Bungeni http://bungeni.org/ Mon, 03 Jan 2022 06:48:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://bungeni.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/bungeni-icon-150x150.png Bungeni http://bungeni.org/ 32 32 East African countries embark on lending frenzy to fill huge budget deficits https://bungeni.org/2022/01/03/east-african-countries-embark-on-lending-frenzy-to-fill-huge-budget-deficits/ Mon, 03 Jan 2022 06:48:53 +0000 https://bungeni.org/2022/01/03/east-african-countries-embark-on-lending-frenzy-to-fill-huge-budget-deficits/

By ALLAN OLINGO

East African economies are starting the new year with a borrowing frenzy with their eyes riveted on commercial debt to boost their economies out of the downturn in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have indicated they will be in the market as early as this month for a mix of sovereign bonds, syndicated and commercial loans as they seek to support their budgets, which have to huge deficits, amid impending loan repayments for ongoing infrastructure projects. .

Kenya plans to issue two new sovereign bonds over the next six months to fund the budget and repay part of its inaugural Eurobond issued in 2014.

Kenya’s National Treasury told the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week that it plans to launch an issue under the external component of budget financing for the current fiscal year, and another by June 2022. to refinance the 10-year $ 2 billion bond issued. in 2014.

Nairobi is seeking $ 2.19 billion in the two commercial loans.

Last June, Kenya issued a $ 1 billion bond.

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Kenya is expected to return to the Eurobond market in the first half of 2022 to raise funds, with $ 1.1 billion in the 2021/22 budget, as well as a takeover bid for part of the $ 2 billion. of dollars 6.875%, 2024 Eurobond. The Treasury is considering issuing in euros, ”says the latest Sovereign Debt Radar from REDD, a data and market intelligence company.

Nairobi is also considering lifting the debt ceiling of $ 78.9 billion set two years ago, as its debt stock of $ 67.5 billion is on the verge of exceeding that target.

The government had planned to borrow $ 5.49 billion domestically in the year ending June 2022, and as of December 10, it had already borrowed more than half of that amount, or 2.77 billions of dollars.

Modification of the debt ceiling

Loan servicing expenses are set at $ 5.46 billion, of which $ 2.33 billion will be principal repayments of domestic debt.

In November 2021, the Treasury submitted to the Attorney General and Parliament a proposal to change the debt ceiling under the Public Financial Management Act.

According to the IMF, the new debt anchor will be set at 55% of GDP, with debt being measured in terms of present value.

Kenya’s overall public debt has increased in recent years. Gross public debt fell from 44.4% of GDP at the end of 2015 to 71% of GDP at the end of 2020, reflecting high deficits, in part due to past spending on large infrastructure projects, and in 2020 by global shocks of Covid-19.

About half of Kenya’s public debt is owed to external creditors.

In the third quarter of its fiscal year, Nairobi paid $ 262.5 million to Chinese creditors to lift the deadlock on debt repayments. Payments were made to Chinese lenders, most notably Exim Bank, after suspending disbursements for projects in Kenya due to Chinese pushback to Kenya demanding a suspension of debt repayment.

In January 2021, Kenya applied for the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), as it finalized details of an Extended Finance Facility (EFF) and Extended Facility program. $ 2.4 billion three-year credit facility (ECF) with the IMF, which was approved in April.

DSSI’s request, which allowed Nairobi to receive $ 425 million in relief through December, added to existing tensions in its relationship with China, its largest bilateral creditor.

While the Exim Bank of China is a widely recognized bilateral creditor, its $ 3.6 billion loan to Kenya for the construction of the standard gauge railway has been extended on commercial terms, hence the insistence of Beijing to be treated on an equal basis with other commercial borrowers.

In Budget 2021/2022, Kenya set aside $ 1.03 billion to service its debt to China, including $ 217.1 million in interest payments and $ 817.6 million in repayments. , according to budget documents.

This year Nairobi will only receive $ 89 million in debt relief, lower than the $ 379 million originally planned, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said in a recent letter to the IMF.

Kampala in the market

Across the border, Uganda is also in preliminary talks with lenders for a new $ 500 million syndicated loan that is expected to be launched before April 2022.

Kampala has already sent out a request for proposals to lenders, but no bank has yet been appointed. It is understood that Uganda is looking for a 10 year facility, but it is unlikely to achieve such a long maturity period.

