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Global activists gather at Rome G20 to demand tougher action on China

G20

Global activists gather at Rome G20 to demand tougher action on China

Legislators from around the world have gathered on the fringes of the G20 summit in Rome to protest against the presence of the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, and urge leaders not to let China off the hook over human rights abuses in return for Beijing’s cooperation on the climate crisis.

Many of those at the Rome counter-meeting have been banned from travelling to China as punishment for campaigning against Chinese repression in Xinjiang.

They are due to be addressed remotely by the Taiwanese foreign minister, Joseph Wu, as China steps up its threat to recapture Taiwan. Wu is on his first trip to Europe since 2019 and had been expected in Rome, but the Italian leg of his journey was cancelled with speculation that Rome was unwilling to give him a visa at such a sensitive time.

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, was not attending the G20 summit in person. He has recently reaffirmed the reunification of Taiwan as a Chinese goal and increased military activity close to the island. China has described the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (Ipac) counter-meeting as a gathering of secessionists.

Joe Biden, in an apparent breach of previous US policy, has pledged to protect Taiwan, but there has been ambivalence inside some western governments on how far to hold back from criticism of China in order to gain its cooperation before the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow.

Some Chinese diplomats have said there will be consequences for China’s cooperation on climate if the country’s human rights record is singled out.

The gathering in Rome of Ipac – a body of about 200 global parliamentarians from different political perspectives – is the kind of event that will infuriate China. The group is due to hear from Penpa Tsering, the Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration, from the Hong Kong activist and former politician Nathan Law, and the Uyghur artist and activist Rahima Mahmut.

Dovilė Šakalienė, a Lithuanian MP who was sanctioned by China in 2020, said: “We are here to ensure that the People’s Republic of China does not get a free pass at this G20. The leaders of the summit must realise very clearly what is at risk when they treat the PRC as an equal member of the club and what is the cost of making Uyghur genocide, Hong Kong and Taiwan bargaining chips. Let us not fool ourselves into trusting the PRC as a reliable partner in fighting the climate crisis, a state that sanctions human rights defenders and is currently imposing draconian population control measures.”

The former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, also in Rome, described the Ipac bipartisan meeting as “utterly unprecedented”. He said: “Our collective purpose is to demand of the G20 governments that they publicly recognise the enormous threat posed by the People’s Republic of China.

“Whether it is debauching the financial system, disregarding global trading rules, committing genocide against the Uyghurs, trashing the international treaty on Hong Kong or threatening to invade Taiwan – the time has come to call the PRC out.”

How to handle China is a live issue among some of the G20 leaders, with Biden due to meet the French president, Emmanuel Macron, for the first time since the US formed a strategic Indo-Pacific alliance with the UK and Australia, Aukus, which excluded France.

The US was partly motivated by a belief that France was not prepared to take a sufficiently confrontational approach to China. Aukus scuppered an Australian $66bn deal to buy French-made diesel-powered submarines. The French government responded by recalling its ambassadors to the US and Australia. Macron has subsequently spoken to Biden twice by phone, and is likely to use his private meeting in Rome to demand that the US give a strong signal of support for a stronger European defence cooperation, a long-term French demand.

In Germany, China is also a live issue, with the likely new German chancellor, the social democrat Olaf Scholz, under pressure from the Green party, his potential coalition partner, to take a tougher line on Taiwan.

Scholz is due to attend the G20 summit alongside the outgoing chancellor, Angela Merkel. Germany has been one of the leading European voices backing economic ties with China.

Scholz is negotiating with the German Greens on whether or how to make Taiwan feature in any coalition program. Last week the EU parliament voted by an overwhelming majority in favour of a comprehensive strengthening of relations with Taiwan.

The Bundestag human rights committee last October angered China by holding talks with representatives of Taiwan. A few days ago, the Chinese embassy reminded Germany that China had “consistently supported Germany’s efforts to achieve national unity” and was hoping for “understanding” and “support” in relation to Taiwan. At the same time, the embassy claims that reunification is “the common wish of all Chinese people in the world, including our 23 million compatriots in Taiwan”.

The EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy released last month calls for pursuing “deep trade and investment relationships” with Taiwan, particularly in semiconductors.

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Environment

NiMet predicts thunderstorm, rain from Friday to Sunday

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted thunderstorms and rains from Friday to Sunday across the country.

NiMet’s weather outlook released on Thursday in Abuja envisaged morning thunderstorms on Friday  over parts of Kano State and Kaduna State.

