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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 02/10/19--04:34: SADC stands by Maduro
  •  SADC stands by Maduro SADC stands by Maduro The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has joined countries such as Russia and China to stand by under-fire Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro. In a statement, SADC chair Hage Geingob said the regional body will not support efforts by those seeking to recognise Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as president. “In particular, these countries have sought to undermine a democratically elected Government of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela led by His Excellency Nicolás Maduro Moros by proclaiming Mr Juan Guaido Marquez as Interim-President of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela,” Geingob said. “SADC condemns such violations of the principles of international law, especially the respect for sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of the sovereign states.” Late last month Guaido declared himself acting president during an opposition rally in Caracas which Maduro described as an attempted coup. The US government is one of many countries supporting Guaido.


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    Namibian freedom still intactNamibian freedom still intactProtections for civil liberties ‘generally robust’ Land reform remains a contentious issue in Namibia, as well as the marginalisation of the San. Namibia was ranked 81st among 195 countries or territories for freedom in 2018 and was deemed “free” according to a report issued recently by Freedom House.

    In its Freedom in the World 2019 report, titled 'Democracy in Retreat', it said global freedom declined for the 13th consecutive year in 2018.

    Among the 195 countries or territories surveyed, 86 were rated as “free,” 59 “partly free,” and 50 “not free,” according to the report.

    Namibia scored a total of 75 out of 100, while its freedom rating was 2.5 out of 7, its political rating 3 out of 7 and the country also scored 2 out of 7 for civil liberties.

    This is a slight drop in comparison with the scores that Namibia received previous years. Namibia received a total score of 77 out of 100 last year, maintaining the same score since 2015.

    Namibia was ranked among the top ten countries in sub-Saharan Africa, with only Cape Verde (90) Mauritius (89) Sao Tome and Principe (83), Ghana (83), Benin (79) and South Africa (79) scoring higher. “Namibia is a stable multiparty democracy, though the ruling party, Swapo, that has overwhelmingly won every election since independence. Protections for civil liberties are generally robust.

    “Minority ethnic groups claim that the government favours the majority Ovambo, which dominates Swapo, in allocating funding and services, and the nomadic San people suffer from poverty and marginalisation. “Other human rights concerns include the criminalisation of same-sex sexual relations under colonial-era laws and discrimination against women under customary law and other traditional societal practices,” the report highlighted last year.

    It said the issue of land reform remained a contentious issue with a small white minority that owns just under half of Namibia's arable land, and redistribution has been slow and fraught with disagreement.

    A new overview of Namibia in this year's report is not yet available. Top of the freedom list with a maximum of 100 points are Finland, Norway and Sweden, followed by the Netherlands (99), Canada (99), New Zealand (98), Uruguay (98), Australia (98) and Luxembourg (98).

    The countries or territories with the worst freedom rating were Syria, which had a score of 0, Tibet (1), South Sudan (2), Eritrea (2), Turkmenistan (2) and North Korea (3).

    “It is the 13th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. The reversal has spanned a variety of countries in every region, from long-standing democracies like the United States to consolidated authoritarian regimes like China and Russia. The overall losses are still shallow compared with the gains of the late 20th century, but the pattern is consistent and ominous.

    Democracy is in retreat,” says the report. According to the report freedom of expression has come under sustained attack, through both assaults on the press and encroachments on the speech rights of ordinary citizens.

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    Drink in the beauty of the Kalahari at Anib LodgeDrink in the beauty of the Kalahari at Anib Lodge The Gondwana Kalahari Anib Lodge is situated amongst the red Kalahari dunes in eastern Namibia.

    The lodge offers a lush green oasis under romantic palm trees and the opportunity for guests to stretch their legs on the trails around it, while keeping their eyes open for springbok, zebra and wildebeest. Explore the Gondwana Kalahari Park on a sunset drive and celebrate life atop a red Kalahari dune. Drink in the beauty of the Kalahari, where gemsbok flourish and sociable weavers build gargantuan nests atop camel thorn trees.

    During a recent sustainability assessment by Eco Awards Namibia, Kalahari Anib Lodge scored well - achieving high marks in all of the ten criteria sections. This enabled Anib Lodge to qualify for entering the 2019 Responsible Tourism Awards (RTA), hosted by Namibia Media Holdings.

    The RTA finalists will be announced in March and the winners will be announced during the official opening of the 2019 Namibia Tourism Expo in June.

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    No talks between Trump, Xi before trade deadlineNo talks between Trump, Xi before trade deadlineAdvisors concerned US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are leaving today for the next round of talks in China. At some point the two presidents will meet … But that is off in the distance still at the moment. – Larry Kudlow, Economic Advisor: White House Jeff Mason and Steve Holland - US president Donald Trump said on Thursday he did not plan to meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline set by the two countries to achieve a trade deal.

    Asked during an event in the Oval Office whether there would be a meeting before the deadline, Trump said: "No."

    When asked whether there would be a meeting in the next month or so, Trump said: "Not yet. Maybe. Probably too soon. Probably too soon."

    The remarks confirmed comments from administration officials who said the two men were unlikely to meet before the deadline, dampening hopes of a quick trade pact and sparking a drop in US stock markets.

    Late last year during a dinner between Trump and Xi in Argentina, the two men agreed to take a 90-day hiatus in their trade war to give their teams time to negotiate an agreement.

    If the talks do not succeed, Trump has threatened to increase US tariffs on Chinese imports. Another round of talks is scheduled for this week in Beijing.

    Trump, who is proud of having a warm relationship with Xi, said recently he would meet with him again to hammer out a final deal, after Chinese vice premier Liu He presented Xi's invitation at the White House.

    A person briefed on the talks said that Trump's advisors were concerned that accepting a meeting invitation at this stage would raise unfounded expectations for a quick deal and erode US leverage in the talks, where the two sides remain far apart on core structural intellectual property issues.

    "There was concern about the downside for markets in particular if they don't reach a deal," the source said.


