first_imgA haulage company boss has called off his planned protest during tomorrow’s visit of Queen Elizabeth.Convoy truck-driver John McLaughlin, who owns JML Transport, had planned to bring dozens of trucks into Dublin city centre to protest at rising fuel prices.But having met with Gardai, the businessman has decided not to go ahead with the protest. “I think the Gardai already have enough headaches with the Queen’s visit without us adding to them. I think it would have done our cause more harm than good,” he said.However Mr McLaughlin said he WILL press ahead with plans to protest during next week’s visit of US President Barack Obama.The Donegal haulier, who has already led protests to Leinster House, was due to meet with dozens of truckers tonight to discuss plans for their protest.“We are deadly serious about this. We have been left with no alternative. The Government keeps putting us on the long finger. “We want the world to know that drivers are being taxed off the road and we will not sit by and watch that happen,” he said.EndsTRUCK BOSS CALLS OFF PROTEST FOR QUEEN’S VISIT BUT US PRESIDENT’S PROTEST IS STILL ON was last modified: May 16th, 2011 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)last_img read more

SADC pushes free trade, customs union

first_imgDuring the summit, a high-level expert group was appointed to look at how the customs union can be speeded up. The team is expected to report back to the SADC by December 2011. Customs union, common market The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) summit ended in Windhoek, Namibia on Tuesday with a resolution to consolidate time-lines for a free trade area and speed up preparations for establishing a customs union. Overlapping memberships Source: BuaNews Regarding the planned free trade area (FTA), which will facilitate trade via one-stop border posts, the summit adopted a comprehensive work programme with concrete actions and time-lines. 18 August 2010 A regional central bank and a common currency are expected by 2018.center_img Country membership overlaps exist among the SADC, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the East African Community (EAC), which presents technical challenges, as a country cannot belong to more than one customs union. However, to date, only 11 out of 15 SADC member states have joined the protocol for the creation of the FTA. The launch of the FTA, seen as an initial step towards trade integration, will move the southern African region incrementally towards establishing a customs union – originally scheduled for 2010 – a common market by 2015, and a monetary union by 2016. In a communique issued at the end of the two-day summit, attended by 14 SADC heads of state, including South African President Jacob Zuma, the leaders said they remained committed to the establishment of a customs union, saying it would help deepen regional integration. Regarding other challenges, the leaders noted the adverse socio-economic effects of the global economic crisis on the region. As a result, they resolved to hold an extra-ordinary summit on economic development. “The main mandate of this group will be to consolidate and refine technical work so far done in order to reach agreement and common understanding of parameters, benchmarks, timelines, a model customs union and its implementation modalities,” reads the communique.last_img read more

