By Thato Magano (@pothaeto)
A roundup of the biggest news and newsmakers from last week.
1. Nigerian Federal Government ‘won’t swap’ Boko Haram prisoners for Chibok girls
The federal government of Nigeria says it will not subject the release of the 219 girls still in the hands of Boko Haram to a swap for its detained members.
In an electronic message by the public communications division of the ministry of foreign affairs on Monday 01 September 2014, it however reaffirmed its willingness to dialogue with the terror group. “The government has continuously restated its position and willingness to dialogue with the sect. To demonstrate this fact, it set up the Turaki committee, which went round the country, especially the northeast, with a view to eliciting a discussion with members of the sect,” read the statement.
“It would however not subject the release of the girls to prisoner swap. Although it has remained committed to dialogue, it will explore only the best options possible and available to it with a view to achieving the release of the girls and stopping insurgency in its track.” The government restated that it knew where the girls were being held and would ensure that they remained within the country and rescued alive.
On the welfare and well-being of the abducted girls, the Nigerian government said: “We have no reason to believe otherwise and we understand that the abductors are guided by a firm religious belief that abhors the mistreatment of women, especially girls and children in captivity. In this case, the children might be used as human shield, which is understandable but regrettably so.”
It assured Nigerians that it would not play politics with their lives and that of non-citizens resident in the country, especially those in harm’s way.
2. Israel calls on region to rebuild, disarm Gaza
Israel’s finance minister, Yair Lapid said on Sunday that Israel and several Arab countries should work together to rebuild the Gaza Strip while disarming Hamas militants who rule the territory
The remarks come almost a week after Israel and Hamas militants reached a truce after almost two months of fighting that devastated parts of Gaza. “We need a regional conference, with the Egyptians, the Saudis, the Gulf States,” Lapid, a member of the centrist Yesh Atid party, told reporters in Jerusalem. “That conference should focus on one thing, ensuring the rehabilitation takes place alongside demilitarization,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza said “This is a stupid demand, and no one among the Palestinian people would agree to such a thing. Our weapons are used to defend our people, and this right was granted by heaven and human laws.”
Lapid did not say if any countries had been consulted about the idea.
The two sides are set to hold indirect talks in Egypt next month on key disputes that remain unresolved.
3. Army coup attempt in Lesotho
An attempted military coup took place in the remote and mountainous nation of Lesotho on Saturday, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane said in an interview aired by South African broadcaster eNCA.
“In my political life, it was not the first time that I saw this kind of activity by the Lesotho army,” Thabane said. A lot of effort has been made to reform the military and to “make it a normal army that is subject to the civilian authority,” he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Mothejoa Metsing told AFP he left Lesotho for talks in Pretoria.
“It is through the invitation of the South African president,” who currently heads regional bloc the Southern African Development Community’s security committee, Metsing said.
“There is no coup in Lesotho,” he insisted.
In the absence of the premier and his deputy, constitutionally, the Minister of Public Service Motloheloa Phooko is in charge of the kingdom, he added.
Lesotho’s neighbour, regional power South Africa and the Commonwealth warned the Lesotho Defence Forces that such action “shall not be tolerated”. The United States voiced concern at the security clashes and called for “peaceful dialogue” in Lesotho.
“We can’t have coups d’etat in 2014. If there are political problems people must sit (down) and talk,” said Clayson Monyela, a spokesman for the South African Foreign Ministry. Monyela said that the Lesotho military’s actions “bear the hallmarks of a coup d’état.”
The prime minister suspended Parliament in June, forcing divisions in the ruling coalition to the fore. South Africa has backed Thabane and could yet decide to intervene directly to return him to power.
Lesotho has suffered a series of coups since independence in 1966 and the political temperature in the country has been rising rapidly in recent months. In 1998 South Africa launched an ill-fated invasion of Lesotho when the “kingdom in the sky” was in the midst of another political crisis, reducing the capital to rubble.
-Sapa-AFP, CNN & Mail and Guardian
4. Anele Mdoda to host Tongue in Cheek on SABC3
Anele Mdoda has been announced as the host of a new local TV talk show on SABC3. Tongue in Cheek is set to debut on Tuesday 9 September at 20:30 with an ensemble panel.
The concept of the show is similar in style to the American TV talk shows The Talk seen on M-Net and The View which was seen on SABC3 but since it is a late night, primetime talk show; the topics and conversations will be more risque, often with more controversial talk and more serious topics in between lighter discussions including entertainment and popular culture.
5. Mathew Knowles alleges ‘jedi mind trick’ to boost Beyoncé and Jay Z ticket sales
Matthew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father, has claimed his daughter and Jay Z’s divorce rumours were a ”Jedi mind trick” to ”ignite” ticket sales and he also hinted footage of the infamous lift incident between his daughter Solange and Jay was leaked to improve the trio’s ticket and album sales.
The couple have been hit by speculation their marriage is on the rocks in recent weeks but Matthew Knowles insists the rumours are simply a ”Jedi mind trick” to boost ticket sales for Beyoncé and Jay’s joint On The Run tour.
Speaking on the Roula & Ryan show on radio station 104.1 KRBE in Houston, Matthew, who used to manage Beyoncé and, Destiny’s Child – said: ”I know, because we’ve done this. From experience, there’s a tour going on. So you sometimes have to ignite that tour.”
“It’s called a Jedi mind trick. The Jedi mind trick fools you a lot.”
He added: ”All I know is the Jedi mind trick. Everyone’s talking about it. Ticket sales went up. Solange’s album sales went up 200%!”
Beyoncé and Jay appeared to play down rumours they are set to get divorced when their On The Run tour comes to an end in September by making a family appearance at the MTV VMAs.
6. Fired Generations cast members hold press conference
The 16 fired cast members of Generations voiced their concerns at a press briefing which came a day after the actors met with Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who said he was willing to find a solution to the impasse.
Patrick Shai, who joined the cast about two years ago said the actors were not concerned with living luxurious lives. “There is a need to formalise the industry. The current landscape needs to change. This is not about greed, it’s about us getting what we deserve. We will not work in an environment that treats us unfairly,” he said.
The Generations brand was worth an estimated R500 million in 2007 with a thirty second segment going for over R200 000 today. Shai contended that after 20 years into democracy, it was a travesty that the entertainment industry, specifically acting, was not properly regulated.
Sophie Ndaba, the longest standing Generations cast member at 21 years, said forming the guild was not about seeking attention. “What we are doing is not designed to destroy Mfundi Vundla. I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for him. Everything has been done with a sense of respect but what is wrong is wrong and what’s right is right.”
Ndaba said Hlaudi Motsoeneng had promised them three year contracts at the beginning of the year, however, he reneged on this when MMSV got in contact with him. One year contracts were decided upon, without consulting the actors, alleged Ndaba.
“Every year for the past 21 [years], I’ve had to wait to be told that my contract has been renewed.”
She added that the actors were calling for fair remuneration as the show is carried by all of them.
Dr John Kani, expressed his support for the axed Generations actors saying if the SABC and production houses want professionals they should engage and negotiate with the artists.
– TimesLIVE, News24