Vietnam makes proposals for building 2021-2022 CLMV Action Plan

#Vietnam makes proposals for building 2021-2022 CLMV Action Plan

Vietnam makes proposals for building 2021-2022 CLMV Action Plan

Jan 26. 2021Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade officials attend the 20th Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam Senior Economic Officials’ Meeting (CLMV SEOM) on Monday. — VNA/VNS PhotoVietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade officials attend the 20th Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam Senior Economic Officials’ Meeting (CLMV SEOM) on Monday. — VNA/VNS Photo

By Viet Nam News/ANN

HÀ NỘI — The 20th Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam Senior Economic Officials’ Meeting (CLMV SEOM) was held on Monday via video conference, during which Việt Nam suggested countries select projects suitable to the “new normal” in each country when compiling the CLMV Action Plan for 2021-2022.

Deputy head of the Asian-African Markets Department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Nguyễn Phúc Nam, head of the Vietnamese delegation, stressed the need to intensify the application of digital technology as well as the organisation of activities in the online format while creating favourable conditions for experts, technicians, and project officials from development partners.

It is also important for CLMV to propose more co-operative projects to benefit all four countries and support post-pandemic recovery efforts, especially projects facilitating trade and investment, improving regional connectivity, supporting micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises in accessing finance and technology, and increasing their capacity.

Regarding a detailed action plan to implement the CLMV Development Framework approved at the 10th CLMV Summit last December, Nam suggested the countries step up co-ordination to identify feasible activities and projects for the action plan.

The CLMV SEOM 20 reviewed the implementation of activities in the 2019-20 CLMV Action Plan, discussed the plan for 2021-21, reviewed the implementation of the Promotion of Competitiveness within the Framework of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (COMPETE) project, and discussed the next steps in carrying out the CLMV Development Framework.

Many activities and projects in the 2019-2020 action plan were postponed or cancelled last year due to the pandemic, but thanks to its activeness, Việt Nam carried out several planned trade and investment co-operation activities.

The country proposed online meetings, trade fairs, and training courses, facilitating trade and investment activities and services, particularly those through CLMV borders, restricting and removing unnecessary trade barriers, and ensuring the operation of supply chains. VNS

Covid-19 pandemic could last four or five years: Lawrence Wong #SootinClaimon.Com

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Covid-19 pandemic could last four or five years: Lawrence Wong

Jan 26. 2021Singaporeans have to be prepared to live in an acutely changed world. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEESingaporeans have to be prepared to live in an acutely changed world. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

By Linette Lai
The Straits Times/ANN

SINGAPORE – It could be four or five years before the world sees the end of the Covid-19 pandemic and the start of a post-pandemic normal, said Education Minister Lawrence Wong.

In setting out this time frame, he noted that the world is likely to encounter many more bumps along the way in handling the crisis.

While the availability of Covid-19 vaccines will progressively restart global travel, getting the world vaccinated will not be quick or easy.

That means that for the rest of this year – and perhaps a good part of next year – Singaporeans have to be prepared to live in an acutely changed world, Mr Wong said in a speech at the Institute of Policy Studies’ Singapore Perspectives Conference on Monday (Jan 25).

“The rules around wearing of masks, upholding of safe distancing measures, and avoiding crowded places – these will continue to be part of everyday life,” he added.

On possible bumps ahead, the minister cited how initial research suggests that current vaccines may not be so effective against the South African mutant strain of the virus.

In a positive scenario, the world ends up developing a vaccine that works against all strains of the coronavirus. Alternatively, vaccination ends up looking like a flu jab, where a new formulation is created on a regular basis.

In the worst case, the world remains always a step behind an evolving virus, he said. “And the bottom line is that we live in a shared world, and no one is safe until everyone is safe.”

No one can tell what the post-coronavirus world will look like, although some positive changes may arise, Mr Wong said.

He gave the example of how spittoons and public spitting were seen as unsanitary after the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Similarly, in Singapore, the pandemic has prompted greater awareness of hygiene habits and social responsibility. Even so, some old habits – such as handshaking – may die hard, he said.

