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World News: Brazilian nightclub fire kills at least 233

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Nightclub fire kills 233 in Brazil
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A nightclub fire killed at least 233 people in southern Brazil early yesterday morning when a band’s pyrotechnics show set the building ablaze and fleeing party-goers stampeded toward blocked and overcrowded exits in the ensuing panic, officials said.

The blaze in the university town of Santa Maria was ignited by sparks from pyrotechnics used by the band for visual effects. They set fire to soundproofing on the ceiling and the club rapidly filled with toxic smoke, local fire officials said.

Most of those who died were suffocated by fumes, fire brigade Sergeant Robson Muller told Reuters. Others were crushed in the stampede.

“Smoke filled the place instantly, the heat became unbearable,” survivor Murilo Tiescher, a medical student, told GloboNews TV. “People could not find the only exit. They went to the toilet thinking it was the exit and many died there.”

Fire officials said at least one exit was locked and that club bouncers, who at first thought those fleeing were trying to skip out on bar tabs, initially blocked patrons from leaving. The security staff relented only when they saw flames engulfing the ceiling.

The tragedy, in a packed venue in one of Brazil’s most prosperous states, comes as the country scrambles to improve safety, security and logistical shortfalls ahead of the 2014 World Cup football tournament and the 2016 Olympics, both intended to showcase the economic advances and first-world ambitions of Latin America’s largest nation.

In Santa Maria, a city of more than 275,000 people, rescue workers and weary officials wept alongside family and friends of the victims at a local gymnasium being used as a makeshift morgue.

“It’s the saddest, saddest day of my life,” said Neusa Soares, the mother of one of those killed, 22-year-old Viviane Tolio Soares. “I never thought I would have to live to see my girl go away.”

President Dilma Rousseff cut short an official visit to Chile and flew to Santa Maria, where she wept as she spoke to relatives of the victims at the gym.

“All I can say at the moment is that my feelings are of deep sorrow,” said Rousseff, who began her political career in Rio Grande do Sul, the state where the fire occurred.

News of the fire broke yesterday morning, when local news broadcast images of shocked people outside the nightclub called Boate Kiss. Gradually, grisly details emerged.

“We ran into a barrier of the dead at the exit,” Colonel Guido Pedroso de Melo, commander of the fire brigade in Rio Grande do Sul, said of the scene that firefighters found on arrival. “We had to clear a path to get to the rest of those who were inside.”

Officials said more than 1,000 people may have been in the club, possibly exceeding its legal capacity. Though Internet postings about the venue suggested as many as 2,000 people at times have crammed into the club, Pedroso de Melo said no more than half that should have been inside.

He said the club was authorized to be open but its permit was in the process of being renewed.

However, Pedroso de Melo did point to several egregious safety violations – from the flare that went off during the show to the locked door that kept people from leaving.

The club’s management said in a statement that its staff was trained and prepared to deal with any emergency. It said it would help authorities with their investigation.

— 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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