African National Congress celebrates 100 years

first_img(l to r) ANC general secretary GwedeMantashe, President Jacob Zuma,Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe andjustice minister Jeff Radebe cut thecentenary cake at the Free-State Stadium. Former President Thabo Mbeki, RevJesse Jackson and President Jacob Zumachat while eating birthday cake. The three days of celebration culminatedin a fireworks display.(Images: Skyscraper City)MEDIA CONTACTS• Jackson MthembuANC: National Spokesperson+27 82 370 8401Ray MaotaAfrica’s oldest liberation struggle movement and South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has turned 100 years old.Thousands of people descended on the quiet Free State province to the city of Mangaung, also known as Bloemfontein, to celebrate the party’s existence since 8 January 1912.The celebrations were attended by former heads of state, current leaders, the party’s political elite, and throngs of ordinary citizens.Those in attendance included former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda; Ugandan president Yuweri Museveni; Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba; Mozambican president Armando Guebuza; and Rev Jesse Jackson from the US.“Let’s congratulate South Africa for a job well done on their freedom. The ANC brought this country’s people into a new dawn,” said Kaunda.Museveni labelled the ANC’s centenary as an “achievement for the entire African continent.”The motto for the celebrations is Unity in Diversity – also South Africa’s national motto – and the party truly displayed this sentiment after being plagued with faction fighting over the past year, especially with its youth wing.But it showed a united front throughout the weekend of festivities.Former ANC and South African president Thabo Mbeki was seen laughing heartily with the incumbent president Jacob Zuma and suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.Zuma said: “We continue to have different and differing perspectives on the processes unfolding in our country. Despite the progress we have made, there remain deep fault lines in our society that continue to undermine our vision of a united, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa.”Nobel Peace laureate and the country’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, was there in spirit although not in person.Attendees were reminded of the elder statesman’s contribution to democracy by the many posters of him, and other former presidents of the party, hung throughout the usually quiet city.Baleka Mbete, the ANC’s national chairperson, said: “He is in good spirits but very, very old.”Nobody expected the centenary events to be anything else but pomp and ceremony with nearly R100-million (US$12.4-million) spent to commemorate this achievement.The celebrationsThe celebrations included a golf day; gala dinner; a cow slaughtering ritual to appease the ancestors; a centenary torch lighting ceremony and a rally held at the Free State stadium, which included a concert by some of South Africa’s most prominent artists.The golfing took place at Schoeman Park golf club in Bloemfontein on 6 January 2011.ANC stalwart and enthusiastic golfer Andrew Mlangeni opened the celebrations by playing a round of golf with government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi; Justice minister Jeff Radebe; former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni; former South Africa Broadcasting Corporation chief executive Dali Mpofu; and United Democratic Movement leader and MP Bantu Holomisa.On 7 January, a cow slaughtering ritual took place at the Waaihoek Wesleyan Church – where the ANC was founded – as part of a cleansing ceremony to thank the ancestors for helping the party reach such a milestone and to ask for guidance in the future.Luxury cars lined the streets and hymns were sung along with revolutionary songs as dignitaries entered the birthplace of the movement.Waaihoek Church is where the party’s first president John Dube and his compatriots Sol Plaatjie and Pixley ka Isaka Seme founded the organisation as the South African Native National Congress.The slaughtering of an animal in most African cultures symbolises a connection with the ancestors to give thanks for blessings received, and to ask for more blessings.Later that night Zuma lit a centenary torch that will go around the country throughout the year to commemorate the centenary. It was handed over to the Free State leadership of the ANC, who will in turn hand it over to the party’s Western Cape leaders, where the next celebrations will be held.The torch will make its way back to Bloemfontein when the party holds its national conference in December. Here party members will elect the next round of leaders.Mbete said the symbolism of the torch “is a poignant reminder of pulling together in one direction”.On 8 January, thousands gathered at the 48 000-seater Free State Stadium to celebrate. The mood was festive, and the stadium was a sea of yellow, green and black – the party’s colours.The 40°C temperature could not stop the people from rejoicing as they packed the stadium.The event opened with the singing of the national anthem and a prayer blessing by the country’s Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein and ANC chaplain-general Vukile Mehana.President Zuma made a speech and cut a huge cake, and the bottles were popped to toast the centenary.The rest of the day was about the entertainment of the revellers, who saw performances by singer Zahara, rapper AKA and the 100-year history of the ANC in the form of a play.TributesMany speakers throughout the weekend praised the ANC and the tributes poured in from as far afield as the UK.British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “On behalf of the British people, I want to congratulate you and everyone involved with the ANC on this very special anniversary,” in a letter addressed to Zuma.Leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance, Helen Zille, said: “I extend my sincere congratulations to the ANC and its leader, President Zuma, on reaching this impressive milestone.“These 100 years show an extraordinary record, without parallel on the continent of Africa,” Zille continued. “If the ANC is saying this is much more than a celebration of the 100th birthday of a political party, we agree. It represents a history of progress, a quest for human rights and the advent of democracy after a long, arduous struggle that took over 80 years.”Kaunda stated that the liberation struggle would not mean anything if the fight against poverty in Africa was not won.“We have to fight poverty and all its offshoots of hunger, ignorance, disease, crime, corruption and above all, exploitation of one mind by another.”last_img read more

IPL: Shane Warne escapes ban, fined $50,000 for spat with RCA secretary

first_imgRajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne on Wednesday escaped a ban but was fined USD 50,000 for his public spat with RCA secretary Sanjay Dixit, thus clearing the decks for the Australian spin legend’s swansong IPL appearance on Friday.The IPL’s Disciplinary Commission, which had summoned both Warne and Dixit for a hearing on Tuesday, decided to let off Warne with only a fine after considering that the Australian cricketer had already apologised for his outburst.Warne was fined for breach of playing contract and warned of a harsher punishment in case he repeated such an offence.”The Commission has decided to impose a fine of USD 50,000 upon Mr Warne,” a statement from the IPL’s Disciplinary Procedure Commission said.”The Commission is conscious of the duty of all parties involved in the Indian Premier League, to uphold the image and reputation of the game of cricket, the BCCI and the League at all relevant times. Any action which is a breach of this duty is to be treated with all necessary severity.”It regards the public criticism of Mr Dixit as being a serious breach by Mr Warne of his IPL playing contract.However, at the same time, the Commission also recognises that Mr Warne has apologised to Mr Dixit, and that the incident occurred just after the Match,” the statement said.The Commission said it took into account Warne’s contribution to the IPL and to the game of cricket while handing out its verdict.”In addition, the Commission is cognisant of the contribution to the game of cricket in general, and to the Indian Premier League, which has been made by Mr Warne,” it said.advertisementThe Commission, which comprised IPL chairman Chirayu Amin and Governing Council member Ravi Shastri, heard representations from both Dixit and Warne during the hearing which lasted close to three hours on Tuesday.The disciplinary panel also made it clear that any repeat of such offence by Warne or any other person would invite a heftier fine or even a ban.”The Commission wishes to stress that any future such occurrences committed by Warne or any other person may result in the imposition of a fine, which may be higher than that imposed in this case, a ban for a number of matches, and/or the deduction of points from the relevant team,” it said.There was speculation that Warne would be banned for one match but the verdict has now paved the way for his last IPL appearance against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.Warne had only a few days back announced his retirement from IPL but had indicated that he may take up an advisory role with the franchise in the subsequent editions.Warne is alleged to have publicly insulted Dixit after an IPL match in Jaipur, calling him a “liar and egoistic”, forcing RR owner Shilpa Shetty to intervene and apologise for the incident.The ugly incident took place just after the prize distribution ceremony of the match between RR and RCB at the Sawai Mansingh stadium.Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) had last week lodged a complaint against Warne with the BCCI and the IPL for publicly abusing Dixit for not agreeing to his request of a suitable pitch.RCA secretary Dixit also filed a separate complaint and had urged the BCCI and IPL to take stern action against Warne for pressuring him to provide a suitable wicket for Rajasthan Royals’ home matches.According to sources, Dixit has forwarded the text messages to BCCI which Warne had repeatedly sent him.When Dixit was asked about the incident, he said Warne’s behaviour probably came out of frustration for the team’s back-to-back defeats, which almost jeopardised Rajasthan Royals’ chances of making it to the play-offs.The back-to-back defeats at home against Chennai Super Kings and RCB had made Warne furious as he believed that the change of pitch after Sachin Tendulkar’s criticism last month following Mumbai Indians’ seven-wicket loss had robbed Rajasthan Royals of the home advantage.After Tendulkar’s remark on the pitch, the BCCI had rushed off its Grounds and Wickets Committee chairman, Venkat Sundaram to Jaipur to prepare a new strip for the remaining IPL matches at the ground.Following an internal disciplinary inquiry by the franchise, Warne tendered his apology to Dixit. RR Chief Executive Sean Morris, in an e-mail to RCA secretary, stated that the franchise had decided to take disciplinary action against Warne and the Australian has accepted it.But RCA later on convened a meeting of the RCA Legal Affairs Committee on May 15 and considered the apology letter sent by Royals CEO Sean Morris but was unable to take cognizance in the absence of any details.advertisementAccordingly, the committee decided to file a criminal complaint under IPC sections against Warne and others at the earliest.- With PTI inputslast_img read more

