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World News Roundup


Yusuf Alli – Cii News | 24 January 2014/22 Rabi ul Awwal 1435

A look at news that made headlines on various networks around the world

Durban metro police could face charges of assault and intimidation after an attempt to arrest an attendee at the May street masjid last Friday went out of order.

The incident has caused widespread concern amongst the city residents who have accused the metro police of brutality and acting with excessive force.

According to witnesses on the scene metro officers allegedly stormed the masjid during the Jumahsalaah in an attempt to reach a man inside the masjid.

The man allegedly had an altercation with the officers who were ticketing cars that were double parked.

Cars however had parked in that manner for the last 20 years.

According to attorney Imraan Shah, who was on the scene, said none of the metro police officers had name tags and refused to divulge their details.

5 people were subsequently arrested and allegedly had their cellphones confiscated and video footage of the incident deleted.

All five were released without charge.

Attorney shah said that that the incident was one where people human rights were trampled upon.


Chrisitan mobs have continued to attack Muslims in the Central African Republic.

Two Muslim men have been lynched in Bangui, the capital city in the latest attack amid worsening anarchy.

A Christian mob, which suspected that the two men were involved in another case of sectarian violence, set upon the men and killed them yesterday morning. Their dead bodies were dragged through the streets and burnt in a public square.

More than 1,000 people have been killed since violence escalated a month ago, and nearly 1 million people have fled their homes since a rebel leader backed by Muslim rebels seized power last year..

In an attack on Friday, 22 people were killed after a Christian mob armed with machetes and clubs ambushed a convoy of Muslims fleeing fighting.

The latest violence comes about a week after interim President Michel Djotodia, the rebel leader who seized power backed by Muslim fighters in March, stepped down amid mounting criticism of his inability to stem bloodshed some warn could explode into genocide.




Syria’s political opposition in exile, the Syrina National Coalition, had threatened to withdraw from international peace talks scheduled this week if an invitation made to Iran is not turned down.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said he had invited Tehran, President Bashar al-Assad’s main backer, to attend the first day of talks on January 22 in, Switzerland, after it pledged to play a “positive and constructive role” if it was asked to participate.

This prompted the – National Coalition, to threaten to boycott the talks, dubbed Geneva II, less than 48 hours after they’ve signalled approval to participate.

Syrian opposition groups have long had reservations about the participation of Iran.

The US suggested on Sunday that it could support Iran’s participation if it explicitly declares its support of a June 2012 plan for a political transition meaning Assad would have to step down.


The Iraqi military had launched a major operation on Ramadi city in the country’s west to expel Sunni armed groups linked and end their partial control of parts of the city.

Troops backed by tribesmen moved into five Ramadi neighbourhoods, with helicopters providing cover and firing on the district of Malaab at the centre of fighting between anti-government fighters and security forces and their tribal allies.

The army’s intervention, which has been resisted by Sunni anti-government tribesmen, comes after a pact was sealed on January 8 entailing that tribes will fight alongside local police against the al-Qaeda-linked ISIL.

The ISIL and its local allies overran parts of Ramadi, as well as the nearby city of Fallujah, on January 1 after security forces broke up a Sunni protest camp near Ramadi and arrested an outspoken Sunni lawmaker.


Seven ministers would represent South Africa at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane said the ministers will update global business leaders on the country’s plans to raise the level of economic growth.

The summit aimed to develop the insights, initiatives and actions necessary to respond to current and emerging challenges, he said.

He said this year’s forum took place as part of the global economy was showing signs of a pick-up in growth.

The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report published last week pointed out that the slower pace of growth in emerging market economies was not a cause for concern, he said.

Ministers YunusCarrim, Rob Davies, PravinGordhan, Derek Hanekom, Trevor Manuel, Edna Molewa and Ebrahim Patel will attend the summit from January 22 to 25.


A R2m property belonging to Zindzi Mandela in the up market suburb of Houghton had been vandalised and invaded by squatters.

Neighbours told The Star of rubbish on the pavement outside the property, people urinating on the street and rats running wild.

The property is owned by the Zindzi Mandela Family Trust but appeared to have been abandoned.

The City of Johannesburg’s health inspectors conducted an inspection in December and Mandela was given 21 days to clean it up.

However neighbours said the deadline had expired and nothing had changed.


A human bomber had killed at least 13 people in a crowded market near the Pakistani army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, not far from the capital Islamabad.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The market, which is 10 minutes’ walk from the army headquarters, was in one of the most secure areas of the city.

The attack comes a day after a Taliban bombing killed 22 Pakistani soldiers near the largely lawless, tribal region of North Waziristan.

Military officials said the blast came from an explosive planted in the vehicle, hired by the paramilitary Frontier Corps.


Anti-government protesters in Thailand have begun the eighth day of their Bangkok “shutdown” campaign, aimed at forcing the Prime Minister to resign.

The demonstrators built barricades and occupied key road intersections in the Thai capital amid clashes between the protesters and security forces.

A twin explosion shook an anti-government demonstration site near Victory Monument, in the north of the capital, on Sunday.

The blast wounded some 28 people, seven critically.

A similar incident targeted protesters on January 17, leaving one person dead and dozens wounded.


A nine-year-old Delft girl had reportedly survived being raped and set alight in an attack over the weekend.

A 27-year-old man had since been arrested in connection with the horrific incident, which took place near Delft.

The nine-year-old was found alive, huddled on a pile of rocks in the bush next to the R300 highway, by a boy herding cows on Sunday morning.

The girl, who went missing on Saturday night, reportedly told a family member that her attacker laughed when he set her alight.

He was due to appear in the Bellville Magistrates Court on a charge of rape and attempted murder on Monday.

At the same time, a 33-year-old Delft father who allegedly killed his 14-month-old son by burying him alive was also expected to appear in court.

He was arrested after police found the toddler’s body in a shallow grave near his Delft shack nearly two weeks ago.


According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risk 2014 report, South Africa had the third highest unemployment rate in the world for people between the ages of 15 to 24.

