SONA postponed and SA’s leadership in question
On 6 February the South African State of the Nation Address (SONA) was postponed by National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete with no new date set. The SONA was originally scheduled for 8 February at 19:00. The postponement comes about after concerns of both the ruling party and opposition were raised in light of South African President Jacob Zuma’s refusal to step down from his position at the request of ANC leadership and the Speaker of Parliament’s no-confidence vote on Zuma’s leadership scheduled to take place on 22 February. While there has been no new date proposed as of writing the necessary preparations for SONA are apparently in continuation as there was a shared preference for a speedy rearrangement of events after the Wednesday meeting of the political parties’ chief whips. The Budget Speech is still set to take place on 21 February as confirmed in the same meeting.
Winter Olympics: Army drafted in for security aid after norovirus outbreak
South Korean officials have drafted in the army to aid security at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after 1200 security workers were removed in efforts to stem a norovirus outbreak. 900 members of the Republic of Korea’s military personnel were deployed after 41 civilian security guards sought medical treatment for recent attacks of vomiting and diarrhoea. The withdrawal of the security workers is motivated by the incredibly contagious nature of the virus. the Olympic organisers are taking these measures top to prevent an outbreak among those working and attending the international winter sport event. The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics 2018 is set to take place at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium on Friday 9 February 20:00 Korean Standard time and is available for viewing on SuperSport 14 at 13:00.
SpaceX takes us one step closer to commercial space travel
Elon Musk, the South African-born founder of electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Incorporated and aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, successfully launched his new rocket Falcon Heavy from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Wednesday 7 February. The space rocket, said to be the most powerful currently, was holding a Tesla Roadster with a mannequin behind the wheel to simulate future cargo and space travel. The vehicle and its ‘driver’ were slick with space travel pop culture references: David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” was being played, the mannequin behind the wheel was named Starman in further reference to the late icon, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy catchphrase “DON’T PANIC” was present on the dashboard. The rocket later unfortunately overshot its intended orbit around Mars to instead shot towards the Asteroid Belt but the success of this particular launch have undoubtedly provided excitement in future space-based possibilities as the billionaire intended.