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Systematic torture, killings, abductions, assaults — Zim rights commission speaks out | News | Africa



Harare — The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has delivered a devastating report into the ongoing violence in the country, detailing a series of killings, assaults, torture and abductions.

The brutal campaign, spearheaded by soldiers, is part of a vicious response by the state to last week’s protests that rocked the country after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced an increase in fuel prices amid a worsening economic and political crisis.

The worsening situation has also divided the ruling Zanu-PF party, amid reports of a fall-out between the President and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga, who led the push to oust former President Robert Mugabe in November 2017. There are also rumours of a possible impeachment motion against the President being considered by one Zanu-PF faction.

State-sponsored violence continued on Wednesday, with some people being abducted by the army.

READ MORE: Vicious crackdown in Zimbabwe

In many urban areas, soldiers have been patrolling suburbs beating up residents after imposing a curfew.

The disturbances in the country forced Mnangagwa, who has since promised national dialogue, to cancel his trip to Davos for the World Economic forum.

The President tweeted that violence or misconduct by the country’s security forces is unacceptable and a betrayal of the “new Zimbabwe”, and shall be investigated.

One of the biggest church groupings in Zimbabwe, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) said there is a dark cloud of despair and hopelessness over the nation.
“Our people are now living in fear of violence, fear of the unavailability and unaffordability of basic goods and services,” the EFZ said.

Following an assessment, the ZHRC said at least eight people were killed and the deaths were mostly attributed to use of live ammunition.
“For example, a 22 year old young man, Tinashe Choto died as a result of gunshots and was buried on Saturday 19 January 2019. A post-mortem report read to family members by the authorities confirmed the cause of death as gunshots. Eyewitnesses confirmed that the young man was shot near Makoni Police station during a face-off between the protesters and law enforcement agents. This is what incensed the protesters leading to the attack of Makoni Police Station,” it reads.

It said police admitted that they had arrested primary school children, some as young as 11, although they were later released at police stations.

The human rights commission said witnesses who spoke to the ZHRC highlighted that armed soldiers and police visited their homes starting the evening of Monday 14 January 2019.

“The findings reveal that in the aftermath of the 14th of January 2019 disturbances, armed and uniformed members of the Zimbabwe National Army and the Zimbabwe Republic Police instigated systematic torture,” it says.

The commission said in some instances it was also noted that those aligned to the Movement for Democratic Change including Members of Parliament, Councillors and other active members were targeted.

In Harare, the opposition’s MDC youth leader Lovemore Chinoputsa said on Tuesday that he was also in hiding after night raids were conducted at his home and some family members were harassed.

“They are saying they want to know my whereabouts as they have something to discuss with me, but if it’s real police they should just call me and not these night raids on my family. I take it as a personal and direct attack that my innocent family members and my small kids have had to be harassed in such a way. We join politics as individuals and they ought to pursue their issues n vendettas with me and not anyone else,” he said.

Chinoputsa said he was being persecuted for pursuing a just and legitimate path that those who have failed to run the affairs of the state should move aside.

“This victimisation instead of scaring me has done the opposite. There is nothing new that they would do to me that they have not done on other activists before me. They better try others because I’m prepared to pay with the ultimate price,” Chinoputsa added.

In Bulawayo, human rights activists were reporting harrowing stories of violence perpetrated by soldiers and the police.

One of them — whose name is being withheld by the Mail & Guardian for security reasons — took to Facebook yesterday after visiting some suburbs. He said they had been told chilling stories about how the police and army went door to door harassing and wantonly beating civilians.

“Just been to Mabutweni … to assess the situation. Scores of people were beaten yesterday evening by the army and police. They were going door to door and forcing all males to come out and then making them lie down and then beat them with baton sticks and fan belts. We spoke to a least six males who were badly beaten ranging from the ages of 16 to 59 and they told us about the manner in which the army and police randomly went door to door beating any male on site,” he said.

“Before any national dialogue begins soldiers must go back to their barracks and unlawful detentions must stop “

A pro-democracy campaigner, Makomborero Haruzivishe, in an interview said he was in hiding after a raid at his house In Harare.

He said two of his colleagues had been abducted by the intelligence.

“Alistar Pfunye and Kumbirai Magorimbo were abducted by Central Intelligence operatives, and were later on dumped to the police after torturing. Other activists Adkins Mtetwa and Stephen Chuma were abducted two days ago and are still missing. They were taken by armed soldiers in broad daylight,” he said.

He said however, the harassment will not dampen his resolve.

