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A 16-year-old South African has won the grand prize at Google’s science fair for using orange peel to develop a cheap super-absorbent material to help soil retain water

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South African teen wins $50,000 Google prize.

Kiara Nirghin beat students from around the world for a $50,000 (£38,000) scholarship with her “fighting drought with fruit” submission.

Her work was in response to the recent drought that has hit South Africa .

The drought, the worst since 1982, led to crop failures and animals dying.

Ms Nirghin, a student at the Anglican Church-founded St Martin’s High School in the main city Johannesburg, said three experiments over 45 days resulted in her coming up with the “orange peel mixture” as an alternative to expensive and non-biodegradable super-absorbent polymers (SAPs).

It was made out of waste products from the juice-manufacturing industry, she said.

Kiara Nirghin

These included molecules found in orange peels and naturally occurring oils in avocado skins.

“The product is fully biodegradable, low-cost and has better water retaining properties than commercial SAPs. The only resources involved in the creation of the ‘orange peel mixture’ were electricity and time, no special equipment nor materials were required,” Ms Nirghin added in her online submission.

A maize farm in the Free State province

The student, who was awarded the prize at the annual fair in California, said she hoped it would help farmers save both money and their crops.

The competition was open to children from the ages of 13 to 18.

Finance

South Africa: Ramaphosa’s team faces accountability test.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign team has gone into crisis mode, undertaking to audit all monies — from more than 200 individuals — that came into its coffers ahead of his election as ANC president, to ensure that “fundraising processes” and the “sources of funding” were “above board”.



This is after Ramaphosa had to backtrack on a response to a parliamentary question by DA leader Mmusi Maimane about a payment of R500,000 from controversial security firm Bosasa.

Ramaphosa said when he answered Maimane’s question he was unaware  that the payment had been made as a donation to his campaign and not to his son Andile’s consultancy firm, as he had initially stated.

Now Ramaphosa’s campaign management team has said he was not kept in the loop on the funding and fundraising had been intentionally ring-fenced from other campaign functions.

Maimane told Business Day on Sunday that the matter showed the ANC was rotten to the core.

The DA leader now wants Ramaphosa to set up an independent inquiry, headed by a retired judge, to look into all of Bosasa’s dealings with the government. He said the inquiry should also be tasked with determining whether Ramaphosa had lied to parliament. Andile Ramaphosa has a contract with African Global Operations — previously Bosasa — for the provision of consultancy services in a number of African countries, but excluding SA to avoid a conflict of interest.

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In a statement on Friday, the presidency said Ramaphosa had informed the speaker of parliament that he was made aware after his question-and-answer session that the money was in fact a donation towards his campaign. He said he had not been aware of this at the time and the donation was made without his knowledge.

The statement from Ramaphosa, in which he backtracked on his parliamentary response, excited those in the ANC who continue to support former president Jacob Zuma, with insiders in those camps saying it was only a matter of time until Ramaphosa could be successfully challenged as party boss, given his tenuous victory over Zuma’s preferred candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, at the Nasrec conference in December 2017.

Zuma backers are likely to continue to lie low until after the election in 2019, but the run-up to the ANC’s next national general council — when a decision on an early elective conference can be taken — is expected to be fractious.

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 In an address to elderly citizens on the campaign trail in KwaMashu outside Durban, Zuma said on Friday that party members should vote for the ANC first and only after that consider removing people with whom they are unhappy.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said given the fact that Ramaphosa misled parliament about Bosasa, it would only be “fair” if he came back to the National Assembly and took MPs into his confidence on the matter and explained under which circumstances he misled them.

EFF leader Julius Malema reportedly also called on Friday for the president to come back to parliament and explain himself.

Meanwhile, a senior ANC leader aligned to Ramaphosa said the Bosasa matter was being used in a factional way by the president’s detractors within the party, and that this must be seen against the backdrop of the noose tightening on corruption.

The leader said the issue was a non-story and he believed it would blow over quickly, as the party was now focusing on elections. He did say, however, there was push-back within the party from the “other group” and that this relates to the Zondo commission, among other matters.



Another Ramaphosa ally said while the Zuma group would seek to capitalise on this, there was no reason for him to worry.

A statement from Ramaphosa’s campaign management team on Sunday sought to draw a distinction between the president and his campaigners. The statement said the “CR17” campaign — comprising of a number of structures including a finance task team — was established and managed by “like-minded individuals” to support Ramaphosa.

“To avoid conflicts of interests and to completely eliminate any expectation of reciprocal intent, action or preferential treatment by donors, real or perceived, the fundraising team was ring-fenced from other operations,” the statement said. “Consequently, it was also determined that President Ramaphosa should not be involved in the fundraising effort and that he shouldn’t have a record of donors, although he was asked on occasion to attend dinners with potential donors.”

The campaign management team said the donations were for venue hire, transport and accommodation, and that Ramaphosa, his family and foundation had not received any of it.

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Newly high-tech weapon tested in North Korea

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has tested new ‘high-tech’ weapon in message to the US despite having an agreement with President Trump to denuclearized in the international summit, in June.



North Korea state media is yet to identify the kind of weapon that was launch.

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source report says, the picture the state media released showed Mr Kim surrounded by officials but no weapon was seen present.

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United State have reacted to the claim , adding that they are still hopeful with the promises made by president Trump and Chairman Kim will be fulfilled.

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