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World News 1.10 – 4.10.

Your World This Past Week – News Wrap with Yusuf Alli

Yusuf Alli – Cii News

MONDAY

The death toll from the sinking of an Australia-bound asylum-seeker boat off Indonesia rose to 36.

The boat, which was estimated to be carrying between 80 and 120 asylum seekers, went down on Friday in rough seas off Indonesia’s main island of Java.

A police chief in the Agrabinta area of Java, where the boat went down, said search teams found four more bodies this morning, two of them are children.

——

At least 26 people were reported to have died after a bomber targeted mourners at a Shia mosque south of Baghdad.

The blast came just hours after at least 11 people were killed and dozens injured in a double -car bombing in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

The victims of that attack were believed to be members of the Iraqi Kurdish security forces, known as asayesh.

A spokesman for Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, said the attack may be linked to the civil war in neighbouring Syria, where Sunni opposition fighters have been battling Kurdish forces.

—–

Petrol attendants across the country reported back to duty this morning after a three-week long strike.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa signed a wage deal with the Fuel Retailers Association on Friday ending the countrywide strike.

A 11.6 percent wage increase for workers in the first year and nine percent for the following two years deal was secured by Numsa.

Meanwhile, a strike in the automotive components sector continued after talks deadlocked over the weekend.

While the union is demanding a 10 percent wage increase, employers were offering 9.

—–

On Sabahul Khair, the leader of the Christian Democratic party, reverend Thinus Botha of Valhalla in Pretoria spoke out about the Masjid in the Area.

The Muslim community in Valhalla, were facing opposition to the erection of a mosque on a portion of land which they say was designated to be an open land.

Yaseen Abdul, The Chairman the Thaba Tshwane Islamic Centre Trust, who intentions to build the mosque , described some of the response at the meeting held at NG Kerk, which were of a very negative nature. The local preist distanced themselves from the communities behavior.

Botha said there were fears that Valhalla will follow a trend in Europe, where churches are turned into mosques.

—–

In the latest Iraqi attacks, Nine car bombs mainly targeting predominantly Shia neighbourhoods of Baghdad have killed at least 34 people and wounded 156 others,

The deadliest blast tore through a small vegetable market and its car park, killing seven people including two soldiers and wounding sixteen others.

That was followed by four parked car bombs, which went off in quick succession in the neighbourhoods of New Baghdad, Habibiya, Sabaa al-Bour and Kazimiyah – all striking outdoor markets or car parks.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the latest attacks.

They come a day after a human bomber attacked mourners at a Shia mosque south of Baghdad, killing 47 people.

On Friday, bombs exploded near two Sunni mosques in Baghdad as worshippers left after prayers, killing six people.

The United Nations mission in Iraq said about 800 Iraqis were killed in acts of violence in August.

——

At least 15 people died after a second powerful earthquake struck Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan.

According to the US Geological Survey, the quake was similar to Tuesday’s 7.7 magnitude earthquake Which left hundreds of people dead and thousands more affected by an earlier tremor.

Saturday’s 6.8-magnitude earthquake destroyed most of the town of Nokjo, which is home to at least 15,000 people, when it struck about 96km northeast of the city of Awaran.

The epicenters of the two tremors were about 30km apart.

——

Businessman Richard Maponya criticised the government and black economic empowerment in an interview published in the Sowetan newspaper.

Maponya said it was not real because it took away the self-initiative needed from young and up and coming entrepreneurs who must wake up and want to do the things themselves.

The businessman blamed government for the economic situation saying we are nearly 20 years into our new dispensation but have not come up with a bank that would give people a risk fund.

Maponya also said black and white business needed to unite, but added that white business people and foreigners should not be allowed to dominate business in townships.

—–

Reports suggested that South Africa was put on terror alert after Samantha Lewthwaite, the alleged mastermind behind the Kenya terrorist attack, was seen doing surveillance of embassies in Pretoria recently.

Dubbed the White Widow by the British media, Lewthwaite has been on intelligence watch lists for the past two years.

Recent sightings of her were brought to the attention of the South African police intelligence by a security organisation linked to the local Jewish community.

According to the Sunday Independent, South Africa is on a level 4 – orange-coded – rating following this new development.

——-

Asian markets have fell on fears that the US was heading for a shutdown of government services.

The US needed to agree a new spending bill before the financial year ended at midnight, but political divisions resulted in a stalemate.

