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Italian PM Matteo Renzi visits Mozambique

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza met in Maputo on Saturday with the visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, testifying the friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries.

It is the first time that an Italian Prime Minister visited the southern African country since its independence in 1975.

During his stay in Maputo, the Italian Prime Minister also held meetings with politicians, business figures and members of the Italian community living in Mozambique.

In May, a large Italian business delegation visited the country accompanied by deputy minister of foreign affairs Lapo Pistelli and deputy minister of economic development Carlo Calenda, who led a team of about 100 businessmen to identify business and investment opportunities in Mozambique.

It is reported that commercial exchanges between Italy and Mozambique increased 28 percent in 2013.

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S. Africa says establishment of new bank by BRICS good news for Africa

The South African government on Thursday welcomed the establishment of the BRICS Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) as good news for the country and African continent.

The South African Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene made the remarks while addressing the media in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Talking about the establishment of the two, Nene noted it "is a significant milestone for developing countries."

"South Africa will host the first regional center of the bank, which is a significant development, not just for our country but for the continent as a whole," Nene noted.

"The regional center will open concurrently with the Headquarters before the first loan gets disbursed," added the minister.

The Minister also explained that the bank would assist in infrastructural development, which is hampering economic development in the Sub Saharan Africa.

"The Bank will mobilize resources for infrastructure investment and sustainable development projects. These include transformational infrastructure projects that allow the region to take forward its regional integration agenda," said Nene.

"What is unique about this Bank is that it is established by developing countries who understand development challenges and have demonstrated their ability to tackle such challenges. We are very excited about this development and more so what it means for the South Africa and the Continent as a whole," he said.

The Bank will have an authorized capital of up to 100 billion U. S. dollars and a subscribed capital of 50 billion U.S. dollars.

"The Bank will cooperate closely with other development partners and International Financial Institutions. It will complement the efforts of existing International Financial Institutions and also be an alternative source of financing for the global development challenges of our age," the official said.

He noted that the establishing of a Contingent Reserve Arrangement is "safety net" that will address short term balance of payments that BRICS members might be facing. CRA is a pool of foreign reserves of a 100 billion U.S. dollars.

South Africa would contribute 5 billion U.S. dollars, Brazil Russia and India will contribute 18 billion U.S. dollars each and China will contribute 41 billion U.S. dollars. If any country faces financial crisis it would be assisted with money from the pool.

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Hong Kong bound South African plane hits turbulence, 20 injured

At least 20 people were injured when a passenger jet from South Africa to Hong Kong hit "severe" turbulence on Wednesday with two men seriously hurt, officials in the southern Chinese city said.

Local television images showed ambulances on the tarmac at Hong Kong's airport taking away the injured, who were on a South African Airways jet from Johannesburg which landed at around 12:30 pm (0430 GMT).

Hong Kong airport authorities said they were notified by the plane's captain at 11:00 am that they would need help from emergency services when they came into land.

Passengers told local media of the mid-air drama with one describing it as "like the end of the world".

Hong Kong authorities said 20 of those on board had been treated in hospital with six moderately injured and 12 slightly injured.

The airline said 25 of the 165 passengers, as well as three crew, had been hurt when the flight "experienced severe turbulence".

"SAA requested medical and trauma assistance which are now attending to the passengers and crew," the statement added.

Details of the injuries were not immediately known.

"There was a plane that flew in from South Africa that saw multiple passengers injured when it encountered turbulence," a Hong Kong police spokeswoman told AFP.

The incident took place in Malaysian airspace, before the plane landed safely in Hong Kong at around 12:30 pm (0430 GMT), a Civil Aviation Department spokeswoman said.

SAA said that it had occurred over Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur and confirmed a safe landing.

"It was like the end of the world," David Mkumbuje a passenger who was on a business trip told the South China Morning Post.

Mkumbuje, who had bumped and scratched his head, said the worst of the turbulence lasted several minutes.

"Most of the injured hit their heads on the roof of the cabin," passenger Brian Heuer told the Post, adding that many were sleeping when the turbulence hit.

Hong Kong airport authorities said they were notified by the plane's captain at 11:00 am that they would need help from emergency services when they came in to land.

An online flight tracking system said the plane was a four-engined Airbus A340-300.

South African Airways is the country's national carrier and one of the continent's leading airlines.

