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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

older | 1 | .... | 632 | 633 | (Page 634) | 635 | 636 | .... | 1152 | newer

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    MET fines man for illegal campingMET fines man for illegal camping NAMPA

    A man was fined N$1 200 for illegally camping on the beach at Mile 8 on Christmas Eve.

    Mile 8, situated north of Swakopmund, is part of the Dorob National Park, where visitors without a permit to overnight are expected to vacate the park by 21:00.

    The fine, which is the first for this year, was issued by officials from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

    Park warden Jeremia Lamek on Thursday could not reveal the name and age of the suspect as he is still to pay his fine or appear in court should he fail to pay.

    Lamek said his office decided to issue fines this festive season as people have been violating park rules for the past two years.

    He noted that the Namibian Navy and the Namibian Police Force agreed to assist in the patrolling and issuing of fines.

    Littering will cost N$250 while those found selling merchandise in the park without a permit will be fined N$500.

    Lamek’s team of volunteers is currently busy picking up trash scattered at Mile 8, Mile 4 and Dune 7 after the Christmas celebrations.

    He once again appealed to holidaymakers to throw garbage into the bins provided and keep the environment clean and safe.

    He noted that the Long Beach area remains clean.

    “Driving in the dunes in areas which are not demarcated is still a concern. People must stop the ‘I do not care attitude’ and respect the rules of the park,” Lamek said.

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  • 12/28/17--14:00: Regional land bill passed
  • Regional land bill passedRegional land bill passedSetback for ailing construction industry There is concern about the potential for corruption involving trust funds to be set up for property developments. JEMIMA BEUKES



    The newly passed Urban and Regional Planning Bill could be a blow to new and emerging construction companies as developers are now required to finance property developments from their own pockets or a loan.

    The bill, which was passed in the National Council last week, prohibits developers from using the proceeds from sales of plots until after construction is completed.

    Instead section 72(1) of the bill requires payment for erven and houses that are part of development projects to be first invested in a trust fund until construction has been completed and the local authority or minister proclaimed it as a settlement in the Government Gazette.

    The owner of the land who intends to establish a township will pay the lawyers who will administer the trust fund.

    The bill defines a township as a group of portions of land or subdivisions of a portion of land which are combined with public places and are used or intended to be used for residential, business, industrial or similar purposes.

    The money will only be paid out once development is completed, the owner becomes insolvent or if the township cannot be completed. However the money will then be returned to the buyers.

    Developers will under no circumstances be able to use this money as collateral for loans at local banks.

    The bill states that if a developer violates the stipulations and receives money from a buyer without the money being paid into the trust fund; such a person will be fined with a fine not exceeding N$100 000 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years.

    Local economist Dr Omu Kakujaha-Matundu believes this is another setback for the already ailing construction industry.

    He emphasises that even the bigger players in the industry may be wary to put their money into something that is not guaranteed to work out.

    “This new law will make the entire deal very unattractive. It may look like a risky business for some companies. There may be a fear that the trust funds can be abused unless there are some watertight safeguarding mechanisms in place,” he argues.

    He also pointed out that some small and medium enterprises that have been hitchhiking on the backside of government projects such as the failing Mass Housing scheme may be completely thrown off the bus.

    Meanwhile the ministry indicated that new law will save up to 60% of the time needed to process planning applications.

    The permanent secretary of the ministry of urban and rural development, Daniel Nghidinua, stated that this would be done by giving planning powers to local authorities with capable administrations such as the City of Windhoek and Walvis Bay municipality.

    “Through productive planning introduced through the drafting of spatial plans, approval is readily available from the start only in exceptional circumstances where planning permission is sought outside existing structure plans,” he said.

    The bill also proposes a single urban and regional planning board which will advise the minister on all land issues, compared to the previous two boards.

    Furthermore capable local authorities with structure plans and staff need to be investigated and recommended to the minister for planning authority status.

    According to Nghidinua these powers will provide local authorities with another revenue stream.

    “The fast execution of decisions and developments will no longer wait for the central government for six months. Hence, accumulatively over time infrastructures are put in place faster and therefore the collection of revenues from stimulated developing industry such as local plans.”

    Tough times

    This comes at a time when the construction industry which largely depends on government tenders is going bent under heavy budget cuts.

    In September this year leading economist Klaus Schade predicted that the construction sector will feel the full impact of the government's budgetary alignments this year.

    Namibia slipped into recession this year and the country has seen a string of job losses as a result.

    The construction sector has shown negative growth for the sixth consecutive quarter and the retail and wholesale sectors have shown decline in growth for the third consecutive quarter.

    For construction, growth in the last quarter stood at -51.9%, the worst figure since the sector's decline began in 2016. In the first quarter of 2017, it registered growth of -45% while growth was recorded at -32.2% in the first quarter of 2016.