There were worries over the economic impact of a failure to do so, which may see non-essential federal services shut and staff placed on unpaid leave.

Stock indexes in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and South Korea all declined.

—–

The Kenyan Red Cross said that the number of missing in the Westgate shopping centre attack had gone down to 39 from an earlier figure of 61.

Fourteen of the missing were found alive and seven bodies were in the morgue.

Earlier the government said 67 people were killed after al-Shabab fighters stormed the Westgate centre in the capital, Nairobi, on 21 September.

The Red Cross said some relatives were not updating them when they found people who had been reported as missing.

—–

Baby Samantha’s guardian told the South Gauteng High Court that the mother danced with her child’s corpse after finding her lifeless body strapped into her pram.

Lea Booysen, who looked after Baby Samantha for three months, told the court that the baby’s mother and father strapped Samantha’s dead body into a pram, turned it towards a TV that was on full volume, and went out drinking.

When the inebriated couple returned to the house, the mother took the baby’s body, put it to her chest and started dancing with it, opening the dead child’s eyes and begging it to wake up.

—–

At least 16 people, most of them students, were killed in an airstrike that hit a secondary school in the rebel-held Syrian city of Raqqa on Sunday.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll was at least 16 but that the number was likely to rise because some people were critically wounded.

Opposition activists based in Raqqa, a city of around 250,000 people, published a list of 14 people they said were victims of the strike on the school and said there were more than 30 others wounded.

Videos posted online by activists showed the bloody and charred remains of bodies said to have been from the airstrike in Raqqa.

Some of the victims appeared to be young men, possibly in their teens.

Fighting also continued in the southern Deraa province, a day after rebels in that area,including the Nusra Front , seized a former customs post on the southern border with Jordan.

On the outskirts of the capital, an attack by rebels on military bases in the Qalamoun area killed at least 19 government fighters and wounded dozens of others, the Observatory said.

—-

A circular was been issued by the Indian Consulate warning pilgrims not to accept food and drink from strangers.

The circular was disseminated on Facebook and other social media sites following an incident in Makkah, where several Indian pilgrims fainted after drinking a cup of tea offered by a stranger, who then stole their belongings.

Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh, deputy consul general and Haj consul, said they already brought this incident to the attention of Saudi authorities and they have launched an investigation.

He said it was the first time they come across such an incident.

He said they issued the circular to raise awareness among pilgrims and to warn pilgrims against walking alone in less populated areas.

—–

Terrified Muslims hid in their homes in northwest Myanmar after armed police dispersed a Buddhist mob that torched houses and surrounded a mosque in the latest outbreak of sectarian tension.

Security sources said the situation in the town of Thandwe was precarious after police restored order by firing shots in the air to break up the mob late last night.

The sources sought anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Thandwe is in Rakhine state, which is the worst-hit region.

As in several previous bouts of communal unrest, a minor disagreement triggered an outpouring of anger.

The chairman of the Kaman Muslim Party, said that about 200 people had joined the mob, some wearing masks and carrying flaming torches.

Clashes between majority Buddhists and Muslims have killed at least 237 people and left more than 150,000 homeless since June 2012.

The United Nations has described the Rohingya as “virtually friendless”.

—–

The ANC says that its Gauteng branch have run ahead of themselves by revealing that former president Thabo Mbeki would be roped in to lure middle-class voters ahead of next years general elections.

The Sunday Times reported that the party had asked Mbeki for help in capturing Gauteng’s middle class voters.

The party’s Gauteng provincial secretary David Makhura said the African National Congress would hold house meetings and public dialogues headed by Mbeki, the country’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Makhura told the paper that cabinet ministers such as Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba would be used to try and win over young voters.

TUESDAY

The US government began a partial shutdown after the two houses of Congress failed to agree a new budget.

The Republican-led House of Representatives insisted on delaying President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform – dubbed Obamacare – as a condition for passing a bill.

More than 800,000 federal employees faced unpaid leave with no guarantee of back pay once the deadlock is over.

President Barack Obama told US troops in a video message that they would still get paid on time, despite a government shutdown.

Obama earlier signed emergency legislation ensuring that wages would continue for service members, despite much of the government shutting down after Congress failed to defuse a huge federal funding row.

The president warned however that many non essential civilian contractors, unlike their colleagues in uniform, would not be paid.

