IAAF has approved new rules that will affect Caster Semenya

It has been confirmed that South Africa’s golden girl Caster Semenya will need to take medication to reduce her testosterone levels if she hopes to continue running in events from the 400m to a mile.

This comes after the IAAF announced on Thursday that it has changed eligibility regulations for female classification for the 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, 1 500m and the mile.

The IAAF said in a statement that the new rules require athletes who has a “Difference of Sexual Development (DSD)” and who are androgen-sensitive must meet certain criteria to compete in the above events.

“She must be recognised at law either as female or as intersex (or equivalent), the statement reads

“She must reduce her blood testosterone level to below five (5) nmol/L for a continuous period of at least six months (e.g., by use of hormonal contraceptives); and thereafter she must maintain her blood testosterone level below five (5) nmol/L continuously (i.e. whether she is in competition or out of competition) for so long as she wishes to remain eligible.”

These new regulations will come into effect from 1 November 2018. This means that Semenya and other athletes that are affected will compete in the upcoming European season, including the Diamond League meetings.

Source: IOLSports



[WATCH] BRICS Journal TV: Word on the Street (Rates & Tax Increase)

In the delivery of his 2018 budget speech, former Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba announced an increase in value-added tax (VAT), fuel levy and a higher estate duty tax.

We took to the streets to find out how people will make the necessary adjustments to their personal finance.

Oil demand growth in China is set to slow down through 2023

A recent report conducted by the International Energy Agency (IEA) states that as China’s economy becomes more consumer-oriented, the rate of growth in oil demand is expected to slow down through 2023.

The head of the oil industry and markets division at the IEA, Niel Atkinson said factors that need to be considered include better efficiency, the fast development of electric vehicles and the restructuring of the energy mix, the growth rate of oil demand in China will gradually slow down during the next six years.

Atkinson was speaking at the China Launch of the IEA Market Report Series: Oil 2018 that was held in Beijing.

China has become the world’s biggest electric vehicle market with the help of subsidies in only a few years. IEA has released figures that show China saw 336,00 new electric car registrations in 2016.

“Other clean energy substitutes, including liquefied natural gas, have also replaced consumption of petroleum and diesel in the country,” Atkinson said.

The IEA report showed that there are signs of substitution of oil by other energy sources in various countries with China being a prime example, which has some of the world’s most stringent fuel efficiency and emissions regulations.

“As the country recognises the urgent need to tackle poor air quality in cities, efforts are intensifying, with sales of electric vehicles rising and a strong growth in the deployment of natural gas vehicles, particularly into fleets of trucks and buses. A rising number of electric buses and LNG-fuelled trucks in China will significantly slow gas and oil demand growth,” the report said.

The report also revealed that in the upcoming six years, petrochemicals will be a key driver of oil demand growth. The fastest-growing source of global oil demand growth is petrochemicals, particularly in the United States and China.

Another research organisation called Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in their latest report that China is expected to invest $3 trillion in power generation over the next 25 years, with some 75% of the investment expected to be into the renewable energy sector.


Source:  usa.chinadaily.com

#FreeEducation: Minister Naledi Pandor fleshes out student funding plan

Minister of Higher Education and Training, Naledi Pandor held a media briefing on Tuesday at Imbizo Media Centre in Parliament. This comes after the announcement that was made by the government last year about student funding changes that will occur this year.

Speaking at the briefing, Pandor said: “Student funding is a critical contributor to the success of students in TVET colleges and universities. As government, we have made an enormous commitment to student support in the form of this new bursary scheme. It is important that we succeed.”

The Minister has set out details about the bursary scheme that has been introduced this year. Her department is working closely with NSFAS to ensure the success to #FreeEducation.

She confirmed that the government will support poor and working-class students through an expanded bursary scheme that is going to replace the previous loan and partial bursary scheme.

“Additional government funding of R7.166 billion in 2018 has been allocated to fund bursaries for children of poor and working class families entering universities and TVET colleges, with R4.581 billion set aside for qualifying university students and R2.585 billion for TVET college students,” said Pandor. 

