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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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    Manganese health concerns for Lüderitz kidsManganese health concerns for Lüderitz kids Over the past week alarmed Lüderitz parents and other residents have called for a local primary school that opened its doors this week to stay temporarily closed, until they can be assured their children are protected from potentially hazardous manganese dust from a nearby stockpile.

    Residents have since December warned of the potential health and environmental hazards posed by manganese stockpiling at the town, which was halted abruptly last week by environmental officials until an investigation into the operation is concluded.

    TradePort, the South African company that brought in the product, was ordered by environmental inspectors to rehabilitate the vacant property where the manganese was dumped in the open, and Namport gave the temporary green light to store the material in a warehouse at the port.

    While most of the product was removed on Tuesday and taken to the port warehouse, during a much-criticised clean-up operation that many say was handled with lack of due safety measures, residents maintain that the remaining dust at the site continues to pose a health risk, especially to children at the Helen van Rhijn Primary School, located directly downwind, and to residents in nearby suburbs.

    On Tuesday observers also claimed the clean-up operation lacked protection for workers and that the area was left insufficiently scrubbed of all traces of the hazardous material. On Monday a meeting which involved members of the school board addressed the issue and the school's principal agreed to investigate further. However, by yesterday, no feedback had been provided yet, a member of the board confirmed, as the school management is still looking into the matter.

    Stay inside

    Chantelle Murtz, whose children attend Helen van Rhijn, says she has grave concerns for their health and has kept them indoors when the notorious Lüderitz winds pick up, after the manganese was dumped.

    “We are very careful about allowing the children to play outside when the wind blows. We have strong winds - this week they reached around 60 knots per hour - and our suburb is located directly behind that stockpile (now removed), and the trucks loaded with manganese passed close by. I feel as parents we should be aware of the health risks.”

    Heidri-Ann van Vuuren said her eldest child, a learner at the school, is asthmatic and the stockpile also worried her.

    “The school is very close to that dumpsite. The dust has been blown across the entire town. We first spotted the trucks offloading manganese at the start of the year, and then heard about the health hazards. So when the kids are home, although it's uncomfortable for them, I cannot allow them to play outside. It's too big a risk.”

    Both parents said it was a concern that the school had opened despite the potential risks, but added that many parents were not aware of the dangers of manganese dust exposure.

    Rolandi van Wyk, another parent, said: “I have a big problem with the manganese dust. My child is a Grade 0 pupil. Taking her to school, knowing of the dangers the dust can cause, has been a real concern.”

    She added that it “makes no sense at all” that “our local businesses and council want to subject us and our children to this”.

    “They will be our future community leaders.”

    She has joined countless Lüderitz residents to protest the lack of safety protocols around the manganese at the dumping site, and said she will stand with others to fight to “ensure a healthy and safe future for not only my child, but all our children”.

    Bad handling

    Photographs and video recordings made by concerned community members on Tuesday during the clean-up operation raised several concerns.

    “Not one of the workers wore any safety clothing, not even masks,” Reginald Hercules said.

    He said only after his presence was observed, and local environmental and port inspectors arrived, as well as police officers, the workers were issued white overalls and masks.

    The manganese, loaded onto open trucks, was transported without sufficiently protective covering through the town, residents said on Tuesday. It was covered with shade nets taken from a makeshift fence erected at the site.

    “Can you imagine how many people have been exposed in this town because of this reckless operation which has taken place here,” Hercules remarked.

    He said he was especially concerned about the potential short- and long-term impact on the health of vulnerable residents, including children, the elderly and sick.

    Online, a resident underlined that manganese dust was present in “sizable quantity” on Tuesday and other days, and was easily carried to the school and other areas by the south-wind.

    He added that run-off water from the spraying of the manganese pile was allowed to run out of the property, carrying manganese dust and potentially polluting the environment.

    Acting Lüderitz town council CEO Otto Shipanga said yesterday the municipality could not address the issue until the environmental commissioner's investigation is concluded.

    He added that “no investments must come at the expense of the health and safety of the community”.

    The principal of Helen van Rhijn, the environment ministry or the contractors tasked with the clean-up operation could not be reached for comment yesterday.


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    Brickbats for Black Leopards after third straight winBrickbats for Black Leopards after third straight win A mid-season recovery by promoted Black Leopards in the South African premiership extended to three straight wins on Saturday when they triumphed 2-0 at home against SuperSport United.

    Zambian Mwape Musonda bagged a brace for the club from the remote north-eastern town of Thohoyandou, converting a penalty early in the second half and banging in a late victory-clinching goal.

    Leopards' Malta-born coach Dylan Kerr took charge late last year, replacing Joel Masutha after Leopards had won only twice. The club fell to the bottom of the table at one stage.

    Kerr, who joined Leopards from top Kenyan club Gor Mahia, had bouquets and brickbats for his team after outplaying mid-table SuperSport and rising to 11th.

    “We transformed what we practised at training all week into reality and became heroes in the eyes of our supporters. There was a real do-or-die spirit,” he said.

    “Keeping our first clean sheet since October was fantastic with our goalkeeper (King Ndlovu) making one crucial save from a free-kick when the match hung in the balance.

    “I was concerned, though, by the number of scoring chances we wasted through making wrong decisions in good positions and Musonda should have scored at least one more goal.”

    Elsewhere, Austrian Roland Putsche struck an 85th-minute equaliser to salvage a 2-2 draw for Cape Town City at home against third-from-bottom Baroka.

    Ayanda Patosi put City ahead on the stroke of half-time before a lively match took a dramatic turn with Baroka netting twice within six minutes soon after halftime.

    Tebogo Sodi equalised, then Jemondre Dickens fired a harshly-awarded penalty over Dutch goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburg for the lead.

    Putsche rattled the woodwork with a long-range shot before firing the ball past Zimbabwean goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze and into the net from just outside the six-yard box.

    In Durban, mid-table Highlands Park drew for the 10th time in 17 premiership matches when they held AmaZulu 0-0.


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    Komphela says it's hard to surviveKomphela says it's hard to survive Golden Arrows coach Steve Komphela says it is hard for all 16 clubs to avoid relegation in the Absa premiership.

    Komphela, who resigned from Bloemfontein Celtic in December, made the point after starting his reign at Arrows with a 2-0 win over bottom-placed Maritzburg United at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium last weekend.

