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Monday, 11 March 2019
Monday, 11 March 2019 12:38

Taxify Rebrands Into Bolt

TaTaxify, a ride-hailing company, is rebranding itself into Bolt.

Bolt currently provides its services in six African countries, the company said in a statement. It has plans to expand its offering in SA during the course of 2019.

The company said Bolt users will not need to take any action as the app will update automatically.

This update brings the brand identity in line with the company’s broader vision of transportation that has already expanded from ride-hailing with cars to motorbikes and scooter sharing.

Reuters reported last month that mobility services provided by the vehicle tech firms had prompted Daimler and BMW to launch a joint ride-hailing and parking business with pay-per-minute rates, amongst other offerings.

“Our new name ‘Bolt’ stands for fast, effortless movement – exactly what the experience of getting around in a city should be, be it by car, scooter or public transport. It also underscores the company’s belief that the future of transportation will be electric,” adds Gareth Taylor, country manager for Bolt in South Africa.

Founded by Markus Villig, Bolt launched in 2013.

The Estonian-born tech company now serves 25 million customers in over 30 countries globally and has grown to be a leader in Europe and Africa.

Published in Travel & Tourism

Botswana’s former president, Ian Khama, has vowed not to rest until stability in his country is restored.

Speaking to City Press on Friday night at the Intercontinental Hotel at OR Tambo International Airport, he said he would be seeking external interventions, if need be, to bring his country back to normality.

Khama was preparing to catch a flight to attend an event in India – at Dharamshala, the residence of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile.

Under Khama’s presidency, Botswana had been hailed for being a stable democracy.

However, the situation has recently destabilised under President Mokgweetsi Masisi ahead of the country’s general elections, set to take place in October.

At the centre of this instability has been political bickering between Masisi and Khama, who has publicly pronounced his support for ex-foreign minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi to contest Masisi for the presidency of the governing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

The BDP will hold its elective congress in May where, for the first time, the party’s presidency will be contested.

Khama said he was recently invited to attend a meeting at the headquarters of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Gaborone by chairperson Dr Hage Geingob, who is also the president of Namibia.

“He asked to see me so I can give my side of the story,” said Khama.

“He expressed concern as a neighbour, as the chairman of the SADC and as the president in the region. He expressed concern [about Botswana] precisely because of what we have been saying: that this is not what we expect of Botswana.

“I feel guilty because I am caught right in the middle of this ongoing problem, after having tried to move Botswana up the ladder in all areas. Now to have this thing, this burden...”

Khama said he would speak out in the same manner in which he had confronted former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe about the crisis in that country.

“I am not just going to lie idle and see us lose the ground that we have gained over the years,” he said.

Masisi’s administration, said Khama, was not supportive of his visit to India because of its cosy relations with China.

“Because of these new-struck relations [between] the current administration of Botswana and China, I think they feel they have to do China’s bidding and have succumbed to pressure from China to have no contact with people the Chinese do not like.”

Khama said he had not supported the stance of communist China against Tibet during his presidency. He has also been vocal about deals struck by African countries with the Chinese – which, he has warned, were brokered in China’s interests and not in the interests of African states.

“During my time as president, I felt that this was an affront to our sovereignty as a country and that we can’t be told who we can and cannot meet.

"As I said earlier on, this was particularly the case given that China is not a democracy like we are.

“On the other hand, you have His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, somebody who is only putting [out] there issues of peace, compassion and unity.

"Surely you cannot fault that. It is something that I have tried to follow in my life, so I can certainly find a lot more in common with the Dalai Lama than I can with the People’s Republic of China.”

Khama said his relations with Masisi’s government have deteriorated to such an extent, he has to constantly fight to receive some of his privileges as the former president, even though these are prescribed in the country’s Constitution.

He cited instances where he has been refused access to modes of transport, including aircraft, to enable him to carry out his community outreach programmes. He said he was not even invited to attend the Fallen Heroes’ Day commemoration event on February 27.

This, Khama said, was an attempt to frustrate him.

He added that people close to Masisi had told him that the president was misusing his powers to erode Khama and his family’s legacy. They also told him that Masisi felt insecure about Khama’s achievements, and the best way for him to act was to try “to erase [the insecurity] by erasing some of the policies that I was involved with, to try to isolate me from these kinds of national events, and not have any recognition of me at all”.

Speaking about tensions and divisions within his party, Khama said that recently in his home village, there was a large meeting of party members, who were upset about the developments in Botswana and had gathered to air their views.

However, a couple of days ago, a list of the names of those councillors who were present at the meeting and who support Venson-Moitoi was circulated, proposing that they be suspended for attending the meeting.

Khama said the meeting was not illegal because in Botswana freedom of assembly is guaranteed even by his party’s Constitution.

