The sacking of President Mbeki

Posted by batman on Sep 24th, 2008
2008
Sep 24

A dignified Thabo Mbeki

A gleeful Jacob Zuma

Thabo Mbeki on Sunday night resigned as president of South Africa, bringing the curtain down on a sometimes tumultuous nine years of rule.

However, he sounded a final warning to his eventual successor to honour his party’s principles. He also claimed not to have interfered in rival Jacob Zuma’s legal wranglings as inferred recently by Judge Nicholson.

In accordance with the instruction to do so from African National Congress (ANC), Mbeki has handed a letter of resignation to the speaker of parliament, Baleka Mbete. Parliament will now decide the date from which this is effective.

In a speech to South Africans after meeting with his cabinet, Mbeki appealed for unity.

Announcing his resignation as president last night, Mbeki defended his legacy, which suffered a major blow when a Pietermaritzburg High Court judge ruled that he and his cabinet had interfered with the work of the independent prosecuting authority.

Mbeki categorically denied that he or any member of his cabinet had – as Judge Chris Nicholson’s judgment last week had inferred – meddled with the justice system or organs of state like the National Prosecuting Authority to settle political scores.

“I would be the first to say that even as we ensured consistent economic growth, the fruits of this growth are not shared among all the people. We must admit that we are still faced with many challenges in this regard.

Trevor Manuel (and 13 other Ministers) resign Trevor Manuel

Their letters of resignation had been received by President Thabo Mbeki “which, regretfully, he has had to accept”, the presidency said in a statement on today. “President Mbeki thanked the deputy president, the ministers and the deputy ministers for their dedicated service to the nation and wished them well in their future endeavours,” it said.

The ANC has moved to calm the panic over the resignation of finance chief Trevor Manuel and 13 other cabinet ministers by insisting that he was still in charge of the country’s purse-strings.

Mantashe considered that the party had been caught by surprise…”that’s why we felt it necessary to have an urgent press briefing because we knew the markets would react negatively, especially with regards to finance minister Trevor Manuel.

“He remains the Minister of Finance,” the party’s secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said at a press conference this afternoon.

Mantashe said that Manuel, along with eight other Cabinet Ministers, had indicated they were “ready to serve under the new leadership”.

Six Cabinet Ministers have indicated they will not make themselves available to serve in a new government. They are Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Minister of Defence Terror Lekota, Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad, Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Karsils, Minister of Public Enterprises Alec Erwin and Minister of Provincial and Local Government Sydney Mufamadi.


Kgalema Motlanthe the next president

Kgalema Motlanthe

Kgalema Motlanthe will be nominated in Parliament to replace Thabo Mbeki as president, the ANC confirmed.

“Minister Motlanthe is perhaps the most level-headed and reasonable of all the politicians in the Zuma camp. Unlike Zuma, he dared to stick his head above the parapet and rebuke the ANC Youth League for its menacing statements that it would ‘shoot to kill’ for the ANC President,” the opposition party said.




Sources: The Sunday Times



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The Lewis Hamilton Roadshow

Posted by batman on Sep 23rd, 2008
2008
Sep 23

Lewis HamiltonIs it just me, or does anyone else experience the same level of frustration when watching Formula One these days? Doesn’t it make you think you’re watching the US Open Golf major, or at least Tiger Woods playing in some golf match? You can be watching Tiger leaning against a tree, or walking down a fairway – not even in contention, but perish the thought that the broadcasters would actually focus on anything else, for instance some guy actually leading the event…Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren Mercedes

These days the result can be summed up not as “Massa wins the race”, but rather something like “Hamilton fails to finish”, or “Poor race for Hamilton”, or even “Hamilton goes to court to sue for race win”. Its all about Hamilton – never much about the other guys – the current world champion Kimi Raikkonen, or contender Felippe Massa, or even twice former champion Fernando Alonso.

