Russia orders cuts in World Cup spending

first_imgBy Katya GolubkocaThe Russian government has ordered 30 billion roubles ($560 million) in cuts in spending on the 2018 World Cup finals, Russian news agencies reported on Monday.No reason was given for the decision, but Russia has been hit by an economic downturn worsened by Western economic sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine and a fall in the global price of oil.The news agencies, quoting a decree issued by the government, said total spending on the tournament would now be 631.5 billion roubles ($11.8 billion).They later quoted Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko as saying the building and renovation of stadiums would not be affected and that savings would mostly be over work on hotels.President Vladimir Putin says he is confident Russia will host the finals despite investigations into alleged corruption at soccer’s governing body FIFA and probes of how Russia and Qatar were awarded the 2018 and 2020 finals.last_img read more

World Health Organization rejects calls to move Rio 2016 over Zika outbreak

first_imgIn an open letter to the WHO, 150 leading international scientists, doctors and medical ethicists said new findings about the mosquito-borne disease made it “unethical” for Rio 2016 to go ahead as planned.Representatives of institutions such as Oxford University and Harvard and Yale universities in the United States cite the failure of a mosquito-eradication programme in Brazil, and the country’s “weakened” health system as reasons to move or postpone the Games in “the name of public health”.”An unnecessary risk is posed when 500,000 foreign tourists from all countries attend the Games, potentially acquire that strain, and return home to places where it can become endemic,” the letter reads.The biggest risk, it claims, is if athletes contract the virus and return home to poor countries that have not yet suffered a Zika outbreak.In a statement, the WHO said: “Brazil is one of almost 60 countries and territories which to date report continuing transmission of Zika by mosquitoes.”People continue to travel between these countries and territories for a variety of reasons.”The best way to reduce risk of disease is to follow public health travel advice.”The letter also expresses concern that the WHO has a conflict of interest because of its partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has said it sees no reason to delay or move the Games because of Zika.Earlier this month, scientists in Brazil warned that Zika could be even more dangerous than first thought.Experts believe it could be behind several damaging neurological conditions – in addition to microcephaly – where babies are born with abnormally small heads because of restricted brain development – and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological disorder which causes muscle weakness.Dr Tom Frieden, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which confirmed the link between Zika and microcephaly, says “there is no public health reason to cancel or delay the Olympics”.He has called on the US, however, to act faster to prevent pregnant women contracting Zika.This comes amid congressional deadlock over the release of $1.9 billion (£1.3 billion/€1.7 billion) in funding.Pregnant women are at particular risk due to a link with microcephaly.WHO, whose director general Margaret Chan declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency earlier this year, has advised women who are pregnant to not attend the Games.last_img read more

Apollon face PSV Eindhoven in Europa League playoffs

first_imgLimassol side Apollon travel to the Netherlands to face Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven in the first leg of their Europa League qualifying playoff on Thursday night (9.30pm).Apollon, who finished third behind Apoel and AEK in last season’s Cyprus championship, go into the tie in confident mood after an impressive 5-2 aggregate win over Austria Vienna in the previous round.Defence may be a concern though, with the side unable to keep a clean sheet in their last two matches. They have failed to ensure a consistent run of form away from home and have stumbled twice in their last five outings alone.PSV meanwhile have been a tough team to break down recently and are currently unbeaten in their last five games across all competitions.A 1-0 win over Haugesund in the first leg of the previous round was more than enough to take the Dutch outfit into the final qualifiers after the return clash ended in a less than exciting stalemate.The hosts have been a formidable side on home soil since the start of this year and have not tasted defeat at the Philips Stadion for 13 games. They are also unbeaten in their new league campaign and will be coming into the clash on Thursday on the back of a comfortable 2-0 win over Heracles in the Eredivisie.Apollon and PSV have not previously met, but the Dutch side will be wary of an upset after Apoel held Champions League semi-finalists Ajax to a 0-0 draw in Nicosia on Tuesday in the first leg of their Champions league playoff tie.last_img read more

