Nairobi toll up to 15 | No bathing in Bethal | Zondo: Agrizzi spills the Bosasa beans | Anderson ousted


15 dead in Nairobi terror attack

Militant Islamist organisation Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack on an upscale complex in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, in which at least 15 people were killed. The attack on the dusitD2 compound – which includes a luxury hotel, restaurants, a spa and office buildings – began with gunfire and explosions at about 3pm yesterday. Witnesses said one car was used to blast open the complex gates and another transported four gunmen into the complex. The gunmen immediately targeted a Thai restaurant and witnesses reported seeing people mown down at their tables. The attackers then moved on to other parts of the complex as hundreds of people scrambled for safety. This morning there were reports of more gunshots and an explosion in the area. At midday President Uhuru Kenyatta said the 19-hour siege was over and all attackers had been ‘eliminated’. The attack came on the third anniversary of the El Adde attack in which 141 Kenyan soldiers were killed by Al-Shabaab in Somalia. 

May humiliated

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s latest Brexit deal was rejected by whopping 432 votes to 202 in the House of Commons last night – the biggest ever defeat for a UK government. The thumping has plunged May into a deep political crisis and cast doubt on whether Brexit will happen. The result triggered a vote of no confidence by the Labour Party which will take place later today. May must win it if she is to avoid a general election. She has meanwhile begun what The Independent describes as a ‘desperate scramble to save her deal, meeting senior parliamentarians from across the political spectrum to see what changes she might seek to win support’. Like us, you might be asking ‘what the hell happens next?’. Here The Independent tries to answer that.

No bathing in Bethal

Residents of the town of Bethal in Mpumalanga have had little or no water for 25 days, but this time the drought is not to blame. Instead the farming town has apparently fallen victim to shocking service delivery, with the area’s Govan Mbeki Municipality (GMM) owing Rand Water R7.7-million. News24 quotes Rand Water spokesperson Justice Mohale as saying it has reduced the municipal water flow by 40% because of the debt. The DA in the region says the municipality – which also includes Secunda, Kinross, Evander and Trichardt – has a total outstanding debt of R90-million. GMM spokesperson Benzi Soko told News24: ‘Water is a constitutional right and must not be trampled on.’ 

Brutal crackdown in Zim

Zimbabwe’s ‘new dawn’ is unravelling fast – anti-government protests entered their third day today and the government has responded with a vicious crackdown. Reports say at least six people have been shot dead and many injured in the protests, which started after the government announced at the weekend that fuel would more than double in price as the country’s economic crisis deepens. The internet has been shut down and activists are being detained. Journalist Simon Allison tweeted that an activist in Harare told him he has never seen violence and brutality on this scale. The activist said soldiers are bashing down people’s doors and dragging them out into the streets. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change is calling for President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene.

Zondo: Agrizzi spills the Bosasa beans

Ex-Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi kicked off the 2019 hearings at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, telling the commission he was witness to so much corruption at the company it was not possible to recall it all. According to News24, his testimony is set to implicate former president Jacob Zuma, NPA officials, senior government officials and ministers. 


Class struggle 

It’s 25 years into the not-so-new South Africa and there should be no school with blacks-only and whites-only classes. But last year the King Edward High School in Matatiele, Eastern Cape, had a class of 13 white pupils and another class in the same grade with 27 black pupils. It has other racially-mixed classes and it argues that it divides the children by language to provide pupils with the ‘equal opportunity to do well in school’. It smacks of the separate but equal justification. How can we hope to create a genuine culture of non-racialism if schools like King Edward in Matatiele segregate pupils? Off to the naughty chair with you, menaces.     


Fuelling hope

The AA is bringing hope to motorists with its latest prediction that the price of petrol will come down by another 12 cents at the end of the month, with a drop of 36 cents expected for diesel, and 33 cents for illuminating paraffin. 


