Home | Global News | Global News Roundup

Global News Roundup

Yusuf Alli – Cii News | 06 June 2014

News that made headlines on various newswires around the world.

MONDAY

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases said that tests done to check for cholera in Bloemhof, in the North West, were negative.

Professor Lucille Blumberg said the source of the problem was contaminated water and that needed to be fixed.

The institute was conducting more tests to check for other viruses, like gastroenteritis.

Earlier, the North West health department confirmed that two more babies had died from diarrhoea in Bloemhof, where water contamination left the town without water last week.

The circumstances surrounding their deaths were reportedly similar to the first baby that died last Wednesday.

The Lekwa-Teemane municipality shut down its water supply system more than a week ago.

On Friday the national water affairs department said the system had been cleaned and sanitised, and water was restored last Thursday evening.

However residents said the water coming out of taps was still brown last Friday, and residents were asked to boil the water first before using it.

—–

The hawks said heroin with a street value of about R48m was recovered from a house in Crown Gardens south of Johannesburg.

The police’s elite crime-busting unit conducted a raid on the house just before midnight on Sunday when they found the drugs, told News24.

Captain Paul Ramaloko said a 42-year-old Pakistani man was arrested and would appear in court.

Ramaloko said more arrests were expected as the man was suspected of being part of a syndicate.

Two unlicensed firearms were also recovered from the house.

—–

The Labour Court in Johannesburg was expected to pass judgment on an urgent interdict brought by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

It aims to prevent platinum companies Amplats and Implats from communicating wage settlement offers to mine workers.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Impala and Anglo American Platinum downed tools on January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

They have rejected the companies’ offer that would bring their cash remuneration to R12 500 by 2017.

The strike has been marred by violence and intimidation. It has also caused major economic woes for the region.

—–

 

The Taliban in Afghanistan scored a massive victory against the US by achieving the release of five of their members held in Guantanamo Bay for a single US soldier.

Five Taliban leaders arrived in Qatar.

The prisoners were flown by US military C-17 aircraft into the Gulf.

They are Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Mohammed Nabi, Khairullah Khairkhwa and Abdul Haq Wasiq.

The Taliban’s supreme leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, hailed their release as a “big victory”.

He thanked the government of Qatar, especially its emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, who made sincere efforts for release of these leaders and for their mediation and for hosting them.

The men were swapped for Bowe Bergdahl, a 28-year-old army sergeant who had been held by the Taliban since June 30, 2009.

The five Taliban will have to stay in Qatar for one year before going back to Afghanistan.

—–

Heavy fighting continued in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, apparently between the armed group Ansar al-Shariah and irregular forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, a former army general.

Witnesses said that gunfire, which began the day before, could be heard across the city, particularly coming from a special forces army base in a western suburb of Benghazi.

News agencies reported that at least seven people have died and about a dozen have been wounded in the fighting.

Haftar is campaigning to rid Libya of fighters that he says the government has failed to control.

On Sunday, a Libyan fighter jet under Haftar’s command attacked an Ansar al-Shariah base in Benghazi but did not hit the target, witnesses and a senior Libyan official told news agencies.

Ansar al-Shariah gained support following the death of Gaddafi in 2011.

Libya is in turmoil three years after the NATO-backed war that removed Gaddafi, with various factions locked in conflict.

—–

EWN reports said South Africa’s economy could be hit by another massive strike, this time in the metal industry.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa says it is currently in talks with employers over annual wage increases but a national strike is on the cards, possibly at the beginning of next month.

The news source said there were concerns that South Africa’s economy will not survive another long standing strike.

The platinum industry strike has already had serious implications, with the gross domestic product dropping by 0.6 percent in the first three months of this year –

The first quarterly contraction since the recession in 2009.

Now with Numsa indicating that a strike is on the cards, it will put more pressure on the economy.

The union, which represents thousands of metalworkers, says its members are demanding a 15 percent wage hike.

Some analysts have indicated that if the platinum strike continues, the country is likely to go into recession

—–

India celebrated the creation of its 29th state, Telangana, after Andhra Pradesh was split in two.

K. C.Rao, from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi party, took his oath as the first chief minister in a ceremony on Monday morning.

M Kodandaram, who leads the Telangana Joint Action Committee, said it was a historic moment for the people of Telangana and called it a collective effort.

Demands that the southern region be made a separate state have existed for almost as long as independent India itself.

People gathered at Gun Park, a memorial for people who sacrificed their lives for formation of Telangana, and Hyderabad’s Osmania University to celebrate the moment.

The new state will have a population of about 35 million across 10 districts.

—–

Israeli air forces reportedly carried out a series of strikes targeting sites inside the Gaza Strip and Syrian territories.

The attack came just hours before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was expected to announce a new unity government, which is hoped to end the internal Palestinian divisions.

Security sources in the Gaza Strip said that Israeli warplanes targeted two sites belonging to Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, south of Gaza City and northwest of Khan Younis.

There were no reported injuries.

Meanwhile Israeli Army Radio reported that three mortar shells were fired from Syria and landed in an area that is occupied by Israel in the Golan Heights, while the other two fell on the Syrian side.

The Israeli army spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, called the alleged attack a flagrant violation of Israeli sovereignty.

The Syrian regime had not commented on the incident up to the moment of the Israeli raid.

