Plane carrying Brazilian soccer team crashes in Colombia, killing 76

A chartered aircraft carrying 81 people including crew and pilots, has crashed on its way to Medellin’s international airport. According to a statement from Colombian aviation officials, the plane declared an emergency between the municipalities of La Ceja and La Union.

Also onboard the aircraft was a Brazilian first division soccer team who was headed to Colombia for a regional tournament final. According to Colombian disaster authorities, three Chapecoense players  survived plane crash. It is believed that only 5 of the 81 passengers onboard survived.

Jose Gerardo Acevedo, regional police commander, told journalists:”Six people were rescued alive, but unfortunately one died. The rest of the occupants unfortunately died. The tragic toll is 76 victims.”

Flightradar24, a flight tracking service on Twitter announced that a tracking signal from flight 2933 was last received when the aircraft was at 15,500 feet, about 30 km from its destination, which sits at an altitude of 7,000 feet.


Chinese automakers thrive in South Africa by meeting local needs

By Lu Anqi | NO. 47 NOVEMBER 24, 2016

In its spacious showroom in Isando, a small town northeast of Johannesburg, Chinese automaker FAW Group displays its most popular vehicle models assembled in its plant in Port Elizabeth, one of South Africa’s largest cities, located east of Cape Town.

“It’s called the J5,” Ngoni Chaitwa said, pointing at a large white truck. “It can pull a trailer with a load of up to 34 tons. We call it ‘Beautiful Africa’ because it is doing very well in Africa.”

Chaitwa, a salesman with the company for three years, said FAW vehicles are doing well in the market because they are reasonably priced and most importantly, made in South Africa. This makes having access to spare parts and maintenance much easier.

Pioneer footprints
With the deepening of China-Africa cooperation, Chinese automakers have begun setting up factories in Africa, turning the dream of “Made in Africa for Africa” into a reality.

As a pioneer Chinese automaker, FAW’s journey to Africa began in the 1970s when its vehicles were used in the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway. “The demand has kept rising ever since,” said Hao Jianyu, Deputy CEO of FAW South Africa. “We are probably the first Chinese brand to have set foot on the continent.”

According to Hao, FAW started selling and shipping trucks to South Africa in 1994 and 10 years later established an assembly plant with an annual producing capacity of 5,000 trucks in the Coega Industrial Development Zone outside Port Elizabeth. The total investment in 2004 stood at $80 million.
“The launch has proved to be a big step forward in FAW’s localisation,” Hao said. “People know that we invest here and are determined to ‘take root’ in Africa, so they have confidence in us. Our market share has witnessed continuous growth since 2013, rising from the 0.9 percent growth rate then to 4.2 percent in the first three quarters of 2016, despite the weak market demand resulting from the global economic downturn.”

In 2015, the Coega plant produced 1,000 vehicles, mainly sold in South Africa. In 2016, the target is between 1,200 and 1,300.

Hao attributed the growth also to the fact that Chinese automakers have become better known and are adapting to local needs. FAW South Africa has 28 dealers in the country and more than 100 on the continent. It is building sales and after-sales networks to expand business and improve service.

This article first appeared on Beijing Review. Beijing Review is China’s only national English weekly news magazine published in Beijing by the China International Publishing Group (CIPG). 

Fatal train crash in India claims over 100 lives, leaves scores injured

Tragedy has struck the Indian nation. At least 142 people were killed and about 200 injured when an express train derailed on Saturday in northern Uttar Pradesh (Kanpur), India.

CNN reports that the train, which connects the central Indian city of Indore to the city of Patna in its north east, was mid-journey when it derailed off the track near Kanpur, around 480 KMs southeast of New Delhi.

Javeed Ahmed, director general of police for Uttar Pradesh, told News 18 that it was not immediately clear what the cause of the crash was or how many people were traveling on the train at the time.

Russia’s Ministry of Civil Defense, Emergencies and Disaster Relief has come out in support saying they the country is prepared to step in and offer assistance to India in relief efforts.

A statement was released by the ministry on Monday:

“Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov sent a telegram to the Indian minister of home affairs with words of sympathy and support. He noted that Russian rescuers are ready to render any assistance if needed.”

