BRICS Youth Tour Soweto

Putin plots out post-election plans

Re-elected Russian President, Vladimir Putin has revealed his primary objective for his presidential term.
According to Russia Today, Putin will pay close attention to the following, saying:

1. “The main thing that we will be working on is of course the internal agenda. First of all we must ensure the growth rate for the economy and make it an innovative one. We must develop healthcare, education, industrial production, infrastructure and other branches that are crucial for moving our country forward and increasing the living standards of our citizens.
2. There are also issues connected with the national defence and security, we cannot do without them, but still the internal agenda is of primary importance today.
3. As for the defence expenditures, we have slated their decrease for this year and for the next year. This will not cause any problems for our defence capability, because the main investments into the development of the newest weapons systems have been made over the previous years.
4. We just need to bring some things to their logical conclusion, to continue the research and development that I have not spoken about yet.
5. There will be no increase in spending, no arms race. We have everything, we have secure reserves in this field.”

Putin believes that workforce productivity is a key issue that is the joint-responsibility of the nation.

Source: Russia Today

Russian Presidential Elections: Putin continues to lead

Russian leader, Vladimir Putin has once again secured a victory to lead the country for a second consecutive term, with all votes counted.

He started serving as President of the country in 2008, with another six years (to end in 2024) now being added to his term.

Putin currently leads with 76,6% of the votes, putting him well above the simple majority needed to avoid a run-off.

First-time Communist Party candidate, Pavel Grudinin is running second with 11.9%, followed by nationalist politician, Vladimir Zhirinovsky who is also in the top three with 5.66%.

Putin picked up a higher following this year, compared to his 64% win in 2012. The Central Elections Commission (CEC) has 10 days to finalise the votes.

Source : Russia Today

[WATCH]: Commemorating Commonwealth Day

The Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states. is home to 2.4 billion people inclusive of economies that are both advanced developing. Did you know: Thirty of the Commonwealth members are small states, many of which are island nations.

South African rejoined the Commonwealth in 1994. According to the South African Government Twitter account, the aim of commemorating Commonwealth Day is to promote understanding on global issues, international cooperation and the work of the Commonwealth to improve the lives of its two billion plus citizens.

Her Majesty The Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, shared the following message:

“We all have reason to give thanks for the numerous ways in which our lives are enriched when we learn from others.

“Through exchanging ideas, and seeing life from other perspectives, we grow in understanding and work more collaboratively towards a common future.

“There is a very special value in the insights we gain through the Commonwealth connection; shared inheritances help us overcome difference so that diversity is a cause for celebration rather than division.”

Watch the video below to learn more:

 Image & video:

Cause of Listeria outbreak identified

By Ntsiki Ntsibande

South Africa’s Listeria outbreak is believed to be the largest-ever outbreak of the bacterial disease listeriosis, claiming 180 lives to date.

Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Sunday that the outbreak was traced to Enterprise’s Polokwane facility and Rainbow chicken facility in the Free State.

He also stated that further tests were needed as the sequence type was not yet known.
Motsoaledi had also confirmed that polony was a definite carrier of the disease, warning that products like Viennas, Russians, Frankfurters, other sausages and cold meats could also be affected due to the risk of cross contamination.
The disease was traced after several children presented with gastroenteritis in Soweto earlier in the week. It was found through test that they had listeriosis.

Latest stats from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) show that 948 cases detected and 180 deaths have been reported.

Listeriosis caused by the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes can contaminate animal products and fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables. Pregnant women, neonates, elderly people and anyone with weakened systems are at risk.

Members of the public have been advised to get rid of any Enterprise ready-to-eat products. Shoprite and Pick ‘n Pay indicated they are withdrawing all products linked to the source of the disease.

Tiger Brands confirmed that all Enterprise products, as identified, will be recalled.

“We are working very closely with the officials at present to conduct the process and will provide updates to the public on this matter,” said spokesperson Nevashnee Naicker in a statement.

Motsoaledi includes that the Enterprise facility in Germiston on the East Rand, and Rainbow chicken facility in the Free State has been singled out pending for more tests to determine the sequence type.

Additional reporting: News24

The Power Energy Contribution

In our changing energy resource landscape, the importance of energy co-operation and diplomacy among BRICS are essential for the bloc’s success and sustainability.

