Articles on this Page
- 01/01/19--14:00: _Emerging nations wi...
- 01/01/19--14:00: _Zimbabwe's economic...
- 01/01/19--14:00: _Self-regulation
- 01/01/19--14:00: _Maths set to crippl...
- 01/01/19--14:00: _PDM puts Sardarov d...
- 01/01/19--14:00: _Rape and domestic v...
- 01/02/19--14:00: _Serena in inspirati...
- 01/02/19--14:00: _Chelsea's Sarri rul...
- 01/02/19--14:00: _India's Ashwin back in
- 01/02/19--14:00: _Talking golf on the...
- 01/02/19--14:00: _Wozniacki cruises i...
- 01/02/19--14:00: _Omusindalongo tagu ...
- 01/02/19--14:00: _Oshigwana otashi gw...
- 01/02/19--14:00: _Yuan firms after po...
- 01/02/19--14:00: _Judge urges for har...
- 01/02/19--14:00: _Crash victims named
- 01/02/19--14:00: _Barbie will soon be...
- 01/02/19--14:00: _Geingob and the sti...
- 01/02/19--14:00: _Report missing pers...
- 01/02/19--14:00: _Cuba celebrates 60 ...
- 01/01/19--14:00: Emerging nations will take longer to outpace developed economies
- 01/01/19--14:00: Zimbabwe's economic crisis wipes out Christmas cheer
- 01/01/19--14:00: Self-regulation
- 01/01/19--14:00: Maths set to cripple results
- 01/01/19--14:00: PDM puts Sardarov deal before court
- 01/01/19--14:00: Rape and domestic violence mar Christmas
- 01/02/19--14:00: Serena in inspirational message to working mums
- 01/02/19--14:00: Chelsea's Sarri rules out signing striker, targets winger
- 01/02/19--14:00: India's Ashwin back in
- 01/02/19--14:00: Talking golf on the green
- 01/02/19--14:00: Wozniacki cruises in Auckland ahead of Melbourne title defence
- 01/02/19--14:00: Omusindalongo tagu lundululwa
- 01/02/19--14:00: Oshigwana otashi gwile moongunga
- 01/02/19--14:00: Yuan firms after posting fourth annual loss in five in 2018
- 01/02/19--14:00: Judge urges for harsher sentences
- 01/02/19--14:00: Crash victims named
- 01/02/19--14:00: Barbie will soon be 60 - and is still going strong
- 01/02/19--14:00: Geingob and the sticky affair of the DRC
- 01/02/19--14:00: Report missing persons - City Police
- 01/02/19--14:00: Cuba celebrates 60 years of revolution
The CEBR consultancy's 2019 World Economic League Table was more downbeat on the global economy than last year's outlook.
"For the medium term, we are roughly as optimistic as we were a year ago, but suspect the route to growth will be more bumpy than we had assumed 12 months ago," said the report, which forecast the fortunes of 193 countries to 2033.
China is likely to overtake the United States as the world's No. 1 economy in 2032, two years later than previously expected, due to a more lax monetary policy and lower exchange rate, the CEBR said.
It expects Brazil to overtake Italy in 2020, not 2018.
India would overtake Britain and France, probably in 2019, but possibly 2020, rather than in 2018 as it predicted a year ago.
Britain would likely lose its place as then the sixth biggest economy to France next year due to Brexit-related disruption, but should regain that position by 2023.
The CEBR also projected Ireland to be among the fastest growing economies in the euro zone next year, but said Brexit posed a big downside risk to that forecast.
The effects of a trade war between the world's two biggest economies have made themselves felt across global markets this year, and dented world trade growth.
The volume of world trade growth is likely to be up 2.99% this year, less than two-thirds of the increase in 2017, the CEBR estimates.
The report's forecasts chimed with a deepening sense that optimism about synchronised global growth was overcooked, and that markets got ahead of themselves.
A Reuters poll of economists in late October signalled the outlook for global growth in 2019 dimmed for the first time.
Ammunition for a recession
Markets have suffered this year as investors fled risky assets, afraid monetary tightening from the world's central banks is removing too much support from the economy as a trade war weighs on growth.
"With debt high and many of the structural problems that caused the great recession still in existence, a global recession could be more difficult to resolve than its predecessors," the CEBR said.
But policymakers and governments still have enough ammunition to see the world through the next recession, according to Douglas McWilliams, deputy chairman of the CEBR, though he saw a shift from monetary to fiscal action.
"We're in a world now where there's a sense that a certain degree of fiscal action will have to be applied in order to avoid the world falling flat on its face," McWilliams said.
Government spending is likely to rise, both from fiscal easing and from discretionary spending, he added, saying he saw governments delivering more support than central banks.
With many economies facing an infrastructure backlog and mega-projects such as China's Belt and Road ongoing, the CEBR forecasts global construction spending will rise from US$11.5 billion to US$27.4 billion or 15.5% of world GDP by 2033.
McWilliams expected the average fiscal deficit for the OECD area to come in at 5% of GDP in 2020, higher than the OECD's forecast of 3.2%.
"A 5% spend is risking it a bit, but the developed economies are in a better position to take that risk than emerging economies," he said. - Nampa/Reuters
Even in the country's toughest times, sales rocketed in the days before Christmas, but this year few people are able to buy anything.
It is a far cry from the revived economy that President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised more than a year ago when he took over from the ousted Robert Mugabe.
Instead, shortages of bread, cooking oil and fuel have worsened in recent months, banknotes become even scarcer and shop shelves have often been left bare.
"In previous years, people would stream in to buy things like rice, oil, biscuits, sweets, soup powder and drinks. It was so busy I would be on my feet all day," Chakauya, 29, told AFP.
"Things are tough and most people have no money."
But over this holiday season, Chakauya has sometimes had only four customers a day, leaving him to kill time sitting in the shade in front of his store.
Local villager Emilda Chingarambe said that for the first time in many years she could not buy her two daughters new clothes for Christmas day.
"I don't consider it Christmas at all," said Chingarambe whose husband works part-time as a labourer tilling fields.
"There is no bread in the shops. We can't afford flour and groceries we usually buy for Christmas."
Shortages have fuelled a ferocious climb in prices and long queues.
In Chinamhora, a litre of cooking oil was around US$3.50 in early September and is now selling for US$10. Inflation is officially 20%.
Once ubiquitous soft drinks such as Coca-Cola and the local Mazoe juice have also become hard to find.
"I haven't seen Coca-Cola in the last two months," Chingarambe said.
Zimbabwe's economy has been in dire straits since hyperinflation wiped out savings between 2007 and 2009 and the Zimbabwean dollar was abandoned.
Under Mugabe, farms were seized, agriculture collapsed and investors fled as the country became internationally isolated.
Mugabe's fall last year saw Mnangagwa - his former deputy - claim that he represented a fresh start.
But the country has only lurched into fresh economic trouble after July that failed to encourage foreign investors or to unleash a flood of aid.
"The challenges have dampened the festive mood," Prosper Chitambara, economist at the think-tank Labour and Economic Research Institute (LERI), told AFP.
"It does not look like there is going to be an immediate end to the queues and shortages. Next year, there is going to be lots of pressure on the government to increase salaries which will put pressure on expenditure."
