It is good to have more faith in your own institutions,” she said.

    “You see countries like the United States have a lot of faith in their own institutions, and they are not members of the ICC, and nobody is making much noise about that.”

    A number of experts say African countries should push for reforms of the flaws plaguing the ICC, instead of risking a human rights justice vacuum on the continent.

    Law professor Nico Horn pointed out that “there is nothing on the ground to take the place of the ICC in Africa. No matter what the problems and shortcomings of the ICC, there is nothing else in Africa to deal with international crimes.”

    Horn added that he is not “optimistic that Ecowas, SADC or any other regional grouping will be able to the ICC's place … my plea would be for Africa to contribute to the reform of the ICC, but not to abandon it.”

    Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) director Toni Hancox said this week: “I think history has shown that countries have been loath to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, given the shared history and struggle of many. In that case, an independent body like the ICC is indispensible.”

    She said although there were concerns about the ICC, “it is better for us to advocate for change from within and not withdraw altogether.”

    “I cannot see how, as a country that has a bill of rights entrenched in its constitution, we can fail to support the ICC in its attempts to address horrific crimes that fall within the purview of the Rome Statute,” she said.

    Political analyst Professor Lesley Blaauw does not support Namibia's withdrawal from the ICC. “Indeed, it should be of concern to all of us that our government still subscribes to the old notion of 'groupthink' that completely defies logic,” he said.

    Blaauw further questioned the proclamations by AU member states that the AU would take over the functions of the ICC.

    “The record of the AU when it comes to the protection of human rights does not inspire confidence,” he said, adding that past dealings with countries notorious for human rights abuses indicated that the “AU is in fact very ineffective”.

    He warned that a withdrawal may also “detract from the high regard that the international community has for Namibia as regards its human rights record.”

    Institute for Public Policy Research executive director Graham Hopwood said it was unlikely that a withdrawal would take place in the short to medium term.

    “The reality is that the AU is split on this issue,” he said.

    “The agreed strategy is a non-binding decision and has no timeline, which means the issue is no longer seen as urgent. It will also take some years to activate Africa's own systems such as the African Court of Justice and Human Rights, which are ultimately seen as making the ICC redundant if they become effective bodies,” he explained.

    Professor Blaauw said a mass withdrawal by AU member states would reflect negatively on the continent as a whole.

    “What it says about African leaders and Africa in general, is that leaders are more important than ordinary citizens, and feeds into the notion that the protection of leaders invariably supersedes the protection and respect for ordinary Africans.”





    JANA-MARI SMITH

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    Road works well on target – RARoad works well on target – RADenies alleged stoppages The Roads Authority says all construction projects are continuing without major hurdles. CATHERINE SASMAN



    The Roads Authority (RA) has pointedly denied any recent work stoppages on any of the major road construction projects.

    RA chief executive officer Conrad Lutombi also insists that there is sufficient budgetary provision to complete on schedule multibillion-dollar projects.

    This is despite numerous phone calls from role players who have complained about non-payment and resultant delays in the resumption of work after the builders’ holiday between 15 December and 15 January.

    Callers claimed that work on the N$1.085 billion second phase of the dual carriageway between Windhoek and Okahandja had started later than scheduled because of outstanding payments. The road is being built by the Namibian outfit Otesa Civil Engineering and Italian company CMC Ravenna.

    Not so, said Lutombi.

    “The fact of the matter is that this is a government project. There is no history in Namibia since independence where the government undertook a project and just abandoned it, especially a critical project such as [the Windhoek to] Okahandja road,” he said.

    “What is happening is operational matters and those are being handled within the parameters of the project.”

    Otesa director Elmo Kaiyamo was equally adamant that there has never been any work stoppage on this project. He said work continued until 16 December and resumed in January.

    Kaiyamo said work picked up slowly in January because a huge value chain took time to mobilise.

    DR3609

    There were also complaints of an alleged downscaling of work due to non-payment since June/July on the DR3609 road from Oshakati to Omungwelune and Ongenga, which reportedly forced a reduction of 145 to 15 workers.

    This 37-kilometre road is being built by the Chinese firm Zhong Mei Engineering at a cost of N$216 million. Lutombi acknowledged that a N$46 million payment was due on 19 January but he was adamant that the invoicing was being processed and payment was about to be made.

    Lutombi said because work on this project was already 95% complete it was less labour-intensive than at the start when earthworks and de-bushing had to be done.

    He acknowledged some delays but said these were due to protracted and complex negotiations with villagers along the route.

    Lutombi said contractors were entitled to stop work should there be undue late payments. Contractually the RA must pay contractors within 56 days after they have submitted interim payment certificates.

