Saturday, 25 May 2013

Financial, family woes of Winnie Mandela, South Africa's 'Mother of the Nation'

Financial, family woes of Winnie Mandela, South Africa's 'Mother of the Nation'

Winnie Madikizela Mandela, seen in a file photo from 13 March, 2010.
Winnie Madikizela Mandela, seen in a file photo from 13 March, 2010.

Johannesburg (CNN) -- "This shouldn't be happening" -- these were the words of a visibly nervous and frustrated sheriff of the court as he rang the outside bell and knocked at the gate belonging to a woman still considered by many in South Africa as the "mother of the nation."
Joe Maluleke and two other officials arrived at Winnie Mandela's house in Soweto on Tuesday to execute a court order granting a Johannesburg school permission to auction her belongings and pay an old debt. Among the goods meant to go under the hammer were 50 paintings, a round table, chairs and a silver tea set.
The problems started when the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, the country's first black president and an international icon, registered her great niece, Nobantu Vutela, as a boarding student at Abbotts College in Northcliff, Johannesburg, according to court papers filed in 2008.
The accommodation fees for the year were 40,000 South African rand -- the equivalent of about $4,000 today. Winnie Mandela, 76, who earns an annual salary of around $90,000, as a member of parliament, was given six months to pay the full amount. It's unclear why she and not the girl's own parents enrolled her into the private school.
Winnie keeps to herself, but we still call her 'mother of the nation' and no-one wants to see her humiliated
Neighbor of Winnie Mandela
Despite the documents stipulating that R10,000 ($1000) be paid up front, lawyers representing the school say Mrs Mandela never paid a cent. They started instituting proceedings against her in October 2008. The case dragged on for five years. A lawyer acting on behalf of the school told CNN Mrs Mandela made her first payment last year but that she still owes nearly $5,000 with interest included. Mrs Mandela's lawyer is disputing the interest amount.
With dozens of journalists surrounding him, not a single bidder in sight, and Mrs Mandela's bodyguards stationed on the other side of the wall, Sheriff Maluleke knocked in vain. People could be seen moving around inside and outside the house, but nobody came out to let the sheriff in. At one point a car sped out of the premises using a side entrance. It is unclear who was in the car.
Maluleke was instructed by lawyers to get a locksmith and force his way into Mandela's house, but he was understandably reluctant. At one point a spectator shouted, "Why don't you climb over the wall?" The sheriff's irritated retort: "And get shot at?"
The tense standoff lasted for about two hours. Maluleke left Winnie Mandela's property empty-handed and dejected. He later admitted that the task he was expected to carry out was a difficult one. "Is it because she is the mother of the nation?" he was asked. "Exactly," he responded.
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On Monday night Winnie Mandela's lawyer Yandisa Dudula had been frantically trying to stop the auction from going ahead.
"Mrs. Mandela has given me a check for R16,000 ($1,696), and another R4,000 ($212) has been given to the sheriff," he told CNN. "The auction is not necessary."
The school's lawyers insisted on getting the money in cash, failing which, they said the sale of her goods would go ahead as planned.
Confused neighbors looked on as the spectacle at Mandela's property unfolded.
"We thought she had money, it is very surprising that her goods are now having to be auctioned in order to recoup funds for a debt," one of them told CNN.
When asked what it is like to live next door "the mother of the nation," the neighbor said, "We never see her. When the old man (Nelson Mandela) lived in Soweto he would walk around, shake people's hands, greet and talk to them, he even invited us into his home."
"Winnie keeps to herself, but we still call her 'mother of the nation' and no-one wants to see her humiliated," the neighbor said.
Commentators say Winnie Mandela has become increasingly isolated, not only by her political family, the ruling African National Congress, but seemingly by her biological family as well.
"Internal tensions within the family could have played a role in no one coming to Mrs Mandela's aid," political analyst Somadoda Fikeni told CNN. "The family is fragmented and recent squabbles over money have further emphasized these divisions."
Two of Nelson Mandela's daughters -- Makaziwe Mandela and Zenani Dlamini -- are currently embroiled in a legal battle over the former political prisoner's money. They have filed court papers in an attempt to remove Mandela's longtime lawyer and friend, 84-year-old George Bizos, and others as directors of companies owned by the Mandela Trust.
The children's legal battle over their iconic father's monies has come under heavy criticism in South Africa. Bizos told local media the lawsuit is "a ploy to resuscitate the sale of Mandela's artworks" whose proceeds go to the companies at the center of the dispute.
The Mandela family is fragmented and recent squabbles over money have further emphasized these divisions
Somadoda Fikeni
Andrew Mlangeni, who was incarcerated on Robben Island with Mr Mandela, told CNN: "This is a matter that should have been resolved internally within the family."
Makaziwe recently rebutted accusations that her intentions are motivated by greed, telling the New York Times: "This issue that we are greedy, that we are wanting this money before my dad passes away is all nonsense."
The feud over Nelson Mandela's millions and now the threat of an auction at his former wife's residence underscore the contradictions and complexities in what many consider South Africa's political "royal family."
This is by no means Winnie Mandela's first brush with the law, although for years many saw her as untouchable.
The former freedom fighter was implicated in the 1980s murder of 14-year-old anti-apartheid activist Stompie Seipei. Her then-husband, Nelson Mandela, stood by her, despite a mountain of damning evidence. In 1991 she was convicted of kidnapping Seipei and for being an accessory to assault, but her six-year jail term was reduced on appeal to a fine and a suspended sentence.
In 2003 Mrs Mandela was convicted for theft and fraud in connection with an elaborate bank loan scheme where the ANC party letterhead was used to obtain loans for bogus employees including her youngest daughter Zinzi. The conviction carried a jail term, but that sentence too was suspended.
A few months ago police confirmed that they have reopened the murder case of two more former freedom fighters, allegedly last seen at her house more than 20 years ago. Their bodies were exhumed in March.
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Securing the release of Nelson Mandela
Securing the release of Nelson Mandela
From prison number to fashion line
In recent years, "the mother of the nation's" influence in the country and within the ruling party has waned, and the protection she once enjoyed along with it. Last year she was voted second-last in the party's national executive committee. She had been top of the list at the previous ANC conference in 2007.
Still, respected columnist and journalist Justice Malala says he is astonished Winnie Mandela couldn't get help from a single one of her former comrades.
Malala told CNN: "It's great that she was paying for her great niece's school fees but I'm surprised that firstly she didn't feel she could raise the money from her own salary and secondly that no-one in the ANC was willing to help her. She could have also approached the Mandela Trust. Mandela has given money to president Jacob Zuma before when he was in trouble."
Perhaps the most astonishing part of the tale is why her children and grandchildren appear to have stood by and watched as threats of an auction became more serious.
Two of her grandchildren, Zaziwe and Swati Dlamini have recently launched a reality show in the U.S. called "Being Mandela." They also have a clothing line named "Long Walk to Freedom" after their grandfather's autobiography. Their mother Zenani Dlamini, Winnie's eldest daughter, is South Africa's ambassador to Argentina.
Despite the family's many ventures and connections, Winnie's lawyer says money isn't always readily available.
Winnie Mandela has often courted controversy, but she is still adored by many in South Africa.
She endured years of torture, torment, banishment and imprisonment by the apartheid regime while fighting resolutely for racial equality in the country.
And despite her legal and financial troubles over the years, very few South Africans are celebrating her downfall. Many of them took to Twitter to express their solidarity. "We cannot forget Winnie Mandela who stood tall for three decades" wrote one person.

