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Shell welcomes court decision on seismic survey
3 December 2021, 2:17 PM

Shell has welcomed the dismissal of the urgent application to interdict its seismic survey operation on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape.

Acting Judge Avinash Govindjee dismissed the application with costs at the Makhanda High Court.

Shell SA Chairperson, Hloniphizwe Mtolo, says they will continue engaging the public about its concerns on the matter.

“We continue to be very aware of public sentiment on this and we continue to do the best that we can to assure the public, that will be extremely responsible. When we conduct this seismic survey, Shell has a long history of conducting such survey, everything that we do, with the utmost care for the environment and taking into account the marine life. And we have to deal with that in the oceans and otherwise.”

Hloniphizwe Mtolo, Country Chair Shell South Africa on the court decision:

The urgent application for the interim interdict was filed by two NGOs and two sportfishing clubs.
The groups argued that the exploration activities Shell applied for are unlawful and affected parties were not given an opportunity to appeal the exploration right.
Questions around environmental damage were also raised.
Shell argued that all approvals are in order for it to continue and delaying the project now will amount to huge financial losses for Shell who has invested in the preparation already.
The company also said that there is no evidence that the surveys affect marine life negatively as is demonstrated by the vast number of similar surveys that have been conducted over the past five years around the globe.

Greenpeace Africa, the Border Deep Sea Angling Association and the Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club were the other applicants in the interdict application against Shell.

The Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager at Greenpeace, Happy Khambule, says the court decision will have a negative impact.

“The decision to allow Shell to continue with this plans to destroy the world caused is disappointing. To say the least, not only will plastic destroy precious biodiversity ecosystems. But you do also destroy the livelihoods of communities who depend on these ecosystems for their livelihood. All in the name of profit. Greenpeace Africa will continue to support the nationwide resistance. I can share and pursue the legal avenue to stop Shell.”

The application was dismissed with costs.
Furore around Shell’s plans continues: 
Six Sudanese soldiers killed in Ethiopian attack
28 November 2021, 9:30 AM

Six Sudanese soldiers were killed on Saturday in an attack by Ethiopian forces on a Sudanese army post near the border between the countries, Sudanese military sources told Reuters.

Sudan’s army said in an earlier statement on Facebook that “groups of the Ethiopian army and militias attacked its forces in Al-Fashaga Al-sughra, which resulted in deaths … our forces valiantly repelled the attack and inflicted heavy losses in lives and equipment on the attackers.”

The army statement did not provide any details about the death toll.

Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu did not immediately respond to a Reuters message seeking comment on the incident.

Ethiopian leader heads to war’s front lines as Olympians join the military

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has gone to direct the war from the front lines, state-affiliated media reported on Wednesday, as two Olympian athletes announced they were enlisting in the military.

Gold medallist Haile Gebreselassie, who set 27 long-distance running records, told Reuters he was joining up. So is Olympic silver medallist runner Feyisa Lelisa, local media reported.

While Abiy is away, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hassen would take charge of routine government business in his absence, government spokesman Legesse Tulu told a news conference, according to a report from Fana news outlet.

Abiy announced late on Monday he was planning to personally direct the fight against Tigrayan forces and their allies.

“Let’s meet at the war front,” he wrote “The time has come to lead the country with sacrifice.”

Last month Tigrayan forces and their allies threatened to march on the capital Addis Ababa. They have also been fighting fiercely to try to cut a transport corridor linking landlocked Ethiopia with the region’s main port Djibouti.

Klopp tells Mane to “pay back with football” if teams target him
27 November 2021, 1:58 PM

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp urged forward Sadio Mane to control his emotions when opponents try to wind him up and “pay them back” with the quality of his football.

Klopp was involved in an ugly altercation with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during Liverpool’s 4-0 win last weekend after the Arsenal bench appealed for action to be taken against Mane for his aerial challenge on Takehiro Tomiyasu.

Klopp said opposition players often try to antagonise Mane, who has scored nine goals for Liverpool in 17 games in all competitions this season.

