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SA First Forum calls on President Ramaphosa to fire Minister Mkhize
31 May 2021, 2:04 PM

Civil Society organisation SA First Forum is calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.

Pressure is mounting on President Ramaphosa to act against Mkhize following his latest admission that the awarding of a R150 million tender to Communications Company, Digital Vibes was irregular.

Mkhize made the admission on Wednesday last week, following the outcome of an internal investigation into the tender awarded to his former private assistant, Tahera Mathera and former spokesperson Naardhira Mitha who are reported to control the company, although the two are not listed as directors.

The tender was for services related to the National Health Insurance scheme and government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alleged irregular contract between the health department & Digital Vibes:


Speaking on Motsweding Fm’s Current Affairs Show, Boresetse, SA First Forum convener Rod Solomons says President Ramaphosa does not need to wait for a Special Investigations Unit (SIU) investigation to take action against Mkhize.

Last week President Ramaphosa said he will only make a decision on the fate of the Health Minister after receiving a report from the SIU.

Ramaphosa said he has noted calls for Mkhize to step down.

The SIU says its investigation into the alleged irregularities in the Health Department is at an advanced stage:

Naomi Osaka
Osaka fined $15,000 after win, warned of French Open expulsion
31 May 2021, 5:00 AM

Naomi Osaka was fined $15,000 by Grand Slam organisers for skipping a news conference following her first-round win at the French Open on Sunday, and was also warned of possible expulsion from Roland Garros and future majors if she fails to meet her media commitments.

In the run up to the claycourt major, the world number two announced she would boycott news conferences while in Paris to raise awareness of players’ mental well-being, saying the nature of questions from journalists is like “kicking a person when they are down”.

Osaka started her French Open campaign with a 6-4 7-6(4) win over Romanian Patricia Maria Tig and then snubbed the post-match news conference, although the four-time Grand Slam champion did hold a court-side interview immediately after the contest.

The board of the four Grand Slams said in a statement on Sunday that the French Open organisers had asked Osaka to reconsider her position and tried unsuccessfully to speak with her to resolve the matter.

“The Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer support, underline their commitment to all athletes’ well-being and suggest dialogue,” the statement read.

“She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players.

“Naomi Osaka today chose not to honour her contractual media obligations. The Roland Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine.”

Osaka’s management did not immediately respond to a request for comment but the player published a cryptic message on Twitter.

Renault-Nissan’s south India plant staff to stay away on Monday
31 May 2021, 4:00 AM

Workers at the Renault-Nissan plant in southern India will not report for work on Monday over coronavirus-related safety concerns, according to a union letter to the company seen by Reuters, and two sources familiar with the matter.

Ford and Hyundai have also shut plants in the south over the last week following protests over COVID safety concerns.

“It will not be secure for workers to report to work on Monday the 31st of May, 2021,” the Renault-Nissan India workers union said in a letter sent late on Sunday.

Two sources said the union would continue to discuss its demands on Monday. They did not wish to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Hundreds of workers near Chennai have fallen ill with COVID-19 and dozens have died this year, labour unions say.

On Sunday, union leaders told Renault-Nissan its demands on adequate social distancing measures, rehabilitation of families of deceased workers and on medical treatment of those affected by COVID-19 had not been met.

“The union’s request … to ensure social distancing through reduced footfall has not been accepted,” the letter to Renault-Nissan’s managing director and vice-president of human relations read.

The union also said Renault-Nissan had only vaccinated 200 workers with a first dose. The company told a local court last week the plant had a workforce of more than 8000.

Nissan, which owns a majority stake in the plant, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. The company said last week it had vaccinated employees over 45 years and was willing to inoculate those under 45 based on availability.

The state government on Saturday allowed carmakers to continue operating despite protests by workers, but urged companies to follow social distancing protocols and vaccinate all employees within a month.

Gavin MacLeod, star of ‘Love Boat’ and ‘Mary Tyler Moore’, dies at 90
31 May 2021, 3:00 AM

Gavin MacLeod, who played a wise-cracking news writer on the classic 1970s US sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the hospitable cruise ship captain on “The Love Boat,” died on Saturday aged 90.

His nephew, Mark See, confirmed his death to Variety. No cause of death was given, it said, but MacLeod’s health had declined in recent months.

The bald MacLeod often played villains on TV before being cast in the acerbic comic role of Murray Slaughter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which ran on CBS from 1970-1977 and was one of the most honored shows of its decade, winning 29 Emmy Awards.

After “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” MacLeod was signed for the starring role of Captain Merrill Stubing on ABC’s “The Love Boat,” which ran for 10 seasons from 1977-1987.

The series, which featured guests stars in each episode as passengers looking for romance aboard a cruise ship, was not a favorite of critics – a New York Times reviewer once called it “a dreadful porridge” – but it was frequently amusing and popular with viewers.

“I remember TV critics saying, ‘How could you do it?'” MacLeod told Entertainment Weekly in 1997, referring to his jump from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” to “The Love Boat.” “But I loved it. I said, ‘This is going to take people away from the everyday burdens of life. It’ll give them something to dream about.'”

MacLeod also had a regular role on the World War Two situation comedy “McHale’s Navy” from 1962 to 1964 but frequently played bad guys like a character named Big Chicken in the crime drama “Hawaii Five-O.”

He appeared in supporting roles in several prominent movies as well including “Kelly’s Heroes” (1970), with Clint Eastwood and Telly Savalas, and “Operation Petticoat” (1959) with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis.

He was born as Allan See on Feb. 28, 1931, in Mount Kisco, New York. For his show business career, he changed his first name to Gavin because he liked it and his last name to MacLeod as a tribute to his college acting teacher.

“I was a young kid with a bald head so I only played pimps, perverts, woman beaters and child molesters,” MacLeod told People magazine in 1978.

That changed forever after he was cast on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” as a news writer for a fictional Minneapolis TV station, joining a talented cast that included Moore, Ed Asner, Ted Knight, Betty White, Valerie Harper and Cloris Leachman.

Some of his character’s best moments came interacting with Knight’s buffoonish anchorman Ted Baxter and with White’s acidic and man-hungry “Happy Homemaker” Sue Ann Nivens, who rarely let an opportunity pass to comment on Slaughter’s baldness.

India says will have 120 million vaccine doses for local use in June
31 May 2021, 2:00 AM

India will have nearly 120 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines available for domestic use in June, the government said on Sunday.

This marks a significant jump from the 79.4 million doses that were available in May.

India has administered about 212 million doses, the most after China and the United States, but has given the necessary two doses to only about 3% of its 1.35 billion people.

India on Sunday reported its lowest daily rise in new coronavirus infections in 46 days at 165,553 cases during the previous 24 hours, while deaths rose by 3 460.

In the video below it was reported that hospitals in India overwhelmed as new COVID-19 cases rise:

Earlier this month, a top government adviser said more than 2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines will likely be available in India between August to December this year, including those from the two domestic manufacturers.

Several Indian states have reported an acute shortage of vaccines, forcing many regions, including the capital New Delhi, to again prioritise those aged above 45.

For the month of June, 60.9 million doses will be made available by the central government to states for vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers and those above the age of 45 years, while 58.6 million doses will be available for direct purchase by states and private hospitals, the release said.

The country has recently begun to roll out Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, alongside the AstraZeneca vaccine produced locally at the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Covaxin made by local firm Bharat Biotech.

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