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Spain court rules proposed Catalan leader must stay in jail

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Spain’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a request by Catalonia’s pro-independence presidential candidate Jordi Sanchez to be let out of jail and sworn in as regional head.

The Catalan parliament had been scheduled to hold a debate and vote on Sanchez’s candidacy on Friday, but after the court’s ruling Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent announced on Twitter he had suspended the session indefinitely.

Sanchez was remanded in custody in October pending charges over his role in last year’s failed Catalan independence bid.

An attempt to appoint him as president failed last month after Spain’s Supreme Court turned down a request for his release from jail.

But Torrent put Sanchez’s name forward as a candidate again earlier this month after the United Nations Human Rights Committee defended his political rights.

In letters sent last month to Spanish authorities and Sanchez’s lawyers, the UN committee requested the state take all steps to ensure he is allowed to exercise his political rights.

Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena once again turned down Sanchez’s request, arguing there were signs that he could “move in the direction of a rupture of the constitutional order”.

The judge argues it was justified in limiting Sanchez’s political rights given the risk that his release would pose to the collective rights “of the rest of the community”.

Torrent had appealed earlier on Thursday for the judge to agree to let Sanchez, a former leader of influential grassroots independence group ANC who was elected to the Catalan parliament in snap polls in December, leave jail to be sworn in.

“The court has the opportunity to take note of international law and the protection of political rights or write another dark chapter in the history of the Supreme Court,” he said in an interview to news radio station Cadena Ser.

The court ruling comes as Barcelona is gearing up for a huge protest on Sunday to mark the six month anniversary of the jailing of Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, the leader of another separatist organisation.

Catalonia in political limbo

Catalonia has been in political limbo since Spain’s conservative central government imposed direct rule on the region after it unilaterally declared independence in October.

Fresh regional elections will be triggered if a new leader is not elected by May 22.

Separately, the National Court, which handles terrorism and other top criminal cases, released a woman who was arrested on Tuesday for “rebellion” and “terrorism” in a probe of pro-independence activists in Catalonia.

National Court judge Diego de Egea dismissed those two charges against her, saying she should instead be prosecuted for the lesser crime of causing public disorder, which carries a possible jail sentence of between six months and six years.

The woman is allegedly a member of the radical pro-independence activist groups called the Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDR) which formed last year before an independence referendum on October 1.

In recent weeks, the groups have protested against the jailing of pro-independence Catalan leaders and the detention of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont in Germany by blocking major roads in Catalonia, sometimes with burning tires.

At the end of March, the protesters blocked major roads in Catalonia and tried to occupy the central government’s representative office, heavily guarded by police, on several occasions. The resulting clashes left dozens injured.

 

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Book ‘Divided Country’ revisits history of SA cricket

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When the South African cricket team thrashed Australia recently, it was a victory celebrated by the whole of South Africa. However, that was not always the case.

Professor Andre Odendaal and his fellow authors will launch ”Divided Country” on Friday.

The book tells the history of South African cricket between 1914 and 1950 when there were unbelievably seven Cricket South Africa’s split along racial and gender lines, each playing its own tournaments and leagues and selecting its own national teams.

”Divided Country” is Volume Two of the history of cricket in South Africa – a book written by Professor Andre Odendaal, Krish Reddy and Christopher Merrett.

The first volume was a book called ”Cricket and Conquest” which covered the period from 1795 to 1914.

The book documented colonialism at its worst with Cecil John Rhodes at the helm and how cricket in South Africa had been formed by colonialism, imperialism, racism, the superiority of the English and then segregation through apartheid.

“Today, we know the SA team bats for all cricketers in SA, but it was not always so. In the 1950’s,  there was a white only male SA (team) called Saca; there was a coloured, Muslim, SA (team) called SACB which was forced to become the Malay cricket board; there was the SA coloured  cricket association formed in 1926; there was a SA Indian cricket union; the SA Bantu Union which in the 60’s became the African Union; there was the SA/Rhodesia women’s cricket association for white women only, and finally there was an inter-race SA called SACB, later called SACBOC. It was an absolute jumble with seven different organisations in the same cities and towns each running their own leagues and inter-provincial tournaments each selecting their own national teams. Some of them have never been known about a lot. Now, for the first time, there is a coherent history, statistical appendage of 65 tournaments by these black and omen cricketers. We had to sweat blood in newspapers, old scorebooks, wardrobes and suitcases.We have reasserted people to history where they have been erased not by accident, but as a deliberate part of colonial and apartheid thinking and action,” says author Professor Andre Ondendaal.

