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Three reported dead in Lombok earthquake – Indonesia

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PHOTO: Nusa Tenggara Barat Disaster Mitigation Agency

A shallow 6.4 magnitude earthquake has struck the Indonesian holiday island of Lombok this morning. At least three people are reported to have been killed. Lombok is 100 kilometres east of Bali.

The United States Geological Survey reports that the quake hit at 6:47 am local time today. The epicentre is believed to been around 50 kilometres north east of Lombok’s main town Mataram, which is a long way from Lombok’s tourist hot spots.

Three people are reported to have died and at least two dozen others have been injured according to initial reports. Officials have closed the popular hiking trails on Mount Rinjani temporarily citing fears of possible landslides. People living close to the epicentre report “feeling a strong jolt”.

Lombok sits amid an archipelago of small island along the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, bordering one of the world’s most active tectonic plates.

 

SOURCE: ASEAN+, The Nation

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Myanmar

113 bodies recovered in Myanmar jade mine mudslide

Jack Burton

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113 bodies recovered in Myanmar jade mine mudslide | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Fire Services Department Handout

At least 113 are dead after a landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar. The Myanmar Fire Services Department says that the incident took place early today in the jade-rich Hpakant district of the northern Kachin state after a heavy rainfall. Photos in the post showed a search and rescue team wading through a valley apparently flooded by the mudslide.

“The jade miners were smothered by a wave of mud. A total of 113 bodies have been found so far.”

“Now we recovered more than 100 bodies,” a local official with the information ministry told Reuters by phone, “Other bodies are in the mud. The numbers are going to rise.”

Fatal landslides are common in the poorly regulated mines of Hpakant, the victims often from impoverished communities who risk their lives hunting the translucent green gemstone.

A 38 year old miner who witnessed the incident says he spotted a tall pile of waste that appeared to be on the verge of collapse and was about to take a picture when people began shouting “Run, run!”

“Within a minute, all the people at the bottom of the hill just disappeared. I feel empty in my heart. I still have goose bumps… There were people stuck in the mud shouting for help but no one could help them.”

Aung San Suu Kyi’s government promised to clean up the industry when it took power in 2016, but activists say little has changed.

Official sales of jade in Myanmar were worth $750 million US dollars (23.3 billion baht) in 2016-2017, according to data published by the government. Experts say the true value of the industry, which mainly exports to China, is much larger.

Northern Myanmar’s abundant natural resources – including jade, timber, gold and amber – have also helped finance both sides of a decades long civil war between ethnic Kachin and the military. The fight to control the mines and the money they bring frequently traps locals in the middle.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera | Newsvoice

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Cambodia announces changes to entry rules for citizens with foreign passports

Maya Taylor

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Cambodia announces changes to entry rules for citizens with foreign passports | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Binh Dang Nam on Unsplash

Cambodian nationals who hold foreign passports will likely welcome the government’s decision to do away with the requirement for a US$3,000 deposit to cover Covid-19 costs, along with the compulsory US$50,000 health insurance. But a report in TTR weekly says the changes only apply to Cambodian citizens with foreign passports and a Visa K entry permit.

Following the move by the country’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, entry requirements have been updated at all Cambodian airports, but the health insurance requirement and hefty deposit are still mandatory for all foreign visitors. The SSCA adds that Cambodian citizens are still required to show a medical certificate that proves they have tested negative for the Covid-19 virus.

“Cambodian nationals holding foreign passports with Visa K are still required to possess a health certificate indicating a Covid-19 negative status issued by competent health authorities of their residing country no more than 72 hours from the departure time from their residing country.”

In addition, all international organisations in Cambodia, including foreign embassies and consulates, must confirm that staff and diplomats entering the country are free from Covid-19 and ensure they fulfill the mandatory 14 day quarantine period.

SOURCE: TTR Weekly

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Crime

Billions in illicit drugs burned in Thailand and Myanmar

Jack Burton

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Billions in illicit drugs burned in Thailand and Myanmar | The Thaiger
PHOTO: AP

In a joint operation, authorities in Thailand and Myanmar destroyed 25 tonnes of illicit drugs valued at more than 62 billion baht (US$2 billion) in Ayutthaya and Yangon. The move comes as drug cartels in the Golden Triangle boost supplies and seek new channels of distribution. The Golden Triangle, where Laos, northern Myanmar and Thailand meet, has been a hub of illicit drug traffic for decades. Authorities say production there is now taking place on an industrial scale.

In Ayutthaya, about 80 kilometres north of Bangkok, Thai authorities marked International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with a mass burning of drugs. Police guarded boxes of drugs unloaded from trucks while bricks of heroin and bags stuffed with methamphetamine pills, known as “yaba,” were thrown into dumpsters for incineration. In Yangon, meanwhile, plumes of black smoke filled the sky as sacks full of drugs were set ablaze. Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames.

Thai authorities say Covid-19 travel restrictions and checkpoints helped reduce smuggling, but the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said last month that the trade continues to thrive. Thailand’s deputy national police chief says drug criminals are getting more creative, and the internet is becoming a growing outlet for the illicit drug trade.

“Our children are making the wrong decision to order narcotic drugs online. And the dealers send the drugs to them.”

Rising heroin use among young people is among several worrying trends. Though opium cultivation and heroin refining have dropped, methamphetamine production in Myanmar’s northern regions has increased dramatically, with armed ethnic groups collaborating with organised crime elements. Thailand is used mainly as a conduit and distribution point, with some drugs sold domestically, but most smuggled onward.

Jeremy Douglas, the UNODC regional representative, says online drug sales represent a worrying trend, with an oversupply of meth pushing prices down and adding to more drug abuse.

“Above all we are looking now at an increase in drug availability. Very dangerous. Frankly speaking, Myanmar has become the transit place of narcotic drug distribution to Europe and Asia.”

SOURCE: Reuters

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