Uganda has yet to issue a Eurobond, although it has been approved by major credit rating agencies since 2013. It was active in the international syndicated loan market in March 2021 when it was first released. signed a $ 200 million seven-year facility with Societe Generale and East and South Africa. Bank of commerce and development. Kampala had requested a syndicated loan of $ 351.8 million.

REDD analysts said in December that although a Eurobond issue for Kampala is unlikely in the near term, the domestic bond market has attracted increased inflows over the past 18 months, as non-resident holdings increasing rapidly in the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021.

“Although the stock of non-resident domestic debt holdings is still significantly lower than Ghana’s in terms of GDP and total market share, potential withdrawals could still be destabilizing due to the smaller size of the financial sector. “, he added. REDD report says.

Uganda’s total public debt is valued at $ 14 billion while the debt-to-GDP ratio is just under 50%. Overall debt repayment expenditure represents more than 15% of the total budget.

Tanzania has also indicated that it will seek loans in the new year to carry out its ambitious infrastructure projects, days after signing a contract with Turkish company Yapi Merkezi for the construction of a section 368 km of its standard gauge railway, which will be financed by loans. and is expected to cost $ 1.9 billion.

President Samia Suluhu said Tanzania would borrow to finance the project.

“We will find friendly loan facilities and the best way to get loans. We will not get this money from levies or internal taxes. We will continue to implement projects despite efforts to discourage us from borrowing. Even developed countries have debts. We will borrow to complete the development projects that we have initiated, ”she said.

In February 2021, Tanzania launched a $ 200 million seven- and ten-year loan in syndication.

Dodoma is keen to keep its infrastructure investments on track and is building, among other things, a high speed standard gauge railway from the port of Dar es Salaam to the hinterland border with Rwanda.

Tanzania’s stance on borrowing comes amid growing debate over the country’s new lending frenzy, which Speaker of Parliament Job Ndugai has called “unhealthy”.

Mr. Ndugai argued that the country cannot rely on external borrowing to support its large infrastructure projects, instead proposing the use of internal revenue.

“Is it appropriate for us Tanzanians to continue to borrow and increase the national debt which currently stands at around $ 33.8 billion or will we agree to shoulder the burden ourselves?” Asked Mr. Ndugai.

“Should we continue to borrow and sing praises once we get the loans or should we continue to charge direct debits whether people are ready or not, but the end goal is to build our infrastructure with our own money? “

For the past four years, Tanzania has taken out syndicated loans to advance its infrastructure plans. In August 2017, she turned to Credit Suisse Bank for a five-year $ 500 million loan and returned to the market two years later to apply for a $ 1 billion syndicated loan from Trade and Development. Bank.

Since March 2021, when President Samia took power, the country has received more than $ 3 billion in debt, including concessional loans and aid funds from the World Bank, IMF and the Bank. African development.

BoT data

The latest data from the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) shows that Dodoma plans to borrow at least $ 2.34 billion from foreign financiers to finance its 2022/2023 draft budget of $ 17.1 billion.

According to Finance Minister Mwigulu Nchemba, $ 1.32 billion of the 2022/23 budget will be financed by direct concessional loans and grants from development partners under the traditional general budget support agreement.

An additional $ 1.04 billion will come from project-specific commercial loans from international lenders, Nchemba said during the presentation of the 2022/2023 budget proposals to parliament in November.

The government will borrow an additional $ 2.32 billion from the domestic market to secure at least $ 12.4 billion in domestic funding from its 2022/2023 budget to balance external funding.

Tanzania’s total national debt stands at $ 33.88 billion, with the latest BoT report showing the national debt increased by $ 182.3 million at the end of August compared to July.

External debt represented 76.6% of the stock (at $ 25.95 billion), while external debt service payments stood at $ 27.8 million in August 2021, of which 18 Millions of dollars were spent on paying principal and the rest on repaying accrued interest, the central bank said. A total of $ 4.63 billion has been allocated to repay the public debt in the 2021/2022 budget, representing 29% of total spending.

