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MONDAY

The alleged assault of two primary school pupils by an Mpumalanga school principal and three teachers was to be investigated by the SA Human Rights Commission.

After one of the attacks a 12-year-old pupil had to seek medical attention. A plank was allegedly thrown at him, cutting open his leg.

Another pupil, 13, was allegedly slapped in the face when she brought the wrong book to school.

According to a report from the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Child Law, there are among the more than 2million South African schoolchildren who are victims of corporal punishment by teachers.

Corporal punishment is banned in South African schools but the report says it is rife and on the increase in some provinces, including Mpumalanga.

The investigation into the latest allegations of corporal punishment was prompted by a complaint to the Centre for Child Law by a pupil.

—–

A broken water pump is threatening the lives of thousands of people living in a village in Limpopo in which 29 people died in a cholera outbreak five years ago.

Despite still-fresh memories of the 2009 outbreak, residents are once again having to drink the heavily polluted water.

Dozens were killed in the cholera outbreak and more than 3000 became severely ill.

The worst affected area was Ga-Mampuru, where 29 people died.

With another cholera outbreak looming, the Sekhukhune district municipality seems incapable of fixing the problem – which is a broken motor on a pump that draws water from the De Hoop Dam.

Residents say they have become ill since drinking the water, which contains faeces, algae and used condoms.

——

A Palestinian NGO has warned that Israel planned to seize an Islamic waqf building adjacent to the Al-Aqsa mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem in order to convert it into a Jewish temple.

The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said the Knesset was holding a series of sessions to discuss the acquisition of the Al-Shahabi building, which is an Islamic waqf site adjacent to the so-called Western Wall.

A statement said latest session decided to expand the spaces allowed for Jewish prayers inside the building. The Al-Shahabi building is an Islamic site that lies entirely under Islamic endowment.  Non-Muslims have no [ownership] rights to it.

The Knesset has yet to comment on the NGO’s assertions.

Earlier this year, an Israeli lawmaker proposed legislation that would revoke Jordanian oversight of Palestinian holy sites in violation of the terms of a 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty.

The move angered Amman and prompted concerns over repeated Israeli incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

——

Millions of Egyptians were due to elect their third president in as many years, in a race largely expected to be won by the country’s former army chief.

The two-day vote, which began today, pits retired field marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, against the so called left-wing candidate Hamdeen Sabahi .

A former lawmaker and long-term Nasserist activist, Sabahi came in third when he ran for Egypt’s top post in 2012.

Many doubted how free the presidential polls really were and have accused the current government of cracking down on dissent.

The vote wass part of a political roadmap announced by Sisi after he led a coup that ousted Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi.

More than 53 million voters are eligible to take part in the polls.

Several political groups boycotted the vote including the Muslim Brotherhood, April 6 movement and

Election results are due to come out on June 5, nearly one year after Morsi was unseated in a coup led by Sisi.

—–

Julius Malema was given some breathing space by Sars following an 11th hour agreement over the R16.5 million he owes in tax.

While supporters were at the North Gauteng High Court to support their leader, Malema himself was not to be seen.

Malema’s provisional sequestration has been extended until August 25.

The terms of the agreement between him and Sars is not known, but Dali Mpofu, part of the EFF central command committee said the provisional sequestration will be overturned in August as long as Malema had complied with the provisions of the agreement.

In February this year, the court issued a provisional sequestration order against Malema for his R16.5-million tax debt.

If sequestrated, Malema would have immediately been disqualified as a member of Parliament. Sequestrated people cannot serve as MPs.

—–

The rand weakened slightly against the US dollar, as investors analysed President Jacob Zuma’s new cabinet and ahead of expected weaker economic growth data in the next session.

Zuma announced his new team for his second five-year term on Sunday,

Former deputy finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was appointed as finance minister, while Pravin Gordhan moved to handle local government.

John Cairns, the technical strategist at Rand Merchant Bank said that the local cabinet is mostly business as usual but is less business-friendly than the market expected – or at least hoped.

Dealers said that Rand trading was expected to be lacklustre as the United States and Britain were away for national holidays.

—–

The South African Haj And Umrah Council has relocated to a new office in Johannesburg.

The new address is 81 Crown Road, Fordsburg

The office is on the second floor of the Saley House builing.

The fax and telephone numbers remain the same.

For more information you can call sahuc on 011 838 9786

——

An express train has slammed into a parked freight train, killing at least 40 people in northern India.

The collision caused six cars of the Gorakhdham Express passenger train to derail in Sant Kabirnagar district of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh,

According to the AFP news agency, the express was travelling from Hisar city to Gorakhpur city in northern Uttar Pradesh and crashed at Chureb station in Khalilabad.

—–

General Prayuth Chan-ocha, leader of Thailand’s coup, said that he received the endorsement of King Bhumibol Adulyadej formalising his status as head of government.

The army chief gave his first address to the nation on Monday, saying that he would enforce law firmly in order to improve the political situation in the country.

The ceremony came one day after the military junta repeated warnings that it would crack down on civilian opposition to its takeover of power.

