The Nation Sunday Print Edition - page 8-9

Sunday, March 22, 2015
foreign news
Compiled by Ravi Nagahawatte
The Fast Track High Court
in Accra, Ghana sat on Tues-
day for the second hearing of
the GM crops case submitted
by plaintiffs Food Sovereignty
Ghana (FSG) against the Min-
istry of Food & Agriculture
and the National Biosafety
The case was first heard on
February 17th and was ad-
journed till Tuesday 3rd March
as the Judge, His Lordship
Anthony Kwadwo Yeboah re-
quested that all parties to the
case submit written documents
rather than verbal presenta-
tions in court.
Lawyer for the plaintiffs
George Tetteh Wayo informed
the court that there were some
clerical omissions in one of
the submitted documents and
asked the court to allow him
submit the corrected copies.
The judge however turned
down the request and rather di-
rected that the case be refilled
to avoid any further complica-
The Attorney General’s (AG)
representative requested that
the court join the National Bio-
safety Authority as well as the
AG’s department to the case as
3rd and 4th defendants respec-
tively. The lawyer for the plain-
tiffs agreed with the request.
Judge Kwadwo Yeboah di-
rected that since a request
for interlocutory injunction
had already been applied for
by the plaintiffs, it therefore
meant that there would be a
temporary halt on any further
commercialization and devel-
opment of GM crops until the
case is concluded.
Food Sovereignty Ghana
is a grass-roots movement of
Ghanaians, home and abroad,
dedicated to the promotion of
food sovereignty in Ghana.
FSG still maintains that the
National Biosfety Committee
has unlawfully been operating
in the place of a National Bio-
safety Authority and is in clear
breach of the provisions of the
Biosafety Act 2011 Act (831),
as regards the need for public
awareness and participation in
decisions affecting the release
of genetically modified organ-
isms into the environment.
Incidentally, after two years
of pointing this out, the board
of the National Biosafety Au-
thority was inaugurated on the
17th of February this year, the
same day of the first hearing in
They might have hit head-
lines earlier this year for their
public displays of affection on
a reality show, but actor Upen
Patel doesn’t even want to talk
much about his relationship
with actor Karishma Tanna,
“I am not comfortable talk-
ing about my personal life,”
says Upen when asked if he’s
looking forward to working
with Karishma again. “For me,
a project is more about the sto-
ry than the cast. I am on a look-
out for good scripts where I can
grow as an actor,” he says.
While Upen and Karishma
confessed to their feelings for
each other on TV, Upen is in no
hurry to tie the knot and wants
to take things as they come.
“Marriage does not happen in
a day. I feel that time is the es-
sence of any situation. Perhaps
the audience wants to see more
of us (after the show), but I
cannot predict the future,” he
Meanwhile, the 32-year-old
is very satisfied when it comes
to his personal as well as his
professional life. “Things are
great and I am taking each day
as it comes. We (he and Karish-
ma) are happy to be with each
other. I feel that this is the best
time of my life,” he says, add-
ing, “I am mulling over some
Bollywood projects at the mo-
ment and also concentrating
on modelling. I feel I am get-
ting the best of both worlds.”
(Hindustan Times )
An outbreak of tuberculo-
sis at a high school in Olathe,
Kansas has infected a total of
28 students as health officials
move to put safety measures in
place and monitor the bacteria
to prevent further exposure.
According to the Kansas City
Star, the state Department of
Health and Environment test-
ed more than 300 students at
Olathe Northwest High School
last week after a previous stu-
dent was confirmed to have
been infected with tuberculo-
sis. On Monday, March 16, the
department started notifying
those students who tested posi-
tive and issued a statement say-
ing that eight percent of the
school (27 students, not includ-
ing the first positive test case)
was confirmed to have been ex-
Kansas tuberculosis
outbreak infects 28
Here’s why Upen Patel
won’t talk about Karishma
Upen shared a special bond with Karishma Tanna before he was
voted out of Bigg Boss 8 in mid-week evictions
Ghana court orders temporary
halt on commercialization of
GM crops
China’s national image has been im-
proving over the past few years, with
President Xi Jinping becoming a high-
light, according to a survey report.
The global survey, based on 4,500 re-
spondents from nine countries last
year, found that China’s overall image
has been increasingly recognized by the
global community.
“More people in the nine countries
are convinced of China’s future robust
economic growth,” Wang Gangyi, vice-
president of China International Pub-
lishing Group, said of China’s National
Image Global Survey 2014, which was
released in Beijing on Wednesday.