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IND vs SA: South African referee’s 15-year wait to officiate in test will end in Johannesburg | Cricket news https://bungeni.org/2022/01/02/ind-vs-sa-south-african-referees-15-year-wait-to-officiate-in-test-will-end-in-johannesburg-cricket-news/ Sun, 02 Jan 2022 13:18:48 +0000 https://bungeni.org/2022/01/02/ind-vs-sa-south-african-referees-15-year-wait-to-officiate-in-test-will-end-in-johannesburg-cricket-news/

Johannesburg: A 15-year long journey will end on Monday when Allahudian Paleker enters the Imperial Wanderers field in Johannesburg to take charge of South Africa against India in the second test.

The Cape-born official turned 44 on Saturday and will mark his last birthday by becoming South Africa’s 57th test referee – and the 497th in the game’s history since 1877.

A former first-class cricketer, Paleker will line up against one of his mentors and inspirations, Marais Erasmus, at the Bullring where he will finally reach the top after years of sacrifice and hard work.

“It will certainly be a proud moment for me. You know that when you start officiating your dream and your goal is to reach the highest level and participate in a test match,” Allahudien Paleker said in a statement.

“I started officiating 15 years ago so it’s been a long time coming. It took a lot of hard work, a lot of patience and you also need the strong support of the family because of the time you sacrifice. while away from home.

“I haven’t been to a family reunion or a summer wedding in years because I’m just never available. So there are a lot of sacrifices to be made and my wife Shakira has had to endure a lot. I must also thank her for the support and patience she has shown throughout my journey, she has really been a pillar of strength for me, “he added.

“And now, with the pandemic, things have gotten even more difficult. It sure hasn’t gotten easy and it will be a time for all of us to savor,” he added.

According to Cricket South Africa (CSA), Paleker comes from a family of umpires. His father Jamalodien is a referee, who still officiates for Wynberg High School in Cape Town.

He is currently 70 years old and a referee in competitions such as the ACS Club Championships in the mid-1990s.

He also has an uncle who is still a referee, while two of his cousins ​​are also developing referees.

“My dad was a great inspiration for me to get to the top and make his dream come true, which he couldn’t achieve,” said Paleker.

“He always wanted to be a first class referee but never got there for various reasons, so I followed in his footsteps to almost carry the baton,” he added.

Besides his father, two other men had a significant impact on his career as a referee.

“I really admire Aleem Dar, who I spent a week with in 2012 in New Zealand. We’ve been in contact since then and he’s a great inspiration to me. And then, nationally, we have our own Marshland. “He’s an elite referee and what he’s accomplished in the last few years is incredible. You want to reach his levels,” Paleker said.

Prior to becoming a referee, Paleker also enjoyed a playing career that spanned seven years. A former drummer, he played for the Western Province and a Titans team that included Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn.


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How to effectively fight addiction https://bungeni.org/2022/01/02/how-to-effectively-fight-addiction/ Sun, 02 Jan 2022 09:38:17 +0000 https://bungeni.org/2022/01/02/how-to-effectively-fight-addiction/

University of Cape Town counseling psychologist Bathandwa Mazeka offers strategies for coping with drug addiction.

A new year is a new beginning and different choices for many people.

Some people might consider getting rid of an addiction that might be more difficult than expected.

Speaking to Ray White, Mazeka explains some long term strategies for overcoming addiction.

The first step in getting help and dealing with the addiction is admitting that there is a problem, the substance I am taking or the gambling I am playing is problematic.

Bathandwa Mazeka, Consulting Psychologist – University of Cape Town

With most substances it is not easy (cold turkey), but some people are able to overcome it immediately using willpower and discipline.

Bathandwa Mazeka, Consulting Psychologist – University of Cape Town

It is not a good idea to replace one addiction with another. It is not really an effective long term strategy for dealing with addiction.

Bathandwa Mazeka, Consulting Psychologist – University of Cape Town

Listen to the full interview below:

This article first appeared on 702: How to Fight Addiction Effectively

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NC Payday Loans Online | New York Payday Advance Loan https://bungeni.org/2022/01/02/nc-payday-loans-online-new-york-payday-advance-loan/ Sun, 02 Jan 2022 01:26:32 +0000 https://bungeni.org/2022/01/02/nc-payday-loans-online-new-york-payday-advance-loan/ NC Payday Loans Online | New York Payday Advance Loan

Are you looking for quick income to finance an urgent situation? Do not search anymore. All you need to manage try completing some type of loan consultation on our entire website. We will then connect one to one of the recommended lenders in North Carolina.