-CNN; Sputnik News
Image: Twitter

Statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry

Statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Russia’s decision not to become a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

On November 16, the President of the Russian Federation signed the Decree «On the intention not to become a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court». The notification will be delivered to the Depository shortly.

Russia has been consistently advocating prosecuting those responsible for the most serious international crimes. Our country was at the origins of the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals, participated in the development of the basic documents on the fight against genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. These were the reasons why Russia voted for the adoption of the Rome Statute and signed it on September 13, 2000.

The ICC as the first permanent body of international criminal justice inspired high hopes of the international community in the fight against impunity in the context of common efforts to maintain international peace and security, to settle ongoing conflicts and to prevent new tensions.
Unfortunately the Court failed to meet the expectations to become a truly independent, authoritative international tribunal. The work of the Court is characterized in a principled way as ineffective and one-sided in different fora, including the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. It is worth noting that during the 14 years of the Court’s work it passed only four sentences having spent over a billion dollars.

In this regard the demarche of the African Union which has decided to develop measures on a coordinated withdrawal of African States from the Rome Statute is understandable. Some of these States are already conducting such procedures.

The Russian Federation cannot be indifferent to the Court’s attitude vis-a-vis the situation of August 2008. The Saakashvili regime’s attack on peaceful Tshinval, the assassination of the Russian peacekeepers resulted in the Court’s accusations against South-ossetian militia and Russian soldiers. Eventual investigation of actions and orders of Georgian officials was left to the discretion of the Georgian justice and remains outside of the focus of the ICC Prosecutor’s office attention. This development speaks for itself. We can hardly trust the ICC in such a situation.

The decision of the Russian Federation not to become a party to the Rome Statute (to withdraw its signature from the Statute) entails legal consequences provided for by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969.

India Confident of Strategic Partnership Under Trump

Anjana Pasricha
Displayed with permission from Voice of America


A strategic partnership built between India and the United States in the last two years is expected to deepen under a Trump administration.

However, India’s famed information technology sector could suffer, along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to turn the country into a manufacturing hub, if President-elect Donald Trump acts on campaign pledges to restrict immigration and bring jobs back to the United States, some Indian analysts and observers say.

“When the dust settles down, I don’t think India will have cause for complaint under a Trump presidency,” said Lalit Mansingh, a former Indian ambassador to the United States

He added that Modi, who has vowed to diplomatically isolate Pakistan for its alleged support of cross-border terrorism, will hope to get more support from Trump, who advocated a tougher stance on terrorism during the campaign. India accuses Islamabad of backing Islamic militant groups fomenting terrorism in India, a charge Pakistan strongly denies.

Mansingh predicted Trump would be a stronger ally on terrorism: “I expect that he will go a step further than what his predecessors did in applying pressure on Pakistan, because all the previous administrations have said the right things but have hesitated from putting pressure on Pakistan because it might affect their operations in Afghanistan. I think Trump may be more forthcoming.”

But there is much more uncertainty about how a Trump administration will affect wider Asian geopolitics. Concerns about China’s growing assertiveness in Asia and its expanding influence in India’s neighborhood helped prompt Modi to deepen India’s military cooperation with the United States, shedding its traditional hesitations about moving too close to Washington.


China’s central bank sees continued net forex sales in October

November 15, 2016
Displayed with permission from China Daily

BEIJING – China’s central bank continued to see net foreign exchange sales in October as a weakening yuan increased capital flight pressure, data showed Monday.

The People’s Bank of China said its yuan funds outstanding for foreign exchange fell 267.9 billion yuan ($39.2 billion) in October to 22.6 trillion yuan.

It was a milder drop than the 337.5 billion yuan decrease in September but marked the 12th consecutive month of declines.

As the Chinese currency is not freely convertible under the capital account, the central bank has to purchase foreign currency generated by China’s trade surplus and foreign investment in the country, adding funds to the money market. Such funds are an important indicator for foreign capital flow in and out of China as well as domestic yuan liquidity.

Concerns about capital outflows had been on the rise as the economy slowed, the possibility of a US rate hike loomed and authorities revamped the forex mechanism last year to better reflect market changes.

China’s forex reserves shrank for a fourth straight month to $3.12 trillion in October, the lowest level since March 2011, as the central bank sold dollars to defend the yuan against a stronger US dollar.

The central parity rate of the Chinese currency weakened 176 basis points to 6.8291 against the dollar Monday, the lowest since 2009.

