Home | Global News | Your World This Week – News Wrap

Your World This Week – News Wrap

Yusuf Alli – Cii News | 01 November 2013

MONDAY

Main Syrian rebel brigades declined to attend an international conference scheduled to take place in Geneva in November.

They said they would not take part in any talks that does not result in President Bashar al-Assad’s removal.

Among the 22 groups were the leading fighting groups including the Suqour al-Sham, Liwaal-Tawhid and, as well as Ahrar al-Sham Brigade.

Meanwhile Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that part of the solution to the Syria crisis is expelling ‘terrorist groups’ from the country and complete the destruction of chemical weapons.

——

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu showed support for the campaign chat called for the release of imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouthi and other Palestinian political prisoners.

He congratulated SA icon and former robben island prisoner Ahmed Kathrada, who spent 27 years of his life as a political prisoner in South Africa, for leading this initiative.

Kathrada, signed a declaration on Robben Island on Sunday calling for the release of Barghouthi and all other Palestinian political prisoners.

The event marked the official launch of the Free Marwan Barghouthi Campaign.

Barghouthi has been in an Israeli jail since 2002 where he is serving five life sentences for his role in the fight for liberation in Palestine.

—–

The Independent reported that men from uMhlanga Rocks and the Highway area and elsewhere in Durban who pick up sex workers in the Glenwood area face having their car registrations placed on social network sites.

The practice has angered the residents of Glynwood to such an extent that they now want to expose those involved in it.

Umbilo is also known as an area that will be targeted.

Heather Rorick, of the Bulwer Community Safety Forum, said they were organizing a number of pickets in Glenwood and Umbilo to highlight the problem.

Church ministers in the area have called prostitution “a huge morality issue” and noticed an increase in such activity over the past 18 months.

They also report to companies when they see clients with cars carrying their brandings.

—–

Over 700 000 grade 12 learners started their final examination in South Africa.

They would be trying to beat last s pass rate of 73.9% as well as doing the best they can for themelves.

The exams would end on 29 November and the results are expected on 7 January.

Examaination Monitoring body Umalusi’s acting head, Vijayen Naidoo, said the target of approving 130 exam papers had been reached and all necessary security measures are in place.

—–

Protest action in Bekkersdal near Westenaria had been put on hold to allow government time to investigate the residents’ grievances.

The township has been plagued by violent protests with residents demanding the removal of their mayor.

The protests have seen government properties being vandalised and pupils being taken out of schools.

On Sunday, roads were barricaded with rocks and burning tree stumps.

Negotiations with authorities had however resulted in an agreement that a national and provincial task team will with immediate effect develop and formulate service delivery interventions.

——

International observers have described Madagascar’s presidential election as free and transparent.

Preliminary results showed that an ally of the ousted leader Marc Ravalomanana has taken an early lead.

Richard Jean-Louis Robinson has about 30% of the votes so far, while his main rival Hery Martial Rakotoarimanana Rajaonarimampianina has just over 15%.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes cast, a second round will be held on 20 December.

—–

Mozambique’s former rebel group Renamo said it was not responsible for the armed attack on the country’s main highway which killed one and injured ten amid tensions with the Frelimo-led government.

The presidency had blamed Renamo for the attack on three civilian vehicles in central Sofala province.

Last week the former rebels earlier declared a two-decade peace deal as over.

But, as in several previous incidents, the movement denied having carried out the aggression.

——

The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union announced this weekend that Violence against teachers must stop.

This was one of the resolutions adopted after a meeting of the union’s national general council, held between Friday and Sunday in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg.

SADTUsaid in a statement that the harshest sentence should be meted against any person who attacks teachers and all other education workers at schools.

The union called for the creation of a national violence against teachers registry and for research to be conducted at schools where such incidents occurred.

All role players had to take a stand to stop violence against teachers, while parents needed to also take responsibility for the discipline of their children.

—–

A man was on the run after fatally shooting his brother and wounding several others in an early morning brawl outside a Fourways nightclub.

The incident, in which the suspected gunman accidentally killed his own brother and critically injured two others, happened outside the notorious Tiger Tiger nightclub during the early hours on Sunday.

