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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Small things make a big differenceSmall things make a big differenceBusinesswoman treats young patients on Christmas Northern estate agent Juliana Nepembe-Haimbodi brought joy to children who had to spend Christmas in a hospital bed. While many families enjoyed Christmas Day with their loved ones at their homes or holiday destinations, a northern businesswoman decided to spend the day at the Oshakati Hospital handing out gift hampers to over 100 vulnerable children.

    Vintage Properties CEO Juliana Nepembe-Haimbodi said the reason for her good deed on Christmas Day was to give back to the community and that she knows from personal experience how it feels to spend the special day in a hospital bed.

    Accompanied by some of her family members, Nepembe-Haimbodi moved from ward to ward, room to room, delivering gift hampers to the over 175 vulnerable children in the Oshakati Hospital.

    One could see the smiles and joy on the faces of the children who were happy to receive the gifts.

    Some of them immediately unwrapped their gifts and started playing with the toys while others were enjoying the juice and fruits they had received.

    If it was not for Nepembe-Haimbodi, it would have been just like any other day for those children.

    “I once spent Christmas Day in the hospital as a child and it was not a good feeling as other people are out there having a good time,” Nepembe-Haimbodi said.

    She pointed out that children tend to be fonder of celebrating Christmas Day than adults, therefore she focused on children but her ambition is to one day give back to all the patients in the hospital.

    Nepembe-Haimbodi said children do not need expensive gifts to be happy, as the cheapest toy can put a smile on a child's face.

    “We spend thousands of dollars on buying food and drinks to celebrate Christmas Day but to make a child happy on this day, a toy will make a difference. Children love toys, therefore we should look at those small things and give it to them.

    “Christmas is the biggest event of the year and it means a lot especially to children,” she said.

    She added that giving gifts to the children is part of her social responsibility, as the community is the stakeholder that assist businesses to grow therefore it is right to give back.

    After giving all the children gift hampers, Nepembe-Haimbodi proceeded to the maternity ward where she handed gift hampers to the mothers who gave birth on Christmas Day.

    Nepembe-Haimbodi said she plans to make it a yearly event if the funds are available and the support from sponsors is good.

    For this particular donation, she was assisted by Rani Investment, Oshakati Pharmacy and Fysal Fresh Produce.


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  • 12/27/17--14:00: COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF
  • COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEFCOMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF Banks choose Frankfurt as post-Brexit hub

    Frankfurt has emerged as the biggest winner in the fight for thousands of London-based jobs that will have to be relocated to new hubs inside the European Union after Brexit.

    Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc., Standard Chartered Plc and Nomura Holdings Inc have picked the German city for their EU headquarters to ensure continued access to the single market. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and UBS Group AG are weighing a similar decision, said people familiar with the matter, asking not to be named because the plans aren’t public. HSBC Holdings Plc is the biggest non-French bank so far to opt for Paris, while Barclays Bank Plc has plumped for Dublin.


    Tesla aims to build pick-ups

    American automaker and energy storage company Tesla will build an all-electric pickup soon after it begins building the Model Y SUV, which is expected to go into production in mid-2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday.

    "I promise that we will make a pickup truck right after Model Y. Have had the core design/engineering elements in my mind for almost 5 years. Am dying to build it," Musk said via Twitter.

    The Model Y, which will be built on the same platform as the Model 3 sedan, is expected to go into production in mid-2019.


    Geely to up stake in Volvo

    China's Geely Holding , which already owns the Volvo Car Group, is buying an 8.2% stake in Swedish truck maker AB Volvo from activist investor Cevian Capital for around $3.3 billion.

    Volvo Car Group was split from AB Volvo almost 20 years ago and Geely said it was not its current intention to try to reunite the two businesses.

    "Given our experience with Volvo Car Group, we recognise and value the proud Scandinavian history and culture, leading market positions, breakthrough technologies and environmental capabilities of AB Volvo," Geely Chairman Li Shufu said in a statement on Wednesday.


    Castleview lists on JSE

    Castleview Property Fund has listed on the Retail REITs sector of the JSE’s Alternative Exchange board.

    Donna Nemer, director: capital markets at the JSE, says the introduction of Real Estate Investment Trusts has not only brought South Africa in line with international best practice, but also helped to stimulate further growth and investor interest in listed property.


    Israel to open up power sector

    Israel is set to open its power generation sector to more competition after workers at Israel Electric Corp (IEC) agreed a preliminary deal that also aims to help the state-owned utility cut its huge debts.

    A stand-off between the government, IEC and its workers has long been viewed as a constraint on Israel's economy.

    The utility has said it never received enough money, with prices capped by the government, while IEC's powerful workers' union has blocked previous attempts to introduce competition.


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    Renewed calls to nationalise SARBRenewed calls to nationalise SARBANC delegates in favour of nationalising Following its elective conference earlier this month, the nationalisation of the South African Reserve Bank found some favour among ANC delegates. South Africa's ruling party has ratified a proposal for the state rather than private shareholders to own the central bank.

