Madiba plaque to be unveiled at Yankee Stadium

A plaque in honour of the late Nelson Mandela will be unveiled at the Yankee Stadium in New York today.
 
The recognition of the former president coincides with the annual celebration of Jackie Robinson Day by major league baseball in the United States. 
The New York Yankees will unveil the plaque in honour of Madiba’s visit to their home ground stadium in June 1990, during his first trip to the Big Apple. 
New York City’s first black mayor David Dinkins, who will be at the ceremony, had invited Mandela to the city upon his release from prison. 
A parade was then thrown for the former president and he spoke to thousands of supporters.
Madiba’s grandson Zondwa will also be at the unveiling

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Singer Zahara’s brother murdered

JOHANNESBURG – Eastern Cape police have launched an investigation after the brother of local singer Zahara and his friend were shot dead outside East London.  
Twenty–five–year–old Mbuyiseli Mkutukana and 35–year–old Thanduxolo Zuman were found with multiple gunshot wounds on the banks of a river in the Next Camp township on Sunday. 
East London police spokesman Colonel Mtati Tana says no arrests have been made.
“Two men, aged 25 and 35, were shot and killed next to a river. We are looking for three suspects. Police are following leads. As soon as we’ve arrested one suspect we’ll determine the motive.”

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MDC threatens ‘war’ against Mugabe

– Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has reportedly threatened to take to the streets to dislodge President Robert Mugabe’s regime.          

Addressing a rally in Harare, firebrand MDC politician Job Sikhala who recently returned to the party that gave him national political status, urged party supporters to brace for “war” against Mugabe’s regime

Sikhala accused Mugabe of running the country down and reducing the entire nation into “virtual paupers”.

Sikhala said Zimbabwe’s current slide to disaster was so fast that if left unchecked the MDC would lose its entire support base through hunger.

Zimbabwe’s economic environment continues to look dire with reports indicating that thousands are losing their jobs as companies continue to shut down citing viability problems.

Supermarket economy

Sikhala said people of Zimbabwe could not continue suffering under Mugabe’s leadership until 2018 when the country’s next elections would be held.

Speaking at the same rally, MDC national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa said Zimbabwe had been reduced to a supermarket economy.

Chamisa said Mugabe won state power in last year’s elections but was failing to translate that into economic prosperity.

Chamisa said the demonstrations would be peaceful as “no one will fire a gun”. He said people’s aspirations and their power would liberate Zimbabwe

Earlier this month, Zanu-PF’s spokesperson Rugare Gumbo accused MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai of inciting rebellion against Mugabe after the former prime minister said Zimbabwe could not continue to be held captive by one man (Mugabe).

Gumbo said the opposition leader’s call for mass action was “dangerous” and called for his arrest.

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Generations actor claims Zimbabwe roots – Khethiwe

SOUTH African soapie star Khethiwe, real name Winnie Modise, who was in Bulawayo over the weekend, revealed that she might be a Zimbabwean judging from the fact that one of her totems is Mgabe.

Speaking from the comfort of a stretch limousine just before her appearance at a city hotel, Khethiwe said suspected she was Zimbabwean as her totem was similar to that of President Mugabe, with hers missing the vowel ‘u’.

Khethiwe (37), said one of her great grandfathers travelled to Zimbabwe and settled here.

“When my dad explains our history, he says there was a great grandfather who travelled to Zimbabwe a long time ago. He was called Mgabe and then he decided to change to Ntshaba,” she said.

Khethiwe said she did not know much about her history, but her connection to Zimbabwe was when her grandfather travelled here many years ago.

“Besides the small history that one of my totems is Mgabe, I think I am from Zimbabwe,” said Khethiwe.

She said she liked Zimbabweans because of their loyalty, mainly judging from her friends.

“My baby’s maid is a Zimbabwean. Actually most of my friends have Zimbabweans working for them.

What we love about them is their loyalty to us,” she said.

While in Zimbabwe, she seemed to enjoy the local music as she was seen nodding her head in appreciation when urban grooves artistes Ngoni Kambarami and Trevor Dongo were performing.

Khethiwe said it was a pity that Zimbabwean music was not in the mainstream African charts.

“I love Zimbabwean music, I like the sound and it is a pity that it is not played on MTV Base and Channel O. It’s high time we as Africans unite and play each other’s music and give each other platforms for such good music,” she said.

Khethiwe noted that Zimbabweans were laid back and took their entertainment in strides.

“Zimbabweans are people who are laid back and very peaceful. Even when I went to the townships, there was a stampede, but a peaceful one. They showed me love and I was very overwhelmed,” she said.

The star said she would definitely return to Zimbabwe to see the majestic Victoria Falls.

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Brothers dug up more than 100 graves to eat corpses

A convicted cannibal, Mohammad Arif, 35, has been rearrested in Pakistan after a three-year-old boy’s head was discovered in the home he shares with his brother Mohammad Farman, 30.

The pair, from the small town of Darya Khan in the country’s interior, had previously served two years in jail for cannibalism and were only released last year.

At the time, local police said the two men had dug up more than 100 corpses from the local graveyard and eaten them.

Mohammad Arif has now been rearrested as an investigation gets underway in to the grim discovery at his house.

His brother Mohammad Farman is still being hunted by police.

District police chief, Ameer Abdullah, said officers swooped after residents complained of a bad smell coming from the brothers’ home

‘Residents informed police after a stench emanated from the house of the two brothers,’ he said.

‘We raided the house on Monday morning and found the head of a young boy,’ a district police chief, Ameer Abdullah, told Reuters.

‘We have arrested one of the brothers, Mohammad Arif, and are conducting raids for the arrest of the other brother.’

Police were searching nearby graveyards to see if they had been disturbed, he said.

The pair were initially jailed after police found that the corpse of a 24-year-old woman had disappeared from its grave in 2011.

Further investigations led officers to the brothers’ house where they found a cooking pot containing meat curry.

The brothers were later arrested by police and jailed for two years.

They had once both been married with children, but their wives are said to have left them ahead of being detained by police three years ago

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Farmers hang man upside down, squeeze his privates with pliers

South Africa- 34-year-old Gabanakgosi Gaobuse from Garuele Village outside Kuruman, Northern Cape, SA, endured an hour of torture after he was grabbed by livestock farmers in the area.

Accused of stealing their cattle, Gabanakgosi and his friend were paraded through the village and tortured.

Gabanakgosi was hung upside down from a tree, he had his privates squeezed with pliers and was severely beaten with sjamboks and threatened with pangas.

A video was taken by the farmers and was circulated in the village.

In it, the men are beaten up by men with sjamboks and they are ordered to take turns whipping each other.

The farmers also threatened to set him on fire.

“At that time I wished I was dead,” he said.

“The pain I endured I will never experience again in a thousand years.”

Gabanakgosi denied the allegationsHe said the farmers respond to wild information they get in the village.

Another local villager, Emmanuel Khabae agreedHe said innocent people are hunted and hounded because of rumours

“My life is in dangerI have left my house and can’t go to work because I am scared of being beaten for no reason,” he said.

SAPS Colonel Priscilla Naidu confirmed that a case of assault was opened on 19 MarchShe said four people appeared in court for attempted murder, instead of assault, but the case was provisionally withdrawn by the court due to insufficient evidence

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Hubby hangs self in safe sex protest

AN HIV positive man from Kwekwe committed suicide by hanging in protest over his wife’s insistence on protection when being intimate. It is alleged that the now deceased Newman Ncube of Dieveld Farm, Sherwood, Kwekwe, decided to take his life after his wife refused to have unprotected sex with him.
Midlands police spokesperson Inspector Joel Goko confirmed the incident which occurred last Monday.

“We are investigating a suicide case in which a 30-year-old man committed suicide by hanging after his wife refused to have unprotected sexual intercourse with him after he had tested positive to HIV while she tested negative,” he said.

On the fateful day, Insp Goko said Ncube and his wife went for an HIV test where he tested positive while his wife tested negative.

“The two returned home where Ncube demanded to have unprotected sex with his wife which she declined insisting that they should use protection.”

A heated argument ensued culminating in Ncube assaulting his wife who began bleeding profusely from injuries sustained during the assault. The wife escaped and sought refuge at Ncube’s brother Nkosilathi’s homestead,” he said.

Insp Mahoko said Ncube then hanged himself on a tree in his wife’s absence.

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Nel baffled why Oscar didn’t check bedroom door

Pretoria – It was strange that murder accused Oscar Pistorius did not look to see if Reeva Steenkamp had left his bedroom after he shot an “intruder”, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.
“Why did you not check the bedroom door… if she left through the bedroom door?” prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked Pistorius during cross-examination.

He has been charged with murdering Steenkamp – his girlfriend at the time – around 03:00 on Valentine’s Day last year.

“I thought it would be a very strange thing,” he said.

Nel was asking Pistorius what he did moments after he fired four times through the door of his toilet, saying he was thinking an intruder was about to emerge and attack him.

He claims Steenkamp got out of bed in the dark without him noticing and went to the toilet.

Pistorius said after the shooting he ran down the passage on his stumps and checked whether Steenkamp was on the bed, behind the curtains, or on the floor.

He then ran back to the bathroom to look for her.

“Why would you think it’s Reeva in the bathroom if you hadn’t checked everywhere?”

Pistorius said he was calling out for her. Nel found it strange that Pistorius quickly went from thinking he had shot an intruder to thinking he had shot Steenkamp.

Nel: “I have difficulty with the huge leap from shooting an intruder to shooting at Reeva.”

Pistorius: “I was crying out for her and she wasn’t responding. Then it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva.”

According to the State, the shooting happened during an argument.

Pistorius is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.

He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.

On 30 September 2012 he allegedly shot through the open sunroof of a car with his 9mm pistol while driving with friends in Modderfontein.

He has also denied guilt on these three charges.

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Supporters show their love for Oscar Pistorius outside court

Murder-accused Oscar Pistorius was hugged by a woman as he entered the high court in Pretoria this morning.
Members of a Facebook group, mainly women, set up in support of the Paralympian, waited on the pavement with white balloons for him to arrive.
When he stepped out of a silver Land Rover to walk the gauntlet of reporters and onlookers, the photographers shouted for the supporters to get their white balloons out of their shots.
Then a woman ran up to him and threw her arms around him. There were shouts of “We love you Oscar, we are here for you”.
Pistorius froze for several seconds until his security detail pried her off him. There was applause as Pistorius’ lawyers, including Barry Roux, arrived.
A woman in a red jersey stood clutching a CD with his face on the cover, a book with the title God se Liefdesbriewe aan Jou (God’s love letters to you) and a small trophy bearing the name Oscar on the base.
When Pistorius moved inside the court, he sat quietly by himself until he was joined by his sister Aimee. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel is continuing his cross-examination of the athlete who took the stand last Monday.
Pistorius is accused of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria townhouse on February 14 2013. He shot her through the locked door of his toilet, apparently thinking she was an intruder who was about to emerge and attack him.
He is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act, one of illegal possession of ammunition and two of discharging a firearm in public.
He allegedly fired a shot from a Glock pistol under a table at a Johannesburg restaurant in January 2013.
On September 30 2012, he allegedly fired his 9mm pistol through the open sunroof of a car while driving with friends in Modderfontein, Gauteng.

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Generations actor’s Bulawayo show flops

THE much awaited cocktail party with Generations star Khethiwe in Bulawayo was a lukewarm affair with only a handful of fans attending the event.

The event dubbed One on One with Khethiwe was held at Rainbow Hotel on Saturday night.

About 50 fans comprising journalists, waiters, DJs, security details, photographers and urban groove artistes and their spouses were on hand to meet the South African star.

The petite Khethiwe, real name Winnie Modise, quipped: “Hello, how are you, let me talk to the empty chairs,” drawing laughter from the handful of fans in the 600 capacity presidential room.

Dressed in a champagne gold dress with matching shoes, Khethiwe blamed a local night spot for the poor turnout at the cocktail party to raise money for Christ Embassy.

“I am not amused as this was a cocktail party to raise money for the church I go to. I heard that there were people who were going around telling people that I will be at a club. Honestly mina ngiye tjukutja,” she said drawing laughter from the crowd.

Khethiwe said the cocktail party was part of her mandate as a Christian to preach the gospel and help church leaders to do so with money.

“Our leaders should have money to do their work. The gospel came to you for free, but to preach it and get it out there costs money.

So we should come and raise money for our pastors and that is why I am here,” she said.

Khethiwe promised to bring Queen Moroka played by Sophie Ndaba to the city.

She sang praises of her fans in Bulawayo describing them as a beautiful lot.

“The people here are laid back and they are so loving and caring. Zimbabwe is a beautiful place and I love it here as this is my first time. Next time I come I will bring Queen Moroka with me,” she said.

