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Air strike kills at least 40 at Yemen camp for displaced

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Air strike kills at least 40 at Yemen camp for displaced
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: An air strike killed at least 40 people at a camp for displaced people in north Yemen on Monday, humanitarian workers said, in an attack which apparently targeted nearby Houthi fighters who are battling President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Yemen’s state news agency Saba, which is under the control of the Houthis, said the camp at Haradh was hit by Saudi planes. It said the dead included women and children, and showed the bodies of five children laid out on a blood-streaked floor.

A Saudi military spokesman said the kingdom was seeking clarification on the incident.

“It could have been that the fighter jets replied to fire, and we cannot confirm that it was a refugee camp,” Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri said.

“We will ask the Yemeni official agencies to confirm that,” he told reporters.

Hadi’s Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin earlier blamed Houthi artillery for the explosion.

The International Organisation for Migration, which initially reported 45 deaths, said 40 people were killed and 200 wounded – dozens of them severely.

A humanitarian worker said earlier that the strike hit a truck of Houthi militiamen at the gate to the Mazraq camp, near Haradh, killing residents, guards and fighters.

The medical aid organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres said at least 34 wounded people were brought to a hospital in Haradh which it supports. Another 29 were dead on arrival.

“People in Al Mazraq camp have been living in very harsh conditions … and now they have suffered the consequences of an air strike on the camp,” said Pablo Marco, MSF operational manager for Yemen.

Mazraq, in the province of Hajja next to the Saudi border, is a cluster of camps that are home to thousands of Yemenis displaced by over a decade of wars between the Houthis and the Yemeni state, as well as East African migrants.

Saudi Arabia, supported by regional Sunni Muslim allies, launched an air campaign to support Hadi after he withdrew last month from the capital to Aden. He left Yemen on Thursday to attend an Arab summit and has not returned.

The fighting has brought civil war to the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country. Sunni Muslim tribesmen allied with Hadi are battling northern Zaydi Shi’ites backed by soldiers loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down after 2011 mass protests against his 33 years in office.

Yemen was already sliding into chaos with a growing southern secessionist movement and a covert U.S. drone campaign – now stalled – against al Qaeda in the east.

The growing power of the Houthis, part of a Shi’ite minority that makes up about 20 percent of the country’s 25 million people, also means Yemen has become the latest stage for Saudi Arabia’s power struggle with Iran.

The two regional rivals support opposing sides in Syria’s civil war and in neighbouring Lebanon. Tehran also supports and arms Shi’ite militias in Iraq, although it denies Riyadh’s accusations that it supports Yemen’s Houthis militarily.

WARSHIPS FIRE ON HOUTHIS

In the capital Sanaa, controlled by the Houthis, jets struck around the presidential palace overnight and made more raids throughout the day. Most of the air strikes, launched on Thursday, have taken place so far only at night.

In the south, Houthi fighters closed in on the port city of Aden, the last major stronghold of Hadi supporters, and residents said warships believed to be Egyptian shelled a column of Houthis advancing along the coastal road.

It was the first known report of naval forces taking part in the conflict. A Reuters reporter heard heavy explosions and saw a thick column of black smoke rising from the area about 15 km northeast of Aden, apparently after air strikes.

Saudi-led war planes also shook buildings in Aden’s Khor Maksar district when they fired at least one missile at the airport, where Houthi-allied fighters are based, residents said. A stray shell killed at least three people on a mini-bus in the same area, local fighters said.

A Hadi aide told the Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV that Houthi fighters also shelled the president’s private residence in Khor Maksar killing a number of guards.

While Hadi’s fighters ceded ground around Aden, Pakistan announced it would send troops to support the Saudi-led coalition.

“We have already pledged full support to Saudi Arabia in its operation against rebels and will join the coalition,” a Pakistani official said.

In a cabinet statement, Saudi King Salman said Riyadh was open to a meeting of all Yemeni factions willing to preserve Yemen’s security, under the auspices of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council.

The Arab leaders agreed at their meeting in Egypt to form a unified military force to counter growing regional security threats such as the Yemen conflict.

But working out the logistics of the force will be a protracted process and Yemen’s rugged geography, internal power struggles and recent history all present challenges to any military campaign.

Just four years after the 1990 unification of North and South Yemen, civil war erupted when southerners tried to break away, but were defeated by Saleh’s northern forces.

In the 1960s, intervention by Saudi Arabia and Egypt on opposing sides of a civil war in North Yemen led to a long and damaging military stalemate.

Saudi Arabia says it is focusing for now on air strikes against the Houthis, rather than a ground campaign, promising to increase pressure on them over coming days.

On Sunday, sources said Yemeni exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) were running as normal despite the shutdown of major seaports. But French oil firm Total said on Monday operations at its Block 10 had been reduced, with gas production maintained only for local power generation and to supply nearby areas.