He said the days ahead could mean more uncertainty, including possible layoffs, and this came on top of the layoffs that many of them already endured this summer.

Obama said the troops families deserve better than the dysfunction seen in Congress.

—–

A truck accident on the M13 in Pinetown last night claimed the lives of two people and left 13 others with injuries ranging from minor to serious.

The M13 became notorious recently when 23 people were killed when an out-of-control truck ploughed into four minibus taxis at the Field’s Hill intersection.

The accidents on the M13 have reignited the debate around whether trucks should be prevented from driving on that road.

Many trucks that use the road allegedly do so to avoid paying toll fees.

—–

A meeting of the ANC’s biggest branch in the Western Cape erupted in chaos this weekend when some of its members attacked others with knobkieries and pangas.

The branch in Ward 40 Gugulethu met on Saturday evening in a rush to meet the deadline of nominating who should represent the party in next year’s provincial and national elections.

ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile condemned the attack and said the PEC will investigate.

—–

Bangladesh’s war crimes tribunal has sentenced a senior opposition leader and MP to death for war crimes in the country’s bloody struggle for independence.

Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was found guilty of torture, rape and genocide during the war for independence from Pakistan in 1971.

The 64-year-old Chowdhury was charged with killing some 200 civilians and collaborating with Pakistan’s army to kill and torture unarmed people, as well as other crimes.

The process was denounced by opposition parties as politically motivated ahead of polls due by January.

More than 100 people were killed in protests against the war crimes verdicts since the start of this year.

Bangladesh’s Supreme Court also sentenced a top Jamaat-e-Islami party leader to death for war crimes during the 1971 war, rejecting an earlier life sentence imposed by a war crimes tribunal.

—–

An extensive black market in human body parts wasuncovered in Swaziland’s second-largest hospital.

Demand is strong in the country for human ingredients for use in traditional potions.

Even the water used to wash corpses in the hospital mortuary was being sold to traditional healers.

Reverend Grace Masilela, a Church preacher who claim she was once a traditional healer says If they are selling parts from the hospital, they can steal from someone who has just died or is about to die.

Masilela revealed that the practice of selling human organs from the mortuary at Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital in the central commercial hub of Manzini wss an open secret.

Traditional healers came to town to purchase herbs at the Manzini market and end their trip with a visit to the mortuary.

A human brain costs R1 000.

Other parts, from internal organs to body fat, fetch from R400 to R1 000.

——

A team of 20 inspectors from the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was due to arrive in Damascus to implement a UN resolution that ordered the elimination of Syria’s chemical arms.

Chemical arsenal disarmament work was to start in Syria, a day after UN inspectors finished their investigation of alleged gas attacks.

The operation to rid Syria of chemical weapons by a target date of mid-2014 would be one of the largest and most dangerous of its kind.

The arsenal is believed to include more than 1,000 tonnes of sarin, mustard gas and other banned chemicals stored at an estimated 45 sites across the war-torn country.

The outgoing UN team of chemical arms experts that has ended its second mission to Syria to probe seven alleged gas attacks hopes to present a final report later this month.

—–

Hundreds of Buddhists rioted in western Myanmar, killing a 94-year-old Muslim woman and setting more than 70 homes ablaze.

An official said the clashes broke out in Thabyachaing village, about 20km north of the coastal town of Thandwe in Rakhine state.

Kyaw Naing, a police officer, said the 94-year-old woman died of stab wounds and between 70 and 80 houses were set on fire.

Muslim residents said others were injured in the riot, but could not provide details.

Myanmar’s president, Thein Sein, travelled to the western state of Rakhine in his first visit since sectarian violence broke out more than a year ago.

Sectarian clashes that began in Rakhine state in June 2012 had since morphed into an anti-Muslim campaign that has spread to towns and villages nationwide.

So far, hundreds of people have been killed and more than 140,000 have fled their homes, the vast majority of them Muslims.

—–

Shop stewards prepared to talk with striking National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa members in the automotive industry on a revised wage offer.

The last meeting between Retail Motor Industry employers and the union took place on Sunday night as the strike by Numsa members entered its fourth week.

Earlier all seven of the auto manufacturing plants in South Africa closed as a result of the drawn-out strike in the car-components manufacturing industry –

There were warnings that the strike could bring investment in the industry to a halt.

