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Wolfgat Restaurant.
SA chef shortlisted for the inaugural World Restaurant Awards
17 February 2019, 10:56 AM

South African Chef Kobus van der Merwe is making waves in the international culinary world. He’s been shortlisted for the inaugural World Restaurant Awards set to take place in Paris on Monday.

Van der Merwe’s restaurant “Wolfgat” is located in the popular tourist town of Paternoster in the West Coast.

The restaurant is situated in a 130-year-old fisherman’s cottage that was built on a historic cave called ” Wolfgat”.

Van Der Merwe says, “There’s an element of wild food on the menu. We go picking succulents and wild herbs and seaweeds every morning and they all end up somewhere on the menu, very seasonal. We also try to represent the dramatic transformation in the landscape between winter and summer with what we collect and pick every morning.”

US President Donald Trump.
No decision yet on Trump’s wall funding
17 February 2019, 9:30 AM

Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday that no decision has been taken on funding President Donald Trump‘s border wall with Mexico, a project that may come partly from redirected military funds.

Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to address what he called an “invasion” of drugs, gangs, human traffickers and undocumented migrants over the US border with Mexico.

The declaration means he would be able to sidestep Congress to access federal funds from elsewhere to help pay for building the border wall. The move, however, was immediately challenged in court.

“So very deliberately, we have not made any decisions… There has been no determination by me,” Shanahan said on the way home from Germany.

Trump wanted Congress to authorize $5.7-billion for a wall along parts of the border, but lawmakers provided just $1.375-billion for barriers, not a solid concrete wall.

The White House said Friday that Trump will access $6.1-billion from two Pentagon sources: $3.6-billion from a military construction fund, and $2.5-billion from Defense Department counter-drug activity funds.

“We always anticipated that this would create a lot of attention and since money potentially could be redirected, you can imagine the concerns this generates,” Shanahan said.

The Pentagon chief said he would “review that analysis now that the emergency has been declared. Based on that analysis, we can do an assessment of what would be appropriate”.

He added: “We are following the law. We are using the rules. We are not bending the rules.”

As a candidate, Trump repeatedly vowed that Mexico would pay for a wall.

Illegal mining.
The number of bodies retrieved from Zim mine rises to 24
17 February 2019, 9:28 AM

The bodies of 24-illegal miners have now been recovered from a gold mine in Zimbabwe that was flooded following heavy rains.

Eight people have been rescued from the mine near the town of Kadoma, south west of the capital Harare.

Authorities say at least 70 people were trapped when the disaster struck on Tuesday night.

The company that owns one of the mines, Rio Zimbabwe, says people entered the shafts illegally to look for gold.

The operation is still ongoing and authorities are hoping to retrieve more bodies. They are also hopeful they will find more survivors as the day progresses.

Water is still being pumped from the sections that rescue workers have not been able to reach, where more bodies are expected to be found.

Click on audio below for more on the story from SABC correspondent in Zimbabwe, Ephert Musekiwa…

Empire star Jussie Smollett.
Chicago police seek follow-up interview with ‘Empire’ actor
17 February 2019, 7:22 AM

Chicago police have shifted the direction of their investigation into actor Jussie Smollett’s report of a hate-crime assault and are seeking to interview him again, after releasing two men detained for questioning in the probe, a police spokesman said on Saturday.

Smollett (36), an openly gay African-American performer who plays a gay character on the musical hip-hop TV drama “Empire”, ignited a furor on social media last month when he reported he had been attacked on the street by two men yelling racial and homophobic slurs.

According to Smollett’s account, his assailants struck him in the face, draped a rope around his neck and doused him with an “unknown chemical substance” before fleeing. Police said the actor took himself to a hospital, but was not seriously hurt.

On Wednesday evening this week, police said they arrested two Nigerian brothers described as “persons of interest” who were recognized from surveillance camera footage taken in the area of the alleged January 29 assault.

The pair was freed two days later without charge, according to the police on Friday, in light of “new evidence” from their interrogation.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi denied a media report on Thursday that detectives were looking into whether Smollett had staged the attack, saying then that there was “no evidence to say this is a hoax”.

On Saturday, Guglielmi issued a brief statement saying that “information received from the individuals questioned by police earlier in the ‘Empire’ case has in fact shifted the trajectory of the investigation”.

He added: “We’ve reached out to the ‘Empire’ cast member’s attorney to request a follow-up interview.”

Meanwhile, the New York Post reported that Smollett has retained the services of criminal defence lawyer Michael Monico, a former Illinois federal prosecutor who is also representing President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen.

Neither Monico nor any of Smollett’s previously known representatives could immediately be reached for comment.

“Empire” debuted on the Fox network in 2015 and has earned multiple Emmy nominations. Smollett plays the character Jamal Lyon, a member of the family that is the focus of the show.

Blizzard in China.
Authorities offer relief as blizzards continue to ravage China
17 February 2019, 7:05 AM

Authorities offer relief to help local herdsmen as blizzards continue to ravage Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, northwest China’s Qinghai Province.

According to the meteorological bureau of the prefecture, 10 snowstorms have attacked the region from last December to early February.

On many days, the snowfall went close to the historic record.

A total of 18 080 livestock died due to heavy snow.

The heavy snow also blocked several roads in the province, posing challenges to the relief operation.

The prefecture authorities have earmarked 15-million yuan (around 2.2 million U.S. dollars) as relief funds and 1.15-million yuan as subsidies, distributed over 480-tonnes of food and 9 860-parcels of supplies, and sent over 22 918-tonnes of fodder to the affected areas.

In Qingshuihe Town, one of the worst-hit areas, herdsman Kunsang raised 270-cattle with four neighbours, among which 35 has died because of the relentless snowstorm.

Local government has arranged around 40-tonnes of fodder for them at a fair price.”Without the fodder, all of my cattle would have died,” Kunsang said.

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