    The president is scheduled to travel to Asia at the end of this month for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, and some had speculated that he could meet with Xi on the same trip. Trump had indicated that was one option, or Xi could come to the United States.

    White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters that the leaders of the two economic superpowers could still meet at a later date.

    "At some point the two presidents will meet, that is what Mr. Trump has been saying. But that is off in the distance still at the moment," he said.

    The news prompted a sharp selloff in US stocks, dashing the optimism that had been building that the countries were progressing toward a deal before tariffs on Chinese imports rise to 25% after the March 1 deadline.

    "I could see where that would impact the markets because obviously we had a lift in the month of January from optimism surrounding these trade talks," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

    Next round

    US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and US treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are leaving today for the next round of talks in China, one administration official said. "They're hoping for more success," he said.

    The United States is pressing China to make major reforms, including on structural issues related to how it treats US companies doing business there. Washington accuses China of stealing US intellectual property and forcing American businesses to share their technology with Chinese companies. China denies the accusations.

    Trump said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that any new trade deal with Beijing "must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices".

    Such reforms have been a sticking point in talks so far.


    Lighthizer told reporters recently that the two leaders may not meet if the negotiations do not progress sufficiently.

    "If we do make headway, and the president thinks we're close enough that he can close the deal on major issues, then I think he'll want to have a meeting and do that," he told reporters. "I have complete confidence in the president, both to close a deal if we get to that point, but also to make that judgment."

    Trump has vowed to increase US tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25% from 10% currently if the two sides cannot reach a deal by 12:01 a.m. (0501 GMT) on March 2.

    CNBC reported that the tariffs were likely to remain at the 10% rate. Three sources familiar with the matter indicated that report was wrong. The president has said repeatedly that the tariffs would go up if no deal has been reached, and that position has not changed, one source said.

    Lighthizer said recently that tariffs had not been a subject of the talks. – Nampa/Reuters

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  • 02/10/19--14:00: Craven, Adrian unstoppable
  • Craven, Adrian unstoppableCraven, Adrian unstoppableRule the Nedbank Cycling Challenge roost again Dan Craven and Vera Adrian won the 100km elite women and men’s races, respectively, at the 2019 Nedbank Cycling Challenge yesterday. LIMBA MUPETAMI

    Dan Craven won the 2019 Nedbank Cycling Challenge elite men’s 100km race time in a time of two hours, 26 minutes and 19 seconds, while Vera Adrian was the elite women’s winner over the same distance in a time of two hours, 53 minutes and 39 seconds.

    The men’s race was closely contested, but for the third successive year Craven shrugged off his opponents to win the title.

    Adrian was followed home by Michelle Vorster for the second year in a row.

    Last year, Craven’s winning time was two hours, 16 minutes and two seconds, while Adrian took last year’s women’s honours in two hours, 43 minutes and seven seconds.

    “After last week (at the national cycling championship) when I came second, I said that I had to make up for that. I wanted to the win race in a different way. I think I’m still struggling with the altitude. I didn’t feel great. Early on I knew that I wasn’t going to ride away alone. The field was strong,” Craven said.

    “The big danger man was Nolan Hoffman. Because he is a sprinter; he was in the leading group. I knew if I beat him, I will win. He is that strong. If you sprint head-to-head with him, you will lose.

    “So I came with speed from the back. I was lucky enough to catch him off-guard. It was a long sprint. I was thinking that he was coming to pass me at any second,” Craven added.

    Now that the challenge race is out of the way, the Nedbank Kids Challenge will be held on Saturday, 23 February at the Waldorf School in Avis, with close to 200 cyclists expected to take part, while the Nedbank MTB Challenge will also start at Waldorf School, with about 700 cyclists expected to enter.

    Cyclists are encouraged to enter online at www.today.com.na or alternatively at Airtime City vending machines or Nedbank branches countrywide before 19 February.

    100km women’s elite race top ten:

    1. Vera Adrian (2:53:39)

    2. Michelle Vorster (2:53:39)

    3. Genevieve Weber (3:03:40)

    4. Adele Conradie (3:03:42)

    5. Anneke Steenkamp (3:03:50)

    6. Maike Bochert (3:03:54)

    7. Risa Dreyer (3:03:54)

    8. Silke Bean (3:04:02)

    9. Lauren Lewis (3:04:06)

    10. Eleanor Grassow (3:04:06)

    100km men’s elite race top ten:

    1. Dan Craven (2:26:19)

    2. Nolan Hoffman (2:26:20)

    3. Alex Miller (2:26:20)

    4. Xavier Papo (2:26:22)

    5. Konny Looser (2:26:22)

    6. Ingram Cuff (2:26:22)

    7. Dieter Koen (2:26:23)

    8. Kashululu Chiponeni (2:26:23)

    9. Kai Pritzen (2:26:23)

    10. Jacques Celliers (2:26:24)

    Top three (60km women’s race)

    1. Mimi Hough (1:36:35)

    2. Marion Schonecke (1:36:36)

    3. Rina Lambert (1:36:37)

    Top three (60km men’s race)

    1. Devon Farmer (1:34:46)

    2. Bergran Jensen (1:34:48)

    3. Konrad Marais (1:34:50)

    Top three (30km women’s race)

    1. Lene Du Plessis (0:58:36

    2. Bianca Janse van Vuuren (1:00:32)

    3. Jaen-Marie Mostert (1:02:47)

    Top three (30km men’s race)

    1. Jurgen van Wyk (0:52:43)

    2. Rian Krizinger (0:52:44)

    3. Francios Prinsloo (0:52:48)

    Top three (20km women’s race)

    1. Delsi Janse van Vuuren (0:48:42)

    2. Carmi Pauw (TIME NOT AVAILABLE)

    3. Kylie Dickerson (0:51:39)

    Top three (20km men’s race)

    1. Gerhard Cornelissen (0:46:43)

    2. Fariet Cornelissen (TNA)

    3. Lynfon Platt (TNA)

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    Cannabis craze weeds out junior mining fieldCannabis craze weeds out junior mining fieldProjects planned in Lesotho Zimbabwe and South Africa plan to issue licences to cultivate marijuana. It's a good thing ... You're going to have to be stronger and better. - Sebastien de Montessus, CEO: Endeavour Mining Joe Bavier and Barbara Lewis - A boom in cannabis investment is siphoning capital away from mining and hitting junior miners hardest, forcing them to up their game and potentially improving the quality of projects in a sector long rife with cowboy speculators.

