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Yusuf Alli – Cii News | 14 March 2014/12 Jumaadal ula 1435

News that made headlines on various newswires around the world.

MONDAY

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said the racially segregated roads and housing in Israel was a reminder of the conditions experienced in South Africa during apartheid.

In a statement he said he witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces.

With the South African leg of the 10th international Israeli Apartheid Week beginning today, Tutu associated himself with the objectives of the movement.

He said “In South Africa we could not have achieved our democracy without the help of people around the world, who through the use of non-violent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments to reverse decades-long support for the apartheid regime.”

He added that people who were denied their dignity and rights deserve the solidarity of their fellow human beings.

The Archbishop said those who turn a blind eye to injustice actually perpetuate injustice, and those are neutral in situations of injustice, have chosen the side of the oppressor.

—-

Toll plazas in KwaZulu-Natal were being equipped to accept e-tags as the South African National Roads Agency Limited prepared for the national roll out of electronic tolling.

Sanral said it had not decided on the exact date when e-tolling would go live in the province.

This was in response to questions following a speech by Sanral boss Nazir Alli in Durban last week.

The agency said Electronic toll collection did not replace existing toll plazas.

It is a tool that toll plazas will use in addition to current methods of payment.

Alli declined to say exactly when e-tolling would be implemented in KwaZulu-Natal, but, he said, the N1 from Johannesburg to Cape Town was likely to be next.

—–

DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane said the current Premier Nomvula Mokonyane must act so healthcare facilities in Gauteng did not turn away patients due to power cuts.

Speaking at a clinic in Protea South, Soweto, during the handover of a generator, Maimane said that apart from hurting the economy, power cuts literally cost lives.

He said the premier must ensure every healthcare facility in Gauteng had a generator and sufficient fuel stock to maintain power during power cuts, while facilities that needed refrigeration should be given mobile generators.

He said If the premier really cared about the people of Gauteng she wouldn’t have been looking for publicity at the Oscar Pistorius trial this week.
—-

At least 42 African migrants drowned after their boat overturned off Yemen’s southern coast.

The defence ministry saidthe boat smuggling dozens of migrants overturned off the coast of Beer Ali, in the southern Shabwah province the previous night.

A Yemeni naval patrol in the Arabian Sea saved at least 30 others who were taken to a refugee camp in the town of Mayfaa.

African migrants, especially Ethiopians and Somalis fleeing poverty and unrest at home, generally slip into southern Yemen by boat before heading north towards the Saudi frontier.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, about 84,000 people from Horn of Africa countries flooded into Yemen in 2012, hoping to find jobs in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries.

—–

A senior official said the disappearance of a Malaysian jetliner was an “unprecedented aviation mystery”, as a massive air and sea search entered its third day failing to find any confirmed trace of the plane or 239 people aboard.

The head of Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said a hijacking could not be ruled out as investigators explore all theories for the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 en route to Beijing.

As dozens of ships and aircraft from seven countries scour the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam, questions mounted over possible security lapses and whether a bomb or hijacking could have brought down the Boeing airliner.

Interpol confirmed on Sunday at least two passengers used stolen passports and said it was checking whether others aboard had used false identity documents.

—–

Although cases of sexual assault remain significantly higher among schoolgirls, more boy pupils are falling victim to sexual assault.

This was one of the findings of a national school violence study that were disclosed during a summit on school discipline held in Boksburg on Friday and Saturday.

Also according to the study apart from facing risks of violence at school, girl pupils were also fearful of travelling to and from school.

The summit, hosted by the Department of Basic Education, was themed “Discipline in schools revisited, striking a balance between ethics and legislation”.

It was attended by department officials, researchers, school governing body associations, teacher unions and religious organisations.

Forty-four percent of the pupils said they had had something stolen from them while they were at school in the past year and 22 percent said they had experienced other forms of violence, excluding theft.

Six percent said they had been assaulted and almost 5 percent reported that they had been sexually assaulted at school.

Basic Education Deputy Minister Enver Surty said teachers had lost the “will or whip” to deal with discipline in schools since the banning of corporal punishment.

—–

With rain expected for the next few days, Eskom said it could not rule out the possibility of another round of load shedding.

Last week, the power utility had to implement load shedding for a few hours, saying the grid couldn’t keep up with demand.

Some businesses had to close their doors temporarily while health facilities relied on alternative plans and airports were disrupted.

There was uncertainty whether the country would have to experience more rolling blackouts this week as the relentless rain continued.

Eskom’s Andrew Etzinger said they would monitor the situation and inform the nation well in advance.

The power utility had once again called on its customers to use electricity sparingly as the power grid is under pressure.

—–

A Palestinian official said the last shipment of Qatar-donated diesel used to fuel the Gaza Strip’s sole power plant was expected to run out within four or five days.

The announcement came after only around two months of steady electricity in the besieged coastal enclave, which suffers from a severe lack of fuel due to a seven-year-long economic blockade enforced jointly by Israel and Egypt.

On Sunday, Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy chairperson of the Gaza power authority, told Ma’an News Agency that the Qatari donation had helped operate two generators and made electricity available on the basis of eight hours on, eight hours off.

Qatar donated $10 million to Hamas authorities in Gaza, for fuel, in the wake of the humanitarian crisis caused by severe weather in the region in December.

Even before winter storm Alexa, Gaza had experienced extreme fuel shortages which cut off access to basic necessities for Gaza residents since early November.

—–

According to reports, the land issue had put a merger between the Economic Freedom Fighters and the PAC on the cards.

The two will campaign together and become one party after the elections.