The Tiger Tiger franchise, which has branches in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, has courted controversy several times over the past decade.

Earlier this month, the assistant manager of the Pretoria branch, Carel de Jager, was stabbed by a patron.

In August 2012: Several girls were carried out of the club during the Rage weekend after their drinks were believed to have been spiked.

Most of the girls had no recollection of what had happened the previous night. The club denied liability at the time.

——

A German newspaper reported that US President Barack Obama knew his intelligence service was eavesdropping on Angela Merkel as long ago as 2010.

This contradicts reports that he had told the German chancellor he did not know.

Germany received information this week that the NSA had bugged Merkel’s mobile phone, prompting the German government to summon the US ambassador.

According to the German paper Bild am Sonntag, The NSA denied that Obama had been informed about the operation by the NSA chief in 2010.

However the agency did not comment directly on whether Obama knew about the bugging of Merkel’s phone.

The largest US spy agency has acknowledged that it intercepted private communications of some 35 world leaders.

The Wall Street Journal reports officials say an internal review revealed the existence of the international spying operation in the National Security Agency.

It was the first public acknowledgment of intercepting telephone communication of world leaders by the US government.

European politicians have expressed outrage over revelations of US surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone and mining of data in France.

—–

Britain faced travel chaos today and 30 000 homes were without electricity in north-western France as a massive storm swept in from the Atlantic Ocean.

Britain’s national weather centre warned of falling trees, damage to buildings and disruption to power supplies and transport as the storm hit England’s southwest coast late Sunday.

It will be followed by widespread gusts of 97 to 113km/h across southern England and south Wales, with winds reaching more than 130km/h in some areas.

In northwest France 30 000 homes were without electricity , after wind gusts reached 133km/h in some areas knocking down power lines but no major damage or injury were reported.

——

In a fresh airstrike against the Gaza Strip, an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle fired a missile into the north of the coastal enclave.

Hamas security sources said the attack targeted a Hamas military training post in northern Gaza City.

No damage or injuries were reported.

Witnesses said a huge explosion was heard near the training military base, which was empty at the time.

The Israeli airstrike came shortly after two rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip at the southern Israeli port city of Ashkelon. They caused no injuries or damage.

On Sunday, mortar shells were also fired on Eshkol, north of Gaza.

——

The UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Damascus for talks with Syrian government officials.

In his visit, he is expected to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign minister Walid al-Muallem.

Brahimi has been trying to build support for peace talks planned in Geneva next month between the government and the opposition.

The visit of Brahimi to Damascus was part of an extensive regional tour.

He had already visited Iraq, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

He met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and told him that the presence of Iran is necessary for the Geneva talks to succeed.

He also met King Abdullah II, the leader of Jordan, a country hosting over half a million Syrian refugees, few days earlier.

Last week, Brahimi held talks with leaders of the Free Syrian Army in Turkey and other military commanders fighting against the Assad government.

——

The Hawks arrested a suspected kidnapper, after police shot hip hop artist Khuli Chana in a case of mistaken identity.

Chana, whose real name is Khulane Morule, was shot at a garage along the N1 highway in Midrand.

ENCA reported that the suspect, 41, was arrested and faces charges of kidnapping and possession of an unlicensed firearm.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate said it had launched an investigation into the matter.

——

A pupil was stabbed to death and two others injured in a fight at a school in Dannhauser, northern KwaZulu-Natal.

A fight apparently broke out at assembly at Isizimele High School.

Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane was quoted as saying one victim was rushed to hospital where he died.

The other two who were also wounded during the fight were taken to a local clinic for treatment

TUESDAY

The European Union considered a possible imposition of sanctions on the United States as a response to Washington’s massive spying activities on its closest European allies.

An EU delegation also met with US lawmakers in Washington to seek answers to revelations that the US National Security Agency spied on European citizens and officials.

Following the meeting, Elmar Brok, the chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that the Confidence is damaged.

Spain became the latest US ally on Monday to demand explanations after a report by the Spanish daily El Mundo revealed that the NSA spied on 60 million Spanish telephone calls in a single month last year.

—–

ANC president Jacob Zuma launched a thinly veiled attack against the Economic Freedom Fighters in the Eastern Cape at the weekend.

