SA records a trade surplus in November

From the SA Press Association: South Africa recorded a trade surplus of R770 million in November 2013, the SA Revenue Service said on Monday. The surplus for November 2013 could be attributed to exports of R86.6 billion and imports of R85.8bn. Exports increased from October to November by R4.3bn (5.3 percent) and imports decreased by R8.3bn (8.8 … Read more

ANC makes Pretoria’s name change a 2014 priority

From SA Press Association: The ANC has placed changing Pretoria’s name high on its list of priorities for 2014, Beeld reported on Monday. The party in Tshwane would “act decisively” to ensure the Pretoria/Tshwane debacle was concluded in the new year, a senior African National Congress official in the region told the newspaper. The metro … Read more

Dying on the job: 70 journos killed in 2013

By David Caruso of Associated Press: At least 70 journalists were killed on the job around the world in 2013, including 29 who died covering the civil war in Syria and 10 slain in Iraq, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The dead in Syria included a number of citizen journalists working to document … Read more

China bans its officials from smoking in public

From Associated Press: BEIJING – China has banned its officials from smoking in public to set an example to the rest of the country that has the world’s largest number of smokers. The official Xinhua News Agency said that officials are not allowed to smoke in schools, hospitals, sports venues, on public transport or any … Read more

After ANC break, NUMSA not embracing Malema

From the SA Press Association: Numsa, which has been openly critical of the ANC and President Jacob Zuma, has expressed wariness at aligning itself with the EFF, the Sunday Independent reported. “Whatever his class position now, [Malema] has recently been a capitalist,” National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim reportedly said. … Read more

Unrepentant Jantjie: “I’m the great fake”

From the SA Press Association: The bogus sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, Tamsanqa Jantjie, has called himself “a great fake”. “Even if they call me a fake, but I am the great fake because I expose what is going on in the government and system,” Jantjie is heard saying in a video … Read more

Dagga goes on sale legally in Colorado

By Kirsten Wyatt of Associated Press: The first batch of Denver businesses approved to sell recreational marijuana got their licenses Friday, the owners mugging for pictures and saying they never thought they’d see the day when they’d get a permit to sell pot. Applause broke out and cameras whirred when the first license was issued … Read more

Zim Ambassador defects, seeks asylum

From SA Press Association: Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Australia is seeking political asylum after denouncing President Robert Mugabe’s government as “illegitimate.” Jacqueline Zwambila said Saturday she feared for her safety if she returned after Mugabe’s Zanu-PF Party won the July parliamentary elections. Zwambila, who has served in Canberra since 2009, said she had not been offered … Read more

China adjusts 2013 growth, heading lower in 2014

From SA Press Association: A Chinese state news agency says the Cabinet has estimated this year’s economic growth edged down to 7.6 percent and warned it faces pressure to decline further. The Xinhua News Agency on Thursday cited a Cabinet report to China’s legislature that said growth declined from 7.7 percent in 2012. That was above … Read more

Richard Branson: Boycott anti-gay Uganda

  Virgin’s founder Richard Branson has written a fierce response to the Ugandan anti-gay legislation. He is calling for strong action by the global community. The blog, which by Tuesday afternoon had attracted over 200 comments, is republished in full below.   By Richard Branson* Ugandan MPs have passed a new law making homosexuality punishable … Read more