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More suspects arrested in KZN, Gauteng for inciting public violence: Hawks
29 August 2021, 7:53 AM

The Hawks have arrested 35 and 36-year-old suspects for inciting public violence during last month’s violent unrest and looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal respectively.

The 35-year old suspect was apprehended during a joint investigation by the Hawks’ Crime against the State unit and Crime Intelligence.

It is believed that he was involved in inciting the violence and looting at the Brookside Mall in Pietermaritzburg which led to the complete destruction of the shopping centre.

Hawks spokesperson, Katlego Mogale says the suspect will appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Gauteng suspect, who is a 36-year-old woman who operated as Sphithiphithi Evaluator @ African Soil with a followership of 59 900 people was arrested on Saturday, during a search and seizure operation in Leondale which resulted in the confiscation of exhibits for further investigation.

The suspect is expected to appear in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of incitement to commit public violence.

Police say investigations against those who incite, instigate or conspire with others to commit crimes including public violence are continuing.

ICC prefers T20 for Olympics but open to other formats: Marathe
23 August 2021, 10:42 AM

Cricket’s short Twenty20 format is tailor-made for Olympics but the sport’s administrators will consider any format which would ensure the game’s inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Games, USA Cricket chief Paraag Marathe has said.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is preparing a bid for the game’s return to the Olympics having last featured in the 1900 Paris Games.

Marathe is part of the ICC Olympic Working Group, which is chaired by English board chief Ian Watmore and includes, among others, former PepsiCo Inc CEO Indra Nooyi.

“I am hopeful that it is very likely. For the first time ever 106 member nations of the ICC are supportive of getting cricket into the Olympics,” Marathe told the Sport Unlocked podcast.

Twenty20 cricket – which lasts about three hours as opposed to as long as five days for tests – has proved immensely successful, illustrated best by the sustained popularity of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL).

The success of inaugural Hundred competition in England, which used a 100-ball format, has provided another alternative to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“I think the T20 format is one that is easily digestible and works. It certainly works from a timing perspective. It fits the format of American sports, roughly three hours,” Marathe explained.

“It’s an understood format because of the success of the IPL…but of course we will work with the IOC and if there is a different format they prefer then we are open to it.

“The most important thing for us is to get cricket in the Games. We do go in thinking that T20 is probably the best.”

Marathe, who met Watmore on Friday to discuss the issue, said cricket’s Olympic’s inclusion was not a “foregone conclusion”.

“I just know that for the first time we have a united effort of wanting to be in the Olympics and it’s long overdue in my opinion.”

Kamala Harris says US focus on Afghan evacuations, pledges open South China Sea
23 August 2021, 10:28 AM

US Vice President Kamala Harris said on Monday during a visit to Singapore that the United States was focusing on evacuation efforts taking place in Afghanistan and that there would be plenty of time to analyse the context of the troop withdrawal.

Harris met with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Halimah Yacob during a trip aimed at bolstering ties with partners in the region as part of Washington’s efforts to counter China’s growing economic and security influence.

“There is going to be plenty of time to analyse what has happened and what has taken place in the context of the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Harris said during a joint news conference with Singapore’s prime minister.

“But right now we are singularly focused on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who have worked with us and Afghans who are vulnerable, including women and children and that is our singular focus at this time,” said Harris.

US President Joe Biden has faced criticism at home and abroad over his handling of the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the chaotic evacuation after the lightning takeover by the Taliban.

“We hope Afghanistan does not become an epicentre for terrorism again,” said Lee, adding that Singapore had offered transport aircraft to help with evacuations.

Part of Harris’s task during the trip will be convincing leaders in Singapore and Vietnam that Washington’s commitment to Southeast Asia is firm and not a parallel to Afghanistan.

“Today, we are in Singapore to stress and reaffirm our enduring relationship to this country and in this region, and to reinforce a shared vision of a free and open Indo Pacific region,” Harris said.

Singapore’s Lee said that perceptions of US resolve and commitment to the region would be determined by “what the US does going forward, how it repositions itself in the region, how it engages its broad range of friends and partners and allies…”

Singapore is not a US treaty ally, but remains one of its strongest security partners in the region with deep trade ties. However, it also seeks to balance its relationships with the United States and China by not taking sides.

The country is home to the biggest port in Southeast Asia, and supports continued free navigation in the area, where China is growing increasingly assertive – a concern U.S. officials plan to address during Harris’ visit to the region, which also includes a trip to Vietnam.

“I reaffirmed in our meeting the United States’ commitment to working with our allies and partners around the Indo Pacific to uphold the rules based international order, and freedom of navigation, including in the South China Sea,” said Harris.

