Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

South Africa: Train ‘torching’ victim to sue Metrorail

July 6, 2018

There have been four arson attacks on Metrorail trains recently. At the weekend, Philippi protesters allegedly torched three train carriages.

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A 42-year-old Southfield mother, Leigh Jansen, like many others, believes Metrorail needs to be held more accountable. After sustaining third-degree burns and lung damage when the train she was travelling on last month was set on fire last month, Jansen intends to take Metrorail to court.

Travelling between the Ottery and Southfield train stations on her way to work, she was the victim of an alleged arson attack in which another commuter died.

Ursula Schenker, Jansen’s mother, spoke to News24 shortly after her daughter underwent a second skin graft procedure on Tuesday.

“I believe this crime is opportunistic and by removing the opportunity, you alleviate crime,” she said.

Image result for south africa, tran, arson, photos

“If Metrorail was customer-service orientated, it would have made sense for them to secure their line and if the perimeter was breached, they would have a starting point of entry. Metrorail violated Leigh’s sense of security – stealing her joy.”

“I’m doing okay since my second skin graft surgery, but the damage to my neck is quite bad,” Jansen said.

“My son won’t visit me in the hospital. He’s scared of my face. I’m hoping he’ll come around.”

Metrorail spokesperson Zino Mihi told News24 the company was not aware of any legal claims against it.
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https://www.msn.com/en-za/news/crime/train-torching-victim-to-sue-metrorail/ar-AAzEV0k
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Fury as US hunter shares photo with dead rare black giraffe

June 30, 2018

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, outdoor and nature

A U.S. trophy hunter sparked waves of outrage on social media after killing a rare black giraffe and sharing photos of herself posing with its corpse.

The hunter, identified as Tess Thompson Talley, shot the rare animal during her trip to South Africa.

As her social media posts suggest, the woman is a veteran trophy hunter who has killed several exotic animals, including kangaroos, antelopes and monkeys.

She shared pictures with the killed giraffe, saying her “once in a lifetime dream hunt came true.”

“Spotted this rare black giraffe bull and stalked him for quite awhile [sic]. I knew it was the one. He was over 18 years old, 4,000 lbs and was blessed to be able to get 2,000 lbs of meat from him,” her caption added.

After her photos landed on Twitter, she quickly drew a spate of widespread condemnation with many commenters voicing their disgust with the hunter.

Trophy hunting is a legal practice in several southern African countries, including Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

https://www.dailysabah.com/environment/2018/06/29/fury-as-us-hunter-shares-photo-with-dead-rare-black-giraffe

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Emerging markets await US and European Central Bank meetings

June 10, 2018

No respite seen for fragile EM countries from tighter Federal Reserve policy

Image may contain: 1 person

© FT montage; Getty; Bloomberg

Kate Allen, Roger Blitz and Michael Mackenzie

Central banks step into the limelight for investors this week, as European and US officials hold high-profile meetings, in what could prove a crucial moment for policymakers and particularly for emerging markets.

No respite for emerging markets from a strong dollar

Emerging markets are feeling the heat. Brazil has replaced Turkey in the pecking order of EM currencies under assault, as rising political uncertainty has pushed the real towards R$4 against the dollar, its lowest level in two years.

In recent weeks the likes of India, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan and the Philippines have raised their official interest rates. All told, EM countries have tightened policy 22 times in 2018 as the US dollar has gained altitude against the backdrop of the US Federal Reserve steadily retreating from easy money.

EM will find little respite from the developed market. “Despite concerns that individual EM stories are coalescing into a broader EM problem, at this stage DM central banks are unlikely to respond, with both the Fed and ECB taking further steps towards tightening/ending easing next week,” says Elsa Lignos at RBC Capital Markets. “That leaves EM central banks as the main line of defence.”

A surging dollar casts a hefty shadow over EM countries, which have been on a borrowing binge and have debt denominated in the reserve currency. A common feature of EM countries coming under the cosh are those with large current account deficits, such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, Turkey and South Africa.

JPMorgan’s EM currency index has fallen 9 per cent from its mid-February peak and loiters near the lows seen in late 2016 The worry is that this trend has room to run.

A shrinking Fed balance sheet and US money market rates near 2 per cent mean investors can be far more discerning after a prolonged period of hunting for yield, notably in EM and risky areas of credit.

