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Iono - Behind the Bulletins

Week in Review - 10 February 2018

The year of reckoning began on Thursday, at least for the Ministers who lost their positions as President Hage Geingob reshuffled his cabinet. Geingob also seemed to lay down the law saying that heads of certain Ministries that have been accused of corruption need to respond within a certain time, that the recently announced travel ban will extend beyond the end of February, and that the Minister of Defence needed to explain to him how the army could buy a N$ 45 million farm while at the same time sending thousands of soldiers on leave because they didn't have the money to feed and house them. The reckoning sentiment seemed to be contagious as later in the day the head of Nampol accused regional commanders of being too relaxed and insisted that they inspect baracks and police houses to ensure they were in the correct state and that no vandalism had been taking place. In other Namibian news an isolated case of Congo fever was detected in Windhoek but contrary to a Whatsapp that was circulated there is no immediate risk of other people contracting it, especially not through the water! Many gathered at the Keetmanshoop Magistrate's court calling for the death penalty to be re-instated following the murder of a farmer couple over the weekend, it is not likely to be re-instated though as the Supreme Court separately this week ruled that prison sentences of an excessive number of years are against the constitution and should therefore be over-ruled. Meanwhile FNB warned of the so-called 'imposter scam' once again happening in the country and the Bank of Namibia caused quite a stir by reminding Namibians that the posting of the National Currency on social media is in fact against the law.
In South Africa it was another week or will-he-won't-he as Zuma continued to refuse to go and his ANC party seemed incapable of making him. Two miners lost their lives after a ground fall at a Sibanye-Stillwater mine in Gauteng, The government said that it was going to take over the handling of the drought in the Western Cape, some of the families who lost loved ones due to the Life Esidimeni tragedy reached a settlement with the state, and Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba invited ideas from the public for how government could pay for fee-free higher education.
Elsewhere in Africa a prominent investigator of the illegal ivory and rhino horn trade was killed in Nairobi, the second conservationist to die in East Africa in the past year, Boko Haram was in the news again as they attacked a village in an area the government claimed they had been eradicated from and later in the week released a video of their leader Abubakar Shekau insisting they are still in control of the area. Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was once again reported to be on his death bed after having refuted such claims just last month, meanwhile the country's mines minister said they would consider applications from companies mining platinum or diamonds to be exempted from the 51% local black ownership requirement. The Gambia was also this week welcomed back into the Commonwealth.
In the rest of the world the sole survivor of the 2015 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam attended the first day of his trial for other charges in a Belgian court but refused to answer any questions, Space X's Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched, carrying with it Elon Musk's scarlet Tesla Roadster on a path towards Mars, Taiwan was the scene of a deadly earthquake that left buildings leaning precariously, and Pope Francis was left with egg on his face after members of his own sex-abuse commission admitted he had received a victim's letter in 2015 that graphically detailed sexual abuse at the hands of a priest and a cover-up by Chilean church authorities.
This week was also a turning point for the Berlin Wall as the symbol of oppression has now been gone for longer than it stood.

