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Tshepiso Moche
SA committed to Antarctic Treaty
4 December 2019, 1:01 PM

Environmental Affairs Minister, Barbara Creecy, says South Africa is committed to the Antarctic Treaty which regulates international relations with respect to Antarctica – Earth’s only continent without a native human population.

 

The treaty has been in force since 1961 and currently has 54 signatories. It sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve.

 

Creecy delivered the keynote address at the launch of the 2019/2020 Antarctica season in Cape Town. Diplomats from ten countries that use Cape Town as a gateway to Antarctica attended the launch.

 

The Minister explains how South Africa will continue to support the treaty.

“It’s very important that we should be setting up a research centre that will be dealing with logistical issues that will support the facilitation of research programs to the Antarctic.”

 

Parly to consider Gcaleka for deputy public protector position
4 December 2019, 11:59 AM

The National Assembly is on Wednesday morning expected to consider the Justice and Correctional Services Committee report which recommends that Kholeka Gcaleka be appointed the deputy public protector.

This comes as the term of office of outgoing Deputy Public Protector Advocate Kevin Malunga comes to an end on Monday December 9, 2019.

Wednesday will also be the last National Assembly sitting before MPs get set for their December recess.

Gcaleka was the legal advisor of former Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. She was one of the seven candidates who were shortlisted for the position of Deputy Public Protector.

Last week, the committee recommended her as the best person for the job.

However, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were not in support of Gcaleka to be recommended as the best candidate for the position.

During interviews, opposition parties questioned Gcaleka and why she remained as advisor to Gigaba, after a court found that Gigaba had lied under oath.

The committee will now seek the final approval of the National Assembly on Wednesday morning recommending that President Cyril Ramaphosa should appoint her to the position.

PIC suspends legal proceedings against Steinhoff
4 December 2019, 9:40 AM

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) says it has suspended legal proceedings against Steinhoff pending the finalisation of a mediation process.

But it has warned that should this fail by the end of the month, it will have no alternative but to take Steinhoff to court to recoup R28 billion of public servants’ pension funds.

PIC officials were back before Parliament to account for the billions of rands of government employee funds lost to Steinhoff.

They told Parliament that they have received legal opinion that they should negotiate a settlement.

PIC head of legal Lindiwe Dlamini says, “To the extent that Steinhoff fails to come to the party, we are simply going to reactivate the litigation. The reason why we embarked on the mediation process was to find an expeditious way to settle this claim that the pic has put to Steinhoff.”

MPs also heard that Steinhoff faces three groups of creditors who are demanding their fair share.

These include bondholders who could sink the company into bankruptcy if they pull the plug.

The second group is those who traded Steinhoff stocks.

And the third, which includes the PIC, is those who bring claims relating to market fraud.

Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) Investment Manager, Fikile Mbokoda says, “We are not happy with the PIC, that is why we have set a bar limit of R2 billion on transactions. Above R2 billion the PIC needs to come and request approval on that.”

The PIC says it is not being sluggish in dealing with the matter saying it is a complex process.

PIC Chairman Reuel Khoza says, “We are actually pursuing that. There is class action which effectively says we work in common purpose with other creditors to Steinhoff. We are not oblivious of the need to actually cooperate internationally.”

The investment corporation says Steinhoff has also refused to hand over the forensic investigation report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that uncovered the rot at Steinhoff.

Click below to watch PIC related video…

Jesus double gives Man City much-needed win at Burnley
4 December 2019, 6:31 AM

Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus struck twice and Rodri scored a screamer in a 4-1 win at Burnley on Tuesday as the champions showed signs they may be able to keep the Premier League title race alive.

The victory takes Pep Guardiola’s side, who had drawn at Newcastle United on Saturday, into provisional second spot and back within eight points of leaders Liverpool ahead of the Merseyside derby with Everton at Anfield on Wednesday.

Jesus opened the scoring in the 24th minute and doubled City’s advantage five minutes after the break before a spectacular drive from Rodri and a low drilled shot from substitute Riyad Mahrez made it four.

A late consolation from Burnley substitute Robbie Brady will have annoyed Guardiola, whose side have now gone eight games in all competitions without a clean sheet but, that aside, this was back to business for City.

