Putin hops in the driver’s seat of rap music
Vladimir Putin says attempts to shut down rap music were counterproductive and that an alternative approach is needed. It marks a surprising softening towards an art form at odds with Putin’s professed aim of restoring traditional values. In recent weeks, concert cancellations by venue owners and local authorities have been reported across the country. – The Daily Telegraph
Lovestruck ‘spy’ released and returned home
An Indian man who spent years in jail for spying after travelling to meet a woman in Pakistan will return home. Hamid Nehal Ansari illegally entered Pakistan in 2012, and was convicted for spying and forging documents in 2015. He told officials he came to the country to see a girl he met on Facebook. Police had waited for him at the woman’s house and arrested him. – AFP
Berlin’s crime ‘clans’ target Arab refugees
Infamous Arab gangs in Berlin, the ‘clans’, have been recruiting newly arrived refugees. The clans have long controlled much of the city’s illegal drug trade, street prostitution and protection rackets. Police warn the clans have targeted members from among the more than one million asylum seekers who have arrived since 2015. The migrant wave that peaked three years ago sparked a xenophobic backlash in Germany, and thrown a new focus on the clans. – AFP
Have yourself a merry little hiss-mas
It wasn’t just presents under the Christmas tree for an Ixopo family on KwaZulu-Natal's south coast who happened upon a slithery squatter that had settled in among the branches. Nicholas Campbell said his girlfriend had been decorating the tree when she inadvertently grabbed what turned out to be a Western Natal green snake. "She grabbed it and it tried to bite her. She screamed and while trying to run away she slipped and fell on her bum in the middle of the dining room. We tried to coral the snake and it moved around the house and then again took refuge in the tree, and that is where it remains. Now that I know that its harmless I think we’ll just leave it.” Durban snake handler Tyrone Ping said the snake was common in southern KZN and wasn’t dangerous.
Ekurhuleni pools closed for festive season
The City of Ekurhuleni says all of its community swimming pools will be closed from Friday until early in 2019. Mayoral committee member for community services Dora Mlambo said the decision had been taken by the council. "The swimming pools will be closed due to the limited number of officials, including lifeguards, available during this time, as most have taken leave," said Mlambo. "As such, this may pose a challenge in adhering to basic health and safety requirements at the facilities." She said the city acknowledged the inconvenience due to the closure but added that the health and safety of bathers was the city’s first priority. The pools will close at 6pm on Friday and reopen January 2 2019.
Rewritten history curriculum on cards
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga has approved the reappointment of a ministerial task team to amend the history curriculum at SA schools. The team was appointed to make the curriculum more "Afrocentric and relevant" to the country's pupils. This was one of the key recommendations from the task team report released in December 2017 which recommended that the curricula of grades 4-12 be overhauled. The team's responsibilities included: developing a new history curriculum from grades 4-12, conducting provincial consultation in the education sector and obtaining inputs into the new history curriculum. Other responsibilities included screening textbooks to ensure alignments with the new curriculum and to propose history teacher development programmes.