Zimbabwe: High Court Orders Mai TT to Pay $500k Defamation Damages to Decor Expert

Socialite and comedienne Felistas Murata, better known as Mai TT in the entertainment industry, has been ordered to pay $500 000 defamation damages to a local home decor expert, Memory Muyaka.

Muyaka also better known as Mai Maketeni, dragged Murata to court early this year accusing her of tarnishing her image in an internet row which dragged for months.

Murata labelled Muyaka a prostitute, a witch, and a cultist in the posts.

High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere in her ruling said: “Whereupon after reading documents filed on record and hearing counsel, it is ordered that the defendant pays the plaintiff in the sum of $500 000 and the prescribed interest rate starting from the date of judgment up to the date of payment in full.”

However, Ndewere ordered Muyaka to pay the costs of the suit.

Muyaka told the court the postings made by Murata degraded her social standing as a married woman, a business person, and as a Christian.

The decor expert said the Murata has a huge following hence the publications had a big negative impact on her dignity.

“She is a businesswoman who is a director and shareholder of Khloe’s Home and Decor (Private) Limited, a business which is into home decor and design,” the court papers read.

“On several dates between the 17th of November 2019 and 3 April 2020, Murata who has over 170 000 followers on Facebook published several broadcasts on Facebook and WhatsApp platforms about the plaintiff whom she also calls Mai Khloe, Mai Maketeni.

“The said broadcasts stated that the plaintiff was a prostitute, a witch, a gossiper, and someone who blackmails her clients.”

Muyaka’s lawyers said the statements were both wrongful and defamatory of the plaintiff who is a business person and a legally married woman who is highly regarded in her community.

They also accused the entertainer of publishing that Muyaka and three other unnamed people were part of the Illuminati secret society that is believed to be involved in Satanism and that they wanted to kill Murata.

“This was false and intended by the defendant to impute that plaintiff is an evil person. This statement is wrongful and defamatory of the plaintiff who is a Christian,” they wrote in the summons.

Murata further published that Muyaka had given charms to her husband so that he does not complain or question her when she commits adultery.

The two are former and during the live-streams, they accused each other of being jealous the other’s business.

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Federal judge orders Census Bureau to keep counting past end of September

A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s plan to end the 2020 census count a month early and said administration officials knew, but failed to disclose, that the speedup would lead to an inaccurate population count.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of San Jose issued a nationwide injunction Thursday night requiring the Census Bureau to return to its previous schedule of contacting households and counting residents through Oct. 31. The bureau had announced Aug. 3 that it would end census-taking on Sept. 30 so that it could deliver the results to President Trump by the legal deadline of Dec. 31.

The once-per-decade population count determines each state’s number of seats in the House of Representatives and is used by federal officials to apportion $1.5 trillion in funds per year.

In the Aug. 3 announcement, the Census Bureau said the shortened schedule would not affect the accuracy of the count. But less than two weeks earlier, Koh said, a bureau official issued a memo saying the speedup would lead to a census of “unacceptable quality.” And the Census Bureau’s associate director for field operations wrote that anyone who thought the results could be delivered by Dec. 31 “has either a mental deficiency or a political motivation.”

While the Census Bureau was publicly declaring that it would meet the deadline by hiring additional staff and increasing training, Koh said, the bureau’s own reports showed it had only 38% of the census-takers it needed.

In ordering the speedup, Koh said, administration officials violated “their constitutional and statutory obligations to produce an accurate census” and “offered an explanation that runs counter to the evidence.”

She said the evidence showed that the Census Bureau “had received pressure from the Commerce Department” to shorten its schedule. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was appointed by Trump.

The Trump administration said Friday it will ask the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to overturn Koh’s ruling.

Acting in a lawsuit by civil rights groups and local governments, Koh had issued a restraining order Sept. 6 requiring the Census Bureau to maintain full-scale operations while she considered whether to extend the census through October. She acted in response to a Justice Department court filing that said the bureau “has already begun taking steps to conclude field operations” in areas with high response rates.

Trump is also seeking to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census count, an action that could strip House seats from California and other states with large immigrant populations. A federal court in New York has ruled against the president’s proposal, but the administration has appealed to the Supreme Court.

Derrick Johnson, chief executive of the NAACP, a plaintiff in the suit over the census schedule, said, “The decision to continue the census will ensure proper attention is given to overlooked and unreported

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Judge orders White House to provide sign language interpreters at Covid briefings

The White House must provide sign language interpreters at public Covid-19 briefings, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday.

The ruling, which takes effect Oct. 1, applies to any press conference on coronavirus-related matters with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence or White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany held on White House grounds or at any federal agency. The White House must make interpreter feeds available online and to all television networks, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled.

