Thursday, October 25 2018



How the ‘hatman’ helped cops unearth Islamic State terror cell in SA

Burundian a key figure in nabbing 12 accused in Verulam mosque attack and bomb attacks case

Jeff Wicks
3 min read

VAT did he say? Here's how to see past the budget smoke and mirrors

Here are some jargon-busting pointers for the next medium-term budget policy statement

Tom Eaton
2 min read

Poor old Tito, poor old us: The budget had no room to wiggle

The medium-term budget policy statement was hard to swallow and it doesn’t taste good

By Carol Paton
6 min read



‘I accept guilt’: Hannah murder accused buckles

Geraldo Parsons's chuckles soon disappeared under relentless cross-examination

Aron Hyman
9 min read

Double murder rap for banker after cops’ chance discovery

Enzo Pietropaolo now charged with killing his wife and dad after ballistics test throws up unsolved case

Belinda Pheto
1 min read

DNA mimicry might just do the trick for HIV vaccine

The idea is to fool the body into thinking it has been infected - and trial results look very promising

3 min read

Tsek, jou tsetse: little bloodsuckers feel the heat

Rising temperatures could spell the end of the pesky flies that cause sleeping sickness

2 min read

Fireworks give you a ruff time? Irie does it for us, dawg

Reggae and soft rock are most likely to soothe frightened pets, say researchers

3 min read



It's time we ditched our apartheid and tribal instincts

We need a symbolic politics that names and acclaims all people as citizens, not as races

4 min read

Journo killing: Never mind Saudi sensibilities, give us his body

We mustn't let Saudi Arabia off the hook on this - and the US and UK must lead the way

By Boris Johnson
5 min read

In post-Khashoggi Saudi Arabia, global business fills a moral void

The sound of silence is being broken as western executives shun the kingdom's 'Davos in the Desert'

By Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Roya Hakakian
6 min read



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


Six things about SA you need to know

Racist Kessie Nair set for fresh bail bid

Convicted fraudster and race-rant accused Kessie Nair is expected to launch a fresh bid for bail - and wants magistrate Ncumisa Gcolotela to recuse herself. Attorney Chris Gounden‚ for Nair‚ told the Verulam Magistrate’s Court they were poised to bring another bail application based “on new facts”. They would apply to have Gcolotela recuse herself so the application can be heard by another magistrate. Nair faces multiple charges of crimen injuria and incitement to commit violence after calling President Cyril Ramaphosa the k-word in a Facebook video he posted. Last week, Gcolotela denied Nair’s bail application. In her ruling she accused him of using the dock as a soapbox from which to further defame a long list of people. The matter was adjourned to October 30 so Gounden could furnish the state with his new facts.

Suspected arson leads to Midrand power cuts

Suburbs around Midrand have been hit by power cuts after a suspected arson attack‚ Johannesburg City Power said on Wednesday. "Mayibuye‚ Phomolong‚ Commercia and Rabie Ridge are today still affected by unplanned power outage which occurred when Neutral and Earth Combination transformers tripped at Allandale substation last night due to same transformers allegedly set on fire on the Eskom side. The fiery incident resulted in a blackout that affected the aforesaid City Power areas of supply‚" City Power said. It was speculated that Eskom would have to install new transformers, cables and insulators. It was not immediately known how long the areas would be without power.

‘It’s hell,’ says widower of Krugersdorp murder victim

Andre Lategan wept as he told the South Gauteng High Court how his wife was killed three months after they had remarried. Lategan and his wife, Hanle, had been married for 33 years before divorcing and remarrying. She was found dead in May 2016. Eleven people were murdered over a four-year period on the West Rand. The accused are Cecilia Steyn‚ 37‚ Zac Valentine‚ 33‚ and Marcel Steyn‚ 20. They have pleaded not guilty to 32 counts‚ including murder‚ robbery with aggravating circumstances and fraud. On Wednesday‚ Lategan said his wife disappeared after she left for work. Her car was found later that evening, but her body was discovered somewhere else the next day. “I wake up every day and ask myself, ‘Is this the way life is going to be?’ It's hell‚” Lategan said‚ crying uncontrollably. His was one of three testimonies on Wednesday. The trial continues.

Eight rhino poachers arrested in Kruger

Eight rhino poachers were arrested in the Kruger National Park on Tuesday. SANParks spokesperson Isaac Phaahla said they were arrested during counter-poaching operations inside the park. “During the operations three heavy-calibre hunting rifles‚ ammunition as well as various other poaching-related equipment were recovered. The rhino poaching-related arrests took place in three different sections of the park and were a joint effort by the SANParks rangers‚ special rangers‚ and K9 and air support units,” he said. According to the Environmental Affairs Department, 508 rhino were poached across the country between January 1 and August 31, 292 of which were in the Kruger Park.

