South Africa’s sad slide into corruption. President Jacob Zuma is embroiled in a scandal over improvements to his private home which include…
…dozens of smooth, contractor-built dwellings, a helicopter landing pad, a tennis court and a soccer field. A sports stadium and some underground bunkers are in the works, according to news reports. Glassy, newly paved roads lead to it, and the taupe walls of its neatly thatched rondavels are spotless despite the bucolic setting. This compound belongs to the most powerful man in the country, President Jacob Zuma, and is now the subject of multiple probes over how $27 million of government money came to be spent on upgrades to his private home, ostensibly for security. Tens of millions more dollars have been spent on roads around the compound and the village.
Pretty nice house for a man who only makes $272,000, as much of the rest of the country lives in squalor.
Eric Trager ponders the missing Obama-Romney debate on Egypt, which is becoming increasingly scary.
…the latest draft of Egypt’s constitution conditions women’s equality on its adherence to “Islamic sharia judgments,” and Islamists have said that this could legalize marriage to young girls — perhaps as early as nine years-old. Would either Obama or Romney use American aid to Egypt as leverage to protect Egyptian girls from this horrific future?…Meanwhile, Egypt’s judicial system continues to prosecute blasphemy, and a television host critical of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was recently sentenced to four months in prison. Indeed, Morsi is establishing himself as Egypt’s next autocrat: he seized legislative and constitution authority through an August fiat, and he is reportedly considering a new emergency law that would rival Mubarak’s…Meanwhile, following the September 11 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, President Morsi waited two full days before speaking out, and he was recently caught on camerasaying “amen” as an imam prayed for the destruction of Jews. Two weeks ago, the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood — which is effectively Egypt’s new ruling party — called for jihad to capture Jerusalem. And Salafist parties, which represent the strongest political challenge to the Muslim Brotherhood, have encouraged Egyptian youths to fight the “jihad” in Syria.
Japan’s bizarre anti-dancing laws.
When you consider Tokyo’s standing as one of the clubbing capitals of the world, it can come as a surprise to discover that its fabled nightspots are operating illegally. Dancing isn’t exactly forbidden here, but it’s only allowed in certain places, and regulated in such a way that all-night parties can’t technically happen. No ifs, no buts: can’t. Under the Law on Control and Improvement of Amusement Business (known as fueiho in Japanese, a contraction of fueiho eigyo-to no kisei oyobi gyomu no tekiseika-to ni kansuru horitsu), any establishment that permits dancing must obtain a license. This in turn imposes a number of requirements, the most significant of which are size – the main room must have at least 66m2 of unobstructed floor space – and opening hours: depending where it’s located, a club must close by either midnight or 1am…Ask anyone from Osaka, and they can tell you what’s happened to the club scene there: it’s dead. Since 2010, the police have been taking the fueiho law at face value, busting all-night parties and shutting down clubs that are permitting dancing without a proper license.
South Korea has a disturbing report saying, “North Korea’s vice minister of the People’s Armed Forces was among senior officers executed by firing squad early this year for drinking alcohol during the mourning period for former leader Kim Jong-il.”
Foreign jihadists have flooded into Mali to help Islamists hold the territory against what will hopefully be an ECOWAS/UN force to drive them out. Meanwhile, Salafists in Morocco have destroyed ancient stone carvings dating back more than 8,000 years.
In other news about jerks destroying things, stone thieves have desecrated the ancient “Bronte Chapel” in West Yorkshire, where the Bronte sisters were baptized.
Crowbar-wielding looters ripped up two 200-year-old burial slabs from the graveyard, wrenched stones from the chapel walls…It is feared that they will have thrown away the irreplaceable marked gravestones when they realised they were among their haul of valuable York stone…They had also taken slabs from the Bronte Way, a footpath linking points of interest across the moorland that inspired Wuthering Heights.
It has also been reported that a glass barrier designed to protect Oscar Wilde’s tomb is now a “shambles.”
An idiot Labour politician threatens to quit if a Christopher Hitchens bust goes up in Red Lion Square. QUIT THEN.