    “We must realise that the Absa premiership is a very competitive league. It's hard for anyone to survive, from top to bottom,” Komphela said.

    “If it is not Maritzburg United down there, with due respect, which team on the log deserves to be there? Any team can be at the bottom, the PSL (Premier Soccer League) is very competitive.”

    Komphela feels any PSL side can now attract big-name coaches.

    “If you look at England, Manuel Pellegrini is coaching West Ham United. It doesn't mean they are a small team or he's a small coach. He has won championships and I've seen this in this country. For example, Maritzburg United and Golden Arrows have attracted top coaches in the past.”

    The former Kaizer Chiefs mentor insisted there are no longer small teams in the South African top-flight.

    “The PSL product has grown. We need to be honest; the league is highly competitive, there are no longer small teams and coaches.”


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  • 01/13/19--14:00: Civics take on Unam
  • Civics take on UnamCivics take on Unam Civics and Unam will battle it out in the MTC Namibia Premier League (NPL) tonight at the Sam Nujoma Stadium at 20:00.

    Civics will be eager to resume their campaign on a high note, given that they have been struggling since they started the season. The club are rooted at the bottom of the table with only three points recorded from six matches so far. Civics are yet to register a victory this season after having lost and drew three matches each so far. The Khomasdal-based side have conceded nine goals, while scoring only four during the first round of the season.

    The club faces relegation if they do not pull up their socks. “We are going to see how things go because we have a very important match tonight. “There is still so much to fight for and we are not just going to give up yet.

    “Yes, we have encountered several problems but we are going to fix them,” a senior team member of the club said.

    Unam, on the other hand, also have problems of their own, given that they are just three points above the Civilians. The university side did not start the season as anticipated, as they only recorded one win so far. The rest of the points for the university side came from three draws, while they also lost three matches. Unam have scored 12 goals this season and conceded eight. Meanwhile, Tigers beat Citizens 3-1 in a match played at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Thursday.

    Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

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    We did not interfere in NFA - Erastus UtoniWe did not interfere in NFA - Erastus UtoniSports minister welcomes Fifa decision on NFA Namibian football is between a rock and a hard place, given the controversial dismantling of the NFA executive in December last year. Sports minister Erastus Uutoni says the ministry has not taken sides in the battle between former Namibia Football Association (NFA) president Frans Mbidi and former secretary-general Barry Rukoro.

    Addressing a media conference in Oshakati on Friday, Uutoni said his ministry is fully aware that government should not interfere in the affairs of football, as stipulated by Fifa.

    Uutoni said Fifa wrote to his office and the NFA last week, to inform them that the Fifa Council bureau had taken the decision to set up a normalisation committee for the NFA.

    The minister did not explain why he called the urgent media conference, saying only that his ministry had tried to advise the NFA leadership, based on a Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) investigation after the NFA executive dismissed Mbidi as president.

    “On the 6 November last year, I convened a press conference in Windhoek where I made it clear that the position of the sports ministry with regard to the NFA executive's term of office is that under no circumstance did the ministry side either with Rukoro or Mbidi,” Uutoni said.

    “As a custodian ministry we cannot just sit and wait for Fifa to solve the NFA infighting. I have to come in and advise and that advice does not mean I have interfered with football affairs.”

    Uutoni said Fifa has not revealed to them the names of the normalisation committee members, because the process of appointing this committee will only take place after Fifa and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) visit Namibia during the coming weeks.

    “Until such time, let us not speculate or pre-empt this important process for the benefit of our football.

    “I once again wish to categorically state that during this entire process, we as the government collaborated with Fifa as a partner in developing sport in Namibia,” he said.


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  • 01/13/19--14:00: Thunder avenge loss to Spurs
  • Thunder avenge loss to SpursThunder avenge loss to Spurs Russell Westbrook tallied 24 points and 10 rebounds and reserve guard Dennis Schroder scored all 10 points in the second half as Oklahoma City Thunder defeated San Antonio Spurs 122-112 on Saturday.

    Thunder rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to seize control of the contest in the third quarter and avenge a 154-147 double-overtime loss to Spurs two nights ago.

    Paul George added 18 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma City, who outscored Spurs 35-20 in the third quarter.

    The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Thunder. It was San Antonio's second loss in their last eight games.

    “Schroder just sliced us and diced us; he did a great job getting to the rim,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Defence let us down.”

    Marco Belinelli scored 24 points and DeMar DeRozan added 18 points for Spurs.

    LaMarcus Aldridge, who scored a career-high 56 points against Thunder on Thursday, struggled with the extra coverage and finished with 17 points.

    “They didn't let me play,” Aldridge said. “They doubled me in every way. They came from the baseline, from the top. They made sure that the ball wasn't in my hands.”

    Elsewhere, Blake Griffin made a turbulent return to the Staples Centre, scoring 44 points as the Detroit Pistons toppled the Los Angeles Clippers 109-104.

    It was an emotional day for Griffin as he snubbed Clippers owner Steve Ballmer before the game, was greeted with a standing ovation during a first quarter video tribute, and then had a heated exchange on the floor with former teammate Patrick Beverley as the final horn sounded.

    “There was a lot of hype coming into this game and I was looking forward to it, but I'm glad that it's over,” said Griffin. “The next time I come it won't be as crazy.”

    The former first overall draft pick by the Clippers in 2009 was surprisingly traded to Detroit last January after signing a five-year extension worth US$171 million.

    Griffin averaged 21.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists in eight seasons in Los Angeles. He won the rookie of the year award and was a five-time all-star with the franchise.

    Before the game, Clippers owner Ballmer waited on the sidelines and then extended his hand for a handshake, but Griffin ignored him, sprinting off to the locker room.

    After the game, Griffin scolded a reporter for mentioning the snub on social media, saying he was just conducting his pre-game routine.

    Asked if he would ever shake Ballmer's hand, Griffin bristled, saying, “I am not here to answer hypothetical questions.”

    Andre Drummond had 20 points and 21 rebounds and Reggie Bullock finished with 17 points for the Pistons, who have lost nine of their last 12.

    “Down the stretch we played great defence, got stops and protected the ball and that was the difference,” Griffin said.

