IN BRIEF

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Sev­enth bride cries ‘fake’

For­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma took a leaf from the books of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers chief Julius Malema when he re­cently joined Twit­ter. One is­sue that raised his ire this past week was the Twit­ter ac­count of his 24-year-old bride-to-be (his sev­enth bride), Nonkany­iso Conco — which was shown to be fake af­ter it had been re­ported on by News24. Conco her­self, by means of her In­sta­gram ac­count, de­nied that the Twit­ter ac­count was hers. She re­pro­duced some parts of it, in­clud­ing a pic­ture of her hus­band-to-be, with the word “FAKE” in red let­ters su­per­im­posed on the im­age. Oh, the won­ders of tech­nol­ogy!

SA’S Mount Rush­more courts trou­ble

In Dur­ban, Zuma was among South Africa’s for­mer pres­i­dents to be hon­oured by hav­ing stat­ues of them erected, if that is the right word, along the M14 high­way near the city. The Demo­cratic Al­liance has ob­jected to state funds (R20-mil­lion) be­ing spent on ANC pro­pa­ganda, and the safety is­sues of stat­ues on a high­way have been dis­cussed. But what has caused most con­ster­na­tion is whether the pres­i­dents are recog­nis­able: the fig­ure as­sumed to be Thabo Mbeki does not look like him at all, and it seems pos­si­ble that the sculp­tor (Lun­gelo Gumede) mis­took Zuma for en­ergy min­is­ter Jeff Radebe. For some, that’s an im­prove­ment.

Hab­it­able planet found — maybe

Us­ing data from the Ke­pler space tele­scope, Nasa sci­en­tists say they have dis­cov­ered a new planet, twice the size of Earth and within the “hab­it­able zone” of plan­ets around its star, known as K2-288. The planet, named K2-288BB, is in the Taurus con­stel­la­tion about 226 light years away, which in space terms isn’t that far. It may have liq­uid wa­ter on its sur­face, which means there could be or­ganic life there, and hu­mans could one day be able to live there.

The Ke­pler tele­scope, which was sent out into space in 2009, gath­ered in­for­ma­tion about about 5 500 plan­ets be­fore run­ning out of fuel in Oc­to­ber last year. Its suc­ces­sor, named Tess, was launched in April 2018.

Pitch Black Afro’s

wife mur­dered

Hip-hop star Pitch Black

Afro, whose real name is Thu­lani Ng­cobo and whose songs were big up to about 2009 when he re­leased his last al­bum Zonke Bonke, has been ar­rested and charged with pre­med­i­tated mur­der for the death of his wife at the end of last year. Cather­ine Tr­isha Modis­ane Ng­cobo was found dead in Belle­vue, Jo­han­nes­burg, on New Year’s Eve. At first it was thought she had died of nat­u­ral causes, but a pathol­o­gist ex­am­in­ing the body later con­cluded she had been mur­dered.

Trump rules by tantrum

“A to­tal waste of time,” de­clared Trump af­ter leav­ing a meet­ing with Demo­cratic Party law­mak­ers aimed at try­ing to end the par­tial (but large) US govern­ment shut­down, now head­ing for its fourth week. As state agen­cies shut down and 800 000 govern­ment em­ploy­ees are “in­def­i­nitely fur­loughed” with­out pay, Trump is in­sist­ing he won’t sign leg­is­la­tion to get the govern­ment funded and go­ing again if Con­gress does not give him $5.7-bil­lion for his pre­cious wall along the US bor­der with Mex­ico — a prom­ise he made on the cam­paign trail, and which is pro­jected to cost more like $30-bil­lion to build. Trump has blus­tered and lied, try­ing to scare up a cri­sis of bor­der vi­o­la­tions, but the Demo­crat-con­trolled Con­gress will not fund the wall, hence the shut­down. There are con­flict­ing sto­ries about whether Trump banged the ta­ble be­fore he walked out, but White House sources con­firm he said “Bye-bye”. This is now known as govern­ment by tantrum.

Fight­ing hands: Don­ald Trump

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