Tag Archives: South

South Africa’s ruling ANC welcomes Gordhan appointment as finance minister

Globe | Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:42am EST


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JOHANNESBURG South Africa’s ruling ANC celebration on Monday welcomed the reappointment of Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, saying it was an “explicit demonstration of a responsive and accountable government”.

Zuma late on Sunday restored widely respected Gordhan to the ministry in a dramatic about-face choice that gave Africa’s most sophisticated economy its third finance minister in a week.

(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng Editing by James Macharia)

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China’s Sinopec constructing filling station in disputed South China Sea

BEIJING Chinese oil main Sinopec is building a filling station on an island in the South China Sea, as China continues to expand its civilian infrastructure in the disputed waterway, entrenching its reach in the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.

The filling station and accompanying storage tank on Woody Island in the Paracels will take a year to total, the company, whose listed flagship is Sinopec Corp, said on its microblog on Monday.

Woody Island has a population of roughly 1,000 and Chinese travel agents started supplying five-day cruises to the Paracels, a cluster of close to 40 islets, outcrops and reefs in 2013.

The filling station and storage tank will satisfy fuel demands in Chinese-controlled islands and reefs in the South China Sea over the next handful of years, the post said.

“Nouveaux riches, go fishing in Sansha city, and bear in mind to bring your filling card,” it quipped, referring to an outpost in the South China Sea centered about Woody Island.

China took full handle of the Paracels in 1974 following a naval showdown with the South Vietnamese, and there have been incidents ever because. Taiwan also claims the Paracels.

China claims practically all of the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea, via which much more than $ 5 trillion of maritime trade passes every single year. The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

The United States has criticized Beijing’s building of artificial islands in the disputed Spratly archipelago, south of the Paracels, and has conducted sea and air patrols close to them.

China’s navy has in recent days carried out a lot more workout routines in the disputed waterway, the country’s defense ministry mentioned on Sunday, calling them routine drills.

(Reporting By Adam Rose Editing by Michael Perry)

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In U-turn, South Africa’s Zuma restores Gordhan to finance ministry

JOHANNESBURG President Jacob Zuma appointed Pravin Gordhan as finance minister on Sunday, in a dramatic U-turn that gave South Africa its third finance chief in a week following a selling frenzy in the markets.

The shock announcement restoring Gordhan to the post sent the rand surging practically 5 percent on Sunday evening, but failed to quell a tide of criticism of the president.

“This is reckless by President Zuma, he is playing Russian roulette with the South African economy,” opposition Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane mentioned.

Zuma sacked Nhlanhla Nene from the ministry late on Wednesday, sparking a wave of criticism and financial turmoil, and replaced him with the reasonably unknown lawmaker David van Rooyen.

The removal of Nene, who was keen to rein in government spending in Africa’s most industrialized economy, sent the rand currency to record lows, sparked a sell-off in bank stocks and sent yields in both neighborhood and dollar-denominated debt soaring.

The JSE All-share index lost 169.six billion rand ($ ten.68 billion) between Thursday and Friday.

“Critics would say having a finance minister serving only two days does not bode nicely for the reputation of South Africa,” stated Mohammed Nalla, head of research at Nedbank Capital.

“International investors are most likely considering: Why didn’t the president make a a lot more regarded as selection in the 1st location?”

A lot of economists had questioned van Rooyen’s ability to steady an economy hammered by falling prices for commodity exports that variety from coal to gold.

Nene’s reluctance to rubber-stamp an ambitious program to develop a quantity of nuclear power stations to ease serious electricity shortages, a project that may possibly price as considerably as $ 100 billion, is also observed as contributing to his downfall.

“On the 9th of December 2015, I announced the appointment of a new Minister of Finance, Mr David van Rooyen,” Sunday’s statement from the presidency stated.

“I have received numerous representations to reconsider my selection. As a democratic government, we emphasize the value of listening to the men and women and to respond to their views.”

Credit agency Fitch downgraded South Africa on Dec. four, leaving the continent’s most sophisticated economy just a single notch above “junk” status, and stated on Thursday Nene’s firing “raised a lot more unfavorable than constructive questions”.

A Reuters poll on Wednesday showed analysts anticipate the economy to develop just 1.four percent this year and 1.six percent next, .1 percentage point reduce than last month’s forecasts.


The presidency’s statement said Gordhan’s part would incorporate “promoting and strengthening the fiscal discipline and prudence” and “working with the financial sector so that its stability is preserved”.

It referred to as for “adherence to the set expenditure ceiling although sustaining a steady trajectory of our debt portfolio, as set out in the February 2015 Spending budget”.

The statement also named for “far more inclusive growth and accelerated job creation whilst continuing the work of guaranteeing that our debt is stabilised more than the medium term”.

“I am not in the job yet. Not until I am sworn in tomorrow morning at ten a.m.” regional time (0800 GMT), Gordhan told Reuters. He said a news conference was scheduled for 1000 GMT on Monday after his swearing-in.