“Each time there is a pandemic, there is a call to say: ‘Let’s have different forms of greeting, in order to reduce the risk of transmission,'” he added, noting that this happened when Singapore faced the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) crisis in 2003.

“But somehow, humans being what we are, we have always gravitated back towards some form of human contact.”

In a crisis like this, the natural tendency is to extrapolate the worst from one’s immediate circumstances, Mr Wong said. For instance, some have predicted that digitalisation will precipitate a move towards decentralised living arrangements, rendering cities obsolete.

But history contains multiple examples of cities that bounced back after pandemics, he noted.

For example, 14th-century Florence flourished after the bubonic plague and launched the Renaissance movement. American cities such as Chicago and New York also saw a boom in the 1920s, after the 1918 pandemic ravaged the country.

“And the reason this happens is that cities are not just buildings and monuments,” Mr Wong said. “They are fundamentally about the people who dwell in them, and humans are, by nature, social animals.”

Humans are also adaptable, and therefore have the ability to shape their future, he added. “Let’s think of the crisis as setting the stage for a software update – a reboot of sorts after the tremendous damage inflicted by the virus.”

Cinema closures in S. Korea hit 12-year high in 2020 on coronavirus #SootinClaimon.Com

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Cinema closures in S. Korea hit 12-year high in 2020 on coronavirus

Jan 26. 2021This undated file photo shows a quiet cinema in Seoul amid the coronavirus outbreak. (Yonhap)This undated file photo shows a quiet cinema in Seoul amid the coronavirus outbreak. (Yonhap)

By The Korea Herald/ANN

The number of cinema closures soared to a 12-year high in 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, data showed Tuesday.

A total of 81 movie theaters closed shop across the nation last year, nearly double from the 43 shutdowns a year earlier, according to the data from the Ministry of the Interior and Safety.

The number was the largest annual tally since 2008, when 88 cinemas in Asia’s fourth-largest economy went out of business amid the US-originated global financial crisis.

In the Seoul metropolitan area, 27 theaters were shuttered, with the remainder reported in other parts of the country. The western port of Incheon alone posted 21 failures.

South Korean cinemas were battered by a series of strict social distancing measures in the country to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, whose first case was reported in January last year.

The data also showed 218 new movie theaters were newly opened nationwide last year, up from 173 a year earlier.

COVID-19 has infected 75,875 South Koreans, with the country’s death toll from the disease reaching 1,371. (Yonhap)

Xi calls for multilateralism to fight pandemic, recession #SootinClaimon.Com

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Xi calls for multilateralism to fight pandemic, recession

Jan 26. 2021President Xi Jinping delivers a special speech at the virtual Davos Agenda event of the World Economic Forum in Beijing on Monday, Jan 25, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA)President Xi Jinping delivers a special speech at the virtual Davos Agenda event of the World Economic Forum in Beijing on Monday, Jan 25, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

By China Daily/ANN

BEIJING – Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday expounded on China’s stance over how to improve multilateralism against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and world economic recession, when attending his first international virtual gathering in 2021.

“Every choice and move we make today will shape the world of the future,” said Xi in his special address at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda.

Rejecting Selective Multilateralism

Noting that the problems facing the world are intricate and complex, Xi said that the way out of them is “through upholding multilateralism and building a community with a shared future for mankind.”

“Multilateralism is about having international affairs addressed through consultation and the future of the world decided by everyone working together,” Xi said.

The Chinese president called on the international community to say no to narrow-minded, selfish beggar-thy-neighbor policies, and stop unilateral practice of keeping advantages in development all to oneself.

“Multilateralism should not be used as pretext for acts of unilateralism. Principles should be preserved and rules, once made, should be followed by all,” Xi said.

“Decision should not be made by simply showing off strong muscles or waving a big fist,” he said, adding that “selective multilateralism should not be our option.”

Each country is unique with its own history, culture and social system, and none is superior to the other, he said, reiterating that “no two leaves in the world are identical, and no histories, cultures or social systems are the same.”

