Home | Global News | Your World This Week – 25 April 2014

Your World This Week – 25 April 2014

Yusuf Alli – Cii News | 25 April 2014/24 Jumadal Ukhra 1435

News that made headlines on various newswires around the world.

MONDAY

Human bombings and other attacks across Iraq have killed at least 33 people and wounded another 80, in a surge of violence as the country counts down to parliamentary elections.

Today’s deadliest attack took place south of Baghdad in the town of Suwayrah, where a bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a police checkpoint including five policemen and seven civilians.

Police said 19 people were wounded in that attack.

In the nearby town of Madain, about 20 kilometres southeast of Baghdad, another car bomber struck an army checkpoint, killing three soldiers and two civilians.

Another 12 other people were wounded.

On Sunday night, four more bombs struck various parts of Baghdad, killing at least 14 people and wounding 40.

The carnage came a day after at least 18 people died and nearly 50 were wounded across the country.

—–

Some 234 girls remained missing from the northeast Nigerian school attacked last week.

The amount was significantly more than the number reported by education officials, parents told the state governor.

The higher figure came out a week after the kidnappings when the Borno state governor insisted a military escort take him to the town.

Parents told the governor that officials would not listen to them when they drew up their list of names of missing children and the total reached 234.

The discrepancy in the figures could not immediately be resolved.

This latest confusion came after the military had reported last week that all but eight of those abducted had been rescued – but then retracted the claim the following day.

—–

US drones and the Yemeni airforce massacred upt to 55 people in a joint operation in the Yemen’s south.

The Yemen interior ministry described them as members of al-Qaeda although in mnay cases civilians have also been killed in the past.

Althought they announced that the killed were all Al Qaeda members the identification process is still continuing.

The operation hit an area thought to be an Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) training camp in the rugged mountains of Mahfad between Abyan, Shabwa and al-Bayda provinces.

A Yemeni official said that shortly after midnight on Sunday a drone fired a missile at an off-road vehicle carrying three men in the southern Shabwa province, seen as an AQAP stronghold.

US drones also killed more than 30 people when they fired “several missiles” into Wadi Ghadina region in the southern province of Abyan.

Yemeni MiG-29 jet fighters also took part in the raids.

—–

 

 

TUESDAY

The Economic Freedom Fighters said they were unhappy after their one minute ad campaign for TV got banned by the SABC.

On Sunday the party’s Facebook and Twitter accounts had links to the advert, saying the SABC had touched them on the wrong side.

The SABC said the ad was inciteful, because the EFF wanted to “physically remove the e-toll system.”

There were some similarities in the advert to that of the DA’s, as it featured content of the Marikana bloodbath and of the recent protests at Bekkersdal.

—–

The Hawks were searching for criminals who stole 40 rhino horns that were being kept by the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency.

EWN reports said the value of the horns has been put at anywhere from R150 million to R3 billion.

The horns were reportedly stolen at the weekend when two steel safes fitted with double locks were cut open.

Hawks spokesperson Paul Ramaloko said the possibility of an inside job wass being investigated as the criminals knew exactly what they were after.

—–

 

Muslims continued to flee violence in the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui.

Foreign forces escorted a convoy of more than 100 Muslims from the violence-stricken capital and reached the city of Bambari, some 300 kilometersnortheast of the capital.

Tammi Sharpe, deputy head of the UNHCR in the Central African Republic, said the evacuation was “a measure to save lives” as the displaced Muslims had been “constantly attacked” in the northern Bangui neighborhood of PK 12.

Thousands of Muslims were still trapped in other cities across the country as Christian armed groups have launched attacks on Muslims trying to flee the country.

Last week, the UNHCR said since violence began four months ago, nearly 200,000 people have fled the country. Some 160,000 more people are expected to flee by the end of this year.

French and African peacekeeping forces deployed to the country have been unable to end the carnage and in some occasions, even they have been accused of killing Muslims.

—–

The confirmed death toll from South Korea’s ferry disaster crossed 100.