    Canada's relaxation of cannabis laws culminated in legalisation for recreational use in October. Other jurisdictions are following suit or liberalising their laws on medical or health use, creating an industry that has lured a breed of high-risk, high-return investors.

    The world's top three listed cannabis companies – Canopy Growth, Tilray and Aurora Cannabis - have a combined market value of around US$30 billion. And consumers are expected to spend over US$7 billion on cannabis products in Canada alone this year, according to Deloitte.


    In Africa, where miners met last week for Cape Town's African Mining Indaba conference, cannabis companies are setting up projects in Lesotho, while other countries, including Zimbabwe and South Africa, plan to issue licences.

    "Raising money is extremely difficult," said Patrick Downey, head of Canadian junior gold exploration company Orezone Gold, who compared the cannabis boom to the headwinds juniors faced during the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s.

    "It's a cyclical business, and it will come back," Downey said. "But you have to have a good project."

    The rise of cannabis comes at a time when investors were already turning away from mining.

    "The biggest problem in mining is that it destroys shareholder value," said Philip Hopwood, Deloitte's global mining and metals leader.

    Miners operating in Africa - already viewed by many investors as a particularly risky bet - have been doubly hit.

    "It's like the straw that broke the camel's back," said one explorer at the Indaba.

    Survival of the fittest

    As early IPOs, once a right of passage for exploration juniors, have slowed to a trickle with cannabis stocks delivering better short-term returns, miners are increasingly turning to private equity.

    And as active investors replace passive stockholders, companies are having to sell the merits of their projects to more discerning potential backers.

    Sebastien de Montessus - chief executive of Endeavour Mining, one of the most successful mid-tier gold players - considers it a process of natural selection.

    "It's a good thing ... You're going to have to be stronger and better," he told Reuters in an interview at the Indaba.

    The CEO of Barrick Gold, one of the world's biggest gold companies, said mining's struggles to fend off the challenge from cannabis reflected the poor state of the industry in the eyes of prospective investors.

    "We should be embarrassed that somebody is prepared to make a choice between those two options," Mark Bristow told Reuters. "[Mining] is just so fundamentally material to our everyday lives, whereas I can't say the same of cannabis."

    Majors such as Barrick and companies with projects already in production can better weather the storm.

    The newest juniors in the riskiest areas are racing to adapt. And some are getting creative.

    Prospect Resources' executive director Harry Greaves on Wednesday won an award at the Indaba for his lithium project in Zimbabwe.

    He said Australian and Chinese investment had helped. And he was also considering growing cannabis at his lithium site on the outskirts of Zimbabwe's capital Harare.

    "We don't yet have a marijuana licence, but we have the land available," he said. – Nampa/Reuters

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    Surge in use of digital bankingSurge in use of digital banking FNB Namibia says customers are increasingly embracing digital banking channels in order to bank in a convenient and affordable manner.

    The highest number of customers migrated to the FNB banking app, online banking and cellphone banking over the past year, the bank said in a statement.

    Use of the app increased by 43%, while online banking grew by 32% and cellphone banking by 7%. FNB Namibia has seen an increase of 5% in transactions at ATMs and its automatic deposit-taking machines, a 15% increase in swipes and a 10% increase in eWallet transactions.

    "The major driver has been our effort to show customers how easy, affordable and safe it is to use digital platforms, including self-service channels such as automated deposit tellers (ADTs) that are available across most FNB branches. This digital journey is enabled through sustained investment in digital infrastructure which continues to be intensified through self-service innovation," says FNB Namibia’s manager of digital channels, Desery van Wyk.

    “Today banking is remarkedly different compared to a few years ago and the evolution continues to yield meaningful benefits for customers,” she says.

    Financial inclusion

    "Currently our customers spend less time queuing at our branches and many prefer using self-service channels to make deposits or to purchase prepaid products. We have also seen an important shift in the way our branch personnel interacts with customers, which includes helping individual and business customers adapt to using the digital channels, thus creating more time to help customers with more complex transactions," Van Wyk adds.

    In a society where, financial inclusion remains a major challenge, it's very important to enable digital adoption through channels that are affordable and accessible to all people, whether the customer is new to bank or they have been banking for a long time. Digital remains a remarkably convenient platform, according to her.

    "The migration of customers to digital platforms is not only about cost effectiveness, it's also about convenience for our customers and giving them options to bank in a way that is most cost effective. To enhance the customer experience even more, FNB provides customers with free wi-fi in various branches so that the app could be downloaded at no data charge," Van Wyk says.

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    LPM predicts 'interesting election'LPM predicts 'interesting election' Landless People's Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi says the upcoming general election will be very interesting.

    The LPM became the first party to be registered by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) under the amended Electoral Act of 2014 this past Friday.

    Speaking on the development, Swartbooi said it was a new dawn.

    “It's a new day in Namibia. These elections will be very interesting,” said Swartbooi.

    According to him, the LPM would be working closely with the ECN to ensure favourable outcomes for the elections.

    “We wish all the luck to the ECN in counting the votes and setting up the processes for the elections. We remain partners. We are going to support where we should and we are going to fight hard where we should,” said Swartbooi.

    LPM spokesperson Utaara Mootu was happy that they were now finally registered as a political party.

    “Victory is finally being served. It is a glorious day for all LPM supporters and it is the start of something new. We will continue speaking for justice,” said Mootu.

    The LPM will soon convene in Swakopmund where they will strategise ahead of the upcoming elections, she said.

