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Half of world’s democracies in decline – report

Half the world’s democratic countries are experiencing an erosion of democracy, intensified by war in Ukraine and economic crisis, an international think tank said in a report on Wednesday.

“We’re seeing extraordinarily severe headwinds for democracy now, intensified by the political fallout from the economic crisis that started with the pandemic and the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine”, International IDEA secretary-general Kevin Casas-Zamora told AFP.

“It might be that the credibility of elections is challenged. It might be that the rule of law is under assault. It might be that civic space is being constrained”, he explained.

The number of democracies with the most severe democratic erosion — a group dubbed “backsliding” countries which has included the United States since last year — increased from six to seven in 2022 with the addition of El Salvador to the list.

ALSO READ: Why our democracy simply isn’t democratic enough

The others are Brazil, Hungary, India, Mauritius and Poland.

Casas-Zamora singled out the US as particularly worrying.

“I’m very concerned by what we’re seeing in the United States”, he said.

The country faces political polarisation, institutional dysfunction and threats to civil liberties, according to the report.

“It’s quite clear by now that the fever didn’t break with the election of a new administration,” he said, pointing to “the runaway levels of polarisation (and) the attempts to undermine the credibility of electoral results without any evidence of fraud”.

Casas-Zamora noted the US had also taken a “visible step backwards” in sexual and reproductive rights, “which is very exceptional because most countries, pretty much all other countries, are going forward in terms of expanding sexual and reproductive rights”.

“The US is moving backwards”, he said.

– More authoritarianism –

Of the 173 countries covered by International IDEA’s report, 104 were democracies and 52 of those were in decline.

Meanwhile, the number of countries moving toward authoritarianism, 27, was more than double the number moving toward democracy, at 13.

Almost half of all authoritarian regimes became even more repressive in 2022, with Afghanistan, Belarus, Cambodia, Comoros and Nicaragua singled out as experiencing a “broad decline”.

In Asia, where only 54 percent of people live in a democracy, authoritarianism is solidifying, the report said, while Africa, despite a myriad of challenges, remains “resilient” in the face of instability.

A decade after the Arab Spring, the Middle East continues to be “the most authoritarian region in the world”. It has only three democracies — Iraq, Israel and Lebanon.

ALSO READ: Eswatini pro-democracy movement applauds Sadc intervention

In Europe, almost half of all democracies, or 17 countries, suffered democratic erosion in the last five years.

“Democracies are struggling to effectively bring balance to environments marked by instability and anxiety, and populists continue to gain ground around the world as democratic innovation and growth stagnate or decline”, the report said.

It noted there were “troubling patterns” even in countries that were performing at middle to high levels of democratic standards.

In the past five years, progress has stalled across all of the indices IDEA studies, with some scores “the same as they were in 1990”, it said.

“Democratic systems have really wobbled over the past couple of decades and it quite clearly has become a burning issue in our age”, Casas-Zamora said.

There were, however, some signs of progress.

IDEA noted that people were coming together to push their governments to meet 21st-century demands, ranging from creating community-based childcare in Asia to reproductive freedoms in Latin America, and youth climate protests around the globe.

“But also in places like Iran, where people have gone out to demand freedom and equality and dignity,” Casas-Zamora said.

“So there are a few bright spots but the overall trend is very bleak.” 

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Russia and China carry out joint air force drills

Russian and Chinese air forces took part in joint military exercises in the Asia-Pacific region, the Russian defence ministry said on Wednesday. 

“The Russian Air Force and the Air Force of the People’s Liberation Army of China conducted another joint air patrol in the Asia-Pacific region,” the ministry said in a statement.

Russian strategic missile carriers TU-95 and Chinese Xian H-6 flew over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea for eight hours, according to the statement.

A pariah in the West since the Ukraine offensive, Putin has sought to bolster ties with Asia, particularly with China.

