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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

Week in Review - 26 August 2017

Angola went to the polls this week in elections that marked the end of MPLA leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos' 38 year rule, as mostly expected the ruling party once again won the elections, however unlike in Kenya Angolan opposition party UNITA seemed to accept the result. According to election officials the MPLA won just over 64% of the vote which means that former Minister of Defence, Joao Lourenco, who was handpicked by dos Santos will be sworn in as the country's new president.
 
Locally Judge Christie Liebenberg continued his welcome trend of imposing heavy sentences when he sentenced Hendrik !Nowoseb to an effective 44 years in prison after he was found guilty of stabbing his former girlfriend to death inside the Outjo State Hospital. In better news for the country, it was announced that Gobabis is to get a larger shopping mall, bringing much needed investment and jobs to the eastern town, the Gross Barmen Resort announced that they had completed the first step in a plan to re-introduce wildlife with the addition of a herd of Springbok, and the Agricultural Bank of Namibia said that it is planning to offer free mentorship programmes to farmers.
 
Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe was still in the news this weekend as on Sunday it was revealed that she had been granted diplomatic immunity and allowed to leave South Africa, a decision the Minister of International Relations said in a letter to Parliamentary Speaker Baleke Mebete, prior to being called to explain herself to parliament, was a “painful decision to make”, Mbete in the meantime had troubles of her own as it was revealed that the ANC top brass were extremely upset with her for having ruled that the motion of no-confidence in Jacob Zuma could be conducted by secret ballot and expect her to explain herself.
 
Still in South Africa, it was revealed that more than half of the country's population is living in poverty, the world's first online auction of rhino horn began despite continued concern from wildlife and anti-trafficking organisations, there was good news for wool producers as suggestions were made that output could surge by about 50% on the back of a global shortage, and the country was gripped by the case of cannibals in Kwazulu-Natal who admitted to killing and eating people and also to supplying hundreds of people in the vicinity with human flesh.
 
Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari finally returned to the country and immediately began hitting out at calls for the succession of Biafra state, meanwhile staying in Nigeria the UN expressed concern over the fact that Boko Haram is increasingly making use of children as suicide bombers – pointing out that 83 children had been used as bombers so far in 2017, including a baby strapped to a young girl. 
 
Internationally the USA stood still and united once again this week as the country experienced the first full solar eclipse since 1918, albeit only for the up to 7 minutes 31 seconds it took to take place, India ruled against the controversial Muslim law of 'triple talaq' and also, in a seperate case, that the right to privacy is fundamental. Civilians continued to be killed by air-strikes in both Syria and Yemen, a magnitude 4 earthquake struck an Italian resort island, and at least 10 sailors were missing and presumed dead following a collision between a US war ship and a merchant vessel. Researchers also discovered a new 'garbage patch' in the South Pacific.
 
And finally in some good news, Novartis are testing a new antimalarial medicine to tackle drug-resistant strains, over 2000 animals from South Africa and Swaziland have been moved to a Mozambique park, and Qatar approved a new law protecting domestic workers.

Week in Review - 19 August 2017

While many in water starved regions of South Africa were very grateful for the rain and snow being brought in by the cold front that hit near the end of the week heavy rains in the West Central African region brough misery as over 400 people in Sierra Leone and up to 40 in the DRC were killed as landslides engulfed parts of the capital city and a fishing camp respectively.
 
Locally there was mild outrage as it was revealed that the majority of the beneficiaries of the Ministry of Poverty Eradication's Food Bank programme earned above the threshold of N$ 400 per month and were thus ineligible.  Namibians also decided that enough is enough when it comes to crime and especially tourists being attacked in the country with a petition being shared to have the system changed and Government condemning the attacks. There was good news in that the three people who had been admitted for observation after having come in contact with a man who died of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever were revealed to be free of the virus, and in welcome news for consumers and anyone with debt the Bank of Namibia on Wednesday announced that the Repo rate had been decreased by 25 basis points and now stands at 6.75%.
 
South Africa found itself in the midst of a diplomatic crisis after Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe was accused of assault in the case of her allegedly attacking South African model Gabriella Engels with, amongst other things, an extension cord. After first telling South African police that she would hand herself over and appear in court Mugabe 'disappeared' only for the country to later find out that she had decided to request diplomatic immunity in the case. The case took on a new twist when on Thursday it was revealed that Afriforum's Gerrie Nel was representing Ms Engels and that she had turned down what was described as a 'blank cheque' from Mugabe to make the case go away.
 
