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South Africa all set to host earth summit

posted on 26/08/2002: 1637 views

Johannesburg - South Africa has completed preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which begins here tomorrow. A high-ranking UAE delegation, headed by H.H Hamad Al Sharqi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Fujairah, will represent the UAE in the summit that is expected to be the launching pad for the Abu Dhabi Global Initiative on Environmental Data Collection. A police force of 20,000 men and women has been deployed throughout this metropolitan city where crime rates are alarmingly high. Strict security measures are being applied, particularly in Sandton Convention Centre, the venue of the Summit.

South African mass media believe that the security establishment is facing the biggest ever challenge as it seeks to prevent legal demonstrations at the world summit from being infiltrated by what newspapers here dub as " anarchists, anti-globalisation hardliners and land right activists." " The Saturday Star" daily quoted unidentified security sources as saying that five of the 15 applications to stage demonstrations during the WSSD had been granted. People here are well aware of the convention of probably the largest gathering ever organized by the UN, with tens of hundreds of South Africans volunteering to serve the delegations. Yesterday morning, a protest was staged at a nuclear reactor near Cape Town two days before the launch of the WSSD.

At least nine members of the environmental Greenpeace, who were aboard a boat opposite the Atlantic ocean city hanging up a banner reading "Nukes out of Africa", were arrested by the police, according to "the Saturday Star." However, unlike other world cities hosting international events, streets here are void of pedestrians at nights with dwellers citing security concerns as a reason. The South African government has set up 32 medical centres and posts, which are supported by 28 emergency medical services vehicles and three medical helicopters.

In addition, nine fire-fighting vehicles are designated for fire-related incidents. Understandably, the summit news are widely covered by the mass media here, with relevant reports making headlines and newspapers dedicating supplements on the biggest event South Africa has yet to host. Over 100 heads of state and governments are expected to participate in the summit, also called the earth summit, from Sept.2 to Sept.4 as a culmination of ten days of serious debate. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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