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JOHANNESBURG, Bank Zero, a 45-per cent Black-owned mutual bank founded by veteran bankers Michael Jordaan and Yatin Narsai is set to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The new applications-driven bank is set to launch after getting a provisional licence from monetary authorities, the institution said here Tuesday.

The bank will make use of a mutual bank licence, a concept which mirrors current social media trends and benefits customers by allowing for the support and creation of financial communities, it said in a statement.

It also provides for a capital-efficient framework, and Bank Zero will be sharing the subsequent cost benefits with its customers (both businesses and individuals).

Jordaan and Narsai are both former top executives at First National Bank who helped build its reputation as one of the most innovative in the country.

Jordaan, who is chairman of the new bank, said businesses, individuals, families and communities would benefit through its products and services which are in tune with modern-day realities.

Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram are the new normal for societies. Why shouldn't banks also innovate in this era of wider connectedness whilst still ensuring a robust banking value proposition? he said.

Bank Zero is addressing these realities, while employing cutting-edge technologies, minimising typical admin-intensive processes and delivering state-of-the-art security.


Minister announces plan to address crime

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has announced a plan that will strengthen police operations on the ground in an effort to fight crime.

Last year, the Minister revealed his intentions to reduce head office costs at the South African Police Service (SAPS), through a process of de-escalation of the top tier management to newly drawn boundaries in a regionalisation plan.

Addressing a media briefing on Wednesday, Minister Mbalula said the plan will see the national police complementing the work of the provincial commissioners and lessening their burdens.

Regionalisation will first focus on particular high waiting areas and hotspots. The goal is to reduce violent crime sharply by targeting the known high crime geographical areas. In our own evaluation we thought that we are dealing with a top heavy structure in our head office.

They are doing an important job but the reality is that the crime that we are fighting is on the ground, he said.

The pilot on regionalisation will be a phased focus starting with Gauteng in February followed by the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and then the Eastern Cape.

Minister Mbalula said regionalisation will add new impetus and experience closer to the people in critical regions and critical police stations which will now have Majors-General and Lieutenants-General.

Regionalisation is one of the most important changes in police resources deployment in over a decade in our country. In essence we are revolutionising the manner police work. We are changing the way we understand crime and the way we respond to it.

"Our people are under siege from violent criminals, greedy public and private sector officials. We must unleash the might of the state power unto them," he said.

National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole said regionalisation is an operational concept and it will enhance policing on the ground.

All the regional commissioners are there to enhance operational policing on the ground. They will not be doing administration and they will not do administrative functions.

The main objective for this is also to bring the authority closer to the people which also includes the experience [of top management] because most of the criminals that we are dealing with are experienced and strategic criminals, Sitole said.

Lt. Gen Richard Mdluli relieved of duties

Minister Mbalula also announced that Lt. Gen Richard Mdluli who held the position of Divisional Commissioner has been relieved from his duties.

I have instructed General Sitole to henceforth set out to appoint a fit and proper man or woman into the position without further delay, he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Challenge in Uganda Against Removing Presidential Age Limit

KAMPALA Uganda's government says it is preparing a response to the court challenge filed by a lawyers' association against a new law removing a presidential age limit from the constitution.

The change allows 73-year-old President Yoweri Museveni to run for another term in 2021. The opposition has loudly protested the change, and the Uganda Law Society on Monday filed a petition arguing that it should be annulled and alleging that the process was flawed.

The Uganda Media Center's executive director, Ofwono Opondo, says the attorney general is working on a reply, adding that "we have no problem with people who go to court to challenge this legislation."

Museveni, who took power by force in 1986, is the latest African leader to prolong his time in office by changing the constitution.

Source: Voice of America

UN: Half of Drought-Hit Somalia Needs Aid in 2018

NAIROBI, KENYA About 6.2 million people in Somalia - half the population - need emergency aid, such as food, water and shelter, due to unprecedented drought and ongoing conflict, the United Nations said on Wednesday, appealing for $1.6 billion.

The drought - spanning four consecutive poor rainy seasons - has forced millions from their homes and left hundreds of thousands of children malnourished. One in four people in the Horn of Africa nation faces the risk of hunger.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said donors raised enough funds in 2017 to avert famine and stave off an outbreak of cholera, but the situation was set to worsen this year without sufficient aid.