Gordhan held the post of finance minister from 2009 to 2014, when he was replaced with Nene and moved to the post of minister for cooperative governance and classic affairs.

The Sunday presidency statement stated van Rooyen would turn out to be the new minister of cooperative governance and conventional affairs.

Zuma on Saturday denied rumors he had an affair with the chairwoman of state-owned airline South African Airways amid media speculation the connection lay behind Nene’s sacking.

The minister had rebuked Dudu Myeni, the airline’s chairwoman and a close ally of Zuma, for mismanaging a 1 billion rand ($ 62.98 million) deal with Airbus.

Zuma’s workplace also criticized as a “malicious fabrication” reports that Nene was removed due to the fact Myeni was not happy with directions from the respected former finance minister.

Social media was abuzz on Sunday with calls for anti-Zuma marches. Below the hashtag #ZumaMustFall, folks on Twitter said they would march in essential cities on Wednesday, a public vacation in South Africa and the very same day when the Federal Reserve, the U.S. central bank, is anticipated to raise interest prices – a move set to place emerging markets like South Africa beneath strain.

Even some supporters of the African National Congress (ANC), Nelson Mandela’s erstwhile liberation movement that has ruled since the end of apartheid in 1994, expressed dismay about Wednesday’s appointment of a Zuma loyalist to the essential post.

Former South African overall health minister and top anti-apartheid activist Barbara Hogan on Friday known as on Zuma to quit.

Hogan, the highest-profile member of the ANC to come out against the sacking of Nene, said Zuma had crossed a line and required to be held to account.

South Africa is gearing up for essential nearby elections next year exactly where the ANC is expected to face stiff competition from the Democratic Alliance in urban locations, which includes the financial hub of Johannesburg. The countryside remains an ANC stronghold.

Important erosion of ANC control in metropolitan powerbases could strengthen Zuma’s opponents, particularly if South Africans blame him for the floundering economy.

Analyst Razia Khan of Standard Chartered Bank stated the week’s turmoil was “maybe the 1st instance because 2007 that Zuma has come under extreme pressure within the party”.

(Extra reporting by Ed Cropley and James Macharia Writing by Andrew Roche and James Macharia Editing by Jon Boyle and Jonathan Oatis)

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South Africa’s Zuma denies affair

JOHANNESBURG South African President Jacob Zuma on Saturday denied rumors of an affair with the chairwoman of state-owned airline amid speculation the connection had led to the sacking of the finance minister.

Zuma dismissed Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene on Wednesday. The minister had earlier rebuked Dudu Myeni, chairwoman of state-owned South African Airways and a close ally of Zuma, for mismanaging a 1 billion rand ($ 62.98 million)deal with Airbus.

Myeni is also executive chairwoman of Zuma’s charitable trust, the Jacob Zuma Foundation.

“Her connection with the President is purely specialist, and is primarily based on the running of the Foundation,” the Presidency mentioned in statement. “Rumors about a romance and a youngster are baseless and are created to cast aspersions on the President.”

(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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North, South Korea higher-level talks end without agreement, further meeting: media

SEOUL North and South Korea ended talks on Saturday with out coming to any joint agreement, South Korean media reported.

Hwang Boogi, South Korea’s chief delegate, was quoted by the Yonhap News agency as saying the two Koreas had not scheduled any further meetings.

The South’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, was not right away accessible for comment.

The meeting was the 1st forum for high-level discussions over a range of concerns following an agreement in August that ended an armed standoff involving an exchange of artillery fire across the inter-Korean border.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park Editing by James Pearson and Alison Williams)

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North, South Korean officials meet in fresh bid to increase ties

SEOUL Senior officials from North and South Korea met for talks on Friday to discuss enhancing ties and resuming cooperation projects, like cross-border tours, stalled amid tensions that have remained higher for practically six years.

South Korean Vice Unification Minister Hwang Boogi met with the North’s Jon Jong Su, a vice director of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, at the jointly-run Kaesong industrial zone a handful of miles north of their border.

The meeting was the very first forum for high-level discussions over a variety of issues following an agreement in August that ended an armed standoff involving an exchange of artillery fire across their border.

The North was expected to seek the resumption of cross-border tours from the South to its Mount Kumgang resort, a as soon as-lucrative source of money for the impoverished state that was suspended in 2008.

Seoul in turn was expected to try to get Pyongyang to agree to hold reunions of war-separated households on a normal basis, a best humanitarian priority for the South, where a lot more than 60,000 mostly elderly people are seeking for relatives in the North.

“Between South and North, there are several issues to go over and resolve. We will do our ideal to operate them out step by step,” Hwang, the chief South Korean delegate, told reporters prior to boarding a bus to cross a land border into Kaesong.

