Mobile messaging platform WhatsApp poses “no threat” to phone carriers who rely on SMS revenue. Given the popularity of the service, that statement seems pretty hard to believe at first glance. Who chooses to send paid-for SMSes anymore when you can WhatsApp your buddies to your heart’s content (or until your thumbs malfunction) for free?
A consul-general’s job, amongst other things, is to facilitate trade and friendship between citizens of two countries. Marie-May Kolsch, the Seychelles consul-general, may have taken that mandate a little too far, judging from some rather salacious communication between herself and a former director of the failed Pinnacle Point property group. An eyebrow-raising email exchange, after the jump.
It’s that time of the year again – the Easter silly season, when people risk their lives driving like lunatics on our national roads. To counter the madness, the Western Cape government has announced it will be setting up roadblocks where you and I least expect them, as part of a grand plan which aims to see zero road deaths in the province over the Easter period.
If you’re looking for a job, don’t even think seeking your fortune in Europe. Unemployment rates across the Eurozone – the countries which use the euro – continue to climb and in February were at their highest level since the introduction of the single currency in 1999. Spain has been worst hit, with the unemployment rate amongst its under-25 population rising to an alarming 50.5% in February.
Complaints of inter-patron racism have rocked Virgin Active recently. A third racial complaint has now been lodged, this time at Virgin’s Hatfield gym, resulting in a man being suspended for spitting at another member. Charming.
In 2009 Madonna broke ground for a new school in Malawi, side by side with the country’s Minister of Education. Now the singer’s plans to build a $15 million academy for girls have fallen by the wayside. Her Raising Malawi foundation announced recently that it would instead channel $300 000 into an existing NGO which builds schools, making some Malawians very unhappy.
The advertising industry needs to “stop being stereotypical” about talent if it wants to retain it. That’s the opinion of Matthew Bull, former chairman of Lowe and Partners, founder of Lowe Bull agency in South Africa, and now a partner at The Bull-White House in New York. He’s written an open letter on the topic, in which he makes an interesting distinction between “wordthinkers” and “visualthinkers”.
A month ago the battle between FNB and Standard Bank was just heating up. Following Standard Bank’s complaints about FNB’s “misleading” advertising in February, the banks remain at loggerheads. In recent days FNB has lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about its competitor, which it says is now attempting “to sell nonexistent products”.
Kenya could soon be listing oil as one of its natural resources for the first time. The country has never before been recognised for its mineral riches, but the recent discovery of oil in the north-western region of Turkana could change that.
While we know Kim Kardashian will do absolutely anything to drum up some publicity for herself, it’s unlikely that she would orchestrate a stunt that would ruin her red carpet look for her own event. Kim got a nasty surprise as she received a face full of flour (not flowers) from a mystery ‘bomber’ at the launch of her new perfume, True Reflection, last night.
Here’s some great news for the swimmers amongst you. The City of Cape Town is about to launch a first-of-its-kind initiative to clean up the water running into three popular bathing areas. The project aims to improve the quality of storm water at two outlet sites in Three Anchor Bay and another at Rocklands, between Sea Point and Mouille Point.
A Cape doctor has publicly condemned the type of pastor-led faith-healing rally that took place over the weekend at the Cape Town stadium. Several people were admitted to Groote Schuur Hospital on Sunday after they fell ill at the mass event, which was convened by controversial pastor Chris Oyakhilome.
Minister of Transport, S’bu Ndebele, watched his 24-year-old son tragically slip from a coma into death following a road accident during the treacherous Easter driving period. That was 18 years ago, but Ndebele still feels the pain of losing his son, Nhlakanipho. He is now calling for those who cause death on the roads to face murder charges.
The Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, is about to embark on what’s being called a charm offensive to woo investment from wealthier nations. His first stop, the United States, has been perfectly timed to tie in with tomorrow’s St Patrick’s Day festivities. Because no-one is going to refuse an Irish politician money on St Paddy’s.
Yesterday we brought you the news of the massive bus accident that has Switzerland and Belgium reeling. Reports have emerged today that one of the survivors of the crash is an 11-year-old South African girl, named Andrea Hoebrechts. She is in critical condition.
