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Your World This Week – 11 April 2014

Your World This week

Yusuf Alli – Cii News | 11 April 2014/10 Jumadal Ukhra 1435

News that made headlines on various newswires around the world.

MONDAY

Nine Cosatu affiliate unions gathered at Cosatu House in Johannesburg, to welcome newly reinstated secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi back to work.

The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg set aside his suspension on Friday.

Following Vavi’s suspension Numsa, an ally of his, lodged an application in the high court challenging the decision.

Cosatu had been split between affiliates supporting Vavi and those supporting his suspension.

However, it emerged at a National Union of Metalworkers of SA shop stewards council at the Coastlands Hotel in Durban on Sunday that Vavi could face suspension from the federation again.

——

A Nigerian Shariah court freed two men accused of gay relations and belonging to a homosexual club, saying the prosecution failed to prove its case.

The two were among 12 detained in northern Bauchi state in January

Five of the men were found guilty and were sentenced to fines and public whippings in the court.

The judge however freed a 29-year-old street vendor and a 21-year-old artisan.

The Shariah trials were held in secret since a mob tried to lynch the men at a court hearing, demanding they be stoned to death.

One in the group is a Christian who must be tried in a secular court.

——

The balance of power in Durban’s Ethekwini Metro Council was tilted at the weekend by the resignation of three Minority Front councillors.

This might cost the party its seat on the council’s executive committee.

The councillors – Bradley Singh, a ward councillor from Phoenix, Rodney Pillay from Arena Park in Chatsworth, and Lyndall Singh joined the DA yesterday.

This meant by-elections would take place in Chatsworth and Phoenix, with Pillay and Singh as DA candidates.

DA leader Helen Zille claimed the move was part of the realignment of politics, with Indian voters leaving the MF – moribund since the death of leader Amichand Rajbansi – and joining the DA.

She warned Indian voters that the employment equity measures recently adopted by the ANC government meant racial quotas allowed only 3% of positions to be filled by Indians.

——

 

Some planes and ships searching for a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner in the Indian Ocean moved toward waters where a Chinese vessel had picked up “ping” signals at the weekend.

This raised hopes of finding the airliner’s black-box recorders.

The black boxes, thought be to lying on the ocean floor, were equipped with locator beacons that send pings on the same frequency as those detected by the Chinese naval ship.

However the beacons’ batteries were thought to be running out, a month after Flight MH370 disappeared.

Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 reported receiving a pulse signal with a frequency of 37.5 kHz, consistent with the signal emitted by flight recorders, on Friday and again on Saturday.

————

Polls opened in six of India’s constituencies, launching the first day of voting in the country’s six-week general election.

Monday’s vote took place in Assam and Tripura in the northeast, before moving to other areas of the country in eight phases.

India’s ruling Congress party, which has held power for a decade, is expected to be defeated by the opposition Hindu nationalists after the country’s 814-million-strong electorate finishes voting on May 12.

Opponents of Congress are angry about low growth, rampant corruption and religious unrest under the current government.

Growth under the Congress party’s decade-long rule has averaged 7.6 percent per year, but a sharp slowdown since 2012 has crippled public finances and caused an investment crash.

The election will be the biggest in history, as voters travel to nearly a million polling stations. Results will be released on May 16.

—–

Pro-Russian protesters who broke into the state security headquarters in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk have raided its arsenal.

This prompted the police to close down all roads leading to the city.

Luhansk, which lies around 25km west of Russia, is a city where secessionist sentiment has sparked frequent protests since the country’s Russia-friendly president was ousted in February.

A crowd of pro-Russian activists had stormed the security services building in Luhansk on Sunday.

Local media reported that demonstrators pelted the building with eggs, and then stones, a smoke grenade and finally a firebomb.

Separately, Arsen Avakov, the Ukrainian interior minister, said on his Facebook page that the regional administrative building in another eastern city, Kharkiv, had been cleared of “separatist” protesters.

——

According to reports, Failure to field 60% black players would lead to the Proteas, the Springboks and Bafana Bafana being banned from representing South Africa at international events.

This is according to resolutions taken by the Department of Sport following a meeting between Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula and the provincial MECs for sport on Saturday.

They discussed a report, released last week, on the status of transformation in the most popular sports, rugby, cricket, netball, athletics and football.

Mbalula said the group decided to increase the 50/50 quota system to 60% representation after noting a “lack of willingness in implementing transformation, especially the enforcement of quotas”.

Failure to implement the new quotas would result in withdrawal of any form of funding and support to federations and sport bodies.

Mbalula said his department would block sponsorship of any sports association that was hostile to transformation

Bidding for and hosting sports events would become illegal without government approval.

The 60% requirement will come into effect immediately.

—–

The French government has announced that it is pulling out of the 20th anniversary commemorations for the Rwandan genocide.

The decision follows an accusation by the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, that France participated in the mass killings in 1994.

Mr Kagame has previously made similar allegations, which France has denied.

The French foreign ministry said the remarks went against reconciliation efforts between the two countries.

Rwanda prepares to mark the 20th anniversary of the atrocities that claimed at least 800,000 lives – mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus – over a period of about 100 days.

The violence was triggered by the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana, an ethnic Hutu who was killed in a plane crash on 6 April 1994.

It came to an end after Mr Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) – a Tutsi-led rebel group – defeated government troops in July that year.

—–

At least eight people were killed in fighting between Palestinian factions in a refugee camp near Lebanon’s southern city of Sidon, sources from the military told Al Jazeera.

The sources said the fighting broke out on Monday between fighters from a group orginally linked to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah group and a rival organisation.

—–

Cosatu’s special central executive committee meeting was scheduled to go ahead tomorrow despite Numsa asking the trade union federation to postpone it.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven says it’s going ahead, adding that the national office bearers, which included general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, were meeting on Monday.

