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Phuket Gazette World News: Queen Beatrix to abdicate Dutch throne

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Phuket Gazette World News: Queen Beatrix to abdicate Dutch throne | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Dutch Queen Beatrix to abdicate throne after 33 years
Phuket Gazette / News Wires

PHUKET: Dutch Queen Beatrix announced that she will abdicate on Queen’s Day in April after more than three decades as head of state, allowing her eldest son Willem-Alexander to become the kingdom’s first king in more than a century.

The announcement, recorded yesterday afternoon and later broadcast on both radio and television, followed years of speculation that Beatrix planned to abdicate the throne and allow her eldest son to take over. She confirmed in the speech that she had been considering to abdicate for a number of years.

“I have always considered it as an exceptional privilege to use a large part of my life to serve our country,” she said. “To this day, this beautiful task has given me great satisfaction. It is inspiring to feel involved with people, to show compassion and to share in times of joy and national pride.”

Beatrix, noting that this year marks the 200th anniversary of the collapse of the French Empire which rang in a new era for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, said she chose to abdicate this year to allow a new generation to take over. “(I am abdicating) from the conviction that the responsibility for our country must now be in the hands of a new generation,” she said.

The abdication is scheduled to take place at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam on April 30, which traditionally marks the annual Queen’s Day celebration. It will be followed by the inauguration of Willem-Alexander at the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) near the royal palace in Amsterdam a short time later.

Willem-Alexander, 45, will be the kingdom’s first king since William III, who ruled the Netherlands from 1849 until 1890. His wife Maxima will become queen consort, unlike the husbands of Beatrix and Queen Juliana who never became king but instead held the title of prince-consort.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte praised Beatrix, who turns 75 this week, for her work as queen. “Queen Beatrix was always there,” he said. “She was there on festive occasions, during the celebration of successes in sports and cultural highlights. But she was also and especially there during difficult moments.”

The Netherlands suffered a number of disasters since Beatrix assumed the throne in April 1980. A total of 43 people were killed in October 1992 when a large cargo plane crashed into an apartment building in Amsterdam and 23 people were killed and nearly 950 others were injured in May 2000 when a massive fireworks explosion devastated a neighborhood in the city of Enschede.

But tragedy struck close in Apeldoorn on Queen’s Day 2009 when a man drove his car into a parade which included Queen Beatrix, Prince Willem-Alexander and other members of the royal family. The attacker killed seven people and injured several others but missed a bus carrying the royal family.

“Her moving words immediately after the horrific attack in Apeldoorn will be forever etched in our collective memory,” Rutte said.

But the last year of her reign will be remembered as being marked by personal tragedy. Prince Johan Friso, the second son of Beatrix, has remained in a coma after being critically injured in an avalanche in western Austria in February 2012. Doctors said oxygen deprivation caused extensive damage to his brain, leaving him in a coma from which he may never come out.

Queen Beatrix, who will take the title of princess, said Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima are “fully prepared” for their future task. “They will serve our country with dedication, faithfully maintain the constitution and with all their talents give their own substance to the kingship.”

The Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of the Netherlands in Western Europe and the countries Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten in the Caribbean.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Singapore’s population contracts along with its GDP

The Thaiger

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Singapore’s population contracts along with its GDP | The Thaiger

The little south east Asian island nation of Singapore, which has always punched way above its weight, with the fourth largest economy, but the biggest GDP per capita in the region, is getting smaller. Both its economy and population. The population of the Republic of Singapore is shrinking for the first time since 2003. Border closures and, mostly, job losses, are forcing 10s of 1000s of foreign workers back to their home countries.

Singapore’s overall population dropped by nearly 20,000 people, or 0.3% of the population at the endow 2019, to 5.69 million people.

There’s been a sharp drop in expats, down 2% to 1.64 million, and a smaller drop in permanent residents. At the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a number of citizens to return from overseas, swelling the numbers of locals slightly.

The annual report of Singapore’s demographics notes that the transitions are nearly entirely due to the coronavirus outbreak. The report also says that there has already been an economic decline officially estimated between 5%-7% for 2020.

“These trends were largely due to Covid-19 related challenges, brought about by weak demand and travel restrictions. The government has been raising barriers for foreign hiring to preserve jobs for locals.”

Singapore’s non-resident population has surged 200% over the last 2 decades, fuelling mega population growth in the city-state with one of the world’s lowest birth rates. If not for the influx of foreigners, Singapore would have been recording a net drop in population.

The rise of Singapore’s middle class, and the ‘trend’ to hire domestic help, has caused an influx of low-paid migrants to act as nannies, maids, cleaners, drivers and construction workers. Many of these have either voluntarily headed back to their countries, mostly the Philippines, or been sacked.

National University of Singapore sociologist Tan Ern Ser notes that the decline in non-resident population is mostly due to the departure of work permit holders, who take up jobs which Singaporeans avoid in the first place. He says the trend probably signals some sectors of the economy are not doing well.

“The issue of foreigners in our midst cannot be addressed simply by cutting down their numbers, without negative consequences for our economy.”

Meanwhile, Japan says it has made an agreement with SE Nations Singapore and Brunei to reopen their borders for newly arriving expats from next Wednesday and and other long-term residents from October 8.

Those eligible to travel will be allowed in on condition they self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival as a preventative measure against the spread of Covid-19.

Brunei and Singapore join 7 other ASEAN countries, including Vietnam and Thailand, with the new travel bubble with Japan. Japan still has a ban in place for the entry of travellers from 159 countries and regions. Japan’s foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi says the government is seriously considering how to restart travel back to Japan, both for business and tourism.

“We see the resumption of new entries (of foreigners) to Japan as an extremely important issue.”

Japan already allows short-term business travellers from Singapore to enter the country without doing quarantine, on condition they take a test before they travel to Japan, then another when they arrive, can provide an itinerary of their stay and take preventative steps to actively socially distance during their visit.

SOURCE: trip.sg

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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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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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