Home | Global News | Your World This Week – 22 November 2013

Your World This Week – 22 November 2013

Yusuf Alli – Cii News

News that Made it on the news wires this week

MONDAY

The Council for Geoscience said an earth tremor measuring four on the magnitude scale has been recorded in Johannesburg.

The preliminary analysis indicated the epicentre was near the University of Johannesburg just before 10am.

The Manager of the seismology unit Michelle Grobbelaar said previously that after an earthquake, it was a rule of thumb that another tremor of similar magnitude could often be expected in the same region, but seismologists could not predict when this would happen.

——

The corruption case against EFF leader Julius Malema was postponed to next year.

The trial has been set down from 30 September to 31 October.

The former ANC Youth League leader appeared after allegedly making nearly R4m from corrupt activities.

He is out on bail of R10 000 and faces charges of fraud, corruption, money-laundering, and racketeering.

The State alleges Malema and the others misrepresented themselves to the Limpopo roads and transport department, leading to a R52m contract being awarded to On-Point Engineering.

Malema accused the ANC of trying to silence him by bringing fabricated charges against him.

He told his supporters outside the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane that they accuse him of stealing because they are failing to match his thinking capacity.

——

A prominent Syrian opposition leader, Abdul Kader Saleh, died from wounds suffered in an air raid on the city of Aleppo.

Saleh had been wounded on Thursday when Assad’s forces raided a Tawhid meeting and killed another commander, Yusuf Al Abbas.

The Assad government has taken advantage of infighting between rebel groups.

Assad’s forces have also received strong support from Shia militia from Iraq and the Lebanese party Hezbollah.

———

A massive explosion claimed the lives of at least 31 Syrian government troops at an administrative building in a Damascus suburb.

Three generals and a brigadier-general were among 31 troops killed.

The timing of the attack is significant as it comes amid a major regime offensive on rebel positions all around Damascus.

A rebel group, the Shield of Damascus brigade, claimed responsibility for the attack.

——–

Ten people drowned around South Africa’s coastal provinces over the weekend.

The SABC reported that Eight were due to the heavy rains in the Eastern and Western Cape and the other two at sea.

Six people drowned in different parts of the Eastern Cape, including a mother and her two children who tried to cross an overflowing river at Tsolo.

In the Western Cape, two women died when their car was swept away in a flooded river at Stellenbosch on Friday.

A woman was found drowned on Saturday at Port St Johns Second Beach in the Eastern Cape, while on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, a six-year-old boy drowned at La Mercy beach.

—–

Pakistan announced on Sunday that it will put former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf on trial for treason, punishable by death or life imprisonment.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan says the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice will today receive a letter from the government requesting the setting-up of a tribunal of three high court judges to start proceedings against Musharraf for treason.

Musharraf is already facing four major criminal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule, including one related to the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

—–

50 people were killed after a Boeing 737 airliner crashed on landing in the Russian city of Kazan.

The flight from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport tried to land for a second time .

It exploded when it hit the runway, killing all 44 passengers and six crew on board.

Flight U363 was operated by the regional Tatarstan airline.

The son of the president of the Tatarstan and the regional head of the Russian FSB intelligence service were among those killed.

Kazan is the capital of the largely-Muslim, oil-rich region of Tatarstan.

—–

Four people, including a young boy, died and a baby was critically injured when their car overturned on the R59 in Powerville, Vereeniging, on Sunday.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Santi Steinmann said upon their arrival on scene they found that a motor vehicle had overturned resulting in three adults and young boy losing their lives.

A baby was found in a critical condition and was rushed to hospital for the urgent medical care that he required.

——

A total of 72 people were arrested in the Johannesburg central business district for various crimes at the weekend.

Six suspects were arrested for common robbery, one for murder, one for theft out of a motor vehicle, five for domestic violence, three for possession of dagga, three for fraud, and sixteen for shoplifting.”

Others were arrested for various crimes, such as assault, malicious damage to property, intimidation, possession of suspected stolen property, theft, armed robbery, and drunken driving.

—–

Two volcanoes erupted in Indonesia, prompting warnings for flights and evacuation preparations.

A State volcanologist says Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province unleashed volcanic ash as high as 8 000 meters, the highest of its eruptions in recent days.

The 2 600-meter-high mountain has sporadically erupted since September after being dormant for three years.

Hours earlier, Mount Merapi, Indonesias most volatile volcano in Central Java, spewed volcanic ash around 2 000 meters into the sky, causing ash to fall in several towns.

——

At least 24 people have been killed in an accident at a railway crossing in Egypt.

The accident occurred about 40km south of Cairo when a train ploughed into a lorry and a mini-bus, leaving another 28 people were wounded.

Kamal al-Dali, local police chief, told state television the mini-bus was carrying guests home from a wedding.

The head of the Egyptian Railway Authority, Hussein Zakaria, said the vehicles had ignored warning lights and chains blocking entry, and tried to drive through the crossing.

The train, whose driver survived the crash, continued for almost one kilometre before coming to a halt.

—–

Global relief efforts in the Philippines kicked into high gear, with aid workers, heavy equipment and life-saving supplies flowing into regions devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

There are initial signs that communities are beginning to shift from survival mode to the early stages of recovery.

