Madiba lookalike vows to carry on the legacy

Updated 15 December 2013
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Madiba lookalike vows to carry on the legacy

QUNU, South Africa: Ayanda Mbatyothi, who bears a striking resemblance to a young Nelson Mandela, vowed Sunday to carry on the legacy of the icon who had unwittingly launched his career.
The 37-year-old, who hails from an impoverished township in eastern South Africa, is the spitting image of Mandela in the days before his arrest by the apartheid state in 1962.
Mbatyothi even sounds like Mandela, and makes a living impersonating South Africa’s first black president on screen.
“Madiba never forgot about the people. I will try and carry forward the very same idea,” he told AFP, referring to South Africa’s first black president by his clan name.
“It’s a big responsibility,” Mbatyothi said ahead of Mandela’s burial in his boyhood village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape — the same province from which the impersonator hails.
He said he often caught passers-by staring at him, stopping and then turning to take a second look, before walking off perplexed.
Mandela himself was taken aback by the similarity, he recounted.


US targets Iranian-Russian network over Syrian oil shipments

Updated 20 min 14 sec ago
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US targets Iranian-Russian network over Syrian oil shipments

  • US officials said Russia facilitated the delivery of oil from Iran to Syria
  • Among those targeted are Syrian national Mohammad Amer Alchwiki and his Russia-based company, Global Vision Group

WASHINGTON: The US on Tuesday said it sanctioned six individuals and three entities to disrupt an Iranian-Russian network that it said was providing millions of barrels of oil to the Syrian government and funding militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
US officials said Russia facilitated the delivery of oil from Iran to Syria, and that a variety of mechanisms were used in an attempt to conceal the shipments and oil-related payments.
“Today we are acting against a complex scheme Iran and Russia have used to bolster the (Syrian President Bashar) Assad regime and generate funds for Iranian malign activity,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
“Central Bank of Iran officials continue to exploit the international financial system,” he added.
Among those targeted are Syrian national Mohammad Amer Alchwiki and his Russia-based company, Global Vision Group, the Treasury Department said in a statement.
Other targets include: Syrian national Hajji Abd Al-Nasir, Lebanon national Muhammad Qasim Al-Bazzal and Russian national Andrey Dogaev as well as Iranian nationals Rasoul Sajjad and Hossein Yaghoubi Miab, the statement said.
The US Treasury’s ‘designation’ of the individuals and entities effectively cuts them off from the global financial system by blocking any of their assets under US jurisdiction and warning non-US institutions against dealing with them.