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800 000 people have downloaded vaccination certificates: Health Department
13 October 2021, 12:05 PM

The National Department of Health says more than 800 000 people have already downloaded their vaccination certificates.

This follows the launch of vaccination certificates by the Health Department last week, which allows people to access their vaccination certificates on the department’s website.

Health Department’s Milani Wolmaraans refutes claims that the vaccine certificate will be used to disadvantage those who did not vaccinate.

“From the National Department of Health’s perspective, we provide the vaccination and we are providing people with proof of vaccination. So every different business and parties can make their own rules around how they would allow people entry and that is up to them in terms of how they want to implement those rules.”

VIDEO: SA’s digital COVID-19 vaccine certificate explained:

Political Party: Ingubo Yeskhethu Party
13 October 2021, 11:33 AM

Ingubo Yeskhethu Party was established on October 1, 2015, in KwaNdebele, Mpumalanga, in response to the poverty, lack of development, and no tertiary institutions in the area.

It started with two people and currently has about 10 people. Thabo Magubelo is the founding and current president of the party.

In the 2016 Local Government Elections, the party contested in the Thembisile Hani and Dr. JS Moroka Municipalities, and they had 55 votes and no seats.

For the November 1, 2021 elections, eight candidates were submitted.

 

‘Squid Game’ becomes ‘biggest series launch’ for Netflix after reaching 111-million fans
13 October 2021, 11:30 AM

The hit South Korean show Squid Game has officially become Netflix’s biggest original series launch, the streaming service said on Wednesday.

The nine-part thriller, in which cash-strapped contestants play childhood games with deadly consequences in a bid to win 45.6 billion won, has become a worldwide sensation for Netflix since its launch less than a month ago.

The dystopian drama has inspired countless memes, Halloween costumes of the ubiquitous green tracksuits worn by contestants and real world recreations of the games. It has also sparked a debate within South Korea about toxic competitive societies and prompted new interest in the country’s culture and language around the world.

“Squid Game has officially reached 111-million fans, making it our biggest series launch ever,” Netflix posted on Twitter.

The series reached that total in just 27 days since its release on September 17, easily outpacing the UK costume drama Bridgerton, which was streamed by 82-million accounts in its first 28 days.

Netflix gives limited information on viewing figures for its platform and cuts the data it does provide in different ways. The 28-day debut figures it released for Bridgerton and other shows included any account that watched an episode for at least two minutes.

Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos told a tech conference in California last month said the streaming service was surprised by how popular Squid Game has become.

“We did not see that coming in terms of its global popularity,” he said.

The series was so popular that South Korean internet service provider SK Broadband sued Netflix to pay for costs from increased network traffic and maintenance work because of the surge in viewers.

A South Korean woman was in talks with the US firm about compensation after she was deluged with thousands of prank calls and text messages when her phone number was inadvertently highlighted as a key plot point in the series.

Netflix has said it would spend more than $500m on content produced in South Korea this year.

IMF revises SA’s economic outlook to 5%
13 October 2021, 10:49 AM

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Economic Outlook Report has revised the country’s 2021 economic outlook upwards from 4% to 5%.

The October report released on Tuesday expects growth to then slow down at 2.2% in 2022.

The IMF also noted momentum in global economic recovery has weakened due to an increase in the COVID-19 Delta variant that is holding back return to normalcy.

IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath says compared to their July forecast global growth projections have been revised downwards from 6% to 5.9%and remain unchanged in 2022.

The Organisation says economic outlook for low-income developing countries is worst due to pandemic dynamics.

Food prices have also increased in most low-income economies, causing food insecurity and threats of social unrest.

Gopinath says, “Pandemic outbreaks and critical links to global supply chains have resulted in longer than expected supply disruptions. Risks to economic prospects have increased and policy trade-offs have become more complex. The downgrade also reflects more fickled near-term prospects for the advanced economic group in part due to supply interruptions.”

Vaccine divide

Gopinath says the great vaccine divide will be a deal-breaker for economic recovery.

She says, “While over sixty percent of the population in advanced economies are fully vaccinated and some are receiving booster shots, about 96% of the population in low-income countries remain unvaccinated. Many emerging markets and developing economies are facing tighter financing conditions and de-anchoring inflation expectations are withdrawing policy support despite larger shortfalls in output.”

The IMF projects global headline inflation to return to pre-pandemic levels in the middle of next year in emerging and developing economies.

Gopinath says, “Central banks should be ready to act quickly if the risk of raising inflation expectations became material in this unchartered recovery, Central banks should chart contingent actions, announce clear triggers and act in line with our communication.”

Projections for some commodity exporters have been upgraded on the back of rising commodity prices. However, Pandemic disruption has caused the labour market recovery to significantly lag in most countries.

The IMF has warned that if COVID-19 should have a prolonged impact in the medium term, it could reduce global GDP by 5.3 trillion dollars in the next five years.

The IMF, an organisation of 190 countries is calling on all countries to work together to secure financial stability and increase COVID-19 vaccinations.

In August, SA’s finances were boosted  with a R65 billion injection from the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights:

China says military drills near Taiwan are a ‘just’ move
13 October 2021, 9:34 AM

Chinese military exercises near Taiwan are targetted at forces promoting the island’s formal independence and are a “just” move to protect peace and stability, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said on Wednesday.

It also said the exercises are aimed at interference by external forces.

Military tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, are at their worst in more than 40 years, Taiwan’s Defence Minister said last week, adding China will be capable of mounting a “full scale “invasion by 2025.

He was speaking after China mounted four straight days of mass air force incursions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone that began October 1, part of a pattern of what Taipei views as stepped-up military harassment by Beijing.

Speaking at a regular news briefing in Beijing, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said the cause of current tensions was Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) “collusion” with foreign force and “provocations” over seeking Taiwan’s independence.

Chinese drills are aimed at this collusion – a veiled reference to U.S. support for Taiwan – and separatist activities, protecting the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, he added.

“They are absolutely just actions,” Ma said.

“The DPP authorities’ hyping of the so-called ‘military threat’ of the mainland is to completely invert right and wrong, and a bogus accusation,” he added.

“If the DPP authorities obstinately persist in going about things the wrong way, and do not know how to draw back from the edge, it will only push Taiwan into a more dangerous situation.”

Taiwan says it is an independent country called the Republic of China, its formal name, and will defend its freedom and democracy.

Despite Ma’s comments, both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen made relatively conciliatory speeches at the weekend, even as Xi vowed to bring Taiwan under its control and Tsai said they would not be forced to bow to China.

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