Tuesday, August 14 2018

THE BIG STORIES

LEADING THE AGENDA

Analysis: Now that we're shorn of Shaun, these are Cyril's options

As Zuma gets a tongue-lashing from judges, Ramaphosa ponders who the new NPA head will be

Karyn Maughan
Journalist
4 min read

Study shock: Circumcised men have more HIV! Why?

Mpumalanga sample group goes against all previous studies and has researchers scratching their heads

Katharine Child
Journalist
4 min read

Don't mess with our initiation rites, say chiefs

Customary Initiation Bill consultations have just started, but already traditional leaders are fuming

Kgaugelo Masweneng
Journalist
3 min read

SMART NEWS

IN ONE TAKE

'Take a flying jump': hotels fume over bungee

V&A Waterfront hotels say new bungee towers will ruin guests' stay, but city says jumpers won't scream loudly

Philani Nombembe
Journalist
2 min read

Fury over ‘desecrated’ graves digs up memories of suffering

New protest stirs memories of the day a KZN farmer arrived on homesteader's doorstep with a bulldozer

Bongani Mthethwa
Journalist
3 min read

It might be a tiny sea snail, but that’s one hell of a shell

Periwinkles have a genetic trick that enables them to adapt remarkably quickly to their environment

Tanya Farber
Journalist
2 min read

It's no bum rap: it's hard to find a stand-up guy in SA

SA men are five times more likely than women to spend eight hours or more on their backsides every day

Dave Chambers
Cape Town bureau chief
2 min read

Virtual reality gives SA students a cutting edge

Soon students in a pioneering Cape Town varsity course will put on a headseat and 'operate' in VR

Tanya Farber
Journalist
3 min read

IDEAS

TO FEED YOUR MIND

There are good leaders. Pity none are in politics

As things stand, voting in SA is like chickens deciding which fox should guard the henhouse

Tom Eaton
Columnist
4 min read

Enough is enough: women killers deserve death

The number of women and children sexually violated in one year alone would fill Loftus Versfeld stadium

By Sipho Dibakwane
4 min read

CROSSWORDS

GIVE YOUR BRAIN SOME EXERCISE

Today's cryptic crossword

It's time to put your brain to work

1 min read

Today's quick crossword

How fast can you get it done?

1 min read

VISUAL SIDE


SNAPSHOT

A giant mural depicts Italian composer Ennio Morricone created under the auspices of the Greek Cultural Association Friends of Ennio Morricone's Music, in Larissa.
Re-face a wall A giant mural depicts Italian composer Ennio Morricone created under the auspices of the Greek Cultural Association Friends of Ennio Morricone's Music, in Larissa.
Image: Reuters/Giannis Floulis

Six things about SA you need to know

Rohde closes his case in murder trial

Murder-accused property mogul Jason Rohde closed the case for his defence on Monday. Pathologist Professor Gert Saayman and Rohde's lawyer, Daniel Witz, were scheduled to testify to bolster the millionaire's version of events that led to the death of his wife Susan at an upmarket estate outside Cape Town in July 2016. But his counsel, Graham van der Spuy, told the High Court in Cape Town: "In the circumstances‚ I have decided not to call any further witnesses. I close the case." Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe postponed the matter to November 6 for closing arguments. Rohde and Susan were married for more than 20 years at the time of her death. The state is convinced that he killed his wife at a company conference at Spier‚ near Stellenbosch. She was found dead with the cord of a hair iron around her neck behind a locked bathroom door.

Optimism as Western Cape dams half-full

Dam levels in the Western Cape have increased slightly over the past week‚ reaching an average level of 52%. This time last year, dam levels were at 29%. This is according to the province's minister of local government‚ environmental affairs and development planning‚ Anton Bredell, on Monday. The dams feeding the City of Cape Town were at 58%. However, of continuing concern was the situation in the Gouritz River catchment area, which includes large sections of the Karoo. The dam levels in that region are at an average of only 18%. The levels at the Algoa system‚ which supplies dams in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro - which includes Port Elizabeth - were described by the national water and sanitation department as perilous. The system was sitting at 19.3%.

Gautrain strike is over

The Gautrain strike has ended after two weeks‚ with operating company Bombela agreeing to give workers an 8% salary increase. The increase was backdated to July 15, said Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) spokesperson Dennis George. Full Gautrain services would resume on Wednesday‚ according to Bombela. In the interim a “reduced service” would operate. According to the wage agreement‚ workers who earned below R8‚500 a month would have their salaries brought up to R8‚500. There would also be an incentive bonus of R5,000, to be paid in December, and another bonus “linked to key performance areas of the company”, to be paid in July 2019. George said their members were happy with the offer. The strike started on July 30.