    Should a payment not be made, the contractor must give 21 days’ notice of a planned work stoppage.

    UNAUTHORISED, UNBUDGETED PROJECTS

    Sources maintain that payments have been sluggish because the RA has “overcommitted” on projects on behalf of the government because of a lack of proper management and planning.

    “No project should be committed without the assurance of finance,” one source said. “Right now the RA finds itself with many debts which the CEO [Lutombi] openly denies.”

    Finance minister Calle Schlettwein last week stated that some major road projects – including the more than N$1 billion second phase of the Windhoek to Okahandja road, the N$900 million first phase of the Windhoek to Hosea Kutako International Airport dual carriageway, as well as the yet-to-be-designed Uis to Khorixas-Kamanjab road – had not been budgeted for or authorised.

    The RA’s commitment to such projects has forced the government’s hand to free some N$450 million from the Road Fund Administration (RFA) despite the fact that there was no such provision in the RFA’s five-year business plan for the period April 2017 to March 2022.

    The business plan only makes provision for new developments, rehabilitation and maintenance. However, as far as Lutombi is concerned the RFA was supposed to make provision for “economic roads” as well.

    “The only reason why the RFA is only covering maintenance is because the collection of revenue is not much,” he said.

    Schlettwein issued a stern warning that he would invoke Section 17 of the Finance Act - in other words that the state would not pay for any further unauthorised expenditure.

    According to Lutombi, however, the RA has made budgetary provision “under the RFA budget”.

    “As far as this financial year [which ends on 31 March] is concerned we have no problem; the work will continue until April. The critical one is whether we have funding for the next financial year and we do have that funding. We have budgeted under RFA funding for the next financial year moving forward,” Lutombi said.

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  • 02/02/17--14:00: Huang gets N$1 million bail
  • Huang gets N$1 million bailHuang gets N$1 million bail Influential Chinese businessman Jack Huang was yesterday granted bail of N$1 million, just a day after he was arrested by the Namibian police in connection with the N$3.5 billion tax evasion, fraud and money-laundering case before the Windhoek Magistrate's Court.

    Huang was arrested on Wednesday at Hosea Kutako International Airport, where he was preparing to board a plane to Angola, where he allegedly has numerous business interests.

    Magistrate Ruben Mutuku granted the N$1 million bail on condition that Huang report at the Windhoek police station once a week. If he is not in Windhoek, he must do so at the nearest police station.

    He was further ordered to hand over all his travel documents to the investigating officer in the case.

    Since he is a businessman, he must seek consent from the police if he wishes to travel abroad.

    Huang was further told not to interfere with the State witnesses or the investigating officer.

    The case was postponed to 16 February.

    Huang was represented by Sisa Namandje.

    Three Chinese nationals are currently out on bail in the same matter that also includes a Namibian, Laurentius Julius, who owns a customs clearing company at Walvis Bay.

    They were recently granted bail of N$1.5 million each, while Zhu Honggang was granted bail of N$500 000 by the Ondangwa Magistrate's Court in December last year.

    An amount ofN$3.5 billion was allegedly smuggled out of the country through a customs clearing business belonging to Julius.

    Taking the stand recently, forensic accountant and KPMG South Africa director Roy Waligori revealed worrying details involving Extreme Customs Clearing Services (XCCS) and Organised Freight, both owned by Julius, and possibly 100 Chinese importers who may be in the wrong.

    Waligori, together with KPMG South Africa, were called in by the Bank of Namibia to investigate possible money-laundering in June 2016.

    The central bank had been investigating the matter since February 2016.

    The investigation uncovered that US$600 million in total had been paid into XCCS's forex account for the period 2008 to 2016.



    FRED GOEIEMAN

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  • 02/02/17--14:00: Chinese fire back
  • Chinese fire backChinese fire backIrked at being targeted The government has pacified the Chinese embassy following its complaints about the growing outrage against Chinese involvement in wildlife crimes. The Chinese embassy in Namibia has complained to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism about an open-letter supported by local environmental organisations expressing outrage at the continuing wildlife crimes that are allegedly being committed by Chinese nationals in the country

    According to a statement, environment deputy minister Tommy Nambahu met with the Chinese ambassador-designate to Namibia, Qui Xuejun, to discuss the allegations made in the letter written by the CEO of the Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE), Dr Chris Brown, against Chinese nationals involved in wildlife crimes.

    The meeting was convened after Qui wrote a letter of complaint to the ministry. He said the NCE open-letter contained “speculations and unreasonable accusations” against Chinese nationals and the embassy.

