Archive for August 29th, 2007

source: Mining Weekly

By: Matthew Hill
Published: 28 Aug 07 – 8:36
A diamond supposedly twice as big as the Cullinan diamond has allegedly been found in the North West province, but the validity of the claims were questioned by industry pundits on Tuesday.

“If it is a real diamond it’s an amazing freak…but it all sounds very strange,” James Allan, a former top-rated diamond analyst, now at corporate finance firm Allan Hochreiter, commented.

He suggested, after looking at a photograph (see pic below) of the ‘diamond’, that it was more likely that it was a fluorite crystal.

Nonetheless, Mining Weekly Online sent the picture to a leading gemologist, who asked not to be named, who described the image as “very interesting”.

“This could very well be a diamond,” he said over the telephone. “It does seem to have octahedral characteristics,” although he drew attention to the fact that the picture, taken with a cell phone, lacked clarity.

‘7 000 CARATS SITTING IN A VAULT’

Spokesperson for the company claiming to have found it, which was [continue reading]

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source: BOPA
29 August, 2007

GABORONE – The average waiting period at Princess Marina Hospital outpatient dispensary will be decreased from an average of two hours 21 minutes to 60 minutes by February 2007.

This is an improvement target presented by the Princess Marina Total Quality Management team at the Public Service Convention.

The team indicated that the long wait was due to the high patient volume, understaffing at the dispensary, inadequate and breakdown of equipment, budget constraints and lack of information on the part of the patients.

To address the challenges, the team said the dispensary supervisor would monitor and make sure that the enquiries window is attended to at all times.

They said additional long-term measures include opening of a discharged patient dispensary and pharmacies at the eye and psychiatric units to de-congest the dispensary.

Also they said they would carry out a public education campaign in conjuction with the Gaborone City Council to encourage patients to use the nearest health facility unless referred to the hospital.

The Princess Marina Hospital dispensary staff which numbers about [continue reading]

source: BOPA
29 August, 2007

GABORONE – The Department of Student Placement and Welfare (DSPW) says it has procedures in place to monitor internationally placed students academic performance and general conduct.

Mr Sandy Mosarwa, assistant public relations officer with DSPW, said in an interview that the department used education attachs and Botswana missions in the students respective countries of study to monitor and report on their academic performance.

Mr Mosarwa said the education attachs consult with institutions on students academic progress. Campus student advisors advise on areas of study as well as students representatives where they do exist.

Students sign loan agreements, which bind them to adhere to the policies and procedures of DSPW and their institutions of study.

Students, according to Mr Mosarwa, have to submit their academic report at the end of every academic year to the education attach for them to be given the financial guarantee to proceed to the next academic year.

He said the Ministry of Education used national accreditation bodies of all concerned institutions or countries, through the assistance of the same education attachs, to select and approve international institutions of study.

In this context the Ministry of Education believes that diversification of institutions can not compromise the quality of training programmes but rather it will lift-up the standard of those programmes and as indicated we have education attachs to verify that, he said.

Mr Mosarwa said in some oversees countries his department got almost 100 per cent graduation rate while [continue reading]

source: BOPA
29 August, 2007

MAUN – The North West District ended its meeting on Monday with the adoption of 14 motions and withdrawal of six.

A motion by Cllr Galaletsang Mhapha of Kgosing, calling on the Ministry of Local Government to construct access roads at Mabudutsa ward as a matter of urgency, was adopted.

Cllr Mhapha said access roads for residents who were not relocated to pave way for the ongoing construction of a multi-million Pula bus and taxi rank in Maun, have been obscured by the rank.

His other motion, calling on the council to request the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology to address the council on how it intended to improve services it offered to the old age pensioners, was withdrawn.

He was advised to go back and amend the motion to make it specific to the BotswanaPost. Other councillors advised him that the District Administration also offered services to the old age pensioners.

Debating the motion he said pensioners, at Maun Post, not only queued to get their money but also had use of one toilet which was dirty. He also said the pensioners sat on the floor even in winter.

Cllr Mhaphas motion calling on the council to request the Ministry of Works and Transport to make insurance compulsory for every vehicle registered in Botswana, was withdrawn.

Nominated concillor, Mrs Daisy Wright, said though the motion was good, some Batswana could not [continue reading]

source: BOPA
29 August, 2007

GABORONE – The number of exhibitors at this years Botswana Consumer Fair (BCF) has dropped by 10 per cent, a situation that worries the organisers.

Last year, more than 500 business people came to exhibit their products but this year only 437 people bought stalls.

Fairground Holdings Fairs and Exhibition Manager, Ms Frieda Bamu, attributed this poor turnout to the proliferation of shopping complexes in Botswana.

The shopping complexes give us competition because they are selling the same things as BCF, she said in an interview.

Ms Bamu said in the past people used to come to the fair and buy in bulk as there was a lot of variety than anywhere else.

To survive this harsh competition, Ms Bamu said the organisers were trying to [continue reading]

source: IOL

August 29 2007 at 01:16AM

By Felix Mponda

Harare – Despite putting on a brave face at the annual Zimbabwe Agricultural Show, farmers in Africa’s one-time bread basket face a bleak future as they battle power cuts, fertiliser shortages and drought.

