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Environmental activists protest Ghana’s plan to mine bauxite2 min read

Last year, conservation activists trekked from Atewa to Accra to show opposition.

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Environmental activists protest Ghana's plan to mine bauxite
(File photo)

Conservation activists on Tuesday accused Ghana’s president of plans to mine bauxite in a forest reserve despite fears it could put access of millions to drinking water at risk.

“There is nothing sustainable and responsible about mining bauxite in a watershed like Atewa Forest,” Daryl Bosu of the Green Livelihood Alliance told a news conference in the capital Accra. 

The government is looking at mining in the Atewa Forest Reserve, which contains large deposits of bauxite, an essential component in aluminium production.

The forest has been described as one of the richest places for biodiversity on the planet, home to a range of rare species and Ghana’s key source of drinking water.

The forest is also close to President Nana Akufo-Addo’s hometown of Kyebi, in the eastern region, about 90 kilometres (60 miles) from Accra. 

A coalition of non-government organisations and citizen activists said the process to implement the mining project was “shrouded in secrecy”, and called for a halt until a broad consultation and impact assessments were done. 

Daniel Ewur, an officer for conservation group “A Rocha” told AFP he saw bulldozers clearing paths into the forest last week. 

The Global Forest Watch had already said that Ghana was losing rainforests at the highest rate in the world.

It said there was a 60 per cent increase in primary rainforest loss in 2018 compared with 2017. 

“The forest reserves and wildlife reserves are the only hope we have, we think those ones should be protected,” Ewur said. 

Last year, conservation activists trekked from Atewa to Accra to show opposition, and Ghana’s Christian Council has also called for the park to be protected. 

In May, the US Forest Service which gave technical advice on the mining proposals warned of “potential significant and permanent impact” on the forest as well as its water. 

The government has made clear its intention to mine bauxite, which it said will help industrialise and transform the economy, claiming bauxite has the potential to deliver over $500 billion in revenue and create tens of thousands of jobs.  

In 2018, Ghana’s parliament approved an agreement with Sinohydro Group Limited of China, to provide $2 billion of infrastructure in exchange for Ghana’s refined bauxite. 

President Akufo-Addo has been quoted in local media as assuring Ghanaians that the plans to mine bauxite would not destroy the environment.

Oil and gold-rich Ghana is also eyeing agriculture to diversify the economy.

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Libya airstrike leaves about 7 dead, 30 wounded

At least seven civilians were killed, most of them foreign workers, and 30 wounded in an airstrike on Monday

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Libya airstrike leaves about 7 dead, 30 wounded
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / This picture taken on November 18, 2019 shows the aftermath of a reported air strike on a factory south of the Libyan capital Tripoli where several people were killed according to a spokesman of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

At least seven civilians were killed, most of them foreign workers, and 30 wounded in an airstrike on Monday that hit a biscuit factory in southern Tripoli, Libya’s health ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Amin al-Hachemi told reporters that two Libyans and nationals from Bangladesh, Egypt and Niger died when the factory in Wadi Rabi took a direct hit, with foreign workers also accounting for the 30 wounded.

The suburb has been at the centre of an assault launched in April by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s forces to wrest control of the capital from fighters loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

Libya airstrike leaves about 7 dead, 30 wounded
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / This picture taken on November 18, 2019 shows the aftermath of a reported air strike on a factory south of the Libyan capital Tripoli where several people were killed according to a spokesman of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

Pro-GNA forces, on their Facebook page, charged that the raid was carried out by United Arab Emirates drones in support of Haftar, from whose camp there was no immediate reaction.

The military strongman is backed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, while Turkey and Qatar back his rival, the United Nations-recognised GNA.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The battle for Tripoli, which has come to a standstill on the ground after initial advances by Haftar’s forces, has killed more than 1,000 people and displaced about 120,000 others, according to the UN.

The United States last week urged Haftar to call off his offensive and accused Russia of working to exploit Libya’s latest conflict.

