Friday, September 25, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
The role of the United Nations in the struggle to end apartheid is an exceptional example of the collective political will of the international community. This is according to South Africa President Jacob Zuma, speaking at the sixty-fourth United Nations (UN) General Assembly debate in New York.
Zuma said that South Africa would always be grateful for such international solidarity and commitment to the promotion of basic human rights.
He added that the UN must continue to work harder to unite the world to work towards alleviating the suffering of the world's poor and marginalised. Speaking of the effects of the global financial crisis on developing countries, Zuma called for the UN to play a significant role in finding solutions to these problems. The crisis should not be an excuse to delay further action on the delivery of the Millennium Development Goals, he said.
Group of 20 (G20) leaders should agree on the size of an increase in voting power for emerging nations in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the urgency over the issue may be lost. Egyptian Finance Minister and chair of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), Youssef Boutros-Ghali, said that a G20 agreement on specific percentage changes in IMF voting power would give momentum to a 2011 restructuring deadline.
The US is pushing for a 5% shift in voting power from developed countries to "dynamic" emerging economic powers to reflect the growing influence of countries such as China in the world economy.
While European countries say they recognise the need for change, some are resisting a dilution of their economic clout in the IMF. A significant increase in China's quotas, which determine its voting power, would push it above established European powers France and Britain.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called for labour laws to be reviewed to give striking workers and contractors more rights. At its tenth national congress this week, Cosatu proposed several resolutions to improve working conditions and governance in South Africa.
Cosatu also wants labour brokers banned and has clashed with government over powers given to former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, as head of a new National Planning Commission. Cosatu fears that the new position for Manuel, who the trade unions view as championing business-friendly economic policy, would create "a new centre of power", and called for Ebrahim Patel, the newly appointed Economic Development Minister and a former trade unionist, to be responsible for directing economic policy.
Also making headlines:
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane says that the province is not smart enough in fighting crime.
Transparency International says that corruption was a catalyst in the financial crisis.
Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi accuses major powers of betraying the principles of the founding charter in first speech at the United Nations.
And, Group of 20 leaders pledge quick action on the long-running Doha trade deal.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.