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Dirco calls for probe into extremist activities in Mozambique
1 January 2019, 6:08 PM

International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says it’s unacceptable for South Africans to be involved in activities that destabilise other countries.

This follows reports of charges against South Africa citizen Andre Hanekom related to his alleged aiding of an extreme jihadist group that is destabilising the northern part of Mozambique.

A South African and two Tanzanians are among leaders of a jihadist group reported to be operating in the northern gas-rich region.

According to reports these groups wants to create an independent state.

Hanekom, 60, was formally arrested in August in a hospital after being seized by military from a restaurant in the gas industry hub town of Palma.

Dirco Spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya says the Minister has called for a thorough investigation into the matter.

More than 800 South Africans are in prisons across the world for crimes, including fraud, drug possession and violent crimes, with the majority in the Americas for drug-related convictions.

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Four injured after German man rams car into crowd; racist motive suspected
1 January 2019, 5:25 PM

Police detained a 50-year-old German man early on Tuesday on suspicion of ramming his car into a crowd of people in the northwestern German town of Bottrop, injuring four, in what authorities say may have been a xenophobic attack.

The man, who fled the scene, made racist comments when he was later stopped and arrested, according to a statement by local police and prosecutors.

“Investigators suspect it was a deliberate attack that maybe linked to the xenophobic views of the driver,” the statement said. “In addition, investigators have preliminary information about a mental illness of the driver.”

A police spokesperson said Syrian and Afghan citizens were among those injured, but gave no further details.

One of the four people injured remained in hospital.

The attack occurred after midnight on New Year’s Eve at a crowded plaza in Bottrop.

Earlier, the driver had steered his car at another pedestrian, who managed to escape unharmed, according to the statement.

He also targeted people at a bus stop after fleeing the scene of the Bottrop attack, it said.

Pope bemoans disjointed world, praises unity over diversity
1 January 2019, 3:21 PM

Pope Francis, in his first message of the new year on Tuesday, bemoaned a lack of unityacross the world, and warned against a soulless hunt for profit that benefits only a few.

“How much dispersion and solitude there is all around us. The world is completely connected, yet seems increasingly disjointed,” the Pope said in his traditional New Year’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

In his homily he paid homage to motherhood, saying a world that looked to the future while forgetting “a mother’s gaze” was shortsighted.

“It may well increase its profits, but it will no longer see others as children. It will make money, but not for everyone. We will all dwell in the same house, but not as brothers and sisters,” he said.

The New Year’s address followed a turbulent 2018 for the Pope, whose Church was battered by a torrent of sex scandals across the world that Francis has repeatedly failed to contain.

The sense of crisis was underscored on Monday when the Vatican spokesperson and his deputy abruptly and unexpectedly resigned following disagreements on communications strategy.

Pope Francis made no overt reference to the tumult, but called for Roman Catholics to remain rooted to the Church, saying: “Unity counts more than diversity.”

He also warned that Church risked becoming “a beautiful museum of the past” if people lost “the amazement of faith”.

Kyrgios, Murray power into second round in Brisbane
1 January 2019, 3:21 PM

Nick Kyrgios started his Brisbane Open title defence with a battling 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(5) victory over American Ryan Harrison in the opening round on Tuesday.

Kyrgios’ preparations for the season were interrupted by a spider bite that required hospital treatment last month and the Australian stuttered before firing 45 aces to overcome Harrison in a rematch of last year’s final.

Kyrgios, whose season ended in October due to a niggling elbow issue, will look to hit top gear ahead of this month’s Australian Open.

He meets Jeremy Chardy next.

Andy Murray made a successful return to competitive tennis following a persistent hip problem, sealing a 6-3 6-4 win over local hope James Duckworth.

Murray, champion in his previous two appearances in 2012 and 2013, will look to extend his winning streak in the tournament to 11 matches when he meets Russian Daniil Medvedev next.

Top seed Rafa Nadal said he was raring to go following an injury hit 2018 that saw him contest only nine events but win five titles including a record-extending 11th French Open title that took his Grand Slam tally to 17.

“It was a tough season in terms of injuries… I didn’t have the chance to play as often as I would like,” Nadal, who did not play after retiring against Juan Martin del Potro in their US Open semi-final in September, said.

“On the other hand, I won five events out of nine I played. It was a great level of tennis every time that I was on court. So that’s great news. I enjoyed it a lot.”

Nadal was plagued by hip, knee, abdomen and ankle problems last season but said he still had plenty to offer.

“I believe I have a lot of tennis to play in my career, and I really feel my body is not going worse every year,” Nadal, who plays France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Thursday, added.

In the women’s competition, double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was made to work before she downed American Danielle Collins 6-7(6) 7-6(6) 6-3 in a little over three hours.

Johanna Konta struggled with patchy form last season but the Briton began the New Year with a bang, downing third seed Sloane Stephens 6-4 6-3.

“That was a tough match. The first three games took about half an hour,” Konta, who takes on Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic next, said. “I’m happy I was able to maintain my level consistently throughout.”

US Open champion Naomi Osaka beat local qualifier Destanee Aiava, hitting nine aces during a routine 6-3 6-2 victory.

Sebokeng residents affected by flooding
31 December 2018, 6:20 PM

At least 70 houses have been flooded in Sebokeng Zone 6, in the Emfuleni Local Municipality, south of Johannesburg.

Persistent wet weather conditions have put a damper on plans for New Year celebrations in various parts of the country.

Emfuleni Municipality’s Spokesperson, Stanely Gaba says they are still assessing the extent of the damage in other parts of the affected areas.

“There are at least 70 houses that have been flooded in Zone 6 only. We are still trying to assess the damage that has been caused to infrastructure such as housing and other structures. So far, no fatalities or injuries have been reported.”

Wet conditions to continue in Gauteng

The Weather Service says wet conditions inland are expected to continue into Tuesday. The Service has warned of flash flooding in parts of Gauteng as residents of Sebokeng  are cleaning up after the flood.

The Emfuleni Municipality is assessing the extent of the damage as the rain persists.

Forecaster Dipuo Tawana explains, “Gauteng and North West, Mpumalanga and the western bushveld of Limpopo, the western and north-eastern parts of KwaZulu-Natal – we do expect this rain to persist on and off – throughout this evening into tomorrow. Even though we’re not expecting torrential or heavy rainfall, but because the soil is saturated, we’re expecting most of the water that would be coming from the sky to run off, thus resulting in flooding in most areas.”

Weather

 

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