Yusuf Alli – Cii News | 04 July 2014 – 6 Ramadaan 1435

News that made headlines on various newswires around the world

MONDAY

According to a survey, around 30 percent of the residents of the Gaza Strip are left without a daily income during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Around 600,000 people were left without daily income in the strip, which stands for 30 percent of Gaza’s population of 1.8 million, said the Gaza Chamber of Commerce, an independent body.

It added that this year’s Ramadan coincides with tough economic conditions for the people of the coastal enclave for the eighth year in a row.

The chamber said that Gaza’s unemployment rate has reached 41 percent of the labor force, which is widely expected to hit 44 percent in the second half of this year.

It noted that deteriorating economic conditions in Gaza had prevented the Strip from importing commodities and foodstuffs necessary for Ramadan.

Israel has been blockading Gaza since 2006

—–

A presenter from Soweto community radio station Jozi FM was believed to be on the run after allegedly murdering his girlfriend at her home in Jabulani.

The 32-year-old woman was killed on Sunday morning.

However the circumstances surrounding the incident remained unclear.

Police said the suspect telephoned his girlfriend’s friend shortly after stabbing her to tell her what had happened.

The police’s Kay Makhubela said the victim’s body was found locked in her flat.

—–

An 84 year old Lenasia man was murdered in his home in the early hours of the Monday morning.

Ibrahim Hafejee was reportedly killed in a house robbery on Agapanthus Street, Lenasia , south of Johannesburg

According to his nephew, Mehmood de Almaida, the victim was found strangled to death in his bedroom in the early hours of the morning.

According Delmaida, a lady who was renting in an outbuilding of the agapanthus home said that she heard banging on the window at around 3 am but could not alert any one for fear of her own life

At 5 am she reportedly ran into the street and scram for help.

Local residents were alerted by her pleas for help and entered the home through the window which is suspected to be the entrance point of the burglars

They found that the house was ransacked and the body of Mahoom Haffejee was found in his bedroom.

—–

Pakistan launched a ground offensive against rebel strongholds near the Afghan border after evacuating nearly half a million people from the tribal region.

A military statement said that soldiers had found underground tunnels and bomb-making factories in Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan.

A house to house search of Miranshah town was being carried out by infantry troops and special service group.

It said nearly 15 rebels were killed and three soldiers were wounded in an exchange of fire in the initial ground advance.

The operation – limited to airstrikes at the first stage – began days after rebels attacked the main airport in the southern port city of Karachi, killing 26 people.

Pakistani forces reportedly killed 376 rebels during the first 15 days of the offensive, but said that 17 troops also died.

—–

President Jacob Zuma signed the restitution of land rights amendment bill into law.

The legislation notably re-opens the restitution claims process that closed at the end of 1998 and gives claimants five years – to 30 June 2019 – to lodge land claims.

Only about 80 000 land restitution claims were lodged by the 1998 deadline

It is estimated that there are up to five times as many valid cases that can be brought by victims of apartheid-era forced removals.

The legislation also regulates the appointment and service conditions of judges of the Land Claims Court.

—–

The National Employers’ Association of SA said The National Union of Metalworkers of SA should abandon its plan to strike and return to the negotiating table.

Neasa chief executive Gerhard Papenfus said a strike at this stage was premature and irresponsible.

He said agreements which are the result of strikes, where employers are muscled into deals which they cannot afford, will only bring about short term solutions.

More than 220 000 Numsa members in the steel and metalworkers sector will embark on strike across the country tomorrow.

The union was demanding a 12% salary increase, the scrapping of labour brokers and a one-year bargaining agreement.

Numsa members at Eskom will also picket at Eskom’s head office demanding an increase of 12% across the board.

The union was seeking a R1 000 housing allowance and a standby allowance of R100.

Papenfus said his organisation agreed to trade union Solidarity’s request that negotiations continue for at least a further 21 days and that any strike action be postponed.

—–

Rebel group Al Shabaab warned that they will step up attacks in the Somali capital Mogadishu during the holy month of Ramadan, which started on Sunday.

In an audio message released on the Shabaab-controlled station Radio Andalus, the group’s commander in charge of Mogadishu operations,said the time had come when violence will be at a peak.

Sheik Ali Mohamed Hussein’s statement came just a few hours after the Somalia government deployed dozens of heavily armed police on key streets and roads in Mogadishu to counter attacks.

