Blade runner gets U.S. help for murder trial
October 2nd, 2013
04:40 AM ET

Blade runner gets U.S. help for murder trial

With his murder trial approaching this March, South African Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius has hired some help from the United States to challenge the case against him.

An American forensic team will give expert testimony to cast doubt on evidence entered against the athlete nicknamed the "blade runner" for the special prosthesis legs he sprints with, his spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess said Wednesday.

The track star, whose legs are amputated below the knees, admitted to shooting dead model Reeva Steenkamp, in his home on Valetine's Day. But he has said it was an accident.

She was 29 when she died.

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Filed under: Accidents • Crime • Gun Control • Gun violence • Oscar Pistorius • Oscar Pistorius • Running • South Africa • Sports • World • World Update
August 19th, 2013
03:10 AM ET

Pistorius to appear in court for indictment

Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius is expected to appear in a South African court Monday to be served with an indictment for murder over the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Steenkamp would have turned 30 on Monday.

Pistorius is facing murder charges over the February shooting death of Steenkamp. His expected indictment follows the completion of the police investigation into the case.

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Filed under: Oscar Pistorius • South Africa
August 14th, 2013
05:18 AM ET

Pistorius to appear in court next week

Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius will be served with an indictment in court next week following the completion of the investigation into the killing of his girlfriend, South African police said.

Following his court appearance Monday, the case is likely to be postponed while the prosecution and defense agree on a trial date, police said in a statement.

Pistorius has already been charged with premeditated murder over the February shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. August 19 - when he appears in court - would have been Steenkamp's 30th birthday.

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Filed under: Oscar Pistorius • South Africa
Mandela's wife overwhelmed by global support
June 17th, 2013
04:36 AM ET

Mandela's wife overwhelmed by global support

The family of former South African leader Nelson Mandela is overwhelmed with support as the 94-year-old remains hospitalized in serious condition.

"So much love and generosity from South Africans, Africans across the continent, and thousands more from across the world, have come our way to lighten the burden of anxiety; bringing us love, comfort and hope," former first lady Graca Machel said in a statement Monday.

Mandela has been in serious condition since he was rushed to a Pretoria hospital June 8 with a recurring lung infection.

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Filed under: Nelson Mandela • South Africa • World
April 24th, 2013
02:02 PM ET

Tutu in hospital for infection, foundation says

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu checked into a South African hospital Wednesday for treatment of a persistent infection, his foundation announced.

Tutu, 81, also will undergo tests at the hospital in Cape Town to determine the cause of the infection, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said. Details of the infection were not released. FULL POST

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Filed under: South Africa
Hospitalized Nelson Mandela 'much better'
Mandela votes April 2009 in South Africa's fourth democratic election.
April 3rd, 2013
06:50 AM ET

Hospitalized Nelson Mandela 'much better'

Hospitalized former South African President Nelson Mandela is making steady improvement and "is much better" than he was when doctors admitted him for a recurring lung infection last week, the country's presidential office said Wednesday.

The 94-year-old Mandela, South Africa's first black president, received treatment for pneumonia over the weekend after being admitted to a hospital on March 27, a government spokesman has said.

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Filed under: Nelson Mandela • South Africa
South Africa judge lifts travel ban on Pistorius
Authorities charged Oscar Pistorius with premeditated murder last month after he shot Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria home.
March 28th, 2013
07:30 AM ET

South Africa judge lifts travel ban on Pistorius

South African track star Oscar Pistorius, charged with murder in the slaying of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, is once more allowed to travel overseas after a judge lifted a bail condition Thursday restricting his movements.

Judge Bert Bam said Pistorius could hand over his passport to his attorney and was entitled to use it to travel outside South Africa.

He should report his itinerary a week before leaving, Bam said.

Authorities charged Pistorius with premeditated murder last month after he shot Steenkamp in his Pretoria home on February 14.

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March 28th, 2013
06:27 AM ET

Mandela back in hospital with lung infection

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is conscious after his admission to a hospital for a recurring lung infection, the president's office said Thursday.

Mandela, 94, was admitted to the hospital just before midnight Wednesday, his second hospitalization this month.

The anti-apartheid icon and nation's first black president has become increasingly frail over the years, and he has not appeared in public since 2010.

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March 7th, 2013
10:59 AM ET

Pistorius detective resigns from force

Hilton Botha, the former lead detective in the Oscar Pistorius murder case, has resigned from the police force, South African Police spokesman Brig. Neville Malila said Thursday

The South African Police Service pulled Botha from the Pistorius case after prosecutors reinstated attempted murder charges against him in a 2011 case.

Botha is accused of chasing and firing on a minibus full of people while drunk. He is charged with seven counts of attempted murder.

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Filed under: Crime • Oscar Pistorius • South Africa
February 24th, 2013
07:04 AM ET

Oscar Pistorius' brother Carl faces culpable homicide charge

As Olympic icon Oscar Pistorius faces a murder trial for shooting his girlfriend, his older brother is also charged in the death of a woman.

Carl Pistorius is accused of culpable homicide in the 2010 death of a female motorcyclist, CNN affiliate eNCA reported Sunday.

