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South Africa: Gupta brothers, Atul, Rajesh arrested in UAE over corruption links with Jacob Zuma

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The corruption trial of the former South African President, Jacob Zuma has taken a new twist, as two brothers from the wealthy Gupta family have been arrested in the United Arab Emirates.

The siblings, Atul and Rajesh Gupta who fled South Africa after a judicial commission began probing their involvement in corruption in 2018 are accused of using their close links with Mr. Zuma to win business contracts, influence high-profile government appointments, and misappropriate state funds.

According to a statement by the Dubai Police, the two men were being held “in connection with money laundering and criminal charges in South Africa”.

The Gupta family is a wealthy Indian-born family with business interests in South Africa, whose most notable members are brothers Ajay, Atul, and Rajesh “Tony” Gupta—as well as Atul’s nephews Varun, and US-based Ashish and Amol. The family owns a business empire spanning computer equipment, media, and mining. The family became synonymous with corruption in South Africa and has been sanctioned by multiple countries for their activities.

Mr. Zuma’s corruption trial began last year in May, after numerous postponements and delays due to a number of appeals. Last year, the country’s highest Constitutional Court in South Africa sentenced Zuma to 15 months imprisonment after he failed to appear at the Zondo corruption inquiry despite being instructed to do so.

A report by the commission of inquiry on Zuma’s trial last revealed that the ex-president was prepared to do anything requested by the controversial Gupta family, which has fled from South Africa.

The 79-year-old former head of state is also accused of taking bribes from French defense group Thales. He is charged with 16 counts of fraud, corruption, and racketeering. Thales is also charged with bribery and money laundering.

Musings From Abroad

‘Trapped in Closet’: American singer, R Kelly, sentenced to 30 years in prison for racketeering, sexual abuses

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American singer, Robert Sylvester Kelly, popular known as R. Kelly is now officially “trapped in the closet” of his ugly past as he has been sentenced to 30 years in prison over charges of racketeering and traping teenagers and women for sex.

The presiding judge, Ann Donnelly slammed the singer the term in the Brooklyn federal court nearly a year after the 55-year-old Kelly was convicted by a New York jury.

The was sentence confirmed was confirmed by the the US attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York said in a tweet on Wednesday. “The verdict is in: R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years,”

The District had earlier tweeted that the “United States Attorney Breon Peace will deliver remarks today following the sentencing of R. Kelly”

The prosecutors argued that Kelly still “poses a serious danger to the public, ” and prayed that the artist behind bars for at least 25 years.

Although the disgraced singer lawyers called for a lighter sentence with a maximum of approximately 17 years, R. Kelly was found guilty on all nine charges he faced, including the most serious of racketeering in September.

“His actions were brazen, manipulative, controlling, and coercive. He has shown no remorse or respect for the law,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

Many of his victims claimed they were assured he could bolster their music industry aspirations. But prosecutors argued all were instead “indoctrinated” into Kelly’s world — groomed for sex at his whim and kept in line by “coercive means of control,” including isolation and cruel disciplinary measures, recordings of which were played for the jury.

In his prime, Kelly was credited with helping to redefine R&B and hip hop, earning nicknames such as “the King of R&B”, “the King of Pop-Soul”, and the “Pied Piper of R&B”.He is known for his extensive discography of hits spanning three decades. His career has however been repeatedly tagged with accusations of sexual abuse with young adults and minors.

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US Supreme Court abolishes abortion right after almost 50-year precedence

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The US Supreme Court on Friday reversed a nearly half century old constitutional right to abortion.

Justice Samuel Alito who wrote for the Majority argued that the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling which had favoured abortion right “must be overruled” because they were “egregiously wrong,” the arguments “exceptionally weak” and so “damaging” that they amounted to “an abuse of judicial authority.”

The ruling comes after leaked draft of Roe vs Wade ruling which guaranteed abortion rights across the country has caused outrage last month.

The Roe vs Wade, ruling was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

Although the supreme court declined comment at the time of the leak in May, the Friday ruling perhaps confirmed the fears of many.

Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, in a series of tweets while reacting to the leak stressed that “an extremist Supreme Court is poised to overturn #RoeVWade and impose its far-right, unpopular views on the entire country. It’s time for the millions who support the Constitution and abortion rights to stand up and make their voices heard. We’re not going back—not ever

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has drawn reactions from top politicians in the US. One of such is veteran congressman and Democrat, Benie Sanders who tweeted that “overturning Roe v. Wade and denying women the right to control their own bodies is an outrage and in defiance of what the American people want. Democrats must now end the filibuster in the Senate, codify Roe v. Wade, and once again make abortion legal and safe.”

American singer, Taylor Swift, also reacted against the overturning of Roe v. Wade. “I’m absolutely terrified that this is where we are – that after so many decades of people fighting for women’s rights to their own bodies, today’s decision has stripped us of that.” The singer said on twitter.

Also reacting to the ruling is US former president, Barrack Obama, who said “today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.”

Meanwhile, there have also been reactions in support of the abolishing of the nearly 50 years of precedent, notably Americans with ideological sentiment with Republicans.

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