Sheik Ali Mohamed Hussein said Mogadishu will remain a frontline and even worse than ever.

Somalia president Hassan Sheik Mohamud said his government will do whatever it takes to stop the threats posed by the group during the holy month.

—–

TUESDAY

The Israeli air force launched a series of air raids on the Gaza Strip, hours after the bodies of three settlers were found in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli military said it launched 34 raids in the early hours of today, in response to 20 rockets fired into Israel from the strip.

A Palestinian was also shot dead in an Israeli operation in Jenin, in the West Bank.

The Israeli military alleged that the dead man was a member of Hamas and was attempting to throw a grenade, although this information could not be independently verified.

The attacks came hours after the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, promised that the Gaza-based group Hamas “will pay” after the discovery of the young settlers’ bodies near the West Bank village of Halhoul on Monday.

They disappeared on June 12 while hitchhiking home from a religious school in Kfar Etzion, an illegal settlement between Bethlehem and Hebron, and were last heard in a brief emergency call to police.

Their disappearance set off the largest military operation in the West Bank since the end of the second Intifada.

More than 400 Palestinians were arrested in the 18-day search, thousands of homes raided, and five people killed by Israeli gunfire.

Hamas dismissed the accusations in a statement, calling them propaganda.

It said if Israel wants a war, the price they will pay will be greater than in previous wars.

—–

President Barack Obama said he would send about 200 more US troops to Iraq to protect Americans and the US embassy in Baghdad amid fierce fighting in the country between government forces and Sunni armed groups.

The US would also send a detachment of helicopters and drone aircraft.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said on Monday about 200 forces arrived in Iraq on Sunday to reinforce security at the US embassy, its support facilities and the Baghdad International Airport.

Another 100 personnel were also due to move to Baghdad to provide what they call security and logistics support.

The announcement will bring to nearly 800 the total number of US forces in and around Iraq to train local forces, secure the embassy and protect Washington’s interests.

—–

The African Nation Congress Limpopo branch recalled three more mayors from office.

This was after four mayors, reportedly linked to Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, were relieved of their duties last week.

The party made the announcement following its special provincial executive committee meeting held on Monday.

It said the restructuring of the political management teams of Bela-Bela, Mutale, and Musina local municipalities resulted in the need to change mayors of these municipalities.

The ANC had already appointed new mayors in their places.

The party also announced the names of the mayors who would replace the four mayors fired last week.

—–

Consumers will have to further tighten their belts as multiple price hikes came into effect on Tuesday.

In what has been described as a triple whammy, Electricity tariffs, metrorail ticket fares and fuel prices were set to increase.

A litre of petrol would cost the consumer 29 cents more while diesel will rise by 15 cents per litre.

Paraffin will go up by 31 cents per litre.

According to EWN, Economist Dawie Roodt said July is going to be particularly difficult for the South African economy and a number of price increases will come into effect, adding that this winter is going to be a cold one.

All these increases will have a knock-on effect, meaning food prices will also be pushed up.

—–

The provincial health department said thirteen initiates have died in the Eastern Cape since the beginning of the winter initiation season.

Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said hospitals were overcrowded with severely ill initiates seeking medical assistance.

He said the worst affected area is Mthatha in the OR Tambo region where health centres were clogged after boys were brought in with their genitals practically falling off.

Accordig to Kapelo, the parents of the initiates were to blame for some of the problems experienced

He said Parents allowed criminals masquerading as circumcision experts to circumcise their children.

The department has urged police and the National Prosecuting Authority to bring criminal charges against the perpetrators.

—–

The NUM and trade union federation Cosatu said they support the national strike by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA .

Both the Congress of SA Trade Unions and the National Union of Mineworkers declared solidarity with Numsa’s strike in the metals and engineering sectors, that started today.

Cosatu described Numsa’s demands as reasonable and called on its affiliates to back the strike.

The show of support came as relations between Numsa, the Num, and Cosatu have endured strain.

In December 2013, Numsa threatened to withhold subscription fees from Cosatu as part of a campaign to get the union federation out of the tripartite alliance with the ruling African National Congress and SA Communist Party.

Numsa supported Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi when he was suspended for having an affair with a junior employee at the federation’s headquarters.

—–

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko vowed to renew operations against pro-Russian rebels, hours after a ceasefire with the separatists in the east of the country expired.

The fragile ceasefire expired on Monday night.

