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Fri, 03 Feb 2023
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Muti 'Protected' Miners

Rioting Miners
© Times Live, South Africa
Tragic Aftermath: Police check on casualties after firing on striking Lonmin mine workers. Locals believe muti prevented many more from being killed.
A mystery sangoma is believed to be behind the foolish courage displayed by striking miners during Thursday's deadly standoff.

Undeterred by water cannons and tear gas, the miners crept through the bushes towards the police and charged straight into a heavy line of fire.

The surviving miners are not talking, but union officials, residents of Marikana and the police confirmed the presence of the unidentified sangoma, who carried out rituals on the hill and dished out muti where workers had gathered throughout the week.

It is said the man, who is from the Eastern Cape, had provided muti to the protesters and made them believe it would make them invincible.

Senzeni Zokwana, president of the of National Union of Mineworkers, said the strikers had to fork out R500 before being sprinkled with ntelezi.

He said the workers were cut with razor blades and then had the muti smeared on their bleeding wounds.

Several of the strikers the Sunday Times spoke to yesterday were reluctant to talk about the sangoma, and some even denied his existence.

"I heard about that, but I don't want to talk about it," said one before walking away.

Another, who had camped on the hilltop for three days, did not deny the presence of the medicine man.

"I'd rather not respond to that one, please," he said.

Stormtrooper

Wannabe Navy SEALS Offered Chance to 'Kill Osama'

Image
© facebook.com/Sealed Mindset
Ever wanted the chance to assassinate a notorious terrorist? A former Navy SEAL is offering anyone with $325 the opportunity to do just that as part of the 'Navy Seal Adventure' mission.

­The Minnesota-based Sealed Mindset Firearms Studio, an industrial center-turned-paintball range in New Hope, allows participants to recreate the assassination raid on Osama Bin Laden's hideout.

During the two-hour reenactment, anyone can pretend to be a US special forces soldier, proprietor and former Navy SEAL Lawrence Yatch said. Participants are given an 'intelligence briefing' before suiting up and firing live rounds from an AR-15 for practice, and to get the bloodlust flowing.

The trigger-happy shooters are then armed with paintball rounds and loosed into a 10,000 square-foot studio to seek out 'Osama Bin Laden.' The operation culminates with their bursting into a room where they are met by none other than the terrorist mastermind, or rather, a man dressed to look like him, sporting a fake beard and body armor.

Sun

Meet the 'Face-Kini', the latest craze to hit China's beaches as bathers wear masks to beat the sun's harmful rays

  • The name describes a protective head mask that is being used along Shandong province's East China Sea coast
  • Used by beach-goers who want to protect their skin from the sun
  • The colourful masks sell for 15 to 25 yuan (£1 to to £2.50)
Image
© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Stay away from the sun: Chinese beachgoers wearing body suits and protective head masks, dubbed 'face-kinis' by Chinese netizens, on a crowded public beach in Qingdao, northeast China's Shandong province
One way to avoid the dangerous rays of the sun is to stay indoors, another is to apply a healthy layer of sun cream and slap on a wide-brimmed hat.

If you're in China, however, there is a third option - a 'Face-Kini' complete with a body suit.

The name describes a protective head mask that is being used in Shandong province's East China Sea coast by beach-goers who want to protect their skin from the sun.

They are selling factory-made Face-Kinis for 15 to 25 yuan (£1 to to £2.50) each.

They are also extremely effective at repelling insects and jellyfish.

Pistol

Teen Shot Dead in 'Barbaric' Attack in Bahrain

Bahraini security forces have shot dead a Shi'ite teenager as a group of protesters attacked police with petrol bombs near the capital Manama, the interior ministry says.
Image
© The Associated Press/Hasan Jamali
Mourners chant anti-government slogans, in Muharraq, Bahrain, as they carry the body of Husam al-Hadad, 16, who allegedly was shot by security forces and then beaten.
A police unit stationed in a street in the Sunni-dominated Muharaq city "came under a terrorist attack with a large number of petrol bombs" late on Friday, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official BNA news agency.

It said security forces opened fire in self-defence, wounding one of the assailants who was taken to hospital where he died of his injuries.

The main Shi'ite opposition group, al-Wefaq, condemned the "barbaric" attack on the teenager, whom it identified as Hussam al-Haddad, 16.

Pistol

Texas mall shooting results in one dead, two injured

One man was killed and two wounded early Saturday in a shooting at a shopping mall in the west Texas town of Odessa, police say.

Police say officers went to the Music City Mall on a report that people were refusing to leave a sports bar inside, which was then followed by reports of shots fired.

Detectives say Pablo Jimenez, 23, was rushed to the hospital but died of his wounds. A 19-year-old man and a 21-year-old man were hospitalized.