The story of recent months is that money is leaving previously hot and richly priced areas of the risk spectrum and heading for safer assets such as US money market funds. These have just seen the biggest weekly inflow since 2013 when the taper tantrum resonated. EM equity and bond Funds are seeing their longest redemption streaks since the fourth quarter of 2016, says EPFR.

Some, such as Urjit Patel, the governor of India’s central bank, argue that the Fed’s balance sheet unwind, at a time of rising Treasury debt sales to fund the Trump administration’s tax cuts, is fuelling a dollar liquidity squeeze.

But EM investors hoping for the Federal Open Market Committee to cut them some slack likely face a long wait.

Other issues, such as political risk in Italy and rising trade tension, have caused market volatility and have been raised by some Fed members. But while Fed chair Jay Powell may mention these risks during his press conference on Wednesday, they are unlikely to amount to more than passing reference.

Ian Lyngen, strategists at BMO Capital Markets, notes global financial conditions have yet to hit past levels that “indicate a crisis’’ and “until that happens, or unless the Fed believes it is losing control of the pace at which markets tighten, we’re more likely to see the FOMC hold steady on its course towards higher rates’’.

Will the ECB signal an end to bond-buying?

After 43 months of bond purchases totalling €2.4tn, is the eurozone economy strong enough for its largest-ever programme of monetary stimulus to come to an end?

That is the question on the table this week as European Central Bank policymakers travel to Riga for their latest policy meeting on Thursday.

Almost six years after Mario Draghi, its president, promised the central bank would do “whatever it takes” to stabilise the bloc, the central bank is considering a return to more normal financial conditions.

Unlike other central banks around the world, the ECB has purchased corporate debt as well as government bonds, and lowered interest rates to negative levels.

The bond buying has put 22 per cent of eurozone governments’ debt on the ECB’s books, according to FT calculations, with low-debt countries such as Germany seeing more than 29 per cent of their outstanding securities purchased while the ECB owns 17 per cent of the paper of Italy, which is more heavily indebted.

And since it began buying investment grade corporate bonds in June 2016, the ECB has built up holdings of €157bn in corporate bonds — nearly 20 per cent of the company paper that is eligible to be bought.

The large-scale purchasing scheme has had a profound effect on bond yields. Spreads of companies whose debt does not qualify for purchase have trended downwards by nearly as much as those which are eligible, research by Deutsche Bank suggests.

With the programme scheduled to wind down in September, trading desks are bracing themselves for the loss of a major buyer of corporate paper.

“It does mean the market is being removed of a crutch which it has leaned on for a very long time,” said Frazer Ross, head of investment grade corporate syndicate at Deutsche Bank. He added that “in an environment where the market’s more volatile . . . the impact of the reduction is magnified”.

The wind-down is more or less inevitable, said a person who works on a debt capital markets desk in London, who added that they believed it would impact prices: “You’ve got an 800 pound gorilla that’s going to turn into the size of a flea . . . unless there’s Lehman part Two, they’re going to stop buying bonds.” Kate Allen and Chloe Cornish

https://www.ft.com/content/94e224e8-6a3b-11e8-b6eb-4acfcfb08c11

Kidnappers demand bitcoin ransom for S.African teen

May 22, 2018

A gang who kidnapped a South African teenager from a playground at the weekend have demanded a ransom in bitcoin cryptocurrency worth about $123,000, police said Tuesday.

The 13-year-old boy was taken in the eastern province of Mpumalanga while he was playing with friends near his home and was driven away by captors in a car.

© AFP | Bitcoin is a virtual currency that operates over the internet, without a central bank or single administrator in charge

“We are investigating a case of kidnapping that happened on Sunday in Witbank (town),” police spokesman Leonard Hlathi told AFP.

“There was a demand that was made that the parents should deposit cash in bitcoins,” he said, declining to give further details.

Local media said the ransom note was left at the scene.

“We demand ransom of 15 bitcoins to be paid into the below bitcoin wallet address to secure your child’s safe release — non negotiable,” read the reported note.

This case appears to be the first ransom demand in South Africa made in virtual currency.

In March, US hackers demanding a ransom payable in bitcoin attacked computers of the Atlanta city government in the southern state of Georgia.

Police in South Africa, where violent crime is common, have reported a recent rise in kidnappings, although it is often wealthy business people who are targeted.

