Summit diary: Highs and lows from Johannesburg

Sunday 26 January 2014 03:22
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Delegates' walk-out protest turns into walk-in

Non-government groups want the organisers to scrap the first-come, first-served basis on which they are let into the main venue. About 16,000 non-government delegates have accreditation, but only the 6,000 earliest risers can get in. The delegates wrote to Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, saying: "Correct the message which is being sent out ... across the world: 'You made the right decision by staying at home!'" About 30 delegates walked out of the hall yesterday, but returned because a minister they wanted to see had arrived."It turned into a walk-out-walk-in," said one delegate, Matilda Beach de Valli.

Farmers' protest off to a flying start

The summit has given more than 150 East African farmers their first experience of air travel, and hordes of proud relatives came to the airports to see them off. The farmers from Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe flew to Lusaka, in Zambia, then took buses through Zimbabwe to Johannesburg. "There was much singing and dancing," an organiser said. The farmers, many outside their home countries for the first time, hope to present a memo demanding access to better-quality seeds, fertilisers and wider markets.

Photo exhibition recalls disaster at Bhopal

An exhibition of black-and-white photographs capturing the suffering of victims of the world's worst industrial accident opened on the fringes of the summit yesterday. The 55 pictures by an Indian photojournalist, Raghu Rai, recall the 1984 poison-gas leak at a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, which killed more than 3,000 people. "Supporters of the Bhopal gas victims are in Johannesburg to highlight environmental crimes, whose impact is no less significant than terrorist attacks," said Ganesh Nochur of Greenpeace India, which commissioned the pictures.

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