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News Blog

A collection of longer form stories, submitted, sourced, or written by our team, that would not make sense to cover in a traditional broadcast news format, but which we wanted to share with you anyway.

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Iono - Behind the Bulletins

Be mindful when shopping online

The year 2017 was not short of challenges, least of all the state of the Namibian economy which cascaded downwards causing a major tightening of the belt by businesses in every industry. Employees felt this in their pockets.
 
Looking for bargains and the convenience thereof, many consumers will be doing their festive shopping for Christmas presents online. The last thing they can afford is to being scammed out of their money by fraudsters. Fraudsters are becoming very good at exploiting consumer behaviour online as buyers become more relaxed this time of the year.
 
It is therefore important to look at the risks involved in transacting with businesses on the internet. Most important is to establish the legitimacy of the website. A quick internet search to verify the history and credibility of the business can provide comfort that the site has not been reported previously for fraudulent activities. A tip here is to combine the name of the website with words like fraud, online fraud, theft, poor service, etc. when doing to research.
 
A technique used by fraudsters is to create imposter websites. This website looks exactly similar to another legitimate website but is actually a fake. Fraudsters use it to steal personal identification information and banking details like bank account numbers, PIN numbers, card numbers, expiry dates and CVV numbers. Fraudsters exploit this information to do card-not-present online transactions.
 
Fake websites may lure shoppers with promises of free vouchers, free gifts, add-ons like discounts on other products, and create a sense of urgency with soon to be expired special low prices or low stocks on very popular, high in demand and flavour-of-the-season items like toys.
 
Always make sure that the website shows “https” and a little padlock in the address bar as opposed to only “http”. A website without these may not be safe and fraudsters find it difficult to create “https” websites with the padlock. At the point of payment, again make sure that the padlock is there, if not, the website may not be safe. Always check on the payment system used and that it is a reputable one like MasterCard, Visa, etc.
 
It is always good to do some research on the product you want to buy, know the brand and the average price thereof. This may prevent you from falling for a scam by buying at very low bargain prices. If a price is too good to be true, it most probably is. Make sure what you are paying for and what is included and not included in the price. Additional hidden costs may be VAT, shipping, customs, clearance fees, etc. which can change a bargain into a very expensive item. Always check out the warranty and if it will be honoured by local authorized dealers in Namibia. If not, what will be your options? Therefor it is important to look at the website’s return policy in case the item is short of expectations and fell short of what was promised. Some may choose not to take back a product if it is not defective. The costs to return an item to a foreign country may be prohibitively expensive.
 
Finally, make sure that the limits on your cards are acceptable for your needs and if it is too high, rather lower it. This may limit your losses in the case of fraud on your card.
 
Remember, safe festive online transacting, but always caveat emptor, the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made.
 
By Johnny Truter: Head of Forensic Services at Bank Windhoek

Week in Review - 09 December 2017

This week we learnt that Namibia is a tax haven, which came as a shock to many people, not least those of us who have tax deducted from our salaries each month. The Minister of Finance was also understandably upset by the development. It turns out that it was all semantics though and the EU doesn't actually see us as a tax haven but rather as a non-tax compliant country due to us not having signed off on four agreements that Minister Schlettwein stressed were unilaterally created by the EU. The head of the European Delegation later in the week stressed that they would do everything they could to resolve the issue and have Namibia de-listed. Still with that story, the Finance Minister from South Korea, which is also on the list, also criticized the EU saying that they may be infringing on countries' tax sovereignty.
 
Still in Namibia, the country signed two loans of N$ 1 billion each with the African Development Bank for education and agricultural projects, following a weekend of horror on Namibia's roads police were calling on the public to assist in the identification of 10 people who died in one accident and whose bodies were burnt beyond recognition, and in slightly better though not quite the news many were hoping for in time for the festive season, the Bank of Namibia chose to keep the Repo rate unchanged at 6.75%.
 
In South Africa some of the biggest news was the collapse of retail giant Steinhof amid allegations of “accounting irregularities” and the resignation of long-time CEO Marcus Jooste. Also in South Africa, the so-called 'Sugar Tax' was passed and is planned to come into effect on 1 April 2018 imposing a tax of 2.1 cents per gram of sugar on all sweetened drinks. Sticking with taxes it was reported that Cape Town household could soon be paying between R45 and R60 a month as part of a drought levy to shore up the city's finances and pay for planned drought relief measures, Johannesburg was battling an outbreak of Listeriosis – a severe form of food poisoning, and the country found out just how bad the literacy crisis is when it was revealed that 78% of grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning. About the only good news for the country was that the economy was said to have recorded growth of 2% in the third quarter of the year.
 
