Today's Big Stories

Boko Haram not backing down

Boko not backing down: there have been calls for urgent international aid in destroying extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria. Nigerian officials say up to 2000 people may have been killed by the extremist group, with militants storming through 16 villages, executing people. There has been an outcry from leaders in Nigeria about why the west is giving so much attention to events in France, while many die in their country. EWN Africa Correspondent, Jean-Jacques Cornish:

The international attention via the media is that in France, the French state put 90000 people to fight the terrorism when they had to. What we have in Nigeria is five years of Boko Haram and the government failing to contain it. We now have three times the deaths of last year in the last two days and ten-year-old girls being suicide bombers. Can you imagine what Boko Haram must do to get these girls to strap these bombs to themselves? So it's pride on their part (the Nigerian government) to do something here.

#JeSuisCharlie march: more than a million people have taken to the streets of Paris to march against extremism, showing their support for freedom of expression. This followed the attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine, in which 12 people were killed. EWN France Correspondent, Elaine Cobbe:

The atmosphere was electric, with people chanting 'Charlie! Charlie!'. There was also a unity of religion present, with everyone in good humour and it took two hours to move people from various routes towards the final point of the march, with French President François Hollande and a number of other global leaders present as well.

Power grid vulnerable: most media outlets throughout the country have the same headline today: 'loadshedding appears to be on the way.' Eskom has said that it doens’t have enough money left in its budget to pay for diesel; this, along wth aging infrastructure, is a problem. Senior General Manager for Demand, Andrew Etzinger:

This week, we're vulnerable, our reserves are low. If we pick up technical problems, we could go into load shedding. The grid is stable at the moment and touch wood, we'll come through today without any problems. (On informing consumers) we tweet as soon as there are any changes, and we will come back to you if there are any changes.

Drama for Dramat?: Hawks boss Anwa Dramat is taking his suspension to court this week, with the Helen Suzman Foundation challenging the lawfullness of the police minister's decision. Dramat was suspended at the end of last year for his alleged involvement in the illegal rendition of Zimbabweans from South Africa, but reports say police watchdog the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has confirmed that Dramat was cleared by an investigation. Director of the Helen Suzman Foundation, Francis Antonie:

It's the HSF that's taking the matter to court, not Dramat and they aren't doing it on his behalf, but on a constitutional principle. We believe that the suspension of the head of the Hawks has been done arbitrarily and we believe unlawfully by the minister (of Police) and we seek that the court set aside this decision. If this doesn't happen, the administration is compromised and so is the fight against corruption.

Robots in the rain: traffic lights in Johannesburg have become a bit of a nightmare - it rains and the lights go out. A number of traffic lights are out along main roads such as William Nicol - affecting morning traffic – which has picked up after the school holidays.JRA Head of Mobility and Freight, Darryll Thomas:

We definitely do have plans in place (to replace the traffic lights). We do need to look at the effect of rain on our traffic signal equipment and in Joburg, we have issues with ageing equipment and aging power cables. Many of these are between 20 - 30 years old and they do tend to go out when it rains, although they should be waterproof. By the end of June 2016, we should have completed that program and will then continue with replacing signals that are more than 15 years old.

Post-festive pawning: so, we are sitting in a news diary meeting this morning to discuss the flow of news and looking out the window, a plane flies with a Cash Crusader’s banner. January is a difficult month, as that bonus is a distant memory, with efficient budgeting being a skill that very few have. To address this, it appears that many and selling goods to survive. Owner of Cash Inn Pawn Shop, Roy Perez:

I must say, since the 5th, we've seen people. We're situated in Hyde Park, so not many desperate people come but when you do need a bit of extra rands, you come. We do houses, aeroplanes, Ferrari's - a lot of items. We buy cars from the public and I'd like to think we are very fair too. We've got the 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 120 days scheme, so you can come back after these periods too, so that if you're under pressure because you made the wrong decision, you can address that. South Africans have no cash, we're seeing more yuppies come in - nowadays, the yuppies are poor!

EFF waiting on Zuma QnA: the EFF has given Speaker Baleka Mbete an ultimatum – either convene an extra sitting or face the disruption of the opening of Parliament. The party wants President Jacob Zuma to finish his question and answer session in the National Assembly. The session last year was disrupted by the EFF chanting "Pay back the money!" EWN Parliamentary Correspondent, Gaye Davis:

We're waiting to hear from the Speaker of Parliament and Baleka Mbete's spokesperson has confirmed their receipt of a request to return to the Nkandla sitting, from the EFF. They do say that unless the Speaker it will give them a special sitting before the State of the Nation Address (SONA), it will leave them with no other option but to say that President Zuma should answer these questions at the State of the Nation Address. While opposition parties cannot ask questions at the address, there is a post-address question and answer session for two days thereafter, which is likely to happen on the Monday and Tuesday, since the address should happen on the previous Thursday. If the Speaker doesn't accomodate this request before the SONA, it is very likely that the EFF will disrupt proceedings.

Finding the ferry: questions have been asked about those navigating the Robben Island ferry after reports that one of the skippers battled to find her destination in the mist. This appears to the latest in a number of problems involving the ferry. Western Cape Agriculture, Economic Development and Tourism MEC, Alan Winde:

It's a thing that happened the other where the ferry had problems in the mist, due to the failure of the radar system. It's a huge concern, especially for the tourism industry. I don't have direct responsibility and it's difficult for me to address these things.

A Golden evening: the Golden Globes packed a few surprises in Los Angeles last night, with the film "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and TV series "Jane the Virgin" coming out tops. EWN US Correspondent, Nadia Neophytou:

It was also a big night for "Boyhood" and director Richard Linklater winning many of the accolades. It was an interesting night for online television as well, with actor Kevin Spacey picked up the best TV actor award for "House of Cards".


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