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Zimbabwe new law: Gun owners in dilemma over killing in defense of property

While the new constitution guarantees more civil liberties for Zimbabwean citizens, it has also brought new challenges to previously non-criminal issues such as owners shooting to kill intruders in defense of their property.

Property owners now find themselves in a dilemma over how they have to deal with situations of dangerous criminals invading their homes and being unable to fire at them, lest they kill them and end up answering murder charges in the courts of law.

The new constitution, which came into effect last year, does not allow "justifiable homicide", giving all the powers to terminate life to the courts.

Even the police have been disarmed by the new law and want Parliament to amend the new constitution to allow "justifiable homicide", which involves killing of criminals in self-defense or while protecting other people, as the old constitution did. They argue that the new law gives offenders more rights compared to the victims.

Section 48 of the new constitution says every person has the right to life and that the law may permit the death penalty to be imposed only on a person convicted of murder committed in aggravating circumstances.

Many gun owners disagree with the new law as armed robbery has increased by nearly 40 percent across the country since the beginning of this year.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said they had recorded 316 cases of armed robbery between January and May 2014, compared to 230 cases received during the same period in 2013. "I might as well hand over my gun. If I cannot defend myself when robbers break into my house then I have no need for it," said one gun owner who declined to be named.

However, there have been no reported cases yet of civilians shooting intruders in defense of life and property since the new constitution became the supreme law.

Police assistant commissioner Takawira Nzombe told the parliament earlier this month that the new law was an impediment to police operations as it protected criminals and left victims at their mercy.

He argued that the way the law was crafted outlawed killing in self-defense or protecting family and only gave the courts the right to allow killing of an individual. "As citizens are we allowing ourselves as a country to say those who do not obey the law are given more rights than the law-abiding citizens," he said.

He appealed to Parliament to re-examine the section with a view to amending it so that the police and ordinary citizens could defend their families and property from criminals, otherwise they would be accused of murder if they killed in those circumstances.

The police proposal has, however, been met with mixed sentiments, with some lawyers suggesting that the new law was good and did not allow the police to just pursue and kill robbers outside the judicial process.

"The drafters of the constitution did the right thing," said top criminal lawyer Jonathan Samukange. "How can you ask to be allowed to kill? What the constitution says is that only the courts are allowed to discipline people."

He told local media that in the event of a killing, it was up to the courts to determine whether the person had done it in self- defense or aggravating circumstances.

Police and judicial inquests are held when circumstances leading to the death of a person are not clear.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change official Lilian Timveos also dismissed the police proposal as she believed that the new law could stop the police from abusing their power.

"Shoot-to-kill policies simply lead to cycles of violence and vengeance which Zimbabwe cannot afford or allow," she said.

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Anti-apartheid author and Nobel prize winner Nadine Gordimer dies at 90

South African Nobel Prize-winning author Nadine Gordimer, an unwavering moralist who became one of the most powerful voices against the injustice of apartheid, has died at the age of 90, her family said on Monday.
 
Gordimer, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991, died at her Johannesburg home on Sunday evening in the presence of her children, Hugo and Oriane, a statement from the family said.
 
"She cared most deeply about South Africa, its culture, its people and its ongoing struggle to realize its new democracy."
 
Regarded by many as South Africa's leading writer, Gordimer published novels and short stories steeped in the drama of human life and emotion of a society warped by decades of white-minority rule.
 
Many of her stories dealt with the themes of love, hate and friendship under the pressures of the racially segregated system that ended in 1994, when Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president.
 
A member of Mandela's African National Congress (ANC), which was banned under apartheid, Gordimer used her pen to battle against the inequality of white rule for decades, earning her the enmity of sections of the establishment.
 
Some of her novels, such as “"A World of Strangers" and "“Burger's Daughter", were banned by the apartheid authorities.
 
But Gordimer, a petite figure with a crystal-clear gaze, did not restrict her writing to a damning indictment of apartheid. She cut through the web of human hypocrisy and deceit wherever she found it.
 
"“I cannot simply damn apartheid when there is human injustice to be found everywhere else," she told Reuters shortly before winning her Nobel prize.
 
In later years, she became a vocal campaigner in the HIV/AIDS movement, lobbying and fund-raising on behalf of the Treatment Action Campaign, a group pushing for the South African government to provide free, life-saving drugs to sufferers.
 
Nor did she shy away from criticising the ANC under current President Jacob Zuma, expressing her opposition to a proposed law which limits the publication of information deemed sensitive by the government.
 