AFP

Rising Dollar Sparks Tumult in Emerging Markets

May 21, 2018

U.S. currency’s rally puts spotlight on weaknesses in a broad range of emerging-market assets

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The Wall Street Journal

A resurgent dollar is exposing weaknesses in the developing world, pushing investors to unwind long-held bets on emerging-market stocks, bonds and currencies…

Ripples from the dollar’s comeback have spread. Indonesia’s central bank on Thursday raised interest rates for the first time in four years to arrest a drop in its currency; Hong Kong’s monetary authorities last week stepped in to prop up the territory’s weakening dollar. The Turkish lira fell to fresh lows against the U.S. dollar, while Brazil’s real declined to its weakest level in more than two years. The MSCI Emerging Market Index, which measures stock performance, is down 11% from its January highs as of Friday.

Investors have piled into emerging-market stocks and bonds for the last several years, often glossing over important macroeconomic or political issues as they sought returns that dwarfed those found in the developed world. Now that the dollar is strengthening and U.S. yields rising, those shortcomings are becoming more glaring. A rising dollar makes it more difficult for countries to service debt denominated in the U.S. currency, while rising yields diminish the attractiveness of foreign assets.

“The markets are now realizing they have to pay attention to fundamentals and assessing which countries are the most vulnerable,” said Mark McCormick, North American head of FX strategy at TD Securities.

Danger ZoneFX reserves as a percentage of externalfinancing needsSource: Institute of International Finance
Danger zoneThailandRussiaKoreaPhilippinesChinaBrazilIndiaMexicoColombiaHungaryEgyptMalaysiaCzech Rep.IndonesiaChileSouth AfricaPolandArgentinaUkraineTurkey0%200400600

Investors are particularly nervous about nations with large current-account deficits, which comprise goods and services, trade and investment income, and those that rely on foreign investment to finance government spending, or fiscal deficits. Their dependence on the rest of the world for trade and government finances leaves them badly exposed when the dollar rises.

Argentina, whose currency and stock market plunged in recent weeks amid fears of a brewing financial crisis, carries both a current-account and a fiscal deficit. Other emerging markets with large current-accounts gaps include Turkey, with a deficit that stood at 5.5% at the end of 2017, as well as Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia, India and Mexico.

The current-account deficit “captures living beyond your means,” said Robin Brooks, chief economist at the Institute of International Finance.

Politics are another worry. Mexico’s peso, a top performer last quarter, has been dogged by concerns over the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and a looming presidential election. Even the recent climb in oil prices has barely helped the currency of oil-producing Russia, where worries of fresh U.S. sanctions against Moscow have dented the ruble.

As volatility spreads throughout emerging-market assets, investors who had arrived relatively recently are looking toward the exits, said Tim Atwill, head of investment strategy for Parametric Portfolio Associates.

“There is this large amount of new investors who have only experienced the good days. They’ll start leaving. They’re not used to the riskiness,” he said.

Jumps in the dollar and U.S. yields have burned emerging-market investors before. Many developing countries borrowed heavily in dollars and kept their currencies tightly pegged to the U.S. currency in the 1990s. A swift dollar rally forced them to raise interest rates and push up their own currencies to unsustainable levels, damaging exports, hurting growth and eventually setting off the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

Developing countries had largely loosened their currency pegs and built up reserves by 2013. Still, many swooned that year when yields shot higher after then-Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated the central bank might wind down its bond-buying program in an episode known as the “taper tantrum.”

Today, some emerging economies may be at least partially shielded by robust growth rates, analysts said. The IMF’s April forecasts, made before the recent turmoil, projected India’s growth at 7.4% and expected both Indonesia and Malaysia to grow by 5.3%.

And others have shored up their finances. Countries including South Africa, Mexico and Brazil have narrowed their current-account deficits, and some have promised or launched economic and political reforms.

Still, that may not be enough. While Asia’s economies are growing briskly, others are struggling: Argentina is expected to grow at just 2% this year, Mexico at 2.3%, Colombia at 2.7%, Brazil at 2.3%, and South Africa at 1.5%.

Plus, some analysts believe a continued rise in the dollar and U.S. yields will punish comparatively healthy emerging markets alongside more vulnerable ones. In 2013, for example, fears of a slowdown in China and a drop in commodity prices sparked a three-year drop in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

The stronger dollar “is slowing the flow of loose money floating around the world, looking for something to do with itself,” said Kit Juckes, a strategist at Société Générale. “The world tends to be a much happier place when the dollar is not going up.”

