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Donald Trump
Britain’s Ambassador to Washington ‘a very stupid guy’: Trump
9 July 2019, 8:39 PM

Britain’s Ambassador to Washington finds himself in an increasingly tight spot on Tuesday after a series of fresh tweets from the President of the country hosting him, calling him “a very stupid guy.”

The hard-hitting tweets from an irate President Donald Trump lashed out at the UK envoy after Sir Kim Darroch’s private memo to the Foreign Office described the Trump administration as “inept” and “dysfunctional” was leaked to a UK outlet.

Trump responded by saying his administration would no longer deal with the Ambassador while accusing British Prime Minister Teresa May of making a mess over Brexit.

It started on Monday with a thread accusing Prime Minister May of creating a mess with Brexit contrary to the advice he had given her.

Trump also referred to Ambassador Darroch as not liked or well thought of and that the US would no longer deal with him.

Earlier on Tuesday, there was more, referring to the envoy as “wacky” and “stupid”, saying he didn’t know him, but heard he was a “pompous fool.”

“I’d say that the UK and the ambassador has not served the UK well. I can tell you that. We are not big fans of that man and he has not served the UK well,” says Trump.

The UK government has expressed full confidence in their envoy while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tried to address the question of the original leaked memo.

“I’m very concerned about it because fundamental to the proper functioning of our diplomatic network, which I happen to believe is one of the finest if not the finest in the world, is to be able to exchange opinions frankly. And so, we need to find out how it happened. Not least to give confidence to our teams all over the world that they can continue to give us their frank assessment. So, that’s why we’re going to have a leak inquiry. I hope we get to the bottom of it. And of course, there will be very serious consequences if and when we find out who’s responsible,” says Hunt.

Downing Street earlier called the leak unfortunate and has begun a formal investigation.

Darroch’s memo also described President Trump as radiating insecurity, but the Foreign Secretary defended his right to be frank while not necessarily sharing the same position.

The leak of this diplomatic cable will bring back stark reminders of the 2010 United States leak that saw Wikileaks release classified cables sent to the US State Department by their diplomatic missions around the world, causing great embarrassment to the government here, including allegations that the US had instructed diplomats to spy on the UN leadership including then Secretary General Ban Ki Moon – and a memo in 2000 that revealed an alleged offer from former UN Chief Kofi Annan to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe of a lucrative retirement package if he were to stand down as President then.

On the UK case, it remains unclear how much longer Ambassador Kim Darroch can effectively remain in his post despite the confidence expressed in him by his government.

Portfolio Committee on Communications to support SABC
9 July 2019, 7:23 PM

Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications, Hope Papo says the committee will continue to support the SABC because of its public mandate.

This comes ahead of the Communications Budget vote which is expected to be debated on Wednesday.

The budget vote includes Icasa, the South African Post Office, Universal Services and Access Agency of South Africa, Broadband Infraco and the National Electronic and Media Institute of South Africa.

In a statement released, Papo says the Committee has recommended in its budget vote report that Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams should continue engaging with the SABC and National Treasury on the Public Broadcaster’s financial situation.

Papo says, in the meantime, the committee will await the enhanced turnaround strategy from the SABC, which should be available by the end of September 2019.

All this will be reflected when the Committee tables the report during the budget vote debate on Wednesday.

Gernot Rohr
Nigeria’s Afcon journey not a smooth one
9 July 2019, 6:31 PM

When Nigerian Coach Gernot Rohr arrived late for a news conference on Tuesday because his driver went to the wrong entrance, it seemed to sum up his team’s efforts at the Africa Cup of Nations generally good but spoiled by basic mistakes.

Nigeria overcame a shock 2-0 defeat by Madagascar in the group stage to reach the quarterfinals with a dramatic 3-2 win over bitter rivals Cameroon and face South Africa in the last eight on Wednesday.

There is a feeling that the Super Eagles, who won the 2013 tournament before incredibly failing to qualify in 2015 and 2017, could have made life easier for themselves.

“Our driver did not find gate number five. Normally, we are on time but this time we could not be,” the German told reporters to explain his late arrival.

Nigeria were also hit by a bout of sickness in the build-up but Rohr said that, for the first time since they arrived in Egypt, all 23 players were now fit.

“Anything is possible in this Afcon you have so many surprises and so many mistakes, individual mistakes with all the pressure on the player. We have to avoid these mistakes. We try to not repeat some mistakes,” he said.

In two of the worst errors, Nigeria gifted Madagascar a goal when John Ogu’s back pass to Leon Balogun was intercepted and there was more poor defending in the 3-2 win over Cameroon when Ola Aina allowed Njie Clinton to steal in and score.

