Category Archives: World

China Shenzhen bans cats&dogs meat

China’s city of Shenzhen (12,5M inhabitants) has just passed a ground-breaking law to ban the consumption and production of dog and cat meat, the first city in mainland China to do so. The ban has been welcomed by long-time anti-dog meat trade campaigners Humane Society International as a watershed moment in efforts to ban the trade across China. The law also addresses the wildlife trade.

The food safety legislation (Shenzhen Special Economic Region Regulation on a Comprehensive Ban on the Consumption of Wild Animals) proposed in February by Shenzhen legislators, comes into effect on May 1.

Unlike the temporary ban on wildlife markets and consumption passed by the national government, Shenzhen’s ban is a permanent prohibition on the consumption, breeding, and sale of wildlife such as snakes, lizards, and other wild animals for human consumption, with heavy fines of up 150,000 yuan (€20 000).

Although advanced in response to the coronavirus outbreak, an unrelated ban on the consumption of “pet” animals was also included in acknowledgement of their status as companion animals. In announcing the ban, a spokesperson for the Shenzhen government said “… dogs and cats as pets have established a much closer relationship with humans than all other animals, and banning the consumption of dogs and cats and other pets is a common practice in developed countries and in Hong Kong and Taiwan. This ban also responds to the demand and spirit of human civilization.”

To further underpin that, the law clarifies those species permitted to be consumed (pig, cattle, sheep, rabbit, chicken etc, with dogs and cats noticeably absent). Therefore from May 1, the sale of cats and dogs for human consumption will now be banned in restaurants and stores throughout Shenzhen, and sale of live cats and dogs for consumption will be banned in markets.

Dr Peter Li, China policy specialist for animal protection charity Humane Society International, welcomed the news, saying: “With Shenzhen taking the historic decision to become mainland China’s first city to ban dog and cat meat consumption, this really could be a watershed moment in efforts to end this brutal trade that kills an estimated 10 million dogs and 4 million cats in China every year.

The majority of these companion animals are stolen from people’s back yards or snatched from the streets, and are spirited away on the backs of trucks to be beaten to death in slaughterhouses and restaurants across China.

Shenzhen is China’s fifth largest city so although the dog meat trade is fairly small there compared with the rest of the province, its true significance is that it could inspire a domino effect with other cities following suit. Most people in China don’t eat dog or cat meat, and there is considerable opposition to the trade particularly among younger Chinese. Although World Health Organization advice is clear that dogs and cats pose no known coronavirus threat whatsoever, it’s no surprise that attention is turning to this trade at this time because it undoubtedly poses a huge human health risk for other diseases such as rabies, as well as causing immense animal suffering.”

Dr. Teresa M. Telecky, vice president of the wildlife department for Humane Society International, said: “Shenzhen is the first city in the world to take the lessons learned from this pandemic seriously and make the changes needed to avoid another pandemic. People around the world are suffering the impact of this pandemic because of one thing: the wildlife trade. Shenzhen’s bold steps to stop this trade and wildlife consumption is a model for governments around the world to emulate. We urge all governments to follow suit by banning wildlife trade, transport and consumption for any purpose.”

Shenzhen ban details:

Article 2 prohibits the consumption of state-protected wild animals and other terrestrial wild animals taken from the wild, as well as captive bred and farmed terrestrial wild species.
Article 3 makes clear that the consumption of “pet” animals such as cats and dogs is not permitted; species that are permitted to be consumed include pig, cattle, sheep, donkey, rabbit, chicken, duck, goose, pigeon, quail and other livestock animals on the list that are raised for food, as well as aquatic animals who are not banned by other law or regulations.
Article 8: prohibits the consumption of animals farmed for medicinal purposes.
Article 17. The production or marketing (sale) of the above mentioned state-protected wild species and their products for consumption purposes will be fined between 150,000 yuan and 200,000 for a value of illegal activity that is under 10,000 yuan; and a fine of between 20 times and 30 times of the value of an illegal activity that is 10,000 yuan or above. For violations involving other wild animals whose value is less than 10,000 yuan, there will be fines between 100,000 yuan and 150,000 yuan (approx.€20 000).

Millions dogs a year are killed across Asia for meat, estimated figure is 30 million animals a year. There are are also to be more than 91.49 million dogs and cats kept as pets in China. An estimated 10 million dogs a year are killed for China’s dog meat trade.

The World Health Organization warns that the dog trade spreads rabies and increases the risk of cholera.

Most people in China don’t eat dogs, in fact dog meat is only eaten infrequently by less than 20% of the Chinese population. A 2017 survey revealed that even in Yulin, home of the notorious dog meat festival, most people (72%) don’t regularly eat dog meat despite efforts by dog meat traders to promote it.

Nationwide across China, a 2016 survey conducted by Chinese polling company Horizon, and commissioned by Chinese group China Animal Welfare Association in collaboration with Humane Society International and Avaaz, found that most Chinese citizens (64%) want to see an end to the Yulin festival, more than half (51.7%) think the dog meat trade should be completely banned, and the majority (69.5%) have never eaten dog meat.