The military seized power last Thursday to end six months of sometimes violent protests against the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Yingluck herself was detained by the military on Friday, but it relaxed restrictions, allowing her to go home although she is under military supervision

The military also ordered dozens of outspoken activists, academics and journalists to report to military authorities.

More than 200 have been officially summoned so far in lists broadcast on radio and TV.

—–

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee had urged the Burmese government to take immediate steps to end the persecution of Rohingya Muslims.

In a letter to Myanmar’s President Thein Sein, the committee’s chairman Robert Menendez expressed deep concern over the worsening humanitarian crisis affecting Rohingyas.

He requested the government take immediate steps to end the persecution of the Rohingya, ensure the security of international aid groups and facilitate their immediate access to Rakhine state.

The committee noted that recently the United States and Myanmar had made progress in building ties and cooperation between the two countries, yet several critical human rights and humanitarian concerns threatened to impede further progress, with the situation in Rakhine State and Buddhist-Muslim communal violence highest among them.

Senator Menendez reminded the Burmese leader that the Rohingyas were facing horrific attacks, including massacres, destruction of their villages through arson, and confinement in squalid camps that essentially function as detention facilities.

He also noted that more than 140,000 Rohingyas were now internally displaced persons because of violent attacks on their villages and communal violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities, which continued unabated.

—–

“Disgruntled municipal workers who allegedly torched Mngeni municipal offices and tried to break into the mayor’s home should fit the bill for repairs.”

KwaZulu-Natal Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said the workers, who were found to have been involved in the fire at the arts and culture offices and dumping refuse at the home of mayor Mbali Mnyeni should be held liable for the cost of the repairs.

Mchunu said it sets back the programme of delivery as the municipality now has to divert money for service delivery to fix the damage that should not have happened in the first place.

Nomusa Dube-Ncube was outraged by the incident which she suspected included an attempt to intimidate the Mayor and her family.

Dube-Ncube called on the law enforcement agencies to take whatever action is necessary to bring those responsible for this dastardly dead to book.

——

Pope Francis delivered a powerful boost of support to the Palestinians during a visit to the holy lands

He repeatedly backed their statehood aspirations, praying solemnly at Israel’s controversial separation barrier and calling the stalemate in peace efforts “unacceptable”.

In an unscripted move, Francis arranged a meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian presidents at the Vatican in June.

While Francis mingled warmly with his Israeli hosts, his trip to Bethlehem included the day’s most powerful images as he expressed sympathy and solidarity with the Palestinians.

He also called for a “firm rejection” of intolerance demonstrated towards places of worship, in reference to a series of vandalism attacks by Jewish extremists on Muslim and Christian holy places.

Israel has been struggling to contain a wave of so-called “price tag” hate crimes by Jewish extremists targeting Palestinian and Arab property, which has included an increasing number of vandalism attacks on mosques and churches.

——

Eurosceptic and far-right parties seized ground in elections to the European parliament, in what France’s PM called a “political earthquake”.

The French National Front and UK Independence Party both performed strongly, while the three big centrist blocs in parliament all lost seats.

The outcome means a greater say for those who want to cut back the EU’s powers, or abolish it completely.

UK PM David Cameron said the public was “disillusioned” with the EU.

French President Francois Hollande has called an urgent meeting of his cabinet, as Prime Minister Manuel Valls promised tax cuts a day after the results which he described as “a shock, an earthquake”.

Chancellor Angela Merkel – whose party topped the poll in Germany – described the far right victories as “remarkable and regrettable”.

—–

TUESDAY

The country’s chief of defence said Nigeria’s military had located nearly 300 school girls abducted by Boko Haram almost seven weeks ago.

Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, said that any potential armed rescue operation was fraught with danger as the 223 girls still held hostage could be caught in the crossfire.

Boko Haram fighters reportedly kidnapped 276 girls from the remote northeastern town of Chibok on April 14, leading to global outrage.

Badeh says they can’t go and kill the girls in the name of trying to get them back.

Nigeria’s government and military have been sharply criticised for their slow response to the mass abduction and were finally forced to accept foreign help in the rescue effort.

—–

Egypt’s presidential election has entered a second and final day, with former army chief Abdel Fatah el-Sisi expected to emerge as the country’s next president.

The vote, which began yesterday, pits Sisi against the left-wing candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, a former legislator and long-term Nasserist who came third in the 2012 election.

Sisi, who quit the army in March to run for president, led a coup that removed the nation’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, last July.

Sabahi’s office complained that police and soldiers were refusing his representatives access to polling stations.

Many of those who oppose Sisi say the election lacked democratic credibility.

—–

The police minister was ordered to pay damages to a company director who was kept in a Lyttleton police cell despite the North Gauteng High Court releasing him on bail.

According to the citizen newspaper, The minister accepted full liability for the director’s unlawful detention after he was arrested without a warrant on a charge of rape in June 2011.

The director was accused of rape by a family member, but the charges were later withdrawn.

The director claimed R740 000 in damages but the amount the police minister will pay would be determined at a later stage.

The director claimed he was humiliated, suffered a loss of dignity, his right to privacy was infringed, and he and his family had been traumatised to such an extent that they had to undergo counselling.