The nine countries The United States,
the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan,
South Africa, India, Russia, Brazil and
China-represent different geographic
regions and stages of economic devel-
The average score of China’s national
image in 2014 was 5.9 on a scale of 1 to
10, up from the previous year’s 5.1, ac-
cording to the study conducted by the
Center for International Communica-
tion Studies of China Foreign Languag-
es Publishing Administration, Millward
Brown and Lightspeed GMI.
President Xi Jinping is a highlight of
the survey, according to Wang.
The survey found that Xi was the
fourth best-known among the leaders of
the nine countries, with 70 percent of
the respondents having heard of him,
after US President Barack Obama (97
percent), Russian President Vladimir
Putin (91 percent) and British Prime
Minister David Cameron (86 percent).
“Xi’s handling of both domestic and
international affairs has won high
praise. He ranks second, after newly
elected Indian Prime Minister Naren-
dra Modi, for his capability of handling
domestic and international affairs,” he
Overseas respondents are divided
about China’s global image.
About 46 percent of overseas respon-
dents said China’s image is one of “hav-
ing rapid economic growth with its
people enjoying relatively high living
standards”, while 45 percent believed
that China is a country with “a big gap
between the rich and the poor”.
More than half of the respondents
are optimistic about China’s future
development, with 37 percent saying
they believe China’s economy will keep
growing at a rapid rate, and 20 percent
saying they believe China will overtake
the US to become a superpower.
The study found that people from
emerging economies tend to have a
better appreciation of China’s develop-
“Most people in emerging economies
regard China as an important force for
maintaining world order and peace,
while many from the developed coun-
tries still believe in a China military
threat,” he said.
Dong Guanghua, group account direc-
tor of Millward Brown, said the going-
global strategy of Chinese companies
has also helped improve the country’s
national image.
“About 36 percent of the overseas re-
spondents thought that Chinese enter-
prises doing business in their countries
would bring new capital and technol-
ogy, and 32 percent thought they would
increase employment opportunities,”
said Dong.
Chinese brand products, with better
quality and innovation, are being em-
braced by more foreign consumers in
recent years, and many foreign respon-
dents are familiar with Chinese brands
including Lenovo, Huawei, Air China,
Haier and Alibaba, he said.
However, Chinese products still need
to improve quality and after-sales ser-
vice, which sometimes hold back for-
eign consumers from buying Chinese
brand products and hamper the nation-
al image, he suggested.
According to the study, the young are
more familiar with China, with 34 per-
cent of the respondents aged 18 to 35
knowing about China, with the equiva-
lent score being 28 percent for those
aged 36 to 50 and 20 percent for those 51
to 65 years old.
Young people, especially those aged 18
to 35, also tend to have a better impres-
sion and more positive attitude toward
China and are more optimistic about
China’s future, compared with their se-
nior counterparts, it said.
Yu Yunquan, deputy director of the
China International Publishing Group,
said that the better view by youth has a
lot to dowith the channels throughwhich
they get to know China, and he believed
China’s national image will gradually
As the Syrian crisis entered its fifth year
with no end in sight, US Secretary of State
John Kerry told an American news network
Sunday that “the United States will have to
negotiate with Syrian President Bashar
Assad to remove him from power and bring
the Syrian civil war to a close.”
He added: “We are working very hard
with other interested parties to see if we
can reignite a diplomatic outcome.” So was
this a sign of a major shift in US policy over
Since the outbreak of the Syrian upris-
ing, the US position has been largely in line
with that of its European and most Arab
allies. Basically Washington believed that
Assad had lost legitimacy and had no place
in the future of Syria and must therefore
remove himself from power. But the US
never considered the use of force against
Assad’s regime, and only when accusations
that Assad’s forces had bombed rebel-held
areas with chemical weapons surfaced did
President Obama order its navy to move
close to Syria’s shores. A last minute deal to
dismantle Syria’s chemical arsenal, medi-
ated by Moscow, succeeded in averting mili-
tary intervention. But differences between
Washington and its allies remained.
Eventually the US declared that there
was no military solution to the Syrian cri-
sis and that all parties must push for a po-
litical breakthrough. Three UN emissaries
to Syria had failed to dislodge Assad and
force him to accept the components of the
so-called Geneva I conference; when the US
and Russia agreed on a political road map
to resolve the crisis. The main issue was
and will continue to be the future of Assad.