The report estimates that more than 50% of young South Africans between 15 and 24 are unemployed.

Only Greece and Spain have higher unemployment in this age range than SA.

The report calls the more than 73 million unemployed people between 15 and 24 in the world the “lost generation”.

It further estimated that more than 25%, about 300 million people of the world’s youth have no productive work.


Reports said a fourth person had died following violent clashes near Brits over access to water last week.

Damonsville community leader Paul Hendricks said “he was shot in the head with live ammunition and taken to Ga-Rankuwa hospital where the bullet was removed.”

The man was in a coma and later died.

According to SABC radio news, the 36-year-old man spent seven days in the intensive care unit of hospital.

Three others who were killed during the service delivery protest in Mothutlung were buried at the weekend.

Two protesters were shot dead, allegedly by police.

Another man died after falling out of a moving police vehicle.


Rumors once again emerged that key Islamic heritage sites, including Prophet Mohammed’s tomb,  would be bulldozed, in an effort to expand Masjid un Nabawi in Medina.

The report initially emerged in 2012 on RT news that construction was planned to start as soon as the annual Hajj pilgrimage came to a close.

The messages have once again found itself floating around via broadcast messages via mobile media like Whatsapp and BBM.

In 2012 Dr. Irfan Alawi of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation purportedly told RT news that after hajj, bulldozers would move in and will start to demolish the last part of Makkah, the grand mosque which is at least 1,000 years old.

The reports caused a stir in 2012, but never came to light in medina as the tomb of the Holy prophet (SAW) still stands.

However construction of the Haram, or the Grand Mosque in Makkah had since begun, seeing numbers of prospective Hujaaj drop, as the Kingdom slashed hajj quotas by 20%, while hajj quotas within Saudi Arabia were halved.


Central African Republic politicians had shortlisted eight candidates, to run for interim president and pull the country out of months of turmoil and sectarian violence.

Among them were two sons of former leaders.

Whoever was chosen from the shortlist, would face the challenge of ending a cycle of violence that saw crowds kill two Muslim men on Sunday, t and drag their bodies through the streets of the capital Bangui, then set them on fire.

The Red Cross also said it had buried around 50 bodies within the past 48 hours after fighting flared in the northwest.

A senior UN official warned last week the conflict could descend into genocide.


The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union is to embark on a strike later this week in both the platinum and gold sectors, after issuing employers of both sectors with strike notices.

AMCU treasurer Jimmy Gama confirmed the strike notices had been issued.

After obtaining the CCMA certificates for all the companies, they continued as AMCU in believing in the negotiation process to try and not come to a stage where there is strike action.

The Chamber of Mines in a statement also confirmed on Monday that AMCU was to embark on strike action in the gold sector.

However, the chamber would go to court as it believed the looming strike was illegal, and would seek damages from the union.


Several human bombers have attacked a coalition base in southern Afghanistan, killing at least one soldier and injuring others, in the latest Taliban-led assault targeting Afghan and international forces.

Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar, said the attack took place against a base in Zhari district, just west of Kandahar city.

The fighters had recently intensified a campaign against Afghan and international forces as foreign troops withdraw this year.

This came a day after Afghanistan’s president said the US could no longer carry out military operations or air strikes in the country

He also said peace talks must be jump-started with the Taliban before his country signed a security deal to keep American troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

Karzai made the statement after being presented with the findings of an investigation into a joint Afghan-US military operation last week that resulted in civilian casualties which he blamed on US soldiers.


Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said South Africa could not afford more labour unrest in the platinum industry,

His comments came after the sector’s main trade union said it would launch a strike at the world’s top three producers this week.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union voted overwhelmingly to strike at the world’s biggest producer, Anglo American Platinum.

That followed recent votes to strike at Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

A simultaneous stoppage at the three would hit an important export at a time when the rand currency is near a five-year low, and further dent investor confidence in Africa’s largest economy.

Companies have said they can ill afford steep increases as power and other costs soar while prices for the white metal used in emissions-capping catalytic converters in automobiles remain depressed.

Platinum’s spot price shed 11 percent last year and is about 40 percent down from record peaks scaled in 2008.


Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema apologised to Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi for remarks he made while he was with the ANC Youth League.

Malema made the apology at a joint press conference in Durban, preceded by a two-hour meeting between the two leaders.

Malema did not state specifically which remarks he was referring to, but apologise for unfortunate remarks that were made at the time.

Malema said the EFF had sought the meeting for some time.

He said a number of other issues were discussed during the two-hour meeting.



According to a new report by top war crimes prosecutors, Assad and his forces could face charges in international court after photos appeared to show detainees strangled and starved to death.

Top prosecutors and forensic experts claim to have “direct evidence” of “systematic torture and killing” by Syrian forces.

The report included thousands of photographs of the dead bodies of detainees allegedly killed in government custody, many of whom severely malnourished and showing signs of strangulation.

The group of prosecutors, who had vast experience in the prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity, claimed this was compelling evidence they said could be brought before an international tribunal.

David Crane, one of the report’s authors said “This is direct evidence of the regime’s killing machine.”

Sir Desmond de Silva, the former Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, likened the images to those of Holocaust survivors.

He said the method of starvation was reminiscent of the pictures of those [who] were found still alive in the Nazi death camps after World War II.

The 50,000-odd photographs of 11,000 detainees, which were supplied to the inquiry team by defectors, could not be independently verified.


Electricity supplier Eskom urged consumers to use power sparingly while it continued with the maintenance of generating units.

It recommended that homeowners and businesses switch of geysers, pool pumps, non-essential lights, and efficiently use air conditioners between 5pm and 9pm.

Eskom called on all South Africans to pull together over the next few months and use electricity sparingly by living lightly this summer

It said it had met the demand for electricity at the weekend, and that it has enough power for the coming week.

Eskom says planned maintenance stands at 5000MW, but that unplanned outages of around 4000MW are expected.


The Central African Republic had appointed the mayor of Bangui to be interim president, as the European Union agreed to send 500 soldiers to help stabilise the country.

