Items filtered by date: Saturday, 10 August 2019
US President Donald Trump told reporters Friday he agreed with Kim Jong Un’s opposition to US-South Korea war games, after receiving what he was a new letter from the North Korean leader.
 
“I got a very beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un yesterday,” Trump said. “It was a very positive letter.”
 
“He wasn’t happy with the war games,” Trump added, referring to new military exercises between US forces and the South Korean military that began this week.
 
“As you know, I’ve never liked it either. I’ve never been a fan. And you know why? I don’t like paying for it,” the US leader said.
 
Trump received Kim’s three-page letter on Thursday after Pyongyang undertook four missile tests in the past two weeks that it said were a response to the joint exercises between the South and the United States.
 
While the weapons fired were not the medium- and long-range ballistic missiles that have posed an implicit threat to Japan and the United States, they were seen to be a new type of extremely fast, short-range guided ballistic missile that could pose a potent danger to South Korea.
 
On Tuesday North Korea threatened more weapons tests, and said the US-South Korea war games were “an undisguised denial and a flagrant violation” of the diplomatic process between Pyongyang, Washington and Seoul.
 
Trump continued to play down the missile tests and said he could have a third summit with Kim in the future.
 
“I think we’ll have another meeting,” he said.
 
“In the meantime I’ll say it again. There have been no nuclear tests. The missile tests have all been short-range. No ballistic missile tests, no long-range missiles,” he said.
Published in World
Nearly one million people were affected by a major power outage for several hours across areas of England and Wales on Friday, including parts of London, causing rush-hour transportation chaos.
 
Problems with two generators caused the massive electricity cut, the National Grid said.
 
“This evening we had an unexpected and unusual event, the loss of two generators that connect to the GB transmission system, which led to a fall in the frequency of the electricity system,” National Grid said on Twitter.
 
The power was restored around 6:30 pm (1930 GMT) and “the system is now operating normally,” it said.
 
But the power outage led to many delays and cancellations of trains on Britain’s national rail network.
 
National Rail said the disruptions would continue on Friday and into Saturday morning “due to trains and traincrew in the wrong locations.”
 
It also affected road travel, with traffic lights not working on London streets. Air traffic was disrupted at the airport in Newcastle.
 
According to power utilities around the country, nearly one million people had to grapple with the blackout, including 300,000 in London and southeast England and 500,000 in the Midlands, southwest England and Wales. Some 110,000 were affected in Yorkshire and northeast England.
 
The British energy regulator Ofhem has called for the National Grid to provide an urgent and detailed report on the incident.
 
Published in Engineering
The 10 Turkish sailors who were kidnapped by gunmen off the coast of Nigeria in July were freed on Friday, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
 
The sailors are all in good health, Anadolu said, without giving more details.
 
The Turkish-flagged ship, Paksoy-1 was attacked on July 16 when sailing from Cameroon’s Douala port to Abidjan port in Ivory Coast. It was not carrying any cargo.
 
Ten of the 18 Turks aboard the ship were abducted by pirates suspected to be from Nigeria’s delta region.
 
Eight other crew members were left behind and were able to bring the ship to harbour in Ghana.
Published in Travel & Tourism

Indonesian President Joko Widodo tweeted on Thursday that he will move the country’s capital away from the crowded main island of Java to Borneo, and build a new capital, like Nigeria’s Abuja was built from 1976 when it was decreed into existence by late head of state General Murtala Ramat Mohammed.

Movement to Abuja happened in 1991 and today it is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa.

The primary reasons for Abuja were the congestion in Lagos and the need to have a more central place as capital.

Indonesia is being propelled by a similar consideration.

It’s current capital, Jakarta, is home to more than 10 million people, but about three times that many people live in the surrounding towns adding to the area’s severe congestion. The low-lying city is also prone to air pollution and flooding, and is sinking.

Moving the Indonesian capital could take up to 10 years and cost about $20 billion to $30 billion, according to government officials.

Here are six other capital cities, apart from Abuja, that were moved for a range of reasons including overcrowding, security or to a more central location.

ASTANA – Often dubbed the world’s weirdest capital, the Kazakh capital was moved from Almaty in 1997. The urban plan was drawn up by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, and the city is known for its many futuristic buildings.

