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Daily podcast - January 8, 2010


8th January 2010

By: Amy Witherden


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Friday, January 8, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
Making headlines:
President Jacob Zuma said yesterday that he is "seriously concerned" about the drop in South Africa's 2009 matric pass rate, from 62,5% in 2008 to 60,7%.
Speaking in the Northern Cape at the release of matric results, Zuma said that the results underlined the need to "pursue improvements in education with determination".
He added that equal distribution of resources to schools was paramount to quality learning and teaching, and also emphasised the monitoring and evaluation of education from both national and provincial perspectives as crucial to the development and strengthening of a culture of education.

Zimbabwe's government yesterday halted the sale of diamonds from its controversial Marange fields, saying that the process would only go ahead under international supervision.
State media had earlier quoted the chairperson of a joint-venture firm set up by the government and two South African companies as saying that diamond auctions would start on Thursday, but a senior government official said that the announcement was premature.
Permanent secretary in the mines ministry Thankful Musukutwa said that the Zimbabwean government observes and is "committed to the administrative decision of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) ... that all shipments from all production sites in the Marange area be subject to examination and certification by a KPCS monitor."

Sudanese aid agencies must be helped to fill in the gaps left in Darfur's aid operation by the expulsion of 13 humanitarian organisations last year, said Oxfam America yesterday.
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in March last year for war crimes in Darfur. He responded by expelling the major aid agencies from Darfur, leaving a hole in the world's largest humanitarian operation.
Oxfam America country director El Fateh Osman Adam said that international aid agencies, the United Nations and the Sudanese government should all work to help local organisations to lead the aid effort themselves.


Also making headlines:
The International Monetary Fund says that Kenya's monetary policy of rate cuts is 'appropriate' at this time.
Madagascar's government threatens an opposition crackdown if civil unrest continues.
Nigerian Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan urges more guidance for the country's youth after the December 25 attempted bombing of a US airliner by a Nigerian man.
And, Ghanaian President John Atta Mills says that the government's priority for 2010 is economic recovery.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.




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