ZUMA CORRUPTION TRIAL POSTPONED
South Africa’s former President, Jacob Zuma’ trial has been postponed to May 26 in order for his lawyers to argue for the recusal of the main prosecutor Billy Downer.
Zuma is also expected to formally plead on the 26th of May. His legal team, led by advocate Thabani Masuku, says they are ready to proceed with the case.
The court allowed his previous lawyer, Eric Mabuza, to withdraw as the lawyer of record.
Zuma arrived in court Monday for the expected start of a trial in a 20-year-old bribery case.
Zuma is facing 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering relating to a 1999 purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military gear from five European arms firms for 30 billion rand — equal to almost 5.0 billion dollars at the time.
Over the years, the case has been postponed numerous times as Zuma lodged a string of motions to have the charges dropped.
EGYPT WADES IN TO GAZA-ISRAEL INSTABILITY
We head to North Africa, where Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry says the country will spare no effort to reach a ceasefire in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza Strip.
Speaking to a United Nations Security Council meeting through videoconference on the ongoing Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip, Shoukry said Egypt will support peace efforts until the Palestinian people obtain their legitimate rights and the region enjoys the stability that the people seek.
He pointed out that the Israeli military operation threatens the future of peace and stability in the region, calling on the UN Security Council to take up its responsibilities to end the current conflict.
PRESIDENT NGUESSO OF CONGO ADDS SON DENNIS TO CABINET
In Central Africa, the son of long-serving Congo-Brazzaville President, Denis Sassou Nguesso has been named Minister in a new cabinet line-up.
Denis Nguesso will head the newly created ministry of international cooperation.
The new government, announced by Prime Minister Anatole Collinet Makosso, has 36 members including four ministers and eight women.
The new appointments follow the president’s re-election in March.
President Sassou Nguesso has been in power since 1979, except for a five-year period after losing elections in 1992.
MILITARY MEN ARRESTED OVER KILLING OF PROTESTERS IN SUDAN
Seven members of the Sudan military have been arrested and will be prosecuted in connection with last week’s killing of two demonstrators in the capital, Khartoum.
The head of the interim Sovereign Council Running, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, ordered an investigation into Tuesday’s deaths which happened outside the army headquarters in Khartoum.
It has taken less than a week for the military in Sudan to investigate the killing of the two protesters and now the seven soldiers are due to be prosecuted.
Reports say the people of Sudan are angry there has still not been justice for a far bigger atrocity that happened almost two years ago.
SOUTH SUDAN AUTHORITIES REPORT MILITIA ATTACKS IN ABYEI
Staying in East Africa, South Sudanese authorities say 12 civilians have been killed by members of a militia in the oil-rich Abyei region.
In an official statement, South Sudan accused neighboring Sudan of assisting the Misseriya militia in the attack early on Sunday.
The Sudanese government has not made any comments.
The Abyei region has long been claimed by both countries and has seen frequent clashes between people from the Dinka ethnic group and the Arab Misseriya militia.
In 2011 a UN Peacekeeping force was stationed there.
The UN recently noted that relations between the two communities are tense, it also described the area as volatile and unpredictable.
TANZANIA LINES UP TEACHERS FOR PROMOTION
Still in the region, over 3,000 Tanzanian teachers in Kinondoni and Ubungo Municipal councils are lined up for promotion.
According to Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Kinondoni Municipal Council is in final touches to issue official letters for promotion.
The Kinondoni District Assistant TSC Secretary, Theobald Kilindo said a total of 1,333 teachers have qualified for promotion in the district.
Kilindo was presenting a report to the Director for Employment, Ethics and Teachers Welfare from TSC headquarters, Christina Hape on the procedures for teachers’ promotion in the municipal council.
He said his office has followed all procedures in selecting names of teachers who deserve the promotion and that whenever they encountered challenges, his office communicated the matter to other officials for immediate solution.
COVID-19 NIGERIA UPDATE
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has recorded seven new COVID-19 cases, the lowest in the country since January.
The NCDC says the seven new cases recorded was down from the 41 cases registered on Saturday.
It adds that there was no new COVID-19 related death in the country on Sunday.
The public health agency says one person who was successfully treated had been discharged, which brought the total number of people who had recuperated from the disease to 156,413.