Write to Ira Iosebashvili at ira.iosebashvili@wsj.com, Josh Zumbrun at Josh.Zumbrun@wsj.com and Julie Wernau at Julie.Wernau@wsj.com

How ‘unconditional’ is China’s foreign aid?

May 16, 2018

Chinese foreign aid is often referred to as having “no political strings attached,” and is therefore a more attractive option for many non-Western countries. But is it really free of constraints?

    
Symbolbild chinesische Auslandshilfe in Afrika (picture-alliance/Photoshot/Yang Guoyu)

For a long time, China was seen as a foreign aid recipient rather than a donor.

It was only in 2007 that China started contributing to the International Development Association, the lending arm of the World Bank, and has since steadily increased its aid to developing countries, especially those in East Asia.

Although, if you were a member of the older generation in China you might remember the period under Mao Zedong when Beijing, despite economic difficulties, was so generous with foreign aid that it was thought the government would rather feed the “brother countries” (fraternal states) than prevent its own people from starving.

This is because aid has always been a key tool in China’s foreign policy, serving primarily as a gambit to win political support.

Having experienced phenomenal economic reform in the post-Mao era, Beijing has built strong relationships with developing economies, continuing to provide aid in a bid “to promote South-South cooperation.”

According to the white paper issued by the Chinese State Council at the end of 2016, China has given around 400 billion yuan ($58 billion, €47.4 billion) in development aid to 166 countries and international organizations over the past six decades.

But as China’s wealth and influence grows, its development policy is becoming increasingly motivated by a desire to gain access to new markets and economic returns.

Read more:Report: EU countries to be straitjacketed by China’s New Silk Road

Foreign aid or business loans?

A 2017 study by AidData recorded “the known universe of overseas Chinese aid” between 2000 and 2014, capturing 4,373 records totaling $354.4 billion (€289.6 billion). This included both traditional aid (about $75 billion, €61.3 billion) and low concessional loans (about $275 billion, €224 billion).

One major finding of this study was that the majority of Chinese foreign aid was not in the form of “traditional aid” — direct grants — but rather intended for commercial projects and loans that were required to be repaid with interest.

“China’s aid is only a very small part of what it considers to be development engagement, which often simply means doing business deals,” Matt Ferchen, a scholar from the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy in China, told DW.

According to Ferchen, this is because while “aid” in the West is most commonly understood as a grant or a low interest loan, it is a much more flexible concept in China, which considers “trade, investment and finance” all part of its “development assistance” across the globe.

‘No strings attached’

Beijing has always claimed that China’s assistance to the developing world is premised on “equality between partners and mutual benefits,” with no political strings attached.

Chinese leaders have repeatedly said that China does not place the same kind of conditions that the Western world does on the money it grants, or lends, to countries in need. It does not require, for example, the recipient country to uphold certain standards of governance, as is often the case with aid from the United States.

For countries with weak rule of law, Chinese investments “have advantages,” said Ferchen.

Many leaders of recipient countries have spoken highly of the world’s second-largest economy, calling Beijing “a reliable friend.” In 2015, then-President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe compared China with the West after signing ten economic agreements with China, saying: “Here is a man [Xi Jinping] representing a country once called poor, a country which never was our colonizer. He is doing to us what we expected those who colonized us yesterday to do.”

Whether this kind of relationship is sustainable in the long run is highly questionable, Ferchen told DW. “What China’s banks and companies are starting to run into is that if they ignore governance standards, then down the road it might make it difficult for their African, Latin American or Asian recipients to be able to sustain the relationship, to pay back the debts and to be able to continue to do business,” he said.

Aid a gateway to greater influence

From ports in Sri Lanka to a railway in Kenya, projects funded by China are numerous across the globe. Since its economic reform, China has become one of the world’s biggest cross-border investors and largest infrastructure financiers.

Traditional Western donors are generally skeptical about China’s aid-giving, questioning its true purpose and implications. Some analysts, especially in Africa, also argue that many China-funded projects are not particularly beneficial for local people, and are merely a way for China to access a country’s market and resources.

Patrick Bond, professor of political economy at the University of the Witwatersrand Wits School of Governance in South Africa, is “very critical” of China’s foreign investment and aid. He told DW that “the conditions on Chinese loans and investments become very clear when the recipient countries have a debt crisis.”