According to the man’s attorneys, police ignored his wife’s pleas to let him use chronic medication, laughed at her, and chased her out the station.

—–

The DA says President Jacob Zuma’s appointment of ex-spy chief Siyabonga Cwele as minister of telecommunications and postal services, could soon see the rebirth of an apartheid-era information ministry.

The new Cabinet was sworn in in a marathon ceremony at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

MP Marian Shinn MP described Zuma’s deployment of Cwele as a “chilling” move.

This is the very same minister who spear-headed the introduction of the controversial ‘secrecy bill’ and went to great lengths to cover up the Nkandla scandal, she said.

The DA was also concerned by the fact that Yunus Carrim was excluded from this portfolio and the Cabinet.

Shin said that the DA would not stand by while the ghost of Connie Mulder, the apartheid government’s information minister, makes a comeback 20 years into our democracy.

—–

The Commission for Gender Equality is reportedly pleased with the number of female members in President Jacob Zuma’s new Cabinet.

The Cabinet comprises 15 female ministers out of a total of 37, which includes Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

This means that women ministers constitute about 40% of the membership of the new Cabinet while male members of the cabinet constitute 60%.

Given that in the previous Cabinet women ministers constituted about a third of the members…the The commission also welcomed the increase in the number of female deputy ministers compared to the previous administration.

—–

More than 200 Muslim scholars issued a fatwa forbidding participation in the current presidential elections in Egypt.

The fatwa was announced at a press conference in Istanbul held by the so called “coordinating committee for fatwas of the Muslim nation.”

The conference was titled: “Forbidding the recognition of the coup and participation in its elections.”

The fatwa was based on the Islamic principle of forbidding any assistance to an unjust ruler.

The signatories to the fatwa include the president of the International Union of Islamic Scholars Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Kuwaiti MP Walid al-Tabtaba’y and Kuwaiti scholar Nabil Al-Awadi.

—–

The body of a Limpopo man who was buried two weeks ago was dug up by residents of Shawela village outside Giyani, and dumped outside his home.

Colonel Ronel Otto said the residents believed that 30-year-old Glen Mthimuhulu’s family had buried the wrong man.

She said the residents exhumed his body this past weekend and took his coffin back to his family and left it in front of the house.

A private mortuary company was called to remove it.

Mthimuhulu allegedly visited his sister in August. He attended a party later that night and did not return.

His body was identified by his sister in a government mortuary eight months later, but the following week members of the community accused the family of burying the wrong body.

A case of violation of a grave and malicious damage to property was opened.

—–

The Palestinian Authority’s minister for prisoner affairs said scores of Palestinian inmates, on hunger strike in Israeli jails, were taken to several hospitals due to their critical health conditions.

According to reports by Palestinian media, the ministry said that one of its lawyers managed to meet a representative of the detainees, Mahmoud Shabana, who told him that scores of inmates had been moved to medical centers.

Minister Issa Qaraqe, further said that Israeli authorities pay no heed to the prisoners’ demands and that they do not care even if the inmates die as a result of the strike.

He held Israel accountable for the possible death of the detainees.

More than 120 Palestinian prisoners have been on an open-ended hunger strike since April 24 in protest at the Israeli so called “administrative detention”, which is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to imprison Palestinians for up to six months.

The detention order can, however, be renewed for an indefinite period of time.

Media reports said on Sunday that around 80 Palestinian prisoners from three different Israeli jails have joined the protest action to make their voices heard.

More than 5,000 Palestinians are reportedly being held in Israeli prisons, nearly 200 of them under administrative detention orders.

—–

One day after being sworn in, Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, was expected to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart.

Modi was to host Nawaz Sharif in an effort to ease tensions between the neighbours.

Sharif was one of six regional leaders who attended the inauguration ceremony in New Delhi for Modi.

Modi decided last week to invite Sharif and other South Asian leaders to his inauguration and then to join him for bilateral talks.

In an interview with India’s NDTV, Sharif, who won Pakistan’s election last year, said Modi’s arrival in power after a landslide election victory represented a “great opportunity” for the countries to open a new chapter in relations.

——

A man appeared in the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court in connection with the manufacturing and possession of counterfeit bank notes, police said on Tuesday.

John Rasefete was arrested after a joint operation which led to the arrest of six people in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg.

A tip-off led police to the said residence where they discovered that counterfeit US notes in 50 and 100 dollar denominations were being manufactured

All the fake notes, amounting to approximately 90,000 US dollars, were subsequently seized.

The case against the other five people arrested with Rasefete was withdrawn.

Rasefete is charged with contravening the Counterfeit Goods Act.

—–

Ukrainian forces fought with separatists in the city of Donetsk for a second day after inflicting heavy losses on the rebels

The government has vowed to press on with a military offensive “until not a single terrorist” was left.

A representative for the pro-Russian militants conceded that about 30 rebels had been killed while the mayor of Donetsk said the death toll from fighting which erupted on Monday stood at 40

Ukraine used air strikes and a paratroop assault yesterday to clear rebels from Donetsk’s international airport and had pushed the separatists out of the complex by the end of the day.