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  • 12/28/17--14:00: MTN issues shareholder loan
  • MTN issues shareholder loanMTN issues shareholder loan NAMPA/REUTERS

    MTN Group, Africa's biggest mobile phone operator, said on Thursday it had assigned a $231 million shareholder loan to phone tower group, IHS Holding Ltd, impacting its 2017 profits.

    MTN, which returned to profit in the first half of its financial year in the absence of one-off charges related to a $1.1 billion Nigerian fine, said the assignment of the loan to IHS will lead to a loss of $228 million on transfer of the carrying value of the loan.

    The loss on transfer will impact headline earnings per share (HEPS) for 2017, the main profit measure in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items, but not earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), the firm said.

    MTN said the loan, which is due in 2024/2025, will allow its Nigerian unit to continue to invest in its network and simplify MTN’s interests in IHS.

    "The agreement will enable MTN and IHS to mutually benefit from continued investment and commitment to the rollout of broadband and data services in Nigeria," MTN said in a statement.

    MTN formed a joint venture partnership with specialist tower company IHS in 2014 to own and operate MTN's transmitter towers in Nigeria.

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    Airlines can't blame computer models for higher faresAirlines can't blame computer models for higher fares NAMPA/REUTERS

    Airlines shouldn't be allowed to hide behind computer-based models when justifying higher fares, the head of the German cartel office said in an interview published on Thursday, as authorities review allegations of a recent spike in prices.

    In November, the cartel office asked national airline Lufthansa for information on prices after receiving complaints about rising fares following the collapse of Air Berlin, Germany's second largest carrier.

    Lufthansa said at the time it was cooperating fully with the cartel office and had not changed its pricing structures, which comprise up to 26 different fares per flight and were automatically determined by software.

    "Such algorithms aren't written by god in the heavens," Andreas Mundt told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. "Companies can't hide behind algorithms."

    A Lufthansa spokesman said on Thursday the airline hadn't increased fares on domestic flights or flights within in Europe in more than a year.

    He added the insolvency of Air Berlin had eliminated 100 planes and 60 000 seats a day.

    "As a result, available flights are booked more quickly," he said. "It can be the case that with booking at short notice on some routes that only relatively more expensive booking classes are available."

    Lufthansa's chief executive, Carsten Spohr, addressed the cartel office investigation in a recent interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, saying the airline would be absolved of any wrongdoing.

    "It is good because in the process of the investigation it will be determined that we aren't taking advantage of any short-term dominant market position," Spohr was quoted as saying.

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    Sanlam warns investors of Steinhoff setbackSanlam warns investors of Steinhoff setback FIN24

    Steinhoff’s share price collapse has knocked about 1% off the annual returns of typical Sanlam investors, the Cape Town-based financial services group said in a market announcement.

    The share price of the embattled global furniture retailer has dropped over 90% this month, after its CEO Markus Jooste abruptly resigned and it announced that PwC was investigating “accounting irregularities requiring further investigation” in its books.

    The Stellenbosch-headquartered group’s 2017 audited results are on hold, and it has warned investors to not rely on the figures contained in its 2016 results.

    Steinhoff is now facing at least seven different probes in Europe and South Africa, as well as a number of possible investor lawsuits.

    Sanlam said that in a “typical balanced portfolio” of an investor, Steinhoff exposure would have accounted for approximately 1.1% of the portfolio assets on 1 December 2017.

    Sanlam said the steep share price decline would cut the returns of typical shareholders by about 1%.

    Investors who held a larger Steinhoff weighting in their portfolios would be worse affected. “The negative impact on the return of a South African Swix Equity index fund would be approximately 2.1%,” it said.

    Steinhoff was for years seen as an integral part of many SA share portfolios.

    Once in the top 10 of the JSE by market capitalisation, the "Ikea of Africa" now risks dropping off the list of the top 100 biggest JSE companies altogether.

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  • 12/28/17--14:00: Rand continues good run
  • Rand continues good runRand continues good run FIN24

    The rand has breached the R12.40/$ level, firming on continued positive sentiment following Cyril Ramaphosa's election as ANC leader, and as the greenback eased against a basket of currencies.

    "The market still believes that the new ANC leadership is going to turn the SA ship around," Wichard Cilliers, currency dealer at TreasuryOne, told Fin24.

    The last time the rand was traded at these levels was in March, just before President Jacob Zuma axed former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas in a cabinet reshuffle. The unit was then trading as low as R12.30 to the dollar.

    "We have seen the US push the ZAR stronger, and our local bonds are around 75bps stronger than a month ago," Cilliers said.

    He said the rand still seemed like the flavour of the month following Ramaphosa's win over Zuma's ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's in the race for ANC president.

    The rand tested a three-month high of R12.75 ahead of the widely watched ANC elective conference.

    The surge in oil prices to two-and-a-half year highs on Tuesday has boosted currencies of commodity exporting countries.

    However, other emerging markets currencies are still not performing as well as the rand currently is, said Cilliers.

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    SA’s inequality on the riseSA’s inequality on the riseGap between rich and poor widens A new study is indicating that the rich are getting richer in South Africa. The top-10 earners bagged 66% of national income in 2017 according to the report. FIN24

    New research has found that inequality in SA has increased with wealth becoming ever more concentrated among the rich.

    According to the World Inequality Lab, SA is one of the world's most unequal countries, with 10% of top earners capturing 66% of the national income.

    "For the first time ever, this report examines how global growth has been shared among individuals in the entire world since the 1980s, with a particular focus on emerging countries where inequality data had previously been sparse or non-existent," said Thomas Piketty, co-ordinator of the report.

    Data from organisation showed that in SA, the top 1% of earners held 8.8% of SA's wealth in 1987, and had increased their share to 19.2% by 2012.

    The report found that wealth inequality had grown most rapidly in North America, China, India, and Russia, while remaining stable - albeit at high levels - in sub-Saharan Africa.

    "The fact that inequality trends vary so greatly among countries, even when countries share similar levels of development, highlights the important role of national policies in shaping inequality," said Lucas Chancel, general co-ordinator of the report.

    "For instance, consider China and India since 1980: China recorded much higher growth rates with significantly lower inequality levels than India. The positive conclusion of the World Inequality Report is that policy matters, a lot," Chancel added.

    The report found that average South African income (in dollar terms) increased from $15 437 in 2000 to $18 578 in 2011, but then declined to $18 079 by 2016.

    The results match a recent Oxfam SA report that found just three South African billionaires had more wealth than the bottom half of the country's earners.

    Those three were identified as retail tycoon Christo Wiese, Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg, and Aspen Pharmacare chief executive Stephen Saad.

    However, the Oxfam SA figures date from January 2017, before the Steinhoff debacle wiped out a significant portion of Wiese's wealth.

    The World Inequality Lab linked wealth inequality to tax avoidance by wealthy individuals.

    "The establishment of a global financial registry to record the ownership of financial assets would deal severe blows to tax evasion and money laundering, and would enhance the effectiveness of progressive taxation, which is an essential tool in reducing economic inequality," said report co-ordinator Gabriel Zucman.

    Global wealth inequality looks set to continue its current trajectory if global economic policies remain in place, said the organisation.

    "The combination of privatisations and increasing income inequality has fuelled the rise of wealth inequality - within countries and at the global level, private capital is increasingly concentrated among a few individuals. This rise was extreme in the US, where the share of wealth held by the top 1% rose from 22% in 1980 to 39% in 2014," said Emmanuel Saez, co-ordinator of the report.

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    Hepatitis outbreak still under controlHepatitis outbreak still under control JANA-MARI SMITH

    A total of 38 people have been linked to the hepatitis E virus (HEV) outbreak in Windhoek’s informal settlements, including nine who tested positive and 11 Havana residents who are on treatment because they have shown HEV symptoms.

    Last week, the health ministry announced the HEV outbreak, which had claimed the life of a 26-year-old woman, who died shortly after giving birth in November.

    The ministry also confirmed that the outbreak had been detected solely in parts of Windhoek’s informal settlements, where the supply of clean drinking water is not always assured and sanitation challenges abound.

    At the announcement of the HEV outbreak in Windhoek last week, health minister Dr Bernhard Haufiku confirmed that nine patients had tested positive, while four had tested negative, and in eight cases results were still pending.

    The health ministry’s Dr Sikota Zeko this week confirmed that five people had since tested positive, while the ministry was still waiting for the results of 12 patients, up from the eight results that were still pending last week.

    He confirmed that Havana, with 11 cases, had been identified as the epicentre of the outbreak.

    Zeko explained that during an outbreak, when a person presenting with the symptoms of the infection comes forward from an area where the outbreak has been identified, no further specimens are taken and the person is immediately treated “by virtue of location” and the symptoms.

    Last week the ministry confirmed that a total of 26 patients in the Havana, Goreangab, Hakahana, Greenwell Matongo and Ombili informal settlements had been tested.

    Zeko said health education was continuing in the community on personal hygiene, sanitation and hand-washing, crucial to reducing the risk of infection.

    The virus is transmitted via the faecal-oral route, principally via contaminated drinking water, and the disease is most common in areas with limited access to water, sanitation, hygiene and health services.

    According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “the risk factors for hepatitis E are related to poor sanitation, allowing virus excreted in the faeces of infected people to reach drinking water supplies.”

    The WHO also recommends that authorities ensure that residents have access to quality water supply and that proper disposal systems for human faeces are provided to help reduce the risk of HEV outbreaks.