On this point both Tehran and Moscow, the
two staunchest allies of Assad, are refusing
to budge. On the other hand, the coalition
of Syrian opposition groups rejects any dia-
logue that does not include the removal of
the Syrian president.
So after four years and more than 200,000
dead in addition to over seven million dis-
placed Syrians what prompted Kerry to
alter his position? The rise of the so-called
Islamic State (IS) has changed the geopoliti-
cal reality in the region. The moderate Free
Syrian Army (FSA) has lost territory to IS
militants who are now in control of over
40 percent of Syria. The regime has been
unable to force a military solution, despite
persistent brutal bombing of largely civil-
ian areas, and now controls no more than
35 percent of Syrian territory, including Da-
mascus and the coastal region.
The US has taken its time to train and
arm moderate rebels. With their numbers
dwindling, the training and arming of no
more than 3,000 insurgents will not stem
the militant’s expansion or pose a real chal-
lenge to Assad’s forces. Amajor player, Tur-
key, is not even engaged in the fight against
the militants along its borders and insists
that all means should be used to depose
AlthoughKerry said that the USwas coor-
dinating with its allies on the possibility of
bringing Assad to the negotiating table, the
fact is that this latest position will irkWash-
ington’s allies in Europe and the region.
Britain was the first to respond by insisting
that Assad had no role in Syria’s future and
that it will “continue applying sanctions
pressure to the regime until it reassesses its
position, ends the violence and engages in
meaningful negotiations with the moderate
opposition.” It is likely that Saudi Arabia
and Turkey will also find Kerry’s call to ne-
gotiate with Assad perplexing.
On his part, Assad will be boosted by Ker-
ry’s statements. He had repeatedly present-
ed himself as a partner in the fight against
terrorism, calling on the West and Arab
countries to stop aiding his enemies. His
position on his future as president will not
change anytime soon. Even if he accepts to
come to the negotiation table it will be at his
own terms and the outcome will unlikely be
different from the Geneva II and the recent
Moscow talks.
(Arab News)
Tokyo, Japan- (AFP)-
Japan and China
held security talks Thursday after a four-
year hiatus because of simmering territo-
rial tensions with the two sides agreeing to
hold meetings “more frequently” to speed
up a thaw in once-frozen relations, officials
The first such dialogue between the two
Asian rivals since January 2011 was held
at Japan’s foreign ministry in Tokyo, a
government official said, in the latest sign
of slowly improving ties.
The talks involved top officials fromeach
country’s foreign and defence ministries,
including Japan’s Deputy Foreign Minis-
ter Shinsuke Sugiyama and Liu Jianchao,
China’s assistant foreign minister.
“Both sides agreed that these kind of di-
rect talks in the areas of national security
and defence should be held more frequent-
ly,” said a Japanese ministry official who
was at the meeting.
Specifically, the officials agreed that
they should start operating a maritime
crisis-management mechanism soon, the
official said.
Tokyo asked Beijing to make its growing
defence spending more transparent and
explain the reasons behind its military ex-
pansion, he added.
Japanese officials told their counter-
parts that Japan has and will continue to
follow the path of pacifism, at a time when
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to re-
lax the restrictions on Japan’s military to
allow it to come to the aid of allies under
attack -- a move that has angered Beijing.
China’s Liu told themeeting that Beijing
hoped to develop ties with Tokyo in the
spirit of “taking history as a mirror and
looking forward to the future”, according
to China’s official Xinhua news agency.
The comment reflects Beijing’s persis-
tent theme of Japan’s need to face up to its
aggressive actions in World War II.
Tokyo and Beijing are also at logger-
heads over the sovereignty of uninhabited
islands in the East China Sea, which Japan
administers as the Senkakus, but which
China claims as the Diaoyus.
Relations soured in 2012 when the
Japanese government angered China by
nationalising some of the islands, and
Beijing had since refused most high-level
talks with Tokyo, as ships and planes from
both sides regularly sparred in the East
China Sea.
Some observers had warned that the
regular presence of military or paramili-
tary vessels from two of the region’s big-
gest powers risked sliding into conflict.
But the two sides broke the ice in No-
vember when Abe and Chinese President
Xi Jinping shared a frosty handshake on
the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation forum.
“Our country sees (the dialogue) as im-
portant as it is expected to improve mutual
trust between Japan and China in the field
of security,” Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese
government’s top spokesman, told report-
ers earlier.