The idea was to give rebels a chance to disarm and to start a broader peace process including an amnesty and new elections.

Kiev had accused the rebels of numerous violations of the ceasefire, and a statement tweeted by the Foreign Ministry said 27 Ukrainian servicemen had been killed since the ceasefire began on June 20.

The recently elected Poroshenko had already extended the ceasefire from seven days as part of a plan to end the fighting that has killed more than 400 people since April.

The end of the ceasefire raised the question of what action the Ukrainian military could take.

It has so far been unable to dislodge rebels occupying the city of Slovyansk or to retake control of three key border crossings with Russia.

—–

The European Court of Human Rights upheld France’s law banning face-covering veils from the streets, in a case brought by a 24-year-old woman who claimed her freedom of religion was violated.

The ruling by the Strasbourg-based court was the first of its kind since France passed a law in 2010 that forbids anyone to hide his or her face in an array of places, including the street.

The law went into effect in 2011.

Many Muslims view France, which is officially a secular republic despite being overwhelmingly Catholic, as imposing its values on them and other religious minorities.

France has one of the biggest Muslim populations in Europe. Apart from the veil issue, there has been controversy in the past over whether schools and holiday camps should be required to provide halal food for Muslim children.

—–

Travel operators in Riyadh were to increase the prices of weekend Umrah packages from SR90 per head to SR160 from Wednesday thanks to the influx of pilgrims during Ramadan.

Demand iwas expected to be heavy until the end of the Ramadan season.

This year, the peak season coincides with the summer holidays.

As such, a large number of vacationers, including Saudis, are expected to perform Umrah.

A leading hotel manager in Makkah said that foreign pilgrims are less compared to last year thanks to factors such as the World Cup and the MERS.

He said the majority of pilgrims come from the Kingdom, as well as from the Gulf countries

—–

Police were called in to remove EFF MPLs from the Gauteng legislature.

Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe reportedly ruled that seven Economic Freedom Fighters MPLs dressed in red overalls leave the House as their attire was not appropriate.

According to the report police failed to remove them.

Mekgwe said the EFF’s red overalls were deemed inappropriate because they had the word “Asijiki” (we will not retract), which she said was party insignia, inscribed on the back.

The EFF refused to leave, forcing a 10 minute adjournment.

African National Congress and Democratic Alliance MPLs left the council chamber but the EFF remained seated, adamant they would not leave.

Television monitors showing what was happening in the chamber were switched off and the public and media galleries were emptied.

——

Iraq’s parliament adjourned for a week, hours into its first session, after it failed to reach agreement on senior appointments, as the country grapples with an onslaught from Sunni rebels.

The acting speaker said that no agreement had been reached on naming a new speaker and that the parliament had no quorum, and must be adjourned.

Parliament convened with 255 deputies out of 328, but only 75 returned after a recess to discuss candidates.

The Reuters news agency quoted al-Hafidh as saying that the adjournment would last a week.

The parliament was due to elect a new president after confirming the speaker.

The president would then charge the leader of the biggest parliamentary bloc with forming a government as prime minister.

Nouri al-Maliki, the incumbent, has himself said any attempt to override his authority would be attempting a coup.

The forming of a new government comes as the UN said more than 2,417 Iraqis had been killed in June alone, making it the deadliest period since the height of sectarian warfare in 2007.

—–

Dozens of people have been reported killed in a car bomb attack in Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri.

Security officials blamed the blast near a busy market on the armed group Boko Haram, which was formed in the city.

One witness said the bomb went off just after the market opened at 8am before most traders or customers had arrived.

Witnesses told the AP news agency they saw up to 50 bodies, and that five cars and some tricycle taxis were set ablaze by the explosion.

Boko Haram is suspected of detonating several bombs in the past week in Nigeria.

They include the bombing of a shopping centre in Abuja, which killed 24 people; a bomb at a medical college in northern Kano city, which killed at least eight; and an attack on a hotel brothel in northeast Bauchi city that killed 10.

—–

Myanmar police fired shots to disperse crowds of Buddhists and Muslims facing off in the streets of Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city.

Five people were repotedly injured during yesterdays rioting, including a police officer.

A witness who lives in the mostly Muslim neighbourhood said a Buddhist mob had gathered after rumours spread that the Muslim owner of a tea shop had raped a Buddhist woman.

However no evidence of such an attack was available.

The police and the crowd fought each other and the crowd threw stones at the police.

