Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Good News

Dad delivers baby while stuck in gridlocked Joburg traffic

(iStock)Johannesburg – A father who was caught in an early morning traffic jam while rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital was forced to deliver his daughter himself after his wife went into labour.
The healthy baby girl, called Julile, was delivered safely while her parents were on their way to Olivedale Hospital in Randburg just under a week ago.
General manager of Netcare Olivedale Hospital, Bets Welman, said when the family arrived at the hospital, the baby was lying on her mother’s chest, swaddled in a towel.
At around 01:00 on Wednesday, January 27, the mother, Tshepiso Mbambisa, began to feel uncomfortable. She initially dismissed the physical symptoms she was experiencing as Braxton Hicks contractions, which are a normal aspect of late pregnancy due to the uterus tightening from time to time.
The father became concerned because the contractions became more regular so he settled his wife into the car and began driving her to the hospital, only to be caught up in the morning traffic, which slowed their journey.
"Mr Mbambisa had to park on the side of the road, and ultimately delivered his daughter himself at approximately 07:15," Welman said.
On arrival at Netcare Olivedale Hospital, the hospital’s midwives were ready to help Tshepiso Mbambisa.
The baby, who weighed 2.8kgs, was placed in a crib while her mother was helped into a wheelchair and admitted to the maternity ward.
"The proud parents have named their little bundle of joy Julile, and both mother and baby are doing very well," Welman said.
Netcare Olivedale Hospital's patient liaison officer, Deborah Sieff, said: "The parents took it in their stride and I am extremely proud of the team because they did exceptionally well."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Terrorist funding paths must be blocked - Germany, France

People stand in front of the French Embassy in Berlin for a minute of silence for victims of Friday's attacks in Paris. (Markus Schreiber, AP)

People stand in front of the French Embassy in Berlin for a minute of silence for victims of Friday's attacks in Paris. (Markus Schreiber, AP)

Berlin - Blocking terrorist funding is critical if the world wants to stamp out terrorism, said Germany and France's finance ministers on Wednesday as they laid out a series of proposals for a new financial front against the Islamic State militant group.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and his French counterpart, Michel Sapin, said their plan requires a global effort if countries allied against the Islamic State want to choke off the group's funding, which is financed by sales of oil from land it has occupied, and smuggling of seized artefacts.
The meeting in Berlin comes in the wake of the deadly Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility.

"After the attacks, the world needs to act more quickly and decisively," Sapin said in Berlin following a meeting with Schaeuble.
The measures under consideration by the two ministers included freezing assets of known terrorists, curbing the trafficking of valuable artefacts, and a central register for all banks accounts in the European Union.

They also want to see a clampdown on virtual currencies.
In addition, the two ministers called for action to be taken against the illegal transport and movement of cash and precious metals between nations. They also want increased controls over alternate payment methods, such as prepaid debit cards.

The Paris attacks have already prompted the Group of 20 major economies to call for steps to tackle the financing of global terrorist organisations.
The push to crack down on financing terrorism follows Paris' efforts to forge an international military coalition aimed at defeating Islamic State.

While the German Parliament began a debate on Wednesday on the nation deploying 1 200 soldiers and military support staff as part of the anti-Islamic State campaign, the British Parliament is expected later on Wednesday to approve airstrikes against the group.
The German Parliament, the Bundestag, is expected to give the green light on Friday to Berlin's plans to join the anti-terrorist coalition.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Obama tells Russia, Turkey to focus on ISIS


US President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at COP21 in Paris. (Evan Vucci, AP)
US President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at COP21 in Paris. (Evan Vucci, AP)