    Delegates at the African National Congress's elective conference in Johannesburg decided that the government should own 100% of the Reserve Bank, Enoch Godongwana, the head of the party's economic transformation committee, told reporters in Johannesburg last Wednesday. The conference didn't discuss changes to the central bank's mandate, he said.

    The Reserve Bank's investors have no say over its policy or the appointment of the governor, but do vote to select seven of the 10 non-executive directors. It's one of a small coterie of global counterparts from Japan to Switzerland that has private shareholders, a legacy of its foundation in 1921.

    The proposal, made at the party's policy conference in July, came two weeks after the nation's anti-graft ombudsman said the Reserve Bank's inflation-targeting mandate should be changed. While the High Court has set aside that suggestion, the ANC proceeded with the plan to change the regulator's ownership structure.

    “The process of changing the ownership structure of the SARB at this point in time could raise the level of risk and uncertainty for the country in both a financial and economic policy sense,” the central bank said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

    “This heightened exposure to risk is unwarranted given the country's fragile economic situation.”

    The ANC now will have to ask parliament to change the South African Reserve Bank Act. The party holds more than 60% of the seats in the legislature.

    After fighting the anti-graft ombudsman's mandate-change proposal, Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago said the central bank would only oppose ownership changes if its independence is threatened.

    The Reserve Bank has two million issued shares that are bought and sold on an over-the-counter trading and transfer facility after it delisted from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 2002.

    In the six months through December 19, the central bank's stock traded for a little as R3 and as much as R12 rand, the lender said on its website.

    Nationalising the bank “would also be expensive as its shares currently trade for much less than the price at which some existing shareholders are willing to sell their shares,” the Reserve Bank said.

    “The 'buying-out' of existing shareholders will therefore result in paying large sums of money to effect cosmetic changes that will have no bearing on the manner in which the SARB carries out its mandate or executes its policy responsibilities.”


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    Veteran's tombstone vandalised at ElombeVeteran's tombstone vandalised at Elombe The government-funded tombstone of the late liberation struggle icon Julius Kambo Eino at the Elombe Cemetary in Onayena Constituency in Oshikoto Region has been vandalised.

    The tombstone is among four others that were erected by the Ministry of Veterans' Affairs to dignify the legacy of those who had fought for the independence of Namibia.

    It is not known how the tombstone got vandalised but it is suspected that a group of people carried out the act.

    According to the family of the late Eino, they were only informed in September by a member of the community about the damage to the tombstone.

    This led to a visit last week by the Ministry of Veterans' Affairs permanent secretary, Hopelong Ipinge.

    The gravestone, which cost the government N$16 000, had been removed from the grave and placed next to it.

    Ipinge expressed disappointment, saying that it is unacceptable for people to vandalise a grave.

    He said it is a criminal offence and warned that if people are caught by the police they will face the wrath of the law.

    He called on members of the public to be on the lookout and inform the police when they observe suspicious activities happening at the graves.

    “It is a crime, you cannot go and vandalise a grave. People must be on the lookout and if they have any information they should call the police and report these matters,” Ipinge said.

    Ipinge said it is not the first government-funded tombstone that has been vandalised. Others include that of the late education minister Abraham Iyambo.

    Ipinge said Eino's gravestone would be repaired.


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  • 12/27/17--14:00: Beware of the sssnake
  • Beware of the sssnakeBeware of the sssnake Rehoboth snake catcher Mario Guterres has expressed concern about the nonchalant attitude of people towards snakes, saying that climate change has led to an increase in snakebites in his area.

    Guterres has removed snakes from strange places such as luggage and even from inside of a light aircraft.

    His finds include the zebra snakes, Cape cobras and even a black mamba.

    Guterres says his assistance is needed three or four times a day within Rehoboth and on nearby farms.

    “My only advice is that people must clean their houses regularly. I see among the farmworkers, some of them opt to sleep on the floor even if they are provided with beds and this is really dangerous.

    “I was called out recently and a little girl was bitten because she was lying on the floor,” he says.

    He also advises farmers to keep their stables and storerooms clean and to move stored items around regularly to see whether snakes are hiding there.

    “Even the animal herders must get shields for their legs because they can easily be attacked by a snake.

    “The biggest problem is some of the people staying in corrugated iron shacks.

    “They keep these big luggage bags, so what happens is the mice eat holes into it and the snake which are attracted by mice then go into these bags and hide there,” he says.


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  • 12/27/17--14:00: Festival fosters acceptance
  • Festival fosters acceptanceFestival fosters acceptanceLesbians face discrimination, stigma and violence About 60 young lesbians recently overcame their fear of standing up to speak about their experiences and demand recognition of their rights as citizens. More than 60 young lesbians from eight regions came together for the first ever Namibian Lesbian Festival that was hosted by the Women's Leadership Centre (WLC) in Windhoek.

