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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Net metering registration beginsNet metering registration beginsRegistration period to run till end of May Photovoltaic solar installations provide 4.8% of Windhoek's power needs. The City of Windhoek this week announced the start of the registration period for residents with photovoltaic (PV) installations, which will end on 30 May.

    The announcement was made by its spokesperson, Lydia Amutenya.

    “Following the gazetting of the net metering rules in November 2016, the City will commence to implement the net metering rules effective 1 July 2017. The City has a database of all customers who have registered their grid-connected PV solar installations and have the correct bi-directional electricity meter installed that enables us to implement the rules as gazetted,” she said.

    She also cautioned customers with PV installations who had not yet registered that their installations would need to be inspected to ensure compliance.

    According to her, failure to register amounted to a criminal offence that could incur an N$8 000 fine.

    City chief engineer for systems Petrus Johannes added: “We will treat energy providers that have not registered as illegal. It can be a safety hazard and it is punishable by law.

    “The whole idea is that we have the right installation that can do net-metering. We also have to report to the Electricity Control Board about the locations of the various installations across the city.”

    Explaining how net metering works, he said registered customers would be credited for the electricity they fed into the system, provided that their consumption did not exceed supply. Net metering only applies to customers with a net capacity of 500 kilovolt amperes (kVA) installed.

    According to Johannes, 151 customers have registered already, who generate about 7 700 kVA combined.

    Of the 151, 76 are domestic or residential customers, 32 are small business while the remaining 43 are large businesses. Customers with PV installations provide 4.8% of the city's energy needs.

    Amutenya said registration would take place at the municipality's electrical department.


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    El Nino may return for 2017/18 seasonEl Nino may return for 2017/18 seasonChance of El Nino at 50% says Australian weather bureau At this time, models are predicting that the southern hemisphere may experience an El Nino phenomenon at the start of the next rainy season. The chance of an El Nino in 2017 has increased in the last two weeks, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said on Tuesday, indicating a 5% chance the weather event resurfaces over the next six months.

    The BOM said the eastern Pacific Ocean has warmed over the last fortnight, driving many of its climate models towards the El Nino threshold over the next six months.

    An El Nino is often associated with below average rainfall and warmer, dry weather across southern hemisphere region.

    El Ninos are particularly damaging to Australia, with the last one in 2015/16 - the strongest in nearly 20 years - curtailing agricultural production from one world's largest agricultural exporters.

    An El Nino this year would potentially emerge as farmers in Australia plant wheat crops, Australia's largest rural export.

    Should dry weather persist, production from the world's number four exporter may be stunted, providing some support to benchmark wheat prices, which remain depressed by ample global supplies.

    Namibia too has been under pressure with a persistent drought leading not only to agricultural losses but also major water shortages for the capital. While the season thus far has been relatively good, the country cannot recover in one season.

    According to the United States’s weather prediction service, La Nina conditions are no longer present, with slightly below-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) observed across the central equatorial Pacific and above-average SSTs increasing in the eastern Pacific Overall, the ocean and atmosphere system is consistent with neutral conditions.

    Most models predict the continuation of the neutral state through the northern hemisphere’s summer (southern hemisphere winter). Thereafter, there are increasing odds for El Nino toward the second half of 2017 (50% chance in September-November).


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    Annasruh feedlot progressing well Annasruh feedlot progressing well Developments at Meatco’s second feedlot at Annasruh are progressing well, with road construction currently underway while the first six feeding pens have been completed.

    By the end of January, Meatco hosted a site visit for contractors interested in the concrete work to be carried out at the feedlot.

    Following the submission and evaluation of 30 tenders, a contract was awarded to the successful bidder by mid-February.

    Gobabis-based Henco Engineering has started with construction of the offloading ramp and the processing pens.

    The Annasruh feedlot is situated in the Omaheke district, 10 km west of Gobabis. It aims to bring marketing opportunities to farmers in the surrounding areas as well as ensure consistent throughput.

    By the end of last year, Meatco sourced 1 464 head of cattle from communal producers at the facility that were scheduled for slaughter during 2016 and in January 2017. Currently there are 697 cattle at the Annasruh Feedlot purchased by Meatco’s communal technical advisors.

    Meatco is expected to start offloading the first round of weaners towards the end of May after the completion of the feeding pens that will replace the temporary feeding plant currently used. Once phase one is complete, 12 feeding pens will be constructed at Annasruh. Through Meatco’s Backwards Integration Initiatives, the company also secured a third feedlot at Kombat in the Otjozondjupa Region. Meatco will continue to invest in developing feedlots and to support local weaner producers to ensure better returns for Namibian farmers and producers.


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  • 02/28/17--14:00: The cost of bread
  • The cost of breadThe cost of bread Nearly half the environmental impact of a loaf of bread comes from the “unsustainable use” of fertilisers on wheat crops, researchers said this week.

