By Panashe Chigumadzi (@panashechig)
A roundup of last week’s biggest news and newsmakers.
1. Israel pulls troops out of Gaza
Israel has announced the withdrawal of all of its troops to “defensive positions” outside the Gaza Strip, claiming that the main aim of the conflict – to destroy militants’ tunnels – has been achieved.
The move came moments before the latest truce – brokered by Egyptian mediators late on Monday – came into force. Gaza officials say the four-week conflict has killed 1,800 Palestinians. Some 67 Israelis have also died.
“The Israel Defence Forces will be redeployed in defensive positions outside the Gaza Strip and we will maintain those defensive positions,” Israeli military spokesman Lt-Col Peter Lerner said.
2. Fears arise of Chibok girls being used to carry out Boko Haram attacks
After teenagers were reportedly seen to be carrying out recent attacks by Boko Haram and the recent rise in female suicide bombers, it is feared that the Chibok girls have been recruited into militant activities.
These are concerns that have been raised by a number of high profile Nigerians including Oby Ezekwesili, a former Education Minister.
There seems to be no sign of the Nigerian government being any closer to rescuing the girls, as they have been missing for more than 110 days at this point.
3. Ebola serum used on American citizens after weeks of killing hundreds of Africans
After at least 887 deaths and 1,603 cases of Ebola in West Africa, an experimental ‘secret serum’ was administered to two American aid workers who have since showed progress in their conditions.
The serum is a vaccine is used to prevent Ebola infection which has so far only been tested on monkeys and will start being tested on humans in September, and if all goes well, will begin phase 1 trials in January 2015.
Despite the serum’s success, it’s only being used on the Americans, two victims who could be transported away from the outbreak.
Without further testing and understanding of experimental solutions, doctors will continue to battle the outbreak simply using means of containment.
4. Beyonce mentions the ‘elevator incident’ in Flawless remix featuring Nicki Minaj
Just before midnight on Saturday, Queen Bey and rapper Nicki Minaj released a remix of the female empowerment song ‘Flawless’. Most fans took note of her clear mention of the infamous elevator brawl where Solange attacked Jay-Z:
“We escalate, up in this b–ch like elevators,” Beyonce raps. “Of course sometimes s–t go down when there’s a billion dollars on an elevator.”
Given her rumored marriage troubles with Jay Z, the lyrics raise a number of questions. There were also other questionable references in the song such as Beyonce rapping, “You wish I was your pound cake”
5. Giraffe dies after hitting head on N1 overhead pass
Last Thursday one of two blind-folded giraffes being transported in a truck on the highway in Centurion died after it had knocked its head when the truck drove under a bridge.
Rick Allen MD of Tshwane SPCA said that the SPCA was investigating the incident, with the intention of laying charges against those responsible: “The SABS has published a code for wildlife transport, and it would appear that the open transport with the giraffes’ head sticking out is not acceptable.”
The SPCA has ascertained that Nature Conservation has issued permits for the transport of the animals. SAPA reported that the other giraffe was taken to a wildlife veterinary clinic.
6. Naked woman embraces Nelson Mandela Square
Social media was abuzz on Tuesday as people tried to ascertain the identity of a woman who stripped naked at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton on Monday afternoon and caressed the statue of the former statesman.
Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square regional marketing manager Megan Meas said that at about 4pm on Monday the woman had arrived on the square, observed the statue for a few minutes and saluted it. She then proceeded to undress and moved closer to the statue.
Meas said a security guard had immediately requested that she put on her clothes, which she did. But she refused to answer any questions and left at about 4.17 pm.
She said the woman was not apprehended and they did not know her whereabouts.