Daily podcast - March 19, 2009

19th March 2009 By: Amy Witherden

Thursday, March 19, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
Making headlines:
African National Congress President Jacob Zuma yesterday stated that the church's support for the party is an "unequivocal biblical declaration" that while God is behind the ANC, nobody could be against the party.
This statement was made at a meeting between Zuma and religious and traditional leaders in North West province.
Church leaders told Zuma that they would encourage every member of the church to vote in the April 22 election so as to ensure an ANC victory.
Church leaders were committed to the fight against "moral decay and all forms of abuse", they said in a statement.
Zuma emphasised that the ANC is a "child of the church", as many of the party's previous presidents were religious leaders.

In other news, the Vatican has defended Pope Benedict's opposition to the use of condoms to stop the spread of HIV/Aids. This comes as activists, doctors and politicians criticised the Pope's statement as unrealistic, unscientific and dangerous.
On his arrival in Africa, the Pope had said that condoms "increase the problem" of HIV/Aids. The comment has sparked a worldwide firestorm of criticism.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that fidelity within heterosexual marriage and abstinence are the best ways to stop HIV/Aids.
The Vatican claims that the Pope is merely "maintaining the position of his predecessors".

Back in South Africa, the African National Congress Youth League has criticised Mo Shaik, brother of convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik, for his "opportunistic" statement suggesting that party leader Jacob Zuma's corruption charges would be dropped.
Shaik had told students and ANC members at the University of Pretoria on Tuesday, that the following day's headlines would make public the National Prosecuting Authority's decision not to prosecute Jacob Zuma.
The ANCYL said that this confirms the party's long held misgivings of a deliberate effort to run a trial by media.
Shaik has, however, denied that he had inside information. He said that he was merely relaying a tip-off he had received, to the effect that newspapers were planning to run reports of the NPA's stance.
Meanwhile, the NPA has denied that there is any truth to the rumour.

Also making headlines:
United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon is to reassess African peacekeeping funding.
The South African Human Rights Commission says that the country's human rights record is not on track.
Sudan pledges that there will be no more aid group expulsions.
And, South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel says that the country's youth is its greatest asset.

That's a roundup of news making headlines today