He said the Buddhist mob ransacked shops and burned vehicles before police managed to restore order, but that at 6 am local time Buddhists were still driving through the neighbourhood shouting at residents.

A local journalist said that several Muslim shops were destroyed and that some people had been wounded in knife attacks.

Myanmar has been wracked by violence between the two communities since June 2012.

More than 200 people have been killed and at least 140,000 displaced.

Most of the victims have been Muslim.

—–

 

WEDNESDAY

The leader of the so-called Islamic State has called on Muslims worldwide to take up arms and flock to the “caliphate” it had declared on captured Syrian and Iraqi soil.

Proclaiming a “new era” in which Muslims will ultimately triumph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi issued the call to jihad in an audio message lasting nearly 20 minutes that was posted online on Tuesday.

Baghdadi, who assumed the title of caliph, used the message to seek to assert authority over Muslims everywhere.

He called on them to rise up and avenge the alleged wrongs committed against their religion, from Central African Republic to Myanmar.

The group, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, proclaimed the caliphate on Sunday and declared Baghdadi its leader, in a bid to sweep away state borders and redraw the map of the Middle East.

The declaration of the caliphate followed a three-week drive for territory by ISIL fighters and their allies among Iraqi’s Sunni Muslim minority who say they were sidelined by Shia prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

——

A R50 000 reward had been offered for the arrest of a radio DJ who allegedly killed his girlfriend in Jabulani, Soweto.

Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said the R50 000 is offered to anyone who has information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect.

Eyewitness News named the man as Donald Sebolai.

Sebolai presented a midweek chat show on Jozi FM that focused on gender rights issues such as domestic violence.

The DJ’s 32-year-old girlfriend was stabbed several times and locked in a flat in Jabulani on Sunday.

On Monday, Jozi FM manager Mpho Mhlongo said they did not know Sebolai’s whereabouts and called on him to turn himself in.

——

Security in and around the Gauteng legislature tightened following a violent confrontation on Tuesday between the EFF and police.

Tuesdays clashes resulted in the injury of one party member and the hospitalisation of another.

Police deployed several members of the SAPS Tactical Response Team on two entrances as well as along the corridors of the legislature.

Other TRT members were stationed on the entrance leading to the council chambers, where EFF members came to blows with police and in-house security personnel yesterday.

This comes after Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe ordered the seven EFF MPLs out of the chambers for wearing supposedly inappropriate attire.

When they refused, police forcibly ejected them from the House.

—–

The body of a Palestinian teenager was found in Jerusalem after a day and evening of Israeli protests that turned into mobs

The mobs marched through the streets of the Old City and east Jerusalem chanting ‘Death to Arabs’.

According to local sources, 16-year-old boy was abducted from outside his home in Shu’fat in occupied east Jerusalem by a group of Israelis, who forced him into a car and sped off.

The teen’s burned body burnt was found hours later in a vacant lot in another part of the city, sparking protests in his home neighborhood.

Around 200 Palestinians took to the streets to voice their anger over the brutal killing of the child, and were met by rubber bullets and tear gas from Israeli police.

The abduction and killing of the 16-year old appears to be a so called ‘revenge attack’ for the deaths of three Israeli teenagers, whose bodies were discovered on Monday.

Amnesty International put out a statement warning against ‘revenge’ attacks, noting: “The Israeli authorities have not presented any evidence to back their assertion that Hamas or the two named suspects were responsible for the teens’ abductions and murders

—–

Gaza’s Energy and Natural Resources Authority again warned of a power cut, should imported fuel quantities remain in limited supply.

In a press statement, the Authority said that the Israeli occupation authorities limited the quantities of fuel shipped via Karm Abu Salem crossing to the Strip, which may result in the power plant not operating.

The statement pointed to the fact that the lack of fuel is ongoing for the plant, and appealed to responsible parties to take immediate measures to find a fundamental solution for the crisis,

On June 26, a shipment of 250,000 liters of synthetic diesel (one day’s supply) was allowed entry into Gaza in order to fuel its sole power plant, a day after the authority warned the plant would shut down.

Even under the current schedule, Gazans receive electricity sporadically for totals amounting to 8 hours daily.

Qatari fuel, donated in March, was expected to run the plant for three months, but this deadline has since expired.

——-

India summoned the top diplomat from the US embassy to complain for the third time about spying following new allegations that the National Security Agency targeted the ruling party.