The rivals, technically nevertheless at war right after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty, had all but cut ties since early 2010, when a South Korean navy ship was sunk by a torpedo that Seoul stated was fired from a North Korean submarine. Pyongyang denies any involvement.

The talks come a day soon after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared to claim that his country had developed a hydrogen bomb, which is much more effective than an atomic bomb, although authorities and U.S. and South Korean officials expressed doubt that the North has such capability.

Also on Thursday, the United Nations Security Council held its second meeting on human rights in North Korea, despite the objections of 4 nations such as China, its principal diplomatic and financial backer.

The agenda for Friday’s talks was “concerns that will improve ties” among the North and the South, according to the South Korean government. Inter-Korean ties are frequently measured in terms of industrial exchanges and joint projects.

The industrial zone in Kaesong, founded in 2002, is the last remaining major joint project to outcome from an earlier period of improved ties.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park and Jee Heun Kahng Writing by Jack Kim Editing by Tony Munroe and Michael Perry)

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China seeks South Korean security guarantees after warning shots fired at ship

BEIJING China mentioned on Wednesday it had asked South Korea to make certain the safety of Chinese ships soon after South Korea’s navy fired warning shots at a Chinese vessel which crossed into waters disputed by North and South Korea.

The South Korean navy told Yonhap news agency it had fired 10 warning shots at a Chinese boat which it stated crossed the Northern Limit Line – a disputed inter-Korean maritime border on the west coast.

The ship was initially believed to be North Korean, but was later identified as Chinese, according to Yonhap.

“We are concerned about the relevant situation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

The Chinese embassy in South Korea has asked for a clarification of what happened, she mentioned, adding that it had not heard of any harm or injuries.

“We will continue to pay close interest to how the scenario develops and preserve in communication with South Korea, asking they make certain the safety of Chinese personnel and ships,” Hua stated, without giving other specifics.

The Northern Limit Ling is a disputed border exactly where a number of artillery and naval clashes have occurred in recent years.

Final year, a Chinese fisherman was killed in a South Korean coastguard operation to apprehend his vessel which was operating illegally off South Korea’s west coast.

South Korea’s coastguard regularly chases Chinese fishing boats out of its western seas and violence does occasionally take place.

A South Korean coastguard officer was stabbed to death by a Chinese fisherman in 2011 and the following year a Chinese fisherman died from injuries in a confrontation with the coastguard. That led to a Chinese government complaint.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard Editing by Nick Macfie)

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South African court begins hearing Pistorius’ bail application after murder conviction

PRETORIA South African Olympic and Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius appeared in court on Tuesday to apply for bail following his conviction for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius, known as “Blade Runner” because of the carbon fiber prosthetic blades he used to race, faces a minimum 15-year jail sentence.

The Supreme Court final Thursday upgraded the 29-year-old athlete’s sentence to murder from “culpable homicide”, South Africa’s equivalent of manslaughter, for which he had received a five-year sentence.

Pistorius was released from jail on Oct. 19 and had been meant to serve the rest of that five-year sentence under home arrest at his uncle’s residence in a wealthy suburb of the capital Pretoria.

(Reporting by TJ Strydom Editing by James Macharia)

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India gets cash flowing in flood-hit south as banks open Sunday

MUMBAI India’s banks will perform on Sunday to help residents left without meals, power and access to funds in the flood-hit southern city of Chennai and surrounding locations, as cash dispensers have been emptied or lost power due to electrical energy outtages.

India’s fourth largest city was swamped by torrential rains – the heaviest in a century – for the duration of the previous five days, and the government has asked banks to restore basic solutions and provide money machines as swiftly as attainable, replenishing cash by boat or providing mobile ATMs if required.

In a statement late on Saturday, the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank, mentioned it would remain open to support bank transactions and support provide cash to nearby lenders.

About 280 folks have died across Tamil Nadu state considering that it was hit by torrential rains on Dec. 1 that left big sections of capital Chennai below up to eight feet (two.five metres) of water, and trapped folks on rooftops with no communication.

(Reporting by Clara Ferreira Marques Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

South African authorities deny issuing arrest warrant for Pistorius

JOHANNESBURG South African authorities on Friday denied issuing an arrest warrant for Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted on appeal of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, rejecting an earlier report by a neighborhood tv station.

“It is not the case,” National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku told Reuters. “No such warrant has been issued.”

The Supreme Court on Thursday upgraded the 29-year-old athlete’s sentence to murder from “culpable homicide”, South Africa’s equivalent of manslaughter, for which he had received a five-year sentence. A murder conviction normally carries a minimum 15-year jail sentence.

ENCA tv had earlier reported that a warrant of arrest had been issued for the paralympic champion.

Pistorius had been meant to serve the rest of his sentence beneath residence arrest on his uncle’s property in a wealthy suburb of the capital Pretoria.

A new sentence will be handed down at a later date, Mfaku said.

(Reporting by James Macharia)

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