    “We have conferences coming up. We will have a national training programme where the LPM will meet to strategise on the upcoming elections,” said Mootu.

    The LPM's ECN registration was challenged by Swapo parliamentarian Veiko Nekundi. Following its registration as a party, Nekundi defended his decision to object.

    “An objection does not imply a person does not want a party to register, but simply means the party must first comply with the law,” said Nekundi.


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  • 02/10/19--14:00: Tributes pour in for Rumpf
  • Tributes pour in for RumpfTributes pour in for Rumpf Tributes continue to pour in for 60-year-old Swapo activist and well-known diplomat Hanno Rumpf, who died on Friday after an illness.

    President Hage Geingob said he was saddened by Rumpf's death.

    “I have learned with sadness about the untimely death of Comrade Hanno Rumpf. Namibia has lost an illustrious son, and Swapo is poorer without a freedom fighter of the calibre of Cde Rumpf,” he said on his personal Twitter account.

    Finance minister Calle Schlettwein also paid tribute to his good friend.

    “The loss of a friend is always a tragic and saddening experience. Hanno Rumpf was a friend with whom I shared many personal and professional things. I shall miss his gentle bulldozing. My sincere condolences to his family and friends,” said Schlettwein.

    Businessman Leake Hangala also expressed sadness, saying he was shocked by Rumpf's passing. “As founding permanent secretaries of our republic, we worked together for a long time and became close friends. Hanno was a great Namibian, patriot and veteran of our liberation struggle,” said Hangala. Veteran journalist and anti-apartheid activist Gwen Lister said the late Rumpf took a brave stand when he chose to join Swapo in exile, in order to avoid conscription into the South African Defence Force (SADF). “Will never forget writing the story in 1986 of Hanno Rumpf, one of three young whites who joined Swapo and went into exile to avoid conscription into the SADF,” she wrote on Twitter.

    According to the Guide to Namibian Politics, Rumpf was among a small number of white Namibians who left the country to join Swapo in exile in the early 1980s. Rumpf served as environment and tourism permanent secretary between 1990 and 1995. He later moved to the ministry of trade until 1999, before joining the National Planning Commission (NPC). After a four-year stint at the NPC, Rumpf was appointed as Namibian ambassador to Germany for a period of three years. He was later transferred to serve as ambassador to the Benelux counties, Switzerland and the European Union until 2015.


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    We don't have ODC's assets - KwalaWe don't have ODC's assets - KwalaNIDA dismisses talk it has received N$120m windfall The Offshore Development Company's assets and investments are said to be worth N$120 million. The board chairperson of the recently established Namibia Industrialisation Development Agency (NIDA), Frans Kwala, has rubbished claims that the agency has taken control of the assets of the Offshore Development Company (ODC).

    According to him, those that were keen on having the funds transferred to the new agency have dubious reasons in mind.

    Acting executive director within the ministry of industrialisation, Bernadette Menyah-Artivor, is said to have rejected calls for the transfer of the ODC's assets and investments, said to be worth N$120 million, The Namibian reported last week.

    It was also reported that the NIDA had taken over the assets.

    Kwala, however, explained that procedures had been strengthened before the money can be accessed.

    “As we speak there is no ODC or Namibia Development Corporation (NDC). They are non-existent. What we did was to change signatories on the respective bank accounts. The same people that have been dealing with all payment aspects are still the same. All they do is to submit their needs and all obligations are honoured,” said Kwala.

    He also rejected claims that the transfer of the money would give rise to good corporate governance contraventions.

    “The good corporate governance that you are raising is being strengthened. The noise that is being made is from the corrupt individuals that still wanted to continue looting. That has stopped,” said Kwala.

    “Good corporate governance calls for accountability, which was non-existent before.”

    Menyah-Artivor is said to have informed Kwala that some of the ODC and NDC funds could not be transferred without the permission of the finance ministry.

    “Nevertheless, for the funds appropriated for projects and programmes of this ministry that are currently managed by the ODC and NDC, treasury guidance and directives are being sought,” she added.

    Kwala iterated that absolutely no money or assets had been transferred to the newly established agency.

    “Once again, there is no money either from ODC or NDC that was transferred to the NIDA account. The money remains in the accounts it has been kept in,” Kwala said.

    Kwala wrote to Menyah-Artivor on 14 December 2018 about the transfer of all investments from the two entities.

    “Any government funds being held will be transferred to the government when and if so required,” he said, according to an earlier article by The Namibian.

    A press conference is expected to be held in the next two weeks Kwala added. The NIDA will be an amalgamation of both the NDC and the ODC, incorporating both their regulatory and operational mandates, while developing an equity development finance mandate to lead pioneering investment in the industrial sector of the country.

    The NIDA board consists of Kwala, Marcelina !Gaoses, Diana van Schalkwyk, Anita /Naris, Job Muniaro, Hans Jochelson and Uparura Kuvare. Kuvare currently heads NIDA as its executive director.


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    Saruni runs second-fastest indoor 800m in historySaruni runs second-fastest indoor 800m in history NAMPA/AFP

    Kenya's Michael Saruni ran the second-fastest indoor 800m in history on Saturday, winning the title in 1min 43.98secs at the 112th Millrose Games athletics meet.

    Saruni's effort was second only to the indoor world-record time of 1:42.67 set by Denmark's Wilson Kipketer in Paris at the 1997 World Indoor Championships.

    "Oh man, it's crazy," Saruni said. "I trained hard for this moment. I just had to do it."

    Donavan Brazier was second in an American record 1:44.41 with American Sam Ellison third in a personal best 1:46.13.

    "I'm excited about that, but Saruni snuck up on me," Brazier said. "I had the other record but he passed me."

    Brazier erased one of the oldest US indoor marks, lowering the old record of 1:45.00 set by Johnny Gray on 8 March 1992 at Sindelfingen, Germany.