    Synthetic fertilisers boost yields, but they contain or generate chemicals - ammonia, nitrates, methane and carbon dioxide, among others - that drive global warming, they reported in the journal Nature Plants.

    “This arises from the large amount of energy needed to make the fertiliser, and from nitrous oxide gas released when it is degraded in the soil,” said lead author Liam Goucher, a scientist at the University of Sheffield in England.

    Nitrate-rich runoff from industrial-scale agriculture also damages lakes, rivers and coastal waters around the world, in some cases creating so-called “dead zones”.

    The study highlights a double challenge in the decades ahead: how to grow enough food to feed the world's population - set to increase to 11 billion from seven billion - in a way that does not poison the planet.

    “A key part of this challenge is resolving the major conflict embedded in an agri-food system whose primary purpose is to make money, not to provide sustainable global food security,” the study said.

    Food production and consumption are responsible for about one-third of total greenhouse gas emissions.

    Cereals such as corn, rice and wheat - usually grown with huge amounts of chemical fertiliser - account for half of the calories consumed by humanity.

    A 'massive problem'

    To better assess the environmental cost of wheat production, researchers led by Goucher broke down the supply chain of a typical 800g loaf of bread from “seed to feed”.

    In 2016, Europeans consumed, on average, about 63kg of bread per person, while Americans eat about half that amount.

    They found that ammonium nitrate fertiliser contributes 43% of the greenhouse gas emissions in a loaf's life cycle, a level they described as “unsustainable.”

    In agriculture, more than 100 million tons of chemical fertiliser is used globally every year, applied to about 60% of all agricultural crops.

    “This is a massive problem,” said the study's senior author, Peter Horton, chief research advisor to the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.

    “But environmental impact is not costed within the system, so there are currently no real incentives to reduce our reliance on fertiliser.”

    How to achieve sustainable global food security is not only a technical question but a political and economic one, the researchers added, arguing that both producers and consumers have important roles to play.

    “The consumer is key,” said co-author Lenny Koh, head of the Advanced Resource Efficiency Centre at Sheffield.

    People who want their daily bread can either be “persuaded to pay more for a greener product, or they can apply pressure” for a change in policy, she added.


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  • 02/28/17--14:00: Barrow continues 'clean-up'
  • Barrow continues 'clean-up'Barrow continues 'clean-up' Gambia's president Adama Barrow has fired the head of the armed forces, General Ousman Badjie, as he continues a clear-out of senior officials linked to the despotic rule of his predecessor, military and government sources said on Monday.

    Badjie has been replaced by General Masanneh Kinteh, a special military adviser to Barrow since January, according to the military source.

    Barrow retook his oath of office on February 18, a month after he was sworn in across the border in neighbouring Senegal during a tense power struggle with his predecessor Yahya Jammeh.

    Jammeh had refused to step down following his defeat in December elections, but agreed to leave for exile on January 21 following negotiations with other west African leaders.

    Barrow told the crowd at the swearing-in he would probe human rights abuses under Jammeh's iron-fisted rule spanning 22 years.

    Killings and torture

    “A Human Rights Commission will be established without delay,” to track people who went missing or disappeared after being arrested, Barrow said. “Orders have already been given for all those detained without trial to be released”.

    The United Nations and rights groups repeatedly condemned The Gambia's security services under Jammeh, blaming them for arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial killings and torture.

    Last week Barrow removed the chief of the country's feared intelligence agency, Yankuba Badjie, and the head of the national prison system, David Colley.

    A government source confirmed Ousman Badjie's dismissal, and said the handover to Kinteh would take place within hours.

    Ousman Badjie, a Jammeh loyalist, had pledged allegiance to Barrow along with top defence, civil service and security chiefs on January 20, one day before the former president fled the country.

    Arrests and detentions

    The general was also spotted among revellers on the streets of Banjul celebrating Barrow's inauguration in Senegal.

    The military source said Badjie would be redeployed to a foreign mission, but has yet to be told which one.

    Kinteh was first named as armed forces chief in October 2009 following the removal and arrest of his predecessor, General Lang Tombong Tamba.

    He was subsequently dismissed in July 2012 and appointed Gambia's ambassador to Cuba, and replaced by Badjie.

    Amnesty International said that under Jammeh, “Gambia's climate of fear was sustained for years through regular arbitrary arrests and detention, as well as routine torture.

    Since effectively taking power late last month, Barrow has rushed to uphold pledges to overhaul the military and security services.


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  • 02/28/17--14:00: Zim diaspora are 'stupid'
  • Zim diaspora are 'stupid'Zim diaspora are 'stupid'Mugabe says those who stay home are better off At his birthday celebrations last weekend, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe said citizens seeking greener pastures in other countries are “stupid”. President Robert Mugabe, 93, has reportedly poked fun at “stupid” Zimbabweans who continued to leave the country for “greener pastures” in the United States, only to come back home “empty handed” and “poorer”.

