Wednesday, May 23 2018

THE BIG STORY

LEADING THE AGENDA

Bitcoin kidnapping was 'meticulously planned' - mom

Mother begs her son's abductors to send him home before his 13th birthday next week

Naledi Shange
Journalist
5 min read

Making sure racism doesn’t live happily ever after

What do Ashwin Willemse and Meghan Markle have in common? They refused to conform to white norms of behaviour

Ranjeni Munusamy
Associate editor: analysis
4 min read

'Prophet' flees after bizarre cave deaths

Cops scour vast Magaliesburg cave network amid fears the bodies of other church members will be found

By Graeme Hosken and Nomahlubi Jordaan
6 min read

SMART NEWS

IN ONE TAKE

Zuma joins list of racists made to pay up

Former president's son and army major the latest to learn that spewing vitriol hits the pocket

Kyle Cowan
Journalist
4 min read

Cyril gives Cosatu a little TLC, but a group hug is still far off

Cosatu may have welcomed Ramaphosa to their HQ, but as soon as the singing died down they had a litany of complaints

Caiphus Kgosana
Journalist
4 min read

By Jupiter! Meet the rock the sun stole from another star

Discovery of asteroid orbiting the wrong way near Jupiter could shed light on the origins of life on Earth

By Rozina Sabur
1 min read

Now’s the time: three bottles of 1774 vintage wine on sale in France

The oldest bottles of wine in the world are going on sale

By AFP
1 min read

Little Siziphiwe begged her granny to come back and pray, then she died

The families of Siziphiwe and Sisanda, who were crushed to death, remember their last moments with the little girls

Jeff Wicks
Journalist
2 min read

IDEAS

TO FEED YOUR MIND

Lessons from antiquity for the peculiar DA-EFF bromance

Those who do the dance of opposites need more than a wall of mirrors to guard against stabbings in the back

Tony Leon
Columnist
5 min read

Boets, the larst thing we need is a naartjie in our sosatie

So lay off your rubbish opinions on the Willemse saga

Tom Eaton
Columnist
2 min read

Forget sadness: holidays still matter to those with dementia

There were tears and confusion, but precious memories remain of a trip following an Alzheimer's diagnosis

By Jane Wallis
7 min read

VISUAL SIDE


SNAPSHOT

Parkwood residents continue to occupy vacant land, marking out areas in protest against the slow pace of housing development in the Western Cape. The invasion played out against the backdrop of a violent protest that descended into chaos with a petrol station being burnt down.
Shopping for land Parkwood residents continue to occupy vacant land, marking out areas in protest against the slow pace of housing development in the Western Cape. The invasion played out against the backdrop of a violent protest that descended into chaos with a petrol station being burnt down.
Image: Esa Alexander

Six things about SA you need to know

Non-SA actor to play Zuma in film

South African filmmaker Niel van Deventer is in talks with an international actor who he hopes will play the role of Jacob Zuma in a televised dramatisation of the book ‘The President’s Keepers’. Van Deventer said the television series about the book‚ written by investigative journalist Jacques Pauw‚ was still in the developmental stages and would have some big-industry names attached to it. It is expected to run for three seasons of six episodes each. Van Deventer hoped shooting would start next year. “I bought the book the day it was released at the airport on my way overseas. I just read the foreword and luckily I have worked with the publishers in the past. I sent an e-mail to the publishers right there saying I want the rights to do a TV series,” he said. Pauw said his role in the series would be as a consultant.

Plan to move parliament to Pretoria

Parliament has appointed a service provider to do a six-month impact-assessment study on the socio-economic implications of relocating the legislature from Cape Town to Pretoria. National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete made the announcement on Tuesday while addressing the sitting of the house during the tabling of parliament's R2.4-billion budget for 2018/19. The government has been pushing for parliament to be moved to Pretoria‚ arguing that the cost of running two capital cities was simply too high and unsustainable to the pressured public purse. The government provides logistical and administrative support, such as staff‚ vehicles and houses‚ to members of the executive and their deputies in Pretoria and Cape Town. Economists have previously estimated that the relocation would cost R7-billion‚ but would bring a saving of between R500-million and R750-million a year.