—–

At least 41 people were killed in clashes between rival Sudanese clans over the ownership of land being explored for oil in West Kordofan state.

Another 13 people were seriously wounded in the fighting.

The battle raged through to Sunday between the Zurug and Awlad Amran clans of the powerful Misseriya tribe.

A witness, who declined to be named, said the fighting broke out as each group claimed ownership of a plot of land where drilling for oil was underway.

Fighting between tribes is frequent in Sudan, and often breaks out over grazing rights.

—–

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema offered to support the ANC if it tables a bill calling for land expropriation without compensation.

He said if the ANC puts a motion to expropriate the stolen land without compensation, they will vote with it.

Malema was speaking to journalists yesterday at parliament, where he named the EFF MPs who will lead the party in the National Assembly.

Malema said the EFF would not oppose “for the sake of opposing”, adding that it was willing to support even the DA if it tried to have President Jacob Zuma removed.

In its election campaign the EFF called for public representatives to be forced to use public services, such as schools and hospitals.

——

President Jacob Zuma expressed sadness at the death of struggle stalwart Ayesha (Bibi) Dawood, who passed away over the weekend.

In a statement Zuma said “we have lost a committed activist and veteran of our struggle for freedom.”

Zuma’s spokesman Mac Maharaj said Dawood was a great South African and recipient of the National Order of Luthuli.

Ayesha Dawood rose to prominence as a struggle activist in Worcester, Western Cape, and was one of the leaders charged in the 1956 Treason Trial.

Nelson Mandela Foundation spokeswoman Danielle Melville sent condolences on behalf of the board of trustees to friends and family of Dawood.

Melville said Dawood was an accused along with Nelson Mandela and 153 others in the infamous 1956 Treason Trial.

She said her sacrifices for a free and democratic South Africa will never be forgotten.

—–

Fatah and Hamas unveiled a government of national consensus that will pave the way for elections for a new Palestinian president and parliament.

The government of 17 politically-independent members was already being put to the test, as Israel announced it would not negotiate any peace deal with it.

The announcement came after the passing of a five-week deadline that followed a reconciliation agreement on April 23.

The new Palestinian government was agreed after arguments over who would take certain portfolios, and what would happen to Hamas-affiliated security forces.

The official task of this government will be to push for re-building the Gaza Strip, and to pave the way for elections in 2015.

In a pre-recorded message that aired on Palestine TV, Abbas said the new government was transitional, and that negotiations with Israel would remain in the hands of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

He said this government will abide by all previously signed agreements and the PLO’s political agenda.

The PLO is the highest representative body for Palestinians worldwide.

The PA was created for a provisional period to manage the territories Israel withdrew from in accordance with the Oslo Accords.

—–

An urgent court application by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union was struck off the roll in the Labour Court in Johannesburg.

Judge Rob La Grange struck the matter off the roll as it lacked urgency.

Amcu approached the court in a bid to prevent Anglo American Platinum and Impala from conveying a pay offer settlement to workers.

The union also wanted to prevent Impala from conducting a survey of whether workers want to return to work.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Impala and Amplats downed tools on January 23 demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

They rejected the companies’ offer that would bring their cash remuneration to R12 500 by July 2017.

The strike, now on its 130th day, has cost the companies over R20bn in revenue and workers over R9bn in earnings according to a website created by the companies.

—–

TUESDAY

The Gauteng education department was investigating allegations that a teacher at the National School of Arts in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, called black people “demons”.

Its spokesperson Phumla Sekhonyane said they initiated an independent investigation.

The Star reported that a Grade 8 history teacher allegedly told her class last Thursday that the reason government was failing was because it was led by black people.

A 13-year-old girl sent an SMS to her mother saying the teacher was out of hand after telling the class black people were stupid for voting for the African National Congress and

She also said that in the Western Cape people were “more than happy” with the Democratic Alliance, “thanks to white people”.

The school said its governing body would make a statement in due course.

—–

The provincial health department said a total of 21 babies from Bloemhof, North West, had been admitted to hospital for diarrhoea since last week.

Its spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said eleven babies were admitted to Bloemhof hospital, while another 10 had been transferred to bigger hospitals in Klerksdorp and Christiana.

This followed over 300 people experiencing diarrhoea in the area due to a water contamination that left the town without water last week.

So far three babies had died from diarrhoea.

The Lekwa-Teemane municipality shut down its water supply system more than a week ago.

The national water affairs department on Friday said the system had been cleaned and sanitised, and water was restored on Thursday evening.

But residents said the water coming out of taps was still brown on Friday, and residents were asked to boil the water first before using it.

—–

Negotiations between the National Union of Metalworkers South and metal and engineering industry companies continued.

However South Africa’s Chamber of Commerce said it’s concerned about the union’s posturing.

Talks between employers and the union started at the beginning of last month, but by the time a dispute was declared last week, almost no progress was made in reaching a settlement.

It’s understood employers wanted to cut the entry level salary of R7,500 in half for new employees and has not addressed the union’s demand for a 15 percent wage hike.

Numsa said 170,000 of its members would down tools if a settlement in the metal and engineering industries was not met.
—–

Opposition forces in Syria have branded the presidential election a farce as the incumbent Bashar al-Assad was widely expected to win.

Voting only taook place in government controlled territories.

It was the first election in 50 years but excludes regime opponents from running.