Experts caution against VAT zero rating

Government should stop tinkering with zero-rating of the VAT system and rather focus on regulating food prices and increasing wages and social grants. This is according to Julie Smith‚ founder of the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group‚ who says the food crisis is much bigger than simply tinkering around with zero rating. "Households don’t have enough money to put food on the table‚ which is leading to a massive health crisis. We need to look beyond the VAT angle to see how we can make food more affordable‚" said Smith. She was responding to the release on Friday of a report that recommended zero-rating items including white bread‚ bread flour‚ cake flour‚ sanitary products‚ school uniforms and nappies. Professor Raymond Parsons from the North West University Business School said the “acid test” would be the affordability of the recommendations.

CEO positions 'remain closed for SA women'

The number of female leaders at SA’s top companies remained exactly the same as it was in 2015 and had even dropped since 2012‚ new research showed. This is despite SA’s push for gender transformation in senior positions. A recent report showed there had been moderate progress in gender transformation at executive level‚ but none at CEO level. The research was conducted by search firm Jack Hammer for its annual publication. This year‚ research focused on the management make-up of SA’s Top 40 listed companies‚ as well as a random selection of 40 large- to-medium-sized organisations with offices in SA (the Broad 40). This year’s research showed that among SA’s Top 40 companies there was only one female CEO, Maria Ramos of Absa. This is a drop from 2012’s research‚ when there were two female CEOs.

ANC calls for suspension of Tshwane city manager

The ANC in Gauteng has called for the immediate suspension of Tshwane municipal manager Moeketsi Mosola pending the outcome of a forensic investigation into the awarding of a multibillion-rand project management contract. The ANC in Gauteng said on Monday it was "appalled‚ disgusted but not surprised" by the DA-led coalition "showing their true colours in the City of Tshwane". This comes after the Sunday Times reported that an engineering consultancy‚ GladAfrica‚ was bleeding the city dry after being handed infrastructure projects worth about R12-billion‚ as well as raking in a further R250-million in middleman commissions in the past six months. Mosola is said to have brought the firm in despite legal opinions suggesting that doing so was unlawful. The ANC called for Mosola to be charged.

THE WORLD

THE NEWS YOU DON'T NORMALLY GET TO HEAR

Trump is 'declining mentally and can't process complex information'

Former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman says Americans are being kept in the dark about president’s mental decline

By Julie Allen
3 min read

He was kind and gentle, say death-crash joyrider's family

As questions hang over Richard 'Beebo' Russell's plane stunt, his 'stunned and heartbroken' family speak out

By Julie Allen
1 min read

Beatles' old ashram on a long and winding road back from ruin

Fifty years after the Fab Four went to India, the bungalows where they lived have been restored

By AFP
4 min read

Well, stone the crows - park uses clever rooks as cleaners

It's hardly a surprise seeing they're as clever as a seven-year-old child

By David Chazan
2 min read

SNAPSHOT

Residents look at a sacrificial cow as it is descended from a rooftop with the help of a crane in Karachi, Pakistan.
Poor thing Residents look at a sacrificial cow as it is descended from a rooftop with the help of a crane in Karachi, Pakistan.
Image: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro

SIX THINGS ABOUT THE WORLD YOU NEED TO KNOW

Swedes prefer to be udder arrest

When Alfred’s chores on the farm are done, he won’t be going home, he’ll be returning to his prison cell. In Sweden, which prioritises rehabilitation over long prison sentences, he is one of 60 inmates preparing to reintegrate into society at a minimum security “open prison” functioning as a farm in the town of Mariestad, about 300km from Stockholm. Imprisoned since April for illegally possessing a gun, Alfred, a grandfather in his 50s who is due to be released in November, says the cows calm him. The agricultural prison he is in, Rodjan, is the biggest of the Swedish penitentiary system’s three farms. Inmates meet their work assignment partners in the morning for two and a half hours of work, and again in the evening. Besides milking they water plants, repaint the gates, and mow the lawn. A dozen are in charge of the livestock. - AFP

Million captive Uighurs? What do you mean?