The special CEC was expected to discuss the High Court in Johannesburg’s ruling to set aside Vavi’s suspension and the way forward.

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA’s position in Cosatu was also expected to be on the agenda.

Vavi was placed on special leave in August, pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to his affair with a junior employee.

Though He returned to work at Cosatu House this morning, he will still face an internal disciplinary hearing next month.

—–

Syrian Network for Human Rights revealed that some 176 prisoners were tortured to death inside Syrian regime prisons in March.

SNHR records showed that the number of prisoners killed after being tortured in prison has exceeded 500 deaths in a single month.

The March deaths included two children under 16, two women, a doctor and a nurse.

Charges or the reason of detention for the deceased were not revealed.

The SNHR called for the UN Security Council to turn the issue of killing prisoners to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Syrian National Coalition and other international human rights organisation have together called for turning this issue to the ICC, but the Russian and Chinese stance, which support Al-Assad’s regime, have undermined potential measures by the UN Security Council.

—–

Malaysia and Indonesia banned the movie ‘Noah’, joining other Muslim nations that forbid the Hollywood movie for its visual depiction of the prophet Nuh (AS).

Film censors in both countries said that the portrayal of the ark-building prophet by an actor is against Islamic laws.

Much of the Muslim world, including the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, has already banned the film.

The head of Indonesia’s censor board Muchlis Paeni said the plot of the film contradicts both the Quran and the Bible.

Some Christian conservatives also have complained of its inaccurate portrayal of the biblical account of the flood.

The Indonesian Council of Ulama, the country’s most influential Islamic body, welcomed the move, saying films that could corrupt religious teachings should be outlawed.

——

The DA legal team would write to President Jacob Zuma requesting he stop the so called “abuse” of public money for the ANC’s election campaign, the party said.

DA leader Helen Zille listed various instances that she believed were attempts by government departments to use taxpayers’ money to assist the ruling party in its campaign before the May 7 elections.

Excessive spending on advertising by government departments was listed as another example where the ANC could possibly be furthering its election campaign.

The Public Protector has been approached to investigate in all the reported cases where the DA believes state money is being abused for electioneering purposes.

—–

At least 15 civilians were killed following an improvised explosive device explosion in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan.

A local official said the incident took place in Maiwand district of Kandahar province after a civilian vehicle struck with an IED.

In the meantime, deputy interior minister Gen. Ayub Salangi said at least 13 civilians were killed following the explosion.

According to AP reports , Local government spokesman Dawkhan Menapal said two SUVs carrying civilians were traveling on a side road after the main road was blocked following a bombing targeting a convoy of NATO troops in Kandahar province.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the earlier attack but blamed international forces for the roadside bombing, saying the foreign forces were trying to hurt the reputation of the Taliban by making it look like they were killing civilians.

———

Two 16-year-old boys arrested in connection with the murder of two Soweto schoolgirls appeared in the Protea Magistrate’s Court.

Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said the case was postponed to Thursday for a preliminary inquiry in terms of the Child Justice Act.

The boys were implicated in the murders of Thandeka Moganetsi, and Chwayita Rathazayo.

The girls were found dead in a field in Dobsonville in February.

They were both in their George Khoza Secondary School uniforms when they were found with cuts on their hands and necks.

Three black candles and two new razor blades were found at the scene.

The murder was believed to have been linked to a satanic ritual.

—–

TUESDAY

People in the Central African Republic, the vast majority of them Muslim, are in urgent need of food aid.

The religious violence in the country has left 1.6 million people in a desperate situation.

Thousands of people have been killed as Christian mobs attacked Muslims in the country.

The unprecedented attacks followed the takeover of the country by Seleka rebels last year and attrocitites carried out by the Seleka were mainly Muslims, many from outside the Central African Republic.

The repsirsal attacks against the innocent Muslim population has continued despite the presence of African Union and French peacekeeping troops.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Food Programme said conflict had “caused the destruction of livelihoods, loss of food and cash crops, livestock and crucial productive assets across the country.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, warned on Saturday that “ethno-religious cleansing” was being conducted in the country.

——

The ANC has called for calm in Boitumelong near Bloemhof after six houses were burnt during a violent protest.

North West provincial secretary Dakota Legoete said while the public has the constitutional right to protest, these rights do not imply that people must be violent.

Residents went on a rampage demanded the resignation of the mayor and councillors.

The houses of the mayor, two municipal officials, two police officials, the mayor’s neighbour and the community hall were burnt yesterday.

A police armoured vehicle was also petrol bombed.

Residents disrupted the reopening of schools. They barricaded the N12 road with burning tyres and pelted police officers with stones leading to two police officials sustaining injuries.

Legoete urged the provincial government to urgently convene a meeting with the residents of in an effort to restore stability.

North West police say almost 100 people had been arrested since the protests began last Wednesday.

—–

A UN human rights envoy said severe shortages of food, water and medical care for Rohingya Muslims in western Myanmar, are part of a long history of persecution against the religious minority that could amount to “crimes against humanity”.

Tomás Ojea Quintana’s statement followed the evacuation of hundreds of international humanitarian workers from Rakhine state, home to almost all the country’s 1.3m Rohingya Muslims, tens of thousands of whom are living in crowded displacement camps.

The aid workers left after Buddhist mobs attacked their offices and residences two weeks ago.

Some have tried to return, but have been barred by the government.

The UN special rapporteur on Human Rights said the developments in Rakhine are the latest in a “long history of discrimination and persecution against the Rohingya Muslim community which could amount to crimes against humanity”.

More than 170 aid workers were pulled out of the state as a result of last month’s unrest, the first time they have been forced to leave en masse.

There are fears that the entire relief infrastructure has been severely damaged.

The exodus has deepened an already dire health situation for hundreds of thousands reliant on international medical relief, with some 140,000 in the camps, as well as more than 700,000 vulnerable people in isolated villages severely affected.