ALSO READ: China shows off its first locally manufactured plane

“For the first time in the history of air patrols, Russian planes landed in the people’s Republic of China, and Chinese aircraft landed on the territory of the Russian Federation,” the ministry said.

The exercises were carried out “in strict compliance with international law” and were “not directed against third countries,” the statement read.

Moscow is hoping to find common ground with Beijing as both have ambitions to surpass the US-led global order.

China has not condemned Russia’s military operation in Ukraine but despite a “no limit” friendship Beijing has also rejected supplying Moscow with weapons.

ALSO READ: UK ousts China from new nuclear project Sizewell

The Asia-Pacific is a strategic region for the US, China and Russia. 

The US has had to balance its efforts in Ukraine, where it seeks to respond to Russia’s actions, and in Asia, where it wants to deter China, for example in Taiwan.

Amid intensifying rivalry, China’s Xi Jinping met his US counterpart Joe Biden at the G20 summit two weeks ago, where they promised to dial down the rhetoric and work to close the yawning gap between the two powers.

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‘Triple-dip’ La Nina could continue into March – UN

The exceptionally-long La Nina, which has worsened drought and flooding around the globe, is set to continue into February or even March, the United Nations warned Wednesday.

The current La Nina weather phenomenon — the cooling of surface temperatures which can cause widespread impacts on global weather conditions — started in September 2020.

“The unusually stubborn and protracted La Nina event is likely to last until the end of the northern hemisphere winter/southern hemisphere summer,” the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.

ALSO READ: Climate change: People will end up dying from its impact on infectious diseases

“The first ‘triple-dip’ La Nina (three consecutive years) of the 21st century will continue to affect temperature and precipitation patterns and exacerbate drought and flooding in different parts of the world.”

First triple-dip La Nina of the century

The WMO said there was a 75 percent chance that La Nina will persist during December-February, and a 60 percent chance during January-March.

It is the first triple-dip La Nina of the century and only the third since 1950, the organisation said.

La Nina is the large-scale cooling of surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. It normally occurs every two to seven years.

The effect has widespread impacts on weather around the world — typically the opposite impacts to the El Nino phenomenon, which has a warming influence on global temperatures. Conditions oscillate between the two.

ALSO READ: Climate change set to ‘increase hunger’ in Africa: UN

There is a 55 percent chance of neutral conditions (neither El Nino or La Nina) emerging during February-April 2023, increasing to about 70 percent in March-May, according to WMO.

– Limited cooling impact –

La Nina is a natural phenomenon, but it is taking place against a background of human-induced climate change, which is increasing global temperatures and making weather more extreme, the WMO said.

Despite La Nina’s cooling effect, both 2022 and 2021 were warmer than any year prior to 2015.

“The tropical Pacific has been in a La Nina state, with short interruptions, since September 2020 — but this has only had a limited and temporary cooling impact on global temperatures,” said WMO chief Petteri Taalas.

“The past eight years are set to be the hottest on record and sea level rise and ocean warming has accelerated.”

ALSO READ: All regions experienced water extremes in 2021 – UN

La Nina is usually associated with wetter conditions in some parts of the world, and drier conditions in others. 

“This persistent La Nina event is prolonging drought and flood conditions in affected regions,” said Taalas. 

“The international community is especially concerned about the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe for millions of people in the Horn of Africa, driven by the longest and most severe drought in recent history.”

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‘No one is above the law’ – Politicians react to Phala Phala report findings

It seems a highly anticipated and long-awaited moment has arrived for some politicians and the history of South Africa.

This after a report released by an independent panel on Wednesday concluded that President Cyril Ramaphosa may have a case to answer to, after it was alleged that that he sought to cover up the 2020 theft of more than $4 million from his Phala Phala game farm.

Ramaphosa was questioned and grilled in Parliament for months on end, but “kept his cool”, stuck to his story and never crumbled.

This is what political leaders had to say:

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Deputy President Floyd Shivambu

ActionSA President Herman Mashaba

Suspended former spokesperson Carl Niehaus

African Transformation Movement (ATM)

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen

The Presidency issued a statement of Wednesday evening, following the release of the report, and said Ramaphosa is giving consideration to the report and an announcement will be made in due course.