    According to the statement Nambahu underscored the cordial relations that Namibia and China had enjoyed since the years of the liberation struggle and said that the Namibian government remained committed to strengthening cooperation between the two countries.

    Nambahu described the sentiments expressed in the open letter as “unfortunate”, with potential to negatively affect the good relations between the two nations.

    He informed the ambassador-designate that the open letter was written by an NGO, which is not an arm of the government but an organisation run by private individuals.

    “These are not government-sanctioned views; they are views of individuals that should only be attributed to them and not to the government. The content of the letter is inflammatory and does not augur well for our historic relations,” Nambahu said.

    He called on NGOs and individuals commenting on the issue of poaching to be careful with the language they use and avoid making blanket statements about certain nationalities.

    Nambahu said that the Namibian government would never think that poaching was condoned at government level.

    “Both the Namibian and Chinese governments have a mutual task of contributing to the efforts of anti-poaching of wildlife in the country,” he said.

    Qui said although there were Chinese nationals involved in criminal activities, not all Chinese were bad people and that such criminal tendencies were strongly opposed by the Chinese government.

    The Chinese government reiterated its commitment to ensure that its nationals living in Namibia abide by the law and contribute to nation building.

    Qui said a meeting was held with Brown and they reached common ground, resulting in the removal of the open letter from the NCE website.







    The Chinese embassy expressed willingness to cooperate with the Namibian government by providing support in the anti-poaching drive.

    Commenting on the statement, Brown said the NCE stood by the open letter.

    He said it was sometimes easier for NGOs to speak the truth about a situation than it was for governments.

    “We fully understand the difficult role that government has to play in its task of balancing national interests.”

    He said the NCE took the letter off its website and replaced it with a statement reporting on progress made after the meeting at the Chinese embassy on 4 January.

    “After a frank and open exchange of views during our lengthy meeting with the ambassador and his senior staff, both parties agreed to move forward in a constructive spirit to address the problems of wildlife crime being committed by some Chinese nationals,” he said.

    Brown said the fact that the letter had been removed from the website should not be construed as backing away from the contents of the letter, or as a weakening of resolve to address the problems, but rather a gesture of goodwill and commitment to work together in the interest of stopping commercial wildlife crime in Namibia.

    The NCE gave Qui a draft seven-point action plan, which the Chinese embassy agreed to review before the two parties would discuss the way forward.

    Brown said the organisation accepted that it remained the prerogative of the Chinese ambassador to engage with stakeholders outside of their proposed plan.

    “Perhaps the best approach, however, rather than trying to set one sector against another, would be for all stakeholders interested in the prevention of commercial wildlife crimes in Namibia to work together,” he commented.



    Brown said they hoped the embassy, in meeting with the ministry, would not retreat from its commitment to work constructively to address wildlife poaching and smuggling.



    ELLANIE SMIT

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    MTC operationally sound – NashilongoMTC operationally sound – Nashilongo With the government's planned purchase of a 34% stake in MTC stil pending, the exit of Portuguese duo Miguel Geraldes and Carlos Malab is not cause for concern as far as the operations of MTC are concerned, according to its board chairperson, Elvis Nashilongo.

    Geraldes served as MTC managing director for about nine years, while Malab is the outgoing chief technical officer.

    Speaking to Namibian Sun, Nashilongo said: “With regard to the resignation of the managing director, what has happened is that the former managing director's term had come to an end. His departure will have no bearing on the operations of MTC. Rest assured that the board and management have everything in place.”

    Asked to comment on the intended purchase by government, he said: “It is very dangerous to comment on shareholder matters. I would like to concentrate more on the operations of the company.”

    Asked about operational matters, Nashilongo shied away, saying: “Look, it is very dangerous to comment on things that may still happen. It would be dangerous to talk about inside matters with the media. Our strategy to grow the business remains in place. The future of MTC looks much brighter than it has ever been in its history.”

    In a memo seen by Namibian Sun this week, MTC said: “The managing director Mr Miguel Geraldes's employment contract has come to a natural end. Mr Thinus Smit has been appointed as acting CEO in the interim until such a time that a permanent appointment is made.”

    Following the announcement of the intended purchase by information minister Tjekero Tweya in December 2016, it appears that progress on the acquisition has been slow.

    Namibia Post and Telecommunications board chairperson Ally Angula told Namibian Sun that nothing had happened yet. “We have not yet finalised the [purchase of MTC], nor have we approached a financier.”







    Finance minister Calle Schlettwein addressed the issue of MTC's acquisition in December 2016, saying if the Government Institutions Pension Fund were to finance the deal, the 34% stake would be warehoused by the fund.