The only other two in the race are the almost unknown Maher al-Hajjad and Hassan al-Nuri.

The vote took place as the war continues, with the air force bombarding rebel areas in Aleppo and fierce fighting in Hama, Damascus, Idlib and Daraa.

The only election observers will come from Syria’s allies, North Korea, Iran and Russia.

Opposition activists have branded the vote a “blood election”, while the country reels from a war that has killed more than 162,000 people.

The Assads have ruled Syria with for more than 40 years.

All dissent has been crushed throughout that time, with Assad’s father Hafez crushing a Muslim Brotherhood-led rebellion in Hama in the 1980s, and tens of thousands of people still languishing in jails.

——

Fighting in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi between the Ansar al-Sharia and irregular forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, had left 19 people dead.

Haftar is said to be receiving American assistance in an attempt to clear Libya of all Islamic forces.

He claims the federal government after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi failed to control these armed groups.

Local residents said the fighting is the worst they have seen since March 2011.

A Libyan fighter jet under Haftar’s command attacked an Ansar al-Sharia base in Benghazi but did not hit the target on Sunday.

Ansar al-Sharia was believed to be the group behind the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed four people including the US ambassador.

—–

According to a World Economic Forum report the quality of South Africa’s maths and science education places it last out of 148 countries.

Under the “skills” sub-category, the quality of South Africa’s maths and science education comes in last place, behind the likes of Haiti, Lesotho, Chad, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and Kenya.

The quality of South Africa’s education puts it in 146th place.

This is according to the “Global Information Technology Report 2014″, that uses a networked readiness index (NRI) to rank the state of countries’ information and communication technology.

South Africa is placed 70th on the NRI, which is made up of 10 different sub-categories from which the overall NRI ranking is drawn.

Democratic Alliance education spokesperson Annette Lovemore said in a statement she would seek to have Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga brought before Parliament.

—–

Ukrainian troops launched an offensive against pro-Russian insurgents in the eastern city of Slovyansk and advanced through the city’s outskirts.

The nation’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said that government troops broke through rebel positions around the village of Semenovka on the eastern fringe of Slovyansk.

Local residents said that several Ukrainian combat jets and helicopter gunships attacked rebel positions on the eastern outskirts of Slovyansk, and heavy artillery barrages have continued throughout the day.

Avakov warned residents in Slovyansk and nearby cities of Kramatorsk and Krasny Liman to stay at home.

—–

There were hopes that the intervention from government will end the strike which is nearing five months.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union haven’t confirmed whether it accepted the latest wage proposal.

The union said it responded to a wage proposal tabled by the intergovernmental task team but it’s up to the newly appointed Minerals Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi to pave the way forward.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said the strike continued for so long because there hasn’t been co-operation from the platinum producers.

He added that Ramatlhodi was the first to come forward with real solutions.

Meanwhile, Amcu said yesterday it would consider its options after the Labour Court dismissed its application to stop mining companies communicating directly with striking workers.

—–

The ANC said that the eviction of people from the Lwandle informal settlement in Strand, Cape Town, was meted out as a punishment to the community for not voting for the DA in the elections.

Yesterday, the municipality’s human settlements MMC Siyabulela Mamkeli said the eviction was the enforcement of a Western Cape High Court order granted earlier this year to SANRAL.

Mamkeli said the sheriff of the court has been assisted by its contractors to remove the structures following an illegal land invasion on this Sanral-owned land.

Sanral had reportedly appointed a private company to ensure the settlement did not grow further, but new structures continued to be built on the Sanral land.

ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the ruling party had contacted the national transport department, who owned the land, and the human settlements department to intervene on behalf of the community.

He said they have been assured that teams have already been dispatched by the national government to investigate what options of intervention can be considered.

—–

At least 120 people were killed in northern Yemen in fighting between Shiite Houthi rebels and government forces before a cease-fire was agreed.

A Yemeni official said that Yemeni war planes bombed positions held there by Houthi fighters and army forces clashed with the rebels, killing around 100 of them.

Ahmed Al-Bekry, deputy governor of Omran province, said about 20 government soldiers were killed as well.

He said fighting ended on Monday night after the sides agreed a cease-fire and no clashes were reported on Tuesday.

Yemen has been in turmoil since 2011, when mass protests forced long-ruling president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

Clashes have repeatedly erupted in the past months between government troops and Houthis — named after the Shiite tribe of its leaders as Sanaa struggles to restore nationwide control.

The Houthis blame elements of the Sunni Muslim Islah party within government forces and in the Omran local administration for the fighting.

Government officials say the Houthis, who have repeatedly fought government forces since 2004, are trying to tighten their grip on the north before next year’s election and as Yemen eyes moves toward a federal-style devolution of power to regions.

—–

NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen dismissed presidential elections in Syria as a “farce” Tuesday, saying they did not meet international standards.

He said the vote does not fulfill international standards for free, fair and transparent elections and he was sure that no ally will recognise the outcome of these so-called elections.

President Bashar al-Assad was expected to win a crushing victory over two little known challengers in the elections which the Syrian opposition have also condemned as a “farce.”

There was no voting in the roughly 60 percent of the country outside the control of Assad’s government, which includes large areas of second city Aleppo.

The latest figures put the number of dead in the Syrian conflict at more than 160,000, with no end seemingly in sight.

—–

President Barack Obama called on Congress to back a $1 billion effort to boost the US military presence across Europe, as he tried to ease anxiety among NATO allies who are wary of Russia’s threatening moves in Ukraine.

Obama was announcing the initiative during a visit to Warsaw, Poland, his first stop on a three-country swing through Europe.

The White House said the funding would be used to increase military exercises and training missions, as well as rotations of air and ground forces, on the continent.

Officials said Obama was also seeking to ramp up US Navy participation in NATO deployments in the Black and Baltic Seas, plus working to boost the military capacity of non-NATO countries that sit on Russia’s border, including Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.

———-

Bangladesh lodged a protest with Myanmar over what it called an unprovoked attack against its border guards by its eastern neighbour’s security forces on May 30,after an earlier exchange of fire in which one Bangladeshi guard was killed.

A Dhaka-based newspaper said Dhaka asked Myanmar for immediate withdrawal of its forces from the border as it violated a 1980 agreement.

The Border Guards Bangladesh’s Chittagong regional commander Brig-Gen Syed Ahmed Ali was quoted as saying if the Myanmar Border Guard police attacked again, it wouldgive a befitting response immediately.

The Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it had called in Myanmar’s ambassador to protest at an ”unprovoked eruption of gunfire from the Myanmar border force” on May 30.

Myanmar gave a different version of events and has told Bangladesh it would not tolerate any violation of its sovereignty or territory.

—–

Israel said it was “deeply disappointed” in the US due to its plans to work with a national Palestinian unity government formed recently.

In April, the Fatah movement and Hamas signed an agreement to end seven years of rivalry and from a unity government.

The new cabinet of the Palestinian unity government was sworn in before Abbas on Monday in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the US believes the new government is “an interim technocratic government,” adding that they will work it.

However, Israel was quick to slam Washington’s plans to cooperate with the newly formed government, saying Psaki’s remarks “disappointed” Tel Aviv.

The Times of Israel quoted Israeli officials as saying that they are deeply disappointed by the comments of the State Department regarding working with the Palestinian unity government,”.

It added that if the US administration wanted to advance peace, it should be calling on Abbas to end his pact with Hamas and return to peace talks with Israel.

——

The City of Cape Town said people evicted from Sanral-owned land at Lwandle, Strand, would be given short-term shelter.

Human settlements MMC Siyabulela Mamkeli said the City cannot incentivise illegal land invasion by providing alternative accommodation.

However, it has decided to make available community facilities to those people affected by Sanral’s legal action as part of its s called commitment to being to what it calls a caring city.

Violence ensued yesterday following the enforcement of an eviction order.

Earlier in the day, petrol bombs were thrown and tyres set alight and the situation was described by Traut as “tense”.
—–

WENESDAY

Amcu leader Joseph Mathunjwa said the strike in the platinum belt in the North West cannot go on forever.

There is ongoing engagement with Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi to try and resolve the five-month-old mineworkers’ strike.

He didnt say whether a deal was on the cards yet, and declined to say if negotiations with mining bosses were fruitful.

Amcu members at Lonmin, Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum downed tools on January 23, demanding a basic monthly salary of R12 500.

A team comprising officials from the departments of mineral resources, labour, and the National Treasury, has intervened in the matter to help bring an end to the strike.

On Tuesday Amcu met to discuss a new offer put forward by the team but details of the offer were not provided.

—–

A specialised police unit made up of retired detectives arrested 18 people believed to be part of a gang operating from OR Tambo International Airport in the past year.

The Star newspaper reported that the gang used blue lights and fake police identification to pull over people leaving the airport before robbing them.

Police said from September last year, the number of reported incidents decreased dramatically.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega suggested last year that retired detectives be used to help crack high-profile cases.

The National Investigating Unit was formed and in nine months they have arrested 18 gang members who had been targeting people, including foreigners, leaving the airport.

Over 200 cases were reported last year and the incidents have dropped to about five per month.

—–

ECONOMIC Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said government must pass laws forcing Cabinet and all public representatives to use state hospitals and to send their children to public schools.

Malema’s son however attends a private school and The Star reported that he has no intention of taking him out.

He however wants members of the Cabinet to use the government services they preside over.

EFF’s MPs will not set an example and abandon benefits offered to them now.

He says they will continue to benefit from the private schools and hospitals until laws are passed to scrap them.

Malema said there will never be of quality until the country’s executive uses public services.

Malema will continue to lead the party in Parliament and represent his party on the mining portfolio committee.

—–

The DA apparently tweeted a picture likening ANC voters to dogs.

According to a media release hosted on Politicsweb, the ANC has noted that DA MP Michael Waters tweeted a picture “which likens people who voted for the ANC to dogs.

The Times reported that the picture, captioned “Voting Day. Make your mark”, shows a line of dogs in front of a poster of Jacob Zuma.

The ANC said in its statement that they are neither shocked nor surprised by this behaviour from a member of the DA as the party proves on a regular basis that it is nothing but a collection of bigoted racists who continue to regard black people as sub-human, dogs.

Waters apparently posted the picture on Monday night, but took it down again after encountering a backlash from Twitter users.

According to a report on ENCA Waters apologised for the tweet, saying it was “just a joke.”

The Times report noted that the DA spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme said the party had accepted Waters’ apology.

——

Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was officaly pronounced the president of Egypt after winning 96.91 percent in last week’s vote.

The vote is seen as a complete joke as a only a small percentage of the electorate turned out to cast their ballots.

Sisi has faced major opposition in the country since he lead the overthrow of the country’s first democratically elected leader Muhammad Morsi.

Sisi however has the support of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

—–

The rand held steady against the dollar, tracking the euro and finding support from investors who believed the local unit was oversold after three consecutive days of losses.

The rand hit a 10-week low in the previous session, pressured by negative global risk sentiment and a slew of disappointing local data.

Dealers also said the rand sell-off looked overdone, but did not rule out further losses if domestic fundamentals remained weak.

Africa’s most advanced economy is heading into strike season, an annual mid-year period of wage negotiations between workers and employers.

Investors worry that a crippling five-month strike in the platinum mines could set a precedent for the rest of the economy.

—–

With a severe cold front fast approaching, emergency services officials in parts of the country including Gauteng, braced themselves for a busy few days.

The brutal cold front had already hit the Western Cape bringing with it heavy rain and wind.

The weather was only expected to clear up by the weekend.

Senior weather forecaster Kate Turner said some high-lying areas will also experience snow.

At the same time traffic authorities in the Cape have warned motorists to be vigilant on the roads.

Officials said informal settlements were high-risk areas for fires during winter.

The weather service said temperatures in Gauteng were expected to begin dropping from tomorrow.

—–

The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland faced fresh accusations of child neglect, after a researcher found records for nearly 800 young children believed to be buried in a mass grave beside a former orphanage for the children of unwed mothers.

The researcher, Catherine Corless, said her discovery of child death records at the Catholic nun-run home in Tuam, County Galway, suggests that a former septic tank filled with bones is the final resting place for most, if not all, of the children.

Church leaders in Galway, in western Ireland, said they had no idea so many children who died at the orphanage had been buried there

They said they would support local efforts to mark the spot with a plaque listing all 796 children.

County Galway death records showed that the children, mostly babies and toddlers, died often of sickness or disease in the orphanage during the 35 years it operated from 1926 to 1961.

The death records cite sicknesses, diseases, deformities and premature births as causes.

—–

Cosatu and farming groups attacked new agriculture minister Senzeni Zokwana after reports he was paying a labourer R800 a month, a third of the mininum farming wage, to tend cattle.

City Press reported on Monday that 21-year-old Vuyolwethu Ndabambi was working seven days a week for Zokwana, who became agriculture minister last week.

Working without a day off is another violation of South Africa’s labour laws.

Cosatu expressed outrage at the claims, adding that it will call for a detailed investigation into the allegations and urgent compliance by the minister to the farm wage determination.

Opposition parties have targeted Zokwana and deputy farming minister Bheki Cele as examples of President Jacob Zuma appointing ministers for their loyalty rather than talent or expertise.

AfriForum, a group representing mainly white farmers, accused the ruling African National Congress of double standards for frequently accusing the farming sector of underpaying workers.

——-

Interim CEO Collin Matjila says Eskom executives are to forgo their annual bonuses this year in light of the parastatal’s R255 billion revenue shortfall.

In a statement he said they acknowledged the financial constraints by agreeing to forgo their annual performance bonuses this year as one of the efforts to cut costs.

The board welcomed this move as the company implements efficiency intervention initiatives to achieve long-term financial sustainability.

Eskom said the National Energy Regulator of SA approved a tariff increase of eight percent, which left it with a funding gap.

It set up a business productivity programme last year in an attempt to make its operations more efficient.

—–

A massive firearms scandal unfolding in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court wass expected to lead to a wide-scale investigation, involving corrupt policemen supplying arms and ammunition to criminals.

Thousands of weapons were surrendered to the police during the firearms amnesty of 2009 and were earmarked for destruction.

Last week, police raided the house of elderly Ukrainian couple, and seized 112 assault rifles, handguns, commercial explosives and detonators stored in a backroom.

Prosecutor Talita Louw told the court that among the recovered weapons were guns that should have been destroyed during the amnesty period.

Louw said that an R1 rifle handed in at the Roodepoort police station, in April 2010, during the amnesty, was among the weapons confiscated from at the couple’s house in Norwood, Johannesburg.

Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko said the investigation of the Norwood arms cache had been widened “after certain facts came to light”.

—–

Central African Republic authorities told cellphone operators to suspend text messages following calls on services for a nationwide civil disobedience campaign to protest against violence.

An organisation called Collectif Centrafrique Debout has been distributing SMS messages since the weekend asking people to stay home starting tomorrow following more inter-communal bloodshed in the capital Bangui.

The government did not say who was behind the campaign but in the mass messages, the organisation urged people to stay at home until there is complete disarmament, especially of the PK5 Muslim neighbourhood.

Communications Minister Abdallah Assan Kadre announced that  the use of SMS by all cellphone subscribers is suspended in order to contribute to the restoration of security in the country.

Central African Republic has been gripped by ethnic and religious violence  that has killed more than 2 000 and displaced about a million of the country’s 4.5 million people in recent months.

The United Nations has warned that the conflict could spiral into a genocide.

—–

Objections have emerged in regards to the expansions of the Sandton Masjid which seeks to accommodate the increasing number of musallees that frequent the Masjid

The mosque is located on the corner of Ballyclare and Colerine drives

The trustees of the Masjid, which from the outside sparsely resembles that of a Mosque, have previously submitted an application for the expansion.

The proposal is to dramatically increase the size of the footprint of the Mosque by expanding the existing school, and to build a complex of classrooms and accommodation.

It also seeks to allow a double-story building on the property that could double the height of the current mosque.

The Sandton Islamic Association also wants to change the current prohibition of an amplified Athaan which is subject to the approval of the City Council

However a number of people have opposed the rezoning of the area to facilitate the expansion.

A ruling is expected within 2 weeks

—–

The US and the UK have said they look forward to working with Egypt’s newly elected President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, while warning the former general to take steps to guarantee freedom of expression.

The White House said it hoped to advance its strategic partnership with Cairo and the “many interests” the countries shares.

A day earlier, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he looked forward to working with the former army chief’s government to strengthen the relationship between Egypt and the UK.

Both countries urged Sisi, who won Egypt’s presidential poll with more than 96 percent of the vote, to ensure freedom of expression was allowed.

Sisi’s road to the presidency started with the overthrow of the country’s first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi, last July.

Washington refrained from calling the change of government a coup, an assessment that would have forced it under US law to stop providing Egypt with billions in annual aid.

Sisi’s election has also been welcomed by his main Arab allies, including Saudi Arabia.

—–

Justin Bieber reportedly joked about killing black people and joining the Ku Klux Klan in a shocking new video.

The 20-year-old  just recently apologised after a video emerged of him using a racial slur at the age of 15.

He is now at the centre of another controversy as new footage sees him alter the lyrics of one of his songs and using the derogatory N word

Bieber then cracks a joke about joining the Ku Klux Klan, a racist hate group founded in the deep south of the United States.

According to The Sun newspaper,he is seen repeating the N-word numerous times in the 24-second clip.

The new racism claim comes just days after Justin was forced to apologise for an earlier video in which he made an inappropriate joke about black people.

—–

Ten people died and forty others were injured when a truck, a sedan and a bus collided on the R40 road outside White River in Mpumalanga.

A heavy goods vehicle and a bus collided head-on and then a motor vehicle proceeded to collide with the bus. All three vehicles burst into flames upon impact.

The accident happened around 18.45pm.

The R40 was closed off and traffic was severely affected

The injured were transported to hospital for further medical care

—–

THURSDAY

Mpumalanga police said a video of a man being beaten to death by a crowd in Stilfontein Extension H, outside KwaMhlanga, for allegedly stealing a cellphone, was being investigated.

Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said they are in possession of the video but it only surfaced last week Friday.

Police are looking at the people in the video and requested the assistance of the community in order to make arrests.

The video shows the man being taken along a road, pushed, and beaten, with at least two men kicking and punching him after he falls to the ground.

A crowd of people look on, with the person recording the video on a cellphone capturing at least one other woman doing the same thing.

The investigation is continuing.

—-

Details emerging from investigations into a Springs father who allegedly tortured his wife and kids for years may point out that he is a sadistic psychopath.

Reports state that Experts believe the East rand man’s alleged prolonged assault on his children, aged between two and 16 and wife, are “tantamount to torture”.

Police testimony in court reduced several people in the public gallery to tears.

full-body X-rays will be carried out on the alleged victims, to look for healed broken bones and damaged internal organs.

Police say an 11-year-old boy was suspended by his hands and feet by chains from poles for days. He was also whipped, sprayed with teargas and hit with a knobkerrie.

Other children were stabbed, cut across their faces and beaten with pool cues.

The children and their mother were rescued two weeks ago after the 11-year-old escaped from their home and alerted neighbours.

Prosecutors have opposed bail.

—–

As world powers ignored Israel’s calls to reject the Palestinian government formed Monday, Palestinian leaders hailed the West Bank-Gaza reconciliation pact as a way for citizens of both territories to unite against occupation.

Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti said they are now unified to end occupation.

Israeli authorities declared an end to the latest round of peace talks with Palestinians in April after the Fatah-led PLO announced a surprise reconciliation deal with Hamas

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to attain American and European disapproval over the new government failed, his office took to Twitter in a campaign against Palestinian unity.

However Barghouti says Israelis were in reality not as concerned with Hamas as they were about the idea of Palestinians being unified.

Presidential and legislative elections are to be held within six months, President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday. Abbas’ presidential term technically ended in early 2009

—–

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad  won a landslide victory in presidential poll securing 88.7 percent of the vote in an election described as a farce.

The two other candidates, Hassan al-Nouri and Maher Hajjar, won 4.3 percent and 3.2 percent respectively.

The victory gives Assad a third seven-year term in office.

It was the first election in 50 years in the country that is still reeling under a massive internal war.

Voting was held only in government-controlled areas, excluding northern and eastern Syria that are in opposition hands.

—–

Saudi Arabias Ministry of Health said the Kingdom’s death toll from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is actually 282, or 92 more than the tally recorded as of June 2.

According to the Ministry of Health’s Command & Control Center, the new data came about following a thorough review by the center starting from September 2012 to the present day.

New data also showed that the total number of infections in the Kingdom is actually 688 rather than 575 as reported in the ministry’s website on Monday.

The report puts the total number of cases recorded in the Kingdom since 2012 at 688 including 282 fatalities.

At the time, 53 were receiving treatment while 353 have recovered.

MERS is viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Most people who have been confirmed to have MERS-CoV infection developed severe acute respiratory illness.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

About 30% of people confirmed to have MERS-CoV infection have died.

—–

Reporters Without Borders called upon the Libyan authorities to conduct an investigation into the killing of journalist Naseeb Miloud Karfana based in the southern city of Sabha

This was the second case of targeting journalists in a week.

Karfana’s body was found together with her so called fiancé’s in Benghazi’s northern district of Alhay Al-Jadida.

Her throat was cut and she appeared to have been tortured.

The director of the Libya’s National channel, Ali Shenebar, said that for the past eight months Karfana had been working as a coordinator in the department of programme coordination.

Reporters Without Borders called upon the Libyan authorities to conduct an impartial investigation without delay and to determine the motives of this double crime.

The murder of Karfana comes three days after the assassination of Muftah Buzeid, editor of the state-owned newspaper Burniq, shot in the middle of Benghazi.

—–

The man dubbed “The Springs Monster” was rushed to hospital after apparently slitting his wrists in the holding cell at the local magistrate’s court.

The public gallery in the Springs Magistrate’s Court erupted in spontaneous applause when the man was denied bail.

The 36-year-old man was arrested after allegedly assaulting his wife and five children and keeping them captive.

The case was postponed to 12 June for the man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his family, to obtain Legal Aid.

He faces charges of child abuse, rape, assault, and defeating the ends of justice.

Magistrate Roy le Roux found that the man did not even come close to convincing the court that it was in the interests of justice to release him on bail.

—–

Eskom’s acting CEO Collin Matjila said its supply capacity is currently on the edge and even if the demand increases just a little bit, it might have to start with controlled load shedding.

He appealed to people, especially in townships, not to redirect electricity as it is not only dangerous, but also puts additional constraints on Eskom’s supply.

Eskom’s call on all South Africans to save energy is now louder than ever as the system will remain tight

Eskom chair Zola Tsotsi said these are interesting times for Eskom as it is experiencing both challenges and new opportunities.

He said the fact that Eskom could keep the lights on during the past summer season – except for one day in March – is due to all South Africans having worked together.

—–

Israel announced plans to build 1,500 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in response to the formation of a Palestinian unity government.

The announcement came two days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a technocratic government, which is supported by Hamas, a move bitterly opposed by the Israeli government.

The online edition of the the Haaretz newspaper reported that the majority of the homes will be in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, with 400 in East Jerusalem.

Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel reportedly congratulated the decision to give a proper Zionist response to the establishment of what he called the Palestinian “terror” cabinet.

Ariel, who is a member of the far-right Jewish Home Party, said that the plans were “just the beginning”.

The move to expand settlements in occupied land has been condemened by senior Palestinian figures, who see the expansions as a major obstacle to the decades-old conflict.

——

Boko Haram fighters dressed as soldiers reportedly killed at least 200 civilians in three communities in northeastern Nigeria

According to Al Jazeera, a community leader said that residents of the Gwoza local government district in Borno state had pleaded for the military to send soldiers to protect the area after they heard that the fighters were about to attack, but help did not arrive.

The AP news agency said It took a few days for survivors to get word of the massacres to Maiduguri, because travel on the roads is extremely dangerous and phone connections are poor or nonexistent.

The killings in Attagara, Agapalawa and Aganjara villages were confirmed by both Mohammed Ali Ndume, a senator representing Borno and whose hometown is Gwoza, and by a top security official in Maiduguri.

Thousands of people have been killed in the five-year-old insurgency, more than 2 000 so far just this year, and an estimated 750 000 Nigerians have been driven from their homes.

——

Reports that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union had rejected a government wage proposal to end the crippling five-month strike are apparently untrue.

In an interview with Fin24 Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said that is simply not the case.

Mathunjwa took the latest offer by Lonmin, Impala Platinum and Anglo Platinum to a mass meeting of workers.

The offer, involving an R800 increase was rejected by the meeting “because it was really just the same offer management put forward months ago”, said Mathunjwa.

He and the union had confidence in Mines Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi and felt that the minister seemed to have a “clear understanding of the issues”.

Negotiations were ongoing and Ramatlhodi was meeting with the mining companies and would continue to meet with Amcu negotiators.  Details of what has been discussed at these meetings are being kept under wraps by both parties.

—–

At least 18 people were killed and dozens injured during sporadic fighting in the Iraqi city of Samarra after armed men took control of several districts.

Government forces in the city reportedly said that they believed the men were members of t he Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group and that the army was sending in reinforcements to face them.

They said the fighting was ongoing and that government warplanes were attacking rebel positions in the city, which lies 125 km north of the capital Baghdad.

Sources said the men entered the city in large numbers from the south with heavy weapons attached to pick-up trucks.

Upwards of 350 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in months of conflict in Fallujah, according to Doctor Ahmed Shami at the city’s hospital.

According to figures separately compiled by the United Nations and the government More than 900 people were killed last month.

according to AFP news agency figures based on security and medical sources,Over 4,000 have been killed so far this year.

FRIDAY

Several suburbs in the South and North of Johannesburg were still without power after the theft of parts from electricity pylons.

Affected areas include Eldorado Park, Freedom Park, Lenasia, Craighall Park, the Johannesburg CBD, and parts of Pretoria.

