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Former South African President Jacob Zuma speaks on the phone during the court appearance.
Zuma, Thales will likely seek leave to appeal at SCA: Analyst
11 October 2019, 12:48 PM

Former president Jacob Zuma and his legal team declined to comment after his application for a permanent stay of prosecution in his corruption case was dismissed.

Judge Jerome Mnguni and his counterparts handed down a unanimous ruling against Zuma and co-accused French arms company Thales in the Pietermaritzburg High Court dismissing the application.

Legal analyst Advocate Byron Jackson says he believes Zuma will appeal the decision.

“I’m of the view that the accused will ask for leave to appeal. The reality is if he does not ask for leave to appeal with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), the trial proceeds. Which is effectively what he was seeking not to happen in this application. In light of that, I am of the firm view that they will seek leave to appeal.”

The charges against Zuma and Thales date back to 2005. Both the co-accused blamed the State for unfair delays in the prosecution process, while Zuma also argued that the decision to charge him was politically motivated.

During the last court appearance, Zuma’s legal team also submitted new evidence in the application at the last minute, which was thrown out.

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People march to protest against what they say is the abuse of pro-democracy protesters by Hong Kong police, at Chater Garden in Central district, Hong Kong.
Hundreds take to Hong Kong streets, weekend protests planned
11 October 2019, 11:58 AM

Hundreds of mask-wearing pro-democracy protesters marched through Hong Kong’s central business district at lunchtime on Friday, occupying a main thoroughfare and disrupting traffic as the city braced for another weekend of turmoil.

Chanting calls for their core demands and denouncing what they see as police brutality, the crowd peacefully occupied streets in the financial district, home to some of the world’s most expensive real estate, before dispersing.

Hong Kong’s metro operator had opened all stations in the morning for the first time in a week ahead of another round of anti-government protests, while the city’s legislature began its first session since protesters stormed the building in July.

Pro-establishment and democratic lawmakers shouted at each other before the beginning of the session, underscoring the tension and divisions in Hong Kong after four months of often violent pro-democracy protests.

Some lawmakers wore black masks as they sat in the chamber, while others carried placards reading: “Police brutality still exists, how can we have a meeting?”

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam banned the wearing of face masks a week ago, invoking colonial-era emergency powers.

The protests have plunged the city, an Asian financial hub, into its worst crisis since it returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997, posing the biggest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

What began as opposition to a now-withdrawn extradition bill has evolved into a pro-democracy movement fanned by fears that China is stifling Hong Kong’s freedoms, which were guaranteed under a “one country, two systems” formula introduced with the 1997 handover.

China denies the accusations and says foreign countries, including Britain and the United States, are fomenting unrest.

TRANSPORT DISRUPTION

Metro operator MTR Corp, whose network carries about 5 million passengers a day, said all lines would shut at 10 pm on Friday, more than 2 hours earlier than usual so more repairs could be carried out after protesters torched or trashed stations across the city last weekend.

Many stores and businesses have had to shut early due to metro closures, putting another burden on the city’s faltering economy as it faces its first recession in a decade.

Protesters have targeted the MTR because it has been blamed for closing stations at the government’s behest to contain demonstrations.

The normally efficient system shut down completely last Friday following arson attacks and has operated only partially since then.

Lam introduced the emergency laws, including a ban on face masks, in an effort to quell unrest. But the mask ban sparked some of the worst violence since protests started, with many residents fearing the emergency laws may be expanded, further eroding civil liberties.

The government said on Thursday that it would not bring in any other emergency measures.

Hong Kong has been relatively calm for a few days after a street march by tens of thousands of people last Sunday spiralled into a night of violent clashes between police and protesters.

Several demonstrations are planned across the city on Friday and through the weekend.

SWIMMING RACE CALLED OFF

Several major conferences and other events have been called off because of the protests, with the latest being an annual swimming race in the city’s famed harbour.

Property developer New World Development Company Limited said it was cancelling the October 27 competition because of the “social situation”.

The protest movement still appears to have a broad base of support despite the violence and vandalism carried out by small groups of front-line protesters.

