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Stabbings on London Bridge Kill at Least 2 in ‘Terrorist Incident’

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LONDON — The police shot and killed a man wearing a fake bomb on London Bridge on Friday, after at least two people were fatally stabbed in what the police called a terrorist incident, jolting Britain’s capital two weeks before a general election and three days before world leaders were to gather here for a NATO summit meeting.

The chaotic eruption of violence drew in several police officers and civilians, sent scores of panicked pedestrians fleeing from the bridge and nearby streets on both sides of the Thames, and evoked memories of an eerily similar terrorist attack on the same bridge in 2017 that killed eight people.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who halted his campaign to rush back to 10 Downing Street, declared that “this country will never be cowed or divided or intimidated by this sort of attack.” He paid tribute to the bravery of the passers-by who he said intervened to prevent further bloodshed.

Dramatic video posted on social media showed a crowd surrounding a man, whom they appeared to have tackled. As they wrestled with and held the man to the ground, at least three police officers responded with their guns drawn.

The police pulled the other people away from the man on the ground, and then an officer appeared to fire at least one shot, hitting the man and prompting screams from bystanders. The man died at the scene, the police said.

“It has been declared a terrorist incident,” said Neil Basu, the assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. “I must stress, however, that we retain an open mind as to any motive.”

There were reports that the man was wearing an explosive device, Mr. Basu said, but the police determined that it was “a hoax explosive device” strapped to his body.

“What’s remarkable about the images we’ve seen is the breathtaking heroism of members of the public who literally ran toward danger, not knowing what confronted them,” said Mayor Sadiq Khan of London. It is not clear if the passers-by who intervened saw the hoax explosive device and tackled him anyway.

On Friday evening, the police reported that two people died after being stabbed, and that three further people remained injured.

The Metropolitan Police said they had responded to reports of a stabbing in a premises near London Bridge around 2 p.m.

Additional videos posted on social media showed police vehicles blocking both sides of the roadway on London Bridge, which is one of the city’s busiest arteries and a popular crossing for tourists and other pedestrians.

As the police cordoned off the area, empty buses and abandoned vehicles remained parked on the bridge. In the nearby Borough Market, a food and drink space that is popular with tourists, visitors were told to shelter in place, before eventually being evacuated.

The incident bore a disquieting similarity to the 2017 attack on the bridge, in which a van careered onto the sidewalk, mowing down pedestrians, before three attackers leapt from the vehicle and struck people with knives. They killed eight people before being killed by the police. Those men were also wearing fake suicide vests.

Earlier that year, a car plowed into pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge. Six people, including the attacker, were killed.

The 2017 London Bridge attack, which was carried out by three assailants inspired by the Islamic State came in the final weeks of Britain’s last election, and it rapidly became a political issue. The Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, accused the prime minister at the time, Theresa May, of cutting the number of police officers in Britain.

Mrs. May’s Conservative Party, which had begun the campaign with a robust lead in the polls, saw its lead steadily evaporate, and Mrs. May ended up losing her parliamentary majority.

London has become accustomed to terrorist attacks, and its residents pride themselves on keeping their cool. On Friday evening, pubs across the city filled up with their usual after-work crowds. But the attack left the city uneasy because so many details about the assailant remain unknown.

It also came only days before President Trump and other leaders are scheduled to visit the city for a NATO summit. On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II plans to hold a reception marking the alliance’s 70th anniversary at Buckingham Palace.

After the 2017 attack, Mr. Trump criticized Mayor Khan for what the president falsely claimed was his lackadaisical response. Mr. Khan called on the government to cancel Mr. Trump’s state visit later that year.

In a statement on Friday, Mr. Khan said, “We must — and we will — stay resolute in our determination to stand strong and united in the face of terror. Those who seek to attack us and divide us will never succeed.”

The incident, which happened after lunchtime on a sunny Friday afternoon, unfolded with an air of unreality.

John McManus, a BBC reporter who was crossing the bridge at the time of the incident, told the news outlet that he had seen a group of men involved in a fight with another man on the bridge. The police then arrived, and “a number of shots were fired at this man.”

