Two killed in second Kenya building collapse this week – Arab News
NAIROBI: A multi-story building under construction collapsed on a neighboring home in the outskirts of Kenyan capital Nairobi, killing two people on Thursday, authorities said.
Three other people have been rescued alive from the family home that was next to the collapsed building located in the Ruaka suburb.
The early morning collapse is the second such incident this week as construction authorities warn of unpermitted buildings coming up in the city and its outskirts.
On Tuesday, a multi-story building collapsed in the city and construction workers were trapped inside.
Three people were confirmed dead from that incident, and the owner of the building, who is to be arrested and charged, has been on the run.
Building collapses are common in Nairobi, where housing is in high demand and unscrupulous developers often bypass regulations.
After eight buildings collapsed and killed 15 people in Kenya in 2015, the presidency ordered an audit of all the country’s buildings to see if they were up to code. The National Construction Authority found that 58 percent of the buildings in Nairobi were unfit for habitation.
WASHINGTON: US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to hold that influential post, said on Thursday she will step down as the Democratic leader in the chamber a day after Republicans secured a narrow majority following the midterm elections.
Pelosi, an 82-year-old liberal from California who has served two stints as speaker, said she will remain in Congress, representing San Francisco in the House as she has done for 35 years. Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York may seek to take her place as the top Democrat in the House. Jeffries would be the first Black lawmaker to lead one of the major parties’ caucuses in Congress.
Pelosi received cheers from her fellow Democrats as she took her place in the House chamber to make the announcement and throughout her remarks.
She called the House chamber “sacred ground” and the “heart of American democracy.” She recalled visiting the Capitol for the first time as a child when her father was sworn in as a House member. She said that the chamber represented “the people’s house” and had done “the people’s work.”
“American democracy is majestic but it is fragile. Many of us here have witnessed our fragility firsthand, tragically in this chamber. And so democracy must be forever defended from forces that wish it harm,” Pelosi said, alluding to the attack on the Capitol last year by former President Donald Trump’s supporters.
“We the people — one country, one destiny,” Pelosi added.
Pelosi also noted the increase in the number of women serving in the House since she first joined it. She thanked her family and staff.
“A new day is dawning on the horizon,” Pelosi added.
Republicans on Wednesday were projected to win control of the House following last week’s congressional elections, giving them a narrow majority in the chamber that will enable them to impede Democratic President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda. Democrats retained control of the Senate.
Pelosi has played a central role in getting Democratic President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda through Congress, as she did previously for Democratic President Barack Obama. She helped pass Obama’s signature 2010 health care law as well as major expansions of infrastructure and climate spending under Biden. She also presided over the House when it twice impeached Trump and has been a regular target of criticism from US conservatives.
Pelosi, who has held her seat since winning a 1987 special election, has been under pressure during the past few years from younger House Democrats to yield power. She was the highest-ranking and most powerful elected woman in US history until Kamala Harris became vice president in January 2021. House speaker is second in the line of succession to the presidency.
Pelosi in recent days had said the Oct. 28 assault on her husband Paul by a politically motivated hammer-wielding intruder in their San Francisco home, as well as other factors, would impact her decision on whether to keep her leadership role.
House Democrats are set to vote on their leaders on Nov. 30.
On Wednesday, House Republicans offered initial support for Kevin McCarthy to serve as speaker when the next Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3.
Jeffries, 52, would herald a new generation of leadership for the Democrats. Pelosi’s decision also may have a bearing on whether outgoing House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, 83, and Democratic Whip James Clyburn, 82, will seek top Democratic positions in the new Congress that convenes on Jan. 3.
Clyburn said he planned to stay in leadership but did not know what position he would fill.
“It’s up to the caucus,” Clyburn told reporters.
Biden turns 80 on Sunday. The aging leadership of the Democratic Party has raised questions about the its next generation even as Americans are living longer.
Pelosi was first elected to the House in a special election and steadily moved up the ranks, securing leadership positions before winning her first term as speaker in 2007.
She first served as speaker from 2007 to 2011 as Democrats rode opposition to the Iraq War to control of the House. She became speaker again in 2019 when Democrats rode a wave of opposition to Trump to win control of the House and was re-elected as speaker in November 2021.