He is admittedly brilliant, with supreme car control, but let us not forget that this is only his second year, after failing to win the championship last year (which is of course something special in itself). It is perhaps inevitable that he will become champion, more than likely several times, but there are other guys out there. Sebastian Vettel is sensational, Robert Kubica has huge potential, and of course the new crop of Kovaleinen, Piquet and Glock are just waiting to show their colours.

I do feel he was hard done by at Spa – yes, he did pull a stunt at the chicane, and I don’t feel he gave “enough” back – he still had the advantage of the slipstream, and was past again. But given that, in the wet, he was in a class of his own, he probably could still have won had he received a drive-thru during the race. Raikkonen didn’t finish, and there was no-one else even close on the track – Massa had “second” written all over him on the day. He deserved the race – in the big picture, and the marshalls just seem to be enforcing more and more rules and regulations – which are having the effect of taking away the pleasure and excitement of Formula One. They could take a page from the books of MotoGP or SBK as far as exciting racing is concerned!

No, it’s because he is British, and the commentators are British. It was the same thing with Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill – the fever takes over in Britain, and the rest of us have to endure some British driver driving a race, accompanied by the never-ending Hamilton hymns and praises. Come on guys – lets just make it a little less biased – it is a global sport – not just a British one!


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The 37th Ryder Cup

Posted by batman on Sep 19th, 2008
2008
Sep 19

The Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup

Venue:

Valhalla Golf Club, Loiusville, Kentucky, U.S.A.


Team Captains:

Paul Azinger (U.S.A.)

Nick Faldo (Europe)




Day 1:

What a pleasure watching a premier golf event in the USA, without any of the American commentators or broadcasters. For once we could watch relevant golf, across the “leaderboard”, instead of just watching one man (Tiger) leaning against a tree, or walking down the fairway. Relevant, informed and notably unbiased commentary from the British broadcasters, without endless breaks for advertising with us left focussing on some pretty flowers for 30 seconds or more. After all, we just want to watch the golf…

Symbolic of the day was how Europe started – dominating practically everything, but then falling away and having to be satisfied with only one win the entire day, and a few halves. They just didn’t seem to have the “mojo”, while everything the Americans touched just turned to “sunk”.

Noticeable too was how gee’d up Mickleson was – he and Kim have really fed off each other, and are both really fired up. One can’t help feeling that the biggest ingredient in the USA’s revival, and spirit, and enjoyment of the event – has got to be Tiger Woods (being absent that is). I have never seen such team spirit and fire from the Americans in all of the team events I’ve ever watched. The Tiger/Mickleson pairing in one of the previous team events will live forever as one of the greatest on paper, but one of the most dismal in practice.

My players of the day were Poulter and Rose for the Europeans, and Leonard, Mahan, Kim and Mickelson for the Americans.


USA: 5.5

Europe 2.5


Day 2:

The rivalry between the British and American commentators is livening up. Still good-natured, but definitely with an edge emerging…

I can’t help but to side with the British commentators though – the constant “Boo, Boo” every time Boo Weekley appears is getting seriously annoying (it isn’t as though he’s actually done anything yet – if his name was Tiger Woods it might be different). Additionally the “get-in-the-hole” smacks more of “making noise” and less of any knowledgeable comments – especially on the tee shot of a par 5! Trying hard to be unbiased – I can’t help preferring the staid, stuffy British formality and tradition of golf, to the rowdy, (ironically English) football-hooligan-ish noise of the rabble that Ryder Cup events on American soil tends to serve up. I’m hoping we don’t have a repeat of Brookline, but wouldn’t be surprised…

The Europeans fought back to take the morning foursomes, with the afternoons fourballs having honours divided. Karlsson’s (second) final putt was pivotal – overall USA would have a 1 point lead if he made it, a two point lead if the match were halved, and a three point lead should he drop it. As it was Team Europe has to be satisfied halving the hole.

