Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Articles from "The Herald" -- P.E.'s Daily Newspaper

Yesterday I bought a newspaper to get a feel for what's happening in S.A. I've summarized some of the article I found interesting:

        Bring in the army to fight poaching.  The author is appalled at the slaughter of rhino and the apparent lack of proactive steps to prevent the slaughter and potential extinction of this magnificent species. Shavings of rhino horn and powdered rhino horn are considered a cure-all for a variety of day to day complaints in China. Tests have concluded that rhino horn has no effect on the human body whatsoever so why does poaching continue?  Because of the demand for rhino horn in Asia.  Three species have already been decimated there and now the move is down the African continent. The animals are shot and their horns hacked off.  This happened close to home recently in Kariega, a local game park here. Given the cost of a stolen or post conflict surplus firearms and the plethora of these available to would be poachers, it is no wonder there are so many operating at present, and this excludes what to my mind is the lowest of low, the ranger turned poacher.  Rhino poaching may be properly categorized as low risk, high reward activity.  Our country should be doing more to protect these animals.

Moroccan rape victim's suicide sparks demands for law reform.  Some 200 Moroccan women staged an angry protest outside parliament in Rabat on Saturday, a week after the suicide of a 16-year-old girl who was forced to marry the man who raped her.  The protesters shouted "Martyr Amina," "The Law Killed Me" and "We Are all Aminas", as they called for changes to a penal code that allows a rapist to stay out of jail if he marries his victim with the consent of her parents.
     The suicide of Amina al-Filali, who drank a lethal amount of rat poison, sent shock waves through Morocco and sparked widespread calls for reform of a law that ostensibly defends family values.  Families of rape victims under the age of 18 often agree to such a union because the loss of a girl's virginity outside of marriage is considered a dishonour to her family.
    Amina's father said at a public protest that he had opposed the union but his wife had insisted, "She said we had to do it so people would stop deriding us, to remove the shame.  The protesters signs read, "Women's Dignity. End Sexual Harassment."  But "It's the law, an absurd, grotesque social rule, that tries to remedy an evil--rape--with another more repugnant one, marrying the rapist."  The women called for this law to be repealed.

Harsher penalties for buying stolen goods  Second Hand dealers and pawn shops have been warned that new legislation being introduced next month could see them jailed for up to 10 years if they bought stolen goods. The warnings follow the implementation of the new Second-Hand Goods Act, which will enable courts totimpose harsher sentences on criminals who steal goods, as well as anyone who buys stolen goods from them.  The law has been welcomed specifically for the impact it would have in curbing the theft of copper wire, which has cost Telkom about R1.9 billion since 2006.  (Copper wire was stolen when we were in Cape Town cutting electricity to the home of the mission president.)

5km walk for a sip of water. Imagine being just six years old and having to walk 5km from school for a sip of water, or using the school toilet and picking up an infection because it is just so filthy.  These are but two examples of the shocking conditions that thousands of children have to deal with at schools around the country.  Most learners use the fields because the toilets are unusable

One drug mule returns, another goes to prison  SA headmistress incarcerated in UK for smuggling cocaine.  As Anneline Mouton touched down at Cape Town International Airport after spending 10 years behind bars for drug smuggling in Mauritius, another South African, headmistress Annebella Momple, started her sentence in the UK for trying to smuggle in cocaine. Both women had been lucky Mouton's father Dan said, he had watched the news in horror last year when Janide Linden from KwaZulu-Natal was executed in China for trying to smuggle tik into the country.  Momple was headmistress of Carrington Primary School.

ANC calls for education officials shake up  The ANC has lambasted the Eastern Cape's woeful education system, saying its poor administration is unacceptable.  The department failed to provide documentation to the auditor general to back up payments worth more than R6-billion during the 2010-11 financial year.  "We cannot have a department that's declared unauditable by the auditor-general yet it has a chief financial officer." He called on Eastern Cape teachers to go back to class and do what they were paid to do -- teach, instead of having a "negative" effect.  But he conceded there were a number of things such as non-payment and lack of equipment that took up teaching time, with teachers trying to resolve problems that should be solved by education department employees.  "When teachers are in class they mustn't worry about their salaries -- that's somebody else's job."  (Everything I have read indicates there is corruption at all levels of government.  Syster Nye, a former principal, received donations from elementary children.  She reported that three women from the school board arrived bedecked in diamond rings and gold barceletts.)

Vital poll for impoverished Guinea-Bissau.  Stability needed to ensure international aid.  Guinea-Bissau began voting yesterday for a new president, an office nobody has held for a full five-year term in the West African state where chronic instability has fed a booming cocaine trade.  The election and its aftermath will provide a key test for the poor former Portuguese colony which needs to prove its stability to usher in crucial international aid for reforms to a bloated and powerful army.  Since independence from Portugal in 1974, three presidents have been overthrown by coups, and one was assassinated in office in 2009.  The army has never been downsized and has been in constant, often deadly, competition with the state. Taking up about 10% of the national budget, the military gets more money than health or education.  A mutiny by renegade soldiers in April 2010 prompted the European Union and the U.S. to suspend crucial budgetary and security reform support - leaving much hanging on a smooth election and post-pool reforms. . .

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