    Mugabe said Zimbabweans were better off in the southern African country than in the diaspora, as they often came back with “nothing to show for their stay abroad”.

    Mugabe said this at the weekend during his birthday celebrations in Matopos.

    According to New Zimbabwe.com, the veteran leader said that his country was endowed with natural resources which Zimbabweans could exploit as opposed to migrating to countries where they were unwanted.

    “Surely for you to go to America to go and look for a job is stupid. Non-Americans are being chased away there. What would you have been deprived of in your own country?

    “What is that you get in America which you cannot get in Zimbabwe? I have not yet seen a person who, after working so many years in America, has come home with so much money, they return poor only to start looking for jobs here again. Where were you taking your money during all those years spent in America?

    “So let us value our own country and its natural resources, work hard to transform our natural resources,” Mugabe was quoted as saying.

    This came just less than a week after the nonagenarian praised US President Donald Trump's “America first policy” adding that the policy resonated with his own thinking.

    “When it comes to Donald Trump, on the one hand talking of American nationalism, well, America for America, America for Americans - on that we agree. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans,” Mugabe said during his birthday interview with state-run media.


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    IS fights to the end in MosulIS fights to the end in MosulCity caught in 'strange and terrifying' battle Families cower in basements, huddling in the dark as war raged overhead between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants fighting for control of the streets of Mosul. Soldiers from Iraq's Rapid Response division move from house to house through the same openings Islamic State militants smashed through the walls in preparation to defend their last remaining stronghold in the city's west.

    The passageway leads them through living rooms and gardens, into a kitchen with a pot of lentil soup on the counter - the scenes of domesticity highlighting the chaos of war that is intensifying as Iraqi forces advance.

    “It's strange and terrifying,” said a young woman who was barely visible in the gloom of a basement under her house in the Josaq district, where she went into hiding after giving birth to a baby girl 72 days ago. “I rarely go upstairs.”

    Iraqi forces advanced quickly in the early stages of the offensive to recapture Mosul's western half, retaking the airport and piercing Islamic State defences around the city within days.

    Now they are encountering tougher resistance as they push into residential districts where as many as 750 000 civilians are essentially trapped.

    If they defeat Islamic State in Mosul that would crush the Iraq wing of the caliphate its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared in 2014 over parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

    The Iraqi soldiers climb through a hole in the wall of a garden strewn with ripe oranges and shattered glass, and emerge to find an Islamic State fighter lying flat on his back where he had been killed by Iraqi forces.

    Lt. Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammadawi went through the dead man's pockets after making sure he was not wearing a suicide belt.

    “He's not Iraqi. He's probably not an Arab,” said Mohammadawi, judging the man by his appearance and imperfect spelling. “The closer we get to the centre, the more we come up against the foreigners”.

    Unlike Iraqi militants who can blend in with civilians and possibly slip through the net of security forces, foreign fighters have no escape and will therefore fight to the end.

    Mohammadawi said: “They don't flee like the locals”.

    There are noticeably more foreign militants in the western half of the city than the east, which Iraqi forces cleared one month ago after 100 days of fighting, Mohammadawi added.

    After losing the east, Islamic State militants prepared for battle in the west, knocking holes through the walls and expelling residents whose homes offered a vantage from which to fire at advancing Iraqi forces.

    At one point, the passage led into an empty hall where a motorcycle was parked. Evidently it had been used by the militants because there was a prayer mat in the plastic crate attached to the back, the soldiers said.

    “Search upstairs,” Mohammadawi ordered, sending two men up the stairs, gun barrels first, to make sure no militants were hiding there.

    Also found were paper slips granting Islamic State members leave for short periods of no longer than a day, which one officer said indicated they had no time or manpower to spare.

    The densely populated terrain is already proving a challenge. Mohammadawi said Rapid Response forces had been forced to pause their advance in Josaq on Sunday because five Islamic State snipers were hiding among civilians.

    A tactical unit had then killed the militants in an overnight raid, Mohammadawi said, clearing the way for Rapid Response forces to reach the first of five bridges that straddle the River Tigris bisecting Mosul.

    As the sounds of artillery and small arms fire reverberated, a group of civilians came running across the street towards Iraqi forces, the women weeping in fear. The soldiers corralled them into a house where the women went down to the basement.

    The women described how the militants had set the upper floors of their homes ablaze to create a smokescreen against coalition aircraft.


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  • 02/28/17--14:00: Samsung heir probed
  • Samsung heir probedSamsung heir probed The heir to the Samsung empire and four other top executives from the world's biggest smartphone maker were indicted on Tuesday on multiple charges including bribery and embezzlement, South Korean prosecutors said.

    "Special prosecutors today indicted Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-Yong... for bribery, embezzlement, hiding of assets overseas... and perjury," said Lee Kyu-Chul, spokesman for the team probing the corruption and power abuse scandal that has seen President Park Geun-Hye impeached.

