Microsoft’s first data centres in Africa have been opened in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
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Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, has blamed some foreign nationals for contributing to the crime rate in South Africa, saying specific nationalities are involved in drugs, cash-in-transit heists, violence and even murders.
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INDIAN WELLS – Two-time Indian Wells champion Victoria Azarenka shook off a slow start to beat Vera Lapko 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday and set up a second-round meeting with long-time rival Serena Williams.
Azarenka, a former world number one now ranked 48th in the world, said she started a little too passive in dropping the first two games against her fellow Belarussian, but roared back to seal the win with ease.
She was looking forward to taking on 10th-seeded Williams, who like all the seeds in the combined WTA and ATP Masters event has a first-round bye.
The American has won 17 of their 21 prior encounters, but Azarenka won their most recent clash – in the 2016 Indian Wells final.
“Of course it’s going to be a very special match for us,” she said of their first clash since both became mothers.
“We have such a big history, it’s going to be really special. She motivates me, she inspires me, she pushes me to be better,” Azarenka said of Williams.
The opening day of women’s main draw play saw highly touted teenagers Bianca Andreescu and Amanda Ansimova reached the second round.
Canada’s Andreescu, 18, rallied from a set down to beat Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-3.
“For me, the ending is the most important, so I’m really glad I pulled through,” said Andreescu, who has won 22 matches this season including qualifying and main draw.
She has climbed steadily in the rankings, rising from 107th to start the year to 60th.
“Mentally… I was like, I might as well go for my shots, and see where that leads me and that’s what I did, and it worked,” said Andreescu, who booked a second-round meeting with 32nd seed Dominika Cibulkova.
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American Ansimova, 17, lined up a meeting with 16th-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Serbian Aleksandra Krunic.
Third-seeded Petra Kvitova, who will face either Venus Williams or Andrea Petkovic in the second round, said she wasn’t surprised to see teenagers making such a strong showing.
“Every year we see some young generation coming,” she said, noting that while still little known they can play “with no fear.”
“They are not favorites, all the pressure is on (their opponents),” she said.
Elsewhere, American Sofia Kenin didn’t have to wait long to avenge her loss to Wang Yafan in last Saturday’s Acapulco women’s final – ousting China’s Wang 1-6, 7-5, 6-4.
JOHANNESBURG – The Bulls’ game plan may seem Old School but coach Pote Human insists they are equally adept at playing an expansive game.
The Pretoria side has been a revelation in two of their three opening Super Rugby matches, beating the Stormers and the Lions and outwitting both with well-balanced displays.
They outclassed the opposition in classic Bulls fashion, using the slow poison effect on both occasions.
The powerful pack beats the stuffing out of their opponents allowing flyhalf Handre Pollard to control the game on the front foot with time and space to boot.
“Any game is won and lost up front which just makes it easier for the backline players where Polly (Pollard) takes over and decides whether we run or kick,” Human said yesterday.
“We don’t go on to the field with a kicking mindset but if the opportunities are there we will play the ball.”
Human said his team was anything but one-dimensional, and that he has encouraged his players to play the situation instead of sticking to a predetermined plan.
“Against the Stormers, we scored four tries and on Saturday we scored two against the Lions, so if people are thinking we are playing ‘old Blue Bulls rugby’ where we just kick and defend, it is certainly not true,” he said.
“We step onto the field with an attacking mindset and that is how we want to play the game, which is also the only way we will get people back at Loftus.”
The Bulls will be looking to prove that their defeat to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires in the second round was an anomaly.
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“I think the way we played against the Stormers and the Lions last weekend is the way we want to play,” Human said. “It is also what the opposition presents to you and we want to play what is on that is for Handre to decide on the field.”
While Human was desperately looking to shake his conservative tag, he struck a blow for transformation at Loftus Versfeld with his selections for Saturday’s clash against the Sharks.
Human named 11 players of colour in their match-day squad, which consisted of six in the run-on side and five playing off the bench.
The Bulls’ injury woes continued unabated with Eli Snyman joining the laundry list of injured or unavailable locks.
Snyman has been ruled out for the match due to a shoulder injury with Hanro Liebenberg moving from the side of the scrum to the second row where he will partner with Jason Jenkins.
Snyman’s injury follows in the wake of the news that influential captain Lood de Jager would be out of action for four months following a shoulder operation on Tuesday.
Tim Agaba and Jannes Kirsten will form a new loose trio with Duane Vermeulen after Stoney Steenkamp failed to recover from a concussion.