Donetsk mayor Alexander Lukyanchenko said 40 people had been killed in the past day, 38 of the bodies being of those involved in fighting around the airport.

——

A social rights movement said mineworkers have long been undermined and belittled by mining companies.

Bua Mining Communities co-ordinator Thusi Rapoo said the slave living and working conditions under which mineworkers are exposed cannot be condoned in the current South African constitutional democracy.

Bua Mining Communities is a social movement representing more than 10 mine-hosting communities in and around the Bojanala platinum district municipality in the North West province.

Rapoo said they had observed the intolerable and worsening conditions in the mine-hosting communities during the mine labour dispute in Rustenburg.

The organisation called on mining companies to restore the dignity of mineworkers and pay a living wage.

—–

A human bomber killed at least 14 people at a Shia mosque in central Baghdad.

The bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the mosque in Baghdad’s Shorja district as worshippers were preparing for midday prayers.

Security and medical officials said Another 26 people were wounded in the blast.

Elsewhere in the capital, roadside bombs in the Sadr City and Dura districts left two people dead.

Bombings in the main northern city of Mosul killed another two people.

The attacks came as Iraq’s Shia-led government struggles to contain the worst surge in sectarian violence since the country was pushed to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

——

WEDNESDAY

Two Gauteng mothers found out that they were mistakenly given each other’s babies at birth 3 years ago.

Now one of them has gone to court to try and get her kid back.

The Pretoria High Court has asked the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Child Law to investigate what would be in the best interests of the children and how to minimise the damage.

The centre must report back to the court within 90 days.

Possible solutions involve the children being swapped again or remaining with their current “mothers”, with or without visitation rights.

The children were born at the tambo Memorial Hosptial on the East rand.

The Matter was uncovered last year when one of the mothers sued her ex, the father of her eldest child, for maintenance for her younger child.

He denied paternity and DNA tests confirmed that he was not the father, however the tests also revealed that she was not the mother of the child.

The hospital confirmed that her child had been swapped with a girl born on the same day in 2010.

—–

An East Rand man was arrested for allegedly holding captive and abusing his wife and five children for years.

According to the Beeld, the children, who were tortured with an electric cable and blowtorch, never left the house and have never been to school.

The newspaper claimed that he allegedly kept his wife as a sex slave.

Police confirmed they detained the 36-year-old on Friday for the suspected abuse of five children aged between 2 and 16 years.

The charges against him are attempted murder, child abuse and defeating the ends of justice.

He appeared in court on Monday and was supposed to appear again today to apply for bail.

—–

New mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said that talks, mediated by a labour court judge, between platinum mining companies and the striking Amcu union had broken down.

Ramatlhodi, who was sworn in as minister this week, told Talk Radio 702 that the mediation came to a stop yesterday.

The platinum strike is now in its fifth month and is pushing South Africa towards recession, but Ramatlhodi said he was getting involved and was confident of finding a solution.

He said he had met the leadership of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union on Tuesday and would be meeting mining company management on Wednesday.

Ramatlhodi said his department, which was criticised for doing little to tackle the strike in the previous administration, had also set up an inter-ministerial technical team to help with mediation.

The US state department had warned any American citizens in Libya to leave the country immediately.

They also sent a warship carrying around 1,000 marines to the region for any possible evacuation of American officials.

Gen Khalifa Haftar said to have the support of the American CIA launched an assault against Islamic militias in Benghazi.

He has called on the judiciary to appoint a crisis government to oversee new elections after accusing Libya’s leaders of “fostering terrorism”.

The government called his assault an “attempted coup” and ordered the arrest of those taking part.

Yesterday gunmen attacked the home of Libya’s new prime minister.

An aide to Ahmed Maiteg said the prime minister and his family were in the house at the time but escaped unharmed.

——

Egypt’s farcical presidential election was extended by one more day in an effort to boost low turnout numbers.

The apathy towards the vote has threatened to undermine its already shaky credibility.

Analysts have predicted a foregone conclusion that Israeli strongman  and former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will win the election.

He led the military coup that ousted the first democratically elected government of Muhammad Morsi last year.

The Justice Ministry says Egyptians who did not vote will be fined, and train fares were waived in an effort to boost the numbers.

—–

A pamphlet has been has been circulated in Cape Town inviting Muslims to be a part of the commencement of the construction of a new Mosque, school and cultural centre complex

The building of a new shia complex corner of De Wet and Ottery roads, Ottery commenced on Tuersday.

The are over a dozen shia centres in South Africa, including 3 in Johannesburg, 3 in cape town, 2 in Pretoria 2 in Durban and there are also centres in Springs, Soweto, P.E, nigel and Kroonstad.

Shiasm is a deviant sect from Islam.

They are operating under the banner of Ahlul Bait Foundation of South Africa

Locals have warned that “this complex amongst many other things will boast a state of the art school which will attract children with the idea of brainwashing them and converting them to shiasm.”

It has been reported that they also intend to make it the biggest shia temple in Africa.

—–

A blaze has swept through a hospital in South Korea, killing 21 people and leaving six others in a critical condition.

