World Cup surprises, protests in China, Ramaphosa’s farmgate saga, others dominate global headlines

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The 2022 World Cup will perhaps go down as the most unpredictable. Qatar has introduced many firsts in the history of FIFA.

From Morocco becoming the first African team to lead a table, to big names like Germany being kicked out of the tournament at the group stage.

Cameroon became the first team to beat Brazil, the five-time champions in the World Cup group stage, since Norway at the 1998 edition in France — ending an unbeaten run of 17 group matches.

Despite winning against Ghana, Uruguay has also returned home in a painful exit, especially for Luis Suarez.

South Korea, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil, France, Poland, Senegal, Japan, Croatia, Switzerland, Morocco, Spain, Netherlands and England are still in the tournament.

Morocco and Senegal are now the only African teams playing and hoping to get to the quarter-finals.

France will play Poland on Sunday at 15:00 GMT at the Al Thumama Stadium and England will play Senegal at 19:00 GMT at the Al Bayt Stadium.

Protests in China

Protests in China

Since the Covid-19 pandemic broke, China has remained the country with one of the most stringent rules for the public on preventing the spread of the virus.

Two years later, residents are fed up and are protesting further/new restrictions. Protesters also clashed with the police in the southern city of Guangzhou while registering their displeasure.

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It followed nights of protests in Shanghai, Beijing and other major cities. This may be China’s biggest wave of civil disobedience since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

The government is now making a quick turn on all the restrictions even though they did not attribute it to the protests.

South Africa's president, Cyril Ramaphosa
South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa

Ramaphosa’s Farmgate

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa recently came under fire following an investigation which found that he may have violated his oath of office.

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In June, it emerged that an estimated $4m in cash was stolen from Mr Ramaphosa’s game farm in 2020. This raised questions about how the billionaire president, who had promised to fight corruption, acquired the money and whether he declared it.

South Africa’s former national spy boss filed a complaint with the police alleging that robbers broke into the president’s farm Phala Phala and stole $4m in cash stashed in furniture.

Mr Ramaphosa was accused of covering up the theft and bribing the thieves.

A panel was set up in September to confirm if the president violated any laws. The panel in November handed its findings to the Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

According to Ms Mapisa-Nqakula, a verdict will be passed by legislators this Tuesday (6 December).

“Legislators will examine the findings in a one-day sitting on December 6, where it will adopt a resolution, through a simple majority vote, whether a further action by the House is necessary or not,” Al Jazeera reported.

Mr Ramaphosa confirmed the robbery but denied violating any laws.

His re-election bid is being threatened by this scandal as many continue to call for his impeachment and resignation from the government.

Mr Ramaphosa’s resolve remains strong as he informed South Africans through his spokesperson that he has no intention of resigning and will fight both politically and judicially.

“President Ramaphosa is not resigning based on a flawed report, [nor] is he stepping aside,” Al Jazeera quoted his spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, telling journalists by text message.

He added that the president will challenge the findings of the report which he described as flawed, especially in the interest of democracy.

Mr Magwenya also noted that his principal “has taken to heart the unequivocal message coming from the branches of the governing party who have nominated him to avail himself for a 2nd term of the leadership of the ANC.”

By 16 December, Mr Ramaphosa will contest elections for the ANC presidency – a determinant of his political future.

Tigray-Ethiopia peace process.
Tigray-Ethiopia peace process.

Humanitarian aid yet to reach Tigray

The United Nations said it still cannot get unfettered access to bring humanitarian aid into Tigray, even after a ceasefire was reached last month.

The WHO on Friday said only a trickle of aid had managed to get into Tigray.

The warring parties last month agreed to end hostilities, after a two-year conflict that has killed thousands, displaced millions and left hundreds of thousands facing famine.

“That peace process has not yet resulted in the kinds of full access, unfettered access and in the massive scale of medical and health assistance that the people of Tigray need,” Al Jazeera quoted WHO Emergencies Director Mike Ryan as saying.

“I remain cynical on that front because we’ve been waiting a long time to get access to these desperate people,” he said

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