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SA records 1 268 new infections, 22 deaths
27 September 2020, 9:53 PM

Cases of COVID-19 have climbed to 670 766 in South Africa after 1 268 infections were confirmed overnight.

Twenty two more deaths are recorded, taking the  country’s death toll to 16 398.

In a statement, the Health Department says: “Regrettably we report 22 more deaths: 7 from Eastern Cape, 5 from KwaZulu-Natal, 2 from Gauteng, 5 from North West and 3 from Western Cape.”

While the country’s recovery rate is at 90%, the World Health Organisation has raised concerns over a surge in South Africa’s infection rate.

The country has recently seen a 6% surge in cases, despite a decrease in infection rate on the continent.

This as authorities reiterate calls for the public to continue adhering to COVI-19 safety protocols.

 

Mali president names diplomat Moctar Ouane as interim prime minister
27 September 2020, 8:08 PM

Former foreign minister Moctar Ouane was named as Mali’s interim prime minister, state television said on Sunday, a move likely to trigger the lifting of sanctions imposed by the West Africa regional bloc in the aftermath of the military coup last month.

A veteran diplomat, Ouane, 64, served as Mali’s ambassador to the United Nations in 1995-2002, and as foreign minister in 2004-2011.

The bloc had demanded a civilian leader be installedas a condition for lifting the sanctions. Ouane’s appointment comes two days after retired colonel Bah Ndaw was sworn in as the country’s president, and coup-leader Colonel Assimi Goita as vice president.

The men will be tasked with overseeing an 18-monthtransition back to civilian rule after the August 18 overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

In the video below, Ndaw sworn in as Mali’s interim president:

Dr Danny Titus hailed for passion for justice
27 September 2020, 5:02 PM

Friends and family mourned the loss of former Commissioner of the South African Human Rights Commission, Dr Danny Titus. He passed on last Friday.

He had been in a coma for over a month after undergoing an eye operation.

Titus was with the SAHRC for seven years.

Loved ones came together in a virtual service to honour the human rights activist’s legacy.

As SAHRC Commissioner, Titus contributed greatly to fighting for civil and political rights leading numerous hearings such as the killing of Andries Tatane in 2011. He also devoted himself to promoting language and culture.

Titus served an executive director of culture at the Afrikaans Language and Cultural Association until May this year. He was 63 years old at the time of his passing.

Tremors felt in Cape Town after earthquake off South African coast
26 September 2020, 10:05 PM

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck offshore from South Africa on Saturday, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

Some residents of the southern city of Cape Town posted on Twitter that they had felt the tremor, which the USGS said occurred at around 1710 GMT, at a depth of 10 kilometres and far south of South Africa’s coast.

“Guys, we just felt a tremor in Cape Town. Our house shook, the ground shook and rumbled, there was a faint rumbling sound. It all lasted 5 seconds,” one resident wrote on Twitter. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

 

Lebanon’s prime minister-designate steps down in blow to French initiative
26 September 2020, 5:08 PM

Lebanon’s prime minister-designate quit on Saturday after trying for almost a month to line up a non-partisan cabinet, dealing a blow to a French bid aimed at rallying sectarian leaders to tackle the worst crisis since the nation’s 1975-1990 civil war.

Mustapha Adib, former ambassador to Berlin, was picked on August 31 to form a cabinet after President Emmanuel Macron’s intervention secured a consensus on naming him in a country where power is shared out between Muslims and Christians.

A source close to Macron said the situation that led to Adib’s resignation amounted to “collective betrayal” by political parties but said France, the former colonial power, would not abandon Lebanon.

Under the French roadmap, the new government would take swift steps to tackle corruption and implement reforms needed to trigger billions of dollars of international aid to fix an economy that has been crushed by a mountain of debt.

Lebanon faced a further knock when a huge explosion on Aug.4 at Beirut port ruined a swathe of the capital. Adib, a Sunni Muslim under the sectarian power-sharing system, announced he was stepping down but said Lebanon must not abandon the French plan or squander Macron’s goodwill.

“I stress that this initiative must continue,” he said after meeting President Michel Aoun, a Christian. He wished his successor well in the “hard task” of forming a government. Politicians, whose loyalties tend to run along confessional lines, had promised Paris they would have a government in place by mid-September. But Adib’s efforts stumbled in a dispute over appointments, particularly the post of finance minister, who will have a key role in drawing up an economic rescue plan. “It’s a setback, but we’re not giving up,” a French diplomatic source said.

UNICEF requires more than US$46.7 million to provide aid in Lebanon:

Roadblock

Talks with the International Monetary Fund on a vital bailout package stalled this year, and one of the cabinet’s first tasks would have been to restart the negotiations.

The cabinet formation hit a roadblock over a demand by Lebanon’s two main Shi’ite groups, Amal and the heavily armed Iran-backed Hezbollah, that they name several ministers, including finance, a position previously held by a Shi’ite. Adib held several meetings with Shi’ite politicians but failed to reach agreement on how the minister would be chosen.

Shi’ite leaders feared being sidelined as Adib sought to shake up appointments to ministries, some of which have been controlled by the same faction for years, politicians said. Mohanad Hage Ali of the Carnegie Middle East Center said Iranian-backed factions might have wanted to stall the cabinet formation to await the result of a U.S. election on November 3.

US President Donald Trump, seeking re-election, has taken a tough line on Iran and its allies, and his administration imposed sanctions on Lebanese politicians who back Hezbollah. Amal leader and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said his group still backed the French plan, while Suleiman Frangieh -head of a Christian group allied to Hezbollah – called the initiative a “golden opportunity that Lebanon must not lose.”

The party founded by Lebanon’s president, the Free PatrioticMovement, said it was sticking to the French plan’s principles and urged Macron to continue helping Lebanon. It said a new cabinet needed the support of political blocs.

Opponents accused Adib of not consulting enough. Former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, a leading Sunni politician who backed Adib, said anyone celebrating the collapse of Macron’s initiative “will bite your fingers in regret.”

The street value of the Lebanese pound, which has plunged from an official peg of 1 500 to the dollar since the economic crisis erupted last year, weakened further after the news. One trader said it was now trading at 8 200 from 7 700 on Friday.

Weather

 

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