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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.

(please note that views and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of Radiowave).

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Iono - Behind the Bulletins

Week in Review - 21 December 2017

Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority revealed to the public this week that all Medical Funds are now no longer allow to offer gym rebates and other wellness programmes as part of their benefits, with effect from December 14th 2017. According to spokesperson, Victoria Muranda, the practice of medical aids offering gym rebates and wellness programmes is in breach of Section 1 of the Medical Aid Fund Act.
And while most families celebrated with the release of the Grade 10 and Grade 12 examinations results, Education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa yesterday said the high number of failure in Grade 10 remains a concern to the ministry. The Grade 12 higher level results for 2017 indicates a lower performance with the graded entries reducing with 1,1% from the 95,5% recorded in 2016. And with most of Namibians on holiday mode already, the police at Walvis Bay are appealing to truck drivers to adhere to the Ministry of Works and Transport’s temporary ban on the use of the B2 road between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, and instead, use the gravel road connecting Swakopmund to Walvis Bay behind Dune 7. The ban is effective from 12 December this year until 19 January 2018, to decongest the B2 road and help prevent accidents over the festive season.
In South African News, Cyril Ramaphosa was named the new leader of South Africa's governing ANC party. Ramaphosa, a 65-year-old union leader who became a businessman and is now one of South Africa's richest people, is likely to become the country's next president after elections in 2019, because of his party's electoral dominance. Although the Fitch rating agency says political uncertainty will persist in South Africa despite the election of Ramaphosa as ANC leader. 
Meanwhile, North West University economist Raymond Parsons says Ramaphosa’s election has had a highly favourable impact on market perceptions and investment sentiment about South Africa.
The African Union peacekeeping mission forces ended a ten-day training course yesterday in a move aimed at stepping up efforts to counter widespread use of explosives. While the Nigerian government this week said it has tightened security in detention facilities to ensure maximum protection of life and property ahead of the festive period. Also aiming to protect individuals this festive season, Indonesian police appealed on Thursday for tolerance and respect for other people's religious celebrations after an Islamist group threatened to raid businesses to check for Muslims being forced to wear Santa Claus hats or other Christmas attire.
In International news; Sixty-five journalists and media workers were killed worldwide this year, according to figures published by Reporters without Borders.  Syria remains the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, followed by Mexico.
And finally…French police are still searching for the man who happened to lean on an unlocked door of a cash management company. The man, discovering his luck, walked back out with two bags of cash valued around four-point-six-billion-Namibian Dollars. And the wreck of Australia’s first naval submarine has been found after a 103-year search. The HMAS AE-1 was the first Allied submarine lost in the First World War.

Week in Review - 16 December 2017

There was massive concern in the fishing industry as it was revealed that there would be a total ban on the harvesting of pilchards for the next three years with industry bodies scrambling to come up with ideas and workable solutions to avoid huge job losses. It was reported that Namibia economy went further into recession in the third quarter of the year and that economic growth in the country would likely be in the negative for 2017 but according to the IMF at least we should experience a rebound in 2018 with the organisation predicting growth of about 4 percent for the year. The country was also granted a N$ 2 billion loan from the African Development Bank which will be spent on upgrading a 210 km stretch of railway in the west of the country as well as completing a section of the new Windhoek / Hosea Kutako International Airport road.
In South Africa there was panic as it was reported that the Presidency had started work on codifying regulations for a state of emergency, the report was later denied but it was just the start of a bad week for the country's highest office as a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court ruled that Zuma was “unreasonable” in his attempt to stop the release of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's State of Capture report, ordering that he institute a commission of enquiry into state capture within 30 days and that he was personally liable for the costs of his legal challenge. Religious leaders called on the South African government to sever ties with Israel and to downgrade the Israeli embassy in South Africa. South Africa also once again experienced first hand just how destructive the weather can be as what has been described as a tornado tore through the Midvaal municipality damaging houses in the Vaal Marina and a suburb called Mamello.
Looking at Africa, Burundi's government launched a fund raising drive for elections in 2020 that they said was voluntary but which people can only opt of out by explaining in writing why they do not wish to contribute and activists say will most definitely be mandatory, meanwhile the country's President, Pierre Nkurunziza, launched a campaign to promote changing the constitution – a move which would allow him to serve another two seven-year terms from 2020. It wasn't a good week for European countries in Africa as they were accused of being complicit in grave human rights violations in Libya, while a new report by a US based law firm claims that French officials were complicit in the 1994 genocide of Rwanda's Tutsi minority. Somalia was once again the scene of much death and destruction as a journalist was killed by a car bomb in the capital on Monday and the later in the week at least 13 people were killed and more than 15 injured when an al-Shabab suicide bomber targeted a police academy where special drills were busy taking place. 
US President Donald Trumps announcement last week that his country would recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was still making waves as Turkey's president sought support from leaders of Muslim nations to join him in declaring Jerusalem as the 'occupied capital of the Palestinian state', while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the US had disqualified itself from future Israel-Palestine peace talks after proving its “bias in favour of Israel”. Iran was hit by another earthquake, more of California burnt to the ground as crews continued battling run-away wildfires that have destroyed over 1000 km2 of land, and for the second year in a row the number of journalists imprisoned for their work hit a record high.
There were quite a few good stories though as the World Bank announced that after 2019 it would no longer fund upstream oil and gas projects, the Pentagon went against Donald Trumps order and said transgender troops would be allowed to enlist in the military from January 1st 2018, Australia implemented new laws that will prevent convicted peadophiles from travelling overseas, and New Zealand got one step closer to passing a law to allow voluntary euthanasia.

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