    Symptoms include jaundice, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine, pale-coloured stool, joint pain, nausea and vomiting.

    Health officials urge anyone presenting with these symptoms to go to the nearest health facility.

    Most people with hepatitis E recover completely and the fatality rate is about 1% for the general population.

    However, for pregnant women, hepatitis E can be a serious illness, with mortality reaching 10%–30% in their third trimester of pregnancy.

    Hepatitis E could also be serious among persons with pre-existing chronic liver disease or persons with suppressed immune systems.

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    NamWater’s Calueque in troubled waterNamWater’s Calueque in troubled waterRepairs to take four weeks Repairs to a vitally important pump at the Calueque Dam in southern Angola will take four weeks and not two as was said earlier, NamWater has announced. JANA-MARI SMITH



    Emergency repairs to two crucial pipelines from Angola’s Calueque Dam, which have jeopardised NamWater’s ability to supply water to north-central Namibia, will be completed in about four weeks.

    In a letter dated 22 December and addressed to minister of agriculture, water and forestry John Mutorwa, NamWater CEO Vaino Shivute confirmed that a contractor had been appointed to fix two pumps that had been “leaking heavily.”

    Shivute’s letter assured the minister that the Calueque scheme, which is the main source of water to north-central Namibia, was “currently vulnerable, but not under critical threat”.

    He said contractors were working around the clock and were expected to conclude the repairs in the next four weeks.

    Shivute said damage to the pumping lines from two raw-water abstraction pumps had minimised water supply and caused a lot of water wastage, which was seeping back into the pumps and switchboard building, while some was “collecting into pools outside”.

    Shivute emphasised the urgency of the repairs, noting they were needed “before it gets worse and compromises the integrity of the pumping scheme and supply of raw water.”

    He estimated that the Calueque scheme provides raw water to a “population that exceeds 50% of the country’s population during the festive season.”

    As a result of the pumping line damage, NamWater’s supply from Calueque has been halved in recent weeks, Namibian Sun reported more than a week ago.

    Apart from water supply to the Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana, Kunene and Oshikoto Regions, water is also supplied to the Ruacana hydroelectric power station and one of the biggest green schemes, the Etunda Irrigation Project.

    As a means of boosting water supply, NamWater used the backup reservoir at Olushandja Dam, which has pushed many crop farmers there to the brink and forced some to shut down operations and cut jobs.

    Extracting water from the dam has “negatively impacted” the small-scale irrigation farmers around Olushandja Dam, which has been “depleting due to the augmentation and boosting of the canal,” NamWater acknowledged.

    Moreover, the prevailing natural conditions of drought and increased evaporation have “additionally drained the dam,” the letter stated.

    In addition, the supply has put pressure on providing sufficient water to the Etunda Irrigation Project.

    With repairs ongoing, NamWater informed Mutorwa that supply to their purification plants currently was dependent on one pump at Calueque, which has an output of 1.8 cubic litres per second.

    This output is shared with the Etunda irrigation scheme, which “siphons about one third of the total water abstracted,” Shivute explained.

    Etunda management and AgriBusDev were warned that they might face rationing if supply to NamWater production plants came “under threat,” he added.

    The letter further cautioned that the pipes being repaired are located 12 metres below ground and the repair work is “being conducted within the pipe underground, creating uncertainty in the smoothness of successful execution of the project.”

    Mutorwa was informed that a NamWater team was on standby to provide support and monitor progress of the repairs.

    Namibian Sun previously reported that at the beginning of 2017 NamWater announced that the Angolan government had spent about N$2.7 billion to rehabilitate the Calueque Dam in the Cunene River Basin in southern Angola for the benefit of Namibians.

    The rehabilitation included the installation of three new water pumps and other state-of-the-art facilities to increase water supply to a population of about two million people in southern Angola and northern Namibia.

    The rehabilitated dam is an 18-metre-deep composite structure with earth-fill flanks and a central mass concrete spillway.

    It has a pump station, situated on the southern bank of the Cunene River, which supplies a peak flow of 7.4 cubic metres per second - of which 1.4 is intended for new Angolan irrigation projects, while the rest is allocated for use by Namibia.

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    Nandi-Ndaitwah airlifted after fatal crash Nandi-Ndaitwah airlifted after fatal crash KENYA KAMBOWE

    Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah was airlifted to a Windhoek hospital yesterday following her involvement in a horrific accident that claimed at least one life on the Oshivelo-Tsumeb road.

    The accident was confirmed by police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga, but full details were still sketchy at the time of going to print yesterday.

    The car that was carrying the minister collided head-on with an Opel Corsa bakkie.

    It was earlier claimed that three people had died, but Oshikoto police Deputy Commissioner Petrus Shigwedha said only the driver of the Opel bakkie died on the spot, while a passenger in the same car was seriously injured.

    Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also the Swapo vice-president and minister of international relations, was immediately transported to a Tsumeb hospital. She was then airlifted to a Windhoek hospital.

    Her condition was reportedly stable, according to high-placed sources.

    According to witnesses the accident scene was heavily guarded by traffic officers and police officers assigned to the VVIP protection division.

    “It was a terrible scene to watch especially the Corsa bakkie which was severely damaged as I could see its engine on the ground,” a witness told Namibian Sun.

    Another source observed that the deputy prime minister's motorcade was driving recklessly on the congested road when it passed them outside Ondangwa.

    “We were driving from Ondangwa and suddenly a motorcade was behind us, we got off the road but the manner in which those cars were being driven was not normal, they were recklessly driven and I am not surprised that they got into an accident," the witness said.

    When Namibian Sun broke the news on social media, there were mixed responses from readers, with many criticising the driving habits of VVIP drivers.

    Recently Ndeitunga had called on road users to give right of way to presidential and VIP motorcades and emergency vehicles.

    “It is my humble appeal to all road users to exercise their civil obligations to always stop and give right of way to any Very Very Important Person (VVIP) or Very Important Person (VIP) motorcade, or any emergency vehicles such as ambulances, the fire brigade or police quick response units,” Ndeitunga was quoted as saying.

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  • 12/28/17--14:00: Driver smashes into train
  • Driver smashes into train Driver smashes into train A 35-year-old Okahandja man identified as Raul Roberto Daniels died in the local hospital after he rammed into a decelerating train at the town last night.
    The incident was confirmed by Otjozondjupa police spokesperson Maureen Mbeha this morning.
    According to Mbeha, the driver of the train and his passengers did not sustain any injuries.
    “It is alleged that Daniels failed to stop at the railway crossing stop sign but police investigation continues,” she said.
    According to her, the train was travelling from Windhoek and passed through the middle of the town while the deceased was travelling from a residential area into the central business district.
    A case of culpable homicide is being investigated.
    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 12/28/17--14:00: Two dead in Ndaitwah crash
  • Two dead in Ndaitwah crashTwo dead in Ndaitwah crash Two men have died after an accident which involved Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah on Thursday afternoon en route to Tsumeb from Oshivelo.
    This was confirmed in a statement issued by the police chief, Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga this morning.
    It is alleged that the motorcade, escorted by the Oshivelo police's traffic section, was travelling from Oshivelo towards Tsumeb when an oncoming Opel Corsa, which overtook a truck, collided head-on with a Land Cruiser that was part of the motorcade.
    The Deputy Prime Minister and her driver sustained injuries and were rushed to the Tsumeb State Hospial. She was subsequently airlifted to Windhoek for further medical treatment at the Medi-Clinic Private Hospital.
    Her driver, however, was admitted at the Tsumeb State Hospital and is reported to be in a stable condition. Her bodyguard, as well as a 15-year-old passenger, who travelled with the Deputy Prime Minister escaped unhurt.
    The driver of the Opel Corsa, who was identified as the 27-year-old Sem Shafishuna Iiyagaya, died instantly while his passenger, an identified 33-year-old man, succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital.
    Inspector-General Ndeitunga has conveyed his condolences to the families of deceased and wishes the Nandi-Ndaitwah and her driver a speedy recovery.
    He further pleaded for road safety and cautioned all motorists to adhere to the traffic rules and regulations in order to end fatalities and injuries on the country’s roads.
    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 12/29/17--00:25: Driver smashes into train
  • Driver smashes into train Driver smashes into train
    A 35-year-old Okahandja man identified as Raul Roberto Daniels died in the local hospital after he rammed into a decelerating train at the town last night.
    The incident was confirmed by Otjozondjupa police spokesperson Maureen Mbeha this morning.
    According to Mbeha, the driver of the train and his passengers did not sustain any injuries.
    “It is alleged that Daniels failed to stop at the railway crossing stop sign but police investigation continues,” she said.
    According to her, the train was travelling from Windhoek and passed through the middle of the town while the deceased was travelling from a residential area into the central business district.
    A case of culpable homicide is being investigated.
    JEMIMA BEUKES

