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South Africa's President Jacob Zuma announces his resignation at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko JOHANNESBURG: Jacob Zuma resigned as South African president late on Wednesday, under pressure from allies of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who replaced him as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in December. The 75-year-old?s resignation caps the end of a tumultuous decade in which Zuma has survived several no-confidence votes in parliament, a string of corruption allegations and street protests against his rule. Below are some of the main scandals involving Zuma. Some date from before he became president in 2009. Arms deal Zuma is still fighting 783 counts of corruption over a 30-billion-rand (now $2.5-billion) government arms deal arranged in the late 1990s when he was deputy president. The charges were set aside in 2009, paving the way for Zuma to run for president, but were re-instated in 2016 by the Supreme Court. Rape accusation While deputy president of the ANC, Zuma was charged with raping Fezekile ?Khwezi? Kuzwayo, the HIV-positive daughter of a friend who had been imprisoned on Robben Island with Zuma during the apartheid era. Zuma was acquitted in 2006 but was ridiculed after saying he had showered after *** to reduce the risk of contracting HIV. Nkandla upgrades Soon after becoming president, it emerged that millions of dollars of public money had been spent on upgrades to Zuma?s Nkandla home, including a swimming pool that one minister justified as a fire-fighting resource. Zuma weathered a no-confidence vote in parliament over the upgrades and paid back more than $500,000 after unsuccessfully trying to argue his case in the Constitutional Court. ?Clever blacks? Zuma caused controversy in 2012 for scolding black people ?who become too clever? in an address to South Africa?s National House of Traditional Leaders, saying ?they become the most eloquent in criticizing themselves about their own traditions?. Zuma, who received no formal schooling, has a loyal following in rural areas but has tended to receive less support in urban areas where education levels are higher. Waterkloof landing Zuma?s friends, the Gupta brothers, used the top-security Waterkloof air base to fly in 200 wedding guests from India for a family member?s wedding in 2013, sparking a public outcry. The ANC called the landing reckless and a breach of national security. Nenegate Zuma fired finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in December 2015, replacing him with unknown parliamentary backbencher Des van Rooyen. Zuma was forced to sack van Rooyen and re-appoint a previous finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, four days later after the rand currency collapsed. Electoral debacle The ANC lost its grip on local government in three metropolitan areas in 2016, the ruling party?s worst election result since the end of white minority rule in 1994. Unemployment, economic stagnation, and scandals around Zuma were among reasons the ANC lost voter support. 'State Capture' In 2016, the Public Protector, South Africa?s main anti-corruption watchdog, published a report entitled ?State of Capture? alleging the Guptas had tried to influence the appointment of cabinet ministers and were unlawfully awarded state tenders. Central to the report was the claim by the then-deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas that Zuma?s son Duduzane invited him to the Gupta family home where he was offered the job of finance minister and a bribe of 600 million rand. The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing. The Public Protector recommended a judicial enquiry be set up to investigate grand-level corruption involving Zuma and the Guptas. Midnight reshuffle Zuma fired Gordhan as finance minister and Jonas as deputy finance minister in a midnight reshuffle in March 2017. South African financial markets plummeted, with senior ANC officials expressing anger at the lack of consultation. ($1 = 12.0597 rand, as of publishing time)
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma speaks at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko JOHANNESBURG: Jacob Zuma resigned as President of South Africa on Wednesday, heeding orders by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to bring an end to his nine scandal-plagued years in power. In a 30-minute farewell address to the nation, 75-year-old Zuma said he disagreed with the way the ANC had shoved him toward an early exit after the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as party president in December, but would accept its orders. ?I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect,? Zuma said. ?Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organization, I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC,? he said. The ruling party had said it would vote him out on Thursday. ?No life should be lost in my name. And also the ANC should not be divided in my name,? Zuma said. The ANC, which replaced Zuma as party leader in December with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ordered him to step down as president on Tuesday. When he failed to resign on Wednesday, it announced that it would back an opposition motion in parliament to force him out. His resignation ends the career of the former anti-apartheid resistance fighter, 75, who has four wives, a sharp tongue and a decades-long history of entanglement in scandals that polarized Nelson Mandela?s ?Rainbow Nation?. The rand currency, which has gained ground whenever Zuma has hit political turbulence, soared more than one percent to a 2-1/2 year high of 11.79 against the dollar during the day, as pressure piled on Zuma to resign.
An exterior of the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, US, May 29, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files MIAMI: SpaceX is poised to launch on Thursday a secretive payload known as Zuma for the US government, though the nature of the mission and the agency behind it remain a mystery. The launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled from Cape Canaveral, Florida sometime between 8 and 10 PM (0100-0300 GMT Friday). SpaceX and the Pentagon did not respond to requests for comment about the nature of the mission. Northrup Grumman ? the maker of the payload ? said it was for the US government and would be delivered to low-Earth orbit, but offered no other details, according to Space.com. SpaceX is no stranger to national security launches. Earlier this year, the California-based company headed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk launched a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office and an X-37B space plane for the US Air Force. After liftoff, SpaceX will attempt to return the first stage portion of its Falcon 9 rocket to Earth for a controlled landing on solid ground near Cape Canaveral. If successful, it will be the 20th upright touchdown for a Falcon 9 since the company began its effort to recycle costly rocket parts and make spaceflight more affordable.