—–

Grant Pascoe – the DA chairman in the Cape Town metro and leader of the party’s biggest Western Cape constituency, Mitchells Plain – has blamed party leader Helen Zille for his decision to join the ANC.

Pascoe said Zille is not sincere with the coloured people, adding that if you disagree with the leader, you are then vilified and ousted.

Pascoe said Zille served the interests of the party’s whites over coloureds and blacks.

The new ANC recruit, who commanded a strong following among DA members, became the first high-profile Cape Town politician to quit his party as the elections approach.

Pascoe said he did not regret his decision, had pondered it for some time and had not been offered anything by the ANC.

DA provincial leader Ivan Meyer said Pascoe had faced demotion.

Meyer said He knew that things weren’t going well in his portfolio, and that he was going to be sacked imminently.

Zille said Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said Pascoe’s defection to the ANC was not a big deal.

—–

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized the international community for failure to prevent the 1994 Rwanda genocide, saying the UN is ashamed how the situation was handled.

Ban’s remarks came while addressing thousands of Rwandans at an official mourning in the capital, Kigali, to mark the 20th anniversary of the genocide.

He described the massacre as one of the darkest chapters in human history.

The UN chief together with Rwanda President Paul Kagame lit a torch of remembrance which will burn for 100 days – the same length of time it took government soldiers and Hutu militia to kill 800,000 ethnic Tutsis back in 1994.

Several African leaders and other officials attended the official mourning, but the French ambassador to Rwanda, Michael Flesch, was barred from the ceremony due to a diplomatic row with France over its role in the massacre.

Rwanda has long complained that Western and other nations did not do enough to stop the massacre from taking place, accusing France and Belgium of involvement in the killings.

—–

The death toll from flash floods in the Solomon Islands climbed to 23, as aid agencies scramble to distribute supplies to thousands left homeless by the disaster.

Health kits were reportedly being handed out to 10,000 people sheltering in evacuation centres in the capital Honiara in a bid to prevent disease outbreaks,

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said as many as 40 people are still missing in the Pacific island city after the Matanikau burst its banks last Thursday following days of heavy rain, creating a torrent of water that swept away entire communities.

Save the Children has reported cases of diarrhoea and conjunctivitis in the evacuation centres while the main concern is mosquito-borne dengue fever, which was already prevalent in Honiara before the floods.

—–

A family of five was burnt alive in an open bakkie at the weekend while visiting a homestead in Mambalweni, in the Eastern Cape.

The incident took place on Sunday around 8pm.

The family was in the area to pay respects at a family member’s grave.

The same family was attacked in the same area in May 2013 and had their house burnt down.

They then moved to a different village.

No arrests had been made.

—–

An explosion has ripped through a train in Pakistan’s restive southwestern province of Baluchistan, killing at least 12 people.

The bomb went off on the Rawalpindi-bound Jaffer Express in a carriage reserved for men in the town of Sibi about 160km south of the provincial capital of Quetta.

The explosion left another 40 people injured.

Senior police official Mohammad Nazar said two carriages of the train caught fire after the blast but the flames had since been put out.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but it came a day after paramilitary troops said they had launched an operation in the violence-racked province and killed around 40 armed men.

Resource-rich Baluchistan is home to a long-running separatist conflict that was revived in 2004, with nationalists seeking to stop what they see as the exploitation of the region’s natural resources and alleged rights abuses.

—–

A senior official says the Palestinians are ready to sign up the “state of Palestine” for additional international agencies and treaties if US peace efforts collapse after an April 29 deadline for a deal.

The warning by Mohammed Ishtayeh, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, came US mediators tried to defuse the worst crisis in the negotiations since Secretary of State John Kerry persuaded the two sides last summer to resume talks for nine months.

Under the terms of renewed talks, Israel promised to release 104 long-held Palestinian prisoners in four groups, while the Palestinians said they would suspend a campaign to sign up Palestine, recognised by the UN General Assembly as a non-member observer state in 2012, for as many as 63 UN agencies, treaties and conventions.

After Israel last week failed to release the fourth group of prisoners on time, Abbas signed letters of accession for 15 international conventions.

Israel then said the final prisoner release was off the table.

—–

For the first time, the Israeli Knesset held an in depth examination into the Jewish demands to pray at the al Aqsa mosque compound.

A special Knesset subcommittee issued a move that would allow the al Aqsa mosque compound to be divided into two parts, one for Jews and one for Muslims.

Prior to the Knesset debate, right-wing MK and member of the Jewish Home Party Moshe Feiglen stormed the al Aqsa compound accompanied by settlers and high ranking members of the Israeli army.

According to the Palestinian NGO Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, “Some 3168 Israelis, broke into Al-Aqsa during the first quarter of this year.”

It added that 133 Israelis had broken into the mosque complex on Sunday alone in an attempt to change the policy in the Knesset to divide the mosque.

According to Al Aqsa Foundation, Israeli jews and right-wing MK’s are increasing their presence in the mosque in preparation for the law passover which is set to happen on the 14th April.

Meanwhile Hamas warned the Israeli occupation of dire consequences of it dared to build a synagogue on part of the Aqsa Mosque.

The Movement urged the Palestinian people in all occupied lands, especially in Jerusalem, to intensify their presence at the Aqsa Mosque and defend it against any attempt to Judaize it or seize any part of it.

It called on the organization of Islamic cooperation to assume its responsibilities and move to protect the Aqsa Mosque against Israel’s Judaization attempts.

—–

Survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre have opened a civil suit against the Dutch government, saying Dutch peacekeepers should have protected the victims of Europe’s worst massacre since World War II.

The suit was first brought in 2007 by victims’ group the Mothers of Srebrenica, in connection with the massacre during Bosnia’s bloody three-year war in the early 1990s.

Almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered and their bodies dumped in mass graves.

