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High Court
Trial of man accused of 40 rapes postponed
20 April 2018, 11:55 AM

The Polokwane High Court has postponed to this Friday afternoon the rape trial of a 20-year-old man who is facing 40 rape charges to allow him to get medical attention.

David Mamvura is being tried for cases that allegedly occurred between 2012 and 2014 in and around Polokwane.

Mamvura, who is representing himself, asked Justice Kganyakgo to order that he be taken to hospital as he was not feeling well. He told the court that he was fatigued and had a horrible headache.

Kganyakgo, however, ordered that the investigating officer should take Mamvura to the doctors and bring him back to court on Friday afternoon.

He also asked that police get a report on whether Mamvura is medically fit to stand trial from the doctor.

Meanwhile, the state prosecutor told SABC News that the state’s case is ready and that Mamvura’s 40 alleged victims are ready to testify

North and South Korea open hotline between leaders
20 April 2018, 11:45 AM

The two Koreas opened a hotline between their leaders on Friday, a week before a summit between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and the South’s President Moon Jae-in in the Demilitarized Zone.

The line links the presidential Blue House in Seoul with the Pyongyang office of the nuclear-armed North’s State Affairs Commission, which Kim chairs – one of his most important titles.

“The historic connection of the hotline between the leaders of the two Koreas has just been established,” said senior Blue House official Youn Kun-young, adding that a test conversation between officials lasted 4 minutes and 19 seconds.

“The connection was smooth and the quality of connection was also very good,” he said. “It felt like talking to a neighbour.”

Geographically the two are next door to each other, but the peninsula has been divided for 70 years, with no post or telephone communications between them for ordinary civilians since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

The hotline, which enables direct communications between Kim and Moon, is the latest step in a whirlwind of diplomacy on and around the Korean peninsula, triggered by the Winter Olympics in the South.

The two leaders are due to meet on Friday on the southern side of the DMZ, in what will be only the third inter-Korean summit since war ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving them technically still in a state of conflict.

Seoul is pushing for a declaration that the war is over as a prelude to the signing of a treaty, with Moon declaring Thursday it was a goal that “must be pursued”.

US President Donald Trump, who is expected to hold his own much-anticipated summit with Kim later, previously offered his “blessing” for the two Koreas to discuss a treaty.

Everything hinges, though, on the question of the North’s nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang – which last year carried out its most powerful nuclear test to date and launched intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States – has long insisted that it needs them to defend against a US invasion.

It has since offered to negotiate over them in exchange for security guarantees, but the phrase sometimes used, denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, has long been code for the withdrawal of US troops in the South and the end of its nuclear umbrella over its security ally — something unthinkable in Washington.

The US, on the other hand, is adamant that it will accept nothing less than the North’s complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.

17 community radio stations face shutdown
20 April 2018, 11:29 AM

The Department of Communications is scheduled to meet with broadcasting signal distributor Sentech on Friday, to avoid switching off 17 community radio stations.

The stations, located in various parts of the county, reportedly owe Sentech R33 million in signal fees. Millions of people rely on these media platforms for information.

The stations are having issues dealing with the affordability of producing radio content especially in the light of their debt to Sentech. Adequate support for the stations has also waned.

Katlego Sepotokele, a spokesperson for the Right2Know campaign, stated that the support for these radio stations need to be addressed.

“When we think about a sustainability model, we also need to think about how the state participates in ensuring that we have sufficient mechanisms to give support to the radio stations,” Sepotokele said.

“You find that government is very much… there still has not been quite sufficient, adequate distribution of advertising revenue, so there are various ways in which the State can support the community radio’s media sector.”

The radio stations that are facing possible shutdown provide listeners with many different services, such as educational or entertaining content. The role of these stations can vary depending on the community content they deliver, and Sepotokele says the effect of these stations can’t be minimized.

Watch below for more on the interview with Sepotokele:

Zoe Modiga
Jazz singer Zoe Modiga talks about her new album
20 April 2018, 9:53 AM

Jazz musician Zoe Modiga is expected to captivate audiences at the Soweto Theatre next week with a night themed An Evening with Zoe Modiga.

The artist recently released her debut album which has been received well in the industry. Her new album “Yellow the Novel” relates to her favourite colour—yellow.

“For me the colour stands for boldness, happiness, caution – all the things that I want to embody.”

She has performed alongside artists such as Lira and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

WATCH: Zoe Modiga explains why her album imitates human life:

Taliban releases kidnapped Afghan election staff
19 April 2018, 4:45 PM

Five people kidnapped from a voter registration centre in a largely Taliban-controlled area of Afghanistan were freed on Thursday, officials said.

Gunmen attacked the facility in the central province of Ghor on Tuesday, abducting three employees of the Independent Election Commission and two policemen.

Provincial police spokesman Iqbal Nizami blamed the Taliban for the attack — the first on a voter registration centre since the process began last Saturday.

Local elders negotiated with the Taliban for the release of the hostages, Nizami told AFP, adding “no ransom was paid”.

Provincial IEC chief Fazlullah Jalali confirmed the employees and police had been released.

Voter registration in the area will resume only after security officials give the green light, he said.

The attack underscored concerns about security in the lead-up to the war-torn country’s long-delayed legislative elections scheduled for October 20.

Afghanistan last weekend began registering voters as it seeks to ensure that the parliamentary and district council elections — which are a test-run for the presidential poll next year — are seen as credible and fraud-free.

In an operation that will last for two months, authorities hope to register up to 14 million adults at more than 7 000 polling centres – an ambitious goal in a country where militants control or contest much of the territory.

President Ghani on Thursday urged religious leaders to use Friday prayers to encourage worshippers to register.

He also called on provincial governors to tell their employees to register themselves and family members.

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