Daily Archives: January 24, 2018


ALGIERS, Meetings are to be held among experts from Maghreb countries under a project to have couscous, a traditional Maghrebi food, listed as their common culinary heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).

Announcing this here Tuesday, the Director of Algeria’s National Centre for Prehistoric, Anthropological and Historical Research (CNRPAH), Slimane Hachi, said: Couscous’ listing as a universal heritage is a common project by the Maghreb countries. The proposal for the listing is being prepared and meetings between experts will soon take place.”

The listing will shed light on the ancient origin of this dish and its trans-cultural character because it belongs to many peoples. The dish of small steamed balls of crushed durum wheat, usually served with a stew on top, is a staple food throughout North African and has remained authentic, resisting time and change.

A researcher at the CNRPAH says the possible listing of this heritage dish is recognition and a way to strengthen the solid links between the peoples of the Maghreb — Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania — which share the same culinary expressions. Like any cultural element, couscous is a mean to bringing people together.

For these peoples, couscous is “a way to express their solidarity and relationship with nature”, he adds. The Maghreb states would benefit from launching a joint study to identify all the thrusts of this common heritage.


Public Works on Expanded Public Works Programme progress

EPWP continues to contribute in the fight against poverty and unemployment

The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) continues to contribute in the fight against poverty and unemployment in many communities in South Africa. In Viljoenskroon (Rammulotsi Township) in the Free State, the EPWP has provided a total 898 community members with work opportunities to contribute in the socioeconomic upliftment of their community.

The EPWP projects have helped poor community members to feed themselves and their families. We have established community food gardens that are producing nutritious foods for us, the Mr Petrus Mkhwanazi said.

Mr Mkhwanazi is one of the 898 EPWP participants who are employed on a temporary basis by the Regeneration of the Lost Generation Organisation (Rolgo) � a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) that is working with the government to roll-out some of the EPWP projects in Viljoenskroon.

Today we are playing a central role in the socioeconomic development of our community by participating in a range of EPWP projects such as working with the local municipality (Moqhaka Local Municipality) to clean our community; working with the local schools to encourage young people to stay away from alcohol, drugs and other social ills; producing food (through food gardens) for poor families as well as for our local hospice. We also have started our own small brick manufacturing projects which produces affordable bricks for our local community, another participant Ms Noni Modungwa said.

Ms Modungwa work in the Rolgo’s EPWP recycling project. Our recycling project is important because it does not only contribute to a cleaner and sustainable community, but it also contributes in our economic lives. We sort out and sell the material that we have collected. This allows us to make money for ourselves so we can look after our loved ones, Ms Modungwa added.

Some of the EPWP projects that Rolgo has undertaken include the provision of entrepreneurial skills to the local youth; facilitating the deepening of faith and cultural values as well as promoting peaceful co-existence in the communities through peaceful conflict resolution measures.

The NPO works with a range of stakeholders including the local municipality, faith based organisations, the Free State Department of Social Development and the Department of Public Works – through Independent Development Trust (IDT).

The Councillor for Ward 21 at the Moqhaka Local Municipality Mr Zenzile Magadlela stated that the EPWP has assisted the municipality to create work opportunities for the poor. With the majority of our population in this community being unemployed, the EPWP has assisted a lot in the provision of short-to medium term work opportunities for our people. Recently, some of the EPWP participants marched to the municipal offices to pay their municipal rates and taxes, and this has encouraged other residents to also pay their rates and taxes, Councillor Magadlela explained.

The Director for Viljoenskroon Hospice Mr Chris Mokatsane said the EPWP has provided the hospice with the much needed caregivers. The caregivers help in looking after patients who are taking chronic medication as well as the elderly. These EPWP caregivers also do home visits to assist patients and the elderly in the community, Mr Mokatsane said.

The manager for Rolgo NPO Mr Sandile Sobayeni thanked the Department of Public Works in paying the monthly wages of the EPWP participants.

The Deputy Director-General for the EPWP in the Department of Public Works, Mr Stanley Henderson, expressed gratitude to the EPWP participants for leading the government’s work of fighting poverty, social ills and unemployment. I commend the role that the participants continue to play in our collective work of creating a better life for all our people.

