Zoom Partners with Anthropic to Expand Federated Approach to AI

Zoom announces investment in Anthropic to support research roadmaps and build steerable AI systems; Anthropic’s AI model will help strengthen Zoom’s federated approach across its platform, including Zoom Contact Center integrations

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, Zoom announced a strategic partnership with and investment in Anthropic, an AI safety and research company working to build reliable, interpretable, and steerable AI systems. The collaboration with Anthropic will further bolster Zoom’s federated approach to AI by allowing Anthropic’s AI assistant, Claude, to be integrated with Zoom’s platform (which includes Team Chat, Meetings, Phone, Whiteboard, Zoom IQ), starting with Zoom Contact Center.

“Anthropic’s Constitutional AI model is primed to provide safe and responsible integrations for our next-generation innovations, beginning with the Zoom Contact Center portfolio. With Claude guiding agents toward trustworthy resolutions and powering self-service for end-users, companies will be able to take customer relationships to another level,” said Smita Hashim, chief product officer for Zoom. “Partnering with Anthropic also furthers our commitment to providing customers with our federated approach to AI, optimized to deliver outstanding customer experience outcomes. Additionally, with our investment, we are advancing leading-edge companies like Anthropic and helping to drive innovation in the Zoom ecosystem and beyond.”

“Partnering with a leading collaboration platform like Zoom allows us to put robust, steerable AI into the hands of more people and unlock its potential to help streamline everyday processes,” said Dario Amodei, CEO and co-founder of Anthropic. “We look forward to working together to showcase Anthropic’s capabilities and our joint commitment to enhancing productivity through intelligent solutions.”

Zoom’s federated approach to AI leverages its own proprietary AI models, along with those from leading AI companies — such as Anthropic — and select customers’ models. With this flexibility to incorporate multiple types of models, Zoom can provide the most value for its customers’ diverse needs. Zoom will be able to customize these models to perform better for a customer, based on their specific business needs.

As the next step in evolving the Zoom Contact Center portfolio, (Zoom Virtual Agent, Zoom Contact Center, Zoom Workforce Management), Zoom plans to incorporate Anthropic AI throughout its suite, improving end-user outcomes and enabling superior agent experiences. The Zoom Contact Center suite of solutions elevates the quality of customer experiences through better self-service and the ability to accurately understand customer intent. It intelligently guides customers to the best resolution, surfaces actionable insights that managers can use to coach their agents, and improves productivity by providing a unified communications and contact center experience. In the near future, Zoom will also use AI to provide the right resources to agents, so customers receive exceptional service experiences regardless of their reason for calling.

Announced today, Zoom Ventures has made an investment in Anthropic, strengthening the relationship between both companies. Anthropic’s research and development aims to create steerable, trustworthy, and responsible large-scale AI systems. Zoom did not disclose the amount of the investment.

About Zoom
Zoom is an all-in-one intelligent collaboration platform that makes connecting easier, more immersive, and more dynamic for businesses and individuals. Zoom technology puts people at the center, enabling meaningful connections, facilitating modern collaboration, and driving human innovation through solutions like team chat, phone, meetings, omnichannel cloud contact center, smart recordings, whiteboard, and more, in one offering. Founded in 2011, Zoom is publicly traded (NASDAQ:ZM) and headquartered in San Jose, California. Get more info at zoom.com.

Zoom Public Relations
Lacretia Taylor

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8840480

Impulse Dynamics Announces 9,000th Patient Milestone Achieved With CCM® Therapy for Heart Failure

Momentum Continues as Depth of Clinical Experience Expands Worldwide

MARLTON, N.J., May 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Impulse Dynamics plc, a global medical device company dedicated to improving the lives of people with heart failure (HF), announced today a worldwide milestone achievement with the 9,000th patient receiving the Optimizer® system for the treatment of moderate HF. The Optimizer system is the only device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States to deliver CCM therapy. Dr. Steven Gubin, a cardiologist and the President of Stern Cardiovascular, is part of the care team that completed the procedure at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, offering CCM therapy to a patient living with the debilitating effects of HF. This milestone highlights the momentum building globally for CCM therapy, using the Optimizer platform to improve quality of life in HF patients.

“I am excited to have a new therapy option for heart failure patients,” said Dr. Gubin, who has been practicing for 30 years. “One of my heart failure patients, Aubretta Bean, who is a cancer survivor, continued to have symptoms despite her compliance with guideline-directed medical therapy for heart failure. She let me know that she felt better almost immediately after receiving the implant and continues to improve daily. It has been extremely rewarding to see such improvement in her quality of life. Her lab work four weeks later showed her BNP (a common test to diagnose heart failure) decreased by 81%, which is consistent with improvement in her heart failure symptoms.”