At what cost…

first_img…power?At what point will the supporters of the PNC stand up and be counted to preserve Guyana as a viable state?? With all the guns in the hands of an Army and Police that PNC leader Desmond Hoyte once boasted was “kith and kin”, the PNC knows the PPP’s incapable of repeating the said Desmond Hoyte’s strategy of “slow fyaah; mo’ fyaah” at the beginning of this millennium. And this was AFTER the PNC street elements had bludgeoned the victorious 1997 PPP Government to truncate their term of office by 2 years – and revised the Constitution to include the PNC in governance!!But will the supporters of the PNC stand up and do the right thing? Not likely! Just listen to the narrative that’s being spewed by some of the younger elements – who one would assume, weren’t polluted by the poisoned past! You’d think all the horrible killings by the “phantom squads” were unleashed full blown from the brow of Mars, the god of war, without any reasons!! There were no kick-down-the-door bandits in the late 80s who were armed with “long guns” from the Forces to wreak terror on “PPP supporters”!There was no Hoyte who screamed “ethnic cleansing” by the PPP in the Public Services – when it was under HIS watch, the IMF mandated a reduction in their ranks. There was no Linden “Blackie” London and his gang who robbed banks and cambios; kidnapped Indian businessmen and demanded ransoms, and was yet draped with the flag of Guyana by Desmond Hoyte at his funeral. There was no “political sophisticates” who founded a Buxton-based “Peoples Liberation Army” and helped spring the Mash 5 – including London’s lieutenant Douglas – from the Camp Street jail and set them up in Buxton.There was no involvement of members of the PNC and “Wild Men” who indoctrinated the “Freedom Fighters” of Buxton to killPolicemen and Indians from surrounding villages with impunity – and even chasing out Eusi Kwayana from the village where he had lived and nurtured for over 50 years. No, the rest of the populace should’ve shrugged their shoulders as PPP Government, which had the duty to defend the State by any means necessary – rolled over and capitulated.Fact of the matter is it should’ve never come to a point where drug lords had to “bring order” to a fast exploding anarchy, caused by the armed forces’ unwillingness to confront the “Freedom Bandits” – which had support from the PNC constituency. Why are PNC supporters only wringing their hands about the phantom squads and not also at the Buxton Bandits who kidnapped the US Regional Security Officer (RSO).After all, the US did work with phantoms to rescue him, no??…selling out?Your Eyewitness knows the AFC’s fighting for their very survival. But jeez! They gotta draw the line SOMEWHERE!! Take Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan: we all know he failed miserably in running the Disciplined Forces which fall under his remit. The immigration sector was immediately yanked and handed to PNC-Police-mole Winston Felix while Granger handled the Army; the newly resuscitated People’s Militia and SARA. God knows who was in charge of SOCU!!But does Ramjattan have to hold a “bottom-house” meeting at the home of a Berbician fella from whom high-powered rifles with telescopic sights and ammo were seized?? What’s he’s trying to prove?? That he deserves the PM spot because he’s more “macho” than Nagamootoo? What’s next?? Hobnobbing with assassins? Then to emphasise the point, he goes on to recommend the rehiring of Sam Sittlington, who was fired by his British bosses!!Rehiring a fraud expert who was fired for a fraudulent action, by claiming the fraudster was unaware he was committing fraud?What kind of fraud expert is this??!!…rehabilitating villains??A prolix letter-writing doctor from England is upset Charrandas was upset at Hamilton Green’s pension being bumped from $165,000/monthly to $1.7 MILLION/monthly. Seems Green was kind to the doctor in childhood.Hitler was also very kind to his secretaries. So, he wasn’t evil??last_img read more