The disruption of vehicle exports is especially damaging for South Africa at a time when the trade deficit is heading for a record high.

—–

The Zimbabwean government had reportedly permitted its security agents to spy on citizens’ telephone call records, text messages and internet communication.

The move was dismissed by legal experts as an infringement on people’s rights.

News Day reported the move came as a result of the enactment of new postal and telecommunications regulations which were gazetted last Friday.

The report said that in the past, government was only permitted access to people’s phone records when it was absolutely necessary, usually when following up on criminal offences.

Legal experts said the new law was illegal according to the country’s new Charter, saying it infringed upon people’s rights, including the right to privacy of communication.

—–

The Constitutional Court handed Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille victory against national government’s bid to block her commission of inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha.

In a unanimous judgment, the court declined Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa leave to appeal against a high court ruling dismissing his application for an interdict suspending the inquiry pending a review.

Zille set up the inquiry in August last year to investigate alleged police inefficiency in the area.

—–

An off-duty policeman who surprised robbers when he drew his service pistol in a packed uMlazi taxi, was left fighting for his life after he and another commuter were shot.

The incident took place on Mazele’s Durban-uMlazi route when taxi driver, Siyabonga Mazele stopped the taxi to allow a passenger to get off, He was held at gunpoint by one of the robbers

During the commotion, the policeman, who was seated two rows behind the driver, intervened.

The policeman’s pistol apparently jammed as he tried to stop one of the robbers.

As his gun jammed, one of the shots fired at the policeman grazed the conductor’s head before hitting the policeman in the stomach.

——

The number of rhino killed by poachers in South Africa had hit a new annual record, raising worries of a downward population spiral in a country that is home to almost all of Africa’s rhinos.

As of the end of September, 704 rhino had been killed by poachers in South Africa.

According to data provided by the Environmental Affairs ministry, this exceeded the annual record of 668 set in 2012.

The greatest threat to the estimated 22 000 rhino in South Africa comes from those trying to cash in on the black market value of their horn, which sells at prices higher than gold.

If the trend keeps at its current pace, more than 1 000 rhino would be killed in 2014, putting the species on the brink of a population decline that the ministry has said could lead to the end of wild rhino in about a decade.

—–

The General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques had announced that the lock of the Kaaba was changed after officials washing the Kaaba noticed it was rusty.

The lock was made 30 years ago.

The new lock was handed to the senior “sadin,” which is the Kaaba’s key keeper, Shiekh Abdulqader Al-Shaibi.

The new lock is made of 18-carat gold.

The new key wouldbe delivered to the sadin at the request of the Royal Court in compliance with the legal provisions on the affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.

—–

Anti-military protesters demonstrated in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for the first time since the army forced Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi from office in July in a Military coupe

Around 100 protesters gathered in the square, chanting “down with military rule!”

Limited skirmishes erupted between the protesters and local residents and street vendors when the anti-coup march reached the square.

An Al Jazeera correspondent in Cairo said that the protest was “symbolic and significant”, since the demonstrators had never previously tried to go to the site of the famous protests that led to the toppling of both former presidents Hosni Mubarak and Morsi.

—–

WEDNESDAY

A Johannesburg primary school pupil allegedly punched his teacher in the face after she asked him to remove a jersey which was not part of the school uniform.

The 14 year old boyallegedly punched Zascia Hakkesteeg, who is head of the department of educational training at Jim Fouche Primary School in Brixton.

The police were called and the boy was taken to the Brixton police station, where a charge of assault was laid.

Gauteng department of education spokesperson Gershwin Chuenyane said the boy had been suspended for seven days, pending a formal disciplinary hearing.

—–

Emergency services said a 4-year-old Soweto boy died in a shack fire in Kliptown, Johannesburg.

Two other people who were treated on scene for smoke inhalation and were later transported to hospital for further medical care.

About 22 people were left displaced by the fire.

The cause of the fire was believed to be an unattended candle light.

—–

Israel’s Peace Now movement revealed that the Israeli authorities were planning to build a new settlement in the heart of the occupied Palestinian city of Hebron, warning that the move might undermine all peace efforts in the region.

The movement explained that this would be the first new settlement in Hebron since the 1980s, and that it would have “potentially devastating consequences” for both the Palestinian residents of Hebron.

While the movement said that the new settlement was facing legal hurdles that may postpone it for months or even years, Netanyahu’s support could see the settlement take place in the coming days or weeks.

