Ox Rejects Chelsea Move

Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, also known as Ox, has snubbed a lucrative offer from Chelsea, refusing to move to the club.

Chelsea and Arsenal had reportedly agreed on a fee of £35 million for the 24-year-old midfielder, and it looked like a done deal.

However, Ox has rejected the move because of concerns that he’ll be forced to play wing-back for Chelsea.

According to Sky Sports, the England international wants to leave the Gunners for Liverpool instead of Chelsea, because at Anfield he would continue to play in central midfield.

With less than 48 hours to go before the close of the transfer window, the Blues are left with a wing-back slot to fill, and Liverpool will need to put in an offer for Ox, if they want him.

While the Reds showed some interest earlier in the season, they have yet to make a concrete offer for the player.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has just entered the last year of his contract with Arsenal, and has refused to sign a new one, despite many offers.

If his gamble doesn’t pay off and Liverpool doesn’t put in an offer, Ox will have no choice but to see out his contract with Arsenal.

Taylor Swift Breaks New Records

Taylor Swift’s first single in over a year has been smashing records in its first week.

“Look What You Made Me Do” was released on 24 August, off Swift’s upcoming album, “Reputation”, which is due for release in November.

The song has already broken four major records.

Despite mixed critical reception, the song is clearly a huge hit, setting a new record for most Spotify plays on its first day. The single was streamed almost eight million times in the first 24 hours after release, overtaking previous record-holder Ed Sheeran, whose single “Shape of You” garnered seven million listens.

The 27-year-old popstar released a lyric video to accompany the single. This reached 19 million views in its first 24 hours, easily overtaking the previous record of nine million, held by Coldplay and the Chainsmokers’ single “Something Just Like This”.

A few days after dropping the single and lyric video, Swift premiered the official music video during the 2017 MTV Music Video Awards. It’s been called “vengeful” by Reuters, and targets those who have criticised, scrutinised and hounded the singer for the last ten years.

The video features Swift rising from the grave because her old self and her reputation are dead. Both the song and its accompanying video also diss a few celebrities Swift is known to have feuded with in the past, such as Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and Kanye West.

Her controversial video has broken the record for most views in its first 24 hours. Swift’s 30 million views beat out Adele’s “Hello”, which reached 27.7 million views on its first day.

“Look What You Made Me Do” is also Swift’s best debut on Youtube, breaking her previous personal record of 17 million first day views for “Bad Blood”.

Currently averaging more than three million views per hour, the single is a strong contender to break the all-time record for most views on Youtube. This record is currently held by Luis Fonsi for “Despacito”, which has a whopping three billion views.

North Korean Missile Launch Strikes Fear

A North Korean missile test-fired over Japan has left world leaders outraged, concerned and fearful of military escalation.

The missile was launched early Tuesday and flew over Japan’s Hokkaido island before crashing into the Pacific Ocean. It’s the first time that North Korea has admitted to firing a ballistic weapon over Japan.

Residents of Hokkaido were awakened by sirens and alerts to urgently take cover.

World leaders have widely condemned the incident. Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, has called the act “unprecedented, serious and a grave threat”.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said that it is a “reckless provocation”, while United States President Donald Trump called the launch “threatening”, “destabilising”, and said that “all options are on the table” in terms of retaliation.

According to a South Korean presidential spokesman, both Japan and South Korea now believe that “pressure on North Korea should be raised to its limit so that North Korea will voluntarily come to the table for dialogue”.

South Korea responded by holding live-fire drills, simulating the bombing of North Korea’s leaders.

North Korea has repeatedly conducted missile launches in recent months, against the United Nations’ rules. The United Nations has called the latest incident “outrageous” and has demanded that North Korea stop its weapons programme.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was reportedly “very satisfied with the performance of the missile”.

According to North Korean state media, the test-fire was “the first step of military operation in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam”.

Trump and Kim have recently been hurling threats regarding Guam, a US territory and naval base in the Pacific. It appeared that North Korea had backed down after Trump warned Kim that “fire and fury” would follow, but North Korea’s latest move shows that this is not the case.

North Korea’s military escalation brings with it the threat of nuclear war. According to the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, this is the first launch of a missile powerful enough to potentially carry a nuclear warhead.

Top 5 SA Getaways on a Budget

Whether you’re looking for a long, relaxing holiday, or a quick break from civilisation, we all need to get away sometimes. But how do you do that without breaking the bank?

According to TripAdvisor, these are the top five resorts that offer the best value for money. Each of them has a variety of budget room options available.

Pine Lodge George

This self-catering lodge is located in George, along the Garden Route, at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains. It’s ideally situated within range of a host of activities: Take the Outeniqua Powervan to explore the mountain on a unique rail pass, visit the Wilderness National Park, or take a day-trip to Oudtshoorn and visit the Cango Caves.

Hippo Pools Resort

This self-catering resort is found on the banks of the Olifants River, near Hoedspruit. The resort offers a tea garden, restaurant and pool. There are a number of animals living at the resort, including some wallowing hippos. It’s also only a 45-minute drive from the Kruger National Park.