A new document supplied by fugitive former intelligence worker Edward Snowden and made public by The Washington Post, showed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party was among authorised targets for the NSA in 2010 while it was India’s main opposition.

India has complained to the United States on two other occasions, in July and November 2013, over other revelations.

Both times Washington has said it would look into what it can share about its espionage programme but failed to offer any details, the source said.

The new incident came ahead of a visit to New Delhi by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is expected to meet members of Modi’s government in the next few months.

—–

Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region working as civil servants, students and teachers had been banned from fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

The move sparked condemnation from an exile group.

Xinjiang is a mainly Muslim region, home to the Uighur minority.

For years China’s ruling Communist party has restricted fasting in the region, which has seen sees regular and often deadly clashes between Uighurs and state security forces.

On its website the state-run Bozhou Radio and TV university warned everyone that they were not permitted to observe a Ramadan fast.

China has in the past said that restrictions on fasting are meant to ensure the health of government employees.

On Monday, Chinese authorities reportedly encouraged Uighurs to eat free meals on Monday, and inspected homes to check if the fast was being observed.

—–

Economic Freedom Fighters representatives in the Gauteng provincial legislature were barred from entering the chamber on Wednesday for being dressed inappropriately.

Secretary to the legislature Peter Skosana said the EFF had been made aware its dress code of red overalls and domestic worker outfits needed to comply with the rules.

He said unless the EFF legislature members were dressed appropriately, they would not be allowed to enter the chamber.

That was the only reason they were barred from entering the chamber.

EFF Gauteng spokesperson Omphile Maotwe said a huge number of police were in the legislature, and they  were refused entry into the House.

Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe ordered the EFF members out of the chamber on Tuesday because their overalls had the word “Asijiki” (we will not go back) written on them, which was considered party insignia and thus not allowed in the legislature.

—–

A new poll found President Barack Obama, who is enduring a tough second term, topping a list of the worst US leaders since World War II.

The survey, by the polling institute at Quinnipiac University, revealed that 33 percent of those asked saw Obama as the worst leader in the last 70 years.

Twenty-eight percent picked his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush.

Tim Malloy, assistant director of polling for Quinnipiac said over the span of 69 years of American history and 12 presidencies, President Barack Obama finds himself with President George W. Bush at the bottom of the popularity barrel.

A string of political controversies and foreign policy crises have sullied Obama’s reputation.

The poll found that by 54 to 44 percent, voters believe the Obama administration is not competent at running the government.

The survey was conducted between June 20-24 among 1,446 registered voters and has a plus or minus margin of error of 2.6 percentage points.

—–

Two people were killed during clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar’s second-largest city of Mandalay.

According to the AFP news agency by a police officer, who did not want to be named said there were two people killed

The reported deaths came a day after reports of five people being injured during secratarian clashes.

A witness who lives in the mostly Muslim neighbourhood said a Buddhist mob had gathered late on Tuesday after rumours spread that the Muslim owner of a tea shop had raped a Buddhist woman.

No evidence of such an attack was immediately available.

He said the Buddhist mob ransacked shops and burned vehicles before police managed to restore order, but that at 6 am local time Buddhists were still driving through the neighbourhood shouting at residents.

Several Muslim shops were destroyed and that some people were wounded in knife attacks.

—–

 

THURSDAY

Israeli fighter jets, including F16s, carried out extensive raids over different parts of the Gaza Strip.

10 people were injured in a series of air strikes over the region.

Seven were injured during a shelling in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza. Four missiles are reported to have targeted homes and lands in the area.

Among the victims were an elderly women and three young girls. All had been hospitalized.

Furthermore, three people were injured by Israeli missiles in al-Maqousy Towers area, northwest of Gaza city. All were moved to Shifa medical center, west of the city.

In the eastern part of the city, three missiles have been fired into the at-Tuffah neighborhood, with excessive damage to homes and property reported.

Several homes and farmlands, as well as an agricultural college were additionally struck by Israeli missiles in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza.

Excessive damage was reported in all attacks.

Agricultural lands in Rafah were also reported to be under attack.

—–

The body of a husband and father of three was identified days after he threw himself in front of a bus after reportedly hacking his wife to death with an axe.

Andrew Letsholo died last Thursday, two days after killing his wife, Palesa, at their home in Protea North, Soweto.

According to reports, his wife’s body was found in the couple’s bed and a bloody axe was left nearby

Letsholo went on the run and police tracked his wife’s car in an area near Rustenburg a day after the murder.

