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Trek4Mandela to help save fast melting glaciers

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Letshego Zulu

The 2018 edition of Mount Kilimanjaro expedition is about more than honouring former President Nelson Mandela and keeping girl-children in school.

A 100 trees will be rooted in African soil, in a bid to help save fast-melting glaciers. Late racing driver Gugu Zulu will also be remembered. Zulu died during the 2016 trek up the mountain.

His wife Letshego Zulu kept her promise as she returned in 2017 to complete the journey she and Gugu had started.

This year she’ll help re-green the mountain’s slopes.

“This year I am going back to continue the legacy of my late husband. I am going to plant trees and why trees you may ask, trees are a living legacy. They live for many years to come and with that Gugu will be remembered for many years,” says Letshego.

Sarah Scott from the Kilimanjaro Project is working tirelessly to revive the once lush vegetation.

“She came to me with this grand idea of planting a mini forest in memory of Gugu and I thought that is the best way to remember Gugu. I can always go back to Kili to climb the mountain in his memory but something as grand as a tree I think is the best way to remember him,” says Letshego.

Launched last year, the initiative aims to reverse the effects of climate change.

Scott wants urgent intervention.

“Because of deforestation around the mountain there is less rainfall around the mountain. The cloud cover creates a blanket over the mountain allowing it to be protected from the sun because of deforestation the mountain has spent more face time with the sun and therefore the glaciers are not melting they are evaporating,” says Scott.

The goal is to plant 1 million trees this year.

Letshego will be joined by her and Gugu’s three-year-old daughter, Lelethu.

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Anti-gay hostility threatens Indonesia’s Aids battle

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Rising government and public hostility towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Indonesia is threatening the battle against Aids in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, activists and an official said.

Homosexuality is not regulated by law in Indonesia, except in the conservative province of Aceh, but the country has seen an increase in raids targeting LGBT people, which have forced many members of the community underground.

The group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said this week hostility was making it harder for the LGBT community to get access to public health programmes, putting people at greater risk of contracting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes Aids.

“The Indonesian government should recognise that its role in abuses against LGBT people is seriously compromising the country’s response to HIV,” said Kyle Knight, LGBT rights researcher at HRW and author of the report.

“One particularly troubling aspect of the anti-LGBT panic is that public health outreach to such populations has become far more difficult, making wider spread of the disease more likely,” the rights group said.

The prevalence rate of HIV among gay men in Indonesia has jumped from 8.5% in 2011 to 25% in 2015, it said.

Indonesia recorded 46 357 new HIV infections in 2017, with nearly a quarter of those among men who have sex with other men, according to government and UNAids data. Other groups included sex workers and intravenous drug users.

A senior health official said the increasing hostility to the LGBT community was disrupting the relations between health workers and people who need their help.

“For a long time, health workers were able to meet these groups in certain places,” Dr Windra Waworuntu, director general of infectious diseases at the health ministry, said on Wednesday.

“But with the anti-LGBT feeling now, health workers find it difficult to reach them. It’s similar to when red light districts are broken up and health workers have difficulty in reaching sex workers.”

A spokesperson for President Joko Widodo declined to comment when asked about rising anti-LGBT sentiment among the government and public but senior government officials have called for gay rights advocacy to be restricted.

Indonesia’s parliament looks set to criminalise same-sex relations, something that Islamist groups have long pressed for,while police have stood by while vigilantes have stormed “gay sex parties”.

Police have also stepped up raids on gatherings at spas and hostels, charging some people with violating strict pornography laws.

In 2016, Vice President Jusuf Kalla asked the UN Development Programme to stop $8 million of funding for LGBT-related programmes in Indonesia.

This year, a survey found that nearly 90% of Indonesians who understand the term “LGBT” felt threatened by the community, while the Indonesian Psychiatric Association and the Health Ministry stated in internal documents seen by Reuters that being LGBT was a mental illness.

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Anticipation brews ahead of Durban July

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Preparations are in place for this year’s Vodacom Durban July.

More than 50 000 people are expected at Greyville Racecourse to witness South Africa’s best thoroughbreds race to the finish off the R3-million event.

Glitz and glamour will be the order of the day, but betting and festivities will not be limited to the racecourse.