    According to Liz Frank, programme manager of the WLC, the main aim of the festival was making new friends, building community, and gaining feminist understanding of their oppression as lesbians and as women living in a patriarchal society that denies women autonomy, choice and freedom.

    The attendees were also guided to develop their voice through learning new skills in creative expression, and creating visibility through outstanding public performances with their poetry, stories, music, drama and dance at the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek.

    For many it was their first workshop, and for most their first public performance.

    However, they took up the challenge and overcame their fears of standing up as young lesbians in public spaces to speak about their experiences and demand recognition and rights as equal citizens of their country.

    Zenobia Dausas from Swakopmund said the festival was really insightful for her.

    “I learned a lot, starting from the history of the feminist movements to how we can enjoy our freedom today... although we still get judged. I had loads of fun with the performances and meeting new people.

    “Witnessing the talent amongst us was amazing, and seeing that we can portray ourselves through artistic means and be heard across the country,” she said.

    Another participant, who only identified herself as Betty from Oshakati, said the performances made her feel like a superstar.

    According to Frank, young lesbians in Namibia face much discrimination, stigma and violence in their daily lives.

    “This is a legacy of the years of hate speech by some political leaders in Namibia, whose words have poisoned the hearts and minds of the people. In our workshops we see the healing power of friendship and creative expression.

    “Young lesbians can feel free to find themselves, share their stories, gain self-respect, pride and the courage to be open about who they are and who they love despite the negative response they get from many in their families and communities,” said Frank.

    She added that the lesbian cultural festival created a new social, cultural and political space in the public arena in Namibia for celebrating the richness and diversity of lesbian experience from across the country.

    “We have taken up the ideal expressed by our current state president of building an 'inclusive Namibian house in which no-one feels excluded'.

    “We are challenging those who still want to use 'authentic African culture and identity' or religious discourses to dispute the indivisibility of dignity and rights,” said Frank.

    The festival was the culmination of a two-year outreach project run by the Women's Leadership Centre to young lesbians and their communities in four regions of Namibia.

    The WLC now plans to support the local activities of the young leaders that have emerged through this programme.


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    Uber to sell US car-leasing business to Fair.comUber to sell US car-leasing business to Fair.com NAMPA/REUTERS

    Ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc has agreed to sell its US car-leasing business Xchange Leasing to startup car marketplace Fair.com, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

    The net book value of Xchange Leasing's more than 30 000 vehicles was about $400 million, WSJ reported, citing a company document that was compiled for prospective buyers.

    Uber said in September it was shutting down its US car-leasing business and moving toward a less capital-intensive approach.

    The Xchange Leasing business, which has about 40 000 vehicles and 14 showrooms in the United States, had attracted interest from buyers who were considering buying it outright, according to a Reuters report in August.

    Uber and Fair.com did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside regular business hours.

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    Bitcoin holds above $16 000 on Bitstamp in late US tradeBitcoin holds above $16 000 on Bitstamp in late US trade NAMPA/REUTERS

    Bitcoin rose 15% on Tuesday, recouping about half of the losses it sustained last week, its worst since 2013, as investors who had missed out on earlier rallies bought the world's biggest and best-known digital currency.

    While bitcoin investors and analysts believe last week's decline in its value was a natural correction after a heady run-up in prices, there have been further warnings from market regulators and central banks.

    "The latest price move shows bitcoin is still a speculative investment. There is enormous amount of volatility there," said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist with Invesco in New York.

    "There is no right current price which would reflect the right current valuation," said Andrei Popescu, Singapore-based co-founder of COSS, which describes itself as a platform that encompasses all features of a digital economy based on cryptocurrency.

    "Taking profit is right, while buying into a long-term projection is also right. You don't have to be right in this market, just less wrong than the rest," Popescu said.

    Critics have pointed to bitcoin's design flaws and hacks of digital "wallets" in which bitcoins are kept as an alternative to traditional currencies.

    "We therefore think that bitcoin is a product that is unable to fulfil the basic functions it is meant to fulfil. We therefore think it is likely a bubble, that will eventually fade, as other cryptocurrencies will take over," Citi analysts wrote in a research published on Friday.

    Shmuel Hauser, the chairman of the Israel Securities Authority, was the latest among regulators to voice his concerns. He said on Monday he will propose regulation to ban companies based on bitcoin and other digital currencies from trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

    Singapore's central bank last week issued a warning against investment in cryptocurrencies, saying it considers the recent surge in prices to be driven by speculation and that the risk of a sharp fall in prices is high.

    Prices of other cryptocurrencies, which slid along with bitcoin last week, have also recovered, with Ethereum, the second-biggest cryptocurrency by market size, quoted around $771, up from Sunday's low of $689 but still far from highs around $900 hit last week.

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    Wall Street slips on tech sector weaknessWall Street slips on tech sector weaknessApple down on report of tepid iPhone X demand It was not a good way to start the week as stocks on the S&P index fell somewhat over the course of the festive season. NAMPA/REUTERS

    US stocks declined on Tuesday as Apple and shares of its parts suppliers weakened on a report of soft iPhone X demand, which pulled technology shares lower.