    “The shares will be warehoused by the GIPF. MTC is a well-managed company,” he said, alluding to the government's liquidity problems.

    The minister of public enterprises, Leon Jooste, said regarding the planned purchase: “Options have not been finalised on how to finance this transaction, obviously you can go to the commercial banks or whatever, with the GIPF being an option.”



    Tweya announced the government's intention to purchase the remaining 34% stake held in MTC early in December. He said at the time: “The government, through NPTH, reserves the right to retain ownership of the full 100% of MTC until further approval by cabinet.”

    Some 66% of MTC is currently held by the government through telecommunications holding company NPTH. The remaining 34% stake has changed hands several times, starting with Swedish-backed entities Telia and Swefund.

    In 2006, Portugal Telecom purchased the 34% stake in MTC. PT has also exited, making way for Brazilian firm SAMBA.

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    Katjiukua now at Highlands ParkKatjiukua now at Highlands ParkNamibian ready for new home Brave Warriors player Chris Katjiukua is determined to give his best at Highlands Park, where he recently signed a contract. After being released from South African outfit Golden Arrows last month, Namibian footballer Chris Katjiukua has found a new home in the PSL.

    Katjiukua now joins his countryman Peter Shalulile at Highlands Park on a two-and-a-half-season contract.

    Speaking to Namibian Sun recently, Katjiukua said he was optimistic that something great was on the way after being released by Arrows.

    “It was not a bad decision from the club to release me because I didn't have game time so there was no need for them to keep me and I was relieved too because I was frustrated,” he said.

    He said now that he had secured a new home, he had big dreams for his new team.

    “My dream is to put the team in the top eight this season and compete for the title next season, because I was not signed to add numbers but to help the team and add value.

    “I want to play each and every game and I will show at every training session that I'm hungry for this,” he said.

    Recalling how he landed the deal, Katjiukua said it was just a matter of time before he secured a new club, because his CV as a professional footballer attested to any coach who he was.

    “After being released by Arrows I remained calm and said, thank God, this is my time. I received an unknown call and it was the mayor of Okahandja, Congo Hindjou, who told me that he wanted to send me to Bloemfontein Celtics, but I asked if I could revert to him a little later.

    “The same day I received a call from Cape Town City and immediately I called Hindjou to let him know about the call from City and that he must wait a bit because I wanted all my papers from Golden Arrows to be on the safe side.

    “On 28 January I received a surprise call from a former Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund saying that he was interested me, as he had got a lot of information from my countryman Peter Shalulile and via my CV everything was easy for me to pen a deal.”

    Katjiukua was with Arrows for three and a half seasons.

    Brave Warriors coach Ricardo Mannetti described Katjiukua as great central defender and said it was a pity that he was deemed surplus to requirements at Arrows.

    “He was a good servant of the club but in football nothing is predictable and so he had to move on. I'm glad he found a club and he remains key to our 2019 Afcon qualification goal,” said Mannetti.

    He expressed confidence that Katjiukua would get game time at the PSL strugglers Highlands Park. “For Gordon (Igesund) to sign him midseason means a lot. He can add value to the new team and he can help the team avoid the drop. He is so great reader of the game.”

    Meanwhile, CAF has announced the draw for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN). The Brave Warriors will play Zimbabwe in the second round, with the winner to face either Lesotho or Comoros in the road to Kenya 2018.

    The Brave Warriors will host Zimbabwe's locally based players in the second round of qualifiers on the weekend of 15-16 July, and the second leg in Zimbabwe will be played between 21-23 July.

    “We have to up our preparations from the previous times because our players are not active. Intense training will make the situation better. We have to do things out of the box with our training plan and I can only hope for uncompromised support from all stakeholders in this regard,” said Mannetti on the CHAN qualifiers.

    The fifth edition of the CHAN tournament will be held in Kenya between 11 January and 2 February 2018. - additional reporting NFA

    KAINO NGHITONGO

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    Shokonawa wins Mandume Fudu MarathonShokonawa wins Mandume Fudu Marathon Long-distance runner Gabriel Simon Shokonawa on Friday won the 35km Mandume Fudu Marathon held on the Ondangwa-Oshikango road.

    Shokonawa won the race in one hour and 57 minutes after four other athletes failed to reach the finish line. The competition was part of the centenary commemoration of the death of Oukwanyama King Mandume yaNdemufayo.

    In the 31km race, Sylvanus Stephanus from Eemboo village in the Ohangwena Region was declared the winner after finishing the race in a time of 2:11, followed by fellow villager and Anglican Church Reverend Festus Unoovene in second place with a time of 2:23.

