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South Africa reports 12 058 new cases and further 108 deaths on Sunday
12 July 2020, 9:29 PM

As of Sunday, South Africa reports 12 058 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID19 cases is 276 242, the total number of deaths is 4 079 and the total number of recoveries is 134 874 which translates to a rate of 48.8%.

With further 108 fatalities reported in the last 24 hours, South Africa has breached the 4 000 mark in the number of COVID-19 related death.

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Gauteng now has more than 98 400 cases followed by the Western Cape at 78 399.

64 of the new deaths were in Gauteng, 22 in the Eastern Cape, 15 in the Western Cape and 7 in KwaZulu-Natal.

 

Alderweireld seals Tottenham victory over Arsenal
12 July 2020, 7:47 PM

Toby Alderweireld’s 81st-minute header sealed a 2-1 Premier League victory for Tottenham Hotspur against Arsenal in the first north London derby in their new stadium on Sunday.

The match appeared to be heading for a draw but Alderweireld claimed all three points for Spurs to move Jose Mourinho’s side above Arsenal into eighth place in the battle for local pride.

With three games left Tottenham have 52 points to Arsenal’s 50, but are seven points behind fourth-placed Leicester City.

Arsenal took the lead in spectacular fashion with Alexandre Lacazette’s 17th-minute pile-driver but they were pegged back almost immediately as Son Heung-min punished a defensive error.

Both sides were denied by the woodwork and Arsenal were in the ascendancy after the break before Tottenham’s strong finish sealed a third successive home win since the restart.

Five Tunisian parties seek to oust Ghanouchi as parliament speaker
12 July 2020, 7:37 PM

At least five Tunisian parties plan to launch a vote of no confidence in the speaker of parliament, Rached Ghanouchi, the leader of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, politicians said on Sunday.

The no-confidence motion poses the biggest challenge yet to Ennahda, which was swept to power after the Arab Spring, but which was forced to step down in 2013.

Pressure on the government has also mounted in recent weeks after opponents called for the resignation of Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh over an alleged conflict of interest.

Mohammed Ammar from Attayar party, said that four parliamentary blocs agreed to start the process of withdrawing confidence from the speaker, citing numerous violations, poor management and unilateral decisions that serve partisan interests.

These blocs include the Tahya Tounes, Attayar and Chaab parties, which are in the coalition with Ennahda.

The Free Constitutional party led by Abir Moussi, a supporter of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali overthrown by the 2011 revolution, has campaigned to oust Ghanouchi for weeks.

Moussi’s party accused Ghanouchi of serving the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda and foreign allies, including Turkey and Qatar.

Ghanouchi has rejected these accusations, arguing that Tunisians want a government focused on economic and social policy, not political in-fighting.

Procedures for withdrawing confidence require the signature of 73 members of the house for it to be put to a public vote. To succeed, 109 lawmakers will need to vote for no-confidence.

The five parties have about 90 members.

580 000 Hong Kongers cast ‘protest’ vote against new security laws
12 July 2020, 5:53 PM

Nearly 600 000 Hong Kong citizens cast ballots over the weekend in what the Chinese-ruled city’s opposition camp said was a symbolic protest vote against a tough national security law directly imposed by Beijing.

The unofficial poll will decide the strongest pro-democracy candidates to contest elections in September to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. Then, they aim to seize majority control for the first time from pro-Beijing rivals by riding a wave of anti-China sentiment stirred by the law, which critics say has gravely undermined Hong Kong’s freedoms.

While the primaries are only for the opposition camp, the level of participation is seen as a guide to popular opinion in the city of 7.5 million people, a major financial hub.

“A high turnout will send a very strong signal to the international community, that we Hong Kongers never give up,” said Sunny Cheung, 24, one of a batch of aspiring young democrats out lobbying and giving stump speeches.

“And that we still stand with the democratic camp, we still support democracy and freedom.”

Defying warnings from a senior Hong Kong official that the vote might fall foul of the national security law, residents young and old flocked to over 250 polling stations across the city, manned by thousands of volunteers.