Numbers show UST’s best shot against Ateneo juggernaut may be from behind arc

first_imgThe running isn’t as palpable.The Tigers are averaging just 10 points a game in transition, tied with the Eagles for third and fourth places in the league behind the 14 points of joint leader La Salle and NU—both of which have played just a game each.  Among teams that have played at least two games, however, UST and Ateneo are tops in that department.The Tigers only outscore opponents on the break by three points per game—but still best in the league.The gunning is where UST has made its living. The Tigers are plus-22.5 so far against their opponents from beyond the arc, No. 1 by a mile this season. FEU is second at plus-12 with La Salle third at plus-6. ADVERTISEMENT UST point guard Renzo Subido takes a 3-point shot against University of the Philippines. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—Two games into UAAP Season 82’s men’s basketball tournament, University of Santo Tomas has made preseason pundits take another look at their form charts.The Tigers have gone on a 2-0 start, including a stunning upset of last year’s finalist, University of the Philippines. And they have caught the eye of the rest of the field, including Tab Baldwin, coach of defending champion Ateneo.ADVERTISEMENT No need to wear face masks in Metro Manila, says scientist LOOK: Taal Volcano island 2 days after eruption Heart Evangelista, Kim Chiu, more celebs appeal for animal rescue after Taal eruption Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Not only is UST doing good with the 3-pointer, it has also been amazing defending it so far.The Tigers have made 23 3-pointers this season while surrendering just 8—opponents are making just 4 triples a game against UST, fewest in the league. La Salle and NU, who have played just one game, and Far Eastern U allow 5 triples each while Adamson surrenders 5.5.NU has allowed just 21 3-point attempts in its lone game so far, with UST behind at 23. Ateneo is the third stingiest, yielding 24.5 attempts per game. The Tigers are also third overall in 3-point percentage allowed (17.4) behind La Salle (15.6) and Adamson (17.2).   UST coach Aldin Ayo has relied on rookie gems Rhenz Abando and Mark Nonoy and veterans like Renzo Subido to fuel the team’s run-and-gun engine, with Beninese center Soulemane Chabi Yo providing some sort of stability underneath.“But my overall impression is that Aldin has gotten his players buying into his system and they’re very disciplined,” said Baldwin.A season ago, it would be tough to string discipline and UST in the same sentence. But this season, Ayo seems to be making it work. And Ayo feels all that shooting has deflected attention from UST’s main strengths, which is pouncing on whatever openings the Tigers can find in their opponents. “[The 3-pointer is] what the defense gives us,” Ayo said in Filipino. “That’s the hole in the [opponent’s] defense and we just exploit that hole. We are not necessarily [going for] the threes. We don’t settle for good or better [shots], we always settle for the best shot.”Not necessarily going for the 3-pointer? As the numbers show, the triple has been UST’s best shot so far—and the Tigers’ best hope to thwart an expected Eagles juggernaut. LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST PLAY LIST 01:00Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:52Phivolcs: Cloud seeding in ashfall affected areas needs study01:04Daybreak as smoke, ash billows from Taal volcano01:05Poor visibility, nakaapekto sa maraming lugar sa Batangas03:028,000 pulis sa Region 4-A, tuloy ang trabaho03:57Phivolcs, nahihirapan sa komunikasyon sa Taal01:04Sold-out: Stores run out of face masks after Taal spews ashcenter_img MOST READ San Beda’s Calvin Oftana leads NCAA MVP race Teen dead, another hurt in vehicular collision in Santiago City LOOK: Kryz Uy, Slater Young expecting first son Robredo to visit Batangas families displaced by Taal erruption Taal Volcano’s lava fountain weakens, but Phivolcs says it’s not sign of slowing down Residents rescue horses, farm animals left on volcano island “I was so entertained (watching UST) and I love the way they play basketball,” said Baldwin after the Eagles’ 81-69 victory over rival La Salle last Sunday. “They just put their head down and go.”They go fast and they go shooting with little remorse.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSAndray Blatche has high praise for teammate Kai SottoSPORTSBig differenceSPORTSAlmazan status stays uncertain ahead of Game 4“Good luck (to us) if they’re hitting their shots,” added Baldwin, whose Eagles face the Tigers on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “It’s going to be a track meet and a whole lot of fun especially for the fans.”In whipping University of the East (95-82) and crushing the Maroons (85-69), UST has, indeed, been running and gunning its way to the top. View commentslast_img read more

I’m staying at Roma! Man City and Chelsea target rules out summer move

first_img1 Roma defender Mehdi Benatia, who has been targeted by Chelsea and Manchester City, has informed the Italian club’s supporters he intends to stay at the Stadio Olimpico.Morocco international Benatia had a superb maiden season at Roma, playing a key role as they secured a second-place finish in Serie A and qualification for the Champions League.He subsequently courted attention from some of Europe’s biggest clubs, with City, Chelsea and Barcelona among his admirers.The 27-year-old, formerly of Udinese, was reportedly keen on seeking pastures new but he could now be set to stay in the Eternal City.Speaking to a group of Roma supporters, who unfurled a banner in support of him at the club’s training camp in Trigoria, he said: “Thanks for the affection. I think I will stay here.” Mehdi Benatia last_img read more

