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US isolated in UN Security Council over Jerusalem decision
9 December 2017, 9:32 PM

The United States has found itself isolated in the UN Security Council over its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel with plans afoot to move its Embassy from Tel Aviv.

During an urgent meeting of the Council, countries expressed regret at Washington’s decision including close allies who called the actions unhelpful for the prospects of peace in the region.

And while the UN has warned that the decision risks a violent escalation in tensions, the United States defended the move will accusing the United Nations itself of having done more damage to the prospects of peace than advancing them.

This was the tense conversation between the Palestinian Ambassador and his United States counterpart before the start of the meeting.

As country after country rejected the UN move as a violation of international law that runs counter to several UN Security Council resolutions, Francois Delatrre France Ambassador says, “As the question of Jerusalem is among the keys to the Middle East, it is more important than ever before to recall our collective commitment to conservation of the international position of the specific status of those cities. At stake is respect for international law and the legitimate rights of each of the parties. At stake is the legitimacy of the Security Council, at stake is the conservation of the two-state solution.”

The UK said it disagreed with the decision and called for the US to produce a detailed proposal for peace between the two sides.  Matthew Rycroft UK Ambassador says, “In line with relevant Security Council resolution including 242, 478 and 2334, we regard East Jerusalem as part of the occupied Palestinian territories. We therefore disagree with the US decision to move its Embassy to Jerusalem and unilaterally to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel before a final status agreement.”

Speaking from Jerusalem, the UN’s Middle East envoy predicted that in the absence of a negotiated peace deal, the region risked being engulfed in a vortex of religious radicalism.

UN Middle East Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov says, “Just as much as it’s up to Israeli and Palestinian leaders to urgently advance a just and lasting resolution of this conflict, the SG has been clear that realizing a two state solution with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine, is the only way that such a vision can be achieved.”

The US Ambassador was undeterred, defending President Trump’s decision.

United States Ambassador Nikki Haley says, “Over many years the UN has outrageously been of the world’s foremost centres of hostility towards Israel. The UN has done much more damage to the prospects of Middle East Peace than to advance them. We will not be a party to that. The United States no longer stands by when Israel is unfairly attacked in the UN. And the US will not be lectured to by countries that lack any credibility when it comes to treating both Israelis and Palestinians fairly.”

The US decision violates several Council resolutions that specifically call for countries to withdraw embassies from Jerusalem pending its final statutes determination.


Shack fire leaves scores homeless in KZN
9 December 2017, 9:30 PM

A fire has gutted an informal settlement in Durban, leaving scores of people homeless. One person was treated for smoke inhalation.

At least 50 informal settlements were completely destroyed by the fire. Emergency services where dispatched to the scene.

Despite strong winds, they managed to contain the blaze.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage.

Rescue Care’s Garrith Jamieson says, “Currently on Bell Air road, just after the BP garage as you can see in the background about 50 informal settlements caught alight. Excellent work by the Fire department against the strong wind blowing at the moment, we managed to contain the fire. One person has sustained smoke inhalation and is on his way to a nearby hospital for further care he required. Scene is almost complete with fire department shutting things up.”

SABC to settle wage deadlock with unions
9 December 2017, 9:22 PM

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is confident that its wage deadlock with two unions will be settled by Monday.

This could avert a major national strike at the SABC – planned for Thursday next week.

On Friday the broadcaster tabled a 4.5% increase – backdated to October. But the backdate payments would only be made in February, March and September next year.

Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Union (BEMAWU) rejected the offer.

The SABC also reassured the public that broadcast of the African National Congresses (ANC) elective conference would go ahead. The conference will be carried live on SABC 2, Channel 404, on radio and digital platforms.

SABC Acting Group Executive: News and Current Affairs, Kenneth Makatees says the coverage will be factual, fair and broadcast in all languages.

“SABC News commits itself to factual and fair reporting; and South Africans will enjoy all our coverage through all our platforms. We have a language mandate and we are the only broadcaster that can access the entire nation. And we will deliver the news in all the country’s official languages.”

Television and radio studios have been set up at Nasrec to provide commentary and analysis of the conference.


Libya, Italy to join forces against people traffickers
9 December 2017, 8:47 PM

Italy and Libya will set up a joint commission in a bid to fight back against people traffickers and tackle the problem of illegal migration, the Tripoli government said Saturday.

The announcement was made after talks in the Libyan capital between Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti and Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

Intelligence agents, coastguard and judicial officials from both countries will sit on the commission, Sarraj’s office said in a statement.

Human-trafficking networks have flourished in the chaos that followed a NATO-backed uprising which toppled long-time Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

Sarraj said on Thursday the number of migrants stranded in his country was “staggering… we are talking about 500,000 migrants outside holding centres and 20,000 in the 42 centres run by the interior ministry”.

But speaking after talks in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Libyan premier vowed to take action to ease the plight of these migrants, most of whom come from sub-Saharan Africa.

Minniti praised Libya’s efforts to rescue migrants abandoned at sea by unscrupulous people traffickers, but said more cooperation was needed to monitor the country’s southern borders.

He said central European countries will be providing Libya with 35 million euros ($40 million) within a week to help the North African country in its anti-immigration efforts, the statement added.

WATCH Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings, 1 December 2017 Part 2
1 December 2017, 12:01 PM

It was yet another emotional day at the Life Esidimeni hearings on Thursday as some family members of the victims were reminded of the state in which they found their loved ones’ bodies following the fatal relocations.

An admin officer responsible for Mortuary Services at the Malelodi Hospital told the hearings in Parktown, Johannesburg that they were asked to keep a body which had already decompsed for over half a year, and also received another unidentified corpse, which was also there for months.




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