Catherine Samba-Panza, one of eight candidates, was elected by members of the National Transitional Council about a week after former rebel leader Michel Djotodia resigned as president under international pressure over his failure to end the bloodshed.

Last March, rebel groups known as Seleka came together to overthrow President François Bozizé and there have been widespread reports of killings, rape and looting since then.

Attacks and counter-attacks between Muslims and Christians have intensified the levels of bloodshed and brutality.

To qualify, the eight candidates had to show they had no link to the Muslim Seleka rebels which brought Djotodia to power, or the forces behind the mainly Christian “anti-balaka” militia.


Pakistani fighter jets had launched an assault on tribal areas near the Afghan border in an operation against Taliban fighters.

Military sources and local residents said several houses were flattened and villagers were sent fleeing from their homes.

Residents of North Waziristan said there were numerous civilian casualties.

A military spokesman told Al Jazeera sources that 15 fighters had been killed in the onslaught.

The military said those killed were linked to bombings in a bazaar and a church as well as Sunday’s attack in Bannu that killed 20 soldiers.

Tribal elder Malik Jan Mohammad in the Mir Ali area told Reuters news agency that 15 people were killed, while a Taliban source put the death toll at 27, including civilians.


West Rand residents were recovering after being forced to hide when locals from the nearby informal settlement ransacked their homes during a protest.

One family in Lindhaven was forced to take cover in their bathroom when protesters stormed their home.

The home’s windows had been shattered and the woman’s belongings were allegedly stolen from the house.

A resident at a complex that was also vandalised has complained that police were not guarding the area.

The police’s Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale denied this and said there was a constant police presence in the area.

The protests started last Tuesday, with residents demanding better service delivery and housing.

On Monday police said that the situation in the area had quietened down.


Two ANC employees who were linked to a fake sign language interpreter at former president Nelson Mandela’s memorial service have resigned.

ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said no reasons were given, they just submitted their resignation letter.

It happened in December after the incident.

Khoza was responding to a report where ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu’s personal assistant Cikizwa Xozwa and her husband Rev Bantubahle Xozwa, head of the ANC’s Religious and Traditional Affairs desk, had been fired.

The couple were allegedly owners of the company interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie worked for.


An explosion had rocked a busy suburb in southern Beirut that is known to be a Hezbollah stronghold.

This was the second time in just two weeks that the area has been hit by a bomb blast.

The number of casualties was unknown at the time.

Al jazeera reports said that the explosion was near a government building, and was a very targeted area of Beirut.

Shia armed group Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syria conflict had resulted in violence spilling over the border into Lebanon’s capital city.


Trade union Solidarity said a strike by labour union Amcu could cripple an already fragile gold mining industry.

General secretary Gideon du Plessis said they were concerned about the job security of Amcu’s members as a strike could be unprotected, and could put the future of thousands of mine workers and their families at risk.

He said there was still time for the parties to find common ground this week and to avoid a situation where there are no winners, only losers.

Du Plessis said he was concerned about the intention by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) to strike as it could result in retrenchments.

On Monday, Amcu announced it would embark on a strike in both the platinum and gold sectors after issuing employers with strike notices.


Complaints about e-tolling would be taken up by the National Consumer Commission.

Commissioner Ebrahim Mohamed said the NCC always encouraged consumers to lodge complaints at the point of sale, and attempts to have their complaints dealt with there.

If consumers were met with indifference or felt their complaints were not adequately addressed by the company or entity, they could then take the matter up with the NCC.

This did not prevent consumers from approaching the NCC with their complaints.

The Democratic Alliance and the Freedom Front Plus recently announced that they would facilitate motorists’ e-toll accounts complaints by submitting them to the NCC.

Mohamed said the commission would investigate the complaints, but has to do so within its constrained resources.


Authorities in the United Arab Emirates convicted a group of 30 Emiratis and Egyptians on charges of setting up a Muslim Brotherhood branch in the country.

The suspects had been sentenced to prison terms ranging from three months to five years.

Defence lawyers and rights groups said the 20 Egyptians and 10 Emiratis have denied the charges against them.

The Emirati suspects were previously convicted of sedition in a separate trial in the summer, the Egyptians will be deported after serving their sentence.

The 30 were also accused of trying to obtain security data and collecting donations without permission.

Todays verdict is part of a broader crackdown on Muslim opposition groups in Arab Gulf countries.

The Muslim Brotherhood is banned in much of the region, and the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have pledged billions of dollars in aid to Egypt after the military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in July.


Supporters of Pierre Korkie, the teacher who is being held hostage in Yemen, have launched a campaign to raiseover R32m for the ransom his kidnappers are demanding.

An armed group have threatened to kill the 56 year old unless the money is paid within three weeks.

The situation had prompted local businessmen and friends of the Korkies to commence with a fundraising campaign for Pierre’s release.

Pierre and his wife Yolandie were abducted last May in the city of Taiz in the Arabian Peninsula.

At the time security officials said the couple was seized outside their hotel by gunmen loyal to a local chief, over a land dispute with the authorities.


Shocking photographs had emerged of a cannibal by the name of Mad Dog eating the flesh of a lynched Muslim man for the second time in as many weeks.

Pictures show Ouandja Magloire cutting a portion of meat from the body of a murdered Muslim lying burning on a roundabout in the capital of the Central African Republic

Another photograph showed him licking a bloodied knife as he stood over a body, wearing the same T-shirt he was pictured in during the previous act of cannibalism.

The horrific images were taken in Bangui on Sunday.

According to The Associated Press, the men were killed by residents of the Sango neighbourhood in revenge for the lynching of a taxi driver from Sango a day earlier.

Two other Muslim passers-by escaped to the protection of French and African peacekeeping forces.

According to its source, he is the only person in the Central African Republic known to be carrying out acts of cannibalism.


Iraq had hanged 26 people convicted of so called “terrorism” offences.

All those executed on Sunday were Iraqi nationals.

