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Parents of Michigan teen accused of school shooting could face own charges
3 December 2021, 7:34 PM

Prosecutors are expected to announce on Friday whether they will charge the parents of a 15-year-old Michigan boy who fatally shot four classmates at his school earlier this week.

Ethan Crumbley, a sophomore at Oxford High School about 40 miles (60 km) north of Detroit, faces numerous counts, including murder, and is being held without bond after an arraignment on Wednesday. He has been charged as a adult.

County prosecutors have scheduled a news briefing for noon EST (1700 GMT) on Friday to provide an update on the investigation.

It was not immediately clear what charges the parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, could face. Oxford County Prosecuting Attorney Karen McDonald, who has said she is considering charging them, has suggested they were negligent in allowing their son access to the gun.

Unlike some states, Michigan does not legally require gun owners to keep their firearms secured from children.

Authorities have said James Crumbley purchased the semi-automatic handgun four days before it was used in the shooting, which also left six students and one teacher wounded.

Parents are rarely charged in connection with children’s school shootings.

The attack was the deadliest school shooting this year, according to Education Week, and marks the latest in a decades-long string of mass shootings at U.S. schools.

Investigators said the attack was premeditated, citing videos Crumbley recorded the night before in which he talked about shooting students, as well as a journal recovered from his backpack that described his intent to murder classmates.

Crumbley either had the gun in his backpack or had stashed it somewhere on school grounds, based on an analysis of school video footage that showed he never left the building after arriving that morning, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told CNN on Friday.

Bouchard said earlier this week that school officials met with Crumbley and his parents on the morning of the shooting to discuss “behavior in the classroom that they felt was concerning.”

National Police Commissioner was ‘missing in action’ during July unrest: Cele
3 December 2021, 7:00 PM

Police Minister General Bheki Cele told the Human Rights Commission on Friday that he did not remember seeing National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole involved in ensuring stability during the July looting and violence.

This is after the police and South Africa’s Intelligence Forces have come under fire for failing to prevent and deal with the unrest that cost businesses tens of billions in damages and losses.

More than 350 people were killed. The Commission has heard that many communities took matters into their own hands and secured their neighbourhoods.

Cele has told the commission that Sitole was missing in action

“I don’t remember seeing the commissioner in all these things whether in Pretoria whether in Soweto, whether in eThekwini, whether in Empangeni, can you please explain the commissioner being off? Police, national, provincial  General Khehla Sitole I don’t know. I’m told I being here we were trying to find him in the wrong places. I think those that wanted him in the wrong place, he should have tried and been in the right places not to be in the wrong places, he should have found things in the right places. The right place is where things were happening.”

KZN hearings concluded

The KwaZulu-Natal leg of the hearings by the South African Human Rights Commission into July’s civil unrest has concluded.

The Commission says it will resume in February next year in Gauteng.  For the past three weeks, the Commission heard testimony from victims, civil society groups and government ministers among others.

Commission chair Advocate Andre Gaum also announced that the window period for public submissions has been re-opened.

“So we are opening up the window of opportunity for submissions and the reason, therefore, is  basically because of the immense public interest that we are receiving. So all the submissions that were received after the 26th of last month November will also be taken into account and we will announce it at a later date when the time for submissions will close but secondly, this is the last day of our hearing in KwaZulu-Natal. The hearing will continue but in Gauteng in February.”

SAHRC hearing into July unrest: 03 December 2021

 

UN worker killed in attack on peacekeeping convoy in Mali
3 December 2021, 5:23 PM

Unidentified armed men attacked a convoy belonging to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali on Friday, killing one civilian worker and wounding another, the mission said.

The convoy was travelling from the northern city of Kidal to Gao and came under fire about 100 km (62 miles) northeast of the town of Bourem, the mission said in a statement on Twitter.

Armed attacks by militants and other groups are common across vast swathes of Mali, despite a heavy presence of international troops. The UN mission MINUSMA has deployed about 13 000 troops to try to contain the violence.

MINUSMA has recorded more than 250 fatalities since it started in 2013, making it the most dangerous UN peacekeeping mission in the world.

There was no word on the nationality of the people killed and injured.

WHO chief scientist says Omicron ‘quite infectious’, must not panic
3 December 2021, 4:09 PM

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told the Reuters Next conference on Friday that while the new coronavirus variant Omicron appeared to be very transmissible, the right response was to be prepared, cautious and not panic.

The WHO has urged countries to boost healthcare capacity and vaccinate their people to fight a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant, saying travel curbs could buy time but alone were not the answer.

“How worried should we be? We need to be prepared and cautious, not panic, because we’re in a different situation to a year ago,” Swaminathan said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference.

While the emergence of the new variant was unwelcome, she said the world was much better prepared given the development of vaccines since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Much remains unknown about Omicron, which was first detected in southern Africa last month and has been spotted in at least two dozen countries. Parts of Europe were already grappling with a wave of infections of the Delta variant before it emerged.

“We need to wait, lets hope it’s milder … but it’s too early to conclude about the variant as a whole,” Swaminathan said of what was known about Omicron.

“Delta accounts for 99% of infections around the world. This variant would have to be more transmissible to out-compete and become dominant worldwide. It is possible, but it’s not possible to predict.”

The WHO’s top scientist said the Omicron variant seemed to be causing three times more infections than experienced previously in South Africa, meaning “it does seem to be able to overcome some of the natural immunity from previous infection”.

Vaccines did appear to be having some effect.

“The fact that they’re not getting sick …. that means the vaccines are still providing protection and we would hope that they would continue to provide protection,” Swaminathan said.

Asked about the need for annual vaccine boosters, she said “the WHO is preparing for all scenarios”, which could include an additional dose, particularly among some age groups or vulnerable sections of the population, or a modified vaccine.

“Natural infection acts as a booster,” the WHO scientist said, adding that while the new variant “could have originated in a country where there isn’t a great deal of genome sequencing”, its origins were not known.

“We may never know,” Swaminathan said.

I was warned not to visit Nkandla after Zuma’s sentencing : Minister Cele
3 December 2021, 3:46 PM

Police Minister General Bheki Cele has told the South African Human Rights Commission’s hearings into July’s civil unrest that he was warned not to go near former President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home after his sentencing.

He says he was told that there were about 70 armed men that had gathered after the Constitutional Court judgment and sentencing of former President Zuma for contempt of court.

Cele’s testimony follows that of several high level police officials including KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

Cele said to the Commission that Zuma’s failure to honour the subpoena to appear at the Zondo Commission led to the unrest.

“We tried to stop them because they were many people already around the house there and the increase of the figures have given us extra problems there. We tried, there were few people and there was also a group of people coming from Mpumalanga province and we realised that it might cause some trouble so we let go again, one go the counselling from the president to say that any form, any point that can cause direct conflict, avoid it.”

SAHRC hearing into July unrest: 03 December 2021

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