The Spaniard, though, dismissed talk of a title race comeback.

“For the distance we have with Liverpool it would be crazy to think about the title, we have to think about the (weekend Manchester) derby, the other competitions, and take this rhythm,” he told the post-match news conference.

The way the City players celebrated the win showed they knew they could ill-afford another slip-up after being held at Newcastle United on Saturday.

In recent weeks City have looked well below the standards set in their two straight title campaigns and this season they had already dropped 13 points in their 14 games, only three short of their total for the whole of the last campaign.

With only one win in their last five games in all competitions, the pressure on City was real but the gap in quality between the elite clubs and the tightly-packed middle ranks of the Premier League was soon evident.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche switched from his usual 4-4-2 to a five-man midfield with Danny Drinkwater, on loan from Chelsea, making his first Premier League appearance in 21 months, but neither he nor his team mates troubled the champions.

City began to move the ball around with the kind of confidence and precision that has been their hallmark under Guardiola and they were soon ahead.

The breakthrough came after a swift exchange of passes ended with David Silva threading the ball to Jesus who, filling in for the injured Sergio Aguero, curled a shot into the far corner.

The lead could have been doubled two minutes before the interval when, after rare Burnley pressure, City broke and the counter ended with a Bernardo Silva drive which keeper Nick Pope saved superbly with his outstretched leg.

The second goal came when Bernardo Silva curled a probing cross towards the back post and Jesus reacted quickly to get in front of his marker Phil Bardsley and volley home.

Jesus, who had not scored in his previous 10 games for club or country, was buzzing and went close to a third with a burst of pace and another shot that fizzed just wide of the far post.

A blocked shot from David Silva then fell to Rodri on the edge of the box and the Spaniard blasted a thundering, unstoppable drive past Pope to make it three in the 68th minute.

Mahrez, given acres of space, got the fourth goal three minutes from the end with a low shot from the edge of the box before Brady gave the muted home crowd some cheer in the cold.

“We played with an incredible amount of passes and we needed that,” said Guardiola. “Here at Burnley it is not easy. We conceded one chance in the first half but we played in a clever way and it is a good performance,” he added.

US judge disqualifies Huawei lawyer from fraud, sanctions case
4 December 2019, 6:06 AM

A US judge on Tuesday disqualified James Cole, a Washington lawyer for China’s Huawei, from defending the telecommunications equipment maker against charges of bank fraud and sanctions violations.

Judge Ann Donnelly of US District Court in Brooklyn, New York, issued her order after federal prosecutors argued that Cole’s prior work at the Department of Justice created conflicts of interest.

Cole served as the deputy attorney general, the Number 2 official, at the Justice Department between 2011 and 2015.

“There is a ‘substantial risk’ that Cole could use ‘confidential factual information’ obtained while serving as DAG to ‘materially advance’ Huawei’s current defense strategy,” the US prosecutors said in a May court filing.

Cole, a partner at the law firm Sidley Austin, said he had no recollection of matters referenced as the basis for his disqualification. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the judge’s decision.

“We are disappointed in the court’s decision, which we believe violates Huawei’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel of its choice,” Huawei spokesman Joe Kelly said in a statement. “We reserve our right to appeal this decision when appropriate.”

In the May court filing, the government argued that, as deputy attorney general, Cole “personally supervised and participated in aspects of” a related investigation, but said the details were classified.

A redacted version of Donnelly’s decision to disqualify Cole will be made public by January 10, the judge said in her order.

The criminal case against Huawei accuses the company of conspiring to defraud HSBC Holdings Plc and other banks by misrepresenting its relationship with a company that operated in Iran. Prosecutors said Huawei put the banks at risk of penalties for processing transactions that violated US sanctions.

Cole entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Huawei and its US subsidiary in March.

The company’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, daughter of Huawei’s founder, is fighting extradition from Canada, where she was arrested last December for her role in the alleged fraud. Meng has said she is innocent.

Michael Levy, another lawyer for the company, argued in court in September that the effort to stop Cole from representing Huawei was another tactical step in a broader US government campaign against the Chinese company.

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