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and five plaintiffs sued the White House earlier this month, urging the administration to provide interpreters for briefings related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. At that point, the court provided relief for the plaintiffs and hinted that the White House might have to comply.

“Closed captioning and transcripts may constitute a reasonable accommodation under some circumstances, but not here,” the court ruled in their Sept. 9 decision.

Pressure from advocacy groups and other independent federal agencies grew as the White House coronavirus task force briefings continued without interpreters. The National Council on Disability released a letter in March urging the administration to act, saying “there is no doubt that the Coronavirus brings with it significant added concerns for people with disabilities.”

An estimated 11.5 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Sign language and accurate captioning are both essential and crucial to ensuring all deaf and hard of hearing people are well informed and are able to make better decisions on how to stay safe from the pandemic,” NAD CEO Howard A. Rosenblum said in a statement. “The judge’s order sets a great precedent to achieve this goal of full accessibility.”

Press briefings with Trump and other members of the coronavirus task force began in March, though they have since gone from daily events to sporadic occurrences timed to specific updates or announcements.

Over 200,000 people have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

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SHC orders interior secretary to appear in court with SOPs of ECL – Newspaper

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday summoned the federal interior secretary for not complying with its earlier order to evolve standard operating procedures about the placement of names on the exit control list.

The two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha expressed serious resentment over the ministry of interior for taking its order, passed over two years ago, lightly and said that it strongly deprecated such conduct of ignoring its order.

The bench directed the interior secretary to be in attendance on Sept 30 along with a statement about placing on record the SOPs of his ministry regarding under what circumstances names of people should be placed on ECL or adopting the SOPs submitted by the National Accountability Bureau in court.

It warned that if the interior secretary failed to appear at the next hearing, the court would pass an appropriate order in this regard.

The bench observed that it had passed the order in May 2018 and in February 2020 a NAB prosecutor had placed on record a statement along with a copy of revised/amended ECL SOPs on the behalf of NAB for placement of people’s names on the ECL. Unfortunately, the ministry of interior had not filed any reply, it added.

In February this year, an official had sought further time of one week to file the SOPs of the ministry and the bench had granted last chance to the ministry to comply with its directions within two months.

When the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday, deputy attorney general Abdul Jabbar Qureshi informed the bench that the interior secretary had neither adopted the SOPs given by NAB nor provided ministry’s own rules/SOPs as under what circumstances a person’s name should be placed on the ECL.

In its May 29, 2018 order, the bench said, “To enhance the public’s confidence in the rule of law and adherence to the constitution both the federal government and the NAB when dealing with cases which may entail placing a person’s name on ECL are hereby directed to develop rules/SOPs within 3 months of the date of this order to ensure that all persons are treated equally before the law in this respect notwithstanding their status or position in society keeping in view the need sometimes to place a person’s name on the ECL expeditiously due to genuine fears of his ascension or other cogent reasons.”

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2020

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Atlanta Orders In: Bold Monk Brewing

ExploreMore Atlanta Orders In
Bitterballen from Bold Monk Brewing Co. comes with smoked brisket, apple mostarda and beet sabayon. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bitterballen from Bold Monk Brewing Co. comes with smoked brisket, apple mostarda and beet sabayon. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

In early May, Bold Monk reopened for to-go service, followed by limited dine-in service, which included adding tables to a covered breezeway. Also, a long-planned beer garden, situated on a wooded hilltop behind the restaurant, suddenly became a priority.

Fittingly, one of the first events planned for the beer garden is an Oktoberfest celebration on Sept. 19, with a German menu, and a Bold Monk Fest beer brewed for the occasion.

ExploreIntown Atlanta dining news
Bold Monk's yellowfin tuna salad features bibb lettuce, chile-orange vinaigrette, charred corn, peach, avocado and spicy peanuts. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bold Monk’s yellowfin tuna salad features bibb lettuce, chile-orange vinaigrette, charred corn, peach, avocado and spicy peanuts. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

“It’s the day Oktoberfest would have started in Munich,” Roberts pointed out.

He said sales at Bold Monk are a third of what they were before COVID-19, but he’s hoping a combination of cooler weather, more outdoor seating and increased beer sales will add up to better numbers this fall.

“People are still looking to come out and do parties,” he said. “People are still getting married. We set up the loft and our beer garden specifically with weddings in mind. Those are the things we need to focus on right now, and hope for a recovery.”

Oktoberfest beer soon will be on tap at Bold Monk Brewing Co. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Oktoberfest beer soon will be on tap at Bold Monk Brewing Co. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

What may be most difficult for Roberts, though, is that Max Lager’s in downtown Atlanta, the first Brewed to Serve venture, remains closed.

“It makes me really sad,” he said. “I was just there checking things out, and it’s hard to walk into the place that you’ve worked in for 22 years, and now it’s closed. Going into 2020, things were golden. We had negligible debt at Max Lager’s and White Oak, and they were doing very well. Now, Bold Monk is supporting everybody.”