    According to Taiwan's Economic Daily, citing unidentified sources, Apple will slash its sales forecast for its flagship phone in the current quarter to 30 million units, down from what it said was an initial plan of 50 million units.

    The report, along with some recent brokerage calls on tepid iPhone X demand, made Apple shares sink 2.5%, their worst single-day percentage fall since August 10.

    "There is news in Apple today so it is causing some kind of angst in certainly Apple, maybe some Apple suppliers and maybe some tech in general," said Ken Polcari, Director of the NYSE floor division at Neil Securities in New York.

    "The whole Apple thing is giving people an excuse to take some money out of tech because it has been such a great performer."

    Shares of companies that supply parts to Apple, including Broadcom, Skyworks Solutions, Finisar and Lumentum Holdings, all fell. The PHLX semiconductor index lost 0.97%.

    The S&P technology index fell 0.7% percent, the worst performer among the 11 major S&P 500 sectors. The index has come under pressure in recent days and suffered its fifth straight decline as market participants see tech names getting a smaller boost from last week's U.S. tax overhaul.

    Despite the declines, the tech sector is still up nearly 40% for the year.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7.85 points, or 0.03%, to 24 746.21, the S&P 500 lost 2.84 points, or 0.11%, to 2 680.5 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 23.71 points, or 0.34%, to 6 936.25.

    Most markets around the world, including parts of Europe and Asia, were shut on Tuesday. Trading volumes were light due to the holiday-shortened week.

    Losses were curbed by a boost in energy stocks as oil prices jumped more than 2%, helped by an explosion on a crude pipeline in Libya and voluntary OPEC-led supply cuts.

    Chevron rose 0.8% and EOG Resources gained 2.1% to lead the S&P energy sector 0.82% higher. Shares of department store operators Kohl's, JC Penney and Macy's got a boost after a report that retail sales in the holiday period rose at their strongest pace since 2011. The S&P retail index advanced 0.63%.

    Sucampo Pharma surged 5.9% after Mallinckrodt said it would acquire the drug-maker for $1.2 billion. Mallinckrodt shares rose 0.7%.

    Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.30-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.14-to-1 ratio favoured decliners. The S&P 500 posted 39 new 52-week highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 88 new highs and 26 new lows.

    Volume on US exchanges was 4.03 billion shares, the lowest volume of the year for a full session, compared to the 6.9 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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  • 12/27/17--14:00: Hot and dry into January
  • Hot and dry into JanuaryHot and dry into January The weather outlook for the rest of December is gloomy, with a heat wave set to continue and much of the country to remain dry.

    “Heat wave conditions will prevail over the Namibian interior,” said the chief forecaster at the Namibia Meteorological Service (NMS), Odillo Kgobetsi.

    He added that until the end of December, Namibians in the northern and southern regions can expect maximum temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius.

    No rainfall is expected in most parts of the interior, except in the extreme north, he added.

    Kgobetsi explained that the synoptic conditions for the remainder of the week, from 28 December until 31 December, will consist of an easterly flow dominant at the surface and in the midlevel in the north where tropical moist air is in circulation.

    “A high-pressure cell is dominant over Namibia till end of the year.”

    Some rain was recorded in the north over the Christmas weekend.

    A Katima Mulilo resident shared rainfall news on 24 December, saying that 22mm was recorded there that day.

    According to NMS records, Okongo received 0.2mm of rainfall, Oshikango 1.2mm and Oshakati 0.6mm.

    Social media users from the north posted photos of rainfall and heavy clouds in the Zambezi Region and at Ondangwa on Tuesday.

    Other followers of the 'Reën In Namibia' Facebook group bemoaned the hot weather conditions and the lack of rain.


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    Three fatalities before ChristmasThree fatalities before Christmas Several incidents were reported to the Erongo police before Christmas which involved the loss of lives. In total three people lost their lives in three different cases in the Erongo Region.

    According to the Erongo regional crime investigations coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu, the first fatality was a suicide which occurred last Friday at Omihana farm near Uis.

    “The deceased was discovered hanging from a tree with a wire on his neck, by two boys who went out to look after the goats.

    “The incident was reported to the police who visited the scene and removed the deceased body to the mortuary for post-mortem examination.”

    The deceased was identified as Nghishoono Gervasius Shinedima (39). Although there was no foul play suspected, no suicide note was left. His next of kin were informed.

    In Walvis Bay, a case of culpable homicide was reported last Saturday.

    According to Iikuyu, the incident took place around 6:26 on the C-34 road between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay behind Dune 7.

    “It is alleged that the driver, a 25-year-old man, was driving a hatchback when he lost control over the vehicle and the vehicle veered off the road and overturned,” he said.

    One passenger, Latoka Albertina Gabriel (28) died instantly.

    Outside Swakopmund, a golfer collapsed and died on a golf course on Sunday morning.