“The United States calls on the ‘Libyan National Army’ to end its offensive on Tripoli,” a joint statement said after a GNA delegation held talks in Washington, referring to Haftar’s self-styled LNA.

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / This picture taken on November 18, 2019 in the Libyan town of Tajura, about 14 kilometres east of the capital Tripoli, shows the bodies of victims who were killed a reported air strike at a location south of Tripoli according to a spokesman of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

“This will facilitate further US-Libya cooperation to prevent undue foreign interference, reinforce legitimate state authority and address the issues underlying the conflict,” the statement added.

The US also “underscored support for Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s attempts to exploit the conflict against the will of the Libyan people”.

Western powers have sent mixed signals, with France and Italy welcoming Haftar for visits and US President Donald Trump earlier this year hailing his role in “fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources”.

But the US has since distanced itself from the field marshal and joined calls for a ceasefire.

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Task force recovers lion owned by Indian in Lagos

The unusual pet was said to belong to an Indian national who rented an apartment in the building at Victoria Island

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Task force recovers lion owned by Indian in Lagos
Photo of the recovered Lion

Operatives of the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit have recovered a lion sighted in a building in Lagos, Nigeria.

The officials were deployed in the house where the lion was kept on Friday following petitions from residents who expressed worry over the presence of the carnivore.

The lion, which was a cub was finally found in a house at 229 Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island.

The unusual pet was said to belong to an Indian national who rented an apartment in the building at 229 Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island.

The head of the Task Force team, Mr. Yinka Egbeyemi, said that he was instructed by the Commissioner for Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture to tranquilise the animal on Monday. Mr Egbeyemi disclosed the plan to move the cub to a zoo.

According to Egbeyemi, the Indian owner may also face prosecution to explain how he brought the lion into the state.

“The lion was found on No. 229 Muri Okunola Street. Our Black Maria and men have been there since Friday. They will remove the animal on Monday. The Indian man rented the apartment and lied to the owner of the house that he wanted to be staying there. He claimed that the house was under renovation and brought the animal there.”

 The neighbours saw the thing and that was how we got a petition from them.

“We have sent him a letter that he should come and talk to us. So, by tomorrow (Monday), we will like to know how he got the animal.”

“He will have to tell us why he is rearing a lion in a city; that is a wild animal and anything can happen. So, he may be prosecuted,” Mr Egbeyemi said.

Interestingly, all nerves have been calmed as the highly-dangerous animal was evacuated from the Indian national’s apartment on Monday afternoon.

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Scotland set to face world champions Springboks

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Scotland set to face world champions Springboks

Scotland is set to be the first opponents of new world champions, South Africa, with Tests in the republic on July 4 and 11.

Although SA Rugby has not confirmed who they will host in a mid-year series, a source told reporters that “Scotland is coming for two matches during July”. 

South Africa have won 22 Tests and lost five against Scotland and the last meeting, in Edinburgh a year ago, ended 26-20 in favour of the Springboks.

Scotland set to face world champions Springboks
South African Rugby captain Siya Kolisi (C) holds the Web Ellis Trophy during the South African Rugby World Cup winner team’s last stop to parade the Web Ellis Trophy at the Cape Town City Hall in Cape Town, on November 11, 2019. (Photo by David Harrison / AFP)

Traditionally, mid-year visitors to South Africa play three Tests, but Scotland cannot do so as they face New Zealand in Dunedin on July 18.

Read: Springboks celebrate World Cup victory at legendary Mandela site

It is understood SA Rugby want to play another team on July 18 as they seek to cash in on the popularity of the team that beat England 32-12 this month in the Rugby World Cup final.

“The Springboks can fill any stadium in South Africa twice over right now and, ideally, it would be another six nations team,” the source said. 

All the six nations drawcards have arranged July 4 and 11 Tests with England facing Japan, Wales meeting New Zealand, Ireland playing Australia and France tackling Argentina.

But none of the four touring teams has announced a July 18 opponent, creating the possibility that one of them could play a one-off Test in South Africa.

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