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Protest in Mauritius over oil spill, dozens of dead dolphins | News

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Honking and drumming, hundreds of people are protesting in the capital of Mauritius over the government’s handling of an oil spill from a grounded Japanese ship and the alarming discovery of dozens of dead dolphins in recent days.

The protesters waved the country’s flag on Saturday and held up signs with messages such as: “You have no shame.”

Thousands of residents were expected to attend the march through Port Louis a month after the ship struck a coral reef offshore and later cracked and spilled approximately 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil into fragile marine areas.

It began leaking fuel into the Mahebourg Lagoon on August 6, fouling a protected wetlands area and a small island that was a bird and wildlife sanctuary. 

A dead dolphin is seen on a boat as it is brought to the marine fish farm of Mahebourg [Reuben Pillay/Reuters]

The Indian Ocean island nation depends heavily on tourism, and the spill has been a severe blow on top of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has restricted international travel.

On Friday, authorities said at least 39 dead dolphins washed ashore but it is not yet clear what killed them. Some experts fear the chemicals in the fuel are to blame.

“Something that is also concerning is that we don’t know the possible long-term effects. The oil is a new low-sulfur fuel oil that is being introduced to reduce air pollution,” Jacqueline Sauzier with the Mauritius Marine Conservation Society told the journal Nature this week.

“This is the first time that type of oil has spilled, so there have been no long-term studies on the impacts.”

Residents and environmentalists have demanded investigations into why the ship strayed miles off course. Its captain and first officer have been arrested and charged with “endangering safe navigation”.

‘Sad coincidence’

The country’s fisheries minister, Sudheer Maudhoo, told reporters some dead dolphins had injuries but he denied reports that oil had been found inside them and called their deaths a “sad coincidence”.

Other dolphins may have died out at sea, environmental consultant Sunil Dowarkasing said on Friday.

Dowarkasing believes the dolphins either died from the fuel or were poisoned by toxic materials on the ship, which was sunk offshore after the vessel split in two.

Thousands of civilian volunteers worked for days to try to minimise the damage, creating makeshift oil barriers by stuffing fabric bags with sugar cane leaves and empty plastic bottles to keep them afloat.

Environmental workers carefully ferried dozens of baby tortoises and rare plants to shore, plucking some trapped seabirds out of the goo.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Museveni: New Cabinet to Study White Paper on Land Inquiry

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NALI, KYANKWANZI: The report compiled by the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters led by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire will be studied by the new cabinet and also be recommended as a white paper to enable government tackle the issue of land management in Uganda.

“The the new Cabinet will study the report and write a white paper in response. The report shall be taken back to the public to feed in their views before implementation. That is why the team on the commission of inquiry into land issues came to enlighten the MPs elect at the retreat about land issues,” he said.

The President was on April 21, contributing to a paper delivered by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the Chairperson of the Commission of inquiry into Land Matters to the NRM MPs Elect, attending a political induction training course at NALI in Kyankwanzi district.

The paper titled the Commission of Inquiry into the Effectiveness of the law, policies and Processes of Land Acquisition, Land Administration, Land Management and Land Registration in Uganda gave an overview of the key findings and recommendations of the land inquiry whose recommendation require bold action by government on land issue.

The President, who was flanked by the First Lady Janet Museveni, who is also the Minister of Education and Sports, noted that when the colonial government apportioned land in Uganda into Mailo land, Crown land and gazetted areas of swamps, forests and water bodies and game reserves, Uganda had no challenge of land fragmentation, which he said was caused by population increase and poor land inheritance practices.

According to Museveni, the report, once implemented, shall cure both current and historical land problems which have existed since the colonial era citing the mailo land  that the british gave to chiefs and their collaborators  in areas of Buganda and Bunyoro.

“I think, this report shall help us to dismantle the old and barbaric laws that for long have hard-pressed our people, please help me to stabilize the situation once and for all,” he said.

The President also decried the increasing land fragmentation that has been a common practice in areas of Kigezi, Rwenzori, Mbale, Busoga among others where people have continuously divided land into tiny pieces.

