Antarc­tic sanc­tu­ary plans fail

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

SYD­NEY: Plans to cre­ate two vast ocean sanc­tu­ar­ies in Antarc­tica to pro­tect the pris­tine wilder­ness failed yes­ter­day for a third time, with Rus­sia and China block­ing the bids, del­e­gates at multi­na­tion talks said.

The pro­pos­als for two Ma­rine Pro­tected Ar­eas were on the ta­ble at the Com­mis­sion for the Con­ser­va­tion of Antarc­tic Ma­rine Liv­ing Re­sources (CCAMLR) meet­ing in Ho­bart.

But the 10-day talks ended with the na­tions un­able to agree to a US-New Zealand pro­posal for a pro­tected zone in the Ross Sea and another by Aus­tralia, France and the EU for a sanc­tu­ary off East Antarc­tica.

“The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity came to­gether in Ho­bart to pro­tect key parts of the Antarc­tic Ocean – one of the last pris­tine en­vi­ron­ments in the world – yet Rus­sia chose to stand in the way,” said Joshua Re­ichert, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of USbased Pew Char­i­ta­ble Trusts.

En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists said an ocean wilder­ness that is home to 16 000 known species, in­clud­ing whales, seals, al­ba­trosses, pen­guins and unique species of fish, was at stake.

Head of the Swedish del­e­ga­tion Bo Fern­holm said the out­come was dis­ap­point­ing.

“There was sad­ness,” he said. “We were quite un­happy with the fact that it didn’t go ahead.”

Another del­e­gate said: “The talks have failed. Rus­sia and China wanted more de­tails, more time. It’s very dis­ap­point­ing.”

While Rus­sia and Ukraine ac­tively blocked both pro­pos­als, China with­drew sup­port for the East Antarc­tic sanc­tu­ary, said the Antarc­tic Ocean Al­liance, a coali­tion of high­pro­file in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing ac­tor Leonardo DiCaprio, and con­ser­va­tion groups.

It was the third at­tempt since last year by CCAMLR to pro­tect large ar­eas in the South­ern Ocean.

Fern­holm said Rus­sia had reser­va­tions, be­lieved to be re­lated to the lim­its on fish­ing.

Safe­guard­ing the teem­ing ma­rine life of the Antarc­tic had far-reach­ing con­se­quences for the world’s oceans, said del­e­gates. – Sapa-AFP TORONTO: Back­ers of em­bat­tled Toronto mayor Rob Ford have called for po­lice to re­lease a video that ap­pears to show him smok­ing a crack pipe, as an­gry res­i­dents called for the mayor’s res­ig­na­tion.

Po­lice an­nounced on Thurs­day they had re­cov­ered the video dur­ing a sur­veil­lance op­er­a­tion of an as­so­ci­ate sus­pected of pro­vid­ing drugs to the mayor.

Ford claimed the video did not ex­ist and vowed not to re­sign.

Three killed in Is­raeli air strike

GAZA: An Is­raeli air strike killed three Pales­tinian mil­i­tants in the Gaza Strip yes­ter­day, the most killed in an in­ci­dent on the fron­tier in months.

The Is­raeli mil­i­tary said in a state­ment its air­craft tar­geted a tun­nel used by Pales­tinian mil­i­tants to carry out at­tacks on Is­raelis.

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