Is there a restaurant you want to see featured? Send your suggestions to [email protected].


Menu: Belgian-inspired seasonal menu

Alcohol: full bar menu available for dine-in; beer, wine and cocktails available for takeout

What I ordered: Yellowfin tuna salad, with bibb lettuce, chile-orange vinaigrette, charred corn, peach, avocado and spicy peanuts; bitterballen, with smoked brisket, apple mostarda and beet sabayon; duck confit fried chicken wings, with cayenne and chile honey; 1836 pizza, with soppressata, tomato, mozzarella and torn basil. It all traveled well, but the unique, melt-in-your-mouth wings are special, and the soppressata pizza is a nice combination of heat and spice, with a fluffy, chewy, charred crust, and a crispy edge.

Service options: dine-in or takeout; order in person, by phone or online through OpenTable; call on arrival for curbside delivery

Safety protocols: following all COVID-19 safety guidelines

Address, phone: 1737 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW, Building D, Atlanta; 404-390-3288

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

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Senate Republicans Cast Doubt on COVID Relief Bill’s Prospects, Prompting White House to Consider More Executive Orders

Senate Republicans cast doubt on Wednesday over the prospect of passing a bipartisan coronavirus relief package ahead of the November election, suggesting they would instead aim to pass legislation to avoid a federal shutdown.

a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after the Senate Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 9 2020.

© Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after the Senate Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 9 2020.

While Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., K.Y.) said he was “optimistic” that the GOP’s $500 billion skinny COVID-19 package would garner solid support from Republicans in a test vote on Thursday, Democrats have called the bill insufficient, furthering months of political gridlock over the stimulus in the Senate.

“Unless something really broke through, it’s not going to happen,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, according to the Associated Press, on the prospect of restarting negotiations that fell apart last month and reaching a deal before November. He added that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are itching to head home to campaign rather than stay in Washington.

The pessimism surrounding the bill’s prospects has reportedly prompted the White House to consider implementing additional executive orders that would direct funding to the airline industry and extend increased unemployment benefits, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

McConnell accused the Democrats of forcing unreasonable demands and behaving as though it will be politically advantageous to keep Republicans and President Trump from a victory on the virus so close to election day.

“They do not want any bipartisan relief,” he said.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) criticized the GOP bill that cuts out many of the provisions included in the $3.5 trillion relief bill that passed in the House in May, saying the GOP legislation “does nothing.”

“There are millions of kids who are food insecure, millions, maybe 14 million in our country, food insecure. He has nothing for that,” Pelosi said during an appearance on MSNBC on Monday. “There are millions of families, victims of evictions because they can’t pay the rent. They don’t care about that.”

The Republicans’ package would provide $105 billion to help schools reopen; instate a reduced weekly unemployment benefit supplement of $300; set aside $31 billion for a coronavirus vaccine, $16 billion for virus testing and $15 billion to help child care providers reopen; provide $20 billion for farmers; and devote $258 billion for a second round of paycheck protection subsidies.

Absent from the GOP bill is a second round of $1,200 stimulus payments to Americans. 

McConnell and other Republicans have expressed support for a short-term spending measure — a continuing resolution (CR) — in light of the stalemate to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month, setting up a session for after the election to handle unfinished legislation, which could include coronavirus relief.

“My guess would be that if we leave in September with a CR, we will not come back to do anything before the election,” Senator Roy Blunt, (R-Mo.) told the AP.

Senate minority

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White House orders end to COVID-19 airport screenings for international travelers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government on Monday will stop conducting enhanced screening of passengers on inbound international flights for COVID-19, Yahoo News has learned. 

The screening operations have been held at select airports since January, when the first cases of the disease began to emerge from Wuhan, China. Since March, incoming international flights from select high-risk countries, including much of Europe, China and Iran, among other regions, have been funneled through 15 designated airports in the United States.

On Monday, the government will stop conducting enhanced screening of passengers on inbound international flights for the coronavirus. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
On Monday, the government will stop conducting enhanced screening of passengers on inbound international flights for the coronavirus. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As of Monday, however, international flights will no longer be funneled into select airports for screening purposes and all screenings will come to a halt, according to communications and sources. All screenings and rerouting of select international flights will cease at exactly 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 14.

Currently, travelers upon arrival to the United States are sent to health screeners who take their temperatures and conduct a basic health screening with questions about typical COVID-19 symptoms. After the health screening, passengers proceed through passport control and customs.

One aspect of the screening is that travelers provide contact information, which can be used to perform contact tracing for infections. Without that information, it likely won’t be possible to contact passengers on a flight who may have potentially been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19.

The orders to cease prescreening operations came from the White House, with strict orders to keep the information secret until a public announcement is made. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the various agencies — and contractors — involved in the airport screening operations are working frantically to prepare for Monday’s shutdown.