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    Ridhwan, Ambunda rematch postponedRidhwan, Ambunda rematch postponedScores to be settled another day Ringstar is now looking at staging the bout in July, although the venue could now also change. THE STRAITS TIMES

    Singaporean professional boxer Muhamad Ridhwan will have to wait a little longer for his chance to avenge his loss to Namibian boxer Paulus Ambunda, after fight promoter Ringstar announced on Friday that the bout has been postponed.

    Muhamad Ridhwan was scheduled to face Paulus Ambunda on 29 March for the World Boxing Council (WBC) silver featherweight title at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, in what is the biggest fight for any Singaporean boxer.

    But eight weeks out, Ringstar said in a post on its Facebook page that it took the decision to cut next month's show “due to certain developments and in the best interest of everyone".

    Ringstar chief executive Scott O' Farrell told The Straits Times that he felt his company could not deliver the standard of show it wanted.

    "Things were dragging, being delayed, it's just one of those things, really," he said.

    "Personally, I'm very disappointed we couldn't deliver the show as scheduled, but this is what the business is about.

    "We could have done a show on 29 March, but it would have been substandard, and it is not how Ringstar wants to be portrayed."

    When asked if Ringstar encountered funding problems, he said: "No, it's not an issue at all.

    "It's more an issue of things like the lead time for our marketing, our sponsors and partners."

    Ticket sales for the 29 March event, which had been scheduled for 18 January, did not go "live", he added.

    The Briton also said that he is looking at staging the show in July, although he said there could be a change in venue.

    "We'll see how things go on, and if they (the Sports Hub, which manages the Singapore Indoor Stadium) are okay with the change in date," he said.

    Ridhwan, who is in the middle of a three-month long training camp in the Philippines, took the announcement in his stride.

    "As much as this is unwanted, I also believe that everything has got its time and place," the 31-year-old, who is the 25th-ranked featherweight fighter in the world by the WBC, told The Strait Times.

    "I think all these events happen just to teach me and prepare me for my destiny, which is to be a champion.

    "Ringstar will keep me active in the meantime till I fight again on home soil."

    O'Farrell said Ridhwan is scheduled to fight twice on 23 Marchand 1 May in the Philippines, to keep him primed for the Ambunda rematch.

    Last September, the Singaporean lost a split decision to Ambunda after 12 rounds in a fight for the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) world super bantamweight title, his only defeat in 12 professional fights.

    This is not the first hitch in the road to Ridhwan's rematch with Ambunda.

    Last month, he shocked the fraternity when he announced his "retirement" on social media, but made a U-turn two days later, explaining that a "clash of ideas" and "arguments" had compelled him to write the post, although he did not want to reveal who the disagreements were with.

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  • 02/10/19--14:00: A hotbed of interest
  • A hotbed of interestA hotbed of interest LIMBA MUPETAMI

    England's Premier League (PL) is the most watched league in Namibia, if not Africa.

    PL debates take place everywhere you turn and continue long into the night in living rooms or bars, and even on social media, as fans have created pages where they discuss daily happenings, transfer news and so forth.

    Sometimes these discussions never reach a satisfactory conclusion, but still the debates continue.

    Players get criticised, as well as coaches. I think in more than one way, people pay DSTV premiums monthly not to miss their club's matches.

    It is truly a hot area of debate. Ask any true, loyal fan of Manchester United what shoe brand Pogba or Rashford wears and they will tell you in seconds; they will most probably also tell you what colour the shoes are.

    I think most even know the type of cars these players drive and who they are married to.

    Some even know where certain players go for haircuts, because they imitate their hairstyles and idolise them.

    Some will argue and say that Namibians should stop and rather support local leagues better. But the truth is, there is no league in the world as organised as the PL. It is more structured, organised and funded. It is where every young aspiring player wants to be one day.

    People are more loyal to the PL as they need to own shirts of Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City or Chelsea, just to show their allegiance.

    The price does not matter, it's about representation.

    The PL has surely captured the minds of many - young and old, male or female. This, however, did not happen overnight as European clubs travel all the way across the world to capture their audience.

    Sometime back Manchester United was in South Africa for a pre-season tour, as competition to dominate the African football market heats up.

    They played a match against AmaZulu and Ajax Cape Town. Their arch-rivals, Manchester City, hosted a coaching clinic in Lagos, Nigeria.

    Arsenal has also targeted Nigeria. The Londoners had planned a friendly against the Super Eagles, but postponed the game amid logistical concerns.

    Sunderland have been active too, and penned an agreement with Invest in Africa to be their shirt sponsor for the next two years.

    The clubs realise the impact they have on the continent and want to reap further lucrative rewards.

    Now the question is: what can local leagues do to learn from the likes of the PL?

    Of course it will take years for them to reach the stage where the PL is right now, but the basics are important. It's so disappointing how the local league in Namibia cannot even produce a website to market players, or a database so that fans and not media personnel can have information on the various players.

    Even a simple thing such as a log standings take weeks to be produced. If you are not clued up about things around here, the possibility of you reporting on hearsay and miscalculations is high.

    Not only that; the accessibility to soccer jerseys takes place at tortoise-pace. Everything is a problem, truthfully, and at times it gets really tiring to write about shortcomings all the time. So let's just be like the PL; let's get organised.


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    Kavango River Fray heads to RunduKavango River Fray heads to RunduBoxing tourney to light up Kavango The boxing tournament, titled ‘The Kavango River Fray’, will be headlined by Jonas Matheus. LIMBA MUPETAMI

    The MTC Salute Boxing Academy (SBA) will host its first-ever boxing tournament in Rundu on 30 March, it was announced on Thursday.

    The boxing tournament, titled ‘The Kavango River Fray’, will be headlined by Jonas Matheus who will defend his International Boxing Organisation (IBO) bantamweight international champion title against an opponent who will be announced at a later stage.

    In December last year Salute joined the Nestor Sunshine Boxing and Fitness Academy as an MTC beneficiary under a new sponsorship deal that will ran from December 2018 until December 2021.

    The three-year deal will see each stable receiving N$1.6 million a year for three years.

