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German Learners
Youths rally in climate protest before EU vote
24 May 2019, 3:21 PM

Tens of thousands of young climate activists rallied in Germany on Friday in the latest mass protest demanding urgent action against global warming, ahead of the weekend’s European Parliamentary elections.

At least 5,000 students boycotted classes and demonstrated at Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate in what was expected to be one of the largest of protests planned in more than 120 countries.

Large crowds also gathered in Hamburg, Frankfurt and other German cities, mirroring protests across Europe and the world. In Berlin, they carried signs with messages such as “Climate now, homework later!” and “There is no planet B”, while teenage activists chanted: “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? now!”

The initiator of the “Fridays for Future” protests, 16-year-old Swedish school girl Greta Thunberg, again passionately called on youths in Europe and around the world to join the movement.

“It is time for all of us to resist on a massive scale,” she wrote in a text co-authored with German activist Luisa Neubauer in the newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

“We have the feeling that many adults have not yet fully understood that we young people cannot stop the climate crisis on our own,” they wrote, calling the challenge “a task for all of humanity”.

While many previous protest movements have started on university campuses, the “Fridays” rallies emerged from among school students — a generation that has grown up with predictions of ecological doom yet witnessed what they see as only glacial political change.

“Climate change doesn’t respect borders, climate change will at some point become irreversible,” said one protester, Berlin student Aaron Langguth, 21. “That’s why we have to do something now.

“The students realise that there’s no point going to classes if they don’t have a future.”

‘Make love, not CO2’

Many of the banners, posters and protest cries reflect a rising sense of frustration and anxiety about inheriting a warming planet with melting ice caps and glaciers that is battered by worsening droughts, floods and storms.

“You are running out of excuses, we are running out of time,” read one message directed at politicians, while another demanded: “The climate is changing, why aren’t we?”

Many messages addressed the serious issue in a more light-hearted way, including signs that read, “Make the world cool again,” “Make love, not CO2” and: “Don’t blow it – good planets are hard to find”.

One boy’s hand-painted sign mixed ecological alarm with a teenager’s optimism: “Our planet is getting hotter than my future girlfriend.”

Another issued a direct warning to adults: “If you don’t take us seriously, we’ll scrap your pensions”.

In recent months, the rallies have indeed helped to significantly shift political attitudes among adults.

Most mainstream parties have addressed climate change and other environmental issues as a Eurobarometer poll shows that it is now a leading concern for European Union voters, not far behind economic issues and migration.

Present at the Berlin protests were #ParentsForFuture and similarly named groups by Scientists, Doctors, Entrepreneurs, Midwives and Queers.

Under the 2015 Paris deal to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the 28-nation EU has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030, compared to 1990.

But many scientists and climate activists say Europe and all other major economies must sharply raise their ambition.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change warned in October that warming is currently on track towards a catastrophic 3C or 4C rise.

Westlife, Backstreet Boys back on tour to win fans
24 May 2019, 2:29 PM

Two of the biggest male vocal groups from the nineties, who have both recently embarked on comeback tours, will next month get close to “clashing” with each other while touring the United Kingdom to win back their fans.

The former American boyband, Backstreet Boys and Ireland’s music export, Westlife, have kicked off their much anticipated and historic, “DNA” and “Twenty” global tours, respectively in Europe and Northern Ireland.

In mid-June the pop rivals will have a “close encounter” in London when the bands will take on the massive O-2 Arena just two days apart from one another.

The Boyz will continue their tour of Europe after the United Kingdom and Ireland shows, and head back to the States in July to complete a 70-date global tour in North America by September this year.

Westlife is set to tour Asia extensively from late July after their United Kingdom and Ireland concerts.

Big Concerts International has, meanwhile, recently announced that negotiations have begun with the group’s management to bring, “The Twenty Tour”, to South Africa sometime next year.

President Cyril Ramaphosa
Ramaphosa signs 4 bills of legislation into law
24 May 2019, 1:48 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed four pieces of legislation, including the Carbon Tax Bill, into law. The Carbon Tax bill will see South Africans pay additional taxes at fuel pumps from the 1st of June.

The new tax will add 9 cents per litre to the price of petrol and 10 cents per litre for diesel. This is in addition to monthly fuel price adjustments.

The President has also signed into law the Customs and Excise Bill. It provides for the amendment of the Customs and Excise Act to provide for the licensing of premises and regulate the submission and verification of accounts. In addition it will also provide mechanisms for the collection and payment of the carbon tax.

Also signed into law is the Financial Matters Amendment Bill, which makes amendments to the Insolvency Act, the Military Pensions Act, the Banks Act and the Government Employees’ Pension Law.

The fourth piece of legislation, the Public Audit Excess Fee Act is aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the office of the Auditor General by charging audit fees for certain government entities directly against the National Revenue Fund.

Gcobani and Kohla
Land Party premier candidate resigns
23 May 2019, 8:33 PM

The Land Party says its Premier candidate, Loyiso Nkohla, has resigned to avoid being expelled from the party. Land Party spokesperson, Mandy Owens, says Nkohla tendered his resignation on Thursday following a number of allegations that were made against him this weekend.

These include allegations of sexual harassment, threats of violence and defamation of character.   Owens says evidence of the allegations is to be presented to the party’s central committee for investigation.

“We are hugely relieved the party is going through a cleansing process and we are getting rid of people who are in the party for self-promotion. So for us it is a victory. We move forward to grow the party with people who are truly in it for the right reasons and that is to serve the people in our communities,” says Owen.

The party has, according to their social media pages, accepted Nkohla’s resignation.

Loftus Versfeld
Public criticises the amount being spent on President’s inauguration
23 May 2019, 7:56 PM

Members of the public have criticised the cost of this weekend’s inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria. Last week, Minister in the Presidency Dr Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma announced that it will cost around R120 million, which is R100-million less than the inauguration of former president Jacob Zuma in 2014. It’s the first time the inauguration won’t be held at the Union Buildings.

“It’s very ridiculous to spend so much money on just a one day event. I mean they could have used the Union Buildings whereby they didn’t have to pay a cent for it and rather use the money for us to fix things,” says a member of the public

“That’s a lot of money because where I’m coming from we are lacking roads, last time they tried to fix the road, and they made it worse, this money is too much,” says another.

“I think for them spending that money for five hours on Loftus Versverld, its waste of time and money.”



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