PAC president Alton Mphethi told The Mercury on Sunday that the EFF had requested a merger.

He said the parties agreed because they have 10 common principles, with land being the key issue.

The congress would decide whether to retain one of the parties’ names or come up with a new name altogether.

He said The PAC and EFF were also negotiating with the Azanian People’s Organisation.

——

Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian-Jordanian man at the Allenby Bridge crossing between the occupied West Bank and Jordan.

Israeli officials said the man, identified as 38-year-old Raed Ala’eddin Nafe’ Zeiter, died from his injuries shortly after he was shot after he allegedly tried to snatch a soldier’s weapon.

Palestinian media sources said the man was a Jordanian court judge and a PhD holder who was crossing into the West Bank from Jordan to visit the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

According to Jordan’s Judicial Council [AR], Zeiter was identified as one of 30 Jordanian judges who received a promotion last month.

Nazmi Mhana, the director-general of the Palestinian Crossings Authority, told the government news agency WAFA that an Israeli soldier shot the man after a verbal altercation.

According to WAFA, eyewitnesses deny claims that Zeiter tried to seize the soldier’s weapon, saying there was some distance between the two.

—–

Moscow was preparing a bill that would freeze the assets of European and American companies operating in Russia, in response to potential Western sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine’s Republic of Crimea.

A group of Russian lawmakers, were working on plans to respond in kind to the US sanctions as well as potential bans by other Western countries.

Russia became embroiled in a standoff with the United States and its allies over Ukraine’s autonomous territory of Crimea, where a large majority of ethnic Russians reside and where Russia has a naval base.

Washington had imposed visa restrictions on Russians, ordered sanctions on individuals it says have been involved in the Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

—–

South Africa was reportedly planning to server all diplomatic ties with Rwanda within the next 72 hours.

This came as relations between the two countries get worse following the expulsion of three Rwandan diplomats from the country.

South Africa expelled the three Rwandan diplomats it linked to a raid by gunmen on a dissident exiled former Rwandan army chief Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa general’s home in Johannesburg.

In retaliation, Rwanda ordered out six South African envoys.

This camea few months after former Rwandan spy chief Patrick Karegeya was found strangled in a Sandton hotel.

According to the Daily Maverick, an official within the department of international relationssaid SA would not stand by and watch people being killed on South African soil by another government.

—–

The Muslim community should let the Democratic Alliance (DA) know that they have slapped them in the face and they are not going to keep quiet about it.

The South African Muslim Network called for the resignation of DA Member of Parliament, Diane Kohler Barnard for effectively maligning the Muslim community.

In an open letter addressed to Barnard and senior DA members, Samnet wrote that Barnard “made a huge hue and cry in Parliament, to the public and media about” The Daily Maverick’s May 13 article about the presence of so called Al Qaeda camps in South Africa and the involvement of a certain Muslim family in assisting and supporting such potential terrorist activity.

On June 19 of last year The Daily Maverick published a retraction and apologised to the family for rehashing what has been confirmed to be old, unproven and discredited information.

To date no such apology or retraction has come from Barnard or the DA despite Samnet requesting them to on a few occasions.

The letter also includes DA Parliamentary Leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko’s comments on Palestine and outlines the opposition party’s association with Nathan Kirsh, the Swazi billionaire with strong links to Mossad.

Samnet has requested Muslims not to accept “such maligning of our community and religion and to effectively email, tweet and Facebook Helen Zille to remove Diane Kohler Barnard from Parliament”.

—–

Phase 2 of the “Mozambique Quraan” project had been successfully completed.

The Cii Projects team visited Pemba, the capital city of Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, a remote city along the country’s far north eastern coast.

Various masaajid and madaris were identified to be recipients of the Quraans and kitaabs from South Africa.

Upon their travels the team met Ulema who are teaching despite not receiving a salary, and survive on the little contributions given to them by students attending their classes.

Some areas saw each Quraan shared between 10-15 learners.

Many of the masaajid require improvements and are incomplete.

A Number of villages were only accessible only be 4×4 vehicle.

The next phase of the Mozambique Quraan project will see collection, trucking and delivery of kitaabs these identified areas.

—–

TUESDAY

Six people drowned in various parts of Mpumalanga due to heavy flooding..

Mpumalanga diving unit spokesperson Captain Joey Potgieter said a 12-year-old boy from Ermelo drowned on Monday. It was suspected the boy might have been swimming in the area.

Two bodies were recovered at the weekend in Amersfoort and Hendrina. Both were men.

On Friday, three men aged 20, 30, and 46 drowned in Schoemansdal, Lydenburg, and Amersfoort.

A man who fell into the Crocodile River in Schagen, Nelspruit, around 9pm on Friday while crossing a bridge was still missing, she said.

A 50-year-old man who drowned while crossing a river on Schoeman’s farm in Badplaas on Monday was also still missing.

Two men were rescued in Hazyview and Siyabuswa,

——

A mobile number was sold for $2.1m in an auction held in the United Arab Emirates over the weekend.

The mobile number, 0507777777, was sold for 7.8 million dirhams in a live auction held for charity in Dubai and Abu Dhabi by UAE’s Etisalat operating company.

Around 700 bidders competed for the number.

Seventy of Etisalat’s exclusive number packages were auctioned, with the top 10 numbers making 13.8 million dirhams in total.

The company said the buyer was an Emirati.

—–

The South African Weather Service said it had been 14 years since Gauteng last experienced this much rainfall during the month of March.

It said the downpours at this time of the year were not uncommon but what is unusual is the large amount experienced this year.