"This was a fight that began at the bar at closing time," said Odessa Police Lieutenant Pete Marquez. He said the shooting may have been gang related, and police are searching for a suspect.

According to its web site, Music City Mall is the largest mall between Fort Worth and El Paso. Marquez said the rest of the mall was closed when the shooting happened and no patrons were threatened.

Arrow Up

Russia Prepared for Possible Economic Meltdown - Putin

Putin
© RIA Novosti/Alexey Nikolskiy
The Russian economy is prepared for a possible economic meltdown as a result of the slowing of global growth and the escalating eurozone debt crisis, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

At a meeting with regional ombudsmen, Putin said the situation was complex both in the European and global economies.

"In the United States, the engine of the world economy, the situation looks better but macroeconomic indices that are vital for the economy's sustainability are no better than in Europe. Their debt state [in the United States] is 104 percent [of U.S. GDP]," he said.

Aside from this, the U.S. financial system is burdened with mortgage loans issued against state guarantees, he said.

"All these factors cause certain alarm. Now news is coming that China's economic development rates have slightly slowed and declined and China is one of the world's largest consumers. These are, no doubt, alarming signals. Let us hope that these concerns do not transform into a full-blown crisis," Putin said. "Let us hope for the better but prepare for the worse," Putin added.

USA

90 Million Americans Can't Be Wrong

I voted?
Those who vote in presidential elections often describe the action as being part of their civic duty; it's something every good citizen must do. Others consider voting to be a right, and elections are something which every American should participate in. After all, they remind us, not everyone has this right in other countries. Still, there are others who see voting as both a duty and a right, as if it could be both at the same time.

So when voter turnout was abysmally poor during last week's primaries in Kansas and Missouri, many were upset. Talk radio hosts, Internet pundits, and members of the media all commented on the low participation rate, and quite a few were disturbed by the numbers. Kansas City, Missouri for instance, had a voter turnout of only 15%. Now, it's generally understood that primaries and midterms have lower voter participation rates than presidential election years, so this ought not to surprise anyone, but there is some hope this year's elections will have the lowest turnout of the last fifty.

When asked by USA Today and Suffolk University why they're not planning to vote this November, respondents answered that: "They're too busy. They aren't excited about either candidate. Their vote doesn't really matter. And nothing ever gets done, anyway." All are excellent reasons, especially the last two, for they lay bare the great lie that elections solve anything. The results of the poll indicate that some 90 million Americans have no intention to vote in this year's presidential election; let's hope that number swells over the coming months.

Radar

Navy Thwarts Attempted Hijack of 2 Iranian Cargo Ships

Image
© Fars News Agency
The Iranian Navy fleet deployed in the Gulf of Aden thwarted massive pirate attacks on two Iranian cargo ships near Bab-el-Mandeb Strait.

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Seyed Mahmoud Moussavi said that the Iranian vessels were attacked twice by a total number of 50 Somali pirate speedboats 15 and 26 miles Northwest of the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait.

Moussavi stated that the Iranian naval forces' swift action and their heavy fire forced the pirates to flee the scene.

The Iranian Navy has dispatched several fleets of warships to the Gulf of Aden and North of the Indian Ocean to protect the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates.

The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.

According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.

The Gulf of Aden - which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea - is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West through the Suez Canal.

Arrow Down

Five Ways Privatization Degrades American Life

Abandoned factory infrastructure
© Unknown
Abandoned factory
A grand delusion has been planted in the minds of Americans, that privately run systems are more efficient and less costly than those in the public sector. Most of the evidence points the other way. Private initiatives generally produce mediocre or substandard results while experiencing the usual travails of unregulated capitalism -- higher prices, limited services, and lower wages for all but a few 'entrepreneurs.'

With perverse irony, the corruption and incompetence of private industry has actually furthered the cause of privatization, as the collapse of the financial markets has deprived state and local governments of necessary public funding, leading to an even greater call for private development.

As aptly expressed by a finance company chairman in 2008, "Desperate government is our best customer."

The following are a few consequences of this pro-privatization desperation:

Cheeseburger

Missouri Republican Candidate Calls to Halt Federal School Lunch Program

Todd Akin
© R-MO
Rep. Todd Akin
Sen. Claire McCaskill's (D-MO) Republican opponent says that the federal government should stop helping to feed needy children with the school lunch program.

Speaking to reporters about the farm bill on Thursday, Senate candidate Todd Akin called to cut off the federal funds used to feed about 650,000 children in Missouri each school day.

"Is it something the federal government should do?" Akin said. "I answer it no. ... I think the federal government should be out of the education business."

"The problem with the Senate farm bill is the fact that you've got 80 percent of it that isn't a farm bill at all," the Republican noted.