Matthew Marchand, 37, whose office faces the bridge, said it was “scary to think that this happens on your doorstep somehow.”

“It puts you back on edge,” Mr. Marchand said. “Every single attack makes you feel a little worse about safety.”

He said he was surprised that such an episode could happen despite the safety measures put in place after previous terrorist attacks. “But it must have unfolded so quickly. What can you do about it?” he said.

Prime Minister Johnson issued a statement thanking the police and emergency services for their “immediate response” and said he was being kept updated. He told the BCC he had suspended his campaigning on Friday and would decide over the next few hours when to return to the trail.

Mr. Corbyn also halted his campaign. “We must remain united across all our communities and we cannot let our democratic process be derailed by acts of terror,” he said in a statement.

Those in the area around London Bridge described the panic in the moments after the attack. Noa Bodner, who was stuck in a restaurant near London Bridge, told BBC News that those sheltering inside had been told to keep away from the windows.

“There was a rush of people coming in, and everybody basically dived under the tables,” she said. The manager ran to lock the doors, and employees told people to move away from the front of the restaurant.

Susan Vinn, 57, said that she had been outside her office shortly after 2 p.m., when she saw people running across the bridge and into her office lobby.

“It’s horrible,” she said of the attacks that have rattled London in recent years. “We know it’s going to happen again, we just don’t know when, so that keeps us worried for sure.”

Elian Peltier contributed reporting.

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Steady growth for subscription-based website design

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It’s no secret that every business needs a great website, but the way in which businesses are commissioning these websites is changing. In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in subscription-based website design, something we at Web Guru are no stranger to. In fact, our own all-inclusive web design package take-up grew by 500% in 2019 alone, while in contrast, our once-off package take-up fell by close to 100%.

Clearly, the demand for subscription-based services is growing, but why?

We live in the age of the subscription. From the likes of Netflix to workout apps and more, subscription-based services have forever changed the way we shop and live. From entertainment to personal care to business, subscriptions offer more access, convenience and choice. People don’t want to waste time. They want things to be easier so they can enjoy more time to do the things they love, or the things they need to get done.

Website design recently jumped aboard the subscription bandwagon, making it easier for business owners and entrepreneurs to create and maintain great sites. This includes various design assets, which can be costly and tedious for businesspeople who aren’t specialised in aesthetics. The only thing about web design subscriptions is that the price can vary greatly depending on the company you work with.

One of the most attractive perks of choosing a subscription over a more traditional once-off option is cost-savings. Everything is covered in one price, from the website design to the hosting, monthly maintenance and more – depending on your personalised requirements.

Honestly, subscription services for websites are a no-brainer. Every business needs a great website – and a subscription is a smart way for savvy entrepreneurs to save big bucks while ensuring their site is always #OnFleek.

This is the future of web design, and we’re pleased to be at the forefront of it.

Web Guru can help you build and maintain your website, your way – so contact us today for more information.

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It will be tough against Chippa United – Tembo – SABC Sport

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SuperSport United will be looking to bounce back when they host Chippa United in a league match at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Friday night (kick-off is at 8pm).

Matsatsantsa suffered a setback when they lost to rivals Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 last Sunday.

The defeat has left them trailing log leaders Kaizer Chiefs by a whopping 13 points. SuperSport coach Kaitano Tembo is expecting a tough match.

The MTN8 champions have been given a major boost with the announcement that utility player Aubrey Modiba’s contract has been extended to four more years.

PSL Champions Sundowns were looking to sign him in this current transfer window. Modiba is currently injured and Tembo is hoping that he recovers soon.

Report by Vincent Sitsula

The post It will be tough against Chippa United – Tembo appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa’s news leader..

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Golden Arrows vs Kaizer Chiefs: Tactical preview

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Steve Komphela hosts his former club, Kaizer Chiefs, and looks to stop their march to the Premiership title knowing that set-pieces could be a crucial factor.

Kaizer Chiefs come into this game with the incentive that a victory will increase their lead to ten points atop the PSL table, whilst Golden Arrows could end the weekend anywhere between 6th and 11th spot depending on the result in this game and how teams around them perform.