—–

The United Nations had been forced to cut the size of food parcels for those left hungry by Syria’s civil war by a fifth because of a shortage of funds from donors, a senior official has said.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said as the humanitarian crisis within Syria intensified, its neighbours were also groaning under the strain of an exodus of refugees that now totals around 3 million.

Together with the tragedy of the people displaced inside the country, the number of 6.5m, now shows that almost half of the Syrian population is displaced.

The delay of pledged donations mean that the standard family food basket for five people, which includes rice, bulgur wheat, pasta, pulses, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, and wheat flour, had to be cut by 20 percent in March to allow more people to be fed.

Some 2.6m Syrian refugees have registered in neighbouring countries, while hundreds of thousands more have crossed borders but not requested international assistance.

Guterres pointed to the huge burden this is imposing on Syria’s neighbours.

In Lebanon, the more than a million registered refugees are equal to almost a quarter of the resident population.

—–

Libya’s parliament had asked newly appointed Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to form a new cabinet within one week.

Parliamentary spokesman Omar Hmeidan reportedly said the General National Congress appointed Abdullah al-Thinni as the prime minister under a condition of forming a government within week.

He told Reuters News agency that once a cabinet was formed, the congress would decide whether Thinni and his minister could stay until a general vote expected for later this.

Thinni had earlier written to parliament asking for more powers and a longer mandate at a time of deepening turmoil that has hit the North African state’s lifeblood oil exports.

Last month the GNC ousted prime minister Ali Zeidan after the military failed to prevent rebels from sending a tanker loaded with oil out from a port they have blockaded.

Zeidan was temporarily replaced by former defence minister Abdullah al-Thani, whose government’s mandate is renewable every two weeks until a permanent replacement can be appointed.

Government spokesman Ahmed Lamin confirmed the cabinet had requested wider powers but denied it had threatened to resign.

—-

WEDNESDAY

The UN should “support rather than oppose Palestinian actions to join international treaties that promote respect for human rights,” Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

Deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch Joe Stork said: “It is disturbing that the Obama administration, which already has a record of resisting international accountability for Israeli rights abuses, would also oppose steps to adopt treaties requiring Palestinian authorities to uphold human rights.”

Stork added: “The US should press both the Palestinians and the Israelis to better abide by international human rights standards.”

In wake of the failure of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas filed applications to join 15 international treaties, including the core treaties on human rights and the laws of war.

The following day, the US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said that the US would strongly oppose the Palestinian action to join international bodies and treatments.

Based on the US “solemn commitment to stand with Israel,” Power said that the US firmly opposes “any and all unilateral [Palestinian] actions in the international arena.”

Defending the Palestinian decisions, Human Rights Watch said: “Palestine’s adoption of human rights and laws of war treaties would not cause any change in Israel’s international legal obligations.”

—–

The Cii Projects, Syria I Need You Campaign is almost at completion. However a challenge has come up that inshallah with the continued support of the listeners of Cii can be overcome.

The initial intention was to send one or two containers of baby milk formula and baby cereals via Turkish Humanitarian aid organisation, the IHH.

One forty foot container based in Benoni, Gauteng, is approximately three quarters of the way full. This container urgently needs to be filled in order for it to leave South Africa and makes its way to starving Syrian children.

The Second 20 foot container in Durban also requires a few feet of contributions in order to be completely filled.

Cii Projects urges you to dig deep into your pockets and respond to this appeal.

Contact ml Muhammad Seedat on 084 584 7733 or the cii offices on 011 494 7000.

Banking details are available on the website ciibroadcasting .com

—–

Cosatu had effectively handed over control of its affairs to alliance partner the ANC as it battles to contain divisions that have paralysed it for nearly two years.

This follows a decision of the union federation’s central executive committee yesterday to postpone its own efforts to calm discontent within the ranks and instead call for mediation by the ruling party.

In the lead-up to the committee meeting there have been expressions of discontent by some Cosatu-affiliated unions.

The representatives of one faction argued that adding to the agenda at the meeting would make it impossible for them to consult their members on what position to take on the additional items.

Mediation by ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte eventually succeeded.

The opposing factions could not agree on the holding of a special congress and the suspension of federation secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, his ally.

—–
Petite Bumper Daycare centre in Rosettenville was shut down after a video showing a 16-month-old bound and gagged toddler trying to free herself emerged.

Video footage obtained by the Daily Sun showed the little girl on the bathroom floor, trying to free herself from the tape used to tie her hands, feet and mouth.

An insider told the paper that the crèche owner Labeeba Truter had tied the child up because she “didn’t want to be disturbed while she watched TV”.

The child, named Beauty, was allegedly kept in the bathroom for about 3 hours before being let loose.

Truter had since denied any involvement in the incident, choosing to pin the blame on one of her employees.

She also told the channel reporters that she had chosen not to inform the child’s parents but to rather deal with the matter herself.

The Social Development Department decided to shut down the unregistered day care centre after assessing the situation.

No arrests have been made yet, as no case was reported.

—–

President Jacob Zuma urged political parties in KwaZulu Natal to work with the Independent Electoral Commission of SA to ensure that peaceful elections take place.

At the University of Zululand Zuma said everyone has a right to support a party of their choice.

He said people and political parties should enjoy their freedom, since KwaZulu-Natal had experienced much violence during apartheid.

Zuma said determination and political will were needed for the political parties in the province to reach a consensus and end the violence.

He urged the people of KwaZulu-Natal not to allow themselves to be provoked towards senseless violence.
——

At least 23 people were killed and 39 injured in a powerful explosion at a fruit and vegetable market on the outskirts of Pakistan’s capital city of Islamabad.

Police officials said that explosives were planted in fruit crates at the Sabzi Mandi market in the Pir Wadai area, which lies between the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

The bomb went off as morning shoppers were buying supplies at the market.

The blast left a 1.5m diameter crater at the market, which is known to be crowded in the mornings, and was heard up to eight kilometers away.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban denounced the attack at the market and yesterdays attack on a train in the southwestern province of Balochistan, killing at least 14.