    Danilo Gallinari led the Clippers with 23 points. Lou Williams added 22 points, and Montrezl Harrell had 21 points and nine rebounds.


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  • 01/13/19--14:00: Liverpool extend log lead
  • Liverpool extend log leadLiverpool extend log leadChelsea take control of Champions League qualification race Chelsea now lead the Gunners by six points in the race for Champions League qualification after beating Newcastle 2-1. Mohamed Salah's second-half penalty moved Liverpool seven points clear at the top of the Premier League thanks to a 1-0 win away over Brighton, while Arsenal's hopes of a top-four finish suffered another body blow in defeat by West Ham on Saturday.

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted it had been “no opera” watching his side struggle to create chances on the south coast in a game of few goalmouth incidents other than Salah's 17th goal of the season after the Egyptian had been hauled down by Pascal Gross five minutes into the second half.

    “We are not the Harlem Globetrotters, we have to deliver results,” said Klopp, as his side got back to winning ways after a first Premier League defeat of the season by Manchester City and an FA Cup exit to Wolves.

    “For that, we need to perform. The performance was good. It was not the best performance of the season in a few departments but I would say it was the most mature performance of the season.”

    City can close the gap to four points with a victory over Wolves on Monday.

    Teenager Declan Rice scored his first West Ham goal as Unai Emery's men suffered on the road once more in a 1-0 loss at the London Stadium.

    Mesut Ozil was again not selected in Emery's squad as Arsenal's winless run away from home in the league extended to five games.

    “We decided that the players here were the best for this match,” said Emery of the German's absence.

    “We've won with him, we've lost with him. No one player makes the difference between winning and losing the game.”

    However, it was not a perfect afternoon for the Hammers either as Marko Arnautovic appeared to wave goodbye to the home fans when substituted, with the Austrian strongly linked with a move to the Chinese Super League.

    Chelsea took advantage of Arsenal's defeat despite making heavy work of seeing off Newcastle.

    Pedro Rodriguez's early opener was cancelled out by Ciaran Clark's header for the visitors, but Willian's fine 57th-minute strike secured all three points for Maurizio Sarri's men.

    Defeat allied to results elsewhere saw Newcastle slip into the bottom three as 10-man Southampton held out to win 2-1 at Leicester.

    James Ward-Prowse's penalty gave the Saints an 11th-minute lead before Yann Valery was sent off.

    Southampton still doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time through Shane Long and withstood a second-half fightback from the Foxes when Wilfried Ndidi pulled a goal back.

    “I'm unbelievably proud of my players,” said Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.

    “To go 2-0 in the lead at Leicester is not easy and we defended with fantastic commitment.”

    Fulham remain in the relegation zone as Burnley won 2-1 at Turf Moor despite not even having a single shot on target. Andre Schurrle's stunning effort put Fulham ahead in just the second minute but Burnley equalised in the 20th minute through Joe Bryan's own goal and were soon in the lead when Denis Odoi also put the ball in his own net.

    “It is unbelievable. We scored a great goal and then suddenly two own goals,” said Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri.

    Craig Cathcart scored at both ends as Watford beat Crystal Palace 2-1, thanks to Tom Cleverley's volleyed winner with 16 minutes left at Selhurst Park.

    Huddersfield are still rooted at the foot of the table following a goalless draw at Cardiff.


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    No emergency declaration to end US govt shutdownNo emergency declaration to end US govt shutdown President Donald Trump said he was holding off on declaring a state of emergency to end the partial US government shutdown that dragged into a 23rd day Sunday, as he insisted on US$5.7 billion to build a Mexico border wall that congressional Democrats oppose.

    Asked by Fox News why he didn't immediately declare a national emergency to secure the funds without congressional approval, Trump said he wanted to give opposition Democratic lawmakers more time to strike a deal.

    “I want to give them the chance to see if they can act responsibly,” he told Fox in an interview late Saturday.

    The US government shutdown became the longest on record at midnight Friday, when it overtook a 21-day stretch in 1995-1996 under president Bill Clinton.

    Trump fired off a series of tweets Saturday in an effort to defend his stance and goad Democrats to return to Washington and end what he called “the massive humanitarian crisis at our Southern Border.”

    “Democrats could solve the Shutdown in 15 minutes!” he said in one tweet, adding in another, “We will be out for a long time unless the Democrats come back from their 'vacations' and get back to work. I am in the White House ready to sign!”

    But most lawmakers left town on Friday and will not return before Monday, leaving little chance for any solution to the stalemate before then. The impasse has paralyzed Washington - its impact felt increasingly around the country - with the president refusing to sign off on budgets for swaths of government departments unrelated to the dispute.

    As a result, 800 000 federal employees - including FBI agents, air traffic controllers and museum staff - received no paychecks on Friday. At a White House meeting Friday Trump described an emergency declaration as the “easy way out,” and said Congress had to step up to the responsibility of approving funding for the wall.

    “If they can't do it... I will declare a national emergency. I have the absolute right,” he said.

    Trump however acknowledged that such a move would likely trigger a legal battle ending in the Supreme Court. Opponents say such a unilateral presidential move would be constitutional overreach and set a dangerous precedent in similar controversies.

    Trump pushed back Saturday on a media report that his White House was “chaotic” with no plan or strategy to end the shutdown.

    To understand the plan “you would have to understand the fact that I won the election, and I promised... a Wall at the Southern Border. Elections have consequences!” he tweeted.

    Both Democrats and Republicans agree that the US-Mexican border presents challenges, but Trump has turned his single-minded push for more walls into a crusade that opponents say is a stunt to stoke xenophobia in his right-wing voter base.

    For the president, who visited the Texas border with Mexico on Thursday, the border situation amounts to an invasion by criminals. Only in recent days has he begun describing the problem as “humanitarian.”

    Some studies show that illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes than people born in the United States.

    And most narcotics are smuggled through heavily guarded checkpoints in vehicles, the government's Drug Enforcement Administration said in a 2017 report.


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    ANC makes the jobs promise againANC makes the jobs promise againKicks off election campaign with vow to restore democracy The ANC promises to create some 1.3 million jobs over the next five years. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday launched the ANC's campaign for legislative elections in May, acknowledging the party's past mistakes and promising to restore democratic institutions and economic growth.