School burnt‚ teacher assaulted in matric rampage

Disgruntled Grade 12 pupils are suspected to have been involved in the torching of an administration block and classrooms at the Ndaliso Senior Secondary School in Flagstaff‚ the Eastern Cape education department said on Wednesday. The fire was started on Tuesday night‚ said spokesperson Mali Mtima. "The burning of the administration block follows a protest by the school's Grade 12 progressed learners‚ who were demanding to write all the subjects, despite advice from the department to write some this year and the remainder next year‚ as they are part of the ‘multiple examination opportunity’ candidates‚" said Mtima. There are 358 pupils registered to write exams at the school‚ 350 of whom were scheduled to write their English paper on Tuesday. None did because of the protest. It is unclear whether they will be allowed to rewrite the exam.

Hospital ‘cash for jobs’ probe almost done

Gauteng’s health department has conducted disciplinary hearings for 111 cases involving a “cash for jobs” scam at the Bheki Mlangeni District Hospital in Soweto. DA Gauteng health spokesperson Jack Bloom said this was revealed by Gauteng health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in an oral reply to his questions in the Gauteng Legislature on Tuesday. Ramokgopa‚ in her response‚ divulged that trade unions had helped to uncover the scam and it had been handed over to the Hawks for investigation. The department began its probe in 2017. Bloom said cases had also been opened with the police for employees who had extorted money under the false pretence that they could secure jobs for people at the hospital. “All but eight of the 111 cases have been finalised - resulting in various periods of suspension for 98 employees‚ one demotion‚ some dismissals and a resignation‚” said Bloom.
China Vice-President Wang Qishan during a ceremony in Jerusalem, commemorating the Jews killed in the Holocaust.
THIS IS HOW YOU DENY CHINA’S MUSLIM PRISON CAMPS China Vice-President Wang Qishan during a ceremony in Jerusalem, commemorating the Jews killed in the Holocaust.
Image: Gali Tibbon/Pool via Reuters


EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu was greeted with chants of, “Pay back the money,” in parliament on Wednesday as MPs debated the VBS Mutual Bank report titled The Great Bank Heist, which implicated his brother Brian.


The news you don't normally get to hear

Making America hate again: voters fume about everything

Anger is dominating public discourse on the right and the left, which will drive more people to the polls

By Chris Kahn and Grant Smith
5 min read

China bares ‘wolf’s teeth’ with Muslim detention camps

They are branded as re-education centres, but the purchase of pepper spray and batons suggest otherwise

6 min read

Gag reflex: UK court slams a lid on another MeToo scandal

Top businessman gets injunction preventing newspaper from printing sexual harassment claims

By Claire Newell
5 min read

Unfathomable treasure: oldest intact shipwreck found

The Greek vessel, which may contain treasures of the classical world, has sat on seabed for 2,400 years

By Sarah Knapton
3 min read



Basically, Trump said he could be a dick

A man arrested for allegedly groping a woman’s breasts while travelling on a plane told police that US President Donald Trump says it is OK to touch women’s private parts. Trump once bragged that he could touch women’s genitals and get away with it because he is famous. On a flight on Sunday from Houston to Albuquerque, the woman was dozing when she was awakened by a hand reaching from the seat behind her and touching her right breast. She thought it was an accident but it happened again 30 minutes later. A man was arrested after the plane landed. After he was handcuffed, he ‘stated that the president of the US says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts’, according to the complaint. In 2016 audio tape emerged in which Trump is heard saying, ‘when you’re a star, they let you do it. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.’ — AFP

The definition of ‘going nowhere fast’

A US company plans to start building an ultra-fast hyperloop track for Abu Dhabi’s transport system in 2019. Hyperloops use magnets to levitate pods inside an airless tube, creating conditions in which the pods can shuttle people and freight at speeds of up to (1,200km/h. The technology, which has not been used commercially, is proposed as a replacement to existing rail infrastructure. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies did not disclose the size of investment. It signed a contract with Abu Dhabi’s state-controlled Aldar Properties in April to build a 10km track near the border with Dubai, which is backing rival Virgin Hyperloop One to build the futuristic transport system. — Reuters

What’ll he do this time — detonate the rat?

