Two High-rise Towers in India Demolished for Violating Laws

Two high-rise apartment towers in India were leveled to the ground in a controlled demolition on Sunday after the country’s top court declared them illegal for violating building norms, officials said. They became India’s tallest structures to be razed to the ground.

More than 1,500 families vacated their apartments in the area more than seven hours before the nearly 100-meter- tall towers crumbled inward by the impact of the implosion. The 32-story and 29-story towers, which were being constructed by a private builder in Noida city on the outskirts of New Delhi, were yet to be occupied.

“Largely, everything is OK,” said Ritu Maheshwari, a government administrator, after the demolition. “It happened as expected.”

The demolition was completed within seconds but followed a 12-year court battle between residents in the area and the builder, Supertech Limited.

The razing of the towers occurred after the Supreme Court found that the builder, in collusion with government officials, violated laws prohibiting construction within a certain distance from nearby buildings.

The Supreme Court said the construction of the two towers also was illegal because the builder did not receive mandatory consent from other apartment owners in the area.

Ahead of the demolition, the towers were surrounded by scaffolding, fences, barricades and special covers to block dust from the approximately 88,000 tons of debris that would be generated, officials said. Disposing all of the debris will take three months.

Residents are expected to return to the area Sunday evening after experts examine the impact of the demolition. Some apartments are located just nine meters away from the blast site, and the required safe distance is 20 meters.

“It would come in the top five demolitions in the world in terms of height, volume, steel and tightness of the structure,” said Utkarsh Mehta, a partner with Edifice Engineering, which brought down the building in collaboration with Jet Demolition from South Africa at a cost of 180 million rupees ($2.25 million).

Mehta said 3,500 kilograms (7,716 pounds) of explosives were drilled into thousands of holes in the columns and shears of the towers. Experts used the waterfall method of demolition in which one story collapses on the next.

Joe Brikmann, director of Jet Demolition, said earlier he was confident no harm would come to the buildings adjacent to the demolished towers.

“The buildings in this area are in a high seismic zone (zone IV) and built to experience earthquakes which are much stronger than vibrations from an implosion. We are confident that the implosion of the towers will not cause any damage to properties,” The Times of India newspaper quoted him as saying.

The tallest building demolished in the world with explosives to date was 165 meters tall, and occurred in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Nov. 27, 2020, according to Guinness World Records.

Source: Voice of America

Foreign Minister Osman Saleh’s statement at TICAD Conference

Mr. Chairman

Honourable Ministers

Distinguished Delegates

Allow me first to join previous speakers to extend our profound gratitude to the Governments of Tunisia and Japan for organizing this International Conference.

Almost thirty years have elapsed since the launching of the TICAD Forum in 1993. In this respect, this is an auspicious time to undertake a comprehensive, objective and factual appraisal of the progress achieved by the Forum so far on the basis of the following key pillars and matrices: i) the extent of TICAD’s contribution in tackling Africa’s developmental challenges; and, ii) its enhancement of the principle of African ownership within the matrix or framework of international partnership.

This assessment is critical in our current consultations as we ponder on ways and means for moving forward to expand our shared values and common objectives. Indeed, it behooves on us to draw appropriate lessons from past experiences in order to bolster our future progress.

The defining features of the past thirty years in the post-Cold War era can be summed up in the emergence and prevalence of the following phenomena. As it happens, the hallmarks of the tumultuous epoch have included: gross violation of international law and the attendant trampling of the independence and sovereignty of peoples and nations; unconscionable exploitation of the resources of “undeveloped” countries; unfair distribution of income and wealth; prevalence of unbridled culture of saber-rattling, intimidation, military interventions, and imposition of illicit and unilateral sanctions; preponderance of terrorism, spiraling crises, corruption, displacement and organized human trafficking; and, the paralysis and marginalization of international and regional organizations.

All these tools were employed to advance and maintain the hegemony and narrow interests of the tiny few or miniscule special interest groups.

The marginalized African continent – which reportedly possesses 60% of the natural resources in our global village and with an estimated population of 1.2 billion – has remained the primary victim of these perilous policies. The people of Africa continue to be portrayed in very pejorative terms and depicted as the poster-children of poverty, hunger, interminable crises and pandemics.