“State-to-state relations should be coordinated and regulated through proper institutions and rules. The strong should not bully the weak,” he said.

Moreover, he said scientific and technological advances should benefit all humanity rather than be used to curb and contain other countries’ development.

Xi urged abandoning arrogance and isolation mindsets, saying that “we have been shown time and again that to beggar thy neighbor, to go it alone, and to slip into arrogant isolation will always fail.”

Looking To Future To Uphold Multilateralism

Xi noted that multilateral institutions provide the platforms for putting multilateralism into action and are the basic architecture underpinning multilateralism, saying that their authority and effectiveness should be safeguarded.

He called on the international community to stay committed to openness and inclusiveness, to international law and international rules, to consultation and cooperation, and to keeping up with the times instead of rejecting change.

“History and reality have made it clear, time and again, that the misguided approach of antagonism and confrontation, be it in the form of cold war, hot war, trade war or tech war, would eventually hurt all countries’ interests and undermine everyone’s well-being,” he said.

“To uphold multilateralism in the 21st century, we should promote its fine tradition, take on new perspectives and look to the future. We need to stand by the core values and basic principles of multilateralism. We also need to adapt to the changing international landscape and respond to global challenges as they arise. We need to reform and improve the global governance system on the basis of extensive consultation and consensus-building,” he said.

Xi urged to give full play to the role of the World Health Organization in building a global community of health for all, and to advance reform of the World Trade Organization and the international financial and monetary system in a way that boosts global economic growth and protects the development rights, interests and opportunities of developing countries.

Adriano Lucatelli, co-founder and managing director of Descartes Finance, which is a leading Swiss digital wealth management company, told Xinhua that he expected China to continue to push for multilateralism to find global solutions for an after-pandemic world and wished China to take a leading role in fostering global cooperation.

China Concrete Acts In Promoting Multilateralism

More than 2,000 business, government and civil society leaders and over 20 heads of state or government are set to meet virtually for the WEF Davos Agenda to tackle the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and address the urgent need for global cooperation.

The Davos Agenda 2021 was scheduled to convene from Jan. 25 to 29 under the theme “A Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust.”

In his speech, Xi elaborated China’s pledge in five aspects to promote multilateralism and common prosperity, including taking an active part in international cooperation on the fight against COVID-19, implementing a win-win strategy of opening-up, promoting sustainable development, advancing science, technology and innovation, and promoting a new type of international relations.

Statistics showed that China’s GDP exceeded the 100-trillion-yuan (US$15.42 trillion) threshold in 2020 and is expected to be the only major economy to post growth in the pandemic-ravaged year.

“As China enters a new development stage, we will follow a new development philosophy and foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other,” Xi said.

“Zero-sum game or winner-takes-all is not the guiding philosophy of the Chinese people. As a staunch follower of an independent foreign policy of peace, China is working hard to pursue friendly and cooperative relations with other countries,” he said.

Xi said China will get more actively engaged in global economic governance and push for an economic globalization that is more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.

As people in the world now cope with the current crisis and endeavor to make a better day for everyone, Xi said the international community needs to “stand united and work together,” stressing that people should “let multilateralism light our way toward a community with a shared future for mankind.” 

48 new imported Covid-19 cases in Singapore, the highest since last March #SootinClaimon.Com

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48 new imported Covid-19 cases in Singapore, the highest since last March

Jan 25. 2021Singapore reported 48 new cases of Covid-19, all imported, on Jan 24, 2021. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUISingapore reported 48 new cases of Covid-19, all imported, on Jan 24, 2021. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

By Jean Iau
The Straits Times/ANN

SINGAPORE – Singapore reported 48 imported Covid-19 cases on Sunday (Jan 24) – a high not seen since March 23 last year.

The same number of imported cases – then the highest – was reported on that day in March last year, during a wave of infections among Singaporeans and permanent residents who were returning from abroad.

All of the new imported cases were on stay-home notice or in isolation when they were diagnosed, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in its daily update on Sunday.

Among the new cases, 41 had no symptoms, and were detected through proactive screening and surveillance, while seven were symptomatic, added MOH. They take Singapore’s total to 59,308.

