NewsFix: Monday September 6, 2021
Zuma is out of prison, Conde seems out of office, Argentina are out of Brazil, and a murder mystery in South Carolina is like something out of a scary movie.
LET’S CATCH UP
- Sarah Harding, a member of the Girls Aloud group, died of cancer on Sunday at the age of 39. Harding revealed her diagnosis in August 2020, and was told by doctors earlier this year she would not make another Christmas. Fellow band member Nadine Coyle said she was “absolutely devastated” by the news.
A post shared by @sarahnicoleharding
- A former aide to Prince Charles has temporarily stepped down, after being accused of securing an honour for a Saudi tycoon in exchange for a donation of £1.5m to royal charities. Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz was given a CBE during a private ceremony in 2016. The Times reported the event where the honour was given “was not published” on the official list of royal engagements.
- US Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg - who ran for president in 2020 - and his husband have become parents to a newborn son and daughter, Penelope Rose and Joseph August. Buttigieg is the first openly gay Cabinet member in US history.
A post shared by @pete.buttigieg
South Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma, has been released from prison on medical parole. The Times reports he will not return to prison after surgery.
Remember: Zuma has served two months of a fifteen month sentence, after he was found in contempt of court. Zuma faced a number of allegations of corruption, and had repeatedly failed to attend court hearings in relation to these accusations. Backlash against the prison sentence “led to the worst violence in South Africa’s post-apartheid history”.
- The Taliban are now claiming control over the whole of Afghanistan, after taking over the last province being held by resistance forces. Panjshir is a province north-east of Kabul.
- British soldiers who served in Afghanistan have taken their own lives in the last week “because of the feelings they’ve had over what’s happened in Afghanistan,” according to armed forces minister, James Heappey. The comments were made in an interview with Sky News this morning. An exact number of soldiers who died by suicide was not given.
KEEPING AN EYE…
An apparent military coup has taken place in Guinea, where reports say the country’s constitution has been dissolved. President Alpha Conde has been placed under arrest, according to a CNN report citing his adviser.
Where is Guinea? It is a country on the western coast of Africa.
Important context: Conde is in his third term as president, which he won in a “violently disputed election” last October. Back in March 2020, Conde drafted a new constitution to sidestep the country’s two-term limit.
According to Al Jazeera, soldiers announced they will “convene President Conde’s cabinet ministers and other top officials at 11:00 GMT on Monday”.
- BBC News: Newspapers: PM faces tax plan ‘mutiny’ and Harding tributes
- The Guardian: Brazil v Argentina abandoned as health authorities invade pitch
- The Financial Times: Taliban battles resistance fighters as Pakistan pushes for a united Afghan army
- Al Jazeera: Taliban claims complete control of Afghanistan’s Panjshir
- The Irish Times: How just a single beer or glass of wine can affect your heart
IRELAND STEPS TOWARDS REOPENING
- From today in Ireland,weddings of 100 people can have live music you can dance to, indoor venues can hold events with a capacity of 60% once people are either vaccinated or immune, while religious ceremonies can have 50% capacity regardless of the vaccine status of those attending.
- Meanwhile, Irish Tánaiste (Deputy Premier) Leo Varadkar faced backlash after he was pictured attending a London festival over the weekend. Critics were quick to point out it was the same weekend the annual Electric Picnic festival would have gone ahead in Ireland, before it was cancelled due to coronavirus.
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MURDER MYSTERY DEEPENS
Back in June, the wife and son of a prominent South Carolina lawyer, Alex Murdaugh, were shot and killed. The unsolved murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh sparked widespread speculation and debate, rumours of revenge, and questions about the family’s influence.
That mystery deepened on Saturday, when Alex was shot - reportedly in the head - while changing a tyre. He was hospitalised but survived the shooting.
Important context: Prior to his death in June, Paul Murdaugh was facing trial over the 2019 death of Mallory Beach, who died after a boat belonging to Alex Murdaugh crashed. Paul is believed to have been driving the boat while underage drinking.
Also, while looking into the June murders of Paul and Maggie, investigators allegedly found new information relating to the unsolved murder of Stephen Smith. Back in 2015, Smith’s lifeless body was found on a rural road, which Fox News reported was near a Murdaugh property. According to multiple media reports, Smith’s death was officially ruled as a hit and run, even though the incident report said there was no sign of the body being hit by a vehicle.
One of those injured during the 2019 boat crash, Connor Cook, alleged in a 2020 deposition that he didn’t originally tell authorities who was driving the boat because Alex Murdaugh told him not to. Cook then referenced two unsubstantiated rumours, one relating to the death of Stephen Smith. No charges have been brought against any member of the Murdaugh family in relation to the death of Stephen Smith.
A World cup qualified between Brazil and Argentina was abandoned just five minutes into the game.
Why? Hours before the game, Brazilian health officials allegedly said they believe four English-based Argentinian players had broken the quarantine rules. Current restrictions in Brazil mean anyone who has been in the UK in the 14 days before travelling to Brazil, has to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
WORTH A WATCH
It’s been 23 days since Kabul fell to the Taliban, returning them to power once again. Today also marks just five days before the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
‘Turning Point’ on Netflix makes for a timely and fascinating docuseries, providing an extraordinary look at just how much of an impact that day had around the world.
On the evening of September 11, 2001, President Bush addressed the nation and expressed America’s commitment to getting justice. In one of the most consequential lines of a presidential speech, Bush assured a bewildered population that not only would they go after the terrorists who organised the attacks, “but those who harboured them”.
That assurance and the subsequent “war on terror” led to America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - ultimately leaving one country with a highly consequential power vacuum, and another with the Taliban back where they started.
We would highly recommend giving this a watch, and will make other recommendations throughout the week.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE…
Great advice from Dan Johnson. Pity he had to learn the hard way.