"We are likely to see sectors such as shelter being sub-funded, and then you will see people out in the open, with no adequate shelter - and having very little to conduct their lives with," said Peter de Clercq, head of OCHA in Somalia.

"We will also see more children with acute malnutrition, and there will be less children in school," he said by video conference from Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

Somalia's 2011 famine killed 260,000 people, half of whom died before the official declaration of famine, caused by drought, war and lack of access for humanitarian aid.

The country has been mired in conflict since 1991. Its weak, Western-backed government is struggling to assert control over poor, rural areas under the Islamist militant group al Shabaab - challenging the delivery of aid to the most needy.

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre thanked the international community for the $1.3 billion raised last year, but warned there was no room for complacency.

"We face similar challenges and risks this year and the years to follow," said Hassan.

"Drought and conflict will continue to affect the lives of millions of Somalis. They will continue to displace thousands more. I request on behalf of the government and Somali people for continued support from international partners."

Source: Voice of America

Gender Commission on assault of gender activist

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) is shocked at the alleged assault of a gender activist, Pamela Mabini who has been leading marches against sex assault-accused Pastor Tim Omotoso, The Commission condemns the alleged assault by Jongisizwe Mali that has left Ms Mabini with swollen face. The Commission is also saddened by the allegations that she was assaulted or attacked for her stance against women and child abuse.

The Commission is calling for those who witnessed the alleged incident to cooperate or better still volunteer information with the police since a case of grievous bodily harm (assault GBH) has been opened. In this endeavour, they will not be supporting Ms Mabini but all survivors or victims of gender based violence who at times are left alone to face the ordeal of being assaulted or attacked.

The Commission is also calling upon the police for a speedy investigation and for the perpetrator if the allegations are true to be punished, henceforth pay for the damages of Ms Mabini's cellphone that got broken during the alleged assault. The alleged attacker should be made example off that society cannot allow innocent people to be attacked for exercising their constitutional rights. Ms Mabini should be applauded for spearheading and leading the voices against one of the serious crimes that is committed against humanity on a daily basis, not attacked.

The Commission will be monitoring the case to ensure that justice for both the alleged perpetrator and the victim is served.

We urge members of the public who have knowledge of and information on acts of gender based violence and abuse to call our Toll-Free Number 0800 007 709 to report such cases.

Source: Government of South Africa

News in Brief 17 January 2018

Humanitarian situation in DRC deteriorates due to enormous funding gap: IOM

The humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is spiralling out of control due to a "massive escalation" of conflict and insecurity, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) said on Wednesday.

Some 4.3 million people are displaced throughout the DRC, 1.7 million of whom were violently forced to flee their homes last year.

IOM representative, Jean-Philippe Chauzy, said that the "recent spike of displacement has made the DRC the country with the highest number of internally displaced people in Africa".

And he added that the situation is "not only a humanitarian crisis but it's a protection crisis, as human rights violations are happening every day".

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) one out of seven Congolese will be in need of assistance in 2018, while the number of those relying on aid for their survival is set to double compared to last year, to 10.5 million people.

This massive deterioration in conditions requires considerably more funding: $1.68 billion.

Mr. Chauzy stressed the consequences of failing to increase aid:

"If we don't get that level of funding then people will die. I have to be clear with this. They will die. I mean, the severe acute malnutrition rates in the Kasai, have increased by 750 per cent. The reason for that is not because of drought or anything, it's just because people have been displaced so often in the Kasai, they have missed now three planting seasons, and if you don't provide that kind of food assistance now, to kind of bridge that gap, people who have been living off foraging in the forest, they will suffer, and the most vulnerable will die first. Children will die first. And that's a fact.

Funding cut creates "dramatic financial crisis" for Palestine refugee agency

Major funding cuts on the part of the United States for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) have created the most "dramatic financial crisis" in its history.

That's according to Pierre KrA�henbuhl, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, who said the revised US contribution of $60 million, was down from more than $350 million last year.

Mr. KrA�henbuhl noted that the US has consistently been UNRWA's largest single donor, something he sincerely thanked the American people for.

But he added that the severe cut "threatens one of the most successful and innovative" human development programmes in the Middle East, and would impact the stability of the region.