Khethiwe, who arrived shortly after 9PM escorted by Sally Njolomole who was dressed in a black dress with matching high heeled boots, sat on sofas on a stage that had been mounted in the venue.

Quickly, the few fans at the venue started jostling to see her as the MC Nashie announced that Khethiwe had arrived. Thereafter the handful of fans started paying for photos with the television star.

Entertainment was provided by Trevor Dongo, Ngoni Kambarami and Nashie, who all did well.

Earlier on in the day, organisers of the event gave Khethiwe a royal treatment as they hired a limousine to ferry her from the airport to various destinations in the city where she met and shot pictures with some of her fans.

Her first port of call was Haddon and Sly where she met quite a sizeable number of fans, signed autographs and took pictures.

She was then taken to the city’s only mall in the central business district – Bulawayo Centre – where she also met fans who whistled and cheered her with some even expressing how much they loved her.

Her biggest surprise was at Nkulumane’s Sekusile Shopping Centre where hundreds of fans had gathered to see her.

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Mugabe must resign over corruption

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe must resign in embarrassment for failing to deal with corruption as well as misinforming the nation over graft allegations levelled against former Zimbabwe Mining and Development Corporation (ZMDC) boss Godwills Masimirembwa, Mabvuku/Tafara MP James Maridadi has said.

If he does not resign, said Maridadi, Mugabe must fire his informants for misinforming the presidency over the alleged corruption scandal involving Masimirembwa.

Addressing editors at a workshop in Gweru last Friday, Maridadi said it was embarrassing that Mugabe made a bold assertion that Masimirembwa had corruptly received money from a Ghanaian investor and withdrew the statement hardly three months down the line.

“I am worried about the quality of information that the Head of State uses to make crucial decisions that affect the country because elsewhere, presidents are properly briefed and do not make uninformed pronouncements in public,” he said of the bluff.

Maridadi said he had the opportunity to be at a meeting between United States President Barack Obama and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and was mesmerised by the knowledge Obama had on Zimbabwe.

“The kinds of questions he asked about Zimbabwe showed that he was well briefed,” said Maridadi. “He (Obama) was like a person who stays here, in Highfield.”

In an angry outburst at a luncheon after officially opening the First Session of the Eighth Parliament in September last year, Mugabe accused Masimirembwa of demanding a $6 million bribe from Ghanaian businessman William Ato Essien.

Essien was a partner in Gye Nyame, a diamond mining company operating then in Chiadzwa in Marange.

Maridadi said the bluff was a serious embarrassment to Mugabe which also showed clearly that there was no political will to fight corruption in the country.

“That’s an indictment on the body politic of this country for a president to make that serious a climb down. I would have expected heads to roll over the misinformation or the Head of State himself should have resigned in shame . .

. but worse, it shows that this country is being run by people who can’t run it,” Maridadi said.

In the past few years, several ministers in Mugabe’s Cabinet have been linked to corrupt land deals, road construction tenders, vehicle and maize procurement scandals.

Few of the cases were investigated, but results were never made public.

Speaking at his belated 90th birthday luncheon hosted by the Public Service Commission in Harare recently, Mugabe threatened to wield the axe on those involved in corruption.

Mugabe said some of his Cabinet ministers were demanding bribes from foreign investors to facilitate meetings with him.

“I was being told that there is this man who wants to invest, and was led to a lady in Parliament and this lady says; ‘Yes, yes I can take you to more important people, but give me $50 000, alright and I will open the door for you,'” Mugabe said.

“He went to another high placed minister and said; ‘I want to establish some company, take me to the President.’ ‘Yes, but give me $70 000.'”

He did not reveal the names of the minister and that of the investor.

In 2012, Mugabe said he had received complaints from former South African president Thabo Mbeki that ministers from his party were soliciting for bribes from South African investors looking to do business in Zimbabwe.

But up to now, no minister has been arrested over allegations of corruption.

Maridadi said Zimbabwe lacked leadership on dealing with graft.

“We are forced to think that Mugabe is doing nothing about it because is also benefiting,” Maridadi said. “Why is he not acting if he is not benefiting?”

Commentators said Mugabe must have started by firing his spokesperson George Charamba who pocketed thousands of dollars in allowances from Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS), while ordinary contributors were being denied service.

Speaking at the same workshop, Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) group editor-in-chief Vincent Kahiya said politicians had failed to support the media in fighting corruption.

He noted that when The Standard first broke the story of suspended Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere’s obscene salary in 2012, parliamentarians folded their hands and watched from the grandstands.

“Parliamentarians did nothing. They just stood and watched and did not even react when Muchechetere filed a lawsuit against us, but when the same matter was brought up by the Executive, there was hype as if they had heard it for the very first time,” Kahiya said.

He urged parliamentarians and the body politic to take newspaper reports seriously, investigate them and take appropriate action instead of making the fight against corruption an event with spectators.

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Bosso rout Shabanie

Highlanders 4 – 1 Shabanie Mine
HIGHLANDERS’ goalkeeper Munya Diya was the unlikely goal-scoring hero with a brace, from the penalty spot, as Bosso put the smiles back on the faces of their fans with a convincing win over visiting Shabanie Mine in a Castle Lager Premiership tie at Barbourfields yesterday.

Diya thrust Bosso ahead in the eighth and struck again in the 42nd minute.

Knox Mutizwa scored Bosso’s third with Milton Ncube scoring a gem in the fourth minute of time added on.

The visitors pulled one through Louis Matawu in the 63rd minute.

Highlanders were coming from a frustrating goalless draw against Chapungu in their opening match of the season.

Without fielding a natural striker in attack and, instead, opting to partner left footed forwards Milton Ncube and Charles Sibanda, Highlanders did not inspire much confidence as they walked onto the pitch for their first home league match.

That the bulk of their goals came from Diya yesterday was, therefore, not surprising.

Diya pushed them into the lead in the eighth minute after Shabanie centreback Smart Muchabaiwa handled a Milton Ncube cross in the box and referee Bekezela Makeka pointed to the spot.

The Highlanders goalkeeper sent his opposite number Victor Twaliki the wrong way.

After Twaliki had been called into action, on numerous occasions, but he could do nothing from the spot after Makeka adjudged that Milton had been brought down by Hardlife Mavundi.

Diya made no mistake from the spot.

Highlanders had a dominant first half performance with Maphosa and Eric Mudzingwa in imperious form in defensive link roles with Mutizwa and Kudakwashe Mahachi terrorising the visiting team’s rearguard and midfield.

Shabanie rarely troubled Highlanders in the first half except for the two penalty kicks, Diya had a boring first 45 minutes.

The offensive Highlanders could feel they were denied a third penalty after Mavundi clutched the goal, in a manner some goalkeepers would have been proud of, in the 51st minute after some roasting by Mutizwa.

However, Makeka felt it was not intentional handling and allowed the game to flow.

In a swift counter attack on the left Milton ran with the ball for about 30m before sending a pin point cross to the far post which was met with chilling accuracy by Mutizwa who made it 3-0 in the 58th minute.

Stocky Shabanie striker Allan Tavarwisa used his body to subdue Mudzingwa and laid a beauty that was struck first time to Diya’s left and the ‘keeper dived full length and parried the scorcher into his own net.

Ncube then made up for his first half misses by finding the target with a firm harder on the blind side.

Teams:
Highlanders;
M. Diya, S. Munawa, B. Kangwa, I. Mapuranga, D. Ndlovu, M. Maphosa, E. Mudzingwa, K. Mutizwa (R. Kutsanzira 59th min),  M. Ncube, K. Mahachi, C. Sibanda (G. Nyoni 59th min, (W. Ndiweni 76th min)

Shabanie Mine:  V. Twaliki, N. Melson, S. Muchabaiwa, R. Mware, G. Murwira, H. Mavundi, Z. Bizeki (X. Ncube 27th mine), L. Matawu, T. Mthombeni (D. Chakupe 83rd min), A. Tavarwisa, C. Mesi (A. Mukwenja 67th min)

Officials: Bekezela Makeka, Tione Kacheche, Salani Ncube

Estimated attendance 6,000 .

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Death toll hits 36 in Mexico bus tragedy

Veracruz – A passenger bus slammed into a broken-down truck and burst into flames, killing at least 36 people Sunday in southern Mexico

Both state and federal officials said that four people survived the crash, which occurred shortly after midnight in the south-eastern state of Veracruz.

A communique from the state civil defence agency said the victims were business people from the region who were travelling from the Tabasco state capital of Villahermosa to Mexico City.

The agency’s emergency director, Ricardo Maza Limon, said the victims apparently burned to death inside the bus, which was so badly charred that the tires melted and the markings on its sides were unreadable.

The federal highway department, which earlier gave the death toll as 34, said the three-axle bus was on a highway in the area of Acayucan when it struck a five-axle tractor-trailer owned by a milk protein company that had broken down and was parked along the roadside.

Via Twitter, Mexican President
Enrique Pena Nieto
sent a message of condolences to the families of those who died.

“I send my deepest condolences to the families of those killed in road accident Veracruz,” he tweeted.

The state government of Tabasco said it was setting up an attention centre for the families of the victims, some of whom were suffering from nervous crises.

The centre’s operations co-ordinator, Dr Teresa Hernandez Marin, said the centre will provide social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists to help people.

Hernandez said experts will start identifying the bodies overnight, using DNA tests when necessary.

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Ugandan nurse accused of spreading HIV

Kampala – Goaded by journalists who wanted a clear view of her face, the Ugandan nurse looked dazed and on the verge of tears. The Ugandan press had dubbed her “the killer nurse,” after the HIV-infected medical worker was accused of deliberately injecting her blood into a 2-year-old patient.

The 64-year-old nurse, Rosemary Namubiru, was charged with attempted murder, denied bail and sent to jail in an unusual case that many here saw as a horrifying example of the lax hospital standards believed to be prevalent in this East African country.

But in the course of her trial — on the revised charge of criminal negligence — the nurse is attracting sympathy and emerging as the apparent victim of rampant stigma in a country that until recently was being praised as a global leader in fighting Aids and promoting an open attitude toward the disease.

The nurse, while attempting to give an injection to a distraught child on 7 January, accidentally pricked her finger with a needle, according to Aids-Free World, an international advocacy group that has been monitoring the ongoing trial.

 After bandaging her finger she returned to administer the injection, apparently using the contaminated needle.

Uncertain about whether the same needle was used, the child’s mother “became concerned about the possibility that her child had been exposed to HIV”, the group said. After a test showed the nurse was HIV positive, she was arrested and prosecutors argued against giving her bail on the grounds that she posed a grave danger to the public.

If convicted, the nurse faces seven years in jail and would be the first Ugandan medical worker to be sentenced under a colonial-era law against negligent acts likely to lead to the spread of an infectious disease.

Post-exposure treatment

The child who may have been exposed to HIV was given post-exposure treatment and will be tested again for HIV in coming days, according to lawyers and activists familiar with the case.

Namubiru’s trial has consequences for the rights of people with HIV and Aids, say Aids activists in Uganda and abroad.

Uganda, which achieved global attention in the 1990s for its efforts to stem the spread of the disease, has about 1.5 million people living with HIV out of a total population of 36 million.

Activists note that it’s virtually impossible to find a Ugandan family that hasn’t been affected by the disease since it was first reported here in the 1980s. Yet stigma toward people suffering from Aids persists, shocking activists.

The nurse’s case illustrates “the failure of both the media and the prosecutor’s office to act responsibly” and could set “a dangerous precedent and could have grave consequences for the fundamental rights of people living with HIV and Aids in Uganda and beyond,” said Aids-Free World, in a statement.

Namubiru shouldn’t be on trial and her case should simply have been referred to the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council, a statutory body charged with protecting the public from unsafe nursing practices, said Dorah Kiconco, a Ugandan lawyer who runs a watchdog group called the Uganda Network on Law, Ethics and HIV/Aids.

“She was working and she got into a bad accident and it should have been treated as such,” Kiconco said. “She’s on trial because of her HIV status.”

Jane Kajuga, a spokesperson for Uganda’s public prosecutor, defended the decision to press charges, saying there’s evidence a crime was committed.

“Stigma still rages on”

The Global Commission on HIV and the Law said the nurse’s “life has been ruined. No matter the outcome of the trial, the panorama of ferociously intemperate accusation will haunt her and her family forever”.

Uganda’s HIV rate has been rising in recent times, confounding officials who succeeded in reducing the prevalence from 18% in 1992 to 6.4% in 2005.

Now the rate stands at 7.3%, according to the most recent survey by Uganda’s Ministry of Health. Ugandan health officials say more married couples are getting infected, in part because of what campaigners have dubbed a “sexual network” in which married people keep secret lovers.

