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eThekwini toughens up against drunken driving
26 December 2017, 12:25 PM

The eThekwini municipality says they have arrested over 160 people for drunken driving between Friday and Tuesday morning.

About 1.3 million visitors are expected to visit Durban over the festive season.

eThekwini Metro police spokesperson Parboo Sewpersad has urged motorist to obey the rules of the road.

“We are continuing with drunken driving road blocks in and around the city. We are also concentrating on vehicle check points, in and around the city, we will be checking vehicles reinforcing the by-laws on the beaches . We have a no alcohol policy on the beaches and parks in terms of city bylaws. We are enforcing them currently most of the beaches areas are full already.”

N3 sees increase in accidents
26 December 2017, 10:54 AM

The N3 Toll Concession says the highway has witnessed an increased number of crashes this festive season compared to previous years.

It’s understood that many of the crashes have been as a result of reckless and negligent driving, driver fatigue as well as driving under the influence of alcohol.

N3 Toll Concession Commercial Manager Con Roux has urged motorists to drive carefully.

“We seem to have had far too many inexplicable crashes, single vehicle crashes, we had one again last night where vehicles just leave the road. This maybe for a number of factors in attention, speed, failure to adapt the speed to driving conditions and also alcohol or substance abuse”

Tunisian schoolgirls rebel against having to wear uniform
26 December 2017, 9:05 AM

In Tunisian high schools, the dress code is not uniform. Actually, it is: but only for girls. Boys can wear what they like, and now the girls are up in arms.

One morning, instead of turning up for class wearing the regulation navy blue smock, a defiant group of adolescent girls came to school in white T-shirts instead, demanding an “end to discrimination”.

At the elite Bizerte public school in the north, as is the case in most high schools in the North African country, pupils have to sign a school rule stipulating that wearing a uniform applies to girls only.

One day in September, supervisors reminded senior female students who did not abide by this rule that if they did not wear the smock, a loose-fitting, long gilet, they would be sent home.

Ironically, the warning was passed on during a philosophy class — about the human body.

This “injustice” inspired many of the girls to take to social networks and vent their feelings, 18-year-old Siwar Tebourbi told AFP.

She said the girls agreed to take collective action from the following day “to demand that this discrimination must cease”.

So dozens duly turned up for class, wearing white. Several boys did the same, in solidarity with their classmates.

How did the school authorities react? By saying nothing. Thus was born the “Manish Labsetha” (“I won’t wear it”) campaign, referring to the offending garment.

It was the culmination of a dispute that had been brewing for years.

Outraged that the navy blue was imposed on everyone in primary and secondary school but was compulsory in high school only for girls, pupils regularly appeared without it, risking expulsion or seeing their parents summoned.

Monia Ben Jemia, head of the Association of Democratic Women of Tunisia, an independent feminist group, called the smock rule “a terrible message” because it implies that young girls’ bodies can have a disruptive effect on their peers.

She called it a complete aberration, especially since the country’s new constitution of 2014 says that men and women are equal.

The high school students who launched the campaign, both male and female, are also against what they perceive as a wider “hypocrisy”.

“They drill into us at school that men and women are equal, but in practice this is not the case,” said Adam Garci, 17.

That the navy gilet is actually supposed to erase social inequalities between pupils is a source of some amusement to Tebourbi.

“If it was really meant to conceal any differences between rich and poor, then boys as well as girls would have to wear it,” she smiled.

Imposing the blue uniform on girls at a time when their bodies are undergoing change is not a trivial issue, said her friend Farah Ben Jemaa.

“One supervisor told me I couldn’t wear leggings without a smock because I was ‘shapely’, and another told us ‘It bothers the men teachers’,” Ben Jemaa said.

The whole affair would appear to be somewhat embarrassing for the authorities.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one senior education official found it difficult to explain exactly what was happening.

He acknowledged the sensitivity of the subject, even though Tunisia is considered to be a pioneer in North Africa and the Middle East in the field of women’s rights.

If the official line is that equality between men and women is an asset, large sections of Tunisian society remain conservative and “there is resistance”, said Ben Jemia, at the Association of Democratic Women of Tunisia.

In the courtyard of another school in Bizerte, the Habib Thameur Lycee, equality is a topic for passionate debate among students.

Of around 15 boys asked about it, just one — Nader — spoke up for the traditional view.

“Girls must cover the shape of their bodies,” he said.