5 Reasons Why Africa Is Not Behind In Technology

Research has shown that more households in Africa own a mobile phone than have access to electricity or clean water. A definite sign of the times.

Over the last couple of years, the African continent has seen major advancements in technology – from both an adoption and manufacturing point of view. The ecommerce wave has officially hit us, and rather than sinking, the African market is learning to swim, very quickly.

Technology companies, much like Realm Digital, have gone on to see great success in the local and international markets, and foreign investors are more keen and comfortable to invest their money in this market segment.

While the continent’s infrastructure continues to be a challenge in the embracing of technology, the market is willing to engage with new technology to improve their education, knowledge and skills.

Here are five points showing the current, and future landscape of technology in Africa.

1. In West and Central Africa, Nigeria leads the way in usage with 63 million internet users, ranking 9th in the world. Most of the access is through mobile devices – no surprise there.

2. While ecommerce adoption has been slow, Africa is set to see a spike over the next couple of years. Considering the terrain realities in Africa, retailers are starting to cater to their entire customer demographic by allowing for cash on delivery and even setting up online malls.

3. Nairobi has become the tech hub of Africa. It is believed that the ICT sector in Kenya is set to contribute up to 8% of the country’s GDP by next year. Great emphasis is placed on innovation and entrepreneurship in Kenya, and the government is putting effort into creating the adequate environment to encourage innovation, especially amongst the youth. The past 15 years has seen Kenya’s internet penetration go from less than one percent, to over 70%.

4. Cloud computing – not just another buzz word, it is being hailed as an ‘African success story’. The continents’ leaders believes that cloud technology has the potential to transform the technology industry and even our daily activities. In Nigeria, pharmacists and patients are using a cloud-based service to verify the authenticity of prescription medicines, while in Kenya, local innovators created a cloud-based market-tracking app for farmers trying to get the best prices for their goods.

5. Rwanda recently launched Africa’s first drone delivery program. In partnership with a Californian-based startup, 50 to 150 daily deliveries of critical medical supplies to 21 locations of across Rwanda are taking place. Rwanda has a clear development strategy in place, with ICT at the heart of its transformation.

These five points only begin to paint the picture of what’s to come on the technology front. We are thrilled to be a part of digital transformation, not only in South Africa, but the African continent.

This article first appeared on Realm Digital.  Realm Digital is a global digital strategy and technology partner, specialising in digital solutions.

China introduces new cybersecurity law

China’s new cybersecurity law was passed on Monday but will only come into effect in June 2017. According to Reuters, the new law zooms in on hacking and terrorism, even while raising eyebrows among international businesses.

A parliamentary official told Reuters that the legislation is set to be an “objective need” with China being a leader in internet power.

Said Yang Heqing, an official on the National People’s Congress standing committee: “China is an internet power, and as one of the countries that faces the greatest internet security risks, urgently needs to establish and perfect network security legal systems.”

Not everyone is in favour of China’s new law, however. International critics have said that this poses a threat to foreign technology-based companies, possibly excluding them from ‘critical’ sectors. They have added that the new law also includes controversial specifications for security reviews and for data to be stored on servers in China.

Rights advocates also say the law will “enhance restrictions on China’s Internet, already subject to the world’s most sophisticated online censorship mechanism, known outside China as the Great Firewall.”


BRICS leaders convey well wishes to President Donald Trump

On Wednesday, business mogul and Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States. Following the announcement that sent the world into shockwaves, BRICS Heads of State have passed on their congratulatory messages to the new President-elect.

President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma released a statement via the Department of International Relations conveying well wishes on behalf of himself and the country.

The statement reads as follows: “President Jacob Zuma has today, on behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, congratulated President-elect Donald Trump for winning the presidential elections that were held in the United States on 08 November 2016.”

In addition, “President Zuma conveyed his best wishes to the president-elect and looked forward to working with President-elect Trump to build on the strong relations that exists between the two countries.”

“He underlined that South Africa further looked forward to working closely with the new Administration in the United States in promoting peace, security and prosperity around the world, especially on the African continent.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin also congratulated Trump and politicians from various Russian politicians were hopeful for an improvement in relations between the Kremlin and Washington.