"The reintroduction of censorship is unthinkable when you think how people suffered to get rid of censorship in all its forms," she said last month.
 
The ANC responded to her death by describing Gordimer as an "unmatched literary giant whose life's work was our mirror and an unending quest for humanity".
 
"WHITE AFRICAN"
 
The daughter of a Lithuanian Jewish watchmaker, Gordimer started writing in earnest at the age of nine.
 
A lonely childhood triggered an intense study of the ordinary people around her, especially the customers in her father's jewellery shop and the migrant black workers in her native East Rand outside Johannesburg.
 
A teenage naivety was eventually replaced by a sense of rebellion and as her talent and reading public grew, her liberal leanings earned her the reputation of a radical.
 
Eventually the government censors clamped down and banned three of her works in the 1960s and 1970s, despite her growing prestige abroad and her acceptance as one of the foremost authors in the English language.
 
The first book to be banned was “"A World of Strangers", the story of an apolitical Briton drifting into friendships with black South Africans and uncovering the schizophrenia of living in segregated Johannesburg in the 1950s.
 
In 1979, "“Burger's Daughter" was banished from the shelves for its portrayal of a woman's attempt to establish her own identity after her father's death in jail makes him a political hero.
 
Despite Gordimer's place in the international elite, she maintained a passionate concern for those struggling at the bottom of South Africa's literary heap.
 
“"It humbles me to see someone sitting in the corner of a township shack he shares with 10 others, trying to write in the most impossible of conditions," she said.
 
Gordimer also remained proud of her heritage despite her hatred of apartheid and only once considered emigrating - to nearby Zambia.
 
“"Then I discovered the truth, which was that in Zambia I was regarded by black friends as a European, a stranger," she said. "It is only here that I can be what I am: a white African."

 

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Zambia releases photos of Sata chairing cabinet to quell illness talk

Zambia released photographs of President Michael Sata chairing a cabinet meeting on Monday, allaying speculation that the 77-year-old leader was critically ill.

An Israeli official told Reuters on June 26 that Sata was receiving medical treatment in Israel but did not give details on his condition.

Sata's spokesperson emailed the photos to the press on Monday. Sata also posted the same photographs and a statement on his Facebook page. His previous post had been five weeks ago, fuelling talk of his ill health because the page was updated at least once a week before then.

"I am determined to ensure that our government scales up interventions aimed at accelerating rural development in order to improve the people's living standards," Sata said in his statement on Facebook.

He returned from Israel last weekened and celebrated his 77th birthday with friends and family on Sunday, the the state-owned Zambia Daily Mail newspaper reported, citing a family spokesman.

The last time Sata was seen in public was on June 19, the day before he left for Israel, when state television showed him meeting visiting Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao.

Sata suffered a heart attack in 2008 and his opponents said he collapsed during a six-week election campaign in 2011, claims the president denied.

Before his victory that year, Sata had contested and lost presidential elections in 2001, 2006 and 2008.

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South Africa delays 'Prime Evil' parole decision

 
South Africa has delayed making a politically sensitive parole decision for apartheid death-squad leader Eugene de Kock, dubbed "Prime Evil" for torturing and murdering black activists in the 1980s and early 1990s.
 
Justice Minister Michael Masutha told a news conference that Eugene de Kock, who has become eligible for parole after 20 years behind bars, had "made progress" towards rehabilitation, but said the families of his victims had not been properly consulted.
 
Masutha committed to making a final decision within a year.
 
Whatever the ultimate outcome, it is likely to be highly contentious in a country still dealing with the legacy of repression and brutality meted out by the white-minority administration that prevailed from 1948 to 1994.
 
As head of an apartheid counter-insurgency unit at Vlakplaas, a farm 20km west of Pretoria, de Kock is believed to have been responsible for more atrocities than any other man in the efforts to preserve white rule.
 
Arrested in 1994, the year Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC) came to power, he was sentenced two years later to 212 years in prison on charges ranging from murder and attempted murder to kidnapping and fraud.
 
However, at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up in 1995 to try to unearth - and, in some cases, forgive - crimes committed by both sides, de Kock came clean about the killing of many ANC activists.
 
The information allowed police to recover the remains of victims and allowed them to receive a proper burial.
 
Even from behind bars in Pretoria's C-Max high security prison, de Kock has continued to cast his shadow over the post-apartheid South Africa.
 