It’s difficult to get one’s head around the enormous popularity of Eurovision. The pan-European singing contest is the most watched non-sporting event in the world. Even more mind-blowing is the act that has beaten 24 other entrants to represent Russia in this year’s competition. It’s a group of six women aged between 43 and 74, dressed in traditional peasant wear, singing a song called “Party for Everybody”.
The debate around re-opening the international rhino horn trade is still raging. While government has not given any indication yet of whether it will support the proposal to lift the ban, the demand for rhino horn from Chinese medicine practitioners is not going away.
Humans and animals don’t always get along. But on occasion one species helps the other out in a remarkable way. When it comes to dolphins, it’s often the animal coming to the rescue of the human, but in this dramatic video, it is beachgoers in Brazil who lend a hand to the dolphins. Heartwarming stuff.
Shani Krebs has been living in a (reportedly revolting) maximum security Thai prison called Bang Kwang Central – lovingly referred to by inmates as the ‘Bangkok Hilton’ – since before South Africa became a democracy. Krebs is the longest-serving farang or foreigner in the institution, for which he’s earned a rather tragic reputation. He’s at last been released and will soon return to the ‘new’ SA.
Have you heard the term “lactivist”? It refers to someone who actively supports breast-feeding over bottle-feeding babies. Many lactivists are in favour of “NIP” (nursing in public) – which is exactly what megastar Beyoncé has made the news doing in recent days.
It’s Demonstration Monday, folks. Two protests, complete with some dramatic tire burning, blockaded roads and accusations of corruption, have occurred in different areas of Cape Town since this morning.
Port Elizabeth’s windswept landscape already features one wind farm, and the building of a second farm on the other side of the city is currently under debate. Hearings are underway today in PE, to test opinion on the development of a new wind farm at Blue Horizon Bay. Many residents are opposed to this – basically, because wind farms are ugly.
[Update:] Julius Malema has been expelled from the ANC. The National Disciplinary Committee announced its final decision on the fate of the ANC Youth League leader late this evening, declaring that his suspension from the party would be upheld. The decision can still be overturned by the National Disciplinary Committee of Appeal or reviewed by the ANC’s executive committee, but Malema’s political career is on decidedly shaky ground tonight.
Controversial Wallaby rugby player Quade Cooper was one of the three high profile sportsmen involved in a car crash on Friday in Melbourne. Reds flyhalf Cooper was with Melbourne Rebels players Danny Cipriani and Kurtley Beale when they crashed into a parked car coming around a bend.
We’ve told you a lot about the shenanigans of SA’s Big Four banks recently. Yesterday a Twitter storm erupted around Standard Bank and FNB, with the former accusing FNB of misleading advertising. The irony? The mud-slinging quite quickly turned in the direction of Standard Bank, with Tweeters taking FNB’s side. Here’s a snapshot of what happened.
Do you remember the accident at the end of last year, in which teenager Thomas Ferreira was knocked off his motorcycle by a blue-light vehicle? The car allegedly jumped a red traffic light in its terrible rush to get its VIP occupant somewhere. In an intriguing comment this week, the politician who was being transported in the car involved has stated unequivocally that the accident should not be politicised.
Seven million Californians are in favour of gay marriage becoming legal. Home to 98,000 same-sex couples, if California would just come to the party already it would be one of the gay rights movement’s biggest achievements ever. But a petition lodged yesterday by groups that still want to limit marriage to a man and a woman has put the legalisation of same-sex marriages in the state on hold.
The human race is going to have to start believing in science – and quickly – if we want a hope in hell of surviving the environmental crisis we’re facing. This was the sentiment at a recent gathering of the world’s pre-eminent scientific minds in Vancouver. At the meeting, thousands of scientists discussed the problem that their industry is “under seige”, and that the world needs help to believe in science again.
As we charge along into March, you may already be feeling like you need a break from what 2012 has thrown at you. Recent psychological research suggests that the best vacation you can book for yourself is probably short in duration, and punctuated with plenty of sweet experiences.