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Mugabe’s body leaves Singapore, headed back to Zimbabwe

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Mugabe’s body leaves Singapore, headed back to Zimbabwe | The Thaiger

A hearse carrying the body of Zimbabwe’s ex-president Robert Mugabe left a funeral parlour in Singapore this morning bound for an airport. His body will be repatriated to Zimbabwe for burial.

Mugabe, a guerrilla leader who swept to power after Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain and went on to rule for 37 years until he was ousted in 2017, died last Friday, aged 95. His health deteriorated after he was toppled by the military and former loyalists in November 2017, ending an increasingly tyrannical rule that sent the economy into ruin.

Relatives and Zimbabwean government officials have travelled to Singapore, where Mugabe died after receiving treatment for several months, to collect his body. They will fly out later Wednesday.

A white hearse carrying Mugabe’s body left the funeral parlour, accompanied by police motorbikes, and drove past a group of journalists. The visiting group, who include Vice President Kembo Mohadi, arrived on Tuesday and attended a private Catholic mass for Mugabe at the parlour, officiated by a Zimbabwean priest.

Zimbabweans have been divided over how to mourn a former leader once hailed as a liberation hero but who later brutally repressed his opponents.

On arrival in Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s body will be taken straight to his village in Kutama, in Zvimba district west of the capital Harare, for an overnight wake.

On Thursday and Friday the body will lie in state at Rufaro Stadium in Mbare township in Harare – where Mugabe took his oath of office – for the public to pay their final respects.

The official funeral will be held on Saturday at the giant 60,000-seat National Sports Stadium in Harare and foreign leaders are expected to attend.  His body will be buried on Sunday but the location remains unclear.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

Mugabe's body leaves Singapore, headed back to Zimbabwe | News by The Thaiger

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Events

Leclerc takes Singapore GP pole, Hamilton shares front row

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Leclerc takes Singapore GP pole, Hamilton shares front row | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Charles Leclerc on top after grabbing in pole position – Reuters

“Lewis Hamilton admits he is surprised to be next to a Ferrari on the grid after qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix alongside pole-winner Charles Leclerc.”

Championship leader Hamilton was able to do little to prevent Ferrari’s Leclerc from claiming consecutive victories in Spa and Monza in the last two GPs but the Italian outfit were given little chance of gaining a third straight win at the technical 23-turn Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday.

Hamilton arrived in Singapore expecting to fight Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for victory but 21 year old Leclerc put himself in contention for a sensational hat-trick of GP wins with a stunning 1:36.217 second lap to edge out Hamilton by 0.191s, with the Monegasque’s teammate Sebastian Vettel in third.

“We came into the weekend knowing we would have a fight with the Red Bulls, especially knowing that the Ferraris had not been that strong at tracks with high downforce,” Hamilton told reporters at a circuit where he has tasted victory on four occasions.

“I still like how close it was for us all today and hopefully that puts us in good stead for a fight tomorrow.”

Hamilton, who has won eight times already this season and is on course for a sixth world title, was disappointed Mercedes were unable to convert their superior performance from Friday practice into a pole position a day later.

“Yesterday was a much smoother day for me and today I just felt we lost performance and everyone else improved,’ he added.

“The first run in the final qualifying session didn’t feel so good, (we were) a second behind and looking like quite a leap was needed to catch them up, but I just managed to pull some time back on that last clean run, but that slow first sector is where it was lost.

With seven rounds remaining, Hamilton leads the title race by 63 points from his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas with Verstappen in third, 99 points adrift, and Leclerc and Vettel in fourth and fifth respectively more than 100 points behind.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

Leclerc takes Singapore GP pole, Hamilton shares front row | News by The Thaiger

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Air Pollution

Southern Thailand smog well above safe levels

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Southern Thailand smog well above safe levels | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Charoon Thongnual – The Nation

Hat Yai, the main city in Songkhla, has been among the worst hit by the smog engulfing parts of southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

The business district of Hat Yai has been hard hit with PM2.5 particles exceeding the safety standards of 50 (set by the World Health Organisation). But some rain yesterday afternoon provided a short respite. This morning it is up to 158 again.

Southern Thailand smog well above safe levels | News by The Thaiger

Two other areas facing similarly poor air quality are Yala and Satun provinces, according to Tananchai Wansuk, the chief of the area’s environment office.

“The smog from the Indonesian island of Sumatra is expected to cloud southern Thailand for at least the next three days.”

Meanwhile, measures have been put in place to protect public health in southern Krabi province amid a seasonal recurrence of haze drifting from Indonesia, the chief of the provincial health office said yesterday.

Dr Aphichai Limanont said hospitals of all sizes had been instructed to communicate information about coping with the smog, with those at most risk, such as children, the elderly, and people with chronic respiratory problems are being warned to be especially vigilant.

Aphichai acknowledged that Krabi had witnessed dense smog every year recently, but said the authorities had been able to cope.

The southern Thai provinces struggle perennially with the smoke from forest fires burning on Indonesia’s Sumatra Island and Kalimantan and it reappeared this week in Yala and Songkhla. Malaysia and Singapore have been suffering for several weeks with government environmental officials pointing fingers and trading insults.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s President Jokowi has acknowledged the problem while 30,000 Indonesian army, firefighters and emergency responders are in the fire zones battling the intentionally-lit plantation fires.

SOURCE: The Nation

Southern Thailand smog well above safe levels | News by The Thaiger Southern Thailand smog well above safe levels | News by The Thaiger Southern Thailand smog well above safe levels | News by The Thaiger

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Singapore

Can Hamilton pull off a Singapore hat-trick in the haze?

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Can Hamilton pull off a Singapore hat-trick in the haze? | The Thaiger

Lewis Hamilton is hoping his march towards a sixth Formula One world title Singapore this week won’t be affected by smoke from wildfires raging next door in Indonesia. The city state has been plagued with smoke drifting across from nearby Indonesia’s Sumatra island over the past week.

The National Environment Agency is forecasting pollution at the “low end of the unhealthy range” for Sunday’s showpiece night race.

Formula One bosses are reported to have a contingency plan in place should the “highly changeable” air quality deteriorate, though the race weekend is still scheduled to go ahead as planned.

Hamilton, who has a 63 point lead in the title race over teammate Valterri Bottas after winning eight grands prix this season, and Mercedes have prospered in the past at the Marina Bay Circuit.

But they could do little to prevent Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc from storming to consecutive victories on power-friendly layouts in Belgium and Italy in the two races since the summer break.

Hamilton has taken four of Mercedes’ five victories at the demanding 23-turn city street circuit and is looking for a third consecutive triumph in race that even without the threat of smog is traditionally draining because of heat and high humidity.

But Hamilton remains wary of Leclerc, who has outshone his error-prone Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel since joining the Italian team at the start of the season.

“I am not looking forward to the next race thinking it will swing our way,” Hamilton said of the 21-year-old from Monaco. “I hope that it is competitive between us — I want this battle to continue.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff also expects Ferrari to be in the shake-up in Singapore, despite the Italian marque struggling on circuits lacking long straights this season.

Red Bull have enjoyed 12 podium finishes in Singapore since 2008, including three wins, and the Milton Keynes-based outfit will be hoping Max Verstappen can improve on his second-place finish from a year ago to stay ahead of Leclerc in their battle for third in the overall standings.

Vettel knows his chances of recording a first victory since Belgium last year will have diminished due to the nature of the remaining circuits on the calendar, but the German four-times world champion will be looking to seize on any opportunities that may fall his way.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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