Plucky scrumhalf Embrose Papier will shift to the bench with Ivan van Zyl earning a start as part of a rotational policy.
The Bulls team is:
Warrick Gelant, Cornal Hendricks, Jesse Kriel, Dylan Sage, Rosko Specman, Handré Pollard (c), Ivan van Zyl, Duane Vermeulen, Tim Agaba, Jannes Kirsten, Jason Jenkins, Hanro Liebenberg, Trevor Nyakane, Schalk Brits, Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: Corniel Els, Simphiwe Matanzima, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Tembelani Bholi, Paul Schoeman, Embrose Papier, Manie Libbok, Divan Rossouw
Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa has won social media praise after he posted on Twitter his correspondence with a little girl from East London who wanted to know, among other things, whether females could also aspire to be head of state.
In the multicoloured handwritten letter signed "Daisy from East London" the child told Ramaphosa that he inspired "everyone in this country" and that she wanted to be president like him one day.
"You are a strong independent president," she said, also throwing in a challenge: "If you can make the world a better place why don’t you."
"Can girls be presidents? How hard is it to rule the world?" she asked.
In his response, Ramaphosa conceded that being president was hard and he often had to make tough decisions, but was quick to point out that girls could also do the job.
"Girls can be anything they want in the world today," he said. "They can be teachers, or scientists or astronauts – and to answer your question, yes they can be presidents too."
Perhaps aptly, given that South Africa will hold elections in May, Daisy also asked the president "how many people do you need to vote for you?"
The social media reaction to the exchange was largely positive.
"I look forward to voting for you someday, Daisy! #GirlsCanBePresidentsToo," wrote Twitter user Carmel Gaillard.
Another user, Denise Wilson, called the letter interaction "precious".
There was some snarkiness as well.
One Twitter user found Daisy’s question of where Ramaphosa lived in Johannesburg hilarious, quipping:
"Daisy wants to visit that luxurious palace of Ramaphosa in Jhb."
President Cyril Ramaphosa says African countries are projected to post a reasonable growth in the next year. Addressing the CEOs from more than 100 countries Ramaphosa said Africa’s growth will be higher than other emerging and developing countries.
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CAF Champions League side CS Constantine of Algeria will be the first qualifiers for the quarter-finals if they avoid defeat on Friday at home to Club Africain of Tunisia.
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JOHANNESBURG – Imran Tahir was first selected for South Africa for the 2011 ODI series against India.
It was a five-match series that South Africa only just managed to win thanks to a couple of interventions from Messrs Duckworth/Lewis.
Tahir didn’t play a game. He was being “hidden” for the World Cup which was to follow a few weeks later.
At the time I thought it was silly. Really, hiding a player? It’s the 21st century. And Tahir had already played for 20 different teams in various countries at that point.
Somewhere, someone would have footage, and if they didn’t, they could have sourced it from SuperSport, which had been broadcasting Tahir’s many triumphant spells for the Titans at that point.
South Africa took Tahir to the 2011 World Cup, without having capped him. That team, led by Graeme Smith and coach Corrie van Zyl, then got really funky.
They picked Tahir as one of three spinners for the opening game of the tournament.
Thinking about it now, and in the current era where they pick all the fast bowlers all the time, 2011 almost seems otherworldly.
It truly was a different time.
Johan Botha opened the bowling against the West Indies in South Africa’s first game at the World Cup in 2011 and took the Chris Gayle’s wicket with the third ball of the game.
Tahir didn’t bowl until the 14th over, and got through two overs before being whipped off. He took his first wicket with the third ball of his second spell, took his second with the seventh ball of that spell. He was also warned for running on the pitch.
Two more wickets followed and he finished his first outing in Protea green with figures that read: 10-1-41-4.
Everything about Tahir and the bowler he would go onto become for South Africa over the next few years – especially in the limited overs formats – was encapsulated in that performance, including the exuberant celebrations.
Tahir had a superb World Cup, as did all three of the spinners. Robin Peterson finished as South Africa’s leading wicket-taker with 15, while Tahir finished the tournament, despite missing two matches with a fractured bone in his left hand, with 14.
Tahir transformed South Africa’s One-Day team.
Spinners weren’t just there to change the pace of the game or to block an end any more, but to attack. They could be and he was (and still is) a wicket-taker.
No more boring middle overs, with Tahir South Africa could keep taking wickets.
That ability still profoundly affects the thinking and strategy ahead of the 2019 World Cup, which Tahir announced last Sunday would be the last time he’d play One-Day cricket for his adopted nation.
