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  • Former UN chief Kofi Annan dies
    Former UN chief Kofi Annan dies estelle.bronkhorst Sat, 08/18/2018 - 11:47
    Teaser Media
    Former UN chief, Nobel laureate Kofi Annan has died.
    Paragraphs

    BERN - Former United Nations Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan has died at the age of 80, the Kofi Annan Foundation said on Saturday.

    Annan, of Ghanaian nationality, died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Saturday, two close associates of Annan said. 

    Read more »
  • Namibian leader slams critics of African leaders
    Namibian leader slams critics of African leaders estelle.bronkhorst Sat, 08/18/2018 - 11:44
    Teaser Media
    File: Namibian President Hage Geingo strongly rejected criticism of Africa by the West saying there was undue pressure on the continent.
    Paragraphs

    WINDHOEK - Namibian President Hage Geingob, who is hosting a summit of southern African leaders, on Saturday strongly rejected criticism of Africa by the West saying there was undue pressure on the continent.

    "People have an attitude about Africa," Geingob said in an interview with the French radio network RFI. 

    "Things that they want Africans to do... they don't demand from other places," the president said.

    "In the United States, there are only two parties there, the same philosophy: how come in America there are no communists, no socialists?"

    Geingob also commented on the Comoros government crackdown that followed a controversial referendum, boycotted by the opposition, which allowed President Azali Assoumani to run for another term.

    "We would like to assess how he (Assoumani) wants to go about it. And those of us who have had a little bit of peaceful transitions and peaceful elections, will say 'my brother don't you think we should do it this way. Let us not please the West, but to please our own people," said Geingob.

    The Comoros is expected to formally join the Southern African Development Community (SADC) at the two-day summit which ends on Saturday.

    Geingob, who early this year denied corruption accusations stemming from a French anti-graft probe centred on the purchase of Canadian mining company Uramin by French nuclear giant AREVA, said he would never testify in a foreign court for the case.

    French investigators are believed to be pursuing allegedly illicit monthly transfers of $10,000 (8,750 euros) to Geingob made between 2008 and 2009.

    "If I committed a crime, it will be (heard) in my courts, nobody else's courts," he said.

    "I'm never going to testify in a foreign institution. I have my own institutions here. That's why I even oppose the ICC (International Criminal Court) because I say we must have our own institutions."

    He admitted that a consulting firm he operated while he was not in government had helped Uramin obtain a licence and was paid for that service.

    "They paid me. I declared that. It ends there," he said.  

    Geingob (77) was prime minister of Namibia between 1990-2002 and 2012-2015 before becoming president in 2015.

    Read more »
  • More Genoa bridge collapse victims found: authorities
    More Genoa bridge collapse victims found: authorities estelle.bronkhorst Sat, 08/18/2018 - 10:30
    Teaser Media
    Rescue workers searching the rubble of a collapsed motorway bridge in Genoa found a car.
    Paragraphs

    GENOA - Firefighters searching the rubble of a collapsed bridge in Genoa have found human remains inside a car, emergency services told AFP Saturday, as the Italian city prepared to hold a state funeral for the victims.

    The Civil Protection agency did not comment on the number of people inside the vehicle, but Italian media reported that a family of three including a young girl had been found, adding to the official death toll of 38.

    "All we can say is that a car with human remains inside was found by the fire service this morning," a civil protection spokesman told AFP.

    "We can't give the number because we don't know how many bodies there are inside, it's a very complex operation."

    At just after 8am, the Italian fire service announced that they had found the "destroyed wreck" of one of the cars "reported to have been involved in the collapse of the viaduct".

    Italian media report that the car had been crushed by a huge chunk of concrete after falling more than 45 metres when the bridge came down.

    A state funeral will be held in Genoa at 11.30am.

    Read more »
  • Cash heist accused claims police torture
    Cash heist accused claims police torture Janine Sat, 08/18/2018 - 10:13
    Teaser Media
    File: One of the accused told the court that all four of them were tortured by police when they were questioned about the heist.
    Paragraphs

    ROODEPOORT - One of four men charged for a cash-in-transit heist says he and his co-accused were tortured by police into confessing to the crime.

     READ: Former ANC employee linked to cash heists to appear in court

    Four cash-in-transit heist suspects, among them former ANC employee Velile Errol Present, returned to the Roodepoort magistrate's court on Friday.