The book deals with both World Wars and the hardships it brought; how Indians were discriminated against and how they only became citizens in 1961, 100 years after arriving in South Africa. They were based mainly in Durban and Johannesburg and were not allowed in the Free State.

They were resilient and their love for the game of cricket shone through against all odds. White women started playing cricket in 1952. The gentleman’s game, however, was real and while women were allowed to play hockey, golf and tennis, there was tremendous opposition to women playing the cricket.

African women were also involved in the game, but not in an organised forum. It was only in 2005 that women finally found a place in world cricket when the International Women’s Cricket Council became part of the ICC.

”Divided Country” also tells some amazing cricketing stories about matches and players that affected countries on a global scale.

”Divided Country” is a book that bowls out the existing history in SA cricket. It helps to decolonise the game and creates a past that will never be the same again. It will hopefully help change mentalities and attitudes and the ownership of cricket in South Africa today – a game to be cherished by all South Africans.

The post Book ‘Divided Country’ revisits history of SA cricket appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Calls for ANCYL’s Collen Maine to step down

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African National Congress Youth League Deputy Secretary General Thandi Moraka has called on the league’s president Collen Maine to resign “urgently”.

In scathing attacks on Maine at a memorial service for late stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Moraka labelled Maine a sell-out, saying he is undeserving of being Youth League president.

She accused Maine of apologising to Ramaphosa to serve his own interest and not representing the league’s stance on the ANC presidency.

Youth League decided to support Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed former President Jacob Zuma at the elective conference last December.

Moraka’s attacks come just days after a video surfaced of Maine telling mourners at another memorial of Madikizela-Mandela that he was introduced to the Guptas by North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo.

 

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‘Silent, invisible’ malnutrition seen as threat to generations in Congo

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Starving children are the glaring face of Congo’s humanitarian crisis, but millions more people are suffering slow onset malnutrition which could have harmful effects for generations, the United Nations said on Thursday.

About 13 million of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 80 million people are in need of humanitarian aid – 50 percent more than last year – since fighting in the central Kasai region and other areas forced millions to flee their homes.

Although violence has subsided in Kasai, fields are still barren and many people have not received food aid due to lack of funding, the United Nations and aid agencies said ahead of a donor conference in Geneva on Friday. Congo’s government has shunned the upcoming aid conference, saying that humanitarian actors are exaggerating the level of need, which will discourage investment.

“The problem with chronic malnutrition is that you don’t really see it. It is silent and invisible,” said Alexis Bonte, country representative of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Between 60 and 70 percent of people in Kasai and Congo’s other conflict zones have chronic malnutrition, which stunts children’s physical and mental development and makes them less likely to attain better opportunities as adults, he said.

Aid agencies are racing to help the 10 to 15 percent of people who need food urgently to survive, but those suffering a long-term lack of nutrients are harder to assist, Bonte said.

“That is one that we cannot handle by ourselves because we don’t have the money and we don’t have the capacity,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone after visiting Kasai.

People are starting to re-plant fields, he said, but it will take one to two years to regain normal crop production.

Last year assistance reached only a third of people in need in the massive Central African country as funding fell short, said the United Nations which is seeking to raise four times as much this year – $1.7 billion.

British charity Oxfam said it was forced to half food rations for 90,000 people last year due to lack of funding, and this year cut back even more.

Crises in Kasai and eastern provinces have been aggravated by President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his elected mandate in 2016 with uncertainty sparking deadly street protests and fears Congo could slide back into civil war.