    Lee was arrested earlier this month and the laying of formal charges against him and his colleagues makes them almost certain to face trial, casting new uncertainty over South Korea's biggest firm as it seeks to recover from a humiliating recall.

    The 48-year-old has effectively been at the helm of the conglomerate since his father suffered a heart attack in 2014.

    Among other allegations, Lee is accused of paying nearly US$40 million in bribes to a confidante of President Park's to secure policy favours. Lee - who is also accused of concealing stolen assets - has denied all charges.

    His colleagues face similar charges except for the perjury count.

    The scandal centres on Choi Soon-Sil, who is accused of using her close ties with Park to force local firms to "donate" nearly US$70 million to non-profit foundations, which Choi allegedly used for personal gain.

    Samsung was the single biggest donor to the foundations. It is also accused of separately giving millions of euros to Choi to bankroll her daughter's equestrian training in Germany.

    Lee's arrest marked the first for a Samsung chief and dealt a huge blow to the electronics giant's corporate image.


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    Australian charged with aiding ISAustralian charged with aiding IS An Australian was charged Tuesday with helping the Islamic State group develop high-tech weapons, including long-range guided missile capabilities.

    Haisem Zahab, a 42-year-old electrician, was working alone and there was no domestic-related terror threat, said Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin.

    “We will allege he has utilised the internet to perform services for ISIL,” Colvin said, using an acronym for the jihadist group.

    “Firstly, by researching and designing a laser warning device to help warn against incoming guiding munitions used by coalition forces in Syria and Iraq.

    “Secondly, we will also allege that he has been researching, designing and modelling systems to assist ISIL's efforts to develop their own long-range guided missile capabilities.”

    Zahab, from the town of Young 165 kilometres (102 miles) from the Australian capital Canberra, appeared in court on two foreign incursion charges punishable by life imprisonment.

    He was refused bail and will reappear on 8 March.

    Zahab, who was born in Australia, was allegedly in contact with networks linked to the terrorist group.

    “We believe he has networks and contacts in ISIL - not necessarily just in the conflict zones, but in other parts of the world as well and he has been relying on them to pass this information,” said Colvin, adding that his research was “fairly sophisticated”.

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the arrest after an 18-month operation was “yet another reminder of the enduring threat we face from Islamist terrorism”.

    “This highlights that terrorism, support for terrorist groups, and Islamist extremism is not limited to our major cities,” he said.

    “It once again shows that we all need to be very vigilant.”

    Canberra has become increasingly worried about homegrown extremism and the terror threat level was raised in September 2014.

    Australian officials say they have prevented 12 terror attacks on home soil since then with 61 people charged.

    But four attacks have gone ahead, including the murder of a Sydney police employee in 2015 by a 15-year-old boy.


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  • 02/28/17--14:00: No time for waste
  • No time for wasteNo time for waste Finance minister Calle Schlettwein will next week table the 2017/18 national budget, which will arguably be his toughest assignment yet.

    The tabling of the new budget comes against a backdrop of mounting fiscal pressures.

    With government debt expected to reach N$72 billion in the coming financial year, which effectively represents 41% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the finance minister has a huge task ahead of him. Schlettwein is now under pressure to ensure that there is a balancing act as far as government spending is concerned without causing anger or resentment.

    Although economists have projected slight economic growth, with commodity prices expected to stabilise this year, it remains to be seen whether recent reforms and stronger fiscal consolidation measures are paying off.

    It might not be all doom and gloom as Schlettwein has shown total commitment to fiscal consolidation in an attempt to help curb unnecessary spending. In recent months, government leaders have been dismissing the assertion that the country is “broke” in light of massive budget cuts at various ministries and other state agencies.

    The “serious headwinds and some economic problems” being experienced in the country as President Hage Geingob said this week at a Swapo gathering, are serious and has had a huge impact on ordinary Namibians.

    The construction industry has been forced to shed thousands of jobs, the school feeding programme in the northern Namibia is severely affected and we have heard of budgetary cuts at certain ministries being slashed by over 40%.

    This is not a laughing matter and only heaven knows where we are going. The Geingob administration has promised prosperity to all, especially to the country's poor.

    There is indeed a massive weight of expectation on government to come up with a balancing budget that primarily addresses the concerns of poor Namibians.

    It is therefore our sincere hope that recent reforms will go a long way in finding a new path forward, with government ultimately managing the economy responsibly.

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  • 02/28/17--14:00: Shot of the day
  • Shot of the dayShot of the day FOR THE LOVE OF SWAPO: Enthusiastic Swapo supporters pictured at a meeting between President Hage Geingob and Swapo Khomas leadership on Monday afternoon in Khomasdal. Photo: JANA-MARI SMITH

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  • 02/28/17--14:00: ‘Contractors are greedy’
  • ‘Contractors are greedy’‘Contractors are greedy’Stop focusing on profits - Geingos Monica Geingos has made no bones about the challenges the country faces with regards to housing and has urged lawmakers and the private sector to come to the party. First Lady Monica Geingos has urged the private sector not to always focus on making profit when it comes to addressing the housing needs of the people.

