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Indonesia gold mine.
Dozens buried in Indonesia gold mine collapse: official
27 February 2019, 6:32 AM

One person was killed and dozens more were buried in the collapse of an illegal gold mine in Indonesia, the country’s disaster agency said Wednesday.

Rescuers on the island of Sulawesi scrambled to find survivors in the rubble after the collapse triggered a landslide on Tuesday evening, the agency said.

At least one person had been found dead and 15-others were injured in the Bolaang Mongondow region of North Sulawesi, a statement said.

“When dozens of people were mining for gold at this location, suddenly beams and supporting boards broke due to unstable soil conditions,” said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

“It is estimated that as many as 60 people are buried under the landslide.

Officials said on Wednesday morning the victims were still responding to rescuers’ calls but it was not clear how many were still alive.

Efforts to evacuate the victims were being hampered by unstable ground conditions due to the number of holes dug by the miners.

“We still have hope, when we called them they still responded from down there, asking for help,” local disaster agency official Abdul Muin Paputungan said.

Efforts to evacuate the victims are hampered by the ground unstable condition due to the number of holes dug by the miners.

“We can’t use heavy machinery because the location is very steep … it could endanger the victims,” Paputungan said.

The country has numerous unlicensed gold mining sites subject to few if any safety regulations.

In 2016, 11 Indonesian miners died after a mudslide engulfed an illegal gold mine in Jambi province.

Twelve people were killed in October 2015 when a shaft collapsed after they tunnelled into a disused mine on Java Island looking for finding gold.

Traditional healers
Traditional healers call for the criminalisation of the term “witchdoctor”
27 February 2019, 6:10 AM

Traditional healers in South Africa have called for the criminalisation of the use of the word “witchdoctor”.

They say people should rather use the phrase “traditional healer”.

This is one of the recommendations adopted at the end of the 4th National Consultative Conference of the CRL Rights Commission in Pretoria.

Chairperson of the Commission Thoko Mkhwanazi Xaluva says traditional leaders have voluntarily asked to have their own peer review mechanism to regulate the sector.

“That we should work towards making sure that the term witchdoctor is seen as the K word. We have been asked that in the next five years let’s look at criminalising that term because if you are a doctor and you are practising witchcraft it’s something we don’t know where it comes from. If you are a traditional healer, you are healing people anything.”

SA’s Ambassador Jerry Matjila.
SA calls for Venezuela to determine their own destiny
27 February 2019, 5:43 AM

South Africa has called for the international community to promote a framework of inclusive internal dialogue in order for the people of Venezuela to determine their own destiny.

That was the message delivered by the country’s Ambassador Jerry Matjila during a Security Council debate on the unfolding crisis in the Latin American country in which he warned that military threats against Caracas run counter to the purposes of the United Nations (UN).

The United States (US), that called the meeting, has indicated it would introduce a draft resolution to compel the government of President Nicholas Maduro to accept humanitarian aid.

Inconsistent with the purposes of the UN. That was the message from Pretoria’s envoy Jerry Matjila who pointed to a divided Council grappling with the internal affairs of a fellow member state.

“For us in South Africa this sets a very bad precedent. We, on the African continent, have suffered a great deal as external forces used undemocratic tools of regime change to solve problems on the continent. In principle we are strongly opposed to this way of solving any problem. This approach takes away the basic rights of the people of the country to determine their own future.”

South Africa’s position runs counter to that of the Lima Group of Latin American states, supported by the United States and the European Union, that has called for fresh Presidential elections organized by opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido.

While Russia and China called for the UN Charter to be respected, Matjila warned that if dialogue was ignored, it would lead to a prolonged crisis in the country.

“Forcing the parties to accept a prescript to resolving their own crisis, including through ultimatums, will only encourage further antagonism and division.  Therefore, we call on this Council and all those truly interested in the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Venezuela to consider the question, “What is the alternative to dialogue?” The alternative, as we have seen in other cases where dialogue was ignored, will be a prolonged crisis and possible military entanglements. This will only be to the further detriment of the people of Venezuela.”