“It has been a thing for much longer,” Klopp told British media on Friday. “Even when it was not obvious to the outside, you can see it in games that they go for him because they want to wind him up.

“But it is two different things; one is to make Sadio really aggressive during the game, we saw that against Flamengo in the (2019) Club World Cup final.

“Rafinha wanted to go for him after he caused them some problems when we played Bayern (Munich) in the Champions League (in 2019). It was obvious from the first second when he went in really hard.”

Klopp said he has spoken to Mane about how to deal with such situations.

“Sadio is now of an age where he is not that emotional anymore. But we all need emotions obviously and sometimes we control them better and sometimes less,” Klopp added.

“We’ve had these talks… The headline (from our discussions) is: ‘We pay back with football. Whatever we do, we pay them back with football.”

Liverpool host Southampton later on Saturday.

Thailand bans entry from 8 African countries over COVID Omicron variant
27 November 2021, 10:56 AM

Thailand said on Saturday it would ban the entry of people travelling from eight African countries it designated as high-risk for the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Starting in December, travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, will be prohibited, senior health official Opas Karnkawinpong told a news conference.

Thailand will not allow travellers from these countries to register to travel to Thailand starting on Saturday, he said.

The announcement comes as other countries in Asia tighten borders over worries about the B 1.1.529 variant. The World Health Organization designated it the latest “variant of concern,” saying it may spread more quickly than other forms.

“We have notified airlines and these countries,” Opas said adding that travellers from other African countries will not be allowed to use the country’s quarantine-free travel scheme for vaccinated travellers.

Oman has also suspended entry to travellers from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini starting from Nov. 28 due to the spread of a new variant of COVID-19 discovered in South Africa, the country’s state news agency said in a tweet on Saturday.

Meanwhile, South African Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla says the travel bans imposed on South Africa by certain countries are premature and not in line with the World Health Organisation standards. Several countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East imposed travel bans to and from the country on Friday after the announcement that the new variant was detected in South Africa and Botswana. Phaahla was speaking during a virtual question and answer session on Friday night.

‘The reaction by some of the countries in terms of imposing travel bans are completely against the norms and standards by the world health organisation. At this stage therefore we want to assure South Africans that we must just do everything we can to protect ourselves.”

New COVID-19 variant (B.1.1.529) explained: Dr Michelle Groome

Adele tops UK music charts record-breaking comeback album “30”
27 November 2021, 10:33 AM

Music star Adele soared straight to the top of the UK charts on Friday with her new album “30”, making a triumphant and record-breaking return.

One of the world’s best-selling singer-songwriters, the Grammy Award winner released her fourth studio album last week, with critics and fans praising her honesty on the record she said she made to explain her divorce to her son Angelo, 9.

First week sales for “30” totalled 261 000, giving it the biggest opening week of the year so far, the Official Charts Company said. The figure is the biggest for an album since Ed Sheeran’s “Divide” in 2017 and the biggest for a female solo album since Adele’s last record, 2015’s “25”.

“It becomes Adele’s fourth UK Number 1 album; she has now reached Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart with all of her studio albums, a record for a female act,” the Official Charts Company said in a statement.

“All of Adele’s previous albums are also present in the chart this week; 25 (Number 15), 21 (Number 18) and 19 (Number 31).”

“30” was also the most-streamed album this past week, recording 55.7 million plays across its 12 songs, the Official Charts Company said.

Known for her ballads about heartbreak and nostalgia, Adele also topped the UK singles charts for a sixth week with “Easy On Me”, the first track to be released from “30”.

The song has overtaken her 2011 mega-hit “Someone Like You” to become her longest-running Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart. “Oh My God” and “I Drink Wine”, two other singles from “30”, also made it into the top 5.

The 33-year-old is expected to top the charts elsewhere. Earlier this week, Billboard said “30” was the fastest-selling album in the US after just three days, citing initial data.

Like her previous albums, “30” is named after a milestone age in Adele’s life. The singer announced her split from her husband Simon Konecki in 2019.

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