“Before my CCM implant, I could not walk from one room to the other without gasping for air. It was like being underwater and trying to breathe through a straw,” said Aubretta Bean. “Heart failure changed my life so quickly. You might think housework is a chore, but when you can’t make your bed or do the dishes, you realize how quickly you would love to do that again. Now after my Optimizer implant, I can do all these things! I look forward to planning my days again and not just trying to get through them. I have eight grandkids and two great-grandkids that I can travel to see!”

Drs. Eric Johnson, David Lan, and Chris Ingelmo are all electrophysiologists at Stern Cardiovascular that have treated ten patients at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis with CCM therapy since March 2023. Dr. Chris Ingelmo completed the milestone procedure for the 9,000th patient treated with CCM therapy. The results have been encouraging, with significant improvement in patient symptoms.

“We are inspired by such stories highlighting the potential for clinicians to use CCM therapy to make a positive impact on HF patients’ lives,” said Simos Kedikoglou, MD, CEO of Impulse Dynamics. “The growing cadence of implants and the emergence of such inspiring stories reinforces our commitment to delivering meaningful advances in CCM technology and clinical data.”

CCM therapy is now available in 44 countries, and the technology has continued to advance based on the needs of patients and physicians. The latest generation of Impulse Dynamic’s proprietary Optimizer platform is the Optimizer Smart Mini, which offers a rechargeable battery with 20-year battery life and a smaller size designed to make the implant procedure faster and easier for patients and physicians.

About the Optimizer® and CCM® Therapy

The Optimizer Smart system delivers CCM therapy — the company’s proprietary technology — to the heart. CCM therapy has been designed by Impulse Dynamics to significantly improve the heart’s contraction, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to be pushed out through the body. CCM therapy is indicated to improve the 6-minute hall walk, quality of life, and functional status of NYHA Class III heart failure patients who remain symptomatic despite guideline-directed medical therapy, are not indicated for CRT, and have a left ventricular ejection fraction ranging from 25 to 45 percent.

CCM is the brand name for cardiac contractility modulation — the non-excitatory electrical pulses delivered by the implantable Optimizer device to improve heart contraction. CCM therapy sends unique electrical pulses to the heart cells during the absolute refractory period. In doing so, CCM helps the heart contract more forcibly. Impulse Dynamics has completed numerous clinical studies, including several randomized controlled trials, and CCM therapy has been published in more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles.

About Impulse Dynamics

Impulse Dynamics is dedicated to advancing the treatment of heart failure for patients and the healthcare providers who care for them. The company pioneered its proprietary CCM therapy, which uses the Optimizer platform to improve quality of life in heart failure patients. CCM therapy is delivered through the Optimizer system, which includes an IPG implanted in a minimally invasive procedure and approved for commercial use in the United States and 44 countries worldwide. CCM therapy has proven safe and effective for heart failure patients with debilitating symptoms who otherwise have few effective options available to them. To learn more, visit www.ImpulseDynamics.com or follow the company on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as ‘‘may,’’ ‘‘will,’’ ‘‘should,’’ ‘‘expect,’’ ‘‘plan,’’ ‘‘anticipate,’’ ‘‘could,’’ ‘‘intend,’’ ‘‘target,’’ ‘‘project,’’ ‘‘contemplate,’’ ‘‘believe,’’ ‘‘estimate,’’ ‘‘predict,’’ ‘‘potential’’ or ‘‘continue’’ or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning potential benefits of CCM therapy, the continued momentum for the adoption of CCM therapy and use of the Optimizer Smart system globally; the ability for CCM therapy and our products and technology to fill a significant unmet medical need for patients with heart failure; and the short-term and long-term benefits of the Optimizer system and CCM therapy in patients with heart failure, as well as to the physicians treating those patients. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Other important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those contemplated in this press release include, without limitation: the company’s future research and development costs, capital requirements and the company’s needs for additional financing; company’s ability to expand and grow its business into new geographic markets; commercial success and market acceptance of CCM therapy; the company’s ability to achieve and maintain adequate levels of coverage or reimbursement for its Optimizer systems or any future products the company may seek to commercialize; competitive companies and technologies in the industry; the company’s ability to expand its indications and develop and commercialize additional products and enhancements to its current products; the company’s business model and strategic plans for its products, technologies and business, including its implementation thereof; the company’s ability to expand, manage and maintain its direct sales and marketing organization; the company’s ability to commercialize or obtain regulatory approvals for CCM therapy and its products, or the effect of delays in commercializing or obtaining regulatory approvals; FDA or other U.S. or foreign regulatory actions affecting us or the healthcare industry generally, including healthcare reform measures in the United States and international markets; the timing or likelihood of regulatory filings and approvals; and the company’s ability to establish and maintain intellectual property protection for CCM therapy and products or avoid claims of infringement. The company does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements and expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the company’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.