Entertainment outlets in the region are gearing up to entertain fun lovers.

Residents of townships around Durban such as Umlazi and Umgababa on the south coast say they are ready to spoil the local visitors and holiday makers.

Owner of a venue near the Old uMgababa Sunlight Beach, Mondli Mtsho Makhathini, says they are looking forward to the weekend.

“Umgababa will host a showstopper event from Friday up until Sunday, where we will be wrapping up the July fun. The Coastal Lounge just opened its doors last month, and the fun is endless. KZN holiday makers who will be returning from the Durban Vodacom July have nowhere but the Coastal Lounge to go. We boast with a sea view and fun. Security has been beefed up, and people should not miss the happiness. The festivities begin on Friday and end on Sunday night.”

This year’s event will be celebrated under the theme “It Is Time” and event organisers say the concept has been warmly received in racing, fashion and social circles.

Fashion designers, hospitality providers and race goers will give their own interpretation of this theme to find that perfect look for the day.

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Pamplona assures women its bull-running festival safe after “Wolf Pack” assault

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Pamplona wants to reassure women they will be safe from abuse during the bull-running festival that starts in the Spanish city this week, countering calls to boycott the event in protest at a failed rape prosecution.

Five men, who called themselves “The Wolf Pack”, were cleared in April of raping an 18-year-old woman at the festival in 2016, and convicted of the lesser crime of sexual abuse.

The ruling was met by a wave of protests that was renewed when the men were released on bail last month.

Ahead of Friday’s launch of the alcohol-fuelled event, where mostly men volunteer to be chased by bulls down narrow streets, suggestions of a boycott circulated on social media.

“Faced with calls not to come to the festival, I would make a call to women that Pamplona is a city whose institutions and society have said they will not allow assaults,” said councillor Itziar Gomez.

The municipality, started campaigning for festivals free from sexist assaults in 2014, building an infrastructure which now includes helplines in dozens of languages to deal with incidents.

This year it launched an app that lets people tell police at the touch of a button if they suffer or witness a sexual assault, with a signal for officers to locate them.

“We’ve become a city with an extremely high level of awareness,” Gomez said, adding that women were increasingly reporting assaults such as groping.

Rather than boycotting the bull run, some women plan to show their anger by wearing black instead of the traditional white.

“Now more than ever we women have to fill the streets, fill the fiestas and fill the night, because you will have that assurance that there are women in the street with you,” said former city councillor for equality Laura Berro.

The Wolf Pack case has raised awareness about sexual assault throughout Spain where chants of “I believe you, sister” and “Drunk and alone, I want to get home” ringing out across town squares have taken on a similar weight to the #MeToo hashtag that originated in the United States.

Spain’s new prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, appointed a female-dominated cabinet, reinstated a ministry for equality and pledged gender equality training for judges and a review of the legal definition of sex crimes.

Altamira Gonzalo Valganon of Themis, an organisation of female legal experts, said: “Judges in this country are generally cut off from social reality, have been educated in a patriarchal system, and have more empathy with men than women.”

In Pamplona, bartender Maitane Hermoso de Mendoza, 26, said she hoped some good would come of the Wolf Pack debacle.

“After this case, people are taking all these things more seriously. It’s sad to say, but it has served to make people more aware of what’s going on.”

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Macron visits Nigerian music legend’s Lagos nightclub

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France’s president on Tuesday visited a nightclub founded by legendary Nigerian Afrobeat star Fela Kuti and announced the launch of an initiative dubbed “Africa culture season 2020.”

Emmanuel Macron arrived at the famous venue, the New Afrika Shrine, in the Nigerian city of Lagos, just hours after holding talks and a joint news conference with President Muhammadu Buhari in the capital, Abuja, at the start of a two-day visit to the West African country.

During an evening in which classic Fela songs were played alongside contemporary artists, Macron told the audience that France will host series of events about African Culture, “for African artists, by African artists.”

The French President also encouraged young people to get in involved in politics, saying Fela Kuti had not just been a musician, but also a “politician who wanted to change society.”

Fela was jailed on dozens of occasions by military rulers in the 1970s and 1980s, including by Buhari during his time as a military leader in the early 80s.

The New Afrika Shrine replaced the famed original venue – created by Fela – which burned down in 1977.