Expressed sorrow
 
In a 2007 radio interview, he accused FW de Klerk, South Africa's last white president, of having hands "soaked in blood" for ordering political killings. De Klerk, who won the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Mandela, has denied the allegations.
 
De Kock has also expressed sorrow at his actions, fuelling a belief among some that he is remorseful - an important factor in any parole decision. Two years ago, he wrote to the mother of ANC lawyer Bheki Mlangeni, who was killed by a bomb in 1991, asking for her forgiveness.
 
"Your forgiveness will mean a lot to me, but it can in no way wash away the pain I have caused," he said in the letter, which appeared in South African newspapers.
 
In the same year, he met Marcia Khoza, the daughter of ANC activist Portia Shabangu, whom de Kock executed after an ambush in Swaziland in 1989.
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21 criminals targeting foreigners arrested in South Africa

The South African police have arrested criminals who were targeting Chinese nationals and other foreigners in the country, said authorities on Wednesday.
 
Police spokesperson Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale said the criminals targeted vulnerable foreign nationals.
 
"A national investigation team set up by General Phiyega ( police Commissioner General) has uncovered two syndicates that are linked to one another operating in the Gauteng areas. They target foreign owned businesses, such as Chinese, Somalis and Pakistanis, for any valuables, particularly cash," said Makgale.
 
"Six suspects were initially arrested after they approached business premises owned by a Chinese businessman in Boksburg North, " the police officer added.
 
The suspects allegedly produced a fake custom's search warrant with the intention of robbing the businessman.
 
"A vigilant employee immediately alerted the police resulting in these six suspects being arrested on the spot. These suspects are currently out on bail on charges of corruption, fraud, racketeering, robbery and house breaking," Makgale said.
 
Some of these criminals were disguised as South African Revenue officials (SARS) and the police to rob foreigners. Those arrested also include police and SARS officials.
 
A total of 21 suspects have been arrested since the operation was launched last year.
 
Makgale said Tuesday that the police "arrested a South African Revenue Service Customs official and two accomplices in the east of Pretoria, for allegedly robbing a Chinese businessman at his home."
 
"The fake SARS official, dressed in his official customs uniform, and with one of his accomplices wearing a SARS custom's bib arrived at the complex and went straight to the businessman's house, knocked at the door and introduced themselves as SARS officials," said the spokesman.
 
"The police who had already been tipped off arrested them on the spot. One of them tried to escape, but was captured just 75 meters away from the complex," he added.
 
The criminals have been targeting foreigners at various places. They would go to foreigners' businesses and pretend to check for licenses and other issues only to rob. The police said these foreigners are keeping huge sums of money in their homes and business premises.
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Suspected Renamo gunmen fire shots in Mozambique amid peace talks

Gunmen suspected to be former rebel movement Renamo on Monday attacked two convoys in the center of the country, wounding two people, according to local radio station on Tuesday.

The state Radio Mozambique reported that the ambush took place between the locality of Muxungue and the Save river in the central province of Sofala.

The Save river divides the country between north and south. Renamo men have been carrying out attacks between this stretch since last year.

The report said that one of the wounded was admitted to a hospital in Vilankulu, in the southern province of Inhambane, and is now out of danger.

The first attack happened in the morning while the second in the afternoon.

The two attacks happened at a time when the ongoing dialogue between Renamo and the government are recording consensus.

After two weeks in which no meetings were held, the dialogue between the Mozambican government and Renamo resumed on Monday, and the two sides claimed they had reached "partial consensus" on the terms of reference for the foreign observers who will monitor a cessation of hostilities.

The meeting agreed that there must be an immediate end to the hostilities, and that a meeting should be held between President Armando Guebuza, and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama.

In addition, both Renamo and the government agreed that the observers should monitor the entire process of the cessation of hostilities, and of the social and economic reinsertion of demobilized Renamo fighters.

They also agreed on a spirit of "social reconciliation" and an end to all expressions of hostility, including in the media.

But none of these points will be implemented until the terms of reference are agreed in full. In other words "immediate" cessation of hostilities does not mean immediate, but only when the document is completed and agreed.

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Malawi president fires Attorney General replace him with his lawyer

Malawi President Peter Mutharika Tuesday fired Attorney General, Anthony Kamanga, and replaced him with renowned lawyer, Kalekeni Kaphale.

Kaphale was Mutharika's lawyer in the treason case former government of Joyce Banda leveled against Mutharika in 2012.

Statement from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) released Tuesday said Kaphale's appointment is with immediate effect.

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