A tornado's heading your way: Now what?

Watch this video

What to do if tornado hits

You've just that heard a tornado is headed directly toward you. You don't have a safe room, and you're not near a shelter. Do you hunker down and hope for the best or do you flee?
Emergency officials have long held that you should just stay put if you're inside anything other than a mobile home -- and head for the lowest floor and the inner-most room.
Yet even with improvements to severe weather prediction, no one can say with certainty what a tornado will do.
In Moore, Oklahoma, a woman and her brother took shelter inside their restaurant's walk-in freezer and survived. Another woman and her baby did the same thing at a convenience store -- and died.
Terimy Miller initially put her three sons into a closet but changed her mind when she turned on the TV and heard a reporter talking about her neighborhood.
"He said, 'Get out now if you have no shelter. If you have shelter, get in it. But if you don't, get out ... it's not safe. Go! It's too huge!'"
So Miller put the boys -- 6, 7 and 11 -- into her car and drove off, her radio on.
"They said, 'It's getting right close to 19th and 4th," she recalled. "I said, 'Boys, it's right behind us! You can see it, you can see it!' "
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She steered out of its path, escaping unharmed. When she returned, her home -- closet and all -- was destroyed.
Another woman who hid inside her closet survived unharmed after the closet door landed on top of her and protected her.
Outrunning the storm?
While the most common advice is to shelter in place, some experts say it may sometimes be smart to do what Miller did -- get into a car and drive -- especially if you have enough warning.
"You rarely ever have less than 15 minutes, and usually considerably more," said Ed Bates, an architect who designs buildings that incorporate storm shelters.
"With the good lead time, I'd tell people to get in their automobile and go 90 degrees from that perceived path," said Bates. "It's manageable and easy to do -- even in a city environment."
Given open roads and a reliable vehicle, the race should not be close. Funnel clouds can travel as fast as 70 mph, but their average forward speed is only 30 mph, according to FEMA.
The tornado that ripped through Moore on Monday was one of the strongest on record, with winds topping 200 mph. Twenty-four people were killed, 10 of them children. Hundreds more were injured.
The twister damaged or destroyed about 12,000 homes, and state insurance adjusters expect the claims to exceed $2 billion.
Aerial views of what's left of the Oklahoma City suburb testify to the danger courted by those who sheltered in place.
But even that lead time would not necessarily have persuaded Ernst Kiesling to try to race out of harm's way.
"It's a tough question," said Kiesling, a civil engineering professor at Texas Tech University who has spent his life studying tornadoes and developing above-ground storm shelters to protect against them.
"My advice would be to seek the safest place available. That is: lie in a ditch or ... (get) behind a heavy object if you had a tractor or even a tree."
He cited the 1979 Wichita Falls, Texas, tornado as a cautionary lesson. That twister killed 54 people and, Kiesling noted, "many people were killed in automobiles because they tried to outrun it."
Still, Kiesling allowed, there may be times when fleeing an impending tornado might be a good option.
"If you have good information on the storm, if you have plenty of warning, if you have an automobile, it may make sense, but I personally don't feel that's the advice that we want to give the public."
A better answer, he said, would be to plan. "I think there is today a storm shelter or solution for just about every situation, so I would urge people to consider procuring a storm shelter for their home."
The options for shelters are many: above-ground, below-ground, mounted in the garage, on the patio, on a poured slab or even in a space carved out beneath the slab.
Shelters at schools
Ed Bates said he includes provisions for storm shelters in the buildings he designs, but sometimes it's a tough sell.
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"It's just disgraceful for me to see how many schools in Oklahoma continue to get built with all the priority on athletic facilities," the architect said. "They don't seize the opportunity to protect from a very imminent danger in this area."
That was not the case at Northeastern State University in Tulsa, where his proposals were welcomed. "We were able to build honest-to-goodness tornado vaults, concrete vaults, as double-purpose classrooms," he said.
Inside the shelter's blast-resistant doors is ample space to accommodate the school's thousands of students and staff members, he said. Its value was driven home soon after it was completed, when a tornado struck nearby, causing damage, he said.