“They are accusing me of inciting public violence and plotting to subvert President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government. We are at a critical crossroads as a nation and historic juncture as a generation. My resolve for social, economic and political liberation for my generation is greater than my fear for the bullets of the oppressor,” he said.

READ MORE: Wanton violence not the Zim way — Mnangagwa

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Riot police squads intervene as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clash in Montreal




People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

  • Violence
    between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in Montreal was condemned by
    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Montreal’s
    city police force intervened and declared the protests illegal after tensions
    heightened and clashes broke out.
  • Israeli
    strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
    toll in almost a week of clashes.

– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday condemned the violence and
“despicable rhetoric” that marked several weekend protests throughout
the country, after clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters in

worst violence in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, is raging between the
Jewish state and Islamist militants.

strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
toll in almost a week of deadly clashes.

after protests in Montreal, Trudeau condemned what he said was “despicable
rhetoric and violence we saw on display in some protests this weekend”.

insisting on the “right to assemble peacefully and express themselves
freely in Canada”, Trudeau stressed in a tweet that there was no tolerance
for “antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind”.

on Sunday, Montreal police used tear gas following clashes between pro-Israel
and pro-Palestinian protesters.

hundred demonstrators, draped in Israeli flags, had gathered in a central
Montreal square to express solidarity with the Jewish state.

‘Protesting is a right’

the protest started peacefully, tensions ratcheted up with the arrival of
pro-Palestinian demonstrators and clashes soon broke out.

SPVM, Montreal’s city police force, declared the protests illegal, and squads
of riot police intervened, using tear gas to separate and disperse the two
groups, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

police spent much of the afternoon in pursuit of the pro-Palestinian
protesters, who spread out and regrouped in commercial streets in the city centre.

the clashes, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said on Twitter that
“protesting is a right”, but that “intolerance, violence and
anti-Semitism have no place here”.

She said:

Montreal is a city of peace.

thousand pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered on Saturday in central
Montreal to denounce what they said were Israeli repression and “war
crimes” in Gaza.

Israel”, some protesters chanted, while others held up a banner that read,
“Stop the genocide of Palestinian children”.

protests happened the same day in multiple Canadian cities, including Toronto,
Ottawa and Vancouver.

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Peter Thiel Helps Fund an App That Tells You What to Do




“How would you feel about being able to pay to control multiple aspects of another person’s life?” asks the BBC.

“A new app is offering you the chance to do just that.”

When writer Brandon Wong recently couldn’t decide what takeaway to order one evening, he asked his followers on social media app NewNew to choose for him. Those that wanted to get involved in the 24-year-old’s dinner dilemma paid $5 (£3.50) to vote in a poll, and the majority verdict was that he should go for Korean food, so that was what he bought…

NewNew is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Courtne Smith. The app, which is still in its “beta” or pre-full release stage, describes itself as “a human stock market where you buy shares in the lives of real people, in order to control their decisions and watch the outcome”. For many of us that sounds a bit ominous, but the reality is actually far less alarming. It is aimed at what it calls “creators” — writers, painters, musicians, fashion designers, bloggers etc. It is designed as a way for them to connect far more closely with their fans or followers than on other social media services and, importantly, monetise that connection…

Whenever a vote is cast the creator gets the money minus NewNew’s undisclosed commission… In addition to voting, followers can also pay extra — from $20 — to ask a NewNew creator to do something of their choosing, such as naming a character in a book after them. But the creator can reject all of these “bids”, and if they do so then the follower doesn’t have to part with the money…

Co-founder and chief executive Ms Smith, a 33-year-old Canadian, has big plans for NewNew, and has some heavyweight backers. Investors include Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the first outside person to put money into Facebook. Others with a stake in the business include leading US tech investment fund Andreessen Horowitz, and Hollywood actor Will Smith (no relation to Courtne). Snapchat has also given technical support.

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Sandpapergate will haunt Australia cricket forever: ex-bowling coach




Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach - Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach – Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The 2018 ball-tampering scandal will haunt Australian cricket forever, much like the infamous underarm delivery of 40 years ago, the team’s former bowling coach David Saker said on Monday.

Saker was responding to opening batsman Cameron Bancroft suggesting that Australia’s bowlers knew about the plan in Cape Town to alter the ball which earned him a nine-month ban and rocked the game.

Saker was Australia’s bowling coach when Bancroft was caught trying to rough up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa.

While refusing to be drawn on who knew what, Saker said “the finger-pointing is going to go on and on and on”.

“It’s like the underarm, it’s never going to go away,” he told Fairfax Media, referring to a 1981 incident when Trevor Chappell bowled underarm to ensure New Zealand lost a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The notorious delivery is still cited in New Zealand and in cricketing circles as a prime example of unsporting conduct.