Rain had been falling for a second week, wreaking havoc across the province, with many people in low-lying areas forced to flee their homes.

Some roads and bridges in areas including Centurion remain closed due to flooding.

—–

The search area for a missing jetliner expanded with the airline saying the western coast of Malaysia was the focus of the hunt that entered its fourth day.

That was on the other side of the country from where Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was reported missing.

In a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian police authorities said they were investigating every passenger on the list and were looking at four possible scenarios: hijacking, sabotage, psychological problems among passengers or staff, or personal problems.

Chinese state media announced that Beijing was deploying about 10 satellites in hopes of tracking down the missing plane.

Nearly two-thirds of the 239 people aboard flight MH370 were from China, and if the loss of the aircraft is confirmed, it would be China’s second-worst ever air disaster.

Crews from nine countries – China, Malaysia, the United States, Singapore, Vietnam, New Zealand, Indonesia, Australia and Thailand –  joined the international search effort.

—–

A student leader was fatally shot in the western university city of San Cristobal after a long day of street clashes in which Venezuelan security forces attacked and dismantled barricades at key intersections.

San Cristobal Mayor Daniel Ceballos said on Twitter said the slain student leader, Daniel Tinoco, was shot in the chest after dark.

The opposition politician did not say who might have killed Tinoco, but tweeted that armed paramilitaries allied with the government known as “colectivos” had battled protesters along with the National Guard.

Student-led protests erupted in the city last month and where anti-government unrest has been fiercest.

Local TV reporter Beatriz Font said there were unconfirmed reports of at least two others wounded by gunfire.

—–

The African Christian Democratic Party said the city’s potholed and crumbling roads are a direct consequence of e-tolling.

This was according to the Gauteng chairman of the ACDP, who said alternative routes were being damaged by increased traffic volumes.

He said many drivers were choosing alternative routes in order to avoid tolled highways and provision needed to be made in provincial and local budgets for extra maintenance to be done on them.

Justice Project South Africa chairman Howard Dembovsky said there is “no doubt” that the increased traffic had caused more damage than the weather.

He said those roads “were designed for motorcars and motorcycles, but now they’re getting trucks and heavy goods vehicles.”

The Johannesburg metro police confirmed that alternate routes had seen an increase in traffic volumes since e-tolling began in December.

—-

Israeli occupation forces killed 18-year-old Saji Darwish near Givat Assaf settlement outpost erected on Burqa village land, north of Ramallah, last night.

A PIC reporter said that Darwish, from Beitin village to the east of Ramallah, was killed with a bullet in the head.

The IOF claimed that its soldiers fired at a group of Palestinian youths, who were throwing stones at passing vehicles on road 60 near the settlement outpost killing one of them.

The teenager was the second victim of IOF shooting after the murder of a Jordanian judge at the Karame crossing at the hands of an IOF soldier earlier in the day.

The IOF claimed that Zuyatir, who was on his way from Jordan to Nablus city in the West Bank, tried to snatch the rifle of one of the soldiers, but reports say he was a distance from the soldier, and there was only an exchange of words.

—–

At least 20 people were reported to have been killed after Maoist rebels attacked security forces in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

The Maoists reportedly attacked a joint team of Central Reserve Police Force and state police personnel in Jhiram Ghati.

Additional security forces were rushed to the spot.

According to reports, the place was not far away from where several top leaders of the Congress party were killed in an ambush last year.

The Maoists had become a potent insurgent force, demanding land and jobs for the poor and fighting for a communist society by toppling what they call India’s “semi-colonial, semi-feudal” form of rule.

The insurgency is believed to have cost tens of thousands of lives, with much action focused around the fighters’ so-called “Red Corridor” stretching throughout central and eastern India.

—–

NATO said it woud start reconnaissance flights over Poland and Romania to monitor the situation in neighbouring Ukraine where Russian forces took control of Crimea.

The AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) flights would take place solely over NATO territory.

Ukraine is not a NATO member but Russia’s intervention in Crimea had alarmed neighbouring countries, including alliance members that used to be dominated by the Soviet Union.

The announcement comes as the United States was sending a dozen F-16 fighter jets and 300 service personnel to Poland as part of a training exercise.

The US and Russia are bitterly divided over how to ease the crisis, with each challenging the other to show they are really interested in a peaceful outcome.

—–

A well-known Chatsworth doctor was found dead in his surgery soon after midnight on Sunday.

Police are investigating the death of Dr Krishna Nair, who lived in Westville, who was found with a wound to his abdomen.

He was found in his Chatsworth surgery by his family, accompanied by police, after he didn’t come home.

Police spokesman Thulani Zwane said despite the unusual death, no foul play was suspected and there was no sign of forced entry.

However, an inquest docket had been opened.

—–

A low-water bridge was washed away by flood water in Mabopane, north of Pretoria.

Tshwane emergency services said taxi carrying 13 passengers tried to cross the bridge on yesterday.

None of the passengers were injured and the taxi was recovered

The SA Weather Service says the possibility of localised flooding in the eastern parts of the country remained due to high saturation caused by the rainfall.

This included Gauteng, the Free State, and North West.

An 80% chance of showers was expected in these regions on Tuesday.

The rainy weather conditions were expected to clear up in the north-eastern regions by Friday.

—–

Three Palestinian resistance fighters affiliated with the Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad movement, were killed in an Israeli raid on Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip.

A PIC reporter in southern Gaza Strip said that an Israeli reconnaissance plane fired at least one missile at a group of resistance fighters to the north east of Rafah city killing three of them and seriously wounding one.

Israeli reconnaissance planes have been hovering over the area after one of them fell there earlier was captured by Palestinian resistance elements.

