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South Africa's new party leader targets 'billions' in graft

Published: Saturday, January 13, 2018 @ 5:48 AM
Updated: Saturday, January 13, 2018 @ 5:47 AM


            Newly-elected ruling African National Congress (ANC) party president, Cyril Ramaphosa, right, and former ANC President and South African President Jacob Zuma, left, attend the party's 106th birthday celebrations in East London, South Africa, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. Ramaphosa, addressed supporters for the first time since being elected last month. (AP Photo)
Newly-elected ruling African National Congress (ANC) party president, Cyril Ramaphosa, right, and former ANC President and South African President Jacob Zuma, left, attend the party's 106th birthday celebrations in East London, South Africa, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018. Ramaphosa, addressed supporters for the first time since being elected last month. (AP Photo)

The new leader of South Africa's ruling party vowed Saturday to crack down on the corruption that has weakened the African National Congress in a new push to end inequities that haunt the nation more than 20 years after the end of white minority rule.

"Billions of rands have been illegally diverted to individuals," Cyril Ramaphosa said in a speech to celebrate the party's 106th anniversary.

It was Ramaphosa's first major public address since he was elected to lead Africa's oldest liberation party in December, replacing scandal-prone President Jacob Zuma as party leader. He likely will be elected the next president in 2019.

Public frustration over corruption allegations against Zuma deeply split the ANC in recent months, and Ramaphosa has been pressured by opposition parties and some ANC members to recall Zuma as president. Zuma was booed upon his arrival at Saturday's event.

Ramaphosa instead is emphasizing the need to unify the party.

The ANC "has become deeply divided through factionalism, patronage, corruption and competition for resources," he said. "At the center of our efforts this year is unity."

On the eve of a high-level ruling party meeting this week that had threatened to discuss his fate, Zuma acknowledged the pressure, announcing Tuesday he was appointing a commission of inquiry to look into the corruption allegations. "This matter cannot wait any longer," he said.

Ramaphosa on Saturday thanked Zuma for that decision.

"Corruption in state-owned enterprises and other public institutions has undermined our government's programs to address poverty and unemployment," Ramaphosa, also the country's deputy president, said. "We are going to confront corruption and state capture in all its forms."

The ANC has been in power since the country's first democratic elections in 1994, but voters have grown disillusioned with the party of Nelson Mandela under Zuma's tenure. South Africa's economy briefly dipped into recession last year and unemployment hovers close to 30 percent.

In 2016 municipal elections, the ANC lost control of the commercial hub of Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, for the first time. Observers have warned that if support continues to dwindle, the party faces the possibility of losing its national majority in 2019 and having to govern as part of a coalition.

At the party conference in December, Zuma acknowledged serious challenges but pushed back against allegations of graft, asserting that "theft and corruption" in the private sector is just as bad as in South Africa's government and that "being black and successful is being made synonymous to being corrupt."

Ramaphosa now faces the task of reviving confidence in both the government and the economy.

He pledged on Saturday to address the country's lingering inequality through a program of "radical socio-economic transformation," including free higher education for poor and working-class students, a national minimum wage and land expropriation without compensation.

"We aim to restore our focus on building an economy in which all South Africans can flourish, an economy which benefits the people as a whole rather than a privileged few," he said.

Another royal wedding: Princess Eugenie engaged to Jack Brooksbank

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 7:42 AM

Royal Family Announces Engagement For Princess Eugenie

Two weddings and a baby -- the royal family continues to grow as Princess Eugenie announces she’s engaged to be married this year.

Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter will walk down the aisle to marry her long-time boyfriend, Jack Brooksbank.

>> Read more trending news 

Princess Eugenie, 27, is the daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York.

The announcement was posted on the royal family’s Twitter account Monday morning.

The royal couple became engaged in Nicaragua in early January and will marry this fall at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, the same location for the upcoming nuptials for the queen’s other grandchild, Prince Harry and his fiancée, Meghan Markle, the Telegraph reported. Prince Harry and Markle will be married on May 19.

Princess Eugenie and Brooksbank began dating in 2011. They had met while skiing in Switzerland.

The princess is Prince Andrew and Sarah’s second daughter and is eighth in line to the throne, the BBC reported.

While Princess Eugenie works as a director of the contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth, Brooksbank was a nightclub manager and is currently the UK brand ambassador of Casamigos Tequila, a company co-founded by George Clooney, Sky News reported.

The BBC reported that Princess Eugenie will keep her royal title, Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie Victoria Helena of York, after marriage, but she could take his surname.

As for the baby, Prince William and Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting their third child, due in April.

Royal Weddings Through The Years

Must see: Europeans battle deadly winds in Germany, Netherlands

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:11 PM

At Least 8 Dead After Storm Devastates Netherlands, Germany

At least eight people have died after deadly winds blew through Europe.

Two firefighters are among the victims of the hurricane-strength winds that damaged buildings and tore trees from the ground, the BBC reported.

Travel was delayed due to the storm.

>> Read more trending news 

Germany’s Deutsche Bahn stopped running trains on Thursday, but restarted long-distance runs on Friday, according to media reports.

The storm is being considered one of the strongest storms to hit the country in 11 years, CNN reported.

Amsterdam’s air traffic was shut down after two of three terminals were closed when roof plates were blown off the building, CNN reported.

In other parts of Europe, users posted photos of damage to social media. 

Hopping wallaby stops traffic on Australian highway

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 10:34 AM

WATCH: Police Chase Hopping Suspect

A wallaby hopping down a highway is not something you see everyday, but that’s exactly what happened Tuesday in Sydney, Australia.

The marsupial found its way onto the road, making drivers wonder what they were seeing as they crossed the Sydney Harbor Bridge, ABC News in Australia reported.

Some described the animal as a kangaroo, including traffic controllers with the Transport Management Center.

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“Traffic controllers had quite a surprise early this morning when we saw a kangaroo making its way down lane No. 8 of Sydney Harbour Bridge, coming from the north side,” Dave Wright told ABC News.

“It basically continued to hop, making its way from lane 8 all the way over to lane 1 ... down the Cahill Expressway and down to Macquarie Street,” Wright said.

Officers were able to corner the animal which turned out to be a male adult swamp wallaby. It was taken to a vet who checked it out. It had a few scratches on its face and hind legs, but had no major injuries, 9 News reported.

Some believe the wallaby may have come from a nearby golf course, but groundskeepers and golfers said they’ve never seen a wallaby or kangaroo on the course before, 9 News reported.

Wallabies at Cockle Creek at the overnight camp during The Cadbury Schweppes Mark Webber Challenge November 13, 2003 in Tasmania, Australia.

Reporter ‘attacked’ by lemurs during report

Published: Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 8:33 AM

WATCH: Reporter "Attacked" By Lemurs During Report

A reporter apparently never heard the saying about not working with animals or children, but thank goodness he didn’t, because we wouldn’t have the Friday laughs some may need.

>> Read more trending news 

Alexander Dunlop was supposed to do a quick standup about England’s Banham Zoo’s annual counting of the park’s animals. 

But it didn’t go as planned.

A group of lemurs, called a conspiracy, yes really, a conspiracy of lemurs, had a plan to attack Dunlop, ABC News reported.

Brave lemur fans can have a “lemur encounter” and get up close and personal with the wild animals.

FILE PHOTO: A lemur jumps from a tree in Antananarivo, Madagascar. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)(David Rogers/Getty Images)