Residents, particularly those in their 20s and 30s, are calling for the protection of civil liberties. Many young people are also angry about the city’s hugely expensive property, widening inequality and poor job prospects.

Ninety people have been arrested for anti-mask law violations in the past week, pushing the total number of arrests since June to over 2,300, police said on Friday.

Many of those arrested are below the age of 16, authorities said.

On October 16, Lam is due to deliver the city’s annual policy address, which traditionally contains sweeteners and support for business and investment. She has said that due to the unrest her address will not be as “elaborate” or “comprehensive” as normal.

Pro-democracy lawmakers on Friday reiterated calls for authorities to address the protesters’ “five demands”, which include universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into their complaints of excessive force by the police.

Bernard Chan, the convener of Hong Kong’s executive council that is the lead advisory body to the chief executive, wrote in an opinion piece in the South China Morning Post on Friday that Lam’s address would include responses to the discontent.

Chan said the Independent Police Complaints Council should be allowed to do its own investigation into the controversy over areas such as police procedures, and held out the option of an independent inquiry later.

Insights from research on how to break cycle of violence against women
11 October 2019, 10:47 AM

In response to a wave of protests following a spate of brutal attacks on women, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has again committed himself to addressing this problem urgently.

In a recent speech he emphasised the need for harsher sentences for the perpetrators of gender-based violence and femicide. He also announced an “emergency action plan” to combat the problem.

The plan, to be implemented within the next six months, includes:

  • Additional funding for a host of new interventions, as well as for sexual offences courts,
  • The need to address patriarchal attitudes and practices that encourage domination and violence,
  • Emphasis on interventions that include men, youth at risk and offenders inside of prisons,
  • Making sure that women’s rights and gender/power relationships form part of the education system,
  • Gender sensitivity training for the police, prosecutors, magistrates and policy makers,
  • Amending laws to ensure harsher punishment for perpetrators.

The president’s plan is commendable. But, previous efforts to address the problem have failed. Research on gender-based violence has shown that services for victims and perpetrators are often not available, or aren’t accessible to people who need them.

Also, where these are available, interventions are for periods that are too short to be effective. And there is lack of sensitivity from service providers, leading to secondary trauma for the victims. Finally, there has been poor alignment of the available resources.

These mistakes can be avoided if the president, and his team, draw from research that’s been done by academics on the issue of violence against women. We believe that research has a distinctive role to play because it gives pointers on what is needed to create long-term change.

What do we know

Findings from some research conducted in recent years provide a number of useful insights.

Family interventions. Often, child victims know their perpetrators. And in terms of the family history, a majority of sex offenders have a history of exposure to domestic violence and abuse of alcohol in the family, as well as their own history of substance abuse. Various studies have indicated how violence in the family repeats itself over generations, becoming a vicious cycle.

Perpetrators: Research shows that there is often a history of poor relationships between parents and the child. This leads to the offender objectifying people, emphasising power and control over them, and not having compassion for others.

Intimate partner violence: Research shows that boy children who are exposed to family violence or childhood victimisation are more likely to direct violence at an intimate partner. And men who show aggression to their partners are at risk of falling victim to violence in the future. It’s important not to ignore attitudes towards this kind of violence. This is because there is a common thread across socio-political, religious, cultural and personal attitudes that support or condone spousal assault. These implicitly or explicitly encourage patriarchy, misogyny and the use of violence to resolve conflicts.

Solutions

In families affected by domestic violence, services for the whole family are needed, including the perpetrators.

Services for children exposed to domestic violence require accessible social services that are long-term and integrated. To break the cycle of violence, children need services that focus on problem-solving and conflict management skills, healthy self-esteem and self-worthiness.

Positive peer groups and social support are also needed. Victims of gender-based violence reported that preventative services should consider contributing factors such as substance abuse, poverty and financial stress, youth development and empowerment, as well as communication patterns, problem solving and conflict management within families.

Research also shows that community awareness programmes should address the causal factors of gender-based violence, as well as empower victims and children exposed to violence. Such programmes should focus on:

  • child awareness of rights and responsibilities,
  • child and victim awareness of support systems available and how to access them, and
  • community awareness of how to respond to acts of violence and to support victims of violence within a community context.