Markets are beginning to reopen, some petrol stations were pumping and residents were repairing damaged homes or making temporary shelters out of the remains of their old ones.

However, residents are desperate to leave the disaster zone amid growing concerns over the lack of food and medicine.

The World Health Organisation is also warning of sigificant medical concerns

—–

The Damocratic Alliance said the Gauteng health department faces R3.7-billion in legal claims.

DA MPL Jack Bloom said this was the figure given to the province’s public accounts committee last week.

The total was up from R2.7-billion in legal claims as at March 31 this year and R1.6-billion in the 2011-2012 financial year.

Bloom said the amount claimed was worrying because the department had lost all medical negligence court cases in the past three years.

He called on management to tighten up in maternity wards, because many claims are because of babies harmed at birth.

——

Police have launched a search for four men who hijacked a family’s car in central Johannesburg at the weekend.

Saturday’s hijacking made headlines when the closed-circuit television footage of the crime, at the intersection of Commissioner and Crown streets, was posted online.

A car reportedly overtook the family’s silver Toyota Rav4 as they were waiting at the intersection, and parked in front of it, while Another car parked it in from behind.

There appear to be four occupants in the Toyota.

They took two cellphones, and R10,000 in cash.

—–

French President Francois Hollande has called for a complete halt to Israel’s illegal settlement activities on land the Palestinians want for a future state.

Speaking on his first official visit to the Palestinian territories, the French leader said that settlement construction was problematic for the negotiations, which have been limping along for more than three months with little sign of progress.

At a joint news conference in Ramallah with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas, hollande said that France demands a full and complete halt to settlement activity.

He said Settlement activity complicates the negotiations and makes it difficult to achieve a two-state solution

Since Israeli and Palestinian negotiators returned to the table at the end of July, Israel has made several announcements of thousands of new settler homes, angering the Palestinian negotiators.

——

President Jacob Zuma visited former president Nelson Mandela at his Houghton home in Johannesburg.

According to the presidency, the health of the former president remains much the same as it was when President Zuma last visited him, which is stable but critical.

Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said that Madiba continues to respond to treatment.

Earlier this year, Mandela spent almost three months in hospital for a recurring lung infection before being discharged on September 1 to continue treatment at home.

On Sunday, it was reported that Mandela remained “quite ill” as he recuperated at home.

His ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela says his bedroom is like an ICU ward and that He remains quite ill

Madikizela-Mandela said Mandela could no longer speak because of tubes in his mouth to clear fluid off his lungs.

She denied that the fromer president was on life support.

—–

TUESDAY

The KwaZulu-Natal health department faces legal claims relating to medical negligence of at least R990m.

Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo made the information public in a written response to a question in the provincial legislature.

DA health spokesperson Makhosazana Mdlalose said almost R800m of the claims related to maternal health care.

Claims totalling R100m were made against Durban’s Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, a further R60m in claims were made against Durban’s King Edward VIII Hospital, and R40m were made against Durban’s Addington Hospital.

Claims against provincial hospitals in the previous financial period of 2011/12 amounted to R600m.

—–

A manager at Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir’s Money Point was expected back in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court for a bail application.

Money Point business manager Ivan Savov and a bank employee face charges of fraud and money laundering. They were arrested on Thursday.

The bank employee was denied bail on Monday.

Savov was arrested at the Money Point gold and diamond exchange’s office in Bedfordview, on the East Rand.

Last Tuesday, two people died in an explosion at the premises.

The charges against Savov and the bank worker are not related to the blast.

The bank employee allegedly made an unauthorised transfer of R10-million from the bank account of security services company G4S. The money was allegedly transferred to an attorney’s account before being moved into Savov’s bank account.

The Hawks believed the transactions were linked to a bigger syndicate.

Krejcir, who is opposing an attempt by Czech authorities to have him extradited, believes the Money Point blast was an attempt on his life.

—–

The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) has re-elected Pieter Mulder as its leader.

The rest of the leadership consists of chair Pieter Groenewald, and executive members Anton Alberts, André Fourie, Corné Mulder, Jaco Mulder, and Wessels.

——

France said it will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon.

The French president, Francois Hollande, is in Israel where he told Israeli MPs such a situation was a threat to Israel and the region.

He added that his country will maintain sanctions against Iran.

On a future state of Palestine, Hollande told the Israeli parliament that Jerusalem must be the future capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state.

He also called for a complete halt to Israel’s illegally building settlements on land the Palestinians want for a future state.

—–

Iran has unveiled the biggest missile-equipped drone yet.

Defence Minister HosseinDehghan said the reconnaissance and combat drone Fotros has a range of 2,000km.

The earlier Shahed-129 (Witness-129) drone is reported to have a similar range, but can only stay aloft 24 hours.

Dehgan said the new drone is a key strategic addition to Iran’s military capabilities,

—–

North Korea has denied sending military aid to the Syrian government, in its battle against opposition forces.

Media reports have identified North Korean artillery officers as being in Syria, although they were said not to be directing fire.

There are also accusations that Pyongyang had sent advisers and helicopter pilots.

North Korea has long-standing ties with Syria and constructed a plutonium reactor there that was destroyed by an Israeli strike in 2007.

It also has links with Syria’s chemical weapons programme.

—–

Belgium has become the fourth country to refuse to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons on its soil

The international plan to rid Syria of its chemical weapons has stalled.