There are several agencies involved in aspects of the screenings, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security. Most screenings are administered at the airports by AMR, a Dallas contractor.

President Trump at a White House press briefing on Monday. (Oliver Contreras/Washington Post via Getty Images)
President Trump at a White House press briefing on Monday. (Oliver Contreras/Washington Post via Getty Images)

The White House orders to shut down the airport screenings for inbound international passengers comes amid rising COVID-19 case numbers and death counts and as experts warn of a potential second wave of the pandemic this fall.

The White House, the CDC, the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection and AMR did not immediately respond to Yahoo News’ request for comment.

A government official told Yahoo News that the Transportation Security Administration, which is not directly involved in the screenings, had been briefed on the upcoming changes for its awareness.

The airport screening changes come not long after news late last month that employers were shedding more than 100,000 jobs, with airlines a major driver of those cuts.

This is also not the first time the White House has struggled with the question of airport COVID-19 screenings. The House oversight subcommittee on economic and consumer policy has previously criticized the White House for what it regarded as

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IHC stays interior ministry’s deportation orders for Cynthia Ritchie

IHC CJ Justice Athar Minallah has also sought replies from Home Ministry, DG Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and other parties on Cynthia’s case 

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday stayed an Interior Ministry decision to turn down a visa extension application filed by US blogger Cynthia D. Ritchie.

Ritchie had petitioned the IHC on Saturday, challenging the interior ministry’s decision to deny her an extension and ordering her to leave the country within 15 days.

In the petition, the US national has nominated the interior secretary, deputy secretary and the director-general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) as respondents to the case. 

She has argued that she fulfilled all legal obligations required of her in her visa application to ensure her continued stay in Pakistan, yet was turned down without explanation.

After hearing her arguments, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah stopped the Interior Ministry from deporting Ritchie and issued notices to the home ministry, the DG FIA and others.

The court also ordered the blogger to submit an affidavit detailing her allegations in the document.

“Visas of Pakistanis are denied every day and no reason is provided,” Justice Minallah remarked. He assured that the petitioner gets complete justice in the case.

Read more: Cynthia moves IHC against interior ministry’s decision to reject visa extension

The ministry, in an earlier response to the IHC, had stated that the American citizen’s visa had been extended twice during 2018-19 against the law.

It had mentioned that the blogger had applied for an extension in her work visa twice, but was instead given a business visa by the authority against the visa policy even though her company was not registered in Pakistan.

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Trump orders hardening of satellites against cyber treats

Over the past years, the Pentagon has become increasingly reliant on satellites to provide missile defense, secure communications, reconnaissance and global positioning systems. But those system are vulnerable to attack—not just by missiles that could knock them out but by an array of other means, including cyber attacks.

“Cyberthreats happen all the time, not just from China but also from non-state actors,” a senior administration official, not authorized to speak publicly told reporters. “So we need to secure our systems against a wide, wide range of potential threats. The threats are only getting more serious.”

The policy, however, lays out a series of broad principles — but not enforceable regulations — that encourage satellite operators to better harden their systems, in space and on the ground, against attacks and to abide by best practices. In many cases, the practices, such as encrypting satellite to ground links, are already in use.

But the policy highlights a vulnerability space and national security experts have been warning about for years. And it gives the issue the weight of the White House, which cast the measure as a broader attempt to combat cyberattacks, at a time when hackers are threatening to disrupt many facets of life.

In a report issued last year, the Aerospace Corporation, a federally funded research and development center, said that the “vulnerability of satellites and other space assets to cyberattack is often overlooked in wider discussions of cyber threats to critical national infrastructure.”

It said that generally “spacecraft have been considered relatively safe from cyber intrusions; however, recent emerging threats have brought spacecraft into play as a direct target of an adversary.”

In 2014, for example, American officials said China hacked a NOAA weather satellite. The hack only had a limited impact on its weather forecasts. But it showed how vulnerable the system was and how another nation could take advantage of it.

Like cyberattacks on the ground, hacks of satellites can have significant consequences, even allowing an adversary to seize control of a satellite, according to a report released earlier this year by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“A cyberattack on space systems can result in data loss, widespread disruptions, and even permanent loss of a satellite,” the report said.

In addition to national security, commerce and everyday life in the United States has become bound to space — from weather forecasts, to television, as well as the little blue GPS dot on many people’s phones that tracks their location as they navigate through a city. And so the White House said it needed to act.

“From communications to weather monitoring, Americans rely on capabilities provided by space systems in everyday life,” Scott Pace, the executive secretary of the National Space Council, said in a statement. “President Trump’s directive ensures the U.S. Government promotes practices to protect American space systems and capabilities from cyber vulnerabilities and malicious threats.”

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