Misty Mountain Reserve

Located in Tsitsikamma on the Garden Route, this lodge boasts a beautiful setting, with views of the ocean, mountain and indigenous forest. The lodge offers braai facilities, a restaurant, a pool and on-site quad bike and hiking tours. Other nearby activities include golf, fresh-water fishing, and bird watching.

Crawford’s Beach Lodge

This four-star hotel offers great value for money. Tucked away in Chintsa East on the Wild Coast, this resort offers bed-and-breakfast and full board options. The resort has a range of facilities, including a spa, as well as nearby activities such as horse riding, abseiling, Wild Coast cycling, deep sea fishing, and canoeing.

Bushman Sands Golf Lodge

This gem is hidden away in Alicedale in the Eastern Cape. The lodge is surrounded by beautiful countryside, and a picturesque 18 hole championship golf course. Nearby is the Addo Elephant National Park as well as the world renowned Born Free Foundation, where injured animals are rehabilitated to be released back into the wild.

Long Wait for Next Game of Thrones Season

The season seven finale of Game of Thrones exploded onto screens in the US on Sunday night. The longest episode yet, clocking in at around 80 minutes, gave audiences everything they’ve been waiting for and more, but don’t worry, there’ll be no spoilers here.

Ending with a dramatic cliffhanger, the question on every fan’s lips is how long will we have to wait until Game of Thrones returns? The answer is disappointing: while season eight was originally estimated to hit screens in 2018, this estimate has now been changed to 2019.

Impatient fans can thank previous production delays, as well as incredible special effects, for this extended delay.

There was just over a year’s wait between seasons six and seven, as production was delayed due to weather. To try to avoid this kind of delay in future, Game of Thrones executive producers have decided to start shooting season eight later in the year.

According to HBO programming president, Casey Bloys: “Our production people are trying to figure out a timeline for the shoot and how much time the special effects take. The shooting is complicated—different continents, with all the technical aspects—and the special effects are a whole other production period that we’re trying to figure out. That is a big factor in all of this.”

While the wait for those final six episodes may prove torturous, fans can find comfort in the prevalent rumour that each episode will be over an hour long. In the meantime, why not put the seven released seasons on repeat? After all, you can never have too much of a good thing. And by good thing, we mean dragons.

Crocodiles Kill 7 in Rwanda

Crocodiles have killed seven people along the banks of the Nyabarongo River this month.

According to residents in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, the recent dry spell has left the Nyarugenge and Kamonyi districts increasingly dependent on the river for water.

The crocodiles have been terrorising the area by attacking both people and livestock as they approach the river for water.

Kigali resident, Donata Mukanyana lost a family member to a crocodile just two weeks ago.

“My husband was killed by the crocodile on a Friday morning when he had just gone to fetch water from the river…We immediately rushed to the river when we heard screams from passersby. We shouted at the crocodile so that it can release his body, but all in vain,” she recounted.

According to another resident, Jean Marie Habimana, these attacks have been going on for years.

“If the government avails us with water near to our homes, there would be no need of going to Nyabarongo River to fetch water. We appeal for long-term and permanent solution to crocodile attacks [sic],” he said.

Governor of Rwanda’s Southern Province, Marie Rose Mureshyankwano, said that the government is working to provide clean water to those affected.

Security forces managed to kill one of the man-eating crocodiles last week. The government has also asked people to stop fetching water from the Nyabarongo River.

Hurricane Harvey Kills 6 in Texas

Hurricane Harvey has caused catastrophic flooding and damage in Houston, Texas, and has killed at least six people.

Harvey, which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, hit Houston on Friday night and lashed the fourth largest city in the US with heavy rainfall all weekend.

Meteorologist Steve Bowen commented: “What we’re seeing is the most devastating flood event in Houston’s recorded history. We’re seeing levels of rainfall that are unprecedented.”

The historic storm has flooded streets and filled homes and buildings up to two-storeys-high. There was no evacuation, and many residents were left stranded and forced to flee to their rooftops, hoping to be picked up by rescue services. Other residents chose to brave the outdoors and waded to safety through chest-high waters, carrying their belongings above their heads.

Some even used rubber rafts and inflatable mattresses to float down the flooded streets.

Causes of death so far include fire, being swept away, and being trapped in a flooded car. The death toll is expected to rise, as rescue workers have not yet been able to reach some of the areas worst hit.

Governor of Texas Greg Abbott has warned that the floodwaters will most likely continue to rise, as the rain persists. “We’re measuring rain these days not in inches, but in feet,” Abbott said on Sunday.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has come under fire for failing to order an evacuation before Harvey hit, especially because Houston is known for its risk of flooding. Turner defended his decision, saying: “You literally cannot put 6.5 million people on the road. If you think the situation right now is bad, you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare.”

President Donald Trump is set to visit Texas on Tuesday to discuss recovery from the storm.

Mbappe to Join PSG

Paris Saint-Germain is said to have reached a deal with Monaco to acquire Kylian Mbappe.

According to reports, PSG will sign the French international on loan, with an obligation to buy him for £166 million in July 2018, when the deal becomes permanent. The amount is likely to rise to £175 million with add-ons.