It said that the exact timing of the upcoming ruling is “unknown”, but it believes that the Israeli High Court is expected to rule again in favour of the settlers.

—–

The White House rejected a Republican plan to reopen portions of the US government as the first shutdown in 17 years closed landmarks like the Statue of Liberty.

There was little sign that President Barack Obama and Republicans could soon end a standoff over health care, that has sidelined everything from trade negotiations to medical research and raised new concerns about Congress’s ability to perform its most basic duties.

The Republican plan would restore funding for national parks, veterans services, and the District of Columbia.

Other government services would remain unfunded.

While the selective funding approach appeared to unite conservative and moderate Republicans for now, the White House said Obama would veto it.

Democrats who control the Senate said they would reject it before it reached Obama’s desk.

—–

Somalia’s al Shabaab threatened to step up militant attacks against Kenya, after Nairobi refused to pull its troops out of Somalia.

al Shabaab claimed responsibility for last week’s attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, in which at least 67 people died, with 39 more listed as missing by the Red Cross.

In a statement it said they will strike Kenyans where it hurts the most, turn their cities into graveyards and rivers of blood will flow in Nairobi.

Kenya invaded southern Somalia to attack Shebab bases two years ago, and later joined the 17 700-strong African Union force deployed in the country.

al Shabaab said it was fully determined to intensify attacks inside Kenya until the last Kenya Defence Force boots exit Somali soil.

—–

The couple accused of the rape and culpable homicide of their 10-month-old baby were sentenced to 18 years in prison by the South Gauteng High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court

Judge Majeke Mabesele gave Adriaan Netto and his girlfriend four years each for culpable homicide, three for child abuse and 15 for rape.

The sentences for the culpable homicide and rape would run concurrently.

The pair were found guilty on 18 September of raping, assaulting, and causing the death of their 10-month-old baby girl.

—–

According to a United Nations report, torture is widespread in Libyan jails run by militias that toppled Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.

UN investigators, who had periodic access to various detention centers, said there is evidence that 27 people have been tortured to death in the prisons, 11 of them this year.

The investigators urged the Libyan government to accelerate the process of taking over the militia-run jails and installing trained police and corrections officers.

Some 8 000 detainees jailed since the eight-month civil war in 2011 are held without due process, the report said.

Investigators found that they are usually held without access to lawyers and have only occasional access to families.

—–

A Johannesburg teacher who was filmed being assaulted by one of his pupils says he has forgiven all the youngsters involved.

In the footage a pupil is shown hitting, kicking and assaulting the teacher with a broom.

Other pupils were heard cheering the boy on.

The Grade 8 pupil who committed the assault and the pupil who filmed it have both been suspended pending disciplinary hearings.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said she was outraged by the incident.

—–

Sectarian bloodshed has forced women and children to flee to forests in western Myanmar after Buddhists have killed at least five Muslims.

Security forces patrolled villages Rakine State, where more than 800 Buddhist rioters torched homes and attacked local Muslims a day before.

About 250 people have been killed and more than 140,000 left homeless in several outbreaks of inter-religious violence around the country since June 2012, mostly in Rakhine.

—–

Saudi Arabias Ministry of Health has drawn up a coordinated contingency plan to counter emergency situations that might arise during this year’s Haj season.

According to an official, the team will be composed of more than 100 doctors and around 250 paramedics will work in various places in the holy cities to help pilgrims receive immediate emergency medical treatment.

The plan is also geared to attend to natural calamities such as floods, earth slips and crowd congestion.

This year, the ministry is focusing on food poisoning. Pilgrims have been asked not to keep their cooked food for more than two hours to avoid food poisoning.

They have also been requested to wash fruits and green leaves before consumption.

Meanwhile health officials were given special training to handle emergency situations such as fires, floods and evacuation.

—–

An armed gang robbed residents at an old age home in Despatch In the eastern cape.

Warrant Officer Gerda Swart said the four entered the premises through a window, tied workers up and robbed elderly residents of valuables such as cellphones and bank cards before fleeing.

The suspects took the motor vehicle keys of one of the workersand drove off with it from the scene

Police appealedto the public for any information that would lead to the arrest of the robbers.