    Ramaphosa unveiled a 68-page manifesto before tens of thousands of supporters in the eastern city of Durban, marking the start of four months of hectic campaigning.

    The African National Congress (ANC), which has ruled since the end of apartheid 25 years ago, is tipped to win the election despite faltering support, internal divisions and a sluggish economy.

    The party of Nelson Mandela suffered a slump in popularity under the scandal-ridden presidency of Jacob Zuma, who was ousted last February after nine years at the helm.

    “We must acknowledge that mistakes have been made,” Ramaphosa said, adding: “After a period of doubt and uncertainty, we have arrived at a moment of hope and renewal.

    “The 2019 elections provide an opportunity to restore our democratic institutions and to return our country to a path of transformation, growth and development.”

    A recent IPSOS survey predicted the ANC could garner as much as 61% in the national and provincial elections. At the legislative level, that would put it on a par with its performance in 2014, when it picked up 62%. In South Africa's parliament, the party which holds a majority of seats also selects the president.

    The forecast upswing is pinned on the appointment of moderate pro-business reformer Ramaphosa as president after ANC lawmakers forced Zuma to resign as corruption scandals piled up.

    “The 2019 elections provide an opportunity to restore our democratic institutions and to return our country to a path of transformation, growth and development,” Ramaphosa said, underscoring that the main planks of the manifesto included job creation and decent wages. Activists dressed mainly in the party colours of yellow and green packed a 85 000-capacity soccer stadium in the coastal city for the launch and applauded wildly when ex-leader Zuma, who is from the region, joined a group of dancers on stage. In a noisy and colourful display, dozens of motorbike riders flying ANC flags, circled the pitch - revving up their bikes to chants and clapping.

    In a bruising internal party battle, Ramaphosa won a power struggle to succeed Zuma, whose favoured candidate was Zuma's former wife.

    Ramaphosa vowed to work “more diligently” to get rid of factionalism and patronage, as he switched between the country's 11 languages throughout his speech.

    The manifesto underlines the ANC's commitment to land reform to tackle racial inequality -- setting the stage for one of the election's fiercest battlegrounds. One of Ramaphosa's flagship pledges is to change the constitution to allow land to be taken from minority white owners without compensation - a plan aimed at attracting landless black voters that has alarmed many foreign investors.

    “In this manifesto, (is).... a plan to accelerate land reform..., including, where appropriate, expropriation without compensation,” said Ramaphosa. The South African economy is forecast to have grown just 0.7% last year, with unemployment remaining at record highs of over 27%. Political analyst Lukhona Mnguni said there was nothing radically new in the pledges.

    “A manifesto of the ANC can't look like a manifesto of a new political party that has not been in government,” said Mnguni. “You get a sense that it's business as usual”.

    The ANC will face the main opposition Democratic Alliance and the radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters party in the election.

    Both parties hope to make gains due to the ANC's poor recent record and discontent over stark post-apartheid inequality but have struggled to dent the ruling party since Zuma's fall. Gift Xulu, 36-year-old basketball coach, said he was “confident” Ramaphosa would steer the ANC to victory because “the signs are there, that's he is able”.

    Unemployed mother of six, Marriam Xobololo, 53, travelled s from the rural Eastern Cape province to attend the launch. She has voted for the ANC since 1994. “The ANC is just like Christ in my heart,” she said. “I will forever vote for ANC, and I will die and perish voting for the ANC.”


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    Suzuki wins darts world titleSuzuki wins darts world title Japanese qualifier Mikuru Suzuki became the first Asian player to win a world darts championship title on Saturday with victory in the women's BDO final at the Lakeside Country Club.

    The 36-year-old tournament debutant completed a stunning success with a comprehensive 3-0 win over English world number one Lorraine Winstanley.

    Suzuki dropped only two legs in the final as she clinched the trophy and the £12 000 (U$15 422) top prize without losing a single set in her four matches.

    “It was my best darts in this tournament, and probably my best this year too,” Suzuki said.

    Having caused a massive shock by knocking out four-time champion Lisa Ashton in the first round, Suzuki capped a memorable fortnight with a record three-dart average for a women's final of 90.12.

    She becomes only the fifth winner of the BDO women's world championship since the inaugural edition in 2001.


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    Djokovic, Federer gun for recordDjokovic, Federer gun for record'Big Four' era draws to a close Novak Djokovic won his third US Open in September to put him on 14 Grand Slams, three behind Rafael Nadal and six behind Roger Federer. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are both gunning for a record seventh Australian Open crown, but Andy Murray will make his last appearance in Melbourne as the era of the 'Big Four' draws to a close.

    Top seed Djokovic and third seed Federer face a stern challenge from the likes of youthful force Alexander Zverev, seeded four, who is still looking for a first major to cement his place as torch-bearer for the next generation.

    But Murray dropped a pre-Grand Slam bombshell, breaking down during a tear-filled press conference as he revealed chronic hip pain means he will retire after Wimbledon if he can carry on that long.

    And question marks remain over the fitness of world number two Rafael Nadal who pulled out of his Brisbane warm-up but arrived in Melbourne professing he was “fully fit” and promising to unleash a remodelled serve.

    It all means the era of the 'Big Four' is almost over after a season in which Federer who opens his title defence against Denis Istomin today rolled back the years at the Rod Laver Arena to lift an emotional 20th Grand Slam.

    It put him on a par with other six-time Australian Open winners Djokovic and Roy Emerson although the Australian great's victories all came before the Open era.

    By contrast, the 31-year-old Djokovic endured a miserable early Melbourne exit in 2018, followed by elbow surgery and a string of disappointing results that saw him drop outside the top 20.

    But since winning a fourth Wimbledon in July, the Serb rose inexorably back to number one by losing only three further matches, one of which was to Zverev at the ATP Finals.

    Djokovic said yesterday he was delighted to be back in Melbourne where his rise to greatness began in 2008 with his first Grand Slam win.

    “It was my first major trophy; that obviously served as a great springboard for my career,” Djokovic said, as he prepared to open his assault on a seventh crown against American Mitchell Krueger on Tuesday.

    “It opened a lot of doors for me. It allowed me to believe in myself; that I can actually win the biggest tournaments in the world and challenge the best players in the world.”

    Federer, now 37, remains the chief threat to the Serb and he sounded a warning yesterday.