Most of the patients who died at the hospital in Janseong county, south of the capital Seoul, were reported to be in their seventies and eighties.

The report said thirty bedridden patients were trapped by “choking fumes” on the second floor of an annex building, while 10 patients on the first floor managed to escape,.

One nurse was on duty at the time and was among the dead.

This is the second deadly blaze in South Korea in two days after seven people were killed and 41 injured in a fire at a bus terminal near Seoul on Monday.

The country is still reeling from the loss of around 300 people – mostly schoolchildren – in a ferry disaster last month.

—–

The Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA said a “radical” plan would be introduced to curb deaths at initiation schools in South Africa.

Contralesa said it will unveil a systematic “death-free plan” which would be in line with its August 2013 declaration of zero deaths at initiation schools.

The plan forms part of steps that are needed to end the avoidable deaths and mutilations that accompany the ritual of traditional initiation of young boys into manhood

Contralesa said it could not continue to be part of cultural practices that killed people.

Contralesa president Kgoshi Setlamorago Thobejane said “the new systematic death-free plan is not aimed at reducing deaths but totally bring to an end the deaths of our initiates.”

—–

At least 31 security personnel have been killed following an attack on a military base in Nigeria by Boko Haram fighters.

The attack on the base in the northeast Nigerian town of Buni Yadi in Yobe State happened on Tuesday, not far from where the group shot or burned to death 59 students at a boarding school in February.

Multiple witnesses said the armed men stormed the remote town on Monday night, firing first on soldiers manning a checkpoint and razing the local police station.

A witness and resident of Buni Yadi, , said the fighters arrived in an armoured personnel carrier and six Hilux trucks before dismounting and firing into the air.

They then torched the home of local government leader and several government buildings before turning their guns on an empty primary school.

——

The SA National Defence Force denied reports that a second investigation was launched into the Gupta family’s landing of a private aircraft at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

SANDF spokesperson Brig-Gen Xolani Mabanga claimed that the reports were not true, and denied any knowledge about the alligation

He further denied speaking to the journalist who wrote the article published in The Sowetan.

In the report, Mabanga is quoted as saying an additional investigation is under way, while another was pending.

According to the paper, he said the charges against one accused were withdrawn due to insufficient evidence

——

Thousands of Syrians living in Lebanon have started voting at their country’s embassy ahead of Syria’s June 3 presidential election, the first in more than 50 years.

Most among the crowd gathered outside the embassy in central Beirut appeared to be Assad supporters, reflecting expectations that those who oppose the Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad will not vote.

The vote, held at 39 embassies around the world today and in the government-held territories of Syria next Tuesday, is expected to give Assad a third seven-year term in office, sidelining two lesser known candidates in the race.

The Syrian opposition and its Western allies have denounced the election as a sham designed to lend Assad a veneer of electoral legitimacy as the regime barred exiles from standing and with candidates needing the endorsement of 35 members of the state-controlled parliament.

Much of the international community has criticised Damascus for holding an election with the civil war still raging.

The war has killed more than 160,000 people, forced nearly half the population to flee their homes and shattered the economy.

—–

A major faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had announced that it is no longer associated with the group’s central leadership following months of infighting.

Azam Tariq, a representative of the Mehsud group and also a member of the TTP’s central governing committee, released a video statement saying that his faction had separated from the TTP’s central leadership on ideological grounds.

In the video he said the leadership within the TTP has gone towards robberies, extortion, unjustified killing and targeting Islamic madrassas.

He also accused it of taking foreign funding to attack targets in Afghanistan, taking responsibility for attacks under false identities, creating divisions within other jihadi groups, and especially spreading unfounded propaganda against the Afghan Taliban.

He added that the current leadership of the TTP has become a haven for criminals

Tariq therefore announced that the people of the Mehsud areas are “under the leadership of Khalid Mehsud, severing all ties with the current leadership of the TTP.”

—–

19-year-old woman was arrested after the body of a newborn baby was found in a dustbin in Orlando, Soweto.

Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said the baby’s body was discovered by rubbish collectors in Orlando East. The woman was charged with concealment of birth.

Police were investigating whether the baby boy was alive when he was dumped.

—–

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said if religion were a part of the law-making process, the moral fibre of South African society would be better.

Speaking at a conference on law and religion at the University of Stellenbosch, Mogoeng said the lack of religion in the country’s laws had directly resulted in evils such as crime and corruption that are currently plaguing society.

Mogoeng is a lay pastor in the Winner’s Chapel International church which condemns homosexuality as a disease that can be cured.

The chief justice came under fire for rulings he had made regarding rape survivors when he was a high court judge.

Among the rulings, reported the Mail & Guardian reported in September 2011, was a reduction from a life sentence to 18 years in jail for a man who had raped a 7-year-old girl.

Among the reasons Mogoeng had given for reducing the sentence was that the man was unmarried, unemployed and had epilepsy.

——

At least 15 people, including a priest, were killed and several others wounded in clashes in the capital of the strife-torn Central African Republic.

