A non-disclosed source and SA's biggest Intelligence leak
Top secret spy cables released by the Al Jazeera network have led to a number of damning reports on the operations of South Africa’s spy network. According to the Al Jazeera, Israel managed to get the better of South Africa – among other startling revelations. EWN's Barry Bateman:
Several of the cables have been released thus far, with cases dating as far back as 2006, including South Africa's monitoring of Iran's activities in South Africa. There are also leaks relating to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, showing that Israel was nowhere close to the nuclear strength he'd pointed to when he'd addressed the world last year. The suggestion is that unlike the Snowden leak, this was done electronically. Whether all the leaks came from a South African source is also not clear.
Senior partner at Lionel Murray Schwormstedt & Louw, Jacques Louw, looks at the legal implications of such a leak for journalists:
To obtain state secrets is potentially breaching legislation. There may be legislation that compels one to disclose this information to the State when they come across it. (On potentially facing imprisonment) they could, according to the current legislation. There's no law currently that specifically protects a journalist with regards to releasing information on their sources. If the interests of justice outweigh the protection of the sources name, then the courts can order a journalist to reveal their source, save for when the receipt of this information would be in the public interest.
Boko's reign of terror
Boko Haram continues to gain major ground in Northern Nigeria. The conflict has seen skirmishes in Cameroon and other countries as the movement tries to gain territory. Nigeria has been battling to stop Boko Haram, which has been kidnapping girls and boys to bolster its forces. University of Johannesburg Professor Hennie strydom specialises in Boko Haram and International Law:
The first intervention must come from a regional intervention, which is why we have seen neighbouring countries being involved, as the conflict is going to spill over into those countries. Secondly, the AU should also be involved and bring a military solution here, because it's become evident that Nigeria is weak to address Boko Haram.
South Africa - publish yourself!
More writers are looking to self-publish their books instead of going to a recognised publishing house. This seems like a great solution as many disappointed writers often aren’t given the time of day by the major houses. Founder of Self-Publish SA, Sally Shaw:
If you look online, there are a number of different options out there. Editing is the most important thing, but let's face it - many people are writing things that should not be published. There's also a number of digital printers for you to do print-on-demand. Marketing and distribution is very difficult, with retailers such as a CNA taking a cut. Certain genres are easier to market than others. If for instance, you're publishing religious books, you could market those at religious gatherings and churches, etc. Fiction on the other hand is typically quite difficult to market.
Build up to Budget 2015
A guaranteed minimum wage and possible tax hikes are some of the issues that may be raised during the Budget Speech on what has been described as the most important budget in two decades, include the expectation that Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene could try and shrink the budget deficit this year. Chief Economist at Econometrix, Dr Azar Jammine:
I suppose it is possible that we could see a VAT increase in order as it would be the easiest way to increase tax revenue, but I'm not convinced it will take place this early quite yet. In the case of the fuel levy, it is often those in the higher income earning end of society who would pay more as they drive bigger vehicles that consumer more fuel. Government should also start acting on infrastructural investment programs and encouraging more small business activity, instead of just talking about it.
Shaik's parole shake up?
Schabir Shaik is looking to have his medical parole converted to normal parole, saying he is under too many restrictions. In 2005, Shaik was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on charges of fraud and corruption. He received medical parole in 2009. Attorney, Julian Knight:
There's no provision in the Act, which provides various mechanisms with which you can get out of jail for medical conditions or for parole when your sentence gets shortened. Interestingly enough, the Act was changed in 2011 that a decision to cancel medical parole should be made in light of other provisions.
Greece's left-wing government says it will deliver a list of reforms to debt inspectors today for final approval of extended rescue loans. Reports say Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is already facing dissent within his left-wing Syriza party over claims it is backtracking on its recent election-winning promises to ease budget cuts for recession-battered Greeks. EWN UK's Gavin Grey:
They have submitted this list of reforms and the European Commission will pour over them and make a decision over whether to extend the bail out for another 4 months. If that doesn't happen, it will be very difficult for them to borrow money, they will have to leave the Euro. The rest of Europe is in favour of Greece staying with the Euro, but the main creditors, Germany have emphasised that Greece must stay within the reforms. They have to move for a deal by Saturday.
Ukraine has delayed a promised pullback of heavy weapons from the front line in Eastern Ukraine, blaming continuing attacks from separatist rebels. Under a peace agreement reached earlier this month, both sides are to withdraw their heavy weapons to create a buffer zone. International Relations Commentator, Tom Wheeler:
Except for this ceasefire, it isn't doing too badly. It's a blame-game, with one still firing across the border, while the other one responds. The people in the Russian-orientated part of Ukraine were celebrating the old Red Army - it show their sympathy is very much on the side of Russia. The means is within there (for a peace agreement) but the question is whether they will implement it.