Various media outlets routinely misconstrue African events as raw input for their condescending and patronizing propaganda and PR stints. Ludicrous as it is, Africa is these days portrayed as if it is enmeshed in intractable hunger because of its inaccessibility to Ukrainian Wheat. The COVID-19 pandemic; natural disasters and climate change; and, subsistence economics have all combined to exacerbate the preoccupying African reality.

To map-out Africa’s developmental challenges – both in sectoral and quantitative formats – is a relatively straightforward task that does not require laborious work. By the same token, the principle of African ownership is crystal clear that does not pose ambiguity in terms of abstract notions. But the reality on the ground remains starkly different.

Genuine ownership of policies and programmes are supplanted by dependency and aid-recipient mind-sets. Fostering of enabling environment continues to be replaced by debilitating conditions. On the other hand, genuine and sustainable partnerships are cultivated only through equitable, fair and enabling ties.

In the prevailing and unfavourable international climate, overarching global agendas are certainly exacerbating Africa’s precarious reality. Still, we cannot deny the fact that ultimately, responsibility for this sad state of affairs rests on Africa’s shoulders.

Distinguished Delegates

In these precarious times of transition in the prevailing global configuration, the respect of international law; the protection of the independence and sovereignty of peoples and nations; the deterrence of pillage and robbery; the nurturing of mutual respect, complementarity and partnership; guarantying national security and stability, and, the achievement of development and prosperity will be crystallized when, and only when, we earnestly review, with the requisite seriousness, the shared values and objectives that we collectively cherish.

In the event, we must proceed, beyond pledges and political goodwill, to chart-out much more articulated, impacting and measurable programmes in infrastructure, energy, water and agriculture, industry, appropriate modalities of trade and investment, as well as in education and health in the social services sectors. These programmes must also be accompanied by effective mechanisms of implementation.

In conclusion, I express my sincere hopes for this Conference to adopt important resolutions that would incorporate the modest notions cited above and other recommendations made by all the distinguished participants.

I thank you

Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea

Red Cross, Red Crescent Say Lengthy Ukraine War to Have Severe Consequences for Other Global Crises

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies this week warned a lengthy war in Ukraine will have severe humanitarian consequences for other global crises.

Devastating secondary effects from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are already being felt six months after Russia’s invasion.

International Red Cross federation officials warned this week that the economic impact on millions of destitute people worldwide will worsen the longer the war drags on.

Ukraine was one of the world’s biggest grain exporters before the war. The Russian blockade of Black Sea ports, however, has prevented grain shipments, triggering a global food crisis. Skyrocketing food and fuel prices have made these and other essential commodities unaffordable, plunging millions of people into acute hunger.

Earlier this month, a U.N.-mediated deal allowed Ukraine to resume grain exports. Nevertheless, the Red Cross says the consequences of the war continue to be felt and will take a long time to undo.

Brigitte Ebbesen is International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies regional director for Europe. She says humanitarian needs remain acute, especially in the Middle East and Africa.

“The food crisis in Africa is something that we already are reacting to as IFRC and we are looking at in the Middle East. Buying food is increasingly difficult for a large part of the population. So, the ripple effects are enormous,” she said.

More than 100,000 local Red Cross volunteers and staff have been mobilized to provide humanitarian aid in Ukraine, seven bordering countries and 17 other countries in the region.

Speaking from Kyiv, Ukrainian Red Cross Director-General Maksym Dotsenko says 8 million people are internally displaced and more than 5 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries.

He says the conflict is likely to go on for a long time and Red Cross staff and volunteers will continue to work to provide critical aid. He says continued support from the international community also will be crucial.

“The renovation of infrastructure, the renovation of houses, the renovation of the industry will require a lot of efforts of global community of Ukrainian people. So, the needs of the civilians are crucial for now and we do not see the tendency that these needs will be decreasing, especially in this winter period,” he said.

The International Red Cross says half of Ukraine’s 44 million population will require humanitarian assistance for a long time. Even if the conflict ends soon, it says it will take years to repair the damage to cities and homes. The Red Cross also says it will take years to alleviate the mental anguish, trauma, and the physical and economic suffering the war has caused.

Source: Voice of America