11 November 2013 South African President Jacob Zuma has expressed his condolences to President Benigno Aquino, the government and the people of the Philippines in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan. The typhoon struck the Philippines on Friday, killing at least 10 000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands displaced. “During this time of pain and suffering, particularly in the case of those who have lost loved ones, please be assured that the government and people of South Africa share in your sorrow,” Zuma said in a statement on Sunday. “We trust that the resilience of the people of the Philippines, that has seen them through very difficult times in the past, will help them overcome this great loss and devastation.” According to reports, Typhoon Haiyan is one of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall and is now bearing down on Vietnam, where tens of thousands of people are currently being evacuated. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation said on the weekend that its consular services were keeping in contact with South Africa’s embassy in the Philippines for regular updates. Source: SAnews.gov.za
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Demanding a probe into the mysterious death of a 16-year-old girl in April, protesters prevented Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar from entering the State Assembly on Thursday. Ruling Left members moved a censure motion in the Assembly against the stir, organised by the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad.No prior informationThe police allegedly had no prior information about the protest. They only learnt about it after activists assembled at the New Capital Complex, which houses the Secretariat, the Assembly and new Governor House. Carrying placards and seeking justice for Anwara Choudhury, the protesters shouted slogans and sat on the road as soon as the Chief Minister’s convoy appeared at the outer entrance. Stuck, the convoy turned back and Mr. Sarkar returned home.As police officers were supervising and detaining protesters, CPI(M) . chief whip Basudeb Majumder informed the House about the incident. Following this, Health Minister Badal Choudhury proposed a censure motion. The motion was adopted amid chaos, with the Trinamool Congress and CPI(M) MLAs exchanging allegations. Stating that the protest was well within the democratic rights, the Opposition condemned the government for its reluctance in carrying out a complete investigation into death of the first-year polytechnic student. The doctors had initially attributed her death to a heart attack. However, the police had later conceded that Anwara was poisoned and announced the arrest of her maternal uncle. There have been a spate of protests over the issue in the past two months by various student and social groups.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is unlikely to take any action on the London Assembly resolution passed on Wednesday, seeking a rethink on the sponsorship awarded to Dow Chemical Company.The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, dismissed the motion agreed to by the full Assembly urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the national organising committee to consider the “envrionmental, social, ethical and human rights records of companies when awarding highprofile partnership and sponsorship” deals.”I have not seen the motion,” Johnson said when asked during a media tour around the Olympic Village organised by LOCOG on Thursday afternoon. He was unwilling to entertain any more questions on the subject, choosing to answer other queries about the preparedness of the Games.The London Assembly acts as a system of checks and balances on the mayor and looks into matters that affect Londoners. Johnson is the most high-profile face of the London Olympics.Dow Chemical is under pressure to withdraw from its sponsorship of the Games, which included paying for the fabric wrap around the Olympic Stadium. In 2001, the company had bought out the Union Carbide Corporation, which had been held responsible for the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984, killing thousands and injuring tens of thousands.On Wednesday, Navin Shah, an Assembly member who proposed the motion, said in a statement that it was time for LOCOG and the IOC to “take their ethical and sustainability code seriously” and exclude Dow Chemical from future sponsorship deals. “It’s not too late to clean up their act. We owe it to the victims and their families to demand actions and implement changes,” he said.advertisementShah acknowledged that almost 30 years after the Bhopal disaster, the factory site had still not been cleared and the survivors and their families continued to fight for compensation. Dow has maintained that it was not responsible for the disaster, and that Union Carbide had paid court-ordered compensation.Darren Johnson, who had seconded the motion in the Assembly, said in a statement that it was ridiculous to argue that a company “could be absolved by a takeover deal. When Dow bought Union Carbide, they also took on the responsibility, alongside the assets. It’s high time they lived up to it.”The Assembly motion, passed by a margin of 16 votes to seven, had called upon the two bodies to introduce criteria for the selection of worldwide partners and high-profile sponsors, and “review their current partnership with Dow in light of those criteria”.In India, calls for boycott of the Games because of Dow sponsorship by some politicians as well as non-government organisations have not found widespread favour, especially among athletes. Efforts to urge a review of the Supreme Court-ordered settlement on the Bhopal gas tragedy have remained unsuccessful.