He said some say they are fighting for economic freedom, but asked who is oppressing them economically? And who do they want economic freedom from?

The EFF was created by former African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema after being expelled from the ruling party.

—–

Reports said the Bekkersdal protesters in the west of Johannesburg have caused an estimated R11.2m damage to municipal buildings over the past six weeks..

Westonaria municipality spokesperson Kgabane Madiehe said the Paul Nel community hall, a gymnasium, a mobile library and the municipal offices were damaged during protests.

He said it would cost about R4.8m to fix the community hall and gymnasuim, while damages to municipal offices in Bekkersdal and the city centre were R2.6m and R3.2m respectively.

It would cost about R600 000 to get the mobile library up and running again.

Residents, claiming corruption in the local municipality, threw stones and set buildings alight in protests that started last month.

——

The two boys, aged three and four, were found dead in a car in Scheepers Street just after 1am, in Zwide, Port Elizabeth.

Warrant Officer Thembi Gwe said one of the boys’ grandmother visited a house in the area with them and they wanted to play with vehicles that were parked outside, but she ordered them to go back home

When she arrived home a few hours later the boys were not there.

A search was initiated and the boys were found in a vehicle parked in a yard in the street near the house they went to visit.

It was not known how the children died. Police were waiting for post-mortem results.

—–

Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi said his department is starting its upgrade of alternative roads for motorists who can’t afford or refuse to pay for e-tolls.

The controversial multibillion Rand project is expected to go live in the province before the end of this year.

On Monday, the MEC officially opened an upgraded route, which runs parallel to the soon to be tolled R21, Albertina Sisulu Highway.

Vadi said he wants motorists to use e-toll roads for their own safety, but alternative roads are being upgraded.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters still has to consider comments from the public on e-toll tariffs, which were published in the Government Gazette in the beginning of October.

—–

Three Kenyan soldiers were sacked and jailed for looting during last month’s attack on the Westgate shopping centre

Julius Karangi previously said that soldiers had only taken water during the four-day siege, despite CCTV footage seeming to show them helping themselves to goods in a supermarket.

One member of a fire brigade was caught with mobile phones and cameras, while another was caught stealing an abandoned car from the mall’s parking lot.

Several shop-owners claimed that their premises were looted during the siege.

Somalia-based group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, in which the militants killed at least 67 people and injured some 200 between September 21 and 24.

——

The World Health Organization confirmed 10 cases of polio in war-torn Syria, the first outbreak in the country in 14 years.

The UN body said a further 12 cases are still being investigated.

Most of the 22 people who have been tested are babies and toddlers.

Before Syria’s civil war began in 2011, some 95% of children were vaccinated against the disease.

The UN now estimates 500,000 children have not been immunised.

The WHO said the suspected outbreak centres on the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

There are more than 100,000 children, all under age five, now at risk of polio in Deir Ezzor province alone, which has been caught in fierce battles between Syrian government forces and opposition fighters.

Since the first suspected polio case was reported 10 days ago, Syria’s Health Ministry has begun an immunisation drive and aid agencies have begun developing emergency immunisation plans at Syrian refugee camps.

Young children are particularly susceptible to paralytic polio, the most serious form of the disease.

—–

Twenty Boeremag members convicted of high treason were given jail terms of between 5 and 30 years in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria

The charge arose from a rightwing plot in the late 1990s and early 2000s to violently overthrow the ANC government and chase all black, coloured and Indian people out of the country.

The decade-long trial has been one of the most expensive in South African history.

Legal Aid SA said it had spent just over R36m on the accused’s legal costs to date.

A Palestinian child, identified as Mohammad Mahdi Suleiman, could face a life-term by an Israeli court for throwing stones at the soldiers

The 15 year old child is from Hares village, near the central West Bank district of Salfit.

the Wa’ed Society for Detainees reported that the child was kidnapped on March 15 this year, after Israeli soldiers violently broke into his home and searched it.

He was then sent to a military court and the Israeli prosecutor’s office demanded that the child be sentenced to a life-term for throwing stones at the soldiers, and what it called engendering their lives.