NOW: Phala Phala report: Ramaphosa maintains innocence despite findings against him

Read the full report here

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Eskom says ‘not aware’ of state security’s request for vetting information about De Ruyter

Eskom has denied any knowledge of the state security agency’s request for documentation for the vetting process of CEO Andre de Ruyter dating back to June.

The power utility was responding to Deputy Minister in the Presidency for State Security Zizi Kodwa, who denied the SSA could not complete the vetting process of senior Eskom officials.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Wednesday met with the Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele and Kodwa on the vetting of Eskom officials.

ALSO READ: Jury out on De Ruyter’s exit

According to a parliamentary statement, while Eskom indicated last month that the vetting of 100 employees, including De Ruyter, had not taken place, Scopa heard today that the delay in the vetting of the CEO arose because “he had not complied with submissions that are due to the State Security Agency (SSA) for the purposes of vetting”.

It was then agreed that Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa would write to the Eskom Board and the De Ruyter seeking clarification on the matters raised by SSA.

“The committee will seek an explanation as to why the CEO has not complied, if he has not complied. The committee takes a dim view on negotiations around vetting, because it is a statutory requirement, as decided by Cabinet. It is the committee’s view that those who refuse vetting should exit the public service.”

Eskom not aware of SSA request

In a statement on Wednesday, Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said the power utility was not aware of any request by the State Security Agency for any documentation for the vetting process of De Ruyter dating back to June.

“Only in October 2022 did Eskom receive the vetting documents (Z204 forms) for processing by the CEO- who has been in this position since January 2020 – and other executives,” said Mantshantsha.

ALSO READ: De Ruyter ‘not qualified or experienced enough to pull Eskom out of this mess’

“Eskom has been updating parliament on the delays in this process regularly over the past three years. It is therefore inaccurate to claim Eskom has delayed the vetting process of its executives.

“Since the receipt of this form the vetting process for the executive team has commenced in earnest, and Eskom will do everything possible to complete this process as soon as possible.”

Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde

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Phala Phala report: Ramaphosa maintains innocence despite findings against him

President Cyril Ramphosa continues to maintain his innocence, despite the independent panel investigating Phala Phala finding that he may have violated the PRECCA and Section 96.2 of the constitution.

In a report published on Wednesday evening, the panel said: “Viewed as a whole, the information presented to the Panel, prima facie, establishes that: There was a deliberate intention not to investigate the commission of the crimes committed at Phala Phala openly.”

Read the full report here

In a statement on Wednesday evening, Ramaphosa reiterated the statement he made in his submission to the independent panel.

NOW READ: Independent panel finds Ramaphosa has a case to answer on Phala Phala

‘Categorically deny’

“I have endeavoured, throughout my tenure as President, not only to abide by my oath but to set an example of respect for the Constitution, for its institutions, for due process and the law. I categorically deny that I have violated this oath in any way, and I similarly deny that I am guilty of any of the allegations made against me.”

The Presidency also said in a statement that it was well aware that the National Assembly needed to consider the report and determine the most appropriate way forward.

“The conclusions of the panel require careful reading and appropriate consideration in the interest of the stability of government and that of the country. 

“The President is giving consideration to the report and an announcement will be made in due course,” read a statement.

Media briefing cancelled

In the wake of the panel’s findings, a media briefing by the Presidential spokesperson scheduled for Thursday has now been cancelled.

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Angola’s Isabel dos Santos says victim of ‘political persecution’

Angolan tycoon Isabel dos Santos says she is the victim of “political persecution” engineered by President Joao Lourenco, her father’s successor at the helm of the oil-rich southern African country.

Angolan public prosecutor Helder Pitta Gros told reporters on Monday that Angola had filed an international arrest warrant for dos Santos.

A draft of the document, released by the Portuguese media, accuses her of fraud.