Not a single country has so far agreed to accept the munitions for destruction.

Albania, Norway, Belgium and France have all been approached – and all declined.

Syria’s stockpile totals 1,300 tons.

America and Russia could both do the job, but US law prohibits the importation of chemical weapons for destruction. Russia says that its facilities remain overwhelmed by the task of destroying its own chemical arsenal.

Norway has volunteered to provide a cargo ship to transport the weapons out of Syria to their final destination.

—–

Palestine’s delegation to the United Nations has cast a ballot for the first time in a routine General Assembly vote.

The chief Palestinian UN observer, Riyad Mansour, participated in the 193-nation assembly’s election of a judge for the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

It was the first time the Palestinians cast a vote since their UN status was upgraded last November to “non-member state” from an “entity,” like the Vatican.

Palestine however is still not recognized as a full UN member.

—–

The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that the current number of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel under Administrative Detention Orders, without charges or any due process now stands at 164.

The PPS said that the 164 administrative detainees are currently held in Majeddo and Ofer prisons, and the Negev detention camp in the Negev Desert.

Head of the PPS Qaddoura Fares says that, despite the fact that Israel is now the only country that practices this sort of illegitimate detention, Tel Aviv continues its violations, and insists on keeping such orders despite their violation of International Law.

Fares added that Israel should be prosecuted in international courts for its crimes against the Palestinian people, all political prisoners, mainly those held without charges.

—–

Saudi Arabia has denied a report by a British newspaper that it was preparing a contingency plan with Israel for a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The British Sunday Times reported that Riyadh agreed to allow Israel to use its airspace to attack Iran, including the two countries collaborating over the use of rescue helicopters, tanker plans and drones.

The newspaper has also cited an anonymous diplomatic source saying that “the Saudis are furious and are willing to give Israel all the help it needs.”

—–

A man was arrested after he allegedly shot dead a police officer in Dawn Park, in Gauteng.

Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said “It is alleged that two policemen attended a domestic violence complaint on Monday involving a man and his mother-in-law.”

Dlamini said police confronted the 33-year-old man but he fled the scene on foot and police gave chase.

Constable Harry Ngoepe followed the man to a nearby open veld and another officer gave chase with the police vehicle.

Ngoepe was later found dead with a bullet wound in his head. The officer’s service pistol was stolen and it is suspected that he was shot by the man he was chasing.

Dlamini said police searched for the man and he was later arrested. He would appear in the Alberton Magistrate’s Court soon.

—–

Skulls lie on tombstones and a hand reaches out from a grave at a cemetery in the eastern Philippines, after a typhoon so powerful it pulled the dead from the earth.

The storm surge was so powerful it washed bodies from their graves as it swept over the local cemetery.

Those who survived the onslaught were horrified to discover the graveyard in ruins.

An aid worker from the nearby Catholic diocese of Borongan says some of the dead were sticking halfway out of their tombs. Others were strewn across the street.

Shell-shocked survivors speak of how there was nowhere to hide when the storm brought the ocean surging ashore, sweeping through a school where children and the elderly cowered.

Typhoon Haiyan killed at least 75 people in the small rural town of Hernani. Another 45 are missing.

—–

Somalian militant group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a police station north of the capital Mogadishu.

Members of the group entered the compound after blowing the gates with a car bomb.

al Shabaab’s military spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab says they attacked the Baldweyne police station and killed many Somali police and Djiboutians.

He said that the station is now under their control.

—–

Two explosions targeting the Iranian embassy have hit the Lebanese capital Beirut, killing up to 23 people, injuring at least 146 and damaging buildings in the embassy compound.

Lebanese sources said that the Iranian ambassador is safe, but the cultural attache of the embassy, Ebrahim Ansari, has been confirmed dead.

It is unclear where he was when he was killed, as Iranian sources have said that all other embassy staff are safe.

Southern Beirut is known as a Hezbollah stronghold and has been rocked with at least three other explosions this year.

Those attacks were blamed on groups linked to the rebels, believed to be in retaliation for its involvement in Syria’s civil war.

Hezbollah fighters have been supporting Assad’s forces in several strategic battles across Syria, a move that has also increased sectarian tension in the two countries.

——

Kwaito musician and rape accused Sipho Charles Ndlovu has been denied bail by the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court.

Magistrate Piet Kotze said “there is convincing evidence and likelihood that the applicant will intimidate witnesses.”

Ndlovu, known as Brickz in the music industry, was arrested on a charge of rape on November 1 and has been in custody since his arrest.

He allegedly raped a teenage girl in March this year.

In his affidavit Brickz stated that he had no previous conviction but, the state submitted that he was convicted for possession of cocaine in 2007.

He was sentenced to four months with an option of a R1000 fine.

Half of the sentence was suspended.

—–

DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane said Provincial government is the right place to fight e-tolling.

Maimane said the provincial government can and must fight for the interests of the people of the province, adding that the SA National Roads Agency Ltd needs to know that they will take a different stance on e-tolling.

The gantries already up on the highways represent only the first phase of e-tolling.

At least 300km of the province’s roads could be expected to be tolled in the second phase.

Maimane said he would hold a referendum on e-tolling if elected premier of Gauteng, adding that public opposition cannot be ignored, and that cannot people of this province continue to be ignored.