The Taliban are currently in negotiations with Pakistan’s government to try to resolve years of deadly fighting in the northwest that has killed tens of thousands of people.

—–

Australian officials say that two new “ping” signals have been detected in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, injecting fresh confidence into the search that has been struggling with a lack of information.

—–

A 9-month-old baby was charged with attempted murder for allegedly taking part in a riot in Lahore, Pakistan.

Time reports said that 9-month-old Musa Khan was hauled into a Pakistan court, finger printed, and charged with attempted murder.

According to the Guardian Khan was identified by police after disturbances in a Lahore slum area flared in response to a gas company disconnecting houses with unpaid bills.

A document known as a first information report stated that Musa and his co-accused tried to kill the gas company workers and their police protection by throwing stones.

A senior police official in Lahore, Atif Butt, told CNN that the scuffle involved the infant’s father, one of his teenage sons and others in the residence.

In the wake of the media uproar about the incident the Punjab Chief Minister has suspended the Pakistani police official responsible for registering the boy’s case.

In Pakistan it is a common occurrence for police to collectively punish entire families, often at the instruction of the complainant.

——

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande had described articles about President Jacob Zuma and his Nkandla homestead as “white people’s lies”.

According to the SABC, He said the reports were “lies perpetuated by white people.”

Nzimande, speaking at the University of Zululand, praised Zuma and said it was appropriate to honour him for his contribution to peace in KwaZulu-Natal and education in the country.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela last month found that Zuma and his family had improperly benefited from R246m security upgrades at his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Witness reported last week that Nzimande had also criticised newspaper coverage of the Nkandla issue, saying reporting was biased.

He continued that media coverage of the Nkandla issue was meant to demean Zuma.

—–

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Syrian government forces had indiscriminately destroyed entire neighbourhoods and entire families were buried under the rubble of their homes

The Secretary-General demanded that warring parties and their supporters ensure that civilians are protected, regardless of their religion, community or ethnic affiliation.

“They must do everything to avoid and prevent violence against civilians, including indiscriminate shelling and air attacks on civilian areas,” he said.

He said despite belief by many that the conflict can be won militarily, more violence will only bring more suffering and instability to Syria and sow chaos in the region.

He urged all Syrians and their supporters abroad to “immediately put an end to this conflict”.

According to statistics released by the Syrian Observatory for Syrian Human Rights, The war has so far claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people.

—–

A US Marine posted at the main gate of a North Carolina base shot and killed a colleague inside a guard shack

Camp Lejeune military spokesman Nat Fahy said the shooting occurred early on Tuesday night.

Police and emergency personnel attempted to revive the shooting victim at the scene, but Fahy said the person was later pronounced dead at a base hospital.

The Marine who fired the shot from his M4 rifle was placed in custody .

There were other guards at the gate, but no one else was hurt.

The shooting comes less than a week after a fatal rampage at Fort Hood in Texas, where a soldier is accused of firing 35 shots over an eight-minute span, killing three and wounding 16 others before killing himself.

—–

The United Nations warned that a looming drought in Syria could push millions more people into hunger and exacerbate a refugee crisis caused by the three-year conflict.

Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN aid agency World Food Programme says A drought could put the lives of millions more people at risk

The threat posed by drought meant the number of Syrians in need of emergency rations could rise to 6.5 million, up from 4.2 million now

——

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the United States is backing street protests to attempt a coup d’état against the government of the South American country.

In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian Maduro said despite denying its involvement in subversive activities, the US administration is seeking to seize “Venezuelan oil” through a Ukraine-style “slow-motion coup.”

The Venezuelan president also blamed the opposition for promoting violence and harming the development of the country to justify a foreign intervention.

Moreover, Maduro stated that his country is currently facing a type of “unconventional war that the US has perfected over the last decades.”

He cited a string of US-backed coups or attempted coups in the region from Brazil in 1960s to Honduras in 2009 as evidence.

—–

Some 3,248 people were killed in Egypt over the seven months following the military coup against President-elect Mohamed Morsi in July last year.

A Report released by the Wiki Thawra site, an Egyptian statistics database for the Egyptian revolution, the victims fell during clashes with security forces or the army or during security crackdowns on demonstrations, civil clashes over sectarian grounds, assassinations, extrajudicial killings, due to violence in the place of detention or as a result of terrorist acts.

According to the report, the victims included supporters or opponents of a certain faction, local residents and passers- by, policemen and soldiers, journalists, doctors and field paramedics.

It noted that 2,588 victims were killed in political events, 41 were killed during sectarian clashes, three during social protests, 80 in places of detention, 28 as a result of excessive use of force, 281 in so called acts of terrorism, 122 during security raids and 105 died of neglect.

According to the report, the victims included 2,927 civilians, 226 policemen, 95 soldiers, 11 journalists, 164 minors, 72 women and 299 students.

—–

Ukrainian authorities warned they were prepared to use force to clear several government buildings seized by pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

Todays’s warning came as protesters continued to occupy the headquarters of Ukraine’s Security Service in the eastern city of Luhansk.

Hundreds of supporters camped outside and shouting “Putin” in support of the Russian President

The Security Service had earlier said that the separatists inside the building, armed with explosives and other weapons, allowed 56 hostages to leave the building during the night.

A spokeswoman said there were no other hostages.

Serhiy Tyhipko, a lawmaker associated with the previous Ukraine government, urged the authorities not to storm the building in Luhansk, calling for a negotiated peaceful solution.

—–

According to a report the arms deal costed over R46 billion.

The Star newspaper reported that that was the official figure for the controversial 1999 defence procurement package from the National Treasury.

Treasury deputy director general Andrew Donaldson says the total nominal expenditure on the Strategic Defence Procurement Package between 2000/01 and 2013/14 has been R46,666 billion.

