Alexa van Sickle


There are several ways to defur a feline.



UK Announces New Citizenship Rules

The Home Office has announced new citizenship rights for members of the Commonwealth serving in the British Armed Forces.

 Servicemen from outside the UK will now be eligible to apply for UK citizenship despite being stationed abroad for most of their service.

 Under the new rules, they will no longer be required to live in the UK for five years (or three years if married to or the civil partner of a British citizen) before applying for citizenship.

 The changes will enable them to use time spent in service anywhere in the world towards fulfilling the residency requirement.

 Home secretary John Reid said: "This change reflects the commitment to the safety and security of the United Kingdom these men and women show every day despite not being stationed on British soil.”

 The new rules come only a few months after the South African National Assembly passed the controversial Prohibition of Mercenary Activity and Regulation of Certain Activities in Areas of Armed Conflict Bill, outlawing mercenary activities and giving the government the right to declare certain conflicts prohibited to South African citizens.

 The bill was designed to stop South Africa being a haven for mercenaries, but many feel the law is too blunt and will mean that thousands of soldiers working legitimately will have to choose between surrendering their citizenship or returning home to slim employment prospects. 

 John Palmer*, a captain serving in the British Army, said he and many other South Africans are simply waiting to see how the bill will affect them.  “Nothing much has happened since the bill was passed last August. The Ministry of Defense are still in discussion with the South African government and no decision has been made yet. He added: “It will flare up again I’m sure.”

 The new citizenship rules may affect their choices when the time comes.

Sielo Nkosi*, a South African stationed in Germany, said:  “For those of us intending to return home, the new rules will not change our plans, but for some of the younger guys going back to South Africa is the last thing they want to do.”

 Nkosi said that his South African citizenship is “non-negotiable” and also fears that the bill will strain relations between the UK and South Africa.

 The bill has drawn criticism from the international community, and was passed despite a plea from Paul Boateng, British High Commissioner to South Africa.


South Africa hopes to create the longest bra chain in the world later this month in aid of breast cancer awareness.

 A widespread bra donation and collection campaign has been in force since October 15th, aiming for the ultimate target of 150,000 bras which will then be strung together to form a chain.

 As well as promote awareness of breast cancer, the bra chain campaign also coincided with Guinness World Records Day. 

 Last year, the first Guinness World Records Day was such a success that it is now a permanent fixture, held in sync globally. This year on November 9th, countries all over the world attempted to break bizarre records. Paris witnessed the attempt of the world’s largest simultaneous kiss. Meanwhile, an Australian weather presenter pulled on 18 pairs of underpants in 60 seconds.

 South Africa hopes to slash the previous record set by Cyprus last April,  with  114 782 bras making a chain of 111 kilometres.

 Nino's Coffee chain and Sho-Sho-Lo-Za Marketing, the organisers of the campaign, are encouraging women (and men!) all over South Africa to donate their bras and R10 for the 'Cup for a Cup' initiative. 

 Nick Kokkoris, CEO of Nino,s said: "Nino's stores are owned, worked and frequented by the very people that are affected by breast cancer on a daily basis.  For us, this is not social responsibility, charity or just doing the right thing.  It is simply about making the difference."

 On November 9th, the Nino's  restaurant in Rosebank, Johannesburg celebrated Guinness World Records Day by hanging up hundred of bras in the shop and auctioning off bras donated by celebrities.  SuperSport presenter Arnold Geerdts auctioned off a lacy black number donated by 5FM DJ Koula, which fetched R2 000.

 Noelen Kotschan, Sho-Sho-La-La Marketing’s managing director, said they had collected 25 000 bras by November 9th. Afterwards, she said, “the bras will eventually be distributed to cancer outreach stations in South Africa, and donated to women in the communities.

 “A bra is also for health purposes. We appeal to South African women and men to assist in this cause. Men get breast cancer too”. 

 All monetary donations will be given to Reach for Recovery, which is a volunteer group that assists women with breast cancer.

 To donate your bras or for more information phone Noelene (083 460 6146)

or Kate (083 325 7858) on 011 234 0400 or email:

SA casts controversial vote

Less than a month after South Africa took its seat on the UN Security Council for the first time, it has caused a stir by casting a controversial vote.

 A resolution calling for Myanmar (Burma) to improve its appalling human rights record was opposed by only three countries: China, Russia and South Africa.

 While Russia has been questioned over its own record and China has vested interests in the Burmese junta, the vote by South Africa came as a surprise.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu has already spoken out against the vote, calling it “ a betrayal of South Africa’s past”.

 On Thursday, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) joined Tutu and others in saying that South Africa should have condemned Myanmar’s military regime and supported the call for sanctions against it.  The Democratic Alliance’s foreign affairs spokesman, Douglas Gibson, said: “The very first opportunity South Africa had to vote in favour of human rights and good governance against dictatorship, and we chose the wrong side.”

 The vote is a hot issue, considering it was similar inaction in the Security Council during the apartheid years, with the UK and USA voting against action to end apartheid, that may have kept the regime in place. South Africa has already lost moral credibility for its perceived inaction over Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe.

 Christopher Alden, senior lecturer in International Relations at the London School of Economics and an expert on Southern Africa, said the vote was deeply disappointing: “South Africa seems to have amnesia in regard to its own history.”

 The official reason behind the vote is that the internal situation in Myanmar does not pose a global security risk and therefore does not fall under the mandate of the Security Council.

The ANC endorsed the government’s position.