Thailand government urged to take long-term plans against severe flood

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Thailand government urged to take long-term plans against severe flood

Thailand government urged to take long-term plans against severe flood

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 06, 2022

THE NATION

Heavy seasonal rains have already impacted at least 45,000 households in nearly half of Thailand’s provinces. Expert is urging the government to take swift actions and consider long-term plans to deal with the severe flood.

The Thai capital Bangkok and central areas are bracing for heavy flooding this week. Flood waters have turned districts in Ayutthaya province into islands. And rescue workers have received many calls for help.

“If more than five minutes pass, the chance of survival is zero percent. It happens often but we don’t want them to occur at all. For people who live along the river, cases of drowning are high, especially for kids that live with the elderly or kids whose parents go to work. It occurs in a split second,” said Somsak Taweepornmongkol, rescue volunteer of Putthaisawan Foundation Ayutthaya.

Thailand government urged to take long-term plans against severe flood

Flooding is devastating on so many levels. In a house six people live in, all crammed into their tiny second story. Affected by the flood, parents and kids have suspended all of their work and study as they can’t go to office and school personally.

“My dream is to elevate the house so my parents and my kids can live comfortably. But it might not happen so we will have to live like this. We just have to tolerate living like this,” said Yaowadee Kraiperm, a local resident.

Thailand government urged to take long-term plans against severe flood

Like a brick resting on top of a cake, Bangkok sits on marshland, becoming spongy and soft. Materials including steel, concrete and humanity are sinking this city into the Earth, around two centimeters per year.

Expert calls on the government to take long-term plans to deal with such terrible situation.

“Climate change is exacerbating the intensity of flooding events in Thailand. It will get more severe. We must have long-term plans. The warning signs have been there since 2011, but we haven’t thought of solutions,” said Thanawat Jarupongsakul, president of Thailand Global Warming Academy.

Thailand government urged to take long-term plans against severe flood
Thailand government urged to take long-term plans against severe flood

THE NATION

Last-minute goal helps Thai futsal team pip Tajikistan to enter semi-final of Asian Cup

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Last-minute goal helps Thai futsal team pip Tajikistan to enter semi-final of Asian Cup

Last-minute goal helps Thai futsal team pip Tajikistan to enter semi-final of Asian Cup

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 05, 2022

THE NATION

Thailand’s national futsal team booked its place in the semi-finals of the 2022 AFC Futsal Asian Cup after beating Tajikistan 3-2 on Tuesday at Saad Al Abdullah Hall in Kuwait.

Panut Kittipanuwong drew first blood for Thailand in just the second minute when he slid the ball through the legs of Firuz Bozmamadov who was in the post for Tajikistan.

In 28th minute of the second half, Tajikistan scored their equaliser through Vositzoda Iqboli who slid to connect home a low cross from the right. The central Asian team went ahead 2-1 in the 34th minute through Idris Yorov.

Last-minute goal helps Thai futsal team pip Tajikistan to enter semi-final of Asian Cup

Thailand responded quickly and scored the equaliser through Jetsada Chudech in the next minute.

In the last minute of the game, Worasak Srirangpirot slammed home the winning goal, sending Thailand into the semi-finals for the eighth time in 16 tournaments.

Last-minute goal helps Thai futsal team pip Tajikistan to enter semi-final of Asian Cup

Thailand will face Iran in the semi-finals on Thursday from midnight onwards (Thailand time). The match will be broadcast live via Eleven Sports, which can be subscribed to at https://elevensports.com/th, and AIS PLAY, available for free for AIS customers here.

Last-minute goal helps Thai futsal team pip Tajikistan to enter semi-final of Asian Cup

THE NATION

Thai women suffer setback at volleyball world championship, lose to Canada

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Thai women suffer setback at volleyball world championship, lose to Canada

Thai women suffer setback at volleyball world championship, lose to Canada

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 05, 2022

THE NATION

Thailand’s winning streak against Canada ended on Tuesday when they lost 1-3 in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship 2022 in Lodz, Poland.

Thai women suffer setback at volleyball world championship, lose to Canada

The world No. 13 Thai women got off to a bad start against their No. 15 rivals, losing the first two sets 19-25 and 21-25, but fought back to take the third set 25-23. The Canadian women, however, hung on to their lead and won a close-fought fourth set 25-22 to win the Pool F, Phase 2 encounter.

Thai women suffer setback at volleyball world championship, lose to Canada

Canada led in attack points (65-63) and dominated in block points (13-5).

Canada had opened the phase with a loss to defending champions Serbia.

Thai women suffer setback at volleyball world championship, lose to Canada

Thailand had beaten Canada on all three occasions they had met at the Nations League 2022 tournament in the Philippines earlier this year.

Thailand will next play Germany on Wednesday (October 5) at 8pm.

THE NATION

US to release more oil as Opec, Russia decide to cut production

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US to release more oil as Opec, Russia decide to cut production

US to release more oil as Opec, Russia decide to cut production

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 06, 2022

THE NATION

The Opec Plus bloc including Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed on Wednesday to go in for a large production cut despite the US and Europe urging the group to increase production to bring oil prices down to earth.

Responding to the move by Opec Plus, US government officials said the Energy Department would be instructed to release 10 million more barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in November.

“The [US] president is disappointed by the shortsighted decision by Opec Plus to cut production quotas while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council director Brian Deese said in a statement.

The 2-million-barrels-a-day cut represents about 2 per cent of global oil production.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Opec Plus was acting amid signs of a downturn in the world economy that might cause oil demand to weaken and prices to fall.

“We would rather be pre-emptive than sorry,” he added.

Following the group’s announcement, the price of Brent crude rose more than 1.5 per cent.

The bloc also agreed to extend to December 2023 an agreement that created Opec Plus (Opec plus Russia and its allies), which expires this December.

Earlier, the US had no plans to continue its six-month move to release one million barrels a day, which was scheduled to finish at the end of October.

US President Joe Biden and European leaders have been calling on Opec to increase oil production to ease fuel prices and punish Moscow for its war against Ukraine, while Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused of using energy as a weapon against opposing countries.

Source: NY Times

THE NATION

Need for rapid reform of agri-food systems in Asia Pacific: FAO

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Need for rapid reform of agri-food systems in Asia Pacific: FAO

Need for rapid reform of agri-food systems in Asia Pacific: FAO

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 05, 2022

Asia-Pacific countries should rapidly transform agri-food systems as hopes fade for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) said at the Asia-Pacific Symposium held in Bangkok on Wednesday.

The FAO called for focus on social protection, access to seeds and fertilizers, enhanced trade, and climate-resilient agriculture.

At a symposium convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on agrifood systems transformation in Asia-Pacific, governments, the private sector and other stakeholders are being urged to massively accelerate transformation of their agrifood systems, or risk worsening malnutrition and environmental degradation in the world’s most populous region.

Rising food prices, floods, drought, water scarcity, increasing climate-related disasters, the global pandemic and conflicts, are driving food insecurity across the region. These challenges directly impact the most vulnerable people,  including smallholder farmers, others depending on the land for their livelihoods and millions of urban poor.

Changes in rainfall patterns, crucial for agriculture in the monsoon region and in the frequencies and timings of pest and disease outbreaks have combined to lower yields. Asia and the Pacific already experience 60 per cent of global fatalities and 40 per cent of economic losses due to multiple hazards and risks.

In summary, the region’s complex agrifood systems are under enormous strain.

Need for rapid reform of agri-food systems in Asia Pacific: FAO

Asia-Pacific region first out of the gate following UN Food Systems Summit
Last year, caught in the grip of a global pandemic, world leaders pledged to transform their agrifood systems to make them more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.  

Speaking at the beginning of a three-day Asia-Pacific symposium, the world’s first since the UN Food Systems Summit, which aims to fast-track agrifood systems transformation in this vast region, FAO’s Director-General, QU Dongyu, said the region’s transformation needs to focus on outcomes that result in better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life for all – ensuring no one is left behind.

FAO has mapped out four priority areas in which acceleration is needed:

1. Providing immediate support to the vulnerable through social protection systems, especially in rural areas and among vulnerable groups;

2. Boosting agricultural production by ensuring that family farmers have affordable access to seeds and fertilizers, working capital and technical assistance, and links to markets;

3. Facilitating trade in agricultural products and inputs to prevent further disruptions to food production; and

4. Investing in climate-resilient agriculture to address and reverse the effects of the climate crisis.

The Director-General warned that the SDG’s would not be achievable unless there is a collective will to defeat hunger, as a priority, in a post-pandemic region.

Ongoing crises, including the impacts of COVID-19, the climate crisis, droughts and floods, conflicts and war have disrupted the world’s supply of grains and other essential commodities, Qu noted.

The result is “economic downturns and loss of jobs that pushed undernourishment from eight per cent to almost ten per cent during the first year of the pandemic, with the number of undernourished that has now grown by 150 million.  

The majority of this increase is in Asia and the Pacific, accounting for nearly 85 million more people in hunger, as well as in Africa and Latin America,” the FAO Director-General said. “To achieve the SDGs we need a major transformation – one that begins with the transformation of our agrifood systems to ensure they can meet the present and future needs of all stakeholders and consumers.”

Asia-Pacific region dangerously backsliding on SDGs
According to the recent UN 2022 Asia and the Pacific Sustainable Development Goals Progress Report  the region is so off course, it would need until 2065 to achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals – a delay of 35 years.

The recent disruption to supply chains, lives and livelihoods has come together to produce a crisis of  five ‘Fs’ – lack of food, feed, fuel, fertilizer and finance, and a prediction that there could be reductions in cereal output next year due to fertilizer shortages in some countries in the region.

However, the backsliding predates even the pandemic, with successive annual editions of FAO’s flagship publication, the State of Food Security and Nutrition warning the fight against hunger and malnutrition was failing in this region. In 2021, more than 400 million people in Asia-Pacific were malnourished, most of them in South Asia, with 40 percent of all inhabitants unable to afford a healthy diet.

In Asia and the Pacific, now is the time to accelerate the agrifood systems transformation – to leave no one behind.

More than 80 percent of the world’s smallholders and family farmers live off the land in this Asia-Pacific region, and the Symposium was told their interests and livelihoods must be safeguarded by measures including social safety nets and reskilling programmes to improve employment prospects.

FAO called for bold action by all stakeholders to transform the region’s agrifood systems, saying governments must provide leadership; the private sector must broaden its customer base to provide affordable solutions for smallholders; civil society must work more proactively with policymakers and the private sector;  academia must accelerate research, while resource partners must make this transformation their top priority, with FAO committed to helping its Members and partners achieve these objectives.

Residents near fiery South Korean missile crash ‘thought it was a war’

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Residents near fiery South Korean missile crash ‘thought it was a war’

Residents near fiery South Korean missile crash ‘thought it was a war’

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 05, 2022

A blaze was seen in the direction of an air force base located in South Korea’s eastern city of Gangneung late on Tuesday, as authorities separately said there was a failed missile launch during drills.

Video filmed by local resident Kim Hee Soo at 11.01pm local time showed a fire flaring from the direction of the base with white smoke rising into the night sky.

Kim, a 43-year-old video creator, said he was working late that night and heard a big explosion and went out to see what was happening. Having an office near a military base, he would often hear noises from exercises and drills, but said it was different this time. He also said that missile launches were conducted without prior notice to residents.

Some people in the area of the failed launch “thought it was a war”.

South Korea’s military confirmed on Wednesday that its Hyunmoo-2 missile had failed shortly after launch and crashed during a joint drill with the United States, in response to North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan a day earlier.

Residents near fiery South Korean missile crash ‘thought it was a war’

The military added that the warhead of the missile did not explode, no one was hurt and apologised for worrying local residents.

Reuters

Unique Lao coffee blend wins Asia award at world competition in Spain

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Unique Lao coffee blend wins Asia award at world competition in Spain

Unique Lao coffee blend wins Asia award at world competition in Spain

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 05, 2022

Lao Mountain Coffee’s peaberry blend has won first place in the Continental Awards for Asia coffee competition. Peaberry, the award-winner, is a naturally occurring coffee and constitutes only 5-10 per cent of the global coffee market.

The World Coffee Challenge Competition took place in Ourense, Spain, on September 29-30, gathering coffee growers from more than 34 countries with the aim of promoting high-quality coffee.

Lao Mountain Coffee represented Laos in the competition and entered its coffee sourced from beans grown on the Bolaven Plateau in Pakxong district, Champassak province. Pakxong is known as one of the best areas to grow some of the world’s best-tasting coffee.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, coffee is Laos’ third largest agricultural export and is sold to 26 countries in Asia, Europe and North America.

The government is promoting coffee production in 11 provinces of Laos, to supply the growing need for high-quality products in the local and foreign markets.

As of 2018, coffee was grown on 95,400 hectares and the total yield was 154,135 tonnes, compared to 77,540 tonnes in 2015, with most of the crop grown on the Bolaven Plateau.

Most of the coffee produced in Laos is made from the Arabica and Robusta varieties. Lao coffee exports (unit tonnes of green beans) rose from 28,320 tonnes in 2017 to 31,495 tonnes in 2018.

Last year, 56 per cent of Lao coffee (green bean) exports to international markets went to Vietnam, 13 per cent to Japan, 12 per cent to Thailand, 3 per cent to Cambodia, 2 per cent to Germany, 1.5 per cent to China, 0.9 per cent to the US, and 11 per cent to other countries.

In the domestic market, Lao coffee products such as three-in-one and coffee beans are sold to coffee shops such as Amazon, Dao Heuang, Sinouk and Joma.

The first coffee plantation on the Boloven plateau was set up around 1920 by French settlers alongside roads built by the colonial administration. Coffee rapidly became the main crop in the area, especially after the construction of a research centre near Pakxong in 1930.

Vientiane Times

Asia News Network

Macron, Ardern, Marcos Jr to attend Apec Summit in Bangkok

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Macron, Ardern, Marcos Jr to attend Apec Summit in Bangkok

Macron, Ardern, Marcos Jr to attend Apec Summit in Bangkok

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 05, 2022

THE NATION

French President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed he will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Economic Leaders’ Meeting, Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanee Sangrat said on Wednesday.

“Macron will join the meeting as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s special guest,” Tanee said.

He added that New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had also confirmed she would attend the summit, according to Thailand’s permanent representative to the United Nations Suriya Chindawongse.

“Meanwhile, the Philippine ambassador informed me that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr would participate in the meeting as well,” Tanee said.

However, he said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had informed his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai that President Xi Jinping would attend the summit if he was “available” at that time.

The Foreign Ministry is contacting Russia to find out whether President Vladimir Putin, too, would come to Thailand for the summit, Tanee said.

“There are many leaders who have not yet officially confirmed their attendance,” he added.

The Apec summit is scheduled to be held at Queen Sirikit Convention Centre from November 14 to 19. The Economic Leaders’ Meeting will be held on November 18 and 19.

THE NATION

Half of sex offenders against children and the disabled avoid jail terms in South Korea

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Half of sex offenders against children and the disabled avoid jail terms in South Korea

Half of sex offenders against children and the disabled avoid jail terms in South Korea

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 05, 2022

About half of convicted sex offenders against children and the disabled, and the majority of child abusers, have avoided jail terms in South Korea, data showed on Tuesday.