Billboards in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, urge couples to “put your love to the test” by testing for HIV.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni last year publicly tested for HIV in a bid to spark similar action among reluctant Ugandans. Although being HIV positive no longer spells a death sentence, even for poor Ugandans, public knowledge of one’s HIV-positive status can destroy a life.

A Ugandan man who worked in the presidential palace as a gardener recently accused his bosses of firing him after they discovered that he was infected with HIV.

Ugandan Major Rubaramira Ruranga, one of few officials who have publicly revealed they have HIV in a bid to discourage stigma, said the case against the nurse proves that “stigma still rages on” in Uganda.

“If I were her I would be very angry, I would feel isolated and I would feel dejected,” he said. “She was brutalised.”

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‘Poor’ Malema uses chopper to ‘be everywhere like the Holy Spirit’

Johannesburg – Moments after pleading poverty in front of several thousands of his supporters, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema hit the skies in a helicopter, heading to his next rally, City Press reports.

Malema told EFF supporters at the University of Venda sports grounds in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, on Sunday that his party was broke.

“We’re an organisation with a zero balance in the bank but our rally looks like that of people with money. We live on donations, but our rallies are well attended.

“We don’t have money; we have nothing but imagine if we had resources and could afford to give all of you T-shirts and berets. This whole campus would be painted red,” he said.

“We’re an organisation of orphans; an organisation of poor but loving people.”

While he was addressing the rally, a helicopter hovered over the venue, preparing to land. Malema continued to speak despite the noise. He later apologised for the disturbance.

“I want to apologise for this chopper, which was disrupting out meeting. I think someone called these people to come here and that is disrespectful.

“Don’t call choppers to places where there is a meeting; you must learn to respect our meetings. So for that I am very sorry,” he said.

Malema said this, only to be seen boarding the aircraft minutes later, leaving dust on the ground as thousands watched it take off.

After his speech, Malema was taken to the sports stadium next to the open field where he was addressing the rally. Many flocked there and climbed walls to get a glimpse of Malema’s helicopter behind the stadium walls.

Perhaps trying to explain the helicopter even before it arrived, Malema had earlier apologised to his supporters explaining that he had been to church, still had to be in Sekhukhune, and in Joburg for an 18:00 meeting, saying the programme was being rushed because “we have to be everywhere like the Holy Spirit”.

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Zuma dishes out cash to voters

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma is reportedly winning the hearts of voters by dishing out cash while on his electoral campaign,

According to our news crew, this is not the first time a president has done so but it is the first time a president has used his own cash.

Former president Thabo Mbeki also did so while on his 2004 electoral campaign but rather than give voters his own money he would turn to members of his entourage and tell them to give people money.

Zuma however, is reportedly walking around with plenty of cash in his pockets, According to the report, a sickly resident of Mabopane near Pretoria was the first recipient of Zuma’s generosity. When the man asked for money to buy groceries, Zuma promptly counted out a wad of crisp R100 notes and handed over R1 000 in total.

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Pastor collapses and dies while controversially conducting traditionalist’s funeral

A pastor in Nigeria has dropped dead while conducting the burial service of a renowned herbalist, Pa Oji Okoko.

Pa Oji Okoko, who was not only a notable herb­alist but a leader of some powerful cult groups such as Uke Abaa, Akpan and Ekpe, had apparently warned his family before his death that his corpse should not to be taken to any church for funeral

However, his burial was reportedly turned to a show of power in the community torn between two religions: Christianity and idolatry

The deceased’s children decided to respect his wish but the maternal side of Okoko’s family wanted a church wedding

On the day of the burial, the pastor who had been hired was unable to make it because his wife had delivered a baby that day

“The enlarged family members hurriedly went for another pastor who actually came to the venue, but having perhaps assessed the spiritual implication with its looming disaster, he declined to officiate and took a walk away”, a family source said

But determined to have a pastor to officiate at the funeral, the family members went for a third one, Pastor Okipet Odum of the Sanctuary of Hope Church, Asaga, Ohafia who also happened to be a native of the area

Pastor Odum, who had a church programme that was supposed to run through that weekend, agreed to officiate at a fee and was paid upfront.

When the ceremony started, apparently the bright and sunny weather quickly changed to heavy rain and lightning.

This forced the casket bearing Pa Okoko’s remains to be taken back to the Obu.

As soon as this was done, the rain apparently stopped instantly

However, as soon as the casket was brought out the second time for the continuation of the service, the rain apparently started again, this time in greater proportion

At that point, Pastor Odum, who went ahead with the funeral service, suddenly collapsed

There was commotion as family members and others who were at the venue ran away

Members of the Ekpe society who, like their late member, had opposed the church service hurriedly came and attempted to carry the casket to their member’s final resting place.

While trying to do that, another equally strange thing reportedly happened

As the members attempted to lift the combination of wood and glass casket from the wooden table it was placed on, the bottom pulled off and the corpse dropped on the long table.

Meanwhile, the pastor was rushed to a nearby hospital but they refused to admit him saying that his case was spiritual and required a spiritual solution

The same thing apparently happened at the second hospital and the pastor died on the following Monday.

The traditional Prime Minister, Ezie Ogo Mi­chael Mmecha Ndukwe, however stressed that that Pastor Odum did not die as a result of any supernatural force.

According to Ezie Ogo Nduk­we: “Most of those who know the late pastor too well will attest to the fact that prior to his death, he was sick

“We know him to be suffering from hypertension for some time and nothing would have killed him other than thatI want to tell you that his death was natural, he could have died any other day under the same circumstance.”

Some residents of the area blamed the pastor for what befell him.

“The pastor died due to disobedience”, one of them started”Why did he not respect Pa Okoko’s wish? He was from the same area and knew how strong the man was when he was alive and because of pecuniary reason, he decided to conduct the funeral service when other men of God backed out.”

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Man bathes brother and niece in acid

66-year-old Donatus Ibe from Nigeria has been left in terrible pain after his older brother, Fabian Ibe from Awaoma, bathed him in a substance suspected to be acid over a lingering land dispute between the two.

Donatus’ youngest daughter, Ozioma was also attacked but not as severely as her father.

From his hospital bed, Donatus said on March 13, 2014 at about 10.35 pm, his elder brother, Fabian, together with his wife, Rachael, one of their daughters, Eugenia and the last son, Jahbuikem enter his compound

He said he went to find out their mission, as according to him, ever since the elders of their community had shared out their family compound among his siblings, the elder brother and his family had never stepped into his home.

Donatus said that as he enquired from his brother what brought him and his family members to his compound, he didn’t know that his brother and wife had acid in a plastic container

Fabian’s wife splashed the corrosive substance on Donatus’ face and body while Fabian poured the acid on his private part

He said his scream attracted people including his daughter, Ozioma who also had acid poured on her by her uncle

A sobbing Donatus said he never knew that his only brother was capable of such wickedness 

Donatus also said that it was he who had married a wife for his elder brother, as according to the tradition, the younger brother was not supposed to marry before his elder.

Apparently, it was the woman he had used his money to marry for the elder brother who poured acid on him as well.

Donatus said, “when I was still living in Cameroon where I was doing my business, I brought my elder brother, Fabian to live with me in order to learn a trade since he was  not doing anything reasonable then 

“But because he slept with the wife of a kinsman, he ran back to Imo State because of the shame the act would bring and refused to return to Cameroon

“Even at that, when he finally agreed to learn driving, it was I who paid for his training and licence, and at the end of the day, I bought him a vehicle to enable him to start transport business

“The house he had lived in the village was built by me until recently when one of his children was able to build a house, so I don’t know how I have wronged him,” he said.

Donatus stated that when he finally returned to Imo State from Cameroon, he discovered that his elder brother had taken all the land left for them by their late father and that even the land given to him when their father was alive had been taken away by his elder brother

He said that his elder brother had plotted to chase him out of the family compound even when he had taken the lion share of everything.

“Before they poured acid on me, Fabian had earlier hired some people to kill me and it was after their failure to carry out the act that they resorted to this acid attack because they wanted me dead by all means

“This is because after they had poured acid on me, my brother’s wife wanted to bundle me into the back of a tipper, just to finish me off, but luckily for me, one of my Jehovah’s Witness brothers came with his car to take me to the hospital but they would not allow him

“It was by force that he took me, and when they failed in their plans, they followed us with the tipper lorry

“When we got to an isolated spot, my brother and his collaborators suddenly overtook us and blocked the road with the lorry and he told the man taking me to the hospital that he wanted the dispute between us to be settled on the spot, but my Jehovah’s Witness brother told them that what was important at that time was to take me to the hospital because of my condition.”

Also narrating her ordeal, Donatus’ daughter, Ozioma Ibe said she was inside the house when she heard her father screaming for help and that when she rushed outside to know what was the matter, her uncle, Fabian threw the plastic container in her direction as he was running away 

She said luckily, the container missed her face while the liquid splashed on her chest and hands.

Meanwhile, Fabian has been detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department  of the Imo State Police Command, Owerri, while  his wife, Rachael; daughter, Eugenia and Jahbuikem are on the run.

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Nigeria Islamists kill 68 in two village attacks: witnesses

Nigeria – Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 60 people in an attack on a village in northeast Nigeria, while a separate attack killed eight people at a teacher training college, witnesses said.

Boko Haram, which wants to carve an Islamic state out of Africa’s most populous country, split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims, has killed thousands since launching an uprising in the northeast four and a half years ago.

Witnesses said the gunmen attacked the village of Kala Balge, near the Cameroon border, on Thursday, from several different quarters, shooting sporadically as terrified residents tried to flee.

“I’m making efforts to evacuate my parents from the town,” said Ibrahim Bukar, 35, after escaping the attack. He said he counted 60 bodies scattered around after the insurgents left. Most have since been buried by the villagers, he said.

In a separate assault, insurgents killed eight people at a teacher training college in the remote village of Dikwa on Wednesday, witnesses said.

“They entered at night. They killed my brother Madu. The insurgents shot him in front of his wife and two sons. Then they shot them, too,” Yakubu Saleh said, choking back tears over the telephone.

President Goodluck Jonathan ordered extra troops into northeast Nigeria last May to try to crush the rebels, the biggest security threat to Africa’s top oil producer.

But the rebels have retreated into the remote, hilly Gwoza area, bordering Cameroon, from where they have stepped up their campaign, mounting deadly attacks against security forces and civilians they accuse of being pro-government.

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Three dead in Kansas City shootings

Three people, including a man and his grandson, have been shot dead at a Jewish community site and a retirement home in Kansas City in the US Midwest.

The shootings occurred at the Jewish Community Campus at Overland Park and a nearby assisted living centre, Village Shalom, local media said.

Police said a suspect, a bearded white man in his 70s, was in custody.

A local hospital said it was treating a teenage boy for a gunshot wound and that he was in a critical condition.

Two victims were named by relatives as Dr William Lewis Corporan and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood.

They were killed in the car park of the Jewish Community Campus. They were both Christian.

A third, female victim was shot dead at Village Shalom, a retirement home several streets away from the community centre.

President Barack Obama called the shootings “heartbreaking” and pledged the full support of the federal government.

‘Heil Hitler’

Local TV stations broadcast footage of police arresting a suspect at the scene.

The man appeared to shout “Heil Hitler” from the back of a police car.

Police said the suspect was not from the area, and that he used a shotgun in the attacks.

They are trying to establish whether he used other weapons in addition.

The attack took place just before the Jewish festival of Passover, but police have declined to say whether the incident is linked to anti-semitism.

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False leads in search for missing jet MH370

If the signals detected deep in the Indian Ocean are truly from the wreckage from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, they ultimately will close the book on a frustrating long list of false leads in the effort to find the jet. Here are the most prominent moments in which hopes of solving the tragic aviation mystery were dashed:

March 8: Around 9:00 a.m., more than an hour after Malaysia Airlines reported the Boeing 777 missing, rumors spread on the Internet that the plane had safely landed at an airport in southern China. These quickly turn out to be baseless. Later in the day, search planes spot two long oil slicks in the South China Sea, but tests later show the oil was not from an aircraft.

March 9: Vietnam says a search plane spots objects in the South China Sea suspected to be from the plane, but they turn out to be unrelated. Malaysia’s air force chief says there were indications on military radar that the jet may have turned back from its flight path and crossed the Malay peninsula after its communications systems went off. Authorities intensify their search on the western side of the country and in the northern part of the Strait of Malacca.

March 10: Searchers spot a floating yellow object, spurring speculation it could be a life raft, but it is found to be moss-covered piece of sea trash.

March 11: News early on that two of the 239 passengers on board used stolen passports fueled speculation of terrorism. Malaysian police determined that two men who boarded the plane with stolen passports were Iranians seeking to illegally migrate to Europe and not terrorists.