“That’s how we have been raised. It’s our mentality, and it should stay that way.”

The others were firm backers of the campaign.

One final year pupil tried to argue with a supervisor seeking to enforce the rules.

“But madame,” he asked. “What if the regulation is wrong?”

She thought for a moment. “For me, it’s not unfair, it’s the rules. That’s the way it is,” she murmured.

School director Iadh Toulgui admitted that the supervisor’s view was unlikely to sway pupils who had lived through the revolution of 2011, which toppled a 23-year police state and brought about freedom of expression.

“This is a revolutionary generation, open to the world. When you try to impose something on them it doesn’t work,” he said.

It is a view shared by Ben Jemia.

“These young people are much more aware of their rights — they have grown up with freedom of expression,” she said.

“This is the revolution generation, and it is incredible.”

For Bizerte’s regional education commissioner Nabil Smadhi, discussion is the way ahead.

“It is time to address this issue in a national dialogue” involving the education ministry, parents, trade unions and civil society, he said.

“This agitation is effective, not just in the public high school but in the majority of establishments in Bizerte and in several high schools” across the country, he said.

In the meantime, Siwar Tebourbi, Farah Ben Jemaa and girls like them still come to school without the regulation uniform.

“We’re not doing it just for us,” said Ben Jemaa.

“Next year we’ll be gone. But it’s important for the generations who follow.”

N Korea preparing to launch satellite: report
26 December 2017, 7:59 AM

North Korea is preparing to launch a satellite, a Seoul newspaper said Tuesday, as outside observers warn that the nuclear-armed regime’s space programme is a fig leaf for weapons tests.

Pyongyang is under multiple UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile tests and is prohibited from carrying out any launch using ballistic missile technology including satellites.

“Through various channels, we’ve recently learned that the North has completed a new satellite and named it Kwangmyongsong-5”, the Joongang Ilbo daily reported, quoting a South Korean government source.

“Their plan is to put a satellite equipped with cameras and telecommunication devices into orbit”, he said.

Pyongyang launched their Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite in February 2016, which most in the international community viewed as a disguised ballistic missile test.

A spokesman for the South Korean military joint chiefs of staff said there was “nothing out of ordinary at this moment” but added that Seoul was watching out for any provocative acts “including the test of a long-range missile disguised as a satellite launch”.

The report came as the North’s ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun reasserted the regime’s right to launch satellites and develop its space technology.

In a commentary published on Monday and titled “peaceful space programmes are sovereign countries’ legitimate rights”, the daily said Pyongyang’s satellite launches “absolutely correspond” with international laws concerning space development.

At a UN General Assembly committee meeting in October, North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador Kim In-Ryong said his country has a 2016-2020 plan to develop “practical satellites that can contribute to the economic development and improvement of the people’s living”.

He stressed North Korea’s right to produce and launch satellites “will not be changed just because the US denies it”.

North Korea is believed to have successfully put a satellite into orbit in December 2012 after years of failures dating back to 1998 when it launched a pilot satellite and named it Kwangmyongsong-1.

Earlier this month, the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaia Gazeta quoted a Russian military expert, Vladimir Khrustalev, as saying that North Korea was expected to launch two satellites — an Earth exploration satellite and a communications satellite — in the near future.

Khrustalev made the remark after returning from his week-long trip to North Korea in mid-November when he met with representatives of the country’s National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA), the Russian daily said.

Tensions have soared as the isolated regime has staged a series of atomic and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests most recently on November 29.

Cape Town gears up for high volumes of beachgoers
26 December 2017, 7:02 AM

Scores of holiday makers are expected to descend on beaches in Cape Town Tuesday.

Mayoral Committee Member for Safety, Security and Social Services, J.P. Smith says the City’s officials are geared up and well prepared to deal with the high volumes of beachgoers anticipated for the Day of Goodwill.

He says there will be extensive traffic deployment along the Atlantic Seaboard and False Bay coastlines.

Smith says they’ve also increased the number of lifeguards at beaches to ensure safety.

“We’ve got extensive law enforcement deployed on the beaches to keep the alcohol off the beaches and to keep everybody safe. We’ve already had some good action from our facility protection officers who’ve been working in plain clothes dealing with robberies and also the interception of alcohol being brought onto the beaches and 100 more lifeguards than last year ensures that our beaches are as safe as they can be, but we ask that the public work with us and swim between the designated areas so we can make sure that this is a time of celebration for everybody.”



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