Anderson ousted

South African hopes of success at the opening Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year rest on the shoulders of Raven Klaasen after Kevin Anderson was blown out of the Australian Open this morning. Anderson’s 4-6 6-4 6-4 7-5 defeat to American Frances Tiafoe is the biggest shock of the tournament so far. This is only the second time 20-year-old Tiafoe, who lost to Anderson three times in 2018, has reached the third round in a Grand Slam tournament. In the doubles, sixth seeds Klaasen and his New Zealand partner Michael Venus were too strong for Mikhail Kukushkin and Bradley Klahn, winning their first-round match 4-6 6-4 6-3. Full Australian Open results.

Petr checks out

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech will retire from professional football at the end of the current season, ending a 20-year career. The 36-year-old moved to Chelsea in 2004, where he won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, the Champions League, the Europa League and three League Cups before moving to Arsenal in 2015. He has appeared 124 times for the Czech Republic. Cech is well known for his “scrumcap” headgear which he wears following a head injury suffered in 2006 when the knee of Reading’s Stephen Hunt fractured his skull. 

Mick Schumacher signs for Ferrari

Mick Schumacher, the 19-year-old son of seven-time F1 World Champion Michael, is reported to have joined the Ferrari driver academy. The teenager will race in Formula 2 this year with the Prema team. Unconfirmed reports claim Schumacher will join the academy and also test with Ferrari this season. Schumacher senior, who turned 50 this month but suffered severe brain injuries in a skiing accident in 2013, won five of his seven titles with Ferrari. Mick Schumacher won the European Formula 3 title last year.

FINA backs down

Sanity prevailed at FINA, the world controlling body for swimming, when they yesterday agreed not to impose bans on swimmers competing for independently-run competitions. A statement from FINA said the body “… acknowledges that swimmers are free to participate in competitions or events staged by independent organisers.” The International Swimming League had to cancel an event with big prize money last year after FINA threatened to ban participants, leading to swimmers and the ISL filing separate lawsuits against FINA.


Africa for Africans

Toto’s 1982 hit Africa is playing on a loop nonstop somewhere in the Namib desert and will do so for ever – as long as no one finds it. Namibian-German artist Max Siedentopf installed Toto Forever in December – it has six speakers placed atop individual plinths and attached to an MP3 player that contains only Africa (‘I bless the rains down in Africa’). His installation is powered by solar energy with the promise that it will run ‘for all eternity’. Siedentopf has made it difficult to find Africa, prompting the existential question: if Africa plays in a desert and no one hears it, is it still the cheesiest song in the world?


Today’s tweet of the day is a little rude, so avert your eyes now if you are of finer sensibilities. It’s from blaine capatch (@blainecapatch) and says:
I’m like a fine cheese … I block assholes

Oh okay then … here’s something from Mark Hoppus (@markhoppus) about social media:
At the end of a long and difficult day I like to come home, put my feet up, log on to Twitter, and get absolutely livid at everything awful in the world. Really takes the edge off.


Today’s topical clue, compiled by Kieron Callaghan, is Loaned out to the government yesterday evening? (2,4)

The solution to yesterday’s clue,  All possible orders of prime numbers (4), is MENU, which is hidden in the clue (‘of’ is the indicator) – ‘priME NUmbers’ – a menu is where you can make all possible orders from.


In the toxic internet sludge it’s good that there are some people who are fed up with the rude, confrontational nature of online conversation and are making it their business to spread love and turn bad threads good. #Jagärhär (#Iamhere) jumps to defend those on the receiving end of abuse. 


A video is doing the rounds of a man set alight in Hillbrow. He had reportedly tried to steal a woman’s handbag but was set upon by other people in the vicinity. The video makes for grim viewing as the burning man stumbles into the street and falls. People in the surrounding crowd continue to throw objects at him. All this takes place in downtown Johannesburg – in the heart of the country’s biggest city. The video amounts to fresh – if extremely grim – evidence that people in the country are taking the law into their own hands. Barely a day passes without some or other incident of vigilantism. This is obviously unacceptable and must be condemned, but we should also be asking what is behind this dangerous phenomenon. The answer, it seems, is that people have lost faith in policing. Hopefully the awful evidence from Hillbrow will give rise to some introspection in the higher ranks of the service and its political masters.

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