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Schools to reopen in Nigeria’s Lagos as COVID-19 cases decline
30 August 2020, 4:12 PM

Schools will reopen in Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos next month as part of plans to revive the economy as COVID-19 cases decline, the state governor said on Saturday.

Lagos, the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria, plans to reopen colleges on September 14, and primary and secondary schools on September 21, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said.

“The gradual easing doesn’t mean the pandemic is over,” he said in a tweet. “It is not an invitation to carelessness or nonchalance.” The Lagos governor said restaurants, social clubs and recreational centers would also be allowed to reopen as long as they followed safety rules.

Nigeria has reported 53 727 infections in total – including 18 104 in Lagos – and 1 011 deaths.

Below Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister tests positive for coronavirus:

The West African nation has been opening up gradually. It aims to resume international flights in September after domestic flights restarted last month and a ban on inter-state travel was lifted. Secondary schools reopened across Nigeria this month for pupils due to take graduation exams.

SA records 238 new COVID-19 related deaths and 2 419 cases
30 August 2020, 12:50 AM

South Africa has recorded 2 419 new COVID-19 infections, taking the total number of cases in the country to 622 551. There have been 238 new deaths overnight, pushing the number of fatalities to 13 981.

In a statement, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says 81 of the fatalities are from Gauteng, 123 from the Free State; 19 from KwaZulu-Natal; nine from the Western Cape and six were recorded in the Eastern Cape.

“We extend our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the healthcare workers that treated the deceased patients,”  Mkhize adds.

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South Africa has an 86% recovery rate with 536 694 citizens having recovered from the disease.

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT – WAP calls for total ban on export of lion parts
29 August 2020, 9:53 PM

The following story contains graphic description, which may upset sensitive readers, including children.

The World Animal Protection (WAP) has called for the total ban in the export of lion parts.

Treeshake founder Dave Duarte leads the South African WAP campaign and says the lions spend time in confinement, until they are ready to be killed for their bones. These bones are then shipped abroad for use in traditional medicine in Asia.

WAP says every day thousands of wild animals are poached, farmed or sold into the global multi-billion dollar trade. These wild animals are being traded for food, pets, traditional medicine and entertainment.

Duarte says in 2019 there were around 8 000 lions in captivity in South Africa.

“To put this number in perspective, throughout the whole of Africa, there are only around 20 000 lions left in the wild; so almost half of all lions are in captivity. If people want to stop this, we need to call for a total ban in the export of the lion parts. South Africa currently allows for quotas where certain amounts of bones can be exported illegally. But this sends an unclear message to the market. It doesn’t communicate that this is wrong and it’s unethical, this is pillaging Africa’s heritage.”

Locally, South Africa contributes to the wildlife trade by rearing lions for their bones. The bones are then legally sold to South East Asia to supplement the tiger bone industry. The bones have been known to sometimes be taken while the animal is still alive in order to ensure those harvested are pink in hue.

Duarte says the animals are subjected to immense cruelty throughout their lives.

“The first pain is being separated from their mothers. Lions are very social creatures and in these situations they have no pride. They are kept in crap conditions and are very often malnourished. It’s not unusual to have 5 cubs in a small cage covered in each other’s urine and waste. There are too many cruelties to describe about an industry that is based on exploiting wild creatures, but one that is particularly painful, is the demand for pink bones from the lion being deboned while still alive leaving blood in the bone.”

To try and end the wildlife trade globally, WAP is trying to raise a million signatures to take to the G20 Summit in November.

Below Blood Lions calls for ban of wildlife markets:

Footage emerges showing abduction of activist Tawanda Muchehiwa in Bulawayo
29 August 2020, 6:34 PM

CCTV footage has emerged showing the abduction of activist Tawanda Muchehiwa in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. He was abducted in broad day light in July and was reportedly tortured for three days.

The footage shows the abductors emerging from a white bakkie then forcing Muchehiwa into the same vehicle which then sped off. The captors accused him of involvement in the planning of anti-government protests.

Zanu-PF’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has accused civic organisations and the opposition of staging the abductions to discredit his government. Edmond Kudzai is a Zimbabwean journalist who obtained the CCTV footage told SABC News that it is authentic.

“The footage is authentic, there’s a Nissan bakkie there an mp300. They’d removed the registration plates from the back of the vehicle. The number was caught I think it’s camera 2 of the CCTV footage. They managed to get the contact details of the person who owns the vehicle and they spoke to him and he said he had no idea the car had been leased to a car hire company so then he got in touch with Impala car rentals and the proprietor said yes the vehicle was hired by one of our regular customers. Impala car rental would know the name of that individual.”

Kudzayi speaks to SABC News in the video below:

Concern over a deteriorating political and economic crisis

Western diplomats in Zimbabwe have expressed deep concern over a deteriorating political and economic crisis in that country. Heads of mission from the United States, Britain, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland have released a statement – saying President Mnangagwa’s initial promises of uniting the country and reforming the economy have not materialised.

They have urged Harare to stop using the COVID-19 pandemic to curtail freedoms.

Activists say the government is abducting, torturing and arresting critics, including a freelance journalist and opposition politician who have spent more than a month in detention over anti-government protests.

The Zanu-PF government denies the claims. – Additional reporting by Reuters

Bikers ride to Union Buildings to draw attention to farm murders
29 August 2020, 6:03 PM

Thousands of Bikers against farm murders and racism converged at Union Buildings in Pretoria in a bid to get government to act against farm killings in the country. White crosses and roses were laid at the lawns of the Union buildings, paying tribute to farmers who have lost their lives violently.

The bikers embarked on a 50km mass ride this morning before making their way to the seat of government. They want President Cyril Ramaphosa to take a tough stance against farm murders. According to the police, 49 farm murders occurred during the 2019-2020 financial year. They say one murder is too many. One of them, Barend Craven, says the President’s silence is deafening.

“We have a very, very silent President over what a lot of European countries have termed a genocide. Why is he so quite? That’s what I wanna know. I don’t wanna know if it was a black farmer, a white farmer and Indian farmer.”

Craven says the march is also against racism and gender-based violence. He says farm attacks are more than just attacks. He describes them as gruesome crimes, mostly against women.

“Our murder rate is high, and sadly a lot of our murders are gender-based murders, they are violent and there’s a history of violence behind them and our murder are sowing a lot of torture characteristics, the nature of the people behind it. They are not going to go and steal a TV; they are going there for enjoyment of torture and a question a lot of people don’t ask is why? What’s the agenda behind this?”

Many who support this course say they hope this mass ride will get the President to act against farm attacks.

“It’s not just for the Whites but for everyone, there’re a lot Black farmers as well. The farmers are there for our future. If they get killed we will not get food. The government doesn’t show any sign or any shout about this, that why I’m so concerned about this, irrespective of colour.”

The Bikers Against Farm Murders and Racism Movement is planning an even bigger mass ride next year, with more than 100 000 bikers expected to attended.

In the video below, bikers take a stand against farm murders:

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