Rohan More, Global Vice President of Marketing
Impulse Dynamics

Harriss Currie, Chief Financial Officer
Impulse Dynamics

Ian Segal, Public Relations Manager
Impulse Dynamics

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8839792

Namibia Court Endorses Recognizing Same-Sex Marriage From Other Countries

The Supreme Court of Namibia has ruled in favor of recognizing same-sex marriages from other countries, making Namibia only the second nation on the continent to do so after South Africa.

A small group of LGBTQ activists gathered at Namibia’s Supreme Court Tuesday where justices ruled in a 4 to 1 vote that Namibians married to foreign nationals in foreign jurisdictions must be recognized as any other couple within the country.

One of the judges, JA Mainga, dissented on the basis that the laws of Namibia do not recognize same-sex relationships. The other four judges, however, ruled that not recognizing same-sex couples infringes on their rights to dignity and equality.

VOA spoke to the legal counsel of the two same-sex couples, Carli Schickerling, who appealed an earlier judgement of the High Court of Namibia not to recognize their same-sex marriages.

“Today after a six-year battle, we finally won and the court has ruled that the Ministry of Home Affairs has to recognize these marriages by foreign spouses to Namibian spouses,” said Schickerling.

Over the past few months, the Supreme Court of Namibia has been hearing similar cases that deal with the subject of homosexuality.

In one case, a Namibian citizen, Friedel Dausab, is asking for the repeal of an anti-sodomy law. In another case, which was dismissed in March, a Mexican national and his Namibian partner asked the top court to grant Namibian citizenship to their child, conceived through surrogacy in South Africa.

The Mexican national in that case, Guillermo Delgado, spoke to VOA outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

“Our case is very similar and this represents a direct victory also for us, recognition that for marriage and our dependents,” said Delgado.

Linda Baumann of the Diverse Women’s Organization said this judgment will help homosexual couples get access to the same services as heterosexual couples.

Hypothetically speaking, she said, as a lesbian woman she could bequeath her estate to her lesbian partner when she dies, or she might be able to buy a house together with a same-sex spouse if the court gave rights to same-sex couples in all spheres of society.

She cautioned that this is just a ruling.

“It is important to understand the status of this case; it’s couples that are coming back to this country to claim their right to equality, their right to dignity and their right to family. To answer that question about same-sex marriages, I believe that a lot of LGBTQ people in this country, we experience a number of inequalities in service, in benefits, in having the right to say something over your partner,” said Baumann.

While over 30 African countries have laws prohibiting same-sex relationships, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa have taken a different stance.

Many gay Namibian couples now get married in South Africa, and after Tuesday’s ruling, activists are asking whether gay couples should have the right to get married in Namibia as well.

Source: Voice of America

Same-sex marriages held abroad recognised in Namibia

While same-sex weddings remain illegal in Namibia, couples who marry abroad will now have their unions recognised in the country.

That ruling by Namibia’s Supreme Court follows campaigns by rights activists and couples who had themselves been penalised by existing laws.

The Namibia Equal Rights Movement welcomed the news by tweeting: “Love Wins! Thank you to the Digashu and Sieller-Lilles family. Your strength in this fight, has changed this nation for generations of Queer Namibians to come.

As The Namibian newspapers explains “the court’s judgement gives non-Namibian spouses in same-sex marriages the same residence rights in Namibia that are accorded to spouses in opposite-sex marriages”.

It is not yet clear what this ruling means for long-standing laws that prohibit sexual activity between men.

Source: BBC

UN, EU, others decry electoral gender-based violence against women

The United Nations and the European Union (EU) on Monday condemned gender-based violence against women during elections.

Ms Beatrice Eyong, the UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said violence against women in elections had been recognised as one of the key obstacles to advancing women’s participation in public life.

“Violent acts committed towards women are gender-based and they tend to discourage women from being politically active.

“It is often used to intimidate women from practising their political rights in the first place,” she said.