    “I'm playing good tennis. I'm confident; I think it needs a good performance by my opponent probably to beat me,” said the Swiss master, who warmed up for Melbourne with victory in Perth's Hopman Cup.

    Second-ranked Nadal, 32, pulled out of Brisbane with a thigh strain although he returned for an exhibition in Sydney and insisted at the weekend his fitness woes were behind him.

    “I feel good. If I am not feeling good, I will not be here,” he said before revealing he had remodelled his serve.

    “There are always things to improve,” said the Spaniard, who faces Australian wildcard James Duckworth today.

    Djokovic picked young guns Zverev of Germany, Borna Coric of Croatia, Karen Khachanov of Russia and Greece's Stefano Tsitsipas as key threats to the top three.

    “It's just a matter of time when we will see some of them competing in the last stages of Grand Slams,” said Djokovic. Zverev, 21, starts the Australian Open full of confidence after an impressive warm-up to reach the final of Perth's mixed teams Hopman Cup, despite his terrible record at Grand Slams.He has never got beyond the third round in Melbourne and faces Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in his opener tomorrow.

    Last year, seeded four, he crashed out in the last 32 to South Korea's Chung Hyeon and has only reached one quarterfinal in 14 major appearances.

    Home fans will look to new Sydney champion and 27th seed Alex de Minaur, who faces Portugal's Pedro Sousa today, and the temperamental Nick Kyrgios.

    Kyrgios has a tough opening match against former world number three Milos Raonic and then a possible clash with former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in round two.


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    Serena shoots for Slam historySerena shoots for Slam history Serena Williams has adopted a low profile ahead of the Australian Open, but rival players admit the American's shadow looms large in Melbourne as she eyes a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam crown.

    Williams won her 23rd title and seventh at Melbourne Park while eight weeks pregnant two years ago, and now attempts to match Margaret Court's mark of 24 singles majors on the Australian's home soil.

    The 37-year-old's last outing on tour was her meltdown in losing the US Open final to Naomi Osaka in September and she enters the season-opening Slam as the 16th seed.

    Yet she has proved in the past that such numbers mean little to her and Osaka said most in the locker room believed the veteran remains the one to beat in Melbourne. “I'm pretty sure (that's the case),” said the Japanese star.

    “But there's a group of players that I think everyone thinks is very difficult to play against, especially in Grand Slams,” Osaka added.

    Serena's 2017 triumph Down Under gave her the outright Open-era record for singles majors ahead of Steffi Graf's 22, leaving only Court's tally of 24 titles 13, of which were earned in the amateur era before 1968, for her to chase.

    Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki admitted that Serena, already hailed by many as the greatest of all time, was an unknown quantity in Melbourne after sitting out the end of the 2018 season following the US Open blow-up.

    “I haven't seen her play a match, so I don't really know,” Wozniacki responded when quizzed about the American's form. The Danish third seed preferred to concentrate on her own prospects, dismissing concerns that health problems were affecting her game. She achieved a career milestone last year to claim her maiden Grand Slam at Melbourne Park, but also revealed she was suffering from debilitating auto-immune condition, rheumatoid arthritis. But the 28-year-old insisted she was managing her illness and was relishing the prospect of defending her crown.

    “All I can say is that I feel good. I feel like I'm hitting the ball well,” she said. Wozniacki's vanquished opponent in last year's final, Simona Halep, arrives in Australia with the world number one ranking and her confidence overflowing after winning the French Open.

    The Romanian said she was untroubled by the back injury that curtailed her 2018 season and was mentally stronger as a result of last year's loss in the decider.

    “I didn't want to think that much about that match because it was really painful to lose it, but I learned some things from that match,” she said.

    “Now I know how to manage better if that happens again.”

    Second-ranked Angelique Kerber has already indicated her priority for 2019 will be the French Open, the only Slam to elude the 30-year-old German in her career.

    Osaka is the leading contender among the younger generation of players, warming up for Melbourne by making the semi-finals of the Brisbane International.

    While the 21-year-old has appeared level-headed since her breakthrough at Flushing Meadows, she said she was still getting used to the spotlight.

    “For me one of my biggest goals is to be more mature, like to mature as a person,” the fourth seed said.

    “I feel like in a way I am, but in other parts I'm very, like, three years old mentality, you know? I feel like just levelling that out is one of my biggest goals I had during the off-season.”

    Local hopes will rest on Ashleigh Barty after the 22-year-old Queenslander went on a seven-match winning streak before losing in the final of the Sydney International to Czech Petra Kvitova on Saturday.

    Maria Sharapova has failed to impress since returning from a doping ban, and now ranked 30, is looking some way from the player who won five Grand Slams.

    Two-time major champion and former number one Garbine Muguruza was another player who had an injury-blighted 2018, which saw her drop out of the top 10.


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  • 01/13/19--14:00: Iran, Iraq soar into last 16
  • Iran, Iraq soar into last 16Iran, Iraq soar into last 16 Back-from-retirement Sardar Azmoun fired Iran into the Asian Cup knockout phase on Saturday as Carlos Queiroz's side reached the last 16 along with arch-rivals Iraq, with Saudi Arabia on the brink of joining them.

    Azmoun, 24, quit the national team after fans rounded on him following Iran's exit at last year's World Cup, but he was the toast of Tehran once again with both goals in a 2-0 win over Vietnam.

    Saudi Arabia, who like Iran are three-time former winners of the Asian showpiece, beat Lebanon 2-0, while teenager Mohanad Ali inspired 2007 champions Iraq to a 3-0 win over Yemen.

    Iran and Iraq, with four titles between them, joined already qualified South Korea, China and Jordan as the round of 16 began to take shape.

    Queiroz singled out Azmoun after the Rubin Kazan forward's double made him the tournament's top-scorer so far.

    “He's a finisher,” said the Portuguese, now in his eighth year as Iran coach.

    “We have high hopes for him for this competition. But the way the team is contributing around him, and our movement in the last third, are very interesting.”

    Iran, looking to end a 43-year title drought since last winning Asian football's most coveted prize, could have scored four or five but for some poor finishing in Abu Dhabi.

    “It's a pity our performance didn't produce a couple more goals,” Queiroz told reporters.