Israeli sources claimed Hamas fighters managed to locate the drone after it crashed 500 meters into Gaza.

In related news, Israeli navy boats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters causing damage but no injuries.

The previous night, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a young Palestinian man from Atteel village, northwest of Tulkarem in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

Also on Monday, Israeli forces, stationed at the Allenby Border Terminal with Jordan, shot and killed a Palestinian Judge who works in Jordan, after he exchanged words with the soldier.

Last month, Amnesty International published a report which said Israeli forces were using excessive violence in the occupied West Bank, killing dozens of Palestinians over the past three years in what the rights group said might constitute a war crime.

The West Bank-focused study said more Palestinians were killed in 2013 than the two previous years combined.

—–

The SA Human Rights Commission said Government was not protecting water as a basic human right.

A SAHRC report on water and sanitation in the country said water was viewed mainly as an economic good or commodity by government departments and the private sector.

The result is that most of South Africa’s water is used by business, especially agribusiness, mining, and other industries, at a relatively lower cost per kilolitre than poor households.

“Government had also failed to budget appropriately for these basic services, and needed to evaluate the current models of governance and funding.”

During hearings held on water and sanitation around the country, people had also claimed corruption had played a role in the lack of service delivery.

The lack of sanitation often led to other human rights being transgressed, including the rights to dignity, education, health, safety, and the environment.

—–

The United States and Israel had signed an agreement under which $429 million of American taxpayers’ money “will be transferred immediately to Israel” to fund its Iron Dome missile system.

The pentagon said the agreement was signed last week in a bid to “continue support of the production of the Iron Dome weapon system” and provide opportunities for US industry to “receive meaningful co-production opportunities for Iron Dome components.”

On March 4, the US House of Representatives also passed a bill which named Israel a “major strategic partner” of the US and called for the expansion of Washington’s military ties with Tel Aviv.

The legislation, which was passed by a 410 to 1 vote, calls for expanding the delivery of US arms and military technologies to Israel and commits US Congress to increase funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile system.

Israel already receives billions of dollars from the US each year.

Under an existing 10-year aid agreement between Washington and Tel Aviv signed in 2007, $30 billion of American taxpayers’ money is flowing to Israel.

—–

According to reports, Residents of Ngwathe in the Free State were urged to take precautionary measures as the Vaal River could overflow.

Ngwathe municipality spokesperson Steve Nale told the SABC that an overflow was anticipated as dams were releasing more water into the river. People in the area were urged to avoid swimming across the river.

Rising floodwater levels have caused havoc with an increasing number of drownings and rescues taking place in parts of the country.

Yesterday In Polokwane, about seven people were almost washed away in a bakkie in Zebediela.

Limpopo police Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said an elderly woman who was swept away with her husband while swimming in Bela-Bela at the weekend was still missing.

In Bloemfontein, paramedics attended to a number of collisions caused by heavy rain.

The Kruger National Park said its bush camps would remain closed due to continuing floods in the area.

Meanwhile, in Mpumalanga, six people drowned in various parts of the province between Friday and Monday due to heavy flooding.

—–

The Libyan General National Congress passed a vote of no confidence in Ali Zeidan’s government ousting it from power with 124 votes.

The Libyan News Agency quoted sources from the Congress saying National Congress appointed Defence Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni as temporary president for 15 days until a new president is elected.

According to Minister of Parliament Suad Gannur, the situation in the country had become unacceptable; saying Even those MPs who used to support the prime minister no longer had any alternative.

Zeidan’s government had been repeatedly criticised for its failure to establish security in the country in the two years since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship in 2011.

Zeidan, the independent backed by the Liberals, accused Muslim groups of wanting to overthrow him in order to seize control over Libya and refused to resign.

—-

 

WEDNESDAY

Nadwatul Ulema in Indias Lucknow has cancelled its March 16 appointment with a delegation from Saudi Arabia, as a mark of protest against its decision to declare Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

The institute compared Saudi Arabia’s move as an act more cruel than the genocide of hundreds of Muslims in 2002 that was allegedly led by then chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi.

Nadwatul Ulema is said to be one of the most renowned Islamic University in Asia.

Official reason assigned for the cancellation of this trip was described as a move in line with the institute’s commitment towards the religion, community and reformative ideology.

Dean, Faculty of Shariah at Nadwatul Ulema Maulana Salman Nadwi told the times of india that the Saudi Arabia government has merely fallen to international pressures.

The visit was seen as a desperate attempt of the Saudi government to win back support of Indian Muslims who were unhappy over the Kingdom’s support to military junta in Egypt against Muslim Brotherhood.

On March 7 The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had designated Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

The kingdom also downgraded diplomatic ties with Qatar as a mark of protest against their support towards the Muslim Brotherhood.

—–

A homemade bomb exploded in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

Security sources said the explosion targeted a police car, rather than the embassy itself, and did not cause any injuries.

The office had not been used by Israeli diplomats for at least two years, following a September 2011 attack on the building.

Earlier today, police shot dead a man suspected of being involved in a January bomb attack against Cairo’s police headquarters.

Rebel groups are launching attacks in Egypt since Morsi’s overthrow, some saying they were carried out as revenge against an ongoing government crackdown on his supporters.

Amnesty International says more than 1,400 people have been killed in the crackdown and thousands jailed.

—–

SA Human Rights Commission says it can prove The government is responsible for gross human rights violations and the

The commission released its water and sanitation report in Cape Town yesterday.

The commission found that the problems affecting the provision of water and sanitation included the lack of funding, political interference and corruption.