Prosecutors claim Carl Pistorius was driving recklessly in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, when he crashed with the motorcyclist.

But attorney Kenny Oldwage disputes allegations that his client was driving recklessly and said the motorcyclist rode into Carl Pistorius' vehicle.

Carl Pistorius was initially scheduled to go on trial Thursday - during the middle of Oscar's four-day bail hearing.
But Carl asked the court to postpone his trial so he could support his brother, and the court agreed.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • Oscar Pistorius • South Africa • Sports • World
February 23rd, 2013
11:43 AM ET

Pistorius' brother's Twitter account hacked

The Twitter account of Oscar Pistorius' older brother, Carl, has been hacked, the Pistorius family said Saturday.

"We are busy cancelling all the social media sites for both Oscar's brother and his sister," said family spokeswoman Janine Hills.

Oscar Pistorius, the South African double-amputee track star, has been charged in the killing of his girlfriend and has been freed on bail.

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Pistorius' affidavit in alleged murder
South Africa's Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius buries in court on Tuesday.
February 19th, 2013
09:07 AM ET

Pistorius' affidavit in alleged murder

Following is a partial text of Oscar Pistorius' affidavit handed out in a South African court on Tuesday as he sought bail after being accused of murdering his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day.

16.2 I have been informed that I am accused of having committed the offence of murder. I deny the aforesaid allegation in the strongest terms.

16.3 I am advised that I do not have to deal with the merits of the case for purposes of the bail application. However, I believe that it is appropriate to deal with the merits in this application, particularly in view of the State’s contention that I planned to murder Reeva. Nothing can be further from the truth and I have no doubt that it is not possible for the State to present objective facts to substantiate such an allegation, as there is no substance in the allegation. I do not know on what different facts the allegation of a premeditated murder could be premised and I respectfully request the State to furnish me with such alleged facts in order to allow me to refute such allegations.

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Filed under: Crime • South Africa
Pistorius: 'No intention' to kill girlfriend
February 19th, 2013
07:55 AM ET

Pistorius: 'No intention' to kill girlfriend

Famed Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius appears in a South African court today seeking bail after being accused of murdering his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day. We are live blogging the appearance.  Read the full story

[Updated at 7:55 a.m. ET] The Pistorius hearing has adjourned. The prosecutor said he needs time to process the affidavits filed today. Court will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. Pistorius will spend the night in a local jail.

[Updated at 7:40 a.m. ET] The defense is reading a statement from Steenkamp's friend Samantha Grevenstein that describes Pistorius as humble and the epitome of a true gentleman. Grevenstein said Steenkamp told her that she loved Pistorius and would have likely married him if he'd have asked.

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December 28th, 2012
10:29 AM ET

Nelson Mandela back home, playing with grandkids

Former South African President Nelson Mandela, at home after a long hospital stay, is alert and playing with his grandchildren, his granddaughter Zaziwe Manaway told CNN exclusively Friday.

Mandela, who is 95, is aware of social media rumors that he's close to death, Manaway said. "That is absolutely not true. My grandfather is well," she said. "It can be very very hurtful for us to hear these messages out there in the social media that our grandfather is going to go home to die. It is insensitive."

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Filed under: Nelson Mandela • South Africa • World
Nelson Mandela to spend Christmas in hospital, government says
Nelson Mandela and his third wife, Graca Machel, arrive at the 2010 World Cup before the final match on July 11, 2010.
December 24th, 2012
11:52 AM ET

Nelson Mandela to spend Christmas in hospital, government says

Former South African President Nelson Mandela will remain in a Pretoria hospital through Christmas, the government said on Monday.

In a statement on his website, President Jacob Zuma said that Mandela is responding well to treatment.

"We also humbly invite all freedom loving people around the world to pray for him. He is an ardent fighter and will recover from this episode with all our support," said Zuma, who visited Mandela on Saturday.

Mandela, 94, has received round-the-clock care since an acute respiratory infection in 2011. He was hospitalized for a lung infection on December 8; and on December 15, he had successful endoscopic surgery to have gallstones removed.

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Filed under: South Africa
Police fire tear gas as striking platinum miners protest in South Africa
Some of the 12,000 miners sacked by Anglo American Platinum protest their dismissal this month in Rustenberg, South Africa.
October 30th, 2012
09:03 AM ET

Police fire tear gas as striking platinum miners protest in South Africa

Police in Rustenberg, South Africa, clashed Tuesday with more than 1,000 striking miners who were barricading public roads near the Anglo American Platinum mine.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters, and sporadic scuffles continue, Capt. Dennis Adrio with the North West police told CNN.

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Filed under: Africa • South Africa
Rocket for supersonic 'hybrid car' passes first test
An artist's rendering from Curventa and Siemens shows the BLOODHOUND SSC.
October 4th, 2012
10:41 AM ET

Rocket for supersonic 'hybrid car' passes first test

The rocket that will help power a 1,000-mph car passed its first test Wednesday, British engineers say.

The project is dubbed Bloodhound SSC. Its organizers plan for the pencil-shaped car to be zooming along the South African desert next year and break the world land speed record of 763 mph.

