Fire guts Ridley’s Restaurant

first_imgFire on Tuesday evening engulfed Ridley’s Restaurant which is located on Robb Street and was slated to be reopened soon.According to reports, neighbours heard an explosion and saw thick smoke billowing from the building at about 19:15h. They broke a glass window and subsequently entered the building. The Guyana Fire Service arrived on the scene shortly after and was able to contain the fire.In an effort to gain access to the building, firefighters reportedly cut through the aluminum security shutter using an electric saw.While the cause of the fire is not immediately known, investigations are expected to be launched to determine its origin.last_img read more

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Rice reassures wary Arab leaders that U.S. won’t pull out of Iraq quickly

first_imgSHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt – Visiting U.S. Cabinet officers, hearing blunt concerns from nervous Arab leaders Tuesday, assured them the U.S. will not abruptly withdraw troops from Iraq and trigger chaos that could spread across the Gulf region. Even as an increasingly impatient Congress presses for troops to come home, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said they told Gulf leaders that President George W. Bush will take the region’s stability into account as he plans long-term strategy for Iraq. “There clearly is concern on the part of the Egyptians, and I think it probably represents concern elsewhere in the region, that the United States will somehow withdraw precipitously from Iraq, or in some way that is destabilizing to the entire region,” Gates told reporters after he and Rice wrapped up meetings with Egypt’s top leaders. Gates, in fact, seemed to open the door a bit wider toward a more gradual pullout – something commanders in Iraq have been angling for of late – saying he is sensing greater openness on Capitol Hill to a more careful, deliberate withdrawal. “While there are still strong advocates clearly of withdrawal, some of withdrawing very quickly, what I have begun to hear is more and more undertones, even from those who oppose the president’s policies,” of the need to consider the consequences of a policy change and “the dangers inherent in doing it unwisely,” said Gates. A number of his commanders in Iraq have made similar pleas for patience and caution in recent weeks, saying that while they believe the recent buildup of U.S. forces has begun to have an effect, they need more time to ensure the momentum does not reverse. Gates and Rice made a rare joint tour of key Arab friends to renew long-standing pleas for more regional support for Iraq’s struggling government. Many of the largely Sunni Arab states regard Iraq’s Shiite-led government with suspicion, and have dragged their feet on fulfilling pledges of financial and other aid. The crux of the argument Bush’s advisers are making is that the ripple effects of chaos and failure in oil-rich Iraq would make it worth the allies’ risk to get involved. The duo – who traveled together late Tuesday on Gates’ plane from Egypt to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah – wrapped up sessions with nine allies in Egypt with no new specific promises of help, but Rice said she heard the right expressions of support after a gathering of several nations listed as recipients of an expanded aid and weapons package for friendly states in the region. Iraq’s Arab neighbors repeated a general pledge to promote stability in Iraq, torn by more than four years of war and bitter sectarian divisions that have killed thousands and driven far more from their homes. While they won no specific new promises of Arab help for struggling Iraq on Tuesday, Rice said she heard the right expressions of support after a gathering of several nations listed as recipients of an expanded aid and weapons package for friendly states in the region. “I think we know what the obligations of the neighbors are,” Rice said, adding that Egypt and other U.S. allies are working to meet past promises of relief for Iraq’s heavy international debt, additional foreign aid and help tamping down violence inside Iraq. A statement issued after a nine-nation meeting promised only “to continue to support Iraq and expand their financial and political support,” and restated a general commitment to blocking would-be terrorists and financing that supports them from entering Iraq. “The … commitment was always to help a united Iraq to reach that point of full stability, and that we have been trying to do over the last four years,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said after the meeting.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Rice said they told the allies that Bush’s Iraq policies “have at their core an understanding of the fundamental importance of a stable Iraq to the stability of this region.” Those concerns, she said, will be a priority for Bush as he awaits the upcoming report from commanders and officials in Iraq, due in September. During a joint press conference at this luxurious Red Sea resort, the two Cabinet secretaries also said their double-barreled show of diplomatic and military support for friendly Arab allies this week is not a shot across Iran’s bow. “We are out here to talk about the long term,” Gates said as he and Rice began two days of meetings among Persian Gulf allies and Egypt. Gates noted that U.S. relationships in the Gulf and beyond predate the current unease over Iran’s ambitions and influence. If Iran perceives the joint visit and U.S. overtures differently, “that’s in the eye of the beholder,” Gates said. The defense secretary also said that in the past few weeks he has heard more sounds of caution from lawmakers when talking about how the U.S. will eventually leave Iraq. last_img read more

