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South Africa reopens more classes in schools amid COVID-19

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South Africa further reopened its schools today in line with its phased-in reopening strategy amid an upsurge in confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga, said schools would reopen for Grades R, 6 and 11 learners.

Motshekga added that provinces that were not ready to receive Grade R on July 6 must provide strategic and realisable plans for ensuring the reincorporation of Grade R learners to schools within, but not later than the end of July 2020.

She, however, said that the provinces that were ready to receive Grade R learners on July 6 could proceed to receive those learners.

On June 8, South Africa reopened schools for Grade 7 and Grade 12 learners in its first phase of school reopening.

Since then, 2,740 teachers have been infected by the virus, less than one percent of the total number of about 440,000 teachers in the country, according to the minister.

In the same period, 1,260 learners were also infected by the virus, translating to 0.01 per cent of the total number of Grade 7 and Grade 12 learners, she said.

Meanwhile, 968 schools out of the total number of 25,762 schools were closed due to transmissions among teachers and learners, Motshekga said.

Eleven teachers and four non-teaching staff members died of COVID-19, while three learners were reported to have succumbed to the virus, she said.

“All of us must simply follow the health, safety and social distancing protocols on COVID-19.

“If we fail to do so, the road ahead will be difficult for all of us,” Motshekga said, apparently responding to concerns over further reopening of schools.

South Africa has Africa’s biggest virus cases of 196,750. On Sunday, it recorded another 8,773 cases.

The death toll is also one of Africa’s highest at 3,199. Egypt is worse with 3,343 deaths.

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WORLD NEWS

Girl dies after her teacher flogged her for getting two math questions wrong

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A schoolgirl has died after allegedly being beaten by her teacher for failing to answer two maths questions correctly.

The 10-year-old girl, identified by her surname Zhang, was a student at a primary school in the city of Guangyuan, central China.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, the teacher, identified by the surname Wang, beat the girl on September 10.

Zhang was beaten on her palms four times and ordered to kneel for four minutes.

 

Girl dies after her teacher flogged her for getting two math questions wrong

 

Feeling dizzy, she was sent to the hospital by her grandmother and the teacher and was pronounced dead later that day at 3.30 pm.

She also had her ears pulled and her head beaten.

Medical experts found no wounds and an investigation into her death is underway.

The Cangxi county government has set up a task force and the teacher has been suspended from work, along with the school’s principal.

The victim’s grandmother told local media that she had a twin sister who was in the same class. She said Zhang looked close to fainting during the beating.

The grandmother also mentioned that Zhang was scared of her maths teacher, who she claimed often gave corporal punishment to students.

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Former Mali dictator Moussa Traore laid to rest

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Mali held a state funeral for ex-dictator Moussa Traore on Friday, attended by the head of the ruling military junta and other former leaders of the Sahel state.

Traore, who ruled Mali for 22 years before being deposed in a 1991 coup, died at age 83 in the capital Bamako on September 15.

The former autocrat was buried at a Bamako military camp on Friday, where a funeral band played at the arrival of his coffin, which was draped in the Malian flag.

Soldiers dressed in full regalia stood at attention, according to AFP journalists, while two planes performed a flypast overhead.

As a young lieutenant in 1968, Traore was the main instigator of a coup that overthrew Modibo Keita, the country’s first president after independence from France in 1960.

Traore became president the following year and ruled with an iron fist, before he himself was ousted in a military coup in 1991.

In recent years, the ex-dictator was increasingly seen as an elder statesman in the notoriously unstable country, with politicians soliciting his advice.

In attendance on Friday was the head of Mali’s ruling military junta Colonel Assimi Goita, part of a group of young officers who launched a coup ousting president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18.

Former President Amadou Toumani Toure — who deposed Traore in the 1991 coup — was also among the mourners, alongside other ex-leaders.

Russian diplomats attended the ceremony on Friday, according to AFP journalists, but no French or European Union diplomats were present.

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US to ban TikTok downloads, WeChat use from Sunday

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The United States on Friday ordered a ban on downloads of popular Chinese-owned video app TikTok and use of the messaging and payment platform WeChat, saying they threaten national security.

The move, to be implemented Sunday, comes amid rising US-China tensions and efforts by the Trump administration to engineering a sale of TikTok to American investors.

“The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

The initiative would ban WeChat, an app with massive use among Chinese speakers, and TikTok from the online marketplaces operated by Apple and Google.

But while WeChat will effectively be shut down from Sunday in the US, existing TikTok user will be able to continue using the app until November 12 — when it would also face a full ban on its US operations.

But the Commerce Department said if national security concerns over TikTok were resolved before then, the order may be lifted.

TikTok’s brand of brief, quirky videos made on users’ cellphones has become hugely popular, especially among young people.

The plan follows through on a threat by President Donald Trump, who has claimed Chinese tech operations may be used for spying, and it ramps up the pressure on TikTok parent ByteDance to conclude a deal to sell all or part of TikTok to allay US security concerns.

A deal which appeared to be taking shape would allow Silicon Valley giant Oracle to become the tech partner for TikTok, but some US lawmakers have objected to allowing ByteDance to keep a stake.

The ban on WeChat, owned by Chinese giant Tencent, has the potential for disrupting the widely used social media and financial application.

US officials said in a recent court filing they would not target those using WeChat for ordinary personal.

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