Water, the commissioners found, was viewed as a commodity by the government and the public sector.

The report’s recommendations include better engagement and “meaningful consultation” between the government and communities.

The commissions deputy chairman Pregs Govender called on parliament to “ensure that these recommendations get acted on”.

—-

The ANC secretary general reportedly disagreed with the party’s inclusion of minority races on its candidate list, saying they are rewarded “for doing nothing”.

A Mail and Gaurdiun report said some of the ANC’s National Assembly nominees did not deserve to be on the list, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

He said the party included “minority” races on its candidate list for the 2014 general elections based on policy quotas rather than actually earning the nominations.

The secretary general said they sit back and they don’t do work in their communities and get rewarded because they are minorities.

Mantashe was talking about the ANC’s nominations revealed earlier in the day.

The list is peppered with Zuma loyalists and had been touted by some as a victory for those who sided with him at the party’s elective conference in Mangaung in December 2012.

—–

Gang warfare in the Pakistani city of Karachi claimed the lives of at least twelve people, including women and children.

At least a dozen people died in the Lyari area of Karachi after feuding gangs clashed. Dozens more people, including security personnel, were also injured.

The incident has left members of both gangs dead and wounded.

Senior police official Faisal Bashir said the clash erupted when two gangs exchanged heavy gunfire, later they fired RPGs and lobbed hand grenades at each other.

Lyari is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Karachi and fighting between rival gangs linked to political and ethnic groups frequently erupts.

—–

The SA Weather Service said less rain was expected over the weekend in Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga.

Forecaster Ezekiel Sebego said by Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the rain will be moving to lesser affected provinces such as half of North West and the Free State.

There was a severe weather watch for today and tomorrow for the eastern parts of North West, Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga.

Water affairs department spokesperson Themba Khumalo said the rain in Gauteng was the most persistent for the March period in 14 years.

The department is trying to control dam levels in the province.

He said places such as Vereeniging would be in danger of being flooded if the Vaal Dam were to burst.

—–

The mother of a KwaZulu-Natal traditional chief was shot dead in her home in Dlebe, near Ulundi.

The 71-year-old woman was killed in the early hours of Tuesday morning,

Chief Sibusiso Ndebele, the local traditional chief of the Ndebele community, claimed he heard gunfire near his homestead in the morning but ignored it.

However, in the morning, he found that his mother Thandi Ndebele, who was sleeping with two grandchildren, had been killed, and the children were unharmed.

—–

The United Nations refugee agency said most Muslims had been pushed out of the western side of the conflict-ridden Central African Republic by ongoing violence.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees made the announcement when a commission of inquiry set up by the UN Security Council was about to begin investigations into human rights violations in the country.

A CAR Muslim said they are hated by the Central African Christian people who don’t want Muslims there.

He said that they were forced to leave because they don’t have any protection, whether it is from the authorities, the international forces or the African ones, adding that one has protected them.

He said when one is trying to help a Muslim, he is targeted by the Christian population saying he’s segregating.

According to the UN, more than 950,000 people have been displaced and thousands more killed by violence in the country.

The atrocities take place despite the intervention of French troops in the former colony.

—–

Egypt’s military-appointed government had tightened the noose around Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.

The military-backed government not only destroyed the underground tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, but also kept closed its sole crossing with the impoverished enclave, the Rafah crossing, for most of time since the beginning of 2014.

A press tv report said that the crossing was only open temporarily for two days this month.

Twelve Palestinian human rights organizations, including al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, appealed to Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing.

Samir Zaqout, an official from al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, said that Israel is responsible for the suffering in the besieged enclave.

The Rafah crossing is Gaza’s sole gateway to the outside world as many people in the blockaded Palestinian coastal enclave avoid traveling through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing in northern Gaza.

Egypt military tightened the restriction in Rafah and created hardships for Gazans in the aftermath of the ouster of former Egyptian president, Mohammad Morsi.

Gazans argue that the closure of the Rafah crossing has increased their suffering and will leave them at the mercy of the Israeli-controlled crossing.

—–

A german school, The Deutsche Internationale Schule Kapstadt, which previously prohibited pupils of all religions from wearing traditional attire, had amended its policy.

Principal Hermann Battenberg said in an e-mail to Sapa that the board has decided to amend the dress code to allow for exceptions to the school uniform for bona fide religious or cultural reasons.

Last month, a parent attempted to enrol his Muslim daughter at the school but was told he needed to sign a code of conduct which stipulated that she could not wear any traditional headgear.

The man did not sign the agreement, saying he could not force his daughter to do so.

The Grade Nine girl was granted temporary access as a “guest pupil”, where she was not required to wear the school uniform, during which she wore her scarf.

The girl left the school after her access was terminated.

The decision brings the dress code of the school in line with the South African Constitution, which allows muslim girls ot wear their headscarves

—–

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA said the Congress of SA Trade Unions is in a permanent state of paralysis.

Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete says COSATU was busy imploding due to ideological and political difference that rendered it into a permanent state of paralysis.

He was presenting the union’s declaration at its bargaining conference, where it was resolved to demand a double digit increase.

Cloete said since the suspension of general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi Cosatu had not implemented even a single resolution.

He added Cosatu, the African National Congress, and the SA Communist Party spearheaded a campaign to destabilise Numsa.

Numsa resolved at its national special congress in December that it would not support the ANC or any political party in the May 7 elections and that it would not fund the ANC election campaign.

It also called for Cosatu to break away from the tripartite alliance with the ANC and SACP.

—–

THURSDAY

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for restraint from all sides after escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The Israeli military bombed 29 places in the besieged Palestinian territory, after at least 60 rockets were fired into southern Israel on Wednesday.