However, Rohr, who has brought stability to Nigeria’s often volatile national side in his two years in charge, said there was no blame culture in the team.

“The goal with Madagascar, and with Ola Aina against Cameroon, it’s part of the game,” Rohr said. “In our team, we are able to say ‘sorry I make a mistake’ but next time will be better.

“What is good is to see that goals we conceded are not coming from mistakes in our tactical organisation, or strategy but are individual mistakes, and we have to forgive.”

Another source of concern has been the form of goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, based with South African club Kaizer Chiefs, who has looked unsteady in some games.

“I have confidence in him,” said Rohr. “He is used to their football, he is capable and he is the right goalkeeper for this match.”

SIU wants swifter action on criminal matters
9 July 2019, 5:25 PM

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) says it wants swifter action on criminal matters it’s referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The SIU was briefing the National Assembly’s Justice Committee on its annual performance plan.

The SIU is trying to trace and recover R14.7 billion as a result of corrupt practices. But it says the NPA’s conduct has not been satisfactory.

The SIU has instituted civil litigation to recover more than R5.5 billion on behalf of State-owned Enterprises.

Eskom has the biggest chunk with R3.7 billion of the money is owed to it, R1 billion to the Construction Industry Development Board (CIBD)  and  the SABC with just under half a billion rand.

SIU Head Andy Mothibi says they have also referred a total of 338 cases for disciplinary action to be taken. This includes 210 cases at the CIBD, 94 at the Gauteng Health Department and 17 at the SABC.

“To date there hasn’t been really any satisfactory progress in terms of implementing this MoU. With changes in the leadership at the NPA, we’ve again started reengaging. So the re-engagement started in February and it went on until as late as yesterday [Monday].”

State Capture Commission 

The SIU says it’s still pursuing civil litigation against the Nkandla architect, Minenhle Makhanya but this has been dragging in court. The entity wants to recover over R150 million from Makhanya.

The unit says it’s also dealing with the Bosasa and other matters emanating from the State Capture Commission.

“Part of what we are doing, based on what comes out of the State Capture Commission, if there is evidence of matters that requires us to subject them to that business process, we will scope the process, understand the evidence and make sure that there is a need to put them through the proclamation … there is a few that we are busy with.”

The SIU says it’s owed almost a half a billion rand by state agencies.

SIU CFO,  Andre Gernandt says, “So what we are saying; we are a going concern for the next few years and foreseeable future. Even if we don’t get debt into the next year for the next three years, we will be a going concern. We want to increase our government grant from 60% to something higher.”

Meanwhile, the Special Tribunal approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this year, is expected to start operating in September.

Mothibi says the SIU welcomes the President’s decision to re-establish the Special Tribunal that he hopes will help expedite SIU cases.

He says the Special Tribunal is expected to be functional by October.

Kane Williamson
1st semi-final Cricket World Cup halted as rain intervenes
9 July 2019, 4:25 PM

The first semi-final of the 2019 Cricket World Cup between New Zealand and India at Old Trafford has been halted by the rain.

The Kiwis won the toss but struggled to score on the slow surface. They limped to 211 for five when showers in Manchester saw play interrupted at the start of the 47th over.

Kiwi fans would have expected some fireworks from their top order – after captain Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first at Old Trafford.

What they did get however was a circumspect start as India’s bowlers quietly assumed control of proceedings.

Seamer Jasprit Bumrah ensured that opener Martin Guptil’s dismal World Cup campaign continued.

Bumrah had Guptil on his way for one in the fourth over.

Williamson, like he has done so many times for his side, came to the rescue.

He set about building their innings – sharing in A 68-run second wicket partnership with Henry Nicholls, before Nicholls was bowled by Ravindra Jadeja for 28.

Williamson then picked up the mantle with Ross Taylor, this time in a 65-run stand that saw the skipper score a half century — his 39th in one day cricket.

But it was still India’s bowling attack who had the upper hand, restricting the Kiwis to 113 for two after 30 overs.

With pressure mounting for New Zealand to take on the bowling and provide some much needed acceleration — Williamson departed for 67 compliments of the spin of Yuzvendra Chahal.

As the Indians continued their stranglehold with the ball, Taylor continued his painstaking vigil, notching up his 50th 50 in ODI’s with a rare maximum.

Taylor would have been looking to try and go as big as he could in the dying overs but rain interrupted play with New Zealand on 211 for five at the start of the 47th over.

If a result is not achieved today, the match will resume on Wednesday.

 

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