Museveni makes a presentation at NALI

He blamed some of the NRM leaders who give a deaf ear to the advice of government against this vice.

“The issue of land fragmentation in the country should be addressed by law and also be properly legislated by the 11th Parliament. The MPs should sensitize their people that land should not be fragmented,” he said.

The President advised the people that to avoid any possibility of land fragmentation on family land, the members of a family should instead form a trust/foundation for them to use the land jointly and later share the profits as shareholders of the enterprise.

The President said the commission’s report gives government what he described as a ‘soft landing’ to handle cases of eviction, tackling wetlands management, road reserves provisions when connecting water pipes, lying cables of any kind and passing electricity installations.

President Museveni said that land matters need to be handled with keen interest, adding that Uganda’s accelerated move towards industrialization has made land as a resource gain more value.

“Industrial revolution in the country has enabled land to have value. I want to thank Justice Bamugemereire and team for the findings into the land issues that have affected many people in the country,” he said.

Justice Bamugemereire said the report findings and observations hinged on aspects of land administrations and registration processes, Uganda land commission and the land fund that were not operated in accordance with the law, mismanagement of wetlands, forests, wildlife reserves, fraudulent surveys and issuance of land titles in protected areas, targeted compensation on government projects, land acquisition and land dispute resolution.

The Commission among other things wants government to addresses the challenge of the perceived subservient position of customary land by ensuring that all land including customary land is registered.

“All land in the country should be put on a register after an adjudication process,” Bamugemereire said.

The Commission also recommends the establishment of an institutional framework for administration of customary land within Uganda Land Services Bureau framework.

The Land dispute situation, according to Bamugemereire was found by the commission to be a pandemic, in which mostly the well-to do persons have obtained land through illegal means, bribing their way through all systems of land administration and registration.

Former Buganda minister, Owek Robert Kasule Sebunya, who was part of the 7-member committee asked President Museveni and MPs Elect to rebuke judges who simply issue court orders to court bailiffs to evict people in ackward hours.

The President later thanked the day’s facilitators for their far enriching presentations including the Commander of Defense Forces Gen. David Muhoozi who presented a paper on ‘Understanding Uganda’s National Interests and Security Paradigm’ for promoting Pan-Africanism and regional integration, the Minister of Security  Gen. Elly Tumwine who presented a paper on the ‘Historic Mission of  NRM Revolution and the Role of a Member of Parliament in Securing the Future’ and Major Emmy Katabazi, the Deputy Director of ISO who presented a paper on the roles of security organizations ESO and ISO as rendering a service but not acting as force like UPDF.

The topics on Security and Sovereignty of the country were discussed by Major General Kahinda Otafiire the Minister of East Africa Community Affairs.

The post Museveni: New Cabinet to Study White Paper on Land Inquiry first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Vienna talks: US gives Iran ‘examples’ of sanctions it could lift | Nuclear Energy News

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A US official said details on which sanctions could be lifted, and which sanctions are being reviewed, have been shared.

The United States has shared with Iran details of sanctions it is prepared to lift under a return to the 2015 nuclear accord, a senior US official has said, but there will be difficulty in untangling some sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump.

The update comes as the US and Iran completed their second round of indirect talks in Vienna on how to restore a nuclear accord, which Trump withdrew from in 2018. The agreement saw Tehran curtail its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from some sanctions.

Upon walking away from the deal, the Trump administration pursued a campaign of “maximum pressure” sanctions against Iran. Meanwhile, Iran has continued to violate provisions of the agreement, citing Washington’s withdrawal.

“We have provided Iran with a number of examples of the kind of sanctions that we believe we would need to lift in order to come back into compliance and the sanctions that we believe we would not need to lift,” the US official told reporters late on Wednesday.

The official added that the US, through intermediaries, presented Iran with three baskets of sanctions: those it is prepared to lift, those it is not prepared to lift and those that will require further study to determine if they are in fact appropriate for relief under the nuclear deal.