—–

Over 115,000 people have been reportedly killed in Syria’s devastating 30-month conflict, most of them fighters from both sides.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had documented the deaths of 115,206 people from the start of Syria’s revolution on March 18, 2011 to the 30th of September 2013,

More than 41,000 civilians have lost their lives in the war, among them over 6,000 children and around 4,000 women.

An advance group of international inspectors arrived in Syria yesterday to begin the ambitious task of overseeing the destruction of Assad’s chemical weapons program.

The experts have about nine months to complete the task, which has been endorsed by a UN Security Council resolution that calls for Syria’s chemical stockpile to be eliminated by mid-2014.

This is the shortest deadline that experts have ever faced in any nation, and their first mission in a country at war.

—–

Iraqi officials said gunmen have downed a military helicopter north of Baghdad, killing its five-member crew.

Two intelligence officers and a military official said the helicopter was shot down while it was providing aerial support to troops on the ground during a gunbattle with fighters outside the city of Tikrit.

The officers spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to talk to media.

The fighting was part of the military’s counter-insurgency operation recently launched in Sunni-dominated areas in central and northern Iraq.

However the operation, dubbed “Revenge for the Martyrs”, has not made significant headway in stopping the violence that has gripped Iraq since April.

More than 5 000 people have been killed since then.

—-

THURSDAY

A Spokesperson of the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza, Ashraf Al-Qedra, said that the health sector is facing a crisis as basic medicines are starting to run out.

The severe Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, which has been imposed for seven years, targets human medical services

The Rafah Crossing was the minor, or what could be called alternative passage, because delegations that bring medicines and food usually pass through it.

According to Al-Qedra, the closure of the Rafah Crossing has raised many problems, including gradual decreases in the ministry’s stockpile of medicines.

He said 154 kinds of basic medicines, from a list of 460, have now run out.

These include medicines for serious illnesses such as chronic diseases, blood diseases, cancers, painkillers and antipyretics.

——

The UN Security Council urged the Syrian government to allow cross-border aid deliveries, calling on all parties to Syria’s conflict to agree on humanitarian pauses in fighting and key routes for aid convoys.

More than 2 million Syrians, mostly women and children, have fled during the 30-months conflict, which the UN says has killed more than 110,000 people.

Millions more inside Syria are in desperate need of help, but aid has slowed to a trickle because of violence and excessive red tape.

The 15-member Security Council agreed to a non-binding statement in a bid to boost aid access, drafted by Australia and Luxembourg.

The statement urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s authorities to take immediate steps to facilitate the expansion of humanitarian relief operations, and lift bureaucratic impediments and other obstacles.

Only 12 international aid groups had been approved by the Syrian government to work in the country and convoys of aid trucks struggle to meet demand.

—–

According to a sworn affidavit by a senior air force official, President Jacob Zuma was implicated in Guptagate.

In an affidavit by Lieutenant Colonel Christine Anderson, it said president wanted to know ‘if everything was still on track for the flight.

Anderson also confirmed that Zuma was the Number One, referred to in a report on Guptagate by the justice department.

Number One is the President of the Republic of South Africa. For safety reasons , the president is never referred to in phone conversations

——–

Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said all the signs are there that Gauteng e-tolls would go live before Christmas.

Department of Transport spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters had approved e-tolling regulations this week and is likely to announce the commencement of e-tolling by the end of the month.

DA transport spokesman Ian Ollis said Peters still had to gazette the regulations and there is a pending judgment in the Supreme Court of Appeal challenging the e-tolls.

However Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance chairman Wayne Duvenage maintained Sanral was not ready to implement the e-tolls.

Duvenage says that, without public support, Sanral will have great difficulty collecting toll money.

—–

The Automobile Manufacturers Employers Organisation has warned if the strike is not called off, it could lead to the demise of the industry.

Ameo Chairperson Thapelo Molapo said the industry will struggle to recover as significant damage has already been done.

He says losses that have been sustained are irrecoverable.

More than 40,000 workers affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa have been striking for better wages.

The strike has brought the sector to a standstill with all seven major car manufacturers shutting down operations and reporting massive losses.

The South Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also expressed concern about the impact of the strike on the sector.

—–

At least 100 migrants have drowned and rescuers were trying to save about 250 people still missing near the Italian island of Lampedusa after a migrant boat caught fire and sank.

The accident was the latest in a series of drownings involving migrants near the Italian coast.

