Six In The Morning Thursday 11 January 2024


South Africa accuses Israel of genocide and urges top UN court to halt Gaza war

South Africa accused Israel of genocide in an unprecedented case at the United Nations’ top court, saying the country’s leadership was “intent on destroying the Palestinians in Gaza” and calling for the court to order a halt to Israel’s military campaign in the enclave.

On the first of two days of hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), South Africa on Thursday argued that Israel’s air and ground assaults on Gaza were intended to “bring about the destruction” of its Palestinian population, and that comments made by Israeli leaders signaled their “genocidal intent.”

Israel declared war on Hamas after the militant group’s murderous rampage on October 7, when more than 1,200 people were killed and 240 hostages were taken back to Gaza. South Africa condemned Hamas’ attacks but said “nothing” could justify Israel’s response, which has killed more than 23,000 people in Gaza

Human rights in decline globally as leaders fail to uphold laws, report warns

Human Rights Watch’s annual report highlights politicians’ double standards and ‘transactional diplomacy’ amid escalating crises

Human rights across the world are in a parlous state as leaders shun their obligations to uphold international law, according to the annual report of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In its 2024 world report, HRW warns grimly of escalating human rights crises around the globe, with wartime atrocities increasing, suppression of human rights defenders on the rise, and universal human rights principles and laws being attacked and undermined by governments.

The report highlights political leaders’ increasing disregard for international human rights laws. The report says “selective government outrage and transactional diplomacy” and double standards in recognising international human rights laws has put countless lives at risk.

China says Taiwan presidential favorite a ‘severe danger’

Days before Taiwan’s key vote, China has warned that a Lai Ching-te win will trigger a cross-Strait conflict. The Taiwanese government has accused Beijing of interference in the race.

China on Thursday warned voters in Taiwan that an electoral win by the current presidential frontrunner — who supports a sovereign Taiwan — would pose a “severe danger” to cross-Strait relations.

“I sincerely hope the majority of Taiwan compatriots recognize the extreme harm of the DPP’s (Democratic Progressive Party) ‘Taiwan independence’ line and the extreme danger of Lai Ching-te’s triggering of cross-Strait confrontation and conflict, and to make the right choice at the crossroads of cross-Strait relations,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement

“If he comes to power, he will further push for ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist activities (and create) turbulence in the Taiwan Strait,” it said.

What we know about ‘Fito’, Ecuador’s notorious gang leader who escaped jail

José Adolfo Macías Villamar, leader of Los Choneros, one of the Ecuadorian gangs considered responsible for a spike in car bombings, kidnappings and slayings, was discovered missing from his prison cell where he was serving a sentence for drug trafficking

Macías began serving a 34-year sentence in 2011, but his prison stays have been in style and comfort.

His disappearance Sunday led the government to declare a state of emergency that involved sending the military into prisons, which sparked a wave of at least 30 attacks around the South American country, including an assault at a television station in Guayaquil.

The brazen raid of the station while it was broadcasting a newscast live Tuesday stunned Ecuadorean TV viewers who saw 15 minutes of gang members waving guns, threatening staff and claiming they had bombs. It also led President Daniel Noboa to declare that the country had an “armed internal conflict.”

Inmate on death row sues state for constant video surveillance

By YUHEI KYONO/ Staff Writer

January 11, 2024 at 17:18 JST

A death row inmate here filed a lawsuit against the state for violation of privacy, claiming that he has been held in a cell equipped with a surveillance camera for more than 16 years.

“I have endured it, thinking that I had to because I was a death row inmate, but I believe that there should be a minimum level of privacy for a human being,” Shozo Nishiyama, 70, said in a statement submitted to the Hiroshima District Court, which held the first hearing in the case on Jan. 10.

Mozambique storms: How to cyclone-proof your life

By Nomsa Maseko

BBC News, Beira

Mozambican builder José Joaquim is determined to never again put his family through the terror of living through a cyclone in a flimsy house.

When Cyclone Idai crashed on to Mozambique’s coastline five years ago, he was living with his wife and new-born baby in a shelter with corrugated iron roofing in the city of Beira.

“When the winds intensified, we were inside. Because of the noise we couldn’t be sure what was happening outside. But then suddenly one of the metal roof sheets blew away,” Mr Joaquim told the BBC.

“And then our door cracked in half because of the wind. We realised that we had to get out of there.”