Dive teams, who were under growing pressure from bereaved relatives, accelerated the grim task of recovering hundreds more bodies from the submerged vessel.

Improved weather conditions and calm seas spurred their efforts, but underwater visibility was still very poor, requiring divers to grope their way blindly though the corridors and cabins of the ferry that capsized and sank last Wednesday.

Nearly one week into the rescue and recovery effort of one of South Korea’s worst peacetime disasters, close to 200 of the 476 people are still unaccounted for.

The official toll stands at 108, with 194 still missing.

—–

According to the US State Department, there was indications that a toxic chemical, probably chlorine, was used in Syria this month and was examining whether the Syrian government was responsible.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, said there were indications of the use of a toxic industrial chemical in the town of Kfar Zeita, a rebel held area in Hama province in Syria.

Syrian opposition activists reported that helicopters dropped chlorine gas on Kfar Zeita on April 11 and 12.

The Syrian government and rebels exchanged blame over the incident in Kfar Zeita in its aftermath earlier this month.

There was no independent confirmation of the attack which both sides said wounded more than 100 people.

The Syrian government failed to meet a February 5 deadline to move all of its declared chemical substances and precursors, about 1,300 tonnes, out of the country.

It has since agreed to remove the weapons by late April.

——

Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir and three co-accused faced a charge of murder, in the Alexander Magistrate’s Court, as prosecutor Lawrence Gcaba added another charge of the murder of Phumlani Ncube to the case.

Krejcir, Siboniso Miya, police sergeant Nandi Nkosi and Nkanyiso Mafunda are accused of the murder of Ncube.

Ncube was killed in July last year. His body was found dumped in Heidelberg.

Krejcir, Miya, Zoduma Biyela, Jacob Nare, Mafunda, Nkosi and Owen Serero appeared before Magistrate Reiner Boshoff on charges of conspiring to commit murder.

They are all alleged to have been part of a group that conspired to kill police Colonel Nkosana Ximba and investigator Paul O’Sullivan, who had been investigating Krejcir.

—–

South Sudan’s rebel commander Riek Machar said his forces were not behind the massacre of hundreds of people in the contested town of Bentiu.

The UN has accused them of killing more than 200 people in one mosque alone after driving government forces from the town last week.

Machar, who was dismissed as vice president by President Salva Kiir in July 2013, said that his rebels would not kill their own people.

—–

Armed men assassinated a Somali parliamentarian in the second such killing in 24 hours.

A police officer says Abdiaziz Isak was shot several times and he died instantly..

The killing occurred close to where another legislator was killed the day before in the capital’s Madina district.

Isak Mohamed was killed when a bomb concealed in his vehicle exploded in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne district, near the port and close to the heavily fortified government district.

Mohamed Abdi, another MP, was wounded in that attack.

al-Shabab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab, said all of them are targets of the “mujahedeen fighters” and they would be killed, one by one.

The attacks came as the government holds the third and final day of a security conference hoping to tackle continued attacks by al-Shabab.

—–

The Democratic Alliance said it would National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu to extend the life of the Nkandla ad hoc committee.

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said she would specifically ask that the deadline be extended to 5 May, to allow for work throughout the weekend of 2 May to 4 May

She said she would also ask that the special session to consider the findings, and to give effect to her motion to remove the president in terms of section 89 of the Constitution.

The committee, which is mandated to consider the submissions made by President Jacob Zuma in response to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on the R246m upgrades to his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, was established on 9 April.

Parties had 10 working days to nominate members to serve on the committee.

Given that the committee was given a 30 April deadline to report back to Parliament, the DA believes four working days is not enough for it to complete its work.

—–

Israeli extremist settlers stormed al-Aqsa Mosque from the Mughrabi Gate under Israeli police protection.

A media coordinator for the Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, said that 21 Israeli settlers stormed al-Aqsa Mosque’s courtyards and remained for half an hour before leaving.

Palestinian students and worshipers inside the Mosque confronted the settlers’ break-in, amid a state of tension.

