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Zimbabwe: Leaving Charles Lwanga School

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Many sad and disturbing stories have been told and continue to be told about Cyclone Idai, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of people in Zimbabwe and neighbouring Mozambique. For 15-year-old Noah Zimbeva, a survivor of the devastation, the experience remains unique to him and his family.

A Form Three student at St Charles Lwanga School, one of the worst affected, Noah is still struggling to come to terms with the night of horror when he witnessed the death of two fellow pupils and a security guard. They were apparently crushed to death by rolling boulders set loose from the nearby mountains in a mudslide by the raging storm.

Speaking from his parents’ home in Budiriro 4 in Harare last week, Noah said he was clear about one thing: “I do not want to go back to that school. How can I ever sleep in those dormitories?”

When The Standard crew arrived at the family house, Noah dressed in a red Tshirt and a baseball cap, depicted the picture of any other teenager, engrossed with his laptop, one of the few items he managed to salvage.

“I only came with my books because they are important to me,” he said matter of factly.

Soft-spoken and easy-going, Noah is, however, having trouble putting behind the traumatic experience, which lasted for almost four days. Flanked by his doting sister Isabel, Noah narrated the events of the night with the innocence of a child.

“Before the fateful Friday it had been very windy. We had heard about the cyclone, but we did not even imagine it would turn out that way,” he blinks as memories come rushing back.

His young mind obviously is still processing the events and he grapples with the feeling of loss of his school mates.

“On that Friday it was raining heavily and when we retired for the night it was still raining.”

Little did the 190 or so boys know that nature was about to play a cruel game on them in their sleep.

A massive rock, which was perched on top of a nearby mountain, was apparently dislodged by the rains and rolled down gathering momentum as it neared the school dining hall.

The 26-year-old school security guard, who was in the dining hall, never had a chance to call out for help or to warn the sleeping boys as the rock smashed through the building proceeding further into the nearby dormitory housing Form One pupils.

“We had no idea of the calamity at the juniors’ dormitory, only to wake up when the boarding master called out to us. He said he needed help in getting out the Form Ones who were still trapped,” said Noah.

According to Noah, one of the boys, Munashe Jena, who later died, was trapped under the mud and another boy was trying to get him out but he got injured as well and was also trapped.

“But people managed to get him out, but it was too late for Munashe and the other boy,” he recalled.

In the morning they saw the dogs which the security guard normally moved around with roaming around the school.

“We didn’t know then that the guard had been killed as well. His wife sent a message asking if anyone had seen him. He was only discovered when another pupil who had gone to collect plates saw blood and alerted the teachers,” said Noah.

Meanwhile back home, Noah’s mother Priscilla Zimbeva had no idea that her son was in trouble.

“On Friday around 10am the deputy head Sir Mapunga posted on the parents’ WhatsApp group informing us of the rain and that power was gone,” she said.

Around 6pm in the evening she tried to get in touch to enquire about the situation, but all phones were out.

“My son has a small mobile phone that we use to send money for him on Ecocash, but it was off as well. We assumed because there was no power the batteries had drained,” she said.

But the next morning she woke up to terrible news. Social media was on fire about the disaster at the school, but the number of the deceased pupils was exaggerated.

“Messages from other groups were claiming that 20 pupils had died and some even said 50. That totally gutted me. I screamed and ran into my other children’s bedroom. I showed them the messages and we all started panicking,” Zimbeva said.

Her daughter Isabel went on Facebook and the Charles Lwanga’s school story was all over.

“As a mother my insides turned upside down and I even started having diarrhoea. I could not believe what was happening. I imagined my young boy all alone or even buried under the mud. No parent should ever go through that,” said Zimbeva.

She tried calling her son, but couldn’t get through.

“Around 8am I saw a call me back and I called that number quickly. I was so relieved to hear my son’s voice. He told me he was fine, but that they were still at the school,” said Zimbeva.

“His first words were ‘mum, look for another school for me’. The kids slept at school and because they were afraid to sleep in the dormitories they put up in the classrooms, including the dead and the injured.”

The next day (Sunday) there was no sign of help and the teachers and their students set off for Skyline about 5km away.

With the assistance of some locals they carried the dead on makeshift coffins and started off on the treacherous terrain.

“It was very cold and we were often hungry and some teachers went back to get bread and juice, but the bread was going bad,” Noah recalled.

When they arrived at Skyline the place turned out to be a nightmare since it was also inaccessible and they were once again stranded.

Meanwhile, social media was awash with falsehoods which were unfortunately corroborated by the government’s Information ministry saying that the children had been rescued by the soldiers when in fact they were marooned at Skyline.

“On Monday morning some teachers told us in texts encouraging us to make as much noise as possible to get assistance since no help was coming,” Noah said.

The teachers said they were now walking to Chipinge because the children were in bad shape.

“But on the way they met soldiers who threatened them forcing them to go back. They said it would portray a bad picture if the world got to know the truth,” he said.

The kids were finally ferried to Chipinge in buses and then to Mutare, where they spent Monday night before they finally got to Harare.

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

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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.

Montreal
– 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
Montreal.

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

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

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

While
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”.

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

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

‘Protesting is a right’

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

The
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.

The
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.

Following
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.

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

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

Pro-Palestinian
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

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“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

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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

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Miss Universe Andrea Meza


Miss Universe Andrea Meza

UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 IS ANDREA MEZA FROM MEXICO:


UPDATE:

THE MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 TOP 5:

1. Mexico

2. India

3. Brazil

4. Dominican Republic

5. Peru


UPDATE:

HERE ARE THE MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 TOP 10 CONTESTANTS:

1. Jamaica 

2. Dominican Republic 

3. India

4. Peru 

5. Australia 

6. Puerto Rico

7. Thailand

8. Costa Rica

9. Mexico

10. Brazil


UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE TOP 21 IN SWIMWEAR:


UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE TOP 21: 

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


 UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE SOUTH AFRICA NATASHA JOUBERT WALKS THE STAGE AT MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021:


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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strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.

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Miss Mexico crowned Miss Universe 2021

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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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