The new cases were recorded in two states with Niger 5 and Rivers 2, adding that 7,195 cases are still active in the country.
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo says the West African country will start to administer the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday.
The president, in his 25th nationwide COVID-19 update, said this was made possible by the receipt of 350,000 additional doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX facility.
Akufo-Addo remarked that these will be added to existing stock to provide the second jab for the 360,000 persons in the 43 districts who received their first jabs from March 1 to March 9.
He also said efforts are being made to ensure that those who received their first jabs after March 9, in due course, receive their second jabs.
VACCINE APATHY IN SOUTH SUDAN
South Sudan is stuck with more than 126,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines due to low turn up as only 6,403 people have received COVID-19 doses since April when the vaccinations started.
According to the COVID-19 Incident Manager in the Ministry of Health, Richard Lako, only 6,403 people have been vaccinated in the country.
The ministry says the country aims to vaccinate 2.4 million people out of the country’s estimated population of 12 million.
Richard Lako remarked that the ministry has decided to extend the vaccination centers to 23 across the 10 states in order to allow more people to get inoculated.
South Sudan on Sunday registered no new case of COVID-19 infection.
COVID-19 SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa has started its second phase of Covid-19 vaccinations targeting people who are aged 60 years and above.
The country aims to inoculate five million citizens in that category by the end of June.
It is also aiming to finish vaccinating the country’s 1.2 million healthcare workers this week.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says the country was due to receive 325,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine at midnight on Sunday, making the total doses of the Pfizer vaccine 975,780.
The health ministry says it’s avoiding long queues in the second phase of the vaccine rollout by using an electronic vaccination data system – where people would register online and receive instructions through a text message.
IRELAND SHOPS WILL OPEN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2021
Non-essential retail is now allowed to re-open in the Republic of Ireland for the first time since December.
Queues are expected outside many stores that have been closed since Christmas.
Several big chains are planning to offer late opening hours to accommodate the likely demand.
Last week, the Irish government lifted some restrictions such as the reopening of hairdressers, gatherings at weddings and funerals and click and collect services resumed.
Irish Deputy Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar has urged people to stay safe and to shop local if they can.
He says this would allow businesses to stay open.
Palestinian officials in Gaza say Sunday is the deadliest day yet, since the current fighting with Israel began.
More than 40 people were killed in Israeli air strikes on the territory on Sunday.
Israel’s army say Palestinian militants have fired more than 3,000 rockets at Israel over the past week.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that further fighting could plunge the region into an uncontainable crisis.
He pleaded for an immediate end to the utterly appallingviolence.
The UN has also warned of fuel shortages in Gaza which could lead to hospitals and other facilities losing power.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE MARKET
The Nigeria naira has fallen to a record low on the official market on at the close of transactions on Friday, with lenders quoting it at 7.7% a rate weaker against the dollar, following a currency devaluation aimed at unifying multiple exchange rates.
The naira dropped to 419.75 per dollar, from its last trade at 381 on Monday, its last official session before the Eid Holidays in Nigeria. The official market rate, which is backed by the Central Bank of Nigeria has been stuck at 381 naira to the dollar for almost a year after two devaluations last year.
No quotes have been available on the naira’s official rate since Tuesday and this follows the CBN removing the rate from its websites.
SEMI AJAYI DECRIES ONLINE DISCRIMINATION
West Brom defender Semi Ajayi was the victim of racist abuse on social media after Sunday’s Premier League defeat by Liverpool.
The Nigeria center-back was part of a West Brom side that lost 2-1 to Champions League-chasing Liverpool after a dramatic late goal from visiting goalkeeper Alisson.
Ajayi on his Instagram account posted “Yet again, I come on Instagram to more racial abuse after a game.”
In April, Instagram announced a tool to enable users to automatically filter out abusive messages from those they do not follow on the platform. A number of players in English football have been targeted by online discrimination in recent months.
British heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has promised to smash compatriot Anthony Joshua in a video posted on Twitter on Sunday confirming their world title unification fight in Saudi Arabia on August 14.
Fury and Joshua have been slated to meet for several months, with discussions between both camps, promoters and prospective venues taking place both in private and via social media.
Joshua, the 2012 Olympic super-heavyweight gold medalist, holds the IBF, WBO, WBA and IBO titles while Fury is the WBC belt holder.
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