There were no new cases in the community or in workers’ dormitories.

Among the new cases, four are Singapore permanent residents. Two returned from India, while the remaining two returned from Indonesia and Malaysia.

Four cases are dependant’s pass holders who arrived from France, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

One is a long-term visit pass holder who arrived from India. Two patients are student pass holders who arrived from Egypt and India.

Eleven are work pass holders who arrived from Bangladesh, Colombia, France, India, Nigeria and the UAE.

There are 22 work permit holders among the new cases who arrived from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines. Ten of them are foreign domestic workers.

Three new cases are short-term visit pass holders, with two coming from India to visit their children here, while the third arrived from the United States for a work project.

The final new case is a ship crew member on a special pass, who arrived on board a vessel from Malaysia and did not disembark. He was taken to hospital when he developed symptoms, and later tested positive for Covid-19.

Last Friday (Jan 22), Education Minister Lawrence Wong, who is also co-chair of the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19, noted that in recent weeks, the number of imported cases on some days has been “quite high”. 

“That’s a reflection not so much of the fact that there are more travellers coming into Singapore because the number of travellers coming in day to day doesn’t really change very much, but it’s a reflection of the increase in the infection rate around us. 

“Because of the higher prevalence, we are seeing a higher incidence of cases among the number of the travellers who come through our borders,” he said.

One new place – Li Li Cheng Supermarket at 273C Punggol Place – was added to the list of public places visited by community cases when they were infectious. The supermarket was visited by the confirmed case on Jan 17.

The number of new cases in the community increased to 15 in the past seven days, from eight cases in the previous seven.

The number of unlinked cases in the community decreased to three cases from four cases over the same time period.

Among the 195 confirmed cases reported from last Monday to Sunday, 101 cases had positive serology tests, 36 tested negative, and 58 serology test results are pending. A positive serology test may indicate a past infection of Covid-19.

With 26 cases discharged yesterday, 59,026 patients have fully recovered from the disease.

A total of 50 patients remain in hospital, with none in the intensive care unit, while 188 are recuperating in community facilities.

Singapore has had 29 deaths from Covid-19 complications, while 15 who tested positive have died of other causes.

Covid-19: A year on, Malaysia still grapples with coronavirus #SootinClaimon.Com

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Covid-19: A year on, Malaysia still grapples with coronavirus

Jan 25. 2021

By RASHVINJEET S. BEDI
The Star/ANN

PETALING JAYA: It has been one year since the first Covid-19 case was confirmed in Malaysia, with its effects since taking a huge toll on the country.

Back then, it was still called the coronavirus, and the then health minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad had confirmed that three members of a family from China had tested positive.

The woman and her two grandchildren, who were from Wuhan, had made the short trip to Malaysia from Singapore.

They were related to a 66-year-old man and his son who had tested positive for the virus in Singapore.

One year on, Malaysia has already recorded 183,031 cases of the virus, long overtaking China, which first reported incidences of the virus in December 2019.

Total recoveries stand at 141,446 or 77% of all cases.

The death toll meanwhile is 678 people, or 0.4% of all cases.

The number of cases in the early months of the pandemic were relatively low but this changed after the Sri Petaling tabligh gathering at a mosque there from Feb 27 to March 3, which was attended by 16,000 participants, comprising 14,500 Malaysians and 1,500 foreigners.

As the number of cases in the country spiked, the country was then placed under a movement control order (MCO) on March 18 in a bid to break the chain of infections.

As most of the economy and social gatherings were shut down, the first MCO was successful at flattening the curve of infections.

The MCO was followed by a conditional MCO and then later on the recovery MCO, where more rules were relaxed.

By July, the number of daily cases was in the single digits, but things started to take a turn for the worse in September, when the Sabah state election was held.

The number infections in Sabah rose quickly, with the infections then spreading to Peninsular Malaysia in the following months.

The country hit the four digit mark for daily cases for the first time in October, with the country reaching the 100,000 cases mark in December.