Mahmoud Abu Atta, said Palestinian presence in al-Aqsa Mosque during the past days managed to foil Israeli settlers’ schemes to break into al-Aqsa Mosque on the Passover holiday.

He stressed the importance of Palestinian continued presence in al-Aqsa Mosque to protect it from Israeli forces and settlers’ attacks and violations, saying that the holy mosque is still subjected to Israeli threats.

Abu Atta called for intensifying Palestinian presence in al-Aqsa Mosque, expressing his hope that firmer Arab and Islamic positions in support of al-Aqsa Mosque would be adopted, appreciating at the same time the Jordanian position in response to Israeli attacks on the Mosque.

Al-Aqsa Mosque had been subjected during the last few days to Israeli break-ins and attacks, which led to a state of tension among worshipers many of whom were injured and detained.

—–

WEDNESDAY

Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin involved in a three-month-long platinum sector strike were understood to have increased their basic pay offer to 10%.

However, a major sticking point remained: the companies wanted to include both the holiday allowance (13th cheque) and the existing living out allowance in the calculation of basic pay.

This was rejected by strike meetings.

By including the two existing payments, the companies Amplats, Implats and Lonmin estimated that the demanded R12 500 a month entry level wage for underground workers could be attained in three years.

According to Fin 24, with company stockpiles now depleted and most miners in desperate financial straits, a settlement is likely within the next week.

It may come with miners agreeing to the latest offer on condition that the talks continue about how and when the R12 500 will be introduced as a basic, entry level wage.

——

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi had reportedly indicated that he does not owe Numsa for its support to have him reinstated at the trade union federation.

The Star newspaper quoted him as saying that it is wrong to say the resolution of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA must bind Vavi…

He said that Numsa is not arrogant to tell him to abandon must abandon Cosatu.

Vavi addressed about 500 shop stewards at the Western Cape Congress of SA Trade Union office in Cape Town on yesterday.

He returned to work at Cosatu House this April after eight months of being on suspension, following the High Court in Johannesburg’s ruling setting aside his suspension.

Numsa supported Vavi and was instrumental in his reinstatement.

—–

President Jacob Zuma labelled people who boo at him as “empty vessels who make the most noise.”

The New Age reported him as saying they boo, have a lot to say and don’t pay attention, adding that what they say does not help South Africa.

Zuma was repeatedly booed at several events recently, including the memorial service of former president Nelson Mandela, at a soccer game at FNB stadium in March, and during a rally in Malamulele, Limpopo.

Zuma also reportedly lashed out at what he called “clever people” who called for votes against the ANC.

“ Voting for any other party besides the ANC is a waste of the vote,” he said.

—–

After weeks of search in the Indian Ocean, an investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 considered the possibility that the plane had landed somewhere else.

Malaysia’s New Strait Times daily quoted sources close to the international investigation team that the investigators were looking at the possibility that the missing jet did not crash into the Indian Ocean, and landed safely at an unknown location.

The source said the thought of it landing somewhere else is not impossible, as they have not found a single debris that could be linked to MH370.

The comments came as more than a dozen planes and ships are still looking for possible debris of the jet in the ocean.

Flight MH370 with 239 people on board was on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it suddenly disappeared from air traffic control radars on March 8.

Malaysian officials said that the government would look into issuing death certificates for those onboard the plane.

However the relatives believe that until they have conclusive proof that the plane crashed with no survivors, they have no right to attempt to settle this case with the issuance of death certificates.

—–

A Nigerian woman has killed her 15-year-old son after a minor disagreement.

According to punchng.com, Ita Okokon and her son Isaac had an argument which ended in a physical fight.

A neighbour said that when the mother beat Isaac, he retaliated instead of running away, which she saw as a sign of disrespect.

The neighbour added that Isaac hit his mother so hard that she fell to the ground.

When she got up, she went inside the house and brought out the machete chased her son with the weapon, but when she could not get him, she threw the machete at him, which cut through his body.

