Manila Bay project sparks ‘sunset’ protest

Updated 12 February 2013
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Manila Bay project sparks ‘sunset’ protest

MANILA: Hundreds of Filipinos converged on the Philippine capital’s main bayfront on Tuesday for a unique “sunset watch” protest aimed at stopping what they said would be a disastrous reclamation project.
Equipped with binoculars and cameras, the protesters called on the Manila city government to repeal an ordinance granting permission for a developer to reclaim 288 hectares (711 acres) of the bay.
“This reclamation will not only block the view of the famed sunset on Manila Bay but will also lead to worsening environmental degradation, like more floods,” said Chiqui Mabanta, one of the organizers of the event.
The protest involved a broad coalition of Manila residents, artists, civic leaders and environmentalists called SOS Manila Bay, which last month filed a petition with city hall to stop the reclamation.
The protesters linked hands to form a human chain at sunset, while artists painted the famed views.
The group said the developer, Manila Goldcoast Development, had presented plans for an international cruise ship terminal to boost tourism to the area.
The complex would also house entertainment businesses, as well as a high-rise residential development.
The protesters argue the development would block vital drainage areas for the city, leading to heavier floods that already cause major damage every rainy season.
It would also eliminate prime sunset viewing on Manila Bay, which is a popular pastime for many residents who consider the area an oasis amid widespread urban blight in a heavily polluted city.
Officials of the real estate company were not available for comment on Tuesday, although its chief executive was quoted in the local media last week as defending the environmental credentials of the project.
In 2005 Mabanta and other conservationists pressured the government into saving a 2.1-hectare (5.2-acre) forest park beside Manila city that was to have been felled for development.
“We hope to also win this battle to save Manila Bay,” Mabanta said.


Corbyn: Labour government would quickly recognize Palestine

Updated 22 June 2018
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Corbyn: Labour government would quickly recognize Palestine

  • British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said Friday that a government under his leadership would recognize a Palestinian state "very early on" and push hard for a political solution to the Syrian civil war.
  • Corbyn spoke during his first international trip outside Europe since he was elected Labour Party leader in 2015.

ZAATARI REFUGEE CAMP, Jordan: British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said Friday that a government under his leadership would recognize a Palestinian state "very early on" and push hard for a political solution to the Syrian civil war.
Corbyn spoke during his first international trip outside Europe since he was elected Labour Party leader in 2015.
On Friday, he toured Zaatari, Jordan's largest camp for Syrian refugees. On Saturday, he is to visit a decades-old camp for Palestinians uprooted during Arab-Israeli wars.
In Zaatari, he walked through the camp market, lined by hundreds of stalls, where he sampled falafel and chatted with a sweets vendor who told him his dream is to return to Syria as soon as possible. Corbyn also inspected a sprawling solar power installation that provides about 12 hours a day of electricity to the camp's 80,000 residents.
Labour under Corbyn gained parliament seats, but narrowly lost to Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party in 2017 snap elections.
Opinion polling suggests the two parties are neck and neck. Britain is not scheduled to have another election until 2022, but there could be an early vote if May's fragile minority government suffers a major defeat in Parliament.
With his visit to Jordan, Corbyn appeared to be burnishing his foreign policy credentials.
Taking questions from reporters in the Zaatari market, he said that a Labour government would "work very, very hard to regenerate the peace process" in Syria. He said two parallel sets of talks about a solution for Syria would need to "come together," but did not offer specifics.
Without a solution in Syria, "the conflict will continue, more people will die in Syria and many many more will go to refugee camps, either here in Jordan or come to Europe or elsewhere," he told The Associated Press.