Sudan army rulers, protesters agree on 3-year transition period

Sudan's Transitional Military Council agreed with the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces opposition alliance that the country's transition period will last three years. (AFP)
Updated 16 May 2019

Sudan army rulers, protesters agree on 3-year transition period

KHARTOUM: Sudanese army rulers and protest leaders Wednesday agreed on a three-year transition period for transferring power to a full civilian administration, even as negotiations over a new sovereign ruling body remain unfinished.
The protest movement is demanding a civilian-led transition following 30 years of iron-fisted rule by now deposed president Omar Al-Bashir, but the generals who toppled him have been holding onto a leadership role.
Talks between the two sides resumed earlier in the week but were marred by violence when an army major and five protesters were killed by unidentified gunmen at a long-running sit-in outside military headquarters in Khartoum.
The two sides announced early Wednesday after nearly 12 hours of negotiations that they had reached an agreement on the transition period.
“We agreed on a transitional period of three years,” Lt. Gen. Yasser Al-Atta, a member of the military council told reporters.
Atta said a final agreement on the sharing of power, including the forming of the next ruling body — the sovereign council — will be signed with the protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, within a day.
“We vow to our people that the agreement will be completed fully within 24 hours in a way that it meets the people’s aspirations,” Atta said.
He said of the transition period, the first six months will be allocated to signing peace accords with rebels in the country’s war zones like Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
Protester Mohamed Abdullah told AFP that he was happy the way the negotiations had turned out so far.
“We will wait for tomorrow’s talks, but my only question is ‘Who will guarantee this agreement with the military council?’,” he said as thousands of demonstrators gathered for another sit-in overnight.

The army generals had initially insisted on a two-year transition period, while the protest leaders wanted four years.
Key negotiations however remain on the composition of the sovereign council, which will replace the existing ruling body made up solely of generals.
The generals say this should be military led while protest leaders want it to be majority civilian.
After the forming of the sovereign council, a new transitional civilian government will be formed to run the country’s day-to-day affairs and would work toward having the first post-Bashir elections after the end of the transition period.
Atta said that during the transition period parliament will be composed of 300 members, of which 67 percent will be from the Alliance for Freedom and Change and the rest will be from other political groups.
The Alliance for Freedom and Change meanwhile said the shootings on Monday were an attempt to “disturb the breakthrough” in talks.
On Tuesday, the United States blamed the army itself for the deaths.
They “were clearly the result of the Transitional Military Council trying to impose its will on the protesters by attempting to remove roadblocks,” the US embassy said on its Facebook page.
“The decision for security forces to escalate the use of force, including the unnecessary use of tear gas, led directly to the unacceptable violence later in the day that the TMC was unable to control,” it said.

Protest leaders, who on Monday had blamed the remnants of Bashir’s regime and allied militias, changed their stand on Tuesday.
“We put the whole responsibility on the military council for what happened yesterday because it’s their direct responsibility to guard and protect the citizens,” Mohamed Naji Al-Assam, a prominent figure in the movement, told reporters.
The latest round of talks which opened on Monday come after a break in negotiations that saw protest leaders threaten “escalatory measures” to secure their central demand of civilian rule.
The issue has kept thousands of protesters camped outside army headquarters around the clock ever since Bashir’s overthrow.
The sit-in has become the focal point for the protest movement, overtaking the near daily protests that had been held across Sudan while the veteran president remained in power.
But on Tuesday protesters in the capital’s twin city Omdurman also vented their anger on the streets.
Protesters gathered in the Abbassiya and Al-Arbaa districts, just across the Nile from the capital, with many chanting slogans against the military council, witnesses told AFP.
“Protect your homeland or prepare to die!” the protesters chanted.
 


Plague to protein: Israeli firm seeks to put locusts on the menu

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Updated 7 min 54 sec ago

Plague to protein: Israeli firm seeks to put locusts on the menu

  • Some goods produced in the Golan Heights face export restrictions, including strict labeling requirements, because most of the international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty in the area

GOLAN HEIGHTS: From biblical plague to modern-day protein, one Israeli firm wants to make locusts a sustainable food choice in the Holy Land and beyond.
As for whether or not the insects are kosher, the answer is not so simple.
At Hargol Foodtech’s farm in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a rectangular enclosure that once served as a chicken coop is filled with thousands of locusts, a grasshopper species that has a highly destructive swarming phase.
Contained in a series of meticulously stacked, climate-controlled mesh cages, the insects are served wheatgrass through their three-month life-cycle, before being cooled, killed and baked.
Hargol’s chief executive Dror Tamir said that he grew up hearing stories of how locusts destroyed the fields of his kibbutz in the 1950s.
Yet the Yemenite Jews in the area did not view locusts as crop-ruining pests, but as an edible source of nutrients, Tamir recalled.
As an adult, Tamir became a food and nutrition entrepreneur increasingly concerned about the environmental cost of providing the world’s growing population with enough animal protein.
Tamir said he founded Hargol — Hebrew for grasshopper — 6.5 years ago after realizing the insects were the solution.
The company’s goal is to be “the first in the world to grow grasshoppers on a commercial scale, and provide the world with a healthier and more sustainable source of protein.”
Ram Reifen, a professor of human nutrition at Hebrew University, agreed that the planet is facing growing food supply challenges.
With Earth’s population expected to hit 10 billion by 2050, raising livestock to feed the planet will become increasingly unsustainable, given the massive water and land resources required.
“The fear is there will be a scarcity of protein,” Reifen said. Tamir said that unprocessed locusts consist of more than 70 percent protein and contain all amino acids, along with other nutrients.

HIGHLIGHT

At Hargol Foodtech’s farm in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a rectangular enclosure that once served as a chicken coop is filled with thousands of locusts, a grasshopper species that has a highly destructive swarming phase.

“What they do lack is saturated fat and cholesterol,” he said. “They have the good stuff. They don’t have the bad stuff.”
According to his own estimate, around 2.5 billion people — mainly in developing nations — consume insects as part of their regular diet.
And, the “most widely eaten insects in the world are grasshoppers,” Tamir said.
But, he added, “when trying to target North American and European customers, it’s really hard to overcome the ‘yuck’ factor.”
To make their product more palatable to Westerners, Hargol turns locusts into powder, which can be mixed into various foods.
Tamir said they were about to launch sales of locust-enhanced pancake mix and smoothie powders worldwide.
Some goods produced in the Golan Heights face export restrictions, including strict labeling requirements, because most of the international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty in the area.