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Killing of gorilla to save boy at Ohio zoo sparks outrage

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Killing of gorilla to save boy at Ohio zoo sparks outrage
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


OHIO: The killing of a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 4-year-old boy tumbled into the ape’s enclosure triggered outrage and questions about safety, but zoo officials called the decision to use lethal force a tough but necessary choice.

More than 2,000 people signed a petition on Change.org that sharply criticized the Cincinnati Police Department and the zoo for putting down the animal and called for the child’s parents to be “held accountable for their actions of not supervising their child.”

Cincinnati police on Sunday said the parents had not been charged, but that charges could eventually be sought by the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Authorities did not identify the child or his parents. The family could not be reached on Sunday.

A Facebook page titled “Justice for Harambe” had more than 3,000 likes by Sunday afternoon, a day after the 400-pound (181-kg) gorilla was shot dead about 10 minutes after encountering and dragging the child. Harambe was a Western lowland gorilla, an endangered species, and the zoo said it had intended to use him for breeding.

“If we think it’s acceptable to kill a gorilla who has done nothing wrong, I don’t think our city should have gorillas,” Manvinder Singh posted on the Facebook page.

A blog post on the website for ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ questioned why it was necessary to kill the gorilla and whether zoos could meet the needs of such animals.

“A 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe is dead, and a child is in the hospital. Why?”, blogger Jennifer O’Connor wrote. “Western lowland gorillas are gentle animals. They don’t attack unless they’re provoked.”

Witnesses told local television that the boy repeatedly expressed a desire to join the gorilla in the zoo habitat. Moments later, the boy crawled through a barrier and fell about 12 feet (3.7-meters) into a moat surrounding the habitat, where Harambe grabbed him, zoo officials said.

It was the first time in the 38-year history of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s gorilla exhibit that an unauthorized person was able to get into the enclosure, zoo president Thane Maynard said on Saturday.

“They made a tough choice and they made the right choice because they saved that little boy’s life,” he said, adding that a member of the zoo’s Dangerous Animal Response Team fired the shot that killed the ape.

Maynard said the team decided to use deadly force instead of tranquilizers to subdue the gorilla because it can take time for the drug to take effect when an animal is agitated.

The child was taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Hospital officials, citing privacy laws, declined to say on Sunday whether the child had been released or to disclose any details about his injuries.

Western lowland gorilla numbers in the dense rain forests of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea have declined by more than 60 percent over the last 20 to 25 years, according to the World Wildlife Federation.

The Cincinnati zoo was open on Sunday, although Gorilla World was expected to be closed indefinitely. Neither the zoo nor the fire department responded to a request for comment.

At other U.S. zoos, similar encounters have ended in tragedy, including the 2013 fatal mauling of a 2-year-old boy by a pack of wild African dogs after he fell into an exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo.

A man who in 2012 jumped into an enclosure at New York’s Bronx Zoo to be “one with the tiger” suffered bite wounds and other injuries but survived.

But there was a happy ending when a 3-year-old boy fell into the gorilla den at Brookfield Zoo near Chicago in 1996, and an 8-year-old female gorilla named Binti Jua picked up the unconscious boy and protected him from the other primates. The act of kindness won Binti Jua national attention as Newsweek‘s ‘Hero of the Year’ and one of People‘s most intriguing people.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Survey shows growing acceptance of Covid-19 vaccines in some countries

Maya Taylor

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Survey shows growing acceptance of Covid-19 vaccines in some countries | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pixabay

A survey of 6 countries shows that the number of people willing to be vaccinated against Covid-19 is on the rise. The poll, conducted by the international consultancy KekstCNC, indicates that the number of people willing to be vaccinated has risen since last year. The countries that took part were the US, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, and Sweden, with all reporting a similar trend.

The highest percentage in favour of vaccination was in the UK, where mass vaccination is well underway. 89% of those surveyed say they’re in favour of being vaccinated, an increase on December’s figure of 70%.