March 12: A Chinese state agency releases images of three white objects floating in the sea close to the plane’s last confirmed position in the South China Sea, but Vietnamese and Malaysian searchers find nothing at the spot. Three days later, Malaysia’s prime minister says satellite data showed the plane could be anywhere on two huge arcs: a northern one stretching from Thailand up to southern Kazakhstan, and a southern one from the western tip of Indonesia’s Java Island to the southern stretches of the Indian Ocean.

March 19: Australia’s prime minister says satellite images show two large objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean. They were never found.

March 22: A search plane spots a floating wooden pallet that appeared to be surrounded by straps of different lengths and colors, but spotters were unable to photograph it. A New Zealand military aircraft tried to find the objects for closer inspection, but found only clumps of seaweed.

March 23: A French satellite detects 122 floating objects, but search planes were unable to locate them. A day later, Malaysia’s prime minister says new analysis of the satellite data shows the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean, somewhere west of the city of Perth.

March 27: A Thai satellite detects about 300 objects floating in the India Ocean. They were never verified to be from the plane.

March 28: The Australian agency coordinating the search shifts the search area about 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast after analysis of radar data suggested that the plane flew faster than thought and used up more fuel, thereby reducing the distance it traveled.

March 30: Malaysia’s defense minister says investigations of a flight simulator in the pilot’s home, including a check by the FBI, turned up “nothing sinister.”

April 10: An Australian aircraft picks up another possible underwater signal, but this is later found to be unrelated. The false lead came days after the Ocean Shield, an Australian ship, detected underwater “pings” on two days that were consistent with signals emitted from an aircraft’s black boxes — the first major breakthrough in the search for Flight 370.

April 11: Australia’s prime minister says authorities are now confident underwater signals are coming from the missing planes jet’s flight data recorders in an area about 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) deep. He cautions that retrieving them from the ocean floor will be very challenging.

April 14: With no signals detected for six days amid speculation the black boxes’ batteries have expired, the head of the joint search mission says an underwater submersible will be launched to scan the seafloor for remains of the plane.

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China police seize thousands of guns, knives

BEIJING – Police in China have seized a huge cache of weapons including 15,000 guns and 120,000 knives from an illegal arms ring and detained 15 suspects, state media reported Monday.

The weapons were confiscated after a four-month investigation, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper, which called the operation the largest-ever such seizure in China.

Police were tipped off to the arms ring’s existence after investigating a robbery in Guiyang, the capital of southwest China’s Guizhou province, the newspaper said.

They traced the source of a gun used in the robbery to a family-run “gang” in neighbouring Hunan province that advertised itself as a factory but controlled several warehouses where guns and knives were sold.

The group’s business covered 27 provinces and municipalities, the paper said.

Private gun ownership is banned in China, and knives exceeding certain measurements are classified as “controlled”.

Violent crime is rare in the country, but authorities have pledged a wide-ranging crackdown after recent incidents including a mass stabbing at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming that left 29 dead and 143 wounded.

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Judge set to issue key Ohio gay marriage ruling

CINCINNATI — A federal judge is expected to issue what could be the most sweeping ruling yet for gay marriage in Ohio by ordering the state to recognize the marriages of gay couples who wed in other states that allow same-sex marriage.

Judge Timothy Black indicated in court on April 4 that he expects to rule on Monday, ordering Ohio to recognize out-of-state gay marriages because the state’s ban violates constitutional rights and denies a fundamental right for people to marry the person of their choosing.

His ruling would allow gay couples in Ohio to obtain the same benefits as any other married couple in the state, including property rights and the right to make some medical decisions for their partner. The ruling would not directly impact any other state but Ohio.

Black is not expected to force Ohio to allow gay marriages to be performed in the state.

The state plans to appeal Black’s ruling, arguing that Ohio has a sovereign right to ban gay marriage, which voters did overwhelmingly in 2004.

Attorneys for the state also have said that they’ll ask Black to issue a stay of his ruling to stop it from going into effect immediately as their appeal is pending if he doesn’t automatically do so.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he believes marriage is between a man and woman, and that Ohio voters decided the same in 2004 when they passed the statewide gay marriage ban.

“My job as attorney general is to defend statutes and defend Ohio’s constitutional provisions,” he said. “This was voted on by voters so my job is to do that.”

DeWine declined to speculate what the outcome of the state’s appeal will be or the future of gay marriage rights as a whole.

“Every state is having a lively debate over this and I think that’s a proper thing to do,” he said. “I think it’s pretty obvious that all these issues are going to be resolved by the 6th Circuit and some cases are going to get to the Supreme Court. They’re going to have a decision in the United States Supreme Court and we’re all going to have to accept that.”

Gay marriage is legal in 17 states and Washington, D.C. Federal judges recently have struck down gay marriage bans in Michigan, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia, though stays have been issued pending appeals.

Similar to Ohio’s expected ruling, judges in Kentucky and Tennessee have ordered state officials to recognize out-of-state gay marriages. The Kentucky decision has been stayed pending appeal, while Tennessee’s ruling applies to only three couples.

Al Gerhardstein, the Cincinnati civil rights attorney who has filed three gay marriage lawsuits in Ohio since June, said that several gay couples who want to win the right to marry in Ohio have contacted him and that he’s strongly considering filing a new lawsuit on their behalf aimed at striking down Ohio’s gay marriage ban entirely.

“The ultimate goal is full marriage equality,” Gerhardstein said.

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Police seek answers after 7 dead babies found

Utah — The discovery of seven dead babies in cardboard boxes in a Utah garage has police desperately seeking answers from the mother and other family members about how such a tragedy unfolded over a decade with no one noticing.

Megan Huntsman, 39, is accused of killing her babies after giving birth to the children between 1996 and 2006, investigators said. She was booked Sunday into the Utah County Jailwith six counts of murder. It wasn’t immediately clear if Huntsman has an attorney or why there were six counts and not seven.

The gruesome case has raised a series of questions about how the killings occurred despite Huntsman carrying out what neighbors seemed like a normal existence. Police declined to comment on a motive and what Huntsman said during an interview with investigators.

Her estranged husband made the discovery while cleaning out the garage after recently getting out of prison, and authorities do not believe he was aware of the killings and he isn’t a person of interest at this time.

Police Capt. Michael Roberts said officers responded to a call from him Saturday about a dead infant, and then they found the six other bodies.

Family and neighbors identified the estranged husband as Darren West, who has been in prison on drug-related charges.

Roberts said police believe West and Huntsman were together when the babies were born.

“We don’t believe he had any knowledge of the situation,” Roberts told The Associated Press

Asked how the man could not have known about the situation, Roberts replied, “That’s the million-dollar question. Amazing.”

The babies’ bodies were sent to the Utah medical examiner’s office for tests, including one to determine the cause of death. DNA samples taken from the suspect and her husband will determine definitively whether the two are the parents, as investigators believe.

Huntsman also has three daughters — one teenager and two young adults — who lived at the house.

Neighbors in the middle-class neighborhood of mostly older homes 35 miles south of Salt Lake City say they were shocked by the accusations and perplexed that the woman’s older children still living in the home didn’t know their mother was pregnant or notice anything suspicious.

Police say West made the grisly discovery at the house owned by his parents in a city of about 35,000 people at the foot of snow-capped mountains. It’s a nondescript, newer home with a brick facade and a star ornament hanging by the door.

Several police cars blocked the entrance to the house Sunday evening as officers milled about with the belongings from the garage strewn across the front lawn.

Late Sunday, West’s family issued a statement saying they were in a “state of shock and confusion.”

“We are mourning this tragic loss of life and we are trying to stay strong and help each other through this awful event,” the statement said before asking for privacy.

West pleaded guilty in federal court in 2005 to two counts of possessing chemicals intended to be used in manufacturing methamphetamine, court records show. In August 2006, he was sentenced to nine years in prison, but appealed the term three times. He maintained his innocence and said he never had any intention to manufacture meth. It’s unclear when he was released.

West’s sister Sarah Wright wrote to federal district court in 2006, saying West is a good father to his three daughters. She said he worked at an excavation company for 11 years and is an avid outdoorsman who likes to fish and camp.

“Darren is such an awesome dad,” she wrote.

Neighbors told the AP they were shocked and horrified by the accusations of what went on inside the home. None of them even knew Huntsman was pregnant in recent years.

The family members seemed like nice people and good neighbors, said Aaron and Kathie Hawker, who live next door.

Huntsman moved out several years ago, leaving her three daughters, one teenager and two young adults, to live alone, the Hawkers said. They weren’t sure where Huntsman has since been living.

Years ago, Huntsman baby-sat the Hawker grandchildren and they were friendly with each other.

“It makes us so sad, we want to cry,” Kathie Hawker said. “We enjoyed having them as a neighbor. This has just blown us away.”

Aaron Hawker said he talked with West on Saturday morning. He told Hawker he was cleaning out the mess in the garage.

“Two hours later, suddenly we had all these policemen here,” Aaron Hawker said.

Fred Newman, a neighbor whose cousin is the husband’s mother, said he’s perplexed how the three oldest daughters living there didn’t know about what police say was going on. He said the girls didn’t always park their cars in the garage, but did sometimes in the cold winter months.

“What’s shocking is the three older ones living there and not noticing that their mother was pregnant,” Newman said.

He said he has used his snow-blower to clean off the driveway of the home and the young women would thank him.

The girls were normal youngsters, coming and going often, neighbor Vickie Nelson said.

“It’s shocking and kind of morbid and strange,” Nelson said as he looked across the street at the garage from her from lawn.

Roberts said the case has been “emotionally draining” and upsetting to investigators. He was at the home when the bodies were discovered.

“My personal reaction? Just shocked. Couldn’t believe it. The other officers felt the same,” the 19-year police veteran said.

“They got more and more shocked each box they opened,” Roberts said.

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Woman urinates in busy street in broad daylight

Police in the UK are trying to identify a shameless woman who was photographed urinating in front of shoppers in broad daylight on a busy high street.

Stunned shoppers witnessed the woman drop her trousers on Northampton’s pedestrianised Abington Street last week.

Witness Kevin Mabbutt, who posted the photo on Facebook, said: ‘I just couldn’t believe it

I can’t understand how anyone could do something so horrible.

‘I just had to get my smartphone out and snap a photo.’

The snap shows the woman standing with her legs wide apart next to two shopping bags as she relieves herself.

A police spokeswoman told the Northampton Chronicle officers are trying to identify the woman.

She said: ‘We are aware of the incident and have yet to decide whether to take any action.’

The picture has been widely shared on Twitter and Facebook

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Twins share everything, including boyfriend

27-year-old twin sisters, Victoria and Amanda Hepperle, share everything – toys, clothes and their deepest secrets.

Now they even share a boyfriend.

Their exhausted joint lover, Ian Diaz, admits that he feels like “the luckiest man alive”, but adds: “Some men might think sleeping with twins is a dream come true, but it’s not always an easy ride.”

But his two girlfriends can’t understand what all the fuss is about.

Victoria says: “We are a threes*me now and we don’t find it weird at all, although I wish the same could be said for our parents and friends.

“We have a healthy sex life, even if we have to decide between ourselves who has Ian on any given night.

“Ian knows the closeness of our bondHe understands us and just gets usI think any guy would want double the attentionPeople come up to him and say, ‘Wow! You’re so lucky’.”

Delivery boss Ian, 27, started out as Victoria’s sweetheart, and for four years they had a perfectly normal relationship

But in 2012 Amanda suffered a painful break-up with her then boyfriend which left her devastated.

Seeing her sister alone and unhappy, Victoria hatched a bizarre plan – Ian would become boyfriend to them bothAll she had to do was persuade him.

She says: “Ian and I had an undeniable physical attraction and a strong bondWe have a solid relationship built on trust and understanding.

“Ian knows that my relationship with Amanda has always been a huge part of my life and that I would do anything for herSo when she broke up with her boyfriend just over two years ago, I shared her pain and her heartbreak.

“It was devastating to see her so unhappyIt hurt me almost as much as it hurt herIt seemed to me almost natural to invite her to join us in our loving ­relationship.

“Ian was unsure at first, particularly as he knew that his parents wouldn’t be very happy, but now we’re all blissfully in love.

“He loves us equally albeit in quite different waysHe considers me his rockI am always there to cater for his emotional needs.

“Sometimes I get jealous of the relationship he has with Amanda, but I know that he loves me.

“We have spoken about marriage and I’m looking forward to the day when we wed, but if Amanda and Ian get married afterwards then that’s fine

The important thing is we’re all together, and all happy.”

Ian has his own flat in Guttenberg, New Jersey, and the girls, non-identical twins born just 30 minutes apart, live just a few streets away with their appalled parents.

He admits that juggling his relationships with the twins can be quite a challenge – but insists that it’s worth all the effort.

“I’m in love with them both the same, although I expect Vicky and I will get married first,” Ian says.

