Weekly plans prophet comic
A weekly known for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to the ire of conservative Muslims said on Sunday it plans to release a comic book biography of Islam’s founder that will be researched and educational. Satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has on several occasions depicted Islam’s prophet in an effort to defend free speech and defy the anger of Muslims who believe depicting Mohammed is sacrilegious. “It is a biography authorized by Islam since it was edited by Muslims,” said Charlie Hebdo’s publisher and the comic’s illustrator, who goes by the name Charb. The biography will be published tomorrow and was put together by a Franco-Tunisian researcher known only as Zineb, Charb said. “Before having a laugh about a character, it’s better to know him. As much as we know about the life of Jesus, we know nothing about Mohammed,” Charb said.
Obituary proves premature
News weekly Der Spiegel mistakenly published an obituary on Sunday for former US president George H.W. Bush, hours after a family spokesman said the 88-year-old was recovering from illness. Bush was hospitalized in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 23 for treatment of a bronchitis-related cough and moved to intensive care on Dec. 23 after he developed a fever. On Saturday, spokesman Jim McGrath said Bush was moved out of intensive care into a regular hospital room again after his condition improved. The unfinished obituary appeared on Der Spiegel’s Web site for a few minutes on Sunday before it was spotted by Internet users and removed. In it, the magazine’s New York correspondent described Bush as “a colorless politician” whose image only improved when it was compared to the later presidency of his son, George W. Bush. “All newsrooms prepare obituaries for selected figures,” the magazine said on its Twitter feed. “The fact that the one for Bush senior went live was a technical mistake. Sorry!”
Police nab ‘voodoo’ pimps
The Interior Ministry says police have arrested 17 people on suspicion of smuggling Nigerian women into the country and forcing them into prostitution using threats, including claims they would cast voodoo spells on them if they did not comply. An investigation began when police discovered that about 10 women had been brought into the country illegally using a small boat. Police said that following an investigation its raids seized computer equipment, mobile phones, false identity and work permit documents, as well as objects which detectives said were allegedly used in “voodoo rituals.” Officers tracked the suspected pimps and arrested 16 Nigerian nationals and one Ugandan citizen, a statement released on Sunday said.
Fitness tests prove fatal
Local media say provincial authorities are investigating the deaths of seven job-seekers who collapsed in the heat while undergoing a fitness test for positions as traffic officers. The chief transport official for KwaZulu-Natal Province, Willies Mchunu, has suspended further tests in the meantime. South African Broadcasting Corp reported that several tens of thousands of people took the fitness test late last week, even though only 90 jobs were available. They were required to run for 4km in temperatures of more than 30°C, and many collapsed from dehydration and heat exhaustion.