—–

While the US threatened Russia with sanctions over Ukraine, It was set to deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters to Egypt, relaxing a suspension of aid imposed after the military removed Mohamed Morsi from the presidency last year.

News of the decision was conveyed by Chuck Hagel, the US defence secretary, to his Egyptian  counterpart Sedki Sobhi.

The Pentagon said the delivery will aid Egypt’s “so called counter-terrorism” operations in the Sinai Peninsula.

A Pentagon spokesman said new helicopters will help the Egyptian government counter extremists who threaten US, Egyptian, and Israeli security.

John Kerry, US secretary of State, paved the way for the deal by certifying to the US Congress that Egypt had met key criteria for the US to resume some aid.

Human Rights Watch, the US campaign group, earlier this month cautioned the US against resuming military assistance until the Egyptian government ended rights abuses and held violators accountable.

—–

The official death toll from the submerged South Korea ferry reached 150.

A government official said divers must rip through cabin walls to retrieve more victims.

The victims are mostly students of a single high school in Ansan, near Seoul.

More than three-quarters of the 323 students are dead or missing, while nearly two-thirds of the other 153 people on board the ferry Sewol survived when it sank one week ago.

The number of corpses recovered has risen sharply since the weekend, when divers battling strong currents and low visibility were finally able to enter the submerged vessel.

But task force spokesman Koh Myung-seok the work is becoming more difficult, and divers must now break through cabin walls to retrieve more bodies.

Twenty-two of the 29 members of the ferry’s crew survived, and 11 have been arrested or detained in connection with the investigation.

—–

Lebanon’s parliament failed to elect a new president.

No candidate succeeded in getting the minimum 86 votes, or a two-thirds majority, needed to win the presidency.

All the MPs filed out after the ballots were counted, preventing a quorum for a second round of voting.

According to the Lebanese constitution, a candidate needs only 51 per cent of votes in the second round to win the presidency.

The next session to elect a president will be held on April 30.

—–

Afghanistan’s election commission delayed the results of the April 5 presidential elections for two days because of fraud investigations

Independent Election Commission director Ziaulhaq Amarkhil said that the results would be delayed until at least Saturday.

The IEC said it is conducting thorough investigations of all irregularities.

It said while these investigations have delayed the process slightly, they are critical to the accuracy and integrity of final results.

The latest partial results put former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah in the lead with 44.4 percent ahead of his rival Ashraf Ghani with 33.2 percent as more than half of the votes were counted.

An estimated seven million Afghans went to the polls on April 5 to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai who has been in office for two terms.

—–

Hundreds of Democratic Alliance supporters marched for jobs in Johannesburg.

They carried placards bearing the words “together for jobs”.

DA provincial leader John Moodey told the crowd the party would liberate people from poverty.

He said the people cannot have a future if they are not employed, adding that unemployment robs the people of a future and human dignity.

Moodey said the DA would govern Gauteng after the 7 May election.

—–

The US called the massacre of hundreds of civilians in South Sudan an “abomination” and appealed to rebel and government leaders to condemn those responsible and bring them to justice.

The statement from the White House came after Al Jazeera released images from Bentiu showing masses of bodies littering the streets and in a mosque, where at least 200 people were reported murdered.

Al Jazeera correspondent Anna Cavell, who visited the town, said the murders appeared to be along sectarian lines.

The UN earlier said that rebels slaughtered hundreds of civilians when they seized the town, the capital of Unity State, last week.

Reik Machar, South Sudan’s sacked vice president turned rebel leader, has denied that his men had carried out the attack, and blamed forces loyal to the president, Salva Kiir.

More than one million people have fled their homes since December when fighting erupted in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, between troops backing Kiir and soldiers loyal to Machar.

—–

The DA and the EFF denied reports of a possible coalition between them after the 7 May elections.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said a coalition with the Economic Freedom Fighters would be unworkable because of ideological differences.

EFF leader Julius Malema said his party was not in talks with any other political party about coalitions.