"I went out there to the campus about three days later, and three of the lady professors just ran up and hugged me and said, 'Mr. Bates, we just want to thank you,'" he said. "They said, 'What a peace of mind!' "
Teachers at schools without shelters can find themselves in untenable positions, he said. "A tornado gets announced, and then the teachers have no choice but to stay right there until every one of the parents of those children arrive," he said. "That's not the way it ought to be."
The fact that seven students at Plaza Towers Elementary School were among the dead has given momentum to advocates for shelters in schools. Plaza Towers had neither a basement nor a shelter, and neither did Briarwood Elementary, which was also destroyed, although there were no fatalities there.
The schools that were rebuilt in Moore after a tornado in 1999 do have storm shelters, he said. That one, too, was an EF5, the most powerful category of storm. Such tornadoes represent a tiny fraction -- about one-tenth of a percent -- of all tornadoes, according to FEMA.
Most of the schools in Oklahoma don't have a shelter because of the cost, Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis told CNN. But he predicted that will change.
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Moore superintendent on storm shelters
"There should be a place that, if this ever happened again during school, that kids can get to a safe place," said Mikki Dixon Davis, whose 8-year-old son, Kyle, died at Plaza Towers.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, said it was not clear Kyle would have survived even if he had had access to a shelter. "Some of the shelters that were utilized collapsed or were destroyed by the tornado," he said.
"We'll never replace her child or fill that void in her heart, and we ought to do what we can do to prevent this kind of result, but there's only so much we can do. We put 200 shelters in in the last four, five years in Oklahoma in schools, so it's not like the state hasn't been making an effort."
Leslie Chapman-Henderson rejected "chatter" suggesting that no above-ground shelters could have withstood Monday's winds.
"We don't know that; that hasn't been determined," said Chapman-Henderson, the president and CEO of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes Inc.
"We're concerned it's going to set the cause of tornado safety back decades if we can't get fact-based conversations rolling forward," Chapman-Henderson said.
She expressed confidence that Oklahomans will learn from Monday's events. "I hear a very diverse voice converging on one message: that this time, we have got to do this differently."
As the debate continues over whether to invest in storm shelters, here are a few tips that experts say everyone should follow:
-- Don't ignore those warnings
There's a saying in Oklahoma: If you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes. The skies can change fast and that makes it hard for weather forecasters to predict the weather.
But whether you're in Oklahoma or anywhere else, don't dismiss tornado watches and warnings just because the forecaster got last week's predictions wrong.
And don't fall victim to thinking a tornado can't happen in your neighborhood.
"Time and fading memories are the worst enemies," said Chapman-Henderson. "People think it can't happen twice, but in the case of Moore, Oklahoma, the tragedy here is this is the third strike -- 1999 to 2003."
Tornadoes can sometimes form so quickly that little, if any, warning is possible, according to FEMA.
-- Grab a helmet
As Monday's tornado approached, football players at Southmoore High School were getting ready for practice. The coach rounded up the players and ordered them to put on their helmets, he told Fox Sports Southwest
The tornado just missed the school.
It's an important lesson: Protect your head. A 200 mph gust of wind can turn a stick into a lethal weapon, something even a $10 bicycle helmet might protect against.
-- Work with what you've got
There's a good chance that if a tornado approaches, you might not be near a storm shelter or a basement or your emergency kit, so it's important to use what you have at the time of the impact to increase your survival chances.
Emergency room doctors at Moore Medical Center pulled mattresses and blankets off hospital gurneys and used them to cover themselves and their patients as the tornado approached.
Those simple items might have saved lives as the tornado wiped out the hospital's second floor.
Workers and customers at a credit union got inside the bank vault, which proved to be the only thing standing after the tornado reduced the rest of the building to rubble.
The tornado wiped out the school and many sustained serious injuries, but everyone survived.
The Red Cross and the National Weather Service have more tips on their websites.

