CLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile deviceAt Friday night’s Golden State Warriors game against the Denver Nuggets, Stephen Curry stood at center court during the halftime break with Riley Morrison, 9, of Napa, and Vivan Wu, a senior at Oakland Technical High School, all sporting Curry’s new International Women’s Day themed Curry 6 signature shoes.The two young women were honored for their accomplishments in celebration of International Women’s Day. Morrison …
Janine ErasmusThe Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) has pledged to make its cultural institutions fully accessible to the disabled, and is certainly putting its money where its mouth is – so to speak. Minister of Arts and Culture Pallo Jordan announced in December that R162 million was to be made available to upgrade facilities at its public institutions in order to make them easily accessible to those with disabilities. It is crucial that every single visitor to South Africa is able to indulge freely in cultural tourism. This has been identified by DAC as an important sector for growth and is one of the focus areas of its Investing in Culture programme.DAC will spend R162-million over the next three years on its cultural facilities to ensure that disabled people will not be excluded from enjoying the services on offer. The minister announced the plan as part of Government’s ongoing plan to improve the plight of people with disabilities, adding that the funds will be allocated in three stages over the next three years – R39 million for 2008, R43 million for 2009 and R80 million for 2010.South Africa’s Constitution, hailed as one of the most progressive to be found anywhere, offers equal inclusion in all aspects of society to everyone – including those with disabilities. However, the disabled still find themselves hampered on occasion because South African society has in past years been geared mostly towards the able-bodied, and the basic requirements of those who use wheelchairs or other aids to get around were not always accommodated. With the launch of its new initiative DAC is upholding the principles of the Constitution in this regard.“We have detailed information on the provision that has been made for the upgrading of security and access for persons with disabilities at the Department’s public entities,” said Jordan. “These would include places like museums, playhouses and other institutions that bring people together to not only enjoy artistic expressions but witness and experience the heritage of our beautiful country.”With the likes of the Iziko Museums of Cape Town, the Northern Flagship Institution (a group of cultural institutions based mostly in the Gauteng area), the National Library of South Africa, and all of South Africa’s World Heritage Sites falling under the jurisdiction and care of DAC, these important elements of South Africa’s cultural heritage will soon be undergoing any necessary modifications to make them more accessible.According to Jordan, “The upgrade of security and accessibility for persons with disabilities is a priority to make the arts accessible to all the people of the country.”Currently there are several policies in place for the benefit of the disabled. South Africa passed the Bill of Rights in 1992 – in Section 9(3) of the South African Bill of Rights a statement declares that “the state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language, and birth.”Cabinet then passed the Integrated National Disability Strategy in 1997, a document that provides guidelines in order to help the country achieve a human rights-based model of disability inclusion in South African society. In his foreword to the White Paper on the Integrated National Disability Strategy, then Deputy President Thabi Mbeki wrote, “Research estimates that between 5 and 12% of South Africans are moderately to severely disabled. Despite this large percentage of disabled people, few services and opportunities exist for people with disabilities to participate equally in society.”The Integrated National Disability Strategy was followed a year later by the Employment Equity Bill, which prohibits unfair discrimination on any grounds in any employment policy or practice.It is mostly pre-1994 buildings that will need to be renovated and adapted, as later structures were put up with disabled access already in place, including those sponsored by the ministry. Among these are the Luthuli Museum in Kwa-Dukuza, KwaZulu-Natal, for instance, which was designed with disabled access right from the planning stage.At present the department is in the process of ascertaining the requirements of its public entities in terms of security and accessibility, while a service provider will be appointed in the near future to report on the current status.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at [email protected] Useful linksDepartment of Arts and CultureDisabled People of South Africa
M-Pesa, the world’s largest mobile money network, has enabled millions of Africans to gain access to safe and secure banking solutions. The idea has become a pioneering innovation for the continent, and is now used as a model for similar systems around the world.Mobile money markets are hugely popular in Africa, offering easy, secure methods of payment and transfer of funds using simple text-based mobile technology. M-Pesa, a leader in the industry, celebrates 10 years of dominance in countries such as Kenya and Uganda. (Image: Flickr)CD AndersonLaunched by telecommunications group Vodafone/Safaricom in 2007, M-Pesa (“pesa” is Swahili for “money”) has become a way of life for 30 million Africans in 10 countries. More than 80% of Kenyans use the service. The network also enjoys market dominance in Tanzania and Uganda.The ingeniously simple method of money transfers made via cellphone messaging (SMS) has connected many to formal banking systems and enabled opportunities for small business and informal commerce, as well as played a part in helping to eradicate poverty, particularly in rural areas.The system uses simple, text-based technology available on older cellular phones. While