Wednesday March 3, 2011
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Brad Dubbelman
South Africa backs France's goals for its presidency of the Group of 20 economies (G20), President Jacob Zuma said, stressing that failure to address issues like food price swings would hit the poor hardest. Zuma is on a two-day visit to France at the invitation of President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has sought South African backing for a G20 agenda that includes reforming the international monetary system and reducing instability in commodity markets. "We support France's emphasis on the issues of commodity prices, food security and the future of the International Monetary System," Zuma said.
Global food prices measured by the United Nations’ (UN’s) food agency, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), may climb to record highs in February for a second straight month, driven by supply concerns amid unfavourable weather and stockpiling by importers. The FAO announced its February Food Price Index, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar. The index hit a record high in January, above the previous high set in June 2008 during a food crisis which sparked riots and panic buying in places as far apart as Haiti, Cameroon and Egypt.
The South African National Roads Agency Limited said that it had raised R750-million in its first auction for 2011, which was almost three times oversubscribed. The roads agency, which is implementing the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), said that the auction showed the confidence of investors in the toll road programme and the government’s ability to manage debt. The GFIP’s controversial open-road toll collection system was suspended last month, after a public outcry about the 66 c/km toll tariff, set to come into effect on June 23.
Also making headlines:
Libyan rebels repulsed a land and air offensive by Muammar Gaddafi's forces as the defiant leader warned foreign powers of "another Vietnam" if they intervened in his country's popular uprising.
Zimbabwe has accused United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay of being biased against the country and suggested she was a pawn of Western efforts to undermine President Robert Mugabe.
And, Sudan said that it would hold a referendum on whether to unify the three states of it’s Darfur territory into one region, a contentious issue at the heart of its eight-year conflict.
That’s a roundup of news making headlines today.