Friday, May 26

Friday, May 26

ANC LEADERS MULL ZUMA’S FUTURE RAMAPHOSA SAYS PARTY SPLIT ‘NOT’ HAPPENING Friday could mark a critical juncture for South Africa’s

ANC LEADERS MULL ZUMA’S FUTURE

RAMAPHOSA SAYS PARTY SPLIT ‘NOT’ HAPPENING

Photo: Delwyn Verasamy, MG

Photo: Delwyn Verasamy, MG

Friday could mark a critical juncture for South Africa’s Jacob Zuma as senior figures from the ruling African National Congress gather for three days of talks.

President Zuma is a controversial figure. He’s survived multiple no-confidence votes since taking the top job in 2009. But with the support of his party, the president has seen off all such challenges.

However, this very support is now in question. Mired by corruption scandals, the ANC fared poorly in last year’s local elections, losing control of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Zuma’s dismissal of respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in March further divided the ANC—some have even called for his head. It’s this that is rumoured to be up for discussion at Friday’s summit.

Technically, only parliament can force Zuma to step down. But with an overwhelming majority in parliament, senior ANC leaders can force the president’s hand if enough lawmakers agree to support a no-confidence vote.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is most likely to take the reins if this happens, although he insists it “shall not”. Indeed, by most accounts, Zuma still retains support within the ANC. However, serious questions remain about whether he’ll make it to the end of his term in 2019.

G7 LEADERS MEET IN SICILY

CLIMATE CHANGE DEAL IN THE BALANCE

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Photo: AP

G7 leaders will gather in Sicily on Friday for two days of talks ranging from North Korea’s continued belligerence to combating global terrorism.

However, as US President Donald Trump mulls withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, it appears climate change policy may take centre stage.

While Trump pledged to “cancel” the historic accord, which aims to keep temperatures from rising above two degrees, he’s yet to act. This could be symptomatic of a divided White House or it could signal that the president is having second thoughts about abandoning the deal.

Accounting for some 15% of global carbon emissions, US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement would be a disaster for the deal’s legitimacy.

But it may not be as easy as it sounds. The treaty has an inbuilt three-year cool off period, meaning even if the administration did decide to withdraw, it would have to wait until November 2019 to do so.

European leaders are pulling out the stops to prevent this from happening. A senior German official said the US would do “lasting damage” to relations with Europe if it abandons the deal.

SOUSSE ATTACK TRIAL BEGINS

TUNISIA SUFFERS AMID TOURIST DOWNTURN

Photo: News Group

Photo: News Group

The trial of 33 people accused of complicity in Tunisia’s worst ever domestic attack begins on Friday. 38 foreign nationals, 30 of them British, were killed when a lone gunman fired on tourists sunbathing in the coastal town of Sousse in June 2015.

Of the 33 on trial, six include members of Tunisia’s security forces, who are charged with “not assisting people in danger”.

While Tunisia is often heralded as the success story of the Arab Spring, it has struggled to contain corruption and Islamic extremism since the 2011 revolution. In turn, this has hurt the tourism industry—90% fewer Brits visit Tunisia today than in 2015.

As the country’s third largest sector, the ailing tourism industry has limited job opportunities for many Tunisians—a sad irony given that the 2011 uprising was sparked by this very thing.

But all is not lost. Economic growth is expected to accelerate to 2.3% this year, up from 0.8% in 2015. Meanwhile, the government is seeking to strengthen law and order and increase cooperation with Western intelligence agencies in a bid to keep the homeland secure.

 

HAPPENING ELSEWHERE…

Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will deliver the 2017-18 budget to parliament. The budget debate will begin next Monday.

US authorities will announce GDP growth figures for the three months to March. 0.9% is the forecast, which is an upward revision from 0.7%.

Muslims around the world will begin fasting from midnight as the holy month of Ramadan begins. Expect shortened trading hours during the day in Islamic countries.