The deal was financed with loans from foreign banks, with loan costs totalling R51.3 billion.

He was testifying before the Seriti Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria, which is headed by Judge Willie Seriti and is investigating allegations of corruption in the arms deal.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission of inquiry in September 2011, after the Western Cape High Court was asked in 2009 to appoint an independent judicial inquiry into the arms deal.

The commission was supposed to have concluded its work by last November but asked Zuma for a 12-month extension after several delays, including the resignation of senior inquiry officials.

—–

A man was allegedly cuffed to a rail of the Shoprite store at the Golden Acre for more than two hours after being accused of shoplifting.

He was then held overnight by the police on a charge of fraud before being released.

His employer and a friend said on Facebook that he had paid for a R5 mug from the reduced goods table at the store, and then went back to find the mug’s lid, after noticing all the other mugs had lids.

He was seen by store security and shackled.

Shoprite spokeswoman Sarita van Wyk said once suspected shoplifters were identified, police were called to the store to take charge of the situation.

She added that the incident was under investigation.

—–

A spokesman for the French army said the first EU troops arrived in the capital of the strife-torn Central African Republic.

Francois Guillermet said 55 soldiers from the European Union Force were conducting their first patrols in the city on Wednesday, with the aim of “maintaining security and training local officers”.

France also called for a vote on a resolution that would authorise a nearly 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping force to take over from an African force less than half its size

France’s UN Mission said on Wednesday it expects the Security Council to unanimously approve the resolution authorising 10,000 troops and 1,800 police to replace more than 5,000 African Union soldiers on September 15.

The arrival of the troops came as Samatha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, made her second visit to the Central African Republic since the sectarian violence started in December.

——-

At least five civilians were killed by a roadside bomb in southern Somalia, while another explosion in the capital Mogadishu killed a government official.

According to an administration official, Several African Union peacekeepers and civilians were killed and many others injured when a roadside bomb exploded outside an AU military base, in the southern port town of Kismayo in the lower Juba region.

He said there was a powerful explosion that was followed by several bullets fired by AU troops.

Amedical supervisor said at least five dead civilians and several injured people were brought to Kismayo General Hospital.

Meanwhile in the capital Mogadishu, meanwhile, Wadajir district secretary Mohamud Deel was killed by a car bomb.

The victim was preparing to go to his office at the time of the bomb explosion.

—–

The United Nations said more than 3,600 women, children and men were subjected to rape and other sexual violence in Congo over a four-year period by the country’s defense and security forces or armed rebels.

A UN report documented 3,645 victims of sexual violence between January 2010 and December 2013, with nearly three-quarters of the victim’s women.

Ranging in age from two to 80-years-old, 73 percent of the victims were women, 25 percent were children and 2 percent were men, the report said.

Just over half the rapes documented were committed by members of armed groups that operate in eastern Congo.

The remainder was attributed to state agents, including soldiers in the military, who were implicated in around one in three rapes.

In 2011, the  American Journal of Public Health reported more than 400,000 women and girls  were raped in a 12-month period in 2006 and 2007.

The UN human rights chief Navi Pillay told authorities in DRC that more prosecutions were crucial to fight impunity, including against “those suspected of having command responsibility.”

—-

Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo renewed their commitment to give $100m in monthly aid to the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

According to the Associated Press news agency, the ministers also urged Arab governments falling behind on payments to the Palestinians to swiftly come up with the money.

The pledge, made in the Egyptian capital, came hours after Israel announced a partial freeze in high-level contacts with the Palestinians in retaliation for their bid sign international conventions.

Under interim peace deals, Israel collected and transfers to the Palestinian Authority some $100m a month in taxes on goods imported into the Palestinian territories.

Israel has previously frozen the payments during times of heightened tensions.

Though Israel did not mention such measures yesterday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said the Israeli government had “indicated” it would withhold the revenues.

He did not say how that message had been delivered.

Yesterady, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ordered a halt to high-level contacts with the Palestinians on non-security related issues, but exempted his chief peace negotiator from the ban.

——

THURSDAY

The owner of the Rosettenville crèche where a toddler was bound and gagged was charged with assault and child abuse.

Captain Tshekiso Mofokeng said Labeeba Truter was expected to appear in the Johannesburg Regional Court today.

The Petite Bumper Daycare came under the spotlight when the Daily Sun reported the story of the toddler tied up and gagged in a bathroom of the crèche, allegedly by the owner, so that she could watch television.

The child was recorded and in the video, she tries to free herself by moving around on the floor until she gets stuck between the toilet and the wall.

Truter told the paper she was aware of the incident but had not reported it to police.

She claimed she was not responsible for the abuse and she did not know it was child abuse.

Mofokeng said investigations into the matter were still ongoing.

—–

The hunt for the missing Malaysian Flight 370 intensified in the area where sounds consistent with a plane’s “black box” were picked up in the waters of the Indian Ocean.

With hopes high that search crews are closing in on aircraft’s crash site, Thursday’s search zone was the smallest yet in the month-long hunt for the airliner.

The Perth-based Joint Agency Coordination Centre announced that the search area off western Australia had been reduced to around  57,000 sq km, which is 10 times smaller than its previous size.

It comes a day after the Australian official in charge of the search expressed hope that crews were closing in on what it called the “final resting place” of the vanished jet.

Australian vessel Ocean Shield had picked up two underwater sounds on Tuesday, and an analysis of two other sounds detected in the same general area on Saturday showed they were consistent with a plane’s flight recorders, or “black boxes”.

No further sounds had been picked up overnight, But the Ocean Shield was continuing its hunt, slowly dragging a US navy pinger locator through the ocean’s depths, hoping to find the signal again and get a more specific fix on its location.

—–

The EFF said one of its members was arrested for fraud in Alberton, on the east Rand.

Neither the police nor the hawks could immediately confirm Wiekus Kotze arrest.