Dow high stirs hope for relief

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsFalling oil prices also helped stocks to their gains, although some believe higher gasoline prices will pressure consumer spending and keep the economy from overheating. The Dow rose 138.88, or 1.21 percent, to 11,577.74, its best showing since the Dow reached its all-time high of 11,722.98 on Jan. 14, 2000. The Dow is now just 145.54 away from setting a new record. Broader stock indicators were higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 13.51, or 1.03 percent, to 1,325.76, its highest level since Feb. 15, 2001; the Nasdaq composite index advanced 18.67, or 0.8 percent, to 2,342.57. The S&P remains 13.2 percent away from its all-time high, while the Nasdaq is 53.6 percent lower than its 2000 record. Advancing issues led decliners by a robust 3-to-1 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where final consolidated volume of 2.47 billion shares lagged the 2.5 billion shares traded Thursday. The light trading volume was indicative of the market’s ongoing uncertainty about interest rates and whether stocks can press past multiyear highs, said Christopher Piros, director of investment research for Prudential’s Strategic Investment Research Group. Meanwhile, the jobs data left the inflation riddle unanswered, he said. “We are at a point where inflation expectations are still rising, and the Fed is faced with a dilemma of whether they’ve done enough to cap inflation, but not enough to roll over the economy,” Piros said. “I haven’t seen real signs of a pickup in core inflation, although it’s been ticking up slowly.” Evidence of a tapering economy in this week’s data fed investors’ optimism that the Fed will soon halt its rate increases, giving the major indexes a strong boost. For the week, the Dow was up 1.85 percent, the S&P climbed 1.16 percent and the Nasdaq rose 0.86 percent. The Labor Department said U.S. employers added 138,000 jobs in April, far less than estimates of a 200,000 gain. Average hourly earnings meanwhile jumped 0.5 percent, above the consensus target of 0.3 percent. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.7 percent. Bonds recouped recent losses, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note falling to 5.11 percent from 5.15 percent late Thursday. The U.S. dollar sank against the Japanese yen and was flat against European currencies, while gold prices topped $680 per ounce. Crude futures edged up following a three-day decline spurred by government data showing improving supplies of gasoline and flat motor fuel demand. A barrel of light crude added 25 cents to settle at $70.19 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NEW YORK – Wall Street barreled higher Friday, sending the Dow Jones industrials up 138 points to a new six-year high after a report of modest job growth bolstered hopes that the Federal Reserve will end its interest rates hikes. All three major indexes finished the week with gains. Investors saw a slowdown in April employment growth as the latest sign of a softening economy, a reason for the Fed to stop raising interest rates. That countered worries over rising wages, which followed an upswing in employers’ labor costs on Thursday. Jack Caffrey, equities strategist for JPMorgan Private Bank, said the market appeared to be focusing on recent positive data instead of considering the long-term consequences of why the Fed would stop boosting rates – because economic growth has slowed enough to contain inflation. “People are taking the weaker job creation, the stability in the unemployment rate and the uptick in jobless claims and spinning that into a hope the Fed will move to the sideline sooner than later,” Caffrey said. “It’s almost a hope-for-relief rally instead of a `the Fed is done, things are slowing down’ mentality.” last_img