By Sarah Hafeez
It was a tweet trending on
Twitter that literally came
to their rescue. Railway Po-
lice, alerted by the Twitter
trend, rescued three children
who were ‘abandoned’ at
New Delhi railway station on
Tuesday evening and united
them with their mother re-
siding in Nabi Karim area.
Abhishek, a reporter with
the Press Trust of India, had
tweeted—“Can someone help
these helpless kids at New
Delhi railway station near
platform16 entrance”—with
a photograph of the three on
platform 16 from his twitter
handle @abhishek1122.
It was retweeted 234 times
and one of the tweets tagged
DCP (North) Madhur Ver-
ma. Verma in turn called
the SHO of the area and in-
formed him.
“Police began searching
for the children. They could
not be found on platform 16,”
Verma said. “I then called
Abhishek and spoke to him.
He had gone to the station to
drop off relatives and spot-
ted the children. He said they
quietly slipped away from
the platform when people
started gathering around
them. Local police, an hour
later, informed me that the
children had been found on
platform 1. They were hun-
gry, tired and distraught.”
Police said the children
— Rumana (7), Raja (5) and
Sanya (4) — were huddled to-
gether on the platform, weep-
“We found them standing
outside the air-conditioned
hall on the Ajmeri Gate side
of the railway station. The
eldest of the three, Rumana,
told us that their house was
somewhere near Nabi Karim
police station. Policemen
took the children to that area
andwalked around until they
identified their house. They
were reunited with their
mother,” Deputy Commis-
sioner of Police (Railways)
Sanjay Bhatia said.
“It was Rumana who was
able to identify her house.
When we knocked on the
door, their mother Tabassum
was asleep,” the officer said.
Police said the woman
claimed that her husband,
who is separated from the
family, used to often take the
children away and drop them
back without informing her.
(The Indian Express)
Bangkok, Thailand (AFP)
-Thailand’s former premier Yin-
gluck Shinawatra was Thursday ordered to stand trial on charges
of negligence over a bungled rice subsidy scheme, in a case that
could see her jailed for up to a decade.
The decision is the latest legal move against Yingluck -- Thai-
land’s first female prime minister and sister of fugitive ex-pre-
mier Thaksin Shinawatra -- that could spell the end of her fam-
ily’s political dominance. The Shinawatras, or parties allied to
them, have won every Thai election since 2001.
“The panel (of judges) has decided that this case falls within
our authority,” said judge Veeraphol Tangsuwan at Bangkok’s Su-
preme Court, adding that the first hearing will be held on May
Thailand’s attorney general filed criminal charges against
Yingluck in February, accusing her of “dereliction of duty” in
relation to the populist but economically disastrous rice scheme,
which paid farmers in the rural Shinawatra heartland twice the
market rate for their crops.
The whole world must un-
derstand that Saudi Arabia
will never succumb to any
pressure to change the way its
judiciary and other organs of
state function.
This is because Islamic law
underpins all these separate
and autonomous bodies and
entities. The judicial system is
independent of the country’s
executive, which means there
is no interference in the deci-
sion of judges.
In the words of Custodian
of the Two HolyMosques King
Salman, “Saudi foreign policy
is committed to the teachings
of our religion, which call for
love and peace.” He said the
Kingdom would “continue to
comply with international
treaties, conventions and cov-
enants, respect the principle
of sovereignty, reject any at-
tempt to interfere in its inter-
nal affairs, and continue to de-
fend Arab and Islamic issues.”
The Swedish Foreign Minister
Margot Wallstrom’s recent
criticism of a Saudi court rul-
ing stands in sharp contrast
to Sweden’s virtual silence on
the daily crimes committed by
the Assad regime against the
Syrian people, and the Israeli
practices against the Palestin-
ian people.
Wallstrom has created a po-
litical crisis for her country,
not only with Saudi Arabia,
but also other Arab states,
who have denounced her
statements. Many have ar-
gued that she lacks basic dip-
lomatic skills. An important
question must be posed: Why
has she not declared her op-
position to remarks ridiculing
our Prophet, peace be upon
him, and Islam, which have
hurt the feelings of more than
a billion Muslims. Why have
we not heard about a Swedish
law that punishes those who
insult our Prophet (pbuh)?