On Monday, 13 asylum-seekers drowned as they tried to swim ashore after their boat ran aground off the coast of Sicily.

—–

At least 28 people, including 13 children, were killed after a lorry crashed into two minivans packed with labourers in northeast India.

Another 20 people were injured, some critically, when the 10-wheeler truck slammed into the oncoming minivans on a highway about 160km west of Gauhati, the capital of Assam state.

The minivans, which had been carrying workers to a local brick oven, were smashed into mangled metal masses and pushed into a roadside ditch.

Among the dead were five women.

Some had been taking their children to work to be looked after during the day.

—–

In what could be the biggest defamation suit yet in South Africa, the Gupta family is suing two newspapers for half a billion rand each.

The Mail & Guardian reported that the family is suing the newspaper as well as the Sunday Times over articles published in March concerning a R10bn contract for South African Airways.

The two articles alleged that a member of the Gupta family tried to bribe a top SAA official.

The family alleges that the articles were defamatory.

But experts told the M&G that cases asking for “unrealistic” amounts such as R500m hardly ever reach court.

Meanwhile, the ANC has also lodged a complaint against the Mail & Guardian following an article alleging that party chairperson Baleka Mbete accepted a bribe from mining company Gold Fields.

—–

At least 15 people were killed in an attack on a pro-government militia commander in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal area.

The attack comes as Pakistan’s government is mulling peace talks with the Taliban, although no conditions have yet been set, and previous deals with the Taliban have always collapsed.

A car bomb rammed into the compound of Mullah Nabi Hanfi, the leader of an anti-Taliban militia he formed after breaking away from the Taliban in 2009.

Sources in the security forces say two human bombers launched a second attack but were killed in the shootout by Hanfi’s men.

Hanfi was among the ten men wounded in the attack and taken to a district hospital.

He survived a similar attack on his compound last year that killed 10 people

—–

Four Mangaung prison inmates who held a woman hostage were successfully overpowered by a special police task force.

The woman, an official of G4S which manages the Mangaung prison, was rescued last night when the task force entered the cell occupied by the hostage-takers and their victim.

Police said no shots were fired during the operation and the hostage, who was held for 13 hours, did not sustain any injuries during the rescue operation.

Free State police spokesman Brigadier Billy Jones said the four inmates were arrested and would be charged with kidnapping and attempted murder.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega thanked all police officers involved in the peaceful resolution of the hostage situation.

—–

Two Muslim pupils were forced to study in isolation after refusing to shave off their beards for religious reasons.

The two 14-year-olds have been in ‘isolation’ at Mount Carmel Roman Catholic High School in Accrington, Lancashire, for almost a month after the school claimed they were breaching its dress code.

Beards are banned under the guidelines, which also prohibits the wearing of false nails, fake tan, make-up, inappropriate jewellery and the dyeing of hair.

The families of the boys, who had not been named, claimed the pupils are being discriminated against.

A relative of one of the boys said because these boys cannot shave their beards for religious reasons, they are being put in isolation for six-and-a-half hours every day.

According to the 2012 Ofsted report, around a third of the 750 pupils at Mount Carmel are from ethnic minorities, mostly Pakistan.

The row echoes ongoing tensions over Muslim girls and women wearing the veil.

Last week the Prime Minister indicated he would support guidelines to judges, teachers and immigration officers telling them when Muslim women can be asked to remove their veils.
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A group of 108 schoolchildren and 10 teachers from the Hennopspark Primary School in Pretoria were robbed at gunpoint at a lodge in Hazyview in Mpumalanga.

They were on a school tour when three men armed with a shotgun and two pistols entered their rooms shortly after midnight.

The gunmen made off with 14 cellphones, money, an iPad, laptop and jewellery.

No one was injured in the robbery and no arrests had been made.

Hennopspark Primary School spokesperson Anna Alkema said the children involved were Grade 7 pupils, who were between the ages of 11 and 13-years-old.

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Top US intelligence officials revealed more about their spying in an effort to defend the National Security Agency from charges that it has invaded the privacy of Americans on a mass scale.

The latest disclosure that the NSA tried to track Americans’ cellphone locations, has rather added to the concerns of lawmakers.

NSA chief General Keith Alexander said that his spy agency ran tests in 2010 and 2011 to see if it was technically possible to gather US cell-site data, which can show where a cellphone user travelled.