Economic Freedom Fighters Gauteng spokesman Patrick Sindan esays members of the party would support Kotze when he appearsin the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court today.

He said they view this as nothing but the abuse of state machinery and power by certain individuals to settle political scores.

Kotze reportedly caused a stir on social media earlier this year, being labelled a traitor by some in the Afrikaans community.

Kotze was reportedly called an idiot and a fool. He was told that he was sucking up to black people, and that  he was a traitor betraying his white skin

—–

Syria’s state-run news agency saidtwo car bombs have killed at least 25 people and wounded about 107 others in the central city of Homs.

SANA said Wednesdays blasts struck a busy street in Karam al-Luz district, and the dead and wounded in the explosions included women and children.

The state news agency also reported that one car was parked near a sweets shop, and that half an hour later another car blew up.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also reported the bombings, saying they had been carried out in a mostly Alawite neighbourhood, referring to the Shia offshoot sect to which the family of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad belongs.

More than 150,000 people have been killed since the protest movement began in March 2011 and nine million people have been displaced, including 2.6 million international refugees.

Homs was an epicentre of the revolt but is now almost entirely in regime hands, with small pockets of rebels holding out in besieged areas in and around the demolished Old City.

———-

A suspected contract killer charged in California with killing nine people has confessed to investigators that he carried out up to 40 slayings in a career spanning decades.

Errek Jett, district attorney in Lawrence County, Alabama, says that 51 year old Jose Manuel Martinez, told investigators he carried out the crimes working as an enforcer for a drug cartel.

Jett said they believe Martinez because of the details he gave investigators.

Martinez was arrested last year shortly after crossing the border from Mexico into Arizona and sent to Alabama, where he awaits trial on one murder charge.

Defence attorney Thomas Turner, who represents Martinez in that lone case, said his client is eager to start a trial in June in Alabama, so he can return to California.

—–

Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele said the ANC is a thief stealing citizens’ money,.

She said this ANC is the thief who had taken her money which was directed to buy food parcels to buy votes.

Ramphele referred to the R246 million security upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

She said it was theft from those who stood to benefit from freedom, adding that people such as Chris Hani, who was assassinated 21 years ago were turning in their graves.

Ramphele said, like apartheid, she would fight the ANC government.

She was talking the Daily Maverick’s The Gathering Conference at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg.

A number of political leaders attended the gathering, which was the election edition.

Those present included Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, and Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

—-

Four men were killed in a shoot-out with police in Durban’s Mariannridge area, KwaZulu-Natal police.

Spokesperson Thulani Zwane said officers on patrol from the Malvern police station had noticed a suspicious vehicle with five men inside

When they tried to engage the men the car sped off and police gave chase. The occupants of the vehicle opened fire and a shoot-out ensued on Old Richmond Road in Mariannridge.

Zwane said four of the five men were killed while the fifth fled into bushes.

He said four weapons had been retrieved and had been sent for testing to see whether they had been used in any other crimes.

—–

While the genocide in Rwanda has been widely recognised, another massacre which took place in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo in 1996 has gone largely unnoticed by the international community.

In 2010, UN investigators reported that hundreds of women and children were killed by both Rwandan and Congolese Tutsi militia.

Activists said that not recognising the killings risks spurring more violence.

—–

The World Health Organization launched a raft of emergency measures in the Guinean capital Conakry to control an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus

The virus has so far killed a hundred people across the country.

The Geneva-based UN health agency announced emergency training for 70 people who would fan out across the community to track people who have had close contact with Ebola patients.

The agency was also setting up a special alert and response operation centre within the Guinean ministry of health in order to handle all matters relating to the Ebola scare.

The WHO this week described west Africa’s first-ever Ebola outbreak among humans as one of the most challenging since the virus emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to the latest WHO figures, 157 people have been infected with Ebola in Guinea, 101 of whom have died.

—–

North West Premier Thandi Modise has expressed concern at allegations that councillors instigated protests near Lichtenburg.

She said reports that some Ditsobotla local municipality councillors and municipal officials instigated the violence that had erupted in Bodibe and Itsoseng township outside Lichtenburg was worryin.

The premier urged police to leave no stone unturned to unmask those behind the criminality which had resulted in roads being blockaded, shops looted, and the destruction of private and public property.

She says Plunging communities into mayhem without regard for the rule of law or following engagement processes to further narrow personal interests is not only myopic but reactionary.

Modise and members of the executive council intervention task team are scheduled to engage residents regarding the unrest and provincial intervention at the Itsoseng Stadium tomorrow.

—–

The UN Security Council voted to send a 12,000-strong force to the Central African

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has warned of “ethno-religious cleansing” in CAR, with lynchings, decapitations and sexual violence going unpunished.

The French resolution also authorised some 2,000 French troops to work alongside the UN peacekeepers.

Thousands have been killed, with about 1.3 million people – a quarter of the population – in need of aid.

Muslim civilians are being targeted by militias in revenge for the seizure of power by mainly Muslim rebels last year.

The resolution, which was adopted unanimously, authorises French troops to “use all necessary means” to provide support for AU troops.

—–

FRIDAY

At least 50 members of the Iraqi armed forces and seven fighters have been killed in clashes in the city of Ramadi, while two deadly car bombs have hit the capital Baghdad.

Fighting between the army and tribal fighters erupted on Thursday and continued until the early hours of Friday morning near a government complex in Ramadi, the capital of the western Anbar province.

Violence escalated in the Sunni-dominated province after anti-government fighters seized the city of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi earlier in January.

Since then, security forces have managed to wrest back control of most of Ramadi, but a stalemate has persisted in Fallujah.

Unrest has been driven principally by complaints among the Sunni Arab minority of mistreatment by the Shia-led government and security forces, and by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

Meanwhile, in Baghdad, two car bombs exploded yesterday killing at least 13 people and injuring scores.

At least 290 people have been killed across the country this month alone, according to AFP news agency figures based on security and medical sources.