    “But winning is the best medicine in football. To win two games and score seven goals, I have to praise my players because I am very demanding.”

    Saman Ghoddos and Mehdi Taremi went close for Asia's top-ranked team before Azmoun rose to head home a Ghoddos cross after 38 minutes.

    Azmoun lashed in his third of the tournament from the edge of the box 20 minutes from time to make it seven unanswered goals for Iran, who crushed Yemen 5-0 in their opening Group D game.

    In Sharjah, 18-year-old Ali scored a wonderful solo goal to put Iraq 1-0 up after 11 minutes, although questions must be raised about the Yemeni defence.

    Pouncing on a loose back pass, Ali held off three defenders before rifling his shot past Yemen goalkeeper Jalal Hassan for his second of the tournament.

    Bashar Resan doubled Iraq's lead midway through the first half when his deflected shot drifted in off the upright with Hassan slow to get across.

    Ali hit the post in one of the rare highlights of the second half before Alaa Abbas grabbed Iraq's third in injury time, finishing sharply after Ahmed Yaseen's header into his path.

    Iran and Iraq will meet in Dubai on Wednesday to decide who tops Group D in a repeat of their combustible quarterfinal of 2015, which Iraq won on penalties.

    Saudi Arabia also maintained their perfect record as they beat Lebanon 2-0, winning their opening two games for the first time since 1996 when they last won the title.

    Fahad Al-Muwallad smashed a loose ball into the roof of the net with just 12 minutes gone, and on 67 minutes Hussain Al-Moqahwi finished at the far post from Hatan Bahbri's teasing cross.

    The Saudis, who top Group E with six points, were to be confirmed for the last 16 if North Korea failed to beat Qatar yesterday.


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  • 01/13/19--14:00: Okahandja hold Magic
  • Okahandja hold MagicOkahandja hold MagicClubs in 0-0 stalemate Magic started off brightly with Captain Oswaldo Xamseb shooting wide as early as the fourth minute, but the promising start did not translate into a victory. Tura Magic were held to goalless draw by Okahandja United in an MTC Namibia Premier League (NPL) match played at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Friday evening.

    Magic striker Junius Theophilus could not control a great pass from Baloyi Tsandib with only the goalkeeper to beat in the eighth minute, before also heading the ball wide two minutes later.

    Theophilus then turned provider when he made a great solo run on the right flank, before squaring the ball to the on-rushing David Omseb, whose snap shot hit the side netting.

    Okahandja United created a few chances of their own, with Lorenzo Madjiedt shooting over the crossbar following a mistake by Tsandib in the 20th minute.

    The move was replicated by his teammate Uaondjavure Nakambare 10 minutes later, with his effort going wildly over the bar following a pass from captain Marco van Wyk, to leave the teams tied goalless at halftime.

    The second half saw a much-improved performance by Okahandja United, following the introduction of Gerland Kaengurora.

    He added pace to his side's attack, causing all sorts of trouble for left back Tsandib, who was eventually red-carded in the 77th minute after picking up two yellow cards.

    With the advantage of an extra man, Okahandja United pushed forward, sensing a win, and had the ball cleared off the line by Erasmus Ikeinge in the 80th minute, before Innocent Tembo headed over from a free-kick three minutes later.

    The last piece of action saw Joseph Kuugongelwa shooting wide as Magic seemed content to play defensive football in the latter stages of the match.


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    Omikanda  dhomalweendo dhaNamibia odhi na ongushuOmikanda dhomalweendo dhaNamibia odhi na ongushu Omukanda gwomalweendo gwaNamibia okwa hololwa guli ponomola ontitano momikanda ndhoka dhi na ongushu noonkondo menenevi, nomuuyuni oguli ponomola onti 68.

    Shoka osha hololwa kolopota yoHenley Passport Index, ndjoka ya pitithwa.

    Olopota ndjoka nomusholondondo ngoka ogwa ngongwa po kwiikwatelelwa kutya omahala gomwaalu guthike peni aakwashigwana yiilongo mbyoka taya vulu okutalela po inaya pumbwa oovisa.

    Uuyelele mboka owiikwatelela woo kuuyelele mboka wa gongelwa po uule womvula koInternational Air Transport Authority (IATA) kwa talwa woo kiilongo yi li po 199.

    Iilongo yimwe mbyoka yi li ponomola yotango menenevi ongaashi Seychelles, Mauritius, South Africa oshowo Botswana. Palopota ndjoka, Namibia oku na omukandapitiko gwomalweendo ngoka tagu vulu okuya miilongo yi li po 75, ina pumbwa ovisa, okuyeleka naSeychelles ngoka omukanda gwe tagu pitika etalelepo lyiilongo yi li 151.

    Nonando Namibia okwa humu pombanda nonkantu yimwe okuza po 69 mpoka a li muyuni omvula ya piti, okwa lopotwa omukandapitiko gwe gwomalweendo tagu vulu okutalela po iilongo yi po 76 momvula yo 2018.

    Omvula ya piti omukanda pitiko gwomalweendo gwaNamibia okwa lopotwa gwa tseyithwa kutya ogumwe gwomomikanda dhi na oonkondo na oguli ponomola ontitano muAfrika.

    Omukandapitiko gwaJapan ogo gwa dhengemo iilongo ayihe sho guli ponomola yotango. Omukanda gwoshilongo shoka otagu pitika etalelepo muuyuni miilongo yi li 190. Japan okwa landulwa kuSingapore naSouth Korea mboka omukandapitiko gwawo gomalweendo tagu vulu okutalela po iilongo yi li 189. France naGermany oye li ponomola ontitatu sho omikandapitiko dhawo tadhi vulu okutalela po iilongo yi li po 188.

    United States oku li ponomola ontihamano pamwe niilongo ngaashi Austria, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland oshowo United Kingdom. Iilongo mbyoka yi na omukandapitiko gwomalweendo kagu na ongushu muuyuni ongaashi Palestinian oshowo Sudan mboka yeli ponomola onti 99, nomikanda dhiilongo mbyoka otadhi pitika owala aakwashigwana yawo ya talela po iilongo yi li po 39, omanga Somalia naSyria ye li ponomola onti 103, omanga Afghanistan naIraq oye li ponomola onti 104.