“The stakes are incredibly high in DR Congo. Continued inaction would be measured in loss of civilian lives,” said Jan Egeland of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The post ‘Silent, invisible’ malnutrition seen as threat to generations in Congo appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Louw’s picture of Martin Luther King remains historic

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As the world commemorated this week the assassination of American Civil Rights leader Dr Martin Luther King, South African media community also remembers SA photographer Joseph Louw.

Louw was the only photographer to get pictures of Dr King seconds after he was shot dead in April 1968.

Former SABC News Editor Joe Thloloe remembers Louw as an excellent journalist. He says when Louw took the picture of King, it was a historic moment.

Louw, who was booked three rooms away from Dr King’s hotel room, was working on a documentary on the Civil Rights Leader.

Listen to sound below:
Content hosted by iono.fm
Content hosted by iono.fm

Louw is one Journalist who has paved the way for SA media globally, his pictures have been used over 50 years since King’s assassination.

The Life Magazine Collection.

Thloloe says Journalists today can learn to be relentless from legends like Louw and cease every opportunity to capture a moment.

Listen to sound below:
Content hosted by iono.fm

Thloloe says because of journalists like Louw, it is important that Freedom of Expression thrives.  He says to preserve the legacy of such journalists, we need to have a form of memorial where we see the work of the likes of Louw.

“Journalists sacrificed their lives to tell South Africans stories. These are people who need to be remembered in a Hall of Fame.”

Joe Louw, who also worked for SABC, died in Johannesburg at the age of 64, in 2004.

Watch Joseph Louw interview after Martin Luther King’s assassination :

Video courtesy of THIRTEEN

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Mike Mabuyakhulu’s corruption case postponed

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KwaZulu-Natal ANC convener Mike Mabuyakhulu‘s case of fraud and corruption has been postponed to the 22nd of August.

Mabuyakhulu and co-accused made a brief appearance in the Commercial Crimes Court in Durban. Well-known businessman, Mabheleni Ntuli is among the accused.

Corruption charges against Mabuyakhulu relate to a R28-million contract for a jazz festival that never took place.
He is accused of receiving a R200 000 kickback from a company which was awarded the R28 million tender in 2012.

Mabuyakhulu is a former MEC for Economic Development in the province. He now heads the provincial interim structure of the ANC and has been tipped by some as a potential contender for the position of ANC chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal when the conference is held.

All sixteen are expected back in court in August for a formal trial date.

Watch videos below:

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Government farming project yields fruit in F. State

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A government farming project initiative has changed the lives of small farming community of Diyatalawa situated between Kestell and Harrismith in the eastern Free State.

The government pilot site for comprehensive rural development programme was established in 2009. Millions of rand have been invested in the project since its inception.

More than 2000 hectares of land is allocated for agricultural projects. Pockets of success have been realised on the farm.

Various farming projects are being cultivated for the community. More than30 families are beneficiaries of government’s land reform programme.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) oversight visit to the farm believes more is needed to help emerging black farmers.

“And this farm we found that the department has assisted with planting orchards. By the end of this year they will have six hectares of apple orchards but they need a very small tractor. Now apparently the department tells them you are big farm all you can get is a big tractor. They have successfully planted  sunflowers but for them to harvest they travel up and down between Harrismith and the farm,” says DA MP, Annette Steyn.

The communal property association at the farm says more funding is needed to maximise farming at the land.

And government can assist us to plant the whole farm as they did before, because the money we got we bought tractors. So we are now not able to plough back at the same volume. We think government can assist us and also  give us more dairy cattle so that we can continue with milking the cows,” says CPA chairperson Fanyani Maduna.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has provided the beneficiaries with 50 houses with solar panels, paved roads, creche and a farm school. The department says it is committed to assist beneficiaries to learn more about farming business.

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S African designer gets global recognition

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Up-cycling used Rooibos tea bags into handbags has put Gracious Dube on an unexpected career path.

Gracious Dube from Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay has been catapulated to the fashion capital of the world, Paris.