COVID19 reaches Himalaya

Nepal government has closed its borders with India and China for a week starting March 23, in a bid to prevent a possible outbreak of the coronavirus among the Himalayan nation.

Although the cross-border human movement is halted till midnight of March 29, supply of goods from the countries will continue as usual, Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada told a press conference on March 22 Sunday night.

Nepal, which shares an 1,800-km open border with India, has total 37 motorable land entry points with it, while with China it has four such entry points. Although the cross-border human movement is halted till midnight of March 29, supply of goods from the countries will continue as usual, Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada told a press conference on Sunday night.

Release of 5K Taliban prisoners

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree promising to release 1,500 prisoners belonging to Taliban as a goodwill gesture to get intra-Afghan negotiations started. (Image: social media)

A recent peace deal signed between the United States and the Taliban called for the release of up to 5,000 prisoners as precondition of the negotiations.

There was no official response from the Taliban, but the Associated Press news agency claims they saw a letter that Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, the head of the Taliban’s Prisoners Commission, sent to the prisoners, their families and Taliban leaders promising there would be no intra-Afghan talks until all the prisoners are released.

In a letter, sent around last weekend, President Ghani wrote that Taliban would verify that each prisoner released is among those on the list given to an American delegation.

The first round of 1,500 prisoners will be selected based on age, health and the length of their sentences already served. Each released Talib will be biometrically identified, and obliged to sign a written guarantee that they will not return to the battlefield. Taken in condiseration that the majority of them are illiterate, highly likelty that they will use ink to make an fingerpirnt on the document.

The remaining 3,500 prisoners will be released after intra-Afghan negotiations start and 500 will be released every two weeks providing the Taliban reduce violence on the battlefield, Ghani’s decree said.

Chile: Airport €15M robbery

An armed group of seven stole €1 million ($1.2 million) and $14 million in cash from an armored truck at Santiago International Airport in Chile, police sources confirmed. (Image: illustration). The heist was immediately dabbed the “robbery of the century”. Investigation presumes the robbers had inside information about shipments of cash to Chile via Arturo Merino Benitez Airport 18 km from the city center.

The robbers, armed with guns, arrived in the airport’s cargo area in two vehicles and ambushed the truck, threatening the two security guards inside, according to police. The guards were injured in the heist, but there is not further information about them.

The armed group successfully escaped police pursuit, taking advantage of neglect to patrolling the roads outside the capital, caused by concentration of police at mass demonstrations, and ongoing civil unrest.

The heist is regarded as one of the biggest in the country’s history. In 2017, a cash shipment of $19 million was stolen from the offices of a transport company just outside the Chilean capital. Santiago Airport was also the target of a similar raid in 2014 worth $10 million, a heist that became known locally as the “theft of the country.”

COVID19: Mongolia President in quarantine

Mongolia’s President Battulga Khaltmaa and other government officials have submitted to a fortnight quarantine after returning home from their visit to China, the state news agency Montsame reported.

Battulga is the first head of state to visit China since the country began implementing special measure to curb the novel virus outbreak in January.

The President arrived in Beijing with Foreign Minister Tsogtbaatar Damdin and other senior government officials on February 26, and held a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

They were admitted into quarantine as soon as they arrived in Mongolia as a precautionary measure, Montsame agency sources explained.

Novel virus: science alerts big cities

A study published on The Lancet estimates 75,815 individuals are affected by coronavirus.

The outbreak is expected to reach major cities in one to two weeks.

The virus is spreading rapidly throughout Asia and has reached some parts of Europe.
The Lancet, one of the most prestigious medical journals globally, released a study estimating the total number of individuals affected by coronavirus. Astonishingly, the journal says more than 75,800 people have been infected in Wuhan, China alone.

Considering the large number of people that left Wuhan to other major cities like Chongqing and Beijing, the researchers predicted that major Chinese population centers could be affected by the coronavirus outbreak within one to two weeks.

Official reports placed the number of individuals that left Wuhan to nearby countries like Thailand, Japan and South Korea at around 40,000.

Given that 2019-nCoV is no longer contained within Wuhan, other major Chinese cities are probably sustaining localised outbreaks. Large cities overseas with close transport links to China could also become outbreak epicentres, unless substantial public health interventions at both the population and personal levels are implemented immediately. – The Lancet journal  writes.

https://twitter.com/sotiridi/status/1223282345702313987?s=21

“Independent self-sustaining outbreaks in major cities globally could become inevitable because of substantial exportation of presymptomatic cases and in the absence of large-scale public health interventions. Preparedness plans and mitigation interventions should be readied for quick deployment globally” – The Lancet article concludes.

PS752: EU expects transparent investigation

*The European Union acknowledges the statements made by the Iranian authorities taking responsibility for the crash of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS 752 on 8 January* reads the statement of the spokesperson of the European External Action Service.

*We deplore this tragedy which has caused the death of so many people from various countries and we reiterate our heartfelt condolences to their families and loved ones.

*In view of the commitments given by President Rouhani, the EU expects that Iran will continue to cooperate fully and undertake a comprehensive and transparent investigation, which should abide by international standards, into how this tragedy occurred. Appropriate measures need to be taken to ensure that such a horrible accident can never occur again*.

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