Republican control of the House, projected on Wednesday, gives that party not only the ability to rein in Biden’s agenda but to launch potentially politically damaging probes of his administration and family.
McCarthy, also from California, currently serves as House Republican leader and will face election by the entire House at the start of the new year. It was not yet clear if he will win enough backing of fellow Republicans to win the speakership.
NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD: The CEO of Hamdard Laboratories in India on Thursday welcomed a decision by the Delhi High Court to “permanently restrain” retailers on Amazon India from selling Rooh Afza that is made in Pakistan.
The concentrated fruit squash was first sold in Delhi by Hakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed in 1907. After the partition of British India in 1947, one of his sons set up Hamdard National Foundation, India and another Hamdard Laboratories, Pakistan. They each manufactured Rooh Afza and the trademark was registered in both countries.
The high court issued its verdict in September after the product’s owner in India filed a lawsuit claiming products listed as Rooh Afza on Amazon.in were not manufactured in the country.
Hamdard India CEO Hamid Ahmed told Arab News that the ruling would “safeguard local business” and protect against illegal imports.
“Basically, whoever has got the trademark in a particular country Amazon can sell only those products,” he said.
A representative for Hamdard Pakistan said on Wednesday that the company was “never involved” in any business with India as “that is neither our domain nor do we sell our products in that country.”
“Hamdard Pakistan has got nothing to do with the ban on Rooh Afza in India as the company does not export its product to that country,” Faiz Ullah Jawad, the company’s marketing and business development director, told Arab News.
“Some individuals sell our product on different e-commerce platforms … We don’t even know who these sellers are who have been banned from selling Rooh Afza in India.”
The court’s ruling would have “zero impact” on Hamdard Pakistan’ international business, he said.
RIYADH: The arrival of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Seoul on an official visit to South Korea has underscored the depth of the bilateral relationship 60 years after the two countries established diplomatic ties.
The crown prince and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol held talks on Thursday, during which they both pledged to strengthen relations in the fields of energy, defense industry and building projects.
Clearly, relations between the two G20 members have come a long way since 1962, when Saudi Arabia forged formal ties with the Republic of South Korea during the reign of King Saud bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and the presidency of Park Chung-hee.
South Korea opened its embassy in Saudi Arabia in 1973, while the Kingdom’s diplomatic mission in Seoul opened the following year.
The partnership assumed a strategic dimension in 2016 when the Saudi crown prince held talks with then-South Korean President Park Geun-hye, on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Hangzhou, China.
The two leaders acknowledged the need to activate the work of the Saudi-Korean Joint Committee to enhance cooperation in various fields and encourage stronger trade relations. The committee was established more than 40 years ago to strengthen relations and common interests.
In 2017, the two countries launched the Saudi-Korean Vision 2030, forming a joint committee of representatives from relevant government agencies to review the partnership, approve projects, and implement plans.
Vision 2030 is Saudi Arabia’s social reform and economic diversification agenda, launched in 2016 to help wean the Kingdom’s economy off hydrocarbons and to promote youth and women’s participation in new sectors, from leisure and tourism to renewable energy.
South Korea is among eight countries cooperating with the Kingdom to help achieve the aims of Vision 2030, working on 40 shared projects and initiatives.
• 60 years since Saudi Arabia and South Korea established formal ties
• $26,506m volume of trade between the countries in 2021
• 132 South Korean investments in Saudi Arabia valued at $3.66 billion
These projects are divided into five sub-groups: energy and industrialization; infrastructure and smart infrastructure; digital transformation and capacity building; healthcare and life sciences; and small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The crown prince’s visit to South Korea in June 2019, at the invitation of then-President Moon Jae-in, marked another important turning point in relations, with an agreement to expand the scope of cooperation in all aspects of bilateral relations.
Those efforts appear to be paying off. The volume of trade between the Kingdom and South Korea in 2021 amounted to roughly $26,506 million.
The balance of trade that year recorded a surplus in favor of the Kingdom at a value of $19,646 million, with Saudi exports worth $23,076 million and imports from South Korea valued at $3,430 million.
Three of the most prominent Saudi companies have made investments in South Korea worth $6.35 billion. Chief among these is Saudi Aramco, which is active in the coal, oil and gas sectors, with investments worth $5.18 billion.
