South African prosecutors charge ANC leader Jacob Zuma with corruption

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South African prosecutors charge ANC leader Jacob Zuma with corruption

By | November 14, 2018

Saturday, December 29, 2007File:JacobZuma.jpg

Corruption-related charges have been brought against Jacob Zuma, the newly-elected leader of the African National Congress (ANC), according to his lawyer. A trial is scheduled to begin on August 14, 2008.

The charges stem from an arms deal with a French company, which is alleged to have involved bribes and fraud. Zuma’s financial adviser at the time, Schabir Shaik, was convicted in 2005 of attempting to solicit a bribe of US$72,500 per year from the arms company on Zuma’s behalf and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Zuma was fired as deputy president in 2005 by South African President Thabo Mbeki due to the scandal.

Two-term ANC leader Mbeki recently lost an ANC leadership contest to Jacob Zuma, who garnered about 60 percent of delegate votes in his win.

Zuma had been charged with corruption in 2005, but the case was dismissed on procedural grounds. Michael Hulley, Zuma’s defence lawyer, indicated that they will strongly contest the new charges in court. Hulley also suggested that the South African government’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and its anti-organised crime division known as The Scorpions, have carried out a smear campaign against Zuma.

“These charges will be vigorously defended, in the context of the belief that the Scorpions (NPA) have acted wrongly and with improper motive calculated to discredit Mr. Zuma and ensure that he play no leadership role in the political future of our country,” said Michael Hulley in a statement.

Given that the ANC has been the governing party in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994, it is likely that Jacob Zuma could become the next president after general elections in 2009. Zuma has said, however, that he would resign if he was found guilty by the courts.

Frankfurt defuses World War II-era bomb, evacuates 60,000

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Frankfurt defuses World War II-era bomb, evacuates 60,000

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Experts in Frankfurt, Germany defused a World War II-era bomb yesterday, after more than 60,000 people, the most since World War II, evacuated from the area.

The HC 4000 blockbuster bomb, dropped by the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, was discovered days ago near the Goethe University Frankfurt campus in a construction site. Fire chiefs warned its reportedly 1.4 tons of explosives could have destroyed an entire city block.

Residents of the Westend neighborhood, including those of two nearby hospitals, were asked to evacuate by 8 a.m. local time (0600 UTC), though the bomb removal process only began around 2:30 p.m., as the evacuation drew on. Just after 8 a.m., Markus Röck, a spokesman for the Frankfurt fire brigade, said: “The situation is relaxed which is a good sign and everything so far is going according to plan. We will now assess if everybody has left voluntarily and go from house to house and remove people if necessary.”

About 1,100 workers assisted with the evacuation, according to the fire brigade, and helicopters and heat-detection technology were used to check everyone within 1.5 kilometers, about 1 mile, had left. A convention center and concert hall opened to house people, and at museums and the airport, other activities were offered for free.

When the area near the bomb was evaluated, other parts of the city became more populated. Peter Cachola Schmal, director of the German Architecture Museum, remarked, “It’s a different atmosphere here today, because people are settling for a longer time[…] People are coming here to sit with their laptop and work, for example, or read the newspaper for hours.”

Fire brigade director Reinhard Ries said, “the scale of this bomb is overwhelming. I have never seen anything like it.”

Likely thousands of unexploded bombs from the era remain across Germany, and reportedly eleven bomb defusal technicians have been killed there since 2000. Devices may become more unstable as time wears on and their fuses age.

TGV makes 574.8 km/h on rails

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TGV makes 574.8 km/h on rails

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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A French Train à Grande Vitesse (High-Speed Train or TGV) has smashed the world record for a train on conventional rails by a big margin, reaching 574.8km/h (356mph) The TGV travelled over 59.8 km/h (36 mph) faster than its previous record of 515 km/h (320 mph)

The record attempt by a modified TGV took place on a track between Paris and the eastern city of Strasbourg. However, this is not the fastest train speed. A Japanese Maglev (Magnetive Levitation Train) reached a top speed of 581km/h (361mph) in 2003. The TGV made history at 13:14 CEST (11:14 UTC). The TGV had been modfied and was called V150 – a TGV with larger wheels than usual and two engines driving three double-decker cars. The vehicle’s horsepower was 25,000.

Reporters said the three train drivers were seen grinning on French TV after they realised they had broken the record. The TGV travelled almost as fast as a World War II Spitfire fighter at top speed. Even the electrical tension in the overhead cable was increased 6000 volts from 25,000 volts to 31,000 for the record attempt.

“We saw the countryside go by a little faster than we did during the tests,” engineer Eric Pieczac said.

“Everything went very well. There are about 10,000 engineers who would want to be in my place,” Mr Pieczac said. “It makes me very happy, a mixed feeling of pride and honour to be able to reach this speed.” Since their introduction in 1981, TGVs generally travel at about 300km/h (187.5 mph) however, on the recently opened Paris-Strasbourg LGV (Ligne à Grande Vitesse or High-Speed line) trains will travel at 320 km/h (200 mph)

SNCF and Alstom – the TGV’s manufacturer – have said that the record test was performed to see how a TGV would react in extreme conditions – conditions that cannot be performed in a laboratory.

After the record was broken, French President Jacques Chirac conveyed his congratulations on “this new proof of the excellence of the French rail industry.” The President also said that “Economically efficient and respectful of the environment, the TGV is a major asset in efforts to ensure sustainable development in transport

“What is important for us today is to prove that the TGV technology which was invented in France 30 years ago is a technology for the future,” said Guillaume Pepy

Alstom plans to increase TGV sales abroad, where it is competing with high-speed trains such as the Japanese Shinkansen and the German ICE. Currently, nations of the Far East such as China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan are the “top” customers for high-speed trains. Agence France-Presse said that a high-speed rail link in between Los Angeles and San Francisco, California was being looked into.