Marli van Breda silent on guilty verdicts

The only survivor of Henri van Breda’s bloody axe attack on his family‚ his younger sister Marli‚ will not comment on the guilty verdicts delivered on Monday. Advocate Louise Buikman‚ Marli’s court-appointed curator‚ said it wasn’t “in Marli’s best interests to comment”. Marli‚ who was 16 when her brother killed their parents and brother Rudi‚ will turn 20 in October. According to forensic pathology reports‚ it was clear from her wounds that she put up strong resistance to Van Breda’s attack in January 2015. She clung to life for several hours while her brother delayed calling emergency services‚ and turned out to have a cracked skull and a severed jugular vein. Neither the defence nor the prosecution called her as a witness in her brother's trial. Henri Van Breda is due back in the High Court in Cape Town on June 5 for sentencing.

Marikana activist's murder charges dropped

The North West High Court discharged Marikana housing and land rights activist Napoleon Webster. On Tuesday, Judge Ronnie Hendricks found Webster and five other accused not guilty of murdering Petrus Sabata‚ who was killed at Marikana on December 8 2016. They were found not guilty after the prosecution failed to produce any evidence that linked them to the death of Sabata. Prosecutors ultimately conceded that Webster was entitled to an acquittal‚ and accepted that the state had failed to “establish [Webster’s] involvement” in the murder. Webster had been detained in a Rustenburg prison in 2017 for more than 202 days after the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court refused his bail application. Throughout the bail proceedings and the trial there was strong evidence that Webster had been arrested because of his community-based activism in Marikana and not on the basis of any reasonable suspicion that he had committed an offence.

‘Drunk’ ambulance driver arrested in Cape Town

The driver of an ambulance that collided with a police officer in a private vehicle in Cape Town on Tuesday was arrested for allegedly being under the influence of alcohol. Provincial Emergency Medical and Forensic Pathology Services spokesman Robert Daniels said the ambulance driver was on duty at the time of the collision at 7.30am. The incident occurred on Stock Road in Mitchells Plain. Daniels said emergency services were taking the matter seriously and had launched a full investigation into the allegations.

Parliament welcomes new KZN top cop

The chairman of parliament’s portfolio committee on police‚ Francois Beukman‚ has welcomed the appointment of Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Lucky Mkhwanazi as KwaZulu-Natal’s new acting police commissioner. Beukman has described Mkhwanazi‚ who served as an acting national police commissioner under former president Jacob Zuma‚ as “an experienced manager with vast experience in operational policing” and believes “he will be up to task in dealing with political killings that have ravaged the province”. He said the security challenges in KZN, including political murders, hostel violence and taxi-related crimes, meant an experienced officer like Mkhwanazi was needed at the helm. Mkhwanazi’s surprise appointment was made by Police Minister Bheki Cele in Durban on Monday after a security cluster meeting on political killings in the province.

THE WORLD

STUFF THAT MATTERS

Is new theory that rogue pilot ditched Flight MH370 correct?

A book says the airliner was deliberately landed at sea, but Australian investigators explain why this is unlikely

By AFP
2 min read

Anthony Hopkins: I don’t know or care if I have a grandchild

Legendary actor has some shocking views on family relationships

By Anita Singh
3 min read

Yes we scan: MRI can reveal whether you are transgender

Brain activity and structure of gender dysphoria patients resemble that of their desired gender, study shows

By Henry Bodkin
2 min read

Samantha Markle wants a piece of that royal scandal too

Will it never end? Now Meghan’s half sister says it's is a 'huge insult' that her father wasn't given a coat of arms

By Helena Horton and Harriet Alexander
2 min read

SNAPSHOT

A child, standing above the crowd with the support of an elaborate rig of hidden metal rods, takes part in the Bun Festival parade at Cheung Chau island in Hong Kong.
A bun fight A child, standing above the crowd with the support of an elaborate rig of hidden metal rods, takes part in the Bun Festival parade at Cheung Chau island in Hong Kong.
Image: Reuters/Bobby Yip

SIX THINGS ABOUT THE WORLD YOU NEED TO KNOW

Is accused’s penis the offending member?

A man had his penis measured in a New Zealand courthouse after the woman accusing him of indecent assault gave evidence about the size of his member. David Scott, an elected councillor, has pleaded not guilty to rubbing his genitals against a female council staffer at a function last year. The woman said the object she felt touch her back was 10-12 centimetres long. Scott’s defence argues that the complainant felt his wallet accidentally touch her as he moved past. But the accuser said the offending object pressing into her back could not have been a wallet, phone or insulin kit, and was in fact male genitalia. - AFP

After Texas shooting, governor calls off gun raffle

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has called off his re-election campaign’s plans to raffle off a shotgun, in the aftermath of the school shooting that killed 10 people last week. The raffle prize was changed to a $250 (just over R3,000) gift certificate. With an image of Abbott looking down the barrel of a shotgun, the governor’s campaign website had been raffling off a ‘Texas-made shotgun’. ‘As governor, Greg Abbott expanded 2nd Amendment rights, signing into law ‘campus carry’ and ‘open carry,’’ his website touts, referring to controversial policies that allow for the public carrying of firearms, including on state college campuses. – AFP

What’s with the ancient pelvises on a stick?