From that first game in the green and gold he’s always expressed how grateful he is to South Africa for the opportunities it has provided in allowing him to play at international level.
In return South Africa has embraced Tahir, joining him in his joy every time he takes a wicket.
He has been and will continue to be a great ambassador for the Proteas.
WELLINGTON – Five talking points ahead of this week’s round of Super Rugby games:
Hungry like the Wolves
Centre Jason Emery said the Sunwolves will not rest on their laurels after securing a maiden away win, 30-15 over the Waikato Chiefs, when the Japan side faces the Blues in Auckland on Saturday.
“We know we won’t be seen anymore as a team you can just turn up and beat, that’s what we wanted to do this year,” the New Zealander told Maori TV. “We can’t just turn up and catch people off guard.”
Emery described the historic win as a springboard for further success. “There’s a lot of boys who are proud, the Japanese boys are really proud as well,” he said.
“We’ve achieved something pretty great here. The good thing was we don’t want to end it there, we don’t want to be the team that plays well one week and then drops off.”
It doesn’t get any easier for under-fire Chiefs, the 2012-13 back-to-back champions who have lost their opening three matches. On Saturday they travel to Canterbury Crusaders who are on a home 21-match winning streak.
Seeing red, bleeding blue
Former Queensland Red Karmichael Hunt insisted there will be no mixed feelings when he lines up in the blue of arch-rivals New South Wales Waratahs against his old team this weekend, having crossed the state divide.
The code-hopping Hunt grew up in Brisbane and had only ever played for Queensland teams in rugby league, union and Australian Rules football before signing for the Sydney-based Waratahs this year.
“I’m going to take all that passion and pride that I used as a schoolboy in Queensland as a (Brisbane) Bronco, an AFL player, an Origin player and just pour it into the NSW jersey this weekend,” said Hunt.
“Once the whistle goes, there’s no friends other than the guys wearing the same colours.”
The Brits reward
Many Bulls supporters were sceptical about the signing of 37-year-old hooker Schalk Brits.
But hiring the 11-cap Springbok has proved a master stroke for the Pretoria-based franchise who are looking to complete a sweep of fellow South African sides against Coastal Sharks this weekend.
“Schalk is playing with the enthusiasm of a teenager and having the impact of a player in his prime,” wrote leading columnist Mark Keohane.
Brits retired last year after nine seasons with the Saracens in England, but Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus persuaded him to reconsider. “His basic skills are world class and his work rate defies his age,” said Keohane.
Am I fired, boss?
When Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau got a phone call from Leicester Tigers coach Geordan Murphy last week, he thought it might be to fire him.
But instead it was good news – a mayday call from old club NSW Waratahs to fill in on a short-term basis during an injury crisis.
“It was pretty much about Wednesday afternoon, I got a call from Geordan,” he said. “To be honest I thought this’ll be interesting. Am I fired?”
Polota-Nau gets game time in front of the Australian selectors in a World Cup year and the Tigers will have a match-ready player on his return. He is in contention for a place against Queensland Reds on Saturday.
Good for Canes, good for ABs
The felling that Super Rugby this year is one long dress rehearsal for the World Cup has been given credence by Wellington Hurricanes coach John Plumtree’s remarks after selecting Jordie Barrett on the wing against the Otago Highlanders.
Barrett’s move from fullback, Plumtree said, was partly to see if the rising star could emulate All Black veteran Ben Smith, who regularly switches between the positions.
“For Jordie, we see him as our first choice fullback right now, but we want to experiment with him,” Plumtree said.
“It could be good for Jordie because playing wing and 15 very well would put him into that Ben Smith category and we’ve seen how that can work for the All Blacks. It could work well for both parties.”
Roger Federer is still savouring his latest remarkable milestone but the Swiss great says his 100th career title is not a sign he’s super-human.
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INDIAN WELLS – Rafael Nadal insisted Wednesday that he has immense respect for Nick Kyrgios’s talent, and his public scolding of the mercurial Aussie after their stormy Acapulco clash doesn’t change that.
Kyrgios survived three match points to beat top-seeded Nadal in three sets to reach the quarter-finals in Acapulco, where he went on to win his first ATP title in more than a year.
Immediately after the match, 17-time Grand Slam champion Nadal said that Kyrgios – who complained of illness, served underarm and taunted a pro-Nadal crowd on the way to victory – “lacks respect for the public, the opponent and for himself.”
Nadal told reporters at the Indian Wells Masters that he thought his comments may have suffered in translation, but his assessment of Kyrgios hadn’t really changed.
