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First Thing – Friday 29 July

First Thing – Friday 29 July

Libyan rebel commander killed, Canada retains its AAA Moody's credit rating, and South Korea and Japan stil squabbling over ownership of the Dokdo islands. Later today the US Treasury will tell the world what the plan is if the debt ceiling isn't raised, and the SA police minister launches a programme to stop members of his force being kiled. By SIMON WILLIAMSON.

The commander of the Libyan rebel forces  (or Transitional National Council), General Abdel Fatah Younes, was killed on his way to Benghazi. The TNC said that it had captured the group that shot him although he didn’t explicitly say it was Gaddafi forces. The general defected to the rebels from the government in February but some still suspected him of allegiance to Brother Leader. The Times claimed he was killed by his own forces.

Read more: AP, BBC

 Canada retained its AAA credit rating from Moody’s. The agency said that Canada’s financial strength and low susceptibility to risk were the key to the faith put in the country’s borrowing. Cue patronising smiles directed down south.

Read more: Montreal Gazette, Toronto Star

Financials: Nintendo  shares dropped 20% in value as the company announced a net loss of 25.5 billion yen ($324 million) for the April to June quarter and revised its profit expectations for the year to 20 billion yen (from 110 billion). Starbucks, however, reported above average earnings of $279.1 million, up 34% from the same quarter last year. Revenue was up 12% (20% internationally and 9% in the US).

Read more: Bloomberg, WSJ

A judge struck a proposed ban on circumcision in San Francisco from the ballot, citing freedom of religion, and telling the proponents that state law, not county law, would need to be changed as medical-procedure regulation was not localised. Activists have claimed that circumcision is culturally acceptable male genital mutilation and should be the decision of an individual, not a parent.

Read more: LA Times, CNN

South Korea notified Japan that it will block Japanese legislators who plan to visit disputed island territory between the two countries. The officials are due to land in Seoul tomorrow morning on their way to Ulleung island, within the volcanic Dokdo islets, which both countries reckon are theirs. Earlier this week, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said that he could not guarantee the officials’ safety on the islands as they could be targeted by angry civic groups.

Read more: Yonhap, Bernama


In news that most of the planet was hoping to avoid, the US Treasury will announce a plan as to how it will function and pay its bills if the fannying about in Congress continues – as it did on Thursday when no vote was taken – and the debt ceiling isn’t raised by 2 August. A late-night meeting will take place to tweak the bill.

In Pretoria, police minister Nathi Mthethwa launches a programme to halt police killings. Sadly, while he does so, a man will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court for killing a policeman, Officer William Ramaphata, in a road-rage shooting incident.

The KZN inmates arts festival begins at the Westville Correctional Centre Sports Ground at 9am. Prisoners in the province have auditioned for the last few months and been hand-picked by the arts and culture department, the MEC of which will be in attendance. DM

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