Hundreds of farmers from across the country have been gathering in the capital since Monday for the showpiece agricultural event, which will be formally opened by Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema on Friday.

In previous years, the event has served as a showcase to highlight the vibrancy of the agricultural sector which formed the backbone of
the economy.

But since veteran President Robert Mugabe embarked on a controversial land reform programme in 2000, which has so far seen 4 000 white-owned farms expropriated, the farming sector has become a shadow of its former self.

Thomas Millar, a white cattle farmer based to [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

28 August 2007
Posted to the web 28 August 2007

President Festus Mogae has appointed another commission to look into the conditions of service and other entitlements for the president and other political leaders.

The group consists of the President himself, the Vice President, the speaker, ministers, assistant ministers, the deputy speaker, the leader of opposition, members of parliament, the deputy speaker, members of Ntlo ya dikgosi and councillors.

According to the coordinator of the Botswana Government Communication and Information Services (BGCIS) and Press Secretary to the President Jeff Ramsay, the commission for the political leaders has always been done separately from the one of the civil servants. He explained that the independent commission has to be done by an independent commission that is credible and autonomy from the political leaders itself. “It has to be done as objectively as possible,” Ramsay said.

According to the statement from Ramsay, Justice Maruping Dibotelo would [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The Voice (Francistown)

28 August 2007
Posted to the web 28 August 2007

Rebaone Tswiio
Gaborone

Botswana and Zimbabwe share almost everything to the extent that whatever misfortune happens in one country negatively affects the other.

Zimbabwe foreign minister, Mr Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said this at a dinner hosted in his honour by his Botswana counterpart yesterday.

It followed a meeting of the joint commission of the two countries. “We are close neighbours, we have a common language, culture, origin, totems, ancestries and a common destiny. We are only divided by colonial boundaries. “That is why up to now we still try to recapture the kind of unity, cooperation and solidarity that used to exist in our past.”

Mr Mumbengengwi added that during the Zimbabwean liberation struggle Botswana was an important base for them. “Botswana was affected economically, but it was a turning point for both our two countries. The enemy knew the part that Botswana was playing but the former still persisted,” said Mumbengegwi.

He highlighted that even after their independence the struggle in Zimbabwe has not ended.

“The land question was one of the burning issues which fuelled the liberation struggle, but after 20 years of independence it is still not resolved.”

In this regard, he said their efforts to resolve the [continue reading]

Countries Stand Up to EU

sourcea: allAfrica
Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)

28 August 2007
Posted to the web 28 August 2007

Michael Deibert
Paris

Concern over getting too little in return for what they are being asked to give up has led some African nations to say “no” to some proposals for new trade relations with Europe next year.

Several Eastern and Southern African nations have announced that they will only sign parts of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that relate to market access and development. The EPAs have been put forth as successor to the Cotonou Agreement, which expires at the end of December.

The Cotonou Agreement gives 77 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries preferential access to European Union (EU) markets. Signed in Benin capital Cotonou in June 2000, the agreement replaced the 25 year-old Lome Convention (signed in the Togo capital).

The Cotonou Agreement was broader in sweep than its predecessor, and set as its objectives “poverty eradication, sustainable development and the gradual integration of the ACP countries into the world economy.”

At a regional negotiation forum Aug. 3 to 5 in Port Louis, Mauritius, 16 Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) countries agreed a strategy to be presented at their next negotiating round in September.

The 16 COMESA nations, represented by [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
UN News Service (New York)

28 August 2007
Posted to the web 29 August 2007

The United Nations-backed conference on the African Green Revolution – which supports African farming communities as they evolve from subsistence farming to sustainable modern agriculture – kicks off tomorrow in Oslo, Norway.

The first such gathering took place last year, spurred by a July 2004 call by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan to bolster agricultural productivity and food security through a “Green Revolution” in Africa, which he said is the only continent bypassed by the transformation.

This year’s conference – themed “Partnership for Productivity” – emphasizes public-private partnerships, and will draw a wide range of participants, including policymakers, Government officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), farmers, entrepreneurs and business leaders.

“The rural world is at a crossroads, facing ever-increasing pressure to [continue reading]

source: News24
28/08/2007 20:33 – (SA)

Johannesburg – The discovery in North West of a gem touted as the world’s biggest diamond, sparked a stir on Tuesday, but experts doubted the stone was a diamond.

The news prompted a wave of excitement because if the gem turns out to be a diamond, it would be the world’s largest by far, twice as big as the Cullinan diamond discovered in South Africa more than 100 years ago.

Property developer Brett Jolly said he planned to have an accredited gemmologist verify within 48 hours whether the gem was a diamond.

“It’s over 8 000 carats … (but) I don’t even know that it’s a diamond yet. I’m a property developer, not a diamond miner,” he told Reuters.

“We put it on a garage grinder and the thing won’t scratch, so what can it be?”

The unpolished Cullinan, also known as [continue reading]

source: IOL
August 28 2007 at 07:55PM

Around 40 South African designers will unveil their spring and summer collections on Wednesday at the start of the country’s annual fashion week which is being staged in Johannesburg.

Organisers said this year’s event would showcase collections which had both a local flavour but would also suit the international market.

“We will be developing a South African design – a design culture, something original, uniquely South African, but at [continue reading]