21 June 2011It’s going to be a busy week for US First Lady Michelle Obama, who is on her first official visit to South Africa.Obama, who landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria on Monday night, started her day on Tuesday by visiting President Jacob Zuma’s second wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma, at the President’s official residence in Pretoria.She then proceeded to Johannesburg, where she visited to the Nelson Mandela Foundation. There she toured the Nobel Peace laureate’s archives with Mandela’s wife, former Mozambican first lady Graca Machel.It was unclear whether the first lady would meet the 92-year-old icon, who is in frail health and has been under home medical care since he was hospitalised with a respiratory infection in January.Later in the afternoon Obama, who is travelling with her daughters Malia and Sasha and her mother Marian, was due to make a stop at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, which chronicles the history of the fight against white minority rule.Obama has a packed schedule that includes a trip to the memorial for Hector Pieterson in Soweto on Wednesday.She will also give a keynote address at a conference of the Young African Women Leaders Forum, a two-day meeting of 75 women aged 16 to 30 who are playing leadership roles across the continent.She will then jet off to Cape Town on Thursday, where she will meet with Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu before leaving for Botswana on Saturday.The White House says the First Lady’s visit will advance her husband’s foreign policy goals.The trip is a continuation of Michelle Obama’s work in engaging young people, especially girls and young women, at home and abroad.“This visit to two critical countries will underscore that the United States has an important stake in the success of Africa’s many nations and underscore the historic connections between the American people and those who live on the African continent,” the US embassy in South Africa said in a statement last week.“South Africa is a vital global partner for the United States, as political leader and economic engine on the continent, and a historic example of democratic transition in Africa and around the world.”Source: BuaNews
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest National Farmers Union (NFU) recognized the efforts of members, county and local organizations, and state divisions for their excellence in membership recruitment and outreach at the 115th Anniversary Convention.“A strong grassroots network is the backbone of a farmer-led organization,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Our peer-driven approach to membership and outreach is what keeps our organization rooted in rural America, and I am honored to recognize the efforts of these dedicated leaders.”Annually, National Farmers Union presents one or more awards in each of four categories: Silver Star Award, Membership Achievement Award, Leadership Achievement Award, and Outstanding Leadership Achievement Award.William Miller from Ohio Farmers Union received the Membership Achievement Award for his dedication to recruitment.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday described Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s offer of fresh dialogue with stakeholders as “a golden opportunity for the Hurriyat.”“The Hurriyat and Pakistan should respond positively to the offer of talks on Kashmir. It’s high time for the Hurriyat to initiate a result-oriented and meaningful dialogue with the Government of India,” said PDP general secretary Mansoor Hussain Sohrawardhy.Ready for dialogueIn an interview to a New Delhi-based channel, Mr. Singh said, “If Hurriyat is ready to talk, we have no problem, we are ready to talk to anyone. Even if Pakistan comes for a dialogue, we are ready for it.”The PDP leader said the State government had taken a series of confidence and peace-building measures to put a lid on the violence and bloodshed and that “more [measures] could be taken in the future.” “The ball is in the Hurriyat’s court now. The onus also lies on Pakistan to hold dialogue with India and stop painting the borders and the LoC in Kashmir red,” said Mr. Sohrawardhy.Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq maintained that the Hurriyat leadership would “extend its full support to every serious effort aimed at resolving the Kashmir [issue] so that peace prevails and bloodshed stops”. “It’s long overdue that India and Pakistan allow the leadership of the two divided parts of Kashmir to meet with each other and decide on their future course of action regarding their destiny. Such a step is of utmost importance,” said the Mirwaiz.Meanwhile, separatists forum Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) leader Yasin Malik, also JKLF chief, held a sit-in protest in Srinagar to demand release of all political prisoners.“We demand the immediate release of all prisoners, including Masarat Aalam, Qasim Faktoo, Asiya Andrabi and others,” said Mr. Malik.
Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, is to report on an energy solution to facilitate the re-opening of the Alpart and Kirkvine bauxite plants, when he speaks in the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate.The Government has been engaged in months of intense negotiations with Russian-based aluminium company, UC Rusal, for the resumption of operations at the facilities, which closed in 2009.Addressing a sitting of the Standing Finance Committee last week, Minister Paulwell said that the high cost of energy is a major issue affecting the re-opening of the plants.While UC Rusal is investing US $100 million in a coal-fired electricity generating system for Ewarton, the Minister said “they are maintaining that gas is the energy solution for both ALPART and Kirkvine and I am to report on that fully in the Sectoral Debate”.The Minister informed that the plants are being maintained, and are ready for operation. “In fact, I did a tour recently, just to satisfy my mind that the possibility exists for them to be re-opened within a short timeframe,” he stated.A downturn in the global aluminium market forced UC Rusal to cease its operations at Kirkvine, Ewarton and Alpart in 2009. The Ewarton refinery, located in St. Catherine, was re-opened in July 2010 and the Government, in 2012, as able to secure a deal with UC Rusal, to maintain operations at the refinery and save the 600 local jobs at the facility.As part of the agreement, Ewarton, as of 2015, will become a base producer of alumina for UC Rusal’s aluminium smelters overseas, with the Kirkvine and Alpart refineries, located in Manchester and St. Elizabeth, respectively, to be so designated, once they resume production.This means that Jamaica will no longer be regarded as a “swing location” and so vulnerable for closure during times of recession.UC Rusal entered Jamaica’s bauxite and alumina sector in 2007. The company has 93 per cent stake in WINDALCO, which owns and operates Ewarton Works and the Kirkvine Alumina Refinery, and has 100 per cent ownership of the Alpart refinery.By Latonya Linon, JIS Reporter