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  • 12/29/17--01:17: Two dead in Ndaitwah crash
  • Two dead in Ndaitwah crashTwo dead in Ndaitwah crash Two men have died after an accident which involved Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah on Thursday afternoon en route to Tsumeb from Oshivelo.
    This was confirmed in a statement issued by the police chief, Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga this morning.
    It is alleged that the motorcade, escorted by the Oshivelo police's traffic section, was travelling from Oshivelo towards Tsumeb when an oncoming Opel Corsa, which overtook a truck, collided head-on with a Land Cruiser that was part of the motorcade.
    The Deputy Prime Minister and her driver sustained injuries and were rushed to the Tsumeb State Hospial. She was subsequently airlifted to Windhoek for further medical treatment at the Medi-Clinic Private Hospital.
    Her driver, however, was admitted at the Tsumeb State Hospital and is reported to be in a stable condition. Her bodyguard, as well as a 15-year-old passenger, who travelled with the Deputy Prime Minister escaped unhurt.
    The driver of the Opel Corsa, who was identified as the 27-year-old Sem Shafishuna Iiyagaya, died instantly while his passenger, an identified 33-year-old man, succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital.
    Inspector-General Ndeitunga has conveyed his condolences to the families of deceased and wishes the Nandi-Ndaitwah and her driver a speedy recovery.
    He further pleaded for road safety and cautioned all motorists to adhere to the traffic rules and regulations in order to end fatalities and injuries on the country’s roads.
    JEMIMA BEUKES

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    Knockouts galore at Desert RumbleKnockouts galore at Desert RumbleBoxers shine at the Dome Boxing fans got exactly what they came for on Friday night - world-class punches and knockouts. The 2017 edition of the Desert Rumble, which took place at the Dome's Indoor Sports Centre in Swakopmund on Friday night, provided entertaining boxing for those in attendance.

    The bonanza, which had seven bouts on the main card, including two title fights, didn't disappoint as the event served up three knockouts in total.

    Vakufilapo 'Cowboy' Nashivela knocked out his South African opponent, George Mdluli after 57 seconds in the first round to emerge victorious.

    Nashivela's right-hand uppercut to the jaw enabled him to claim the vacant World Boxing Federation (WBF) Super Welterweight Africa title. Although Mdluli was able to get up and stand after the eight count, referee Lazarus Nainda declared him unfit to continue.

    Nashivela now has a perfect record of six wins from six fights. Although he has eight wins and a draw under his belt, Mdluli has now suffered five defeats from his 14 fights.

    Another boxer who made light work of his fight at the boxing bonanza was local boxer Albinius 'Danny Boy' Felesianu.

    During the lightweight non-title fight, 'Danny Boy' wasted no time, as his incisive left hook 47 seconds into the second round floored his Malawian opponent, Raston Kayira.

    Kayira was unable to get up before the referee's eight count, fulfilling Danny Boy's promise which he made during the weigh-in that his opponent would receive a 'bonus dosage of pain'.

    From his 18 fights, Danny Boy's record now reads: 15 wins, two defeats and one draw. The 30-year-old hard-hitting boxer from Swakopmund, is also the current International Boxing Federation (IBF) Africa Junior Lightweight champion.

    The main fight between Paulus 'El Jesus' Ambunda and Tanzanian Nasibu Ramadhan was worth its billing. The soft-spoken Ambunda allowed his knuckles to do the talking as he peppered Ramadhan with clever jabs and hurtful uppercuts in the first two rounds.

    Ramadhan was no walkover, giving as much is he got during the first five rounds. With 35 fights under his belt, the Tanzanian is no rookie and that was clear to see as his strategic one- and two-combination punches often found their intended target.

    However, as the fight reached its climax, Ambunda's confidence was boosted by the home crowd as he started to tire Ramadhan. Ambunda opted for body blows in the closing rounds as he started to tire Ramadhan and subsequently knocked his opponent down in the 11th round.

    After the 12 rounds of boxing, the scorecard was unanimously in favour of Ambunda as it read: 118-109, 115-113 and 118-108 and deservedly earned the Namibian the WBC Super Bantamweight International title.

    Ambunda extended his record to 26 wins from 28 fights, having lost only two bouts.

    There were also unanimous points' victories for Namibian boxers: Joseph 'Smokey' Hilongwa, Jonas 'The Gangsta' Matheus, Immanuel 'Imms' Josef and Lazarus Shaningwa.

    The Desert Rumble boxing bonanza which was held in tandem by Kalakoda Promotions and Salute Boxing Academy was a successful sporting event.

    The showpiece drew over 600 boxing lovers including former deputy minister of the ministry of youth, national service, sport and culture; Pohamba Shifeta (current minister of environment and tourism); former chairperson of the Namibia Sports Commission Board of Commissioners, Vetumbuavi Veii, as well as the Namibian police chief Lieutenant-General Sebatian Ndeitunga.

    ADOLF KAURE

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    Klim signs for Doncaster KnightsKlim signs for Doncaster Knights Namibia's international rugby player Lesley Klim has signed for Doncaster Knights until the end of the season.

    The 22-year-old University of Namibia player will be playing in the United Kingdom's second tier league until June 2018 after signing a six-month contract. Klim, who can play outside centre – which is his preferred position – or left wing, arrived in Doncaster last Friday and got his first sight of his new teammates in action in Saturday's championship derby against Rotherham Titans at Clifton Lane.