The latest downturn erupted two months ago when finance minister Mthuli Ncube announced a two-percent tax on all electronic transactions to increase revenue.
Zimbabweans rely on electronic payments in US dollars, which are in short supply and function as the main currency. The local "bond note" currency is little trusted.
Many shops and pharmacies have closed down in the capital, Harare. Those still operating charge much more when customers pay electronically or in bond notes than in US dollars.
In one shop, a bottle of paracetamol syrup is US$3 in cash, 15 dollars in bond notes - and 17 dollars when using a bank card.
Doctors at state hospitals have been on strike for the past three weeks demanding salaries in US dollars while a group of teachers completed a 200-kilometre walk from the eastern city of Mutare to Harare to demand better pay.
At the ruling ZANU-PF party last week, Mnangagwa admitted the economy "was characterised by fuel shortages, high cost of drugs, medicines (and) wide range of basic commodities."
He offered little immediate relief, instead blaming "gluttonous" businesses for price rises that "resulted in untold suffering to the majority of our people."– Nampa/AFP
It certainly is a skill we can all have more of.
Self-regulation means that one drinks moderately, and when you begin to feel the effects of the alcohol you stop. You do not continue to drink only to eventually beat up your life partner, or, get into a vehicle and kill innocent road users, or, take a gun, or a knife and kill someone outside the drinking spot over some mundane argument which, no doubt, you will not remember tomorrow.
Let us self-regulate our speed on our highways and byways, even if there are no police or cameras in sight. We can also do with a little more self-regulation of our arrogance and attitudes while driving and give a more consideration to our fellow road users.
And to those in charge and those who count themselves as activists and youth leaders, let us self-regulate our greed, our choice of words, our tendency towards corruption and lack of transparency.
That way, we can make this year, and this country, great.
The new curriculum for the Namibian Senior Secondary Certificate on ordinary level (NSSCO), to be followed by grades 10 and 11 this year and next year, consists of four study fields: natural sciences, humanities, technology and trade.
Maths, like English, is still compulsory. Learners will also have to take another language, two subjects from the above-mentioned study fields, one subject from a list of 19 available subjects and four support subjects. This makes a total of ten subjects with six exam subjects.
Health and social services is listed as a new subject but will not be offered this year. This course will prepare learners for careers in the health and social services sector.
Special permission will be required for a learner to do only one language. Support subjects include life skills, art, communication and information, physical education and a reading period.
These subject choices depend on the availability of teachers.
Textbooks and money
As far as can be determined, schools have not yet received the necessary textbooks for the new NSSCO curriculum although orders were placed. Instructions to schools state that the current textbooks can still be used. The education ministry did not provide any further information except to say the prescribed procurement processes have been followed. According to education permanent secretary Sanet Steenkamp, the ministry received a reallocated amount of N$380 million during the mid-term budget in October last year. Some N$170 million of this is needed to pay salaries from January to March this year and the remaining N$208 million will be applied to the appointment of extra teachers and the implementation of the new curriculum.
New pass requirements
The new pass requirement for this year's internal grade 10 exams is an average of 40% or an E for English and four other exam subjects.
“This will certainly place pressure on both sides of the system,” one principal said. If more grade 10s have to repeat the year, there will be larger classes in 2020. However, because theoretically all grade 10s can pass with the new system, there will also be much larger grade 11 classes in 2020.
There are strict directives regarding extra support to those learners who do not pass grade 9 or 10.
Borderline cases who may be passed are those that achieved a grade of 2% less than the pass requirement. If a learner is promoted despite having failed, such a learner is to receive extra support.
According to the official memo sent out in May last year, communities and parents were to be informed timeously of the changes. It is not clear whether this has indeed taken place across the country.
Moreover, regional offices have been instructed to support and monitor schools that offer NSSCO for the first time. Furthermore, staff of those schools well versed in higher education are to be used for this purpose.
Currently, grade 11 and 12 learners have the option to take maths at core or extended level. The new curriculum only provides for the extended level.
The school principal who spoke to Namibian Sun is of the view that this will affect maths results and the pass rate.
“I predict major headaches. Some children are simply not good at maths. The results of 2020 will show whether or not this is correct.”
Maths is still compulsory and it is regarded as a key subject for a learner's development.
According to Dr Patrick Simalumba from the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED), maths has been compulsory for NSSCO since 2012.
“The performance of the learners is satisfactory and not bad,” he said.
One school principal is positive that grade 12 learners who follow the year-long Namibia Secondary School Certificate Advanced Subsidiary (NSSCAS) will work in a more goal-oriented way than they are able to in the current curriculum of two years for grades 11 and 12.
“This change is very positive for learners who would like to pursue tertiary education in South Africa or elsewhere in the world.”
According to NIED, learners who want to complete six subjects in one year will need extra support.
The ministry has recommended a minimum of three and a maximum of five subjects for NSSCAS.
Grade 12s will have life skills and communication and information as their two support subjects.
Simalumba predicts an increase in NSSCAS learners despite that fact that currently learners have fewer than three subjects and often only one – their mother tongue – on higher level. There is concern that higher level candidates will decrease.
However, Simalumba says there will be more NSSCO schools that will provide a higher number of learners for grade 12.
On 15 February, if no intention to defend is filed, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) will ask the High Court to halt all planned developments on the four farms leased to Russian oligarch Rashid Sardarov and his company Comsar Properties SA, and secondly, to set aside the 99-year lease agreement signed between Sardarov and the Namibian government and evict him from the land.
In papers filed at the court, the PDM is bringing the action against nine respondents: the land reform minister, Comsar, the finance minister, the prime minister, the president, attorney-general, the registrar of deeds, the chairperson of the central procurement board and the government.
PDM president McHenry Venaani says in his founding affidavit that it is “in the public interest and of direct concern to political parties participating in parliament that an official such as the minister of land reform acts in accordance with constitutional and legal prescripts.”
The farms Rianhof (5 027.8 hectares), Kameelboom (5 917.3 ha), Smaldeel (457.7 ha) and Wolffsgrund (5 982.1 ha), all in the Khomas Region, are at the heart of the application, Venaani said.
“The farms are adjacent to each other and measure 17 385.1 ha and were owned by Rainhof Farming Company before they were transferred to government.”
During October 2018, Venaani learned of the lease agreement signed between the land reform minister, Utoni Nujoma, and Sardarov.
“The news came as a shock to me … more so in the wake of the second national land conference held in September 2018. The issue of land has been topical within the public domain … and the people of Namibia are aggrieved by the slow pace of resettlement and allocation of land,” Venaani said.
He explained at length Nujoma's speech in parliament explaining the signed lease agreement, which was sent to cabinet for approval and was subsequently approved, “because of the massive development and economic benefits and various employment opportunities”.
In terms of the agreement, Sardarov is to pay annual “rent” to the government equivalent to the land tax paid by all commercial farmers.
In his affidavit, Venaani alleges that a “scheme was developed” to make the leasing of the farms to Comsar possible.
“Nujoma and Comsar orally agreed, unlawfully, for Nujoma to effect the acquisition of the farms from the previous owners, subject thereto that Comsar shall pay the previous owners the purchase price and any such compensation due to them. In compensation for the acquisition of the farms by government, Nujoma gave consent to lease the farms to Comsar for a period of 99 years, which is ownership.”