Wa’ed called on the UNICEF and international human rights groups to intervene, and perform their moral and legal duty to protect the children.

It said that the child is being held under very tough conditions, facing torture and abuse, and that the Israeli interrogators deprive him from drinking water during long hours of interrogations,

It added that the interrogators even forced him to drink alcohol during interrogation.

The society said that the Israeli violations against the children, especially child prisoners, are ongoing and escalating, while the International Community continues to shed a blind eye.

WEDNESDAY

The Gauteng education department welcomed a decision by a Pretoria high school to fire a teacher who allegedly took pupils to have their private parts pierced.

EyeWitness News reported earlier that the teacher had faced a disciplinary hearing and was notified about his dismissal last week.

The teacher reportedly took three teenage boys for piercing.

He also reportedly had his own parts pierced in front of the pupils

——-

A Free State warrant officer was fined R10 000 or six-months imprisonment suspended for five years, for assaulting a woman at a petrol station

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate said he pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm following an Ipid investigation.

Security footage filmed on 5 April, and later broadcast on eNCA, showed a man in plain-clothes striking and kicking a woman at a petrol station.

Two uniformed officers allegedly allowed him to leave the scene without arresting him.

He had since been dismissed from the police.

—–

A fierce blaze on board a bus sparked by an exploding fuel tank has killed at least 44 passengers in southern India.

The fire broke out after the bus crashed into a central reservation on a highway between the cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad.

The number of dead, which included children, was 44.

A police officer in Mehabubnagar in Andhra Pradesh state, said the driver and five other people escaped.

The driver had apparently been trying to pass another vehicle when the bus hit the roadside barrier.

——

Footage has emerged of a Kwazulu-Natal schoolboy being speared to death by fellow classmates.

A video showing 18-year-old Bongani Nkabinde being killed at the Sizimisele High School earlier this week after being involved in a fight with several other pupils, has gone viral.

The fight broke out shortly after assembly in full view of other pupils who then had to write exams shortly after.

A number of violent incidents have been recorded at South African schools in recent months.

Earlier this month, a group of pupils from Pretoria West High School arrived at Hoërskool Langenhoven armed with pangas, knives and axes.

In another incident this month, a grade 11 boy from the Kgothalang Secondary School in Bekkersdal was stabbed to death by a fellow pupil at the school.

In a separate incident, a 14-year-old Jim Fouche Primary School pupil allegedly assaulted his 41-year-old female teacher in the face at the Johannesburg school after he was asked to take off his jersey because it was not part of the school uniform.

In September, a Glenvista High School pupil assaulted his teacher with a chair and broom while his classmates filmed the attack.

——

A Free State mother convicted of raping her teenage son is to be sentenced by the Bloemfontein Regional Court.

In an explanation of plea read to the court, the 51-year-old woman admitted to having relations with the 17-year-old without his consent.

She admitted raping him from December 2007 to January this year.

The rapes became public in January, when the boy told his story to a psychologist, after being admitted for treatment.

—–

The United Nations General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to denounce the United States’ five-decade-old embargo against Cuba.

A record 188 countries at the General Assembly voted to condemn the US sanctions against Cuba.

Several envoys from around the world also slammed Washington’s policy.

China’s Deputy UN Ambassador Wang Min said the call of the international community is getting louder and louder, demanding that the US government change its policy toward Cuba.

European countries also oppose the embargo against Cuba since US legislation punishes foreign companies, including the European ones, that trade with Cuba.

Havana and Washington have been at odds since the Cuban revolution, led by Fidel Castro, toppled Fulgencio Batista’s regime in 1959.

The US started imposing measures on the same year and placed an official embargo against Cuba in 1962.

Speaking at the General Assembly in 2012, the Cuban foreign minister had said that after the 2008 US election, President Barack Obama had promised a new beginning with Cuba but “the reality of the last four years has been characterized by a persistent tightening of the economic, commercial, and financial blockade.

—–

The health department says 15 people in Mpumalanga’s Hazyview area have contracted malaria.

A Sapa correspondent reported thatThe cases were reported since last week.

24 malaria cases were received at Matikwane Hospital in Mkhuhlu outside Hazyview.