Arrows Setup

So far this season, Komphela has largely used a 4-3-2-1 shape. Without genuine wingers, the width is provided by the very adventurous fullbacks, and to prevent leaving just two defenders back, one central midfielder drops into the backline when the team is building up. That man is usually Gladwin Shitolo, whose ball-playing ability is crucial to the side.

Further forward, it is usually two players in support of the vastly under-rated Knox Mutizwa. Those two players have changed regularly and Komphela will decide whether the guile of a Danny Venter is needed or the pace of Lerato Lamola working the channels.

With Kaizer Chiefs also not using genuine wingers, this could see a congested, narrow affair in midfield. Amakhosi could therefore simply bypass that area altogether and look to hit their two target men as early and as often as possible.

Set plays key against Kaizer Chiefs

Perhaps one of the most important areas in deciding this game will be set-pieces. Golden Arrows’ assistant coach, Mandla Ncikazi told the media as much on Thursday, saying:

“Credit to them for [Samir] Nurkovic, [Leonardo] Castro and [Erick] Mathoho in set-pieces. They are a real threat. I think 90% of their goals come from those situations – and we cannot take that away from them.”

Although 90% is an exaggeration, Chiefs are indeed dead-ball specialists. Aside from the three giants mentioned, Daniel Cardoso, Willard Katsande and even new signing, Anthony Akumu bring incredible height at attacking the deliveries of George Maluleka and Lebohang Manyama.

Eight of Chiefs’ last 13 goals scored in league action have come from set-plays, including netting four in one game against Stellenbosch, two against Highlands Park and their solitary goal in last week’s 1-1 draw at Black Leopards. That game saw Samir Nurkovic head home Manyama’s delivery.

Arrows don’t have a particularly tall side and could again use inexperienced goalkeeper Sifisio Mlungwana. They could therefore find themselves being very susceptible from those situations.

Options Increased?

For this game, Chiefs should not only have Akumu ready for selection, but Maluleka returns from suspension and this game was initially pencilled in as the return date for Khama Billiat too. Amakhosi have kept their cards close to the chest regarding the latter’s availability and he looks highly unlikely to start regardless.

However, having him on the bench would give better game-changing options than just Ernst Middendorp’s go-to alternation: Dumisani Zuma. He has come on as a sub in 16 of the side’s 18 league matches, but with less impact in recent outings. He has also been introduced at half-time in many matches, therefore not giving the coach much room to manoeuvre in the final 20-30 minutes.

Predicted line-ups:

Golden Arrows (4-3-2-1): Mlungwana; S. Dube, Sibisi, Mathiane, Lunga; Shitolo, Phiri, Makhubela; Mtshali, Lamola; Mutizwa.

Kaizer Chiefs (4-3-1-2): Akpeyi; Moleko, Mathoho, Cardoso, Ntiya-Ntiya; Maluleka, Katsande, Baccus; Manyama; Castro, Nurkovic.

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What a Walrus tells us about the future of edtech

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Python is one of the most widely taught programming languages, and its latest 3.8 release has been met by some intense community debate, primarily because of the October update’s new operator, the Walrus, ‘ := ‘.

Its main purpose is to optimise code, and so far, community reaction has been interesting to watch, with users at odds over how to use the new operator, and whether it serves a unique or useful function.

The release of this toothy operator shouldn’t just have the Python community talking ‒ in fact, I think it has wider implications for the space of technology as a whole, and particularly for those in edtech like myself.

After all, it’s important for both the students we are charged with and our industry that we’re preparing for the future with a well-honed present. Take, for example, the recent CES and all the game-changing new tech trends it showed off to the world.

Is South Africa’s tech space taking these changes and trends into account? What languages are we teaching to future programmers, and will these still be relevant in five to 10 years?

Then there’s the question about our current tech space in SA. We might have new tech, but there’s the difficult question of whether our industry is actually making use of it. This phenomenon of ‘right tech, wrong time’ has been seen in the humble roots of Netflix and YouTube.

The main implication of the new Walrus is change ‒ or more importantly, how we deal with it.

