Archive for June 28th, 2007

source: BOPA

28 June, 2007

VIENNA – The Nuclear Technology Centre at Seibersdorf outside Vienna in Austria otherwise known as the International Atomic Energy Agency looks like any research centre.

But the inside is extra-ordinary. It is no wonder some in President Festus Mogaes entourage declined to enter the facility during a visit on Tuesday fearing radiation exposure. But safety was guaranteed.

Messers Busch Petersen and Chikelu Mba who heads the Food Agricultural Organisation and the Agricultural Biotechnology Laboratory, respectifully, took Mr Mogae through various stages of the laboratories explaining the operations and their relationship with member countries. Mr Mogae heard of the technique used in tracing radiation activity.

He was told that inpectors take samples and smears from nuclear facilities, as well as environmental samples of water, soil and vegetation to search for traces of actinides indicating the presence and operation of an undeclared unclear installation in the vicinity.

He was told that there was the urgent need for developing countries to have trained and skilled personnel in nuclear science.

Officials also briefed Mr Mogae on plant breeding where induced mutations are used to improve food security and cash crops in member states.

Mr Mogae was informed that the agency had nothing to do with genetically modified food.

He was told that the focus was on developing, adapting and disseminating appropriate methodologies for enhancing effeciency in the induction, detection and evaluation of mutation events using a range of [continue reading]

source: BBC News
South Africa’s main trade unions have ended their four-week strike, which has closed most of the country’s schools and hospitals.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has decided to accept the government’s offer of a 7.5% pay rise – they had demanded 9%.

The government had originally offered 6%, while the unions had wanted 12%.

Correspondents say it has been the biggest strike since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Cosatu said the strike, which involved hundreds of thousands of people, had been a “historic turning point in the lives of public-sector workers”.

“This combination of unity and militancy means that never again will the employer dare to treat us with the callous indifference they have displayed in the past and during this dispute, until they were forced to compromise when confronted by the militancy and determination of their workforce,” it said.

Before the decision was announced, one union official told the Business Day newspaper that [continue reading]

source: BOPA
27 June, 2007

GABORONE – More than 2.1 million shares were traded across the financial sector stocks in the past week, says a weekly report from Capital Securities.

The report says Financial National Bank Botswana (FNBB) shares were the most active with a little more than two million shares traded at 375t.

Since its share split on June 15, 2007, the report says FNB shares have appreciated by 1.4 per cent to the current price of 375t.

It says Standard Chartered was the top gainer in the sector moving up 3.9per cent to 2450t with 11983 shares traded.

Barclays Bank and ABCH, the report says, were unchanged at 915t and 250t while Letshego only recorded a 0.4 per cent gain on 20 057 shares.

However, the report says Letshego has issued a cautionary announcement to shareholders advising that some significant minority shareholders are contemplating a possible sale of their shares.

The announcement advises shareholders that the full impact of this possible sale is still being determined.

It further advises shareholders to exercise caution when dealing in the companys securities until a further announcement is made.

Meanwhile the resource stocks closed the week lower with gains recorded only on CIC Energy with nine per cent, IAMGold with 2.3 per cent and LionOre with 0.03 per cent according to Capital Securities report.

At the close of business of June 22, 2007, the report says, most of the [continue reading]

source: BOPA
27 June, 2007

SHAKAWE – Okavango Wilderness Safari camp managers double up as health professionals even though they do not have the necessary qualifications.

According to one of the workers, Mr Tsietsi James, the managers administered injections and other medication to sick employees despite the fact that the managers were not qualified as health workers.

Mr James said the injections were not even recorded in their medical cards. Another worker, Ms Kearabile Tebo, said her ill health worsened after a certain camp manager injected her.

She pleaded with the Parliaments Labour Relations Committee to verify the expertise and qualifications of the nurse that has been hired by their employer.

If you vomit, she said you might be pregnant, she added.

The workers also complained about unhygienic conditions such as ablution blocks.

The workers made the allegations during a visit by a parliamentary committee on labour relations to the Vumbura Plains Camps in the Okavango Delta which was run by the Okavango Wilderness Safaris.