Energy co-operation among BRICS countries can significantly contribute to the success of BRICS as an economic bloc. For this to happen, an innovative BRICS energy co-operation plan must be developed which considers the following: the historical energy diplomacy of the BRICS countries, the dynamics of international energy markets and the changing
energy resource landscape for future energies which is being spurred by various factors, including the COP 21 agreement – also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference – which set a target to keep the rise in temperature of the earth’s atmosphere below 2°C.

BRICS should strive to promote energy security and sustainable development by finding ways to provide accessible,
affordable, reliable, and modern energy. Therefore, its energy policies must promote economic growth, support collaborations on energy technologies and reflect innovative financing models.

South Africa, in particular, has to look at energy co-operation in terms of including its diplomacy principles and its positioning as the BRICS gateway to the African continent, given that this country’s development is interlinked with that of the entire African continent.

Although BRICS is an alliance of five countries spanning four continents, member states differ in terms of their social, political and economic situations. According to Leonava et al (2007) (Armijo 2007), each BRICS state has its own growth trajectory and resources. As a result, energy consumption as an economic bloc varies according to each country’s individual needs.

In 2009, when the bloc was known as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) – before the inclusion of South Africa in 2010 – it accounted for a fifth of the world’s economy and 43% of the world’s population (Yao et al. 2009). After South Africa’s inclusion, the group as a collective consumed more energy than the G7 countries.

In this respect, two countries in BRICS – China and India – are set to change the global energy landscape because of their
consumption patterns. China remains the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal and looks poised to overtake the United States as the largest oil consumer by the 2030s. It also has a larger gas market share than the European Union.

Unlike China, India accounts for no more than 6% of global energy users. However, India is entering a sustained period of rapid growth in energy consumption due to increased demand for coal in power generation and industry. This makes India the largest source of growth in global coal use. It is also showing an increased demand for oil.

In preparing a successful energy co-operation plan within BRICS, past discussions – including those dating back
to the first BRIC summit, held in Russia in 2009 – must be considered:

»»In 2009, in Yekaterinburg in Russia, this joint statement was issued by BRIC at its inaugural summit: “We stand for
strengthening co-ordination and cooperation among states in the energy field, including among energy producers and
consumers and transit states, in an effort to decrease uncertainty and ensure stability and sustainability. We support diversification of energy resources and supply, including renewable energy, security of energy
transit routes and creation of new energy investments and infrastructure.”

»»The 2011 BRICS summit took place in Sanya on the island of Hainan, China. This is where the Sanya Declaration was
signed, emphasising the significance of co-operation in developing renewable energy resources. The bloc called for the
strengthening of international co-operation to stabilise energy prices.

»»In 2012, at the BRICS summit in Delhi, India, the Delhi Declaration was issued which cautioned against the risk of energy
price volatility.

»»In 2013, the Durban Action Plan was issued at the BRICS summit, held in South Africa.
It included energy as a new area of cooperation for BRICS.

For all these declarations, the following critical questions remain: How will BRICS
countries co-operate on energy? What are the constraints and opportunities involved?
How can an energy co-operation deal be ratified that takes into account the diverse
requirements of the bloc?

The full version of this article first appeared in Issue 4 of BRICS Journal, as part of our partnership with The National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS).

Secure the base: decolonise the mind

When Professor Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o delivered his speech on decolonising the mind in Johannesurg, South Africa, his message ignited much needed dialogue. We decided to share an excerpt from the moving speech so that dialogue continues beyond the borders of South Africa.

“So along with the economic and political empires, Europe simultaneously and consciously created empires of the mind through language ideologies and practices, empires in tune with their world view and practical needs.

They gave us their accents in exchange for their access to our resources. Or let me put it this way: Europe gave Africa
the resources of their accent; Africa gave Europe access to the resources of the continent. So when African intellectuals and leadership were busy perfecting their borrowed accents, Europe and the West were busy sharpening their instruments for access to the resources of the continent. Accents for Access: that, unfortunately, is the story of post-colonial Africa.

Has the metaphysical empire, or the empire of the mind, outlived the physical empire as envisioned by the advocates of the language spread? Metaphysical empires create colonies of the mind. The success of the empires of the mind, and their product, colonies of the mind, can be seen in the very defenders of the dominance of European languages over those of areas and regions outside Europe. In Africa today, the defenders are African intellectuals and policy makers.
ome of them act as if it is the English whose existence is being threatened by African languages: African languages interfere with the English accent.

Again, this is not new or unique to Africa. The defenders of English and arguments in favour of its dominance, come from the intellectual of the colonised periphery as a whole. In the case of English, this phenomenon first manifested itself in England’s Northern neighbour, Scotland. The eminent intellectuals of the 18th century Scottish enlightenment, Hume, Smith, et al waxed ecstatic about standardisation of English and its virtues for national formation and even as an imperial export.

But even among the Irish the greatest defenders of the language were latter-day Irish intellectuals.
Of course there is nothing wrong in wanting to take English or any other language as one’s own. I have always argued that each language, big or small, has its unique musicality; there is no language, whose musicality and cognitive potential, is inherently better than another.

African languages with all their different and unique musicalities are still in everyday use. What seems to horrify these intellectuals, the policy makers and the international financial services behind them, is the call for vigorous literary intellectual and eve scholarly reflection of that reality. Availability of more information, more knowledge, more skills in those languages otherwise in daily oral use will break up the nation. But the concentration of the same in English or French will somehow cement the nation. The result: pamper European languages; pauperise African languages. The entire African language speaking majorities are taxed directly or indirectly so that 90 percent of the resources available for language education can go to groom English accents. In some countries, African languages have been unceremoniously axed out of the curriculum or made into electives.

Some advocates of English dominance not only want it so but would actually like to see the literary disappearance of native languages altogether.

The explanation of this desire, death wish for one’s own language and the simultaneous categorical embrace of the dominant other, has to go beyond the uses or not of the languages in question. It probably lies in how that sense of dominance was brought about.

A common thread in the export of English in Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Africa was the constant association of extreme humiliation and negativity with native languages and the corresponding value and prestige associated with English in colonial education factories.

Corporal punishment, physical violence, was often meted to children caught speaking mother tongues in the school compounds, and additionally, made to perform acts of shame like carrying objects that proclaimed their stupidity or made to swallow filth in some cases. One set of languages was associated with defeat, shame, incoherence, savagery even, and the other, with modernity and science, with the human and conquest.

No wonder people would want to bask in the sunshine of the language of glory and hide
from those of shame and defeat.”

The full version of this article first appeared in issue 4 of BRICS Journal, as part of our partnership with The National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

President Xi Jinping remains ‘historic’ speeches are validated at Davos

Fu Jing in Davos, Switzerland
Displayed with permission from China Daily

Theme built on ‘shared future’ idea president unveiled in 2017

President Xi Jinping’s advocacy of a community with a shared future for mankind, an open economy, globalisation and fighting protectionism and isolationism has been widely welcomed and China has been transforming the proposals into action, said a senior Chinese official attending the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

Liu He, a member of Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, addressed the four-day annual meeting, which ends on Friday. Last year, Xi made speeches that were considered historic in Davos and Geneva.

“President Xi came here last year and delivered a speech entitled Jointly Shoulder Responsibility of Our Times, Promote Global Growth, in which he expounded on China’s firm support for economic globalisation,” said Liu, a top economic policy adviser as head of the General Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, responsible for mapping the country’s economic policies. “That speech was warmly received by the international community.”

Liu said that in line with Xi’s propositions in Davos, China has stood firm against all forms of protectionism in the past year.

He said China has strengthened protection of intellectual property rights, promoted fair competition, deepened the opening of financial markets and increased imports.

“With efforts to implement the Belt and Road Initiative, we are moving economic globalisation forward with concrete actions,” Liu said.

Liu said the theme of this year’s forum, Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World, is highly relevant.

He quoted Xi as saying, “As long as we keep to the goal of building a community with a shared future for mankind and work hand in hand to fulfil our responsibilities and overcome difficulties, we will be able to create a better world and deliver better lives for our people.”

While urging improved labour productivity and changes in the savings rate in large economies, Liu warned that deep-seated problems in the world economy have yet to be fixed and multiple risks and considerable uncertainties come from high debts, asset bubbles, protectionism and the escalation of regional and international hot spots.

“To meet these challenges, to keep the growth momentum, and to turn the cyclical recovery into sustainable growth, we need concerted global efforts,” Liu said. “History often repeats itself in different ways or keeps revisiting similar crossroads. It is crucial to make prudent and rational choices – choices that will serve mankind well.”

He advocated having an open mind and taking a strategic perspective in dealing with global challenges like climate change, disruptive technologies and terrorism.

“No country can cope with them alone. We need to enhance mutual understanding, tolerance and trust. And we must seek cooperation in a sensible and practical manner,” Liu said.

“We need to shape a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, and build a community with a shared future for mankind. We believe this is the only way that will lead us to prosperity.”