Bad credit really shouldn’t be a barrier to accepting payday loans in North Carolina. As soon as you are eligible for financial support, the lender deposits the funds directly into your finances. Better yet, if it’s seemingly a good deal at the moment, why not just take a closer look at NC payday loans.

Welcome to GreenDayOnline!

Vermont laws and regulations allow consumers to apply for payday loans, including $ 100 to $ 1,000. Really effortless and absolved to send the loan program. GreenDayOnline deals with over 100 lenders who offer payday loans online in New York.

Payday advances give you the opportunity to have quick profits. As soon as you use and get considered, you can earn money in just one day! In addition, you can apply for NC payday loans even if you have a bad credit rating.

Additional Information on Payday Loans For Bad Credit, NC

GreenDayOnline simply works together with licensed and trained loan providers in Vermont. Some loan providers market their payday advance loan as “non-credit score financing”. This could be misleading since some sort of credit assessment has to be done. Our http://getbadcreditloan.com/payday-loans-tn loan providers generally like this. The truth is that loan providers perform a credit check. So, a “no credit check” simply implies that it is a soft credit check that will be performed. It can be an easy assessment of your credit score that won’t impact your credit score.

The good news is that less than perfect credit is certainly not a stumbling block when you find yourself looking for a small payday loan in North Carolina. Instead of examining your credit score, lenders take into account additional factors such as;

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Once you have found a lender interested in providing you with financing, all you need to do is complete the application. There is no need to worry about faxing or emailing documents. All of the information spills over onto the web.

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a more in-depth NC payday advance loan

Payday loans are the same as payday loans. In North Carolina, you may qualify for an instant payday loan of $ 100 to 1,000. Most lenders will require that the borrowed funds be spent on your next payday. This can involve the principal amount as well as the interest. The maximum phase of payday advances is normally 1 month.

The payday advance loan requires a flat payment fee. They can be a perfect alternative when you are having issues like health expenses and vehicle repair jobs. Remember that your financial information is essential for the duration of the program. You will let the lender withdraw the money directly from your finances.

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It doesn’t matter how much you earn each month. Emergencies come when you least expect them, which is when you can be bought. NC payday loan is a good option when you have an urgent financial problem.

GreenDayOnline connects individuals with reputable loan providers in New York City. We’ll help you get the amount of cash you need on the same day to cover economic space until the paycheck comes along.


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South Africa is going through a cycle, according to Klusener https://bungeni.org/2022/01/01/south-africa-is-going-through-a-cycle-according-to-klusener/ Sat, 01 Jan 2022 17:36:14 +0000 https://bungeni.org/2022/01/01/south-africa-is-going-through-a-cycle-according-to-klusener/

They called him Zulu, a member of the warrior clan. On the pitch he was really that, whether it was pushing the beaters around with speed or returning the ball to the far corners.

Starting his career as a quick shooter who could leave hitters with bruised limbs and a battered ego, Lance Klusener, after injuries, threw efficient cutters.

With the bat, he was a destroyer and a game changer. A true blue all-rounder, Klusener, now 50, was.

Talk to The hindu, Klusener felt that the current South African team are going through a cycle. “It’s cyclical, there are times when you’re on top, and then you rebuild. The great players have retired. Not easy to fill their shoes.

Klusener added: “In two years, when this South African team has more experience, it could be a very different team. “

Heavy workload

When asked why there are currently only a few true all-rounders in test cricket, Klusener replied: “Cricketers have to play three formats now and the workload can be heavy. This is probably the reason.

Asked about the current paced bowling allrounders he admired, Klusener said: “Ben Stokes and Hardik Pandya, if he can be injury free and play with pace.”

Kallis, the best

Klusener played exceptionally fast paced allrounder bowling. When asked who was the best, he observed: “Jacques Kallis without a doubt. He was an amazing hitter and a skillful pitcher with pace.

And who was the big hitter that the explosive Klusener admired the most? The South African replied: “MS Dhoni hit the ball hard. He’s probably not the toughest hitter of them all, but I liked the way he handled a chase, taking the game deep, running quickly between the wickets and throwing in the big punches just right. at the right time.

Klusener added: “It takes a lot of skill to do this.”