A military source said the violence erupted in the afternoon close to a church in central Bangui, where thousands of displaced people have sought refuge.

He said there have been clashes for several days in that neighbourhood.

The church is in a neighbourhood where both Christians and Muslims live.

15 people we pronounced dead with a further 30 people wounded as the violence continued.

Others sources reported even heavier casualties.

The African peacekeeping force in the country, known as MISCA, spoke of 20 people dead.

A source close to the French peacekeeping force in the country told AFP that the Violence in Bangui in the past several days has sparked a renewal in heightened tensions between Christians and Muslims.

Three people were decapitated on Sunday near a football match organised in Bangui in an attempt to reconcile Christians and Muslims.

—–

 

THURSDAY

The Hawks reportedly discovered R20 million worth of steroids at a house in Silver Lakes, Pretoria.

According to EWN, two men were arrested at the scene last night and found in possession of the chemicals used to make steroids, as well as packaging.

Speaking to the news source, Hawks spokesperson Paul Ramaloko said investigations are continuing.

He said they aren’t sure how long they have been operating there, and were alerted by the Boschkop police and the security in the complex.

Ramaloko said authorities believe the suspects are part of a bigger syndicate.

——

The swathe of Indian Ocean where acoustic ‘pings’ were detected was ruled out as the crash zone of missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet after a lengthy underwater search.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre said it completed the search of an area off the Australian coast where pings were believed detected in early April, with no success.

An unmanned submarine had searched 850sq/km but had found no sign of the plane.

The statement came after a US official said he believed the ‘pings’ did not come from the black box of the missing jet.

Michael Dean, the US navy’s civilian deputy director of ocean engineering, says that most countries agreed the sounds came from a man-made source unrelated to the jet.

—–

The FBI under legal duress released some documents detailing how it spied on former ANC leader Nelson mandela during a 1990 visit to the US.

It notes that the FBI had a confidential informant — either directly within Mandela’s inner circle or closely affiliated with his entourage — who had provided logistical information about Mandela’s travel itinerary.

Mandela arrived in the U.S. four months after his release from 27 years in prison.

The US had designated the ANC as a “terrorist organization.”

The documents however are censored and 169 pages in their entirety have been withheld for what was described on national security grounds.

They were turned over to Ryan Shapiro, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology doctoral candidate who studies the policing of dissent, in response to his Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

——

News of how a Springs father on the East Rand traumisted and tortured his wife and children for years slowly came to light.

The used-car salesman is accused of holding his wife and five children prisoner in their home.

The children – two boys and three girls aged 2, 5, 7, 11 and 16 – have never attended school and are believed never to have left the house until now.

According to the Times he starved, whipped, beat, electrocuted and burnt o the soles of their feet with blow torches.

Police are also investigating allegations of incest and home-made pornography after dozens of DVDs were found in the house.

The grim story came to light when his 11-year-old son escaped from their highly secure Springs home last week and fled to neighbours bleeding and screaming for help.

He has been Remanded into custody at Modderbee Prison, and his  children and wife are now with relatives and are to be placed in safehouses.

—–

Security was heightened at Cape Town International Airport after a fatal shooting incident on Wednesday.

The Airports Company South Africa confirmed in a statement that a shooting incident at one of the eateries led to one fatality and three injuries.

Earlier reports suggested that the shots had been fired by a 33-year-old police constable.

The attack was aimed at his life partner, who along with two other people, were left injured.

He then turned the gun on himself.

The incident has sent shockwaves through the Western Cape, with many people taking to social media and online commenting forums to air their views.

—–

An expert with the World Health Organisation said the ebola outbreak currently spreading through West African countries is “serious” and not under control.

Pierre Formenty, a doctor with the international health body who had just returned from a trip to Guinea, said the virus has spread to Sierre Leone and Liberia was not on the decline.

The virus has already claimed 186 lives in Guinea since March.

The haemorrhagic fever, which has no cure, erupted in Guinea in January and also spread to Liberia.

Ebola is one of a handful of similar fevers that cause vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pain, and in severe cases, organ failure and unstoppable internal bleeding.

It can be transmitted by blood and other bodily fluids, as well as the handling of contaminated corpses or infected animals.

—–

An internet security firm says Iranian hackers had set up fake Facebook accounts and tried to befriend US and western officials in an effort to spy on them.

The Reuters news agency reported that the hackers created fake personas and populated their profiles with fictitious personal content, and then tried to befriend targets.

Targets are reportedly believed to include a US navy admiral, politicians, ambassadors, lobbyists and officials from several other countries including the UK and Saudi Arabia.

According to the internet firm, ISight Partners,Iranian hackers created six online personas, who appeared to work for a website, newsonair.org, and another eight who purported to work for defence contractors and other organisations.

The operation has been active since at least 2011 and is thought to be the most elaborate cyber espionage campaign using “social engineering” uncovered to date.

——

A helicopter belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has crashed in southern Afghanistan, leaving at least one foreign soldier dead.

The International Security Assistance Force said a service member died as a result of a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan yesterday.

The police spokesperson said the chopper crashed into a telecommunication mast while taking off.