    Toivo Festus won the 21.1km race with a time of 0:57, followed by Paulus Vilho (0:58) and Johannes Ndakevondjo (1:01) in third place.

    Festus, Vilho and Ndakevondjo represented the Shokonawa Academy, NamPol and Eemboo village, respectively.

    Letisia Stephanus, also from the Shokonawa Academy, was the only woman participant in the 21.1km race and finished it in a time of 1:27.

    Participants in the 5km boys' category were Nghidipo Veikko (0:31), Matheus Elia (0:35) and Elikan Elias (0:37), while the girls' category was won by Martha Joel (0:39), followed by Bertha Frans (0:41) and Sarty Hamukalu (0:43).

    Most participants in this category were from Oshimwaku Combined School in Ohangwena Region, apart from Veikko who is from Eemboo village.

    The Northern Regional Electricity Distributor (Nored) on Thursday donated 500 bottles of water and 500 soft drinks to the Mandume Fudu Marathon.

    Held under the Simon Shokonawa Marathon Academy, the event took place between Onambango settlement and the ouhamba (palace) of Oukwanyama at Omhedi village in the Ohangwena Region.

    Ndemufayo was the king of Oukwanyama from 1911 until 6 February 1917, when he died at Oihole in southern Angola while fighting against colonial military forces of the Portuguese and the British Empire.

    His death is being commemorated at the ouhamba of Oukwanyama and Oihole from Friday to Monday.

    Shokonawa told Nampa that the race went well and said his academy was planning to host a marathon for athletes from the whole SADC region in April.

    NAMPA

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    Tura Magic book friendly game at Harders CupTura Magic book friendly game at Harders Cup The newly launched Harders Cup football tournament will see Premier League outfit Tura Magic FC compete in a friendly match in Lüderitz.

    The founder and organiser of the event, Tim Ekandjo, says giving the players an opportunity to play a top club in Namibia gives them much-needed exposure and enhances their level of confidence, not only on the field of play but also life in general.

    “As part of extending and giving the players more exposure, the organisers have decided to rope in top selectors who will help select the best 11 players at the end of the tournament.

    “The best 11 will form a team called the Harders XI, and they will have an opportunity to play Tura Magic in a friendly on Saturday, 29 April during the 10th anniversary of the Lüderitz Crayfish Festival,” he said.

    He added that it also adds value to the new brand of the Harders Cup, which is important for the stakeholders involved. “We have for now agreed with Tura Magic in principle while the finer details are being finalised.”

    Tura Magic chairman Peter Nakurua said it was a great honour to be selected to play against the best that Lüderitz can offer.

    He said playing in Lüderitz would expose the club to a new support base, and it was possible that one or two players from the town would be signed by Tura Magic. “We are very excited to be part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Crayfish Festival,” said Nakurua.

    One of the owners of Tura Magic, Isack Hamata, hails from Lüderitz.

    The Harders Cup is sponsored by platinum sponsors Standard Bank Namibia, Tafel Lager and Namdeb/Debmarine, gold sponsors, Seaflower and Profile Investments, and bronze sponsors Marco Fishing, Ricky Hameva Properties and Naftal Trading.

    The tournament will be played on 25 and 26 March. The winner will walk away with N$100 000, the runners-up N$50 000 and third place N$20 000. Every team will receive a participation fee of N$5 000.

    The Harders Cup final will be broadcast live on NBC television from Lüderitz stadium on 26 March.

    SPORT REPORTER

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    Independence Stadium without powerIndependence Stadium without powerSport ministry yet to pay its bills The operations of the Schools' Sport Union are set to continue despite a power cut by the municipality. The City of Windhoek has disconnected the electricity supply to the Independence Stadium because the line ministry is two months in arrears with its municipal bills.

    The stadium lights were switched off last week Thursday.

    The 25 000-seat Independence Stadium, which is used for track-and-field events, is the largest stadium in the country.

    Immanuel So-Oabeb of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service says they are in communication with the head office to sort out the problem.

    “The only problem at the moment is we have offices that are run from here and I am not sure how that is going if they don't have electricity,” he told Nampa last week.

    Solly Duiker, the national director of the Namibia Schools' Sport Union (NSSU) who has an office at the stadium, said the union would continue with its scheduled activities.

    “The biggest problem we have is our office telephone line which is down too because of electricity but we will continue working until the electricity is restored,” he said.

    Speaking to Nampa on Thursday, the ministry's chief accountant, Charlotte Kandorozu, acknowledged that the ministry hadn't paid its bills in two months but said they were working on the problem.

    “We paid our bills for the month of November.

    It's just December and January that we owe, but we will settle it by next week Tuesday or Thursday since the Ministry of Finance only pays out on those dates,” she said.