Next steps

For the national action plan to work, and to be based on a bottom-up approach, the planning and implementation should be rooted in research findings.

There needs to be a multi-disciplinary approach to the work. This requires all role-players to be gender sensitive as they work towards services that inform prevention, treatment and community well-being.

Secondly, preventative and proactive services can’t be once-off, or short-term. The focus should be on giving people life skills. This requires children and youth who are at risk to have spaces where they can integrate the skills into behavioural patterns.

Thirdly, there needs to be a focus on what causes gender-based violence. This will ensure that young people at risk are empowered with new understandings and behaviour to break the cycle.

Fourthly, service providers have a role to play too. They can protect women and children using risk assessment management tools. Men can be linked into the programmes to help them take responsibility and become rehabilitated.

Fifthly, when it comes to intimate partner violence, legislation on its own won’t be enough. Respect for women’s rights and dignity should form part of the education system, and be integrated into services for young people at risk of gender violence, including perpetrators. Cultural practices should also be addressed.

And when it comes to gender-based violence and femicide substance abuse and dependency must be addressed.

Lastly, antisocial behaviour must be addressed when treating or rehabilitating sexual offenders and recidivist sexual offenders. This should focus on substance abuse treatment in conjunction with the treatment of other problems like deviant sexual interest and preoccupation. This would help reduce the incidence of sexual recidivism among sex offenders.

None of these interventions will work unless government and civil society work together. Non-governmental organisations should be supported to develop their services further. Above all else, the government needs to make sure that the South African Police Service, court system, correctional services, social development, health and education are reformed.

Marichen Van Der Westhuizen, Deputy head, Department of Social World, University of the Western Cape and Glynnis Dykes, Lecturer and Deputy Head, Department of Social Work, University of the Western Cape

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Treasury Statement says Ajay and Atul Gupta were involved in corruption.
‘Sanctions on Guptas will have ripple effect’
11 October 2019, 9:13 AM

The Mission in South Africa for the United States (US) embassy says America’s decision to impose sanctions on the Gupta family will have a ripple effect, causing other countries to take note of the corruption allegations against them.

The US imposed sanctions on Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta – as well as business associate, Salim Essa. In terms of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, any property, or interests in property within the United States jurisdiction, is now blocked.

The US says the sanctions, which are linked to corruption in South Africa – demonstrate their commitment to promoting transparency, accountability and the rule of law globally.

The US Embassy Mission in SA’s Acting Chief, David Young, says American subsidiaries across the globe risk sanctions if they deal with the Gupta family.

“When we take an action like this, it has a ripple effect. Other countries notice, it encourages some of our allies and partners who are considering these kind of actions, it makes people realise we can’t hide from this now, it is serious business.”

“They are prohibited from travelling to the US, the US government can seize any properties they might hold in the US. The four are barred from entering into any transactions with banks and companies and US firms or international firms that have American subsidiaries risk violating US sanctions themselves if they deal with them.”

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Artifacts are displayed during the presentation of a new discovery in the Monkey Valley near the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.
Egypt discovers archaeological industrial zone in Luxor
11 October 2019, 8:37 AM

Egypt on Thursday unveiled two archaeological discoveries in Luxor including an industrial zone at the southern city’s West Valley, also known as the Valley of the Monkeys.

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered 30 workshops in the industrial area, the Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement. The area is “composed of houses for storage and the cleaning of the funerary furniture with many potteries dated to Dynasty 18,” the excavation team’s leader, Zahi Hawass, said in the statement.

The team had been working in the Valley of the Monkeys, which is located at Luxor’s western bank of the Nile, since 2017.

The manufacturing area contains a deep cut and a water storage tank that had been used by workers, the statement said. Between them the archaeologists have found a scarab ring, hundreds of inlay beads and golden objects that were used to decorate royal coffins and some inlays known as the wings of Horus.

The team also discovered a tomb in Luxor’s East Valley, also known as the Valley of Kings, where it found “the tools that the ancient Egyptians used to construct a royal tomb,” Hawass said. The East Valley contains famous royal tombs.

The discoveries are the latest in a series of major findings of ancient relics that Egypt hopes will revive a tourist business that has been hit by political instability.

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