If a new programming language convention ‒ or even an outright new technology ‒ were to come out in today’s South Africa of high unemployment, low economic growth and restricted Internet access, how do we make up that lost ground?

The main implication of the new Walrus is change ‒ or more importantly, how we deal with it.

South Africa’s tech space needs more than just a strong foundation for its future programmers; it requires one that is also flexible and proactive.

There’s no doubt that in any given environment, a long-established order has its place. In education, for example, a set curriculum is a beneficial thing.

At beginner levels it creates a concrete set of fundamental principles that need to be mastered in order to work with the coding language in question.

At intermediate levels, a curriculum can demonstrate the set avenues for expanding one’s mastery of code into employing other frameworks, bring more depth and nuance to basic programming knowledge, and allow students to pick a ‘stream’ for specialisation.

As the analogy goes, you can’t build skyscrapers without concrete. However, the other side of that analogy can’t be ignored: concrete is very difficult if not impossible to change once it’s set.

So too, does an unchanging, inflexible curriculum create a learning environment that enshrines routine, and that doesn’t keep students proactive to new ideas.

The importance of flexibility

In traditional tertiary education programmes, your curriculum is set nearly a year-and-a-half in advance. What happens when new operators and functions are introduced into a coding course that uses set-in-stone, long-term content modules?

Tech education of the future needs to stay on its toes and be tightly tied to community developments, so that the next generation of coders can create the most efficient code using the most up-to-date methodologies.

It reminds me of how English majors at uni would turn up their noses at American spelling of words, only to enter a 21st-century workplace where writers and editors have to know both versions in order to edit and localise (or is that localize?) writing for different territories.

Then there’s the unavoidable question of what happens to a coding education industry where 52% of young people are unemployed and cannot afford education. In such a context, four-year-long, unevolving curricula are just untenable.

At the heart of the work I do is the idea that it shouldn’t cost you a quarter of a million rand and four years where you’re not getting work experience for you to get a job in tech ‒ and at the very least, that significant investment should make you a master of new functions and operators like the Walrus in their nascency.

Whatever the community debate around the Walrus, the road to preparing young programmers to work in the industry needs to be right in the middle of these discussions ‒ if only so that graduates aren’t playing catch-up a month before graduation. 

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Coronavirus Live Updates: Travel Restrictions Widen as Official Death Toll Rises

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The authorities greatly expanded a travel lockdown in central China on Thursday, essentially penning in more than 22 million residents in an effort to contain a deadly virus that is overwhelming hospitals and fueling fears of a pandemic.

The new limits — abruptly decreed ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, China’s busiest travel season — were an extraordinary step that underscored the ruling Communist Party’s deepening fears about the outbreak of a little understood coronavirus.

Chinese health officials reported on Friday that there had been 26 deaths from and 830 cases of the coronavirus, a sharp increase.

The official death toll increased by more than a half-dozen in 24 hours, while the number of confirmed cases jumped by more than 200.

On Thursday morning, the authorities imposed a travel lockdown in Wuhan, the industrial city of 11 million at the epicenter of the outbreak. Airlines canceled hundreds of flights to Wuhan, leaving thousands of people stranded. Later in the day, officials said they would also halt public transportation in the nearby cities of Huanggang, Ezhou, Zhijiang and Chibi, which are together home to more than nine million residents. And by Friday, restrictions had extended to Xiantao, Qianjiang and Enshi, three other cities that include large rural populations.

Two deaths have been confirmed outside the virus epicenter.

One patient died in the province of Hebei — more than 600 miles north of Wuhan — after contracting the coronavirus, the provincial authorities announced on Thursday.

Another death was confirmed in Heilongjiang, a province near the border with Russia more than 1,500 miles from Wuhan.

The disease had also been diagnosed in patients in Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States.

In Wuhan, where the outbreak began, anxiety and anger prevailed as worried residents crowded into hospitals and teams of medical workers in hazmat suits sought to identify the infected.

Hospitals and medical workers at the center of the outbreak made urgent appeals for supplies, as stocks of surgical masks and other equipment quickly flew off shelves.

