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BANGKOK: Eight nations accused of failing to do enough to tackle the illegal trade in elephant ivory escaped sanctions at a major wildlife meeting yesterday. The plight of Africa’s elephants was one of the top issues at a more than a week of talks bringing together the 178 member nations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Bangkok. The conference identified Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda as well as transit countries Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, and top markets China and Thailand as making insufficient efforts to curb the trade. But they avoided punishment after six of them submitted draft action plans in response and China and Tanzania committed to doing so by a specific date. Member states can halt trading with offender countries in the 35,000 species covered by the convention.
Nepal chief justice
to oversee polls
KATHMANDU: Nepal’s chief justice was sworn in yesterday as head of an interim government tasked with steering the country towards elections by June after a cross-party deal broke a 10-month political deadlock. The leaders of four major parties reached agreement late Wednesday to appoint Khilraj Regmi to lead an interim administration to oversee what would be only the second national polls since the end of the country’s civil war in 2006. The election in theory should be held by June 21, but analysts are sceptical the vote will go ahead on schedule.
S. Korea plant blast kills seven, hurts 13
SEOUL: Seven workers were killed and 13 injured yesterday when a storage tank exploded at a chemical plant in South Korea, firefighters said. The tank containing inflammable material exploded around 9pm (1200 GMT) at a Daelim Industrial polyethylene plant in the southern coastal city of Yeosu. “It did not start a fire and an investigation is under way,” a firefighter said. The employees had been engaged in welding work when the tank exploded.
Suu Kyi faces flak for backing mine
Monywa, Myanmar: Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was met with rare hostility yesterday by villagers near a controversial Chinese-backed mine that was the scene of a violent crackdown last year. The Nobel laureate was heckled by villagers enraged by her recommendation that the copper mine continues to operate, despite concerns over its environmental impact and land grabbing. As she toured villages, Suu Kyi faced flak from residents, some crying, for her perceived failure to back their grassroots opposition to the mine.
Ex-Khmer Rouge minister on trial dies
PHNOM PENH: Ieng Sary, the Khmer Rouge co-founder on trial for genocide and war crimes, died yesterday, the UN-backed court said, robbing Cambodians of a verdict for his role in the murderous regime. The death of the 87-year-old, who as Khmer Rouge foreign minister was one of the regime’s few public faces, intensified fears the remaining two elderly defendants may also fail to live to see justice at the embattled tribunal. “Ieng Sary died this morning,” tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen said, while a court document released later said his death “terminated all criminal and civil cases” against him. Charges against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan will not, however, be affected, Olsen added. aGENCIES