Fifteen were positive while nine were negative

The patients were from Goromane Trust, Mkhuhlu, Cork, Lillydale outside Hazyview, and Buyisonto outside Thulamahashe.

—–

The official Tunisian news agency says a man had blown himself up in front of a hotel in a Mediterranean resort town.

The TAP news agency reported that the man, wearing a belt of explosives, was killed.

It was not clear if other people were hurt or killed in the explosion in the town of Sousse, which is a frequent destination for tourists.

Tunisia has been battling unrest since the overthrow of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s regime in 2011, and has seen the rise of self-declared jihadist movements.

—-

The Gauteng infrastructure development department has delayed payments to 129 service providers working for the health department.

DA spokesman Jack Bloom says This was revealed by infrastructure development MEC Qedani Mahlangu in response to his questions in the Gauteng legislature.

He said 88 of the companies were not paid within 30 days as required by law, and 41 service providers were owed money for more than 90 days.

Bloom said the shocking pattern of late payments has caused much of the delay in building and maintaining clinics and hospitals in Gauteng.

The health department declined to comment.

THURSDAY

An initiative to make schools safer was launched at Mosupatsela Secondary School in Kagiso by the Gauteng education department, the police and Crime Line.

At the launch Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy said Crime had no place in schools, calling on people to report any form of violence, whether it be bullying, physical and sexual assault and corporal punishment in their school.

The Young Crime Liners initiative would be rolled out school-by-school in the province.

Crime Line head Yusuf Abramjee says children are often afraid to report certain crimes for a variety of reasons, but they are offering them a chance to speak up within a safe environment.

—–

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has revealed that an African National Congress councillor called in sick, only to be seen taking part in the violent protest march in the CBD.

Thousands of people from various areas, including Khayelitsha, Phillipi and Nyanga descended on the Western Cape Legislature in a housing protest, but things quickly turned ugly when protesters started looting stalls and breaking shop and car windows.

De Lille says ANC councillor Loyiso Nkohla sent the City Council a sick note, but was later spotted among the protesters.

——

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega has distributed an email to members of the South African Police Service asking them for support as pressure for her to be suspended mounts.

Phiyega faced charges of defeating the ends of justice after a formal complaint was lodged with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

She allegedly tipped off Western Cape commissioner Lt-Gen Arno Lamoer about an investigation against him by crime intelligence.

——

The bodies of 87 migrants were found in Niger’s northern desert after they died of thirst just a few kilometres from the border of Algeria.

The corpses of the 7 men, 32 women and 48 children were in addition to 5 bodies of women and girls found earlier.

A security official said they all died in early October after a failed attempt to reach Algeria that began in late September.

A spokesman of local aid organization confirmed the death toll and gave a graphic account of discovering the bodies.

He said The corpses were decomposed.

They found them in different locations in a 20km radius and in small groups, often under trees, or under the sun.

The bodies were buried according to Muslim rites, as and when they were found.

—–

The Pakistani government has been criticised for lowering civilian casualty numbers of US drone strikes, contradicting its past calculations and estimates by independent organisations.

The defence ministry said that only 67 of 2,227 people killed during the attacks since 2008 were civilians, insisting there have been no civilian casualties since 2011.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, based in London, has estimated that drones have killed at least 300 civilians in Pakistan since 2008

Tthe Washington-based New America Foundation put the figure at 185.

However a UN expert investigating drone strikes, says that the Pakistani foreign ministry told him that at least 400 civilians have been killed by the attacks in the country since they started in 2004.

The Pakistani government regularly criticizes the drone program in public, even though it is known to have secretly supported at least some of the strikes in the past.

—–

The first South African Hajj twins touched down at OR thanbo airport.

In a case of returning from Hajj like newborn babies, a KZN has taken the Hadeeth in a different light, as they are returning with a pair of newborn babies.

The Canchitoo couple from Durban saw the birth of their twins on the 4th day of Haj aptly naming the girl Mina and the boy Arafah.

Ishaaq Canchitoo, taxi owner and PRO of People Movers Buses in Durban and his wife Amina arrived at OR Thambo with their special Hajj blessing.

—–

Thousands of Mozabicans protested the lack of government action on a spate of Kidnappings that has terrorized communities.