However, the ball-tampering scandal – dubbed “sandpapergate” – had a greater impact on Australian cricket, with the then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner suspended for a year from all cricket and stripped of their leadership roles.

Darren Lehmann also quit as coach and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review blasted their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture.

No one else among the team or coaching staff was held to account but Bancroft’s remarks in an interview with The Guardian newspaper hinted that the team’s bowlers at least knew about the plan.

“Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” he said.

Saker added: “There was a lot of people to blame. It could have been me to blame, it could have been someone else. It could have been stopped and it wasn’t, which is unfortunate.

“Cameron’s a very nice guy. He’s just doing it to get something off his chest … He’s not going to be the last.”

In response, Cricket Australia said that if anyone had new information, they would look into it.

Saker said he was not opposed to a fresh investigation but added “I just don’t know what they’re going to find out.”

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Mexico’s Andrea Meza crowned Miss Universe




Miss Universe Andrea Meza

Miss Universe Andrea Meza





1. Mexico

2. India

3. Brazil

4. Dominican Republic

5. Peru



1. Jamaica 

2. Dominican Republic 

3. India

4. Peru 

5. Australia 

6. Puerto Rico

7. Thailand

8. Costa Rica

9. Mexico

10. Brazil





1. Columbia

2. Peru 

3. Australia 

4. France

5. Myanmar

6. Jamaica 

7. Mexico 

8. Dominican Republic 

9. USA

10. Indonesia 

11. Argentina 

12. India

13. Curaçao

14. Puerto Rico

15. Phillipines 

16. Brazil

17. Great Britain

18. Nicaragua

19. Thailand 

20. Costa Rica

21. Vietnam



74 contestants will compete for the title of Miss Universe on 16 May in Hollywood, Florida. 

The Miss Universe pageant takes place on 16 May in the US (02:00 to 05:00 on 17 May SA time). The show will be broadcast live on 1 Magic (DStv Channel 103) with a repeat at 21:30. 

Reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa will crown her successor at the end of the event.

Representing South Africa is Natasha Joubert, and South Africans are hoping for the “magic double” – back-to-back consecutive wins, which has only happened once before in the pageant’s history.

Natasha wowed crowds at the national costume competition last week and on Friday impressed during the preliminary round

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Miss Mexico crowned Miss Universe 2021




By AFP Time of article published 16m ago

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Washington – Miss Mexico was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday in Florida, after fellow contestant Miss Myanmar used her stage time to draw attention to the bloody military coup in her country.

Sunday night marked the Miss Universe competition’s return to television, after the pageant was cancelled in 2020 for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrea Meza, 26, finished first ahead of the Brazilian and Peruvian finalists in a flashy televised event, hosted by American actor Mario Lopez and television personality Olivia Culpo.

Former Miss Universe contestants Cheslie Kryst, Paulina Vega and Demi-Leigh Tebow (who won the title in 2017) served as competition analysts and commentators, and a panel of eight women determined the winner.

Dressed in a sparkling red evening gown, Meza tearfully walked the catwalk as Miss Universe for the first time, before rushing back for a group hug with the other competitors.

Meza beat more than 70 contestants from around the globe in the 69th installment of Miss Universe, which was held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

In the days leading up to the final competition, Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin, who made the top 21, made waves when she used her time in the spotlight to bring attention to the coup in her country.

“Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day,” she said during her biographical video, which showed photos of her taking part in the anti-coup protests. “Therefore I would like to urge everyone to speak out about Myanmar.”

Natasha Joubert, Miss Universe South Africa 2020 competes on stage in Ema Savahl swimwear during the MISS UNIVERSE® Preliminary Competition.

She also won the award for best national costume: during that competition segment on Thursday, she wore an outfit beaded in traditional Burmese patterns and held up a sign that said, “Pray for Myanmar.”

Myanmar has been in uproar since February 1, when the army ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since then, according to a local monitoring group, while nearly 4 000 people are behind bars.

Miss Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong – who did not make the top 21 – also used the national costume portion to make a political statement.

Dressed in a glittering red bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots, she turned around to reveal her cape – in the colours of the Singaporean flag – was painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate.”

“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence?” she wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of her outfit.

The United States in particular has seen a surge in anti-Asian violence in the past year, which activists have blamed on former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, especially his repeated description of Covid-19 as the “China virus.”

The pageant has also drawn criticism in the past for objectifying the contestants.

In recent years, the competition has shifted image, focusing more on female empowerment and activism.

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