    They're seeking bail following their arrest last month in relation to a cash heist in Dobsonville, Soweto, which left a security guard injured.

    READ: Cash-in-transit suspect not employed permanently by ANC: Mbalula

    Zakhele Zondi told the court that all four of them were tortured by police when they were questioned about the heist.

    He says they were beaten if their responses were not what the officers wanted to hear.

    Zondi says Present appeared to be injured when he first saw him in police custody on the day they were arrested.

    However, during cross-examination by the state, Zondi refused to say whether he had made any statements to the police regarding the Dobsonville heist.

    Another accused, Itumeleng Manama, told the court he will plead not guilty, as the police have not found the money or the car stolen and used in the heist.

    Present will argue his case when the matter resumes on 31 August.

    Read more »
  • Chinese plane pulled from mud at Philippine airport
    Chinese plane pulled from mud at Philippine airport estelle.bronkhorst Sat, 08/18/2018 - 09:30
    Teaser Media
    Some 157 passengers and eight crew were evacuated from the aircraft with no reported injuries.
    Paragraphs

    MANILA - A Chinese plane that slid off the runway at Manila airport was removed from the muddy spot where it had been stuck for more than a day, officials said, allowing normal operations to resume on Saturday.

    Around 165 international and local flights were cancelled on Friday and Saturday at the Philippine capital's main airport after the plane's bumpy landing, said airport media officer Connie Bungag.

    The Xiamen Airlines aircraft landed on its second attempt before skidding onto the grass, ripping off its left engine and blocking the runway late Thursday evening.

    The 157 passengers and eight crew aboard were able to disembark without suffering any major injuries.

    Moving the plane was complicated by heavy rains that softened the ground, making it difficult to install the two cranes needed to lift the aircraft, officials said.

    By noon on Saturday, flights had resumed their normal schedule, but some passengers were not impressed by the speed of the recovery operation.

    "At last," tweeted one disgruntled observer. "That's a record 36 hours."

    Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesman Eric Apolonio said investigators had recovered the plane's black box and flight data recorder and would be summoning the pilots next week to find the cause of the mishap.

    The airport will schedule special flights after midnight to make up for some of the flights that were cancelled earlier, Bungag told AFP.

    Read more »
  • Jonas, Mentor to testify in state capture probe
    Jonas, Mentor to testify in state capture probe Janine Sat, 08/18/2018 - 09:27
    Teaser Media
    The chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry in State Capture, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, released the names of the witnesses. 
    Paragraphs

    JOHANNESBURG - Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas will testify in the State Capture probe.

    READ: State capture inquiry: DA's request to access witnesses denied

    The Zondo Commission of Inquiry published a list of key witnesses on Friday.

    Other names include Senior Treasury official Willie Mathebula, former MP Vytjie Mentor and former GCIS CEO Themba Maseko.

    Another key witness is acting GCIS chief executive, Phumla Williams.

    READ: State capture inquiry gets underway on Monday

    The commission will sit for the very first time on Monday.

    It will also look into allegations of corruption and fraud in the public sector, including SOE's.

     

    Read more »
  • Remains of MK operatives to be handed over to families
    Remains of MK operatives to be handed over to families Janine Sat, 08/18/2018 - 07:50
    Teaser Media
    File: The remains of two Umkhonto We Siswe operatives were positively identified 30 years after their disappearance without a trace in 1987.
    Paragraphs

    DURBAN - Justice Minister Michael Masutha will hand over the remains of Umkhonto Wesizwe operatives Mandla Mjwara and Mfaniseni Mdlalose to their families in Durban. 

    The remains of the two were positively identified 30 years after their disappearance without a trace in 1987.

    READ: Remains of four PAC's Poqo members to be exhumed

    They operated in and around KwaZulu-Natal.

    The men were in a cell under the command of Minister Zweli Mkhize.

    Read more »
  • More than 320 dead in India flood crisis
    More than 320 dead in India flood crisis estelle.bronkhorst Sat, 08/18/2018 - 07:10
    Teaser Media
    Indian volunteers and rescue personal evacuate local residents in a residential area in Ernakulam district, in the Indian state of Kerala.
    Paragraphs

    KOCHI - Pressure intensified on Saturday to save thousands still trapped by devastating floods that have killed more than 300 in the Indian state of Kerala, triggering landslides and sending torrents sweeping through villages in the region's worst inundation crisis in a century.