A group of school principals have taken the minister of basic education and the MECs for education to court.

The government is not meeting its obligations to provide all children with a basic education

Education activist Jean Pease and the Progressive Principals’ Association have asked the Western Cape High Court to order the government to deliver a report on the steps it plans to take to remedy its failures in education.

According to the notice of motion, the government had not met its obligations to “respect, protect, promote and fulfil the right of all children in South Africa to a basic education.

South Africa was consistently among the countries at the bottom of international education rankings.

The Department of Basic Education rejected in the strongest terms”the allegation that it had failed to deliver.

—–

At least 16 people were killed in flooding prompted by a cyclone and heavy rain that lashed the Italian island of Sardinia.

A number of people were also reported missing after rivers burst their banks, sweeping cars away and causing bridges to collapse.

The worst-hit area appears to be in and around the north-eastern city of Olbia.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta has declared a state of emergency, speaking of a “national tragedy”.

Hundreds of people across the Mediterranean island have been moved from their homes because of the flash flooding caused by Cyclone Cleopatra.

Reports say flood waters in some areas were up to 3m (10ft) high.

—-

South African volunteers were the first foreign team to arrive in the Philippine town of Palompon to assist with relief efforts following Typhoon Haiyan.

About 70 000 people in the region were affected, with 90 to 95% of the homes damaged or destroyed by the superstorm.

Gift of the Givers doctors found medical staff at the local hospital working in almost complete darkness.

The team would be spending the rest of the week and part of next week in Palompon and would supply medical goods, food and water to the town.

A Philippines government official said that the cost of rebuilding the areas devastated by the typhoon could reach R58bn.

—–

Electricity supplier Eskom announced it declared an “emergency”, because demand for electricity had outstripped the available supply.

Key industrial customers had to reduce their load by a minimum of 10%.

Electricity expert Chris Yell told the times newspaper that this translated into mandatory load-shedding.

Residential consumers were urged to save power by switching off pool pumps, geysers and unnecessary lights from 5pm to 9pm.

Eskom has also published a load-shedding schedule for residential customers on its website www.loadsheddingeskom.co.za, but Eskom spokesman Andrew Etzinger said this was mainly a “precautionary measure”.

Load shedding for residential customers has however not yet started.

——

Gauteng police says Shops owned by foreigners were loote during protests in Thokoza, east of Johannesburg.

No further arrests had been made since three people were detained for public violence yesteday, after residents protesting the removal of illegal electricity connections barricaded roads.

The protest began on Monday when the Red Ants and police went to Imbeliseni informal settlement looking for illegal electricity connections.

Municipal spokesperson Sam Modiba said illegal connections saw the city losing R36m per annum.

——

WEDNESDAY

Rescue workers were busy on Tuesday night at a mall in Tongaat north of Durban that collapsed earlier in the day.

The tragedy left one person dead and 29 others injured after a concrete slab apparently collapsed.

It was feared that up to 50 more people are trapped in the rubble.

However sapa reported that a site foreman told rescue workers they may have already left for home, as the slab caved in while they were knocking off.

Jacaranda reported that Owner of the building Jay Singh has admitted that the plans for the Tongaat Mall had not been passed

The report stated that he said it was not uncommon for construction projects to begin before plans are approved

eThekwini deputy mayor NomvuzoShabalala said construction at the mall should not have been taking place.

The contractors were taken to court a month by the Metro because they had allegedly not followed “followed processes”.

Sniffer dogs combed the scene overnight for survivors.

Most of the injured had broken bones and crush injuries.

Heat-seeking equipment had detected three “hot spots” where other survivors could be located.

Fibre-optic cables were also fed into the area to determine if anyone else was alive.

—–

Christianity was said to be a shrinking religion in Britain.

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has warned that Christianity is “a generation away from extinction” in Britain.

Carey has warned that the Clergy is gripped by a “feeling of defeat”, as people seemed to be bored with the religion.

His comments at a conference came as a report laid before the Church of England’s General Synod warned that its position as a “national institution” would be in doubt if numbers drop much further.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, also underlined the scale of the crisis, telling members of the Synod they must “evangelise or fossilise”.

In an impassioned plea for the Church to adopt a new missionary stance, he told them that their constant internal debates were no more than “rearranging furniture when the house is on fire”.

He called for a campaign aimed at the “re-evangelisation of England

——

The North West Provincial Government established a Joint Water Crises Task Team to respond to a crisis situation in Mahikengand neighbouring towns.

The office of the Premier ThandiModise noted the concern about the recent water interruptions which have seen government buildings and the general community without water for the past two weeks.

The lack of rain as well as aging infrastructure and high water consumption patterns has been pinpointed as reasons for the problem.

The Task Team led by the Acting Director General for the Provincial Administration, Johannes Rantete. He expects to see improvement in the next week or two.

Local municipalities have started with the process of restricting water usage during non-peak hours.

Members of the Mafikeng community, government departments and businesses were therefore strongly urged to use water sparingly to ensure continuous supply of water and refrain from watering their gardens until the water supply improves.

—–

The death toll from the bombing at the Iranian embassy in Lebanon yesterday has reached 23.

More than 150 others are wounded.