Young McDowell was really one of the stars of the European team, and Poulter has also stood up to lay claim to be the European Team Leader, despite the name of Harrington on the table. For the Americans, Mahan seems to have that spark, with Stricker being superbly solid and dependable. Mickleson has had his moments of brilliance, but also missed a short putt towards the end – one that had Azinger cringing…

My players of the day were McDowell, Poulter, Karlsson for the Europeans, and Furyk, Mahan, Stricker and Mickelson for the Americans.


USA: 9

Europe: 7


Day 3:

America go into this final day with a two point advantage, and needing 5.5 points to take back the cup. It’ll should be intriguing stuff.

How about the opening approach shot from Kim, then matched by Garcia? The level of play this week has been incredible!

The spirit between the two teams has been impeccable, barring of course forthe Kim/Garcia game. I can’t say I much like Kim’s aggressive, in-your-face approach – his double-checking the rules official and his not conceding an easy putt to Garcia bordered on unsportsmanlike. His (and Boo’s) trying to gee up the crowds is more like English football, or American baseball – but it’s not golf. What’s next – personal cheerleaders? Kim’s crowds cheering when Garcia missed putts, or put the ball in the water is also not what golf’s about. One should cheer and applaud excellent play – but never a players misfortunes – regardless of what it means in the bigger picture!

With 8 points still out there, the USA leads by a marginal 10.5 to 9.5 – but I suspect that this is as close as the Europeans are going to get. They simply aren’t doing enough, they need someone like Harrington or Jiminez to swing their matches, with the others maintaining station. Well played Kenny Perry – the local from Kentucky has enjoyed a gem. Golf can be such a cruel game – after Mahan’s unbelievable putt on the 17th to take 1 stroke lead, he gets his feet wet on the 18th to hand the advantage right back to Casey – matched halved.

Ok, America have won the Cup back – the underdogs have now won the last four times out. I’m not sure that Faldo got his playing order right today – to have lost the Cup without Harrington, Westwood or Poulter having a chance to contribute suggests that with the benefit of hindsight, he may have done things differently. Overall I think Paul Azinger was the better captain – more involved, emotional and supportive, while Nick Faldo seemed more dour, detached and distant.

Once again golf was played, by both sides, at a level much higher than even in the majors – and nothing comes close the the intensity and pressure of these matches. And for me, the nicest thing of all, is that this Ryder Cup is not played for prize money – it is played for things like honour, and glory, and for your country – and thats all!

Well played America – this time it was played in excellent spirit, and it was a huge success!


USA: 16.5

Europe: 11.5

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BMW M3 Challenge

Posted by batman on Sep 18th, 2008
2008
Sep 18


BMW M3 Coupe

I’ve just discovered this great game for the PC – and the best thing is that it is free for download – legally! BMW launched this game to coincide with the launch of their new M3 – allowing us to get a taste of this fantastic machine – and getting the competitive juices flowing at the same time.

The following taken from the Official BMW website:

Start the ignition to see just what the V8 high-rev engine is capable of. Shift up through the gears to propel the BMW M3 Coupé forwards as it constantly pushes the boundaries of driving pleasure even further. Brake as you approach the first bend but keep your steering tight, you don’t want to lose your advantage.

Think you could have performed better? Then try again. Thanks to the BMW M3 Challenge, the Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit is all yours. Configure your BMW M3 Coupé using original paint finishes and enjoy the powerful sound of the engine at 8,300 rpm – until you have to brake again that is.

System requirements

The software runs on all standard Windows personal computers. To control the vehicle you can either use the keyboard or a PC steering wheel.

Download

Click here to download it (345 Mb)

Credits

BMW

My Personal Challenge

Click here to see my inner challenge – only invited friends / family have been invited to partake in “our” challenge.

Open Challenge

Please add a comment with your best time (please also specify long or sprint track, as well as MAN|AUTO, TC, etc.. I’d really like to see what sort of times have been set.

Thank you BMW – this has been an awesome marketing exercise – until now the M3, C63 and RS4 have just been names – now only two of them are… This has got to be the benchmark – if only all manufacturers of sporting vehicles would now follow suit…

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