Eyong spoke during a post-elections conference in Abuja that was titled: “Where Do We Stand Regarding Electoral Gender-Based Violence?”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organised by the Spotlight Initiative, UN Women and EU in partnership with Canadian government.

According to Eyong, some women have had to quit their positions after receiving death threats.

“Some women have also often withdrawn from public life citing abuse including online abuse and cyberbullying.

“Women candidates have faced various forms of targeted, gender-based violence,” she said.

Eyong said lack of data on violence against women in politics (VAWP) had negatively affected evidence-based advocacy for influencing changes in laws and policies and for establishing comprehensive protection systems for women in politics.

Mrs Samuela Isopi, the Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said it was a well-known fact that women are underrepresented in Nigeria’s political environment.

“Unfortunately, the 2023 elections show a trend in the wrong direction,” she said.

Isopi, represented by Esme Stuart, Project Manager, Human Rights and Gender Section, said concerted efforts must be made to break the barriers to meaningful participation of women in leadership positions.

According to her, the full and equitable participation of women in public life is essential to building and sustaining strong, vibrant democracies.

Mrs Djifa Ahado, Head of Cooperation, Government of Canada, corroborated that the 2023 elections saw another decrease in the overall number of women candidates, while the overall number of women elected to office at the national and state levels remained relatively unchanged.

Ahado, who said that the country now ranks as one of the lowest in women’s representation in African Parliaments, said: “Together, we need to sustain the efforts and the advocacy to see a real change happening.”

Ms Aishatu Abubakar, who is the AIG, Gender Advisor, Police Force Headquarters, Abuja, said during the 2023 general elections, the Nigerian police ensured that the vulnerable groups like the pregnant women, nursing mothers, people living with disabilities, the ageing population, were given priority to cast their votes.

“We are gender sensitive and gender responsive. The Nigerian police is mindful of issues of gender-based violence in Nigeria,” she said.

Also speaking, the National Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Yabagi Sani admitted that violence and stigmatisation contributed to low women participation in politics.

He said women are the biggest player in the art of growing a stable society, hence, the need to encourage them.

A university professor, Mrs Joy Ezeilo, hinted that out of about 1, 533 women candidates in the 2023 general elections across the country, only 72 candidates won their elections.

She said in the Senate, three women won the seats as against eight women currently in the upper house while 14 women were elected in the House of Representatives.

She described the trend as “disturbing.”

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Passport shortage: Nigerians in Russia laud Aregbesola’s intervention

The Nigerian community in Russia has commended the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbosola for his intervention at ensuring Nigerians abroad get their international passports in real time.

Prof. Maurice Okoli, President Nigerian community in Russia gave the commendation in a statement issued on Monday and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Okoli stated that Aregbesola dismantled all obstacles in passport procurement, noting that the minister had blamed enemies of the country as undermining the effort of the Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS).

He described Aregbesola as very knowledgeable about the problems facing so many Nigerians in obtaining passports and visas at various Nigerian missions abroad.

“Your innovative management approach and styles intrigue the Nigerian community in Russia.

“The honorable minister in his own words has said what is in the minds of many Nigerians, that corrupt officials are undermining the effort of the Nigerian immigration services at sanitising the passport application process.

“The minister went further to say that the excuse of passport shortage is a lie being circulated by a few corrupt officials of the service to extort the applicants.

“He went even further to describe them as unscrupulous people who are making the situation difficult by the day.

“He told Nigerians not to tolerate them and said that they will not exist if Nigerians fiercely resist them,” Okoli quoted Aregbesola as saying.

Okoli urged the immigration department of the Nigerian Embassy in Russia to take note of the minister’s opinion in serving Nigerians in Russia.

This, he said would go a long way in complementing the effort of His Excellency, Amb. Shehu Abdullai Yibaikwal in tackling the problems facing Nigerians in Russia due to the Russian Special operation in Ukraine.

Okoli said it would also tackle the problems facing Nigerians in Russia due to sanction slammed on Moscow.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Women group hails military onslaught against terrorists in Borno

The Borno Women Peace Restoration Group has commended the military for the recent onslaught against the terrorists in Sambisa Forest and rescue of some of the abducted Chibok school girls.

The group, in a statement by its Secretary, Mrs Amina Mele, on Tuesday said the state would begin to experience total peace soon.

Mele said the group was happy with the ongoing military operations in the state, especially the clearance operations in Sambisa forest

She commended the troops for uncovering the Islamic States of West Africa States (ISWAP) underground armory leading to recovery of large cache of arms and ammunition.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Theatre Commander, North-East Joint Operation, Hadin Kai, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Ali, had on May 6, announced the latest rescue of a Chibok girl, Ms Saratu Dauda.