Among them was Adel al-Mashhadani, a Sahwa leader in Baghdad.

Sahwa, or known as the Awakenings armed force is formed mostly of Sunni Muslim tribesmen who helped U.S. troops roll back a rebel uprising in Iraq from 2006 onwards.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said in its annual world report Iraq hanged at least 151 people in 2013, up from 129 in 2012 and 68 in 2011, published on Tuesday.

The United Nations human rights chief, Navi Pillay, has frequently condemned Iraq’s mass executions as obscene and inhuman, saying its justice system is deeply flawed.


The Sanral offices in Midrand were evacuated after an envelope with a suspicious substance, thought to possibly be anthrax, was found.

Eyewitness News tweeted that the offices were evacuated and no injuries were reported.

Reports say that the substance has been taken for testing as there were no indications of what it is.

According to Beeld newspaper, the e-toll system has been shut-down after the incident.

Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona says that the e-toll system will be affected, since no one is able to man the system, as all staff had been evacuated.


The department of water and environmental affairs said residents of Pienaar, in Mbombela in Mpumalanga, will have running water before the end of the week

spokesperson Themba Khumalo said they engaged with the Mbombela Municipality and they promised that water would be restored before the end of the week.

He said the problem was in the piping system and technicians were attending to it.

On Sunday a man was arrested after residents in Pienaar took to the streets and barricaded roads with trees and stones in protest over water shortages in the area.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the situation had returned to normal.

“Vehicles are moving freely but police continue to monitor the area,” he said.



A man was shot dead and another was wounded when they tried to rob a shop in Moroka, Soweto.

The men demanded money from the man behind the counter and shot him in the leg.

The shop owner, who was in the stockroom, heard the noise and ran to see what was happening.

He fired shots at the suspects, fatally wounding one and injuring the other in the neck.

No one was arrested, and police were investigating.


A disabled man was caught with more than a kilogram of cocaine hidden in his suitcase at O R Tambo International Airport.

The 46-year-old, wheelchair-bound man was arrested in a sting carried out minutes after he arrived in the country from Dubai at 10:30.

Two packets of cocaine were found in the back pockets of each of nine pairs of jeans in the man’s suitcase.

The cocaine was worth an estimated R350 000 on the street.

Hawks spokesperson Paul Ramaloko says the man is a regular traveller and he is believed to be part of a bigger syndicate with international links dealing in drugs.

He will appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court tomorrow


The Limpopo education department had launched an investigation into the death of a five-year-old boy who suffocated in a pit toilet at the Mahlodumela Primary School.

The grade 0 pupil was discovered inside the toilet on Monday after his teacher and pupils realised he’d been missing for hours.

Spokesperson Phuthi Seloba said they were investigating the incident to draw lessons to use them to prevent it from happening again.

More than 4,000 schools had not had proper toilets for the past two years despite promises by the department that the problem would be dealt with.

Human rights group, Section 27, said they were shocked at the news and have offered to provide legal assistance to the school and assistance to the boy’s family.


At least 22 Shia pilgrims, many of them women and children, were killed in a bomb attack on their bus in western Pakistan.

The bomb exploded yesterday near the bus packed with passengers returning from Iran to their home city of Quetta in Balochistan.

A local government official said that 51 passengers had been on board at the time of the blast.

At least 20 people were wounded and several were still unaccounted for.

The provincial home secretary, Asad Gilani, said that two buses had been travelling with government security vehicles and that one of the buses was hit.


Edward Snowden rejected suggestions he was a Russian spy, saying in remarks published on Tuesday that he acted alone in exposing US surveillance programmes.

In an interview with The New Yorker magazine, the 30-year-old said he clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.

On Sunday two Republican lawmakers suggested the fugitive, who is in hiding in Russia may have acted in concert with a foreign power, possibly Moscow.

House intelligence committee chairperson Mike Rogers, told an NBC talk show that he didn’t think “it was a gee-whiz luck event that Snowden ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB” Russian state security agency.

The New Yorker also quoted Snowden as saying that Russia was never intended to be his place of asylum and that he was stopped en route.


At least seven people, including one child, were killed and 11 injured in a bomb attack near a police van in the country’s restive northwest province.

The van, which was in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province’s Charsadda district, was being used to provide security for a polio vaccination drive.

At least six police personnel were killed in the blast near Sardheri bazaar.

Senior police official Saeed Wazir confirmed that the van that was targeted was carrying police officers who were heading to various locations to guard health workers during the ongoing polio vaccination drive in Charsadda district.

The attack came after three polio vaccination workers were killed in a targeted attack in Karachi on Tuesday.


Israeli forces had launched another airstrike on the blockaded Gaza Strip, with initial reports indicating there had been at least two deaths.

In the attack, an Israeli fighter jet targeted a vehicle in the city of Beit Hanoun in northeast Gaza.

Residents and medics in Beit Hanoun said the strike killed two members of Islamic Jihad resistance group.

According to eyewitnesses, the men were sitting in the parked car when the missile fired from the aircraft hit it.

The attack happened hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to attack Gaza.

He said he promised to teach the Hamas government in the coastal enclave a lesson following an earlier rocket attack on an Israeli target.


According to reports, the mother of a 5-month-old baby was one of at least 17 people already shot dead in Cape Town this year.

Leslynn Mentor, a 26-year-old mother returning to work after maternity leave, was one of four people shot dead in the metropole yesterday.

The motive for the killings was unknown but the local Community Police Forum chairperson Kevin Southgate says Retreat has been plagued by gang fights and that there had been a number of shootings over the last few weeks.

In other incidents, a man was shot dead in Lentegeur, Mitchells Plain and another in Atlantis.

Reports said that about six people had already been killed in gang-infested area of Hanover Park so far this year.

Statements from police, emergency services and community police forums show that at least 17 people have been killed in just 16 days from 5 January until Tuesday, 21 January.


A leader of the pro-government ‘red-shirt’ movement was shot and wounded outside his home in northeast Thailand.

The incident happened hours after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra enforced a state of emergency in Bangkok and its surrounding areas.