Human bombers struck the Iranian embassy in Beirut, in what was seen as a response to Iran’s support for the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

A car bomb parked two buildings away from the compound caused the second, deadlier explosion. The Lebanese army described both blasts as suicide attacks.

The Lebanon-based Abdullah Azzam Brigades, claimed responsibility and threatened further attacks unless Iran withdraws forces from Syria.

In a Twitter post, Sheikh SirajeddineZuraiqat, the religious guide of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, said the group had carried out the attack. “It was a double martyrdom operation by two of the Sunni heroes of Lebanon,” he wrote.

The area is also a stronghold of the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah, which is a main ally of Syrian President Assad.

Iran’s foreign ministry, meanwhile, accused Israel of carrying out deadly double blasts.

—–

Gauteng police say a man was arrested following the death of a teenager in Hillbrow.

He was arrested after 16-year-old Nyasha Johwa fell from the sixth floor of a flat in Hillbrow.

The Star newspaper reported that Johwa was found naked in bed with the man’s wife.

The newspaper reported that the husband walked in and found the pair together.

A flatmate was quoted as having heard the husband accusing the wife of cheating on him

Constable Carol Mulamu says police were still not sure if the teenager jumped from the window or if he was pushed.

The husband is facing charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He apparently beat up his wife during the fight.

—–

A spate of bombings in the Iraqi capital Baghdad mostly targeting Shia neighbourhoods had killed at least 28 people and wounded 65.

According to officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the blasts struck across Baghdad from the morning onwards.

Police officials said the deadliest attack was in the central Sadria neighbourhood, where a parked car bomb went off at an outdoor market, killing five shoppers and wounding 15.

Other attacks took place in Shaab, Tobchi, Karrada, Azamiyah and Amil neighbourhoods.

Iraq is experiencing a surge in violence since April, following a deadly security raid on a Sunni protest camp in the country’s north.

Since then, more than 5,500 people have been killed, according to the United Nations.

—–

Mozambicans casted their ballots in local elections amid fears that a former rebel group that has threatened to resume an armed rebellion against the government may disrupt the vote.

Voters were to choose mayors and local assembly members in 53 municipalities.

Renamo who is the opposition, denied allegations it was planning to disrupt the vote after months of deadly clashes between supporters and government forces.

Election authorities have vowed to go ahead with the polls, which are seen as a crucial indicator of the ruling, Frelimo party’s grip on power.

Voters in the district worst affected by recent fighting between government forces and Renamo rebels said they feared leaving home to cast their ballots.

Presidential elections are planned for October 2014.

—–

The port city of Olbia in Sardinia held a day of mourning and prepared to bury its dead after flash floods left 16 people on the island dead.

The death toll of 16 was revised down from a figure of 18 announced by government yesterday.

Rain continued to fall overnight but caused no further damage to buildings or bridges on the island.

Italy’s civil protection agency said the number of people in emergency shelters had been reduced from 2 700 to 1 700.

Olbia, which was left almost entirely under water, declared a day of mourning and began organising funerals for six of the flood victims.

—–

At least ten Egyptian soldiers were killled in a car-bomb attack in the volatile border region of northern Sinai.

Security officials said the car bomb struck a bus carrying the off-duty soldiers as it travelled on the road between the border town of Rafah and the coastal city of el-Arish.

Thirty five soldiers were wounded in the attack.

The soldiers belong to the 2nd Field Army, which does most of the fighting against freedom fighters waging a revolution against security forces in Sinai.

The northern Sinai region, which borders Gaza and Israel, has been restless for years, but attacks have grown more frequent and deadlier since the July ouster of democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi.

Northern Sinai’s violence occasionally has spilled over into cities in the southern part of the peninsula as well as mainland Egypt, targeting policemen, soldiers and politicians.

——

Phillipines disaster relief agency said more than 4,000 people were confirmed killed by the typhoon that ravaged parts of the country almost two weeks ago.

The death toll now stands at 4,011 with 1,602 registered as missing since the storm swept the eastern central part of the country on November 8, injuring another 18,000.

According to the UNs Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, aid workers have reached nearly 2 million of the 2.5 million in urgent need of food.

It was not clear whether the remaining 500,000 had received aid from other sources.

Daniel Toole, regional director for East Asia and Pacific for UNICEF, says that food aid that has been pledged is enough for six months, but more was needed, added that interest from the foreign community had started to wane.

—–

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela vowed to depoliticise the report on the security upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.

She said the now-depoliticised way forward sought to take the process back to technical rather than political engagement.

Madonsela was speaking after the security cluster of ministers submitted a 28-page response to her provisional report on the security upgrade.

Madonsela said she was saddened that the matter had landed up in court and she did not see it coming.

She said her office and government now had the task of rebuilding trust and putting the unfortunate court drama behind them.

——

A man was shot at the Lenasia cemetery as he prepared a grave while the Janaaza Salaah was being performed at the Jamaat Khana.

Basheer Makanda and his colleague, Khalil Sheik, who work for the Saaberie Chishty Society were accosted by two armed men as they arrived at the grave site to ready the spades and planks to be used in the burial.

Mohammed Sayed – who is head of the organizations burial department said Makanda was shot as he tried to escape

Makanda was taken to hospital where he was told he will have to live with the bullet in his leg

——-

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said the e-tolling of Gauteng’s highways will begin on December 3.

