Chatter: South African miners cleared of murder charges, for now




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Need to know:

In a twist of fate, murder charges for 270 striking miners in South Africa have been dropped. After being accused of murder in the deaths of 34 fellow mine workers (shot by police), the men were sent home Sunday pending further inquiry into the deaths.

Their release was likely due to fierce criticism of the apartheid-era law that had them locked up. The rather skewed law says that police brutality can be blamed on those who provoked it. Thus the miners killed their colleagues by angering police. The law had previously been used by the white-minority government to viciously crack down on those protesting apartheid.

GlobalPost writes how the Lonmin mining incident has shaken South African society and tested its fragile democratic institutions. It has also thrown into question the relationship between government, industry and labor unions in that country.

Want to know:

Syria saw protracted violence over the weekend in a conflict that promises no quick end to the brutality. A twin bomb attack by rebels late Sunday night at a Damascus army base injured four, according to Syrian state-run media, which means the number of injured or dead could be higher.

Syrian activist groups have said that August was the deadliest month during the war with over 5000 dead. UNICEF said that just about 1600 people died last week alone in the country. Estimates have put the number of innocent dead over 20,000 since the beginning of the conflict.

Turkey has also recently called for a buffer zone for fleeing civilians - an announcement deemed ridiculous and impossible by President Assad in a recent interview. 

Dull but important:

Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah of his Unification Church and global corporate mogul, died early this morning from pneumonia complications. Moon was 92.

Moon began his church in the 1940s, writing the Divine Principle, which is now considered scripture among his followers. He was arrested in Korea for preaching his beliefs but was freed during the Korean war. Moon's church grew along with his wealth. He also became famous: meeting world leaders, sponsoring charitable organizations and launching the conservative-leaning Washington Times.

Other fun facts include 13 months spent in federal prison in the US for tax evasion and his ownership of a giant sushi distribution company. His church is believed to have between five and seven million members. Most have been married in mass weddings in stadiums it is believed.

Just because:

The US has suspended training for about 1000 militia forces for them to be re-vetted. The move comes after a series of incidents involving Afghan security forces turning their guns on Western allies.

The "green on blue" incidents have sharply risen in recent months. There have been about 30 similar events this year with 45 NATO troops dead - about 14 percent of battlefield fatalities.

Strange but true:

Australians are being urged to do their part for their country and catch a deadly spider. The terrifying request comes as a shortage in anti-venom for funnel-web spider bites has reached new lows putting hundreds who are bit every year in Australia at risk.