A day later, Letsholo threw himself in front of a bus full of schoolchildren who were going to the Pilansberg Game Reserve.

His body lay in the mortuary for a while before it was identified.

—–

Protests in Klipspruit Valley in Soweto over power cuts turned violent, with police confirming that cars were set alight overnight at the Eskom depot.

According to EWN, residents of the Nancefield hostel barricaded roads with tyres and rocks.

They were demanding that the power utility restore electricity, which it apparently cut off because of illegal connections.

The police’s Lungelo Dlamini told the news source that Fifteen cars were burned, seven were damaged and several windows at the Eskom depot were also damaged.

No one has been arrested.

——

Aid agencies warned  that famine would break out in war-torn South Sudan within weeks unless massive funding for food aid is provided.

Britain’s Disasters Emergency Committee warned that millions of people are facing an extreme food crisis.

Thousands have been killed in the conflict in the world’s youngest country, while more than 1.5 million have been forced to flee since the war broke out in mid-December.

The UN’s definition Famine implies that at least 20 percent of households face extreme food shortages, there is acute malnutrition in over 30 percent of people, and two deaths per 10,000 people every day.

The UN’s food agency   said at least 1,500 South Sudanese were crossing into neighbouring Ethiopia every week to escape the conflict in their country.

The agency said more than 158,000 had already reached.

—–

Philippine health authorities urged Muslim Filipinos to postpone their Hajj pilgrimage due to worries about the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus.

The World Health Organisation recorded 824 confirmed MERS cases globally as of 2 July, including at least 286 related deaths.

Most cases have occurred in Saudi Arabia, and the virus is believed primarily acquired through contact with camels.

Philippine officials say there is no ban, but pilgrims were required to take a physical exam and get a medical certificate showing they are fit.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona says “high-risk groups” like the elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases are especially urged to not make the trip.

About 6 500 Filipinos are expected to join the October pilgrimage.

—–

Palestinians fired over a dozen rockets from the besieged Gaza Strip into Israel in retaliation for the Tel Aviv regime’s deadly airstrikes on the blockaded enclave.

Two rockets were reportedly intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome missile system.

The rest, however, passed through the US-sponsored system, with one of them hitting the central part of Israel’s southern city of Sderot, causing material damage and power cuts.

The development comes hours after Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes on 15 areas of the northern part of Gaza, leaving at least 10 Palestinians injured.

Meanwhile, Palestinian sources said Tel Aviv deployed troops to the besieged Gaza Strip border for a possible attack.

——

The Economic Freedom Fighters said that the Labour Department had officially given them the go-ahead to start their own union, called the National Trade Union Congress.

An EFF spokesman said party members could not belong to Cosatu-affiliated unions.

According to an EFF insider, the party submitted registration forms to the Labour Department on May 27 and received its registration number yesterday.

The inside source said the EFF would travel to all nine provinces to recruit people into their union.

The EFF union plans to target marginalised workers such as petrol attendants, domestic workers, farmworkers, security guards and workers in the retail sector.

Many EFF members believe that Cosatu’s alliance with the ANC has made it toothless, and that the trade union federation no longer strives for workers’ rights but rather keeping what they call the fat cats in power.

——

Credit ratings agency Moody’s said South Africa’s latest mass strike could dismay investors and prolong the country’s sub-par economic growth.

Moody’s said the strike by more than 200,000 engineering and metal workers would damage the country’s “already deteriorating reputation among investors”.

Members of the NUMSA union downed tools on Tuesday to press demands for a double-digit pay raise.

Moody’s said the strike “risks paralyzing nearly one third of the manufacturing sector” and would mean South Africa would be unable to take advantage of a more favourable global economic outlook.

The strike — South Africa’s biggest ever — comes days after the resolution of a five-month long platinum strike that pushed the economy to the brink of recession.

Moody’s also warned that the strike could affect the country’s credit rating.

South Africa’s rating — which helps determine the government’s cost of borrowing on international markets — was recently downgraded by two of three big ratings agencies, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch.

—–

West African health ministers met in Ghana to draw up a regional response to the outbreak of the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 500 people across the region.

Liberia’s deputy health minister said their biggest challenge is denial, fear and panic..

The deputy health minister for Sierra Leone said cash was needed for drugs, basic protective gear and staff pay.