    While advising local authorities to make more land available land to the people, Geingos said contractors build houses with a greater focus on their profits, rather than putting in an effort to assist government in addressing the housing backlog the country is faced with.

    Geingos made the remarks on Monday at Tsandi in Omusati Region at the official handover of 53 homes under the Shack Dwellers’ Federation of Namibia and the Namibia Housing Action Group low-cost housing schemes.

    She said that in communities where the majority of people are low-income earners the cost of housing should be affordable for the intended beneficiaries, adding that this is currently not the case.

    “The private sector should stop being greedy. You can construct high-income houses in residential areas where the rich people are. Let us try not to focus on profits.” Geingos said.

    Geingos said there is a difference between low-income housing and low-cost housing saying that people need cheaper homes which people from that area are able to afford.

    “We need to look at each region and see what the people’s needs are,” she said.

    Regarding the issue where houses have been constructed under the low-income banner in various towns but which are not occupied yet, she said it’s a painful situation where people in a country need houses but yet there houses that are empty because they can’t afford them.

    Geingos further said the problem is not solely financing saying that people have money and home loan approvals from financial institutions as well as savings of up to N$600 000 but still they cannot find houses because the prices are very expensive and escalate as time goes.

    Making reference to her personal experience, Geingos said that for a period of nine months she was looking for a house for someone in Windhoek but failed to find one that cost less than N$900 000 – and this not even in Katutura, saying that it’s not acceptable.

    She also talked on the issue that Namibians should not be held hostage by their own country’s laws when it comes to constructing houses, making reference to the fact that people are expected to build houses three times the value of the plot they have acquired.

    Geingos said exceptions should be made, especially for the low-income earners saying that people should be allowed to build houses they can afford.

    “It’s like saying that everyone should all buy a Mercedes Benz in order to use the roads…. Let us make a difference, let them built what they can,” she said.

    “Let us not be held hostage by our own laws. Let us understand why the rule is there and see if it’s still relevant today,” she added.

    She praised the members of the Shack Dwellers’ Federation and Namibia Housing Action Group for their efforts and for taking the bold step of saving money and constructing their own houses.

    She also thanked the stakeholders who partnered with the two schemes saying that their contributions have not gone unnoticed.


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    Möller murder case postponed Möller murder case postponed Five men accused of killing Walvis Bay resident Hans Möller made another appearance on charges of murder, attempted murder and armed robbery at the town’s magistrate’s court yesterday.

    Möller died after he was shot in the stomach while trying to protect his wife Carol-Ann and their two children (aged four and six) from attackers during an armed robbery at the family’s home in June last year.

    Magistrate John Sindano postponed the case against Gotlieb Panduleni, 30, David Tashiya, 29, David Shekundja, 35, Elly Ndapuka Hinavali, 29, and Malakia Shiweda, 28, to 15 May to allow the accused to apply for legal aid and further investigation.

    The accused remain in custody and it is expected that they would have made formal bail applications by then.

    They arrived at the court handcuffed and under heavy armed police escort and were met by a placard-waving crowd chanting slogans protesting the granting of bail.

    Panduleni apparently joined his four co-accused in Walvis Bay after he appeared in Omaruru on another murder and armed robbery charge.

    Public prosecutor Tresia Hafeni informed the court that the docket was send to the prosecutor-general for further directions and was returned with instructions for additional investigations.

    She requested that the case which is likely to be tried in the high court, be postponed to 15 May and that the accused remain in custody. Hafeni previously opposed bail stating that the suspects were a high flight risk considering the seriousness of the crime.

    “All accused must sort out their legal aid applications and have now been provided with ample time to do so,” Hafeni told the court.

    Lawyer Dube Mpokiseng who acts on behalf of Tashiya and Shekundja did not object to the postponement and said he hoped that the processes highlighted by the attorney- general would be completed before the next court appearance.

    He also told the court that the legal aid board was still sorting out Panduleni and Shiweda’s files who submitted applications for legal assistance.

    Hinavali apparently lost his identification document but a birth certificate or voter’s registration card would be sufficient to allow him to get legal assistance, the court heard.


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    Rundu can’t wait for independence Rundu can’t wait for independence The mayor of Rundu, Verna Sinimbo, says her town is ecstatic about hosting the 27th Independence Day celebrations.

    This follows the announcement by the information ministry that Rundu will host celebrations this year.

    “I am very excited about the news and I did not expect it to happen this year,” Sinimbo said.

    She expressed gratitude to the leaders for showing trust in the town to host the national event.

