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Zuma to open charge against Downer on Thursday
21 October 2021, 5:47 AM

Former President Jacob Zuma is on Thursday expected to lay a criminal charge against the lead prosecutor in his criminal trial, Advocate Billy Downer.

 In a tweet, the Jacob Zuma Foundation says the charge is expected to be laid at the Pietermaritzburg police station in KwaZulu-Natal.

Zuma and French arms company Thales are facing charges of corruption, racketeering and money laundering in connection with the 1999 multi-billion-rand arms deal.

The latest news of a formal charge against Downer comes ahead of what is expected to be a judgment on the former President’s special plea calling for Downer’s recusal.

The charge is said to be linked to Zuma’s claim that advocate Downer leaked information about his current state of health to the media.

Zuma’s legal team alleged that a media house then made enquiries based on the contents of the medical report.

Besides Downer’s removal, Zuma also asked the court to be acquitted.

No merit

In May, Associate Professor of Law at North West University, Tumi Mmusinyane, said there is no merit to Zuma’s application for Downer’s recusal.

In the video below, Mmusinyane said the case is likely to fall:

Some KZN areas identified as hotspots: Cele
20 October 2021, 12:24 PM

Police Minister Bheki Cele says areas such as eThekwini and Plessislaer in KwaZulu-Natal have been identified as hotspots of politically motivated killings that will require additional police deployment during the Local Government Elections.

Cele was speaking during a visit to the family of the slain Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) ward candidate in the Umsunduzi Municipality, Thulani Shangase.

The Shangase was shot in Plessislaer on his way back from an EFF election campaign meeting in Dambuza at the weekend.

Cele says the provincial Police Commissioner will deploy adequate additional officers to the key areas.

He says, “Yes, there are areas where there will have to be extra personnel. eThekwini is one problematic area, here is another, mid-Illovo, Kwadukuza, King Chetshwayo and as you go to Nongoma, but the provincial commissioner will know exactly what’s the story.”

In the video below, Cele briefs the media:

Drive-by shooting

Last week, Cele visited the family of the late African National Congress (ANC) Ward candidate in Kwazulu-Natal, Siyabonga Mkhize.

He was killed in a drive-by shooting during an ANC meeting to elect a ward candidate.

Cele addressed members of the community and assured them that the culprits will be arrested:

Last month, Police Minister, Bheki Cele and Gauteng Premier David_Makhura visited the family of the late Mabopane Ward 22 councillor, Tshepo Motaung, who was gunned down.

Cele says the police are hot on the heels of those who allegedly pulled the trigger that claimed the life of Motaung.

There is a campaign aimed at tarnishing our name: Unisa
20 October 2021, 11:47 AM

The University of South Africa (Unisa) says it is of the view that there is a campaign aiming to tarnish the name and the credibility of the institution.

Unisa has defended the quality of its qualifications following a leaked ministerial report that claims there is corruption and mismanagement.

The report stated that the tertiary institution was a qualifications factory.

Unisa spokesperson Victor Dlamini says he hasn’t seen the report.

He says, “My sense is that it is quite frustrating that as soon as the university has got majority black students there is always this aspersion around the quality – both of the education and the qualification. We saw during this transition where there was this extract fear of the lowering of standard because it is an insult on all the hard work of the faculty as well as the students who work hard.”

Below is an interview with Dlamini:

Studying report

On Tuesday, Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande said he is still studying a leaked ministerial report highlighting problems at Unisa.

Nzimande admitted that the report was leaked, but says he will take necessary steps once he has considered it.

Last month, angry Unisa students said they are still waiting for their academic certificates:

Global ‘Squid Game’ mania lifts Netflix quarter
20 October 2021, 8:25 AM

Netflix Inc’s global sensation “Squid Game” has helped entice more new customers than expected, with the world’s largest streaming service saying on Tuesday that it predicted a packed lineup could push signups by the end of the year.

After a sharp slowdown in the first half of 2021, Netflix added 4.38 million subscribers from July to September, reaching 213.6 million worldwide. Wall Street analysts had forecast an additional 3.86 million, according to Refinitiv data.

Netflix enjoyed a surge in subscribers last year as COVID-19 kept viewers at home, but growth stalled earlier this year. At the same time, The Walt Disney Company’s Disney+, AT&T Inc.’s HBO Max and other competitors solidified their offerings. Netflix attributed earlier weakness to a thin slate of new programming due to production shutdowns by the pandemic.

Then, the South Korean drama “Squid Game” debuted on September 17 and surprised executives by becoming the streaming service’s most-watched original series in its first month. On Tuesday, Netflix said a “brainful” 142 million homes had watched the black drama about people who compete in a deadly contest to wipe out financial debt.

The series, made with a relatively small budget, topped Netflix viewing charts in 94 countries, began selling tracksuits and Vans sneakers, and sparked interest in learning Korean here. “Squid Game” merchandise is now on its way to retailers, Netflix said.

Enthusiasm for the “squid game” is also expected to pick up in the current quarter. Netflix estimated it would pick up 8.5 million new subscribers by the end of the year, ahead of the industry forecast of 8.33 million, as it releases a massive lineup of new programming. Upcoming debuts include the big-budget action flick “Red Notice” and the second season of the fantasy drama “The Witcher.”

Beijing lights flame, to be first city to host summer and winter games
20 October 2021, 8:04 AM

China lit its Olympic flame in Beijing on Wednesday after the ceremonial torch arrived from Athens, ahead of the Chinese capital’s hosting of the 2022 Winter Games in February.

The Winter Games will be held from February 4 to February 20, when Beijing will become the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympics, amid a COVID-19 pandemic that means overseas spectators will be excluded.

At a welcome ceremony held near the National Stadium, shaped like a bird’s nest and built for the 2008 Summer Games, Beijing Communist Party chief Cai Qi lit a cauldron to symbolise the arrival of the Olympic flame in China.

The flame had left Athens on October 19 and travelled to Beijing in a red lantern designed in the likeness of a Han Dynasty tomb artifact, carried by torchbearers decked in white.

China will display the Olympic flame at Beijing’s Olympic Park from Wednesday. In early February next year, 1,200 torchbearers will carry the flame through the three cities of Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, which are the competition venues.

The torch relay route has been “appropriately reduced” due to the need to guard against the spread of COVID-19, said Beijing Vice Mayor Zhang Jiandong at the ceremony.

The ceremony went off without a hitch on Wednesday in Beijing, where, like elsewhere in China, security is usually tight.

At a ceremony in Athens on October 18 to hand over the flame to China, three protesters unfurled a banner reading “No Genocide Games” and waved a Tibetan flag.

Rights groups have called for a boycott of the Beijing games to protest against what they termed as human rights atrocities in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong. China has rejected those claims.

Greece’s Olympic Committee (HOC) said it was disappointed the Athens ceremony had been used for political purposes.

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