21 Dec

Councillor slams decision to refuse John Downey bail

first_imgA Donegal County Councillor has slammed the arrest and detention of Co. Donegal man John Downey as ‘outrageous’. The Creeslough man was extradited to Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland earlier this month.The 67-year-old was refused bail yesterday amid fears he could flee before any trial for the car bomb attack which killed Ulster Defence Regiment members Alfred Johnston and James Eames in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. The High Court Judge in Belfast said on Tuesday that Mr Downey was a “real and substantial risk” to abscond if granted bail. Speaking following the ruling, local councillor Cllr Michael Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, said: “The ongoing detention of 67-year-old John Downing is outrageous. “Refusing him bail is inexcusable if only because, in light of the Dublin government’s decision to extradite him, he has no-where to go.“Moreover, the charges and alleged evidence are without any merit.  “The recent BBC Spotlight programme, ‘The Troubles’ has detailed not only how British authorities colluded with loyalist death squads but that physical and forensic evidence had either been removed or contaminated. “How on earth can the British State maintain the integrity of what it claims as evidence – supposedly gathered almost a half-century ago – in the John Downey case.”He added that he should be released and be given an apology by the Irish Government. Councillor slams decision to refuse John Downey bail was last modified: October 23rd, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:arrestCreesloughJohn Downeylast_img read more