Kwanchai Praipana, who leaded thousands of pro-government supporters in Udon Thani, was shot and wounded by unidentified assailants in a drive-by shooting.

The new measures, which cover Bangkok and its surrounding provinces, allowed security agencies to impose curfews, detain suspects without charge, censor media, ban political gatherings of more than five people and declare areas off-limits.

The decree followed increasing attacks at protest sites for which the government and protesters blame each other.


The Westonaria local municipality and Rand Uranium applied for a court interdict to restrain Bekkersdal residents from illegally occupying land in Gemsbokfontein.

According to the Citizen newspaper, over a thousand residents were carrying shovels and picks onto the land to erect shacks and buildings.

The land was owned by gold mining company Rand Uranium.

In court papers, the municipality said it was not in a financial position to “take on the burden” of providing housing services it had not planned or budgeted for.

The municipality said the area had been rezoned for agricultural purposes, and it was geologically unstable and prone to sinkholes.

The case was due to be heard in the South Gauteng High Court.


Amid Burmese government repeated denials, international organizations had called for clarity on reports about Burmese Muslims mass killing in Du Char Yar Tan village.

They were asking for allowing independent observers into the village.

A Muslim member of Parliament for Buthidaung Township in Arakan State said people believe that their people were killed as they can’t get inside the village,

According to news reports, Rakhine authorities entered Du Char Yar Tan village on the night of 14 January and started shooting people directly.

The Thailand-based NGO the Arakan Project said it had received multiple reports that dozens of Rohingya Muslims were killed by security forces and Arakanese Buddhists.

Official media and the Ministry of Information have strongly refuted the reports.

Yet, Maung asserted that he he had been sent photos of the bodies of people purportedly killed last week, and was trying to confirm their authenticity.


The substance found in an envelope at Sanral’s headquarters in Centurion, Pretoria, had been deemed not dangerous.

SA National Roads Agency Limited CEO Nazir Alli says Upon investigation, the white substance was found to be harmless.

Alli did not say what the powder was.

The Tshwane hazardous material unit was called to Sanral’s offices on Tuesday afternoon after the substance was found on the premises.

The building was evacuated and its electricity shut down.

Sanral said it was co-operating with authorities to find the perpetrator


Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim went live on television in Yemen to make an appeal to the kidnappers of South African citizen Pierre Korkie to release him.

Ebrahim travelled to Yemen to consult with the government over negotiations with the kidnappers.

Arrangements have been made for a signed version of the appeal to be sent directly to the captors

Korkie had been in captivity in Yemen since May 2013.

His wife, Yolande, was recently released by the kidnappers, who are demanding ransom of over R30m for him.

Local charity Gift of the Givers is also negotiating for his release.


Amnesty International said the US’s continued operation of the notorious detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and the torture of detainees there was a prime example of America’s double standard on human rights.

It said every year that the USA has been operating the Guantánamo detention camp, it had continued to proclaim its commitment to international human rights standards.

If any other country was responsible for the human rights vacuum of Guantánamo, it would surely draw the USA’s condemnation.

Erika Guevara Rosas, Director of Amnesty International’s Americas Program says Detainees at Guantánamo remain in limbo with their lives on hold for years on end.

Many have suffered serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearance and torture.

the organization says that the secrecy regarding human rights violations committed by US military and intelligence officials must come to an end.


An ER24 paramedic was stabbed eight times in an attempted hijacking in Vereeniging.

Ryno Strydom, who was off-duty was driving along Mario Milani Road when he noticed a man lying in the middle of the road.

Strydom stopped and got out of his vehicle to assist him, as his immediate thought was that the man was injured.

The man then jumped up and two more men came running from the side of the road.

The men pulled him down to a nearby river and then stabbed him in the throat, chest, back and legs.

They attempted to take his car but couldn’t bypass his car’s immobilizer, then fled the scene with Strydom’s cellphone and wallet.

He then got into his car and drove about 12 km to his ER24 base, where he collapsed in front of branch manager Andre Bronkhorst.

He is currently being treated and is understood to be in a stable condition.

Last week two ER24 paramedics were held at gunpoint in Gugulethu, Western Cape, when they attended to a medical emergency.


Syrian peace talks kicked off in Switzerland with little hope that it could override clashing stances between key players, the Syrian regime and the opposition.

Their presence on the same table for the first time in almost three years resembles the highlight of the conference.

Syrian information minister Omran al-Zoabi, said that President Bashar al-Assad would not step down, as demanded by some of the international powers seeking to end the country’s protracted conflict.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, who heads President Bashar al-Assad’s delegation, and Ahmed Jabra, president of the opposition Syrian National Coalition exchanged accusations of treason and terrorism, each holding the other responsible for the violence that has killed more than 130,000 people and displaced millions more.

Muallem, who urged the international community to not interfere in internal affairs, referring to opposition groups at traitors.

In response, Jabra said the opposition Syrian Free Army was “battling international mercenaries” brought in by Assad, naming Lebanese Hezbollah and the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant.



The Central African Republic has reached an unprecedented level of violence between Christians and Muslims.

The country that is rich in minerals including uranium has deteriorated even further since the stepping down of rebel leader turned prisdent, Michaledjotodia.

The UN chief’s special adviser on genocide prevention has warned of a “high risk of crimes against humanity and of genocide”.

More than half the country’s 4.6 million people need assistance, according to the UN, and nearly one million have fled their homes.

The Seleka rebels seized power in a last March and ousted former President Francois Bozize. These rebels were mainly Muslim.

Now Christian self-defence groups known as “anti-balaka” or anti-machete have taken up arms against them.

The officials spoke of children being beheaded, entire villages burned and a complete breakdown of law and order. Recently video evidence of Muslims being eaten by a Christian man who claimed the Muslims killed his baby, wife and sister.

This week Catherine Samba-Panzawas elected as an interim president.

She vowed after her election to hold talks with armed groups.


Angry Limpopo parents have demolished school pit toilets where a five-year-old boy died earlier this week.