    An official at the City of Windhoek declined to reveal how much the ministry owes.

    NAMPA

    0 0
  • 02/05/17--14:00: IPO for Snapchat parent
  • IPO for Snapchat parentIPO for Snapchat parent158 million use the app daily Snap hopes to raise US$3 billion, which will value the company at US$20 billion. Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, filed for its initial public offering (IPO) on Thursday.

    Snap described its flagship product Snapchat as a camera application that was created to help people communicate.

    On average, 158 million people use Snapchat daily, and over 2.5 billion Snaps are created every day.

    “Our products empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together,” said Snap.

    “On average, more than 60% of our daily active users create snaps with our camera every day.”

    Snap said its strategy is to invest in product innovation and take risks to improve its camera platform.

    “We do this in an effort to drive user engagement, which we can then monetize through advertising.”

    Snap hopes to raise US$3 billion through its IPO, which will value the company at over US$20 billion.

    TECHCENTRAL

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  • 02/05/17--14:00: Bitcoin excites
  • Bitcoin excitesBitcoin excitesCentral bank sees benefits to bitcoin To date, Tunisia is said to be the only nation to have successfully issued a digital currency. It is reportedly migrating its self-created eDinar onto a blockchain. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) is open to issuing a national digital currency, which would likely be based on Blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

    “If we go the route of issuing a digital currency, the objective would be to take advantage of emerging technologies so that we reap the benefits,” said Tim Masela, head of the National Payments System at the SARB.

    The central bank is currently observing moves by other countries to issue fiat currencies, which offer similar benefits and conveniences to cryptocurrencies, in a digital format. It will also carry out its own experiments and evaluations to determine whether such offerings would be appropriate for South Africa.

    To date, Tunisia is said to be the only nation to have successfully issued a digital currency. It is reportedly migrating its self-created eDinar onto a blockchain. The eCFA, a digital version of the West African franc, is to be rolled out in Senegal later this year, with the Banque Régionale De Marchés planning to extend distribution across the West African Economic and Monetary Union. Meanwhile, the Swedish central bank is considering issuing an eKrona, and the United Kingdom's Treasury has published the outcome of its call for information on digital currencies.

    According to Masela, the potential benefits that could be derived from a South African national digital currency include the convenience of use, greater inclusion due to its reach, real-time settlements and a reduced cost of use.

    “We foresee that these benefits could be realised, which would be good for the transacting public. But of course, the risks have to be borne in mind as well and that's what we want to balance,” he said. He labelled cyber-attacks and the unregulated nature of the emerging business models, spurred by technology, as an area where potential risks may be introduced

    “The proponents of the technology say 'you don't need to regulate it; it will self-regulate'. We don't have an idea of how that will happen, we still need to reflect on this and need a good case [to show] that it can self-regulate. Otherwise, we believe that if it is not regulated and things go wrong, it could have a spillover effect into the financial systems,” he said.

    The SARB has yet to establish a firm position on the use of a fiat currency in digital form and is open to further exploring the issue, Masela stressed.

    However, its stance on cryptocurrencies is clear. As outlined in a 2014 position paper, cryptocurrencies are not considered significant threats to financial stability, price stability or the national payments system as they are not widely used. As such, the Sarb does not regulate cryptocurrencies but reserves the right to do so.

    “One thing that we want to state very categorically is that, in working closely with the industry, we are very conscious about possible regulatory capture. We wouldn't want to be seen as being captured, where the regulation would be dictated by participants in the market. We will guard our independence, so that the regulation is for the good of the system and not necessarily informed by the incumbents' positions,” he said.





    MONEYWEB

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  • 02/05/17--14:00: Credit growth slows down
  • Credit growth slows downCredit growth slows down Total credit extended to the private sector increased by N$173.3 million or 0.2% in December, bringing the cumulative credit outstanding figure to N$85.8 billion.

    Annual growth in Private Sector Credit Extended (PSCE) continued to decelerate, coming down to 8.9% compared to the November figure of 9.4%, according to IJG Securities.

    “Over the last 12 months a net of N$6.97 billion worth of credit was extended, N$2.56 billion to corporates and N$4.24 billion to individuals, while the non-resident private sector decreased their borrowings by N$28.8 million,” IJG said in its latest assessment. Credit extension to households remained relatively robust, having expanded by 1.2% month-on-month and 9.3% year-on-year in December, however the longer-term trend of slowdown remains intact. The month-on-month increase in credit was largely due to a 1.1% month-on-month increase in mortgage loans and a 3.2% month-on-month increase in overdrafts, amounting to loans of N$374.1 million and N$91.4 million respectively.

