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Brazil’s Pele re-enters ICU at hospital, ESPN Brasil reports
17 September 2021, 9:25 PM

Brazil soccer legend Pele has re-entered an intensive care unit at Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein Hospital, ESPN Brasil reported on Friday, in an apparent deterioration of his health after he left the unit earlier this week.

The hospital said it had no new information.

ESPN Brasil said Pele, an 80-year-old, three-time World Cup winner, was re-admitted to the ICU due to acid reflux. He had a colon tumor removed this month and was transferred out of the ICU on Tuesday.

After leaving the ICU, he said in a message to fans on Instagram that he was ready for “90 minutes, plus extra time.”

“My friends, this is a message for each of you. Don’t think for a minute that I haven’t read the thousands of loving messages I’ve received around here,” Pele said on Instagram.

“Thank you very much to each one of you, who dedicated a minute of your day to send me positive energy. Love, love and love! I have already left the ICU and I am in my room.

“I continue every day happier, with a lot of disposition to play 90 minutes, plus extra time. We will be together soon!” the soccer superstar said earlier this week.

Pele has suffered from hip problems for years and cannot walk unaided. His public appearances were already being cut before the COVID-19 pandemic and since then he has made few unnecessary forays outside his house near Santos.


US envoy to UN says COVID-19 will be among top priorities during high-level week
17 September 2021, 9:07 PM

Washington’s envoy to the United Nations has listed the COVID-19 pandemic, combating climate change and defending human rights as their top priorities during the high-level week of the General Assembly which begins on Monday in New York.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield also reiterated her government’s concerns that the gathering could potentially become a super spreader event after efforts to mandate proof of vaccination was shot down by Russia leading to an about-turn on the need for delegates to show proof of immunization. She also addressed the creation of a new sanctions regime that will target individuals and entities fueling the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia.

It’s the first UNGA for the new American administration. Seeking to strike a different tone to the often-combative stance towards multilateralism espoused by the administration of President Donald Trump.

“President Biden will speak to our top priorities, ending the COVID-19 pandemic, combating climate change climate, the climate crisis, and defending human rights, democracy and the international rules-based order. All three are challenges that stretch across borders, they involve every single country on Earth,” says Thomas-Greenfield

The World Health Organisation releasing figures this week that of the 5.7 billion vaccine doses administered globally, 75% of those were in just 10 countries – among them the United States – with growing concerns that oversupply in some countries is proving prohibitive to nations in desperate need.

When asked about the implication of this ahead of Biden-convened summit on vaccines next week, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield had this to say.

“We’re hosting a summit where we will be bringing all the nations together, bringing businesses bringing, NGOs together to see how we can work in unity to provide vaccines across the world. So we recognize that this is a pandemic and we recognize that it’s going to require leadership and it’s going to require every single country to be a part of trying to alleviate the misery that we see happening around the globe. So the numbers that you shared with us is just one more reminder that we have to up our game.”

A G20 Ministerial meeting on Afghanistan is on the cards during UNGA as Washington upped the pressure on stakeholders to the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia after President Biden early Friday established a new sanctions regime that could target protagonists on all sides.

“For far too long, the parties have ignored international calls, including from the Security Council to engage in discussions for a negotiated ceasefire and initiate an inclusive political dialogue to resolve Ethiopia’s crises and save lives. Human Rights continue to be violated in disturbing ways. Women and Girls are being raped and tortured. And the humanitarian situation has grown even more dire,” she added.

And on the possibility of the risks associated with the pandemic and a large gathering of this nature – amid concerns that anti-vax leaders like Brazil’s President Jair Bolsanaro will attend in person, Thomas-Greenfield again raised concern.

“We are concerned about the UN event being a super spreader event, and that we need to take all measures to ensure that it does not become a super spreader event. Every single visitor coming into the United States, they’re all required to show proof that they’ve had a negative COVID test. We’re also putting mitigation efforts around the city, including, as I mentioned, a truck outside the United Nations building that will provide COVID testing and provide the COVID vaccine. But look, leaders have to be responsible. And they have to take responsibility for their actions and ensure that their actions do not lead to jeopardizing the health and safety of the people of New York.”