Looking to Africa the secessionist crisis in Cameroon is deepening, angry aids activists urged Western and Central Africa to step up the fight against the disease, and activists expressed their dismay that despite the “mega-crisis” of forced migration in the DRC international aid has been slow to materialize. In some good news Switzerland announced that it will return US$321 million is assets seized from the family of former military ruler Sani Abacha, and Zimbabwe unveiled a new budget that contained a raft of cost cutting measures as well as many business and investor friendly proposals including the removal of the Mugabe-era indigenisation  law.
 
Internationally there was outrage at US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his announcement that the US Embassy in the country would be moved to that city, the ex-President of Yemen was killed in the capital, further complicating and already complex war, Venezuela announced the creation of a new virtual currency, Honduras' President finally said that he was open to a review of the contested recent election, and Britain the the EU were said to have reached a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations.
 
In other news TIME magazine named The Silence Breakers, the individuals that helped give traction to the #MeToo campaign as its 'Person of the Year' for 2017, and Australia's parliament voted overwhelmingly to legalize same-sex marriage.

Week in Review - 02 December 2017

We learned on Monday that President Hage Geingob and his Team Harambee had won in a clean sweep at the Swapo party congress elections that took place on Sunday, following which the President called for unity among the party and expressed the wish that never again would a congress see the level of animosity and resentment experienced this time round. A Norwegian scientist confirmed that pilchard numbers have decreased in Namibian waters, which he said was no doubt due to over-fishing in the past, meanwhile the Namibian Professional Hunters Association strongly condemned a decision by their South African counterparts to allow the hunting of so-called 'canned lions' calling the decision unethical.
 
In other local news, Windhoek residents were informed that the City of Windhoek will not be taking water meter readings between December 27th and January 15th and encouraged people to self-read and submit their readings via SMS – for details on how to do this visit the Radiowave Network News Facebook page. The Ombudsman also released a report showing that racism was rife in Namibia, and seemingly at the same time lost his patience with ministries, saying that he would take them to court if they failed to act on his recommendations.
 
In South Africa, President Jacob Zuma, reacting to the latest ratings downgrade to junk status by Standards & Poor's on Friday, called on a committee to show him progress on plans to cut government spending and raise taxes, two independent South African aviation groups, Airlink and Safair, have applied to the Competition Commission for approval to merge, Eskom distanced itself from a seeming rush to nuclear power, allegations surfaced that MultiChoice, apart from making a questionable payment to the Gupta family, was involved in a controversial deal with the SABC and paid kickbacks to influence government policy in its favour – allegations the company has strongly denied. Also in South Africa fathers had cause to celebrate as Parliament approved a new bill that will among other things give them the right to 10 days' paid paternity leave.
 
News from Africa was dominated by the EU-Africa Business Forum that opened in Côte d'Ivoire on Monday and was intended to focus on job creation and investment in young people, though the forum was threatened to be overshadowed by talk of the slave markets uncovered in Lybia. During the Forum it was announced that France would set up a billion euro fund for small and medium-sized African businesses, and the African Development Bank launched the Presidential Youth Advisory Group made of nine members under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions to the creation of employment opportunities for African youth. In other big news from the continent, Zimbabwean protest pastor Evan Mawarire was found not guilty of subversion in a case stemming from ex-President Robert Mugabe's time in office, Amnesty International claimed to have documents pointing to complicity by Royal Dutch Shell in crimes committed by the Nigerian military in the 1990s, and French President Emmanuel Macron promised to declassify secret French files on Burkina Faso's assassinated leader Thomas Sankara.
 
Further afield we spent the week anxiously watching Bali's Mount Agung volcano as it continued to threaten imminent eruption, Pope Francis visited Myanmar where he called for unity but avoided upsetting the government by using the term Rohingya to describe the persecuted Muslim minority, meanwhile the country's de facto leader Aun San Suu Kyi was stripped of the “Freedom of Oxford” award over her failure to speak out on the abuse, the largest genetic study of mosquitoes has found that they are rapidly developing resistance to insecticide – threatening the fight against malaria, in rather bizarre news a Bosnian Croat accused of war crimes drank poison in court at the Hague after learning that his 20 year sentence was to be upheld, and finally in good news, the Australian state of Victoria has voted to legalise assisted dying within certain caveats.