The disputed South China Sea, a strategic waterway with potential oil and gas riches, has competing claims by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

SECURITY, CYBER AGREEMENTS

The United States and Singapore reached security agreements on Monday that reaffirm America’s presence in the region through “rotational deployments of US P-8 aircraft and littoral combat ships to Singapore,” according to a fact sheet of the meeting shared by the White House.

The United States and Singapore also agreed to expand cybersecurity cooperation in the financial sector, the military and enhance information exchange on cyber threats, according to details shared by the White House.

Cybersecurity has risen to the top of the agenda for the Biden administration after a series of high-profile attacks that affected fuel and food supplies in parts of the United States.

Other initiatives include starting a US-Singapore dialogue on building supply chains.

The Biden White House is tackling a severe supply shortage of semiconductor chips in the United States that has seriously hurt car manufacturers and contributed to inflation.

The countries also struck a partnership to fight COVID-19 and prepare for the next pandemic and agreed to tackle the global climate crisis, promote smart cities and green building standards throughout ASEAN.

Harris will also visit Singapore’s Changi Naval Base and tour the USS Tulsa combat ship during the trip to Singapore.

‘Best Actor’: Dutch film awards go gender-neutral
19 August 2021, 1:05 PM

The main movie awards in the Netherlands will form this year only single out the best acting performance in a leading and supporting role, instead of handing out separate prizes to male and female actors.

The move is meant to make the Golden Calf awards – named after the small golden statues presented to winners – more inclusive, organisers said on Thursday.

“We want to unite all makers, regardless of their background or gender,” said Jenny Booms, director of the Dutch Academy for Film. “The awards, in the end, are about craftsmanship.”

Improving gender equality in film has been a topic of discussion for years, as awards and major festivals have come under scrutiny over the low number of women directors in the running for top awards.

In 2017, the MTV Movie and TV Awards introduced gender-neutral acting awards, but important prizes such as the Academy and Emmy Awards still separate acting performances by men and women.

The Dutch actors association ACT said it welcomed the move, which it said could help make the awards more inclusive and would promote diversity.

The Golden Calves have been awarded annually since 1981 for the best Dutch film and the best Dutch director and actors of the past year.

Former winners include director Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Total Recall), and actors Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner) and Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones).

Already crowned ‘the greatest’, Felix takes a victory lap
19 August 2021, 12:37 PM

Allyson Felix isn’t done just yet.

Just two weeks after she picked up gold in the 4X400m relay in Tokyo, her second of two medals from the 2020 Games to become the most decorated woman in track and field history, the 35-year-old American is returning to the track.

But after the pressure of competing in her fifth and final Games – and all of the expectations that came with them – Felix told Reuters the quick pivot to compete in Saturday’s Prefontaine Classic is hardly a burden.

“For me it’s a lot of fun,” said Felix, who will race in her favourite event – the 200 metres – at Eugene, Orgeon’s Hayward Field, where she made a tearful farewell appearance at her final US team trials earlier this summer.

“I really just want to be able to compete again and see the fans and do that. I think that the weight of trials and what that all means, I think that was just a bit heavier.”

For the 11-time Olympic medallist and 13-time World Champion, a bit of fun is long overdue.

After giving birth to her daughter, Camryn, via an emergency C-section in 2018, she became an advocate for working mothers, penning an opinion piece in the New York Times in which she said she faced pay cuts from sponsors including Nike after having her child.

“Becoming a mother inspired me in a whole new way, but also, you know when I spoke out and hearing from women all across industries (who had) just a shared experience,” said Felix. “Knowing your story is not done, that you still have so much more to offer. I felt like I carried that with me to Tokyo.”

In Tokyo, she was wearing shoes from her own “Saysh” line, launched this year.

“To build Saysh during a pandemic was really challenging,” said Felix. “It was my proudest moment at the Olympics to be able to compete in my own shoes.”

The challenges of the pandemic extended onto the track as well.

Like other athletes, Felix had a gruelling, year-long wait for Tokyo, training under COVID-19 restrictions and undergoing testing detailed in the mini-documentary series “BD On Location.”

She was tested for COVID-19 so many times that she lost count.

“My daughter, she’s taken a number of tests as well, just with things that she’s done and it’s just so interesting how we adapt,” said Felix. “I saw her the other day, she was giving her doll a COVID test.”

As for her post-competition life, she is ready to tackle a new challenge: skiing lessons so she can finally join the rest of her family on their annual holiday trip to Vail.

“I’m always at the bottom of the hill like waiting for everybody to come back,” said Felix. “There’s just been so many sacrifices.”

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