“I never said nothing too negative about Nick, even if he took it more personally,” Nadal said, adding that his comments had nothing to do with the underarm serve, which didn’t make him feel disrespected at all.
“I understand this part of the game and I think it’s a good show for the game, but there’s other stuff in my opinion he can do better,” Nadal said, adding that he feared Kyrgios’s attitude sets a bad example for younger players.
“Everybody is free to do whatever they want, but at end of the day, in my opinion, he has an impact on the new generations,” Nadal said. “He’s young, he’s a famous player and in my opinion we need to show good values for the kids.”
Kyrgios, who jumped 39 places in the rankings to 33 in the world, said last week he wasn’t interested in Nadal’s opinion.
“I heard that he took it very personally. I really didn’t see it but somebody told me he put some stuff on his social networks,” said Nadal, the second seed in an Indian Wells field headed by world number one Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic thrashed Nadal in the Australian Open final in January, but Nadal said he’s found plenty of positives in the early season despite failing to bag a title so far in 2019.
“More or less I should not be unhappy, all the things I went through the last four to five months to be where I am,” said Nadal, coming off an injury-plagued 2018.
“Too many issues that happened to my body the last year and a half – but I managed well to still be competitive and be in a good position in the rankings and fighting for the most important events – that’s important for my mental health too.”
DURBAN – A KwaZulu-Natal farmer’s love for nature has borne fruit as he bagged the KZN Guinea Fowl Award.
Marlen Manivasagen Pillay, 40, who was nominated by Tongaat Hulett’s Darnall Mill in the small-scale grower category, has 20 years of experience as a third-generation farmer.
The award, which was presented by the Darnall Environment Committee recognises, among others, growers who excel in sustainability, soil, conservation, infrastructure and consistency in the agricultural sector.
He owns and manages Wellvale Farm near Dendethu, KwaDukuza, north of Durban, where he also lives. Sugar cane is produced on a small scale, vegetables on a commercial scale and broiler production is in the pipeline.
Born into a family of farmers, he drew inspiration from his parents, siblings and staff members who taught him how to handle and rear livestock after school and during school holidays.
“In 1940, my paternal grandfather Muthu Konar purchased an eight-hectare plot in Durban after having served his period of indenture at the Mt Edgecombe and Tinley Manor sugar mills which belonged to Tongaat Hulett.
“Thereafter, he built a wood and iron dwelling for his family of 10 who later farmed to sustain themselves. The dwelling is now a modern house,” said Pillay.
At a young age, Pillay would accompany his mother every Saturday morning to the fresh produce market where he gained valuable knowledge and experience about trading.
“My mother would take care of the sale of vegetables produced on the farm while my father handled the transport of sugar cane to the mill.”
Pillay has a diploma in horticulture and landscape technology from Technikon Natal, now known as the Durban University of Technology. Pillay was selected by Tongaat Hulett to complete a year of studies in sugar cane production and field management.
His success has led him to purchase his neighbour’s land and build a new home for himself and his family
Pillay said he had a passion for farming.
“We have 17 full-time employees, with 26 casual staff members employed over the festive season.”
The farm produces about 1500 tons of sugar cane per year.
“I see potential in any situation with which I am presented. Offer me a piece of land or veld and watch me raise a crop and harvest food, which is the greatest gratification and reward of farming,” said Pillay.
He added that some of the biggest challenges facing farmers was the unpredictability of weather patterns caused by global climate change.
Fortunate enough to attend a research programme three years ago in India, Pillay now plans to implement his own irrigation system on some of his sugar cane fields.
“Farming is not for the faint-hearted and neither is it a get-rich scheme. One has to have a passion to farm, work hard and be dedicated,” added Pillay.
Pillay is in the process of becoming a certified marriage officer.
Huawei is suing the United States for barring government agencies from buying the Chinese telecom giant’s products, opening a legal front in its battle against American warnings that they could serve as a tool for Chinese intelligence services.
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R&B superstar R. Kelly was taken into custody Wednesday for failing to pay child support, just weeks after he was detained on sex abuse charges.
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Toyota Europe’s CEO has warned the firm could end production in Britain by 2023 if the country exits the European Union without a deal, the Nikkei business daily said Thursday.
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Former SABC Group Executive of Risk and Governance Itani Tseisi says the most worrying issues of poor governance at the SABC started five years ago.
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President Cyril Ramaphosa says businesses especially those led by young people have a central role in addressing the world’s pressing issues. Ramaphosa was speaking at the Young Presidents’ Organization Gala Dinner in Cape Town.
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