PSG have been involved in talks with both Monaco and UEFA this past week, to ensure that the deal is in line with Financial Fair Play rules. These FFP rules were introduced by UEFA seven years ago to stop clubs from spending more money than they earn.

After spending a record breaking £198 million on Neymar recently, PSG have had to think outside of the box to sign Mbappe.

The 18-year-old striker only has a season and a half of club experience, but took both Ligue 1 and the Champions League by storm last season, scoring 26 goals in 44 appearances.

Mbappe has been closely linked with a move to Real Madrid this transfer window, but according to Sky Sports, he wants to work with Neymar, thereby leading to his move to PSG. He has agreed to a five year deal, and is set to have a medical for the club in Paris today.

If the deal becomes permanent, and £166 million is paid for Mbappe, PSG will be paying four times more than he is currently worth. Mbappe’s worth is currently estimated at between £35 and £40 million.

MTV Video Music Awards 2017: Winners

The VMA ceremony went down on Sunday night, in what many are calling a huge let-down. The awards show is usually known for its outrageous performances and exciting moments: think Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke’s performance in 2013.

The mother of Heather Heyer – who died recently when a car crashed into demonstrators in Charlottesville – presented an award. Still, while there were a few politically noteworthy moments, overall the 2017 VMAs was devoid of any of the big drama it’s become known for.

The show was hosted by Katy Perry, whose performance Vox has called “clunky and strange”, “like an enthusiastic mom trying to spice up a school talent show.”

Perry was also overshadowed by the many rumours that her rival, Taylor Swift, would show up for a surprise performance of her new single. Swift, however, was a no-show.

The night included performances by Kendrick Lamar, Pink, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Lorde, who lip synced because she had such bad flu. While it was originally announced that The Weeknd would be performing, he was also a no-show, with no explanation yet given.

Check out some of the big winners below:

WINNER: Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
Bruno Mars – “24K Magic”
Alessia Cara – “Scars To Your Beautiful”
DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller – “Wild Thoughts”
The Weeknd – “Reminder”

WINNER: Ed Sheeran
Bruno Mars
Kendrick Lamar
Ariana Grande
The Weeknd

WINNER: Lil Uzi Vert, “XO TOUR Llif3”
Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber, “Despacito (Remix)”
Fifth Harmony ft. Gucci Mane, “Down”
Camila Cabello ft. Quavo, “OMG”
Ed Sheeran, “Shape of You”
Demi Lovato, “Sorry Not Sorry”
Shawn Mendes, “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”
DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller, “Wild Thoughts”

Shawn Mendes – “Treat You Better”
Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You”
Harry Styles – “Sign Of The Times”
WINNER: Fifth Harmony ft. Gucci Mane – “Down”
Katy Perry ft. Skip Marley – “Chained To The Rhythm”
Miley Cyrus – “Malibu”

WINNER: Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
Big Sean – “Bounce Back”
Chance the Rapper – “Same Drugs”
D.R.A.M. ft. Lil Yachty – “Broccoli”
Migos ft. Lil Uzi Vert – “Bad & Boujee”
DJ Khaled ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne – “I’m The One”

WINNER: Twenty One Pilots – “Heavydirtysoul”
Coldplay – “A Head Full of Dreams”
Fall Out Boy – “Young And Menace”
Green Day – “Bang Bang”
Foo Fighters – “Run”

Image: Katy Perry MTV Flag [online image] (2017) sourced on 28 August 2017 from http://img.usmagazine.com/480-width/katy-perry-mtv-flag-zoom-4049f6eb-b833-4e2c-aa16-d0e6786afdb2.jpg.

Angola Set for Political Change

The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the ruling party in Angola, has essentially claimed a widely anticipated national election victory and the political scene is set for a change in leadership.

While the MPLA has not lost the vote for since 1992, there is one significant and surprising change that is set to occur. For the first time in almost four decades, current president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, did not stand as a presidential candidate.

The MPLA confirmed that Defence Minister Joao Lourenco is set to replace the 74-year-old president and end the cold war veteran’s 38-years of authoritarian rule.

Lourenco has a reputation for possessing strong moral principles and promised voters he would crack down on corruption.

Corruption is rife within the Angolan government and while Lourenco is a welcomes change and source of hope for many, real political change is likely to be neither swift nor easy.

Sources say that the current president, who is in poor health, will still exert significant influence as party leader, especially while billions of dollars of Angolan businesses lie in the hands of dos Santos’ children.

On Angola’s political future, Julia Westbury, Africa analyst at West Sands Advisory, a UK-based consultancy said:

“Even if he wanted to, Lourenço may find it difficult to free himself from the Dos Santos. Large-scale political change is unlikely and long-awaited democratic reforms needed to turn around Angola’s struggling economy unlikely to materialise”.

With 98% of the votes from Wednesday’s election having been counted, and with 61% in their favour, the MPLA has all but won the vote with two-thirds parliamentary majority.

According to Julia Ferreira, a spokeswoman for the National Electoral Commission, the MPLA has four million votes, compared to main opposition,National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), who has 1.8 million votes.

The official announcement will only be made in approximately two weeks’ time.