Daily podcast - March 4, 2009

4th March 2009 By: Amy Witherden

Wednesday, March 4, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
Making headlines:
Following reports yesterday of the release of convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik from prison, chairperson of the parole review board Judge Siraj Desai stated that medical parole is meant only for people who are terminally ill, and not those suffering from lesser conditions. The Correctional Services Act is not flexible in this matter.
Desai said that he was not familiar with the contents of the medical report that resulted in parole being granted to Shaik. The judge said that he did not want to comment on the case, as it may come before him in his capacity as a member of the review board.
Desai added that he is of the view that the Act should be amended to broaden the scope whereby medically unfit persons can be released from prison. However, he said that the law as it stands is what we have to deal with now.
Meanwhile, Correctional Services Minister Ngconde Balfour says that Shaik's condition is indeed 'terminal'.

In other news, the International Monetary Fund warns that the global financial crisis has shifted to the world's poorest nations, as 22 poor countries may need as much as $25-billion in additional funding in 2009 to cope with the downturn.
IMF MD Dominique Strauss-Kahn foresees mounting problems for developing countries. He calls it the "third wave" of the crisis, which has spread from the financial and credit markets into the consumer economy.
Strauss-Kahn says that he expects more countries to turn to the IMF for financing and those with IMF aid packages to increase their borrowing.
Developing countries have been affected by falling demand for exports and a dramatic slowing in remittances from overseas workers as the economies of the US and Europe have contracted. A sharp drop in foreign direct investment is expected in about one-half of all low-income countries.
Strauss-Kahn said that the decline in food and fuel prices should provide some relief to countries as inflation falls.

Back home, South Africa expects to establish a binding climate change policy within three years in order to limit emissions by the year 2025.
Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk said at a climate change summit yesterday that a lack of action could lead emissions in South Africa, the continent's largest emitter, to quadruple by 2050.
Van Schalkwyk said that the government is finalising a regulatory, fiscal and legislative framework that will make the tracking and reporting of emissions mandatory. There would also be penalties if companies did not comply with emission reduction targets.

Also making headlines:
The United Nations Security Council is not prepared for action if the International Criminal Court indicts Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
In Zimbabwe, a court upholds an order to free Movement for Democratic Change official Roy Bennett.
In Guinea-Bissau, the Speaker of Parliament is to be sworn in as acting President following the assassination of Joao Bernardo Vieira.
And, South African opposition parties criticise Schabir Shaik's release.

That's a roundup of news making headlines today. For more on these and other stories, visit polity.org.za.