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Pieter Groenewald
FF Plus weighs in on new leave entitlement for fathers
4 January 2020, 5:10 PM

The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) says fathers who might have impregnated two wives or two women who will give birth in the same year should understand that they are not entitled to 10 days paid parental leave for every newborn baby.

The FF Plus says it, however, welcomes the amendments made to Basic Conditions of Employment Act and other laws that make provision for fathers to be entitled to 10 days paid leave as compared to the three days they were previously entitled to.

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald explains, “You can’t say that according to the Basic Conditions (of Employment) Act that you have the right of ten days for each and every newborn in a year. It’s only 10 days annually. If they have more than one wife and they know that there is going to be more than one baby in one year, they will have to make a choice. Practically what can happen is to say okay if you have two wives and there are going to be two babies in one year, you can take five days for one and five days for the other one,” explains Groenewald.

Residents
Butterworth water crisis at critical stage
4 January 2020, 4:11 PM

The Eastern Cape town of Butterworth has passed day zero and boreholes are also not providing adequate water. The region has been in the grip of a severe drought for around five years.

The dry conditions have been linked to the effects of climate change. Their water woes started as far back as 2015, but it has been critical for the past six months.

The town is at “day zero” as the Gcuwa dam is bone dry and now emergency measures like boreholes are also failing. Residents are demanding that government step up its efforts.

“It has been rough. The one plan that the government has come with is boreholes. We are told not to consume the water. My four-year-old gets rashes from the water.”

“We are billed every month but we don’t have running water at our homes,” says a resident.

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Wang Zhimin
China replaces its Hong Kong liaison office head
4 January 2020, 3:01 PM

China has replaced the head of its Hong Kong liaison office, the most senior mainland political official based in the Chinese-controlled territory, following more than six months of often-violent anti-government protests in the city.

China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said on its website late on Saturday that Wang Zhimin, who had held the post since 2017, had been replaced by 65-year-old Luo Huining, who until November was the top official of China’s ruling Communist Party in the northern province of Shanxi.

Reuters reported exclusively in November that Beijing was considering potential replacements for Wang, in a sign of dissatisfaction with the Liaison Office’s handling of the crisis, the worst since the city reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

Saturday’s statement gave no other details on the change.

The Liaison Office, which reports to China’s State Council, serves as the platform for Beijing to project its influence in the city, and has come in for criticism in Hong Kong and mainland China for misjudging the situation in the city.

Wang is the shortest serving Liaison office director since 1997.

Mass protests erupted in June in Hong Kong over an extradition bill that would have allowed individuals to be sent for trial to the mainland, where justice is controlled by the Communist Party. Though the bill was withdrawn, protests have continued over a broad perception that Beijing is meddling improperly in city affairs and complaints of police brutality.

John Stones
Stones could be best defender in football: Guardiola
4 January 2020, 2:29 PM

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes John Stones has the ability to become one of the best defenders in the world but said he will not reach his potential until he stays fit for long periods.

Stones last featured for City in a 2-1 Premier League defeat by Manchester United last month and has been restricted to just 12 club appearances this season.

The 25-year-old is likely to return to City’s starting line-up for the FA Cup third round match against League Two side Port Vale on Saturday after recovering from his third thigh injury of the campaign.

“He has the conditions to do it, but to be the best central defender you have to play one entire season, every three days being there,” Guardiola told a news conference.

“I don’t know why he has not been able to play regularly. We try to help him. We have tried to do the best to help him since the first day of the 3-1/2 years we have been here. We do everything for him.

“It depends on him. It’s in his hands and in his head to become one of the best.”

In the absence of Stones, City have been forced to play Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho and 18-year-old Eric Garcia in centre back positions over the festive period.

Barcelona academy graduate Garcia has impressed Guardiola with his tactical maturity, having helped City to victories over Sheffield United and Everton.

“Eric is so clever,” Guardiola added. “Everything you say to him, he understands, he doesn’t need more time to understand.

“Life is about opportunities. We are delighted with how he has taken his. He’s helped us in tough moments.”

Julian Casto
Castro drops out of US Presidential run
2 January 2020, 8:40 PM

Julian Castro, the grandson of a Mexican immigrant who became San Antonio mayor and a United States (US) housing secretary, suspended his 2020 Democratic presidential run on Thursday after a candidacy overshadowed by more famous liberals.

The departure of the only Latino from the campaign, a month or so ahead of early nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire leaves 14 Democratic candidates a still crowded field seeking the party’s nomination to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November.

The charisma and assertiveness that helped make Castro, 45, a rising star in the Democratic Party did not translate into enough support to compete against better-known candidates, including progressive US Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermontand Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

He had struggled to raise money for what was seen as a long-shot bid, and another Texan who was seeking the party’s nomination before dropping out in November, former US Representative Beto O’Rourke, siphoned some attention from Castro in the early days of his campaign.

“It’s with profound gratitude to all of our supporters that’ll suspend my campaign for president today,” Castro wrote in a Twitter post.

“But with only a month until the Iowa caucuses, and given the circumstances of this campaign season, I have determined that it simply isn’t our time,” Castro said in a video released by his campaign.

Castro championed immigrant rights and was a strong critic of Trump and his policies.

He did not flinch from criticizing his fellow Democrats either, notably going after former US Vice President Joe Biden, the early front-runner among Democrats, during a September 12 debate.

However, other Democratic candidates posted gracious messages for Castro on Twitter after he announced his withdrawal from the race.

Among them, Biden said Castro had led his campaign with “grace and heart,” while Sanders praised him for his “fight for a humane immigration system” and Warren thanked him for being a “powerful voice.”

Castro’s departure could intensify criticism that, for a party that prides itself on its diversity, most of the top Democratic candidates are white. Asian-American Andrew Yang was the only minority candidate to appear beside six others in the most recent debate on December 19.

The race for the party’s presidential nomination remains up for grabs just weeks before the first votes are cast in Iowa on February 3, with the New Hampshire primary to follow on February 11.

There is a three-way battle at the top of national opinion polls among Biden, Sanders and Warren, and South Bend, Indiana’s former mayor, Pete Buttigieg, has risen to lead some polls in early voting states.

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