Venaani told the court that this agreement was beyond the scope of Nujoma's powers and constituted “a deliberate circumvention of the law”.
Nujoma “had no authority to lease the farms” he said, adding that “the leasehold period of 99 years is reserved solely for previously disadvantaged Namibians” in terms of the Agricultural Land Act. He said Nujoma was not entitled to lease land for 99 years to a foreigner. “The lease is invalid,” he charged. Regarding Comsar's donation of N$24 million to the government, Venaani said the money was apparently to fund football and buy farms for the purposes of resettlement.
“In this regard, the prime minister gave approval in terms of the Finance Act for the donation … we have not seen any indication that this money was paid into the treasury.” Venaani said they had requested a copy of the lease agreement from the deeds office.
“The documents were not in the strongroom where all the documents are officially kept, but were in the possession of the registrar of deeds.” They received the said papers on 25 October. He said the deed showed that the government had purchased the farms for N$43 462 749.75, paid for by Comsar.
“This is highly suspect. According to a report submitted to cabinet, the farms are worth N$12 000 per hectare, which amounts to N$207 million. The report discloses that the president of Namibia and Nujoma knew about this. It also discloses that Nujoma submitted a document to a cabinet committee in which it is asserted that Sardarov, aka Comsar, was prepared to pay the owners of the farms N$12 000 per hectare.”
He alleges that because Nujoma's mandate, in terms of the Act, is to acquire land for the purposes of resettling landless Namibians, and because he could not issue a waiver to a foreigner to own commercial farmland in the country, he “devised a scheme to circumvent the provisions of the Act” by suggesting that Comsar buy the land, donate it to the government and then lease it for their own use.
“This scheme enabled Comsar to be placed in the same position as an owner of the farm.”
Venaani went on to list several alleged contraventions of the Act, including the lease agreement bypassing the new procurement legislation.
He told the court that the government acquired the farms on the same day they were leased to Comsar. Furthermore, the Act only allows a ten-year lease for foreigners. None of the respondents have yet filed any documents to oppose the matter.
Elize Angula acts on behalf of the PDM. No judge has been assigned to the case yet.
The majority of victims of rape and assault were women but in one case of murder and domestic violence the victim was a man who was allegedly murdered by his 21-year-old girlfriend and a female accomplice at Usakos.
The police reported that Willem Rudolf (40) was discovered dead in his room by his girlfriend on 27 December.
Although it was first suspected that he had sustained the fatal injuries during an assault at a bar the previous evening, it later appeared that his girlfriend and another woman had attacked him in his shack that night and left him for dead, before reporting the alleged discovery of his body the next day.
The two women were arrested and the investigation continues.
At Dordabis, a 35-year-old man was charged with rape after allegedly kidnapping a 15-year-old on 21 December. He allegedly transported her against her will to a farm where he kept her tied up for three days and raped her several times.
The suspect was arrested and was expected to make his first court appearance before the Katutura magistrate's court on 27 December 2018.
Another case of rape involving a 15-year-old girl was reported at Rehoboth on 25 December.
Police are still tracking down the suspect, who is known to them.
The police stated that the girl was lured to the suspect's room with an offer of cooldrink. There he attacked and sexually assaulted her.
A case of rape was opened after a 35-year-old pregnant woman was allegedly raped by a 20-year-old man at Kappsfarm on 23 December. He allegedly attacked her when she was returning home from a nearby shebeen. The man was arrested.
A 38-year-old man was arrested at Ondudu village after allegedly assaulting, threatening and raping a 25-year-old woman.
The police say he “dragged her from a cuca shop, beat her with his fists and threatened to kill her”, before sexually assaulting her in her house without her consent.
A case of attempted murder and domestic violence is being investigated after a 50-year-old man allegedly hit a 38-year-old woman in the head with a stone.
She sustained serious injuries and was admitted to the Outapi state hospital on 24 December, where she remains in critical condition. The suspect was arrested.
A 28-year-old Angolan man was arrested at Okakoto village in the Okahao constituency, after he allegedly raped a 36-year-old woman multiple times. The police say the man was her former boyfriend and the father of her two children.
A 22-year-old man was arrested and charged with rape, assault and theft after he allegedly raped a woman leasing a room from him and stole N$800 from her handbag.
At Tsandi, a 22-year-old man was charged with rape, robbery and assault by threat after he allegedly attacked a 43-year-old woman with a knife, raped her and stole her cellphone.
A 21-year-old man was charged with rape and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after he allegedly attacked a 39-year-old woman who was returning from a memorial service at Gobabis on 21 December.
The police report that he dragged her to an abandoned property, severely beat her and raped her.
A charge of culpable homicide was opened against a 21-year-old woman in Walvis Bay after she allegedly pushed her father's girlfriend out of the house on 25 December. The woman fell, hit her head on the pavement and later died of her injuries.
It is reported that the deceased, Merceline Gaweses (28) arrived at her boyfriend's house on Christmas Day and “was reportedly disturbing the peace”, which led to the daughter pushing her out of the house. No arrest has been made.
Wild roads and other crimes
Several cases of culpable homicide and reckless driving are being investigated, including a Rundu car crash in which two police officers died and several people sustained serious injuries.
A police bakkie with eight occupants collided with a Zambian-registered truck between Rundu and Katima Mulilo on 28 December.
A male and female police officer died and their five surviving colleagues and two inmates being transported were injured and taken to the Rundu state hospital.
The truck driver escaped unharmed and was arrested.
In the Omusati Region, a 20-year-old unlicensed man sustained serious injuries after he lost control of a bakkie and crashed into a pole. Six passengers sustained minor injuries.
A 61-year-old man, Makaya Pineas Kuume, who was not in possession of a valid driver's licence, died on the gravel road between Okahao and Etilyasa village on 25 December after he tried to overtake another vehicle and lost control of his car.
A 32-year-old man was charged with murder after he handed himself over to the police after fatally stabbing another man on 25 December.
On the same day, Rudy Luveline Gertse was stabbed to death at Dordabis in an argument with another man while they were drinking.
A case of attempted murder was reported at Tubusis on Christmas Day after a 43-year-old man was shot with a bow and arrow.
The man was taken to hospital, where he remains in a stable condition. A suspect was arrested.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion began 2019 in Perth at the mixed teams Hopman Cup, with baby Alexis Olympia in tow.
She posted a picture of herself and her daughter to her 10.4 million followers on Instagram, holding her child as she stretched her leg.
Williams, 37, said, “It's not about what we can do, it's what we MUST do as working moms and working dads”.
“Anything is possible. I was getting ready for the first match of the year and my dear sweet baby @olympiaohanian was tired and sad and simply needed mama's love.
“So if it means warming up and stretching while holding my baby that's what #thismama will do.
“My fellow moms and dads working - or stay home it's equally as intense - but you inspire me,” she added.
“Hearing your stories makes me know I can do this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This year is to you!”
The last time Williams played in Australia was January 2017, when she won the Australian Open when eight-weeks pregnant.
Last month, the WTA introduced new rules so returning mothers have a special ranking that earns them a seeded position at tournaments, ensuring they do not face a top player in the opening round.