"The initial indications are that it went very well indeed," the rocket's designer, self-taught engineer Daniel Jubb, 28, told the Western Morning News in Cornwall, England, where the rocket was tested inside a hangar at a Royal Air Force base.

Engineers were looking over reams of data from the test to determine their next steps.

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Filed under: Automobiles • South Africa • Technology • United Kingdom
August 21st, 2012
01:43 PM ET

South Africa mine won't fire absent workers

The owner of the South African mine where 34 people died in a clash with police said Tuesday that it will not discipline workers who fail to return this week, reversing an ultimatum to return to duty or face being fired.

The announcement came a day after a government committee looking into humanitarian aspects of the tragedy told company leaders that such threats were not "in the national interest."

Meanwhile, South Africa's minister of police told a special session of Parliament on Tuesday that authorities had done everything in their power to avoid last week's fatal clash with miners.

"The events of Thursday, 16 August 2012, were not sudden eruption but a culmination of events that were building over months and months," Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa said, according to a transcript issued by the government. "The South African Police Service is saddened by the events that unfolded on that fateful day. The police did all in their power to avert such a situation."

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Filed under: South Africa • World
July 3rd, 2012
10:49 AM ET

U.S. student has surgery after savage attack by chimps

An American student is in critical condition after undergoing two operations after chimpanzees tore apart his body in front of tourists at a South African animal sanctuary, a hospital spokeswoman told CNN on Tuesday.

Andrew Oberle, a primatology student from University of Texas at San Antonio, was being treated at a Johannesburg hospital after two chimps attacked him Thursday, spokeswoman Robyn Baard said.

Oberle had been at the Jane Goodall Institute's Chimp Eden since May, according to Eugene Cussons, the facility's managing director. Oberle was at the sanctuary, near Nelspruit, South Africa, for the second time after training and volunteering there in 2010.  His training included an explanation about "no-go" areas - spaces for animals where people are not supposed to go.

Witnesses to the attack said that Oberle went into a no-go area because he seemed to want to remove a stone close to one of the animals that could have been picked up and thrown around, Cussons told CNN.

Oberle crossed one barrier and approached a second one, which is a main fence with 24 strands of electrical wiring, Cussons said. Two male chimps grabbed Oberle and tried to drag him under the fence, but were not able to yank him into their enclosure.

Cussons said he estimates the attack lasted 15 minutes.

At some point, people tried to stop the chimps, and Cussons shot two rounds in the air to see if that might get them to retreat, he said. One of the chimps then charged at Cussons, he said. Cussons shot that chimp in the abdomen, he told CNN, and it seemed to shriek as a kind of signal to other chimps that there was a more powerful threat present. The chimps then backed off, he said.

Oberle was rescued and transported for medical care.

None of the 13 tourists - most of them from local areas - were harmed, officials said.

The chimp that was shot had an operation at the Johannesburg zoo to repair damage to his small and large intestines.

Hospital spokeswoman Baard declined to discuss the nature of Oberle's wounds. She said the student's parents had requested privacy, adding that they are "quite traumatized."

The sanctuary, which is featured in the Animal Planet program "Escape to Chimp Eden," remains closed and its staff is receiving counseling, executive director David Oosthuizen said.

There are no plans right now to euthanize the chimps involved in the attack, said Dries Pienaar, who is leading the investigation into the incident. He works for a parks agency that makes sure zoos, sanctuaries and breeding projects comply with the law. Pienaar told CNN that his preliminary findings are that human error is to blame, but he cautioned that his investigation is not complete and that he wants to interview Oberle. He hasn't spoken to all of the tourists yet, either.

Chimp Eden was established as a home for rescued chimpanzees. Many of the primates have suffered "horrible injuries and abuse from humans," according to the sanctuary.

Dave Salmoni, an expert in large predators for the television channel Animal Planet, said abused and captive chimpanzees can be particularly dangerous, likening the chimps to troubled prison inmates.

"Now this is a very nice prison, but it's a prison nonetheless," he said Monday. "And that's why you can see a lot of acting out behavior, and in some cases, with chimpanzees, they act out just because they can."

Oberle was passionate about studying chimpanzees, his friend Anthony Reimherr told CNN affiliate KXAN-TV. He said it was "intriguing" to listen to Oberle when he spoke about the animals.

"It's just something that he loved to do, and I think it's something that he'll always continue to do," Reimherr said.

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May 29th, 2012
12:29 AM ET

Thousands in South Africa to protest portrait of Zuma with genitals exposed

Thousands of people are expected to march Tuesday in South Africa to protest a portrait of President Jacob Zuma that shows his genitals.

Zuma's supporters in the ruling African National Congress say the portrait is insulting and call it an attack on both the president and his party.

About 15,000 people are expected to participate in the march to Johannesburg's Goodman Gallery, where the work was on display, according to the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

The painting by artist Brett Murray, called "The Spear," is reminiscent of Soviet-era propaganda posters. Red on one half and black on the other, the painting shows Zuma in a proud stance with his genitals prominently exposed.

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