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Oct 3, 2013

Courting African consumers gets a reinvention of cool

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics
is betting on a top-end refrigerator designed not to
lose its cool in Africa as a way into the continent’s consumer
markets, where there is growing demand for prestige products
which meet local needs.

The refrigerator comes with a sticker saying it is “Built
for Africa”, meaning that while it is basically the same
flagship product on sale elsewhere in the world it has been
tailored to suit local conditions.

Oct 1, 2013

Rhino horn poaching hits new record in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The number of rhinos killed by poachers has hit a new annual record in South Africa, raising worries of a downward population spiral in a country that is home to almost all of Africa’s rhinos.

As of the end of September, 704 rhinos had been killed by poachers in South Africa, exceeding the annual record of 668 set in 2012, according to data provided by the Environmental Affairs ministry on Tuesday.

Sep 23, 2013

Swaziland shows signs of turning corner on world’s highest HIV rates

MBABANE (Reuters) – Swaziland, the country hardest hit by HIV/AIDS, appears to be stemming the pace of new infections thanks to increased funding, more efficient treatment and greater international help, public health workers said.

On a global basis, the rate of HIV infection and the number of AIDS-related deaths have been dramatically reduced, thanks to expanding access to treatment, the United Nations said in a report issued on Monday.

Sep 20, 2013

Swazis vote in an election bound to keep king on top

NKHABA, Swaziland (Reuters) – For most Swazis, polling day serves only as a galling reminder of the entrenched poverty, inequality and suppression of human rights in a country run as King Mswati III’s personal fiefdom.

Voters chose on Friday from a slate of royal supporters in an election virtually devoid of campaign posters and completely lacking in political parties, which are banned so as not to upset the workings of Africa’s last absolute monarchy.

Sep 10, 2013

South African transport workers end walkout, strike threat wanes

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Striking South African airline workers returned to work this week and promised to pursue wage talks in a further sign of waning union militancy amid job fears that have eased the strike threat to Africa’s biggest economy.

With the unemployment rate stuck at about 25 percent for years and poverty gripping millions, many South Africans have said they are more concerned with securing a paycheque for themselves than heeding the strike calls of union bosses.

Aug 26, 2013

South African construction, airport workers widen wave of strikes

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African construction and airport workers went on strike for higher wages on Monday, extending a series of industrial action threatening to slow growth in Africa’s largest economy.

The labor unrest poses a risk for President Jacob Zuma’s African National Congress as it heads into elections next year facing increasing criticism that it has not done enough to help the millions of unemployed and working poor almost 20 years after the end of white-minority apartheid rule.

Aug 13, 2013

South African police complete probe in Pistorius murder case

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African police have completed their murder investigation into global track and field star Oscar Pistorius, who will appear in court next week to receive detailed charges for the Valentine’s Day shooting of his girlfriend.

The double-amputee, known as “Blade Runner” for the prostheses he wears in competition, is due in court on August 19 for a hearing that will likely be brief and procedural. He was released on bail in February after being charged with murder.

Jul 30, 2013

Worker shot dead near Lonmin’s South Africa mine: police

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A 49-year-old worker was shot dead at the weekend near Lonmin’s Marikana mine in South Africa, stirring worries of new labor tension in the troubled platinum mining belt that has been racked by a violent union dispute over the last year.

Police said on Tuesday the shooting took place on Sunday but could not immediately confirm whether it was related to the union turf war, in which more than 50 people have been killed.

Jul 29, 2013

South Africa’s mining group presses union into mediation

JOHANNESBURG, July 29 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Chamber of
Mines has declared a dispute with labour group AMCU in gold
negotiations, a move aimed at placing wage talks for the entire
sector before a government-affiliated mediator, it said on
Monday.

“AMCU has rejected the gold producers’ revised offer of a 5
percent increase in wages and benefits. The producers have
indicated that they cannot accede to AMCU’s demands, in respect
of which AMCU has not moved at all in respect of its demands,”
the chamber said in a statement on behalf of gold producers.

Jul 24, 2013

South Africa wants Zimbabwe vote to reflect people’s will: Motlanthe

PRETORIA (Reuters) – With a big vested interest in the stability of Zimbabwe, South Africa is keen that next week’s election in its northern neighbor should fairly reflect the people’s wishes, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Wednesday.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees fled into South Africa after violence in the last election, in 2008, landing it with an expensive humanitarian crisis. But since it helped to broker a unity government, the economy has been recovering, creating opportunities for South African business.