    “We are very excited about it and we are going to do our best to make it a memorable event,” promised Sinimbo.

    She said residents of the town must be excited because of the spinoffs that come with hosting such important national events.

    She cited the business community of Rundu as one of the sectors that will reap financial benefits from the event.

    “It is really good for the local economy of the town,” she said.

    Most importantly, she added, is the fact that it is a historic event for the town. She added that she is positive that the news will be received with jubilation.

    The mayor urged residents of Rundu to turn out in their numbers saying events of this nature mostly take place in Windhoek.

    “This is different from constituency events that we normally have in our town. This is going to be a national event,” Sinimbo emphasised.


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    Bedridden pensioner in dire straitsBedridden pensioner in dire straitsNeeds assistance to improve health The government grant for pensioners is not enough for Aina Iitembu who needs adult diapers and quality food now that she is bedridden. A bedridden pensioner who suffers from various health problems needs assistance to stock up on adult diapers and nutritious food to improve her overall condition of health.

    Aina Iitembu, 61, suffered a stroke 13 years ago that caused her to leave her agriculture ministry job.

    She was then registered for a disability grant from government, which has been her only source of income since.

    The grant was, however, discontinued after Itembu became a pensioner and she now benefits from government's old-age pension of N$1 100 per month.

    Iitembu is epileptic and suffers from high blood pressure and is also on anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment.

    The pensioner told Nampa she lived in Okahao in the Omusati Region, but moved to Windhoek four years ago after her children reportedly neglected her.

    Her niece, Ndinelao Ndeiweva, 28, brought Iitembu to Windhoek to look after her.

    She complements her aunt's pension with the little income she earns as a domestic worker.

    Ndeiweva said Iitembu's children would allegedly not feed her and would only collect their mother when it is time for her disability grant payout and then, would not spend a cent of that on her.

    Ndeiweva said her aunt has tried to take her own life on several occasions, because she feels she will not get better.

    The two women live in Windhoek's impoverished Kilimanjaro informal settlement on the northern outskirts of the city.

    They get water from a communal water point and also make use of communal toilets. They have no electricity and use an open fire for cooking and to lighten up the dark skies of the night.

    Iitembu's health deteriorated last month when Ndeiweva, who is heavily pregnant, was admitted to hospital and had to leave Iitembu on her own. She (Ndeiweva) asked her neighbours to check on her aunt and feed her, but Iitembu did not want to eat their food.

    Ndeiweva then informed nurses at the Katutura State Hospital of her aunt's condition, and they admitted her there for a short period of time.

    She developed bed sores on her body which will not heal.

    Iitembu could walk before she was admitted to hospital, but her health had already deteriorated and caused her to become bedridden.

    As a result, Iitembu wears adult diapers which are costly for her and she is forced to use them sparingly.

    During the day she sleeps on linen savers, which are disposable sheets used to protect bedding and mattresses. These too, are running out.

    Iitembu is only scheduled to see a doctor in July.

    Ndeiweva explained that the pension grant Iitembu gets is not enough as she visits the hospital up to four times a month, buys diapers and also feeds herself with the money.

    She uses a wheelchair for the hospital visits.

    Community health and social workers who do routine visits in the community, recently visited her aunt. They recommended her doctor write her a letter to get e'Pap, a pre-cooked soft porridge with minerals and vitamins that is easy to digest, on prescription.

    Iitembu said she is happier now that her niece takes care of her, saying she is now a “human being”.

    “My own children threw me away. They just ate up my money with their women when I was in the north,” she said.

    – Nampa


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  • 02/28/17--14:00: Female MPs should speak out
  • Female MPs should speak outFemale MPs should speak out A woman parliamentarian has challenged other women parliamentarians to speak out on the challenges that people face in sexual and reproductive health, HIV and Aids so that they make a difference.

    Juliet Kavetuna, who is also Namibia's deputy health minister, made the call when she delivered a keynote address at the beginning of a SADC Parliamentary Forum-led (SADC-PF) capacity building workshop for Namibian women parliamentarians in Swakopmund over the weekend.

    Kavetuna said the muted voices of some women parliamentarians on sexual health and HIV/Aids as well as other important issues may explain why some people will not readily vote for aspiring MPs.

    “There is a disturbing perception out there that some women who have either worked hard to be elected to parliament or some of those who were lucky enough to be appointed, are not doing much to advocate for the rights of fellow women and girls.”

    The deputy minister said there was a belief that some female MPs try to conform to the language spoken in the wood-panelled halls of parliament and were not using the “language of the heart” to better explain gender-based violence and how it can and should be eliminated, or using the “the language of the body” to talk about reproductive health, the devastating effects of backstreet abortions and the right to access to contraception.

    Kavetuna said there was evidence from all over Africa, including Namibia, that more women were breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling to take up potentially influential positions in politics, government, academia, commerce, industry and other spheres.

