#Top5atFive: Here’s what’s happening in Lesotho and around the globe

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Here’s a wrap of the stories making headlines in Lesotho and around the world as we wish His Majesty King Letsie III a very happy birthday ﹘ from the recent Twitter hack to UN projections of 900,000 Basotho in dire poverty.  

1. Local headlines

The economy of Lesotho has plummeted with some 900 thousand people across the country living in poverty due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations has said in a report.

The report was produced by the office of the Resident Coordinator in Lesotho in collaboration with humanitarian partners.Titled the Covid-19 situation update, it states that the pandemic has directly affected the economic and food security situation of the country, and this has been exacerbated by the closure of border crossings, reduced international movements and reduced remittances due to the global economic slowdown.

The United Nations has projected that the number of food insecure households from the rural population is likely to surge from 433,419 to 720,000 and from 74,715 to 179,287 in urban areas. The projected surge in rural areas, the UN says, is due to the number of migrants returning from South Africa, the decline in agricultural labour opportunities and the loss of remittances following the lockdown which  means Covid-19 has increased the number of affected populations to 899,000. 

[900,000 Basotho in dire poverty, Maseru Metro News]

2. Local headlines

A local safety, health and environment company, Zeku Safety Focus, has come to the aid of frontline health workers in addressing the critical shortage of medical supplies during COVID-19 pandemic. The company donated PPE and other supplies worth M100 000 to the Maseru District Health Management Team (DHMT) to assist in the efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the handing over event, the Minister of Health, Motlatsi Maqelepo, said the donations came at the right time when PPE is needed the most, especially for those who directly work with COVID-19 suspects and the teams that transport patients from their homes to designated areas.

He said this is an unprecedented time and community effort is needed to meet the immediate needs of the frontline healthcare staff as they care for patients. He said the donations will go a long way towards ensuring the safety of the health workers.

[Maseru district health team receives PPE, Maseru Metro News]

3. Global headlines

The FBI has launched an investigation after hackers hijacked Twitter accounts of a number of high-profile US figures in an apparent Bitcoin scam. “The accounts appear to have been compromised in order to perpetuate cryptocurrency fraud,” said the bureau, urging the public to be vigilant.

Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Joe Biden were among those hit in what Twitter said was a “co-ordinated” attack. Their official accounts requested donations in the cryptocurrency. “Everyone is asking me to give back,” said a tweet from the account of Mr Gates, the Microsoft founder. “You send $1,000, I send you back $2,000.” 

Twitter said the hackers had targeted its employees “with access to internal systems and tools”. It added that “significant steps” had been taken to limit access to such internal systems and tools while the company’s investigation continues. The tech firm has also blocked users from being able to tweet Bitcoin wallet addresses for the time being.

Others targeted included: reality TV star Kim Kardashian West; former US President Obama; media billionaire Mike Bloomberg; the ride-sharing app Uber and the iPhone-maker Apple. 

[Twitter hack: FBI investigates major attack, BBC News]

4. In lifestyle

After consultations with various stakeholders, Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) has resolved to declare Bantu FC champions of the Econet Premier League( EPL). Speaking at the press conference held at Bambatha Tšita  Sports Arena, LeFA Secretary general Mokhosi Mohapi said LeFA national executive committee(NEC) held a meeting on July 15 where it resolved that the 2019/2020 football season be declared complete on July 31 and declare ‘A Matšo Matebele’ the league champions without relegating two bottom teams. 

“The NEC further resolved that two A division log leaders Manonyane FC in  Southern Stream and CCX FC, the leader in Northern Stream be declared champions and be promoted to EPL as to add up EPL teams to sixteen for the next season and going forward,” he said. He also mentioned that the NEC made a resolution that there will also be no relegation in A- division but two teams would be promoted from B-division after playoffs which are scheduled for pre-season.  

Meanwhile, the women super league log leaders LDF Ladies FC have been declared the winners of the Women Super League for the 2019/2020 season. 

[LeFA declares Bantu FC EPL Champions, Maseru Metro News]

5. What we’re reading

We think you’ll enjoy this piece on the history of Sesotho creative literature, from the advent of the missionaries to the factors affecting it’s growth today. Published by the Morija Arts & Culture Blog,Prof. Moleleki makes a strong case for how this artform has been shaped (and held back) by its colonial origins and poses significant questions for what this means for its future.

[Sesotho creative literature, Morija]

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Matlhabeli Molaoli
Matlhabeli is a reader, an Afro-feminist and a firm believer in the power of human-centered design to create lasting social-economic impact. She is a rising junior at Smith College where she majors in both Biochemistry and Anthropology and also dabbles in venture consulting for the local start-up ecosystem. Matlhabeli also enjoys dialogue so she has spent much of her time attending, speaking at and organising TEDx conferences in both Lesotho and South Africa during her time as a student at the African Leadership Academy.