Williams, along with other tennis mums like former world number one Victoria Azarenka, had advocated for the changes to help ease the transition back for players who had given birth.
She is partnering Francis Tiafoe for the United States at the Hopman Cup and on Tuesday evening played mixed doubles against Switzerland, with Roger Federer on the other side of the net.
The Swiss team won with Williams calling it “literally the match of my career”.
“It is really great and special to go against the greatest of all time,” she said of facing Federer in a competitive match.
No return date was set for Giroud's return after he twisted his ankle against Crystal Palace last weekend.
Sarri remains pleased with his options up front in Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard.
“We have Morata and Hazard can play very well in this position as we have seen in the last matches,” he told reporters.
“So I think at the moment I don't need another striker.”
Sarri, however, has a selection headache on the flanks, with Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi unavailable due to hamstring injuries. Versatile English midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also struggling with a back problem and is a doubt for Chelsea's home league meeting with Southampton on Wednesday.
“Now we are in trouble with Pedro out, Hudson-Odoi out and Loftus-Cheek is a midfielder but can play as a winger in two-three matches,” Sarri added.
“So I have options for the striker, but at the moment I have no option for the wingers.”
Indian officials had earlier told reporters Ashwin had not recovered from an abdominal strain that has kept him out of the last two Tests, and skipper Virat Kohli had lamented the offspinner's absence, saying he was “very disappointed” to miss the final match of the series.
But barely an hour later, his name was on the squad list tweeted by the BCCI, India's governing body.
“A decision on R. Ashwin's availability will be taken on the morning of the Test,” it said ahead of what is expected to be turning wicket at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
In a surprise, first-team regular Sharma was not included with the reasons unknown. Fast bowler Umesh Yadav was named as his replacement.
Wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav was also on the squad list and could play alongside finger-spinner Ravindra Jadeja if Ashwin is not fit and India opt for two slow bowlers.
Middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma, who hit a gritty 63 in the first innings at Melbourne, is not available after jetting back to Mumbai to be with his wife who recently gave birth.
K.L. Rahul, who was axed for the last Melbourne Test, is back in contention and could open the innings with Mayank Agarwal, with Hanuma Vihari dropping back down to No.6 as cover for Rohit Sharma.
The Ashwin U-turn was not explained although there was speculation that Jadeja may also not be fully fit.
Kohli had earlier said of Ashwin: “The physio and the trainer have spoken to him in terms of what's required in order to get over that injury.
“He is very disappointed with the fact that he has not been able to recover in time, but the things have been laid out to him (over) what needs to be done to get back to full fitness.
“Honestly, you can't predict an injury, when it happens you just manage and doing what he can to get over that injury.”
India go into the final Test 2-1 up and with a first series win in Australia in their sights.
But Kohli insisted making history was not their primary motive.
“The reason why we want to win this Test is because we understand as cricketers how difficult it is to come here and play,” he said.
“It's is not only the team you are playing against but the whole nation as they get behind their team so well.
“Purely just to take that challenge on, we want to win here. It's got nothing to do with proving that we have done something that hasn't been done in the past.”
India squad: Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav.
It's in the experimental stage at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, and the willingness to take part depends on the player.
Brooks Koepka, the reigning PGA Tour player of the year, nixed the idea last year in Shanghai but said he might be OK with it now.
“Don't they do that on the Champions Tour?” he asked.
Justin Thomas? Not so much.
Thomas talks plenty during his round, usually to himself or with caddie Jimmy Johnson. The idea of stopping for a quick interview was not appealing to him.
“I've just been asked about it,” he said. “I said, 'No.' It's not me. I do a lot of self-talking. That's mine and Jimmy's time, whether we're talking about whatever, or even the next shot. For me, there's no benefit. It's only going to make me look worse.”
Such interviews are not likely to occur in the final round, and PGA Tour officials are sensitive to the timing of the interviews. A quick spot with Dustin Johnson after his 432-yard drive came within six inches of the cup last year at Kapalua might be ideal. Right after a three-putt bogey from ten feet might not be.
Marc Leishman has experience doing on-course interviews when he plays in Australia, and he didn't mind the concept.
“If they do end up having them, my advice would be to have someone who has played on tour to do it, to be a little sensitive of the questions and the timing of the interview,” Leishman said. “But anything where you can be more accessible to the viewers is a good thing. We want to bring more people to the game. It might be a way to give more insight to what we're thinking at the time.”
Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, isn't likely to be among the candidates. He said he has not been approached by the PGA Tour about his willingness to do short interviews in the middle of his round. But he made it clear where he stood.
“I've been approached in Europe because they've done it for a couple of years,” McIlroy said. “And I've said, 'No,' every single time.”
Two days before the new year, Bubba Watson already was trying to bone up on the news Rules of Golf.
Some of the pins at Kapalua are set on slopes over the weekend, and Watson had video taken of a putt on the par-three eighth green in which he purposely hammered it past the hole, and then watched it trickle down the slope and into the cup. His caddie, Ted Scott, tended the pin on the putt. As it rolled back toward the cup, Scott wasn't sure whether to put the pin back in the cup. He finally did just as the ball went in the hole.
Watson posted it on Twitter and asked the USGA: “Is this a penalty? I'm an amateur when it comes to the new rules.”
In this case, the answer would appear to be yes. The decision to remove (or tend) the flag stick, or leave it in, must be made before the stroke.
It's an example of what awaits for 2019, at least the early part of the year after a five-year project to simplify the Rules of Golf. The result was the biggest overhaul in history, and one change is that players can leave the flag stick in the cup while on the green, with no penalty if the ball hits the pin.
Bryson DeChambeau has said he will leave the pin in, even on short putts. Justin Thomas could not imagine leaving it in under any circumstances.
“I wouldn't be able to take myself seriously,” Thomas said. “I just feel like it would be very, very weird.”
The PGA Tour put up a large poster illustrating some of the basics of the new rules.
Among them is dropping a ball from knee height while standing, instead of dropping it from shoulder height. Players now can repair damage to the green - spike marks, indentations, etc., - without penalty. There is no longer a penalty for a double hit, or if a shot comes back and hits the player.
Rules officials attended a seminar in December to get up to speed. Players still have some work to do.
“I know a few of them,” Rory McIlroy said. “I don't know many of them. Putting with the flag stick in. Tapping down any imperfections on your putting line. I think some people might get carried away with that.”
Brandt Snedeker said he typically goes over the Rules of Golf every few years for reminders, especially on relief from various objects. “When you hit it crooked like I do, you get a lot of drops. I need to figure out the right way to do it,” he said.
Snedeker is mostly glad that accidental ball movement on the green is no longer penalised. He said that twice in majors, his ball slipped out of his hand and hit his ball marker, which cost him a one-shot penalty. That won't be a penalty now.
He was most curious to see how the changes would affect the pace of play, whether it was time spent repairing greens or simply not knowing the new rules and wanting to call in officials to be sure. But he says he plans a crash course over the next few days.
“I want to know before I get out there Thursday and make sure I don't do something stupid and cost myself a penalty shot,” he said. “You know how it works in theory. But until you actually do it under pressure, you don't know how it's going to work out.”