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Suspects sought in gang slaying

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m. Los Angeles police today sought two suspects in the apparent gang-related shooting death of a 22-year-old man in Jefferson Park. Moises Arias of Los Angeles died yesterday in the roughly 5:45 p.m. shooting in front of 2818 S. Bronson Ave., according to police and coroner’s Lt. John Kades. A police spokesman said two suspects got away in a black Acura. For the latest news and observations on crime in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, check out the Daily News’ crime blog by clicking here.last_img read more

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Editorial: Easy pickings

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts. THE spate of high-dollar robberies around the San Fernando Valley should come as no surprise to anyone. With its wide open spaces and low cop-to-square-mile ratio, the Valley offers easy pickings to criminals who want to hit a business and be gone before the police are anywhere close. Takeover robberies of restaurants have been particularly popular, as gunmen find they can run in, strip everyone of valuables and be out well in time to evade capture. This is a direct result of the Valley’s being shorted a fair share of police service for decades. Because the Valley has less crime overall, it has traditionally been allotted far fewer patrols and officers per square mile than anywhere else in the city. If the authorities want to stop this robbery spree, they are going to have to assign more cops to the Valley – and not just for the short term – to make it tougher for the bad guys to get away. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Selichot inspires change

first_imgNORTHRIDGE – Changes of the heart and soul will be on the minds of Jews who attend tonight’s Selichot services at local temples and synagogues. Selichot, a Hebrew word meaning forgiveness, are the prayers recited the month before Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown Friday. “Selichot is the opening event of the High Holy Days. It’s part of the process to open our minds up to forgiving others and asking them for forgiveness,” said Rabbi Michael Graetz, recently hired as interim rabbi at Temple Ramat Zion in Northridge. “The High Holy Days is a season of personal accounting to redress what you’ve done wrong. The goal of the High Holy Days is a sense of personal and moral renewal after having righted any wrongs you’ve made. It’s a very powerful feeling to start over and be a clean person. Selichot is where these themes are put forward.” The Conservative Jewish congregation has been going through a transition itself, after the death last year of its senior rabbi, Steven Tucker. Graetz, who served for more than 30 years as rabbi at Kehillat Magen Avraham in Omer, Israel, brings his rabbinic and scholarly talents to the congregation for one year. “We’re in the process of change right now. Rabbi Graetz is not here to change us but to help us understand what kind of a rabbi we want in the future,” said Bob Rosen, president of Temple Ramat Zion. “He is well-written and well-known, and we’re excited about what he brings to our adult-education program.” Rosen lauded Cantor Paul Dorman for his spiritual leadership after Tucker’s death. Dorman, in his third year at the temple, said Temple Ramat Zion is an evolving congregation. “I don’t like the word ‘change’ because that implies getting rid of something. I like ‘transforming.’ This is a transforming congregation,” Dorman said. “We try to respond to contemporary life. We’re progressive.” “Every day there is a time and a chance to become a new person, but most people don’t do that. This is a time set aside to focus on who you are, what you are, what you want to be and how are you going to make yourself, your community, and the world better. The new year is a time of rebirth and renewal.” The Selichot service, described as short and somber by Graetz, begins at 10 tonight. A musical program and a discussion titled “What is God?,” led by Graetz, will be held at 8:30 p.m. “Modern people have a hard time thinking about the ‘G’ word. There are so many theories out there about God. I want to point people to the liturgy to look at the ways that God is called: King, Father,” Graetz said. “My other point is to get them to ask themselves: ‘How can I relate to what God is called? And if I can’t use those words, what name will I use for God?’ “ Graetz was ordained and made an Aliyah, a return to Israel, in 1967. His insights about living and working in Israel are part of what intrigued the congregation at Temple Ramat Zion. “I think my No. 1 strength is teaching and helping people to understand Jewish traditions in both the abstract and concrete life,” Graetz said. “What has struck me is that there is a very strong sense of care and commitment to the congregation. It’s not my agenda to innovate. My agenda is for community.” Selichot program, 8:30 p.m.; service, 10 p.m. today, Temple Ramat Zion, 17655 Devonshire St., Northridge. Call (818) 360-1881 or see www.trz.org. holly.andres@dailynews.com (818) 713-3708 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possible160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Neil Lennon: Hibs are going for second in Premiership