    Olopota ndjoka yoHenley Passport Index oya kala tayi pitithwa uule woomvula 14 ngashiingeyi kwiikwatelelwa komwaalu gomahala moka aakwashigwana yiilongo taya vulu okutalela po nomikandapitiko dhawo itaya pumbwa oovisa.


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    Ekwato lyoohi lya pitilila itali popilwaEkwato lyoohi lya pitilila itali popilwaHAFA ta katuka oonkatu Okwa dhidhilikwa ekwato lyohi lya pitilila komukomunkulofuta gwomoonoli yondoolopa yaHenties Bay, sha etitha mayola gwondoolopa ndjoka a katuke oonkatu. Uule wiiwike ya piti ngashiingeyi oohi dholudhi halu ithanwa Kabeljou okwa lopotwa dha kwatwa sha pitilila komukulofuta gwaHenties Bay, namayola gwondoolopa ndjoka Herman Honeb okwa tokola okuya moshipala omukundu ngoka.

    Konima nkene omafudho giituthi yomatango omanene ga tameke kuyele Desemba gwomvula ya piti okwa lopotwa omwaalu ogundji gwoohi gwa kwatelwa komukulofuta ngoka kaakwashigwana, nayamwe po oya yi pondje oompango nokukwata oohi odhindji dhi vulithe omwaalu ngoka gwa tulwa po paveta.

    “Otashi limbililike sho otashi halutha woo”, Spyker Kruger ngoka ha gandja omalweendo kaakwati yoohi moHenties Bay a popi, a limbililwa konakuyiwa yoonzo dhoohi ngele nena onkalo ndjoka oya tsikile.

    Oyendji oya holola omaiyuvo gawo kombinga yonkalo ndjoka, pethimbo ndyoka natango pe na omananathano kombinga yoHanganeni Artisinal Fishing Association (HAFA), ngoka omalalakano ge ga nuninwa okugandja iiyemo kaantu mboka kaye na iilonga okupitila mekwato lyoohi.

    “Ope na omwaka gomukundu”, Honeb a zimine.

    HAFA oku na omaludhi gomapitiko gokukwata oohi ngoka ha gandja, nehangano ndyoka olya nuninwa aantu ayehe mboka ihaya longo opo ya vule okwiimonena iiyemo okupitia mekwato lyoohi. Oya pitikwa owala okukwata oohi dhili pomulongo ngaashi tashi uthwa kompango.

    “Otwa li komukulofuta omasiku ngaka ihe omulumentu gumwe a li pooha natse okwa li ta kwata oohi kee na oluthuwo,” Kruger.

    Okwa popi kutya okwa li a pula omulumentu ngoka na okwe mu yamukula nongeyo kutya ye okwiishangitha noHAFA na oku na uuthemba wokukwata omwaalu gwoohi kehe ngoka a hala, nonando okwa li nale a kwata oohi dhi li po 54.

    Honeb okwa popi kutya omukalo ngoka otagu kutha ongushu elalakano lyoHAFA, na omolwa omantompelo ngoka okwa kutha oonkondo manga omapitiko gamwe po ngoka ya gandja okupitila mehangano ndyoka.

    Aakwati yoohi yamwe po oya gandja uusama kaakonaakoni moshikondo shoohi noonzo dhomomeya mboka ye na oshinakugwanithwa shokukondolola ominkulofuta unene ngele tashi ya kekwato lyoohi.

    Oya popi kutya inaya mona aanambelewa mboka pethimbo lyomafudho taya patolola omunkulofuta naashoka osho sha etitha onkalo ndjoka yi nayipale noonkondo molwaashoka aantu kaye na uumbanda washa.

    Oya pula woo ku gandjwe omageelo geli pombanda kwaamboka taya adhika taya pogola omapango nokukwata omwaalu gwoohi gwa pitilila nenge oohi ooshona naandhoka dhuuthwa okukwatwa.

    Omunambelewa omukuluntu omukonaakoni muuministeli woohi noonzo dhomeya, Rosalia Mupetani ina vula okutya sha komapulo ngoka a ningilwa molwaashoka oku li mefudho.

    Omanga ngoka ta longo pehala lyomunambelewa omukonaakoni omukuluntu ina vula okumonika.

    Honeb okwa popi kutya HAFA oshowo aakonaakoni mboka oya taalela ompumbwe yiiyemo ihe onkalo ndjoka otayi ka lunduluka mbala.

    Erwin Leuschner

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  • 01/13/19--14:00: Anglers ravage fish stocks
  • Anglers ravage fish stocksAnglers ravage fish stocksLack of control, loopholes contribute to overexploitation The overexploitation of fish stocks at the coast has been described as a nightmare by honest anglers. For several weeks now cob, also known as kabeljou, have been caught on many beaches north of Henties Bay, with impunity. Last week Henties Bay mayor Herman Honeb began to put his foot down, in an effort to stop the overexploitation.

    Since the start of the holiday season in early December 2018, countless fish have been hauled ashore every day - but few people abide by the rules and blatantly keep significantly more fish than are allowed by law.

    “It's a nightmare. It's shocking”, said Spyker Kruger, a fisherman from Henties Bay who offers fishing tours and is worried about the future of the fish resources.

    Many anglers shared his sentiments when contacted.

    At the centre of the current dispute is the Hanganeni Artisinal Fishing Association (HAFA), whose goal is to create an income for unemployed people through fishing.

    “But there were a few loopholes”, admitted Honeb, who is also the director of HAFA.

    Among the different types of permits issued by HAFA are those to so-called “associated members”.

    “But we did not want to discriminate against anyone, so we also granted permits to retired residents,” Honeb said.

    Since HAFA is intended for unemployed persons, there is no quota for the anglers with such a permit - they can therefore catch more than ten fish, which is the limit by law.

    “We were on the beach recently and a guy next to us was catching cob without end,” said Kruger.

    He confronted the man, who then “flaunted” that he was registered with HAFA and thus could keep as many fish as he wanted. He had already caught 54 cob.

    “I was speechless,” Kruger said, adding that all of the fish were well over 70 centimetres and filled with roe.

    “This was not an isolated case,” he said.

    “These cases cast a bad light on HAFA and Henties Bay and destroy the meaning of HAFA,” Honeb said.

    For this reason, he cancelled all associate members permits last Wednesday.