But that position went against the majority of Council members, with Germany’s Ambassador Christoph Huesgen taking particular issue with South Africa.

“I disagree with my South African friend, I think this belongs on the agenda, this is a threat for international peace and I thought we would agree on this that human rights is also not an internal affair but (and I quote from the universal declaration) “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”. And also I thought with your background that you would also support this view that human rights is something which is very important to respect and if human rights are blatantly violated, one has to look at this.”

The US envoy Elliot Abrams indicated that Washington would continue to impose sanctions on Venezuela.

“We do not get into hypotheticals, I think you can see what the policy is, as much diplomatic and economic and political pressure as we can along with the now I think 54 countries that have recognized Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela, so support the Venezuelan people’s desire for democracy, that’s our policy.”

He denied that the United States was preparing to intervene militarily in Venezuela but reiterated the position of President Donald Trump, that all options remained on the table.


Wolfgat restaurant.
From fishing village to gastronomic heaven: tables turn for Wolfgat
26 February 2019, 8:09 AM

In a small fishing village on South Africa’s rugged west coast, restaurateur Kobus van der Merwe is struggling to process his meteoric rise to gastronomic stardom.

He recently got back from Paris, where four days ago his 20-cover Wolfgat was named Restaurant of the Year at the inaugural World Restaurant Awards, also winning the remote location prize.

“In our category, which was for the off-map destination… there are restaurants that we literally hero-worship and we were like, this is insane,” the food-journalist-turned-chef told Reuters TV on Friday in his first interview with foreign media since returning home.

Others on that shortlist included Japanese wild dining sensation Tokuyamazushi.

Of both prizes, he added: “We never dreamed of making the shortlist, let alone winning.”

Situated in Paternoster, about 160 km (100 miles) northwest of Cape Town, Wolfgat’s speciality is seafood.

Van der Merwe’s seven-course tasting menu pays homage to the region’s long-gone indigenous inhabitants, and his signature dishes are flavored and supplemented with ingredients foraged locally, such as seaweed and succulent plants.

They include Rooibos tea-smoked yellowtail with dune spinach and buttermilk rusk, and freshly baked bread served with bokkom (salted dry fish) butter and infused herbs.

Guests at the 130-year-old whitewashed restaurant, nestled above Wolfgat cave within hearing distance of crashing waves, pay 850 rand ($60), or 1400 rand including drinks.

Van der Merwe, who took the plunge into full-time cooking before completing his culinary studies, said he had no wish to expand or replicate Wolfgat in an urban setting.

“We certainly don’t aspire to be in the city because the west coast is our muse and I can’t see Wolfgat existing anywhere else,” he said.

His clientele is split evenly between foreign tourists visiting the village and well-heeled South Africans.

But those who make the two-hour drive from Cape Town had better be sure of their reservations before they set out – because he’s fully booked for the next three months.


Pastor Alph Lukau.
Pastor raising man from the dead a hoax – Funeral parlour
26 February 2019, 6:20 AM

The Kings and Queens Funeral Services has labelled as a ‘hoax’ – an incident in which a Johannesburg based pastor claimed to have raised a man from the dead.

A video showing Pastor Alph Lukau of Alleluia Ministries, went viral on social media – after he claimed to be praying for a dead man who he then resurrected.

The Kings and Queens Funeral Service’s vehicle was used to ferry the alleged deceased man to the church.

The funeral service’s spokesperson, Giyani Dube, explains their version of Sunday’s incident.

“The incident is shocking. There is nothing whatsoever that amounts to a miracle. That was a hoax. We urge the listeners not to be duped into such scams. As Kings and Queens, we did not have that body in our mortuary. We only came in as service providers to provide them with a hearse which they requested from us. The very person who acted as a dead person was identified by the people who were inside another quantum before this drama took place. He was there alive.”

Three funeral parlours have announced that they have approached the police to investigate the matter.

The companies have been criticised for their alleged involvement in the incident.

The companies say they are victims of misrepresentations by the so-called Prophet who wanted to display his would-be supernatural powers.


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