HE said these reports must be dismissed as mere desperate speculations in an attempt to defocus the EFF’s objective of taking government, particularly in Gauteng,” he said.

The two parties in Gauteng were reportedly considering a coalition in the province.

Both parties are determined to win Gauteng from the African National Congress on 7 May.

DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane and EFF premier candidate Dali Mpofu have been campaigning around the province.

—–

Authorities were investigating whether “unidentified material” washed up on the southwest coast of Australia has any link to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre said Western Australia Police attended a report of material washed ashore 10km east of Augusta and have secured the material.

It says the Australian Transport Safety Bureau was examining photographs of the material to determine whether it has any links to the search for the missing jet.

The bureau provided photographs of the material to the Malaysian investigation team.

The Boeing 777 with 239 people aboard was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March when it mysteriously diverted.

It is thought to have crashed into the remote Indian Ocean off Western Australia, where a huge search is underway.

Earlier sources close to the international investigation team reportedly said that the investigators are looking at the possibility that the missing jet did not crash, and landed safely at an unknown location.

—-

Disciplinary processes are under way following an offensive tweet sent from an FNB account.

FNB’s acting head of digital marketing and media, Suzanne Myburgh confirmed that disciplinary actions are under way as they are following the required industrial relations processes.

On Tuesday, a man by the name Stu tweeted: “@fnb where has Steve disappeared to? Your radio campaign just isn’t the same.”

Steve is a character in FNB’s advertising campaign.

In response, the FNBGuy account under the name @Rbjacobs tweeted: “He’s some where in Afghanistan, putting a bomb under a wheelchair and telling the cripple to run for it!”

FNB CEO Jacques Cilliers then tweeted: “Apologies for the @Rbjacobs wobble… experts are investigating quickly.”

Another tweet on the @Rbjacobs account later read: “FNB is disappointed in & sincerely apologises for the tweet re Steve.”

It said the comment conflicts with the companie’s corporate values and has been retracted.

—–

FRIDAY

The African National Congress said two of its members in KwaZulu-Natal were killed in the run up to the 7 May elections.

Supa Zuma, the party’s secretary for the Moses Mabhida region, said in a statement that Nkosi Nkwanyana was gunned down outside his home in the Mhlangandlovu area.

Jabulile Ncalane, a party volunteer, was hacked to death in her house a week earlier.

The Mhlangandlovu area is in the uMshwathi local municipality in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands.

Zuma said the ANC condemned the attacks and that to date no arrests had been made.

——

At least three foreignerswere reportedly killed by a security guard at an international hospital in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

An Interior Ministry official said there was an incident in which three foreign nationals were killed by a security guard and one medic has been wounded.

Hafiz Khan, district police chief,  said the attacker was a member of the Afghan Police Protection Force assigned to guard the hospital, which specialises in children’s medicine.

The shooting is the latest attack on foreign civilians in Afghanistan after the bombing of a popular restaurant in January and an attack on an upscale hotel in March.

It also follows the shooting of two Associated Press staff by a police officer in the country’s east this month.

—–

At least 10 people have been reported killed and 15 injured in Pakistan air raids against what the military termed “terrorist hideouts” in the Khyber tribal area.

The military said the raids targeted members of armed groups involved in planning recent attacks, including the bombing of a fruit market in Islamabad on April 9 and the killing of security forces in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The raids were reportedly launched in the Bara area early this morning.

It comes a day after the government and the Pakistani Taliban met in Islamabad to discuss a stuttering peace process.

—–

A South African woman, who was arrested for the murders of her three disabled children in the UK, has reportedly been described as a devoted mother who doted on them.

Tania Clarence, was arrested after her 4-year-old daughter and twin boys aged 3 were found dead at their home in New Malden, south London.

The children had a genetic condition called spinal muscular atrophy that left them with little muscle strength.

Clarence’s husband, Gary, was in South Africa with their other daughter, 8-year-old Taya, at the time of the murders but is flying back to the UK.