Peters said systems were in place to ensure the system functioned, and the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) was capable of this responsibility.

She said Electronic tolling would contribute to the fight against licence plate cloning and reduce congestion

Meanwhile a new legal bid to stop e-tolling has been launched by the Democratic Alliance.but a date is yet to be allocated for the hearing.

The party is attacking a technicality relating to how the e-toll bill was handled in Parliament and whether there was enough consultation

—–

THURSDAY

The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) says the etolling project that will go live on the 3 Decemebr is good news.

However the vast the majority of those affected have voiced opposition to the etolling in Gauteng.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) received the news “with anger”, while the Democratic Alliance said this was a sad day for Gauteng and the country.

However Sanrals spokeperson Vusi Mona countered Maimane saying most of the money from the etolling will go into the further development of roads.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) chairman Wayne Duvenage said the e-tolling system was doomed to fail.

Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said the trade union federation would not give up its fight against e-tolling.

Wits university has played an important role in what has been termed an HIV/AIDS breakthrough.

Two Wits scientists have made major inroads into the quest to find a vaccine to prevent HIV infection.

Researchers Maria Papathanasopoulos and Dr Penny Moore will present a research lecture on their internationally recognised work at Wits University next week.

Since 1988, there have been 218 trials worldwide for a potential HIV vaccine. Nearly all have failed.

Moore, a virologist, was part of ground-breaking research last year that showed how two women’s bodies changed and began producing the special antibodies.

This year, Papathanasopoulos, a pathology professor carried out tests on animals that produced the correct broadly neutralising antibodies needed to fight all strains of the virus.

The groundbreaking Wits research could be a major leap forward in the global fight to develop an HIV vaccine.

—–

The times is reporting today that Property developer and millionaire, Jay Singh, built the mall that collapsed this week in Tongaatkwazulu-natal without permission.

It took just a few months for the building to go up without approved building plans or an environmental impact assessment to rezone the residential area.

A section of the shopping mall collapsed on Tuesday leaving one person dead and 29 injured.

The eThekwini municipality had taken him to court to prevent the building from going on.

However they did not send police to stop the contruction when he allegeldly persisted.

The department of labour is now also involved as the workers are said to be unregistered.

Rescue teams have still been unable to determine the number of missing people.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said a culpable homicide case is being investigated.

—–

A U.S. drone fired on a madressahin Pakistan’s northwestern region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa early this morning killing at least five people.

At least three rockets hit the madrassa in the Hangu district, killing two teachers and three students just before sunrise.

The cames a day after Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz said that the United States had promised not to conduct drone strikes while the government tries to engage the Pakistani Taliban in peace talks.

Pakistan publicly opposes U.S. drone strikes, saying they kill too many civilians and violate its sovereignty them.

An intelligence source told Reuters that SirajuddinHaqqani, the leader of Taliban-linked Haqqani network, was spotted at the madressah on Tuesday.

Online twitter users have been calling for the world to brand the US attacks as terror strikes.

—–

Meanwhile the Afghan Taliban are in a commanding position as Senior Afghan government officials have arrived in Pakistan to initiate peace talks.

A delegation travelled to Pakistan to meet the former Afghan Taliban second-in-command, Mullah Abdul GhaniBaradar.

Baradar has been held in an undisclosed location in Pakistan since Islamabad announced in September that it would release him in order to help the Afghan peace process move forwards.

Baradar is a long-time friend of the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, and one of their most influential commanders until he was arrested in Pakistan in 2010.

—–

Reports say Former KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize used 45 chartered planes and helicopters at a cost of R1.2m between 2010 and 2013.

This was reportedly said by current premier Senzo Mchunu and provincial director general Nhlanhla Ngidi in response to questions posed by the Democratic Alliance in the provincial legislature earlier this month.

The Mercury newspaper said that most of the trips were within the province.

Some of the trips were to attend weddings and funerals and cost between R22 000 and R58 000.

The office of the premier said the use of private aircraft was not unusual.

Spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya was quoted as saying the province was mainly rural and private planes were required to access certain areas.

———–

There were warnings that Eskom is on the brink of a major disaster with 12,000 megawatts of the utility’s capacity out of service.

On Tuesday, the parastatal declared its first supply emergency since 2008 and urged consumers to use electricity sparingly.

The utility says the system is taking severe strain due in part to a generator problem in Mpumalanga and summer maintenance schedules.

Large companies have been ordered to cut their power consumption by 10 percent to prevent the country from being hit by widespread blackouts.

Eskom says South Africans are at risk of load shedding at least for the next week while it desperately tries to reduce demand from its major clients.

————

One of four men facing trial in connection with Kenya’s Westgate mall massacre in September has fiercely denied the charges in court, describing himself as a deeply religious man.

Adan Mohamed Abidkadir Adan said during a bail hearing says he is a practising Muslim, who believes in the sanctity of human life, and had nothing to do with the murderous attack on the Westgate Mall whatsoever.

Adan, along with three other suspects – Mohammed Ahmed Abdi, Liban Abdullah Omar and Hussein Hassan Mustafa – pleaded not guilty to the charges of supporting a rebel group at a court in Nairobi.

They also face charges of entering Kenya illegally and obtaining false identification documents.

The other three suspects are also expected to submit bail applications.