China is increasingly enforcing ownership as a condition in the instance the recipient country cannot pay the loans, Bond said. He uses the example of Sri Lanka, where the Chinese-built Hambantota maritime port was formally handed over to China on a 99-year lease in late 2017 because the Sri Lankan government could not afford to maintain it. Government critics have claimed China’s ownership over the port compromises the country’s sovereignty.

Bond also references a multibillion dollar Chinese-funded railroad from Mombasa to Nairobi in Kenya, which the World Bank has predicted is unlikely to make enough money to repay the debts, and Chinese-backed mining in debt-riddled Zambia, where violent labor disputes have broken out between local workers and their Chinese employers.

Read more:Have China-Australia ties reached a new low?

Concerning links to corruption

Other studies by the researchers at AidData show that politics play a big role in how China decides to spend its money, indicating that Chinese development projects tend to be concentrated in areas where African leaders and politicians live, as opposed to marginalized regions.

A review from the US-based thinktank, the Brookings Institution, discovered China tended to spend more money in corrupt countries, with a negative correlation between the Chinese government’s direct investments and the World Bank’s Rule of Law index.

According to Bond, because of this, China’s investment is sometimes associated with “extreme exploitation, extreme corruption, and leads to interference in political affairs.”

“We know that last November there was a coup against Robert Mugabe. The new president is Emmerson Mnangagwa, and we know that the man who helped Mnangagwa become president is now the vice-president, Constantino Chiwenga, who went to China essentially to get permission for the coup the week before.

“We know that Emmerson Mnangagwa signed deals with the Chinese military and Chinese companies to exploit diamonds, and we know that some $13 billion (€10.6 billion) of diamonds went missing,” Bond told DW.

China’s foreign aid may come with little conditionality regarding the recipient countries’ governance practices, but it is not devoid of political purpose.

SSN

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Fighting in South Sudan Casts Shadow Over Peace Talks

March 31, 2018

Bloomberg

By Okech Francis

  • Clashes reported between rebels, army near Ugandan border
  • Famine looms in African nation as four-year civil war drags on

Clashes flared between South Sudanese troops and rebels, complicating talks to end the civil war, two days after a regional bloc called for the insurgents’ leader to be freed from house arrest in South Africa.

The army and rebels blamed each other for instigating the Wednesday clashes in Kajokeji, near the Ugandan border. Rebel official Lam Paul Gabriel claimed 28 soldiers and one insurgent were killed, while army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said he didn’t have details.

 
Lam Paul Gabriel

Fresh violence is imperiling efforts to broker an end to the more than four-year conflict that’s claimed tens of thousands of lives, with the latest peace talks due in Ethiopia on April 26. East African cease-fire monitors on Thursday expressed “deep concern” over reports of hostilities in Central Equatoria, where Kajokeji is located, and areas of the oil-rich Upper Nile region.

 Image result for Lam Paul Gabriel, photos

On March 26, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a bloc of East African nations also known as IGAD, urged the release of Riek Machar, the former vice president turned-rebel leader who’s been under house arrest in South Africa since late-2016.

If he renounces violence, Machar should be allowed to move to any country that doesn’t border South Sudan, IGAD said in a statement. The bloc also said it was resolved to “continue monitoring and taking necessary measures, including targeted sanctions, against violators” of a cease-fire agreement.

The conflict has forced 4 million people from their homes, cut oil production — a crucial source of government revenue — and caused economic chaos. Areas of the country are on the brink of famine and two-thirds of the 12 million population may face food shortages by May.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-29/shadow-cast-over-peace-talks-as-fighting-flares-in-south-sudan

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US eyes heavy tariffs on China, Russia to counter steel, aluminum glut

February 16, 2018

AFP

© AFP | US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross believes that cheap steel and aluminum imports from places like China and Russia “threaten to impair our national security”

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Commerce Department said Friday it recommended imposing tariffs on China, Russia and other countries to counter a global glut in steel and aluminum which it says threatens national security.In a report to President Donald Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross includes among the options a nearly 24 percent tariff on all products from China, Russia and three other economies.

Other options would impose either high tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum imports.

The findings are part of an investigation into the impact of the oversupply of steel and aluminum, and whether it undermines US national security.

In each case “the imports threaten to impair our national security,” Ross told reporters in a conference call about the so-called Section 232 investigation.

China and Russia are primary targets, but many other countries are included in the recommended sanctions, which are sure to spark fears of a global trade war if implemented.

Ross said the sanctions were designed to be broad to prevent targeted countries from circumventing the limits by shipping through a third country.

