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Russians to hold presidential elections in March 2012

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Russians to hold presidential elections in March 2012
Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Russian government has decided that presidential elections will take place on March 4 next year, the upper house of parliament announced on Friday.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is widely expected to win the vote, will be officially nominated as a presidential candidate during the United Russia party congress on Sunday. Incumbent President Dmitry Medvedev admitted in late September that he and Putin had planned this move a long time ago.

Three of the four parties in parliament have already announced their presidential candidates, but none are expected to be a real challenge for Putin. His main election rivals will be Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the right-wing LDPR party, and Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov.

The ‘A Just Russia’ party will decide on its participation in presidential polls at a party congress on December 10, and non-parliamentary parties such as the ‘Right Cause and Yabloko’ are also undecided on whether or not they will take part in the presidential race.
A parliamentary election is set for December 4, where the United Russia party is also expected to win. “I want to bring your attention to the necessity to achieve the maximum results at this vote because if we slacken away the parliament, we, like in some other countries, will not be able to make the necessary decisions in the needed time,” Putin said at a meeting with party leaders on Thursday.

According to a new poll by the independent Levada Center think tank which was released on Friday, United Russia’s representation in the parliament’s lower chamber might drop from the current 315 seats to just 253 out of 450.

With Putin likely to win a presidential run next year, the prime minister previously proposed Medvedev to head the election list of United Russia during the legislative elections. This would make him prime minister at the end of his presidential term.

“I believe that this will enhance the party’s prestige and will guarantee its anticipated and honest victory,” Putin said in September.

Putin first became acting president in December 1999 and remained in that position until he was elected to his first full term which began in May 2000. He won re-election in March 2004 and continued to serve in the country’s highest office until May 2008 when term limits prevented him from running for a third consecutive presidential term.

Days before the end of Putin’s second term as president, he undertook a series of controversial steps to increase the power of the prime minister. Medvedev had been widely expected to serve only one term so Putin could again become president after a short break.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Environment

Asia holds 99 of the 100 most environmentally at-risk cities

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Verisk Maplecroft's global risk assessment for environmentally vulnerable cities. (via Verisk Maplecroft)

If you live in 1 of the 100 most environmentally vulnerable cities in the world, then unless you live in Lima, Peru, we can guess what continent you’re on. According to a recent risk assessment study, 99 out of the top 100 most environmentally vulnerable cities are located in Asia with 80% of them in India or China alone. 1.5 billion people in 400 large cities worldwide are considered to be at high or extreme risk. Natural disasters and climate change, heatwaves, water shortages, and pollution that shortens the average life span are amongst the environmental risks facing people today.

City’s hold more than half the world’s population and are the financial drivers of a country’s economy, but most cities will continue to suffer worse and worse air quality, pollution, extreme weather, water scarcity, and other natural hazards. Asian cities are hard hit, with Karachi ranked 12th, Manila 71st, and Bangkok holding the 84th spot on the list of cities at risk environmentally.

Holding the uncoveted top spot on the list is the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, with frequent heatwaves, flooding, and pollution only increasing. New Delhi ranked second, joined by other Indian cities such as Chennai in 3rd, Agra in 6th, Kanpur in 10th, Jaipur in 22nd, Lucknow in 24th, and Mumbai in 27th. In total, 13 of the top 20 at-risk cities on the list are in India.

Indian cities also fill the entire top 20 list of urban areas housing over a million inhabitants with the worst air quality, with New Delhi ranking first. Every year a million people die in India due to air pollution with 7 million total deaths globally. A lot of the air pollution issues stem from burning coal and other fossil fuels.

Turning from the skies to the water, China holds 35 of the top 50 cities with the most water pollution plus 13 of the top 15 water-stressed cities. There is hope that China’s emerging middle class will push for a higher quality of life, rallying for cleaner air and water and persuading the government to act more environmentally responsible.

China’s government seems to be beginning to act, shutting down factories until they meet emission goals and taking other strong steps. India has a less cohesive economy and a government with a looser grip on industry, putting it at a disadvantage in tackling environmental issues.

The Middle East and North Africa are the regions most at risk of environmentally calamitous events outside of Asia. Focusing on global warming, sub-Saharan Africa holds 40 of the 45 most at-risk cities. Abidjan, Brazzaville, Freetown, Kigali, Mombasa, Monrovia and other large cities are vulnerable. Lagos and Kinshasa are the two cities in Africa with the largest populations and are included in the list of threatened cities.

Africa is in the unenviable position of being the continent that contributes the least to global warming and climate change but will suffer the most from the results which will bring heatwaves, increasingly bad droughts, flooding and more powerful storms. Large portions of the continent are not nearly prepared enough to deal with the resulting environmental disasters.

To compile the list of risk assessment environmentally for cities, researchers at Verisk Maplecroft looked at human vulnerability, the danger of extreme natural events, and how well the country could adapt to environmental change. They evaluated the livability and operational capacity of a city including its real estate assets and investment potential. The full report can be seen here.

SOURCE: Yahoo

 

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Thailand

Supreme streetwear makes deal over T-shirt featuring monk

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Supreme now has the temple's permission to use the monk's image. (via Pinterest)

Wat Ban Rai, a small temple in Nakhon Ratchasima, has reached an agreement with popular streetwear brand Supreme for using an image of their monk. In February the temple became aware that the global clothing brand was using a stylised photo of a well-known monk from their temple, Luang Por Khun, without having ever asked permission. They had threatened lawsuits and other legal action until the settlement was reached.

Luang died at age 91 in 2015 and donated his body to Khon Kaen University for study, after which he was cremated in 2019. Before his death, he was popular throughout Thailand with many believing that he possessed magical power. People would visit him with belief that his blessings could protect them from danger and even gunshots.

The photo had been taken around 2003 and he had given permission for it to be used on t-shirts locally to raise money for the temple itself. But relatives and Temple members were shocked to see the image of the monk squatting and smoking an enormous cigarette with a sacred “yant” script encircling him appear on a trendy t-shirt from Supreme, a fashion company based in New York.

The temple manager said they finally received a written request asking for permission to use the image of the late monk on 1,000 Supreme t-shirts. They reached an agreement when Supreme pledge to donate a portion of the proceeds to the temple.

Relatives and religious officials criticised Supreme for using the monk image as Thai people don’t use such sacred images as decoration and are sensitive about the destruction of such images which could inadvertently occur with a carelessly discarded old t-shirt. They had previously tried to explain these reasons to the clothing brand.

The threats of a lawsuit have now been dropped and it appears the Supreme monk shirts will now be sold with the temple’s blessing and with an undisclosed portion of the profits being donated to the temple.

SOURCE: Coconuts

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Australian government provides grant to cover 1 million vaccine doses in Laos

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/Australia in Laos

To help the mass rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Laos, the Australian government is providing a 15.2 million AUD grant to cover around 1 million vaccine doses in the Southeast Asian country. The grant also covers training for healthcare workers on how to safely administer the vaccines.

Laos reported a spike in cases over the past month, after a year of containing the spread of the virus with active cases remaining under 20. Yesterday, Laos reported 1,088 active cases, a sharp increase after months of just a few active Covid-19 cases at a time.

Australian Ambassador to Laos, Paul Kelly, says the Australian government is “pleased to be able to support the people of Laos in a time of need.”

“Ensuring Laos has access to safe and effective vaccines is a major and immediate priority for the Australian government… We recognise that no one is safe until everyone is safe. Our support will vaccinate hundreds of thousands of Lao people as well as support long term health security. Australia has been a long-standing and trusted partner for Laos over the past 69 years.”

Laos Vice President Pany Yathotou says the grant from Australia is a significant contribution to ensures the efficient rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in Laos. Most of the funds will be used to purchase the doses and to help Laos distribute and administer vaccines. It will also support a public information campaign, spreading facts about vaccines and also translating the information to ethnic languages.

The Australian Embassy says the country also contributed to the multilateral COVAX facility which covers free vaccinations for more than 20% of the Laos population.

Australian government provides grant to cover 1 million vaccine doses in Laos | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 12 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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