4 min read.Updated: 28 Mar 2021, 11:41 PM ISTSohini Sen
Stories, opinions, news and views that matter, from around the world
From Singapore to Buenos Aires, cities around the world turned off their lights Saturday to mark Earth Hour, with this year's event highlighting the link between the destruction of nature and increasing outbreaks of diseases like covid-19. After starting in Asia, the call to action on climate change made its way around a planet reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. As the day came to an end, it was the turn of the Americas, where the lights dimmed at the Obelisk in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro's Museum of Tomorrow and the BBVA tower in Mexico City.
Total halts LNG operations in N. Mozambique
French energy giant Total has suspended its gas operations in northern Mozambique following a brazen jihadist attack close to its site that left several people dead, the company said Saturday. “The remobilization of the project that was envisaged at the beginning of the week is of course now suspended," it said in a statement, referring to their Wednesday announcement of a resumption of work in the area. Militants have seized control of the town of Palma in the northern province of Cabo Delgado following raid launched on Wednesday. Nearly 200 people including foreign gas workers had to be evacuated overnight from a hotel where they had sought refuge. At least seven people were killed in the violence, according to local media. Total said none of their staff working at the Afungi peninsula where the project is located, were killed during the attack.
Saudi’s big green move
Top crude exporter Saudi Arabia on Saturday unveiled a sweeping campaign to tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions, including a plan to plant billions of trees in the coming decades. The OPEC kingpin seems an unlikely champion of clean energy, but the "Saudi Green Initiative" aims to reduce emissions by generating half of its energy from renewables by 2030, de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said. Saudi Arabia also plans to plant 10 billion trees in the kingdom in the coming decades, he said in a statement released by the official SPA news agency. The de facto ruler of the world's top oil exporter said that Saudi Arabia aims to reduce its carbon emissions by generating 50% of the country's energy from renewables by 2030. Riyadh would also work with other Arab states on a Middle East Green Initiative to plant an additional 40 billion trees, which the prince said would be the world's largest reforestation programme.
Defence chiefs from a dozen countries on Sunday jointly condemned the bloodbath in Myanmar a day earlier, when at least 90 people—including several children—were killed after security forces opened fire on anti-coup protesters. Myanmar has been in turmoil since the generals ousted and detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, triggering mass protests demanding a return to democracy. The junta on Saturday staged a major show of might for its annual Armed Forces Day as the death toll since the February 1 coup climbed to at least 423, according to a local monitoring group. The defence ministers of 12 countries including the United States, Britain, Japan and Australia condemned the Myanmar military's use of lethal force against civilians.
Attacks on Indonesian cathedral
An Indonesian cathedral was rocked by a suspected suicide bombing on Sunday with body parts littering the chaotic scene as Christians inside celebrated the start of Holy Week, police said. The powerful blast at the church in Makassar city on Sulawesi island happened around 10:30 am local time (0330 GMT) and left at least one person dead and nine church officials and congregants injured, according to authorities. It was not immediately clear if any of the injuries were life-threatening. "We suspect it was a suicide bombing," South Sulawesi police chief Merdisyam, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP reporters. A church security guard tried to prevent a man on a motorbike from entering the compound when the blast occurred, with images from the scene showing what appeared to be a body lying inside the parking lot. Churches have been targeted in the past by extremists in Indonesia
Hong Kong residents shift billions abroad
As China imposed a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong last year after massive protests, residents of the city moved tens of billions of dollars across the globe to Canada, where thousands are hoping to forge a new future. Capital flows out of Hong Kong banks reaching Canada rose to their highest levels on record last year, with about C$43.6 billion ($34.8 billion) in electronic funds transfers (EFT) recorded by FINTRAC, Canada's anti-money laundering agency, which receives reports on transfers above C$10,000. The previously unreported outflows, the highest since 2012 when the earliest FINTRAC records are available, are the first evidence of a significant flight of capital overseas from the Asian financial hub following the security turmoil. One Canadian lender, Equitable Bank, also told Reuters it had seen a surge in deposits from Hong Kong just after the new law was introduced in June 2020.
Curated by Sohini Sen. Have something to share with us? Write to us at feedback@livemint or tweet to @shohinisen