Week in Review - 3 February 2018

Seeming to prove the meme that 2018 only starts of the 1st of February and that January is the free trial period, President Hage Geingob's promised 'Year of Reckoning' appeared to kick off on Thursday with news coming in that both the Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture had been relieved of their duties. Meanwhile in other high level moves, presidential spokesperson Albertus Aochamub has been seconded to temporarily serve as the CEO of the Namibian Airports Company and Dr Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari has meanwhile been appointed to his now vacant position as press secretary in the Office of the President. In other, non-political news the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology opened its national Genetically Modified Organism testing and research laboratory, a, so-far, isolated case of Cholera was detected in Windhoek, while the City announced that they would avail N$ 17 million in response to the Hepatitis E outbreak. We also learnt that in line with government's cost-cutting measures requests by Ministers, Deputy-Ministers and other political office-bearers for travel outside of the country would not be entertained until the end of February 2018.
In South Africa shareholders were once again affected by a report released by Viceroy Research, the firm that questioned the finances at Steinhof International, who this time turned their attention on South African bank Capitec. Viceroy said that the bank is in fact a 'loan shark' with massively understated defaults, but the firm and South Africa's Reserve Bank hit back saying the report was “factually incorrect” and that the bank was in fact “solvent, well capitalised, and has adequate liquidity”. Economists have cautioned that South Africans should brace themselves for a possible 2% VAT increase, and Jacob Zuma continues to hold on to his position with rumours circulating that he will this weekend be told to resign or face the consequences. In Johannesburg the principal of a high school who was filmed having sex with various pupils in his office resigned with the department ensuring that he would face the full might of the law, meanwhile Cape Town on Thursday intensified water restrictions, moving to level 6b in which residents are only allowed to use 50 litres of water per person per day, with the so-called 'Day Zero' now scheduled for April 16.
The 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union was held in Ethiopia this week with leaders pledging to overcome malnutrition and elevate it as a driver for economic growth and also unveiling the Single African Air Transport Market which seeks to improve intra-African air connectivity and is seen as a step towards an envisaged Africa-wide free trade zone similar to the European Union. It was also reported in French newspaper Le Monde that China had been spying on the continental body via the computer networks at the headquarters, a report the Chinese immediately denied. In other African news, Liberia's new president said he would take a pay cut and also seek to rewrite what he termed a “racist clause” in the country's constitution, the United States denied Zimbabwe's MDC's claims that Donald Trump had promised them $15 billion should they win the elections, while the government announced that white farmers would now be offered the same 99 year leases as black farmers. Meanwhile the World Bank pledged $14 billion to help African countries attain Vision 2030, Egypt's president warned against any attempt to boycott March's presidential elections, and Lassa fever once again flared up in Nigeria.
Afghanistan wept again this week as a deadly bombing killed at least 103 people and injured another 235 while an attack on a military compound resulted in the death of 11 soldiers, the country was also shaken by an earthquake. In other news evidence of at least 5 mass graves of Rohingya villagers were uncovered in Myanmar, vehicle manufacturers were slammed for testing diesel emissions on monkeys and humans, and in some good news Hong Kong voted to ban ivory sales.

Bank Windhoek to host discussion on blockchain technology

With cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology dominating the news headlines, Bank Windhoek is proud to announce that it will host an information session on 15 February 2018.
Gavin Marshall, from the Blockchain Academy in South Africa, will deliver the keynote presentation at the event. He will give the audience insight into the workings of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
Marshall is a consultant training instructor at the Blockchain Academy. He is a well--‐known speaker on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology at conferences and events worldwide.
Virtual currency, or cryptocurrency, is a type of digital currency that is unregulated in Namibia. Its value is derived from the common acceptance among a group of natural or legal persons as a means of payment that can be transferred, stored, or traded electronically.
This however does not place it on par with electronic money. Even though they are both presented in digital form, the main difference between the two is that electronic money is a digital form of a country’s legal tender currency backed and issued by a central authority, while virtual currencies are not backed by any legal tender currency or central authority.
Worldwide, regulators and financial institutions have varying viewpoints on the legality, sustainability and profitability of cryptocurrencies. However, all agree that blockchain technology, which was invented in 2008 to power Bitcoin when it launched a year later, have significant benefits. These include its transparency, reduced transaction costs and trustworthiness.
William Mougayar, the author of The Business Blockchain explains that blockchain is like Google Docs.
Before Google Docs, if you wanted to collaborate on a piece of writing with someone online, you had to create a document, send it to them, and then ask them to edit it. You then had to wait until they made those changes, saved the document, and sent it back to you.
Google Docs fixed that by making it possible for multiple people to view and edit a document at the same time with instantaneous updates visible to everyone contributing to the edit. In the cryptocurrency sphere, blockchain technology works in exactly the same way, every transaction is a matter of public record and is updated instantly.
For banking, that could mean that any money transfers are simultaneously verified on both ends. Blockchain could also be used in the legal business or architecture planning— really any business where people need to collaborate on documents.
“As a responsible corporate citizen we saw it fit to hold this session in response to the public’s general interest and protection. Considering the volume of news coverage and interest in blockchain technology and the volatility of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the time has come for the Namibian public to fully explore the current and future impact this technology may have on our lives. We are delighted to host Gavin as our keynote speaker. As the founder and creator of Sharebit, a blockchain-based application which allows individuals to register, manage, track and transfer shares in both legal and informal entities, he has a thorough knowledge and understanding of the subject,” said Baronice Hans, Managing Director at Bank Windhoek.
The event will take place at the National Theatre of Namibia at 17:30 for 18:00 on 15 February 2018. The event is free of charge and seats are limited. To book a seat, members of the public can contact Bronwyn Moody at +26461 299 1263 or email her at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . A registration form is also available on our website: