NCP suspected elements attack meeting on new transnational constitution

A group of men carrying batons and Knives believed to be supporters of the banned National Congress Party (NCP) of the former regime Wednesday stormed a workshop on a new constitutional declaration in Khartoum.

The steering committee of the Sudan Bar Association on Monday launched a workshop with the participation of political parties, armed groups and civil society groups to discuss a new transitional declaration agreed upon by all the stakeholders to form a civilian government.

The event was attended by foreign diplomats and international organisations to express their support for an initialize aiming to pave the way for the formation of a government of technocrats to implement needed reforms and hold elections.

Muntaser Abdallah, a member of the steering committee told the Sudan Tribune that the attack began after the arrival in several vehicles of a group of the dissolved bar association affiliated with the NCP accompanied by other people.

“The group started to shout slogan against the steering committing, accusing it of affiliation with the Forces for Freedom and Changes (FFC)? together with slogans against UNITAMS Head Volker Perthes,” he added.

The assailants carried sticks, batons and knives. Also, they threw stones into the hall of the workshop and aggressed the security guards, as they tried to reach the platform speakers.

After that, the police force arrived and successfully took the attacker out of the lawyers’ premises.

The Sudanese Islamists, after the coup, started to take more visible actions against the UNITAMS, the forces of the revolution.

However, this attack was the first violent action aiming to sabotage the efforts of the democratic forces to restore a civilian government.

The attack drew strong condemnation from the political forces and UNITAMS.

“Attacks on the workshop at the Sudanese Bar Association are unacceptable. People using violent means to prevent a peaceful meeting certainly don’t seek national consensus,” said Perthes in a tweet posted after the attack.

The FFC Spokesman Chehab al-Tayeb accused the security apparatus of being behind the assault, saying it was part of plans to undermine efforts to unify the civil forces.

In statements to the Sudan Tribune, al-Tayeb warned against dragging the anti-coup forces into the square of violence.

The military leaders who reinstated Islamists in the security services after the coup are accused of using the NCP elements to prevent the FFC’s efforts to reunite the forces of the revolution.

The FFC plans to present a draft constitutional declaration to the forces of revolution after its approval.

In turn, the Emergency Lawyers group said they initiated legal proceedings against those involved in the attack on the premises of the Sudan Bar Association.

The legal group said the lawyers who were among the attackers are all members of the dissolved NCP.

Source: Sudan Tribune

In Scorched UK, Source of River Thames Dries Up

At the end of a dusty track in southwest England where the River Thames usually first emerges from the ground, there is scant sign of any moisture at all.

The driest start to a year in decades has shifted the source of this emblematic English river several miles downstream, leaving scorched earth and the occasional puddle where water once flowed.

It is a striking illustration of the parched conditions afflicting swaths of England, which have prompted a growing number of regional water restrictions and fears that an official drought will soon be declared.

“We haven’t found the Thames yet,” said Michael Sanders, on holiday with his wife in the area known as the official source of the river.

The couple were planning to walk some of the Thames Path that stretches along its entire winding course — once they can find the waterway’s new starting point.

“It’s completely dried up,” the IT worker from northern England told AFP in the village of Ashton Keynes, a few miles from the source, noting it had been replaced by “the odd puddle, the odd muddy bit.”

“So hopefully downstream we’ll find the Thames, but at the moment it’s gone,” he said.

The river begins from an underground spring in this picturesque region at the foot of the Cotswolds hills, not far from Wales, before meandering for 350 kilometers (215 miles) to the North Sea.

Along the way it helps supply fresh water to millions of homes, including those in the British capital, London.

‘So arid’

Following months of minimal rainfall, including the driest July in England since the 1930s, the country’s famously lush countryside has gone from shades of green to yellow.

“It was like walking across the savanna in Africa, because it’s so arid and so dry,” David Gibbons said.

The 60-year-old retiree has been walking the length of the Thames Path in the opposite direction from Sanders — from estuary to source — with his wife and friends.

As the group members reached their destination, in a rural area of narrow country roads dotted with stone-built houses, Gibbons recounted the range of wildlife they had encountered on their journey.

The Thames, which becomes a navigable, strategic and industrial artery as it passes through London and its immediate surroundings, is typically far more idyllic upstream and a haven for bird watching and boating.

However, as they neared the source, things changed.

“In this last two or three days, [there’s been] no wildlife, because there’s no water,” Gibbons said. “I think water stopped probably 10 miles away from here; there’s one or two puddles,” he added from picturesque Ashton Keynes.

Andrew Jack, a 47-year-old local government worker who lives about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the village, said locals had “never seen it as dry and as empty as this.”

The river usually runs alongside its main street, which boasts pretty houses with flower-filled gardens and several small stone footbridges over the water.

But the riverbed there is parched and cracked, the only visible wildlife were some wasps hovering over it, recalling images of some southern African rivers during the subcontinent’s dry season.

‘Something’s changed’

There will be no imminent respite for England’s thirsty landscape.

The country’s meteorological office on Tuesday issued an amber heat warning for much of southern England and eastern Wales between Thursday and Sunday, with temperatures set to reach the mid-30s Celsius.

It comes weeks after a previous heat wave broke Britain’s all-time temperature record and breached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time.

Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that carbon emissions from humans burning fossil fuels are heating the planet, raising the risk and severity of droughts, heat waves and other such extreme weather events.

Local authorities are reiterating calls to save water, and Thames Water, which supplies 15 million people in London and elsewhere, is the latest provider to announce forthcoming restrictions.

But Gibbons was sanguine.

“Having lived in England all my life, we’ve had droughts before,” he said. “I think that it will go green again by the autumn.”

Jack was more pessimistic as he walked with his family along the dried-up riverbed, where a wooden measuring stick gauges nonexistent water levels.

“I think there are lots of English people who think, ‘Great, let’s have some European weather,’ ” he said. “But we actually shouldn’t, and it means that something’s changed and something has gone wrong.

“I’m concerned that it’s only going to get worse and that the U.K. is going to have to adapt to hotter weather as we have more and more summers like this.”

Source: Voice of Americas