Sadly, Klusener was part of a moment that would forever haunt South African cricket.

He patted one on the ground and launched into the winning race of the 1999 World Cup semi-final against Australia and made his way, only to see the last man Allan Donald watch the ball, drop his bat and run away to the keeper’s wicket. ends with a tense climax filled with emotions.

“I want to forget about it. We haven’t had any luck in the ICC tournaments either. We were on the wrong side of the weather, lost on the run-rates. We have to win an ICC event to get rid of the monkey, ”Klusener said.

Talents in Afghanistan

He recently resigned as head coach of Afghanistan after taking office in 2019. “There is incredible talent there, and if there is consistency in the selection, there will be consistency in performance. “

Klusener is open to the work of coaching an IPL team. “I would love this challenge.”

Zulu has more to offer in the game.

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January transfer window – Ranking every big signing of the best European clubs https://bungeni.org/2022/01/01/january-transfer-window-ranking-every-big-signing-of-the-best-european-clubs/ Sat, 01 Jan 2022 15:35:31 +0000 https://bungeni.org/2022/01/01/january-transfer-window-ranking-every-big-signing-of-the-best-european-clubs/

The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact football finances, but unlike in recent times, the January window will be open as usual for top European leagues. (Find out when each league’s window opens and closes here.)

European clubs from Italian Serie A (550 million euros), German Bundesliga (415 million euros), French Ligue 1 (375 million euros) and Spanish LaLiga (295 million euros) have spent much less over the summer, but the Premier League got big and splashed € 1.1 billion on players, according to Deloitte. January is generally a calm month, but will world events see different strategies for the top teams?

Here are the notes for all major transactions. The most recent articles are at the top; each day is in the order of the highest price. If you don’t see a note for a completed move, come back later. All charges are reported unless confirmed with an asterisk.

January 4th

RB Leipzig rating: D +
Ajax Rating: C

What a strange gesture. After leaving Ajax on a free transfer when they signed another striker (Sebastien Haller) this summer, Brobbey will return after struggling to make an impact in Germany. The 19-year-old has had two assists in nine Bundesliga games, but he feels like he gave up too easily after just six months, and Leipzig hasn’t seen anything to suggest keeping him.

Ironically, Ajax need a replacement for Haller when he leaves for the Africa Cup of Nations in January. Brobbey knows the club, knows the style of play, but it’s a bit of a gamble considering how he’s gone. Ajax aren’t taking too many risks on a six-month loan, but the fans might not be so keen on seeing him again.

January 3

Man City Rating: A-
Barcelona rating: B +

Just over a year after signing Spain striker Valencia for around € 23million, City opted to transfer him for more than double that fee. Pep Guardiola has a plethora of attacking players in his place so they have cover, but it seems odd to let him go mid-season. Also, at 21, he was a player who could have represented the future of the club.

With 1.4 billion euros in debt, it’s interesting how Barca managed to find 55million euros to spend on a player. Obviously, this came from a bank loan, a route they took in spectacular fashion when signing Antoine Griezmann for € 120million from Atletico Madrid in 2019. Neither can Barca No longer save Torres as long as they haven’t removed some current players from the payroll, so it seems a gamble. Terrific player, but is he worth it amid Barca’s financial struggles?

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Which cities on the continent are the most sought after by expats? https://bungeni.org/2021/12/31/which-cities-on-the-continent-are-the-most-sought-after-by-expats/ Fri, 31 Dec 2021 15:23:20 +0000 https://bungeni.org/2021/12/31/which-cities-on-the-continent-are-the-most-sought-after-by-expats/

By Conrad Onyango – Bird Newsroom

If you’re looking for the best cities in Africa to work in and start a new life in 2022, Nairobi should be your top choice, then Cape Town, followed by Cairo and Johannesburg, reveals a new global report.

Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, has been classified first in Africa and 12th globally in the Expat City Ranking 2021 by InterNations, the largest expat community in the world. Expats place great importance on the social life of the city, characterized by a vibrant nightlife and the ease of finding affordable accommodation.

According to the Index, nearly four in five expats in Nairobi (78%) describe local residents as generally friendly compared to 69% globally, while 62% find it easy to make new friends compared to 48% in the world.

“Expats in Nairobi agree that 74% are satisfied with their social life, 17 percentage points above the global average (57%),” says the ranking which surveyed 12,420 respondents in 57 cities.

