Kidnapped girl found safe, new Covid variant

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The 11-year-old schoolgirl who was kidnapped outside her school in Mayfair, Johannesburg, in November has been found.

The girl was kidnapped outside the school gates of the EP Baumann Primary School. According to an eyewitness, two armed men pulled up in a Toyota Yaris as the pupils were lining up outside the school to be screened and sanitised.

The eyewitness said the kidnappers seemed to know their target because they called their girl by her name. 

A new Covid variant has been discovered in France.

A new Covid variant, suspected of being probably “more infectious” than Omicron has been discovered in France, according to reports from international news outlets.

While some countries are still scrambling to grapple with a surge in Omicron cases, the new variant named ‘IHU or B.1.640.’ has been reported in France with 12 people testing positive it.

Parliament fire: State to oppose suspect's bail application as case postponed
Smoke billows out of the National Assembly building after the fire at Parliament on 2 January 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

The African National Congress (ANC) says there is no need to move the Nation Assembly to Gauteng after the fire at Parliament. This comes after calls to relocate Parliament from opposition parties.

The ANC caucus held a virtual meeting on Tuesday evening, where the party discussed a number of matters – including the fire that broke out in Parliament on Sunday.

It further rejected Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis’s offer to use alternative venues in the city to host this year’s State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Firefighters outside Parliament

Parliament has confirmed that the roof fire flare-up which firefighters have been battling for two days has been contained.

“It is with a great sense of relief that Parliament confirms the containment of the fire flare up at the roof of the National Assembly (NA) on Monday, and there has not been any further fire incident,” said the house in a statement.

The past 24 hours have been critical, with firefighters closely monitoring and combing through the scene.

Constitutional Court windows smashed
The Constitutional Court windows that were allegedly damaged by a 36-year-old man in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on 5 January 2022. The man was arrested by police for malicious damage to property. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Police have arrested a 36-year-old suspect for allegedly smashing windows at the Constitutional Court with a hammer.

Police responded to reports of the man breaking the windows of the Constitutional Court buildings in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on Wednesday morning.

Police fired a warning shot after the suspect continued to break the windows after being ordered to stop.

Storms in KZN
Some of the damage caused by a storm in the Maphumulo municipality in KZN. Picture: supplied.

Storms in KwaZulu-Natal since 15 December have left a trail of destruction in several areas within the province.

Stormy weather conditions on just one day – 30 December – resulted in the deaths of four people, including a three-year-old that drowned in ward 8 in the Maphumulo Municipality.

KZN disaster management teams are rolling out interim relief measures to 1,692 households that have been affected.

Dean Elgar Proteas v India
Captain Dean Elgar of the Proteas has helped put his team in a strong position to push for a win in the second Test against India at the Wanderers. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Two South African wickets were on the funeral pyre but captain Dean Elgar was holding firm as the Proteas reached 118/2 at stumps on the third day of the second Test against India at the Wanderers on Wednesday, needing another 122 runs for an unlikely victory.

Elgar had survived for three hours, scoring a typically determined 46 not out as he occupied the crease for 121 deliveries. He will have Rassie van der Dussen, who has dug in for 11 not out, for company on Thursday morning as they look to chase down a target of 240 for a series-levelling victory. Defeat will mean India win a series in South Africa for the first time.

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