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England edge Proteas in Bellville battle



Cape Town – England clinched the SPAR
Challenge international netball series at the Bellville Velodrome on Saturday
with a 59-53 victory over South Africa’s Protea to go two up in the
three-Test series.

The Roses won the first Test on Friday 63-58 in
extra time.  

match was hard fought with two sides trading goal for goal for much of the

The England goal defence, Francesca Williams, had an outstanding
game, with a number of turnovers.

the first quarter, England led 16-12.  

The Proteas made
some headway in the second quarter, outscoring the Roses 15-13, to
reduce the deficit to 29-27 at half-time. 

African coach Dorette Badenhorst made several changes during the match,
bringing Sigrid Burger on as goal shooter and moving Lenize Potgieter to goal
attack in the second quarter, and bringing on Rome Dreyer as centre in the
third quarter, with Izette Griesel moving to wing attack.

The two sides shared
the third quarter, scoring 14 goals each.  

The Proteas drew level midway through the final quarter at 48-48, but then
England gradually pulled away.

didn’t get as many turnovers as we did yesterday,” said Badenhorst.

were right in the game until the last few minutes, but then I think they
lost focus. I believe we can win tomorrow and we will certainly be going
all out to do that.”

said that in the two years before the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022,
the Proteas needed to play as much international netball as possible.

need to play teams like England A and Australia A – non-ranking matches where
we can try out combinations. We need to replace players like Maryka
Holtzhausen and Erin Burger and you can’t be trying out combinations in ranking
matches,” said Badenhorst.

Proteas captain Bongi Msomi said it was disappointing to have lost the series,
but her team believed they could win the final match on Sunday.

“Erin and
Maryka have left a huge gap, but we need to step up to the next level,” she said.

have great respect for South Africa and we know we are going to have a hard
match tomorrow,” said England coach Jess Thirlby.

has been an exciting series and I am impressed by the depth on the South
African bench.

think both teams can go away pleased with their performance in this series”.

of the match went to Roses captain Nathalie Haythornthwaite.

the Baby Proteas beat Lesotho U-21 76-21, to clinch the

final matches will be played on Sunday, with the curtain raiser at 11:00 and the
main match starting at 13:00.

– Netball South Africa


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The benefits of LiteSpeed WordPress Hosting




According to usage statistics provided by W3Techs, WordPress powers over 35% of websites on the Internet and is by far the most popular content management system (CMS).

The latest data from the 1st of January 2020 shows WordPress has a CMS market share of over 62%, sitting way ahead of other popular systems like Joomla, Shopify and Drupal.

WordPress is constantly evolving with improvements taking place all the time.

Recent highlights include the sometimes controversial block based editor code named Gutenberg and the release of Google Site Kit, an official WordPress plugin that helps website owners to stay on top of their game.

According to Search Engine Land, page load time and crawl budget rank will be the most important SEO factors in 2020.

Google also now includes an experimental page speed feature in Google Search Console meaning webmasters have easy access to current and historical load times.

Although end users have been installing cache plugins to speed up WordPress for years, a little-known fact is that caching should also be enabled on the server side.

Most web designers are familiar with Apache and its faster competitor NGinx, but there is another web server called LiteSpeed which has both a client-side cache and server-side technology built especially for WordPress.

In this world where the ideal loading time for a website is 2 to 5 seconds, getting the entire ecosystem correct is critical.

Vander Host, a company founded by the original founders of Snowball, offers cPanel based WordPress hosting and the LSCache plugin for all WordPress websites.

Their hosting solutions range from single WordPress sites for the small business market, to fully redundant real time replicated dedicated servers running 100s of WordPress sites.

Vander Host was founded late 2018 when Storm van der Merwe approached his brother Eugene van der Merwe to see if he would be interested in a new partnership for hosting.

“When we founded Snowball in 1998 it was IIS and FrontPage, then Joomla, then Drupal, but pretty soon WordPress took over. Today WordPress has near dominance and we felt that starting a new venture based on this amazing technology will be an ideal business,” said Eugene.

The brothers are super focussed on excellence in customer service, superior server infrastructure and supplies services in over 10 data centres world-wide. They have a knowledgebase which was built up over a period of 20 years.

“We offer competitive pricing, instant activation, and superior systems to manage your WordPress and digital assets,” said Storm.

Sign up now and experience Vander Host’s superior speed.

This article was published in partnership with Vander Host.

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Former president Jacob Zuma invited to attend KZN SOPA




Durban – With the opening of the KwaZulu- Natal legislature and the State of the Province Address (Sopa) pencilled in for next Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, the legislature said that it had cut costs close to R1million for the two events.