    Instalment credit to individuals also increased by 0.9% month-on-month or N$69.8 million. On an annual basis mortgage loans have grown 9.5% year-on-year, overdrafts have accelerated to 11.1% year-on-year, and instalment credit has slowed to 8.1% year-on-year, according to IJG.

    Said IJG: “The slowdown in household credit is likely to continue as interest rate increases dampen the demand for new debt and low banking sector liquidity suppresses the supply of loans. Instalment credit has been the hardest hit by this squeeze as the demand for capital good such as vehicles has faded. Cumulative 12-month vehicle sales have declined by 21.6% year-on-year.” Looking ahead, IJG said: “Whichever outcome materialises for South Africa, the Bank of Namibia is likely to follow the SARB relatively closely. Any further increases in rates will put further pressure on the consumer which will in turn affect corporates. However, the last round of increases is still filtering its way through the system and thus we expect PSCE growth to continue to slow in the short term, possibly recovering mid-2017.”



    STAFF REPORTER

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  • 02/05/17--14:00: Paratus eyes Africa
  • Paratus eyes AfricaParatus eyes AfricaNew chief commercial officer wants to grow business Paratus Telecom has fully licensed offices in Angola, Botswana, Zambia and South Africa and delivers products and services to 22 African countries. Paratus Telecom, the largest privately owned Pan-African telecoms operator, is serious about capturing the African market. The company has now appointed Colwyn van Rensburg as its chief commercial officer to drive business throughout the continent.

    As part of the company's growth strategy, Van Rensburg will be focussing on the group's aggressive commercial objectives by assisting the various country managers in reaching their goals. He will also be involved in some country-specific projects for the group.

    Paratus Telecom CEO Barney Harmse said Colwyn was a huge asset to the company and had the vision to take Paratus Telecom to a new level. “He has vast experience, he established Paratus Telecom in Zambia whilst also overseeing the implementation and stabilisation of the Voice Platform at Paratus Telecom Namibia,” Harmse said.

    “I was based in the UK for nine years obtaining further exposure to telecoms and business-related projects before returning to Namibia to join the Internet Technologies Group (ITG) as business developer for Africa. This was before ITG become Paratus Telecom,” said Van Rensburg.

    “I then took a sabbatical to recharge the batteries while doing some consulting work on a part-time basis for the group. I missed the fast-paced environment and rejoined the Paratus family.”

    Paratus Telecommunications is the largest privately owned Pan-African telecoms operator with its head office in Windhoek. The company was founded as Internet Technologies Group (ITG) Namibia in 2005, the first privately and wholly owned Namibian telecommunications operator.

    The group's turnover for 2016 was N$1 billion and its total budget for Africa over the next 5 years is US$110 million.

    Paratus Telecom has fully licensed offices in Angola, Botswana, Zambia and South Africa and delivers products and services to 22 African countries.

    Since its inception, Paratus Telecom has established a prolific network extending the entire Namibia, with additional international points of presence located in Johannesburg (South Africa), Lisbon (Portugal) as well as London (UK).

    On 20 March 2012, Paratus Telecom was issued with a Class Comprehensive Telecommunications Service Licence (ECS & ECNS), following further expansion of its 4G network, national and international network to provide telecommunications services to the Namibian public as well as the private and corporate sector.

    STAFF REPORTER

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    Van der Westhuizen fights for his lifeVan der Westhuizen fights for his life South African rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen, who is battling motor neurone disease, is in a “critical condition” after he was rushed to hospital on Saturday, his foundation said.

    The 45-year-old former scrumhalf, a Springbok captain who won the 1995 World Cup, was diagnosed with the condition in 2011.

    “He was taken to hospital earlier today and is in a critical condition,” his J9 Foundation said in a statement on Facebook.

    The incurable disease, which damages parts of the nervous system, has left van der Westhuizen confined to a wheelchair and he was given two to five years to live when he was diagnosed.

    “I realise every day could be my last,” he told the BBC in 2013.

    Van der Westhuizen scored 38 Test tries in 89 appearances in the green and gold by the time he retired in 2003. The iconic rugby player set up the J9 Foundation to promote awareness of motor neurone disease.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    Traore hands Burkina third spotTraore hands Burkina third spotGrant to leave Ghana job after Afcon The highly contested Afcon third-place playoffs saw Bukina Faso emerge victorious while the Ghanaian coach doubts his future with the team. Alain Traore scored with one minute left to give Burkina Faso a 1-0 win over Ghana on Saturday and third place in the Africa Cup of Nations.