more sophisticated mobile banking is the norm around the world, the simplicity of M-Pesa is that customers do not need bank accounts to use the network.The adoption and rise in popularity of mobile money networks in Africa has been steady. M-Pesa and its various competitor networks now not only include money transfers and other standard banking procedures, but also healthcare provision, access to international money markets and long-term lending.Tracking the growth of the mobile money market in Africa over the last 10 years. (Infographic: CNN)In 2016, according to Vodafone, M-Pesa was used in six billion transactions. Additionally, research by Digital Frontiers found a 22% drop in female-headed households living in poverty in areas with access to M-Pesa. The same study noted that the source of income for almost 200,000 women in rural areas shifted from the low-income, labour intensive agricultural sector to more prosperous small business creation. The research also showed an increase in saving and investing money through using the M-Pesa network.M-Pesa transactions are expected to surpass $1.3-billion (R17-billion) in the next three years, according to research by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.Tracking the growth of the mobile money market in Africa over the last 10 years. (Infographic: CNN)The future of mobile money markets presents both growth opportunities and challenges. Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore told CNN that the network wanted to focus on developing a better user experience, with an eye on increasing the use of smart device technology in Africa compared to standard text-based mobile technology.As with any innovative product, a focus on developing more ground-breaking mobile financial services is also a key objective. “One of the big problems has been the relative clumsiness of using M-Pesa,” Collymore said, adding that new, simpler solutions would work hand-in-hand with better technology, such as the “tap and pay” method and EMV smart chip cards.Another focus is breaking into new markets, the rest of Africa primarily, but also increasing its presence in Asia, Eastern Europe (M-Pesa is used in Romania and Albania, which has a large informal economy, often operating without bank accounts) and the Middle East.M-Pesa was introduced in South Africa in 2010, gaining more than a million users. It aimed to conquer a market of 13 million economically active people who did not use bank accounts. However, because of stricter banking regulations in South Africa, as well as the development of more tech-savvy banking products, the system found little foothold in the country.Tracking the growth of the mobile money market in Africa over the last 10 years. (Infographic: CNN)While more and more competing mobile and smart phone banking systems are aiming to provide services for larger transactions, M-Pesa aims to keep the focus on what made it the dominant, most longstanding player in the market, namely safe, convenient micro-banking (M-Pesa does not transact anything larger than $675 (R8,000).“The banking sector across the world has always ignored the so-called base of the pyramid. We haven’t because we understand that the base of the pyramid needs to be served and there’s also commercial viability in doing that.”Source: CNN, AFKInsiderWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Operation Hydrate in QwaQwa in the Free State making sure people are hydrated. (Image: Operation Hydrate Facebook)This summer, South Africa is in the grips of the severest drought in 20 years, coupled with one of the harshest heat waves the country has experienced. The towns of Senekal, in Free State, and Aliwal North, in Eastern Cape, for example, have run out of water.In response, Operation Hydrate was established by good Samaritans from various communities, NGOs, religious groups and companies to play their part in saving lives and easing the suffering of thousands of people.The initiative hopes to distribute over a million litres of water to the drought stricken Free State and parts of Eastern Cape.“We have distributed over 350 000 litres of water so far,” said Yaseen Theba, Operation Hydrate’s co-ordinator. “We cannot sit by idly as we watch our fellow South Africans die of thirst. As civil society we have the power to make a difference and help those in need when we unite around a common cause such as this.“The joy on the faces of those who have been receiving drinking water is remarkable and most humbling. Many have not had water for weeks.”South Africa’s farming communities have been the hardest hit by the drought and livestock are suffering and dying, while crops are withering.GOVERNMENT SUPPORTThe portfolio committee on water and sanitation supports Operation Hydrate and views it as a noble initiative that must have the support of society as a whole.It urges everyone, from individuals to big business, to contribute. “It is only through a commitment to mutual action that the country will overcome the current challenge of water scarcity,” said Mlungisi Johnson, the chairperson of the committee.In addition, the committee urged all South Africans to recommit to a culture of prudent water use. This recommitment, coupled with vigilance in relation to water leakages, would ensure that South Africa saved water that was currently being lost.CORPORATE SUPPORTProudly South African has thanked and applauded all the volunteers and donors involved in Operation Hydrate. It also encouraged businesses and corporates to dig deep to support the relief efforts.“At times like these we’re called upon to be of service to humanity and to respond to the basic needs of our people,” said chief executive Lesley Sedibe. “Among these are the promises of a better life and the restoration of (the) dignity of our people, which includes a basic human right such as access to water.“This initiative shows that many South Africans from all walks of life naturally band together to help their fellow countrymen and -women who are in desperate need of assistance. Despite the many challenges we face, Operation Hydrate also shows we are still a people of hope and humanity. Ultimately what unites us is far greater than our differences.”Mango, the low-cost subsidiary of SAA, has contributed to the initiative by giving water to the value of R500 000 for distribution through the initiative.