Paris auction house Artcurial held its breath on Wednesday ahead of the sale of four works by Banksy, unsure what to expect following the enigmatic artist’s shredding of a painting just moments after it went under the hammer. Artcurial said security would be tight and that no hidden shredding devices appeared to be concealed in the frames — but with Banksy, you just never know. The artist whose identity is known to only a handful of friends, caused a sensation this month when one of his paintings began shredding itself, just after selling for $1.4m in London. Experts say ‘Girl with Balloon’ is now probably worth even more because the stunt created such a massive media stir. The Artcurial sale includes three silkscreens by Banksy as well as a plastic statuette of a rat holding a paintbrush. — AFP

Thanks, but we’ll take a chance on our own

It’s one of the biggest bets going in the world of cars. Since May, General Motors and its Cruise self-driving car unit have landed $5bn in investment commitments from Japan’s SoftBank and Honda to develop a robot taxi service that could safely navigate the city streets of San Francisco by the end of next year — putting it ahead Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving car unit, Uber and Lyft. Those expectations are now hitting speed bumps because of the difficulty that Cruise cars have identifying whether objects are in motion. The problem is that the vehicles hesitate and stop while passing a row of parked motorcycles or bicycles. At times, the software has failed to recognise pedestrians, and has mistakenly seen phantom bicycles, causing the cars to brake erratically. Neither have the cars been trained to respond to fire truck sirens. — Reuters

Ja, told you to just buy an old Nokia

Italy’s competition authority is fining Apple and Samsung €10m and €5m respectively for the ‘planned obsolescence’ of their smartphones. The ruling is believed to be the first against the manufacturers following accusations worldwide that they encourage operating system updates for older phones which slow them down, thereby encouraging the purchase of new phones. An investigation revealed that ‘Apple and Samsung implemented dishonest commercial practices’. Operating system updates ‘caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance, thus accelerating phones’ substitution’. Samsung told owners of its Note 4 phone to instal a new version of Google’s Android operating system intended for the more recent Note 7 but which rendered the old model sluggish. Likewise, Apple told iPhone 6 owners to instal an operating system designed for the iPhone 7, leading to problems for owners of the older model. — AFP

Bet she’ll stay in her job but have a nice holiday

A single winning ticket holder in South Carolina has been identified in the record-setting $1.6bn Mega Millions lottery jackpot. It is not only a US record but a worldwide lottery record. The six winning numbers drawn on Tuesday night were 5, 28, 62, 65, 70 and 5 again as the special Mega Ball. The record jackpot had set off a frenzy across the US, with people lining up to buy a $2 ticket that gave them a roughly one in 300 million chance of winning. The winner can take $913m in a lump sum cash payment or the whole pile in annuities over 29 years. The jackpot got so big because no one had won since July, when a group of office workers in California shared $543m. In this latest draw there were 36 second prizes worth $1m each — people who got the first five numbers right but not the Mega Ball. — AFP
Donald Trump speaks during a bill signing event for ‘America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018’ at the White House.
THE HAIR GAVE HIM AWAY Donald Trump speaks during a bill signing event for ‘America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018’ at the White House.
Image: Reuters/Leah Millis



Winston, lose some: Inside the enigmatic riddle of Naspers

As Churchill would say, success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm

By Tim Cohen
5 min read

Exec pay: Trencor investors cannot contain themselves

Shareholders expressed their extreme frustration at the group’s dismal long-term performance

By Ann Crotty
1 min read

Choppies faces the chop if results aren’t out chop-chop

JSE listing in jeopardy because financials were due on September 30 and there is no sign of them yet

By Siseko Njobeni
1 min read



‘The most beautiful girl in the world’: Who are they kidding?

Thylane Blondeau is all grown up (well, nearly; she’ll be 18 next year) ... and she has 2.4m Instagram acolytes

By Rosa Silverman
6 min read

Marie Claire may be on its last legs, but long live magazines

Like a fabulous meal and the best kind of stimulating dinner party conversation all in one delicious package

3 min read

Beating a durum for pasta: Make sure it’s a firm favourite

Thursday is International Pasta Day. Here’s how to produce the perfect al dente dish 

By Hilary Biller
1 min read



SPORTS DAY: Solinas wants respect, not trash-talking

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

David Isaacson
4 min read

You can bet your life that corruption is part of the game

Fixing has been a part of cricket for more than 200 years and is crucial to its growth and prosperity

Telford Vice
7 min read

Blasts from the past: Siestog ou Gerrie, Mike was too good

Today in SA sports history: October 25

David Isaacson
1 min read