    Authorities warned of more torrential rain and strong winds over the weekend, as hundreds of troops and local fishermen staged desperate rescue attempts in helicopters and boats across the southern state.

    Kerala, popular among international tourists for its tropical hills and beaches, has been battered by record monsoon rainfall this year.

    The state is "facing the worst floods in 100 years", chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Twitter, adding that at least 324 lives have been lost so far.

    India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the stricken state on Friday night, Vijayan's office tweeted, with media reports saying the premier would undertake an aerial survey of the worst-affected areas on Saturday.

    People all over the state of 33 million have made panicked appeals on social media for help, saying they cannot make contact with rescue services as power and communication lines are down.

    More than 30 military helicopters and 320 boats are attempting rescues across Kerala after some areas were engulfed by overflowing rivers, with residents seen swimming and wading through chest-high waters past partially submerged houses.

    Authorities said thousands of people have been taken to safety so far but 6,000 more are still waiting for rescue.

    At least 310,000 people have been displaced and are taking shelter in more than 2,000 relief camps.

    The home ministry announced separately that 868 people have been reported dead in seven Indian states including Kerala since the start of the monsoon in June.

    Read more »
  • Internal syndicate operating at Transnet: Molefe
    Internal syndicate operating at Transnet: Molefe Janine Sat, 08/18/2018 - 06:55
    Teaser Media
    File: Transnet's board chairperson says there’s a syndicate operating at the company that’s hellbent on destroying it.
    Paragraphs

    JOHANNESBURG - Transnet's board chairperson says there’s a syndicate operating at the company that’s hellbent on destroying it.

    READ: Transnet CEO served with suspension notice 

    Popo Molefe said members of this syndicate are sworn to secrecy.

    Three senior Transnet executives, including group chief executive Siyabonga Gama, were served with precautionary suspension notices this week.

    The allegations against them are related to a multi-billion-rand procurement deal for over a thousand locomotives.
     
    Further investigations will be conducted to establish the full extent of the misconduct.

    Molefe confirmed the organisation is continuing to "unearth malfeasance that has happened" and said there will be many more who will be suspended, charged and disciplined.

    'We’re also going after those who have already left the company. The fact that they have left the company doesn’t make them immune to criminal prosecution or civil actions to recover the monies,” Molefe said.

    A draft Treasury-commissioned investigation into the Gupta family’s alleged five-year looting spree at Transnet and Eskom revealed that the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act was not applied during the evaluation of the locomotives tender.
     
    The Transnet executives have until Monday to make written submissions as to why they should not be suspended.

    Read more »
  • Italy buries bridge collapse dead amid outrage
    Italy buries bridge collapse dead amid outrage estelle.bronkhorst Sat, 08/18/2018 - 06:05
    Teaser Media
    Grieving relatives wept over coffins of dozens of victims of Genoa's bridge collapse as controversy clouded a planned state funeral.
    Paragraphs

    GENOA - Italy was preparing an official day of mourning on Saturday to commemorate the dozens of people killed in Genoa's bridge disaster with some outraged relatives of victims set to shun the official ceremonies.

    The populist government has blamed the operator of the viaduct for Tuesday's collapse that killed at least 38 people in the northern Italian city and threatened to strip the firm of its contracts.

    Authorities have planned a state funeral service on Saturday at a hall in Genoa, coinciding with a day of mourning.

    Relatives who gathered at the hall on Friday embraced and prayed over lines of coffins, many adorned with flowers and photographs of the dead.

    But according to La Stampa newspaper, the families of 17 victims have refused to take part, while a further seven have yet to decide whether they will attend.

    Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte are due to preside over the state funeral.

    READ: Italy bridge operator in spotlight as collapse death toll rises

    The father of another of the dead from Naples took to social media to vent his anger.

    "My son will not become a number in the catalogue of deaths caused by Italian failures," said his grieving father, Roberto.

    "We do not want a farce of a funeral but a ceremony at home."

    The government has accused infrastructure giant Autostrade per L'Italia of failing to invest in sufficient maintenance and said it would seek to revoke its lucrative contracts.

    Interior Minister Matteo Salvini demanded that the company offer up to 500 million euros ($570-million) to help families and local government deal with the aftermath of the disaster.

    The dead also include children, one as young as eight, and three Chileans and four French nationals.

    Read more »