————–

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saidthat Israel is a regime doomed to collapse, escalating a war of words between Iran and the Jewish state.

Speaking to commanders of the Basij militia force in Tehran, he said that The Israeli Zionist regime is a regime whose pillars are extremely shaky and is doomed to collapse.

The remarks come at a time of strong criticism in Israel of efforts to strike a long-elusive deal between world powers and Iran on its controversial nuclear programme.

The s P5+1 group of world powers and Iran are to resume talks in Geneva to seek an agreement.

Khamenei rejected claims that Iran and its nuclear work posed a threat.

He warned against Israeli threats of possible military action against Iranian nuclear installations.

—–

Senior Afghan officials have arrived in Pakistan to initiate peace talks with the Afghan Taliban.

A spokesman for Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, confirmed that a delegation travelled to Pakistan to meet the former Afghan Taliban second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Baradar, seen by Kabul as the key to restarting peace talks, has been held in an undisclosed location in Pakistan since Islamabad announced in September that it would release him in order to help the Afghan peace process move forwards.

A Pakistani interior ministry official confirmed the delegation had arrived.

The delegation’s arrival follows a breakthrough in negotiations during a summit between the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, the British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif.

Karzai formed the Afghan High Peace Council in 2010 to pursue a negotiated peace with the Taliban, who have revolted since being ousted from power by US-led forces in 2001.

—–

American retail giant Costco has apologised after copies of the Bible labelled as fiction were found on sale at one of its stores, triggering protests by Christian groups.

Caleb Kaltenbach, a pastor at the Discovery Church in Simi Valley, California, tweeted a picture of the Bible, with a barcode price sticker clearly labelled fiction.

This prompted a surge of retweets and comments from both critics and some suggesting the description was accurate.

Costco sought to downplay the flap, apologising but saying it was simply an error by a distributor, saying it mislabelled a small percentage of the Bibles.

—–

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and aid agencies said that thousands of United Nations peacekeepers should be dispatched urgently to halt Christian-Muslim fighting in the Central African Republic t

Months of violence had pushed the country into near-anarchy with thousands of people killed or kidnapped and over half a million forced to flee their homes.

On Tuesday, Amnesty International warned there was “no time to wait” in deploying a UN mission, citing large scale human rights abuses and possible “crimes against humanity”.

The group’s call came after the UN secretary-general urged the Security Council to immediately authorise the dispatch of 6,000 blue berets to bolster an existing but ineffective force of 2,500 African peacekeepers, which is all that currently stands between Muslim former rebels and Christian vigilante groups

Ban told the Security Council that A further 3,000 UN peacekeepers should be on standby in case the situation deteriorates.

—–

Eskom said that the power supply has slightly improved but emergency protocols remain in force

spokesperson Andrew Etzinger said the situation had improved since Tuesdayand the power supply is adequate at the moment.

On Tuesday, the power utility declared an electricity supply emergency due to the loss of additional generating units from power stations and the extensive use of emergency reserves.

Since then, power generation had improved and more capacity was available.

Etzinger said the co-operation of industrial customers helped stabilise the power supply after they were asked to reduce their consumption by 10%.

—-

A car bomb exploded in a busy market in Iraq’s northeast, killing at least 25 people.

The attack occurred in Sadiya, 65km northeast of Baghdad, a town in ethnically mixed Diyala province.

The bomb went off at about noon in the market for groceries, in a neighbourhood populated mostly by Faylis, or Shia Kurds.

The blast in Sadiya struck a day after violence across Iraq, including a spate of bombings in Baghdad, killed 59 people and left more than 100 wounded, the latest in a protracted surge in violence nationwide.

The rise in unrest just months before general elections has forced Iraq to appeal for international help in combating the country’s deadliest militancy since 2008

——-

A gas explosion killed as many as 25 people in a gold mine in eastern Guinea.

The accident took place at an artisanal mine in the remote Siguiri province, 800km northeast of Conakry.

The zone holds some of the West African country’s largest gold reserves.

A Siguiri resident who witnessed the rescue operation, said 14 bodies had been found but he believed that none of the 25 miners in the pit at the time of the explosion could have survived.

A police source confirmed that 14 bodies had been recovered at the site.

He said the walls of the mine are too narrow and it’s impossible to survive this kind of accident.

——-

Tough provincial legislation was passed to bolster the ban on unnecessary blue-light brigades in the Western Cape.

Capetonians have long expressed their ire at speeding cavalcades of VIPs, which are prone to forcing their way through traffic, sometimes dangerously, and causing delays for general motorists.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has also long been vociferously opposed to the abuse of traffic escorts by office-bearers.

Transport MEC Robin Carlisle published regulations which warned against the used of blue lights on vehicles carrying office-bearers, or vehicles in their convoy.

Carlisle says they have seen the abuse of blue-light brigades by office-bearers in the past, tantamount to a disregard for the rule of law and a threat to the safety of other road users.

The law was in line with the National Road Traffic Act.

—–

Ministers in the security cluster said that South Africans should desist from publishing and distributing images of President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.

During a media briefing, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele said it was against the law and ask people to no longer do it.

Cwele and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa made it clear that it is against the law to take photographs and distribute photographs of national key points.

Mthethwa said that the Nkandla homestead had been declared a national key point in 2008 and this means people what have photos or images may be in possession of classified information.