Rival marchers clash as tensions rise over Woolwich killing

 A man pictured with floral tributes to a British soldier killed by suspected Islamists in London.
A man pictured with floral tributes to a British soldier killed by suspected Islamists in London.
Clashes erupted Saturday in northern England as a far-right group marched in a rally held as tensions rise over the slaying of a British soldier by attackers who claimed they were avenging the deaths of Muslims overseas.
Glass bottles were thrown as an estimated 500 protesters on the English Defence League march in Newcastle skirmished with people taking part in a counter-demonstration organized by Newcastle Unites.
EDL marchers told CNN that the soldier's killing in Woolwich, southeast London, had "opened our eyes" to what the United Kingdom has become. They called for Muslims to leave.
Addressing the crowd, EDL leader Tommy Robinson said: "We cannot allow this soldier's death to be in vain.
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The problem with homegrown terrorism
"We are the only ones who dare say it. When did the truth become hate speech?"
The march comes amid concern over growing anti-Muslim sentiment as evidence emerges of apparent links between one of the two suspected attackers and radical Islamist groups..
Friends, acquaintances and British media have identified 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo, a British national of Nigerian descent, as the suspect seen in a gory video from the scene of the Woolwich killing. He is said to be a Muslim convert.
A self-proclaimed friend of the suspect was arrested Friday night at BBC Broadcasting House after giving an interview in which he said Michael Adebolajo had been approached by Britain's domestic security service, MI5. Police said the arrest was made under the Terrorism Act and was not connected to the Woolwich inquiry.
Politicians and community leaders have been trying to tamp down tensions in the wake of the murder of the soldier, Drummer Lee Rigby, while police numbers have been boosted in vulnerable areas.
Northumbria Police said its officers had arrested three people in northern England on suspicion of posting racist tweets Saturday, ahead of the EDL march.
"The policing operation will allow people the right to peaceful protest, protect the safety of everyone in the city and prevent serious disorder and damage," a police statement said.
Members of the EDL clashed with police near the scene of the killing late Wednesday. A tweet from its official account proclaimed then that "it's fair to say that finally the country is waking up!:-) NO SURRENDER!"
A message posted on the EDL Facebook page Saturday urged members to abide by the law or risk arrest.
"NO swearing, NO incitement to violence, No racist remarks, No threats. Please be very aware that the authorities can, do & will monitor these pages & it seems from information we are getting are visiting and arresting people. Keep it safe please," it said.
'Abused in the street, online'
But a group which monitors incidents of anti-Muslim abuse, the Tell Mama project, said Saturday morning it had seen a huge increase in the number of reported incidents.
Fiyaz Mughal, a coordinator of Tell Mama, told CNN Saturday morning that 162 incidents had been reported in the past 48 hours -- compared with four to six incidents a day on average before the Woolwich attack.
The latest include street-based incidents like name calling, assaults and materials being thrown at individuals, Mughal said, as well as online incidents, where targeted hate is directed at individuals through the Internet and social media.
Eight incidents of attacks against mosques across Britain are also included in the figure.
Mughal, also director of an interfaith national hate crime reporting project, Faith Matters, said he had observed that people are scared, particularly female Muslims who wear headscarves and have told Tell Mama that they are afraid to go out. "It's quite endemic," he said.
Tell Mama recorded 632 incidents of anti-Muslim abuse in the year from March 2012, it said, about three-quarters of which occurred online. More than half were directed at women.
Imams sign letter condemning attack
The apparent increase in abuse comes as Muslim leaders, as well as their Christian counterparts, seek to keep communities calm.
Shaykh Shams Adduha, founder and director of Ebrahim College, which teaches Islamic studies in London, is one of nearly 100 imams and Muslim groups to have signed a letter Friday condemning the "outrageous attack" on Rigby and offering their condolences to his family.
"We share the absolute horror felt by the rest of British society at the sick and barbaric crime that was committed in the name of our religion. We condemn this heinous atrocity in the strongest possible terms. It is a senseless act of pure depravity worthy of nothing but contempt," it read.
Shams Adduha told CNN Saturday that the Muslim community had reacted promptly and was working hard to defuse tensions.
"First of all we've been very open in our condemnation and very open about the fact that there is no place ... in Islam for this kind of act," the imam said.
"At the same time we've been calling for calm, we've constantly been talking to our communities to make sure that their fears are allayed. But of course the reactions are happening -- and they will happen."
These types of attacks are also a reaction, he said, to problems and grievances among "angry young people out there in the world."
With regards to the Woolwich attack, he said, Muslim leaders must make clear that what happened is "un-Islamic" and seek to educate young people so they are not susceptible to "fringe voices."
Prime Minister David Cameron stressed Thursday that "the fault lies solely with sickening individuals who carried out this attack," adding that "nothing in Islam ... justifies this truly dreadful act."
'Eye for an eye'
One of the attack suspects apparently approached a man filming the gory scene in the Woolwich neighborhood and suggested that Rigby had been targeted only "because Muslims are dying daily" at the hands of British troops like him.
"We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," he said in the video aired by CNN affiliate ITN.
Britain's armed forces have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. All its combat troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
The identity of a second man, aged 22, seized at the scene by armed police has not been released. Both suspects were shot and remain in hospital.
A third man, aged 29, who was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder on Thursday is also still in custody.
Donations flood in
It is understood that the two individuals suspected of carrying out the knife and cleaver attack were known to Britain's domestic security service. They had featured in previous investigations into other individuals, but were not themselves under surveillance.
CNN understands that one line of inquiry being examined in the Woolwich terror investigation is that suspect Adebolajo might have attempted -- but failed -- to travel to Somalia some time last year.
The brutal slaying of Rigby near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, a working-class, multicultural neighborhood, shocked people across the United Kingdom.
The 25-year-old, who was married and had a 2-year-old son, was a machine gunner who became a recruiter. He was also a ceremonial military drummer.
His family spoke Friday of their sorrow at losing a son, husband and brother who was dedicated to his job and devoted to his family.
Help for Heroes, a charity which helps injured military veterans and servicemen and women, said Saturday that nearly £600,000 ($907,590) in public donations had poured in since the news of Rigby's murder -- with more still coming in.
"The nation has rallied behind our Armed Forces in an extraordinary and wonderful display of support," the charity said.