    “It is alleged the deceased, George Martin (66), went to play golf at Rössmund Golf Course near Swakopmund and while playing he just collapsed. e-Med paramedics were summoned and declared him dead on the scene.

    “He was taken to Swakopmund State Hospital where his private medical doctor also declared him dead.

    “According to his doctor, the deceased was suffering from heart problems and complications,” said Iikuyu.


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  • 12/27/17--14:00: Food security improves
  • Food security improvesFood security improvesStockpiles will last until May 2018 Many crop-growing areas had a bumper harvest last year but natural disasters in some areas make them vulnerable. Although food security in Namibia has improved since last year at household level, there are still some areas experiencing food insecurity and these must be closely monitored at regional level.

    Assessments carried out in the main crop-producing regions in Namibia indicated that the household food situation was currently satisfactory following an improvement in agricultural production recorded during the 2016/17 season.

    According to the Agricultural Inputs and Household Food Security Monitoring Assessment released by the agriculture ministry, the majority of households are still dependent on the harvest from the previous season.

    Households indicated that their production was sufficient to sustain them until the next harvest in May 2018.

    “As a sign of a good crop harvest, many crop farmers who were able to produce surplus production are reported to have sold their cereal grains (maize or millet) surplus to commercial millers and or to the Agricultural Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) for Strategic Food Reserve re-stocking purposes.”

    However, according to the report there were a few areas where food insecurity was still being reported, especially in areas that suffered the effects of poor rainfall, excessive rainfall and damage caused by fall armyworms.

    In the Zambezi Region the household food security situation was reported to be good as most households were either dependent on their own harvest or the market using money from the sales of last season's production for food access.

    The household food security in Kavango East and Kavango West regions was noted to be satisfactory in most constituencies, as the majority of households interviewed indicated that they were dependent on own production, which was expected to last until May next year.

    However, there are areas that suffered the effects of fall armyworm infestation or excessive rainfall. Households in these areas indicated that their own production was diminishing and were currently supplemented with market purchases in order to prolong the availability of own production.

    Household food security in the north central regions (Omusati, Oshikoto, Oshana and Ohangwena), was also good, following a good crop harvest last season.

    Most households in these regions were reported to still depend on their own production for food access. According to the report households added that their harvest was still sufficient to sustain them until May, however there were also a few areas with diminishing production in Omusati and Ohangwena regions.

    These households were reportedly supplementing their weakening harvest stock with market purchases.

    The Oshana and Oshikoto regions recorded a bumper harvest, while Omusati and Ohangwena regions recorded near-normal crop production last season.

    Elsewhere in the country, food security was reported to have remained satisfactory in many places, following a good agricultural production last season.

    Equally, as it was reported in the northern regions, areas of food insecurity still existed, especially in the Kunene, //Karas and Erongo regions, particularly the Omatjete area in the Daures constituency as well as a greater part of the //Karasburg, Warmbad and Aus areas in the //Karas Region which are still experiencing food insecurity due to poor rainfall received last season.

    The report advised that regional councils with the assistance of traditional leaders must continue to closely monitor the situation in areas affected by food insecurity and respond accordingly.


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    Gobabis Gymnasium top in Omaheke Region Gobabis Gymnasium top in Omaheke Region Calculated on the basis of the number 1, 2 and 3 grades in the higher level grade 12 exams (NSSCH); Gobabis Gymnasium was the school that performed the best in the Omaheke Region.

    The results of the school were reportedly listed below the Khomas Region, which did not take into account this data during the automated calculation of the top five schools per region.

    The rankings for Omaheke are as follows:

    1 Gobabis Gymnasium

    2 SS Wennie du Plessis

    3 HS Gustav Kandjii

    4 HS Epako

    (Weights of ratings: 1 - 5 points, 2 - 3 points, 3 - 1 mark)

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  • 12/27/17--14:00: Crime mars Christmas weekend
  • Crime mars Christmas weekendCrime mars Christmas weekendRape, murder, robbery and drug smuggling The police had their hands full over the long weekend. JANA-MARI SMITH

    Multiple drownings, suicides, rapes, murders and a multimillion-dollar drug bust marked the Christmas weekend in Namibia.

    Webster Kondwani Kulisewa (31), a Malawian national, was arrested after police discovered 12 bags containing 26 kilograms of methamphetamine, commonly known as tik, in his possession in Oshikango on Friday.

    The police estimate the value of the drugs to be more than N$13.1 million.

    It is alleged the suspect entered the country near Gobabis, at the Trans-Kalahari border post on 21 December. Investigations continue.

    Five people have drowned since Friday, police records show.

    Three people drowned on Saturday in the Von Bach Dam near Okahandja and another man drowned in the Fish River on Sunday.

    The police stated that a canoe on the Von Bach dam capsized with two women in it. A man, who formed part of their group visiting the dam, jumped in to help them, but drowned too.

    The victims have been identified as Valentino Griffeths (21), Amalia Ndeshipanda Shilongo and Letichia Michaels (27).