    She said despite the welcome changing status of women, far too many women, girls, men and boys continued to face serious challenges related to sexual health and rights, HIV and Aids governance.

    She cited unmet needs for family planning, poor uptake of some forms of contraception; lack of choice in sexual health and control over one's sexuality; lack of affordable health services and products; drug stock outs; insufficient human resources for health; geographic and attitudinal barriers to universal sexual health; maternal and infant mortality; early sexual debut; child marriage; teenage pregnancy; fistula; unsafe abortions; and lack of age-appropriate related information.

    She added that policies in this regard are well developed, but poorly implemented.

    “My view is that this implementation has been sluggish because of insufficient budgetary allocation for the programmes that target women and children in particular,” she said.

    She expressed concern over the fact that many of these programmes in region were over-reliant on donor funding.

    In November last year Namibia began implementing a four-year project in terms of sexual health and HIV/Aids that Sweden and Norad are funding in six other member states. Kavetuna said the SADC-PF project presents a glorious opportunity for Namibian women parliamentarians and others elsewhere within the region to prove cynics wrong through speaking out.

    “As female MPs you need to embrace the fact that it is neither unparliamentarily nor unprofessional to factually and prominently talk about issues that affect women more than men, or even exclusively. You are in parliament to rock the boat and make waves by tackling hard issues.

    She challenged Namibian women parliamentarians to become more united across party lines to ensure unity of purpose.


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    No changes to notes despite counterfeitingNo changes to notes despite counterfeiting The Bank of Namibia (BoN) has not yet encountered any threat that may necessitate a change in the current banknotes, BoN director of banking services Sam Shivute has said.

    Shivute said despite numerous counterfeiting attempts reported in the country, the bank did not intend to make changes to the current banknotes.

    “I am confident to say we will not be seeing changes of the banknotes in the very near future but if anything happens, that is a decision the central bank will be prepared to make,” he said.

    Shivute assured the nation that the current banknotes were of good quality and no criminal had so far managed to reproduce any of the security features.

    He said since the introduction of new banknotes on 15 May 2012, the bank had not detected any counterfeits that were 100% replicas.

    More than five cases of counterfeit money have been reported since May 2012, but Shivute said the forgers failed in all cases to successfully replicate the banknotes' security features. They only got the colour right.

    “The central bank has however been concerned that there are people who could counterfeit banknotes in such a way that could confuse people,” Shivute said.

    He urged people to study the security features well in order to differentiate between genuine and false money.

    Shivute said usually the country evaluated the security features on banknotes after seven to eight years and then decided whether to change them or not.

    Shivute said technology changed quickly and forgers could develop ways to beat the security features.


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    Kandjii on cross-country court spreeKandjii on cross-country court spree JANA-MARI SMITH

    Rhino-poaching accused Gerson Kandjii and his five co-accused did not enter a plea before the Okahao Magistrate’s Court on Monday after their lawyer failed to make an appearance.

    Kandjii, 51, along with David Stephanus, 35, Karunga Martin, Hinu Lucky, Daniel Nghidinwa and Kakuva Tjeparu were arrested in November 2014 and charged with poaching four critically endangered black rhinos in Etosha National Park.

    The six were charged with illegal hunting of specially protected game, possession of a firearm without a licence and unlawful possession of ammunition.

    Police said N$30 000 in cash was seized at the time of arrest, which was believed to be the proceeds from the sale of rhino horns.

    On Monday, their case was postponed to 7 April.

    Stephanus and Kandjii are both currently in custody in Gobabis, along with three co-accused, following their arrest in December 2016 and January 2017 for the illegal hunting of four white rhinos on a private farm.

    Over the next two months Kandjii is scheduled to appear in four separate court cases in Windhoek, Gobabis, Mariental and Okahao.

    The Gobabis poaching case was postponed to 31 March for further investigation and for a formal bail hearing.

    In January, Kandjii was also charged separately with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. That case has been postponed to 12 April and is scheduled to take place in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court in Katutura.

    Kandjii, a chiropractor who was formerly the Brave Warriors team doctor, is also implicated in the murder and robbery of German national Reinhard Schmidt in mid-February 2015 on his farm near Kalkrand.

    Kandjii and several other suspects face charges of murder and robbery and were released on N$5 000 bail in November 2015, sparking public protest. The Kalkrand murder case will continue on 16 March in Mariental.

    At the time of his arrest in January 2017, Kandjii was out on N$20 000 bail, granted to him in January 2015 by the Okahao Magistrate’s Court. Investigators claimed that bail was granted before a ballistics test confirmed that his hunting rifle was linked to the Etosha poaching.

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  • 02/28/17--14:00: Petrol up by 32c a litre
  • Petrol up by 32c a litrePetrol up by 32c a litre Fuel prices increased at midnight last night - by 32 cents a litre for 95-octane unleaded petrol and 25 cents a litre for all grades of diesel.