It is managed by the musician’s sons Femi and Seun who continue their father’s musical and cultural tradition.

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King Zwelithini urges males to undergo circumcision

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Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has reiterated his call for all males to undergo medical male circumcision. He was addressing hundreds of people gathered at MaMaqadini in Inanda north of Durban during the launch of the millionth man to be circumcised in KwaZulu-Natal.

Television actor Melusi Yeni became the millionth man. The procedure was performed by Health MEC Sbonginseni Dhlomo  at the Sivananda Clinic in the Ohlange area north of Durban.

King Zwelithini started a campaign with the aim that all men in the province should be circumcised to help prevent HIV transmission.

41-year old Malusi Yeni has become an ambassador for the campaign, and is planning to visit various communities. “We are here in Inanda, it is a proud moment for myself to be the one millionth man. The initiative is to say to men let’s get into the clinic, hospitals and circumcise. It’s for our health benefit, 60 percent chance of getting STIs reduced and all other diseases , lets chase this two million,  together we can.”

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Sbongiseni Dhlomo, who performed the surgery on Yeni, says all men should be circumcised even those who are HIV positive. Dhlomo says the campaign is targeting males between the ages of 13 and 75, which research has shown to be sexually active.

“What we are excited about is that he is number 1 million to be circumcised and there are no deaths in this province since the circumcision started. His task as a celebrity is that he must go out there and motivate other million people to circumcise. It’s not just a practice of circumcision that is an issue but it’s the consequences and the benefit.”

In 2009 Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini made an appeal for all males to get circumcised. Zwelithini has thanked traditional leaders for ensuring they encourage people to circumcise.

“As the Zulu-King I would like to thank Amakhosi who have taken this campaign to their areas. Let’s not stop but get more males to be circumcised. People should listen to the advices given by the adults, the traditional leaders and medical practitioners to live long. Let’s continue with this campaign.”

According to medical research circumcision reduces chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases by up to sixty percent.

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Suspect charged in France over Kardashian gunpoint robbery

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A French court charged an eleventh suspect Friday over the gunpoint robbery of US reality TV star Kim Kardashian in Paris in 2016, a source involved in the investigation told AFP.

The 28-year-old man has been charged with armed robbery, criminal conspiracy and holding Kardashian against her will, the source said.

Ten people had already been charged over the October 2, 2016 robbery at a luxury residence where Kardashian was staying during Paris Fashion Week.

Five men tied her up, gagged her and locked her in a bathroom before making off with jewels worth $10.6 million, including her engagement ring.

The robbery was the biggest of an individual in France in the past 20 years.

One of the robbers fleeing the scene on a bicycle dropped a diamond-encrusted cross worth 30 000 euros, which was found by a passer-by a few hours later.

It remains the only piece to be recovered from the heist.

The suspected ringleader, 60-year-old Aomar Ait Khedache, told investigators he had struggled to find a buyer for Kardashian’s 18.88-carat ring, which she had flaunted on Instagram.

Ait Khedache said it was “too recognisable” and that he had given it to an unidentified third party.

The police believe part of the loot was sold in Belgium.

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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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Black women dominate the newsroom: Report

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Young, black women are more likely to be employed as journalists than any other demographic in South African newsrooms.

This is according to the latest Wits Journalism report which looks at the state of South Africa’s newsrooms.

State of the Newsroom 2017Fakers and Makers, also looks at job placement in the newsroom, fake news, fact checking and threats to media freedom.

According to the report, there is a disturbing culture of harassment and intimidation of journalists, a “worryingly permanent feature of our media landscape”.

 

Read the full report below:

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Miss universe returns to SA since lifting crown

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Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters will be met by a high-profile delegation when she returns home to South Africa on Wednesday morning.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Minister for Women in the Presidency Susan Shabangu will be at O.R.Tambo International Airport to greet her as well as her parents and Sun International representatives.

Demi-Leigh has been based in New York City since November after claiming the tiara in Las Vegas.

She’ll embark on charity work for the duration of her stay.

Demi-Leigh is scheduled to visit Cape Town, Johannesburg and her home town of Sedgefield near George in the Western Cape.

One of her stops will also include revisiting victims of the Knysna fire which engulfed the coastal town last June.

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