The third category constitutes “difficult cases”, including sanctions the Trump administration appeared to reimpose “purely for the purpose of preventing” Biden from re-entering the deal, the official said.

The 2015 agreement – which also includes the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Russia and the European Union – allowed countries to continue to impose sanctions on Iran for non-nuclear reasons, such as “support for terrorism” and human rights abuses.

While many of the sanctions that Trump imposed on Iran were clearly related to the nuclear programme, others imposed on “terrorism” and “human rights” grounds are being reviewed to determine if they were legitimately related to those alleged abuses, or were also punishment for Iran’s nuclear activity, the official said.

The official said there are still “pretty important” disagreements over returning to the deal, adding the talks were expected to be a multi-round process.

‘Open to different kinds of sequencing’

Iran has pressed for the US to lift all sanctions imposed under Trump before it rolls back the steps it has taken away from the deal, however, the US official said Washington and Tehran have not yet gone into detail during the indirect talks on the question of who makes the first move.

“We’re open to different kinds of sequencing which meets our interest – which is to see both sides in full compliance,” the official said.

He declined to confirm a Wall Street Journal report that the Biden administration has voiced a willingness to ease sanctions on the Iranian finance and oil sectors.

The European parties to the agreement had last week expressed “grave concern” over Iran’s move to boost uranium enrichment to 60 percent purity in response to what Tehran says was an attack by Israel against the key nuclear facility of Natanz. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement.

The step will bring Iran closer to the 90 percent purity threshold for military use and shorten its potential “breakout time” to build an atomic bomb – a goal Tehran denies.

Nevertheless, Russia’s representative Mikhail Ulyanov said this week after a meeting of the deal’s so-called Joint Commission of senior officials from France, Germany, Britain, China and Iran that they had noted “with satisfaction the progress in negotiations to restore the nuclear deal”.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, for his part, has voiced optimism about the talks, saying that negotiations have made “60-70 percent progress”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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‘Kuwait is unsafe for women’: Outrage over brutal murder of woman | Women’s Rights News

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The Murder of a woman in Kuwait sparks calls for stricter punishment for perpetrators after she was killed by a man released on bail.

The horrific murder of a woman in Kuwait this week has sparked outrage on social media with calls for stricter punishment for perpetrators of violent crime against women in the country.

On Tuesday, Farah Hamza Akbar was killed by a man against whom she had previously filed two cases for harassment which followed her family’s alleged refusal to his marriage proposal.

The perpetrator, arrested and later released on bail, kidnapped the woman and stabbed her to death. Her body was left outside a hospital south of Kuwait City, according to the interior ministry.

Within hours of the murder, to which the man later confessed, the police arrested him, the ministry said in a statement.

A video circulating on social media showed the victim’s sister crying and screaming that she had notified authorities of the threat he posed, but said her pleas were ignored.

“That is what we got, exactly what we said, that he is going to kill her, and he killed my sister. Where is the government? We told the judge. I told you many times he would kill her, and now she’s dead,” she said in the footage.

Outrage

Within hours, the victim’s name was trending on Twitter in Kuwait as hundreds expressed outrage over the crime.

Kuwaiti fashion blogger Ascia al-Faraj shared the video of the distraught sister, saying that Kuwait was “not safe for women”.

Several social media users held authorities responsible, saying that they should not have released the perpetrator after he had threatened to kill the woman multiple times.

The murder comes two months after Kuwaiti activists launched a nationwide campaign to end sexual harassment and violence against women.

The campaign brought forward dozens of testimonies from women in Kuwait about being stalked, harassed or assaulted, mainly from the Instagram account “Lan Asket”, Arabic for “I will not be silent”.

Al-Faraj, the blogger, released an explosive video at the time of the campaign, saying there was a “problem” in the country.

“Every time I go out, there is someone who harasses me or harasses another woman in the street,” she said in a video after a vehicle sped up to “scare” her while she was walking to her car.

“We have a problem of harassment in this country, and I have had enough.”





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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