The UK’s Daily Mail reported that Tania Clarence had given up her career as a graphic designer to look after the children.

The couple had also renovated their R21.3m mansion and installed special features, including a lift and ramps.

They employed a nanny and carers for the children and also sent them to a special school for disabled children.

—–

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said he will vote in the May 7 general elections, but not for the ANC.

He was speaking at a special media briefing at St George’s Cathedral after he had received “numerous requests” to speak about the country’s 20 years of democracy.

According to the Archbishop, in the past the ANC stood for the society they wanted.

However he said the ANC shamelessly shot themselves in the foot.

He said he dreamt of a society where people had really mattered, adding that many of South Africa’s children are being educated under trees and in mud schools.

Tutu said although the country had made many strides, the problems it faced needed urgent attention.

He called on South Africans to think carefully before making their cross, and warned not to mindlessly vote like cattle.

—–

The Ukrainian government said it regained control of the city hall in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, from pro-Russian separatists.

Several people were said to have been hurt during the overnight operation in the city, where three pro-Russian protesters were recently shot dead.

A Ukrainian army operation outside the separatist stronghold of Sloviansk was reported by the BBC.

Separatists occupyied key buildings in at least a dozen eastern towns.

Meanwhile a contingent of US troops begun landing in Poland for military exercises amid concerns among Nato’s eastern members about Russian intentions.

Moscow said it would respond to any attack on its interests in Ukraine.

—–

President Jacob Zuma challenged Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to specify how he “unduly benefited” from the R246-million “security upgrading” of his private Nkandla homestead.

Speaking to thousands of ANC supporters at an election rally in Langeloop, Mpumalanga, on Thursday, Zuma said the [interministerial report] never said the president misused taxpayers money.

It said that there seemed to have been an inflation of prices.

In her report, Madonsela found that Zuma and his family had “unduly benefited” from the “security upgrades” and that he should repay some of the money spent on them. T

The amount would run into millions of rands.

An earlier report by the government’s interministerial team absolved Zuma of any wrongdoing.

Instead, it called for an investigation into the roles of former public works minister Geoff Doidge and his then deputy, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu.

—–

The SA Police Service lodged a complaint with The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa over the Democratic Alliance’s election advert.

ICASA notified the media and all stakeholders that the Complaints and Compliance Committee has received a complaint from the SAPS in connection with the DA’s political advertisement currently being broadcast by the SABC,

Spokesman Paseka Maleka said the complaint was lodged with the committee on an urgent basis for adjudication and possible hearing on April 19.

He said after consulting with all relevant parties, (including the SAPS, DA and SABC), the committee decided to hold a public hearing in order to expedite the matter..

—–

Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry said two more patients who became infected with MERS have died, and that 13 others have contracted the virus.

The ministry said that the new cases from the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, were reported in the capital of Riyadh, Jiddah and the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

The deaths bring to 83 the number of people who have died in the kingdom since the virus surfaced in September 2012.

Saudi Arabia has recorded a total of 285 confirmed cases.

The virus is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus which erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.

Experts are still struggling to understand MERS, for which there is no known vaccine.

—–

The South Korean school devastated by the loss of many of its students in a ferry disaster last week had started to hold classes again.

More than 300 students from Danwon high school, located south of Seoul, were on the Sewol ferry when it capsized.

Most of the students are dead, or missing inside the sunken hull.

More than 160 people have been confirmed dead, as search teams worked to recover bodies.

There were 476 people on board, with many trapped inside as the ferry listed and sank within two hours of distress signals being sent. A total of 174 passengers were rescued.

Almost 250 students and teachers from Danwon have been confirmed dead or are presumed to have died.

Most of the students who survived the disaster remain in hospital and it is not clear when they will return to school.

—–

Opposition parties said that President Jacob Zuma and Public Protector Thuli Madonsela should appear before the ad hoc committee set up to consider his response to her findings on the Nkandla controversy.

The call was made as the special 12-member committee created by Parliament to consider the president’s reply sat for the first time today.

Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said she doesn’t see why anybody would not want to come and respond to the allegations against them

The committee is chaired by National Assembly house chairperson Cedric Frolick and is due to finish its work by 30 April.

It will only reconvene on Monday, making an exhaustive inquiry into Madonsela’s findings regarding the R260m spent on improvements at the president’s home in Nkandla unlikely.

——

Palestine’s political organizations, Fatah and Hamas, struck a reconciliation accord on Wednesday.

The latest deal is meant to end seven years of political rift between the two main bodies leading the struggle for liberation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Prof Abdul Sattar Cassim, an academic at the An Najah University, doubts the accord has any real chance.

Speaking to Sabahul Khair this morning, he said the Fatah-Hamas relationship is littered with several examples of fallouts and attempts at unity.

During a telephonic interview from West Bank, Cassim recalled Abbas’ view that “bread is much more important than freedom.”

——

Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele said that The African National Congress can be defeated.

Speaking in Temba near Hammanskraal, during her election campaign she said of one needs a new government they musnt vote for the ANC, adding that the ANC can be outvoted.

She said only in South Africa could a president get into office while facing corruption charge.

Meanwhile DA leader Helen Zille asked South Africans to ensure that the ANC wins less than half the votes in Gauteng in the 7 May general election.

She said more and more South Africans were recognising the Democratic Alliance as the only party that could stop corruption.

According to Zille,In the last quarter of 2013, the DA government in the Western Cape created more jobs than all the other provinces combined,.

She said where the DA governs, the economy is growing faster than other provinces and unemployment is the lowest in South Africa.

—–

The UN Security Council discussed taking actions that could include sanctions after viewing “horrific pictures of corpses” from the scene of last week’s massacre in South Sudan.

The UN said hundreds of civilians were killed in the massacre last week in Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state.

Security Council members watched a video showing bodies lining a street and the interior of a mosque where civilians had sought shelter from rebel forces taking control from government troops, amid ethnic tensions in the world’s newest country.

UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said the “cycle of violence must stop immediately” and warned that a “humanitarian catastrophe will become even more a certainty” if it doesn’t.

The massacre has left diplomats and the UN mission in South Sudan questioning what to do next.

Human Rights Watch called on the Security Council to investigate the killings in Bentiu and said the violence shows that ethnically motivated brutality against civilians is spiralling out of control in the landlocked country.

—–

An Islamic court in northern Nigeria sentenced a man to be stoned to death for raping a 13-year-old girl and infecting her with HIV.

Such sentences under strict Sharia laws have been passed before but never carried out in Nigeria.

Past sentences have been commuted to life in prison.

The defendant, testified that the devil instigated him to have sex with the girl.

The 63-year-old said he did not know he was infected with HIV.

He argued that the teenager tempted him by visiting his shop often at night.

Magistrate Faruk Ahmed ignored his plea for mercy.

He said Dotsa was a married man who had committed adultery, which is punishable by death by stoning.

—–

FRIDAY

A man accused of shooting dead a motorcyclist during a road rage confrontation in February appeared briefly in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court.

The trial was postponed to 26 June for further investigation.

Meekahefele Mosooa, a labour consultant, is out on R5 000 bail granted during his last appearance on 17 February.

Motorcyclist Douglas Pierce was shot dead during a confrontation with Mosooa along Malibongwe Drive, Northriding, in February.

Both men carried firearms.

Mosooa was driving a sedan. He told the court during his bail application that he acted in self defence.

—–

The body of a 24-year-old man was found hanging from an electricity pole in Orlando East, Soweto this morning.

Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said a child noticed a man standing by an electric pole.

He went to ask his parents who it was and they found that the man had been hanged.

He was found in his yard with his hands tied behind his back, his mouth was closed with tape and one of his ears were cut off.

He said police opened a case of murder.

—–

The Iranian government has increased fuel prices up to 75 percent as part of the second phase of the subsidy reform plan.