“Victoria and I have a much more traditional relationshipIt’s very loving and quite harmoniousI tend to be the dominant one with her.

“But with Amanda, there is no question that she wears the trousersShe is incredibly feisty and rules the roost.

“In bed it is very sensual with Victoria while with Amanda it’s wantonThey wear me out.

“There are times when I just want to have a few days’ peaceThat said, it’s a little like being a multi-millionaire,” he concedes”Do I ever really have a bad day?”

Well, maybe – when he has to face the parentsBoth sides of the family are deeply unhappy about the three-sided arrangement.

The twins’ father, David, who raised his girls in the Catholic faith, describes the relationship as being like “a pair of two-year-old shoes still not broken in yet”.

David, along with wife Ingrid, hope that their girls “will see sense” one day and that Amanda will quit the ­relationship leaving Ian and Victoria to have a ­conventional marriage.

But the twins just don’t see that there’s a problemThey admit they argue constantly but insist that the one thing they agree on is their love for Ian.

Amanda says: “One day, I hope that I might find a man of my own but at the moment this is working well for us all.” Right from the start, when Victoria suggested it, Amanda thought it was a great idea.

“I was devastated after my previous relationship ended,” she says”My self-esteem was on the floor.

“So when Vicky invited me to join her in her relationship with Ian, I felt grateful – and excited.

“My sister and I traditionally have different tastes in men, but I’ve always found Ian attractive, and it was easy falling in love with himMe and Vicky shared everything growing upNow we share the same soulmate.”

Victoria and Amanda with Ian Sexy: Victoria and Amanda with Ian

But Amanda readily agrees that each twin brings something very different to the ­arrangement.

“Vicky and Ian are very much more lovey-dovey together than I am with him.

“My relationship with Ian is a lot more fieryIt’s much more physical and we enjoy each other sexually with great passion.

“Although one of the ground rules is that the three of us never make love at the same time, that’s just not my thing.

“I want to share my life with someone who gives me everything and although Ian is shared with my twin, I feel he gives me that.

“We’re living every day blissfully, and that’s what counts.

“Our relationship might be unusual, but it works for us.”

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MH370’s black box batteries may have died

Following four strong underwater signals in the past week, all has gone quiet in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, meaning the batteries in the plane’s all-important black boxes may finally have died.

Despite having no new transmissions from the black boxes’ locator beacons to go on, air and sea crews were continuing their search in the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday for debris and any sounds that may still be emanating. They are desperately trying to pinpoint where the Boeing 777 could be amid an enormous patch of deep ocean.

No new electronic pings have been detected since Tuesday by an Australian ship dragging a US Navy device that listens for flight recorder signals. Once officials are confident that no more sounds will be heard, a robotic submersible will be sent down to slowly scour for wreckage.

“We’re now into day 37 of this tragedy,” said aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas. “The battery life on the beacons is supposed to last 30 days. We’re hoping it might last 40 days. However, it’s been four or five days since the last strong pings. What they’re hoping for is to get one more, maybe two more pings so they can do a triangulation of the sounds and try and narrow the [search] area.”

Recovering the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders is essential for investigators to try to figure out what happened to Flight 370, which vanished on 8 March. It was carrying 239 people, mostly Chinese, while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

After analysing satellite data, officials believe the plane flew off course for an unknown reason and went down in the southern Indian Ocean off Australia’s west coast. Investigators trying to determine what happened to the plane are focusing on four areas — hijacking, sabotage and personal or psychological problems of those on board.

Narrowing down search area

Two sounds heard a week ago by the Australian ship Ocean Shield, which was towing the ping locator, were determined to be consistent with the signals emitted from the black boxes. Two more pings were detected in the same general area on Tuesday, but no new ones have been picked up since then.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has expressed confidence that the pings picked up by the Ocean Shield were coming from the plane’s two black boxes, but he cautioned that finding the actual aircraft could take a long time.

“There’s still a lot more work to be done and I don’t want anyone to think that we are certain of success, or that success, should it come, is going to happen in the next week or even month. There’s a lot of difficulty and a lot of uncertainty left in this,” Abbott said on Saturday in Beijing, where he was wrapping up a visit to China.

Searchers want to pinpoint the exact location of the source of the sounds — or as close as they can get — before sending the Bluefin 21 submersible down. It will not be deployed until officials are confident that no other electronic signals will come, and that they have narrowed the search area as much as possible.

The underwater search zone is currently a 1 300km2-patch of the seabed, about the size of Los Angeles.

The sub takes six times longer to cover the same area as the ping locator, and will need about six weeks to two months to canvass the current underwater zone. The signals are also coming from 4 500m below the surface, which is the deepest the sub can dive.

The surface area being searched on Sunday for floating debris was 57 506km2 of ocean extending about 2 200km northwest of Perth. Up to 12 planes and 14 ships were participating in the hunt.

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Zim, US lock horns on elephant trophy imports

HARARE – Zimbabwe has blasted the United States for suspending the importing of elephant trophies.
It described the decision as a blow to its conservation programme.

The US placed the ban on Zimbabwe and Tanzania because of allegations about questionable management practices.

However, Zimbabwean authorities called the ban an open invitation to poachers.

“It will affect our capacity to pay the rangers, it will affect our capacity to run an efficient system which will also impact negatively on the communities joining most of our national parks, where the communities were benefiting,” said Environment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere. 

Meanwhile, an animal rights activist said a new approach was needed.

“We have to come up with an idea or a way to make it work, where we are going to need the international community to assist us to go back to the grassroots and make sure that whatever percentage is raised goes back to the community,” said Zimbabwean Conservation Task Force representative Johnnie Rodrigues.

The US has committed to reviewing the ban in 2015

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Things you may not know about Julius Malema

We all know Malema as the outspoken former leader of the African National Congress Youth League and current leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters but what else do we know about this boat rocker?

  • Julius Sello Malema was born on 3 March 1981, in Seshego, Limpopo.
    His mother was a domestic worker and a single parent.
  • Malema was raised by his grandmother Sarah, after his mother Florah died of an epileptic fit
  • .

  • He joined the African National Congress’s Masupatsela at the age of nine or ten. His main task at the time, was to remove National Party posters
  • .

  • At the age of 14 Malema was elected as both chairperson of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) branch in Seshego and the regional chair in 1995. Two years later in 1997, he became the chair of the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) for the Limpopo province.
  • He went to Mohlakaneng High School in Limpopo where he made repeated attempts to complete his education. He failed two high school grades as well as several subjects in his final secondary school examination. His highest mark attained at school was reported as a ‘C’ for second language English and his lowest marks were published as an ‘H’ (sub 33%) in maths and a ‘G’ (sub 40%) in woodwork, all on the standard grade. When his high school marks were published online, the ANCYL dismissed the published marks as ‘fake’,  but the South African Department of Education later confirmed the legitimacy of the much-publicized results.
  • Malema graduated from Mohlakaneng High School in Seshego, Limpopo in 2010 and completed a two-year diploma in youth development through University of South Africa (UNISA).
  • Malema has a son who is 8 years old.
    He was listed in Time’s Least Influential People of 2010
  • .

  • Conversely Forbes Magazine named him as one of the “10 Youngest Power Men In Africa” in September 2011.
  • Malema has always had ‘a physical temper to match his vicious tongue’. While running for Cosas president,
  • Malema pummelled a peer’s face in so badly he narrowly avoided assault charges (a small donation made to the plaintiff smoothed matters over).
  • Malema is known for his controversial statements and has become a frequent target for lampooning. In 2003, as head of COSAS, Malema said in a statement that the student union would do anything, including “burning the prison she is locked in”, to prevent the jailing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
  • In June 2008, he made international headlines by vowing that the Youth League would take up arms if the prosecution of Jacob Zuma for alleged fraud and corruption continued. In an address to a Youth Day rally in Thaba Nchu, which Zuma attended, Malema said, “Let us make it clear now: we are prepared to die for Zuma. Not only that, we are prepared to take up arms and kill for Zuma.” The remark drew widespread condemnation and complaints. The ANC partially distanced itself from the statement the following day
  • .

  • On 15 March 2010, Malema was convicted of hate speech by the Equality Court, fined R50 000 and ordered to apologise unconditionally, following a 2009 incident when he told a group of Cape Town students at a South African Students’ Congress (SASCO) meeting that the woman who accused ANC president Jacob Zuma of rape had a “nice time” with him because in the morning she had “requested breakfast and taxi money”. Following the conviction SASCO expressed “delight” at the ruling and attacked Malema for the “gratuitous abuse” of the platform that SASCO granted him.
  • In March 2010, at a rally on a university campus Malema sang the lyrics “shoot the Boer” (Dubul’ ibhunu) from the anti-apartheid song “Ayasab’ amagwala” (the cowards are scared). “Boer” is the Afrikaans word for “farmer”, but is also used as a term for any white person. His singing was compared to similar chants by deceased Youth League leader Peter Mokaba in the early 1990s, to “kill the boer”, which had previously been defined as hate speech by the South African Human Rights Commission.
  • In July 2011, it was alleged in a report that a secret family trust of which Malema is the sole trustee may explain how he has been bankrolling his lavish lifestyle. The report alleged that the Ratanang Family Trust, named after Malema’s  son, was registered at the Office of the Master of the High Court in Pretoria on 13 May 2008, five weeks after he was elected president of the ANCYL. The paper further claimed that several senior politicians, companies, mayors, contractors and municipal managers deposited “thousands” into the account in exchange for Malema facilitating deals and pushing their agenda.
  • His racial politics were seen by many as dividing the country rather than uniting it, and he was convicted of a hate speech on several occasions.
  • In 2012, Samuel Manyapye, claimed to be Julius Malema’s father. “I want to reconcile with the boy – he’s my flesh and blood, but he wants nothing to do with me. It hurts. I would die a happy man after sitting down and having a talk with him. I can imagine how he feels and I don’t blame him. I deserted him and his mother when I went to work on a gold mine in Orkney, but he’s still my son”, said Manyapye in a Drum article. Malema denied the relation in an article published by All4Women, “There are about ten men claiming to be my father. He is not my father. Everyone wants to be my father just to get to me.

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  • Teko Modise got his form on the field – but lost it between the sheets

    MAMELODI Sundowns midfielder Teko Modise rediscovered his form on the field – but lost it between the sheets, so says ex-fiancee Lizelle Tabane.

    She has dumped him like a used condom. Lizelle said Teko was not even doing his manly duties! She told the People’s Paper: “He always slept with his clothes on. And always passed out before doing anything. “At some point I even thought he was gay – because he cared more about his unemployed friends than his fiancee.” So the gatvol Lizelle packed her belongings and left Teko high and dry. Speaking to Sunday Sun, Lizelle said she left Teko’s house two weeks ago. She’s back with her parents in Pretoria.

    In a frank interview with Sunday Sun, Lizelle said: “I’m done with him! I can’t pretend any more. I’m not staying in a place where I’m unhappy. “He kept chasing other girls – while he was committed to me. I don’t remember how many times we fought over this but he kept on doing the same thing.” She claimed: “He always came home from parties and strip clubs at 5am – after he got his form back. “I did everything a woman could to save our relationship. I treated him well but he repaid me with disrespect.”
    Two weeks back, Lizelle was spotted at a top nightspot in Rosebank, Joburg – without her ring.

    “I’ll never wear that ring because I’m no longer engaged. I never asked him to propose. “So I’ll just keep it as a gift to remind myself that I was once engaged,” she said. Lizelle made a commitment to Sunday Sun that she will never date anyone who is a public figure again. “I’m tired of these guys. They use a beautiful girl so they can attract more beautiful girls,” she said. Lizelle added: “He even asked me to have a baby with him but I said no. I couldn’t have a baby with someone who doesn’t take care of his own kids.” Lizelle said Teko’s family also dumped him. “His mum doesn’t want to be involved in his problems any more. He doesn’t listen!” Teko’s manager Jazzman Mahlakgane, said: “I don’t manage Teko’s social life. Ask me about his performance on the soccer field.” When we called him Teko refused to comment.

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    More company closures loom in Zimbabwe

    GOVERNMENT’s failure to pay suppliers for goods and services rendered will continue to result in more company closures for the next three years, delegates at the Zimbabwe Accountants Conference heard last week.

    This comes against the background of treasury’s shrinking revenue base and increasing inability to pay suppliers.

    The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) recently issued out a warning to the market to brace for tougher times ahead, as more companies fail to meet their statutory tax payment obligations.

    In a presentation at the Conference held in the capital, former Delta chief executive Joe Mutizwa provided postulations for the next 12 to 36 months.

    “Payment defaults will have a domino effect. Right now there is a payment system gridlock underway as government can only service 7% to 8% of the total supplier bill.

    The chickens are coming home to roost,” he said, adding that suppliers will continue to collapse with this impacting on the tax base.