first_imgNeil Lennon says Hibernian’s intention next season is to finish second in the Premiership.The newly promoted side will take part in Scotland’s top flight after a three-year absence. They were relegated in the play-off final on penalties in May 2014. Lennon is setting his targets high and believes the club could finish “best of the rest” if they prepare well enough during the summer break. Speaking on BT Sport’s Scottish Football Extra show, the Hibs manager was asked if his side could finish second and above Edinburgh rivals Hearts. “Our challenge is first of all top six then can we progress from there but I want to finish best of the rest.” “That’s the intention,” he responded. “It’s important we keep momentum. “What the players have shown over the last two years, particularly in the cup competitions when they’ve played against Premiership opposition, they can certainly hold their own if not better.”When asked if second place was realistic for Hibs he continued: “I think it depends how well we recruit. “We’ve had a good look at Aberdeen this season, we’ve played Hearts over two games and they are teams who are there or thereabouts. I think Rangers will be stronger next season. last_img read more

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New mains water supply as part of €40million investment in Donegal

first_imgMinister Joe McHugh has confirmed vital works will take place in the coming months on mains water services to guarantee supplies to homes, businesses and tourism firms in north-west Donegal.Over the coming weeks and months the mains water supply to Portnablagh will be replaced with a new, modern system.Minister McHugh said “This vital upgrade will replace the old pipes that are in poor condition. It will secure water supplies to local homes and businesses in time for the busy summer months. “Most importantly it will ensure there’s no disruption to supplies when they are most in demand, particularly as it offers guarantees to the likes of the Shandon Hotel & Spa which employs more than 120 people during the high season.“I’ve raised concerns over the supply in the Portnablagh area with Irish Water and the impact that it was having on businesses, particularly those reliant on the summer visitors.“But credit to Irish Water for acting on the concerns of local people and putting plans in place for the contractor Farrans to have the new mains at Marble Hill replaced and pumping supplies before the end of June.“The new mains at Marble Hill and supplying Portnablagh is part of a €40million investment in new pipes, services, mains and supplies by Irish Water in Co Donegal this year. The spend is massive and the impact at a local level will be even greater when homes and businesses know they have a high quality, reliable service.” New mains water supply as part of €40million investment in Donegal was last modified: January 15th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalPortnablaghwaterlast_img read more

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Columbus Catholic girls basketball rolls past Marion in WIAA Division 5 regional quarterfinal

