First Thing: mosque attacked in Iran; iPhone fix today

By Andy Rice 16 July 2010

Last night: mosque attack in Iran kills 21, Australia to get elections before September, Goldman pays we're-not-guilty fines, Taylor's torturing son stays in jail, BP cap stays on. Coming up today: Western Cape xenophobia meet, Customs union meet, Apple fixes the iPhone (if it knows what's good for it).

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TGIF, 16 July 2010

While you were sleeping

At least 21 people died in two suicide bomb explosions at a Shi’ite mosque in the Iranian city of Zahedan. Sunni group Jundallah claimed responsibility, saying the attack was in retaliation for Iran’s execution of its leader and had been carried out by his relatives.
Reuters, Voice of America

Australian media are reporting that new prime minister Julia Gillard will on Saturday call a general election for 28 August, which will be just seven weeks after ousting Kevin Rudd.
ABC, Sydney Morning Herald

Goldman Sachs announced it plans to pay $300 million in fines to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and $250 million in compensation to investors who lost money, in order to make civil charges of fraud related to a mortgage securitisation product go away. The company continues to deny it did anything illegal in effectively hanging its clients out to dry.
Bloomberg, LA Times

An American federal appeals court upheld the 97-year sentence of Charles Emmanuel, the son of former LIberian leader Charles Taylor, for torture committed in Liberia. The ruling is both a boost for the international Convention Against Torture, and validates the US law implementing it.

The spewing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico remained fully capped as testing of a new containment system continued, and everybody involved radiated optimism while cautiously refusing to call it a permanent solution. The major concern now is that the cap will cause oil to leak through the seabed, but no evidence of that was found in the hours immediately after the last valve was closed.
Houston Chronicle, AP

Discovery Summit

Police minister Nathi Mthethwa and Western Cape premier Helen Zille have a scheduled sit-down this morning, to discuss the xenophobic attacks that are still centred on that province.

The Southern African Customs Union is meeting in Pretoria, with most of the state leaders (including President Jacob Zuma) in attendance. South Africa is still pushing for greater economic unity in the region while trying to decrease the subsidy the other members effectively achieve, so it will be another delicate, diplomatic affair.

Apple has called a media conference in San Francisco; though it is being as mysterious as ever, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise it will be addressing the antenna issues on the brand new iPhone 4, which are making the whole company a bit of a laughing stock. The smart money says it will offer all current and future owners of the phones a free rubber cover accessory, which should solve the problem.

Discovery Summit


Faces of Xenophobia: The victims, Part 2
As South Africa these post-World Cup days is living in fear of repeat horrors of xenophobic violence from two years ago, here are the people that lost everything the last time around and were lucky to escape with their lives. Lest we forget.

Obama speaks to South Africans on Al Shabaab, the Sudan, the World Cup and self-reliance
On Wednesday night, SABC3 scored a major win by screening an exclusive interview with Barack Obama. It’s a pity – no, it is beyond comprehension – that the editors felt the people of South Africa would prefer seeing rehashed videos of the World Cup and Ugandan explosions, instead of watching Obama talk.

Review: The Timekeepers – a timely lesson wrapped in a timeless tale
A play set in a Nazi concentration camp when a conservative old Jew meets an outrageously camp German homosexual hardly sounds like a good uplifting evening out. Yet “The Timekeepers” wheedles its way into your heart minute by minute, telling a story about relationships that is surprisingly universal.

Motoring – Meet the Mini Countryman: the Mini maximised
Sir Alec Issigonis would not be a fan of the modern Mini – the BMW-built lifestyle car that doffs an aesthetic hat to Issigonis’ tiny original, but lacks the real Mini’s packaging genius. Where does that leave the Countryman – BMW’s latest, most outrageous variation on the Mini theme? Considering its dimensions, perhaps they should have called it the Mini Maxi instead.

Brendah Nyakudya: Nelson Mandela and the inevitability of death
The autopsy painting of Nelson Mandela by artist Yiull Damaso evoked much anger and shock. Statements such as “speaking of his death is taboo and seen as disrespectful in South Africa because of his iconic stature” were thrown around. We all shall die (except, perhaps, Robert Mugabe), so what level of deity must one achieve to have the subject of your death become taboo? What is with the almost cult-like obsession with Mandela and why is the subject of his death so unmentionable?

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