NATO also declined to confirm the nationality of the deceased soldier, but a US defense source reportedly confirmed a US service member had been killed in the crash.

According to some reports, 15 people were injured in the incident.

Meanwhile, the Taliban have claimed responsibility for bringing down the aircraft.

The group said that the soldiers aboard the copter were American and all of them were killed.

—–

An inter-ministerial technical team was expected to meet labour union Amcu and mining bosses to discuss the strike in the platinum mining sector.

The meeting was scheduled to take place at an undisclosed location in Johannesburg.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union at Lonmin, Impala and Anglo American Platinum downed tools on January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12,500.

The Labour Court-facilitated talks aimed at resolving the more than four-month-old wage strike were held in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the newly appointed Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi announced the establishment of an intergovernmental technical team to resolve the strike in the platinum mining sector.

He said the mandate of the technical team is to broaden the approach and explore all possibilities for a resolution to the problem.

The team is made up of officials of the departments of mineral resources, labour, and national Treasury, who will be supported by representatives of the mining companies and Amcu.

——

The North West health department said a child has died after contracting severe diarrhoea from water contamination in Bloemhof.

The child, who wasn’t a year old, died on arrival at one of the clinics

Over 200 other people reported to local clinics with similar symptoms between Saturday and Tuesday.

Its spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said the situation has stabilized, adding that there are no huge numbers of people coming in on Thursday.

He dismissed claims of a cholera outbreak, saying it had not yet been confirmed.

What had been confirmed was that Bloemhof’s water source had been contaminated.

Water tankers had been deployed to the area, while schools had remained closed since Monday.

—–

Nigeria’s president reportedly ordered “total war” against the armed group Boko Haram which last month abducted 219 schoolgirls in the northeastern state of Borno.

Goodluck Jonathan made the comments in a televised speech that reassured the girls’ parents that his forces would free them.

Jonathan also said he had authorised security forces to use any means necessary under the law to ensure that this is done.

He said there would be a full-scale operation to put an end to the impunity of terrorists on nigerian soil.

The northeast of Nigeria is plagued by Boko Haram attacks and has been under a state of emergency since May 2013.

The Nigerian military said on Monday it had located the schoolgirls but that it would not use force to free them as that would put their lives at great risk.

Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh said any potential armed rescue operation was fraught with danger as the girls could be caught in the crossfire.

—–

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the former general who toppled Egypt’s first freely elected leader, was on course for a sweeping victory in the country’s presidential election, early provisional results suggested.

However a lower-than-expected turnout figure has raised questions about the credibility of a man idolised by his supporters as a hero who can deliver political and economic stability.

With most ballots counted after three days of voting, government sources said Sisi won 93.3 percent of votes cast.

Voter turnout was low, at 44.4 percent, despite the government declaring the second day of voting a national holiday, and extending the election for a third day.

The move to extend polling for a day fuelled criticism of an election already marred by a deadly crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.

The Brotherhood has been subjected to a massive crackdown that has killed hundreds of its supporters and seen it designated a “terrorist” organisation.

All of the movement’s main leaders are now in jail or exile, and Morsi himself is being tried on charges that could carry the death penalty.

Prominent activists behind the uprising that ousted long-time strongman Mubarak in 2011 had also called for a boycott, charging Sisi was a new autocrat in the making.

Sisi’s ouster of Morsi on July 3 last year triggered the worst peacetime bloodshed in Egypt’s recent history.

—–

Two teenage girls were found dead, hanging from a tree in a northern Indian village after they were gang-raped by five men.

A post-mortem report indicated that the cousins from the Dalit community, aged 14 and 15, hanged themselves late on Tuesday after the attack in a village in the Budaun district of Uttar Pradesh state.

Atul Saxena, Budaun’s police chief said the report suggested that the girls probably committed suicide.

Police have arrested three people, including two police officers, the AP news agency reported.

The two Dalit girls were found hanging from a tree on Wednesday night in their village after they went missing the night before.

He said the arrests were made after villagers blocked the main highway near Katra village to protest against alleged police apathy and inaction.

Senior Uttar Pradesh government officials ordered the arrests.

—–

Israeli settlers and representatives of Israeli Foreign Ministry stormed al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday morning from the al-Magharbeh Gate amid tight police protection.

SAFA News Agency quoted media director at the Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage Mahmoud Abul Atta as saying that 66 Israeli settlers including 40 representatives of Israeli Foreign Ministry stormed al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

He said that hundreds of Palestinian students have stationed since early morning in al-Aqsa Mosque and started shouting ‘Takbir’ protesting the settlers’ break-in.

Israeli police imposed tight restrictions on the students’ access to the mosque, where they checked and scrutinized their identity cards before their entry.

Yesterday Jewish settlers performed Talmudic dances at the gates of al-Aqsa Mosque and chanted slogans calling for accelerating the establishment of their alleged Temple on the ruins of the holy mosque.

The holy Mosque was also subjected to Israeli break-ins during which Israeli forces used batons and pepper gas against Palestinian worshipers, which led to several injuries among them.