“If the councillors were to be suspended, I hear people say, all those who gathered there feel that there should be a mass walkout from the ruling party.

“But when you look at the names on the list, a lot of the councillors are delegates to the elective congress, which is set to take place in a few weeks – and they are all supporters of his [Masisi’s] opponent.

“So, by suspending them, they will be reducing the number of people who will be voting for her. We will see whether they will be suspended or not.

"But if they do get suspended, it will spark, I think, a revolt in parts of the party. I won’t rule out the possibility that there could be a split,” Khama said.

He warned that if there were to be a split, it would end the BDP’s chances of leading again as the majority party.

“If this thing continues for the next few months leading up to the general election, my assessment is that we would still be a party that has the most seats in Parliament but not enough to form a government, so we would have to go into a coalition. So, the BDP will lose an election.”

Khama said he was not feeling unsafe in Botswana but indicated that there had been reports of raids that were to be made on his home, which have not been carried out. Asked if he could be lobbied to enter politics again, Khama said he would turn his back on the people currently leading the party because he had never experienced before how people somersault in the way they have done now.


Source: City Press 

Published in Economy
More than 275 financial firms are moving a combined 1.2 trillion dollars in assets and funds and thousands of staff from Britain to the European Union in readiness for Brexit at a cost of up to 4 billion dollars, a report from a think tank said on Monday.
UK lawmakers are due to vote on Tuesday on an EU divorce settlement.
But with less than three weeks to go before Brexit day on March 29, it is still unclear whether the deal will be approved, whether departure from the EU will be delayed, or whether it will happen without agreement.
The report by the New Financial think tank, one of the most detailed yet on the impact of Brexit on financial services, said Dublin alone accounted for 100 relocations, ahead of Luxembourg with 60, Paris 41, Frankfurt 40, and Amsterdam 32.
The independent think tank said half of the affected asset management firms, such as Goldman Sachs Investment Management, Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Vanguard, had chosen Dublin, with Luxembourg the next port of call, attracting firms like Schroders, JP Morgan Wealth Management and Aviva Investors.
Nearly 90 per cent of all firms moving to Frankfurt are banks, while two-thirds of those going to Amsterdam are trading platforms or brokers.
Paris is carving out a niche for markets and trading operations of banks and attracting a broad spread of firms.
New Financial identified 5,000 expected staff moves or local hires, a figure that is expected to rise in coming years.
A better measure of Brexit’s impact is the scale of assets and funds being transferred, it said.
Ten large banks and investment banks are together moving 800 billion pounds of assets from Britain – or 10 per cent of banking assets in the country.
A small selection of insurers have shifted a combined 35 billion pounds in assets, and a handful of asset managers have moved a total of 65 billion pounds in funds.
William Wright, founder and managing director of New Financial, said the hit to London was bigger than expected and would get worse.
“Business will continue to leak from London to the EU, with more activity being booked through local subsidiaries,” Wright said.
“This will reduce the UK’s influence in European banking and finance, reduce tax receipts from the industry, and reduce financial services exports to the EU.”
A 10 per cent shift in banking and finance activity would cut UK tax receipts by about 1 per cent, the report said.
Relocations have cost firms 3 billion dollars to 4 billion dollars, which will be passed on to customers and shareholders, the report said.
But the breadth and depth of relocations so far, combined with pacts between regulators in Britain and the EU, mean the industry is well prepared for whatever form Brexit takes, New Financial said.
London will remain the dominant financial center for the foreseeable future, but other European cities will chip away at London’s lead over time, it added. 
Published in Bank & Finance

Kia Motors may halt operations at its No.1 plant in China as part of its longer-term efforts to enhance competitiveness, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

Kia Motors said in a statement after the source told Reuters on Sunday that the company is reviewing various plans to strengthen production and sales competitiveness in China.

Kia Motors, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor, makes cars in China in a tie-up with Dongfeng Motor Group and Jiangsu Yueda Investment Co Ltd. They run three factories in Jiangsu Province in China. Hyundai Motor also said the automaker was considering suspending production at its oldest plant in China as sales tumble and it struggles with overcapacity in its biggest market.