Grade R pupil Michael Komape fell into a pit latrine at Mahlodumela Primary School in Chebeng, near Polokwane.

Last year Cii installed a container library at the same school.

The toilet’s seat was made of steel, which had worn through, leaving a gaping hole.

Limpopo education spokesman PhutiSeloba said in November that more than R400-million was earmarked to construct 1000 toilets at schools and that 600 had been built.

“Mahlodumela was one of the schools that were still to be attended to.

He said 20 mobile flushing toilets would be taken there today.


The Democratic alliance is planned to march to the headquarters of the African nationa Congress on the 4 of February.

ANC spokesperson, Jackson Mtembu said that this was a recipe for disaster.

He called it an extreme provocation.

Mthembu questioned what the outcome could be if ANC members came to defend Luthuli House.

In 2012 the DA marched to the Cosatu office in Braamfontein where they were stoned and riot police were called to the scene and tear gas and water cannons were fired.

Mthembu said the ANC did not want to be put in the same situation.

DA leader Helen Zille said she wouldlead 6 000 of her party’s supporters.

Zille said the DA had informed the Johannesburg metro police and the ANC’s secretary general GwedeMantashe about the march.


Protest action has again broken out in the Roodepoort area.

Protesters barricaded roads with stones and burning objects.

Metro police says they are throwing stones at passing cars. Motorists must used alternative routes such as AlbertinaSisulu, Impala and Ontdekkers.

Traffic flow from Randfontein and Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, is also affected.

The Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents’ Association west of Johannesburg said vacant land in Bekkersdal, was stolen by whites.

Spokesperson Mbulelo Koyana said they were not apologetic for occupying the land as it belongs to them.

He said the government had failed to provide residents with houses.

On Tuesday, more than 1 000 residents reportedly carried shovels and picks onto the land, which is owned by mining company Rand Uranium, to erect dwellings.




The Syrian government and some opposition groups have started talks aimed at ending the war in that country.

Some of the talks focused on the possibility of prisoner swaps, local ceasefires and humanitarian aid.

There was no agreement on the fate of President Bashar al-Assad.

The opposition opened the conference by saying that Assad lost his legitimacy when he crushed the once-peaceful protest movement against him and his government.

This stance has been publicly supported by the US but they have done nothing end the violence in Syria for the last three years.

The Syrian government says there will be no transfer of power and President Bashar al-Assad is staying.


Iran and the US are continuing to improve their relations.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said it was possible to turn more than three decades of enmity with the United States into friendship if both sides make an effort.

He is at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

An interim deal with six major powers including the United States to restrict Iran’s disputed nuclear programme in exchange for a partial easing of economic sanctions entered into force this week.

Rouhani travelled to Davos to persuade foreign investors to return to his country, which has some of the world’s biggest oil and gas resources and a market of 76 million people.

Rouhani will give a short speech today to chief executives from oil majors such as Eni, BP, Total and Shell.

Tehran wants Western oil companies to revive its giant ageing oilfields and develop new oil and gas fields once sanctions are lifted.


An official said mining union Amcu woulddo its best to stage a peaceful strike on the platinum mines in Rustenburg in the North West.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union coordinator Evans Ramokga said they have increased the number of marshals to ensure that the strike is peaceful.

Amcu is a majority union with about 90 percent of the workforce.

The remaining 10 percent will report for duty, but as in any strike some will not go to work fearing for their lives.

Amcu members at Lonmin in Marikana, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) and Impala mines started a strike today pushing for an entry-level monthly salary of R12 500.


UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi was set to meet both Syrian delegations separately before their first negotiations when he would try to bring them into the same room.

Speaking to a news conference Brahimi said he will meet them separately and “see how best we can move forward.”

He was hopeful that by tomorrow both sides will sit in one room

With no one ready for serious concessions, world powers will be looking for short-term deals to keep the process moving forward, including on localised ceasefires, freer humanitarian access and prisoner exchanges.

Brahimi said he had indications from both sides that they were willing to discuss these issues.


The UN chief’s special adviser on genocide prevention has warned of a high risk of crimes against humanity and of genocide in the Central African Republic.Adama Dieng and other UN officials briefed the Security Council on the continuing and unprecedented violence between Christians and Muslims in the country.According to the UN, More than half the country’s 4.6 million people need assistance, and nearly one million have fled their homes.

The officials spoke of children being beheaded, entire villages burned and a complete breakdown of law and order, and they urged the deployment of more peacekeepers as soon as possible.

He listed widespread reports of summary executions, mutilation and sexual violence among the widespread and massive human rights violations.

Dieng said Restoring peace will be difficult without addressing the current culture of impunity.


A 22-year-old woman was critical after being allegedly gang-raped by 13 men on the orders of village elders in India’s eastern state of West Bengal.

The elders meted out the rape as punishment for the woman’s involvement with a man from another community.

The 13 men involved in ordering the punishment and in the rape have been arrested.

The elders, who form what is known locally as “salishi sabha” (Greivance Committee), spelt out the punishment though they do not have any status under the Indian legal system.

According to reports on Thursday, the rape occurred earlier this week at Subalpur village in Birbhum district, some 200km from the provincial capital Kolkata.

The purported offence was committed when the man from another community was seen at the woman’s house.

The village chief and his associates reportedly asked them to pay a fine of Rs 25,000 or over 400 rand each for the “indiscretion”.


The rand traded within striking distance of last week’s five-year low against the dollar, signaling a rough session as workers in the mining sector went on strike for higher wages.

The rand, which lost a quarter of its value last year partly due to investor concerns about strikes, was down at R10.92 compared with its close in New York on Wednesday.

A steady stream of negative strike-related headlines could see the rand surpass last week’s low of R10.96.

Standard Bank trader Warrick Butler said in a note to clients that Not all is right with the world of ran.

For the first time in a week, local demand outweighed international supply and this trend is likely to continue as we approach the domestic month-end next week.


The ANC would hold its national executive lekgotla this weekend, followed by its national list conference.