    No control

    The HAFA saga, however, is only one aspect of the exploitation that took place on the beaches.

    Several experienced surf anglers criticised the fact that fisheries inspectors had little presence during the recent holiday season and only “set up a roadblock” from time to time.

    Some anglers reported that they did not see a fisheries inspector once during the entire holiday season.

    “And roadblocks are useless because anglers know exactly where they are and bypass them”, said one angler.

    Moreover, many surf anglers blatantly ignored the rules because the fines were “ridiculously” low.

    “For every fish that you are caught you receive a fine of N$300.

    But these big fish sell for almost twice as much. The anglers just laugh,” said a surf angler from Henties Bay, who wanted to remain anonymous.

    He called for higher penalties.

    Chief fisheries inspector Rosalia Mupetani did not comment last week because she is currently on leave. The acting inspector was not available for comment.

    Honeb said both HAFA and the inspectors are struggling with financial difficulties, but this should “change soon”.

    The lack of control by inspectors was particularly apparent as ski-boats arrived back in Swakopmund from their fishing grounds each day.

    Since October, a large amount of snoek have been caught off the coast, and during December some ski-boats arrived back on land with more than 500 snoek daily, while there were no inspectors to be seen.

    Although snoek is a migratory fish species, only 20 can be caught per person per day, but few fishermen stick to these rules, simply because of the lack of control.

    Erwin Leuschner

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    China drags fugitives, funds back homeChina drags fugitives, funds back homeMore than US$519 million recovered in 2018 China says 1 335 fugitives who fled the country were returned last year. More than 1 000 Chinese fugitives who fled abroad were returned to the country last year and more than US$519 million in ill-gotten gains was recovered, the ruling Communist Party said on Friday.

    The achievement is seen as a further victory in President Xi Jinping's years-long drive against corruption.

    The party's anti-corruption watchdog said among the 1 335 returned were 307 party members or government employees, including five on a list of the 100 most-wanted Chinese corruption suspects handed over to Interpol.

    They include Xu Chaofan, the former manager of a branch of the Bank of China in the southern province of Guangdong suspected of embezzling US$485 million, who fled to the United States 17 years ago and Yao Jinqi, a former deputy county chief who was extradited from Bulgaria, becoming the first fugitive sent home from a European Union country.

    China says its four-year-old campaign to return white-collar criminals and recover assets has captured more than 5 000 fugitives in all. The operation known as ‘Sky Net’ marked an extension of the anti-corruption drive Xi launched shortly after taking power more than eight years ago. The campaign is largely popular and has helped make Xi China's most powerful leader in decades. Critics say it has also been used to remove challenges to Xi's authority and undermines the rule of law since it is spearheaded by the Communist Party, rather than the government.

    Domestically, 621 000 people received punishments for corruption last year, including 51 officials at or above provincial and ministerial level, according to the party watchdog body, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. Along with detaining suspects and seizing assets, graft-busters have also taken extreme measures such as demolishing 1 000 luxury villas built illegally in northern China's Qingling mountains, according to a recent documentary shown on state television.

    A weekend conference was expected to set out new anti-corruption priorities for the coming year. NAMPA/AP

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  • 01/13/19--14:00: Namibian passport powerful
  • Namibian passport powerfulNamibian passport powerfulRanked fifth in Africa, 68th globally Namibia has visa-free access to 75 countries, in comparison to Seychelles which offers visa-free access to 151 countries. The Namibian passport is the fifth most powerful on the continent and currently ranks 68th in the world.

    This is according to the latest Henley Passport Index.

    The index ranks countries on the basis of the number of places where citizens can travel without a visa.

    It is based on information gathered throughout the year by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) and factors in 199 countries' passports.

    The other top ranked African countries were Seychelles, Mauritius, South Africa and Botswana. According to the index, Namibia has visa-free access to 75 countries, in comparison to Seychelles which offers visa-free access to 151 countries.

    While Namibia moved up one place on the index since last year, from the 69th position globally, it had visa-free access to 76 countries in 2018.

    Last year its passport was also ranked the fifth most powerful in Africa.

    Globally, Japan's passport topped the Henley Passport Index for the second year in a row, as it offers travel visa-free access to 190 countries.

    Following Japan on the list are Singapore and South Korea. Both countries allow its citizens to travel to 189 countries visa-free. France and Germany are tied for third with 188 visa-free destinations.

    The United States passport is tied in sixth place alongside Austria, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The countries with the weakest passports in the world include Palestinian and Sudan in 99th place, which allow access to only 39 countries, while Somalia and Syria in 103rd place and Afghanistan and Iraq in 104th place.

    Boasting cutting-edge expert commentary and historical data spanning 14 years, the Henley Passport Index is the original ranking of all the world's passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.

    The ranking is based on exclusive data from the IATA, which maintains the world's largest and most accurate database of travel information. It is enhanced by extensive and ongoing research by the Henley and Partners research department.


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    Khorixas cops have vehicles - KanguatjiviKhorixas cops have vehicles - Kanguatjivi The Namibian Police (Nampol) has come out guns blazing in response to a recent article that alleged there has been no official vehicle at the Khorixas police station for the past two past months.

    Nampol spokesperson Edwin Kanguatjivi squashed the “misinformation”, by saying the police station had in fact been served by eight vehicles in 2018, but that two of these vehicles were damaged and three were out of service due to mechanical problems.

    He said three vehicles were still running.

    Kanguatjivi accused the online newspaper that published the article of not contacting the police for comment.

    It was reported last week that the Khorixas police station has not had a running official vehicle since November 2018.

    “It is really frustrating and it is also a risk to escort trial-awaiting suspects on foot to the hospital when they are sick.

    The most embarrassing part is when we have to tell people that call to report crime that there is no vehicle to attend to their calls,” an anonymous police officer is said to have told the online newspaper.

    “We had a difficult time during December as many people had come in from different towns. Sometimes we had to use our private vehicles and sometimes we had to use the vehicle that is meant for investigations, which is based in Opuwo,” the source was quoted as saying.

    Community activist Romeo Nauseb was quoted as saying that criminals were taking advantage of the lack of resources at the town.

    “Criminals know exactly when and where to strike.

    They are now aware that the police are operating without a vehicle for about two months and the crime rate has increased drastically, especially in the informal settlement.”


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