She added that the increase in funding for 2018/19 will support 458 875 students to receive tuition bursaries. Based on the historical data and the enrolment targets for 2018/19, it is also estimated that more than 90% of TVET college will benefit.

“Although first time entering student will not be expected to pay back the cost of their bursaries, they will be expected to meet certain conditions and expectations, including those relating to satisfactory academic performance and service conditions.”

Pandor added that the new funding allocation for the first-time entry students is expected to fund approximately 40% (83 200) of the 208 000 spaces for new entrants at universities this year. The final number of students funded will only be known later in the year.


Source: www.gov.za

South Africa’s key economic sector

A wealth of mineral resources and favourable agricultural conditions have helped grow South Africa’s economy. Here are some of the key sectors that contribute to the country’s gross domestic product:

Mining and minerals –  The sector is critical to the country’s socio-economic development as it contributes significantly to economic activity, job creation and foreign exchange earnings. Last year, mining contributed about 8% to the GDP. South Africa is world-renowned for its mining sector, with an abundance of mineral resources, accounting for a significant proportion of world production and reserves with an estimated worth of R20.3 trillion (US$2.5 trillion).

Financial sector – South Africa’s financial services sector claims dozens of domestic and foreign institutions that provides services such as commercial, retail and merchant banking, mortgage lending, insurance and investment. Many foreign banks and investment institutions have set up operations in South Africa over the past decade. Electronic banking facilities are extensive, with a nationwide network of ATMs and internet banking facilities available.

The manufacturing sector – The sector has accounted for 13% of South Africa’s GDP (as at Q3 2017). For every R1 invested in manufacturing, there is R1.13 of value addition to the South African economy. Manufacturing is dominated by industries such as automotive, chemicals, information and communication technology, electronics, metals, textiles, clothing and footwear. This shows that the country has developed a diversified manufacturing base that has shown the significantly accelerate the country’s growth and development.

Agriculture –  Farming remains vitally important to South Africa’s economy. It is estimated that about 8.5 million people are directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture for their employment and income. The country has well-developed commercial farming and more subsistence-based production in the deep rural areas.

Travel and tourism – South Africa continues to focus on business tourism as an area with significant growth potential. The country is among the top 15 long-haul business events destinations globally and is the premier business events destination in Africa. The sector grips the potential to drive increases in export earnings in a trading environment that is generally less volatile than that of commodity exports.

Source: www.brandsouthafrica.com

Public lecture on BRICS at the University of Limpopo

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has partnered with the University of Limpopo for this morning’s public lecture on South Africa’s hosting of the 10th BRICS Summit.

Taking place under the theme: “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration, Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”, the lecture was presented by Prof Anil Sooklal, Deputy Director-General for Asia and Middle East at DIRCO and BRICS Sherpa.

Addressing students, Sooklal said: “Today, it is important that people know about BRICS because the people are at the forefront of BRICS. The organisation is focused on advancing the economy and the domestic interest of South Africa including the SADC region.”

Prof. Sooklal was joined by Mr Kenneth da Nobrega, Sous Sherpa for the Republic of Brazil and Mr Pavel Knyazev, Sous Sherpa for the Russian Federation. The meeting of the BRICS Sherpas will take place 24-26 April 2018 at the Mabula Lodge in Bela Bela, Limpopo.

Image: Embassy of Russia


Poll reveals: India boasts top spot for major economic growth

A recent poll conducted by Reuters economists predicts that India is most likely boast the world’s fastest-growing major economy this year. There are however, factors like the rising trade tensions between the United States and China may restrain that growth.

The poll was taken 11-18 April this year and has predicted that India’s economy will expand by 7.4% in the fiscal year that began this month. After growth slowed sharply for much of 2017, India regained its status as the world’s fastest-growing major economy in the quarter ending December 2017.

According to Reuters, the recent “tit-for-tat import tariffs imposed by the U.S. and China” are a cause of concern about a looming full-fledged global trade war which could affect the status of the world economy.