Nairobi overturns its African peers in the Getting Settled (fourth) and Finance and Housing (sixth) indices which rank among the top ten cities in the world.

More than eight in ten expats say they have no difficulty finding accommodation, 49% find affordable accommodation in Nairobi, and there is overall expat satisfaction with their job. financial position, disposable income and affordability.

Cape Town (41) also scores well in finance and housing (13th), settling (15th) and local cost of living (18th) with unlimited leisure options in the southern city. -African, helping expatriates to enjoy social life and to feel “at home”. .

“Cape Town even ranks third in the Leisure and Climate sub-category with 81% satisfied with local leisure options. A British expatriate notes that there is a “beautiful outdoor lifestyle thanks to the good weather”, explains the investigation report.

User-friendliness and low cost of living continue to resonate on the continent with also Cairo and Johannesburg although placed in the bottom ten of the general classification, showing better performances in creating friends and access to affordable food and housing.

Cairo (52) has its best ranking in the local cost of living index (7th), followed by the finance and housing index (19th) and the installation index (26th).

“Almost three in five expats say finding friends in Cairo is easy and 70% describe local residents as generally friendly, ”according to the survey.

Johannesburg closed the list of vibrant and exciting African cities to look out for, performing better in the ease of settling (29th) and finance and housing (24th) indices.

The three African cities – Cairo, Johannesburg and Cape Town rank among the bottom ten in terms of urban quality of life and urban working life indices – with the exception of Nairobi, which comes in 34th place in this last index.

However, most expats would like to see improvements in the public transport system in Nairobi, their job security and political instability in Cape Town, as well as health and the environment in Johannesburg and Cairo.

bird story agency

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Looking forward to Johannesburg: Kohli confident in series victory – News https://bungeni.org/2021/12/31/looking-forward-to-johannesburg-kohli-confident-in-series-victory-news/ Fri, 31 Dec 2021 13:45:04 +0000 https://bungeni.org/2021/12/31/looking-forward-to-johannesburg-kohli-confident-in-series-victory-news/

Indian Virat Kohli (left) congratulates Ravichandran Ashwin after the spinner dismissed South African Kagiso Rabada in the first test. (AFP)

India beat South Africa by 113 points in the first test at Centurion Park on Thursday



By ANI

Posted: Fri 31 Dec 2021, 17:45

Indian skipper Virat Kohli is looking to win the three-test series against South Africa with another victory in the second test in Johannesburg (January 3-7).

India beat South Africa by 113 points in the first test at Centurion Park on Thursday.

“This series in South Africa is not easy and Centurion is obviously the most difficult of them all,” Kohli told BCCI TV after India’s outright victory in the first test, their first at Centurion Park.

“We ended up getting the result in four days, which is testament to the fact that we became the team we wanted and today the strength of the team was in the spotlight in this Test match, with the ball , with the bat., and the pitch. We were just looking for opportunities and that’s how we play our cricket. If we have the chance at any time, we’ll jump on it. “

Kohli said the team was overflowing with confidence heading into the second test.

“It’s a great position to be, at a zero away, putting the opposition under pressure again in the second test for us is a golden opportunity and that’s something I’m sure every player is looking forward to it and I can ‘don’t wait for Johannesburg,’ he said.

The skipper also said that India’s test performance over the past few years has been exceptional.

“The New Year is a very good marker to analyze how you played cricket. I think we have played exceptional cricket and not just this year, but over the last 2-3 years we have played some exceptional matches, especially away from home. We are a confident and better team with the cricket we play, ”Kohli said.

India is aiming for its very first Test Series victory on South African soil.

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South Africa says its Omicron wave may have peaked and is lifting its curfews overnight a month after reporting the new variant https://bungeni.org/2021/12/31/south-africa-says-its-omicron-wave-may-have-peaked-and-is-lifting-its-curfews-overnight-a-month-after-reporting-the-new-variant/ Fri, 31 Dec 2021 05:57:59 +0000 https://bungeni.org/2021/12/31/south-africa-says-its-omicron-wave-may-have-peaked-and-is-lifting-its-curfews-overnight-a-month-after-reporting-the-new-variant/

Reported cases in South Africa have declined since reaching 162,987 on December 13.EMMANUEL CROSET / AFP via Getty Images

  • South Africa lifts nighttime curfews after saying its fourth wave of COVID-19 may have peaked.