“There is no doubt that we are in a context of political persecution,” dos Santos, 49, said in an interview broadcast late Tuesday on TVI/CNN Portugal.

ALSO READ: Isabel dos Santos ordered to return Galp shares to Angola

“The prosecutor gets his orders directly from the president.”

Dos Santos’ father, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, handed over power to Lourenco in 2017 after a 38-year reign marked by a reputation for corruption and nepotism.

He died this July. The following month, Lourenco, 68, was elected to a second five-year term.

Portugal’s Jornal de Negocios published a draft of the arrest warrant, which said Isabel dos Santos was being sought for fraud against the government, money laundering and criminal association.

In the TV interview, dos Santos said that she was not aware of an “official document.”

ALSO READ: Isabel dos Santos seeks to revoke asset freeze over ‘forged’ passport

According to the leaked arrest warrant, dos Santos allegedly siphoned off money from Angola’s state-run oil company Sonangol, which she had run before her father handed over power. 

The document identifies her main countries of residence as the United Arab Emirates, Portugal or Britain, Portuguese media said.

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Happy Cakeday, r/babies! Today you’re 13

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Independent panel finds Ramaphosa has a case to answer on Phala Phala

The independent panel has concluded that President Cyril Ramaphosa may have violated the PRECCA and Section 96.2 of the constitution.

In a report published on Wednesday evening, the panel said: “In light of all the information placed before the Panel, we conclude that this information discloses, prima facie, that the President may have committed:

  • A serious violation of sections 96(2)(a).
  • A serious violation of section 34(1) of PRECCA.
  • A serious misconduct in that the President violated section 96(2)(b) by acting in
  • a way that is inconsistent with his office.
  • A serious misconduct in that the President violated section 96(2)(b) by exposing himself to a situation involving a conflict between his official responsibilities and his private business. of the Constitution

“Viewed as a whole, the information presented to the Panel, prima facie, establishes that: There was a deliberate intention not to investigate the commission of the crimes committed at Phala Phala openly,” reads the report.

Read the full report here

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Daily Lotto results: Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Get the Daily Lotto results as soon as they are drawn on The Citizen.

While great care has been taken to ensure accuracy, The Citizen cannot take responsibility for any error in the Daily Lotto results. We suggest verifying the numbers on the National Lottery website.

The winning Daily Lotto numbers will appear below after the draw. Usually within 10 minutes of the draw. You might need to refresh the page to see the updated results.

Here are the winning Daily Lotto results for Wednesday, 30 November 2022:

00, 00, 00, 00, 00.

For more details and to verify the Daily Lotto results, visit the National Lottery website.

How to play Daily Lotto in South Africa? 

If you are buying a ticket in-store: 

  • Pick up a betslip in any lottery store.
  • Choose five numbers between 1 and 36 or ask for a Quick Pick.
  • Entries cost R3 each. You can play a max of R150, but you are allowed to play multiple boards.
  • Select how many consecutive draws you wish to enter, up to a maximum of 10. Leave blank for a single draw.
  • Take your betslip to the teller to pay for your ticket.
  • Write your details on the back of your ticket in case you need to claim a prize. If you do not sign your ticket and you lose it, anyone will be able to use it to claim the prize.

If you are playing online: 

  • Set up a lottery account here and make a deposit so you can pay for tickets.
  • Choose five numbers from 1 to 36 or select ‘Quick Pick’ to generate a random set. Repeat this on as many boards as you want to play.
  • Decide whether to enter a single draw or multiple draws.
  • Confirm and pay for your entry.

What time does the Daily Lotto draw take place? 

The Daily Lotto draws take place at 21:00 every evening and you can buy tickets up to 20:30.

Is there a winner everyday? 

Yes. The jackpot prize money is guaranteed to be given away even if no one matches all five numbers. When this happens the jackpot is split between everyone who matches two or more numbers.

Visit www.nationallottery.co.za and go to the How to Play Daily Lotto section to find out more.