The rocket fire, which Israeli police said resulted in no casualties, was claimed by the Islamic Jihad group and came a day after Israel killed three of its members in a Gaza air strike.

The Israeli army fired several shells into a number of areas in the Gaza Strip, causing power blackouts in certain areas and property damage but no injuries.

Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigades said its bombardment would continue in response to Israel’s “aggression”.

Hamas warned Israel against escalating the confrontation.

—–

Chris Gunness, the spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said he was angered at the fact that people doubt a UN photo showing thousands of people lining a street in Damascus waiting for refugee aid.

The apocalyptic photo has been retweeted 8 million times and now some say it may be fake.

Gunness said the skepticism may partly reflect a blindness by many people to what is happening in Syria, which entered its fourth year of war this month.

The Yarmouk photo was published by nearly 1,000 newspapers, including The New York Times. Britain’s Daily Mail called it a “biblical picture of suffering.”

Media reports also quoted a photo specialist, Hany Farid, who said there was no evidence of alteration .

——

Malaysia’s civil aviation chief said no signs of the missing Malaysian jetliner have been found at a location where Chinese satellite images have shown what might be plane debris.

Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said planes searched the location on Wednesday and found nothing.

The Chinese Xinhua news agency reported that satellite images on a Chinese government website show suspected debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner floating off the southern tip of Vietnam.

No other governments have confirmed the Cinese news report, which did not say when Chinese officials became aware of the images and associated them with the missing plane.

——-

Lawyers of Guantanamo inmates said they were being subjected to new forms of torture in the US prison.

The information had come to light in a federal court that was hearing the case of Emad Hassan, a Yemeni hunger striker at the prison.

The new torture method is known as the “water cure” and was widely used in the Spanish Inquisition,

Hassan has been force-fed more than 5,000 times since being been held without charge for almost 12 years in Guantánamo, despite the fact that he was cleared for release in 2009.

The technique also includes what Hassan’s lawyers liken to the medieval torture of the “water cure”, where large volumes of liquids are forced into detainees’ stomachs at excessive speed, causing severe enteral pain.

——

Four people were still missing in Mpumalanga and Limpopo after extensive flooding in several parts of the country.

Two women, aged 64 and 69, had been missing from Makhado and Bela-Bela since the weekend.

Persistent rain made it difficult to recover the body of a 69-year-old woman who was swept away with her husband while swimming in Bela-Bela at the weekend.

The two were swimming in an undercover swimming pool at the Kariba Lodge on Friday when the Bela-Bela dam overflowed and they were swept away.

The body of her 74-year-old husband was found on Saturday.

Water affairs department spokesman Themba Khumalo said the rain in Gauteng was the most persistent for the March period in 14 years.

—–

The United Nations said the number of civilian casualties from US drone strikes in Afghanistan tripled in the past year.

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism Ben Emmerson warned that civilian deaths resulting from US drone attacks were intensifying in Afghanistan.

He added that at least 45 civilians were killed and 14 injured in drone strikes in 2013, triple the rate experienced in 2012.

The Pentagon figures show the US military launched more than 500 strikes from unmanned aircraft across Afghanistan last year.

On Monday, the UNHRC called for independent investigations into drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere.

The US is conducting illegal drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

Washington claims that its airstrikes target militants, but local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the attacks.

The UN has called the US drone attacks targeted killings that flout international law

—–

An Indian guru declared dead had been in a deep freezer in his ashram for nearly six weeks with followers confident he will return to life to lead them.

Authorities declared Ashutosh Maharaj, clinically dead on January the 29th.

Devotees placed his body in the freezer and have been watching over his body in the sprawling ashram in a small town in northern Punjab state.

Maharaj, reportedly in his 70s, is one of India’s many gurus who headed the so called Divine Light Awakening Mission and claims to have millions of followers around the world.

Mission spokesman Swami Vishalanand insisted their leader was not dead but was in fact in a state of samadhi, the highest level of meditation, and was therefore still conscious.

Vishalanand says that followers were now waiting for him to end his Meditation.

——

A wedding had to be called off in Bangalore early this week over the choice of biryani served for dinner.

While the groom’s side insisted on mutton biryani, what was finally served was chicken one.

According to news reports, the wedding was cancelled despite mediation by elderly members of both families.

At Shaadi Mahal on Tannery Road where the reception was held on Sunday, the groom’s family took exception to the chicken biryani that was on the menu.

They wanted mutton biryani and entered into an argument with the bride’s family.

As emotions ran high at the venue, the feisty bride conveyed her decision not to marry the man.

—–

The Democratic Alliance was set to appeal the judgment handed down by the Western Cape High Court in the party’s case against what it calls the unconstitutional passing of the E-Tolling Act.

The DA has argued that the people of Gauteng were denied a voice against e-tolling, because the law was not debated in the provincial legislature.

In a statement, the DA said they were studying the judgement and wouldissue further comment at a later stage.

The party said the fight against e-tolling must continue not just in the courts, but also at the ballot box on 7 May.

The DA approached the court after the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Act was passed into law in September last year.

It had argued the amendments were unconstitutional and invalid because they had not been passed according to what it deemed to be proper procedure, which would be with input from the provinces.

—–

An officer was killed and three others injured when gunmen opened fire on an army bus in Cairo.

The Egyptian army blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the attack.

Gunmen riding a motorcycle attacked the bus in the Amiriya neighbourhood of Cairo.

Egypt’s state news agency and state television confirmed the death of one officer and the injury of three others.