Rival marchers clash as tensions rise over Woolwich killing

By Laura Smith-Spark. Victoria Eastwood and Erin McLaughlin, CNN
May 25, 2013 -- Updated 1403 GMT (2203 HKT)
 A man pictured with floral tributes to a British soldier killed by suspected Islamists in London.
A man pictured with floral tributes to a British soldier killed by suspected Islamists in London.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Far-right EDL marchers clash with protesters on a counter-demonstration in Newcastle
  • Tensions are high following the slaying of a British soldier in London on Wednesday
  • A friend of one of the murder suspects was arrested Friday night on terrorism charges
  • "We cannot allow this soldier's death to be in vain," EDL leader says to marchers
(CNN) -- Clashes erupted Saturday in northern England as a far-right group marched in a rally held as tensions rise over the slaying of a British soldier by attackers who claimed they were avenging the deaths of Muslims overseas.
Glass bottles were thrown as an estimated 500 protesters on the English Defence League march in Newcastle skirmished with people taking part in a counter-demonstration organized by Newcastle Unites.
EDL marchers told CNN that the soldier's killing in Woolwich, southeast London, had "opened our eyes" to what the United Kingdom has become. They called for Muslims to leave.
Addressing the crowd, EDL leader Tommy Robinson said: "We cannot allow this soldier's death to be in vain.
Suspect asked to spy for UK
The problem with homegrown terrorism
"We are the only ones who dare say it. When did the truth become hate speech?"
The march comes amid concern over growing anti-Muslim sentiment as evidence emerges of apparent links between one of the two suspected attackers and radical Islamist groups..
Friends, acquaintances and British media have identified 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo, a British national of Nigerian descent, as the suspect seen in a gory video from the scene of the Woolwich killing. He is said to be a Muslim convert.
A self-proclaimed friend of the suspect was arrested Friday night at BBC Broadcasting House after giving an interview in which he said Michael Adebolajo had been approached by Britain's domestic security service, MI5. Police said the arrest was made under the Terrorism Act and was not connected to the Woolwich inquiry.
Politicians and community leaders have been trying to tamp down tensions in the wake of the murder of the soldier, Drummer Lee Rigby, while police numbers have been boosted in vulnerable areas.
Northumbria Police said its officers had arrested three people in northern England on suspicion of posting racist tweets Saturday, ahead of the EDL march.
"The policing operation will allow people the right to peaceful protest, protect the safety of everyone in the city and prevent serious disorder and damage," a police statement said.
Members of the EDL clashed with police near the scene of the killing late Wednesday. A tweet from its official account proclaimed then that "it's fair to say that finally the country is waking up!:-) NO SURRENDER!"
A message posted on the EDL Facebook page Saturday urged members to abide by the law or risk arrest.
"NO swearing, NO incitement to violence, No racist remarks, No threats. Please be very aware that the authorities can, do & will monitor these pages & it seems from information we are getting are visiting and arresting people. Keep it safe please," it said.
'Abused in the street, online'
But a group which monitors incidents of anti-Muslim abuse, the Tell Mama project, said Saturday morning it had seen a huge increase in the number of reported incidents.
Fiyaz Mughal, a coordinator of Tell Mama, told CNN Saturday morning that 162 incidents had been reported in the past 48 hours -- compared with four to six incidents a day on average before the Woolwich attack.
The latest include street-based incidents like name calling, assaults and materials being thrown at individuals, Mughal said, as well as online incidents, where targeted hate is directed at individuals through the Internet and social media.
Eight incidents of attacks against mosques across Britain are also included in the figure.
Mughal, also director of an interfaith national hate crime reporting project, Faith Matters, said he had observed that people are scared, particularly female Muslims who wear headscarves and have told Tell Mama that they are afraid to go out. "It's quite endemic," he said.
Tell Mama recorded 632 incidents of anti-Muslim abuse in the year from March 2012, it said, about three-quarters of which occurred online. More than half were directed at women.
Imams sign letter condemning attack
The apparent increase in abuse comes as Muslim leaders, as well as their Christian counterparts, seek to keep communities calm.
Shaykh Shams Adduha, founder and director of Ebrahim College, which teaches Islamic studies in London, is one of nearly 100 imams and Muslim groups to have signed a letter Friday condemning the "outrageous attack" on Rigby and offering their condolences to his family.
"We share the absolute horror felt by the rest of British society at the sick and barbaric crime that was committed in the name of our religion. We condemn this heinous atrocity in the strongest possible terms. It is a senseless act of pure depravity worthy of nothing but contempt," it read.
Shams Adduha told CNN Saturday that the Muslim community had reacted promptly and was working hard to defuse tensions.
"First of all we've been very open in our condemnation and very open about the fact that there is no place ... in Islam for this kind of act," the imam said.
"At the same time we've been calling for calm, we've constantly been talking to our communities to make sure that their fears are allayed. But of course the reactions are happening -- and they will happen."
These types of attacks are also a reaction, he said, to problems and grievances among "angry young people out there in the world."
With regards to the Woolwich attack, he said, Muslim leaders must make clear that what happened is "un-Islamic" and seek to educate young people so they are not susceptible to "fringe voices."
Prime Minister David Cameron stressed Thursday that "the fault lies solely with sickening individuals who carried out this attack," adding that "nothing in Islam ... justifies this truly dreadful act."
'Eye for an eye'
One of the attack suspects apparently approached a man filming the gory scene in the Woolwich neighborhood and suggested that Rigby had been targeted only "because Muslims are dying daily" at the hands of British troops like him.
"We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," he said in the video aired by CNN affiliate ITN.
Britain's armed forces have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. All its combat troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
The identity of a second man, aged 22, seized at the scene by armed police has not been released. Both suspects were shot and remain in hospital.
A third man, aged 29, who was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder on Thursday is also still in custody.
Donations flood in
It is understood that the two individuals suspected of carrying out the knife and cleaver attack were known to Britain's domestic security service. They had featured in previous investigations into other individuals, but were not themselves under surveillance.
CNN understands that one line of inquiry being examined in the Woolwich terror investigation is that suspect Adebolajo might have attempted -- but failed -- to travel to Somalia some time last year.
The brutal slaying of Rigby near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, a working-class, multicultural neighborhood, shocked people across the United Kingdom.
The 25-year-old, who was married and had a 2-year-old son, was a machine gunner who became a recruiter. He was also a ceremonial military drummer.
His family spoke Friday of their sorrow at losing a son, husband and brother who was dedicated to his job and devoted to his family.
Help for Heroes, a charity which helps injured military veterans and servicemen and women, said Saturday that nearly £600,000 ($907,590) in public donations had poured in since the news of Rigby's murder -- with more still coming in.
"The nation has rallied behind our Armed Forces in an extraordinary and wonderful display of support," the charity said.

Philippine troops in deadly clash with rebels


At least seven soldiers and five Abu Sayyaf men killed as military launches offensive against al-Qaeda-linked group.