Twenty nine economists believe that India’s economy is in danger of being directly affected by the ongoing trade dispute.

“India runs the risk of being caught in the middle of the trade spat between the U.S. and China,” said Hugo Erken, senior economist at Rabobank.

“The damage would especially be large if India retaliated with an import duty on either U.S. or Chinese imports,” said Erken, adding that such a scenario was unlikely.

However, not all economists shared that view. Nine respondents are of the belief that India’s economy would in fact, benefit from the dispute.

“Though in the short-term a trade war between U.S. and China may impact global trade including India, in the long-term, India is likely to benefit as China will be forced to devaluate its currency to remain a dominant player in the world market,” wrote RK Gupta, managing director at Taurus Asset Management.

“In that scenario, India’s exports will be more competitive with China.”

Source :Reuters




Europe’s decision to ban meat imports from several Brazilian suppliers affects 30 to 35 percent of the country’s exports.

The European Union has suspended imports of Brazilian meat products, mostly poultry. This move has affected about 20 plants that have been authorised to export to the EU.

Europe’s decision to ban imports from several Brazilian suppliers has affected about 30 to 35% of the country’s exports. Agriculture Minister, Blairo Maggi said this will force companies to find new markets while officials work to reverse the measure.

“I was in Europe last week and we were waiting for a definition of how many, if any plants, were going to be de-listed,” Minister Blairo Maggi told reporters in Paraná after the measure was unveiled.

“We need to start talks to re-establish these plants as soon as possible,” he said.

Maggi has noted the Brazilian government would request that a trade mission be allowed in Europe to negotiate a reversal of the measure. He also adds that Brazilian companies will have to search for new markets to quickly substitute these exports.

According to Reuters, the ban also dealt a blow to Brazil’s largest chicken processor, BRF SA, which had 12 plants delisted by the EU after its involvement in a food safety investigation.


The 4th Yalta International Economic Forum gets underway

The 4th Yalta International Economic Forum is currently underway in Russia, Crimea; with more than 3 000 delegates from 60 countries in attendance.

The forum focuses on the search for ground-breaking approaches to solve the tasks of social and economic development and discussions around tried and tested world business practices.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, President Vladimir said that he hopes this year’s event will again stir the interest of foreign partnerships and lead to the launch of new projects in high-tech industries, culture, tourism and construction.

“The busy agenda of the forum has been composed so as to provide more information to investors about huge potential of southern Russia and favourable conditions for investing in its economy,

“The forum participants will have an opportunity to launch direct dialogue with Russian businesses and the heads of federal, reginal and local authorities, as well as to present practical proposals to improve the business climate and map out plans for strengthening cooperation.” Putin said.


Mumbai hires retired citizens as interns

A virtual marketplace company called Truebil, that trades used cars in major Indian cities is now hiring retired senior citizens as interns to work on short-term stints for the firm. The firm has draw inspiration from ‘The Intern’ movie, where Robert De Niro played the character of Ben Whittaker – a 70-year-old intern working for a start-up firm.

The firm aims to provide a second inning to retired citizens and to mentor the 200-odd employees at Truebil, where the average age is around 28 years.

Co-founder and marketing head of Truebil, Shubh Bansal, believes the exercise would help employees get a sense of how organisations used to operate in the pre-internet era.

“We have already received around 20 applications for internship from senior citizens. The interns will be hired for three months at a stipend of Rs 15,000 per month, plus lunch and travel cost.

“They will have the flexibility of coming in either every day or a minimum of thrice a week. The senior interns are not expected to work like regular interns. It would be a learning experience for both the interns and the people working at Truebil,” said Bansal.

The initiative is currently underway, it would involve hiring of about eight interns who are over the age of 60, with work experience in mid – to senior-management levels. It will begin with Truebil’s Mumbai office and eventually roll out in Bengaluru and Delhi as well. One senior intern will get to work exclusively with the CEO, while the others will be deployed across departments

Bansal said as a start-up company they want to open system where there are no cubicles. He also adds that the initiative will help employees to understand how the corporate world evolved.