It was also in December that Malaysia overtook China in the number of reported cases.

The numbers have continued to grow since then, with Malaysia hitting the 3,000 and then 4,000 daily cases mark in January.

And the country has turned a full circle, with the country placed under the MCO again in another bid to flatten the curve of infections.

Vietnam’s $15.7 billion remittances 9th highest globally #SootinClaimon.Com

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Vietnam’s $15.7 billion remittances 9th highest globally

Jan 25. 2021Việt Nam had the ninth highest remittances in the world last year of US$15.7 billion.  — Photo tapchitaichinh.vnViệt Nam had the ninth highest remittances in the world last year of US$15.7 billion. — Photo tapchitaichinh.vn

By Viet Nam News/ANN

HCM CITY — Inward remittances to Việt Nam topped US$15.7 billion last year, the ninth highest in the world.

While globally remittances decreased by 7 per cent last year due to COVID-19 according to the World Bank, Việt Nam was not affected much.

In 2019, the country’s remittances topped US$16.7 billion, of which $5.3 billion came to HCM City

Trần Quốc Anh, head of HDBank’s personal customers division, said remittances via his bank were up by more than 40 per cent

Around 580,000 Vietnamese work abroad, including 230,000 in Taiwan, nearly the same number in Japan, 50,000 in Korea, 30,000 in Southeast Asia, and 15,000 each in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Most work in fields such as construction, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing, and domestic work, according to Nguyễn Gia Liêm, deputy head of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs’ overseas labour management department.

The income abroad helped improve the quality of life of workers and their families, and many escaped poverty and were able to afford education for their children, he said.

Lương Thanh Nghị, vice chairman of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, said last year overseas Vietnamese from 27 countries invested US$1.6 billion in the country.

Liêm said the country had signed deals with countries such as Japan, Malaysia, Qatar, Russia, and South Korea to send workers.

Việt Nam aims to send 90,000 guest workers abroad this year, and 500,000 from now through 2025. —VNS

‘Lost decade’ possible for South Korea as employment prospect dims among young job seekers #SootinClaimon.Com

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‘Lost decade’ possible for South Korea as employment prospect dims among young job seekers

Jan 25. 2021Dozens of people line up to learn about unemployment benefits at an employment assistance center in Mapo-gu, western Seoul, earlier this month. Korea last year suffered its worst job loss in 22 years, as the number of those employed dropped 218,000 from a year earlier to 26.9 million. (Yonhap)Dozens of people line up to learn about unemployment benefits at an employment assistance center in Mapo-gu, western Seoul, earlier this month. Korea last year suffered its worst job loss in 22 years, as the number of those employed dropped 218,000 from a year earlier to 26.9 million. (Yonhap)

By Ko Jun-tae
The Korea Herald/ANN

College graduates continue to find doors to employment closed as economy suffers

Landing a full-time job, climbing up the corporate ladder, complaining about higher-ups and being constantly bothered by team dinners is what 28-year-old Jang Hyeon-seok has dreamed of since graduating college in 2017.

But the closest he has ever been to these dreams was just a three-month-long internship at a marketing startup last summer. Jang said he has submitted applications to hundreds of companies for a full-time job, but all he received were emails starting with “We are sorry to inform you.”

“It looked so easy to find a job and work like a slave for countless hours every day, and I usually spent time contemplating what job to choose as opposed to how to land one,” Jang said, calling himself as a “loser.”

“Last year’s job search didn’t turn out successful, so I have no option to continue living with my parents. They nag me all the time, so I don’t even go outside my room that often.”

Jang is one of many jobless Koreans in their 20s and 30s who are facing increasingly limited prospects for the future as Korea undergoes a prolonged period of slow expansion.

That trend accelerated with the start of coronavirus pandemic, as companies locked their doors to new hires and stayed conservative in face of diminishing business outlook. The job hunt accordingly became extremely competitive.

According to a Korea Economic Research Institute survey of 4,158 college students and graduates in October, 55.5 percent of respondents said they do not expect to land a job in the coming months.