A resident who declined to be named said the object of the march to create awareness.

Frequent kidnappings and demands for ransoms had resulted in the brutal death of a 12 year old boy, attracting the attention of international media, and causing an outrage in the communities over the lack of police and governmental participation.

Some residents went as far as saying that some of the officials were involved in the kidnapping

While the march was ongoing, there were still people missing.

——-

Reports say hundreds of people in rural Zimbabwe are reportedly surviving on wild fruit amid intensifying hunger in the southern African country.

Daily news said the situation was getting desperate with legislators warning the villagers could starve to death unless urgent food relief efforts were made.

Last week News Day reported an increase in the number of school dropouts as a result of hunger.

The Minister of education Lazarus Dokora was quoted as expressing fears the number could increase in the next months as funds for supplementary feeding to pupils were yet to be released.

Recent statistics by the World Food Programme show that about 2.2 million people in Zimbabwe face hunger and that they might need food assistance in the coming months.

——

An East London magistrate has appeared before one of his colleagues on a rape charge, the Dispatch Online reported on Thursday.

He was temporarily removed from the bench after the charges emerged.

The magistrate who cannot be named until he has formally pleaded was released on R1 000 bail.

Chief Magistrate Valerie Gqiba said that the magistrate had not been suspended but a report would be submitted to the Magistrate’s Commission on charges against him.

Gciba said that the public did not expect a presiding officer to be on the bench one day and in the dock the next day.

The matter was postponed to 17 January next year.

—–

Two health department officials were arrested for selling ARV medication in a sting operation in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Paul Ramaloko said they received information from a person taking ARVs who said two officials were selling the drugs on the streets of Johannesburg and surrounding areas.

Patients were turned down at the Esselen Street Clinic saying there were no more ARV drugs.

They were then later contacted by two general workers who said they could sell them some drugs.

The Hawks crime intelligence and flying squad arrested the men in Joubert Park after they sold the medication to undercover officers.

They face charges of theft and would appear in the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court.

——

Google has expressed outrage following a report that the US National Security Agency has hacked its data links.

An executive at Google said it was not aware of the alleged activity, adding there was an urgent need for reform.

The comments follow a Washington Post report based on leaks from Edward Snowden claiming that the NSA hacked links connecting data centres operated by Google and Yahoo.

The NSA already has so called front-door access to Google and Yahoo user accounts through a court-approved program known as Prism.

Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond said Google did not provide any government with access to its systems.

——

The international chemical weapons watchdog says Syria has destroyed all of its declared chemical weapons production and mixing facilities, meeting a major deadline in an ambitious disarmament program.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a document seen by Reuters that its teams had inspected 21 out of 23 chemical weapons sites across the country.

The other two were too dangerous to inspect, but the chemical equipment had already been moved to other sites which experts had visited.

The OPCW is satisfied it has verified, and seen destroyed, all declared critical production, mixing, filling equipment from all 23 sites.

Phase three will last to June 2014 and will involve United Nations mission support to monitor all destruction of 1,000 tonnes of chemical weapons.

By mid-2014 it must have destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical weapons

FRIDAY

Johannes Kana, who was found guilty of the rape and murder of Bredasdorp teenager Anene Booysen, has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Reports said the Swellendam Circuit Court sentenced Kana to two life sentences, one for each crime.

He was found guilty of rape and murder in the same court on Tuesday.

The State requested two life terms, to run concurrently.

According to Sapa, Kana was seen with Booysen outside a Bredasdorp pub in the early hours of Saturday 2 February 2013. Booysen was later found raped and disembowelled. She died later that day in a Cape Town hospital.

Kana admitted raping Booysen, but denied murdering her.

———

Charges against four of five men accused of kidnapping, raping and killing two toddlers in Diepsloot were withdrawn in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.

State prosecutor Matric Lupondo said the evidence showed the men were not in Diepsloot at the time of the crime.

Magistrate Len Miller withdrew charges against four of the men, but a fifth man will remain in custody.

The case was postponed to November 27 for further investigation.

The fifth man faces two counts of murder, rape and kidnapping after two-year-old Yonelisa Mali and her three-year-old cousin Zandile Mali were found dead in a Diepsloot toilet on October 15.