The cluster ministers said that media houses will be contacted and asked to no longer publish pictures of Nkandla.

—–

Tough provincial legislation was passed to bolster the ban on unnecessary blue-light brigades in the Western Cape.

Capetonians have long expressed their anger at speeding cavalcades of VIPs, which are prone to forcing their way through traffic, sometimes dangerously, and causing delays for general motorists.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has also long been vociferously opposed to the abuse of traffic escorts by office-bearers.

Yesterday, Transport MEC Robin Carlisle published regulations which warned against the used of blue lights on vehicles carrying office-bearers, or vehicles in their convoy.

Carlisle says they have seen the abuse of blue-light brigades by office-bearers in the past, tantamount to a disregard for the rule of law and a threat to the safety of other road users.

The law was in line with the National Road Traffic Act.

—–

The DA unveiled a new billboard against e-tolls on the N3 highway in Germiston.

The blue and white billboard states: “A vote for the DA is a vote against e-tolls.”

DA spokesperson Mmusi Maimane said it formed part of an intensive campaign to mobilise Gauteng voters against the government that brought us e-tolls.

He says they are urging motorists to vote for the DA to put a stop to this daylight robbery.

E-tolls will come into effect on 3 December on Gauteng’s highways.

—-

FRIDAY

Large sections of the roof of a supermarket have collapsed at a supermarket in Latvia’s capital, Riga, killing 32 and injuring dozens of others,

—–

An oil pipeline exploded in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao, killing 22 people, in the latest deadly industrial accident in the country.

The force of the blast ripped roads apart, turning cars over and sending thick black smoke billowing over the city.

The Qingdao municipal government said the pipeline, run by state-owned oil giant Sinopec, exploded as workers sought to repair a leak.

It said At least 22 people were killed, adding that the toll could rise further and the number of injured had yet to be confirmed.

The explosion site in the eastern province of Shandong is close to the coast and barriers had been set up to stop oil leaking into the sea

—–

The ENCA is reporting that a Johannesburg school principal has allegedly called black girls at her school dirty and fat.

The headmistress at Wordsworth High School addressed them during assembly, and also sent a note to parents complaining that the girls only washed their hair once a month.

The school principal’s attack on the girls apparently didn’t end there.

The next day tutors were sent to go around the classes to go check the girls hair and if their hair was not the way the principal wanted, we were sent to the girls toilets and told to wash our hair with sunlight liquid.

Professional hairdressers, however, said chemically treated hair should only be washed two weeks after treatment, and overwashing could damage it.

Meanwhile, the Gauteng Education Department has launched an investigation into the matter, and will be guided by the outcome on the course of action to take.

—–

Four men have been arrested in connection with the hijacking of a family’s car in central Johannesburg, which made headlines when CCTV footage of the crime was posted online.

Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini says that the men had been taken in for questioning and that the family’s silver Toyota Rav4 and a Toyota Corolla were recovered on Wednesday.

Further investigations are continuing as more people might have been involved

Police were investigating four hijackings in downtown Johannesburg, also caught on camera, which the men may also be linked to.

The footage was being analysed to identify the hijackers and the weapons used.

——

Crime Line head Yusuf Abramjee and his family were held up at gunpoint in their Erasmia home this morning.

Shots were fired, but no one was injured.

It’s understood gunmen cut the electric fence and gained entry to Abramjee’s home where they held him and his wife at gunpoint.

Abramjee’s son heard the commotion, drew his firearm and confronted the suspects.

As the suspects fled, Abramjee exchanged gunfire with the intruders.

It’s understood they were being chased by the police while being in the possession of a stolen vehicle, which they abandoned nearby.

The men are believed to be in their twenties.

—–

When five robbers made off with a trailer full of booze worth R2.5 million, they never imagined they would be hijacked, especially by police officers.

Two Ekurhuleni crime intelligence officers appeared in the Germiston Magistrate’s Court for a bail hearing.

Warrant Officer Ernest Mofokeng and Constable Anderson Dlamini allegedly intercepted the truck with 16 800 bottles of alcohol and then sold the booze off for R300 000.

At the beginning of this month, it was reported that a heist had taken place at Jan Smuts Warehouse Park.

Five robbers held security guards and drivers hostage and stole liquor that had arrived from Durban.

As the gang were driving through Elsburg in Ekurhuleni, they were allegedly stopped by Mofokeng and Dlamini, who were in plain clothes and an unmarked car.

They then took them to the Germiston police station.

While he hijackers waited at the station, the two officers took the keys and offloaded the alcohol then gave the keys back and let the hijackers go.

—–

A University student was killed and another injured when they were struck by a car in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.

The two students were knocked down by a car at the intersection of Kingsway and University roads in Auckland Park.

One student died on the spot while the other was injured

The injured student was taken to hospital, but discharged later in the day.

The university said the car involved in the incident was being pursued by police at the time.

It added that The driver of the car is in police custody and the entire matter is currently in the hands of the police.

—–

Officials in the Philippines say The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan has risen above 5,000.

The country’s National Disaster Agency says that 5,209 people are now known to have lost their lives, with many more still missing.

That makes Haiyan, the deadliest natural disaster in the country’s history.

Floods in the Ormoc region in 1991 killed 5,101 people.

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