Over 70 heads of state and government are expected while South Africa’s in-person delegation will be headed by International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor who’s due to arrive next Monday.

SA records 3 648 new COVID-19 cases
17 September 2021, 7:34 PM

South Africa has recorded 3 648 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total reported infections 2 877 063. A further 173 people have succumbed to COVID-19-related complications, taking the national death toll to 85 952.

Latest SA stats:



According to the NICD, “The majority of new cases today are from Western Cape (21%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (20%). Eastern Cape accounted for 18%; Free State accounted for 11%; Gauteng Province accounted for 10%; Northern Cape accounted for 7%; Mpumalanga & North West each accounted for 6% respectively, and Limpopo accounted for 1% of today’s new cases.”

A total of 43 959 tests were conducted in the last 24hrs, which represents a 8.3% positivity rate. 17 280 650 tests have been conducted in both the public and private sectors.

Table of tests by NICD:



Tunisia detains parliament member as rights worries grow
17 September 2021, 7:07 PM

Tunisian security forces detained a member of parliament on Friday, his lawyer said, amid growing concern for rights after the president seized governing powers in July in a move his foes call a coup.

Saif Eddine Makhlouf, a leader of the conservative Karama party and a frequent critic in parliament of President Kais Saied, was arrested as he tried to enter the military court, his lawyer Anouar Awled told Reuters.

Makhlouf was wanted by a military court for allegedly insulting security staff at the airport months ago, Awled said. Plain clothes agents detained Makhlouf and took him away in a car, a video Awled posted online showed.

Rights groups have pushed the release of another parliament member, Yassin Ayari, and have criticised the use of military courts to try civilians.

They have also voiced concern at travel bans for people wanted on a variety of charges.

Saied has defended his intervention, rejected accusations of a coup and pledged to uphold rights. On Friday Saied said nobody would be stopped from travel unless subject to an existing case.

While his seizure of powers and freezing of parliament appeared to be broadly popular, opposition among major political players has grown since one of his advisers told Reuters last week that Saied was planning to suspend the constitution.

A powerful labour union and several major political parties have since said they would not accept any changes to the constitution that are not passed in a constitutional manner.

Civil society activists have called a first protest against Saeed for Saturday, a demonstration that may provide an indication of how the security services plan to handle direct public opposition to the president’s moves.

Saied has lifted immunity for parliament members, leaving them open to a variety of prosecutions and several have since been detained or put under investigation.

Nxesi defends proposed amendment to Employment Equity Act
17 September 2021, 6:46 PM

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has defended the proposed amendment to the current Employment Equity Act which is aimed at strengthening the government’s ability to enforce racial equality in the workplace.

The Employment Equity Amendment Bill was adopted by parliament last week amid fierce objection from the opposition Democratic Alliance which called it a job-destroying jackhammer.

The Employment Equity Act was passed in 1998 to transform the labour landscape so that it reflects the country’s demographics. But over two decades later, very little has changed. According to the latest annual Employment Equity Report by the Commission of Employment Equity, Blacks make up only 15 percent of top and senior management positions in the country.

And, women occupy around 25 percent of senior management positions.

Nxesi says, “The new Employment Equity law is expected to be finalised and come into effect in March next year. It will give the Minister of Labour and Employment the power to set sector-specific Employment Equity targets and to issue Employment Equity Compliance Certificates to companies vying for government tenders.”

The Department of Labour is currently conducting workshops countrywide to inform employers about the changes that are coming.

Minister Nxesi says so far, employers are responding well.

On the highly controversial issue of introducing a compulsory COVID- 19 vaccine pass system at the workplace, Nxesi says the country’s labour laws do not allow companies to do that.

Nxesi says all employers must engage their employees thoroughly with regards to any vaccination policy they wish to follow.



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