Roberto Barragan a man with a plan in Pacoima

first_imgPACOIMA – Roberto Barragan stands in the shell of a building, surrounded by dust and dreaming of the future. In his slick-looking suit and polished, leather shoes, he looks out of place at this former pawn shop site on a graffiti-scrawled stretch of Van Nuys Boulevard. The role of the outsider is one he knows well. He has built his career on embracing the opposite. To Barragan, president of the Valley Economic Development Center, this nondescript, concrete building in a part of town long-ignored by planners, developers and entrepreneurs isn’t just a construction site. It’s the key to community revival. Over the past few years, he’s put in countless hours turning this space where people once hocked their possessions into a credit union, which he sees as a base for the community to build upon. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’“Look at the whole block,” he says, loud voice rising above the wail of a fire engine’s siren. “It’s ridiculous. A wanna-be gas station, a place that’s forever a garage sale, empty lot, closed building, closed building and a taqueria we probably don’t really need.” When the credit union opens next year, Barragan hopes it will serve as a catalyst for future development. Would-be entrepreneurs could bank there and put something into that empty lot. Maybe the taqueria could become a sit-down restaurant. Maybe a Starbucks could open in one of the vacancies. Barragan sweeps his arm down the street and envisions what could be. Another man in his position would likely not be here. He’d stay in his comfortable office and send out underlings to walk through the grit. Or he’d focus on safer projects, like opening a chain store in a part of town with more attractive demographics. Or, perhaps, he wouldn’t be in the position at all. Handsome, driven and self-possessed, the 46-year-old has a r sum that could take him far in the corporate world. He wears an imposing ring from Princeton University, where he spent his undergraduate years, and holds an MBA from Cal Berkeley. He’s spent more than 20 years working to bring money into disadvantaged neighborhoods. He sits on the Federal Reserve’s advisory board. VEDC’s 30th Tonight, the Van Nuys-based VEDC will celebrate its 30th anniversary and its sixth year with Barragan at the helm. He assumed command in 2000 after its previous president left under murky circumstances and Barragan is credited with vastly expanding its reach and impact. In the year before he took over, the private, nonprofit group served 1,800 businesses, lent out $3 million and helped create 75 companies and 147 jobs. Last year, it assisted 11,500 companies, provided $13.5 million in loans, helped launch 327 businesses and created 601 jobs. Economic Alliance President Bruce Ackerman, who frequently collaborates with VEDC, gives Barragan much of the credit for those increases. “He took over an organization that was reeling,” Ackerman said. “Roberto came in with his expertise and experience and took it to the premier organization that it is today. He’s really done great things for them.” In 2003, Barragan even took the Valley Economic Development Center out of the Valley, winning a contract to help attract retail businesses into downtown Los Angeles. This drew some criticism, but he argued that the intent was to expand local companies’ influence into downtown. Also, the agency’s success with the project helped it win a similar contract recently to attempt to replicate its results in Panorama City. Barragan started young, an Orange County kid helping out his father with the family landscaping business. He started doing payroll at age 9 and managed a crew of workers by 14. By his teenage years, when most kids are worrying about their geometry homework and how to talk to girls, he’d learned how to run the entire company. Outside looking in Even in his youth, he was an outsider who learned to fit in. In his entire elementary school, there was only one other Mexican-American and only a few dozen in high school. It wasn’t until he arrived in Princeton that he rediscovered his heritage. And he did so in an untraditional way, one that has plotted his path for years. Like many students, he became enamored with the Chicano movement but saw economics as the best way to empower Latinos. He studied under a man named Michael Friedland, who adopted Barragan as his prot g and taught him the nuances of how to revive a flagging business, to counsel an entrepreneur, to rebuild a community. And so the student went on, plunging into development work in disadvantaged communities, starting in West Berkeley, the San Francisco Mission district and South Los Angeles. After the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, he joined VEDC as a consultant and played a key role in helping the agency during rebuilding efforts. Early on, he took a keen interest in Pacoima, a community long overlooked by major developers. “How come disenfranchised communities get the crap?” he said. “I don’t want anything better than anyone else, I just want the same chances the other people have. I just want the same stuff.” Though he knew how to play the game, he never fell into the plastic smile and firm handshake business world. He never took up golf, where so many deals get done as executives tee off. The one time he tried the sport, in fact, he and his friends were asked to leave after running into each others’ carts. Holding on And, in a fashion that sets him apart from many in the development world, Barragan has developed an interest in preserving historic business. While many in the economic development world set their sights on attracting national chains and retail operators, he’s focused heavily on keeping old San Fernando Valley businesses open. In 2002, he worked with the Alliance and the city of San Fernando to keep Oh Boy! Pizza, a 50-year-old frozen foods manufacturer with 162 employees, from closing its doors. More recently, he personally got involved to keep the Sun Valley-based Southwest Mill and Lumber and its 48 employees in business and helped arrange loans to keep the iconic Barone’s Famous Italian Restaurant alive. “Their concern is the small business guy,” said Tom Monteleone, who co-owns the 57-year-old restaurant in Valley Glen. “Not only could we preserve all those jobs, we were able to pick up another 15 people or so. (The money) definitely came in handy.” Focusing on poor neighborhoods rather than playing it safe in wealthier areas can be a risky business. Many MBAs wouldn’t hang around a nonprofit, getting their shoes dirty in Pacoima when they could be raking in big corporate dollars. Preserving an old-time business rather than bringing in a big-name tenant runs counter to the predictable strategy. Barragan considers these all over lunch. He’s fading, tired after a packed morning of meetings, phone calls and projects. A cup of espresso arrives and he adds a huge amount of sugar and downs it like a shot. And soon he’s laughing, back to his old, animated self. “It is counter, isn’t it? And isn’t that great,” he says, grinning. “We don’t want to remake the world, we just want to hold on to what we’ve got.” (818) 713-3738160Want 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