Newsweek reports that Putin sent a telegram to Trump on Wednesday morning, expressing “his hope they can work together toward the end of the crisis in Russian-American relations, as well address the pressing issues of the international agenda and the search for effective responses to global security challenges.”

Said China’s President Xi Jinping the state broadcaster CCTV: “I highly value China-US relations, and look forward to working together with you, and holding fast to mutual respect and non-conflict, non-confrontation,” the channel cited Xi as saying in its nightly national broadcast.

He added: “As the world’s two largest economies, China and the US have an important responsibility to safeguard world peace and stability, and promote global prosperity, it quoted him as saying.”

“Developing longterm stable and healthy Sino-US relations in accordance with the benefit of both countries’ peoples is also the international community’s common expectation.”

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate Trump.


Brazilian President Michel Temmer has yet to express sentiments around the US Presidential appointment.

China, Russia vow to enhance pragmatic cooperation

Displayed with permission from China Daily

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, on Monday vowed to enhance pragmatic cooperation between the two neighbours.

China and Russia, each other’s biggest neighbours and in a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, have seen their relations develop in a sustained, stable and sound manner, and pragmatic cooperation continuously bears new fruits, said Li during his meeting with Medvedev.

Li arrived here Sunday for the 21st China-Russia Prime Ministers’ Regular Meeting and an official visit to the northern neighbour.

China is willing to work with Russia to synergise the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and lift the levels of China-Russia ties and cooperation, Li said.

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aspires to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes. The EEU groups Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

In the context of fragile world economic recovery and slowing global trade growth, China and Russia should further give full play to their complementary advantages, so as to add new vitality into each other’s development, revitalisation, and economic transformation and upgrade, Li said.

The premier pointed to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and innovation in particular as the areas where the two countries should step up efforts to promote their future cooperation.

Li also called for more efforts to strengthen financial cooperation and increase the volume of settlement in local currency to support relevant cooperation.

On trade and investment, Li said the two sides should work to expand trade, jointly safeguard world trade system and rules, comprehensively boost the level of facilitation, and promote a sound and sustained development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation and two-way investment.

Cooperation in agriculture, especially in deep processing of agricultural products, enjoys broad prospect, Li said, urging the two countries to jointly advance cooperation in this field.

During the meeting, the premier also highlighted people-to-people exchanges, and cooperation in science and technology, and education, calling for efforts to make China-Russia Media Exchange Year a success.

Medvedev said the two countries would make more efforts to boost cooperation in SMEs’ innovation, while actively conducting cooperation in major projects in the areas of oil gas and civilian nuclear energy.

Financial cooperation should also be enhanced to provide financing support for the two countries’ companies to conduct cooperation, he added.

Medvedev pointed to the electromechanical, agriculture, science and technology, aviation, high-speed railways as the sectors where the two sides should promote cooperation, and vowed to go all out to reach the goal of raising the two countries’ trade volume.

Russia and China should enhance cooperation on local levels in the Far East region, make efforts to ensure a successful China-Russia Media Exchange Year, increase the number of students studying in the other side’s universities, and boost cooperation in tourism, Medvedev said.

After hearing the work reports of four bilateral cooperation mechanisms, the two leaders exchanged views on planning future cooperation.

The meeting produced a joint communique calling upon the two countries to deepen cooperation in a wide range of fields, including economy and trade, investment, energy and people-to-people exchanges.

Agreeing that great potential exists in bilateral trade and investment cooperation based on solid partnership and close economic and trade relations, the two countries would deepen economic integration through building mutually beneficial economic partnership in Eurasia, it said.

China and Russia would continue to carry forward cooperation in the fields of transport, cross-border infrastructure, logistics, among others, within the framework of synergising the Belt and Road Initiative and the EEU, according to the communique.

The two sides will seriously discuss the possibility of setting up industrial parks along the regions on the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River and along Russia’s Volga River, it said.

The joint communique urged the two countries to take necessary measures to strengthen cooperation in the trade of agricultural products, and promote the entry of safe animal and plant products into each other’ s market.

The two countries would also work to boost the “strategic” and “comprehensive” cooperation in the field of energy, including electricity, coal, renewable energy, and equipment, technology and project service for energy.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the signing of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination.

Li is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian capital of Moscow on Tuesday.

Russia is the last stop of Li’s eight-day Eurasia trip, which has already carried him to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Latvia.