He said that so far, 183 Chibok girls had been rescued from captivity with 93 still remaining.

Mele commended the Armed Forces of Nigeria under the leadership of Gen. Lucky Irabor for putting heavy fire on the insurgents.

“We are happy over the fatherly disposition of the present Chief of Defence Staff, towards the plight of families that have been in stress since the abduction of their daughters in 2014.

“We not only hope that ongoing military operations in our state and the entire North-East will restore total peace, but bring back our daughters in the hand of the terrorists,” she added.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Angola attends seminar on constitutionalism

Angolan Constitutional Court presiding judge Laurinda Cardoso is participating in an intermediate seminar of the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Portuguese Speaking Countries in Brasilia, Brazil.

The two-day event opened last Monday and is addressing topics such as the “role of jurisdiction in promoting and guaranteeing social and economic justice”, “hermeneutics and constitutional jurisdiction”.

According to a press note sent to ANGOP, the participants also address issues linked to the organisation’s sixth assembly.

The seminar’s programme includes a guided tour of the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil.

On the sidelines of the seminar, the president of the Angolan Constitutional Court learnt of the functioning of the Angolan Embassy in that Country.

The Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Portuguese Speaking Countries comprises Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe and East Timor

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Police seize over 200 diamond stones

At least 252 diamond stones of several carats have been seized by the National Police in Lucapa municipality, eastern Lunda Norte province, as part of anti- “X-Ray banditry” operation.

The information was disclosed Tuesday by the chief inspector of the Directorate for Investigation of Criminal Illicit Acts (DIIP), Quintino Ferreira, stressing that the stones were in the possession of a 54-year-old man.

The police chief said that the citizen, who had been arrested for possession of illegal trafficking of diamonds, intended to take the stones to Lunda Sul province.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

President João Lourenço on a private visit to Spain

Angolan Head of State João Lourenço has been in Spain for a few-day private visit to that European country.

President João Lourenço left Luanda on Monday evening bound for Spain, according to the information released Tuesday on official website of the Presidency of the Republic.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Vice President arrives in Mbanza Kongo

Angola’s Vice President Esperança da Costa arrived early Tuesday in Mbanza Kongo, northern Zaire province, for a 48-hour working visit.

At the airport, the Vice President was welcomed by the provincial governor, Adriano Mendes de Carvalho and Executive officials.

Esperança da Costa is expected to chair the 1st Ordinary Session of the National Multi-sector Commission for the Safeguarding of World Cultural Heritage this year.

The meeting will analyse the current state of the monuments and historical sites of Mbanza Kongo.

The session will also review the proposals of the International Festival of Culture programme (FESTIKONGO) and the Commission’s Action Plan for the 2023 period.

Other aspects include the implementation of UNESCO’s recommendations on the Management Plan of this World Heritage city.

The Vice-President of the Republic will also visit sites of interest to the Commission

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Minister backs collaboration with partners for greater inclusion

Angolan minister of Social Action Family and Promotion of Women (MASFAMU), Ana Paula do Sacramento Neto, Tuesday in Lubango, southern Huila Province, called for a better alignment and permanent collaboration among various sectors and partners to ensure more inclusion and social protection of vulnerable people.

The minister was addressing an opening ceremony of the 5th Ordinary Consultative Council of MASFAMU held in Lubango for two days.

Delivering her speech delivered in the two-day event, under the slogan “Social Action, a Commitment from All”, the minister mentioned the children, youths, women, the people with disabilities, the elderly and minority communities as being part of the target group.

Ana Paula do Sacramento Neto said that the policies, programmes and actions of social inclusion currently conceived give guarantees that they are on the right track, calling for more work on the basis of a robust alignment with the sectors and partners.

She said that the council is the “opportune moment” to discuss and study the bottlenecks observed during the implementation and execution of the various programmes and actions aimed at reducing the levels of poverty, discrimination, social exclusion and protection of the most vulnerable populations.

Ana Paula do Sacramento Neto reinforced that it is up to the sector to conceive, propose, promote and execute the social policy regarding people and population in vulnerable situation, as well as to promote the development of the communities, including the actions to fight poverty and to defend the family welfare.

“Although our tasks are distributed among the different areas, we are called upon to work in an articulated manner, based on the spirit of mutual help and institutional solidarity, because only in this way will it be possible to achieve the recommended objectives”, she added.