The workers said camp managers injected, dispense medication and measured employees blood pressure and temperature on sick workers even though they are not health professionals.

The management of Vumbura Plains Camps also confirmed the allegations of the workers, but said they are administered through the recommendations of a qualified company nurse who is contacted through a telephone.

The MP for Kgatleng West, Mr Rakwadi Modipane, criticised the practice as unlawful and illegal.

Nobody in this country is allowed to inject a person without the necessary qualification, he said.

Mr Modipane, who also chairs a parliamentary health committee, said he was going to follow the issue up and [continue reading]

source: BOPA
27 June, 2007

SHAKAWE – Okavango Wilderness Safaris (OWS) workers and management have been advised to work together harmoniously for the growth of their company.

Addressing the management and workers at Vumbura Plains Camp in the Okavango Delta, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Labour Relations, Mr Tshelang Masisi, told them that if they did not work harmoniously and diligently their company could collapse and end up losing their jobs.

This is where you get your bread and butter, Mr Masisi, who is Francistown West MP, said. He cautioned workers on truancy and management on discrimination.

Mr Masisi also implored management to desist from sacking the workers just because they had shared their grievances with government officials.

He said it was the feeling of his committee that a certain employee of the company was fired immediately after he had told the then Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Maj. Gen. Moeng Pheto about the appalling working conditions during the ministers visit to the camp.

However, an official of the company, Mr Sam Kavindama, said the employee was not fired because he had poured his grievances to the minister, instead he was fired because his performance was below par.

Wilderness Premier Camp Brand Manager, Mr Robert Burns, said his company tried by all means to abide by the labour laws.

Mr Burns however said his company, which had a staff complement of about 700 at times makes mistakes, adding that they were incidences where some employees were fired but recalled if procedures were not followed.

Mr Burns added that some of the negative issues about his company arose probably because of misrepresentation, misinformation or ignorance.

Giving vote of thanks, Kanye North MP, Mr Calvin Batsile, also emphasised the need for good working relationships and sharing of ideas between workers and management.

Mr Batsile also called on management to allow their workers to establish a workers committee to [continue reading]

source: IOL

June 27 2007 at 10:09PM

Trade unions are expected to finalise their consultations on the future of the public service strike on Thursday.

Trade unions caucused on Wednesday night at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) at Centurion, south of Pretoria.

Several unions attending that meeting said they were ready to suspend the strike, and some have indicated that they were ready to accept government’s final offer, which includes a 7,5 percent wage increase.

“We have a mandate from our members to suspend the strike. We will obviously want do that together with other unions. We will wait until tomorrow for the meeting with other unions. Hopefully at that stage something will happen,” said Manie de Clerq, general secretary of the Public Servants Association (PSA).

Congress of SA Trade Unions president Willie Madisha was also optimistic after Wednesday night’s talks.

“There has been a great deal of progress… but tomorrow when [continue reading]

source: BOPA
27 June, 2007

GABORONE – Although everyone cannot be an entrepreneur, there are no restrictions on the owning of shares and sharing in the economic gains of enterprises, says finance minister Baledzi Gaolathe.

Inaugurating the Botswana Stock Exchange Investment Forum under the theme Creating Wealth for Botswana in Gaborone last week, Mr Gaolathe said the stock exchange was the most democratic of institutions in the capitalist economic system.

Mr Gaolathe said a liquid market helped to reduce income inequalities through the sharing of profits made by companies, thereby facilitating wealth redistribution and making citizens true shareholders in the economy.

He said while the government and the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) efforts were necessary to develop the capital market, they were not sufficient to realise its full potential.

In this regard, he said, the private sector could and should play a significant role in the development of the capital markets.

A strong private sector does not always emerge by itself, adding that the role, which government plays and will continue to play, is to create an enabling environment to allow private sector activities to flourish.

Such an environment encompasses the sound management of the economy, a good regulatory system and world class infrastructure, which is what we are committed to do.

He told the participants that capital markets were all about [continue reading]

UK: Brown power


New British PM promises change; Blair heads for Middle East

Gordon Brown became Prime Minister of Britain yesterday, promising new priorities and a departure from the politics of Tony Blair. But, even as Brown took office, Blair continued to steal the spotlight with the announcement that he would become Middle East envoy for the US, Russia, European Union and the UN.