    Speaking to Nampa via WhatsApp from his new base, Klim said he was grateful for the opportunity to showcase his talent overseas.

    “The move came about through an agent named Richard Emms from Wales, who saw me playing against Emerging Italy where I scored two tries.

    “He then facilitated this move for me,” Klim said. On his chances of representing Namibia for the 2019 World Cup in Japan, Klim said if selected he will help the country qualify first before thinking about going to Japan.

    He added that if he does the job well and help Namibia qualify, that will make the coach's job easier to select him for the global rugby spectacle. The Namibian player told Nampa he is settling in well in his new surroundings as he was introduced to the team upon his arrival.

    “I am living with a teammate from New Zealand, and most of the guys from the team have been welcoming me. I spent Christmas Eve with a teammate from Tonga, so it has been really easy for me to settle in.”

    Klim said the weather at the moment was not that bad, and he does not see it affecting his performance on the field. Meanwhile, according to online media, Doncaster Knights Director of Rugby, Clive Griffiths said Klim comes highly recommended to the club through Lyn Jones, his coach at Welwitschias, and Phil Davies (Namibian head coach).

    “He is an exciting acquisition and should suit our style of play down to the ground. There are a couple of rough edges to be worked on, but [Klim] has plenty of potential and I am really looking forward to seeing what he can do,” Griffiths was quoted as saying.

    NAMPA

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    Jetty Mile: Fifth win for SeidlerJetty Mile: Fifth win for SeidlerYoung swimmer sets his sights on 2020 Olympics The 19-year-old surfer and swimmer from Swakopmund, Philip Seidler, pocketed his fifth win in the Pupkewitz Jetty Mile last week. Philip Seidler was overjoyed after having completed the gruelling open-water swim in 19 minutes and 58 seconds, beating his own time last year (20 minutes and 24 seconds) by 24 seconds.

    “I feel a bit tired but I am very happy that I reached my goal of completing the swim in under 20 minutes,” he said.

    Seidler has also set his sights on the 2020 Olympics and plans to compete in the 10-km open-water event.

    “I am busy training to qualify for the Olympics and I hope to make it to the trials. I will be competing at the Jeffery's Bay Open Water event on 27 January to gain more experience,” he said.

    Swimmers at the Jetty Mile had to battle rough waters and huge waves, coupled with a strong northern wind. Seidler said he, however, used the adverse conditions to his advantage.

    “This is an advantage for me because I am a local surfer and swimmer. I know how to use the rough conditions to my advantage and I know all the secrets,” he said.

    Seidler also thanked the Eghardt Brand Foundation for sponsoring him to take part in this event as well as his family for their support. He also thanked his two coaches, Nadja Seidler and Janus Stergiadis, for their assistance and support.

    Another young swimmer who took the spotlight at the Jetty Mile was 15 year-old Heleni Stergiadis from Windhoek. She finished the event in sixth place overall with a time of 26 minutes and 2 seconds and was the first female to cross the finish line.

    She participated in the event for the first time last year and was also the first female to cross the finish line, finishing in tenth place overall.

    “I feel very refreshed and energised. I don't really focus on time and I only do it for fun and to have an opportunity to train with the other swimmers. We started training about a week ago and it was a lot of fun,” she said.

    Seidler was followed by Xander Skinner in second place (24:06) and Corné le Roux came in third place (24:25).

    JESSICA BOTES

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  • 01/01/18--14:00: Mbidi meets Aleksander
  • Mbidi meets AleksanderMbidi meets Aleksander Namibia Football Association (NFA) president, Frans Mbidi met with Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) president, Ceferin Aleksander for dinner at a local eatery in Windhoek on Wednesday last week.

    The two men held informal discussions on football during the engagement.

    Aleksander, who is of Slovenian origin, is in Namibia on vacation with his family and friends.

    Speaking to Nampa telephonically on Thursday, Mbidi said various issues related to football were discussed.

    “He is here on holiday, but informally we discussed various issues related to football. We spoke about youth development, infrastructural development and various other issues that we can collaborate on,” Mbidi said.

    He said it is now for him to formalise the discussions by writing an official letter to Aleksander with the hope of initiating collaboration between the NFA and UEFA.

    “We know what Europe is capable of, and as NFA we are looking at soliciting for help in youth development, which we know Europe will be keen in. We may also request an expert from them to help us with infrastructure development.”

    Mbidi said there are possibilities that Aleksander may introduce him to Football Association of Slovenia president, Radenko Mijatovic.

    “With the introduction we may be able to arrange friendly matches for the Brave Warriors with Slovenia and work on other developmental projects as well,” he said.

    The NFA president said as much as the meeting with Aleksander was informal, he was happy with the brainstorming on football related issues that took place during the dinner.