    SBA general manager Armas Shivute said the sponsorship from MTC came at the right time, as boxing as an expensive sport.

    “MTC has decided to assist us in producing champions. We have a lot of potential champions and the sponsorship will help a lot. We will make sure the resources are used for the right purposes and that we account for what they are used on,” Shivute said.

    Commenting on the upcoming boxing tournament, he said they met with Kavango East governor Samuel Mbambo and that he is excited.

    He added that a number of boxers from Kavango East and Kavango West will take part in the tournament. The full boxing card will be announced as soon as all the logistics are in place.

    Matheus boosts a record of 14 fights, 11 wins, one draw and two defeats.

    Another boxer from the Salute stable, Sebastian Nathaniel, will challenge for an international title this Friday.

    He takes on Sibusiso Zingange of South Africa for the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) Pan African featherweight title.

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    Finland's BIG trial boosts happiness, not employmentFinland's BIG trial boosts happiness, not employment If you feel free, you feel safer and then you can do whatever you want. - Tuomas Muraja, Author: Finland Anne Kauranen - Finland's basic income scheme did not spur its unemployed recipients to work more to supplement their earnings as hoped but it did help their wellbeing, researchers said on Friday as the government announced the trial's initial findings.

    The two-year trial, which ended a month ago, saw 2 000 Finns, chosen randomly from among the unemployed, become the first Europeans to be paid a regular monthly income by the state that was not reduced if they found work.

    Finland, which will hold parliamentary elections in April, is exploring alternatives to its current social security model.

    The project is being watched closely by other governments who see a basic income as a way of encouraging the unemployed to take up often low-paid or temporary work without fear of losing their benefits. That could help reduce dependence on the state and cut welfare costs, especially as greater automation sees humans replaced in the workforce.

    Finland's minister of health and social affairs Pirkko Mattila said the impact on employment of the monthly pay cheque of 560 euros (US$635) "seems to have been minor on the grounds of the first trial year".


    But those in the trial reported they were happier and healthier than the control group.

    "The basic income recipients of the test group reported better wellbeing in every way in comparison with the comparison group," chief researcher Olli Kangas said.

    Sini Marttinen, 36, said that knowing her basic income was guaranteed had given her enough confidence to open a restaurant with two friends during the trial period.

    "I think the effect was a lot psychological," the former IT consultant told Reuters. She had been unemployed for nearly a year before "winning the lottery", as she described the trial.

    "You kind of got this idea you have two years, you have the security of 560 euros per month... It gave me the security to start my own business," she said.

    The basic income was only 50 euros a month more than her jobless benefit had been, "but in an instant you lose the bureaucracy, the reporting", Marttinen said.

    Mira Jaskari, 36, who briefly found a job during the trial delivering newspapers but lost it due to poor health, said losing the basic income had left her feeling more insecure about money.


    The centre-right government's original plan was to expand the basic income scheme after two years as it tries to combat unemployment which has been persistently high for years but reached a 10-year low of 6.6% in December.

    It took a different tack last year, however, by imposing benefits sanctions on unemployed people who refused work.

    The basic income has been controversial in Finland, with leaders of the main political parties wary of offering "money for nothing". Prime minister Juha Sipila said in December that he saw it as a means of simplifying Finland's "screamingly complex" social security system.

    On Thursday, Sipila's Centre Party proposed a welfare model in which only the poor could claim the basic income, with sanctions if they reject a job offer.


    Conservative finance minister Petteri Orpo has meanwhile said he favours a scheme like Britain's Universal Credit, which consolidates six different types of state benefits into one.

    Italy is due to introduce a "citizens' wage" in April in a major overhaul of the welfare state, which will offer income support to the unemployed and poor.

    One issue with the Finnish pilot is that it did not include any tax claw-back once participants found work and reached a certain income level, which the researchers had said would make the results more realistic. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned that basic income schemes would need to be paid for with higher taxes.


    Participants were generally positive, however, with Tuomas Muraja, a 45-year-old journalist and author, saying the basic income had allowed him to concentrate on writing instead of filling out forms or attending jobseekers' courses.

    He published two books during the two-year trial period but said its closure meant it had again become difficult for him to accept small freelance commissions. "I ... can earn only 300 euros per month without losing any benefits," he said.

    "If people are paid money freely that makes them creative, productive and welfare brings welfare," Muraja told Reuters about his experience of the scheme.

    "If you feel free, you feel safer and then you can do whatever you want. That is my assessment."– Nampa/Reuters

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    Let's give 'normalisation' a chanceLet's give 'normalisation' a chance In typical Namibian fashion, self-styled football commentators and keyboard warriors on social media have already started casting aspersions over the newly unveiled normalisation committee members who have been identified by Fifa to run the affairs of Namibia Football Association (NFA) in the interim. On Friday, the normalisation committee was officially made known, with businesswoman Hilda Basson-Namundjebo appointed as chairperson, while Franco Cosmos was announced as vice-chairperson. The other committee members are former Olympic shooter Gabby Ahrens, Matti Mwandingi and Vivienne Katjiuongua. The term of office for the five members started with immediate effect and it is expected to run for a period of four months according to Veron Mosengo-Omba, the Fifa director of member associations and development in Africa and the Caribbean. The inclusion of the five members has divided opinion, with a number of social media users criticising the composition of the normalisation committee. While it is everyone's expectation that the said committee has experience in running football-related programmes or initiatives it is really the structure, independence and composition of the normalisation committee that matters in order for it to fulfil its role effectively. Prior to their appointment, an integrity test on the five members was also carried out by the FIFA review committee. It is also worth noting that the normalisation committee acts as an electoral committee and none of its members will be eligible for any of the open positions in the elections. In four months' time, Namibian football will probably sport a new leadership and it is important that we stop all the whining and fury to allow the committee to concentrate on its work. If there is anything that we should pray for, it is for the incoming leadership to rejuvenate football structures across the country, including grassroots development that has been taking significant backwards steps over the years. Namibian football must evolve and this will require as us to put our selfish interests and loyalties aside, in order to focus on the bigger picture, which is to save Namibian football from falling deeper into the doldrums.

