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Situation remains tense in QwaQwa
22 January 2020, 12:25 PM

The situation remains volatile in the protest-hit Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality in QwaQwa in the Free State. Angry residents have been protesting over constant water supply since Monday.

The tragic death of seven-year-old girl, Mosa Mbele, who drowned while fetching water from a river, has added to the growing public anger.

Residents of Kestell, 20km from QwaQwa, have also joined the protests.

Maluti-A-Phofung was placed under administration in February 2018 due collapse in governance and maladministration.

Despite the two day protest that engulfed many villages, many of the residents can be seen walking around freely in the streets with few cars in the streets.

Many businesses remain closed to avoid being broken into.

The shutdown action has now moved to Kesteel where residents on Tuesday night blockaded R57 road.

Kestell is also battling with water shortages.

Saudi’s crown prince denies Bezos phone hacking
22 January 2020, 12:01 PM

Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman hit back at reports he tried to hack the phone of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

On Wednesday the prince denied the allegations calling the claim ‘absurd.’

A Tuesday report in the Guardian said the billionaire’s phone was hacked in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message.

The newspaper cited sources who say that message contained a malicious file and came from an account used by Saudi’s crown prince.

In a tweet, Saudi’s US embassy called for an investigation into the hacking claims.

Amazon declined to comment.

The reports come after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist.

Bezos owns the Post and he has alluded to the Saudi government’s displeasure of the newspaper’s coverage of Khashoggi’s murder.

Bezos’ security chief has accused the Saudi government of accessing private information from Bezos’ phone.

He said they accessed text messages with Lauren Sanchez, a former television anchor.

Last year, the National Enquirer tabloid published photos of them together and intimate text messages.

Saudi Arabia has said it had nothing to do with the reporting.

Allegations of bribery for enrolling surface at WSU
22 January 2020, 11:01 AM

Allegations of bribery have surfaced at the Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape.

A 19-year-old prospective student has alleged that a students’ assistant at the Buffalo City campus in East London, approached her and told her she could get her admitted.

The prospective student says upon exchanging contacts, she was asked to bring at least R3 000 for admission.

While the identity of the person who sought a bribe is unknown, she can be heard in a voice note giving instructions to the prospective student.

Voice Note: “Other things should not be mentioned on social networks, especially such things. Anyway, yes I’m here at WSU Admin. What we do is, we help students who didn’t apply get admitted at the institution. But you have to bring with you a registration fee and an extra R300 for a cold drink. R150 is mine and the other is for a person at the admin.”

WSU spokesperson Yonela Thukwayo has warned prospective students to be cautious of such scams

She says: “I just want to re-iterate that our system is 100% online and it is also difficult for anyone to temper with our system. So, anyone that promises you a space by paying money upfront, that is a fraudulent activity.”

“The person and the prospective student can be held to account for those types of fraudulent activities,” adds Thukwayo.

Turkey says Libya’s Haftar must choose political solution
22 January 2020, 10:50 AM

Eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar must abide by calls for a political solution to the conflict in Libya and take steps to secure “calm on the ground”, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Haftar abandoned talks for a ceasefire in Moscow last week and the blockade of Libyan oilfields by his forces overshadowed a summit in Berlin on Sunday aimed at shoring up a shaky truce.

His Libyan National Army (LNA) aims to capture the capital,Tripoli, through the backing of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Russian mercenaries and African troops.

Turkey supports Haftar’s opponents, the Tripoli-based internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA)led by Fayez al-Serraj, and has dispatched military advisers and trainers to help the GNA.

Cavusoglu said Haftar’s refusal to sign a joint communique in Berlin had raised questions about his intent.

“Does Haftar want a political or military solution? Until now, his stance has shown he wants a military one,” he told Turkish broadcaster NTV at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“Haftar must immediately fall back to the political solution line and take concrete and positive steps in line with calls of the international community for calm on the ground”.

Libya has had no stable central authority since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown by NATO-backed rebels in 2011. For more than five years, it has had two rival governments, in the east and the west, with streets controlled by armed groups.

At the Berlin summit, foreign powers active in Libya committed to uphold an existing UN arms embargo and stop shipping weapons there, but Cavusoglu suggested that the commitment was dependent on a ceasefire holding.

“There were calls for no one to send additional forces or weapons there. All participants pledged to abide by this as long as the ceasefire continues,” Cavusoglu said. “Our president was clear on this and we voiced it at the end of the summit too.”

Trump administration plans to add Nigeria to travel ban list
22 January 2020, 10:02 AM

The Trump administration is planning to add seven countries – Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania – to its travel ban list, US media reports said on Tuesday.

Some countries will face bans only on some visa categories, the Wall Street Journal reported. The list of countries was not final and could yet change, website Politico said.

US President Donald Trump said in an interview with the Journal that he was considering adding countries to the travel ban, but declined to state which ones. Politico said an announcement was expected as early as Monday.

The move is likely to sour ties between the United States and the countries affected under the expanded ban.

Nigeria, for example, Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, is a US anti-terrorism partner and has a large diaspora residing in the United States.

A senior Trump administration official said that countries that failed to comply with security requirements, including biometrics, information-sharing and counter-terrorism measures, faced the risk of limitations on US immigration.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The State Department declined to comment.

Under the current version of the ban, citizens of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as some Venezuelan officials and their relatives are blocked from obtaining a large range of US immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

Chad was previously covered under the ban but was removed in April 2018.

Citizens of the countries can apply for waivers to the ban but they are exceedingly rare.

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