The lekgotla was expected to review the African National Congress’s performance in its last four years in government.

The NEC will hold a meeting tomorrow, followed by a two-day lekgotla on Saturday and Sunday.

The national list conference will be held on Monday.

At Monday’s list conference, the party will decide on candidates for Parliament and provincial legislatures.

President Jacob Zuma is expected to be the party’s candidate for president, this reportedly despite concern about the effect of the controversy over security upgrades to his private home at Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal.


At least 21 people were killed when a bus rolled over several times in the dead of night in central Turkey in one of the deadliest accidents in recent years.

The bus crashed in a town in Kayseri province when its driver lost control because of icy road conditions and intense fog.

According to reports, the number of the dead had risen to 21, with one injured losing his life in hospital.

The bus, which was travelling from Istanbul to the eastern province of Mus, was believed to have more than 40 people aboard at the time.

Kayseri governor Orhan Duzgun said some of the passengers died when they jumped out of the vehicle’s windows, adding that the death toll could rise as two people were seriously injured.


A man has died after apparently being shot during a protest over housing in Roodepoort.

Gauteng police have confirmed a warrant officer fired the shot which killed Tshepo Babuseng

Durban Deep residents told EWN that the man was demonstrating peacefully when he was shot by a police officer.

Residents were protesting over their planned eviction from the former mining area, and unfulfilled promises to provide them with housing.

Sapa reported that protesters had barricaded roads with stones and burning objects, and were throwing stones at passing cars affecting Traffic flow in Randfontein and Krugersdorp .

According to EWN, residents of Alexandra in Johannesburg are also protesting over evictions.


A father in eastern India wassuing his only son for defamation after he married a woman from a lower caste, saying he has damaged his reputation and social standing.

Sidhnath Sharma was seeking over 1.6 million rand in damages from his son Sushant Jasu and wanted to prevent him from using the family surname, with a court hearing set to resume this weekend in Bihar state.

Sharma, a lawyer from the upper-caste Bhumihar group, said the marriage last year broke 400-odd years of tradition.

The hereditary-based caste system is deeply rooted in many parts of India, including in Bihar, one of the country’s poorest and most populated states.

So called honour killings are also still carried out, with mainly young couples who marry outside their caste or against their relatives’ wishes killed to protect what is seen as the family’s reputation and pride.

Consumer watchdog the National Consumer Commission said that The SA National Roads Agency must fix its billing mess before demanding payment for the use of e-tolled roads in Gauteng.

The NCC said though Sanral had the right to demand payment from motorists for using e-tolled roads, its billing should be accurate and conform to good business practice.

Sanral has come under fire for using “unlawful and extortionist tactics” to try to force frustrated motorists to pay “exorbitant” e-tolling bills.

With outrage mounting over “threatening” SMSes and e-mails, and incorrect billing, several bodies have urged motorists to complain to the National Consumer Commission.

Motorists have been receiving text messages from Sanral demanding payment.

Motorists without e-tags have been shocked to learn that, if they did not pay Sanral within seven days of passing under a gantry, a triple toll is levied.

DA national spokesman and Gauteng premiership candidate Mmusi Maimane said the party had received over 300 complaints about Sanral’s billing system.


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that elections would be the best way of ending the civil war in Syria and warned the West it could not impose a political solution on Tehran’s neighbour and ally.

Speaking as fledgling Syrian peace talks entered a second day on the other side of Switzerland, Rouhani says that the Syrian people should be allowed to decide their own destiny.

Rouhani told the World Economic Forum in Davos that no outside party or power should decide for the Syrian people and Syria as a country.

UN efforts to involve Iran in the Syria peace talks foundered as a result of objections from the United States and the opposition, who accuse Tehran of having propped up the regime of President Bashar Assad.


Witnesses in Central African Republic’s capital said the city was wracked by heavy looting and death threats against Muslims in the hours leading up to the inauguration of the new interim president.

Catherine Samba-Panza, the current mayor of the capital, Bangui, would be sworn in as head of the transitional government that is to organize elections later this year.

The largely anarchic and impoverished city had been mired in violence following a March 2013 coup.

A Christian militia launched a coup attempt last month that unleashed sectarian violence that left more than 1 000 people dead in just a few days.

Since yesterday, thieves pillaged Muslim shops and homes.

A group of 30 Muslims were rescued by Rwandan peacekeepers.


An independent US privacy watchdog had ruled that the bulk collection of phone call data by US intelligence agencies is illegal and has had only minimal benefits in preventing terrorism.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board advised by a 3-2 majority that the programme should end.

In a major speech last week, President Barack Obama said he was ordering curbs on the use of such mass data, but said the US must continue collecting data to prevent attacks.

The New York Times, one of several media organisations to have seen the PCLOB report, says The programme also constitutional concerns, including serious threats to privacy and civil liberties as a policy matter, and has shown only limited value.


South Sudan’s government and rebels scheduled to sign a ceasefire, after more than five weeks of fighting that has divided Africa’s newest nation and brought it to the brink of civil war.

Fighting between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing the vice president he sacked in July, Riek Machar, erupted in mid-December.

One rebel spokesman in Addis Ababa, where peace talks have been taking place, said they were “very likely” to sign the deal in the afternoon.

Mabior Garang, a spokesman for Machar’s delegation at the talks, went further, telling the Reuters news agency that they  will sign the deal.

mediators from the regional bloc IGAD said in a statement  that There was going to be a signing ceremony  by the South Sudanese parties at 5:00pm.



The Muslim Students Association Union has called on people to support the Anti-Coup Pro-Legitimacy National Alliance and the Egyptian community in South Africa.

The organisations planned to host a protest demonstration in “support of the Egyptian people and the rejection of the military coup on the anniversary of the revolution”.

The peaceful action was set to take place on Saturday outside the Egyptian embassy in Bourke Street Pretoria at 1pm.

The (MSA Union) said they would continue their commitment to support the oppressed peoples in the world and to advocate for social, political and economic justice.