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    Deadly Cape drug hits Namibian streetsDeadly Cape drug hits Namibian streets40 tons of active ingredient in tik seized Although dagga, crack and mandrax remain the top drugs of choice in Namibia, worryingly Cape Town's tik or crystal meth also now seems to be making its way into the country. A shocking 40 tons of ephedrine, which is used in the manufacture of the deadly Cape Town tik drug, has made its way into Namibia.

    Tik has been responsible for a swath of destruction in Cape Flats neighbourhoods, where gang wars and territory battles are being fought daily because of the lucrative trade in the drug.

    It has also fuelled an associated crime wave, as well as shocking amounts of sexual assaults and rapes.

    The latest drug stats for Namibia reveal that tik is among the drugs being consumed in the country.

    During the period 2012 to 2016 a total of 2 147.85 kilograms of dagga as well as 2.25 tons of dagga plants, were seized in Namibia, while 4 821 units of crack and 16 436 mandrax tablets were confiscated.

    A total of 37 straws of crystal meth (tik) were seized during the period, while police confiscated more than 40 tons of ephedrine, the active ingredient in the deadly tik drug, were seized during the period.

    This is according to 2018 World Drug Report, which said that in 2016, globally, about 275 million people used drugs.

    The report further showed that 526.05 grams of cat (methcathinone) was seized in Namibia during the period 2012 to 2016 and 396 ecstasy tablets were also confiscated.

    With regard to cocaine salts, 7.853 kilograms were seized in the country, as well 75 LSD tablets.

    The report indicated that in 2016 heroin was seized for the first time in Namibia, with a total of 10 kilogrammes that was confiscated.

    Meanwhile, statistics released by the Namibian police last week showed that drugs with a street value of more than N$1.8 million were seized in January this year.

    Police also arrested 68 individuals, which included 63 Namibians, on drug charges.

    Between 1 and 31 January, the police seized 62.1kg of cannabis, valued at N$1.2 million, and 4 895 mandrax tablets to the value of more than N$587 000 in a number of drug busts.

    Moreover, the police seized 35 grams of cocaine powder worth N$17 500 and 54 units of crack cocaine, valued at N$5 400.

    According to the Namibian police of the 68 suspects arrested, 57 were Namibian men and six Namibian women.

    One Zambian man, one Angolan woman and three Angolan men were also arrested.

    In December last year, the police seized drugs with an estimated street value of N$4.8 million and arrested 78 suspects.

    Namibian Sun also reported at the end of last year that cannabis was by far the most consumed illicit drug in Namibia, with 39kg, worth N$1.95 million, confiscated in October last year.

    The other drug busts for cocaine powder, crack cocaine, mandrax and tik at that time paled in comparison.

    Drugs with a value of about N$2 million were seized by the police in October last year, while 126 suspects were arrested for drug-related crimes.

    Statistics showed that 141 mandrax tablets with a street value of N$16 920 were seized during October last year. Police also confiscated 18.8 grams of cocaine powder worth N$9 400 and four units of crack cocaine worth N$4 000. Two straws of tik with a street value of N$1 000 were seized.

    Huge problem, lack of rehab

    Although there are no official statistics and information available on the drug use in Namibia, it is a huge problem in the country.

    One of the reasons there is no information on drug use in Namibia is because of the lack of rehabilitation facilities in the country.

    Meanwhile, the global drug report said that about 275 million people worldwide, which is roughly 5.6% of the global population aged 15 to 64 years, used drugs at least once during 2016.

    The actual number of people who use drugs increased by 20 million people from 2015 to 2016. This change is the consequence of an increase in the global number of dagga users. Dagga remains a very popular drug in Namibia, especially among young people, because it is a more affordable drug.

    “Experts in many countries in Africa and Asia perceived an increase in cannabis use, although there is a lack of information on the extent of drug use based on national surveys in most countries in those two regions and more evidence is needed,” report said.

    In addition to being the most widely consumed drug worldwide, cannabis continues to be the most widely produced.

    The report said that about 31 million people who use drugs suffer from drug use disorders, meaning that their drug use is harmful to the point where they may need treatment. Initial estimations suggest that globally 13.8 million young people aged 15 to 16 years used cannabis in the past year.

    Roughly 450 000 people died as a result of drug use in 2015 and of those deaths (167 750) were directly associated with drug use disorders (mainly overdoses). The rest were indirectly attributable to drug use and included deaths related to HIV and hepatitis C acquired through unsafe injecting practices.


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    Rains bring relief, devastation and deathRains bring relief, devastation and death While farmers in the south are celebrating the good rains that fell over the weekend, the showers of blessing also caused massive devastation, including at least one death.

    A 22-year-old Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) staff member drowned on Friday after the tent he was sleeping in was washed away at the Hobas campsite near the Fish River Canyon in the //Karas Region.

    NWR spokesperson Mufaro Nesongano confirmed the incident, saying the camp experienced flash floods on Friday night, which resulted in the rivers along the lodge causing damage to their office area, restaurant and camping site.

    The deceased was identified as Ben Henry Markus. He was camping with a group of seven other visitors at Hobas Lodge.

    According to Nesongano, Markus was employed at NWR's Boplaas Campsite, but was camping at Hobas over the weekend.

    The campers' tents were erected in the river. The river apparently started rising rapidly at around 21:00 after heavy rains in the area, and strong currents swept away the campers.

    The other campers were rescued during Friday night, while Markus' body was discovered on Saturday.

    NWR managing director Zelna Hengari, who rushed to the scene, said: “I can confirm that all our clients are safe. However, it is unfortunate that we lost one of our young staff members from one of our other camps. I would like to pass on my condolences to his family and assure them that they are in our prayers and have our support as a company.”

    Hobas Lodge is located in the /Ai-/Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park near the Fish River Canyon.

    The lodge sits at the start of the 90 km long Fish River Canyon hiking trail.

