Thursday’s top stories

MTN plans hikes of several of its contract and data prices and Springbok flank Schalk Burger wins big. We bring you the top stories on 16 April 2015.

BUSINESS: South Africa’s second-largest mobile network, MTN, plans to hike several of its contract and data prices. In a statement, MTN says it is introducing revised rates for its packages. This comes less than three weeks after market leader Vodacom hiked its subscription fees for a range of contract packages and a week after Telkom revealed plans to hike line rental fees. The revised rates take effect from 13 May and will apply to existing as well as new contracts. The network said it would notify its subscribers by 15 April.

SPORT: Stormers and Springbok flank Schalk Burger has won the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award at a ceremony in Shanghai on Wednesday. Burger was able to survive life-threatening bacterial meningitis and return to the Springboks to help the South African side win a number of games. Burger, who turned 32 on Monday, has been playing Test rugby for almost 12 years. He has represented South Africa 75 times and was part of the team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2007. The other nominees in the category for the World Comeback of the Year Award were Italian soccer player Francesco Acerbi, Diego Milito (Argentina, soccer), Jo Pavey (UK, athletics), Pierre Vaultnier (France, snowboarding) and Oliver Wilson (UK, golf).

LOCAL: As police in Durban continue to try restore calm in areas of Durban affected by xenophobic attacks, violence has broken out in the Johannesburg CBD, where a group of people has attacked foreign nationals, Eyewitness News reports. Police have now been deployed to the Noord taxi rank, where foreign nationals are said to fear renewed xenophobic attacks after a group of locals attacked them yesterday. A number of shops have subsequently closed their doors after allegedly receiving threats from a mob. The angry mob is said to have damaged three vehicles with bricks and one foreign national was severely injured.

NEWS: Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini faces another charge of hate speech and violating human rights – this time from the Western Cape organiser of the SA National Defence Union. Tim Flack, famously booted out of a Parliamentary committee meeting in 2013 for wearing shorts, said he was spurred into action after seeing complaints on Twitter that not enough was being done by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba to stop xenophobic violence in South Africa. Flack decided to lay charges of sedition and inciting violence against the King via the SA Human Rights Commission’s website. He also called on Gigaba’s spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete, to put pressure on the Minister to act on the matter.

AFRICA: More than 144 people who survived the capsizing of a migrant boat off the coast of Libya have told the aid group Save the Children that an estimated 400 people are believed to have drowned, reports Al Jazeera. Even before the survivors were interviewed Italy’s coast guard said it assumed that there were many dead given the size of the ship and that nine bodies had already been found. The coast guard had helped rescue about 144 people on Monday and immediately launched an air and sea search operation, but no other survivors or bodies have been recovered. The International Organization of Migration estimates that up to 3 072 migrants are believed to have died in the Mediterranean in 2014, compared to an estimate of 700 in 2013.

INTERNATIONAL: A moment of silence was observed in Boston, USA, as the city marked the second anniversary of a deadly attack on its annual marathon. A large group of Boston residents gathered at the site where three died to unveil a pair of banners marked with a heart. The anniversary comes amid a break in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted last week of carrying out the bombing attack. The jury that found him guilty will now decide whether to sentence him to death or life in prison. Tsarnaev, 21, was the younger of two brothers who carried out the attack and three days later shot dead a police officer as they prepared to flee the city. His older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, died following a gunfight with police after that shooting.

SOURCES: ENCA, EWN, CNN, Al Jazeera, News24 Wire, Reuters.