Dube says her bags have now become a sought after item in Europe. “Especially what’s happening now after being interviewed by radios and stuff, it’s like wow! Really, it’s something big. When I started I was just doing it for the sake of OK. I’m going to get extra money but at the end I noticed that OK, by making nice quality things people will buy more. So it’s all about maintaining good quality, people they buy more.”

Dube is one of the 16 people that works at a social responsibility project to help impoverished women from the township on the Cape Peninsula.

Her products were spotted by a French designer and before long became a sought after item in Europe.

33 year old Gracious Dube is a little overwhelmed by her success. “Especially what’s happening now after being interviewed by radios and stuff it’s like wow, really, it’s something big,” she said.

She started working at Original T-Bag Designs in 2006. They produced all kinds of artistic and practical items made from tea bags.

Founder of the project, Jill Heyes trains and encourages the women to hone their business skills. Besides the products made at the workshop, they can also design and make products at home.

Dube did just that and created a bag that is a popular item in the store.

“This is immensely exciting and you know Gracious works very hard and we are buying several hundred of those bags every month from her, now that’s alongside working from 9 till 5. Some days she’s at our shop at the watershed so she’s putting in many hours and that’s the only way you’re going to get a business to work,” said Heyes.

French designer and upcycle store owner, Carine Khalil saw Dube’s design. She approached the store and they worked together to adjust the design for the French market.

The bag is now sold at Khalil’s store in Paris.

“When I started  I was just doing it for the sake of ok, I’m going to get extra money but at the end i noticed that ok, by making nice quality people will buy more so ja it’s all about maintaining good quality, people they buy more,” said Dube.

Hundreds of Dube’s bags have been sold. The silk-lined handbags are made up of 50 Rooibos tea bags.

Watch videos below:

 

 

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Sloane Stephens wins Miami Open

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American 13th seed, Sloane Stephens won the Miami Open tennis tournament to claim her first title since the US Open in September last year. Stephens beat 6th seed, Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in straight sets.

Stephens and Ostapenko looked nervous at the start and there were no less than eight service breaks in the first set.

However, Stephens kept herself in the clash against the French Open champion with great touches on defence.

Stephens finally bagged the first set in a tough tie-break against the 20-year old Latvian. The American then stepped on the gas in the second set. Ostapenko raked up an unforced error count of 48 while Stephens firmly took control of the match.

Stephens finally clinched it 6-1 to bag her 6th WTA Tour title. She will now move into the world’s top 10 for the first time on Monday.

“It’s incredible, obviously I’m gonna miss this place a lot but I’m super excited to get a title here and I’m looking forward to defending my title next year at the new stadium. Obviously I worked really hard to get back to this place and I’m really pleased with this result so hopefully I can keep it going,” said Stephens.”

Later Sunday night, fourth seed, Alexander Zverev of Germany will take on American 14th seed, John Isner in the men’s final at Crandon Park.

Isner will be looking for the biggest win of his career against Zverev. The American, who upset fifth seed, Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-finals, has never won a Masters 1000-tournament. He has also never beaten the young German in three outings.

With Zverev already boasting two Masters 1000 crowns.

The post Sloane Stephens wins Miami Open appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Prince Lobelungu Khumalo safe in Zimbabwe

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Prince Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo of the Ndebele nation.

Crown Prince Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo of the Ndebele nation in Zimbabwe is safe and not detained by Zimbabwe authorities.

The Prince is reported to have landed at the Dr Joshua Nkomo International Airport near Bulawayo from South Africa on Friday afternoon, for his planned coronation on Saturday.

Last month, Prince Lobengula visited AmaXhosa king Zwelonke Sigcau in the Eastern Cape where he vowed to revive their kingdom under the new administration.

Family spokesperson, Prince Hlabezulu Khumalo says it is however unclear if the coronation will still go ahead.

“The position is that prince Lobengula Khumalo was delayed arriving at the airport… somehow people panicked that he must have been detained, but from what we hear he was not, he’s safely in Bulawayo. We are waiting to hear to hear from people at home what the judgement has been on the matter.”

The kingdom became defunct in 1894 following the mysterious death of Lobengula, the son of king Mzilikazi.

 

Watch related video below:

 

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Source: SABCNews

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