Long queues formed, with people voting via their mobile phones after having their identities verified.

Organisers said 582 000 people had voted at the end of two full days of polling — more than expected, and representing around a third of voters who backed the democrats in an election last year.

“Even under the shadow of the national security law, there were still 600,000 people coming out,” said an organiser, Au Nok-hin. “You can see the courage of the Hong Kong people in this … Hong Kongers have created another miracle.”

The new law punishes what China describes broadly as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison and allows mainland security agents to operate officially in Hong Kong for the first time.

Despite this tactical vote to maximise their chances, some pro-democracy activists fear authorities may yet try to stop some candidates from running in September’s election.

“They can arrest or disqualify any candidate they don’t like under the national security law without a proper reason,” said Owen Chow, a young democratic “localist” candidate.

At a time when Hong Kong authorities have barred public marches and rallies for months on end amid coronavirus social restrictions, and arrested individuals for shouting slogans and holding up blank sheets of paper, the vote was seen as a crucial and rare window for populist expression.

“I can really feel that young people haven’t given up yet, even though we are facing a very depressing future,” said Prince Wong, 22, a candidate in the New Territories West district.

“It helps me become more determined to fight.”

Three generations of Bollywood’s Bachchan family hit by COVID-19
12 July 2020, 4:43 PM

Revered Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter-in-law and granddaughter have joined him and his son in testing positive for COVID-19, the family said on Sunday, in one of the highest-profile cases of the pandemic sweeping India.

From hospital with his father in Mumbai, Amitabh Bachchan’s son Abhishek said his wife and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and their eight-year-old daughter had also been infected by the new coronavirus.

“Aishwarya and Aaradhya have also tested COVID-19 positive. They will be self quarantining at home,” he tweeted, saying other family members had tested negative and thanking Indians for their wishes and prayers.

“My father and I remain in hospital till the doctors decide otherwise. Everyone please remain cautious and safe. Please follow all rules!” added Abhishek Bachchan, 44, also an actor.

He and his father were admitted on Saturday to hospital, where health officials said on Sunday they were stable.

Seventy-seven-year-old Amitabh Bachchan is one of India’s most beloved personalities, and some fans were conducting Hindu prayer rituals for the whole family.

“It’s shocking to know that one of the richest and most talented, educated family (sic) can get infected. We can only hope the family recovers as it’s important for the morale of millions,” tweeted one fan Jayant Sathe.

INDIA’S CASES SOAR TO NEARLY 850 000

The elder Bachchan had a near-fatal accident in 1982 when a table hit him in the abdomen while shooting a fight scene.

That triggered an outpouring of love, with one fan said to have walked backwards from southern Hyderabad city to Mumbai in his honour.

Aishwarya Bachchan, 46, who often features on “most beautiful” lists, has also worked in several Bollywood and Hollywood films. She is a brand ambassador for some multinational companies, including L’Oreal .

Amitabh Bachchan, who endorses dozens of Indian and global brands, has a net worth estimated to be over $100 million.

India has the world’s third highest COVID-19 case load, registering a record increase on Sunday that took the number of infections to nearly 850 000. Partial lockdowns have been reimposed in some densely populated areas.

Federal health ministry data showed that more than 27 100 new cases were reported in the previous 24 hours, while deaths increased to 22 674.

An official in the prime minister’s office told Reuters that senior bureaucrats and ministers had been asked to show restraint on tweeting about the Bachchan family to avoid speculation and ensure there was equality of treatment for all patients.

The father and son are being treated at Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai despite showing only mild symptoms.

Authorities have been sanitising Amitabh Bachchan’s upscale residence in Mumbai, spraying disinfectant inside the compound and on cars parked outside.

He has been a prominent figure in the fight against the coronavirus, appearing in public service advertisements where, in his trademark baritone, he urges people to wear masks, wash hands frequently and maintain social distance.

India’s film industry recently resumed shoots after a months-long hiatus following a nationwide lockdown in late March. But actors over 65, such as Amitabh Bachchan, have been banned from the sets because of their vulnerability.

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