And the shadow of Blair’s decision to commit British forces to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan hangs over the new prime minister. “The first priority of Gordon Brown has to be recognising the disaster of the strategy in Iraq and making plans for the withdrawal of our forces,” said Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, a Blair critic.

Closer to home, it seems relations between President Thabo Mbeki and Brown will thaw. They have been icy for a month since Brown said Britain no longer needed to apologise for colonialism and Mbeki responded with a highly critical Internet column.

Mbeki conveyed his ‘‘warmest congratulations’’ to Brown yesterday. Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said South Africa was convinced Brown would build on the UK’s constructive engagement in Africa.

Brown, meanwhile, faces a [continue reading]

source: BOPA
27 June, 2007

GABORONE – The absence of safety precautions when using or handling nuclear sources poses a real danger to the general public and the environment, says Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology, Mrs Marianne Nganunu.

Officially opening the second regional coordination and planning meeting on establishment of national capabilities for response to radiological and nuclear emergency in Gaborone, Mrs Nganunu said nuclear technology could be hazardous when it was used for non-peaceful means or evil intentions and even when the intentions were good.

Mrs Nganunu said it was important for participating countries to have emergency plans in place, because a nuclear disaster could be devastating.

I know that some of your countries, just like mine, are not heavy users, she said. But even then you still need a good emergency preparedness and response plan in place because a nuclear emergency or disaster in your neighboring countries can still be devastating in you countries.

Mrs Nganunu said by sending participants to this meeting, countries had shown [continue reading]

source: BOPA
27 June, 2007

GHANZI – Agriculture offers long-term sustainable opportunities than some sectors which the country currently depends on, says Debswana managing director, Mr Blackie Marole.

Officially opening Ghanzi District show, Mr Marole, said the contribution of Agriculture, which was originally the mainstay of the economy had dropped to about three per cent of the Gross Domestic Product due to growth in other sectors.

Mr Marole said the decline was also due to unpredictable weather conditions that made farming a risky and unreliable source of income.

Despite that, he said, people must not forget that agriculture still played an important part in the rural areas where most of the countrys population resided.

He said with modern technology and new farming methods much of its potential could still be harnessed to improve the lives in rural areas despite the constraints imposed by weather changes.

Mr Marole said Ghanzi District had been blessed with abundant land that could be used for ranching.

He said it was in this manner that in the new and evolving land tenure system Botswana could count on those people who had been allocated large scales of farmland to develop and manage into more productive lands.

Government had also made schemes to increase [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa

By Tererai Karimakwenda
27 June, 2007

Speaking at the burial of the late Army Brigadier General Armstrong Gunda on Wednesday, Robert Mugabe threatened to take over all foreign companies, which he accused of hiking prices in a campaign to sabotage the economy and remove him from government. Mugabe is quoted saying: “All companies, we will take them over if they continue with their dirty game. Take note, we will be equal to the challenge. We are capable of playing that game too.” The ruling party leader said mines were included.

The threats came as shops in the capital ignored a government directive to cut prices by 50%. While Mugabe ranted, consumers who rushed to the shops Wednesday hoping to find prices reduced by half were disappointed. In fact some products had not only gone up in price, but they had doubled. The authorities had directed manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers to cut the price of basic commodities by up to 50% with immediate effect. But economic analysts blame daily price increases on hyperinflation. With inflation officially at 3700%, businesses have no choice but to increase prices to keep up with rising costs.

Mugabe did not address the hyperinflation that experts say is [continue reading]

source: IOL

June 27 2007 at 05:55PM

Eskom has expressed concern that the current cold weather will put additional pressure on an already tight electricity supply system.

“We are currently experiencing an increase in electricity demand due to the weather.

“The cold was so severe that a new morning peak demand record was set this morning (Wednesday),” the power utility said in a statement.

Eskom said that every effort will be made to ensure customers are informed early about any risk.

Power alerts will continue to be flighted on the SABC to warn customers to reduce demand if and when the need arises.

“With the national system expected to [continue reading]