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01-09-2018, 12:06 AM
PRETORIA, South Africa - Children chatter about the Oscar Pistorius murder trial at South African schools, startling parents with details about how the athlete fatally shot his girlfriend. Big audiences in South Africa are watching a 24-hour television channel dedicated to coverage of the sensational trial. Turns of phrase from the courtroom the defence lawyers "I put it to you" challenge to prosecution witnesses are creeping into popular culture. The rise and fall of the double-amputee runner, who competed in the London Olympics in 2012 and then killed model Reeva Steenkamp less than a year after that inspirational triumph, is a consuming saga for South Africans that has drawn sheepish comparisons to reality television shows. The more people hear, the hungrier they are for more. Was Oscar on his stumps or wearing prosthetic limbs when he battered the toilet door with a cricket bat? Does he scream like a woman, as the defence suggests, or did neighbours indeed hear a womans screams on the night of the killing? Will apparent missteps by police investigators muddy the prosecutions case? Did Pistorius vomit during graphic testimony about Steenkamps wounds because of anguish, or was he trying to curry sympathy with the impassive judge? Some people turn up their noses at the spectacle, then dive into television or social media to soak up the latest, often extraordinary revelations. The parade of witnesses, some shown in the televised proceedings and some concealed from TV viewers to respect their privacy, gives a glimpse into rich, diverse, flawed and accomplished lives, swept into a single narrative from previously anonymous routines. Prof. Gert Saayman, the pathologist, described Steenkamps wounds and the general impact of gunshots on flesh and bone in metaphor-studded monologues so precise and structured that they were almost lyrical, the macabre contents notwithstanding. Here was a man, clinical and courtly, who had conducted between 10,000 and 15,000 autopsies over the decades. "Death is effectively a process rather than an event, and may take some minutes for it to come to its conclusion at a physiological level," he said. Saayman was followed by witness Darren Fresco, who dropped an expletive while recounting alleged gunplay involving Pistorius, his onetime friend, in the months before the runner shot his girlfriend. Fresco seemed miffed at the defences suggestion that he was wearing tracksuit pants in the middle of summer, rather than shorts as he claims, during a 2012 incident in which a gun went off in a Johannesburg restaurant. "If Its got Wheels or a Skirt its Gonna Cost You Money," reads the caption on Frescos Twitter feed. Fast-living image aside, he aptly summarized the intense media coverage, saying it seemed to be everywhere: "It doesnt matter where you look, where you turn, where you go, what you listen to, what you watch." Later came the police investigators, cast by defence lawyer Barry Roux as bumblers reminiscent of the "Keystone Cops" characters from the old silent movies. Col. Johannes Vermeulen squatted awkwardly as he sought to show that Pistorius was not wearing prostheses when he hit the toilet door with a cricket bat, based on the policemans analysis of marks in the wood. "Im not standing on my knees when Im washing the dishes," Vermeulen said to emphasize his point. "Maybe if youre scared of your wife, you can do that," Roux replied, briefly lightening the sombre mood. Pistorius said he hit the door with the bat after realizing he had shot Steenkamp by mistake, fearing she was an intruder. Prosecutors say he killed her after an argument. South Africans are increasingly captivated by Rouxs relentless cross-examination. A producer at the Highveld Stereo radio station recorded a parody rap song. Lyrics include: "I put it to you/that it is true/everything you say/I will misconstrue/Im Barry Roux/And I put it to you/Ten times in a row/Just to confuse you." The 2-week-old trial is expected to run into April. One commentator said it is even interfering with South African democracy ahead of elections on May 7. "The trial will peak at the same time as the election campaign swings into high gear, which means political parties will have to take extraordinary measures to hold the voters attention," Ranjeni Munusamy wrote in the Daily Maverick, an online news outlet. The role of Jaco van Vuuren, the court sketch artist, seems quaint alongside all the high-tech scrutiny. Van Vuuren, who knew Pistorius before the killing, said it was emotionally difficult at first. 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Costa Rica were already eliminated ahead of the game at the NRG Stadium but ensured that Colombia would not top the group and got the perfect start with a second-minute goal from Johan Venegas.Frank Fabra soon hauled Colombia level but then his own goal restored Costa Ricas advantage that was extended by Celso Borges and although Marlos Moreno pulled one back, Costa Rica held on for victory. Venegas opened the scoring with just 87 seconds on the clock when he beat Robinson Zapata from distance with the fastest goal of the tournament. Watch how Colombia and USA have progressed to the quarter-finals of the Copa America.dddddddddddd And a reminder, you can watch the Copa America live on Premier Sports Fabra levelled in the seventh minute when he picked up a loose ball in the box and fired past Danny Carvajal before at the other end deflecting Venegas cross into his own net 11 minutes before the break.Borges extended the advantage in the 58th minute when he turned home Bryan Oviedos cross and although Moreno pulled a goal back for Colombia 17 minutes from time they could not find an equaliser.You can watch the Copa America live on Premier Sports. 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