It anticipated thunderstorms over parts of Bauchi State, Gombe State, Zamfara, Sokoto State, Kaduna State, Adamawa and Taraba later in the day.

“In the North Central region, morning thunderstorms and rains are expected over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Kogi, Benue, Niger and Nasarawa State.

”While later in the day, thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi and Kwara.

“Morning rains are anticipated over parts of Oyo State, Ogun, Osun, Edo, Ondo State, Lagos State, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta, while intermittent rains are anticipated over the entire Southern region later in the day,” it said.

According to NiMet, morning thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of Kebbi, Kaduna State and Zamfara on Sunday while afternoon and evening thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of Gombe State, Kaduna State and Bauchi State.

The agency forecast thunderstorm and rains over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Nasarawa State and Niger during the morning hours.

NiMet predicted thunderstorms and rains over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Nasarawa State and Benue later in the day.

The agency envisaged morning rains over parts of Ondo State, Ogun, Edo and Lagos State.

It predicted intermittent rains over parts of Osun, Oyo State, Ogun, Ondo State, Lagos State, Delta, Edo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River later in the day.

According to NiMet, morning thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of Jigawa, Kebbi, Kaduna, Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe State and Bauchi State later in the day on Sunday.

The agency anticipated thunderstorms  over parts of Katsina State, Zamfara, Sokoto State and Kebbi.

“In the North Central region, rains are expected over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa State, Plateau and Niger during the morning hours.

“Partly cloudy conditions are also expected over the region during the afternoon/evening hours.

“Morning rains are anticipated over parts of Edo and Lagos State, while in the afternoon/evening hours, intermittent rains are anticipated over parts of Ondo State, Ekiti and Osun” it said.

The agency urged the public to take adequate precaution as strong winds may precede the rains in areas where thunderstorms are likely to occur.

NiMet advised Airline operators to get updated weather reports and forecasts from NiMet for effective planning in their operations.

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Environment

Lagos to reintroduce monthly environmental sanitation

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has approved the reintroduction of monthly environmental sanitation in the state.

The state Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, who disclosed this to newsmen said the State Executive Council granted the approval. He said the sanitation which would commence in July, would be officially announced by the governor soon.

“Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the state executive council have approved the re-introduction of the monthly sanitation. The governor will announce it officially for the exercise to commence this month,” Wahab, who spoke in Yoruba language, said in a 21-second clip shared on the Lagos State Environmental Update page on X.

The state government stopped the monthly environmental sanitation exercise in the state in 2016.

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Environment

NEMA activates states’ emergency centres on flood assessment

The Director General National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Zubaida Umar has activated all Zonal, Territorial and Operation offices of the agency nationwide, to work with the States’ Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) within their area of responsibilities, to carry out rescue operations and conduct assessment of the situation.

The move is in furtherance of its proactive flood risk management.

A statement from the agency on Sunday, said the NEMA Zonal, Territorial and Operation offices are located in Lagos, Ibadan, Ekiti, Abuja, Minna, Jos, Enugu, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Edo, Uyo, Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Yola and Gombe.

At the headquarters, NEMA said it also operates a toll-free emergency contact line: 0800CALLNEMA (080022556362) in addition to all its social media platforms, through which feedback from members of the public can be received nationwide.

Consequently, NEMA said search and rescue officers have been deployed across the states, and have been providing the much-desired support in coordination of rescue operations with SEMAs and other stakeholders in recently flooded areas and communities.

The agency also said it is conducting a rapid assessment to determine any further assistance that may be required in the impacted communities.

It said, “The rescue efforts by NEMA are in addition to the ongoing sensitization and awareness activities being carried out to alert the public of the predicted flood for necessary actions to be taken to avert negative impacts.”

On Wednesday, 3rd July, Umar was in Anambra State on flood advocacy where she discussed with the Deputy Governor who represented the Governor, and religious and community leaders, on measures to avert and mitigate floods in the state which often record severe flooding annually. She has also previously visited several states and stakeholders across the country on the same mission with plans to continue with the advocacy.

It said, “As part of its pre-rainy season flood prevention advocacy, the Agency engaged the media in the placement of flood sensitisation jingles, and held an emergency coordination forum with critical stakeholders to prepare them for the predicted disaster.

The agency also said that soon after the flood prediction, written all state governments with the list of local governments that are at risk and outlined actions required to be taken to avert or mitigate the disaster.

It said, “A number of states that heeded the advisory from NEMA have acknowledged their early actions matched with the warnings and NEMA responses that have made lots of differences.

NEMA reemphasize the flood warning while calling on all stakeholders including the state and the local government, to be prepared for the intensifying of the rain season.

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