first_imgDons play at Wausau Newman on Friday in regional semifinalBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterMARSHFIELD — After a sluggish start, Marshfield Columbus Catholic got it together and used its strong defense to whip Marion 57-23 in a WIAA Division 5 girls basketball regional quarterfinal on Tuesday night at Columbus Catholic High School.The Dons held Marion (6-17) to 16 percent shooting (8 of 50) and forced 18 turnovers in the victory.Columbus Catholic (13-10) moves on to a D-5 regional semifinal at Wausau Newman Catholic (19-4) on Friday. The game, which starts at 7 p.m., will be broadcast on WOSQ-FM 92.3 and wdlbwosq.com.Columbus led 5-4 after a slow 5½ minutes to start the game before it began to turn up the heat.Marissa Immerfall and Hailey Roehl each scored four points in a 10-0 run for the Dons, and they eventually opened up a 24-7 lead as they held Marion without a made field goal for 12 minutes.“I keep stressing defense and ball pressure,” Columbus coach Rhonda Keding said. “It doesn’t matter who has the ball. You have to give them ball pressure. If you do good things on defense, usually good things on offense comes with it.”Natalie Pospyhalla hit a 3-pointer in the final minute of the half to put the Dons up 27-11 at the break, and the dominance continued in the second half.Columbus went on a 12-2 run over the first five minutes to go up 39-13 and had another 7-0 run later in the half to close out the win.Baylie Neider had 12 points and eight rebounds, Roehl scored 10 off the bench, and Pospyhalla also had 10 points for Columbus. The Dons finished with a 52-26 rebounding advantage as Morgan Albrecht and Kendra Baierl both had eight rebounds each in the win.Newman, which finished second in the Marawood Conference South Division, provides a tough opponent for Columbus as it looks to continue its postseason run.“There are some weaknesses and some strengths with them (Newman),” Keding said. “They do a 1-2-2 three-quarters press. It’s not too tough, but they can do some damage with it. We just have to take care of the ball against it. They have some good outside shooters and a good inside-outside game. At this point, it’s whoever shows up has a chance to win.”(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)Dons 57, Mustangs 23Marion 11 12 – 23Columbus Catholic 27 30 – 57MARION (23): Kendra Barrow 1-5 0-1 2, Bridget Bazile 0-5 3-4 3, Tessa Brei 0-5 0-0 0, Kali Haufe 0-2 0-0 0, Ciara Peebles 0-0 0-0 0, Abby Polzin 3-13 0-0 7, Megan Radcliffe 0-0 0-0 0, Morgan Radcliffe 0-0 0-0 0, Camille Radies 3-11 0-2 6, Elizabeth Radtke 0-0 0-0 0, Emily Sawall 1-9 3-6 5, Mollie Schoen 0-0 0-0 0, Kyla Zillmer 0-0 0-1 0. FG: 8-50. FT: 6-14. 3-pointers: 1-9 (Polzin 1-7, Haufe 0-1, Radies 0-1). Rebounds: 26 (Sawall 7). Turnovers: 18. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: none. Record: 6-17.COLUMBUS CATHOLIC (57): Taylor Tolppi 0-0 0-0 0, Annika Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Morgan Albrecht 1-12 1-2 3, Hailey Roehl 2-4 6-6 10, Baylie Neider 4-9 1-2 12, Maren Seefluth 1-3 1-3 3, Kendra Baierl 2-5 0-1 4, Addison Baierl 1-2 0-0 2, Makenzie Hansen 0-0 0-0 0, Katie Hall 1-1 0-0 2, Natalie Pospyhalla 4-11 0-0 10, Zoe Stratman 0-1 0-0 0, Marissa Immerfall 4-10 3-4 11. FG: 20-58. FT: 12-18. 3-pointers: 5-17 (Neider 3-6, Pospyhalla 2-5, Albrecht 0-5, A. Baierl 0-1). Rebounds: 52 (Albrecht 8, Neider 8, K. Baierl 8, Pospyhalla 8). Turnovers: 16. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: none. Record: 13-10.last_img read more