  • Weekly confirmed cases nationwide soared to 162,987 after detecting the Omicron variant.

  • But COVID deaths in South Africa remained relatively low, with the weekly death toll peaking at 428.

South African authorities said on Thursday that the country’s fourth wave of COVID-19 may have peaked, just over a month after the country first reported the Omicron variant.

In response, the country is now lifting its nighttime curfew, which barred people from going out between midnight and 4 a.m., the South African cabinet said in a statement.

With the announcement, South Africa is now at its lowest of five COVID-19 alert levels, weeks after reporting the Omicron variant to the World Health Organization on November 24.

“Although the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, hospitalization rates have been lower than in previous waves,” the statement said, adding that the Omicron wave resulted in a “marginal increase” in deaths.

South Africa’s fourth wave peaked at 162,987 weekly confirmed cases on December 13, the highest number on record in the country, according to data from the World Health Organization. But despite the high number of cases, the number of reported weekly deaths peaked at 428, far below the peak of 4,027 weekly deaths reported in the country’s second wave in January and the peak of 2,812 weekly deaths reported in the third wave during the summer.

The Department of Health reported a drop of 29.7% to 89,781 new cases last week, from 127,753 new infections the week before.

The government said it made the decision “on the basis of the trajectory of the pandemic, immunization levels in the country and available capacities in the health sector.”

South Africa has so far fully immunized around 23.8% of its population, according to data compiled by Reuters.

Masks are still mandatory in the country, and it is a criminal offense not to wear masks where required, the cabinet said.

“Vaccination remains the best defense against serious illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19,” its statement said. “All people in South Africa who have not yet done so are encouraged to get the vaccine as soon as possible.”

Gatherings are still limited to 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 people outside with social distancing.

Earlier this week, Dr Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White House, said the latest wave of COVID-19 in the United States could subside by the end of January, basing his observation on the impact of Omicron in South Africa. Omicron remains the most common COVID-19 variant in the United States.

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Barcelona make Alvaro Morata first January target after talks with Juventus and Atletico https://bungeni.org/2021/12/30/barcelona-make-alvaro-morata-first-january-target-after-talks-with-juventus-and-atletico/ Thu, 30 Dec 2021 23:05:22 +0000 https://bungeni.org/2021/12/30/barcelona-make-alvaro-morata-first-january-target-after-talks-with-juventus-and-atletico/

Barcelona made Alvaro Morata their first goal for January after signing Ferran Torres for € 55million, sources have confirmed to ESPN.

Morata, 29, is on loan to Juventus from Atletico Madrid, but sources have told ESPN he is ready to cut his time in Italy short with Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez pushing for his signing.

Barca have had initial talks with all parties involved over a loan deal with an option to make the move permanent this summer.

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However, the financial situation of the Catalan club complicates any potential deal as it is constrained by La Liga’s € 97million spending limit.

Until they’re within that limit – which won’t happen this season – they’re only allowed to spend 25% of what they get back on transfer fees or save on pay cuts.

Having finished signing Torres from Manchester City earlier this week, Barca have yet to lighten their squad up before they can save him and any other new signings.

Yusuf Demir and Luuk de Jong’s loans are expected to be cut short, while the club remain open to offers for Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti. Sources told ESPN that Barcelona will also listen to interest in US international Sergino Dest.

Sources add that Barca are also exploring other ways to increase what La Liga allow them to spend and allow them to save Torres.

Xavi has made strengthening the attack a priority since taking office. Barca have only scored two goals in six Champions League appearances as they left the group stage competition and scoured the market for low-cost options.

Edinson Cavani was a target, but Manchester United’s reluctance to let the Uruguay international go led them to Morata, which Xavi is a fan of.

Barca have already tried to sign the former Real Madrid striker. the Blaugrana made an unsuccessful move for him in 2019 when Luis Suarez injured himself.

The Spain international is on his second stint at Juve, having also spent time in England with Chelsea. His loan to Juventus runs until the summer, while his contract at Atletico expires in 2023.

He has scored seven goals in 23 appearances in all competitions for Juve this season after ending the previous campaign with 20 goals in 44 appearances.

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