Sierra Leone announced that President Ernest Bai Koroma, his vice president and all cabinet ministers would donate half of their salaries to help fight the outbreak, though the total amount of the donations was not disclosed.

Health experts say the top priority must be containing Ebola with basic infection control measures such as vigilant handwashing and hygiene, and isolation of infected patients.

According to the World Health Organisation.The outbreak has killed 467 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since February, making it the largest and deadliest ever.

—-

FRIDAY

The SA Weather Service said South Africans should prepare themselves for an approaching intense cold front.

Forecaster Vanetia Phakula said the cold front is making landfall in the Western Cape this afternoon and is expected to bring heavy rainfall, which could lead to localised flooding.

Parts of the Cape Metropole, Overberg, and the Cape Winelands could experience localised flooding from rain expected until Saturday.

Phakula said cold temperatures over the Western, Eastern, and southern Cape on Saturday would spread into the central parts of the country, hitting KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday and reaching Gauteng by Tuesday.

The Eastern Cape and Western Cape would start to warm up on Monday and by Wednesday the cold front should have left the country.

She said this weather pattern was typical for this time of the year.

—–

General Motors suspended production at its main South African plant after a strike hit parts supplies.

This makes it the latest victim of relentless labour unrest in Africa’s most advanced economy.

Violence erupted on some picket lines on Thursday, as the wage strike by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa dealt a further blow to an economy damaged by a five-month walkout in the platinum industry that only ended last week.

It will also further unnerve investors, who are increasingly frustrated by the unremitting labour strife and perceptions that Pretoria is unable, or unwilling, to rein in militant unions.

NUMSA’s more than 200,000 members went on strike on Tuesday, an action that employers say will cost the economy more than $28 million a day in lost output.

Mobs of strikers smashed car windshields and attacked workers who crossed picket lines in one industrial area east of Johannesburg, a witness said.

Around 26 strikers had been arrested in the main Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg, on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.

Some automakers said they had not yet been affected.

The stoppage will further dent investor confidence already hurt by the platinum strike that dragged the economy into contraction in the first quarter.

—–

Fighters from the Islamic State group have seized control of Syria’s largest oil field on the Iraqi border, forcing the withdrawal of rival fighters, Syrian activists say.

the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said The Nusra Front, which has controlled al-Omar oil field since late last year, abandoned the facility yesterday without firing a bullet.

By seizing the al-Omar oil field, Islamic State, previously called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, now controls most oil and gas fields in the eastern province of Deir Az Zor and the surrounding countryside.

A video uploaded to YouTube shows a man identified as Commander Hammam saying they took it the oil field over without any fighting.

The Commander apparently said that they fled like rats.

Al-Omar field has changed hands several times in the course of Syria’s three-year conflict.

Nusra Front and several other allied factions captured it from forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in November.

Nusra pulled out of Mayadeen and Shuhail, its regional stronghold, while local tribal fighters had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Most of the border province is now under the control of advancing forces of the Islamic State.

Earlier this week the Islamic State seized the town of Albu Kamal on the Iraqi frontier from Nusra, securing both sides of the border crossin

—–

Palestinians and Israeli police clashed for a third day in occupied East Jerusalem, ahead of the emotionally-charged funeral of a Palestinian teenager believed murdered by Israelis.

Israeli police said they used “riot control means” on stone-throwing Palestinians on Friday in the third day of violence since Mohammed Abu Khdair, 16, was kidnapped and found dead on Wednesday.

The police drove them off with riot control means is a term usually referring to tear gas or stun grenades.

This is also the first Friday of Ramadan, when tens of thousands of Palestinians gather to pray at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

Israel barred access to most men, allowing only those over the age of fifty to enter.

A police spokesman said hundreds of extra officers have been sent to the old city and Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem in anticipation of clashes.

——

A specialist surgeon at the Lenmed Private hospital in Lenasia was gunned down outside his Robertsham home in an attempted robbery.

Dr Khalid Hoosain was leaving his home for early morning prayers (Fajr) with his son for when he was accosted by three men in his driveway.

According to reports, the suspects tried to gain entry to his house in the South of Johannesburg, when one suspect opened fire, critically wounding Dr Hoosain.

Family members rushed the surgeon to Lenmed private hospital but he succumbed to his injuries enroute to facility which he one served.

Dr Hoosein, formerly of Port Elizabeth was an active member of the jamaat, and spent his last 40 days  in P.E last December.

——