Sweden’s percentage of those in favour of vaccination rose to 76%, from 53% in December. In the US, it was 64%, up from December’s 58%, in Germany, 73% favour vaccination, up from 63%, and in Japan, the percentage is 64%, up from 50% in December.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the numbers were lowest in vaccine-sceptical France, with 59% in favour of the vaccine. However, this is a significant rise from December’s 40%.

In some countries, people were critical of the vaccine rollout, but 76% of people in the UK feel the government has done well. In the US, only 32% are happy with the vaccine rollout, in Germany and Japan it’s 28%, 22% in France and just 20% in Sweden. Both the UK and Israel are seen as having the most success with the rollout of their vaccine programmes.

Covid-19 has now killed 2,543,285 people and infected 114,686,933 around the world since the start of the pandemic in December 2019. The US has recorded the highest number of deaths, at 525,776.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Politics

Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to coup

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Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to coup | The Thaiger

Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to the military coup, which has received major international backlash. As a major donor to Myanmar, Japan joins other advanced nations in condemning the coup which has seen security forces using violence against peaceful protesters.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi was quoted as saying in a phone call that “Japan will strongly urge the Myanmar military to release Suu Kyi and other detained individuals, and to swiftly restore democratic government.”

But it may not impose sanctions like the rest of the other developed countries as its longtime ties with the armed forces, ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy and investment promoting policy in the country may serve as a barrier in doing so. Britan and the United States have imposed sanctions in recent days which include the US freezing military funds.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry official says stopping its support of building projects would give China a chance to move in, increasing its clout in Myanmar. Around 450 Japanese companies operate in Myanmar with Japan being the 5th largest investor in the Southeast nation. Singapore has the most companies, followed by China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

The Foreign Ministry says Japan spent about US $1.8 billion in official development assistance in the fiscal year of 2019, making it the largest among the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But it is unknown what China has poured into it as it has refused to disclose its expenditures.

The Japanese government plans to continue coronavirus emergency assistance to Myanmar through international organisations and non-governmental organisations. The World Bank, however, has stopped payments to projects in the nation indefinitely, after the coup on February 1, which disrupted the democratic elections last November and saw the arrest of top leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party, the National League for Democracy, won the elections in a landslide victory.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Law

Australia sets worldwide precedent by passing pay‐to‐play legislation for social media giants

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Australia sets worldwide precedent by passing pay‐to‐play legislation for social media giants | The Thaiger

In a landmark decision, Australia is now requiring global digital giants, such as Facebook and Google, to pay for using local news content on their websites. The move sets a precedent that many global companies have been anticipating.

The law passed yesterday after Facebook and Google reached an agreement to pay local Australian news organisations for using their stories on their websites. 1 week ago, Australians woke up to a blackout after Facebook temporarily banned local news, which included emergency notifications. The blackout was in response to the legislation being put forth for approval, with Facebook spokespeople saying it seemed to be their only choice at the time.

The new law sets the stage for other countries worldwide to gain more revenue for local media companies by making such social media giants pay to use content. Google’s “Showcase” product will now feature paid local news with Facebook showing such paid news under its “News” category.

Companies like Google and Facebook pushed back against the legislation, saying such a law could threaten their companies’ business models, with Google saying it could make their search engine website “unworkable.”

But local news organisations have rebuked the reasoning, citing that social media giants claim a large percentage of online advertisin, leaving local news companies out of the revenue game. Citing that news is gathered by reporting and fieldwork, the companies say it is unfair for social media companies to profit largely off of the work of local, smaller companies.

The law, called the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, aims to protect such local companies and to sustain public interest journalism. Thousands of journalists have lost their jobs over the past decade as local media outlets have seen the bulk of their advertising revenues flow to digital companies’ sites after using their content.

Australia’s competition watchdog says that for every $100 invested by Australian advertisers, $49 is sent to Google and $24 to Facebook. Now, both online businesses say they will each invest around US $1 billion in local news content globally in the next 3 years. Facebook and Google now have 2 more months to reach solid agreements before being subjected to binding arbritations.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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