Daily Archives: January 10, 2018

Meeting of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, N. Kotzias, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Nikola Dimitrov (11.1.2018)

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias will meet tomorrow, Thursday 11 January, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Nikola Dimitrov.Talks will focus on matters of bilateral interest as well as on further enhancing the Confidence Building Measures.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Hellenic Republic

Somalia Launches Digital Counter-extremism Center

Somalia’s government has launched a digital counter-extremism center that aims to dissuade young Somalis from supporting militant groups such as al-Shabab and Islamic State.

The Somali Ministry of Information says the center will carry out campaigns on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and state-run media designed to promote stability in the Horn of Africa nation, which has seen little peace during the past 30 years.

“The center plans to raise public awareness campaign on countering violent extremism, security and peace building, good governance, civic education, and implementing programs that can provide confidence to the people by discrediting terrorists’ narratives of violence and destruction,” said Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman.

During the opening ceremony Wednesday, Osman said the center will specifically target al-Shabab “by exposing their brutality, and hence weakening its following and public support.”

The al-Qaida-linked militant group has carried out dozens of suicide attacks in Somalia during the past decade, including one in October that killed more than 500 people.

“This will be an opportunity to contribute to the overall peace and stability in Somalia,” Abdurahman Yusuf al-Adala, the director general of Somalia’s Ministry of Information told VOA. “We will provide accurate and useful information to young people, which in turn helps them to understand the benefits of democratic institutions in Somalia.”

The new center was created in response to criticism from moderate Somali clerics who said the government has not done enough fight extremism and violent ideologies on the internet and social media platforms.

Al-Adala said clerics and elders will be given an opportunity to produce video messages for social media. He said young Somalis will have an “open forum” to talk about terrorism and factors that drive youth to join the militants.

Source: Voice of America

Home Affairs aims to increase smart ID rollout

Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni says talks with National Treasury for the approval of a public-private partnership, which could see more bank outlets issuing smart IDs and passports, are at an advanced stage.

We have agreements with banks and the Competition Commission, [and] we are now in talks with National Treasury because we need a public-private partnership (PPP). Treasury needs to give approval so that this relationship with the banks complies with the provisions of a PPP. Once we close that, we will roll-out as quickly as we can, said Apleni.

He made the announcement at a briefing held on Wednesday to allay public concerns after a hoax social media notice claimed that green ID books would expire on 31 March 2018.

Apleni said once the PPP deal is sealed, banks will be able to make more outlets available to process smart ID applications and passports.

To date, members of the public can only finalise their applications at 14 banks, 13 of which are in Gauteng and only one in Cape Town as pilot sites.

Apleni said Home Affairs hopes that by the end of the following financial year, they will have the backing of Treasury.

Discussions with participating banks are continuing to increase capacity through additional bank branches. The participating banks are Absa, FNB, Nedbank and Standard.

Again we encourage those with access to the internet to apply for their smart ID cards and passports online using the eHomeAffairs portal, which is accessible on the official Department of Home Affairs website ´┐Ż www.dha.gov.za, said Apleni.

Challenges faced in the rollout

The department said part of the challenges it faces is the running of two systems, namely the manual system (for births, marriages and death registrations) and the automated system for smart ID cards and passports.

Only 184 out of 411 Home Affairs offices currently have live capture, which can process applications for smart ID cards and passports. The remaining 227 offices are still to be modernised.

We are working on getting our systems fully automated, and are also developing a mobile solution to support the rollout of smart ID cards. Between 2013 and 2017, we were able to reach the seven million milestone on smart ID cards issued, said the department.

Fake accounts to steal money

Home Affairs said it has also noticed a spike in the number of incidents where people use fake accounts to steal money from others.

We urge people to be vigilant. They should not allow themselves to be conned, whether for tenders, IDs or other documents, said Apleni.

Source: South African Government News Agency

AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT TO ENDORSE AFRICA ICT MASTERPLAN

ADDIS ABABA, The African Union (AU) Summit holding later this month is expected to endorse a renewed push by African countries to rapidly spread high-speed internet to accelerate economic development in the continent.

The AU Heads of State and Government Assembly, scheduled to take place on Jan 22-29 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is expected to discuss and approve the resolutions of an AU Specialised Technical Committee on Communication and ICT.

The Specialised Technical Committee held its session in November 2017, to discuss an ICT masterplan for Africa, which is focusing on using ICT as a development tool.

The key issues of discussion at the ICT ministerial meeting were the implementation of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) with a specific focus on how African countries could work with UN agencies to implement specific ICT initiatives.

The AU is proposing that each African country should be connected to at least two different under-sea cables and the landlocked countries should also have alternative routes to the coastline.

The ICT programmes being pursued under PIDA are also include access to a national and regional Internet Exchange Point.

African countries currently spend US$65 million every year to connect computer users in Africa to internet exchanges in London, money which could be shared within the African countries, according to Moctar Yedaly, Head of Information Society Division at the AUC.

The funds are those spent by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to pay third parties providing the connection services to internet users, including email traffic.

The Internet Exchange has been installed in 33 African countries and officially launched in 18 countries, according to Moctar.

The 18 countries have a routing scheme for the Internet Exchange.

The AU internet masterplan seeks the commitment of the ministers of ICT to work together with transport and energy ministers to ensure that ICT ducts or fibre are deployed on regional infrastructure.

The AUC is also seeking the harmonisation of the radio spectrum in Africa, with the aim of ensuring that Africa’s emerging markets, use ICT to advance economic growth.

The Information and Communication sector, driven by a robust mobile telephony and mobile banking sector, emerged as one of Africa’s leading drivers of economic development.

The Addis Ababa-based African Union Commission (AUC) is pursuing the harmonisation of the spectrum policies.

The AU officials believe coherent spectrum policy would ensure better access to broadband internet services.

“The harmonised and efficient utilisation of the digital dividends spectrum will be a great opportunity for African countries to enhance the low level of broadband penetration,” according to a report by the AU.

The AU says should countries take advantage of the opportunity to improve on governance, the growth of the sector would be better guaranteed and its economic development potential would be unlocked through affordable internet.

The AU masterplan seeks to drive economic growth driven by innovation. It seeks to have broadband growth driven through wireless infrastructure.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Three suspects arrested and three firearms recovered

Constantly alert Durban Flying Squad members and a security company arrested three suspects and recovered three unlicensed firearms at North Coast road this morning. The members were conducting their patrols around North Coast road when they were informed about a white Toyota Fortuner suspected to be involved in house robbery cases in the area. The members and security company intensified their patrols and the said vehicle fitting the same description given to them was spotted. They gave chase and the suspects alighted from the vehicle and allegedly fired shots towards the members. The members retaliated and one suspect was shot and wounded. He was taken to hospital for treatment and the other two suspects were arrested. Three unlicensed firearms and ammunition were recovered from them. The vehicle used by the suspects was checked and found to be positively stolen from the Eastern Cape province.

The members also found a TV set, jewellery, laptop, crew bar, police radio and clothing inside the vehicle. The recovered firearms, a .38 revolver and two pistols will be sent for ballistic testing to establish if they were used in any other crimes in the province. The suspects aged between 27 and 28 will appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court soon facing possession of unlicensed firearm, possession of property suspected to be stolen and attempted murder.

The KwaZulu-Natal Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa commended the members for arresting the suspects and confiscating the unlicensed firearms as well as suspected stolen goods. I warned criminals that they must not shoot at the police while being approached with intent to arrest them. The police will defend themselves should they come under attack. The arrested suspects will be profiled to check if they are not wanted for any other crimes in the greater Durban area and surroundings, he said.

Source: South African Police Service