In turn, the governor of Huíla, Nuno Mahapi, noted that the focus is on the expansion of knowledge about vulnerability, with a view to improving the Social Protection System, with primacy for the municipal level.

He stressed that in order to achieve this, social protection is fundamental to mitigate people’s vulnerability, which is why the province has conducted ongoing studies with various social actors on vulnerability.

The 5th Ordinary Consultative Council brings to analysis and discussion the approach on the organisation and functioning of the Ministry, its programmes and projects.

It also addresses topics such as the strengthening of monitoring methodologies and data processing, adjustment of the strategy to achieve the established goals and identification of the challenges of the sector, as well as the proposal of the sector’s Legislative package.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Disconnection of electricity supply, not loadshedding: Haulofu

NamPower’s Managing Director (MD), Kahenge Haulofu, on Tuesday said the media has been misusing the term ‘load-shedding’ in the recent coverage of the power utility’s debt collection plan that was re-introduced through a public notice last week.

Haulofu during a media briefing on Tuesday, explained that the debt collection plan, which is a scheduled disconnection of electricity supply to defaulting customers, is a re-introduction of a debt collection plan and debt repayment incentive that was first introduced in 2021 and it is not load-shedding.

“There has been a lot of misinterpretation of terms by the media and the public in relation to the suspension of electricity supply to NamPower customers with overdue accounts.

The debt collection plan and repayment incentive are NamPower’s efforts in reaching an understanding between default customers in paying their outstanding accounts,” he clarified.

He added that with NamPower’s Power Supply Agreements, the company has the right to totally disconnect the electricity supply to defaulting customers, hence the resolution to introduce the debt collection plan.

According to the MD, several other measures were explored before reaching the conclusion of introducing the debt collection plan that will be implemented on 05 June and will affect customers who fail to pay their overdue accounts by 31 May.

The disconnection of electricity supply to defaulting customers will be divided into stages starting with stage one and escalating to stage nine.

Meanwhile, Haulofu emphasised that NamPower has received no pressure from their bilateral partner, Eskom and that the load-shedding in South Africa (SA) has to date not posed a need for Namibia to panic.

He concluded by saying that Namibia only receives 100 megawatts of electricity from SA while its largest supplier is Zambia with 180 megawatts of electricity.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

The 22-year-old Wasserfall was reported missing in Walvis Bay on 10 April 2020.

The High Court on Tuesday gave the judgement of not guilty to Azaan Madisia and Steven Mulundu, both of whom stood accused of murdering Walvis Bay native, Shannon Wasserfall.

High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg handed down the judgement of not guilty for murder and not guilty for theft and robbery with aggravated circumstances.

The co-accused were however found guilty of defeating or obstructing the course of justice, while Madisia was found guilty on an additional charge of fraud.

‘The State has led no evidence in proving the murder and robbery charges and based its case on conflicting statements made by the accused persons during the police investigation of the disappearance of the deceased,’ the judgement said.

The 22-year-old Wasserfall was reported missing in Walvis Bay on 10 April 2020. Her remains were found buried at the harbour town on 06 October 2020 after an anonymous text message was sent to the deceased’s father.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency

MoHSS launches Pele Box Smart Lockers Machines

The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) on Tuesday launched the self-service smart lockers known as the Pele Box Smart Lockers, designed to provide access to pre-packed chronic medication, at the Katutura State Hospital.

In his keynote address at the launch, health and social services minister, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, said there are currently 19 Pele Boxes installed countrywide and more will be installed in the future. He also explained that the Pele Boxes will be operational every day for 24 hours, making it convenient for patients.

According to the minister, patients who are clinically stable and on chronic medication will be eligible to use this dispensary machine. These patients include those using ARV medication, anti-epileptic medication, anti-hypertensive medication, and other cardiovascular disease treatments.

In her remarks, Medical Superintendent at the Katutura State Hospital, Nelago Amagula, said the introduction of the Pele Box Smart Lockers will eliminate the long queues at the pharmacies and give staff members more time to spend with the patients instead of dispensing medication.

“Patients will now receive their medication in under two minutes and will avoid having to stand in long queues at the pharmacies,” said Amagula.

The introduction of the Pele Box Smart Lockers Machines is part of the chronic medication delivery system at public health facilities, which is aimed at providing patients with a more convenient and efficient way of collecting their repeat chronic-care medication.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Namibia provided the MoHSS with technical and financial support for the introduction of the Pele Box Smart Lockers.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency