Yusuf Alli – Cii News | 14 February 2014/13 Rabi Uthaanil 1435

News that made headlines on various newswires around the world

MONDAY

The Jamiatul Ulama added their voice to calls made by the South African government for the unconditional release of Pierre Korkie.

The organisations secretary general, Ml Ebrhaim Bham, asked the kidnappers of Korkie in Yemen to release him unconditionally as a humanitarian gesture that fosters goodwill and better understanding.

According to Imtiaz Suilam of the Gift of the givers, they have received no further information thus far from the armed group.

However AFP news agency reported they had been contacted by another mediator.

They reported that the source is thoroughly credible. Due to the sensitivity of the situation, he or she spoke on condition of anonymity.

They said the kidnappers would not execute Korkie, despite their deadline for receiving US3 million (about R32.5m) in ransom expiring Saturday.

The Gift of the Givers said on Sunday said it did not know who the mediator was and questioned its authenticity.

—–

North West Premier Thandi Modese said the alleged damaging of election material by seven people at a voter registration station in Taung, North West, undermined democracy.

Modise said citizens had the right to exercise their vote in a safe and peaceful environment without intimidation.

According to reports, three women and four men allegedly forced entry into a voter registration station at Itlameng Primary School on Saturday, and demanded registration material from IEC officials.

They then removed IEC banners from the school fence and set them alight before fleeing the scene.

They were arrested on Sunday afternoon.

—–

Israeli warplanes targeted a motorcycle in the central Gaza Strip, early yesterday, injuring two young Palestinian men.

Medics said that one of the victims was critically wounded and the other sustained moderate injuries.

An Israeli army statement identified the target of the strike as Abdullah Kharti, who was described as a “Key Popular Resistance Committees operative” involved with “numerous incidents of rocket fire towards Israel.”

The statement added that Israeli forces had “operated in order to eliminate an imminent threat to the lives of Israeli civilians,” without further detail.

The Popular Resistance Committees is a Gaza-based group that opposes negotiations with Israel.

——

New violence and looting in the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, had left at least nine people dead, including two more lynchings of minority Muslims.

The latest assaults included mob attacks and an assassination attempt targeting the former justice minister.

According to reports, Fighting broke out on Saturday evening between Christian vigilantes and Muslims in the west of Bangui where many buildings were torched.

A resident told AFP news agency that the alleged Muslim killer of a Christian woman was lynched and killed before his body was burned and deposited in front of the local town hall.

A suspected Christian militia member killed another Muslim civilian, and was about to burn the body when Rwandan soldiers of the African peacekeeping force MISCA shot him.

The shooting prompted an angry crowd to shout slogans against the Rwandan soldiers, whom they mistakenly believed to be Muslim.

Five other people were killed in unclear circumstances.

Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, the New York-based rights organisation, confirmed the witness reports and said another Muslim was lynched early on Sunday near Bangui’s central market.

—–

Another little girl has been the victim of violent crime in Delft, Cape Town.

The body of 11-year-old Siphokuhle Flephu was found on a bed at a Delft South home. It is thought Siphokuhle was also raped.

In the last month, at least two other young girls have been brutally attacked in the area.

On 19 January a 9-year-old girl was raped and set alight. She was left to die on a field near the R300 but survived. She is being treated in Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

A week earlier, a 6-year-old girl was raped in a communal toilet in the area.

Siphokuhle’s aunt Sithiwe said a resident’s boyfriend, who was staying in the shack, had approached her niece and asked her to buy cigarettes.

It is not known what happened next but Siphokuhle disappeared and the shack in which the man was had been locked.

The police’s André Traut said a 26-year-old man was found on the scene assaulted by residents. He was taken in for questioning.

The man who had been assaulted was a friend of the boyfriend.

—–

According to non-governmental organizations, Six hundred people – mostly women, children and the elderly – have been evacuated from the Syrian city of Homs.

They were brought out by humanitarian assistance teams on Sunday despite mortar attacks and shooting.

The evacuation of about 600 of the 3,000 trapped people came as representatives from both sides converged on Geneva, Switzerland, for new peace talks.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 611 were brought out – including 210 women, 180 children, 91 men over 55 years old and 130 young men who surrendered to Syrian authorities under UN supervision.

Homs, much of which has been reduced to rubble, was dubbed “the capital of the revolution” by activists before an offensive in 2012 by regime forces recaptured much of the city.

—–

A boat overcrowded with about 150 picnic guests capsized on a vast reservoir in India’s eastern Orissa state on Sunday and at least 22 people drowned.

Deputy Relief Commissioner Prabat Ranjan Mahapatra said Scuba divers searched for 10 other people who were still missing, though there was little chance of finding survivors a day after the boat sank.

A state official said Police, firefighters and emergency workers pulled dozens of survivors from the water

Survivors said the boat was carrying people back from a picnic on the opposite banks of the Hirakud reservoir, a 55-kilometer-long reservoir created by the Hirakud Dam in the Mahanadi River in Sambalpur District, about 1 300 kilometers southeast of New Delhi.

Authorities were investigating the accident, though they believe overcrowding was a likely cause.

—-

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema’s legal team had asked the North Gauteng High Court to postpone his sequestration case.

Dolf Masoma, for Malema, said there were two aspects to his argument to have the case postponed.

The first was Malema had a corruption case pending against him.

The second was Malema intended to apply to have his admission of liability set aside.

The Sars opposed the application for a postponement.

According to court documents, Malema owed R16 million plus interest after failing to submit tax returns between 2006 and 2010. In 2010, the Sars contacted Malema about his failure to submit tax returns.

It took Malema 18 months, after many attempts by the Sars, to file his outstanding returns.

Malema also failed to register the Ratanang Trust for tax purposes, and Sars had to do this on his behalf.

—–

Mexico’s federal police said they arrested suspected drug boss, who was wanted in the United States and Mexico for allegedly running an operation that smuggled tons of cocaine across the border and into the US and Europe.

The US State Department had been offering a $5m reward for information that could lead to the capture of Tirso Martinez Sanchez,

He was believed to be the leader of a group that brought 76 tons of cocaine into the United States between 2000 and 2003.

Mexico’s interior ministry said in a statement that the arrest was the result of intelligence work by the country’s federal police.

Police believe Martinez Sanchez worked with other drug lords in Mexico as well as in Colombia.

—–

Heavy rains caused a mudslide that buried much of a small mountainside settlement in central Bolivia, killing at least four people. Nine more people were listed as missing.

The slide reportedly occurred on Saturday night in the Quechua community of Chuypakasa and buried the homes of 15 families.

Rescue squads were digging through the site in hopes of finding more survivors.

The first responders were from Cochabamba, which is about 220km east of the capital of La Paz.

Heavy rains have been falling across most of Bolivia since November and civil defence officials say 46 850 families have been affected.

The government news agency ABI said Sunday that 40 people were killed, including 10 who died two weeks ago in a mudslide in the Amazon town of Rurrenabaque.

—–

A week-old baby boy found abandoned at the side of the road in Durban, was dubbed a true fighter and survivor after surviving without food and drink, and despite scorching temperatures and high levels of humidity on Friday.

Paramedics feared the worst when they were called to a scene after a passer-by discovered the baby boy inside a material shopping bag on the pavement along Queen Nandi Drive.

Robert McKenzie, the spokesperson for KZN Emergency Medical Services said he believes that the baby was only about a week old and his umbilical cord was still attached.

In the bag, the baby was exposed to a temperature of 30°C. But there was a sigh of relief when the paramedics assessed the baby and found him to be in good health.

According to founder of The Baby House in Durban, Justin Foxton, about 3 500 babies are abandoned in the country annually.

—–

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have withdrawn from Syria’s oil-rich eastern province of Deir al-Zor, after days of heavy fighting with rivals.

A source from the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat Nusra told the Reuters the ISIL fighters have almost completely withdrawn from Deir al-Zor.

The fighters were moving to Hassaka and Raqqa provinces.

Raqqa remained the stronghold of ISIL, which had been criticised for introducing hardline rules against civilians and executing dissenters.

Last week Al-Qaeda disavowed all links with ISIL after it killed rival rebel leaders in a number of car bombings.

Rebel groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra, have been battling ISIL for control of towns and oilfields in the area, sparking a spate of car bombs in the province.

—–

Electricity supplier Eskom had once again warned that supply will be tight over the next few days due to maintenance on generating units.

Eskom said in a statement that the power system would remain tight until new generating capacity comes on stream and essential generation maintenance is done.

The power utility called on people to reduce electricity usage while the planned maintenance on the generating units continued.

Eskom said the air-conditioning load was expected to increase because warm weather had been forecast.

It said if consumers saved 10 percent it would make it “significantly easier” to manage the power system during this time.

—-

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema narrowly escaped being barred from public office when a judge placed him under provisional sequestration.

A full sequestration ruling would have prevented Malema from taking a seat in Parliament after 7 May elections had the EFF gained sufficient votes.

His lawyer says that Malema is considering an appeal against the provisional ruling even though it does not affect his political ambitions.

—–

Sudanese local media reported that the US envy in Khartoum, Joseph D Stafford, resigned from his post after he converted to Islam.

Stafford told the foreign ministry that his resignation was made for “personal reasons” but Sudanese sources claimed that the envoy was forced to resign after he turned to Islam.

Sources said that Stafford has recorded visits to the headquarters of Ansar al-Sunnah in Sudan and established a close relationship with a number of Sudanese scholars through these visits.

The U.S. State Department has not made any statement to confirm or deny the news on Joseph Stafford.

The U.S. has not appointed an ambassador to its embassy in Khartoum since 1998 and has kept its representation there despite Sudan’s demand that it be upgraded.

——

TUESDAY

The Turkish Cooporation and Coordination Agency distributed food aid to Rohingyan Muslims in the Maungdaw and Takaypin refugee camps this week.

As Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu promised last November during his visit to Myanmar, food aid was distributed by TIKA in refugee camps in Sittwe and Maungdaw.

Food packages were delivered to authorities with a ceremony.

Rohingyan officials thanked to TIKA and Turkey for the aid.

They expressed their wish that the cooperation will continue.

Rohingyan Muslims, who have difficulties to obtain the basic survival needs are known as being the most discriminated ethnic group, by United Nations.

Meanwhile after the latest conflicts in the country another ethnic Muslim group Kamans started to suffer from lack of food and shelter.

—–

A pupil at a top Cape high school was recovering after an attacker tried to rob him and then slit his throat.

On Monday evening, Facebook images were posted showing the teen’s wound, followed by nearly a hundred comments expressing outrage.

The street he was attacked in is about 500m from the school gates.

The Grade 10 Parel Vallei pupil was rushed to hospital where he apparently received 18 stitches plus six internal stitches.

Education MEC Donald Grant’s spokeswoman, Bronagh Casey said the school had reported an increase in crime against pupils walking home from school over the past two weeks.

Pupils had been approached by strangers demanding their cellphones or possessions.

Police have confirmed the incident and are investigating.

—–

 

WEDNESDAY

Anti-Balaka Chrisitain fighters in the Central African Republic are trying to “ethnically cleanse Muslims”.

This is according to another report by Amnesty International, the UK-based rights organisation.

The report, also criticised the international community’s response to the crisis, noting that the peacekeeping troops have been reluctant to challenge mostly Christian anti-Balaka fighters, and have been slow to protect the Muslim minority.

The report details witness testimonies included that of a boy named Abdul Rahman who told the group that anti-Balaka fighters demanded the Muslim passengers to get out of a lorry he was travelling in on January 14, and then killed six members of his family, including three women and a toddler.

The UN has accused Christian fighters who armed themselves to retaliate against Muslim rebels of contributing to a “climate of complete impunity”.

Muslims have accused the French and African peacekeepers of failing to disarm the fighters at the same time they have been actively disarming the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels, who deposed President Francois Bozize in March last year.

—–

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said there was a distinct risk the Central African Republic could end up divided as a result of sectarian violence

He called for an international force to combat escalating atrocities.

Ban raised the possibility of the country being divided into Christian and Muslim regions for the first time late and said the global response was not matching the gravity of the situtation.

He urged the international community to support an African Union force and said that other nations should contribute troops to help stabilise the country.

Earlier the UK-based rights organisation Amnesty International said Anti-Balaka Chrisitain fighters in the Central African Republic are trying to “ethnically cleanse Muslims.

The UN accused Christian fighters who armed themselves to retaliate against Muslim rebels of contributing to a “climate of complete impunity”.

More than 1,000 people have been killed and nearly one million forced from their homes in CAR since December in violence pitting Christians and Muslims against each other.

—–

the Opposition for Urban Tolling Alliance said seventy-one percent of Gauteng motorists do not have e-tags

A survey carried out by Outa shows that 71% of  2 700 vehicles counted during peak hour traffic at nine different on or off ramps during early February – did not have e-tags fitted.

It says this is an indication that “freeway users are largely steadfast and exercising strong levels of civil courage by not getting e-tagged to the levels required by Sanral

Outa’s previous research finding on December 12  2013 within two weeks of the gantries going live was that 15% of users had bought into the system.

John Clarke, outas spokesperson says Despite Sanral’s intimidation tactics, Outa was pleasently surprised at the civil courage of Gauteng citizens who have largely resisted and displayed a relatively low e-tag uptake.

He added that compliance levels have to be well over the 85% level to indicate successful implementation of e-tolling.

With less than a third of freeway users tagged up at this stage, Outa believes the system is headed for failure, as it has in many parts of the world under even more favourable conditions.

——-

Peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition was not making much progress, as the international mediator had acknowledged after a face-to-face meeting of the rival parties in Geneva.

Negotiations intended to end Syria’s three-year-old civil war began with a week-long session last month and resumed in the Swiss city which hosts the UN’s European headquarters.

But Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN-Arab League envoy, said the second round of “Geneva 2″ so far was as laborious as the first.

The absence of breakthrough coincided with more reports of bombs being dropped on the rebel-held city of Aleppo.

In an attempt to break the deadlock, Brahimi had proposed that they use Tuesday to discuss ending the violence and today to raise formation of a transitional governing body.

On Tuesday both sides said that the agenda had still not been agreed on.

—–

An attack on a cinema in Pakistan, north west city of Peshawar left at least 13 people dead.

It came immediately after a pledge Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan not to carry out any attacks while they are in talks with the government.

The TTP denied responsibility for that attack.

The cinema is owned by the Bilour family, one of the most powerful political families in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The attack came as negotiators for the Pakistani government and for Taliban fighters met for a second time as part of efforts to end the seven-year conflict.

—–

Syria’s Red Crescent was on standby to resume evacuating civilians from the besieged neighbourhoods of Homs, after operations were suspended for a day over logistical difficulties.

Red Crescent head of operations Khaled Erksoussi said that his teams were waiting for the conclusion of a daily meeting between the United Nations and Homs’s governor, Talal Barazi.

He said they were expecting that they would be able to get some more food material in and hoping to get some more people out.

The Red Crescent and UN agencies had been evacuating civilians from Homs and delivering aid to those left behind since a tenuous three-day ceasefire came into effect on Friday.

However, it has been broken several times, with shelling killing 14 people and aid crews also coming under fire.

Between Friday and Monday, just over 1,150 people were evacuated, and the World Food Programme delivered enough food for another 1,550 families.

The operation has been welcomed internationally and is providing desperately-needed relief for the estimated 3,000 people trapped in rebel-held areas of the city for more than 18 months.

—–

Algeria started three days of national mourning for the 77 passengers who died in a military plane crash in the country’s northeast.

A commission of inquiry was launched to determine the cause of the accident.

An Algerian military statement says that 78 people were on board the plane that was flying through poor weather when it crashed into a mountain shortly before it was due to land in the city of Constantine.

The sole survivor, a soldier, was taken to a military hospital in Constantine, suffering from head trauma.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced that the official mourning would begin today and praised the dead soldiers aboard the plane as “martyrs”.
—-

An East Rand school pupil who shot dead his alleged bully did not plan to kill him, this according to The Star newspaper, which said the accused’s lawyer William Karam told the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday that the murder was not premeditated.

The now 19-year-old boy shot 18 year old Nkuleleko Ndlovu in the head at the Phineas Xulu Secondary School in Vosloorus with his mother’s service pistol in November 2012.

The indictment stated that Ndlovu approached the accused with the intention of fighting with him.

The accused shot at Ndlovu after he had slapped him.

His slawyer says he had been severely bullied and it was not a once-off thing, as he had complained to the school but they did nothing and he took the law into his hands.

The boy is out on R1000 bail.

—–

Gunmen attacked the home of a slain Pakistani police officer in Peshawar, leaving nine people dead.

The attack coincided with peace talks between the government and local Taliban fighters.

According to a report by the Associated Press news agency, police said the dead were all members of an anti-Taliban militia, including chief Israrullah Khan.

Peshawar Police Chief Ijaz Khan Mohmand said about a dozen men threw grenades over the house’s walls and then clambered over themselves.

After entering, they shot all the men in the in the house using AK-47 rifles sparing women and children.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the early-morning assault.

—–

DA leader Helen Zille has accused the ANC of gathering with rocks and bricks at Beyers Naude Square in Johannesburg without permission.

They’ve gathered in large numbers without police permission, Police have not stopped them and they are armed with bricks, she said

The DA began marching for “real jobs” from Beyers Naude Square in Johannesburg.

Earlier, an urgent application by the ANC to secure a protection order over an alleged threat by the DA was dismissed by the South Gauteng High Court.

The ruling party said the application was necessary because the DA had secured the services of a security firm armed with batons, helmets, and shields.

—–

Brick-carrying protesters wearing ANC T-shirts stormed the DA in central Johannesburg as its leader Helen Zille was about to address marchers.

The Democratic Alliance’s march for “real jobs” stopped on the corner of Rissik and Marshall streets after the police told them it was too dangerous to move on to Beyers Naude Square.

As Zille was about to start speaking, a group of protesters in ANC attire came running down Rissik Street.

The ANC protesters threw bricks at DA members who turned around and started running back to the Westgate transport hub.

Earlier, a group of people, dressed in ANC attire, threw petrol bombs at police at the corner of Miriam Makeba and Fox streets.

Around 100 officers descended on the street to try and restore calm.

—–

Gunmen attacked the home of a slain Pakistani police officer in Peshawar , leaving nine people dead.

The attack coincides with peace talks between the government and local Taliban fighters.

According to a report by the Associated Press news agency, police said the dead were all members of an anti-Taliban militia, including chief Israrullah Khan.

Peshawar Police Chief Ijaz Khan Mohmand said about a dozen men threw grenades over the house’s walls and then clambered over themselves.

After entering, they shot all the men in the in the house using AK-47 rifles sparing women and children.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the early-morning assault.

—–

Operations to evacuate civilians from besieged parts of the city of Homs and deliver aid had resumed after being suspended for a day.

The provincial governor,Talal Barazi, said at 11:00, food aid was able to enter the Old City of Homs.

The vehicles that are taking in the aid will bring out a number of civilians, including 20 Christians from the Bustan al-Diwan neighbourhood.

On Tuesday, Barazi said operations had been suspended due to unspecified “logistical difficulties”.

Humanitarian operations targeting besieged neighbourhoods of the Old City of Homs began on Friday, after the UN mediated an agreement and a ceasefire between the government and opposition.

Since then, more than 1,150 people have been evacuated, many suffering malnutrition after surviving on little more than olives and wild plants after food supplies dwindled during a siege of more than 18 months.

An estimated 3,000 people had been trapped in parts of the central city of Homs, much of which has been devastated by ongoing violence between rebels and the army.

—–

According to reports as recently the beginning of February 2014, Muslims homes in Mozambiques Capo Delgado province were raided by mobs seeking to destroy copies of the Noble Quraan.

An interview on Cii Radio with Sheikh Ameen Udeen, the president of the Islamic Council of Mozambique said there had been an anti-Quraan campaign by the colonialists.

Other Ulema, who preferred to remain anonymous, spoke about the influx of deviated groupings claiming to be Muslim and inviting people away from the true teachings of Islam.

Cii Projects has therefore lent its support to the ongoing campaigns to make available Quraans and Quraan learning material to northern Mozambique.

To be a part of the campaign and donate Quraans you can call 011 494 7000 during office hours.

—–

The second wintry storm in two weeks to hit the normally warm US south encrusted the region in ice, knocking out electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.

Wednesday’s storm then pushed toward the heavily populated Northeast.

At least 11 deaths across the region were blamed on the weather, including three people who were killed when an ambulance careened off an icy Texas road and caught fire.

Nearly 3 300 airline flights nationwide were cancelled.

The National Weather Service called the storm catastrophic … crippling … paralysing …or it said you could choose your adjective.

President Barack Obama declared a disaster in South Carolina and for parts of Georgia, opening the way for federal aid.

In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, palm trees were covered with a thick crust of ice.

——

 

THURSDAY

The head of the UN’s refugee agency said he has witnessed a humanitarian catastrophe of unspeakable proportions during his visit to the Central African Republic.

Massive ethno-religious cleansing is continuing.

Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said shocking barbarity, brutality and inhumanity have characterised this violence.

He also said the country’s new government is incapable of effectively protecting its citizens.

Meanwhile the CAR’s new transitional president, Catherine Samba Panza, who vowed war against a mostly Christian anti-balaka militia whose recent attacks have led to a mass exodus of Muslims.

The anti-balaka emerged last year after a mostly Muslim rebel group seized control of the country.

They had gone on the rampage in Bangui and elsewhere, largely targeting Muslims, since the rebels were ousted from power last month.

The most lethal attack documented by Amnesty International took place on January 18 in Bossemptele, where at least 100 Muslims were killed.

Women and old men were among the dead, including an imam in his mid-70s.

—–

Wage talks between the striking Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and platinum producers were expected to resume on Thursday.

On Monday the CCMA said that individual engagements with the parties had initially been set for February 11 and 12.

Employers had requested additional time to consider and consult their constituencies.

The mediation process was aimed at resolving the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s strike at Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum, and Impala Platinum.

CCMA director Nerine Kahn said the CCMA was confident a mediated solution could be found.

Around 80 000 miners downed tools on January 23.

Amcu is demanding a R12 500 basic salary for miners

—–

An Afghan official said the government had freed 65 accused fighters from a former U.S. prison despite protests from the American military.

The U.S. has called the men “dangerous” fighters who will likely return to the battlefield to kill coalition and Afghan forces.

Prison spokesman Maj. Nimatullah Khaki said all 65 were freed this morning.

He said they were laughing and smiling as they boarded a bus to leave the facility.

President Hamid Karzai ordered their release several weeks ago from the Parwan Detention Facility, drawing angry denunciations from the U.S. and straining relations between the two countries ahead of the year-end withdrawal of most international combat troops.

—–

Palestinian Labor Minister Ahmad Majdalani said that all non-Palestinian armed groups had withdrawn from Yarmouk refugee camp, south of Damascus.

Armed Palestinians were now being deployed at the camp.

Groups of local Palestinian have been trying to bring life inside the camp back to normal.

Some 100 camp residents have already died of starvation which has remained under siege by Syrian regime forces and pro-regime militias since last September.

Most of those seeking shelter there are Palestinian women and children.

Around 92 percent of the camp residents had left it because of the war.

——-

A Pakistani judge ordered the country’s intelligence services to produce a victim of CIA drone strikes who had been missing since being seized from his Rawalpindi home a week ago.

Kareem Khan, who lost his son and brother to a 2009 CIA drone strike in North Waziristan, had been due to travel to Europe to discuss his experience with parliamentarians.

However, he had not been heard from since being detained by a group of men in police uniforms and plain clothes in the early hours of February 5.

Khan was also involved in legal proceedings on behalf of his brother, Asif Iqbal, a teacher, and his son Zahinullah.

He had asked the courts to order the Pakistani police to launch a criminal investigation into the strike, arguing it constitutes murder under domestic law.

Human rights group, Reprieve, had argued that the intelligence services may have been responsible for Khan’s arrest.

——

A group of South African soldiers were robbed during a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan,

The SA Navy said there was no loss of life, but some of their equipment was taken away from them

Captain Jaco Theunissen said the troops were in a convoy when they were ambushed on Saturday.

Theunissen was unable to say how many troops were there at the time, and what sort of equipment was stolen.

He said they were waiting for more information from the investigation team.

—–

Commentators said that The ANC fell for a “political stunt” by using bricks and petrol bombs to repel DA marchers in downtown Johannesburg yesterday.

The plan to legally march to within a city block of ANC headquarters – to demand better job creation – was foiled when police turned the estimated 8000 DA marchers around to prevent a direct clash with about 15000 ANC supporters.

Political analyst Mcebisi Ndletyana said the DA had known in advance that there would be a reaction from the ANC, which had denounced the march as provocative.

Ndetyana said it was never meant to achieve anything meaningful but basically to portray the ANC as intolerant.

DA leaders ordered marchers not to sing provocative songs that insulted the ANC or President Jacob Zuma.But outside Luthuli House emotions were high with ANC members chanting anti Zille and Mazibuko slogans.

—–

Suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was discussing possible legal action against his employers and an auditing firm.

Vavi’s spokesman John Dludlu said he was consulting with his lawyers to determine what course of action to take against both the auditing firm and Cosatu.

The Mail & Guardian reported that Vavi intended suing the Congress of SA Trade Unions and SizweNtsaluba Gobodo for defamation after the release of a damning report against him.

The report by the firm found irregularities relating to the purchase of a new Cosatu building and the selling of the old one.

Vavi was suspended last year after he admitted to having an affair with a junior employee. She had initially accused him of rape but had not laid charges with police.

—–

Market research company Ipsos said Half of South African adults believe that President Jacob Zuma and his government are not doing their jobs well.

These were the results of face-to-face interviews with over 3 500 randomly selected adult South Africans who were interviewed in their homes and home languages.

The interviews were conducted in November last year.

Fifty four percent of respondents said Zuma was not doing well.

Of the remaining 46%, 17% said Zuma was doing very well and 29% said he was doing fairly well.

It said South African public perception of how well government was doing had declined in the past three years.

——

A powerful car bomb attack on a police bus in Pakistan’s commercial hub of Karachi has killed at least 12 policemen and injured dozens more.

The blast went off as more than 50 officers were boarding the bus near the national highway in Karachi.

A senior police official said an explosive-laden car hit the police bus transporting officials for security duty.

Doctor Semi Jamali at Karachi’s Jinnah hospital says in addition to the killed officers, about three dozen more policemen had been hospitalised, 10 of whom were in a critical condition.

The attack happened outside a police training centre.

The assault was latest in a series of attacks that come at a time when the Pakistani government is trying to strike a peace deal with local Taliban.

—–

 

Seven people were killed when a car bomb exploded near the entrance of Mogadishu’s heavily-guarded international airport where many foreign diplomats are based.

Armed group al-Shabaab told Al Jazeera that they detonated the bomb and that the target was a United Nations convoy.

The spokesman also told Al Jazeera that the group had fired mortars at the presidential palace on Wednesday.

Senior police officer Colonel Abdikadir Ahmed said a car laden with explosives was remotely exploded in front of a tea shop just outside the airport.

Although al-Shabab were pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011 by African Union peacekeeping troops, they have carried out several bombings in Mogadishu targeting government officials and foreign nationals.

—-

Two high school pupils were gunned down outside their Cape Town home, and police were searching for a man they believe can help them with their investigation.

The teenagers were gunned down in cold blood outside their Clarke Estate block of flats last night.

Police believe the gunman was known to the group of children.

The victims, Bianka Jacobs and Shameeg Dammas, both aged 17, who were pupils at St Andrews Secondary School in Elsies River, died in a hail of bullets while talking to friends

The shots came from a gun wielded by a gunman known to the victims.

The shooter reportedly appeared out of the darkness and fired randomly at the group of school friends.

Police arrived at the scene to find the victims in the street with gunshot wounds to their bodies.

—-

Financially embattled EFF leader Julius Malema will make it to Parliament after the elections..

Economic Freedom Fighters spokesperson Mpho Ramakatsa said several strategies were being implemented, including legal processes, to prevent Malema’s sequestration.

The legal work to prevent the sequestration included lodging an appeal to set aside an admission of a R16m tax bill which Sars tricked Malema to sign on the basis that an agreement will be reached.

He said “misleading claims” were being spread by Sars and the media saying that Malema would not be able to assume public office after the May general elections.

Ramakatsa added that Concerned South Africans had offered to establish a fundraising mechanism to cover the debt, should the legal challenges falter.

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A spike in fighting between the Syrian government and opposition forces had sent the country’s death toll soaring, just as UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi struggled to prevent peace talks in Geneva from collapsing.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least 51 people were killed a day earlier in Aleppo alone.

Most of those killed were civilians in air raids targeting opposition-controlled areas.

Dozens more were killed in the south.

The Observatory has reported an average of 236 people killed daily since the so-called Geneva 2 peace talks began in late January, bringing regime and opposition representatives to the negotiating table but producing no concrete results.

The latest daily death tolls in Syria have been the highest since the civil war began nearly three years ago, while hundreds of thousands more people have been displaced by the violence.

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Political leaders in South Africa described President Jacob Zuma’s state-of-the-nation address as ‘dismal’ and ‘misleading’.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said this “misleading” picture needed to be dealt with.

Holomisa said Zuma painted a rosy picture of the country, but this was contrary to what was actually seen.

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder labelled President Jacob Zuma’s state-of-the-nation address as a “brag speech” with little focus on the future.

He welcomed Zuma’s announcement of a central tender board to tackle corruption, but was worried this was motivated by the wish to woo voters ahead of the general elections in May.

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko described President Jacob Zuma’s state-of-the-nation address as “pretty dismal.

She said it was acknowledged that South Africa is a better place to live in, but questioned if it was better than 2009 when Zuma took office.

Mazibuko claimed Zuma had reversed the gains made by his predecessors, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.

Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota said President Jacob Zuma hoodwinked the nation during his state-of-the-nation address.

“All the things he said had nothing to do with the reality we know, that we are living in this country,” Lekota said.

“How can he say we are winning the battle against corruption when he himself has not even appeared before the courts to account for the many allegations made against him and when he didn’t even say anything to us about Nkandla?”

The president failed to mention that poor South Africans were up in arms because of the failures of the ANC-led provinces, he said.

FRIDAY

According to reports, more than 70 men and women have been executed in the restive eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The UN mission in the country, known as MONUSCO suggested in a report that the summary executions were allegedly committed mainly by armed groups to spread terror among the population.

A MONUSCO spokesman said the killings happened in late January and early February.

They took place in the Nyamaboko villages I and II in the resource-rich northeastern North Kivu province where armed groups regularly attack civilians over ethnic or commercial disputes.

MONUSCO said it was in the process of verifying the information about the mass executions on the ground.

Meanwhile, Martin Kobler, the head of the mission, expressed “serious concern over the allegations of the gross human rights violations deemed unacceptable”.

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A major volcanic eruption in Indonesia has shrouded a large swathe of the country’s most heavily populated island in ash,

This triggered the evacuation of about 200,000 people and the closure of three international airports.

Indonesia’s disaster agency says two people died in the overnight eruption of Java’s Mount Kelud, considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the island.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said about 200,000 people from 36 villages in eastern Java were being asked to evacuate.

Booms could be heard at least 130km away in Surabaya, the country’s second-largest city, and even further afield in Jogyakarta.

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The latest winter storm to hit the East Coast of the US had grounded more than 6,500 flights, while hundreds of thousands in the ice-encrusted south remained without power.

In the capital, Washington had at least 20cm of snow, with New York City reporting a similar amount.

At least 20 deaths, most of them in traffic accidents, were blamed on the storm as it made its way across the south and up the coast.

The White House cancelled its daily news briefing, and federal agencies told workers to stay home.

Various localities across the region had readied emergency shelters at churches and recreation centres where residents could stay warm should they lose power.

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A 69-year-old car guard who was shot when he and his daughter prevented robbers from escaping had died.

Police spokesperson Captain Joep Joubert said he had not recovered and died in hospital on Wednesday.

On Monday, the father-and-daughter car guard team prevented robbers from getting away with their loot on the East Rand.

The woman was shot twice in the stomach and her father was shot once, also in the stomach.

The 69-year-old man and his daughter, who is in her forties, managed to prevent the men from taking the cash after they robbed a man in front of a bank in Voortrekker Street.

The two robbers dropped the loot, got into a getaway car and sped off with three other accomplices.

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A man was shot dead and another wounded in an apparent road rage confrontation in Randburg,.

Police spokesperson Edna Mamonyane said the motorcyclist was killed on Malibongwe Drive and Boundary Road after he apparently confronted the driver of a sedan who shot at him.

He died on the scene.

The wounded 44-year-old driver of the car was treated on the scene by paramedics before being transported to hospital under police guard.

She could not immediately confirm reports that the man was shot by the motorcyclist.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Santi Steinmann said the man was in a serious condition.

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Talks between South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and a state mediator about a strike over wages in the platinum sector will be postponed to next week.

The mediator was scheduled to meet AMCU officials today but the union said it was organising a funeral of a steward who was killed in a clash with police at an Amplats mine last week.

AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa told eNCA television that they will be available next week.

Members of AMCU downed tools three weeks ago at Amplats, Impala Platinum and Lonmin after wage talks failed.

The stoppages are costing the country an estimated $36 million a day.

AMCU wants basic pay to more than double to 12,500, which companies say they can ill afford as they grapple with soaring costs and depressed global demand for the precious metal.

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Official Palestinian data confirms that Israeli forces arrested 900 Palestinian children over the past year, unlike previous years where the occupation averaged 700 child prisoners.

The Ministry of Prisoner’s Affairs in Ramallah has published a report stating that “The detention of children and their torture have turned into a systematic policy practiced by the occupation authorities; a policy that constitutes a violation of both international conventions and agreements related to the rights of detained children.”

The report pointed out that nearly 180 children under the age of 18 are currently detained in Israeli jails, distributed among the prisons in Ofer, Megiddo and Sharon.

The majority of the children say they are subjected to beatings and torture during their detention and interrogation, and they are all deprived of their legal rights while tried before the same military courts as adults.

According to the report, the detained children are also denied their right to medical care, education and humanitarian treatment, and they often complain about the harassment they face from Al-Nahshon forces, which are responsible for their transfer to the Israeli courts.

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Russia’s foreign minister has accused the United States of using peace talks to seek “regime change” in Syria.

Speaking in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the issue of a transitional government, a key focus for opposition negotiators, must not dominate the talks in Switzerland.

His comments came a day after senior US and Russian officials met in the Swiss city with UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, in an effort to save faltering talks between the Syrian government and opposition.

The faltering talks come amid a backdrop of increased violence, with the United Nations voicing concern on Friday over a Syrian government military build-up in the rebel-held town of Yabroud.

A UN spokesperson says Hundreds of Syrians have fled Yabroud, fearing an imminent attack,.

Meanwhile, a senior UN official in Syria said the evacuation of civilians from besieged areas of the city of Homs had been put on hold until the fate of the detained men from rebel-held areas became clear