18 Dec

South Africa and Far East to discuss poaching

first_imgWhite rhino (Ceratotherium simum) inthe Kruger National Park  The SouthAfrican government is planning to clampdown heavily on wildlife poachers, andespecially those who kill rhino. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)  MEDIA CONTACTS • Sputnik RatauEnvironmental Affairs media liaison officer+27 12 336 8790 or +27 82 874 2942 RELATED ARTICLES • Wildlife poachers to be taken down • Black rhinos return to Serengeti • New unit to rescue rhinos • Kruger’s animal populations growing• Rescuing the white rhinoMinister of Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica delivered the keynote address at the Rhino Summit, which was held at the Reserve Bank’s conference centre in Pretoria on 5 and 6 October.The summit’s aim was to address the tragic surge in rhino poaching incidents that has rocked Southern Africa in the last few months.Sonjica reaffirmed her department’s commitment to eradicating rhino poaching, and also mentioned planned future talks between South Africa and Far East countries including Vietnam, China and Japan, to discuss ways in which to bring the illegal wildlife trade in those regions under control.The summit, which was also intended as a review of the effectiveness of current anti-poaching efforts, forms part of the implementation of the so-called Strategy for the Safety and Security of Rhinoceros Populations in South Africa.Also in attendance were Environmental Affairs Director-general Nosipho Ngcaba, the deputy director-general for biodiversity and conservation Fundisile Mketeni, and representatives of various law enforcement agencies, NGOs, and national parks.SA united against poaching“It is indeed a great honour and a privilege for me to address you at this important event in the history of conservation in our country,” said Sonjica in her speech.“I’m standing here with mixed feelings – of excitement and sadness – given the context of the issues that have prompted this gathering. I’m sad because the country’s proud track record on rhino conservation is being undermined by the senseless killing of rhino and its associated Illegal wildlife trafficking.“On the other hand, I’m excited to note that the country is united in its resolve to fight this unfortunate scourge and that tremendous progress is being made from all fronts to ensure that South Africa remains a beacon of hope in conservation management.“South Africa is recognised internationally as a significant role player in rhino conservation because we currently have a proud track record of conserving more rhino than any other country. We are also playing a major role in helping other countries to re-establish their rhino populations.“Allow me to give you a bit of background and remind you of the history of rhino conservation in South Africa. The rhino population in South Africa was on the brink of extinction in the early 1960s, but at the end of 2007 South Africa had conserved 35% of Africa’s black rhino and 93% of Africa’s white rhino respectively.“The net annual growth rate of the white rhino population in South Africa is 6.6%. South Africa currently has a population of approximately 19 000 white rhino and 1 750 black rhino. From that picture, it is evident that we have made tremendous strides in rhino conservation, especially white rhino.“Unfortunately the rhino population in South Africa is now being threatened by an upsurge in the illegal killing of rhinos and the leakage of illegally obtained rhino horn stocks into the international illegal trade.“Throughout the years there have been successful breakthroughs in rhino poaching investigations by the many law enforcement agencies in South Africa. However from 2008 onwards rhino poaching has escalated at an alarming rate, as has the leakage of both legal and illegal rhino horns held in the various private and government stockpiles with no indication of decreasing.”Sonjica informed the audience that to date, 227 rhinos had been illegally killed on South African soil since the beginning of the year, and that should this trend continue, over 300 animals will have met an unnecessary death by the end of 2010.“The Department of Environmental Affairs is aware that only a well-coordinated effort by all law enforcement agencies in South Africa will make an impact on the illegal killing of the rhinos. The department developed and implemented various initiatives over the last two years to address this concerning scourge and its subsequent trade in illegally obtained rhinoceros horns.“Among other actions, these interventions include:The publishing of a national moratorium on the sale of individual rhinoceros horns and any derivates or products within South Africa in 2009 to ensure that no legally obtained horns end up in the illegal trade;The publishing of national norms and standards for the marking of rhino horn and the hunting of white rhinoceros for trophy hunting purposes on 20 July 2009 to further regulate marking and hunting of rhinoceros;The establishment of a national, multi-departmental biodiversity investigators forum in March 2009 which coordinates and acts as a contact point where all biodiversity related law enforcement information is collected, accessed, distributed and tasked to specific subgroups of the forum;South Africa was nominated to participate in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Rhinoceros Enforcement Task Force;The Department of Environmental Affairs has established a Directorate: Biodiversity Enforcement to coordinate and investigate biodiversity related crimes on a national basis;The establishment of an interim National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit or NWCRU within the department was approved in February this year. The unit will be fully operational once all the secondment process is finalised;The publishing of the national regulations for CITES wild fauna and flora in March 2010 for the control of legal international trade in CITES-listed species including rhino;Approval and implementation of a National Strategy for the Safety and Security of Rhinoceros Populations and Horn Stocks in South Africa.Working together“Ladies and gentlemen, the establishment of the interim NWCRU is aimed at responding to the current spate of wildlife crimes and more specifically the upsurge of rhino poaching and smuggling of rhino horn.“This unit is driven by the Department of Environmental Affairs, with the South African National Parks leading its coordination on behalf of the Department. The NWCRU will, among others, react immediately when a serious wildlife crime has been committed and be able to detect and investigate smuggling of wildlife and wildlife products.Sonjica said that the South African Police Service (SAPS) has deployed a dedicated endangered species coordinator in each province, and that an elite team of the SAPS Hawks will focus on rhino poaching related activities around the country.The Hawks, also known as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, are a special branch of the SAPS which arose from the now-defunct – and highly successful – Directorate for Special Operations, or Scorpions.“We are happy with the cooperation from the National Prosecution Authorities who have designated prosecutors in province and nationally to deal with organised environmental crime matters,” said Sonjica.“Owing to the increase in rhino poaching, we now have the Strategy for the Safety and Security of Rhinoceros Populations in South Africa. This strategy is aimed at providing us with guiding principles to inform decision-making processes, strategic planning and operations aimed at reducing the effects of poaching on rhino species and to ensure the successful arrest, conviction and sentencing of poachers, illegal traders and crime syndicates operating locally at park level, regionally, nationally and internationally. Although we are tackling this challenge locally, we are also taking our efforts beyond our country’s borders.“We are engaging our Southern African Development Community (SADC) partners on a regular basis through the SADC Rhino and Elephant Security Group which meets annually to discuss issues related to the safety and security of rhinos and elephants in the region.“The Rhino Management Group which consists of countries in the region is another important establishment which facilitates the implementation of the SADC Regional Rhino Strategy. We believe that working together with our counterparts in the region is the only way to collectively deal with this scourge since these marauding bandits have no respect for any political boundaries.International talks“Also as part of our international engagement programme, I am happy to announce that we are also planning a bilateral visit to Vietnam to discuss issues of concern regarding the smuggling of rhino horn and the legal export of sport hunted white rhino trophies. The Department of Environmental Affairs is also in consultation with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation on bilateral engagements with China and Japan on wildlife law enforcement, capacity building, and improved technology to aid in detection of illegally traded wildlife products.“The efforts of Lead SA, Jacaranda FM, conservation NGOs and others to highlight the problem, fundraise or raise awareness to the general public symbolised that the collaborative strength of public private partnership can overcome any challenge. We should strengthen our partnerships in addressing this scourge and other similar challenges.“I must hasten to add that it is my expectation that this summit will augment the current initiatives against rhino poaching. It should afford stakeholders an opportunity to reflect on the current interventions and harness further political and broader stakeholder commitment.“In its deliberations, the summit should consider to the following:The role of the NWCRU and the Strategy for the Safety and Security of Rhinoceros Populations in South Africa;Critical analysis and review of the current interventions that we have introduced or led;Development of new and/or complementary plans to augment current interventions;Collaboration, mobilisation and harnessing of stakeholder support against poaching;Analysis of the relationship between the rate of rhino poaching and current regulatory and strategic practices, including a moratorium on the sale of individual rhinoceros horns and any derivates or products within South Africa;Reflection on the legislative and policy imperatives informing the current practices in the management of rhino population in the country. .“I am expecting robust engagements that are constructive and useful to take us another level. We must come out of this summit with answers to the following questions:Do we need to do anything different with regards collaboration and stakeholder participation?Are the current legislative, regulatory and policy tools adequate and effective?Are the penalties for offenders matching the scale of the offence and deter the would-be offenders?Are current strategies and interventions adequate?What can be done at the sub-regional, regional and international level?Are there any gaps in our conservation and sustainable utilization models or approaches?Is there a need for adjustments of policies or not?“Basically, we need to ascertain if there are any challenges with the regulatory, strategic and operational machinery and if so what needs to be reviewed?“South Africa’s biodiversity belongs to all South Africans. Government mainly assumes the legal mandate to protect biodiversity, but protection of our rich flora and fauna for current and future generations is the business of every patriotic citizen not just government.“It is also my pleasure to announce that the interim NWCIU would as of today, officially start operating. Allow me as well to officially launch the Strategy for the Safety and Security of Rhinoceros Populations in South Africa by handing over a copy to Nosipho Ngcaba.“Ladies and gentlemen, I wish all a fruitful engagement as part of a collaborative efforts to address this challenge before it is too late.“I thank you!”Source: South African government onlinelast_img read more