South Africa also commemorated the fifth anniversary of the Marikana tragedy with many pointing out that not much has changed for miners and the poor in the preceeding years and at least one opposition party insisting the day should become a public holiday. Outspoken ANC MP Makhosi Khosa also finally lost her job in parliament following outspoken criticism of both the ruling party and Jacob Zuma, and the Western Cape government released another hard hitting traffic advert – this time dealing with the issue of speeding.
 
Kenya remained tense this week as opposition leader Raila Odinga continued to refuse to accept the result of recent elections, while in Zambia Hakainde Hichilema, the leader of the official opposition UPND party was finally released from prison and the treason charges he was facing dropped. There was sadly also despair in Burkino Faso following an attack on a restaurant in the capital Ouagadougou which left at least 20 people dead.
 
Sticking with terrorism related incidents, Spain was left reeling when a van rammed into people in Barcelona, killing at least 13 and injuring dozens on Thursday, and then on Friday morning in a second attack a car drove into seven people, injuring them, in the Catalan town of Cambrils.
 
Things were tense in the United States following clashes between far-right groups including known neo-Nazis and KKK members protesting the removal of Confederate statues, and rival demonstrators. The clashes claimed the life of at least one person, as 32 year old Heather Heyer died after being rammed by a car driven by white nationalist Alex Fields, in an incident that saw 19 other people injured. President Donald Trump also faced increasing criticism for failing to denounce the far-right marchers, indeed in his private tweets seeming to show sympathy towards them, and some would say, his own right-leaning prejudice.

Week in Review - 12 August 2017

All eyes were on South Africa this week as we first waited to hear whether parliamentary speaker Bathabile Dlamini would allow the vote of no confidence in Jacob Zuma to be conducted via secret ballot, and then after she said it could to see if the motion would succeed or not. As mostly expected, even if many held out a secret hope, Zuma survived but the once united ANC seemed slightly more vulnerable as anywhere between 21 to 30 members are thought to have vote against Zuma, and according to the ANC at least, the party. Not happy that the motion had failed the DA decided that they would attempt to pass a resolution in parliament to have the body dissolved and early elections held – a move most saw as growing desperation in the official opposition, and a lack of understanding that Zuma remaining in power a little bit longer is probably their best hope for increased votes at the next elections, especially with more and more sordid details being revealed of the depth of corruption his relationship with the Guptas has exposed the country to.
 
Locally, there was a bit of an outcry when it was revealed that “white people did not want to take part in the Namibian Population-based HIV Impact assessment survey” when in reality across the planet people in higher socio-economic brackets with a greater income generally shun surveys no matter their race. The controversy aside this is a very important survey for our country, visit the Radiowave Network News Facebook page to listen to an interview that explains why, and why even if you know your HIV status you should still participate if you have been selected to do so.
 
There was good news for the country in that the annual rate of inflation is reported to still be dropping with a new low of 5.4% having been recorded in July, increased consumption of beef both locally and internationally is creating more opportunities for the countries meat industry, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism announced the head of their dedicated anti-poaching unit – which should mean good things for our wildlife, and the UK Embassy in Windhoek announced that applications for scholarships to study in the United Kingdom in 2018/19 as part of the Chevening scholarship programme are open until November 7th.
 
Tensions rose in Kenya, following elections that received the thumbs up from observers, after opposition leader Raila Odinga claimed the provisional numbers being released were flawed and that the electronic voting system had been hacked. More than 4 people have already died in isolated flare-ups of violence as all parties involved called for calm and the country's elections body assuring the public that the final result will be thoroughly checked and will be valid.
 
The world also appeared to have taken a step closer to nuclear war and the United States and North Korean tensions continued to rise following US President Donald Trumps threat  that North Korea faced 'fire and fury' over its weapons and ballistic missile programmes, a threat Pyongyang laughed off before shortly thereafter claiming that their missiles are capable of targeting mainland America and revealing that they intended to advance plans to implement a missile strike on the American Pacific Island state of Guam.
 
In other news the United Nations warned of early warning signs of a genocide in the Central African Republic urging the world to act now rather than regret it later; China suffered at 7 magnitude earthquake which killed at least 19 people and injured a further 247; Australia's ruling party rejected a push to allow lawmakers to decide on the issue of gay marriage, instead opting to conduct a postal plebiscite on the topic; and Zimbabwe's 7 main opposition parties admitted for the first time that they have wasted time fighting each other, choosing to unite and contest the elections under the banner of the MDC Alliance, backing veteran opposition leader Morgan Tsvangarai.
 
And finally in what was perhaps the best news of the week for many it was announced that pending the President's approval the Namibian Time Bill of 2017 will come into effect, effectively ending the practice of observing Daylight-Savings Time in Namibia.