He said “serial offenders can evade these orders by transshipment through another country.”

For steel, Ross recommended three possible options: a 24 percent tariff on all steel from all countries; a 53 percent tariff on imports from 12 countries, including China, Russia and Brazil; or a quota on steel from all countries.

For aluminum, he recommended either a 7.7 percent tariffs on the metal from all countries; a quota for all countries; or, perhaps the most shocking of all the options, a 23.6 percent tariffs on imports of all products from China, Russia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Venezuela.

Ross submitted the two reports to the White House in late January.

Trump has until mid-April to decide on any possible action, which he acknowledged likely would prompt action by US trading partners in the World Trade Organization.

US industries have urged the administration to take care since high import tariffs would raise the cost of supplies for major industries.

But Commerce said the goal of the measures is to boost domestic aluminum and steel prodcution.

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U.S. Weighs Tariffs and Quotas on Steel, Aluminum Imports

February 16, 2018

Trump administration weighs different options, ranging from a global tariff of at least 24%, to a more targeted approach focusing on China and other nations

The Trump administration on Friday said it was weighing broad-based tariffs and quotas to curb imports of steel and aluminum to protect national security, though officials stressed no final decisions had yet been made and the ultimate policy could be considerably more limited.

The recommendations were part of internal administration reports released Friday laying out the options for President Donald Trump as he considers how to fulfill a campaign promise to take a more aggressive stance than predecessors to shield domestic steel and aluminum makers from growing foreign competition.

The recommendations suggest the president choose among several options. One of them is a global tariff of at least 24% on all steel imports from all countries. Another is a tariff of at least 53% on steel imports from a dozen countries. Under the latter, targeted option, the tariffs of 53% would be applied on steel from Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

The report from the Commerce Department also included, as an alternative, a quota on steel products from countries equal to 63% of the countries’ 2017 exports to the U.S.

“I am glad that we were able to provide this analysis and these recommendations to the president,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “I look forward to his decision on any potential course of action.”

The recommendations are opposed by many lawmakers and businesses who worry that the tariffs risk provoking a trade war and raising prices on a range of domestic products.

The recommendations sent sector stocks soaring Friday. Nucor Corp, the largest U.S. steel producer by sales, rose almost 5% and US Steel Corp and AK Steel Holding Corp gain more than 10%. Aluminum stock reaction more muted, with market leader Alcoa Corp. recently up almost 3% and Arconic Inc up 1.6%, both off earlier highs

Mr. Trump faces an April deadline to decide whether, and how, to restrict imports under little-used section 232 of the 1962 trade law that gives the president wide discretion to impose tariffs and quotas if he deems certain imports pose a national security threat. Mr. Trump launched the studies in a White House ceremony last April with cheering industry and union executives by his side, and he promised at the time dramatic action within weeks.

On aluminum, the Commerce Department recommended global tariffs of at least 7.7% on all aluminum imports, or a tariff of 23.6% on select countries or a quota on imports equal to a maximum of 86.7% of the countries’ 2017 exports to the U.S. Under the second option, which targets individual countries, tariffs would apply to aluminum from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Write to Jacob M. Schlesinger at jacob.schlesinger@wsj.com and William Mauldin at william.mauldin@wsj.com

 https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-recommends-tariffs-and-quotas-on-steel-aluminum-imports-1518801588

S.Africa police raid house of Zuma’s allies in graft probe

February 14, 2018

AFP

© AFP | Private security staff stand guard outside the Gupta family home, as police arrive to raid the house
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – South African police on Wednesday raided the Johannesburg house of the Gupta family, which is accused of playing a central role in alleged corruption under scandal-tainted President Jacob Zuma.Zuma has been ordered to resign by the ruling ANC party, and is expected to respond to the order later Wednesday.

“We have now left the compound. It is an operation that is ongoing related to issues of ‘state capture’,” police spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi told AFP referring to the alleged corruption of state institutions under Zuma’s reign.

Police cars from the elite Hawks investigative unit arrived at the Guptas’ lavish and heavily protected complex in the upmarket suburb of Saxonwold in the early morning.

The president, who could be ousted in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence if he clings to office, has “agreed in principle to resign”, the secretary-general of the African National Congress (ANC), Ace Magashule, said Tuesday.

The power struggle over Zuma’s departure has put him at loggerheads with deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, his expected successor, who is the new head of the party.