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Kruger Park marks 110 years

first_imgAnimals have right of way on the roads ofthe Kruger Park. (Image: Mary Alexander,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For morephotos, visit the image library.) A lilac-breasted roller in the Kruger Park.The Kruger is known for its spectacularbirding as well as game viewing.(Image: Mary Alexander,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For morephotos, visit the image library.)Janine ErasmusThe flagship of the South African National Parks organisation celebrated 110 years of conservation over three weeks in June 2008. The world-renowned Kruger National Park, established in 1898, is the largest game reserve in South Africa and is now a part of the 35 000km² Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park with no internal borders that joins the Kruger to Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park and the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.The three-week-long celebration period, held in various places throughout the region, was planned to give as many people as possible the chance to join in the festivities.At the final ceremony in Skukuza, the Kruger’s main rest camp and administrative headquarters, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk and other dignitaries paid tribute to the park and to the people who have helped make it one of the country’s most valuable tourism assets as well as a respected contributor to conservation efforts over the years.“There is no doubt in my mind that the park holds a special place in everyone’s hearts,” said Van Schalkwyk, “and over the last 110 years it has become an icon for the country on many levels, including conservation, tourism and national pride”.The minister added that the park received over 1.3-million visitors during the last financial year. In 2003 the number of tourists to the park exceeded a million for the first time, a feat that has been achieved every year since then.Tackling the issue of global warming and how it affects the park, Van Schalkwyk explained that plans are in place to “assess how the planning, management and expansion of our national parks can build resilience to climate change. Increasingly, we are integrating a greater variety of habitats and altitudes that reduce the risks to endemic species into our protected areas design.”Celebrating natural and cultural diversityOther items at the Skukuza event included a drill demonstration by the Kruger Park ranger corps, performances by dancers of various cultures from around the park, a performance of the special Kruger Park song by the park’s own choir and the cutting of the birthday cake.The Kruger Park song, titled “Great Wilderness Great”, was commissioned especially for the event and was composed by songwriter Shalati Joseph Khosa of Ba-Phalaborwa. “The Kruger Park is a huge inspiration to me and I feel that it is one of our nation’s most valuable heritage assets, so it was a natural step for me to write this song,” said Khosa.During the course of the celebrations the South African Mint introduced the 2008 gold Krugerrand. The Krugerrand is a 22-carat gold coin weighing one troy ounce, with smaller denominations also available. The first coin was struck at the Mint in 1967.The 2008 coin was manufactured with an antique hand-press, used by former South African president Paul Kruger’s government-in-exile to create money during its hostilities with the British forces around the time of the South African War (1899 – 1902). The current edition features a “110 Years KNP” logo, and 110 of these coins have been allocated to Kruger Park visitors, who will obtain them on a first-come-first-serve basis by filling out an order form available at all entrance gates.As big as a countryCovering almost 19 000km², the Kruger National Park is comparable in size to the whole of Wales or Israel. It came into being in 1898 but was then known as the Sabie Game Reserve. Development came a standstill during the South African War, but afterwards the victorious British took up the reins again, tasking Major James Stevenson-Hamilton in 1902 with the responsibility of looking after the area.Stevenson-Hamilton, the first warden of the park, retired in 1946 after holding the post for 44 years. He is commemorated in the name of the park’s main rest camp Skukuza, which is a Xitsonga word meaning “he who sweeps clean” and refers to his tireless efforts to control poaching.The warden worked hard to gain official status for the park and in 1926 his efforts were rewarded when the government passed the National Parks Act and proclaimed the Kruger National Park, naming it after the president at the time, Paul Kruger.Stevenson-Hamilton was joined in 1902 by new assistant warden Harry Wolhuter, who famously survived an attack from two lions in 1904, armed with nothing more than a pocketknife. He killed the first lion with the weapon and his dog kept the second lion at bay until help arrived. The knife and the lion skin can be seen in the Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Museum at Skukuza.Biodiversity hotspotAs well as now forming part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, the Kruger is also part of the Kruger to Canyons biosphere, an area designated as such by the United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation under its Man and Biosphere programme. Biosphere reserves are recognised internationally as important areas for conserving biological diversity and developing the necessary scientific and technical knowledge, as well as human values, for successful conservation efforts.The Kruger to Canyons biosphere, encompassing a remarkable 55% of South Africa’s total terrestrial biodiversity, is located in eastern South Africa and bridges the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. It contains a diversity of landscapes, ranging in altitude from more than 2km above sea level along the Drakensberg escarpment to 300m above sea level nearer the coast.The reserve is home to more than 1.5-million people, and in addition to accommodating a variety of animals including rare antelope such as Tsessebe, Sable and Roan, it is one of the few remaining viable habitats for the African wild dog, the continent’s most endangered predator.The Big Five and Little FiveKnown for spectacular sightings of the famous Big Five (African elephant, lion, Cape buffalo, leopard and black or white rhino), the Kruger Park offers incomparable game viewing, with about 145 animal species, 110 reptile species, and more than 500 bird species occurring in the area. In addition to the Big Five, all major African big game species are found here, including hippopotamus, giraffe, zebra, warthog, many antelope species, and large carnivores including cheetah, wild dog and spotted hyena.For those who enjoy a challenge, the area is also home to the Little Five (buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise, ant lion and rhino beetle) and the birding Big Six (ground hornbill, kori bustard, lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, Pel’s fishing owl and saddle-bill stork).The park is divided into six ecosystems: baobab sandveld, mopane scrub, lebombo knobthorn-marula bushveld, mixed acacia thicket, combretum-silver clusterleaf woodland on granite and riverine forest. Altogether it has 1 982 species of plants, some of which are the baobab, kiaat tree, fever tree, knobthorn, marula and mopane trees.The Kruger Park offers accommodation to suit the needs and preferences of just about anyone, ranging from five-star luxury to self-catering bungalows, tented camps, and caravans.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Useful linksThe Kruger National ParkSouth African National ParksKruger to Canyons biosphereGreat Limpopo Transfrontier ParkSouth African National ParksPeace Parks FoundationDepartment of Environmental Affairs and TourismSouth African MintRand Refinery (Krugerrand producer)last_img read more