    The bodies of the two women have been retrieved but rescuers are still searching for the body of the third victim.

    Another man, Ernst Isak Willems (20) reportedly drowned at the Fish River on Sunday. The police reported that his body had been recovered.

    On Christmas day a 67-year-old woman drowned in a canal at Ogongo. Maligareta Kadhila had returned from a wedding celebration and went missing shortly afterwards. The police say no foul play is suspected.

    On Saturday, a case of rape and murder was opened after a suspect raped and then strangled a woman. No further details have been released yet and the manhunt for the suspect continues.

    Police are also investigating the murder of Molata Johannes (25) at Outapi, who was allegedly stabbed to death by his 27-year-old brother. The mother discovered her son and called the police who arrested the suspect.

    Jesaya Katana (32) was killed in an argument over gambling winnings in Wanaheda, according to the police. The suspect, Katana’s cousin, has been arrested.

    A stabbing in Okahandja led to the death of Johannes Hausiku (39) and a suspect has been arrested. The motive is unknown.

    Another murder case was opened at Epako, when a man was stabbed in the back and died from the injuries.

    At least six suicides took place over the holiday weekend.

    A 21-year-old Otjiwarongo resident died from hanging on Tuesday and a 17-year-old died from suicide in Oshakati over the weekend.

    A 25-year-old police officer hanged himself at home in Epako on Saturday, and another committed suicide in Rehoboth on Sunday.

    A resident of Okatope, 32 years old, hanged himself on Sunday and on Friday a 39-year-old Uis resident also committed suicide.

    The police are also investigating a case of housebreaking and robbery with aggravating circumstances in Academia, after a wheelchair-bound man was robbed of more than N$25 000.

    Four men, who have not yet been arrested, entered his house on Friday just before 20:00 armed with knives.

    The men broke into a safe in the house and stole N$25 000 in cash, a laptop and a pistol before fleeing. The crew used a white Toyota Corolla with tinted windows.

    The 39-year-old victim said the suspects were employees who recently argued with him over payment.

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    Sudan set to devalue currencySudan set to devalue currencyIMF encourages devaluation of currency The devaluation of the Sudanese pound will encourage investments into the North African country, authorities believe. NAMPA/REUTERS

    Sudan is to devalue the Sudanese pound to 18 per dollar in January from the current 6.7, the finance minister said on Tuesday, after the IMF called for it to let the currency float freely to encourage foreign investment in the country.

    Sudan is also set to reduce subsidies for much of its manufacturing sector, a senior governmental source said separately, as electricity prices have increased tenfold in the North African nation.

    The International Monetary Fund urged Sudan earlier this month to let the pound float freely and to cut its energy and wheat subsidies to boost growth and investment. It said Khartoum had a chance to improve its struggling economy after the United States lifted 20 years of sanctions in October.

    The government has ruled out a market-determined exchange rate, however.

    The IMF last year agreed to loan Sudan's neighbour Egypt $12 billion if it implemented similarly tough fiscal reforms.

    Import-dependent Sudan has suffered both from the sanctions and from the secession of the south in 2011, when it lost three-quarters of its oil output, its main source of foreign currency.

    The devaluation of the pound, which includes the customs exchange rate - the rate used to calculate customs duties – is timed to take effect when the 2018 budget begins in the first week of January, Finance Minister Mohamed Othman Rukabi told Reuters.

    Traders said the black market rate jumped to 27 SDG per dollar from 25 SDG per dollar on Tuesday after the devaluation was announced.

    "The whole budget for the new year is based on a an official rate of 18 SDG per dollar. We expect the results of this policy to be positive for the Sudanese economy," he said.

    The Sudanese pound has weakened sharply against the dollar since Washington the economic sanctions, encouraging traders to step up imports and putting pressure on scarce hard currency.

    Businesses have been unable to get hold of the hard currency they need at the official pegged exchange rate of 6.7 pounds to the dollar, forcing them to resort to parallel markets where exchange rates are much less favourable.

    Sudan announced emergency measures last month to stem the flow of scarce currency out of the banking system, after the pound fell to a record low of 27 against the dollar on the black market.

    The country also imposed tight restrictions on imports of luxury goods, directing remaining liquidity toward "sectors that boost growth", the central bank said.

    A senior governmental source said on Tuesday that the cabinet had decided to remove all subsidies from the manufacturing sector apart from firms involved in the production of medication and ice.

    The cost of electricity has jumped tenfold for the industrial sector, the government said separately.

    A union leader told Reuters he was worried that the devaluation of the currency and the electricity price hike would send inflation soaring.

    "We met the finance minister and asked him to adjust the budget so we won't suffer from the hike" in the customs exchange rate, Amin Abbas said, without giving further details.

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    Investors seek answers from SteinhoffInvestors seek answers from SteinhoffBehemoth retailer finds the going tough Embattled holdings company Steinhoff is trying to regain investor confidence but its creditors are having none of it. Steinhoff International Holdings' attempts to regain investor and creditor trust have fallen flat. More than two weeks after disclosing accounting irregularities, delaying its results and announcing the departure of its chief executive officer, the South African furniture and clothing retailer remains locked in a downward spiral.