Brussels - US President Barack Obama led calls on Tuesday for Turkey and Russia to end their dispute over the downing of a Russian fighter jet and focus instead on Islamic State (ISIS), the real enemy.
Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg urged key ally Turkey and Russia to change tack and find ways to avoid a repeat of an incident which threatens to scupper efforts to forge a common front against ISIS after the group's attacks in Paris left 130 dead.
Obama was frank about what both sides should do.
"I want to be very clear: Turkey is a Nato ally. The US supports Turkish rights to defend itself and its airspace and its territory," Obama said after meeting his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Paris.
"We all have a common enemy and that is ISIL and I want to make sure we focus on that threat," Obama said, using an alternative name for ISIS.
Erdogan, who has demanded that Russian President Vladimir Putin provide evidence to back up charges Ankara trades in oil with IS, said he too was keen to move on.
"We are always willing to resort to the diplomatic language [...] we want to avoid the tensions," he said.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu meanwhile said Russia should re-establish communication channels instead of making "baseless accusations" that Ankara shot down the jet to keep hidden oil deals with ISIS which help fund the group's deadly activities.
"We should sit at the table and discuss what to do instead of making baseless accusations," Davutoglu said in Ankara.
Nato urges calm, de-escalation 
For his part, Stoltenberg said: "The focus now should be on how we can de-escalate and calm tensions (and find) mechanisms so that we can avoid the type of incident we saw last week."
He was speaking at the start of a two-day NATO foreign ministers meeting which will review measures adopted by the alliance after the Ukraine crisis to upgrade readiness levels and reassure nervous eastern Europe members who were once ruled from Moscow that the alliance will stand by them.
Stoltenberg says the changes apply globally in what he described as a "dark" security environment, with concerns over Syria looming large.
He said US-led Nato has supported Turkey in the past and would announce fresh measures shortly, but stressed they were not linked to the downing of the Russian jet along the Syrian border.
Washington and its allies fear the Turkey-Russia stand-off could undercut efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis in Syria, where Moscow backs long-time ally President Bashar al-Assad and Ankara the rebels seeking to oust him.
Obama, Putin conciliatory tone
Obama met Putin on Monday on the sidelines of the climate summit in Paris.
"President Obama expressed his regret for the recent loss of a Russian pilot and crew member," a White House official said after their closed-door meeting.
Turkey has returned to Russia the body of the pilot killed when his plane was shot down by the Turkish air force on November 24 for allegedly violating its airspace along the Syrian border.
Putin said separately he believed "the decision to shoot down our plane was dictated by the desire to protect the oil supply lines to Turkish territory, right to the ports where it is loaded onto tankers".
He had earlier snubbed a request by Erdogan to meet on the sidelines of the UN climate conference in Paris.
"A claim is made through evidence. If there's such evidence, then put it on the table and we will look," Erdogan shot back.
If the allegations were proved true, then he would resign, the president said.
Ankara has also ruled out making an apology demanded by Moscow.
Russia on Monday laid out more details of retaliatory economic sanctions aimed at denting Turkey's key tourism and agricultural sectors.
It will halt fruit and vegetable imports from Turkey after Putin signed a decree banning charter flights and the sale of package holidays, and scrapping Russia's visa-free regime with Ankara.
Russia has also boosted its military presence in Syria, deploying top-range S400 missiles and new naval forces in support of Assad.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Scandalous protests

Paris - French President Francois Hollande on Sunday condemned the "scandalous" behaviour of far-left activists who clashed with riot police in an area dedicated for memorials to the Paris attacks ahead of key UN climate talks.

Around 100 people were arrested after a small group of protesters at the central Place de la Republique square pelted officers with bottles as well as candles that had been left in tribute to the victims of the November 13 attacks.
"These disruptive elements have nothing to do with defenders of the environment," Hollande said at an EU-Turkey summit in Brussels.

"They are not there so that the talks succeed but are there solely to create incidents," he said.
"It is doubly regrettable, even scandalous that this happened at the Place de la Republique where flowers and candles have been left in memory of those who were killed by the terrorists' bullets" in the November 13 Paris attacks, he said.

He said it was also regrettable "in relation to the climate conference which will allow the world to decide the future of the planet."

Around 4 500 activists had earlier linked hands in the French capital in a peaceful protest pleading for leaders to curb global warming.
France has banned all demonstrations, including those for the climate talks, in the wake of the November 13 atrocities which left 130 people dead.