Justin Thomas has two days between the end of the Sentry Tournament of Champions and the pro-am at the Sony Open, enough time for him to fly from Maui to Santa Clara, California, watch Alabama play Clemson for the national title, and then get back to Honolulu.
Thomas, who won a national title in golf at Alabama, won't be going to the game.
The thought did cross his mind.
“There were a couple of scenarios that would have made it possible, but it's too much,” Thomas said. “It would have involved someone being here who had a plane that I could have swayed into going to the game, and he provides the plane and I provide the tickets and then I go back to the Sony.”
Would that have been a player who made a late decision not to play at Kapalua?
“Yes,” Thomas said with a laugh.
Maybe someone who knows the area near Levi's Stadium because he went to Stanford?
Another laugh, without ever mentioning Tiger Woods by name.
Gary gears up
Gary Woodland won for the third time in his career in 2018 and is more excited than ever about the new year.
“I'm starting to putt well,” Woodland said. “And that changes everything.”
What brought him to Kapalua for the third time was his victory in the Phoenix Open. What made him so confident was a tie for 67th in the British Open.
That was the week he began working with putting specialist Phil Kenyon.
One moment that stood out was Saturday after the CJ Cup in South Korea. Woodland recalls talking with Kenyon after a mediocre putting round and telling him, “I feel like I'm going to make everything.” He shot 63 in the final round and was runner-up to Brooks Koepka.
“That's the feeling I have,” he said. “Like at the British, I had 33 putts every round, I never felt like it was going to come around. Now, even when I don't have good putting days, I know I can make putts.”
A new year brings equipment changes, none bigger than Justin Rose's. He has signed a deal with Japan-based Honma. ... Brooks Koepka experienced something new during his six weeks off. He went to the wedding of Austin Johnson, the brother of Dustin Johnson. “My first wedding,” Koepka said. ... Satoshi Kodaira, who won at Hilton Head last year, will be hitting the first shot of 2019. ... Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed are the only past champions at Kapalua who qualified for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Stat of the week
Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas have won each of the last four years, the longest active streak on the PGA Tour.
'It's not like I'm out there practicing like, 'Okay, this shot is to get to No. 1 in the world.' It's just part of the process,” Justin Thomas, on trying to get back to No. 1.
The 28-year-old Dane, runner-up in Auckland last year on her way to winning in Melbourne, gave herself a pass mark against German qualifier Siegemund and said the signs were good.
“I was a bit rusty out there. Playing my first match it definitely wasn't my prettiest match but I just tried to hang in there, and tried to serve well and hit a lot of balls back and tomorrow's going to be better,” she said.
“I'm just so happy I'm back here and warming up in the same way and hopefully that will lead me to also having good luck in Australia this year.”
After a testing first few games, the world number three broke Siegemund in the fourth game and comfortably controlled the match from there.
Wozniacki will play Canadian qualifier Bianca Andreescu in the second round.
In October, Wozniacki revealed she had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease which causes swelling of the joints and fatigue.
Omusindalongo omupe gwoNamibian Senior Secondary Certificate on ordinary level (NSSCO), otagu ka kala tagu longithwa kaailongi mondondo onti 10 no 11 nuumvo nomvula twa taalela miikondo ngaashi: natural sciences, humanities, technology oshowo trade.
Iilongwa ngaashi omwaalu oshowo elaka lyopambelewa tayi kala tayi dhengele natango.
Aanaskola otaya ka pewa ya hogolole elaka limwe lyevalelwa mo, iilongwa iyali okuza miikondo ya tumbulwa, oshilongwa shimwe okuza momusholondondo gwiilongwa 19 oshowo iilongwa ine otayi yambidhidha ikwawo. Kumwe iilongwa mbyoka otayi kala omulongo niilongwa mbyoka tayi yalulwa oyi li ihamano.
Okwa tulwa miilonga oshilongwa oshipe tashi ithanwa Health and social services ihe oshilongwa shoka itashi tulwa miilonga nuumvo, noshilongwa shoka otashi ka longekidha aanaskola moshikondo shuundjolowele.
Epitiko lya shewa otali ka pewa aailongi ya kale owala nelaka limwe lyaavalelwa mo, iilongwa tayi yambidhidha ngaashi
life skills, art, communication and information, physical education oshowo otundi yokulesha otayi ka kala po kwiikwatelelwa ngele ope na aalongi.
Nonando okwa tulwa miilonga omulandu ngoka omupe, ooskola inadhi mona natango iikwathitholongo tayi pumbiwa momusindalandu ngoka omupe.
Okwa gandjwa elombwelo kooskola kutya omambo ngoka ge li nale miilonga otaga vulu okukala taga longithwa nonando okwa tulwa miilonga omusindalongo ngoka.
Inaku gandjwa we uuyelele wulwe wa gwedhwa po okuza kuuministeli welongo. Pauyelele mboka wa gandjwa kuamushanga Sanet Steenkamp, uuministeli owa mono oshimaliwa sha thika poomiliyona 380 moshikako shopokati komumvo muKotomba gwomvula ya piti.
Oomiliyona 170 odha pumbiwa okufuta oondjambi okuza muJanuari sigo omwedhi Maalitsa nuumvo omanga oomiliyona 208 ndhoka dhahupa po tadhi ka longithwa mokukonga aalongi yamwe aape ya gwedhwa po oshowo okutula miilonga omusindalongo ngoka omupe.
Omilandu omipe otadhi utha kutya mekonaaakono lyondondo onti 10 aanaskola oya pumbwa okupita noopresenda dha thika po 40 nenge o E Melaka lyOshiingilisa oshowo iilongwa yilwe ine.
Oshigwana oshowo aavali oya tseyithilwa kombinga yomalunduluko ngoka, momukanda ngoka gwa pitithwa omvula ya piti muMei.
Oombelewa dhelongo miitopolwa odha pewa oshinakugwanithwa shokuyambidhidha ooskola nokukondolola onkalo unene mooskola ndhoka tadhi ka longitha omulandu gwoNSSCO oshikando shotango.
Monena aanaskola mondondo onti 11 oshowo 12 oye na ompito yokuhogolola omwaalu opo yegu shangele konkatu yondondo yo core nenge oextended. Omusindalandu ngoka omupe otagu gandja owala opo oshilongwa shoka shi shangelwe kondondo yoextended.
Omukuluntuskola ngoka a popi noshifokundaneki shoNamibian Sun ina hala uukwatya we wu hololwe okwa popi kutya ota tengeneke omwaalu guli pombanda gwendopo unene moshilongwa shomwaalu, nomvula yo 2020 oyo owala tayi ka holola ngele okuli mondjila nenge ahowe.
Omwaalu ogu li oshilongwa tashi dhengele na ogo gwa talika onga oshilongwa sha simana meyambulepo lyaanaskola.
Kwiikwatelelwa kohapu dhaDr Patrick Simalumba gwoNational Institute for Educational Development (NIED), okwa popi kutya oshilongwa shomwaalu osha kala tashi dhengele konima nkene kwa tulwa miilonga omulandu gwoNSSCO okuza mo 2012.
Omukuluntuskola gumwe okuwete kutya shoka otashi keeta epito ewanawa mokati kaanaskola yondondo onti 12 mboka taya ka kala taya longitha omusindalongo gwoNamibia Secondary School Certificate Advanced Subsidiary (NSSCAS).
