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The Latest: UN climate conference begins in Paris

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, right, and French President Francois Hollande arrive to welcome world leaders for the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, Pool)

PARIS (AP) — The latest news from the U.N. climate conference that began Monday in Paris. All times local:

10:10 a.m.

High-level climate talks have begun in Paris with the goal of a long-term deal to reduce man-made emissions.

Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal, who played host to the last U.N. climate conference in Lima, declared this year's meeting open Monday morning.

A total of 151 world leaders have converged on Paris to launch the two-week talks in hopes of giving an impetus for an ambitious agreement.

Vidal said a deal would show the world that countries can work together to fight global warming as well as terrorism. The talks are occurring just two weeks after deadly attacks in Paris by Islamic State extremists.

10:05 a.m.

President Barack Obama says nowhere has coordination between the United States and China been more fruitful or critical than on climate change.

Obama says 180 nations followed the lead of the U.S. and China on climate change. He says "our leadership on this issue has been absolutely vital."

Obama is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the climate conference.

Xi says climate change is a huge challenge. He's calling for the U.S. and China to build a new model of cooperation, using diplomatic language long preferred by Beijing.

China emits about 30 percent of the world's greenhouse gases and the U.S. about 16 percent.

9:20 a.m.

Paris police say 317 people were detained after an unauthorized protest seeking to call attention to climate change, which ended with police firing tear gas at protesters throwing bottles and candles.

The Paris police department had said Sunday night that 174 were detained in the protest, then said Monday morning that the figure had grown to 317. It did not give a reason for the growing number.

France is under a state of emergency after Nov. 13 attacks that killed 130 people. It banned protests ahead of landmark climate talks opening Monday, citing security concerns.

But thousands of people formed a human chain along the route of a long-planned environmental march Sunday. It was largely peaceful.

President Francois Hollande denounced the violence as "scandalous."

8:20 a.m.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and French President Francois Hollande are greeting heads of state and government from around the world for high-stakes talks aimed at fighting global warming.

One by one, some 150 leaders are arriving at the conference center near the Le Bourget airfield just north of Paris. Ban, Hollande, the head of the U.N. climate change agency Christina Figueres, and French Environment Minister Segolene Royal are standing in front of the conference center to greet them.

Afterwards, each leader will give a speech laying out their countries' efforts to reduce man-made emissions and cope with climate change.

The event opening Monday lasts through Dec. 11 and is under extra-security after Nov. 13 extremist attacks in Paris.

7:30 a.m.

Wide Paris-area highways usually packed with commuters are cordoned off to clear the way for President Barack Obama and 150 other world leaders joining critical talks about fighting global warming.

Riot police vans and plainclothes officers are stationed around the capital and the northern suburb of Le Bourget, where the U.N.-led climate conference is being held Nov. 30-Dec. 11.

The security measures are especially tight after Islamic extremists killed 130 people two weeks ago in Paris and targeted the national stadium Stade de France, near the climate conference venue.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and French President Francois Hollande will greet each of the leaders Monday morning then each will give a speech about what their countries are doing to reduce emissions and slow climate change. (YAHOO NEWS)

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021
Kebonang

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.

JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
MP saleshando

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.

This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.

“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.

This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.

“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.

UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.

In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.

This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.

Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”

Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”

UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.

Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.

“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview
UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.

The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021
boko-and-khama

President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.

While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.

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