Close to 76 percent of respondents said finding a job became more challenging than a year earlier, with many of them citing fewer number of openings for full-time jobs and internships.

As such misfortunes continue, Korea suffered the worst job loss in 22 years in 2020, as the number of those employed dropped 218,000 from a year earlier to 26.9 million.

The largest annual job loss on record was 1.27 million jobs in 1998 when the Asian financial crisis took a harsh toll on the economy.

And in the face of such hardships, more and more people are giving up on the idea of landing stable employment, resorting to part-time jobs and short, temporary gigs to earn income, however small it may be.

“This is going to be my third year of searching for a job after college, but I came across only a handful of job openings from my dream employers in the last recruiting season,” said a 27-year-old job seeker surnamed Nam who graduated college as a finance major in spring 2019.

“I’m really disappointed and frustrated with how the job situation is going for me. At this point, all I want is a job that can pay me just enough to survive.”

According to Statistics Korea data, the number of those in their 20s and 30s who did not actively search for jobs reached 731,000 people last month, up 31 percent from the same month a year earlier.

With such trend in force, experts worry that Korea may have entered the vicious cycle of economic setbacks and employment loss like Japan did since the 1990s. They believe young job seekers in Korea today could be a “lost generation” for years to come.

After the economic bubble popped and stagnation started then, young job seekers in Japan born in the 1970s and 1980s failed to find stable jobs for more than a decade, contributing to a large fall in household income and the employment rate.

The struggling job situation prevented Japan from recovering its GDP to the level of its prime days for years. It took 12 years for Japan’s GDP to recover to the same level as it was in 1995.

“The employment situation for the younger generation is expected to deteriorate across industries due to public health risks overseas and the subsequent global economic letdown,” said Joseph Han, a researcher at the Korea Development Institute, in a report.

“For young adults in the initial stage of entering the job market, the negative impact is not expected to be short-lived.”

Han said these young job seekers will continue to lose ground in terms of income gain and work experience, which will continue to prevent them from developing their careers as their options for first employment remain vastly limited.

Solving this problem is critical in overcoming Korea’s ongoing economic difficulties, he said, as their performance in the economy is key to solving socioeconomic issues stemming from aging population and low birthrate.

“There is an increased need for the government to step in to minimize the long-term effect of the financial burden increasing on the whole country due to aging population,” he added.

As a means to prepare young adults to be ready for the job hunt when the economy recovers, some experts are asking the government to create vocational training opportunities and internships and prevent job seekers from remaining idle in the face of frozen employment market.

“The number of those waiting to find employment will continue to grow, and digesting that volume will take years,” said Kim So-young, an economics professor at Seoul National University. “But in the meantime, the society has time to prepare them to gain employment when the time comes.”

Kim said the local job market will not recover until the country successfully overcomes the pandemic, and it will be too much to ask companies with diminished fortune to boost their hiring efforts when they are already struggling to keep the ones they have in house.

Korea saw its real gross domestic product contract 1.1 percent last year due to lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic demand and exports. The Ministry of Economy and Finance expects the country’s real GDP to grow 3.2 percent throughout this year.

“Not much can be done during the pandemic to create more full-time jobs for young job seekers at this point, but we should be prepared,” Kim added.

“Economic recovery must be prioritized, and that itself will naturally open doors for companies to revamp their hiring efforts to make up for their losses during the pandemic.”

[China] 11 miners rescued 14 days after blast #SootinClaimon.Com

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[China] 11 miners rescued 14 days after blast

Jan 25. 2021

By ZHAO RUIXUE
CHINA DAILY/ANN

Eleven miners were lifted to safety on Sunday, 14 days after an explosion trapped 22 miners underground at a gold mine that was under construction in Qixia, Shandong province, according to the rescue headquarters.

The miners were lifted to the surface after rescuers cleared a way through the main shaft, which had been used by miners to enter and exit the mine.

Once on the surface, nine miners walked to ambulances with help. The other two were carried to ambulances because of their injuries.

“Let my family know that I am alive,” one miner said.

Another put his hands together in a gesture of thanks to the rescuers.