Indian audiences ready for films like Finding Fanny, says Arjun Kapoor

first_imgIt’s an English language “offbeat” entertainer; made by an Indian director with three veteran and two young stars of Bollywood, and topped with one promotional Hindi song- that’s Homi Adajania’s “Finding Fanny”. Arjun Kapoor, who plays one of the five “oddballs” in the movie, believes Indian audiences are ready for such content.”I was scared and apprehensive to begin with, but as the journey went on, I was more and more happy that I made the brave choice of doing an English film, which is offbeat,” said Arjun.Well, Arjun “never saw it as an offbeat film”!At 29, the son of veteran film producer Boney Kapoor has four distinct movies behind him”For me, it’s a film which the country is ready to watch, and the fact that the trailer has received an overwhelming response is an example that people are willing to watch such content,” he said of the over two million views that the “Finding Fanny” trailer garnered within two days of hitting online videosharing platform YouTube.Arjun is a happy and content young man.At 29, the son of veteran film producer Boney Kapoor has four distinct movies behind him. Starting with the 2012 movie “Ishaqzaade”, in which he sported a rough and rebellious look as Parma, he pulled off a double role in “Aurangzeb”, essayed the hot-headed Bala in “Gunday”, and the nerdy yet affable boy-in-love Krish in “2 States”.Arjun says he was surprised when Adajania, the man behind English language film “Being Cyrus” and the Bollywood saga “Cocktail”, considered him for the role of Savio D’Gama in “Finding Fanny”, especially after watching the actor’s work in “Ishaqzaade”.advertisementThe fact that the forthcoming movie has a stellar cast comprising actors as senior and prolific as Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia as well as a glamorous star as Deepika Padukone in a de-glam avatar made the “Finding Fanny” journey all the more inviting for Arjun.Arjun Kapoor in Finding Fanny”It was almost like going to an acting class…having such fantastic actors around. The idea is to do something different, keeping in mind that you can get eyeballs with these actors who are a known commodity for Indian audience.”Had Homi taken five unknown actors, it would have been a very niche film. But he has taken five known actors and set out to do something different. I think it’s an intelligent choice on their part to mix known commodities with an unknown world,” said the tall and handsome actor.Of course, Arjun stepped into the film clearly knowing that away from the commercial Bollywood potboilers that he’s been part of so far, this one’s going to have a limited audience given the fact that it’s in English and sans any of Hindi cinema’s song and dance routines.”That’s the amazing part about making cinema! People can have an opinion about it. I’d rather be part of a film about which people have an opinion than be in a project people don’t notice.”‘Finding Fanny’ is definitely relevant in terms of getting people to talk about it. If it does well, people will talk about encouraging young talent to make films like this. If it doesn’t, then they will think how well did it do or didn’t do.”I think it is a talking point kind of film. It won’t just come and go, which is what I like – it’s got people talking already. And you can’t always expect people to love everything you do…if they notice, for better or for worse, it’s a good thing,” said the actor.Presented by Fox Star Studios, “Finding Fanny” is produced by Maddock Films. The film, a quirky satirical comedy, releases Sep 12.last_img read more