Okwa popi kutya omulandu ngoka otagu ka kala ompito ombwaanawa kaanaskola mboka taya ka kala yahala okukiilonga nokustikilaomailongo gawo moSouth Afrika nenge pamwe muuyuni.
NIED, okwa popi kutya aanaskola mboka taya ka kala yahala okumanitha iilongwa yawo ihamano muule womvula yimwe otaya ka pumbwa eyambidhidho enene.
Uuministeli owa tulapo oongamba dhopevi dhiilongwa itatu noongamba dhopombanda iilongwa itano momwiilongi kehe.
Simalumba okwa tengeneke e yo pombanda lyomwaalu gwaanaskola mboka taya ka longitha omulandu gwoNSSCAS, nonando kutya aalongwa ngashiingeyi oye na iilongwa iishona kiilongwa itatu na ohaya shangele owala oshilongwa shimwe shelaka lyevalelwa mo kondondo yopombanda.
Nonando ongaaka okwa popi kutya otaku kala ooskola odhindji ndhoka tadhi gandja omulandu gwoNSSCO kaanaskola yomondondo onti 12.
Omikuli ndhoka odha ya pombanda noobiliyona 1.3 okuyeleka naandhoka dhomo 2017.
Pauyelele mboka a pitithwa koBank of Namibia (BoN) oomikuli dhilwe dhoka dhopaumwene odha li pombanda noopresenda 19.6 okuya pehulilo lyaNovemba momvula yo 2017.
Ondjele yomikuli oya kala tayi londo pombanda noonkondo nokuya pehulilo lyaNovemba nondjele ndjoka oya londo pombanda noomiliyona 88 kehe komwedhi.
Okuya muNovemba aakwashigwana okwa hololwa ya kongo omikuli dhopaumwene naadhoka dhuukalata dhongushu yoomiliyona 128.7 nondjele yopombanda oya dhidhilikwa muAguste gwo 2018 moka ondjele ya londo pombanda noomiliyona 201.1 ya landulwa kuJuli gwo 2018 moka mwa dhidhilikwa e yo pombanda lyoomiliyona 162.4.
Ondjele yomayalulo goombaanga taga nanwa sha pitilila oshowo oongunga hadhi futwa komwedhi otadhi londo pombanda nonando itayi londo nondjele tayi endelele noonkondo.
Sha landula omilandu ndhoka dha tulwa miilonga kombaanga yoBoN ngaashi kombinga yomapunguo giimaliwa nokushunitha pevi uulethimbo wefuto lyoongunga ngele tashi ya kokulanda iihauto, ondjele yomwaalu gwiifuta yokomwedhi ogwa shuna pevi.
Okuya pehulilo lyaNovemba omvula ya piti, oongunga ndhoka odhili poomiliyona 491, na oshi li eshuno pevi noopresenda 6.8 okuyeleka naNovemba gwomvula yo 2017.
Oongunga dhomagumbo okwa lopotwa dhi li poobiliyona 38.3 okuya muNovemba gwomvula ya piti, na odha li poobiliyona 2.5 muNovemba gwo 2017.
Kumwe, AaNamibia oye na oongunga dhoombaanga dhi li poobiliyona 56.3 okuya pehulilo lyaNovemba gwo 2018.
Omiyalu dha gwedha po ndhoka dha hololwa kuNamfisa otashi ulike kutya aakwashigwana oye na oongunga dhoongeshefa dhokugandja omikuli dhi li poobiliyona 5.6 okuya muMaalitsa gwo 2017.
Omiyalu dha pitithwa koBoN natango odha holola kutya aakwashigwana ohaya longitha oshimaliwa shooN$83.30 okuza moshimaliwa shooN$100.00 shiiyemo yawo mbyoka haya mono, okufutila po omikuli.
The yuan posted its fourth annual loss in five in 2018, pressured by a resurgent greenback and worries about China's slowing economy. But analysts widely expect the US dollar to lose steam this year.
Traders said the yuan was mainly catching up with losses in the US dollar during China's four-day New Year public holidays.
Prior to the market opening, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) set the midpoint rate at 6.8482 per US dollar, 150 pips or 0.22% firmer than the previous fix 6.8632.
In the spot market, the onshore yuan opened at 6.8650 per US dollar and was changing hands at 6.8578 at midday, 152 pips firmer than the previous late session close.
The yuan lost 5.3% of its value against the US dollar in 2018, following a rise of 6.8% a year earlier.
"The slowing domestic economy and ongoing trade tensions with the US may be more dominant in the Chinese strategic thinking. Therefore, RMB movement may be a by-product of more urgent stimulus measures," analysts at OCBC bank said in a note yesterday.
Xie Yaxuan, chief analyst at China Merchants Securities said depreciation pressure on the yuan will ease if the US dollar ends its strong run this year.
"The dollar is already at the end of the strong market and will start to fall, ending the strong dollar cycle that began in 2012. And, the central bank is likely to push up the volatility in the Chinese currency," he said in note.
He expects the yuan to trade in a range 6% above or below 6.72 per US dollar this year.
Traders said the forex market had largely expected downbeat factory readings this week which suggested China's economy is losing more steam.
Factory activity contracted for the first time in 19 months in December as domestic and export orders continued to weaken, a private survey showed on Wednesday, pointing to a rocky start in 2019.
With business conditions expected to get worse before they get better, China is expected to roll out more support measures in coming months on top of a raft of initiatives in 2018.
But analysts believe Beijing will not resort to massive stimulus like in past downturns, which may temper downward pressure on the yuan from further policy easing.
The offshore yuan was trading at 6.8714 per US dollar at midday. – Nampa/Reuters
During the reading of his sentence imposed on Eldrin Goliath (22) who was found guilty of brutally murdering and raping 16-year-old Camilla Steyn in Rehoboth during the early morning hours of 6 November 2016, High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg cautioned against criticism of the young girl being out so late at night.
“Criticism might be levelled against the deceased, a young girl being out alone and on the streets of Rehoboth late at night; something that apparently had happened before,” Liebenberg said before he sentenced Goliath to an effective 28 years behind bars.
“But again, why must anyone feel unsafe on the streets at any time of the day? Have we become a nation who must align our lifestyles and freedoms to cater for criminals who roam the streets like predators waiting for their prey?” he asked.
Goliath was 20 when he forced Steyn onto the veranda of a vacant house under renovation, raped and strangled her and stole her running shoes and cell phone, which he exchanged for a small amount of cannabis and cash the next day.
Liebenberg said judging from the “significant increase in the number of rogue elements in society who exploit any possible situation to their own benefit, in all instances at the expense of innocent law-abiding citizens”, the only way to “try and turn the tide is to impose harsher sentences and to send out a clear message to likeminded criminals that such conduct will not be tolerated and will be met with severe punishment.”
Liebenberg rejected Goliath's claims that he had suffered a blackout when he raped and killed Steyn with his bare hands, and that he had consensual sexual intercourse with her.
Liebenberg said it was evident that force was used to overpower her before she was killed due to the injuries Steyn sustained before her death.
He highlighted Steyn's youthfulness and her vulnerability at the time of the “brutal raping and killing”, saying they played a major factor in his consideration of the prison term.