    The Turkey-based attacker thumped an angled free-kick over goalkeeper Richard Ofori and into the net in Gabonese coastal city Port-Gentil.

    It was the second-highest finish in the biennial African football showcase for the Burkinabe Stallions, who finished runners-up four years ago.

    The Black Stars of Ghana have played in five third-place play-offs, losing four.

    Ghana could have been several goals ahead by half-time as they dominated possession only to be let down by poor finishing and bad luck.

    New Swansea City signing Jordan Ayew handled when poised to shoot from close range with the play-off less than a minute old.

    Stand-in captain Emmanuel Agyemang Badu headed just wide in the third minute and Bernard Tekpetey struck the crossbar during a goalmouth scramble.

    The best Burkina Faso chance of the opening half fell to Prejuce Nakoulma near half-time as he sprinted with the ball from the halfway line only to fire wide.

    Tekpetey, one of the six changes after a semi-final loss to Cameroon two days ago, headed just over on the hour mark after a free-kick.

    Ofori, the lone Ghana-based player in the squad and getting a first start of the tournament, rescued his team several times before Traore struck.

    Meanwhile, Avram Grant will leave his post as Ghana coach after Saturday's African Nations Cup third place playoff match against Burkina Faso, officials said.

    Grant's two-year contract will not be renewed and the search is on for a successor, senior Ghana Football Association officials told Reuters.

    The former Chelsea manager took over as Ghana coach one month before the last Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea and took the side to the final where they lost to Ivory Coast on penalties.

    At the tournament in Gabon, Ghana reached the semi-finals but were beaten 2-0 by Cameroon in Port Gentil on Thursday.

    Israeli Grant avoided questions about his future; saying now was not the time to talk it.

    Ghana made a poor start to their World Cup qualifying group with a single point from two games.

    They have now qualified for six successive Nations Cup semi-finals but their last victory in the tournament came 35 years ago.

    NAMPA/AFP

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    Bolt aims for global growth of Nitro teamBolt aims for global growth of Nitro team Usain Bolt says he is looking to spread the Nitro team athletics concept globally after the success of the inaugural event in Melbourne on Saturday.

    The charismatic eight-time Olympic gold medallist led his Bolt All-Stars team to victory on the first of three Nitro Athletic meets in Australia and said he was looking for ways to make the event more popular with fans.

    Six teams of 12 male and 12 female athletes competed in a mixture of old and new events with the 30-year-old Jamaican superstar racing in the mixed 4x100m relay, which his All-Stars won.

    More than 7 000 fans crammed into Melbourne's small Lakeside Stadium to see a rare appearance of Bolt competing in Australia.

    Bolt said he believed the track and field concept, which organisers describe as “revolutionary”, could catch on around the world.

    “I think it could work. I think we'll find different events to do,” Bolt told reporters after Saturday's meet.

    “I don't think every event caught on, so we probably have to change it up. A few of the events were wonderful.

    “I know in time it will catch on and will do great because it's for the people, and I think the people really enjoy something different and also the athletes really enjoyed it, so I'm happy about that.”

    Bolt believed the meet would garner more support as fans get used to the format.

    “It was a bit different. It was the first one so people didn't really understand what was going on but over time they'll get it,” he said.

    “The crowd will get bigger because of people watching on TV, and see the energy and see the fun.

    “We're going to find ways to make it better, so I'm excited about that.”

    The world record holder for the 100m and 200m led the Bolt All-Stars - including athletes from Jamaica, the USA and Kenya - against teams representing Australia, England, New Zealand, Japan and China.

    Bolt ran in the final event on the programme, the 4x100m mixed relay, featuring two male and two female athletes from each team, as did fellow Jamaican Olympic gold medallist Asafa Powell.

    He ran in the unfamiliar second leg, handing over to American Jenna Prandini.

    Looking ahead to the next meet in Melbourne on Thursday, Bolt said he was planning on making further changes to the 4x100 relay event.

    “I think we're definitely going to change the 4x100 and we might change the medley relay,” he said.

    “We'll just figure out a few things. But the key thing is we're enjoying ourselves, we're fairly competitive, and we're trying to get the crowd engaged.

    “Even if it's on next Saturday (and the final) night I'll anchor (the relay) for sure.

    “Tonight (Saturday) we just wanted to do something different.

    “I haven't run the back stretch in years, I've never handed over (the baton) to a girl, so for me that was exciting. But definitely on the last night I'll anchor.”

    Asked if he considering other events, such as the javelin, Bolt laughed: “I was telling them 'guys, I can do javelin, and long jump I'll try. If you guys need me, I'll do that.”

    NAMPA/AFP

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