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Spanish floods claim sixth victim
14 September 2019, 3:23 PM

A 41-year-old man was found dead in south-eastern Spain on Saturday, the local government said, bringing to at least six the death toll inflicted over the past two days by record-breaking rain.

More than 1100 military personnel have been deployed to the regions of Murcia and Valencia to help rescue people isolated by the deluge and evacuate thousands to safety after a river burs tits banks and cascades of water submerged highways.

The most recent victim was from the town of Orihuela, around 55 kilometres (34 miles) from the seaside town of Alicante,where acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited the emergency response command centre.

“Sadly, we mourn another fatality in Orihuela,” Sanchez said on Twitter.

Three men were found dead on Friday, including one who tried to drive through a flooded tunnel, and two siblings perished on Thursday when their car was carried away by water.

The national weather agency maintained its weather risk alert at the third-highest level on a four-point scale for several areas in the centre and south of Spain.

Talks between Afghanistan, Taliban should begin as soon as possible: UN
10 September 2019, 9:43 PM

The United Nation’s top official to Afghanistan has called for direct talks between the Afghanistan Government and the Taliban to commence as soon as possible – referring to it as an imperative.

Special Representative Tadamichi Yamamoto was addressing the Security Council on developments in the war-torn country in the same week that United States President Donald Trump declared peace talks between the United States and the Taliban “dead” after abruptly announcing on twitter that an invitation for them to attend a secret summit at the Presidential retreat of Camp David had been canceled.

The push for peace with the Taliban comes after 18 years of war – the longest length for US combat forces engaged in battle, surpassing even the Vietnam War.

Tamamoto says:  “It is imperative therefore that direct talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban commence as soon as possible. Many efforts have been made for this purpose working with Afghan parties. Those efforts have created an opportunity where the beginning of direct talks between the two Afghan parties seems to have come within reach. Yet, often, the period just before coming to an agreement is the most difficult phase. All those who are concerned with peace efforts, above all the parties to the conflict, need to continue to work to bring about direct talks. I call on the parties to continue to seize opportunity of direct talks so that a peaceful future could be built.”

But an escalation in Taliban attacks – including a bomb in the Afghan capital last month in which 63 people were killed  – is undermining efforts towards a peace deal.

Afghan’s are expected to go to the polls on September 28th in their fourth presidential election since 2001 amidst serious security concerns and according to the UN, the possibility of fraud and other irregularities.

Tamamoto says the deliberate targeting of civilians is a matter of grave concern.

“Efforts for peace should be accompanied by a reduction in violence; yet, violence has intensified in recent days. Recent attacks by insurgents in Kunduz, Baghlan, and Farah, and above all multiple attacks in Kabul are of serious concern. Trying to obtain the position of strength in negotiation cannot be an excuse for the escalation. The parties to the conflict must reduce violence and civilian casualties to demonstrate their seriousness for peace.”

This after the United States President Donald Trump announced that ongoing talks with the Taliban– set to culminate with a secret meeting at Camp David- was now off due to continued attacks in Afghanistan that claimed two US military personnel among the fatalities.

“They’re dead. They’re dead. As far as I am concerned, they’re dead. They thought that they had to kill people in order to put themselves in a little better negotiating position. When they did that, they killed 12 people. One happened to be a great American soldier, a wonderful young man from Puerto Rico. The family is from Puerto Rico, and you can’t do that. You can’t do that with me. So, they’re dead as far as I am concerned.”

The Afghan Government says any peace deal must preserve the gains in strengthening the Republic and the constitutional rights of women.

Their country’s Ambassador Adela Raz says: “The people of Afghanistan have also stressed that a  real and genuine pledge to peace by the Taliban should be manifested in ending violence as well as an engagement in direct peace talks with the Afghan Government. The Government of Afghanistan has always remained committed to peace talks, conducted on a set of common principles in accordance with the demand and expectation of all Afghans from across the country.”

President Trump is seeking to reduce the 14-thousand US troops in the country and the peace negotiations were seen as key to bringing such reductions into fruition. South Africa for its part told the Council that reaching a lasting peace can only be achieved through an Afghan-owned political process.

 

 

Conabeer family break silence on Natasha’s death
10 September 2019, 8:16 PM

The family of Natasha Conabeer, who was found dead after being missing for three weeks has spoken out about her death.  There was a social media outcry after she went missing.

It comes at a time when the country is awash with femicide and a spike in gender-based violence.

Conabeer (23) is believed to have died of organ failure with a large number of medical drugs and other substances in her system.  She was last seen by friends three weeks ago.  At the time, she allegedly told her friends that she was going to see her family at Inanda north of Durban.  When she failed to turn up for days the family alerted police.

In the early hours of Sunday morning,  the family heard a noise at the door.  They found Natasha lying in the doorway. Conabeer who was unconscious was rushed to the hospital and admitted to intensive care.

She died on Monday morning.

Family spokesperson, Nozipho Goba says Natasha was in a bad state when she was admitted to hospital. Doctors also found substances in her bloodstream. The family are suspect that she might have been poisoned.

Mystery still surrounds the death.  Police have opened an inquest docket.

Post-mortem results are expected to be released soon.

Ramaphosa says men have to make a choice
5 September 2019, 9:33 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa has addressed the nation on the scourge of public and gender-based violence (GBV) – saying he will ask Parliament to consider making the sexual offences register public.

The President says he also wants officials to overhaul the database of sexual offenders.

Ramaphosa was speaking amid national outrage over the recent brutal attacks on women including the murder of boxing champion Leighandre Jegels and the rape and murder of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana.

The President says men have to make a choice.

President Ramaphosa also used his national address to strongly condemn the attacks on foreign nationals.

At least nine people have been killed in the violence in Gauteng and numerous shops looted or burnt.

Ramaphosa says South Africans should welcome the contributions that foreign nationals make to the country.

He says South Africa owes a debt of gratitude to African countries that supported freedom fighters during the battle against Apartheid.

Watch the President’s address to the nation: 

 

 

Meanwhile – In the pre-recorded televised message by President Ramaphosa to the nation, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC),  inadvertently broadcast an incorrect version of the President’s speech on SABC television News, while the correct version was played across all SABC radio stations.

The public broadcaster wishes to apologise to the President of the Republic and the nation for any embarrassment caused in this unfortunate breach of news production processes.

SABC Spokesperson, Vuyo Mthembu  says the SABC takes this issue very seriously, and can assure the President and the public that due processes will be followed and appropriate action taken.

Read the SABC statement below:

 

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‘Economic recovery proposal plan will do nothing to help the poor’ – EFF
5 September 2019, 8:23 PM

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, has lambasted the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, saying the economic recovery proposal plan will do nothing to help the poor, but only serve to further entrench white monopoly capital.

He was speaking in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

“The EFF has noted the Tito Mboweni now ANC internal discussion document on the economy as a direct declaration against the working class and black people in general. After the ANC conference was openly bought by white monopoly capital we don’t take it for granted that their policy direction is going to be dictated from imperialist Euro-American academy like Harvard University.”

Malema has called for independent trade union movements, political formations inside and outside of legislature to unite for what he calls the coming ANC war against the working class.

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