“Moreover, where the life of a young 16-year-old girl was taken in circumstances which render this yet another senseless murder; something we as society shamefully has become accustomed to”, he said the courts are looked to for protection and to uphold the rule of law.
“The courts are under a duty to reflect in its judgments, society's indignation and antipathy of those who are guilty of unbecoming and despicable behaviour, as encountered in this instance,” he added.
Liebenberg however also rejected the State's argument that Goliath should receive a life sentence noting that his youth, and the fact that the crime was committed on the spur of the moment, “significantly” impacted the sentence he imposed.
Liebenberg imposed a 23-year prison sentence for the murder charge, ten years for the rape and three years for the theft of shoes and a cell phone, which Goliath had pawned the next day for drugs and money.
Half of the ten-year sentence for the rape charge and the whole of the three-year term for the theft will be served concurrently with the murder sentence, effectively putting Goliath behind bars for 28 years.
The judge also raised the point that although Goliath had admitted guilt to the murder, this counted for little and was not regarded as a mitigating factor during his consideration of the prison term.
He however added that his acceptance of blame for his wrongdoing and the suffering he caused to Steyn's family could be regarded as sincere, and said that “it would appear that since his arrest and incarceration, he has had time to reflect on his life and committed himself to change. This could be the first step towards reformation.”
During the trial, Steyn's mother testified that since her daughter's death, she had been on medication and has received counselling as a result of the trauma of the event.
Moreover, she said Steyn's three brothers have been enormously impacted.
Steyn was described by her family and friends as a spontaneous person who had set high standards for herself and was keen to become a chartered accountant.
“At the time of her death, she had finished writing her examination and from the Junior Secondary Certificate received afterwards, it is evident that she would have progressed at school with relative ease,” Liebenberg said.
Defence lawyer Mese Tjituri represented Goliath during his trial. State Advocate Marthino Olivier prosecuted.
The deceased are 50-year-old Tjilombo Petrus Mandju and 40-year-old Muduva Maria Eleoteria Mayinga.
Both were Special Reserve Force members stationed at the Kashipe border post in the Ndiyona constituency of the Kavango East Region.
The two police officers died at Ngarama Teya village in Kavango East, when their police vehicle collided head-on with a truck.
The region's crime investigations coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Bonifatius Kanyetu told Nampa that the car in which the two police officers died had seven occupants.
“Three police officers and two inmates had to be rushed to the Rundu State Hospital, where all five are in a critical condition,” he said
According to Kanyetu, the truck was attempting to overtake a car when it collided head-on with the oncoming police vehicle, which was transporting two inmates from Ndiyona police station.
“The driver of the truck, who is a Zambian national, escaped unhurt,” he said.
In the meanwhile, three men accused of murdering Josef Mulandji in Windhoek in December made their first appearance before the Katutura Magistrate's Court on Monday.
King Iipinge, 24, Patrick Betswana, 23, and Amon Tangi, 19, appeared before Magistrate Antonius Shapumba who postponed the case to 29 April 2019 to allow for further police investigations.
They were remanded in custody at the Katutura police station until their next court appearance.
It is alleged that Mulandji was having drinks with a colleague at a bar in the Mix informal settlement when a fight broke out between him and the accused around 23:00 on 21 December 2018.
There was a power cut for about ten minutes and during this time Mulandji was stabbed in the back.
He succumbed to his injuries on Sunday and the three suspects were arrested the same day.
During their court appearance, Shapumba advised the accused to be cautious about what they say regarding the trial while in custody as it can be used against them during the trial.
The prosecutor on duty was Menencia Hinda.
Blonde or brunette, slender or curvy, black or white, princess or president, Barbie is a forever favourite for young girls, even if she has caused controversy over the years.
The iconic doll has evolved to keep up with the times - check out her Twitter feed.
And despite fierce competition in the toy industry, 58 million Barbies are sold each year in more than 150 countries.
"In an industry where success today is three to five years, 60 years is a huge deal!" said Nathan Baynard, director of global brand marketing for Barbie.
Around the world, Barbie is as universally known as Coca-Cola or McDonald's, Baynard said during a recent visit to Mattel's design studio in El Segundo, a suburb of Los Angeles.
In all, more than one billion Barbie dolls have been sold since she made her debut at the American Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959.
She was invented by Ruth Handler, the co-founder of Mattel, who was inspired by her own children to create the doll.
"Her daughter Barbara was limited in the choices of her toys - the only ones were baby dolls," Baynard recounted.
"The only role she could imagine through that play was caregiver, mother," whereas Handler's son "could imagine being an astronaut, cowboy, pilot, surgeon".
Barbie is, of course, a shortened version of Barbara.
The doll was supposed to teach girls "that they had choices, that they could be anything. In 1959, it was a radical idea!" Baynard said.
Barbie was an instant success. In the first year, 300 000 dolls were sold, he added.
From the start, Barbie's pinup measurements didn't immediately seem all that feminist, and would spark criticism for decades to come.
"In 1959, her body structure was exaggerated to match the aesthetics of the time and the fabric available," said Barbie designer Carlyle Nuera.
Since the blonde beauty first hit stores, and after a torrent of complaints over what was seen as unrealistic proportions, Mattel has made many changes - introducing multiple body types and dozens of skin tones.
MG Lord, author of "Forever Barbie," also argued that the original criticisms were unwarranted.
"She is what the child wants her to be. How a child sees the Barbie doll is often framed by how the mother of that child feels about the idea of femininity," Lord told AFP.
"The problem here is not an 11.5-inch plastic object. The problem is the larger culture and the idea of femininity."
In 1965, four years before Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon, Barbie became an astronaut. In 1968, the first black Barbie doll, a friend named Christie, hit store shelves.
Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global general manager for the Barbie brand, said that today, 55% of the dolls sold around the world have neither blonde hair nor blue eyes.
Mattel has more than 100 people working in the El Segundo design studio, a massive hangar-like building wedged between Los Angeles International Airport and a freeway.
Designers begin with a simple sketch. From there on, every bit of a prototype is made by an army of experts - from sculpting the doll using state-of-the-art software and 3D printing to painting the face, styling the hair, choosing fabrics and crafting the clothing patterns.
The entire design process for a new Barbie can last 12 to 18 months. Then, the prototype is sent from the California workshop to factories in China and Indonesia for mass production.
"Sometimes, you see her on a shelf and then it gets back to you: oh yes, I designed this one!" Nuera said with a smile.
Barbie is not only a toy store success - she has a massive social media presence, and is something of an "influencer," with millions of followers.
She has an actual identity: Barbie Millicent Roberts, who hails from the made-up town of Willows in the Midwest.
And now, she speaks directly to girls about her life, and important current topics.
In 2018, the brand launched a sweeping campaign to help young girls close the so-called "Dream Gap" - using Barbie to teach them to believe in themselves, and not to buy into sexist gender stereotypes.
Barbie has a hair stylist, makeup artist and photographer who travel with her "for real" in the United States and abroad for Instagram photo sessions (check out @barbiestyle). The account has nearly two million followers.
So, does Barbie have it all as she hits 60, but remains forever young, still single and without kids (so far)?