Thousands of bones from boys and men likely killed in a ferocious battle 2,000 years ago have been unearthed from a bog in Denmark. Four pelvic bones strung on a stick were among the remains of at least 82 people found during archaeological excavations at Alken Enge, indicating an organised and ritual clearing of a battlefield. The more than 2,300 human bones were radiocarbon-dating and found to be between 2 BC and 54 AD. In this era, Roman soldiers were pressing an expansion northward, and around 7 AD, the Romans suffered a massive loss in which tens of thousands of warriors were killed by the Germanic people. Scientists believe these remains are one of those campaigns. Many questions remain. Who was involved in the battle? And what is the meaning of stringing pelvic bones on a stick? - AFP

Violins created to mimic man

Music historians prove that the violin was created to imitate the human voice, and a study shows how 16th to 18th century luthiers in Italy did it. Researchers asked a professional violinist to play 15 antique instruments, including one from 1570 by Andrea Amati considered to be the father of the modern four-string violin. Others played in the study were from the Stradivarius family, conceived by Antonio Stradivari, who improved upon Amati’s design. Then, they recorded the voices of eight men and eight women, ranging in age from 16 to 30 years, who sang common English vowels. Performing a thorough acoustic analysis, they found that an Amati violin dating to 1570 and a Gasparo da Salo violin dating to 1560 mimicked the basses and baritones of male singers and, in contrast, Stradivari violins were marked by elevated formants, making them relatively more similar to female voices. - AFP

A clean home can give your kids cancer

Keeping children cocooned in ultra-clean homes away from other youngsters could trigger childhood leukaemia, a landmark study suggests. A major new analysis by Britain’s leading leukaemia expert has concluded a deadly chain of events is set in motion when susceptible children are not exposed to enough bugs to prime their immune system at an early age. Without sufficient immunity, if vulnerable youngsters catch even a relatively harmless virus like flu, the immune system malfunctions creating far more infection-fighting white blood cells than needed, causing leukaemia. The most important implication is that most cases of childhood leukaemia are likely to be preventable, a researcher concluded. - © The Daily Telegraph

Google sued by 4.4m iPhone users

Google is facing a potential payout of up to £3.2bn over claims it collected data on millions of iPhone users, the search giant has revealed. The group representing iPhone users, known as Google You Owe Us, represents 4.4 million people in a class action law suit which is taking action against the tech company. The group told the court that data collected included race, physical and mental health, political leanings, sexuality, social class, financial, shopping habits and location data. Google said in court documents that the group think each individual could receive £750 (over R12,00) if the case is successful. However, potential damages are still to be determined. - © The Daily Telegraph

THE BUSINESS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Verimark wants to skedaddle offshore ... and that’s not all

Direct retailer feels heat from weaker rand as it can’t always pass on imported costs to local consumers

By Marc Hasenfuss
2 min read

Coronation’s crown a trifle wonky after Steinhoff wallop

R14bn down the Swanee for the giant fund manager, which has now jacked up its levels of scepticism

By Hanna Ziady
1 min read

Foundations look a bit soggy for construction sector

Government talks about R800bn being spent on infrastructure, but where in the blazes is it?

By Chris Gilmour
3 min read

LIFESTYLE

CULTURE COMES ALIVE

The poshest of French nosh washes up in sleepy KZN

Celebrating the Chaîne de Rôtisseurs in Zimbali

By Yasantha Naidoo
2 min read

Your hands-on guide to Venice ... and the Biennale

The architectural trends festival starts this weekend, but nobody needs an excuse to visit the Italian jewel

By Anne Hanley
3 min read

In a dry season: A view from above of Africa's water woes

Photographer Florian Wagner is raising awareness about the African water crisis

Claire Keeton
Journalist
2 min read

SPORT

FINISH LINE ESSENTIALS

SPORTS DAY: Hekkie’s back after handing out a belting

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

David Isaacson
Journalist
4 min read

Wow, what kind of mindless game is Luc Eymael playing?

Free State Stars coach’s insults raise doubts about his credentials to succeed in South Africa

Marc Strydom
Journalist
5 min read

Blasts from the past: Petelo makes the last straw count

Today in SA sports history: May 23

David Isaacson
Journalist
1 min read