    This is the second time Aleksander is visiting Namibia, after having been here with friends five years ago.

    He brought with him an entourage of 14 people including his family and friends.

    The UEFA president will be visiting various parts of the country until 5 January 2018.

    NAMPA

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  • 01/01/18--14:00: Iranians take to the streets
  • Iranians take to the streetsIranians take to the streetsNew protests in Iran after Rouhani calls for calm By all accounts, it appears as though Iranians have had enough of their Islamic government and protests in that country seem to be growing. New protests were held in Iran overnight, local media said yesterday, despite President Hassan Rouhani calling for calm and vowing more “space for criticism” in a bid to head off days of unrest.

    Rouhani finally broke his silence on Sunday night about the protests that mark the biggest test for the regime since mass demonstrations in 2009.

    Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse a small protest in Tehran's Enghelab Square on Sunday evening, according to unverified social media videos.

    Protesters in the small northwestern town of Takestan torched a school for clergy and government buildings, the ILNA news agency said, while the state broadcaster said two people had died in Dorud after crashing a stolen fire engine.

    There were also reports of protests in the cities of Izeh (southwest), Kermanshah and Khorramabad (west), Shahinshahr (northwest) and Zanjan (north).

    Verifying reports remained challenging due to travel restrictions and sporadic blocks on mobile internet and popular social media sites including Telegram and Instagram.

    The protests began as demonstrations against economic conditions in second city Mashhad on Thursday but quickly turned against the Islamic regime as a whole, with thousands marching in towns across Iran to chants of “death to the dictator”.

    “The people are absolutely free in expressing their criticisms and even protests,” Rouhani said in a message on the state broadcaster.

    “But criticism is different to violence and destroying public property.”

    He sought a conciliatory tone, saying that government bodies “should provide space for legal criticism and protest” and calling for greater transparency and a more balanced media.

    US President Donald Trump said the “big protests” showed people “were getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism”.

    “Looks like they will not take it any longer,” he wrote on Twitter.

    In a later tweet, Trump accused Iran of “numerous violations of human rights,” and commented on the disruption to social media, saying it “has now closed down the Internet so that peaceful demonstrators cannot communicate. Not good!”

    Rouhani dismissed Trump's comments.

    “This man who today in America wants to sympathise with our people has forgotten that a few months ago he called the nation of Iran terrorist.

    “This person whose whole being is against the nation of Iran has no right to feel pity for the people of Iran.”

    After initial silence, state media began showing some footage on Sunday, focusing on young men attacking banks and vehicles, an attack on a town hall in Tehran, and images of a man burning the Iranian flag.

    Two hundred people were reported to have been arrested in Saturday night's unrest in the capital.

    Rouhani came to power in 2013 promising to mend the economy and ease social tensions, but anger over high living costs and a 12-percent unemployment rate have left many feeling that progress is too slow.

    Unemployment is particularly high among young people, who are generally considered less deferential to authority.

    “Rouhani has run an austerity budget since 2013 with the idea that it's a tough but necessary pill to swallow to manage inflation and currency problems and try to improve Iran's attractiveness for investment,” said Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, founder of the Europe-Iran Forum.

    “But choosing years of austerity immediately after a very tough period of sanctions is bound to test people's patience,” he told AFP.

    Police have so far taken a relatively soft approach to the unrest. They deny shooting two men killed in Dorud on Saturday night, although information has been hard to obtain amid the near-total media blackout.

    The authorities have blamed external forces for fomenting violence, saying the majority of social media reports were emanating from regional rival Saudi Arabia or exile groups based in Europe.

    NAMPA/AFP

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  • 01/01/18--14:00: Vote to annex West Bank
  • Vote to annex West BankVote to annex West Bank The central committee of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party on Sunday voted for a resolution urging Likud parliamentarians to push to annex the occupied West Bank.

    The non-binding vote by the party's decision-making committee called on its MPs “to spread Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (the West Bank)”.

    Netanyahu, who is a member of the central committee, was not present for the vote.

    The prime minister says he still supports a two-state solution with the Palestinians, although he has also pushed for Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank, which has been under Israeli occupation for 50 years. In October, Netanyahu decided to postpone a vote on a controversial bill that critics say would amount to the de facto annexation of Israeli settlements surrounding Jerusalem.

    The bill had been expected to be voted on by a ministerial committee in a move that would fast-track its progress through parliament.

    Israel occupied the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, in the Six-Day War of 1967. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

    It sees the entire city as its indivisible capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state. Israeli settlements are deemed illegal under international law and widely seen as the main obstacle to peace.

    More than 600 000 Jewish settlers live in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem among 2.9 million Palestinians, with frequent outbreaks of violence.

    Likud's central committee counts around 3 700 members, and according to Israeli media some 1 500 were present for Sunday's vote.

    NAMPA/AFP

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