    He said consumer spending would continue on a downward spiral, despite improved agricultural sector performance while unrelenting pressure from imports will continue unabated in the face of a weakening rand.

    “Issuing of import licences is likely to unleash a torrent of corruption as witnessed in the 80s. Business restructuring will increase, liquidations will spike as government fails to pay suppliers for goods and services rendered,” said Mutizwa.

    Government plans this year to regulate the importation of goods by issuing import licences to businesses and individuals on a “case by case” basis.

    He pointed out that the informal sector was strong but this was not a long term solution to the financial problems bedeviling the country.

    “It does not have the depth to sustain an economy,” Mutizwa said.

    In his presentation titled, Rethinking business models to capitalise on emerging opportunities, Mutizwa said Zimbabwe was poised for better times at least in the next 15 years.

    The rapid adoption of digital technology in the country will have far-reaching consequences for the economy in the coming years, delegates heard.

    “There will be the emergence of winners-take -all economy in ICT and financial services driven by digitalisation of more information and services,” he said.

    Mutizwa said during that time period, the regional drive for economic integration will gather pace as the agenda within Sadc will shift from politics to economics.

    “Zimbabwe’s relations with the rest of the world will have changed in 15 years. Zimbabwe will be more stable than South Africa as Pretoria has many unresolved issues,” he said.

    He urged companies to focus on core business as there is too much portfolio conglomeration arising from the days of hyperinflation and price controls.

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    2 Zimbabweans in SA court over explosives

    JOHANNESBURG – Two Zimbabwean nationals accused of possession of illegal explosives appeared in the Musina Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo on Friday.

    Victor Chaikambure (33) and Nicholas Mhlanga (34) would be back in court on Thursday for a formal bail application, said police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

    The men were arrested on Thursday afternoon while driving along Le Hellco Street.

    “Upon searching the vehicle, police found eight capped fuse detonators and eight blasting cartridges stashed behind the driver’s seat,” Mulaudzi said.

    Chikambure, who was driving at the time, claimed ownership of the explosives and the men were arrested on the spot.
    .

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    Bulawayo Prostitutes Cause Havoc In Filabusi, Unprotected Sex For Sale

    FILABUSI women have accused night club and bar operators at the business centre of importing commercial sex workers from Bulawayo saying they had spread a reign of terror against local women.

    The local women accused the imported sex workers of snatching their husbands as well as recruiting school leavers and young girls into vice.

    One woman said prostitution had spiralled out of control in the area and seriously threatening their cultural and moral fibre.

    She said the escalation of prostitution in Filabusi was due to some businessmen going as far as Bulawayo and even Mutare in some instances, to bring prostitutes to their night spots as bait for male customers, some of who have since abandoned and neglected their wives and families to enjoy life with the sex workers.

    The woman said three night spot owners were making brisk business due to their marketing of prostitution.

    She alleged that over and above the importation of sex workers, the businessmen had gone a step further and were offering their backyard premises for a fee for the ladies of the night to entertain their clients.

    “These women live large here. They cash a lot of money and I understand that they are in contracts with the businesspeople such that they remit a certain percentage of the money they make daily,” the woman, who declined to be named, said.

    She said a certain businessman provided accommodation to sex workers at his disused butchery storerooms and workers’ cottages where men can go and be entertained. She said immorality had completely enveloped Filabusi centre and it was no longer strange to find people engaging in sex in open spaces just outside the clubs at night.

    “The activities by the prostitutes are destroying and defeating the purpose of the National Aids Council and the District AidsCommittee who are working hard to educate people on the dangers of contracting HIV and Aids,” the woman said.

    “This is because according to what I heard, these prostitutes make varying offers to men for different prices. I am told there is unprotected sex which is a bit expensive, short time and overnight. It is obvious that unprotected sex has a high risk of HIV and Aids contraction and if this continues to happen, Filabusi will die because men are seen jostling for these imported prostitutes.”

    She also said the sex workers were very violent towards local women as one woman was assaulted and stabbed by the ladies of the night after confronting them when she found one of them standing with her husband.

    “They arrogantly told her that she could only show off with her husband at home because in public he belonged to them. As a result of the ongoings here, the women approached Insiza Rural District Council chief executive officer Fedris Manhombe and district administrator (DA) Sithandiwe Ncube threatening violence against the prostitutes if the local authority did not intervene to end the activities saying the police were not acting, but were aware of the vice,” the source said.

    The sex workers also conduct meetings and recruit young girls who they allegedly take to Mutare for training and this had resulted in a number of young girls and school leavers joining this profession. The residents said the licensing of these night clubs by council was fuelling anti-social behaviour in the area.

    The DA said no one had approached her office over the issue.

    “I am not yet informed about that. No one has come to me,” Ncube said.

    Manhombe said no one had approached council, but confirmed that people had complained about the rampant prostitution.

    “No one has approached me about that although I am aware that people have been complaining about prostitution,” he said.

    Manhombe could not be drawn into revealing the steps council had taken to deal with the alleged prostitution.

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    UK Resumes Deporting Thousands Of Zimbabweans, Offers £1,000 To Volunteers

    Zimbabwe’s former colonial master, Britain, refuge to thousands of people escaping economic and perceived political persecution in the last decade and half, has resumed deportations of Zimbabweans who had sought refugee in that country.

    In response to questions regarding the issue, the British embassy in Harare confirmed the resumption of deportations that began in 2010, following the consummation of the coalition government in 2009, that presided over Zimbabwe up to the harmonised elections in July last year.

    “In October 2010, the UK government announced the resumption of forced returns to Zimbabwe for failed asylum seekers judged by the UK Border Agency and the independent courts to have no right to remain in the UK,” an emailed response from the embassy said.  “This decision reflects the improved stability in Zimbabwe since 2009 and the UK courts’ view that not all Zimbabweans are in need of international protection”.

    The embassy could, however, not say whether those being forced to return home were eligible for a 1 000 pound-stipend but said those voluntarily returning to Zimbabwe would benefit from the UK Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programmes.

    “Zimbabwean nationals are eligible for the UK’s (AVR) programmes. The programmes are designed to achieve a dignified and sustainable return for any national leaving the UK voluntarily. The AVR scheme is applicable to those without permanent immigration status in the UK who wish to make a lasting return home,” the embassy said.

    The embassy could also not be drawn to say the number of people who have been deported since the beginning of the year.

    Since the turn of the century millions of Zimbabweans fled into the diaspora, the majority of them to South Africa, while others ended up in western countries as well as New Zealand and Australia in search of greener pastures as the country’s economic fortunes plummeted. Deportees have fought against extraditions in the courts with mixed fortunes but since 2009 the semblance of stability has meant it has become increasingly difficult for asylum seekers to claim political persecution as a reason for their flight.

    Meanwhile more than two million Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa will soon be heading home as work permits they received under the Special Dispensation for Zimbabwean Project (SDZP) will be expiring in a few months.

    In 2009, most Zimbabweans living illegally in South Africa obtained four-year permits under SDZP and most of the permits are expiring in September.

    The permits, granted to Zimbabweans were work, study and business class that facilitated their uninterrupted stay in that country and thus suspending deportations.

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    South Africa/Zimbabwe: Banyana Banyana, Zimbabwe Share Spoils

    A never-say-die attitude by Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana saw them come from behind to draw 2-2 with rivals Zimbabwe in an entertaining friendly international at Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

    The lunch-time kick off match saw new coach Vera Pauw’s charges overhaul a 2-0 deficit to grab a deserved draw before a boisterous crowd that cheered them throughout.

    It was the hosts that started with lots of running but were somehow undone by the long balls which the Zimbabwe backline easily dealt with.

    And from the first counter-attack, Zimbabwe’s Rutendo Makore got the better of Letago Madiba on a one-on-one situation. The robust Madiba had no choice but bring down Makore leaving referee Maria Kolokotoane with little choice but award a penalty which Makore dispatched with ease in the 7th minute.

    Sensing Banyana Banyana had problems in dealing with long balls, Zimbabwe pumped high balls in the penalty area.

    From one of those attacks, Marjory Nyaumwe outpaced the static Banyana Banyana defence and her pile driver gave Roxanne Barker no chance to make it 2-0.

    It could have been 3-0 but Makore’s audacious effort moments later hit the crossbar.

    Banyana Banyana then came out of their shell and a combination of Refiloe Jane and Silindile Ngubane saw the latter’s effort hitting the bar as they started to threaten the visitors.

    And after incessant pressure thereafter, a goal had to come.

    And it did arrive at the stroke of half time when Ngubane’s shot gave Dzingirai no chance to make it 2-1 going into the second half.

    In the second half, Zimbabwe were pinned in their own half but their back four, well marshalled by Melody Musasa stood firm.

    Robyn Moodaly could have equalised for Banyana Banyana but her long range effort was brilliantly parried for a corner by Chido Dzingirai as Zimbabwe hang on for dear life.

    However, the resultant corner kick went wide.

    Banyana Banyana then literally camped into the visitors’ area but brave goalkeeping by Dzingirai frustrated the home side. Refiloe Jane saw her efforts skim the crossbar as Banyana Banyana upped the antic.

    Former captain Amanda Dlamini who was introduced as a late substitute had a point blank header saved by Dzingirai as the war of attrition developed into a ding dong affair.

    The vibrant crowd then raised the tempo cheering the girls as Banyana Banyana chased what appeared like an elusive equaliser.

    But the hard-running Dlamini made it 2-2 as Zimbabwe finally cracked under pressure.

    It was a deserved outcome as Pauw’s girls played with more purpose and were by far a better side in the second half.

    Zimbabwe could have stolen an undeserved win later in the match but Barker produced a one-handed save from Felistas Muzongondi after the goalkeeper had been left exposed by her defence.

    Starting line-ups:

    South Africa: Roxanne Barker, Letago Madiba, Nelisiwe Mchunu, Amanda Sister, Nothando Vilakazi, Ode Fulutudilu, Robyn Moodaly, Silindile Ngubane, Refiloe Jane, Portia Modise, Sanah Molo.

    Zimbabwe: Chido Dzingirai, Nobuhle Majika, Emmaculate Msipa, Felistas Muzongondi, Rudo Neshamba, Patience Mujuru, Ruvimbo Mutyavaviri, Marjory Nyaumwe, Melody Musasa, Rutendo Makore, Mavis Chirandu.

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    Zimbabwe: Chiredzi Woman Infects Stepson (16) With STI

    A 40 year-old Chiredzi woman is in trouble with the law after she allegedly infected her 16 year-old mentally ill stepson with a sexually transmitted disease.

    Respina Mukanduri has since been arrested and charged with the crime of aggravated indecent assault stemming from the allegations.

    Mukanduri denied the charge when she appeared before Masvingo magistrate Judith Zuyu last Wednesday.

    Appearing for the State, Moreblessing Rusere told the court that sometime in November last year, and in the absence of the minor’s father, Mukanduri called the teenager into her bedroom where she told him she was too afraid to sleep alone.

    After that, she allowed the boy to return to his bedroom but after some moments, she stripped off her clothes and followed the boy into his bedroom.

    The court further heard that the accused, who found the boy already asleep, ordered him to remove his clothes and forced him into a sexual encounter.

    It was further alleged the accused repeated the abuse on several occasions after the initial crime.

    During the encounters, it is said, the accused would tell the boy not to reveal the relationship to his father adding that he should be happy to assume the father’s “duties” as he was always away on business.

    The matter came to light when the minor told his father, one Hanyani Matsilele that he was ill.

    He was taken to the hospital where it was discovered he had an STI.

    The boy was forced to reveal the source of the infection and the circumstances that led to it.

    The matter was reported to the police leading to the woman’s arrest.

    The accused was remanded out of custody to April 21 for continuation of trial.

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    Zimbabwe: Zanu PF Divided as Succession Race Hots Up

    VICE President Joice Mujuru and Zanu PF Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa on Saturday took turns to attack the rival Emmerson Mnangagwa faction, accusing the ambitious group of attempting a coup against the incumbent President Robert Mugabe’s leadership within Zanu PF.

    While Mujuru accused her rivals of trying to circumvent the party’s constitution by bidding for presidency from their lower party positions, it was Mutasa, a Mujuru ally, who went a bit further by telling party rivals the current Zanu PF top leadership was ordained to lead for life.

    Mujuru was guest speaker at the Zanu PF Manicaland Women Inter-District Congress held in Mutare’s Marymount while a visibly ailing Mutasa, fresh from India where he had sought medical attention, seized the occasion to throw his own punches at party rivals.

    Mujuru, on her part, described those harbouring ambitions of taking over from President Mugabe as “sell-outs”.

    She denied the existence of factionalism within Zanu-PF, saying this was a creation of rebellious and power hungry individuals seeking to rewrite the party constitution.