Sapa reports that the power interruption was caused by the theft of 88kV electricity pylons between the Nirvana and Nancefield substations.

City Power spokesperson, Sol Masolo, said that electricians have been deployed to the relevant areas and have started replacing the stolen pylons.

The power outages come at a time when the country is experiencing extreme weather conditions and cold temperatures throughout.

City Power said electricity in areas south of Johannesburg was expected to be restored by the end of Friday, except for Lenasia.

Its spokesman Sol Masolo said at the moment, the situation hasn’t changed compared to last night.

He called the theft a major concern, adding that they are taking as many measures as possible to ensure the pylons are protected and we are in contact with police in regards to this matter.

City Power was ready for the winter electricity demand but appealed to residents to use energy sparingly.

—-

The SA Weather Service saidsnowfalls, which dusted parts of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Lesotho, are not expected to continue over the weekend.

Forecaster Bransby Bulo said For this weekend, they are expecting mostly clear skies across the country.

The cold front, which moved across South Africa on Wednesday and Thursday, had moved out to the east of the country.

It was expected to be marginally warmer in most areas over the weekend.

No further snowfalls were immediately expected.

It also advised Angora goat farmers to take cold weather precautions for their herds.

——

The Afghan Interior Ministry said a human bomber and a roadside bomb have struck the convoy of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah as it left a campaign event in the capital Kabul.

Friday’s explosions killed four civilians but left the candidate himself unharmed.

In a televised statement shortly after the attack, Abdullah said he had not been hurt but that his security guards had been wounded.

The assassination attempt on Abdullah came ahead of a second-round presidential election on June 14, which Taliban fighters have threatened to disrupt.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

At least seven people have been killed and more than 30 others injured in twin bomb blasts that struck a village in northern Iraq.

According to Iraqi police officials speaking on condition of anonymity, two back-to-back car bomb attacks hit the Tahrawa village located near Iraq’s northern city of Mosul.

Seven people were killed and some 37 others wounded

Iraq is currently witnessing violence unprecedented in recent years.

On June 1, the United Nations Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) said violence killed 799 people and injured 1,409 others across Iraq in May.

The worst-hit city was the capital Baghdad, with 315 people killed.

Violence claimed almost 9,000 lives in the country last year.

—–

The leadership of the ANC has asked President Jacob Zuma to take a break, the party said on Friday.

Its spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement the leadership of the African National Congress asked President Zuma to take time off from work following an intense elections campaign.

He did not elaborate, and could not immediately be reached for more information.

In his statement, Kodwa said Zuma briefly appeared at the ANC Lekgotla in Irene, where he greeted delegates and delivered a short political overview speech before leaving.

The president was scheduled to address National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union special national congress in Benoni this afternoon.

—–

The European Union had threatened to impose economic sanctions against Israel and has called on it to cancel its settlement projects which were announced yesterday.

An EU statement said they are deeply disappointed that the Israeli Land Administration has published new tenders for 1,466 housing units in settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.

The US State Department meanwhile, expressed its “deep disappointment” of the broad settlement construction projects in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

US State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Herf highlighted a statement made that such actions are unhelpful and it is hard to see how these settlements contribute to peace.

Earlier Herf said that her country would continue aiding the new Palestinian unity government while monitoring its work closely.

The EU said it will call on the Israeli authorities to reverse this decision and to direct all their efforts towards an early resumption of the peace talks.

The statement said that the foreign ministers of the European Union recently confirmed “their commitment to the full implementation” of the law relating to European settlement.

The European Union began in January to apply the rules prohibit dealing with companies or organizations based in the settlements.

Meanwhile Australia has decided to remove the term “occupied” when referring to east Jerusalem, a move blasted by Palestinians as “toxic” and an ostacle to peace and welcomed by Israel.

——

160 settlers under the protection of Israeli police marched through the courtyards of al-Aqsa Mosque from the Mughrabi Gate.

Director of Media at Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage, Mahmoud Abu al-Atta, reportedly said that 160 settlers, 30 of them Israeli college students, stormed al-Aqsa Mosque.

They organized tours in its courtyards, and tried to perform Talmudic prayers before Muslim worshipers prevented them from doing so.

Israeli authorities also seized more than 40 identity cards from worshipers.

Abu al-Atta also warned of the possible outbreak of clashes at any given moment, as calls to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque by Jewish religious institutions are frequent and ongoing.

——

According to an aide to the Ukrainian interior minister, fifteen pro-Russian rebels have been killed in clashes with government troops at a border crossing with Russia.

Speaking on a television programme last night, Anton Herashchenko said Ukrainian border guards clashed earlier in the day with armed men who came from Russia in trucks and an infantry vehicle,

Herashenko said the attackers were supported by about 100 rebels who came from the Ukrainian side of the border.

He said five Ukrainian troops were injured and 15 rebels were killed.

Their bodies were taken to a nearby town.

Government troops have for weeks been clashing with pro-Russian rebels who dismiss the Kiev government as illegitimate.

—–

Check Also

Charlottesville is America everywhere

US white supremacists and Neo-Nazis are no longer afraid of showing their faces because they …

Even in death, Palestinians have to fight for their freedom

By Rami Younis |Published July 25, 2017 972mag.com Perhaps through this scene, of Palestinians resorting to …