(Arab News
Islamabad, Pakistan (AFP)-
stan on Thursday said its lifting of a
six-year-old moratorium on the death
penalty would not impact a lucrative
trade deal with the European Union
which has strongly condemned the
Capital punishment was rein-
troduced in December as part of
Pakistan’s moves to step up the fight
against militants following a Taliban
massacre at a school in the northwest-
ern city of Peshawar.
The death penalty was extended to
all capital cases last week, with a total
of 52 people so far sent to the gallows.
“We do not expect that this issue will
eign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim
Aslam told aweekly briefing, referring
to the deal which means firms pay no
tax on certain categories of goods ex-
ported to the 27-nation bloc for 10 years.
Pakistani officials have said the GSP+
status had increased Pakistan’s exports
to the European Union by more than a
billion dollars because it made its prod-
ucts more competitive.
“It is a question of domestic law and
legislation and we are engaged with
European Union. We have told them
clearly our perspective,” she added.
The EU granted Pakistan “GSP+”
status in 2014 conditional on Pakistan
enacting certain commitments on hu-
man rights.But it has also reiterated
its call for the “universal abolition”
of the death penalty in a statement is-
sued Tuesday, singling out the case of
Shafqat Hussain, whose family and
lawyers say was a minor at the time he
was convicted of murder, as being of
particular concern.
Paris, France-(AFP)
An eclipse that will
sweep Europe and parts of Africa and Asia on
Friday poses a danger to selfie-takers, eye spe-
cialists warned on Thursday.
Even if the Sun is in eclipse, its radiation can
still burn the retina, with the risk of permanent
damage or even blindness for those who watch it
without proper protection.
“Taking a selfie could potentially put you at
risk, as you may end up accidentally looking
directly at the Sun while aligning yourself and
your phone,” said Daniel Hardiman-McCartney
of Britain’s College of Optometrists.
A French association of ophthalmologists
and opticians warned eclipse-watchers against
using cameras or binoculars to look directly at
the Sun. Nor should they use makeshift filters
such as sunglasses or colour bottles, the group,
AsnaV, said.
“Looking at a solar eclipse with the naked eye
is as dangerous as watching the Sun directly and
without protection,” AsnaV said.
The French education ministry, which has
come under fire for failing to distribute special
eclipse glasses to schools, has advised teachers
to keep pupils indoors while the event unfolds.
Using a pinhole camera to project the eclipse
onto a sheet of paper is a safe way to watch the
eclipse, and webcam-coverage is of course safer
still, said experts.
A new study has revealed that over half
of the married men are attracted to their
wives’ moms.
The survey of 1,500 men found that while
quarter of men have a genuine crush on
their partner’s mum, 31% felt their moth-
er-in-law secretly fancied them, and a
one in six thought their partner’s mother
looked better than their other half.
The results discarded the old tradition
that men dislike the mother-in-law as
eight out of 10 admitted they had a great
relationship with their partner’s mother.
In fact, two thirds of men in relationships
said they’d be happy to see their partner
ageing as well as her mum.
A bold one in eight even admitted that
their mother-in-law is more stylish than
their partner when it came to dressing
sense and looking good.
Spokesman fashion retailer Peter Hahn,
which carried out the poll, said that “the
results unearthed a strong appreciation
for mothers and clearly many mother-in-
laws have much of which to be proud.”
The study showed that mother-in-laws
were admired both for their appearances,
style and personality overall.
Hahn added that today’s women over
50s present themselves far more styl-
ishly and possessed a confidence that
would clearly make them feel fabulous.
(Hindustan Times)
Twitter trend helps rescue abandoned kids
Changing position
on Assad
US declared that there was no military solution to the Syrian crisis and that all parties must
push for a political breakthrough (AFP)
Half of married men admit
They are attracted to
their mother-in-law
China’s global image
on the upswing
People buy fruits and vegetables at a market in Beijing
Pakistan says
Executions won’t impact EU trade deal
Thai former PM Yingluck
to face trial over rice scheme
Selfie generation warned
over eclipse peril
Saudi’s right to reject interference
The three children with their mother Tabassum onWednesday. (Source: Express Photo by Amit Mehra
Japan, China in security
talks after 4-year break
Specifically, the officials agreed that they
should start operating a maritime
crisis-management mechanism soon
China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Jianchao (2nd R), Japan’s Foreign Deputy
Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama (2nd L), and other government officials from both sides
shake hands prior to the 13th round of Japan-China Security Dialogue at the Foreign
Ministry in Tokyo on March 19, 2015 (AFP)
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