—–

FRIDAY

Israel’s army has reportedly suspended a non-combat soldier seen firing his weapon during clashes in the West Bank earlier this month in which two Palestinian teenagers were killed

A military police investigation into footage from two CCTV cameras that appeared to show the shooting of the two teens was unprovoked, taking place during a lull in the clashes.

The shooting took place during a day of protests on May 15 as Palestinians marked the “Nakba”, or catastrophe, of Israel’s establishment in 1948.

The Haaretz newspaper said there was no proof his shot was responsible for killing of Musaab Nuwarah.

It says he fired “what appeared to be a rubber bullet” at around the same time the first of the two teenagers was shot.

CNN footage shows a soldier in green fatigues kneeling behind the wall, aiming his rifle and apparently firing a shot after a border policeman

Immediately after the second shot, one of the border police is seen taking the weapon from the soldier and the camera quickly pans round to show Palestinians carrying the teenager to an ambulance.

According to the CCTV footage, the two teens were shot in the same location but there was an hour and 13 minutes between the two incidents.

—–

At least two demonstrators had reportedly been killed in the Central African Republic as troops fired shots to break up a protest rally in the capital, Bangui.

According to reports, gunfire broke out near Bangui’s airport, where hundreds of protesters had gathered to voice their outrage at the government and the foreign troops deployed to the violence-stricken country.

Reports said two protesters were killed and several others wounded in the incident.

In a separate development on Thursday, a mob of Christian youths attacked a mosque in Bangui.

The assault appeared to be in retaliation for an alleged attack against a Catholic church that left about a dozen people dead a day earlier.

The CAR descended into chaos last December, when Christian armed groups launched coordinated attacks against the mostly Muslim Seleka group that toppled the government in March 2013.

In recent months, Christian militiamen have been committing acts of violence against the Muslim minority in the CAR, killing thousands of them and displacing many more.

In February, Amnesty International said a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” is underway against the Muslim civilians in the CAR despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops in the country.

——-

 

Police in the North West town of Bloemhof are expecting trouble as the weekend approaches, with locals having spent the week without safe drinking water and widespread diarrhoea.

Constable Meokgo Ledibana, of the Bloemhof police station, said people intend protesting on Monday.

She said that sometimes when you open the taps, feces comes out, adding that it’s been five years since they had a water problem in Bloemhof.

Ledibana said there would be no school or work, and that police are anticipating violent protests.

Warrant Officer Gerda Lambrechts said the last time the area had water problems riots occurred.

The provincial water affairs department said on Friday it was aware that the contamination in the area was related to a sewage spill.

A baby died on Wednesday after contracting severe diarrhoea.

Today, the health department said another five babies were admitted to hospital for observation.

Over 200 people were treated in local clinics for diarrhoea this week.

—-

As negotiations continue, Mining analysts have warned that two of the three companies which have been affected may not be able to survive the cost of the work stoppage.

Talks to end the platinum strike, which had entere its fifth month are continuing this week.

Mining analyst Peter Major says Amplats is a sub-division of a bigger mining house and will survive the loss in production, but Implats and Lonmin may not be as fortunate.

He says Implats is a standalone company and Lonmin is pretty much a standalone company and their shareholders have now lost money for the past 10 years.

The shareholders aren’t going to keep lending the mines money to lose money.

The protracted strike has been largely blamed for a slowdown in South Africa’s economic growth during the first quarter of this year.

Several deaths and claims of intimidation have also tainted the strike in recent weeks.

An inter-ministerial task team was set up earlier this week by newly appointed Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramathlodi who says his first priority is to resolve the dispute.

—–

Three men have been arrested in northern India for brutally attacking the mother of a rape victim after she refused to withdraw her police complaint.

Superintendent Dinesh Kumar said that the men, including the father of the man accused in the May 11 rape, followed the mother into a field and beat her severely.

She was reportedly in critical condition in a hospital in Etawah, a small town in Uttar Pradesh state.

News of the attack comes amid outrage in Uttar Pradesh over the death earlier this week of two teenage girls who were found hanging from a tree after being gang-raped.

Police have arrested three people over the attack on the sisters, aged 14 and 15.

Rape victims cannot be named under Indian law, even if they are dead.

——
Malaysian police hadreportedly detained 13 men and are looking for other suspects following allegations that a 15-year-old girl was raped by 38 men in the country’s northern region,

Astro Awani television and The Star daily reported that the assault took place in the northern state of Kelantan on May 20 when the girl was lured to an empty hut reported to be a local drug haunt.

The men took turns to rape her for hours.

Media accounts, quoting information from district police chief Azham Otham, said 38 men were involved.

The report says several of those detained had tested positive for amphetamine

The alleged attack, one of several brutal cases this week underscoring the violence to which women are being subjected across Asia, sparked outrage among women’s groups.

Politicians from a Muslim party running the region said their proposal to introduce Islamic hudud law, with harsh penalties, would deter offenders.

According to police statistics almost 3,000 rapes were reported to the police in Malaysia in 2012, of which 52 percent involved girls aged 16 and below,.

Convicted rapists face up to 30 years in prison and whipping, but many on Internet sites wanted stricter punishment.

 

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