Angus Deaton, an economics professor at Princeton University, told China Daily that Xi’s concept of a shared future for mankind is a great vision. “I think China is doing what they can to make it happen,” said Deaton, recipient of the 2015 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, the police authority based in The Hague, said Xi’s call for a shared future is significant.

“I work very much in Europe with US partners, but that is not enough. I am very pleased about the positive positions that China has taken so far,” Wainwright said.

In his speech, Liu also said that high-quality growth, instead of high-speed development, will predominate in China’s development in the coming years.

Liu said China is preparing a new reform package that will be announced when China celebrates the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up this year.

Liu has said that the financial sector, manufacturing and services industries, intellectual property rights and imports are the four key sectors for China’s reforms this year.


Source: Repubhub/China Daily

Ministry drafts policies to promote self-driving vehicles

22 January 2018
Li Fusheng
Displayed with permission from China Daily

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is working on a draft document on autonomous driving, which is part of China’s efforts to promote the cutting-edge technology, according to a source close to the matter.

“The central government is eager to do it,” Wu Zhixin, vice-president of the China Automotive Technology & Research Center, told China Daily in an interview last week.

“The Beijing city government has released one and the central government will promulgate that before any local government will follow Beijing’s example.”

China expects smart cars with partial or fully autonomous functions to account for 50% of new vehicles sold in the country by 2020, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

The Beijing guideline on autonomous driving, which was released in late December, is the first document of its kind in the country.

It applies to independent entities registered in China, allowing them to test at most five vehicles at a time, but before conducting road tests they must first complete tests in designated closed zones, according to the guideline.

Wu said specific requirements about tests in closed zones have not been finished and his centre will organise experts in the field to conduct a comprehensive study soon.

“It is like we obtain our driving licenses. We must pass tests in closed zones before we are allowed to hit the road,” he said.

For the technology’s development, he suggested that a large scale of lower-level functions, or advanced driving assist systems, should be promoted first.

“We should start from the basics, like autonomous parking, which is easy to realise in simple scenarios like parking lots,” said Wu.

RELATED LINKS: VW will launch electric car in China soon

“We promote them, and then more people will use them. When more people use them, carmakers will have returns on investments so they will have the money to invest further.”

A lot of carmakers and tech companies have been pushing forward autonomous driving.

Baidu Inc has been moving ahead with the research and development of autonomous driving technology. In April 2017, it launched Apollo, an open platform on which its technologies can be shared with developers and automakers.

It also announced plans to unveil Level 3, or eye-of functions, in mass-produced cars by 2019 in cooperation with Chinese carmakers including JAC Motors and BAIC Motor.

China’s SAIC Motor is teaming up with Intel to develop autonomous cars based on its Mobileye technology.

Zhu Jun, general manager of Shanghai E-propulsion Auto Technology Co, a SAIC subsidiary that that develops electric and hybrid propulsion technologies, is cautious. He does not expect affordable cars with real autonomy, which means at Level 4 or above, to drive into daily life within 10 years because of technological issues and costs.

A Level 4 vehicle can drive itself almost exclusively without any human interaction, and a Level 5 vehicle can drive itself without human interaction on any road.

Zhu’s estimate is in line with the view of PwC consultancy subsidiary Strategy&, which predicts that from around 2027 highly or fully autonomous cars will become a reality in daily lives.

Source: Repubhub (China Daily 01/22/2018 page18)
[Photo provided to China Daily]

Cultural Centre Promotes African Week in Sao Paulo

Angola Press Agency Luanda Luanda
Displayed with permission from

The African Cultural Centre jointly with the consulates in Angola, South Africa, Cabo Verde, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Mozambique and Egypt, will hold on May 21-28 the African week in Sao Paulo city (Brazil), under the celelbration of the Africa Day.

This will be the first event of this kind to take place in Sao Paulo city, whose aim is to show to the Brazilian people the variious domains of the Africa capacities and potentialities, presenting a contemporary continent, thus divulging, valuing and promoting its African culture.

The event is also intended to eliminate stereotypes associated to African countries, disclose the African contributions on sectors such as economy, culture, gastronomy and contribute to boost business between Brazil and this continent.

Angola will be represented by Victoria Models and fashion designer, Loyd Ana Vasconcelos on behalf of AnaLoyd brand, participations are open to business people, artists, musicians, writers, painters, chefs, among others, promoting their art and the Angolan culture and values.