Others include SABIC, which is active in the chemicals sector, with investments worth $1 billion, and the Advanced Petrochemical Company, which works in the plastics sector and has investments amounting to $168 million.
South Koreans have made 132 investments in the Kingdom with a total value of approximately $3.66 billion. These cover sectors as varied as mining and quarrying, electricity, gas, air conditioning, transportation and storage, manufacturing and construction.
The companies involved in the investments include Samsung, International Maritime Industries, Rabigh Electricity Company, Alia Polymers Company, and Saudi Steel Pipes Company.
Samsung Engineering and Hyundai Group obtained a contract to implement work at the Jafurah gas field project in Saudi Arabia with a value of more than $11 billion.
In 2021, the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property registered 447 industrial models, 2,881 trademarks, and 543 patents among the filings of Korean companies. Samsung Electronics alone has 145 registered industrial models, while Daewoong Pharmaceutical has the highest number of registered patents, 16 in total.
Saudi Arabia and South Korea also share compatible plans to combat climate change, with the latter aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and the Kingdom aiming for the same goal by 2060.
In January of this year, on the sidelines of the Saudi-Korean Investment Forum in Riyadh, attended by former President Moon Jae-in, the Saudi Public Investment Fund, Korea’s POSCO, and the Construction Division of Samsung C&T announced a tripartite memorandum of understanding to develop a green hydrogen export project.
There is more to the relationship than business and investments, however. The two nations have forged significant cultural ties since the Kingdom opened its doors to entertainment, concerts and world cinema.
K-pop stars Super Junior and BTS have performed in the Kingdom and Korean films and television series have graced its screens, provoking a growing interest in South Korea’s cultural offerings among young Saudis.
Around 175 Saudi students are now studying in South Korea, including many on special scholarships.
Given this scale of investment and the number of cultural exchanges underway, the Saudi-South Korean relationship is likely to be further strengthened by the crown prince’s ongoing visit.
BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping said Asia-Pacific is no one’s backyard and should not become an arena for big power contest and no attempt to wage a new cold war will ever be allowed by the people or by our times, state media reported on Thursday.
Xi made the above remarks in a written speech for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit on Thursday.
BANGKOK: Leaders gathering for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Thailand should “rise above differences,” the host said on Thursday, after a series of summits in the region were dominated by geopolitical tension over the war in Ukraine.
Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said the meeting of the 21-member bloc, which starts Friday, “takes place at a pivotal juncture” with the world facing multiple risks.
“Cancel mentality… permeates every conversation and action, (and) makes any compromise appear impossible,” he said in a statement after a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers ahead of the main summit.
“That’s why APEC this year must rise above these challenges and deliver hope to the world at large.”
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha at a pre-summit business event said the focus of meetings would be “new trade and investment narratives… the need to reconnect supply chains and travel, and the global sustainability agenda.”
On the APEC sidelines, Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to have talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida later in the day. Xi had been due to give an address to a business forum but canceled, organizers said.
US Vice President Kamala Harris and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese are among those also attending the main meeting, while French President Emmanuel Macron is a special guest.
The APEC meeting comes on the heels of the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Bali where countries unanimously adopted a declaration saying most members condemned the war in Ukraine, but that also acknowledged some countries saw the conflict differently.
Host Indonesia said the Ukraine war had been the most contentious issue.
The war also figured prominently at the East Asia Summit and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits in Cambodia at the weekend, as did the crisis in Myanmar, whose ruling generals were barred from attending due to failure to follow a peace process.
On Thursday, as leaders prepared for the APEC meeting, the junta in neighboring Myanmar announced it would free 5,774 political prisoners, among them a Japanese filmmaker, a former British ambassador and an Australian economist and former adviser to deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi,
Activists and the military’s opponents welcomed the amnesty, but warned the world not to be tricked by the junta, which they said was using people as bargaining chips.
Tensions also simmered elsewhere at the G20 summit in Bali when Xi criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in person over alleged leaks of their closed-door meeting, a rare public display of annoyance by the Chinese leader.
Russia is a member of both G20 and APEC but President Vladimir Putin has stayed away. First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov will stand in for him at APEC.