    Mujuru said her rivals must come out in the open and declare their interests.

    “Those who don’t acknowledge the existing party structure are sell-outs,” she said without mentioning names.

    “Don’t lie to people that it is a faction. Please come out in the open that you have rebelled. Please give us reference of what you are saying in the party’s constitution.”

    The outcome of recent Zanu PF provincial elections placed Mujuru in a better position to become both party and State president.

    Mujuru was not finished.

    She accused her rivals of an attempt to topple President Mugabe as party leader.

    “President Mugabe is still in charge. Ko iwe unoda kukwira pamusoro ko pauri wambogona here? What are you going to do with the current leader? Please let the people decide?” she said.

    Mutasa, who is Presidential Affairs Minister, urged rivals to respect the party leadership which was installed at congress.

    “We should respect the elected leadership until they say they want to retire. But we have not seen those who have said they want to leave office. They are retired by God. That’s how things are done in Zanu-PF,” he said.

    Mutasa was honest enough to tell the guests he was not among those lined up to speak but felt the urge to stand up and “warn mischievous party members”.

    He said Mujuru was personally nominated by President Mugabe at the party’s 2004 congress after he had been convinced of her leadership qualities.

    “VP Mujuru was nominated by President Mugabe to lead the party during the 2004 congress,” Mutasa said.

    “The president made it clear that the sky is the limit for Mai Mujuru. President Mugabe is still in power. He has not yet made public his intention to retire.”

    Mutasa distanced Mujuru from any attempts to dislodge Mugabe while he was still in office.

    In apparent reference to Justice Minister Mnangangwa’s faction, Mutasa described those angling to snatch the presidency during the next Zanu-PF congress as “rebels and fools”.

    “Kana kuti pane vamwe vedu vane pfungwa dzekuti pacongress iri kuuya iyi vanoda kuva President ivo vanhu ivavo imhutsa (rebel),” said Mutasa.

    He told party supporters to be wary of such party leaders, saying such tendencies have never succeeded in Zanu-PF.

    The outspoken Zanu PF politician said those who know Zanu-PF’s history very well were aware that there are some senior party leaders who once tried their luck but failed dismally.

    He was speaking in apparent reference to the foiled “coup plot” 2004, which saw Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, allegedly organise an unsanctioned meeting in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North, to scuttle Mujuru’s nomination as Vice President.

    The Zanu PF factions have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to position themselves for take over of the 51 year old liberation war movement when the aging Mugabe finally quits.

    While the feared Mnangagwa has chosen a silent strategy, Mujuru has been the noisier of the two, at one point calling for a media blackout of the current salary scandal by company executives which she said was an attempt by internal party rivals to fan discord.

    An agitated President Mugabe said early this month none of the two faction leaders were guaranteed of his job.

    Mugabe, who is rumoured to be preparing former central bank governor Gideon Gono to take over his job, says it was up to ordinary Zanu PF members to decide who should lead them.

    Zanu PF is due to hold its elective congress December this year.

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    Israeli police raid Jerusalem holy site

    Violence erupts after Israeli police open al-Aqsa mosque compound’s gates to non-Muslim visitors after dawn prayers.

    Israeli soldiers and police have hurled stun grenades at Palestinian worshippers after entering the holy Haram al-Sharif compound in Jerusalem.

    Violence erupted on Sunday morning after Israeli police opened one of the walled compound’s gates to non-Muslim visitors after dawn prayers.

    The Palestinians had remained in the courtyard of the al-Aqsa mosque in anticipation of an incursion by groups of Jewish extremists.

    The Haram al-Sharif, which includes the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is Islam’s third holiest site and is known to Jews as the Temple Mount. Although non-Muslim visitors are permitted, Jews are not allowed to pray at the site, even under Israeli law.

    Sovereignty push

    Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the Palestinians threw stones and a number of Molotov cocktails at police who had entered the site.

    “Police responded by using stun grenades and entered the Temple Mount area,” he said.

    There were no reports of injuries or arrests.

    Protests erupted at the site last month after a right-wing Israeli politician, Moshe Feiglin, called on the Israeli Knesset to strengthen Israel’s control over the site and usurp sovereignty.

    Rosenfeld could not say if Jews were among those seeking to visit the site.

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    Ukraine launches ‘anti-terrorist’ operation

    Casualties reported as interior minister orders operation aimed against separatists in eastern town of Slovyansk.

    Ukrainian security forces have launched an “anti-terrorist” operation to end the grip of separatists on an eastern town, Ukraine’s interior minister has said.

    “An anti-terrorist operation has begun in Slovyansk. It is being directed by the anti-terrorist centre of the state security service. Forces from all the security units of the country have been brought in,” Interfax news agency quoted the minister, Arsen Avakov, as saying on his Facebook page on Sunday.

    One Ukrainian security officer has been killed, and five others injured since the operation began early on Sunday. At least one pro-Russian activist was also killed, according to Reuters news agency.

    Pro-Russian activists carrying automatic weapons seized government buildings in the town about 150 km from the Russian border on Saturday, and set up barricades on the outskirts of the city.

    Avakov also reportedly warned residents in the eastern city to stay indoors, in anticipation of clashes between the gunmen and Ukrainian security forces.

    “Pass it on to all civilians: they should leave the centre of town, not come out of their apartments, and not go near the windows,” Avakov was quoted as saying.

    Outside the town’s police headquarters, one of the buildings seized, two military helicopters were flying overhead, according to Reuters news agency.

    About a dozen women, who had been in the building when it was seized, were evacuated as soon as Avakov’s announcement was made known.

    A large group of civilians, many of them elderly women, stood in front of the building, chanting messages of solidarity to the protesters inside, including “Referendum!”, a reference to demands for a local poll to be held to determine a separate status for the region.

    On the building’s forecourt, which itself was barricaded, protesters beat out a defiant tattoo on shields they were carrying.

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    We replaced Mbeki with nothing – Malema

    JOHANNESBURG – Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader Julius Malema has apologised to former president Thabo Mbeki’s mother Epainette, saying they replaced her son with “nothing”,

    “We are in a mess because we did not listen to the silent communication from president Mbeki that you are removing me and replacing me with nothing,” Malema was quoted as telling his supporters at a stadium in Mdantsane, East London, on Saturday.

    He was reporting back on a meeting between himself and Mbeki’s mother on Friday at her home in Ngcingwana, Dutywa, Eastern Cape.

    “I took an opportunity to also apologise to her about how we ill-treated her child.”

    The City Press reported on Sunday that at the meeting with the 97-year-old, Malema said: “I am very happy that I have got an opportunity to say to my grandmother here that what I could have said about her son, president Mbeki at that time. If I had offended her and her family in any way, I apologise. I am very sorry.”

    He blamed having been “very young” for the insults.

    “As we grow up, we realise certain things should not have been said the way they were said. For me, I am a better person today because I met MaMbeki.”

    The elderly Mbeki replied: “I am very pleased that Juju is here and am sure the youth is also here, it’s my main worry. Thank you for calling.”

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    Police Arrest 5 with Human Head, Parts in Ogun

    Ogun State Police Command,  yesterday, arrested  five suspected ritualists, including two women, with human head and other  parts in Joju area of  Ota in  Ado Odo-Ota local government.

    This came barely one  month after a herbalist was caught with 18 human skulls in the same local government.

    The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, in a statement, said the suspects were arrested  during  a joint operation by  men of the state Police  Command and the Special Anti- Robbery Squad from Lagos Command.

    The suspects  were reportedly caught  following a tip-off.

    “The Divisional Police Officer in charge Otta Division, CSP Gabreal Idibie, led a team of operatives to assist the SARS Lagos, who got  first hand  information, to Joju area where the five suspects were arrested  and  exhibits recovered for further investigation and adequate prosecution,” Adejobi said.

    “The suspects arrested  are  Kubura Salami, Tantolorun Abimbola,  Kafaya Popoola, Wahid Ibrahim and Adamu Rafiu.”

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    Ukraine: Special forces sent to eastern city

    Ukraine — Ukrainian special forces have been sent to an eastern city where armed pro-Russia men seized a police headquarters and the Security Service office a day earlier, the interior minister said Sunday.

    The unrest in Slovyansk and the nearby major industrial city Donetsk were the latest shows of spiraling anger in eastern Ukraine, which has a large Russian-speaking population and was also the support base for Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian president ousted in February following months of protests in Kiev, the capital. Ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s east widely fear that the new pro-Western Ukrainian government will suppress them.

    Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page that the men who seized the buildings in Slovyansk had opened fire on the approaching troops and described the unrest as “Russian aggression.” Avakov called on local residents to remain calm and stay at home.

    An Associated Press reporter saw no signs of any shots fired at the police station which was surrounded by a reinforced line of barricades. Unlike on Saturday, the men patrolling the barricades were largely unarmed. One of the guards who asked not to be identified denied reports of fighting at the police station.

    Armed camouflaged men were guarding a checkpoint at the main entrance into the city, not allowing anyone to enter. The claims of gunfire inside Slovyansk couldn’t be immediately verified, and.

    In a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “expressed strong concern” that the attacks “were orchestrated and synchronized, similar to previous attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea,” according the State Department. Kerry “made clear that if Russia didn’t take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine’s border, there would be additional consequences,” the department said.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry debunked Kerry’s claims while Lavrov blamed the crisis in Ukraine on the failure of the Ukrainian government “to take into account the legitimate needs and interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population,” the ministry said. Lavrov also warned that Russia may pull out of next week’s Ukraine summit if Kiev uses force against “residents of the southeast who were driven to despair.”

    Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who is in Ukraine this weekend, condemned the unrest in a Twitter post as “a coordinated armed action to seize control over key parts of Eastern Ukraine” which “would not have happened without Russia.”

    In Slovyansk, the mayor said Saturday the men who seized the police station were demanding a referendum on autonomy and possible annexation by Russia. Protesters in other eastern cities have made similar demands after a referendum in Crimea last month in which voters opted to split off from Ukraine, leading to annexation by Russia.

    The interior minister overnight reported an attack on a police in the nearby city of Kramatorsk. A video from local news web-site Kramatorsk.info showed a group of camouflaged men armed with automatic weapons storming the building. The news web-site also reported that supporters of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic have occupied the administration building, built a barricade with tires around it and put a Russian flag nearby.

    Regional news website OstroV said three key administrative buildings have been seized in another city in the area, Enakiyeve.

    In the regional capital Donetsk on Saturday, witnesses said the men who entered the police building were wearing the uniforms of the Berkut, the feared riot police squad that was disbanded in February after Yanukovych’s ouster. Berkut officers’ violent dispersal of a demonstration in Kiev in November set off the mass protests that culminated in bloodshed in February when more than 100 people died in sniper fire. The acting government says the snipers were police.

    It wasn’t immediately clear if the men who occupied the Donetsk police building had made any demands, but the Donetsk police chief said on national television that he was forced to offer his resignation.

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    4 dead in Chile forest fire; 500 homes destroyed

    SANTIAGO, Chile — A large forest fire raging in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso has killed at least four people and destroyed 500 homes, officials said Sunday. Thousands of people have been evacuated, including more than 200 female inmates at a prison.

    Firefighters were having difficulty combating the blaze because of the topography of the city, which is surrounded by dozens of steep hills where most people live.

    “This is the worst disaster I have seen,” regional governor Ricardo Bravo said. “Now we fear that the fire will spread to the center of the city, which would increase the severity of the emergency.”

    President Michelle Bachelet has declared the city of 250,000 people a catastrophe zone, which puts the armed forces in charge of maintaining order and evacuating thousands of residents affected by the smoke and flames. Authorities have evacuated an estimated 5,000 people, a figure that is expected to rise.

    Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo said the fire has caused the deaths of four people — three men and a woman.

    Thick clouds of smoke surrounded the city’s prison and nine pregnant inmates were transferred to a detention facility in the nearby city of Quillota. Prison authorities were evacuating another 204 female inmates to a sports arena. The more than 2,700 male inmates will remain at the prison for the time being, prison guard commander Tulio Arce said.

    Valparaiso Mayor Jorge Castro said “at least 500 homes have been destroyed by the fire.” He said shelters for those forced to flee have been set up. The city was experiencing cuts to the electricity supply, he said.

    While firefighters, police and forest rangers battled the blaze, Chilean marines in combat gear patrolled streets in the city to maintain order and prevent looting.

    The fire started Saturday afternoon in hills on the edge of the city and spread rapidly because of strong winds. Hot ash rained down on the city early Sunday, causing respiratory problems among the population, especially children and the elderly.

    Valparaiso, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) northwest of the capital, Santiago, is home to Chile’s national legislature.

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    Heartbleed security threat: is it time to change your passwords?

    ADVICE still varies on how web users should respond to the Heartbleed security breach, but some sites are now advising customers to change their passwords.