9 Dec

You Have One Set of Values

first_imgI received an email from a subscriber to my weekly newsletter. She was unhappy with something I’d written about my childhood, and she asked me to please limit my email newsletter to business-related topics. But there is no personal life and professional life. There is just life. You are who you are, wherever you are and whatever you are doing.You don’t have one set of values when it comes to business and a separate set of values when it comes to your personal life. But even if you did, it wouldn’t matter. Your real values would still be the lowest standard you set for yourself.If you wouldn’t dare steal in your personal life but you do steal at work, you are still a thief. The location as to where the theft occurs doesn’t change it’s nature (or yours).If you are rude to people and treat them poorly at work while being a prince at home, you are still a rude person. The fact that you are polite to some people doesn’t change the fact that you are rude to others.If you are a gossip at work it’s likely you are a gossip at home, too. But even if you didn’t gossip at home you’d still be a gossip.If you have a substance abuse problem that doesn’t prevent you from showing up to the office, you are a still a person with a substance abuse problem, even if you are highly functioning. Substance abuse may begin as a value issue, but addiction that comes later is an illness. You are still ill, whether at home or at work.What you do on your personal time is your business, but it doesn’t change your values. Your standards for yourself are yours and yours alone. You are who you are, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

3 Dec

Bihar flood toll touches 119; over 4 lakh evacuated

first_imgThe flood situation in Bihar and West Bengal continues to be grim as waters from the overflowing rivers in Nepal sweep south, while there has been a slight improvement in Assam.Nearly one crore people have been affected by the floods in Bihar that have claimed 119 lives so far, an official said on Friday. The Bihar disaster management department official said over 98 lakh people in 1,532 panchayats under 139 blocks in 16 districts have been hit with thousands of huts washed away, buildings and roads damaged and standing crops worth crores submerged.According to the official, 4,08,903 people have been evacuated by the Army, NDRF, SDRF and other rescue teams in the last four days. The State government has set up 1,238 relief camps housing 310,041 people in the flood-hit districts.Respite from rainThough rain has let up in West Bengal, about 400 villages in Malda district are facing massive waterlogging with the Mahananda, Fulhar and Purnarbhaba river overflowing.Speaking to The Hindu on Friday, Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee said, “Malda has become our main concern now. Due to the flood waters from Nepal and Bihar, the Mahananda river is already flowing above the extreme danger level and the water level is expected to rise.”  “Currently there are about 70,000 people in 116 relief shelters in the district,” district magistrate of Malda Kaushik Bhattacharya said. According to district officials at least eight lakh people have been affected. Twelve teams from two battalions of the NDRF have been deployed in Malda, Uttar and South Dinajpur districts.Assam toll risesWith 11 more deaths on Friday, the death toll in the second phase of floods in Assam has gone up to 60 since August 10 even as the authorities said there were some “signs of improvement” in the overall situation.According to a report by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), 25.93 lakh people were affected by the floods in the State. Morigaon was the worst-hit district with 5.29 lakh affected people, followed by Dhubri with 4.76 lakh people. As many as 2,210 villages were under water, it said.7 rhinos deadOver 140 animals including seven rhinos and two elephants have perished in the second wave of floods in Assam that inundated 80% of the the Kaziranga National Park Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Rohini Ballav Saikia said here on Thursday.(With inputs from PTI & IANS) Three family members drown as bridge collapses in Biharlast_img read more

24 Oct

House Approves Bills to Abolish Flogging

first_imgThe House of Representatives, on February 26, approved three Bills to remove flogging and whipping from the country’s statute books as a penalty for any offence. Bills passed were: the Larceny (Amendment) Act 2012; the Law Reform (Flogging and Whipping) (Abolition) Act, 2012; and the Obeah (Amendment) Act 2012. The practice of whipping and flogging ceased in Jamaica’s penal institutions in 1997 and since that time, the courts have not handed down sentencing with those stipulations. Opening the debate, Attorney General, Patrick Atkinson, noted that flogging and whipping are part of a legacy from the era of slavery. “Our people were subject to whipping and flogging as routine methods of imposing the slave master’s brutal and exploitative discipline,” the Attorney General said. He argued that flogging and whipping are considered to be degrading and inhumane treatment under international law. For his part, Leader of Opposition Business in the Lower House, Delroy Chuck, while supporting the Bills, noted that they will bring “some humanity” to the country’s system of government. “There can be no doubt that this should have been done long ago. I must admit that I thought these punishments had long been removed from the statute. The truth is that there is a strong sentiment in the country that the harsher the punishment, the less crime. There is no truth (to this),” Mr. Chuck said. The Bills were passed in the Senate on February 15.last_img read more