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Japan to restart whaling programme

Japan maintains that its whaling programme is for research purposes


The Japanese government has vowed to restart its controversial whaling programme in the Antarctic next year

The move comes despite the International Whaling Commission’s vote on Thursday that the programme is illegal because it is not for research purposes and should stop

Japanese Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the IWC’s decision was regrettable

Japan maintains its annual hunt is solely for research.

But the meat from the slaughtered whales is sold commercially in Japan.

Participants at the IWC’s meeting in Slovenia passed the non-binding resolution with a 35-20 majority.

It was adopted from an International Court of Justice ruling earlier this year stating that Japan’s hunt did not meet the requirements to be “scientific”.

Objection: A country formally objects to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium, declaring itself exempt. Example: Norway

Scientific: A nation issues unilateral scientific permits any IWC member can do this. Example: Japan

Indigenous (aka Aboriginal subsistence): IWC grants permits to indigenous groups for subsistence food. Example: Alaskan Inupiat

Guide to the great whales

That forced Japan to call off its 2014-2015 hunt in the Southern Ocean. It still carried out its smaller hunt in the Northern Pacific

Mr Suga said Japan would work on meeting the strict conditions under which scientific whaling is allowed

We are now carrying out preparations for a new plan for scientific whaling to resume in the 2015/2016 year, a plan that takes the International Court ruling into account he said

Our actions are based on international law, scientific fact and the international whaling treaty

Japan started its whaling programme in 1987, a year after an international moratorium was enacted.

The ICJ says Japan has caught some 3,600 minke whales since its current programme began in 2005.

It has faced global outrage, including from the US and Australia, with critics saying the programme is a front for commercial whaling.

UK pledges 1,000 troops to Nato

David Cameron said Nato must be able to act more swiftly


The UK will contribute 1,000 troops to a new multi-national rapid reaction force, Prime Minister David Cameron has told the Nato summit.

He said the Nato multinational spearhead force could be deployed anywhere in two to five days

The PM said leaders were united in condemnation of the barbaric acts of militant group Islamic State (IS)

He also confirmed a second new Royal Navy aircraft carrier the Prince of Wales  would be brought into service

Speaking on the second day of the Nato summit in the Welsh city of Newport, Mr Cameron said the carrier would be used rather than sold off or mothballed

This would be in addition to the brand new HMS Queen Elizabeth, which Mr Cameron said would be “the mightiest ship that the Royal Navy has ever put to sea

This will ensure that we will always have one carrier available, 100% of the time he said.

They are an investment in British security, British prosperity and our place in the world, transforming our ability to project power globally, whether independently or with our allies

This came as Nato members sealed a pledge to reverse declining trends for defence budgets with a commitment for nations to meet targets of spending 2% of GDP over the next 10 years.

Earlier at the summit, Mr Cameron said the world faced new and evolving dangers

To the east, Russia is ripping up the rulebook with its annexation of Crimea and its troops on the sovereign soil of Ukraine he said.

To the south, an arc of instability bends from North Africa to the Middle East.

He said Nato must be able to act more swiftly

The new rapid reaction spearhead force” will comprise 4,000 troops overall. It will be led by a British general and should be ready to be deployed by the end of 2015.

This would be part of a reformed Nato response force with headquarters in Poland, forward units in the eastern allies and pre-positioned equipment and infrastructure to allow more exercises and, if necessary, rapid reinforcement Mr Cameron said of the force.

In addition, the UK will also contribute 3,500 personnel to Nato exercises in eastern Europe over the next two years.

Speaking about IS, which has threatened to kill British aid worker David Haines, Mr Cameron ruled out talking to Syria’s President Assad as part of attempts to tackle the threat posed by the militants.

He said Mr Assad was part of the problem and not the solution

President Assad is part of the cause of the problem because it has been the brutality with which he has attacked his own people which has led some of them to seek solace in an extremist movement he said.

Mr Cameron also warned that threats from IS would only harden the UK’s resolve to stand up and defeat them.

IS made its threat against Mr Haines – who was kidnapped in Syria in March 2013  in a video of the beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff.

We will not be diverted from doing what is right by the threats that this organisation is making

The extremist group, which has seized large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria and declared a new caliphate or Islamic state  has killed two US hostages in recent weeks

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the British government would not be diverted from doing what is right by the threats that this organisation is making

He spoke after it was reported that the family of hostage Mr Haines were worried British airstrikes in Iraq would put his life at greater risk

On Thursday, Mr Cameron refused to rule out air strikes against IS, the militant group formerly known as ISIL