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More than just another BRIC in the wall

first_img25 July 2011 South Africa is set to benefit in the next 10 to 15 years from major investment in infrastructure and manufacturing from the BRICS grouping – Brazil, Russia, India, China and now SA – which represents 42% of the world’s population and 18% of its GDP. South Africa’s invitation to join the group last September – and its high-profile inclusion at a well-orchestrated summit in Beijing in mid-April – has put South Africa in the league of the world’s fastest-growing and potentially most influential group of nations. The four founding BRICS differ widely in their economic indicators and demographics, but they all share a need to see a successful conclusion of the Doha round and the removal of barriers between the BRICS themselves to promote more open trade and investment. South Africa’s inclusion is a recognition of its strategic role in Africa and its ability to act as an interlocutor between Africa and the international community rather than because of its population or GDP.BRICS gain momentum The BRICS – the sobriquet coined in the aftershock of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre by Goldman Sachs banker Jim O’Neill in search for the next “big thing” – have gained a momentum of their own in the past decade, which means that in addition to reflecting the changing global economic landscape they are playing an increasing role in shaping it. The recent united insistence by the BRICS that the next chair of the International Monetary Fund should be chosen on competence alone rather than according to a region, indicates a political maturity. It is the first time that a group of developing nations have put pressure on a leading international organisation to select a chief executive who reflects the increasing importance of emerging markets in the global economy. The rising power of the BRICS lobby holds potentially far-reaching consequences for the relationship between China and Africa in general and between South Africa and China in particular and is likely to have a profound impact on China’s rapidly growing trade and investment relationship with South Africa.Zuma’s leadership South African President Jacob Zuma has worked strategically to build the relationship with China and argued persuasively for Africa’s inclusion in the BRICS group through South Africa’s membership. He has already paid a state visit to China, hosted President Hu Jintao in South Africa and attended the BRICS summit in Beijing in April. For Zuma, it is not a question of South Africa boxing above its weight. It is just basic logic that a continent central to sustainable global growth should be included in the club Zuma has already overseen a rapid deepening of South Africa’s relationship with China. Zuma’s leadership stands to win major contracts for South African companies and parastatal corporations in developing African infrastructure in what has become the world’s third-fastest growing market after China and India. Africa grew at 4.5% last year and is expected to reach 5.2% this year. South Africa is set for a more modest 4%. South Africa is also a benefactor of better access to BRICS markets and, at the same time, it is a competitor or joint venture partner in the development of Africa. Aware of the massive savings pool that China and other BRICS nations are sitting on, Zuma is inviting investors from BRICS countries to take up the major infrastructure and manufacturing opportunities in South Africa and on the African continent. Both the private and public sectors of the country stand to be leading beneficiaries of this offer.Mutual credit lines The BRICS have decided in principle to establish mutual credit lines denominated in local currencies rather than US dollars, a move that is seen to promote cooperation between countries over a wide range of projects, and has proven to be able to facilitate trade and investment between these countries. Such arrangements are already working to the mutual benefit of China and Brazil which has deepened China’s relationship with Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras. Recently, China Development Bank’s Chairman Chen Yuan has said that the bank is prepared to lend up to US$1.5-billion in local currency to fellow BRICS, in particular, for oil and gas projects. Last year, Zuma was appointed to head the African Union’s high-level sub-committee on infrastructure, which will oversee an estimated $480-billion of infrastructure investment on the continent in the next decade. But Zuma’s influence will extend far beyond infrastructure into the vital areas of food production and environment. The realpolitik of the situation is that the bulk of this work is likely to be awarded to China, South Africa and other BRICS.South Africa as global broker With South Africa serving its second term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, and Zuma’s appointment as co-chair of the COP-17 climate change summit to be held in Durban in December, the South African president is well-placed to help forge a grand trade-off between the industrialised and developing worlds. If South Africa can help broker a breakthrough in the global trade-off between environment and development it could give a much-needed boost to South Africa’s own renewable energy and clean technology industries. This COP 17 will have made major progress by establishing either a reformed global market mechanism to regulate emissions or by extending the current