Several countries have evacuated citizens from Yemen in recent days. About 500 Pakistani nationals were flown out of the Red Sea port of Hodeida on Sunday, and India said on Monday it was preparing to fly out 500 people from Sanaa.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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World

Richest 1% responsible for twice the amount of carbon emissions than the poorest 50%

Caitlin Ashworth

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Richest 1% responsible for twice the amount of carbon emissions than the poorest 50% | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Alexander Popov

The richest people in the world, who make up just 1% of the population, are responsible for a significant amount of carbon emissions. A study shows that the “1 percenters” make up twice as much carbon pollution than the poorest half of the world. Some say the poor are the least responsible for climate change, but have to deal with most of the negative consequences.

In a 25 year study led by Oxfam, researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute found that wealthy countries were responsible for using up nearly a third of the Earth’s carbon budget. The study was conducted from 1990 to 2015, when annual emissions grew by 60%.

Oxfam is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organisations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, founded in 1942 and led by Oxfam International. It is a major nonprofit group with an extensive collection of operations.

63 million people made up the richest 1% of the world. Since 1990, they have been responsible for 9% of the ‘carbon budget’. The carbon budget is the maximum amount of greenhouse gases that can go into the air before temperature rises to catastrophic levels. 3.1 billion people make up the poorest half of the world’s population. The carbon emissions growth rate of the rich 1% was 3 times more than the poorest half of the world.

There’s not just an economic inequality between the rich and the poor, according to the head of policy, advocacy and research, Tim Gore. He told AFP the research shows the world’s “carbon inequality.”

“It’s not just that extreme economic inequality is divisive in our societies, it’s not just that it slows the rate of poverty reduction …But there is also a third cost which is that it depletes the carbon budget solely for the purpose of the already affluent growing their consumption … And that of course has the worse impacts on the poorest and least responsible.”

Carbon emissions have decreased since the pandemic. But just a few months doesn’t take away the damage that has been done for years. Temperatures are still on track to rise several degrees this century. Although the 2015 Paris climate deal was set to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels, emissions have continued to increase.

“It’s clear that the carbon intensive and highly unequal model of economic growth over the last 20-30 years has not benefited the poorest half of humanity… It’s a false dichotomy to suggest that we have to choose between economic growth and fixing the climate crisis.”

Some say the global economy needs to prioritise “green growth.” If not, the decrease in pollution during the pandemic will have a very small and insignificant overall impact on climate change. Some say carbon emissions affect the poorest nations the most who don’t have enough resources to fight natural disasters possibly brought on by the rising temperatures, like wildfires and droughts.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | AFP

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World

England’s self-quarantine rule breakers will receive up to a 10,000 pound fine

The Thaiger & The Nation

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England’s self-quarantine rule breakers will receive up to a 10,000 pound fine | The Thaiger

England’s self-quarantine rule breakers are receiving up to a 10,000 pound fine, starting September 28, according to British PM Boris Johnson. The fine will be handed down to anyone who tests positive for the virus or has been in contact with someone who has the virus and dodges the rules for self-quarantine.

For the first offence, rule breakers will receive a 1,000 pound fine and from there it will rise up to 10,000 pounds for those who repeatedly break the rules. Employers who threaten to fire staff over choosing to self-isolate instead of going to work will receive the maximum fine amount of 10,000 pounds. For those lower income workers, Johnson says they will receive a 500 pound support payment in addition to other benefits in which they may qualify.

Despite current British Covid-19 quarantine guidelines matching those of the rest of the world, there has reportedly been little enforcement of self-quarantine rules. Now, Britain is seeing a fast influx of Covid cases prompting the government to get the police involved in compliance checks.

Johnson has come under scrutiny after repeatedly being called to issue a lockdown nationwide with reports coming in that he is planning to reject calls from advisors to issue a 2 week lockdown to slow the virus’ spread.

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Thailand

US accuses Chinese companies of exploitation along the Mekong River

The Thaiger & The Nation

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US accuses Chinese companies of exploitation along the Mekong River | The Thaiger

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is accusing Chinese companies of “exploitative practices” in the Mekong River region after a new partnership has been launched to combat “transnational crimes”. Pompeo named the China Communications Construction Company as one of the big offenders and says the Chinese Communist Party is responsible for the increase in human, wildlife and drug trafficking in the region.

He says the new partnership will also strengthen water security for partner countries where China has added to a drought in the region as an upstream damming by China has been carried out in “a completely non-transparent and non-consultative way.”

“We encourage countries of the Mekong region to hold the CCP accountable to its pledge to share its water data. That data should be public. It should be released year-round. It should include water and water-related data, as well as land use, and dam construction and operation data.”

“We stand with our ASEAN partners as we insist on the rule of law and respect for sovereignty in the South China Sea, where Beijing has pursued aggressive campaigns of coercion and environmental devastation.”

Pompeo also said such companies associated with the CCP are linked to human and narcotics trafficking but he did not provide evidence to support the accusation.

Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand all share resources of the Mekong delta and Pompeo reiterated that they “deserve good partners”. The US has reportedly pledged a total of US$156.4 million for multiple initiatives under the new US-Mekong Partnership.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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