Brief background of the EPWP

The EPWP is a government initiative that aims to reduce poverty and unemployment through the provision of short term to medium term work opportunities for the poor and unemployed South Africans. The EPWP creates work opportunities in four sectors, namely, Infrastructure, Non-State, Environment & Culture and Social sectors. The EPWP Participants (beneficiaries) work in different projects like Community Work Programme (CWP), Early Childhood Development Programmes, Home Community Based Care Programmes, Extra School Support Programmes, Working on Fire, Working for Water, Roads Maintenance Projects, etc.

Through various skills and training that the participants receive from the EPWP, they (participants) stand a better chance to enter the formal job market and/or become entrepreneurs.

Source: Government of South Africa

Suspects arrested for horrendous deeds at Nsuze area

On 22 January 2018, Nsuze police conducted an operation, searching for criminals who horribly attacked a 26-year-old victim at Bhamshela area in the Nsuze policing precinct. Two suspects aged 27 and 32 were arrested and charged for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. They appeared in the Maphumulo Magistrates’ Court on 23 January 2018 where they were remanded in custody until 7 February 2018 for further investigation.

It is alleged that three suspects took the victim to their place of residence, accusing him of breaking into their home and stealing two television sets. They allegedly tied his hands and legs, poured boiling water into his ears, pierced a nail through his hand onto the plank and severely assaulted him. He was taken to hospital where he was treated for his injuries. A case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm was opened at Nsuze police station for investigation. Police investigation led to the arrest of two suspects and a third suspect is still sought.

Another operation was conducted and it led to the arrest of a 30-year-old tuckshop owner for pointing of firearm. The suspect allegedly pointed a 31-year-old woman with a firearm, accusing her of being behind the burglary at his tuckshop. The victim reported the matter to the police and a case of pointing with a firearm was opened at Nsuze police station for investigation. The suspect was charged and will appear in court today. Police are still searching for his firearm since he also failed to show the license for owning a firearm during the arrest. Police investigation to find the firearm allegedly used to commit the crime is continuing.

Source: South African Police Service

Protests Roil Swiss Cities Ahead of Trump’s Davos Visit

WHITE HOUSE Protesters have been pouring into the streets in several Swiss cities to express opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump’s attendance at this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

Trump arrives Thursday in the Swiss ski resort and is slated to present his “America First” message in a speech Friday to global business and political leaders.

On the eve of his arrival, members of Trump’s economic team previewed the strategy for increasing U.S. global competitiveness.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, one of 10 Cabinet secretaries attending the gathering, endorsed a lower dollar, pushing the greenback to its lowest level in three years, according to the Bloomberg Dollar Index.

“Obviously, a weaker dollar is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities,” Mnuchin told reporters at Davos.

A day after Trump imposed tariffs on imported solar-energy components and large washing machines, Mnuchin said he was not worried about what many see as a clash between Trump’s protectionist policies and the concept of globalism.

“This is about an ‘America First’ agenda, but ‘America First’ does mean working with the rest of the world” on free trade issues, Mnuchin said.

But many observers and analysts see an irreconcilable conflict of economic philosophies.

Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at Washington’s Peterson Institute for International Economics, expressed amusement at the prospect of the populist Trump speaking at a forum that has become a symbol of the growing consensus around an increasingly globalized world.

“It’s hard to square ‘America First’ with the Davos ethos of globalism, but Trump might put it this way: Every other country pursues its own interests first and foremost, while America makes concession after concession and carries burden after burden,” Hufbauer said in a written answer to a VOA request. “The time has come for America to act just like all the other countries represented in Davos.”

Presidential scholar Joshua Sandman of the University of New Haven likens Trump’s visit to the biblical story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

“Even though the Davos people are antithetical to his populist message, he wants to confront them and to establish the legitimacy of the American approach as he articulates it, which is to confront globalism and put American interests first,” Sandman said in a phone interview.

Briefing White House reporters this week, Trump’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn said the president would use his speech at Davos to tell the world America is open for business. “We want the world to invest in America and create jobs for hardworking Americans,” he said.

“He’s going to talk to world leaders about making sure we all respect each other, we all abide by the laws, we all have free, fair, open, and reciprocal trade,” Cohn explained. “And if we live in a world where there are not artificial barriers, we will all grow and we will all help each other grow. And the president truly believes that.”

Political scientist Thomas Whalen of Boston University says Trump is unlikely to win many converts among the globalist crowd at Davos.