Personnel from the security directorate deployed at the scene of the attack, under the command of General Mohamed Qasim, head of the investigations directorate for the capital, local media reported.

A security cordon was established in the area and traffic redirected while the investigation was under way.

—–

An Indian court upheld the death sentence for four men convicted of raping and killing a medical student in New Delhi in December 2012.

The Delhi High Court upheld the order to hang the four men handed down in their trial last September.

The 4 were found guilty of the rape and murder of the student in a moving bus that shook the nation and triggered unprecedented street protests.

The girl was brutally assaulted and then thrown off the bus.

Her friend, with whom she had gone to watch a movie and was with her in the bus, was also beaten up by the men.

Another accused, bus driver Ram Singh, died in Delhi’s Tihar Jail in an apparent suicide.

A sixth member of the group, who was a minor at the time of the crime, was tried under laws for juveniles and sentenced to three years in a reformatory.

The gangrape and murder sent shockwaves across the nation. It prompted the federal government to enact stricter laws against sex crimes.

—–

The Johannesburg Roads Agency said there had been a rise in the number of vehicles damaged by potholes

spokesperson Bertha Peters-Scheepers said there had been more reports in the last two weeks about vehicles that were damaged by potholes.

This was caused by the heavy rain and flooding in the area.

Peters-Scheepers said repairs to roads had started as reports came through.

She said the JRA would start repairing the main arterial routes first and then proceed to repair roads region by region.

—–

Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas has called on the Israeli regime to end its deadly strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Abbas called on Tel Aviv to “put an end to its military escalation” in the impoverished Palestinian enclave.

The statement follows the Israeli warplanes’ bombardments of several areas in besieged Gaza during recent days.

The airstrikes began after the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel to retaliate against an earlier Israeli drone strike.

On Tuesday, three Palestinians lost their lives after an Israeli drone carried out an airstrike on the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

The Islamic Jihad responded to the aggression by a volley of rockets which Tel Aviv called the largest such incident since 2012, when it launched an eight-day air assault on the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli regime launched a major military offensive against the besieged territory on November 14, 2012, leaving over 160 Palestinians, including many women and children, dead and about 1,200 others injured.

—–

Israeli jets attacked targets in Gaza as a Palestinian armed group responsible for firing rockets into Israel said it was calling a ceasefire.

The Islamic Jihad movement told Al Jazeera that it was abiding by the terms of a ceasefire brokered by Egypt in 2012 from 12:00 GMT.

Israeli airstrikes were reported close to that time in Rafah city, in the south of Gaza.

Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout reported Gaza-based medics as saying three people were injured in the latest Israeli strikes, one of them seriously.

Khaled al-Batch, an Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza, told the AP news agency that After the Egyptian brothers initiated contacts with them in the past few hours, they agreed to restore the calm.

He said As long as the occupation Israel honors the calm, they will honor the calm and instructions were being given to al-Quds brigades, their military wing, about this understanding.

—–

The Mombasa High Court suspended the planned destruction of over 2000 imported vehicles – worth a total of some R500 million – currently impounded at the port of Mombasa.

Kenya was set to destroy the cars, because they were more than eight years old when they were imported.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission had ordered the vehicles seized at the Mombasa port, and then ordered them crushed.

According to the report the vehicles originated in Japan. It is unclear how they got into the country despite the import ban, which was enacted in 2005.

The Kenyan government is currently investigating the case as a part of its over-arching anti-corruption drive.

——-

A member of the prosecuting team says The Oscar Pistorius murder trial is expected to continue until  April.

Answering a query by reporters at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria during a lunch adjournment, Andrea Johnson said heads of argument would be prepared after 4 April.

Court would be in recess between 7 and 11 April and would not sit.

Heads of argument would be submitted after the recess, and Judge Thokozile Masipa and her two assessors would then consider their verdict.

The trial was originally set down from 3 to 20 March.

Pistorius is accused of the premeditated murder of model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp in his home on 14 February last year.

He is also charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, and two counts of discharging a firearm in public.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

—–

FRIDAY

A suicide bombing in the Pakistani city of Peshawar killed eight people and wounded about 40, with some policemen thought to be among the injured.

The blast happened near a police station, and police say the target was a security vehicle.

Peshawar, which is in the northwest of the country, has been hit by a series of bombings and targeted killings since the start of 2014.

Last month, an explosion in a cinema killed 13 people and wounded 20 others.

The city is the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which lies next to tribal areas that are bases for several armed groups, including the Pakistani Taliban.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

—–

The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that disappeared nearly one week ago has expanded to the Indian Ocean.

The search focus shifted to the Indian Ocean region as authorities said the missing aircraft may have flown for several hours after it dropped off the radar.

Malaysian authorities said they several “pings” from the plane’s service data system, known as ACARS, sent to satellites in the four to five hours after the last transponder signal.

This suggests that the aircraft flew to the Indian Ocean.

Based on the new information, US navy destroyer, the USS Kidd, headed into the Indian Ocean to start searching that area.

—–

A senior police officer appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court for allegedly demanding money from a businessman.

The Hawks said the 53-year-old officer was released on R5 000 bail and would appear again on 25 April.

He was arrested on Thursday after the businessman approached the Hawks claiming that the officer was harassing and demanding money from him.

The officer, who was allegedly paid over R22 000 from November 2012 to last month, claimed that he was offering protection to the businessman.

The officer apparently offered his protection services after the businessman was arrested for allegedly holding another man at gunpoint.

However, the charges against the man were dropped as the case was too weak.

——

ANC representatives visiting Bekkersdal, west of Johannesburg, were protected by their VIP security because they were pelted with stones.

