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Sentencing Day for Panayiotou
24 November 2017, 8:17 AM

The murder trial of Christopher Panayiotou who masterminded the abduction and killing of his wife Jayde, will come to an end on Friday.

Panayiotou and two co-accused will be sentenced in the Port Elizabeth High Court. Jayde Panayiotou was murdered in April 2015 by men who were hired by her husband.

The case comes to a close after mitigating and aggravating circumstances were heard on Thursday.

The State says Panayiotou and Sinethemba Nenembe should get life sentences, and Zolani Sibeko at least 18 years imprisonment.

The State also says it was a calculated premeditated murder, as he paid for the rental car used for 13 days by the hit men.

Adding that he slept next to his wife knowing she could be murdered anytime and did nothing to stop it.

Advocate Marius Stander says that is the behavior of a psychopath.

China’s first V R theme park brings a vision for growth
24 November 2017, 8:02 AM

It was a typically bleak patch of rural China until a giant robot and space age structures radically transformed the Guiyang skyline, as workers put the finishing touches to the Oriental Science Fiction Valley Theme Park, which opens its doors in February.

And while the name may sound as bland as the surroundings, inside, a feast of visual entertainment awaits.

From shoot-em-up games to roller coasters, this $1.5 billion project is all about virtual reality -making it China’s first and only VR theme park, something execs say has the potential to revolutionize the economy in on of the country’s poorest provinces.

Executive President of Shuimu Animation Co. Ltd and CEO of Oriental Science Fiction Valley Theme Park, Chen Jianli, says: “I believe that after our attraction opens, it will change the entire structure of tourism in Guizhou province, as well as China’s southwest.”

The sky in Guizhou may rarely be as blue as it appears in this promotional video, but with China’s virtual reality market worth an expected $8.5 billion by 2020, the 330-acre park has the potential to be a bright business opportunity.

Still, not everyone’s buying into it.

“There are projects that are polluting the environment. We farmers want to get rid of this pollution. It’s bad for the countryside, our kids, and our society.”

Local villagers are worried the park is only adding to the dirty air that’s long been a problem in the area, a reality that there’s nothing virtual about.

SABC board to brief Parliamentary Committee
24 November 2017, 7:51 AM

The SABC Board will on Friday brief the Portfolio Committee on Communications regarding several matters.

These include the Board’s progress in implementing the recommendations of the former Public Protector’s report titled “When Governance and Ethics Fail”, as well as the Adhoc Committee on the SABC Board Inquiry report.

The Board will also deal with matters relating to the public broadcaster’s financial situation.

Since the Board’s appointment last month, it has already lost two members.

Zimbabweans gather for Mnangagwa’s inauguration
24 November 2017, 7:25 AM

Scores of people are beginning to arrive at the National Stadium in Harare Zimbabwe.  This is as Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to be sworn in as the new Zimbabwean President.

Buses can already be seen lined up outside the National Stadium, They are bringing in hundreds of people who are here to witness the first inauguration of a new President in 37 years.

People from all walks of life, young and old can be seen at this venue, which has the capacity to hold 66 000 people.

While a long queue can be seen outside the stadium, most who are here already, have expressed excitement on witnessing this occasion. Official proceedings are expected to get underway from at least 10 O’clock this morning.

President Jacob Zuma will not attend the inauguration, but has sent Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele.

Nepal votes in historic polls
24 November 2017, 7:04 AM

Nepal on Sunday votes in historic elections for new national and provincial assemblies that many hope will bring much-needed stability to the desperately poor country, which has cycled through 10 leaders in the last 11 years.

The elections are the first under a new post-war constitution that paved the way for a sweeping overhaul of the political system intended to devolve power away from a top-heavy central government to seven newly created provinces.

The Constitution, adopted in 2015, is aimed at cementing Nepal’s transformation from a feudal monarchy to a federal democratic state and giving historically marginalised groups greater access to power.

It followed a 10-year civil war between Maoist insurgents and the state that led to the downfall of a deeply unpopular monarch, but also ushered in a long period of political instability that has hampered development.

“It really signals the end of a post conflict transition that was so elongated that we forgot where we were heading,” said George Varughese of the Asia Foundation think tank.

“These elections remind us that we are heading towards stability.”

The vote will be carried out in two phases and most seats are expected to go to the three parties that have dominated the political stage for the last decade, regularly swapping power in a series of short-lived coalitions.

But some hope the devolution of power to the provinces will diminish their influence and alleviate the political impact of frequent changes of government.

“There is the chance, that although the musical chairs will continue, the effect it will have on national progress will be reduced,” said Varughese.

The Maoist Party, formed by the ex-guerrillas after the war ended in 2006, has entered an electoral alliance with the communist CNP-UML party, creating a political behemoth that will be tough to beat.

That has left the ruling party, the centrist Nepali Congress, struggling to form links with smaller parties in a bid to remain in power.

Both have focused their election promises on the economic growth desperately needed in the landlocked country of 29 million, which suffered a devastating earthquake in 2015.

Nepal has one of the slowest growth rates in South Asia and relies for more than a third of its GDP on the remittances from its huge overseas workforce.

Last year nearly 400 000 Nepalis left the country for work, mostly on construction sites in the Gulf and Malaysia.

The Communist alliance has pledged to increase per capita GDP from $760 to $5 000 in 10 years — a feat that would require annual growth of over 20 percent — while the Nepali Congress promised to create up to 500 000 jobs a year.

Few see those promises as realistic, however.

“The election declarations of the main parties would be hilarious if they were not proof of hallucination,” read a recent editorial in the Nepali Times newspaper.

In recent years Kathmandu has played diplomatic ping-pong with its two large neighbours, India and China, who use big-ticket infrastructure projects to vie for influence.

India has traditionally played the role of big brother to its small Himalayan neighbour, but a more nationalistic government led by the CPN-UML from 2015 to 2016 aggressively courted Beijing and Kathmandu-Delhi relations reached a nadir.

Relations have since improved and observers say that, if elected, the communist alliance will likely take a softer line on India.

Nepal began its rocky transition from a Hindu monarchy to a federal democracy a decade ago with a peace deal that ended the brutal civil war, which had claimed the lives of at least 17 000 people.

The Maoist insurgency and the drawn-out peace process that followed were intended to create a more equal society in Nepal, but political instability and endemic corruption has undermined that goal.

A proportion of the 275 seats in the new national parliament will be allocated to women and people from indigenous communities and the lowest Dalit caste.

But political analyst CK Lal says the inequalities that sparked the insurgency persist.

“The aspirations of the different ethnic communities: they were not addressed. Secondly, a massive inclusion programme to address inequalities that exist in government mechanisms: it stands where it was,” Lal said.

“Third was economic transformation to decrease inequalities, if not remove (them) altogether, that has not taken place.” More than 300 000 members of the security forces will be deployed for the two-stage election, with northern provinces voting on Sunday and southern areas and Kathmandu going to the polls on December 7.

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