Monday, November 23, 2015

5 Tips for Safe Holiday Travel

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2015  The holidays can be both a joyful and stressful time of year. Families are on the go, running errands, going shopping and taking road trips to visit relatives and friends. Safe Kids Worldwide and General Motors, partners in keeping families safe for nearly two decades, offer seven simple tips for holiday travel:
  1. Remember to buckle up every ride, every time, whether it's the long trip to visit family or around the block to the mall. 
  2. Shopping center parking lots are busier during the holidays. Watch out for distracted pedestrians and drivers who may not be paying attention to you, especially when backing out of parking spaces.
  3. For parents of teens, remind them to be extra alert during this holiday season, when conditions are more challenging even for experienced drivers.
  4. Commit to keeping your electronics out of your hand. No text message or playlist is worth the risk.
  5. If you are headed to a party and plan to drink alcohol, designate a driver or use a car service to make sure you get home safely.
"We want to remind parents that car seats and seat belts save lives," said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. "As we travel in larger groups of family and friends, make sure every passenger has a seat belt or a properly-fitted car seat. It's easy to forget simple steps in our holiday planning, but it only takes a few moments to make sure everyone is safe."
"Customer safety is our main concern, and that's especially true during the holiday travel season," said Jeff Boyer, member of the Safe Kids Worldwide board of directors and vice president of global vehicle safety at General Motors. "We encourage drivers to leave ample time to get to their destinations, always ensure all children and adults in the vehicle are buckled up and never drink and drive."
Safe Kids Buckle Up program is a national initiative established 18 years ago by Safe Kids Worldwide and General Motors to keep children and families safe in and around cars. GM's long term commitment to educating families has helped the child passenger safety program evolve into one of the most comprehensive in the nation, with more than 1.8 million car seats inspected at 93,000 community events. To ensure your car seat is properly installed, review the car seat safety tips or find a car seat inspection station in your area.
For more tips on how to stay safe during the holiday season and throughout the year, visit http://www.safekids.org/holiday-safety-tips.
About Safe Kids WorldwideSafe Kids Worldwide is a nonprofit organization working to prevent childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in the United States. Throughout the world, almost one million children die of an injury each year, and almost every one of these tragedies is preventable. Safe Kids works with an extensive network of more than 400 coalitions in the U.S. and with partners in more than 25 countries to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, falls, burns, poisonings and more. Since 1988, Safe Kids has helped reduce the U.S. childhood death rate from unintentional injury by 60 percent. Working together, we can do much more for kids everywhere. Join our effort at safekids.org.
About the General Motors FoundationSince its inception in 1976, the GM Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to American charities, educational organizations and to disaster relief efforts worldwide. The GM Foundation focuses on supporting Education, Health and Human Services, Environment and Energy and Community Development initiatives, mainly in the communities where GM operates. The last contribution to the GM Foundation was made in 2001. For more information, visit www.gm.com/gmfoundation.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Al-Jazeera journalists' stiff sentences prompt international outrage at Egypt

One of the four al-Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt, Mohamed Fahmy, has been given a press freedom award, before the seventh session of his trial on Saturday.

The Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom said it had awarded the prize to Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian and the Cairo bureau chief for al-Jazeera English, in recognition of the battle he has fought for free speech since being detained with two colleagues in late December.
Al-Jazeera journalists jailed in EgyptFahmy, an ex-CNN journalist; Peter Greste, an Australian former BBC reporter; and a local producer, Baher Mohamed, are accused of smearing Egypt's reputation, doctoring footage and aiding terrorists.
A fourth colleague – Abdullah Elshamy, a reporter for al-Jazeera's Arabic channel – has been jailed without charge in a separate case since last August. Fahmy recently celebrated his birthday in prison and has applied for permission to marry his fiancee inside jail.
In a handwritten letter smuggled from prison, Fahmy thanked the judges for the award and donated the prize money, worth C$2,000 (£1,100), to the family of an Egyptian journalist, Mayada Ashraf, who was shot dead in unexplained circumstances at a protest last month.
Fahmy wrote: "A key part of our defence has been to convince the judge of our professional integrity; to prove to him that we are journalists striving for the truth; and not agents of terror. This award will go a long way toward making our case."
Fahmy and his colleagues say the charges against them are absurd. In previous sessions, the prosecution's evidence has not appeared to include evidence of abetting terrorism or fabricated footage.
Instead, the video evidence has included footage of trotting horses, sheep farms and interviews with figures on all sides of Egypt's political spectrum that are comparable to work by most foreign journalists in Cairo.
The prosecution is expected to finish making its case in Saturday's session – which coincides with World Press Freedom day – while a verdict is expected at an eighth session due within a fortnight.
In court alongside the al-Jazeera trio are five students who have no connection to al-Jazeera, but who Fahmy claims have been added to the case to create the impression of an al-Jazeera-inspired conspiracy.
The students, Sohaib Saad, Khaled Mohamed, Shadi Ibrahim, Ahmed Ibrahim and Anas Beltagy, were arrested separately to the journalists and – according to a friend campaigning on their behalf – were initially told they would be charged in a separate case.
"When they were arrested, the police told us that they were going to be jailed for having maps of Egypt and planning to kill police officers," said Sara Mohamed, a friend of the five.
"It was only later that they were going to be involved in the AJ case. The boys started laughing out loud when they heard that."