A strike by labour union Amcu at Impala Platinum, Lonmin and Anglo American Platinum entered its second day.

The strike will continue during a meeting between the labour department, the mining companies and Amcu at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration in Johannesburg.

The strikers are pushing for an entry-level monthly salary of R12 500.

The platinum companies have welcomed a government offering to mediate in their ongoing dispute with Amcu.


Police arrested two men in downtown Johannesburg for trying to sell an RPG or rocket propelled Grenade.

The South African and Mozambican were taken in on Wednesday after police received a tip off regarding the sale.

Three other suspicious people were arrested in the vicinity being in possession of foreign diamonds.

No further information was released.


At least five people have been killed in three bombings in the Egyptian capital, the latest in a series of attacks that have rattled the public and undermined confidence in the interim government.

According to the health ministry, the first and deadliest explosion tore through the security directorate in downtown Cairo, killing four people and injuring more than 70.

The blast left a deep crater in the street, and was large enough to shatter windows in shops hundreds of meters away.

Onlookers were quick to blame the Muslim Brotherhood, which ruled Egypt for a year until Mohamed Morsi was removed in a military coup from the presidency in July.

The Brotherhood issued a brief statement on Friday morning saying that it “strongly condemns the cowardly bombings in Cairo and demands swift investigations.


The South African government has made no mention of the role of Al Qaeda in the kidnapping of South African Pierre Korkie in Yemen.

Along with his wife Yolanda, Korkie has been held since the middle of last year by unknown armed men.

Initial reports indicate that the kidnapping may have involved a botched construction deal between a landlord and property developer.

Last year Deputy international relations and cooperation minister EbrahimEbrahim said the kidnapping had nothing to do with Al Qaeda.

He returned this week from another visit to the country where he appealed in the name of Islam and goodwill to the kidnappers to release Korkie.

While the Korkies have said they were simply in Yemen to teach, people have also questioned their motives of being there.


Syrian peace talks are on the verge of collapse, with the Syrian government threatening to leave Switzerland.

This came after the opposition refused to meet face-to-face until it agreed to the creation of a transitional government.

The so-called Geneva II talks got under way today and were due to bring together representatives from President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and the main opposition bloc for the first time.

However, the opposition demanded the government endorse the Geneva communique of June 30, 2012, which calls for a transitional governing body to be established, before direct talks began.

The government says it will not discuss removing Assad, while the opposition says it will not stay unless Assad’s removal is the basis for talks.

One of the government delegates says that Assad would remain president until the next election, when anyone could run for election.


An English Twitter account of Hamas’s armed wing, the Al Qassam Brigades, has been suspended by administrators.

The account@AlqassamBrigade, appears to have been suspended several times over the past week.

A spokesman for Hamas accused Twitter of suppressing freedom of speech and of pandering to the political agenda of Israel.

Abu Obaida wrote to AFP saying Twitter’s administration are exercising double standards while the  Zionistarmy is allowed to practise terrorism against the innocent and use its Twitter account to wage threats.

A Twitter spokesperson refused to comment, telling AFP: “We do not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons.”


At least five people have been killed in three bombings in the Egyptian capital, the latest in a series of attacks that have rattled the public and undermined confidence in the interim government.

According to the health ministry, the first and deadliest explosion tore through the security directorate in downtown Cairo, killing four people and injuring more than 70.

The blast left a deep crater in the street, and was large enough to shatter windows in shops hundreds of meters away.

Onlookers were quick to blame the Muslim Brotherhood, which ruled Egypt for a year until Mohamed Morsi was removed in a military coupe from the presidency in July.

The Brotherhood issued a brief statement on Friday morning saying that it “strongly condemns the cowardly bombings in Cairo and demands swift investigations.


Supporters of the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party, which controls the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan, continue to block a supply route for the US-led NATO forces stationed in neighboring Afghanistan.

The PTI activists, who are against the deadly US drone strikes in Pakistan, have blocked one of the main NATO routes on the outskirts of the province’s capital, Peshawar, since November 2013.

Jameel Abbasi, one of the PTI leaders, told Press TV that the route will remain cut off until the Americans stop drone attacks.

The United Nations says the US-operated drone strikes in Pakistan and some other countries pose a growing challenge to the rule of international law.


A R250 million claim against Eskom by a man who said he prevented power cuts through prayers has been struck from the court roll.

The High Court in Mahikeng removed the case because the court papers that had been filed were not in order.

Nelson Thabo Modupe, of Lichtenburg, had argued that he prevented power cuts during the 2010 Soccer World Cup through his prayers.

In a letter to Eskom, he said the main reason for load shedding was lightning and wind, and that he had taken it upon himself to pray to God and ask that no power cuts take place.

He says as a result, Eskom owed him R250 million, because he saved the power utility the burden and humiliation of load shedding.


A court in Pakistan has sentenced a British man to death for blasphemy for claiming to be a prophet of Islam.

According to police, Mohammad Asghar, a British national of Pakistani origin, was arrested in 2010 in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, for writing letters claiming to be a prophet.

The special court inside Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, where Asghar is being held, rejected defence claims that the 65-year-old has mental health problems.

Javed Gul, a government prosecutor says Asghar claimed to be a prophet even inside the court, adding that he failed to produce even a single witness in his favour.

A police official in Sadiq Abad neighbourhood of Rawalpindi, where Asghar was arrested, confirmed the death sentence.


Talks aimed at resolving Amcu’s strike in the platinum sector got under way at the CCMA’s Johannesburg head office today.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, senior management of Impala Platinum, Lonmin, and Anglo American Platinum and Amcu representatives were present.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union president Joseph Mathunjwa was accompanied by dozens of union members, most of them wearing green Amcu T-shirts.

It was believed that the parties met individually ahead of the negotiations this morning, and that an Amcu branch was late and had slightly delayed the talks.

The Business Day reported analysts as saying that the platinum strike was one of the factors that weakened the rand against the US dollar.

On Thursday, the exchange rate was R11 to the US dollar, its weakest in over five years.

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