    A December 19 meeting for lenders failed to halt a bond selloff and a slump in Steinhoff's Frankfurt- and Johannesburg-listed shares, after management and advisers didn't address some of the most pressing financial questions about the company, which owns Conforama in France, Mattress Firm in the US and Poundland in the UK.

    With auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers still digging into Steinhoff's accounts, here are some of the mysteries creditors and shareholders want answered.

    The company hasn't detailed the accounting irregularities, and it hasn't provided a timeline for future disclosures.

    The magnitude of the irregularities is still under scrutiny, Richard Bussell of law firm Linklaters, who is advising the company, said in an audio recording posted on the retailer's website.

    The company intends to restate its fiscal 2016 accounts, and could revise earlier statements, according to a presentation.

    Steinhoff didn't provide details of available financing at the creditors' meeting. It has said it's seeing some lenders suspending or withdrawing support, as well as insurers cutting exposure.

    Still, the company won approval to roll over €690 million of financing due last week, Matthew Prest, a managing director at Moelis & Co who has been working with Steinhoff for the past two weeks, said in the audio recording.

    The delay in the publication of 2017 numbers could force Steinhoff to ask lenders to waive a test on loan terms to maintain access to credit.

    With credit facilities at risk, Steinhoff may need to rely on its cash buffer.

    Creditors and shareholders are in the dark over the size of the cash pile because the company hasn't provided an update. Company accounts showed holdings of €3.1 billion at the end of March. Steinhoff also hasn't said whether it will need new money to keep businesses running. Many units are dependent on the holding company for funding, according to Steinhoff's presentation.

    Soon after announcing a delay in the publication of its audited results, Steinhoff told investors it was investigating “the validity and recoverability of certain non-South African assets of the company which amount to circa €6 billion.”

    Tuesday's presentation provided no further clarity on the nature or status of those assets, or which subsidiaries they were related to. Steinhoff didn't give a reason for Markus Jooste's resignation, which was announced alongside the accounting irregularities. He was a protege of the company's largest shareholder, Christo Wiese. On Thursday, Barclays Africa Group's Absa unit said a racehorse company linked to Jooste owed three South African financial services firms more than R1.2 billion. Absa has moved to liquidate the company.

    - FIN24

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    Brother kills brother on Family Day Brother kills brother on Family Day JEMIMA BEUKES

    A 16-year-old Mariental boy allegedly stabbed and killed his 22-year-old brother over empty bottles at the town’s Donkerhoek location on 26 December, celebrated as Family Day.

    The Hardap regional crime investigations coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Eric Clay, confirmed the incident.

    According to the police the deceased, Brandon Bock, and his assailant had an argument over empty bottles.

    “The deceased died in hospital while being treated for his wound. He was stabbed on the left side of his chest,” the police report read.

    The suspect is in custody.

    A Mariental woman was shot in the head at the town’s Takarania Township and later died in the Mariental State Hospital.

    The police identified the deceased as Christina Adams.

    It is alleged that the suspect went to the deceased’s house where he reportedly assaulted someone with an empty beer bottle.

    He then shot Adams in the head with a 9mm pistol.

    According to Deputy Commissioner Clay it appeared as if the suspect was standing and the deceased sitting.

    The suspect has been arrested and the pistol was recovered and the police investigation into the matter continues.

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    Fewer car crashes this ChristmasFewer car crashes this Christmas13 dead in 68 accidents The number of fatal car crashes over the Christmas weekend was about 25% less than last year. JANA-MARI SMITH

    Car accident statistics for the Christmas weekend show a notable decline in crashes, injuries and fatalities compared to the 2016 Christmas weekend.

    The Motor Vehicle (MVA) Fund confirmed that for the period 22 to 26 December 2017, a total of 68 car accidents were reported around the country, 23% less than the 89 crashes reported over the same period last year.

    Injuries decreased by 25% this long weekend, totalling 130 compared to the 174 reported during the same period last year.

    Fatalities decreased by 45%, down from 24 to 13 between Friday and Tuesday.

    Nevertheless, several car accidents led to loss of lives and new police cases since Friday, and several were linked to drunk and reckless driving.

    At least four pedestrians died after being hit by a car.

    A 28-year-old man, Kamburu Frans, died after he was hit by a Toyota pick-up in Rundu on Saturday. The driver fled and has not yet been arrested.

    In a similar case, police are requesting information after the body of an unidentified man was discovered on the Rundu and Okongo main road over the weekend.

    Police suspect he was hit by a car and that the driver fled the scene.

    In Ohangwena the 26-year-old driver of a Toyota pick-up crashed into Lazarus Fikameni Mwatwange from Ongaiva village, killing him. The driver was charged with culpable homicide.