- Reuters

Published in Engineering
No fewer than 19 United Nations officials were aboard the Ethiopian airplane that crashed on Sunday, the UN Department of Safety and Security in Kenya, has said.
The World Food Programme (WFP) lost six staff, the Office of the High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) lost two, as did the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in South Sudan, World Bank and UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) each lost one staff member.
Six staff from the UN Office in Nairobi (UNON) were also tragically killed.
Amb. Abiodun Bashua, a retired Nigerian career ambassador, who was until his death, working on contract with the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA), also died in the crash, alongside Canada-based Nigerian professor at Carleton University, Pius Adesanmi.
As a mark of respect IOM said it would “fly its flag at half-mast at its offices on Monday, as will the UN and its agencies”.
The Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after take off from the capital Addis Ababa on Sunday, killing more than 150 people on board.
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened at the tragic loss of lives”, as reports emerged that UN staff were also among the dead.
The Boeing airliner bound for the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, took off at 8:44 a.m. local time, losing contact with air traffic control at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, just six minutes later, according to news reports.
The plane was reportedly carrying passengers from more than 35 different countries.
The cause of the disaster is not yet known, although weather conditions were reportedly good and the plane went down in a field near Bishoftu, around 35 miles southeast of the capital.
The UN chief conveyed his “heartfelt sympathies and solidarity to the victims’ families and loved ones, including those of United Nations staff members, as well as sincere condolences to the Government and people of Ethiopia”.
Published in World
The Carleton University, Canada, has expressed shock at the loss of Prof. Pius Adesanmi, Director, Institute of African Studies, who was among the 18 Canadians killed in Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines disaster.
Benoit-Antoine Bacon, President and Vice-Chancellor of the university, in a statement on Sunday, said the university was devastated by Adesanmi’s death.
“Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time,” Bacon said.
“The Carleton community is shocked and devastated to learn of the death of Prof. Pius Adesanmi, who was among the 18 Canadians killed in today’s crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet at the Addis Ababa airport.
“Global Affairs Canada has confirmed that Adesanmi is among the victims.
“Pius was a towering figure in African and post-colonial scholarship and his sudden loss is a tragedy,” said the president and vice-chancellor.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who knew and loved him, and with everyone who suffered loss in the tragic crash in Ethiopia.”
“The contributions of Pius Adesnami to Carleton are immeasurable,” said Pauline Rankin, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
“He worked tirelessly to build the Institute of African Studies, to share his boundless passion for African literature and to connect with and support students.
“He was a scholar and teacher of the highest calibre who leaves a deep imprint on Carleton,” Rankin said.
A further tribute about Adesanmi’s leadership and many contributions to the Carleton community would be shared as soon as possible, the university said.
Published in World

WHATSAPP dark mode is one of the chat app’s most highly anticipated features, and fans have been delivered good and bad news about it.

WhatsApp dark mode is arguably the most highly anticipated new feature for the Android and iOS chat app. For months it’s been rumoured that a WhatsApp dark mode is in the works, with WABetaInfo first reporting on it back in September 2018. 

At the time its Twitter account said: “I’m happy to exclusively give the good news: WhatsApp is finally working on a Dark Mode! It’s a dream.

“There are many important secret references in recent updates! 

“Be patient to see it out, hoping it will be FULL OLED friendly for Android phones, iPhone X and newer!”

The WhatsApp dark mode would limit blue light exposure and make using the chat app much easier on the eyes - especially handy at night. And as fans wait for a release date of WhatsApp dark mode they’ve been delivered both good and bad news about the upcoming feature.

The bad news is that one of WhatsApp’s rivals has received a dark mode ahead of it.

Earlier this week Viber announced the release of its own dark mode, which helps “save battery” and “protect your eyes”.

In a post on Tuesday the Viber Twitter said: “Walk on the dark side.

“Check out our new dark mode theme on Android! Save battery, protect your eyes, and keep the room dark when other people are trying to sleep.

“Try #DarkMode”.

Statista research says Viber at last count has over a billion users, behind other rival chat apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The good news for WhatsApp fans though is that there may be signs that dark mode could be coming to the chat app soon.

Facebook Messenger - which alongside WhatsApp and Instagram is owned by Facebook - has just launched its own dark mode. 

The Facebook Messenger dark mode launched at the start of the week on Monday March 4.

In a blog post Bridget Pujals, Product Manager for Messenger, said: “We’re over the moon to share that dark mode for Messenger is finally making its debut.

“One of the most highly anticipated features from the launch of Messenger 4, dark mode is a sleek new look that goes easy on the eyes by switching the background from white to black.

“As many may have discovered, dark mode can be accessed through a hidden, limited-time only experience. Simply send a crescent moon emoji in any Messenger chat to unlock the setting and prompt to turn on dark mode.”

Bridget added: “Messenger’s dark mode provides lower brightness while maintaining contrast and vibrancy.


“Dark mode cuts down the glare from your phone for use in low light situations, so you can use the Messenger features you love no matter when or where you are.

“Dark mode is currently accessible to all Messenger users around the world on the latest versions of iOS and Android by sending the crescent moon emoji, and will be fully rolled out in settings in the coming weeks.”

Facebook likely won’t want to leave Messenger’s WhatsApp counterparts lagging too far behind it. And the tech giant cracking the code necessary to have dark mode on Messenger might mean they’re also getting closer to having the feature on WhatsApp too.


Credit: Express UK

Published in Telecoms
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