one to include the United States and China. China, both because of necessity and its history of pragmatic adjustment, is well-placed to become the world leader in developing cleaner and more sustainable technologies which will supplement and ultimately replace fossil fuels as the world’s primary source of energy. South Africa is ideally placed to contribute to this global priority. After hosting the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 and more recently committing to the Clean Development Mechanism South Africa has vowed to reach its targets on reducing emissions and carbon management. But in a country with high unemployment and underdevelopment, it has to continually weigh the dictates of environmental management with those of developmental priorities.Thinking BRICS As the pace of regional integration within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) quickens – a goal that Zuma has put near the top of his priorities list – the economic rewards for South Africa will come in the form of increased foreign direct investment and expanding trade relations. The evolving free trade agreement between the overlapping regional economic communities of SADC, the Common Market of East and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the East African Community (EAC) is likely to give further impetus to this process. South Africa is already thinking BRICS. It is upgrading flight connections and tourism offerings to the BRICS nations as well as tailoring investment opportunities and conditions to meet the requirements of its new-found strategic partners. President Zuma has pointed out that South Africa’s membership of BRICS will open access to the markets of the world’s high-growth developing economies as well as heralding new and exciting opportunities for South African companies to develop new business and partnerships. South Africa’s robust private sector is gradually waking up to these opportunities and some – such as Standard Bank – were ahead of the game when they sold 20 percent of the bank to International Commercial Bank of China three years ago in what was China’s largest-ever foreign investment at the time. Since then, several key Chinese companies have opened offices in the country and Beijing has located the Africa headquarters of the China-Africa Development Fund in Johannesburg.Potential game changer BRICS, with Africa now represented in “the club”, will deepen south-south co-operation and have the potential to change the game rules of international finance and trade and give a voice to developing countries on a whole range of issues ranging from climate change to development. The main priority of the BRICS is to ensure that the Doha round is completed and that the industrialised countries scrap subsidies and protectionist measures to allow the developing world better access to global markets. Such a move would boost the level of international trade although it would shift the balance towards the markets of the south and the east. This shift is already taking place, and will gain momentum, but an orderly transition via the WTO would be less disruptive. Africa is set to achieve growth levels which will empower its 1-billion citizens and enable the continent to elevate millions from poverty as China has done for some 400-million poor in the past 30 years. South Africa’s inclusion in the BRICS in December last year, largely as a result of strong lobbying by China, came as a surprise to many – not least to O’Neill, who argued that countries such as Indonesia, Turkey and South Korea were far stronger contenders. But such notions underestimate South Africa’s strategic importance to Africa, China and the industrialised world and its unique potential in acting as a bridge between them. South Africa will continue with its membership of the trilateral commission comprising India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) as well as its key membership of the G20 group of nations.Hurdles But there are hurdles on the road ahead. The China-South Africa trade relationship is heavily in China’s favour, and it will take some skilful political arm-twisting to achieve a more sustainable trade balance by getting the Chinese engaged in more joint ventures, manufacturing and beneficiation in line with the country’s recently released economic road-map, the National Growth Path, which seeks to ensure more leave-behind from foreign investors. Despite China’s position as South Africa’s biggest two-way trade partner based on South African exports of mineral resources, the European Union remains South Africa’s most important export market and responsible for 40% of foreign investment. But it is probably inevitable in the medium to long-term that China will become a more important export market for South Africa goods. While the United States is set to remain by far the most powerful global economy in the next two decades – the changes now under way and symbolised by the BRICS group will prepare the ground for profound changes in the global order in the next 20 to 25 years. South Africa and China – and the other BRIC nations – will be key players in the forging of a more interdependent, sustainable and equitable world. John Battersby is UK country manager of the International Marketing Council of South Africa. Yingni Lu is a London-based development professional specialising in clean technology and renewable energy. She is a partner at London-based Forbury Environmental.last_img read more

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