—–

KwaZulu-Natal families had to beg for bodies of loved ones as mortuary staff refuse to work after an idefinate strike that began on Monday at state mortuaries, which has affected post-mortems and the identification of bodies.

Over the past three days, grief-stricken families, some as from far as Johannesburg, stood outside KZN’s largest mortuary begging for their loved ones bodies to be released.

However more bodies went in than came out of Durban’s Gale Street mortuary as forensic pathology officers and support assistants refused to work until the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health met their demands.

The department had enlisted the South African Police Services to collect bodies from accident and crime scenes.

But at least 40 families, already dealt a blow by the unnatural death of a loved one, were forced to postpone funerals as only 12 post mortems had been conducted at Gale Street Mortuary since Monday.

Islamic Burial Society chairman Ahmed Paruk said services were not interrupted during the strike because there were no bodies for the society to be claim since Monday.

According to Islamic law, Muslims have to be buried within hours of death.

After a meeting with departmental officials yesterday afternoon, the Public and Allied Workers Union of SA’s provincial secretary Moses Tostetsi said the demands had been dealt with and that it was time for members to go back to work.

—–

The African National Congress says it is confident it will be able to convince the High Court in Johannesburg to grant it leave to appeal the Democratic Alliance Nkandla SMS judgment.

The ruling party says acting Judge Mike Hellens has agreed to hear its application in a weekend session on Saturday.

Last week the judge ruled against the ANC’s application to stop the DA from sending the SMS, which claims President Jacob Zuma stole government money to build his Nkandla home.

The ANC’s Jackson Mthembu says the judge used the wrong part of the law when making his decision.

The Nkandla report, which investigated multimillion rand upgrades to the president’s home, found he and his family improperly benefitted from some of the upgrades to his private home.

—–

At least nine people have died and 32 have been injured after a tour bus carrying high-school students collided with a FedEx lorry in northern California.

The crash occurred yesterday after the lorry driver lost control of the vehicle, crossed over a divider on Interstate 5 and struck a passenger vehicle and then the tour bus.

The bus was carrying high-school students and other passengers to Humboldt State University for a tour.

Thecrash took place near the community of Orland, about 150km north of Sacramento.

32 of the injured were taken to hospitals in the area.

Pictures from the scene showed the bus reduced to a burned-out chassis and resting sideways across the highway.

A spokeswoman for FedEx Corp said the company was aware of media reports that one of its lorries had crashed into a tour bus in California, and said it was cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate.

—–

Libya’s coastguard has detained more than 400 immigrants, mostly from the Horn of Africa, in its waters in the past two days after they tried to illegally cross to Europe in small boats.

The coastguard picked up five boatloads of people.

The deputy commander of naval operations, Mohammed al-Baty, says his office received information on that a boatload of people would attempt to journey to Italy.

Most of those taken into custody came from Somalia and Eritrea, and a handful were from Ghana and Nigeria. Some are held at a Tripoli police station and are being examined by a United Nations medical team.

Since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the number of immigrants passing through Libya has risen sharply and the country’s coastguard and army are ill-equipped to stem the tide.

—-

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has accepted a request by the Palestinian Authority to join over a dozen international conventions in protest at Israel’s refusal to release Palestinian inmates.

On Thursday, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Ban had verified that the PA’s applications to join 13 international conventions were made “in due and proper form.”

according to the UN official, Ban also informed all 193 UN member states of his decision to accept the Palestinian applications,.

The Israeli-PA talks reached a new deadlock when the Tel Aviv regime refused to free the last group of 104 Palestinian prisoners in late March according to a deal for the resumption of US-sponsored negotiations.

The move prompted acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas to respond by signing letters of accession to 15 international conventions on April 1.

On April 8, Riyad Mansour, the PA ambassador to the UN, said Palestine would officially become a state party to 13 of the 15 conventions on May 2.

Mansour also said that the Palestinian Authority is ready to submit more applications to join UN agencies, conventions and treaties in response to  the Israeli regime’s actions.

Meanwhile, the Tel Aviv regime has imposed fresh economic sanctions against the Palestinian Authority following its decision to join the international conventions.

Earlier this week, Mohammed Shtayyeh, an aide to the PA chief, said that the Authority’s letters of accession to the UN agencies would not be withdrawn and that the step is irreversible, stressing that Palestinians were ready to widen their bid.

—–

Several Countries from around the world have gathered in Turkey for the opening of the IHH Humanitarian Aid and Co Ordination Centre which will over sea aid distributed to Syrian Refugee.

The Cii Projects, Syria I Need You Campaign still requires support for the completion of  the project.

The intention is to send one or two containers of baby milk formula and baby cereals via Turkish Humanitarian aid organisation, the IHH.

One forty foot container based in Benoni, Gauteng, is approximately three quarters of the way full.

This container urgently needs to be filled in order for it to leave South Africa and makes its way to starving Syrian children.

The Second 20 foot container in Durban also requires a few feet of contributions in order to be completely filled.

Cii Projects urges you to dig deep into your pockets and respond to this appeal.

Contact ml Muhammad Seedat on 084 584 7733 or the cii offices on 011 494 7000.

Banking details are available on the website ciibroadcasting .com

—–

Fighting between rival factions of the Pakistani Taliban has left at least 12 people dead in South Waziristan.

The latest clashes between supporters of commander Khan Said and followers of the late Hakimullah Mehsud group in the tribal region came a day after the expiry of a 40-day ceasefire with the government.

The leaders of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan umbrella group are meeting in North Waziristan to decide whether to extend its ceasefire agreement and continue peace talks with Islamabad.

A total of 56 people have been killed in clashes that erupted on Sunday between the two factions that are part of TTP, which has been engaged in a seven-year conflict with the state.

Ten fighters were reportedly killed in clashes that began when members of the Sajna group came under rocket attack in their car in the town of Shawal

—–

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