 

Reinforcement troops have been hunting down the fighters in the southern Sulu province [AFP]
At least 12 people have been killed, including seven government soldiers, in fresh clashes as military steps up its offensive against rebels in the southern Philippines, officials say.

The fighting on Saturday in Sulu province's coastal town of Patikul between the military and members of Abu Sayyaf, an al-Qaeda-linked group, also wounded nine other marines and 10 fighters.
 
Jose Canbre, a local military leader, said that his team of soldiers ran into an Abu Sayyaf unit in the village of Tugas as government forces tracked members of the group suspected of recent kidnappings.

Domingo Tutaan, a military spokesman, told the AFP news agency: "It was an early-morning firefight. Our forces were tracking those responsible for some recent kidnappings in the area, including the wife of a soldier."
The social worker wife of one soldier had been freed unharmed by the Abu Sayyaf on nearby Basilan island two days after her abduction, Tutaan said.
Reinforcement troops were hunting down the fleeing fighters, who were believed led by Julaswan Sawadjaan, an Abu Sayyaf leader blamed for kidnappings for ransom, including of a Jordanian journalist and two European tourists, who are still being held by the group.

A son of Sawadjaan was believed to have been killed in the clashes, Canbre added.
Meanwhile, Philippine troops and police special forces have killed one of two gunmen who were trying to extort money Saturday from a restaurant in Sulu's capital town of Jolo, Cenabre said.
Armed with pistols, the two men shot it out with government forces. One was shot in the head and died while being brought to a hospital while the other was captured.
He also said investigators were trying to determine whether the two were members or had ties with the Abu Sayyaf, which is also notorious for extortion.
Abu Sayyaf is blamed for the worst attacks in the country, including the bombing of a ferry in Manila Bay.
Philippine security forces, backed by US troops, have stepped up offensives against Abu Sayyaf, which has also threatened to attack US-financed development projects.

Radiation leak in Japan affects scores


No impact expected outside physics lab in Tokaimura in country's north, site of at least two previous accidents.

 

Japan's nuclear industry has been in crisis since the March 2011 accident at tsunami-hit Fukushima plant [Reuters]
A nuclear research laboratory in northern Japan has reported a radiation leak that may have affected 55 people, though none has been hospitalised and no impact is expected outside the facility.
The Japan Atomic Energy Agency said on Saturday that the accident occurred on Thursday at a nuclear physics lab in Tokaimura, the site of at least two previous radiation accidents.
Four researchers were tested afterwards, with the highest radiation dose found to be two millisieverts. Nuclear workers generally are limited to 100 millisieverts of exposure over five years.
The leak occurred when experimental equipment overheated, causing the evaporation and release of radioactive gold.
Since the leak originally was thought to have been contained inside the lab, the incident was not initially reported, and workers used a ventilation fan, causing radiation to spread.
The JAEA said it was studying the potential environmental impact from the radiation leak.
Japan's nuclear industry has been in crisis since the March 2011 accident at the tsunami-hit Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, the country's worst-ever atomic energy disaster.
Most of Japan's nuclear plants remain closed after they were shut down for safety checks.
Tokaimura was the site of Japan's second-worst nuclear accident, in September 1999, when two workers were killed by a radiation leak at a fuel-reprocessing plant when they tried to save time by mixing excessive amounts of uranium in buckets instead of using special mechanised tanks.
Hundreds of people were exposed to radiation, and thousands of residents were evacuated as a precaution.
The government assigned the accident a level-4 rating on the International Nuclear Event Scale, which ranges from 1 to 7.

TRAVELLERS ESCAPE UK'S COLD SPRING

ABOVE: Early figures from the Met Office show spring this year is on course to be the coldest since 1979
25th May 2013
Thousands of people are escaping the dismal British weather and seeking sun for the May bank holiday weekend, experts have said.

Thousands of families are heading abroad to escape the end of what the Met Office say could be one of the coldest springs in the last 30 years.

But some are being affected by a backlog at London's Heathrow airport following the emergency landing on Friday by a British Airways jet which turned back shortly into a flight to Oslo.

Two fatal crashes also closed major roads in the West Country on Saturday morning, including a woman killed after driving the wrong way up a motorway.

A woman died after driving the wrong way up the M5, Avon and Somerset Police said. The woman, aged in her 20s or 30s, started driving her Ford Ka north on the southbound carriageway between Weston-super-Mare and Clevedon at 12.30am.

The A30 was also closed near Hayle in west Cornwall after a 38-year-old man died in a crash. He was pronounced dead at the scene following the single-vehicle accident at 3am, while his female passenger was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro with minor injuries, a Devon and Cornwall police spokesman said.

Mark Tanzer, the ABTA chief executive said families were heading abroad for high temperatures and sun as the bank holiday weekend coincides with the half term school holiday.

"Families are flying to Spain, in particular the Balearic and Canary islands and those heading to Turkey are in for a scorcher, with temperatures set to hit 40 degrees next week," he said. "North Africa is also popular at this time of year offering guaranteed warmth and sunshine."

Early figures from the Met Office show spring (March, April and May) this year is on course to be the coldest since 1979. Frequent east and northerly winds brought cold air to the UK from polar and northern European regions, resulting in a very cold March, while April was below average temperature and May is on course to be the same, a spokesman said.

TWO QUESTIONED OVER MID-AIR 'FIGHT'

ABOVE: The Pakistan International Airlines flight PK709 bound for Manchester from Lahore, at Stansted Airpo
25th May 2013
Two men are being questioned on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft after an RAF Typhoon jet was scrambled to escort a passenger plane over the UK.

The plane, which was travelling from Pakistan to Manchester on Friday, was diverted to Stansted Airport, Essex.

