» 07/17/2008, 00.00
CHINA - SOUTH AFRICA
Animal rights activists on war footing against ivory market in China
The organisation that deals with trade in endangered species has approved exchange between China and South Africa, allowing the Asian country to import 51 tonnes. In Kenya, three Chinese are arrested under the accusation of "illegal trafficking" of ivory.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - South African animal rights activists are on a war footing over the reopening of the ivory trade with China. According to the activists, the government's move will be "disastrous" for the elephants - whose tusks provide the prized material - while the initial estimates speak of eight thousand animals that would be sacrificed to meet Chinese demand.
On Tuesday, July 15, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) included China, one of the world's leading ivory consumers, among the nations that can trade with South Africa: the country of the dragon was given permission to import 51 tonnes.
Animal rights groups are protesting vigorously. A statement released by the group Animal Rights Africa emphasises how "this sale has literally given the green light to the international poaching syndicates and organised crime and will present a nightmare to poorly resourced wildlife enforcement agencies in Africa". According to the first estimates, in order to meet demand from the new Chinese market, "an estimated 7,699 South African elephants" will be killed, a slaughter attributed to the South African government, guilty of promoting "the immoral ivory trade". In addition to South Africa, the other African countries that will profit from China's entry into the market are Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
In 1989, Cites, which includes 173 countries, decided to ban trade in the valuable material, permitting it again in 1997 for a small group of sub-Saharan countries, according to specific intervals. The decision to include China is believed to be a recognition of Beijing's efforts to block illegal trafficking: according to other animal rights groups, in open disagreement with the critics, the Asian country "has made great progress in blocking underground trade", providing proof of "maturity and responsibility".
Meanwhile, yesterday morning Kenyan police arrested three Chinese citizens (two of them women) at the international airport in Nairobi, under the accusation of "illegal trafficking in ivory". They had hidden 36 pieces in their baggage, including bracelets, chopsticks, and figurines carved from the precious material.
Record ivory seizure in Bangkok, destined for China
Some 239 tusks worth US$ 3.6 million were seized. The African ivory was destined for Laos, but authorities believe it was meant for China’s black market. China is a major world market for ivory.
China, the domestic market for ivory endangers the survival of elephants
One-tenth of elephants on the planet killed last year. Despite the international ban on the ivory trade, the sale of "white gold" in China is lawful and widespread. A researcher: "The species is at risk, Beijing must recognize the problem."
Illegal coffee growing destroying animal habitat in Sumatra
About 20 per cent of Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park has been stripped to give way to coffee plantations. WWF accuses coffee multinationals of involvement. Rare mammals are at risk of extinction.
16/01/2008 CHINA – AFRICA
Chinese thrown out of Sierra Leone for destroying local forests
The authorities in Sierra Leone complain that foreign (mostly Chinese) companies have plundered the country’s timber, cutting it down indiscriminately, and exporting it without any benefit for local communities. Experts note that issue revolves around the extent to which Chinese aid can compensate for what the mainland extracts and takes out in terms of precious resources.
Buddhists and animal rights activists against Hindu sacrifice to Gadhimai
In Bara district, where the ‘living Buddha’ meditates, more than a million Hindus are preparing to sacrifice half a million animals during the festival of Gadhimai Mela. Actress Brigitte Bardot wants the inhumane practice stopped. More than 12,000 police agents are mobilised for the occasion.
EGYPT – LEBANON
Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'
A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.
15/01/2018 LEBANON - SYRIA
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