    The south was delighted to finally receive some good rains over the past weekend, with several farms recording rainfall of more than 100 mm, while rain gauges at several places overflowed.

    Several farmers reported that dams were overflowing, while some said it was a welcome sight to have water in their dams for the first time in several months.

    At Kuubmansvlei in the Koës area 123 mm of rainfall was reported over the weekend, while Swatzput Farm in the Aroab area recorded 117 mm, according to farmer Johan Koen.

    Gerhard van der Westhuizen said his farm, also in the Aroab area, had a received massive 165 millimetres of rainfall.

    It was also reported that 80 mm was recorded at Aroab on Saturday and that Farm Koertzberg in the same area also received 80 mm on the same day.

    The farm dam at Farm Arbeid, located in the area of Klein Karas and Grünau, overflowed within eight hours of receiving good rains, while at the farmhouse 25 mm was measured.

    Maltahöhe reported 40 mm of rain within an hour on Friday and 60 mm was recorded at Aningnoas, located west of the Karasberge between Keetmanshoop and Grünau.

    Meanwhile, the Elnatan Private School athletics competition at Stampriet had to be cancelled this weekend because of the rainfall experienced at the town, while 20 mm was reported at Aranos over the weekend. On Friday, 20 mm was also recorded near Mariental.

    Keetmanshoop received 20 millimetres of rain between Friday and Saturday, while 30 mm was also measured at Otjiwa Lodge near Otjiwarongo. Gondwana's Canyon Lodge also received 40 mm of rain and the Roadhouse more than 60 mm. Both the Löwen and the Gaap rivers at Holoog were also flowing strongly over the weekend.

    The country has been experiencing prolonged dry-spells, with farmers' unions labelling the current drought situation in the country a national crisis.


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    Rössing Marathon thrills coastRössing Marathon thrills coastMatanyu, Naigambo emerge as winners Saturday's 2019 Rössing Marathon once again set the coast alight with some stunning performances and loads of fun. Adolf Kaure

    The 2019 edition of the Rössing Marathon took place on Saturday in Swakopmund and delivered some memorable performances.

    The event, which was held under the theme 'My health, my right', had various running categories for different age groups.

    These categories included the 42km full marathon, 21km half-marathon, 10km fun run and 5km fun walk.

    The men's full marathon was won by Zambian national Mathews Matanyu, who crossed the finish line in a time of 2:21:49. Matanyu, who defended the title he won last year, beat Namibian Kefas Kondjashili, who finished the race in a time of 2:22:55.

    Jesaja Matheus finished the men's full marathon in third place, in a time of 2:23:30, to earn himself a place on the podium.

    The women's full marathon was comfortably won by Beata Naigambo with an impressive time of 2:43:21, ahead of compatriot Leena Ekandjo, who finished the race in a time of 3:02:56. It was the second year in a row that Ekandjo was denied, as she also finished last year's race in second place. Ekandjo's efforts were, however, good enough to fend of rival Ottilie Almwaro (3:03:21), who finished her race in third place.

    Matanyu and Naigambo each walked away with N$10 000 in prize money. Second-placed Kondjashili and Ekandjo both received N$5 000, while Jesaya Matheus and Ottilie Almwaro received N$3 000 for their third-place finishes.

    The start and finishing points of the Rössing Marathon moved to the Pro-Ed Akademie sports fields in Ocean View this year.

    Runners started at the sports field and ran out onto the Henties Bay road, as in previous years.

    During his keynote speech, acting managing director of Rössing Uranium, Shaan van Schalkwyk, said the main aim of the Rössing Marathon is to associate Rössing Uranium with the promotion of healthy lifestyles in the mine's neighbouring communities, “whilst at the same time fostering health, safety and teamwork exchanges among participants”.

    “Over its 43 years of working for Namibia, Rössing Uranium has always strived and will continue to strive to create positive social impacts where we operate; helping to improve health and wellbeing, living standards and education in our communities,” said Van Schalkwyk.

    He added that the marathon's partner, Swakop Striders, would receive the entry fees of the main running events as a donation to help local athletes further their sporting careers.

    The 5km fun walk included an exciting competition for most original costume, funniest hat, youngest walker (excluding toddlers in prams and pets), oldest walker, tallest walker and cutest pet walker.

    Invited uranium companies in the region also competed in a 10km uranium relay event, which was aimed at building friendships among the industry's employees.

    The proceeds collected from the entries and donations for the 5km fun walk and the 10km uranium relay event for invited uranium companies will go to the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN).

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    Namib Poultry Gravity Cup kicks offNamib Poultry Gravity Cup kicks off Sport Reporter

    The Namib Poultry Gravity Cup kicked off in the capital on Friday, with 6-a-side soccer at Delta Secondary's fields, followed by netball and 7s rugby on Saturday.

    The Gravity Cup is a platform created for schools to showcase their sporting abilities on the netball court, soccer pitch and rugby field.

    It is for children in the under-13, u-15 and u-17 age groups.

    Until October, by way of five circuits, schools from across the country will be competing for bragging rights, and the chance of winning cash.

    Teams participating in the u-17 soccer category on Friday were Academia, Windhoek High, Delta Secondary, Jan Möhr, Windhoek Technical, Windhoek Gymnasium and Academia.

    Next on the circuit is Walvis Bay, where participating schools will be competing against each other, followed by another round in Windhoek, before they head to Keetmanshoop, and back to Windhoek again.

    Upcoming tournament dates:

    Friday, 1 March: Soccer in Windhoek;

    Saturday, 2 March: 7s rugby and netball in Walvis Bay;

    Friday, 13 September: Soccer in Windhoek;

    Saturday, 14 September: 7s rugby and netball in Windhoek;

    Friday, 27 September: Soccer in Windhoek;

    Saturday, 28 September: 7s rugby and netball in Keetmanshoop;

    Friday, 11 October: Soccer finals in Windhoek; and

    Saturday, 12 October: 7s rugby and netball finals in Windhoek.

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