    Another case of culpable homicide was opened against a 27-year-old driver in Oshakati, after he crashed into Albert Natangwe (27) with his Toyota Land Cruiser.

    “The driver was under the influence of alcohol,” the Namibian Police crime report confirmed.

    A case of culpable homicide was opened after a passenger (56) died in a car travelling from Keetmanshoop to Mariental on Saturday. The victim was a Chinese national, and was part of a group of six other Chinese travelling in the car.

    The accident happened after the driver lost control of the Toyota double cab, which overturned.

    Police also confirmed that an unlicensed taxi driver, identified as Nanghonga Anderson Letu, died instantly after losing control of the vehicle on David Hosea Meroro Road near the Rocky Crest residential area on Sunday.

    Other passengers in the white Toyota Viz sustained minor injuries.

    Latokoa Albertina Gabriel (28) died when a car she was a passenger in overturned on the road between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay on Friday.

    A case of reckless and negligent driving and driving without a driver’s licence was opened on Friday against a 23-year-old woman, who was arrested after she had crashed into a pedestrian at Hoachanas.

    Another driver fled the scene at Gibeon, but was later arrested, after he crashed his car into a house wall while under the influence of alcohol.

    An Iveco bus carrying 23 passengers overturned after a tyre burst on the Ongwediva and Ondangwa main road on Tuesday morning.

    Two passengers sustained serious injuries while 21 others sustained minor injuries.

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    Lightning kills 23 goats at OhadiwaLightning kills 23 goats at Ohadiwa KENYA KAMBOWE

    A northern village headman lost 23 of his goats, valued at an estimated N$19 000, when they were struck by lightning on Tuesday evening.

    Israel Nghandi (61), headman of Ohadiwa village in the Ongwediva constituency, yesterday shared his ordeal with Namibian Sun. He said the huge loss has placed a burden on his shoulders in terms of sustaining his family of 14.

    Nghandi said the incident happened around 18:00. He was not at home and only heard about the disaster when he received a phone call from his wife.

    Nghandi said he immediately went home where he found 23 of his 46 goats dead under a tree in his mahangu field.

    “I felt so bad when I saw my goats lying there dead. This has now touched my means of sustaining my family so badly. I am a pensioner and my pension grant alone is not enough to sustain my whole family. The goats that I lost could have helped me dearly in the future, now they are all gone,” Nghandi said.

    He was relieved that half of his flock survived, however.

    Nghandi also lost 12 goats in a similar manner back in 2013.

    Nghandi said there was nothing he could have done to prevent the incident and as a man who believes in the bible, he accepted what happened.

    “This was God’s will and I have accepted it. They say lightning strikes the ones God love and it is some kind of relief to me as well,” Nghandi said.

    He also pointed out that none of his family members were harmed.

    “Although the loss of goats is huge, I am just thankful that my family members are all safe,” Nghandi said.

    Nghandi said he and his family skinned the goat carcasses and community members who heard about the incident were interested in consuming the meat.

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    Namibia face tough test to reach World CupNamibia face tough test to reach World CupWelwitschias eye World Cup spot Namibia's senior rugby side, the Welwitschias, could represent Namibia during the 2019 Rugby World Cup if they beat Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tunisia, Kenya and Morocco in the 2018 Africa Gold Cup. The Rugby Africa Gold Cup promises seven days of intense matches pitting Africa's top six men's rugby union nations against each other between 16 June and 18 August 2018.

    The stakes are high this year, since the 2018 African champions will automatically qualify for the World Cup which will be played in Japan between 20 September and 2 November 2019. The runners-up will participate in a last chance bracket tournament.

    The matches will be played across six countries in 15 two-legged matches. South Africa have already qualified for a place in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

    The rules remain the same for the 2017 season, in that the top three teams will play three home matches and two away matches, while the teams ranked fourth through sixth will travel three times and only host two home matches.

    Namibia have dominated the Gold Cup competition and are the reigning champions, having won the cup in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Kenya came second, Uganda third, Tunisia fourth and Zimbabwe came fifth in this year's cup.

    Even though Namibia have won the Gold Cup and qualified for the last five Rugby World Cups, competition will certainly be harsh, as five other countries have serious designs for the title of African Champion.

    The 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup is thus promising to showcase top-quality rugby that is engaging and full of excitement.

    The Rugby Africa Gold Cup rankings follow a points system (win, tie, loss and bonus points) with other criteria in case of two or three-way ties.

    The winner is the team who score the most at the end of the tournament. There is no final match to determine the champion, so the suspense builds regarding the final ranking of all the teams until the final second of the last match.

    Namibia will face Uganda on 16 June, Tunisia on 23 June, Morocco on 30 June, Zimbabwe on 4 August and Kenya last on August 18.

    At the moment Namibia are the hot favourites to qualify as they are ranked 23rd in the world, followed by Kenya sitting on the 30th spot, Uganda 35th, Morocco 38th and Zimbabwe 45th.

    – Additional Reporting by RUGBYAFRICA-NEWSROOM.COM


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