“Shortage of medical supplies, request help!!!” the Wuhan Children’s Hospital said Thursday in a post on Weibo, a Chinese social network.

The hospital asked for donations of surgical masks, disposable garments, protective goggles and gloves.

Several other hospitals, including the Hubei General Hospital, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University and the Central Hospital of Wuhan posted similar notices.

The central government on Thursday acknowledged the severe strain on resources, and the Ministry of Finance announced an urgent allocation of one billion renminbi, about $144 million, for epidemic prevention and control work.

State news media also carried reports of people volunteering to help ease the strain on health workers.

Young doctors at the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University volunteered to take on additional shifts or to take over from colleagues with children, the state broadcaster CCTV reported.

A team of 30 volunteers in Wuhan mobilized to drive doctors to and from hospitals, while others have offered to help the local Red Cross answer phone calls and publicize requests for help from hospitals, according to a report by the China Business Journal.

Many infectious disease specialists say that cheap, disposable masks that cover the nose and mouth can help prevent the spread of infections if they are worn properly and used consistently.

But there isn’t much high-quality scientific evidence on their effectiveness outside health care settings, experts say.

Dr. Julie Vaishampayan, chairwoman of the public health committee for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said surgical masks are “the last line of defense.”

The masks will, however, block most large respiratory droplets from other people’s sneezes and coughs from entering your mouth and nose, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Coronaviruses are primarily spread through droplets, he said.

Dr. Mark Loeb, an infectious disease specialist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, said a study during an outbreak of the SARS coronavirus found that any type of protection — whether a mask or a respirator — reduced the risk of infections in health care workers by about 85 percent.

“The most important message was that the risk was lower if they consistently used any mask,” he said.

But washing hands — frequently and before eating — is universally recommended. Hand sanitizer is effective against respiratory viruses.

The American and British governments on Friday urged travelers to avoid the city of Wuhan and the surrounding area amid growing signs that the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus is worsening.

The American Embassy in Beijing advised travelers from the United States to avoid Hubei Province, where Wuhan is the capital. It said the State Department had already ordered nonemergency government personnel to leave the city. It further warned that the Chinese government might prevent travelers from arriving or leaving.

The notice from the State Department was a Level 4 advisory, the sternest warning the United States government issues regarding travel. Other Level 4 warnings issued by the State Department include travel to Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Venezuela and Yemen, among other places.

The warning is a step up from Washington’s earlier cautions. Just a day before, the American government had been advising travelers to “exercise extreme caution” when traveling to the Wuhan area.

The British government in a notice dated Thursday similarly advised against all but essential travel to Wuhan.

The warnings came as the Chinese government on Thursday began widening travel restrictions to cities surrounding Wuhan. The tougher restrictions apply to cities including Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi and Zhejiang, affecting millions more people. The Hubei government has imposed some of its own travel restrictions across the province.

Reporting was contributed by Chris Buckley, Javier Hernández, Vivian Wang, Austin Ramzy, Elaine Yu, Tiffany May, Russell Goldman, Gillian Wong, Paulina Villegas, Steven Lee Myers, Denise Grady, Karen Zraick, Roni Caryn Rabin, Carl Zimmer and Rick Gladstone. Amber Wang, Albee Zhang, Claire Fu, Elsie Chen, Yiwei Wang and Zoe Mou contributed research.

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Air tanker dropped fire retardant shortly before fatal crash: Australian safety bureau

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – An air tanker that crashed in Australia on Thursday killing three U.S. firefighters dropped fire retardant shortly before the fatal accident, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said on Friday.

The C-130 Hercules tanker plane lost contact with authorities while battling blazes in the country’s alpine region, known as the Snowy Mountains, located in the country’s east.

“Not long after the aircraft had discharged the retardant the aircraft impacted terrain, killing the three on-board,” said ATSB chief commissioner Greg Hood, who added that it was too early to speculate on the cause of the crash.

Air tankers typically carry 15,000 liters of water or fire retardant for release over blazes in areas that ground crews find hard to reach.

Reporting by Jonathan Barrett in Sydney; Editing by Sam Holmes

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