BRASILIA – Arguably the most famous planned city in the world, it was founded in 1960, and is famous for its modern architecture, chiefly designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the city is nevertheless dogged by an inadequate public transport, segregation, and neglected public spaces.

CANBERRA – The site for the capital was chosen as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s two largest cities. Construction began in 1913, and after many delays, the Commonwealth parliament moved to Canberra in 1927. Despite its high standard of living, the city is little known overseas and little loved even within Australia.

ISLAMABAD – Built as a planned city in the 1960s to replace Karachi as Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad was created from parts of the North-West Frontier Province and Punjab. It was Pakistan’s first city with a master plan, developed by a Greek architecture firm.

NAYPYIDAW – Myanmar’s capital was moved from Yangon to the center of the country in 2005. Covering 2,700 square miles – about four times the size of London – it features a 20-lane avenue, multiple golf courses and a replica of Yangon’s golden Shwedagon Pagoda. Yet, its wide streets are mostly empty, as relatively few people live there.

EGYPT – A new capital city – known for now as the New Administrative Capital – is scheduled to be operational from mid-2020, although the $58 billion project is struggling to raise funds. Expected to cover about 700 square kilometres (270 square miles), and is located about 45 km east of Greater Cairo in the desert. Besides a new presidential palace and a new parliament, it will also feature a massive theme park, housing for 6.5 million people and Africa’s tallest skyscraper.

Published in World
Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong were set to clash with police for the tenth consecutive weekend on Saturday as residents planned to return to the streets despite a ban.
 
Marches were planned for Tai Po district in the New Territories at 3 pm (0700 GMT) and later in Wong Tai Sin in Kowloon.
 
Hong Kong police have denied protesters a letter of “no objection,” meaning that the demonstrations this weekend are not considered to be legal assemblies.
 
Both locations have been the site of intense police-protester clashes in recent weeks.
 
Protesters were also due to return to Hong Kong International Airport, where scores are staging a three-day sit-in to attract international attention to their cause.
 
Protests began in Hong Kong on June 9 against a controversial legislative bill that would have allowed for the extradition of suspected criminals to mainland China.
 
Since then protesters have expanded their demands to include an independent commission into police brutality and for universal suffrage in the election of the city’s leadership.
 
The city’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, has however refused to make any concessions to protesters although she has declared the bill suspended, but not fully withdrawn as protesters demand.
Published in World

Zambia’s mining ministry has asked Glencore subsidiary Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) to rescind its decision to close two shafts at its Nkana site.

Mopani announced the shaft closures on Thursday in a move that an opposition leader said had led to 1,400 job losses.

Mines Permanent Secretary Paul Chanda on Friday said he had written to Mopani to ask the company not to close the two shafts because it had not exhausted discussions with the government.

Chanda said the government had, among other suggestions, asked Mopani to hand over the running of the shafts to local contractors instead of closing them.

“We haven’t concluded talks with them,” Chanda told Reuters.

“Mopani can’t arbitrarily take a decision to shut the two shafts without the participation of the government.”

A Mopani spokesman could not be reached for immediate comment.

The closure of the two uneconomic shafts had always been part of its plans, Mopani said on Thursday, adding that the move would allow it to channel funds towards completion of other expansion projects.

 

- Reuters

Published in Engineering
Saturday, 10 August 2019 06:43

Air Namibia denies impending closure

Air Namibia says it will continue operating as usual, while denying reports that the national airline is on the verge of being closed down.

Air Namibia spokesperson Paul Nakawa said this in a statement issued in reaction to an article published under the headline "Air Namibia on death row" in The Namibian on Wednesday.

“The board of directors and management, together with consultants recently appointed by the shareholders, the government, are engaged in a process of re-evaluating the strategy and supporting Air Namibia's business model that will ensure the sustainability of the national airline as a going concern,” the statement said.

The statement further said the main reason for this exercise was to improve the airline's financial performance, enhance efficiency and cut costs on its route network.

Nakawa said the airline would continue offering services although the Cabinet committee on treasury has not yet made a decision on its future.

“We would like to extend our sincere appreciation and thanks to all our esteemed customers for their continued support during this most challenging time,” the statement said.

The Namibian reported on Wednesday that the national airline is facing imminent closure, which could cost the government around N$2,5 billion.

 

Credit: The Namibian 

Published in Travel & Tourism
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