According to Supreme Court data revealed by Representative Jang Dong-hyeok of the People Power Party, 42 per cent of those convicted of sex crimes against the disabled between 2016 and 2020 and 50.3 per cent of those convicted of sex crimes against children under the age of 13 had received suspended sentences.

Among 565 child abusers who were sentenced to imprisonment or detention from 2018 to 2021, 381 people, or 67.4 per cent, had their sentences suspended, according to data from Representative Kwon Chil-seung of the Democratic Party of Korea obtained from the Supreme Court and National Police Agency on Tuesday.

The court can suspend sentences of offenders who received imprisonment of less than three years or a fine of less than 5 million won (130,600 baht) after considering the circumstances of the crime, such as the offender’s relationship with the victim. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for self-reflection and rehabilitation, but the risk of recidivism remains considerably high.

This year the Sentencing Commission has strengthened standards and conditions for suspended sentences in sex crimes and child abuse cases. The recommended sentence for child abuse and culpable homicide has been raised to a maximum of 22 years and six months in prison, and a new provision for such crimes also allows judges to hand down a life sentence.

For sex crime offenders, the revised standard recommends jail terms without probation in cases where they have also committed housebreaking. Also, the defendant’s age has been removed as a reason for considering probation.

Despite such measures, critics say that the court is still far too lenient on perpetrators.

“The rate of suspension of sentence still remains high. The court’s perception is not keeping up with the public consensus,” Kwon said. “Child abuse is likely to occur repeatedly and routinely.”

“The court should be more careful and strict in applying the mitigation factors,” he said, calling for stricter punishment to prevent similar crimes.

Lee Chang-hyun, a criminal law professor at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Law School, said the final responsibility lies with judges.

“There are some countermeasures to prevent recidivism after applying probation, but most of them do not hold much efficacy. The Sentencing Commission can recommend heavier punishment, but still, probation is up to the court’s decision,” Lee said. “It is the habitual lenient attitude of judges that should be changed.”

Meanwhile, Oh Yoon-sung, a professor of criminology and police administration at Soonchunhyang University, urged caution in criticising the court. “Characteristics of each case should be considered to determine whether the court’s ruling was fair. We cannot fix the maximum rate of probation and forcefully adjust the cases into it.”

The Korea Herald

Asia News Network

From stubs to soft toys, Indian factory upcycles cigarette ends

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From stubs to soft toys, Indian factory upcycles cigarette ends

From stubs to soft toys, Indian factory upcycles cigarette ends

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 05, 2022

With nearly 267 million smokers in India according to World Health Organisation estimates, cigarette butts are frequently seen mixed in with garbage on the streets of New Delhi.

For businessman Naman Gupta, the trash is his treasure and he’s created a business upcycling the waste to create stuffing for plush toys, among other things.

Gupta’s company, Code Effort, collects more than a thousand kilograms of cigarette stubs from the streets each day.

“Whatever materials we collect, we process and recycle all the cigarette waste here at our factory,” Gupta told Reuters from his factory in the northern city of Noida.

“From the paper, we make recycled paper products; from tobacco, we make compost powder; and from the filters, we make beautiful products such as soft toys, cushions and many more,” he added.

Sitting on the ground near the factory, women smile and chat as they carefully separate the paper, tobacco, and filters from the stubs, before the three materials are processed.

“We started from 10 grams [of fibre] and right now we are doing 1,000kg per day. We have come a long way and annually we are able to recycle millions of cigarette butts,” Gupta said.

Poonam, a worker in Gupta’s factory who gave only her first name, told Reuters Gupta’s business venture served dual purposes for people like her.

From stubs to soft toys, Indian factory upcycles cigarette ends
From stubs to soft toys, Indian factory upcycles cigarette ends
From stubs to soft toys, Indian factory upcycles cigarette ends

“We work here as it helps to keep our environment clean and we can also earn some extra money for our expenses,” she said.

Reuters