    Production cuts by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members and Russia to balance the oversupplied crude oil market is the main reason for the current rally.

    However, even after achieving close to their targeted 1.8 million barrels a day of production cuts, the huge stockpiles have not reduced. On the contrary, US crude stocks have risen 39 million barrels this year, to 518 million, since OPEC started cutting production in January.

    The average exchange rate remained stable at about N$13.2656 per US dollar over the period reviewed. Despite the exchange rate stability, fuel prices were affected heavily by OPEC's production cuts.

    The Basic Fuel Price Unit Rate Slate calculations for the past month recorded high under-recoveries on all the regulated petroleum products. The under-recoveries recorded were sufficient to trigger an increase in local pump prices.

    However, the National Energy Fund will meet Namibian fuel consumers halfway by absorbing a portion of the under-recoveries recorded. Under-recoveries have run into 38.8 cents a litre for unleaded petrol, just under 32 cents a litre for diesel 500ppm and 32.3 cents a litre for diesel 50ppm.

    The mines and energy ministry also announced that the Strategic Oil Storage Facility levy will increase by 10 cents a litre and the dealer margin levy by 4 cents a litre.


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    Food Bank reaches 95 000 in KhomasFood Bank reaches 95 000 in KhomasGovernor lists region's challenges and achievements The Food Bank programme that was launched in Windhoek last July was one of the Khomas Region's most noteworthy achievements of the year. Close to 95 000 individuals – or 22 354 households – have been benefiting from the Food Bank programme in the Khomas Region since its launch in July last year.

    Khomas regional governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua listed these numbers while highlighting the achievements and challenges facing the Khomas Region at a Swapo event attended by President Hage Geingob on Monday.

    She told the assembled guests and Swapo leaders that the region was “politically, economically, environmentally and socially healthy and stable”.

    When the Food Bank programme was launched in July 2016, 27 500 people from 4 816 households were handed food parcels.

    McLeod-Katjirua said the programme had since been introduced in seven constituencies.

    The process started in the Tobias Hainyeko and Samora Machel constituencies, followed by the Moses Garoeb, John Pandeni, Katutura East, Katutura Central and Khomasdal constituencies.

    The governor added that the 117 street committees that were trained to help identify impoverished families in need of assistance, and to assist with food distribution, were active in all seven areas.

    Under the pilot programme, households earning less than N$400 a month qualify for food parcels. At the launch last year, the parcels were valued at N$500, containing maize meal, cooking oil, tinned fish, corned meat, beans, yeast, bread flour, sugar and soap.

    McLeod-Katjirua told the Khomas leadership that drought-relief food had been distributed to 2 656 households in the Windhoek Rural Constituency to date.

    The governor added that 120 temporary jobs were created under the food-for-work programmes.

    Other achievements listed by the governor included the construction of 46 classrooms in the region in 2016. Twenty-six classrooms are still under construction at the Tobias Hainyeko Primary Project School and Elim Primary School. They were expected to be completed by March, she said.

    Construction of a kitchen in Khomasdal for the school feeding scheme is expected to be completed by 10 March, while school renovations are continuing.

    Teachers' flats are being built at three schools, while hostels and other education facilities are being renovated.

    On the health front, more than 22 000 people were tested for HIV through the HIV counselling and testing services that were set up at health facilities in the region last year, she said.

    More than 116 000 people are currently receiving HIV treatment in the region.

    With the introduction of male circumcision services, 19 659 men were circumcised in the region last year.

    Besides the successes, the governor said challenges remained, including a shortage of serviced land for residential, school and hospital purposes.

    Ageing facilities, including school hostels and health facilities, as well as worn-out sewage systems and underground water pipes also pose challenges.

    Informal settlements, plagued by a lack of basic services, are mushrooming due to an influx of people from rural areas.

    Other problems were the illegal occupation of land earmarked for schools and hospitals; the eviction of farmworkers and a lack of land to resettle them; government schools located on private farms; and high levels of unemployment, crime and alcohol abuse.

    The governor said the slow pace of maintenance of schools, clinics and hospitals remained a challenge, and on the education front a lack of examination venues and a lack of space for learners in grades one to eight remained a problem.

    Included in a list of recommendations, McLeod-Katjirua proposed the construction of new schools, clinics and hospitals and increased funding for maintenance and acquisition of land for schools and hospitals.

    She proposed the construction of an examination hall and a multi-purpose centre.

    McLeod-Katjirua furthermore proposed to relocate illegal occupants from institutional land. Moreover she suggested the “expropriation of farms where government schools are located or acquiring of that designated land where the schools are located.”

    She said capital projects should be prioritised and the land delivery process should be expedited.

    Among other suggestions, the governor said new technology to extract water should be explored, police visibility should be increased, and proper control should be exercised over the operating hours of shebeens and issuing of licences for new ones.


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