"The narrative of the Barbie brand is that she's a young woman and she's independent and pursuing careers," McKnight said. – Nampa/AFP
Pressure is mounting on the SADC chair, Namibia, and its head of state President Hage Geingob, to implement his vision of a new Africa by showing leadership in the looming DRC election crisis, amongst others.
Namibia itself is set to hold its seventh election and for these reasons Geingob is expected to set the tone for free, fair and credible elections on the continent - but most importantly the sub-region.
When he took over as SADC chair late last year, Geingob assured leaders that he will encourage the peaceful transition of power to avoid conflicts.
All eyes are now on him to intervene in the DRC, a country haunted by decades of political violence and controversies, and a total absence of a peaceful transfer of power.
Local social commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah said there is no doubt an opportunity for Geingob to play a significant role in providing direction.
“Even if the body is dominated by old guard that are trying to protect each other, I think as a head, he can provide direction and influence and inspire. It depends on what kind of leadership he can provide and if he does that then he can turn the situation around,” said Kamwanyah.
Old dog, old tricks
On the other hand constitutional law expert Professor Nico Horn said there is very little that Geingob can do as SADC chair.
According to Horn there are too many irregularities in the DRC election process that it makes it difficult for an intervention.
“It is not a tradition for SADC leaders to criticise or question the internal position of SADC countries so I do not expect the president to do anything. He can also not act on his own, it is a SADC decision,” said Horn.
South African Professor Nixon Kariithi believes SADC has very little to do and may comment as an election observer, but that's about it.
“Previously, SADC has been uncritical of voting problems in member countries and is therefore unlikely to want to adopt a different stance for DRC. DRC has done what everyone prayed for, that is, hold an election after over half a century. We must accept that this was commendable, even if we are concerned about numerous processes,” he said.
In the meanwhile the DRC government cut internet connections and SMS services across the country for a second straight day yesterday as the country nervously awaited results from the weekend's chaotic presidential election.
Both the opposition and ruling coalition said on Monday they were on track to win after a turbulent election day on Sunday in which many Congolese were unable to vote due to an Ebola outbreak, conflict and logistical problems.
Barnabe Kikaya bin Karubi, a senior adviser to President Joseph Kabila, said internet and SMS services were cut to preserve public order after "fictitious results" began circulating on social media.
"That could lead us straight toward chaos," Kikaya told Reuters, adding the connections would remain cut until the publication of complete results on 6 January.
The signal to Radio France Internationale (RFI), one of the most popular news sources in Congo, was also down, and the government withdrew the accreditation of RFI's main correspondent in the country late on Monday for having aired unofficial results from the opposition.
The various moves reflected high tensions in Congo, where the long-delayed election was meant to choose a successor to Kabila, who is due to step down next month after 18 years in power - and two years after the official end of his mandate.
Congo has never seen a democratic transfer of power, and any disputed outcome could lead to a repeat of the violence that followed the 2006 and 2011 elections and a wider security breakdown in its volatile eastern provinces.
The opposition says the election was marred by fraud and accused Kabila of planning to rule from the sidelines through his preferred candidate, former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.
Internal UN reports, seen by Reuters, noted allegations of irregularities across the country. In some parts of eastern Congo's North Kivu province, for example, militia fighters reportedly forced voters to select candidates from the ruling coalition, they said.
In other places, the United Nations received reports that security forces intimidated voters to choose ruling coalition candidates.
The government and national electoral commission (CENI) said the election was fair and that any problems were minor. – Additional reporting by Nampa/Reuters
“We appeal to the public to report missing persons, inform the police. There are a lot of people at police mortuaries that are unaccounted for. Be vigilant. After 24 hours, report any missing persons,” City Police spokesperson Fabian Amukwelele told Namibian Sun.
Three suspected suicides were reported in Windhoek over the festive season.
Nampa reported that a 40-year-old man had hanged himself on Christmas Day. The deceased was identified as Deli Terence. His body was found next to the road between the Monte Christo Service Station and Okahandja Park.
Amukwelele also urged Windhoek residents to keep an eye out for burglars in their neighbourhoods. He said many break-ins had been reported since the start of the festive season.
“Be extra vigilant. Let us not only look at our own houses but also those of our neighbours this festive season. If you happen to notice any suspicious behaviour, report this to the City Police,” he said.
The symbolic commemoration took place in Santiago de Cuba at the foot of the tombs of national heroes Jose Marti and Fidel Castro, while the latter's brother Raul gave a speech.
For the first time since 1976, Cuba's president is not a Castro, after Miguel Diaz-Canel, 58, took over in April as president from Raul, who nonetheless retains significant influence.
Diaz-Canel wasn't even born when Fidel Castro declared on January 1, 1959: "At last we've arrived in Santiago. The road was long and hard, but we've arrived."
The United States-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista had fled the country earlier that day, leaving the way for Castro to install a communist one-party system.
Last week, Diaz-Canel wrote on Twitter: "The Cuban revolution is invincible, it grows, it lasts."
But not everyone is convinced.
Dissident Vladimiro Roca, whose father Blas Roca served as a high-ranking official under Fidel Castro, insists: "The revolution died a long time ago."
Abroad, Cuba's government has faced much criticism for its authoritarian nature, intolerance of opposition and persecution of detractors. Vladimiro Roca was jailed from 1997 to 2002 for his protests.
And while relations between Cuba and the US thawed under Barack Obama, the Caribbean island of 11 million people has had to contend with an increasingly hostile administration under president Donald Trump these last two years.
Change is coming, though.
The communist regime submits to referendum in February a new constitution which will officially recognise private property, markets and foreign investment.
However, it also ratifies communism as the "social goal," insists the country will "never" return to capitalism, and defines the Communist Party as "unique" and the "supreme political force of State and society".
Aside from constitutional changes, there are also set to be economic ones following a landmark deal between Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation that will allow the island's top talents to sign multi-million dollar deals with MLB clubs.
"For sure a new cycle is being opened. This cycle is continuity and change," academic Arturo Lopez-Levy, from Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, told AFP.
That's not the view of Jorge Duany, director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University.
"For now, it looks like castrism without a Castro" in power, he said.
Vladimiro Roca, for his part, believes the revolution "will blow itself out" due to the indifference of the new generations and a lack of outside support.
Russia and China remain allies, but neither has shown willingness to subsidize the country's economy in the way the former Soviet Union did for 30 years.
Diaz-Canel has repeated many times that the "most important battle is the economy," which has barely grown one percent in recent years, an insufficient amount to support its population.
For many Cubans, their hopes for an improved lifestyle depend "on whether they can work for themselves or emigrate", said Duany.
Once the world's primary exporter of sugar, Cuba recently had to import that commodity from France, while over the last few weeks, eggs, rice and flour have disappeared from supermarket aisles.
It leaves "Diaz-Canel and his team with the challenge of applying a contradictory policy," said Lopez-Levy.
The country is institutionalising the revolution during economic crisis, while the Communist Party creates a market economy in which inhabitants can get rich in a society based on egalitarian principals.
"The challenge is to square the circle in order to avoid sinking," said Lopez-Levy.
It's not a hopeless dream, though, in a country that has resisted a US-led embargo since 1962 by showing "its ability to adapt, identifying and applying policies that manage to meet the challenges," he said. – Nampa/AFP