Speaker Nontembeko Boyce confirmed that former president Jacob Zuma was among the guests who had been invited to attend both the opening of the legislature and the Sopa.

Zuma arrived back in the country on Saturday after undergoing medical treatment in Cuba. He was welcomed back by scores of supporters at OR Tambo International Airport.

Boyce said that the two events would be held at the Pietermaritzburg Royal Showgrounds due to space constraints and renovations at the legislature precinct, although the construction of the new government precinct was now back on the agenda.

Boyce and her deputy, Mluleki Ndobe, said that the two events were expected to draw 1200 people.

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Countdown starts for by-law order affecting Cape Town church refugees




The countdown has begun for the start of an interim interdict that could see the City of Cape Town clamping down on cooking, washing, and sleeping outside the Central Methodist Church on Greenmarket Square. 

Jurisdiction for the interdict does not include the refugees and asylum seekers inside of the church, but on Monday outside the church there appeared to be little activity indicating that people were packing up and moving on.

Instead, the number of tents and awnings appeared to have increased since the original occupation at the end of October, with brightly coloured one-person tents popping up on the fringes of Greenmarket Square.

Opposite the church’s main entrance, a mattress was being aired on the seat of one of the delivery scooters used by the refugees who have work. Washed clothes dried on sheets and blankets on the pavement, water bottles were passed around as children were washed, and coals smouldered in small charcoal braziers used for cooking.

Methodist Church
Washday outside the Central Methodist Church. (Jenni Evans, News24)

One of those living in a tent, Naomi Bindi, scrubbed the grime off her white faux diamante sliders until they reached a sparkling white again.

Her daughter ran up to enthusiastically spell the family name as her mother swished the scrubbing brush through the foamy water in the basin at her feet. 

Many of these day-to-day activities fall under the category of things that are against the City’s by-laws – such as washing clothes in a public place, doing ablutions, hanging laundry, sleeping on a pavement, cooking, erecting a structure, blocking the way.


Tents along the church pavement and in the street. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Bindi explained she and her family must sleep outside because they are from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Claims on the ground state that due to a split between refugee leaders Papy Sukami and JP Balous – territorial lines have been drawn. Outside is for people from the DRC, and inside is apparently the domain of those from Burundi. 

Balous and Sukami had a violent leadership fallout at the beginning of the year, and both have also been arrested after criminal charges were laid by other refugees. They must stay out of the CBD according to their bail conditions, unless they have permission. 

The looming deadline follows an application brought by the City to enforce its by-laws after threats and resistance by many in the group had made it impossible for officials to work there.

Traders on the square, many of whom are also refugees, complained that the stench of urine, and threats when they tried to move people from entrances, meant their businesses were struggling. 

Western Cape High Court Judge Daniel Thulare found in his judgment, on February 17, that Balous and Sukami were deceiving many of the foreign nationals living at the church by encouraging them with a claim that they would be resettled in a new country. 

He said they had formed a “shadow opposition party”, they made the protest and sit-in around the church ungovernable and turned the area into a makeshift slum. 

Thulare noted that before the group had started their sit-in at Waldorf Arcade, there were police raids in Johannesburg to clamp down on counterfeit goods associated with foreign national criminals, where police had to withdraw to prevent violence.

There were days of violence associated with that attempted law enforcement operation. A taxi driver in Pretoria was also killed when he tried to stop a drug deal, and there was further violence directed at foreign nationals suspected of being in the country illegally, or who were committing crimes. 

The Cape Town group was removed by the police from the Waldorf Arcade and took shelter at the Methodist Church on the square. 

Entitled to raise points of distress

Thulare commented that being a foreign national in South Africa does not automatically mean they were illegally in South Africa. 

He noted that there are people in the group who might not be able to go back to their old homes in South Africa, and felt they were entitled to raise points of distress with officials.

Thulare gave the City seven days to find a place where a refugee reception officer and a refugee status determination officer from the Department of Home Affairs could offer help to anybody from the group who needed it. 

On Monday, many in the group were taking up this offer to fill in forms, have their fingerprints taken, and say what they needed. 

Nathalie Kiwilo and her husband, Lubanga Luthulu, have set up their “home” behind the law enforcement unit’s mobile office, using part of its tow bar arm as a shelf for their food and condiments. 

Kiwilo said going to the Salt River centre was relatively easy for them because they already have refugee and asylum documents. 