China has rejected allegations raised by a UN panel that one million Uighurs may be held in internment camps in the Xinjiang autonomous region. Gay McDougall, of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, said on Friday it had received many credible reports that one million ethnic Uighurs in China are being held in what resembles a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy, a sort of no-rights zone”. China’s delegation replied it has clamped down on “extremist and terrorist crimes” in Xinjiang in accordance with the law, and does not target any particular ethnic minority or seek “de-Islamisation” of the far western region. “Those deceived by religious extremism … shall be assisted by resettlement and re-education,” it added. - Reuters

Almighty crackdown on ‘cult’

A Chinese court has begun proceedings against leading members of the banned religious group, state media reported, the latest crackdown on what the government has labelled a dangerous cult. China has already sentenced dozens of followers of Quannengshen, or the Church of Almighty God, since the murder of a woman at a fast-food restaurant by suspected members of the group in 2014 sparked a national outcry. In the latest case, an unspecified number of members have been on trial since July 31, state news agency Xinhua said. It provided no other details, while the group could not be reached for comment. The group, which originated in central Henan province, believes Jesus was resurrected as Yang Xiangbin, wife of the sect’s founder, Zhao Weishan, Xinhua said. Zhao is also known as Xu Wenshan, Xinhua said, adding that the couple fled to the US in 2000. – Reuters

Peeping Toms get off, unless they’re women

A South Korean court has slapped a woman with a rare jail term for secretly photographing a male nude model, in a case that sparked controversy over double standards. South Korea’s surging epidemic of "molka" or spycam videos, which largely involve men secretly filming women in schools, offices, trains, toilets, changing rooms and on the street. Many share or sell photos and videos online. According to official statistics about 98% of offenders are men - from teachers and professors to church pastors and police - while more than 80% of victims are women. But in the latest case the woman in her 20s was sentenced to 10 months for taking a picture of her male art college counterpart and sharing it online. She was arrested days later and paraded in front of TV cameras while police raided her home for evidence. State data shows only 8.7% of high-tech peeping Toms are jailed on their first conviction, with most only fined or receiving suspended terms. – © The Daily Telegraph

Orca mum finally lets dead calf go

Researchers say an endangered killer whale that drew international attention as she carried her dead calf on her head for more than two weeks is finally back to feeding and frolicking with her pod. The Center for Whale Research in Washington state says it watched the orca, known as J35, chase a school of salmon in Haro Strait west of San Juan Island on Saturday. The whales have been struggling because of a lack of salmon, and J35's calf died soon after birth on July 24. The mother carried the baby for at least 17 days, in an image of grief that struck an emotional chord worldwide. She finally abandoned the carcass as it decomposed. – © The Daily Telegraph

French peed off by eco urinals

A new set of eco-friendly but completely exposed urinals deployed on the streets of Paris are provoking uproar from locals. One of the bright-red “urinoirs” on the Ile Saint-Louis, not far from Notre Dame cathedral and overlooking tourist boats on the Seine, has caused particular indignation. Locals have written to the town hall to demand its removal and are planning a petition. One resident feared the urinal, which is about 20m from a primary school, “incites exhibitionism“. The designer of the “Uritrottoir” (a combination of the French words for urinal and pavement) said it offered an “eco solution to public peeing“. It is essentially a box with an opening in the front and a floral display on top, containing straw that transforms into compost for use in parks and gardens. But locals said the receptacle, with no stall around it of any kind, could blight their ultra-chic neighbourhood. - Reuters

THE BUSINESS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

It’s debt simple: Getting into the red will eat up our kids

We must teach them young: unsecured, consumption-driven personal debt is the real cancer of finance

By Mark Barnes
4 min read

Who would bet on banks right now? Well, it’s not a bad shout

The JSE banking index has fallen 6.6% this year, but there are surprisingly strong hopes for a recovery

By Maarten Mittner
1 min read

Hedge of the seat stuff as rand selloff sparks insurance talk

Gold miners may well take advantage of the weaker currency with bets to protect themselves for the future

By Allan Seccombe
1 min read

Govt well on its way to wiping out an entire industrial sector

‘With no restoration of stability and sanity to economic policy, the listed construction sector could go to zero’

By Siseko Njobeni
2 min read

LIFESTYLE

CULTURE COMES ALIVE

Inside VS Naipaul’s life of slap and tickle (and more slaps)

Plus new shades put on history and Jimmy Page’s soiled back pages from when Led Zeppelin ruled rock ’n’ roll

By Andrew Donaldson
5 min read

A bid on the side: Learn the art of being good at auctions

Serious art collectors know their passion can churn cash

By Yazeed Kamaldien
5 min read

Read the book? Now see the movie ... and vice versa

A glut of great films based on novels and memoirs

By Jennifer Platt
3 min read

SPORT

FINISH LINE ESSENTIALS

SPORTS DAY: Europe should be saying ‘send us the Billiat’

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

David Isaacson
Journalist
4 min read

How a ‘running giraffe’ found winning life in the pool

Erin Gallagher can't run to save her life, but has just notched up four world champs qualifying times

David Isaacson
Journalist
2 min read

Blasts from the past: Wayde smashes 400m Games record

Today in SA sports history: August 14

David Isaacson
Journalist
1 min read