More details on the UNRWA chief's statement, from UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

"He called on the Agency's partners to rally in support and join UNRWA in creating new funding alliances and initiatives to ensure Palestine Refugee students continue to access education in its schools and the dignity of Palestine refugee children and their families is preserved through all its services. Mr. KrA�henbuhl will launch in the next few days a global fundraising campaign to capture the large-scale commitment to keeping UNRWA schools and clinics open throughout 2018 and beyond."

Syria's warring parties invited to Geneva next week for peace talks

The UN Special Envoy for Syria has invited government and opposition leaders to attend a special meeting next week, under the auspices of the stalled UN-backed Geneva peace process.

Separate invitations have been sent to attend the talks, which will be taking place in Austria, on 25 and 26 January.

Veteran envoy Staffan de Mistura said he was looking forward to both delegations taking part and expected they would come "prepared for substantive engagement" with a specific focus on constitutional reform towards a lasting peace settlement.

Here's Stephane Dujarric again.

"As he prepares for the session in Vienna, the Special Envoy reiterates the view of the United Nations that any political initiative by international actors should be assessed by its ability to contribute to and support the UN-facilitated Geneva political process and the full implementation of resolution 2254The UN in Syria has issued a statement today urging all parties, inside and outside of the country, to prevent further violence and enable humanitarian organizations to access and assist people in need."

Source: United Nations Radio

TradeStation International Ltd and Interactive Brokers UK Ltd Plan to ...

New “TradeStation Global” Account Combines Advanced Trading Analysis Technology with Global Market Reach

LONDON, Jan. 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — TradeStation International Ltd, the London-based, United Kingdom subsidiary of TradeStation Group, Inc., announced today it has teamed with Interactive Brokers (U.K.) Limited, an affiliate of the Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (IBKR), to offer a TradeStation Global platform and brokerage account with the ability to trade markets across the globe.

This new “TradeStation Global” product combines the award-winning* TradeStation trading analysis platform – including a wide range of TradeStation premium features such as the RadarScreen® market monitoring and ranking tool, a market depth tool and the fully customizable TradeStation Charting package – with Interactive Brokers’ multicurrency global account, execution, clearing and settlement capabilities and very low margin rates.

Qualified clients** will be able to access available market data from Interactive Brokers around the clock and to trade stocks, ETFs, futures (including, where available, Bitcoin futures), forex (major and minor currency pairs), CFDs and bonds, in over 100 markets across the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, United States and the Asia-Pacific region.

TradeStation Global clients will be able to fund their accounts in multiple currencies, as well as trade assets denominated in multiple currencies from a single account. Forex traders will be able to access combined liquidity from some of the world’s largest foreign exchange dealers and trade currencies at highly competitive rates.

“We are excited about the opportunities our clients will now have to trade global markets using the cutting-edge power of the TradeStation platform as connected to Interactive Brokers’ global execution capabilities,” said Rustam Lam, CEO of TradeStation International Ltd. “We believe this will be a great combination for eligible active traders and institutions looking to make the most of their trading ideas and opportunities on a global scale.”

To learn more about TradeStation Global or to open an account, call 00800 70 70 80 83, email or visit

All of the brokerage accounts described in this announcement are introduced by TradeStation International Ltd (TIL) to Interactive Brokers (U.K.) Limited (IB UK) on a fully-disclosed basis. TIL will provide account holders with a subscription to the TradeStation platform for charting, research, analysis and the initiation of trade messages to IB UK’s (or its affiliates’) order placement systems, as well as technical support for the TradeStation platform and certain administrative services, but will be providing no brokerage account services. All proprietary information and intellectual property embodied in or relating to the TradeStation platform, as well as the TradeStation mark and other proprietary marks and names used, are owned by TradeStation Technologies, Inc., an affiliate of TIL.

* Awards related to the TradeStation platform include: (1), Best Platform Technology (2013- 2017), and “Best in Class” – Platform & Tools (2012-2017); and (2) Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities magazine, Best Trading Systems – Stocks and Best Trading Systems – Futures (2006-2017), and Best Professional Platform (2004-2017).

** “TradeStation Global” accounts are not available to residents of the United States or Japan.

About TradeStation Group, Inc.
TradeStation Group, Inc., through its operating subsidiaries, offers the TradeStation analysis and trading platform to the active trader and certain institutional trader markets. The TradeStation platform offers electronic order execution and enables clients to design, test, optimize, monitor and automate their own custom equities, options and futures trading strategies. TradeStation Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Monex Group, Inc., one of the largest online financial services providers in Japan.

