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MTV launches 2020 ‘+1thevote’ campaign to mobilize Millennials and Gen Z
19 November 2019, 9:27 PM

In 1990, a bikini-clad Madonna wrapped in a United States (US) flag urged MTV viewers to vote in Senate elections as the youth television network partnered with a “Rock the Vote” campaign that mixed pop culture and politics.

Thirty years on, with Millennials and Gen Z poised to outnumber the Baby Boomer generation for the first time in a US presidential election, MTV on Tuesday launched its most ambitious turnout campaign ever, reaching beyond celebrities to tap into burgeoning youth activism.

The year-long “+1thevote” https://plus1thevote.com initiative across MTV’s multiple TV platforms, social media and live events includes plans to open new polling stations at college campuses, sponsor school proms that host registration drives, and integrate voting messages into shows.

“You need to look no further than the climate change strikes and what is happening in the streets to see that this is a fired-up generation,” said Brianna Cayo Cotter, SVP of social impact for MTV and its affiliate platforms VH1, CMT and Logo.

“But they have to vote in this election to take that passion and turn it into political power. That’s the aim of this campaign – how do we help young people, who are so passionate but for whom voting today was not really designed,” she told Reuters.

The campaign is aimed at first time voters, especially the 4 million Americans who will turn 18 in time for the November 8 presidential elections. It aims to make voting an experience to be shared with friends, or a “plus one.”

Millennials and Gen Z, those born between 1981-96 and after 1996, respectively, will make up 37 percent of the US electorate, according to a January report from the Pew Research Center, outnumbering for the first time Boomers born between 1946-64.

MTV, a unit of Viacom, is well-placed to catch their attention as the most-watched non-sports US cable network in primetime with 18-34 year olds, according to Nielsen data.

The past three years have seen a boom in youth activism on issues ranging from climate change, partly inspired by 16 year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, to gun control, civil rights and immigration.

Yet for the two generations raised on the internet and smart phones, the process of registering and voting can seem bewildering, MTV found during months of research.

“People have questions that are like, ‘What do I wear to vote?’, and ‘Where do I go?’ To young people who can order anything on their phones automatically, the fact that in a lot of places they would have to go to a post office and get a stamp feels crazy,” said Cayo Cotter.

Part of the +1thevote campaign involves a partnership with Campus Vote Project and two other grassroots groups to create dozens of new polling stations on college campuses and in local communities nationwide to make youth voting more accessible.

Some 1 200 polling stations have been shut down across the Southern United States since 2014, according to a September report by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

The MTV initiative also includes a drive to integrate voting messages in TV shows across the industry and plans to register voters waiting in line at MTV events like the Video Music Awards.

“If we can use our platforms’ superpowers to reach an untapped and largely ignored audience, we’re going to be able to unlock an incredible amount of first time voters that otherwise would probably sit this election out,” said Cayo Cotter.

Microsoft Teams surpasses 20 million daily active users; rival Slack shares slip
19 November 2019, 7:00 PM

Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday its workplace messaging app, Teams, has more than 20 million daily active users, up from 13 million users in July.

The software maker offers the app as a free add-on platform to its Office365 users. Through Teams, users can start a chat, share files, make calls and hold web conferences.

Microsoft Teams, used by companies like General Electric and SAP, competes with Slack Technologies Inc.

Slack, whose customers include Electronic Arts Inc and Nordstrom Inc, reported over 10 million daily active users in the second quarter ended July 31.

The company’s shares fell about 10% in early trade on Tuesday following the news.

Microsoft Teams also competes with Workplace by Facebook Inc and Cisco Systems Inc’s Webex Teams.

Mashaba slams reports of new political party
19 November 2019, 6:35 PM

Outgoing Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba has dismissed reports that he is engaging in talks around a new political party.

Mashaba announced his resignation in October following the election of Helen Zille as the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Federal Council Chairperson.

He will be vacating his office next Wednesday.

“I am going to do this to provide necessary resources for civil society to start the discussion and depending on what comes out of the civil society direction, one would really make the decision. Perhaps there are young people out there who are willing to put their bodies on the line to protect this democracy, to protect the future of this country,” says Mashaba.

Mashaba says his relationship with the DA is water under the bridge.

In an exclusive interview with the SABC, the outgoing mayor says he’s only spoken to his former leader, Mmusi Maimane, once after his resignation.

“Regarding Mmusi Maimane forming his political party, it’s something I read about in the media. Ever since Mmusi left office, I only met with him once for half an hour and had one telephone call with him for 5 minutes. I’m happy to listen to what ideas he’s got as far as Herman Mashaba is concerned. Herman Mashaba is exhausted at the moment as I’ve indicated. I need to go on a holiday,” says Mashaba.

National Assembly passes Foreign Services Bill
19 November 2019, 6:17 PM

The National Assembly has passed the Foreign Services Bill without any objections. The Bill, which seeks to professionalise the foreign services of South Africa, will now be sent to the President to sign into law.

International Relations and Co-operation Committee Chairperson, Thandi Mahambehlala says the Bill will bring an end to the fragmentation of the management, administration and functioning of foreign services. She was opening the debate on the Bill in the National Assembly.

“Currently, the management of officials from different sectors of government is highly fragmented with officials serving in the missions abroad, from different departments reporting directly to and being managed by their respective departments in South Africa. This is regarded as non-consistent and in many cases not optimal. It was decided that legislation should be developed that should address these concerns. The Bill will seek to provide the management, administration and functioning of the foreign services of the Republic of South Africa, provide for the operational requirements that are suitable and supportive of the operations of the foreign service in a global environment,” says Mahambehlala.

Mcebisi Jonas never attended Hawks consultation: Matakata
19 November 2019, 5:01 PM

The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Parktown, Johannesburg, has heard that former Deputy Minister of Finance, Mcebisi Jonas, never attended a consultation with the Hawks, led by controversial General Berning Ntlemeza at the time, to discuss his meeting with the Guptas in 2015.

Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata was giving evidence at the commission.

She says she was present on two occasions when Ntlemeza called Jonas, requesting that he meets with her and the Hawks’ Zinhle Mnonopi regarding the Gupta matter.

Matakata says that the meeting, which was aimed at soliciting a statement from Jonas, never took place.

“It was not my investigation as such because it was already mentioned that General Mnonopi is the person that would be making contact with the Deputy Minister. So, mine was to wait for a date from General Mnonopi that confirmed that we’ll be meeting with the Deputy Minister. Did that meeting take place? It never took place chair,” says Matakata.

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