Maria Doherty sets sights on becoming Sinn Féin candidate in Milford

first_imgSinn Féin members will gather this weekend to select their party’s candidate to contest the new three seat Milford Electoral Area of Donegal County Council in the forthcoming local elections.Local woman Maria Doherty is hoping to be added to the party ticket at Sunday’s event at the Beach Hotel, Downings.Doherty, who is the daughter of the former Sinn Féin Vice President and West Tyrone MP, Pat Doherty, has been nominated by the Carrigart Sinn Féin cumann to be the Sinn Féin candidate this May. Speaking ahead of the convention, Maria Doherty said: “I am deeply honoured to have been nominated by my local Carrigart cumann. Like many young people back in the day and since, I had to leave my home place to earn a living but it was always my dream to return home and to roll up my sleeves for the people of my home parish and the people of Donegal and to put to use the years of experience that I have; years of experience working with NGO’s and the Community and Voluntary Sector in Ireland and working successfully with national and international organisations including state Enterprise and Education bodies.“For too long, the people of this area have been failed by the old establishment political parties in government after government. One public service after the other has been lost be it post offices, garda stations, public transport or health services. Large numbers of local families are left without a vital broadband connection in a global economy that demands it. Where is the vision for rural communities in Donegal? Where is the fairness?“I have been living back home for the last year now and if I am selected as the Sinn Féin candidate on Sunday, I will work tirelessly to meet as many people as possible across this Milford Electoral Area over the months ahead and hopefully to join a strong Sinn Féin team on Donegal County Council when the votes are counted in May.”Maria Doherty sets sights on becoming Sinn Féin candidate in Milford was last modified: February 27th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare 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:Local electionsmaria dohertyMilfordSinn Feinlast_img read more

SA seeks investment in Uganda

first_imgPresident Jacob Zuma is in Uganda to strengthen relations with the country. (Image: The Presidency) MEDIA CONTACTS • Vincent Magwenya Spokesperson to the President +27 12 300 5315 +27 82 835 6315 RELATED ARTICLES • SA to strengthen ties with Britain • SA, UK’s unique relationship • South Africa, Brazil cement ties • SA, Angola strengthen ties Bongani NkosiSouth Africa and Uganda are set to strengthen economic and political relations during President Jacob Zuma’s two-day state visit to the East African country.Zuma, who arrived there on the evening of 24 March, is being accompanied by more than 30 South African business people and nine government ministers.“The visit is aimed at further enhancing economic and political relations between the two countries, developments in the East African region as well as multilateral cooperation in the African Union, United Nations and other key forums,” Zuma’s communications advisor Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.The delegation, which includes Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, is expected to sign bilateral agreements in agriculture, trade, science and technology, and customs cooperation, Kodwa said.The South African business contingent has been introduced to opportunities in Uganda through a forum co-chaired by trade ministers from both countries. “This will help to expand the areas of economic cooperation”.Agriculture, tourism, mining and energy, and information and communications technology have been the key areas identified by the South African government to offer “profitable investment opportunities in Uganda”.Uganda’s Daily Nation newspaper reported that during his visit Zuma would launch the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, a non-profit organisation set up to attract potential investors.Chairperson of the chamber, Elly Karuhanga, said they expect the South African business delegation to look for ways to become involved in Uganda’s growing oil sector, the newspaper reported.“Since the discovery of oil, Uganda has become an attractive investment destination for investors,” he said, according to the daily. “Very many investors are now eying the country because of the expected opportunities that come with oil.”Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced the discovery of oil in the country in 2009 and since then prominent firms, such as UK-based Tullow Oil, have landed lucrative deals there.“The mining, oil and refining of petroleum sector with the discovery of oil in the Lake Albert region also provides new areas of business,” said Zuma, addressing the South Africa-Uganda Business Forum on 25 March.Uganda, which recorded a GDP of US$14.5-billion (R108-billion) in 2008/09, lists South Africa as one of its major goods suppliers, alongside Kenya, India, China and the US.SA presence in UgandaMobile phone network operator MTN is currently the leading South African business in Uganda. The company broke into the market there in 1998 and now boasts about 3 500 000 customers. It “has since grown to be the leading telecommunications company in Uganda” and “we are still growing”, according to the MTN website.Other South African businesses with a presence in the East African country include Stanbic Bank Uganda, a subsidiary of Standard Bank, and Shoprite and Game stores.“We recognize that South Africans are among the top contributors to foreign direct investment flows to Uganda, and South Africa is firmly entrenched near the top of the list of countries from which Uganda sources imports,” said Zuma.ANC freedom fighters honouredlast_img read more