Alexander also defended his agency, denying reports that it has mined Americans’ social media.

He also detailed 12 previously revealed cases of abuse by NSA employees who used the network to spy on a spouse or conduct other unsanctioned missions.

He said all the employees, with one exception, were disciplined.

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FRIDAY

Reports say that the ANC Youth League has publicly backed deputy party president Cyril Ramaphosa to become the country’s next deputy president.

African National Congress Youth League convenor Mzwandile Masina said that it was the only way that the ANC can strengthen its internal democratic processes

Ramaphosa was elected deputy ANC president at the ruling party’s national elective conference in Mangaung in December.

He took over from Kgalema Motlanthe, who remains the deputy president of the country.

The ANCYL wants Ramaphosa to take over from Motlanthe after the general elections next year.

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Three massive billboards that took a swipe at the ANC and e-tolls were anonymously put up on Johannesburg highways.

The billboards said: “E-tolls. Proudly brought to you by the ANC.”

The structures are owned by outdoor media company vanTill Outdoor, but it would not divulge who the client is, saying a confidentiality agreement had been signed.

ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu told the new age newspaper that it isn’t the ANC that is behind the billboards.

The billboards have been erected on the N3 and N1 highways.

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Former President Thabo Mbeki said the African continent is in “great need” of peace and must urgently find ways to deal with what he called jihadist groups like al-Shabaab.

Mbeki spoke at the Bethesda Methodist Mission Church in Houghton yesterday about pertinent African issues.

He said while Africans are talking about the need for peace and stability, saying terrorist groups like al-Shabaab are on the rise and killing innocent people.

Al-Shabaab rebels stormed Nairobi’s upscale Westgate Shopping Mall on 21 September in a siege that lasted four days.At least 67 people were killed and dozens more were injured.

Mbeki also said he is concerned about the state of corruption in South Africa. He said the only way corruption will be minimised is if the public starts speaking out against these crimes.

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Egyptian Christian activist Rami Jan, founder of Christians against the Coup, announced that his movement were going to take part in the anti-coup demonstrations across Egypt being planned on 6 October.

In a statement, Jan announced the movement of Christians against the Coup’s intention to take part in the demonstrations, which are aimed at condemning the military coup.

The members of the movement will be distributed in several different places in order to cover as many marches as possible.

The statement concluded with a phrase that shows the Muslim Brotherhood is not the only party affected by the coup.

The phrase states that The story is not about the Muslim Brotherhood, but a whole nation that was abused.

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Kenyan police in riot gear fired teargas to disperse crowds protesting in Mombasa after the killing of a popular Muslim imaam with three of his associates.

The apparent assassination of Sheikh Ibrahim Omar follows last month’s attack on a Nairobi shopping mall claimed by Somalia’s al-Shabab group.

Associates of Omar said he was the latest victim in a string of extra-judicial killings of Muslims by security forces, an allegation denied by the police.

Sheikh Ibrahim Omar preached at Mombasa’s Masjid Musa mosque.

He was viewed as the successor to Aboud Rogo Mohammed, an Imaam accused of links to Somalia’s al-Shabab fighters, who was himself assassinated in a drive-by shooting in August 2012.

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Thousands of protesters are marched in Cairo’s northeast neighbourhood of Dakahlia to demonstrate against the interim government and the military.

The protests began after Jummah prayers, and included supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as people not sympathetic to the cause of the muslim group but who are against the military’s rule.

Troops and police in Cairo boosted their presence at the site of a former Muslim Brotherhood protest camp as the supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, approached the area in defiance of a security crackdown.

Egyptian authorities had warned the Brotherhood that any new sit-in protest camps would not be tolerated.

Egypts riot police fired teargas and closed tahrir square as protests turned violent.

Reports say military vehicles fired live rounds at the protesters near the square.

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International experts preparing to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal said they have made encouraging progress and expect to carry out on-site inspections within days.

The disarmament experts began their mission in Damascus to catalogue the country’s stockpile under a deal that will see the chemical arms turned over for destruction by mid-2014.

Yesterday, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations said that documents handed over by the Syrian government to the inspectors “look promising”

The team said it hoped to begin on-site inspections and the initial disabling of equipment “within the next week.

The team faces a daunting task, as President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is understood to have more than 1,000 tonnes of the nerve agent sarin, mustard gas and other banned weapons stored at dozens of sites.

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