——

Media reports and officials are saying Israel has launched air strikes against a Syrian airbase in the northern province of Latakia.

According to the AFP news agency, A US official confirmed that there was an Israeli strike yesterday but gave no detail on the location or the target.

Citing unnamed exclusive sources, Saudi Arabian news network Al-Arabiya said on its website that Israel was behind a series of explosions that rocked a Syrian airbase in the northern Latakia province.

The bombing targeted a shipment of surface-to-air missiles that was headed for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Former Syrian intelligence agent Afaq Ahmad, says after noting Syria’s failure to retaliate after previous action, Israel knows Assad has lost the ability to respond … So it has been engaging in unannounced attacks .

—–

Four people were killed during armed clashes with Israeli soldiers invading Al-Qarara and Abasan Al-Jadeeda area, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas, has reported that the four were its fighters.

Several residents were injured as the army bombarded Khan Younis while the dozens of soldiers advanced into the area using armored vehicles.

Israeli military helicopters also fired a number of missiles and dozens of rounds of live ammunition.

The Brigades added that its fighters ambushed Israeli vehicles invading an area east of Khan Younis, and opened fire at them wounded five soldiers.

Israeli military sources said that the soldiers invaded the area to destroy a tunnel that was located two weeks ago, and came under heavy fire from Palestinian resistance fighters.

—–

Eskoms chief executive said the company has halted work at all its construction sites to review safety after an accident which killed six workers.

The contractors died at the Ingula hydro electric plant being built in northeast Kwazulu Natal province after a wheeled gantry ran down an underground slope and collided with a monorail and other equipment.

Seven other workers were injured in the incident.

Eskom provides 95% of South Africa’s power.

It has been finely balancing output and demand since the grid came close to collapse in 2008.

He did not say how long the stoppage would last.

He said It would last as long as it takes, as long as every Eskom manager and contractor manager is comfortable with safety standards.

—–

The Senate Intelligence Committee passed a bill which would allow the National Security Agency to continue to collect Americans’ phone records and track foreign nationals who enter the US.

In a closed session, the committee voted 11-4 for the bill which would codify the US spy agency’s collection of Americans’ phone call records into law.

The bill, which now awaits a full Senate vote, was sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

It lets the NSA continue to gather phone records of millions of Americans for renewable 90-day periods and authorizes the US government to retain the data.

The bill also allows the US spy agency to eavesdrop on the cellphones of foreign nationals who enter the US “for a transitory period not to exceed 72 hours.”

Since early June, documents disclosed by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden have blown the lid on a number of US spying programs

—–

Morsi supporters held a fresh wave of protests across the country, days ahead of the ousted president’s trial, with clashes being reported between Morsi supporters and opponents.

Security forces fired tear gas to break up protests in Alexandria and arrested at least 60 protesters.

Protests also took place in the cities of Cairo and Giza.

Morsi’s supporters have called for daily protests starting today until the ousted president stands trial on Monday, urging crowds to gather outside a police institute near Cairo’s Tora prison, where Morsi is believed to be held.

He has not been seen since the military ousted him on July 3, and charged him with inciting the murder of protesters outside his palace in December 2012.

——

Figures compiled by government ministries showed that Nearly 1,000 people were killed across Iraq in October, making it the country’s deadliest month since April 2008,.

According to data from the Iraqi ministries of health, interior and defence A total of 855 civilians, 65 policemen and 44 soldiers were killed, , released on Friday.

A further 1,600 were wounded – 1,445 civilians, 88 policemen and 67 soldiers.

The figures also showed that 33 fighters were killed and 167 arrested.

Iraq has been grappling with a spike in violence for months, despite wide-ranging operations targeting armed groups and a major tightening of security in Baghdad and elsewhere.

The UN released almost similar figures and called for an end to the ongoing violence.

——-

Check Also

Mass Killings in Texas, US.

  MRN Press Statement: Mass Killings in Texas, US.   The recent mass killings in a …

Fisk: “We shouldn’t feel ‘proud’ about the Balfour Declaration”

Men play the role of jailed Palestinians and Israeli soldiers during a rally in support …