“Trump at Davos would be greeted about the same way an appearance by [disgraced Hollywood producer] Harvey Weinstein would go off at the Oscars,” Whalen said. “His approach to world affairs is anathema to those world leaders. We live in a 21st century interconnected globalized economy, and his idea of erecting trade barriers is going to unspool the entire system if left unchecked.”

Sideline meetings

The president ‘s schedule includes sideline meetings with several other world leaders, including British Prime Minister Theresa May. The president earlier canceled a planned trip to Britain for the opening of the new U.S. embassy in London, where he would be likely to face fierce protests. But National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Trump is prioritizing the meeting with May.

“We do have a special relationship,” McMaster said, adding that the meeting would touch on critical global issues, such as “the conflict in Syria, Iran’s destabilizing behavior, ways to address shortcomings in that Iran nuclear deal, and our shared goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.”

Trump also will meet the incoming African Union chairman, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, to “reaffirm the U.S.-Africa relationship and discuss shared priorities, including trade and security,” McMaster said.

The meeting comes weeks after Trump was reported to have used a vulgar slur to describe African countries during a conversation about immigration.

Trump will be the first U.S. president to attend the Davos forum since Bill Clinton in 2000. Other world leaders in attendance for the first time include Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also will be there, but her advisers say she will not meet with Trump.

Economic adviser Cohn has attended several Davos meetings in his previous role as president of the Wall Street banking firm Goldman Sachs. Asked what Trump might find on his first trip to the Swiss resort that he would not expect, Cohn replied, “A lot of snow. Fourteen feet [4.25 meters] of snow.”

Source: Voice of America

Drop in dam levels brings Day Zero closer

The taps of the City of Cape Town are expected to run dry sooner than anticipated following a drop in dam levels this week that has brought Day Zero closer.

Unfortunately, due to a drop in the dam levels of 1.4%, Day Zero has, as of today (Tuesday), moved forward to 12 April 2018, said the City’s Executive Deputy Mayor Alderman Neilson.

Prior to the recent drop in dam levels, Day Zero was set to arrive in the City by 22 April 2018.

The Deputy Mayor appealed to Capetonians who are not saving water to start doing so.

To those of you who are not yet part of the massive water-saving efforts that are under way in Cape Town, we urge you to join friends, neighbours, colleagues and Team Cape Town as a whole in beating back Day Zero, said Deputy Mayor Neilson.

The Deputy Mayor however remained hopeful that if residents pulled their weight, it was still possible to push back Day Zero.

Now is the time to do so. We will not be getting second chances, said the Deputy Mayor.

He thanked Capetonians who have been redoubling their efforts to save water.

Day Zero plans

In preparation for Day Zero, the City is rolling out aggressive pressure management operations across the city.

The City is installing thousands of water management devices on the properties of high users and ensuring that we better our record low overall water loss percentage of 16% as compared to the national average of 36%, said the Deputy Mayor.

The City said their average first response time to reported leaks and bursts is less than two hours.

Our desalination, aquifer and water recycling projects aimed at providing additional water are ongoing but will not provide sufficient supply to help us avoid Day Zero this year. They will, however, help us to become more resilient in weathering our next dry season, said Deputy Mayor Nielson.

Residents have been urged to keep track of water usage by making use of the water dashboard on the City’s website.

From 1 February the critical threshold will be 450 million litres per day. Users will be required to use 50 litres per person per day for 150 days at least.

We are in the process of finalising our operational plan for Day Zero. Our Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan draws from international best practices, and decisions around the basic design and distribution of water collection points reflect what other cities around the world have implemented when faced with extreme drought conditions, said the Deputy Mayor.

He said the Disaster Risk Management Department is devising plans for Day Zero water collection points.

It is important we manage and organise these water distribution points in a way that does not frustrate household or business strategies to access water as efficiently as possible. It is crucial that we spend the time to troubleshoot these water distribution points effectively, said Deputy Mayor Nielson.

This involves anticipating what strategies households and businesses will employ to meet their water needs in the case of Day Zero.

In addition to looking at water provision and distribution, the plan will also focus on safety and security, health and sanitation, as well as mobilising communities to help us assist vulnerable groups and individuals, said the Deputy Mayor.

The City announced that it will schedule a briefing on the water collection plan within the next 10 days.

Source: South African Government News Agency