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The head of Japan's Olympic Committee Tsunekazu Takeda.
Japan Olympic chief facing corruption probe to step down
19 March 2019, 11:19 AM

The head of Japan’s Olympic Committee said Tuesday he would step down in June, as French authorities probe his involvement in payments made before Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Summer Games.

“On June 27, my term will expire,” Tsunekazu Takeda said at a meeting of the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) in Tokyo.

“Considering the future of the JOC, I think the most appropriate thing is to leave things to a new leader from the next generation so that they can host the Olympics and carve a new era.”

The 71-year-old said he would also be stepping down from the International Olympic Committee.

Takeda has come under pressure not to seek an additional term when his current mandate ends in June after it was revealed that French authorities believe they have evidence of corruption in the awarding of the 2020 Games to Tokyo.

Current JOC rules require candidates for the top post to be 70 or younger at the time of their candidacy, but there had been rumours the committee was considering a change to allow Takeda to stay on through 2020.

In recent months however, the investigation into Takeda has become an unwelcome distraction for organisers of the Games, with less than 500 days until the opening ceremony.

A former Olympic show jumper who spearheaded Japan’s bid to host the Games for a second time, Takeda initially appeared likely to try to keep his post until the flame was lit in Tokyo.

In January, it was revealed that he was facing a judicial process in France over two payments totalling 2.8 million Singapore dollars (US$2.1 million at today’s exchange rate).

He has been placed “mis en examen”, a legal step that has no direct equivalent in the British or US legal systems and roughly translates as being charged.

It does not automatically trigger a trial but means that prosecutors believe there is strong or corroborated evidence of wrongdoing.

Women walking
Short walk once-a-week can lower risk of death: study
19 March 2019, 10:37 AM

A brisk stroll once or twice a week is enough to reduce the risk of dying from heart attack, stroke or cancer, according to a statistical study of nearly 90,000 people released Tuesday.

People who walked or gardened 10 minutes to an hour each week had an 18-percent lower risk of death from any cause compared to full-on couch potatoes, researchers reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Two-and-a-half to five hours weekly of such “moderate physical activity” — broken into segments of no less than 10 minutes — resulted in a 31 percent reduction in risk, they found.

And those who clocked up at least 25 hours almost halved the risk.

Not everyone, however, has that much time to spend on leisure-time exercise, the authors acknowledged.

Heart-pumping and pulse-quickening activities such as biking, running and competitive sports “are more time-efficient than moderate intensity activity,” they said.

For cardiovascular disease alone, there was no additional benefit to be gained by graduating from five to 25 hours, they noted.

Researchers led by Bo Xi, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Shandong University in northern China, sifted through data collected annually on 88,140 people in the United States between 1997 and 2008 for the National Health Interview Surveys.

That data on excercise was then matched against registered deaths through 2011.

The authors cautioned that the study was observational, meaning that no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. The fact that exercise data was self-reported was also a potential weakness.

But the large number of people covered by the research goes a long way to compensate for these methodological limitations, they added.


WATCH: Cheryl Zondi willing to re-testify
19 March 2019, 10:24 AM

The first witness in the Timothy Omotoso rape trial – Cheryl Zondi – says she’s willing to re-testify in the trial following the recusal of judge Mandela Makaula.

Makaula recused himself from the trial after it emerged that his wife’s company operates a guesthouse had accommodated some of the state witnesses in the trial.

The judge’s recusal means Zondi might have to re-testify in the trial.

Zondi has been briefing the media in Johannesburg.

“If I have to go through secondary victimisation all over again, to get justice, then so be it. The thing is i know that at the end of the day the truth is going to triumph all these tactics and all of these lies as always and it will prevail.”

Judge Makaula’s decision to recuse himself last week is understood to be relating to the ownership of a guesthouse where some of the state witnesses in the trial had been accommodated. His wife’s company runs the guesthouse.

Makaula said his recusal was in the interest of justice.

During the her testimony at the beginning of the trial, Zondi broke down on several occasions while testifying how Pastor Omotoso raped and sexually assaulted her from the age of 14.

She also faced gruelling cross examination from Omotoso’s lawyer Peter Daubermann leading to a public outcry.

Daubermann had previously pushed for Makaula’s recusal accusing the judge of bias.

The case will be back in the Port Elizaberth High court on the 30th of July.

The televangelist faces 63 main charges and 34 alternative counts, which include human trafficking and rape.

IEC ballot box
Political parties in KZN to sign Electoral Code of Conduct
19 March 2019, 10:21 AM

Political parties in KwaZulu-Natal will sign the Electoral Commission (IEC) code of conduct on Tuesday. The signing ceremony will be at the Durban International Convention Centre.

It will precede the country’s sixth national, democratic elections on May 8.

Political parties, represented by provincial leaders, are expected to pledge their commitment to the Electoral Code of Conduct.

The Code is the guardian for conditions that are conducive to free and fair elections, creating a climate of tolerance, free political campaigning, and open public debate.

Discussions by the KwaZulu-Natal Head of the NPA, the Chair of the Electoral Court and Police Commissioner, are also expected to focus on how electoral offences will be dealt with.

Press Release Voter Turnout Will Be Critical 19 March (Text)


Gift of the Givers Founder Imtiaz Sooliman.
Gift of the Givers to assist in relief efforts after cyclone Idai
19 March 2019, 8:41 AM

Humanitarian group – Gift of the Givers – has sent rescue teams to assist with relief efforts in Malawi and Mozambique hit by Tropical Cyclone Idai.

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi said on Monday that more than 1000 people are feared dead.

Nyusi said that although the official death count currently stands at 84, he believes the toll could be more than 1000.

Close to 1 million people have also been displaced and thousands of homes destroyed.

Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman explains: “Yesterday (on Monday) I sent an advanced team from Lanseria, they got to Beira at half past 8 in the evening. When they got inside there, there was no immigration. They just walked into the airport. The airport was totally destroyed. There were a few people laying here and there, some NGO’s and some normal people. There were no government people and there were no communication systems.  But from today (Tuesday), both teams will start making arrangements and see what is on the ground and what needs to be done.”

Click on video below: 



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