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Guinea president replaces security minister following deadly protests
12 November 2019, 11:56 AM

Guinea President Alpha Conde announced on Monday that he was replacing his security minister following deadly protests against suspected efforts by Conde to extend his mandate.

Conde, 81, is due to step down next year when his second and final five-year term expires, but he has refused to rule out running again and asked his government in September to look into drafting a new constitution.

Conde’s opponents fear a new constitution could be used as a reset button on his presidency, allowing Conde to run again like other African leaders who have amended or changed constitutions in recent years to stay in power.

Protests in Conakry, the capital, and the bauxite-mining north against such a move have resulted in at least 13 deaths over the past month.

The presidential statement read on national television on Monday evening did not provide a reason for the sacking of Security Minister Alpha Ibrahima Keira, but a senior government official told Reuters it was related to Keira’s “difficulty managing the socio-political crisis.”

Government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara will replace Keira as security minister. Conde also announced that he was replacing his health and justice ministers.

The government has said it would investigate the deaths during the protests, which opposition leaders and residents said were caused by security forces’ opening fire on demonstrators.

Conde’s first election victory in 2010 raised hopes for democratic progress in Guinea after decades of authoritarian rule. But his critics accuse him of cracking down on dissent and violently repressing protests – charges he denies.

A dozen opposition and civil society leaders were sentenced to prison last month for their role in organising the protests.

Israel kills Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, another targeted in Damascus
12 November 2019, 11:36 AM

Israel killed a top commander from the Iranian-backed Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in a rare targeted strike in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, while militants responded by firing rockets at Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv.

In the most serious escalation in months, an Israeli missile attack also targeted the home of an Islamic Jihad official in Damascus, killing two people including one of his sons, Syrian state media said.

Islamic Jihad said the target was the home of political leader Akram Al-Ajouri.

Hours later, sirens sounded in central Israeli cities, including the commercial capital of Tel Aviv the military and witnesses said, warning of possible rocket launches from the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s home-front command ordered schools shut across southern and central Israel, and instructed civilians to stay at home and not go into work unless it was vital and public shelters were opened.

There were no immediate reports of casualties. Israeli media reported that some of the rockets were intercepted.

The slaying of Baha Abu Al-Atta in his Gaza home looked likely to pose a new challenge for Gaza’s ruling Hamas faction, which has mostly tried to maintain a truce with Israel since a 2014 war.

Israel said Al-Atta had carried out a series of cross-border attacks and was planning more.

Adam Catzavelos loses second bid to avoid prosecution over racist rant
12 November 2019, 10:53 AM

Businessman Adam Catzavelos has lost his second bid to have the charge of Crimen injuria brought against him dropped.

The Randburg Magistrate’s Court heard that the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) has decided to proceed with the case.

Earlier this year Catzavelos submitted representations to the NDPP to have the charges against him dropped after the Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions denied his representations to withdraw the charges.

This case follows a self-recorded video of Catzavelos, in which he allegedly utters the K-word while on holiday in Greece in August last year. In the video, he is seen celebrating the lack of black people on the beach.

Catzavelos will now have to battle the charge of crimen injuria in court after two unsuccessful bids to have the charge withdrawn. The matter will return to court on the 5th of December where Catzavelos is expected to plead guilty.

In August, Catzavelos reached a settlement agreement with the South African Human Rights Commission in another case relating to the video. As part of the agreement, he has to pay R150 000 over a period of 30 months. He was also ordered to make a public apology for his rant.

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Africa Pulse launched by Oxford Publishers
12 November 2019, 10:08 AM

Africa Pulse, a three year translation project that has seen several books by Classic African writers translated into English and published by Oxford Publishers has been officially launched at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town.

The project by the University of the Western Cape Humanities Faculty has been coordinated by well known poet, Professor Antjie Krog. Six novels, one play and a poetry anthology make up the series.

The books have been chosen for translation by scholars working on indigenous languages at the university.

Krog says, “We at first did not think we would find the publisher, but then Oxford University Press decided they were kind enough to print it and now these books are available – it’s two novels by SEK Mqhayi, a novel by Vilakazi a novel by Matthew Mngadi, a Sepedi novel by OK Motsepe and a Sesotho play and a Sesotho novel.”

Two people electrocuted in Johannesburg
12 November 2019, 9:03 AM

Two people have died after being electrocuted while tampering with City Power infrastructure in two separate incidents in Johannesburg.

In the first incident a man was killed, and his colleague seriously injured while trying to paint a City Power High Voltage Chamber located inside a factory in Heriotdale on Monday.

In another incident, the body of a man was discovered between electric wires in a veld in Roodepoort.  It’s believed he had been electrocuted by illegal power connections in the area.

City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena: “In both cases we’ve notified the police they are investigating, and as City Power, we will be giving them the necessary support they will need in their investigations.”

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