The price of semi-subsidized petrol increased from 4,000 rials (R1.66) per liter to 7,000 rials (R2.91) as of Friday.

Normal-priced petrol jumped from 7,000 rials to 10,000 rials (R4.15) per liter.

Car fuel in Iran is among the cheapest in the world.

Iran attained self-sufficiency in fuel production after its international suppliers stopped selling gasoline to Tehran under US pressure.

The latest slashes in fuel and energy subsidies are meant to allocate government money for other sectors in production and infrastructure.

—–

A drunken passenger who caused a hijack scare on a Virgin Australia flight by trying to break into the cockpit has been arrested after the plane landed on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali.

The island’s airport was closed for nearly two hours because of the incident, forcing several flights to be diverted.

Heru Sudjatmiko, the airport manager for Virgin Australia, said the Australian passenger acted aggressively and began pounding on the cockpit door before being handcuffed by the crew

The passenger was arrested for creating a disturbance.

A hijack alert had been issued by the pilot about one hour before the plane landed.

—–

Bolivia’s military leaders ordered the dismissal of 702 enlisted men for sedition, after they protested that they should have the option to qualify to be raised to the rank of officer, claiming they were subjected to discrimination for being indigenous citizens.

The army, navy and air force say that they had ordered the dismissal of the soldiers because they “committed acts of sedition, rebellion, conducted political actions and attacked the honour of the Armed Forces.”

The unprecedented military protest began on Tuesday with 500 soldiers, but expanded to about 1,000 on Thursday.

Non-commissioned officers and sergeants marched through the capital of La Paz dressed in camouflage uniforms, together with some of their wives and Aymara indigenous leaders who supported their demands.

——

A bomb attack in Pakistan’s biggest city, Karachi, had killed at least four people and wounded 30 others, five of them seriously.

Senior police officer, Abdul Khaliq Sheikh, reportedly said that today’s attack took place outside a mosque in the upscale Clifton neighbourhood in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province.

Sindh’s police chief, Iqbal Mehmood said the explosion had been caused by 10kg of explosives planted on a rickshaw.

The provice’s health minister said the way in which this incident came about, different people were hit by it, including those who had just been offering Jummah prayers.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack but provincial Information Minister Sharjeel Memon pointed his finger at the Pakistani Taliban (TTP).

—–

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Al-Araby appealed to regional and international concerned parties to provide the support necessary for the success of the Palestinian reconciliation agreement.

Araby commended the Gaza reconciliation agreement which complies with the 2011 Cairo and Doha agreements.

He expressed his hope that the Palestinian parties could fulfil what they agreed upon.

He said such a move would certainly tie up the unity of the Palestinian people and confirm their willingness to set up a joint national program so as to meet the current challenges faced at this very critical stage.

Al-Araby further announced the League’s unyielding support for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has come under constant Israeli pressure following the announcement of the Gaza reconciliation agreement.

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The Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) says a total of 8,651 candidates from 45 political parties are standing for the general elections.

This is slightly fewer than the 9,117 candidates who appeared on the final lists for the 2009 election.

The electoral commission has published the final list of candidates for the May 7 national and provincial elections and has provided candidates with certificates confirming their candidacy.

There were 2,089 candidates on the national lists, 2,165 on the regional lists and 4,397 on the provincial lists contesting.

The parties were contesting 400 National Assembly seats and 430 provincial legislature seats.

—–

A stampede at a crowded tribute festival for a music star has killed at least 14 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Officials and witnesses said a power failure at a stadium in the town of Kikwit, organised to commemorate the life of a local singer, plunged the venue into darkness causing a crush,.

The provincial government blamed the “enthusiasm of the audience” for the deaths.

Crowds had amassed in the town of Kikwit, 500km from the capital Kinshasha, to celebrate the memory of a singer who died earlier this year in Paris.

Thousands of people attended his funeral in Kinshasa last month after he died from heart problems in his adopted home of France at the age of 57.

Following the stampede, authorities cancelled the festival which was scheduled to last through Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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