TradeStation International Ltd is a company authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) in the United Kingdom with passport rights in EEA to act as an introducing broker.

Media Contact:
TradeStation International Ltd
Rustam Lam
CEO, TradeStation International Ltd
+44 208 487 8863

About Interactive Brokers Group, Inc.,
Interactive Brokers Group affiliates provide automated trade execution and custody of securities, commodities and foreign exchange around the clock on over 120 markets in numerous countries and currencies from a single IB Universal Account℠ to customers worldwide.  We service individual investors, hedge funds, proprietary trading groups, financial advisors and introducing brokers. Our four decades of focus on technology and automation has enabled us to equip our customers with a uniquely sophisticated platform to manage their investment portfolios at the lowest cost according to Barron’s Best Online Brokers review, March 20, 2017. We strive to provide our customers with advantageous execution prices and trading, risk and portfolio management tools, research facilities and investment products, all at low prices, positioning them to achieve superior returns on investments.

Aptima® HIV-1 Quant Dx Assay Awarded World Health Organization ...

MARLBOROUGH, Massachusetts, Jan. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Hologic, Inc. (Nasdaq: HOLX) announced today that its CE-marked Aptima® HIV-1 Quant Dx assay has been awarded World Health Organization (WHO) prequalification for in vitro diagnostics.

The Aptima HIV-1 Quant Dx assay, employing Hologic’s proprietary real-time transcription-mediated amplification (TMA) technology, is the first HIV-1 viral load assay with a dual claim for both diagnosis and treatment monitoring. The assay runs on Hologic’s Panther® system, a market-leading, integrated platform that fully automates testing, from sample to result. The system substantially reduces hands-on time for laboratories by providing random and continuous access with rapid turnaround time.

The WHO prequalification means that the Aptima HIV-1 Quant Dx assay meets WHO standards of quality, safety, performance and reliability, and allows global health organizations to consider the Aptima HIV-1 Quant Dx assay for public sector procurement in resource-limited countries.

“This milestone highlights Hologic’s commitment to, and progress toward, advancing the fight against HIV in highly affected regions of the world,” said Tom West, President, Diagnostic Solutions Division at Hologic. “Access to advanced HIV testing platforms is crucial to managing care and mitigating the spread of the disease in low- and middle- income countries.”

There are 36.7 million people living with HIV globally, with East and Southern Africa bearing the largest number of infected individuals – 19.4 million. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 64% of all new HIV infections.1,2

“Hologic has an impressive legacy in the virology space that started two decades ago with the development of nucleic acid tests to screen the blood supply, and qualitative assays for HIV and HCV in the early 2000’s,” said West. “We leveraged this expertise to develop an innovative and fully automated HIV viral load assay on our Panther instrument that is well suited for laboratories in resource-limited settings. Hologic looks forward to joining the battle to reduce the burden of this global epidemic.”

About the Aptima HIV-1 Quant Dx Assay

The Hologic Aptima HIV-1 Quant Dx assay is designed to meet today’s demands for HIV diagnosis and treatment monitoring. The new assay uses a dual target approach against highly conserved regions in the HIV-1 genome, a sophisticated primer design, and redundancy of oligonucleotides for protection against mutations, thereby helping ensure accurate detection and quantitation of HIV-1. The assay is designed to deliver both sensitivity and precision across a broad set of HIV-1 groups and subtypes. Laboratories can now have greater confidence in assay performance, despite drug selection pressures and growing genetic diversity.

About Hologic

Hologic, Inc. is an innovative medical technology company primarily focused on improving women’s health and well-being through early detection and treatment. For more information on Hologic, visit

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking information that involves risks and uncertainties, including statements about the use of Hologic’s diagnostic products. There can be no assurance these products will achieve the benefits described herein or that such benefits will be replicated in any particular manner with respect to an individual patient. The actual effect of the use of the products can only be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the particular circumstances and patient in question. In addition, there can be no assurance that these products will be commercially successful or achieve any expected level of sales. Hologic expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statements presented herein to reflect any change in expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based.

Hologic, The Science of Sure, Aptima and Panther are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Hologic, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.

Investor Contact:
Michael Watts
+1 858.410.8588

Media Contact:
Jane Mazur
+1 508.263.8764 (direct)
+1 585.355.5978 (mobile)