17
Mon, Dec
10 New Articles

A court in the Indian city of Mumbai has sentenced two men to death for their role in bomb attacks in 1993. The blasts, allegedly to avenge the killing of Muslims in riots, targeted a dozen sites and killed 257 people.

Firoz Khan and Tahir Merchant were convicted of criminal conspiracy and murder. Abu Salem, who fled India after the bombings and was extradited from Portugal in 2005, received a life sentence, along with Karimulla Khan.

The US has proposed a range of new United Nations sanctions against North Korea, including an oil ban and a freeze on leader Kim Jong-un's assets.

The draft resolution circulated to the Security Council members comes after North Korea's sixth nuclear test and repeated missile launches.

Pyongyang also claims to have developed a hydrogen bomb and continues to threaten to strike the US. China and Russia are both expected to oppose further sanctions.

 

A man has died after running into the towering blaze for which Burning Man is named, according to the Pershing County Sheriff's Office in Nevada.

 

Aaron Joel Mitchell, 41, was one of thousands at the annual gathering in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, about 120 miles north of Reno.

 

The weeklong event of pop-up installations culminates in massive burns of an effigy known as the "Man" on Saturday and the "Temple" on Sunday.

 

Mitchell was a US citizen who lived in Switzerland with his wife, Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen said in a Sunday night statement.

Mitchell broke through two levels of security guards protecting the area where the "Man" was burning on Saturday night.

 

Fire personnel attempted to pull him out but falling portions of the burning structure hindered their efforts.

 

Rescuers had to wait until the structure fell before they could go back into the flames and safely extract him from the debris, the sheriff said.

 

He was airlifted to the nearest burn center, at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California.

 

He was pronounced dead at the hospital on Sunday morning, and his family has been notified, the sheriff's office said.

 

According to medical staff, Mitchell was not under the influence of alcohol and a toxicology screening is pending, the sheriff's office said.

 

An investigation continues but the mass exodus of participants Sunday night made it increasingly difficult to gather information, Allen said.

 

"Our hearts and prayers go out to Aaron's family during this unexpected tragedy," Allen said in a statement.

 

He called it a tragedy for all "burners," as followers of Burning Man are called -- especially for "juveniles who are allowed to attend the festival and may not have the same coping skills as adults do when they see something this tragic happen before their eyes," the statement said.

 

The Burning Man organization canceled scheduled burns through noon Sunday but planned to proceed with the scheduled Temple burn at 8 p.m. Sunday.

 

Emotional support teams have been made available to participants and staff, the event's organizers said on the event website.

 

"We're aware this incident has affected not only those who responded immediately on the scene, but also those who witnessed it, and our Black Rock City community more broadly.

We are working to make resources available to those affected," the group said on its website.

 

"Now is a time for closeness, contact and community. Trauma needs processing. Promote calls, hugs, self-care, check-ins, and sleep."

zumass

JOHANNESBURG —
South Africa's opposition parties are not giving up on their quest to oust President Jacob Zuma, hitting him Tuesday on two fronts: the nation's highest court and a seating of parliament.

These latest attempts come after Zuma's many long-simmering corruption scandals have provoked the opposition to call eight unsuccessful votes of no-confidence against him. All were handily defeated by the large majority held by Zuma's powerful African National Congress.

On Tuesday, the nation's Cape Town-based parliament shot down a motion from the opposition Democratic Alliance to dissolve parliament to pave a way for early elections. The nation is scheduled to vote in 2019.

Another motion bites the dust

The motion failed to get support from many opposition parties, who agreed that the ANC government had failed to rule, but insisted that the motion to dissolve parliament was irrational, and defeated it by a wide margin.

The ANC rejected the motion as "frivolous" and called it an attempt to undemocratically remove an elected government.

"This motion does not seek to effect governance change, as they claim and want us to believe," the ANC's Richard Mdakane told parliament. "Instead it is more to do with Democratic Alliance trying to effect regime change through clandestine ways that undermine the electoral principles and norms governing the electoral system in our constitutional democracy. These are undemocratic attempts anywhere."

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen argued that the ANC and Zuma have brought corruption, unemployment and suffering upon many South Africans and are no longer fit to rule.

"We can't afford another two years of this government," he said. "South Africa deserves a fresh start."

Court adjourns without ruling

Meanwhile, at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters led a bid to persuade the court's 11 justices to rule that South Africa's parliament failed to properly police Zuma's conduct in connection to his use of some $20 million in public funds for upgrades to his rural homestead.

FILE - The private compound homestead of South African President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, in the northern KwaZulu Natal province South Africa is seen, Sept. 28, 2012.
"There is a prima facie violation of Section 89 of the Constitution, to the extent whether the parliament must consider whether or not there are grounds for removal. In this court, in the previous case of secret ballot, this court has already used the term impeachment," argued EFF advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi. "So, in summary, what we are asking the court to do is to direct parliament to consider whether the conduct of the president is, prima facie, impeachable."

That section of the Constitution says parliament can impeach a president if two-thirds of its members vote to do so — a tall order, considering the ANC holds 62 percent of the seats.

The court adjourned late Tuesday without a ruling, which will come at a later date, the justices said.

Why now?

Regardless of the efforts against him, Zuma is nearing the end of his turbulent rule. In December, his term ends as head of the ANC and the group will choose a new party leader — a move that will effectively sideline Zuma ahead of national elections in 2019.

But analysts say the opposition's recent efforts are part of a much longer game.

"They need to fight the ANC not only in parliament, but also need to do so in our courts, but also in the court of public opinion," said independent political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi. "What is happening today at the Constitutional Court is part of the broader and multipronged strategy by the opposition to undermine the ANC by making sure that the president's image crisis causes enough collateral damage on the image of the ANC for the opposition parties to benefit in 2019."

 

Source: VoA Africa news

 

 

Threatened by loss of habitat, industrial agriculture and climate change, butterfly populations have been dwindling in recent years in the UK.

 

Butterfly Conservation, a British charity devoted to saving butterflies and moths, says that 76 percent of species have declined over the past four decades.

 

The loss is particularly evident in urban areas, where green spaces are shrinking and butterflies are disappearing more rapidly in the last 20 years: a 69 percent fall compared to 45 percent in the countryside.

 

It's a significant loss, because butterflies -- the most-studied insects in the UK -- act as an indicator for the well-being of a wider ecosystem and the status of several species of insects that are not examined as thoroughly.

 

According to Butterfly Conservation, restoring butterfly populations in gardens, urban green spaces and the countryside can bring substantial benefits to several other species and improve the health, wealth and well-being of the human population.

 

A message that resonates strongly with British butterfly conservationist Dan Danahar, who's working to bring some of the UK's 59 species back to urban areas.

Tributes are being paid to Princess Diana on the 20th anniversary of her death.

Dubbed the "people's princess" by then prime minister Tony Blair, she died after a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997 aged 36.

On Wednesday, her sons - Prince William and Prince Harry - visited the growing floral tributes being left to her at Kensington Palace.

Harry told members of charities Diana supported, "all of us lost somebody".

Sign up via our free email subscription service to receive notifications when new information is available.