Japan kills 177 whales in Pacific campaign: government

This file photo shows a Japanese whaling ship leaving the port of Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi prefecture, western Japan to resume whale hunting in the Antarctic on December 1, 2015. (File photo: JIJI PRESS via AFP)
Updated 26 September 2017
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Japan kills 177 whales in Pacific campaign: government

TOKYO: Japan said Tuesday it killed 177 whales off its northeast coast in an annual hunt that sparks anger among animal rights activists and others.
Three ships which left port in June returned with 43 minke whales and 134 sei whales, the number stipulated beforehand, according to the country’s fisheries agency.
Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) moratorium on hunting, but exploits a loophole which allows whales to be killed in the name of scientific research.
The studies are “necessary to estimate the precise number of (sustainable) catches as we look to restart commercial whaling,” agency official Kohei Ito told AFP.
Norway — which does not consider itself bound by the 1986 moratorium — and Iceland are the only countries in the world that authorize commercial whaling.
Tokyo claims it is trying to prove the whale population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting for a traditional source of food.
But Japanese consumer demand for whale meat has declined significantly over the years, raising the question of whether such hunts still make economic sense.
Foreign pressure on Japan to stop whaling has only made conservatives and politicians more resolute about continuing. It is a rare thorny issue in Tokyo’s otherwise amiable diplomacy.
In 2014 the United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Tokyo to end a regular hunt in the Antarctic waters, saying the project did not meet conventional scientific standards.
Japan canceled its 2014-15 hunt, only to resume it the following year under a new program — saying the fresh plan is genuinely scientific.
Its hunt in the Antarctic has seen clashes on the high seas between Japanese whalers and animal rights activists.


London climate protesters seek talks with government

Updated 21 April 2019
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London climate protesters seek talks with government

  • Some 831 arrests have been made and 42 people charged in connection with the ongoing Extinction Rebellion protests

LONDON: Climate change protesters who have brought parts of London to a standstill said Sunday they were prepared to call a halt if the British government will discuss their demands.
Some 831 arrests have been made and 42 people charged in connection with the ongoing Extinction Rebellion protests.
On the seventh day of demonstrations that have occupied key spots in the British capital, organizers said they were willing to switch tactics from disruption to dialogue.
“We are prepared to pause, should the government come to the negotiating table,” Extinction Rebellion spokesman James Fox told AFP.
“What the pause looks like is us stopping an escalation.
“We can discuss leaving if they are willing to discuss our demands.
“At the moment, we haven’t received a response from the government... so we’re waiting on that.”
Extinction Rebellion was established last year in Britain by academics and has become one of the world’s fastest-growing environmental movements.
Campaigners want governments to declare a climate and ecological emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025, halt biodiversity loss and be led by new “citizens’ assemblies on climate and ecological justice.
“We’re giving them an opportunity now to come and speak to us,” Fox told AFP.
“If they don’t take that opportunity, and if they refuse to come and negotiate with us, then this is going to continue and this is going to escalate in different, diverse and very creative ways.”
Police said they had managed to clear the Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus junctions of protesters, who remain in place on Waterloo Bridge and Parliament Square.
“We remain in frequent contact with the organizers to ensure that the serious disruption to Londoners is brought to a close as soon as possible and that only lawful and peaceful protests continue,” the police said in a statement.
Calling for an end to the protests, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said more than 9,000 police officers had been responding to the demonstrations, which had left the force as a whole overstretched.
“This is now taking a real toll on our city — our communities, businesses and police. This is counter-productive to the cause and our city,” he said.
“I’m extremely concerned about the impact the protests are having on our ability to tackle issues like violent crime if they continue any longer. It simply isn’t right to put Londoners’ safety at risk.
“You must now let London return to business as usual.”
In the blazing sunshine on Waterloo Bridge, police lifted protesters and carried them off to waiting police vans.
“I’m genuinely terrified. I think about it all the time. I’m so scared for the world. I feel like there is going to be calamity in my lifetime,” student Amber Gray told AFP.
“I don’t even feel comfortable bringing children into this world knowing that that is coming.
“And I don’t want people in the future to say to me, ‘why didn’t you do anything?’“
Retiree Kathy Hayman said politicians were “ignoring and denying.”
“I’m amazed really at the lack of consciousness that they have and the lack of responsibility.”