Police boarded the Pakistan International Airlines flight PK709 and detained two men, British nationals aged 30 and 41. According to one of the passengers, the aircraft's cabin crew said two men had repeatedly tried to get into the cockpit.

Umari Nauman told Sky News: "The cabin crew informed us that basically they tried to come into the cockpit a few times and because they had been asked not to do that they got into a bit of an argument with the crew and made a few threats." She said all the passengers were ordered to leave their possessions on board before leaving the plane.

It is believed a passenger on the flight allegedly threatened to blow up the plane after other passengers tried to intervene in a row he was embroiled in.

The RAF jet was scrambled following around 10 minutes before the plane, which departed from Lahore, was due to land in Manchester at 2pm.

Superintendent Darrin Tomkins of Essex Police said armed officers entered the plane shortly after it touched down at 2.15pm and arrested the two men. The remaining passengers disembarked the plane under police escort. Mr Tomkins said that no "suspicious items" were recovered, and that officers were carrying out a forensic examination of the plane. The plane remained at a spot on the north side of Stansted Airport with flights carrying on as normal.

Essex Police said they were continuing to question the two men. The force said the rest of the passengers were interviewed by police while the aircraft was examined, before they were allowed back onto the aircraft with their luggage at around midnight to continue with their journey to Manchester.

It added: "Essex Police would like to thank all of the passengers for their patience, understanding and assistance as officers carried out their inquiries yesterday afternoon and evening."

Leaders open landmark AU summit in Ethiopia


Meeting to mark African bloc's 50th jubilee expected to call for dropping of ICC charges against Kenyan leader.

 
Dozens of African leaders met in the Ethiopian capital to mark 50 years since the founding of the African Union, a continentwide organisation that helped liberate Africa from colonial masters and which now is trying to stay relevant on a continent regularly troubled by conflict.

Opening the summit on Saturday that was attended by US Secretary of State John Kerry and other foreign dignitaries, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the AU's original pan-Africanist aspirations remain relevant for a continent where many states are still struggling to overcome rampant poverty and violence.
"This historic day marks not only a great leap forward in the Pan-Africanist quest for freedom, independence and unity but also the beginning of our collective endeavor for the realisations of Africa's socio-economic emancipation,'' he said.
"The major responsibility of the current and future generations of Africans is.to create a continent free from poverty and conflict and an Africa whose citizens would enjoy middle- income status.''
African leaders have gathered to witness celebrations in Addis Ababa for the 50th jubilee of the continental bloc, with its many problems set aside for a day to mark the progress that has been made.
Mass dancing troupes performed musical dramas on Saturday to about 10,000 guests in a big hall in the Ethiopian capital, home to the African Union.
Today's 54-member AU is the successor of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established amid the heady days as independence from colonial rule swept the continent in 1963.
African leaders were expected to be joined by Francois Hollande, the French president; Wang Yang, China's vice-premier; and John Kerry, US secretary of state.
Mali is expected to be discussed: it is preparing to receive a UN peacekeeping force to support French soldiers fighting formerly al-Qaeda-linked rebels in the desert north since January.
The agenda will also likely include Madagascar - in political deadlock since a 2009 coup - and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where UN-backed government soldiers are struggling to defeat rebels.

ANJEM CHOUDARY'S NEWSNIGHT APPEARANCE BLASTED

ANJEM CHOUDARY'S NEWSNIGHT APPEARANCE BLASTED

ABOVE: Anjem Choudary appeared on Newsnight last night
“
Banned from France but welcome on Newsnight.
”
Defence Secretary Jim Murphy
24th May 2013

By Andy Wells

TELEVISION stations have been blasted for allowing hate preacher Anjem Choudary to air his views just 24 hours after soldier Lee Rigby was killed in the Woolwich terror attack,

Tory Baroness Warsi had led a group of MPs in condemning shows like Newsnight for allowing Choudary, who has been pictured with Woolwich terror suspect Michael Adebolajo, to talk about the atrocity.

He was invited on the show just one day after Lee Rigby was killed in the violent attack.

Baroness Warsi said: "We all have a responsibility, including the media, not to give airtime to extremist voices – idiots and nutters who speak for no one but themselves.

"The heartening thing in the midst of all this tragedy is that the British Muslim community has, with a unified, unreserved voice, condemned the killing and pledged support for our armed forces."

She added: "This time everyone has stepped up to the mark.

"Yet here broadcasters are undoing all this by giving a platform to one appalling man who represents nobody.

"I am really angry."

Vile radical Islamist Choudary, who also appeared on Channel 4 News last night, planned a protest march through Royal Wooton Bassett in 2010 - the town where dead British soldiers were repatriated.

He also fronted the now-banned Islamist group Al Muhajiroun, and is accused of radicalising Woolwich suspect Adebolajo.

Baroness Warsi is not the only politician to condemn TV stations for allowing Choudary a voice.

Labour Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy tweeted: "Banned from France but welcome on Newsnight.

"A mistake of the BBC to invite Anjem Choudary onto the telly tonight."

Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan added to London radio station LBC that Choudary was "an offensive and obnoxious media tart."

The suspects in the killing of soldier Lee Rigby are said to have been known to MI5 for years.

VAN DRIVER ADMITS MANSLAUGHTER OF MUM-OF-THREE

VAN DRIVER ADMITS MANSLAUGHTER OF MUM-OF-THREE

ABOVE: Karina Menzies
“
He also admitted seven charges of attempted murder, GBH and actual bodily harm charges and dangerous driving.
”
25th May 2013

By Daily Star Reporter

A VAN driver yesterday admitted the manslaughter of mum-of-three Karina Menzies, but he denied her murder.

