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South Africa Court Orders Zuma Graft Report to be Released Wednesday

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President Jacob Zuma
  • South Africa Court Orders Zuma Graft Report to be Released Wednesday

A potentially explosive report into corruption allegations against President Jacob Zuma must be released Wednesday, a South African court ruled, after his lawyers dropped a bid to block its publication.

The court’s order came as thousands of people took to the streets of the administrative capital Pretoria to demand that Zuma, who has been engulfed in several graft scandals, resigns.

The report by the Public Protector, the country’s most senior watchdog, probed accusations that Zuma allowed a wealthy Indian family undue political sway, including letting them choose some cabinet ministers.

“The Public Protector is ordered to publish the report forthwith and by no later than 17:00 hours (1500 GMT),” judge Dunstan Mlambo told the High Court in Pretoria.

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela concluded her report into the influence of the Gupta family last month, shortly before the expiry of her seven-year term.

It was due to be released on October 14 — until Zuma moved to block it.

“Today is a historic day… Jacob Zuma must be held accountable,” Mmusi Maimane, leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance party, told reporters, hailing the court order as “a turning point in South Africa”.

The president, 74, has survived a string of damaging controversies, but faces increasing criticism as the economy stalls and after the ruling ANC party suffered unprecedented losses in local polls.

– Protest marches –
Some factions of the ANC, former anti-apartheid activists and business leaders have all recently called for Zuma to stand down before his term ends in 2019.

On Wednesday, opposition party supporters, unions and civil groups marched through Pretoria to protest against his presidency.

“I spent the whole night here,” Dominic Khulube, 30, an unemployed man from Tembisa, a township outside Johannesburg, told AFP after a vigil by the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party.

“Zuma must step down and the Guptas must leave the country.”

The marches were originally planned to show support for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who had been due in court Wednesday on separate graft charges that many analysts see as an attempt by Zuma loyalists to oust him.

But prosecutors dropped the charges on Monday in the latest twist to a power struggle that has exposed deep tensions in the ANC, the party that Nelson Mandela led in the fight against apartheid and which has held power since white-minority rule ended in 1994.

The Gupta family — brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh — built an empire in mining, transportation, technology and media after arriving in South Africa from India in the early 1990s.

One of Zuma’s sons, Duduzane, is their business partner.

– Court rebuke –
Deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas early this year accused the family of offering him the job of finance minister, something he said he rejected.

Zuma last month said he was not given enough time to respond to the watchdog’s questions.

In 2014, the public protector dealt a major blow to the president in a report that found he had “unduly benefited” from the refurbishment of his Nkandla rural home.

Zuma fought the case until being berated by the Constitutional Court and ordered to pay back public money spent on upgrades including a chicken coop and a swimming pool.

Zuma is also fighting a court order that could reinstate almost 800 corruption charges against him.

The 783 charges relate to alleged corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering over a multi-billion dollar arms deal in the 1990s.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

The African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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