She has been told to expect a phone call regarding whether she can expect any help from the government and pays R10 to an entrepreneur around the square to keep her phone fully charged for this important phone call. 

Earlier, kombis registered to the City had squeezed down the cobbled lane from Greenmarket Square for the journey to Salt River, where the officials are located.

There was some argument over people accused of not being part of the Methodist Church refugee community who were trying their luck to circumvent their document problems.

Law enforcement officials dealt with the complaints and kept the kombis going.

‘People are used to living like this’ 

As the kombi filled up, there were also lingering suspicions over whether the occupants would come back or be arrested. 

Police spokesperson Siyabulela Malo said none of the refugees participating in this process had been arrested.

The interim order does not apply to the inside of the church, where Balous’ wife, Aline Bukuru, holds court.

The pews were emptier than usual, but Bukuru said residents went for a walk to the nearby Company’s Garden. Bags are still stacked high on the pews.

Pointing to people lying on the floor she asked: “Have you ever been to a refugee camp? People are used to living like this. Even if they live in a private flat, they live like this.”

Asked whether the group is still insisting on relocation to a country other than South Africa, she said: “It almost seems impossible until it’s done.” 

The City said it would prefer to let the court-ordered process be completed before it commented on the situation. 

The executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said: “The court order allows the City to enforce its by-laws once the seven-day verification process is completed.

“As indicated before, the City is committed to resolving the matter as speedily as possible, in line with the court order, and we ask that the public will allow the Department of Home Affairs and the City to give effect to the order.”

The church itself is not insisting that anybody leave, but has asked for reflection on whether the present situation could continue. 

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South Korea to test all church members at center of coronavirus outbreak




SEOUL (Reuters) – The number of coronavirus cases in South Korea rose to 893 on Tuesday, as health authorities said they plan to test potentially more than 200,000 members of a church at the epicenter of the outbreak.

Employees from a disinfection service company sanitize the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, February 25, 2020. Yonhap via REUTERS

Of the new 60 cases reported on Tuesday, 16 were in the southeastern city of Daegu, where the church is located, and 33 from nearby North Gyeongsang Province, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

South Korea also reported its ninth death from the virus, a patient from a hospital in North Gyeongsang Province.

On Tuesday, the leader of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus said it had agreed to provide authorities with the names of all its members in South Korea, estimated by media at about 215,000 people.

The government plans to conduct coronavirus tests on all of the members “as soon as possible” once it has the information, the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

“We have constantly requested the list based on our assessment that it is essential to test all of the church members in order to contain the spread of the virus and relieve public anxiety,” the statement said.

The church, which has faced public criticism of its handling of the outbreak, asked the government to ensure the personal details in the lists do not become public.

“We have been actively cooperating with the government to prevent the spread of the virus and overcome the outbreak,” church founder and self-proclaimed messiah Lee Man-hee said in a letter posted online. Besides its members, the church would also check the people in training programs to become full members, he added.

“All of these will be implemented on the premise that the government takes steps to protect their personal information,” Lee said.

Around 60 percent of cases in South Korea have been linked to the outbreak at the church, where the first case was reported in a 61-year-old woman who contacted the virus from a still-unknown source.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, raised its warning level for South Korea and recommended Americans avoid all nonessential travel to the country, citing the “widespread, ongoing outbreak” of the coronavirus.

The U.S. and South Korean militaries said they were considering scaling back joint training due, in one of the first concrete signs of the virus’ fallout on global U.S. military activities.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin and Josh Smith; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Lincoln Feast.

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China’s Hubei sees rise in new coronavirus cases as infections slow in other provinces




Volunteers in protective suits disinfect a residential compound in Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, in Hubei province, China February 22, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) – China reported a rise in new coronavirus cases in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, on Tuesday while the rest of the country saw a fourth-straight day of declines.

Hubei had 499 new confirmed cases on Feb. 24, the National Health Commission said, up from 398 a day earlier and driven mainly by new infections in the provincial capital of Wuhan.

Mainland China in total had 508 new confirmed cases, up from 409 on Feb. 23, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China so far to 77,658.

Excluding the latest cases in Hubei, the rest of China had just nine new infections on Feb. 24, the lowest number of cases since Jan. 20 when the national health authority began publishing nationwide data on the coronavirus infections.

The overall death toll in mainland China had reached 2,663 as of the end of Monday, up by 71 from the previous day.

Hubei reported 68 new deaths, while in Wuhan, 56 people died.

Reporting by Ryan Woo, Yilei Sun and Lusha Zhang; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Stephen Coates

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