“South Africans have always rolled up their sleeves with immense resolve and this initiative, created entirely through a critical mass on social media, prompted action,” said Mango chief executive Nico Bezuidenhout.“There is no question about the strength of the South African character and as an airline for all the people, Mango was inspired to participate in our usual hands-on fashion and is purchasing water from a percentage of ticket sales this week.”For information about helping or where to drop off water or send donations, visit the Operation Hydrate Facebook page, or follow @HydrateSA on Twitter, #OperationHydrate.Have you played your part to make South Africa better for all? Share your story with us.
WASHINGTON, United States of America – It’s a refrain frequently heard in Canada: That ending NAFTA wouldn’t change much in economic relations with the United States, because the countries could simply pull their older agreement off the shelf, dust it off, and persist in trade without tariffs.It’s also wrong, some analysts say.A few people interviewed this week disputed the idea that the original Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement of 1987 would automatically snap back into place if NAFTA disappears, an increasingly relevant topic as hostilities mount in the trilateral trade talks.“That’s so naive,” said Sarah Goldfeder, a former U.S. diplomat in Mexico and Canada who is following the trade negotiations at Earnscliffe Strategy Group in Ottawa, on the idea of an automatic snap-back.“You’d have to re-implement (the original agreement).”That would raise new challenges, she said. First of all, she said the current American political climate would not make for an easy re-implementation. She said there would be demands for a renegotiation within the U.S., and the parties would soon be back at the table struggling with many of the same sticking points.“There’s no way this (Trump) administration would do this (re-implementation) without negotiating a new agreement,” she said.“So you’re still going to have to negotiate all the same irritants.”The current talks have become bogged down amid huge gaps between the countries — and not only in material things like dairy, automobiles, and public works’ Buy American rules, but in basic philosophical differences on the architecture of a trade deal.The Trump administration’s proposals would make it easy to cancel the agreement within five years, and hard for countries to count on stable long-term access to each other’s markets.The president says he’ll cancel NAFTA if he can’t get a deal.Insiders now view termination as a real possibility, raising unprecedented procedural questions — like what the rules are for cancelling a trade deal and, of particular importance to Canadians, what the rules are for reviving an old one.The suspension of the old agreement was signalled in diplomatic notes exchanged between the countries. The 1993 notes were brief and vaguely worded. The countries complimented each other on their new deal with Mexico, and confirmed that each would make separate arrangements to suspend the old deal.The American suspension is laid out in Section 107 of the law implementing NAFTA in that country in 1994. The earlier deal negotiated by Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan was to be suspended, and, according to the law, it would remain suspended until such time as that suspension might be “terminated.”It doesn’t define how you “terminate” a suspension. But a trade consultant who two decades ago advised Canada’s parliamentary committee on NAFTA implementation said it obviously requires someone to do something.“It’s been suspended. Somebody has to un-suspend it,” Peter Clark said.That someone could be Congress. And even if Congress does successfully vote to re-introduce the old FTA, its vote would either require the approval of President Donald Trump, or an overwhelming, two-thirds majority vote in Congress to overcome a presidential veto.A Washington trade expert says lawmakers could also try sneaking bits of trade legislation into larger bills — it’s a common practice in American lawmaking to tack on unrelated items to a bill.But Eric Miller says his own congressional sources have already told him: American lawmakers would expect a vote on any FTA re-implementation. He’s warning Canadians now — over what he calls a dangerous complacency that there’s some insurance policy if NAFTA dies.“I think it’s highly questionable that this insurance policy will pay out, and pay out in full, in the case of an accident,” he said.“I’m highly doubtful the agreement would come back into place and everyone would be fine with it… If Congress believes they’re going to have to vote on it, then they’re going to have to vote on it.”The U.S. Constitution, after all, gives Congress the power over international commercial agreements. Historically, Congress has merely lent that power to the president, and worked out a compromise set of rules known as fast-track legislation.Now some analysts suggest the Congress could try wresting back its rightful power, block any Trump effort to cancel NAFTA, and avoid all this uncertainty over the 1993 deal, the 1987 deal, and trade in general.But a former U.S. trade czar expresses some doubt this will happen.Barack Obama’s trade representative Michael Froman points to the track record of this current Congress — which has failed to pass a single piece of policy legislation of any significance.“I think it would require a lot of action, a lot of consensus in Congress. And that may emerge,” Froman told the Council on Foreign Relations this week.“But so far, there haven’t been a lot of profiles in courage.”The end of free trade in North America would leave new tariffs averaging 3.5 per cent in the U.S., 4.2 in Canada, and 7.1 in Mexico. Some analysts say that would reduce Canada’s GDP by about 2.5 per cent on a long-term basis.
By Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsA Manitoba First Nation branded “American Indian refugees” by Ottawa has turned to the sale of Mohawk-made cigarettes and a casino to raise revenue for their cash-strapped community and escalate their battle with the federal government.Canupawakpa First Nation has struck a deal to sell cigarettes from Rainbow Tobacco, a Kahnawake, Que., tobacco company already fighting tax authorities in three other provinces.Canupawakpa Chief Frank Brown said the community, which is about 100 kilometres southwest of Brandon, Man., will begin selling Wolfpack and Deerfield cigarettes at a new smoke shop and casino unveiled Wednesday and set up near Hwy 2 and Hwy 83.The First Nation plans to sell the cigarettes and operate their casino outside Manitoba tax laws.Brown said the Dakota are a sovereign nation that never signed away any of their rights.“We are the non-treaty,” said Brown. “What we are saying is…Canada if we don’t have a treaty with you, we still hold title to our land before Canada came and we have rights, we have privileges.”Brown said the First Nation plans to sell tax-free cigarettes from their smoke shop to non-First Nations people.Brown said the First Nation will levy their own tax on the cigarettes and casino operations, which currently includes a Blackjack table, to generate revenue for his cash-strapped community of about 600. There are also plans to bring in VLTs.“Our finances are tight. We cannot finance houses for our people and our education,” said Brown. “We need to survive and live.Rainbow Tobacco president Robbie Dickson is already fighting tax authorities in three provinces.Rainbow Tobacco cigarettes have been seized in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) charged Dickson and two other men linked to his company in April with allegedly importing cigarettes into Alberta without a license.RCMP and AGLC agents seized 16 million Rainbow Tobacco cigarettes from the Montana First Nation in Alberta in January.The chief of the First Nation, Carolyn Buffalo, was also charged in connection to the raid.In July, AGLC agents and the RCMP also raided a gas bar in Sturgeon Lake First Nation, Alta., and seized Rainbow Tobacco cigarettes.Dickson said the raids and seizures won’t stop his fight to assert his rights to establish a tobacco trade between First Nations that is unencumbered by provincial tax laws.“We can sustain this as long as it is going to take. We are gaining support from all our people, from all the nations from all the territories. It is a fight that has to be won,” he said. “It comes down to jurisdiction. They have no rights on our territories. The Dakota and Mohawks have never signed any treaties with these foreign governments so our sovereignty is fully intact.”The Assembly of First Nations has also backed Dickson’s position.Brown said he’s not worried about a police raid.“Either they don’t raid us, that is good, but if they raid us that is good too,” said Brown. “If they raid us and seize and confiscate and charge, what laws are they using against? There is no process with non-treaty in Canada, so what laws are they going to legally use.”The Dakota never signed onto the numbered treaties that cover large swaths of Ontario, the prairies and the Northwest Territories.They are currently in Federal Court to affirm Aboriginal rights and title to their claimed traditional territory and to force Ottawa into negotiations for compensation and reparations.The Dakota also want Ottawa to admit they are not “American Indian refugees” in Canada, according to the statement of claim filed in 2009.The federal government, however, holds that the Dakota “do not have Aboriginal title, rights, entitlement or legal interest in lands situated in Canada that they claim to be part of the ‘territories of the Dakota Nation,’” according to the statement of defence.The case is [email protected]