African National Congress Gauteng caucus spokesman Mbangwa Xaba told Sapa that at some point, a particular crowd got aggressive and started closing in on the public representatives

The party’s Gauteng representatives were in Bekkersdal on Thursday for door-to-door campaigning.

The Star reported that ANC bodyguards fired live ammunition at residents after schooling was disrupted at around 11am.

Three police nyalas and heavily armed police patrolled the area andreportedly fired rubber bullets at residents and school pupils,because their vehicles were stoned.

Six people were arrested for public violence.

——

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema failed to show up at an election campaign stop in Cape Town.

Malema was meant to hold a news briefing in Manenberg – a gang shooting hotspot – but did not pitch.

He was also meant to address a mini-rally in Mfuleni last night, but never arrived.

Explaining Malema’s absence in Manenberg, EFF Western Cape convenor Nazier Paulsen said they were often accused of being a one-man party, so today they were proving to the media and the world out there that we are not a one-man party.

He said The commander-in-chief Julius Malema is not the only leader of this organisation.

The EFF leader is expected to be the main speaker at the provincial launch of the party’s election manifesto in Khayelitsha on Saturday.

——

The majority of the Jordanian House of Representatives voted yesterday to seek the release of soldier Ahmad Adakkamsh, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment, the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Amman and recalling his Jordanian counterpart from Tel Aviv.

The majority of attendees agreed on the demands that were raised during the discussion of the members of the House of Representatives who were discussing the issue of the death of Judge Raed Zeiter, but other members of parliament protested against these demands.

The parliament has decided twice to expel the Israeli ambassador from Amman and recall his Jordanian counterpart from Tel Aviv.

The MPs have given the government until next Tuesday to implement the parliamentary recommendations, threatening to topple it if it does not comply with the MPs’ decisions.

Israel expressed regret for the killing of the Jordanian judge, who is of Palestinian origin, by its soldiers on Monday.

Zeiter was killed by Israeli soldiers on Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan.

Following this incident, Jordan witnessed many demonstrations and events condemning the execution of Zeiter, where participants and protesters demanded cutting ties with Israel.

—–

The UN said sone nine million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes because of the violent conflict over the past three years placing them on the top of the world’s list of forcibly displaced people.

The head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said “It is unconscionable that a humanitarian catastrophe of this scale is unfolding before our eyes with no meaningful progress to stop the bloodshed,”

There are currently more than 2.5 million Syrians registered or waiting to register as refugees in neighbouring countries,and the number is expected to exceed the number of Afghan refugees as the world’s largest group of displaced people.

Moreover, there are more than 6.5 million people who fled their homes to live as refugees within Syria.

According to Guterres more than 40 per cent of the country’s population have fled their country; at least half of them are children.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the conflict, which started with a government crackdown on peaceful demonstrations in March 2011, has claimed the lives of 140,000 people so far.

—–

A Russian Foreign Ministry official said Syria’s chemical weapons that should be destroyed outside the country could be removed by April 13.

Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the Foreign Ministry’s security and disarmament department, said there was no need to adjust the timeframe.

Ulyanov reportedly added that Syria would present the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons with a new plan to destroy its chemical weapons production facilities at the end of March

Syria declared 12 production facilities to the OPCW and had until March 15 to destroy them under the deal.

Damascus has already missed several deadlines laid out in the agreement.

——

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri held the Israeli occupation fully responsible for the recent escalation in the Gaza Strip, which started three days ago.

In a brief statement, Abu Zuhri confirmed that Israeli threats to his movement have no value, stressing that escalation is linked to Israeli commitment to the truce.

In a related context, spokesman for Hamas Fawzi Barhoum said that his movement does not trust any Israeli truce, stressing the resistance’s readiness in case of Israeli provocations.

Barhoum added that his movement cannot prevent any Palestinian from defending his people and holy sites, stressing Palestinian factions’ right of resistance.

He said if provocations continue, they cannot stand idle; he also held the occupation full responsibility for the recent escalation.

—–

According to reports, Eskom and Business Unity South Africa plans to ask the government to try and find additional funding for Eskom.

Die Burger reported that Eskom introduced load shedding last week, to prevent a collapse of the national power grid due to coal supplies for electricity generators which were wet.

Busa met with Eskom yesterday to discuss ways of preventing a continuation of last week’s energy crisis, which forced Eskom to impose load shedding.

According to Busa CEO Cas Coovadia, the possibility of further electricity price hikes to obtain the additional funding was mentioned at the meeting,.

That would have to be considered if no additional funding could be obtained from Treasury.

According to the civil rights organisation AfriForum, Eskom was owed more than R2.3bn by various municipalities.

The organisation said this outstanding debt adds to SA’s electricity woes.

—–

An investigation into the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jet is focusing more on a suspicion of foul play

Sources familiar with the Malaysian probe said evidence suggested it was diverted hundreds of miles off course.

In a far more detailed description of military radar plotting than has been publicly revealed, two sources told Reuters an unidentified aircraft that investigators suspect was missing Flight MH370 appeared to be following a commonly used navigational route when it was last spotted early on Saturday, northwest of Malaysia.

That course – headed into the Andaman Sea and towards the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean – could only have been set deliberately, either by flying the Boeing 777-200ER jet manually or by programming the auto-pilot.

A third investigative source said inquiries were focusing more on the theory that someone who knew how to fly a plane deliberately diverted the flight hundreds of miles off its scheduled course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Investigators were still looking at “four or five” possibilities, including a diversion that was intentional or under duress, or an explosion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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