“All of the miners lifted to the surface were blindfolded to avoid a shock from the bright sunlight,” said Chen Yumin, a rescue team leader.

The first miner was brought to the surface around 11 am. He had been trapped at the No 4 section of the mine, which is 546 meters underground, and was found as rescuers were clearing the shaft. The miner, said to be extremely weak, was rushed to a hospital.

Rescuers found it very difficult during the past two weeks to clear the shaft, which was heavily damaged and blocked by debris including cables and steel wires from the explosion.

“We predicted that it could take at least another 15 days to clear the shaft due to the heavy obstacles thrown together in the shaft,” Xiao Wenru, chief engineer of the Ministry of Emergency Management’s mine rescue center, said on Sunday.

“But a big cavity appeared after rescuers cleared some obstacles this morning, then clearing work proceeded at high speed,” he said.

After bringing out the miner trapped at the No 4 section, rescuers proceeded to the No 5 section and brought out all 10 miners trapped there. The 10 miners were found to be alive a week ago after rescuers drilled a hole to search for them.

Rescuers also retrieved the body of a miner who had shown no sign of life on Wednesday. He was believed to have sustained serious head injuries in the explosion, according to the rescue headquarters.

The search continued for the remaining 10 missing miners. No contact had been established with them as of Sunday.

On Saturday, more than 600 rescue and related personnel from 17 teams, as well as a fire-rescue squad, were on site.

Himachal becomes 1st state to complete assessment of snow leopards & its prey #SootinClaimon.Com

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Himachal becomes 1st state to complete assessment of snow leopards & its prey

Jan 24. 2021(Photo: iStock)(Photo: iStock)

By The Statesman

The NCF and wildlife wing collaborated in the effort and it took three years to complete the assessment, which will also serve as a robust baseline for the Wildlife wing for long term monitoring of the snow leopard landscape.

Himachal Pradesh has become the country’s first state to complete the assessment of snow leopards and its prey.

The assessment of snow leopard population has been completed by the HP wildlife wing in collaboration with the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), Bangalore, following the protocol aligning with the SPAI (Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India) Protocols of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

HP Forest Minister Rakesh Pathania said it is the first scientifically robust estimate of snow leopards and its prey for the state. Since snow leopard is the state animal, the study assumes great significance for Himachal Pradesh.

The state has an estimated population of up to 73 snow leopards. Pathania congratulated the wildlife wing for this achievement and said that such long-term studies could prove very useful in detecting the effects of conservation at the ground level and Himachal Pradesh could also be an example for other states. He said that the exercise revealed that snow leopard density ranged from 0.08 to 0.37 individuals per 100 per square kilometre, with the trans-Himalayan regions of Spiti, Pin valley and upper Kinnaur recording the highest densities, both the predator and its prey, mainly ibex and blue sheep.

This study covered the entire potential snow leopard habitat of Himachal Pradesh: an area of 26,112 square kilometre, utilising a stratified sampling design. Camera trapping surveys were conducted at 10 sites to representatively sample all the strata i.e. high, low and unknown.

The camera trap deployment over the mountainous terrains was led by a team of eight local youth of Kibber village and more than 70 frontline staff of HPFD were trained in this technique as part of the project. Snow leopards were detected at all the 10 sites (Bhaga, Chandra, Bharmour, Kullu, Miyar, Pin, Baspa, Tabo, Hangrang & Spiti) suggesting that snow leopards are found in the entire snow leopard habitat in Himachal Pradesh either as resident individuals of a population or as dispersing individuals navigating through these connecting habitats.

Another revelation from the study is that a bulk of snow leopard occurrence is outside protected areas, reiterating the fact that local communities are the strongest allies for conservation in snow leopard landscapes.

The NCF and wildlife wing collaborated in the effort and it took three years to complete the assessment, which will also serve as a robust baseline for the Wildlife wing for long term monitoring of the snow leopard landscape.

The Forest Minister said that the results provide a robust baseline for wildlife wing to set up a long term monitoring project to track the population of snow leopards and its wild prey species in the state.