Matthew Tvrdon mowed down the 31-year-old as she walked home from school with daughters Tiana, three, and Ellie, eight, last October.

The girls were taken to hospital with 11 other injured pedestrians.

Tvrdon pleaded guilty to Karina’s manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility after Cardiff Crown Court heard he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

He also admitted seven charges of attempted murder, GBH and actual bodily harm charges and dangerous driving.

A decision on whether he will go to trial will be made before June 5.

BRITONS WILL SPLASH £750M OVER BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND

ABOVE: Huge crowds gathered at Heathrow and across the country at other airports and motorways
“
This May bank holiday is the busiest weekend of the year for stag and hen parties
”
James Baddiley, of Chillisauce.co.uk
25th May 2013

By Marc Walker

BRITS will blow a staggering £750million over the bank holiday weekend as a record number of stag and hen parties hit UK cities.

Revellers plan to take advantage of sunshine and highs of 19C today and tomorrow before heavy rain returns on Monday to batter Britain.

The number of pre-wedding blow-outs planned this weekend has soared by 44% compared with last year.

More than 70,000 grooms and brides will toast their last night of freedom in London, Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and Brighton – splashing out £18m, according to research by Chillisauce.co.uk.

Brits will neck an extra 1.3m pints over the three days, boosting clubs, pubs and bars.

James Baddiley, of Chillisauce.co.uk, said: “This May bank holiday is the busiest weekend of the year for stag and hen parties.

“Local businesses need to be prepared for the influx of people out to have a good time, but the money they spend will surely be very welcome.”

Tourism bosses expect £750m to be spent as one in three Brits plan outdoor trips after the coldest spring in 50 years.

VisitEngland reckon Brits fork out £128m a day on outings.

A spokeswoman said: “People will take advantage of drier weather and many special events.”

Car breakdown firm RAC warned 9.5m drivers will hit the roads, with the Lake District and the West Country the most popular places during half-term week.

A spokesman said: “Roads will be much busier with half-term adding to traffic troubles. Allow plenty of time to get to your destination.”

Sun is forecast for most of today and tomorrow, with 19C in the south and 17C in the north. But get the BBQs in before Monday when showers are expected.

Around 2million Brits will jet abroad, with Turkey and north Africa favourite destinations – where holidaymakers can expect to sizzle in 30C temperatures.

PRINCE WILLIAM BACKS BAYERN MUNICH TO LIFT THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AT WEMBLEY

ABOVE: Prince William reckons Bayern Munich will triumph over fellow German side Borussia Dortmund
“
My money is on Bayern Munich and two-nil,
”
Prince William
25th May 2013

By Marc Walker

PRINCE WILLIAM reckons Bayern Munich will triumph at Wembley in tonight’s all-German Champions League final.

The royal football fan predicted the tournament favourites will beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 as thousands of fans flocked to London yesterday.

Last night German supporters were packing out bars, clubs and restaurants in the West End with publicans reporting “a friendly and happy atmosphere”.

And FA president Will confirmed he was also looking forward to the big match.

He said: “My money is on Bayern Munich and two-nil,” and added that it was “truly special” to see England hosting Europe’s biggest football showpiece in the FA’s 150th year.

He went on: “Events like tomorrow’s match inspire through their excellence.”

William was speaking in London at the Uefa Congress as he met Fifa president Sepp Blatter, 77, for the first time since England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid three years ago.

Uefa chief Michel Platini, 57, gave Wills, 30, a football for his baby, due in July.

Bayern are 2-5 favourites and Dortmund 7-2 for the final, which Ladbrokes said will see record UK betting for a Champions League match with no English sides.

Spokesman Alex Donahue said: “The German giants have whipped punters into a frenzy – and Brits are backing Bayern.”

SERGIO AGUERO: I'LL STAY AT MANCHESTER CITY

SERGIO AGUERO: I'LL STAY AT MANCHESTER CITY

ABOVE: Sergio Aguero is happy to stay at Manchester City and help them regain the Premier League title
“
It’s simple. There are always rumours in the summer, all the time. I am very happy at City.
”
Sergio Aguero
25th May 2013

By Steve Brenner

SERGIO AGUERO wants to stay at Manchester City and spearhead Manuel Pellegrini’s Etihad revolution.

The Argentina ace has been linked with a move to Real Madrid following a split with his wife.

City top brass insist there have been no concrete moves and any bids will be instantly rejected.

And Aguero is happy to stay in Manchester and get to work under incoming boss Pellegrini.

The £38m star said: “It’s simple. There are always rumours in the summer, all the time. I am very happy at City.

“I’ve got three more years on my contract, I’m going to work hard for City and everything else is just rumours.

“Every player wants to play in big teams that win titles.

“We didn’t win anything last season but we have won trophies in the last few years, so there is no reason to go.”

With Aguero, 24, staying put, all eyes will be on big pal Carlos Tevez’s future.

He’s entering the final year of his deal but Aguero wants him to remain by his side.

He said: “I want to play with all the big players and Carlos is a big player, so I would like him to stay.

“But part of football means that players move around from one club to another, so I can only talk about myself and Carlos can only talk about himself.”

With Roberto Mancini sacked and Pellegrini on his way in, it has been a rollercoaster time at City.

But Aguero said: “It’s normal and something that happens in football all the time. All we have to do is look at the present, who is coming next, make sure we build things properly for next season. It’s just part of football.

“I don’t know Pellegrini personally but I have heard from other players that he’s a very good manager.”

Aguero reckons the title was lost at the start of the season.

“We lost too many points at the beginning of the season and that’s why we really struggled,” he said.

“We didn’t manage to recover those points.

“We played well in the second half of the season but because we struggled in the first half, we lost too many points.

“We are hoping to do much better in the Champions League next season, but we will see.”
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