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* It appears since the Covid-19 restrictions have been relaxed criminal activity in our town has spiked. This is of concern not only to business persons but home owners too. It is not possible for the police to be everywhere all the time so the community should be more alert and report any suspicious movements to the police or your security service provider.  

*Screens are a fixture in children’s lives from a young age, but giving them access to television, tablets or phones doesn’t always mean it will have a negative impact on their development. Screens are part of our everyday lives like never before. Our screens are pervasive, so it’s inevitable that our children pick up on this quickly, easily and intuitively. How outside influences might warp our children’s thoughts is not a new worry. While we know reading is beneficial for a range of cognitive abilities, at the same time, children are growing up in a world where screens are everywhere. Their screen use therefore paints a somewhat worrying picture. Estimates suggest that children aged 0 to two years engage in more than three hours of screen time per day, a figure that has doubled in the past two decades. Another study showed that for school-aged children, 49% had more than two hours screen time, and 16% had over four hours. Screen time can come at the cost of reduced physical activity, increased BMI, and fewer family

meals together. It is also linked to less sleep in children as well as adults. Children who have a TV in their room have been found to sleep 31 minutes less per day, for instance. Educational TV content has been shown to help improve behaviour, literacy and cognitive skills for three to five year olds. 

*Citizens from 11 countries can visit South Africa without a Visa. These are France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, UK, and USA. However, under South Africa’s current “Red List”, leisure travellers from France, Iran, Portugal, USA and UK may still not enter South Africa.  

*Three scientists who discovered the virus Hepatitis C have won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology. The winners are British scientist Michael Houghton and US researchers Harvey Alter and Charles Rice. The Nobel Prize committee said their discoveries ultimately “saved millions of lives”. The virus is a common cause of liver cancer and a major reason why people need a liver transplant. In the 1960s, there was huge concern that people receiving donated blood were getting chronic hepatitis (liver inflammation) from an unknown, mysterious disease. The Nobel Prize committee said a blood transfusion at the time was like “Russian roulette”. Highly sensitive blood tests mean such cases have now been eliminated in many parts of the world, and effective anti-viral drugs have also been developed. “For the first time in history, the disease can now be cured, raising hopes of eradicating Hepatitis C virus from the world,” the prize committee said. However, the 70 million people are currently living with the virus, which still kills around 400,000 a year.

*A proposed Draft bill in the Gauteng Provincial Government is to stop foreigners from opening businesses in the townships. If this bill becomes law it would have a ripple effect in other provinces as well. The topic of foreigners trading in the townships has aroused robust debate in our country. There is a school of thought that says the foreigners provide an essential service. Yet there are many others that insist the foreigners take away business from locals. Whatever your views it will be interesting to note how the draft bill will be considered. Watch this space. 

*Since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in March, Parliament has been using a hybrid system where no more than 50 members are present in the chamber while others join the proceedings online. But some MPs believe that if other public institutions like schools and hospitals are now operating optimally, Parliament should also lead by example. The National Assembly alone consists of 400 members of lawmakers. How COVID-19 lockdown protocols will be implemented should Parliament return in full operation, remains to be seen. 

*All is not well within the portals of Cricket South Africa (CSA) which has finally released the summary of the Fundudzi Forensic Report. The report that spans from January 2016 to December 2019 suggests that then Chief Executive Thabang Moroe violated CSA’s own internal processes, parts of the Companies Act and general principals of good corporate governance. The report was used in the proceedings to discipline Moroe, who was subsequently dismissed. He caused CSA to pay a service provider more than R3 million without following Procurement Policies and Procedures.  

*Prostitution is known as the oldest profession in the world. For years many South Africans believed that it would be just a matter of time before our ANC led government gives prostitution the green light. That day is not far. We are told there are 156 000 sex workers in our country and this figure is obviously incorrect because many operate more discreetly to avoid the stigma of this trade. The Sisonke Group is a sex-worker led non-profit organisation advocating for the decriminalisation of adult sex work in South Africa. This group wants sex work to be recognised like other jobs. They say that Sex workers are unable to access basic labour rights, also to negotiate safer sex working conditions and working hours and reporting sexual harassment or challenging the unfair dismissal and are not likely to seek legal assistance. So this speaks about if sex work was to be decriminalised, sex workers would be able to have access to labour and be recognised as workers within the country. What is of interest is the fact that at least four government departments are supporting the decriminalisation of sex work. What are your views?  Write a Letter to the Editor. All letters must have your name and address but you may use a nom de plume if you wish.

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