    Security experts have advised caution, warning people not to update password before sites have patched the flaw or they risk giving hackers their new password too.

    The Heartbleed bug has been described as a “catastrophic” breach of internet security and independent security expert Bruce Schneier claims on his blog that “on the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11”. See below for a full briefing on the topic.

    Websites have been scrambling to apply a fix, and many of the bigger sites now say that they are secure. Google told the MailOnline that its users do not need to update their passwords for services including YouTube and Gmail. A spokesman for Google said: “The security of our users’ information is a top priority. We fixed this bug early and Google users do not need to change their passwords.”

    Facebook, which has more than 1.2 billion account holders worldwide, has said that it too is safe from the threat, but still encouraged “people to take this opportunity to follow good practices and set up a unique password for your Facebook account that you don’t use on other sites.”

    Yahoo is the only major site that has explicitly advised its users to change their passwords.

    Current advice from major sites
    Google:
    Search, Gmail, YouTube, Wallet and Play store were all affected, but Chrome was not. Google said users don’t need to change their passwords, but some security analysts still advise that it is a good idea.

    Facebook: In a statement, the firm said: “We added protections for Facebook’s implementation of OpenSSL before this issue was publicly disclosed. We haven’t detected any signs of suspicious account activity.” Nevertheless, the social network suggested people may want to change their passwords anyway, as it is good practice.

    Yahoo: Site urged all customers to change their passwords now.

    Netflix: Said in a statement “we took immediate action to assess the vulnerability and address it. We are not aware of any customer impact.”

    Instagram: Still believed to be vulnerable. Users should not change their passwords until the site announces it is patched.

    Hotmail, Outlook and Bing: Microsoft services are believed to be entirely unaffected.

    Twitter: Site unaffected.

    PayPal: The company said in a statement that the site is secure. 

    Filippo Valsorda, an Italian cryptography consultant, has built a tool to help users determine whether a particular website is still at risk. 
     

    Heartbleed internet security flaw: are you at risk?
     

    A MASSIVE lapse in online security has put the privacy of millions of internet users at risk.

    Data on many of the world’s major websites has been made vulnerable by a bug nicknamed “Heartbleed”. Researchers at Google Inc and a security firm named Codenomicon exposed the problem, leading the Department of Homeland Security to advise many online services to check their vulnerability

    So who is at risk? What should we all do about it?

    What is Heartbleed?
    According to Codenomicon, the Heartbleed bug is a weakness that allows information on the internet, which would normally be protected by a type of encryption called OpenSSL, to be stolen.

    OpenSSL was devised to provide communication security for applications including web, email, and instant messaging. It works by scrambling data, making it appear as gibberish to anyone but its intended recipient. Occasionally computers send a small package of data, known as a “heartbeat” to check that another computer is still connected. Due to an error in OpenSSL, it is possible to create fraudulent heartbeats that appear legitimate, tricking computers into sending data stored in their memory.

    Using this technique it is possible that many internet users have had their online profiles, passwords, emails and other online content intercepted and stolen.

    Am I at risk?
    Probably. Writing on Vox.com Timothy Lee says: “There aren’t precise statistics available, but the researchers who discovered the vulnerability note that the two most popular web servers, Apache and nginx, use OpenSSL. Together, these vulnerable servers account for about two-thirds of the sites on the web.”

    A spokesperson for Yahoo Inc confirmed that Yahoo Mail had been affected, but it was now fixed. Patches have also been applied across Yahoo’s suite of sites and services including Flickr, Tumblr and Yahoo Search.

    Google issued a statement saying “we have assessed the SSL vulnerability and applied patches to key Google services”. Facebook said that it too had already addressed the problem by the time it went public yesterday. Microsoft announced that it would take steps to ensure its customers’ security.

    How do I know if I have been hacked?
    Computer security experts warn that many victims won’t be able to tell if their data has been put at risk. “We have tested some of our own services from the attacker’s perspective. We attacked ourselves from outside, without leaving a trace,” Codenomicon says.

    What should I do about it?
    Business Insider says that users should assume that all of their online accounts may have been compromised and should change all their passwords immediately.

    The New York Times urges greater caution. “Wait a day or so. Then change the passwords on the web services you use,” it says. Immediately changing passwords risks exposing them on sites that have not yet corrected the bug, explains the paper. “There’s nothing users can do until the web services have made their sites secure,” adds Mark Seiden, an independent computer security consultant.

    Website Cult of Mac advises the same approach. “Wait until you know a site has been patched before changing passwords,” it says. It adds that all passwords should be changed, “especially for sensitive sites like banks, credit cards and webmail”.

    Also, make sure your new passwords are all different, don’t use the same one across all sites. Seiden suggests varying a password around a core theme.

    “Pick out a core password of a mixture of six letters and numbers that are not a word,” he advises. “You pick the second and third letter of a service, to avoid being obvious. If the service is Yahoo, the letters are ‘a’ and ‘h.’ Those are added at the front or back of your core password, or one letter at the front and the other at the back.” · 

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    Thief asks taxi to wait for him while he robs bank

    A robber got a taxi to wait for him while he robbed a bank.

    The thief then made his getaway in the cab with thousands of pounds stuffed in a Tesco supermarket bag.

    Police said no weapon was used in yesterday’s raid on a branch of RBS.

    And they do not believe the driver knew anything about the robbery.

    Det Insp Rory Hamilton said: “It would not be unusual for a taxi to be asked to wait outside a bank

    But we now need the driver to get in touch with us.”

    Police hope to find CCTV images that will identify the beanie-hatted, 6ft 4in robber who held up the bank in Edinburgh.

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    Pupils hack into school’s IT system to alter grades

    A total of 31 students are believed to have had their midterm grades altered in some way after three Swedish students hacked into their school’s IT system to change their grades and redirect truancy alerts.

    The trio at Gronkullaskolan school, near Stockholm, allegedly upped tests results of pals in exchange for cash.

    They are also accused of lowering the marks of people they didn’t like.

    They are then thought to have hacked into the SMS alert system, which sends text messages to parents if pupils play truant.

    By altering recipient numbers, messages destined for moms and dads were actually sent to one of the teens.

    A police investigation is ongoing.

    “There are several reports that have been changed but teachers will readjust them after looking at their notes,” Principal Jorgen Smederod reportedly told the Expressen newspaper.

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    Pistorius prosecutor Gerrie Nel reported to the Human Rights Commission

    The prosecutor in the Pistorius trial, Gerrie Nel, has been reported to the Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Friday for his abrasive style.

    The commission’s spokesman, Isaac Mangena, said the commission had received notice of an intent to file a complaint over Nel’s gruelling cross-examination of Pistorius in the High Court in Pretoria over the past week.

    On a day of High Court drama in which Nel put it to Pistorius that “you knew Reeva was behind that door and you shot at her… you wanted to shoot her”, the prosecutor was also warned by presiding Judge Thokozile Masipa to “watch your language Mr Nel … you don’t call the witness a liar, not while he is in the witness box”.

    Nel was reported to the SAHRC by Jan Landman, a former commissioner of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, who asked the SAHRC to investigate and rule whether Nel was permitted to refer to Pistorius as a “liar”.

    Mangena said: “We have acknowledged and asked the complainant to lodge a formal complaint by filling out a formWe will then assess the complaint as per our complaints handling procedure to decide whether it is something for the commission to investigate, or not.”

    But on day 21 of the sensational trial, Nel remained relentless as he sought to prove the State’s case that Pistorius had been emotionally abusive to his girlfriend of four months, and then shot and killed her following an argument.

    On Friday, during the Paralympian’s fifth day in the witness box, Nel told Pistorius that his version – that he thought there were intruders in his toilet, and he wanted to defend himself and Steenkamp – was lies.

    “You knew Reeva was behind that door and you shot at her… you wanted to shoot herShe was not scared of any intruders in the house, she was scared of you.”

    Nel told Pistorius that what happened to Steenkamp on February 14 last year, while she was behind the toilet door of his Silverwoods Estate home, was horrific

    “She was in a small cubicle, being fired at four times,” Nel charged

    “The crux of the case is what was she thinking at that point.”

    An emotional Pistorius responded: “It has haunted me many times what she was thinking in her last moments … many times.”

    But Pistorius remained adamant that he believed there was an intruder in his toilet, and that he wanted to keep this person as far away as possible from Steenkamp so that he could protect her.

    Nel countered that it was unlikely an intruder would climb through the window and hide in the toilet.

    Nel also asked Pistorius why he had not simply left the bedroom, but approached danger, gun in hand

    He said a reasonable person would have first looked to see where Steenkamp was, before grabbing a firearm and, on his own version, heading to the bathroom.

    During cross-examination, Pistorius told the court several times he had not looked for Steenkamp before rushing to the bathroom.

    He could also not say why she had not answered him when he spoke to her, telling her several times to lie low and call the police.

    Pistorius was adamant that he never heard Steenkamp get out of bedHe said he at first “whispered” to her, thinking she was still in the bed, to get down and phone the police.

    “A reasonable person would have looked where Reeva was, to see whether she was safe,” Nel argued.

    Pistorius, who claimed he had been overcome with fear, replied: “I did not think of anything else.”

    Pistorius maintained that he had simply obeyed his instincts, believing the right thing to do was to put himself between Steenkamp and harm.

    But Nel accused Pistorius of inventing a version of events that could allow him to claim that he had not known Steenkamp was inside a locked toilet cubicle when he shot her through the door.

    “You had to come up with a version to explain why you got to the bathroom innocently… your version is a lie.”

    Pistorius claimed he had cocked his firearm and walked towards the bathroom, calling to the intruder to get out of his house and telling Steenkamp to phone the police.

    “There is no way you can convince the court she stood there saying nothing.”

    He also rubbished Pistorius’s suggestion that Steenkamp would have been too scared to make a sound.

    “She wasn’t scared of anything except you,” he said.

    Nel asked whether Steenkamp had screamed while he fired the shotsPistorius began crying softly, then said no, prompting Nel to point out that he was contradicting earlier testimony that, at that point, he could hear nothing because his ears were ringing from the gunshots.

    “How can you exclude the fact that she screamed if you could not hear?” Nel asked.

    “Your version never happened and you have to keep up with an untruth… that is why you are making these mistakesYour mistakes are as convincing as your evidence,” he said, describing Pistorius’s version as “so far-fetched”.

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    Zuma celebrates birthday in Western Cape

    President Jacob Zuma has turned 72 and he will be celebrating his birthday in the Western Cape on Saturday, the ANC said.

    “President Zuma will spend his day with the people of the Western Cape on an ANC voter contact programme and later with his family,” said spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.

    “The ANC sends birthday well wishes to the… a loyal servant of our people and dedicated leader of our country.”

    The African National Congress said it would also celebrate by continuing with its election campaign.

    “The ANC will mark this day by further intensifying contact with our people, telling the good story… and mobilising them to vote ANC on 7 May.”

    Mthembu said it was fitting that on Zuma’s birthday, the party reflects on the significant strides by ANC government in the last five years during his tenure.

    The party’s wish for Zuma was that he carry on with his important work.

    “… We hope that today will provide a moment of celebration of the road traveled thus far, serving as further impetus to carry on the good and important work of serving our people,” said Mthembu.

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    Call for Derby-Lewis to be freed

    Johannesburg – Clive Derby-Lewis, one of the men convicted of killing SACP secretary general Chris Hani, should be freed, the Front Nasionaal (FN) said on Saturday.

    Derby-Lewis is South Africa’s most famous remaining political prisoner, said the group’s deputy leader Dan Roodt in Pretoria, where a march was being held by the convicted killer’s supporters.

    In demanding his release, the Afrikaner FN emphasized that it did not mean this as a political statement.

    “That might seem like a paradox. Clive is, after all, a consummate politician, a statesman and a leading figure of the conservative movement in South Africa,” said Roodt.

    The FN believed freeing Derby-Lewis was the right thing to do.

    They demanded his release in the name of “justice, in the name of God or Christian charity and in the name of civilised values”.

    “For such an appeal to reason and reasonableness, they will call us right-wing. Or fascists. Or boorish Boers. But we reject all labels and slogans,” Roodt said.

    Hani was shot dead in the driveway of his home on 10 April 1993.

    Derby-Lewis, who was sentenced to 25 years behind bars, has already served more than 20 years of his sentence.

    The 78-year-old man, who was reportedly diagnosed with cancer, has twice been denied medical parole.

    The SA Communist Party in the Western Cape were due to hold Chris Hani memorial lectures on Saturday.

    “… Twenty-one years ago, comrade Chris was assassinated by ignorant cowards outside his residence in Boksburg,” provincial spokesperson Masonwabe Sokoyi said in a statement.

    “In the month of April all SACP structures commemorate and pay homage to a virtuous and humble leader of the working class.”

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