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World News: British teacher Jeremy Forrest extradited on child abduction charges

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

British teacher who ran away with student extradited from France
Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET: A 30-year-old British teacher who was arrested in southwestern France last month was extradited to the United Kingdom yesterday and charged with child abduction after running away with a 15-year-old schoolgirl who was in love with him.

Jeremy Forrest, of Ringmer in East Sussex, arrived at Gatwick Airport in London yesterday afternoon on a flight from the French city of Bordeaux. “Forrest .. has tonight been charged with child abduction on 20 September 2012,” said Michelle Tugwell, a spokeswoman for Sussex Police.

The schoolgirl, whose name is being withheld from this report because she is a minor and no longer missing, was reported missing on September 21 after she failed to turn up for class at the Bishop Bell C of E School in Eastbourne, a coastal town in East Sussex, about 83 kilometers (51 miles) southeast of central London. Forrest, her math teacher, also failed to show up.

The pair was found to have boarded a ferry from Dover, England, to Calais, France at around 9:30pm on September 20 after the girl had told her parents she was staying with friends. Police said the schoolgirl left with Forrest willingly and was not considered to be in danger, with surveillance photos showing the pair holding hands and reports indicating they wanted to start a new life in France.

The case received intense media coverage in Britain where the age of consent is 16, but French authorities appeared to be less concerned as the age of consent in France is 15 and both had left willingly. Forrest and his student were eventually found in Bordeaux on September 27, a week after their disappearance, when the teacher was recognized while looking for a new job.

After a court hearing last week, Forrest’s UK solicitor Phil Smith said the teacher is looking forward for the “full story” to emerge in the coming months. “He is very appreciative of the support and assistance given to him by his family and in particular his parents,” he said. “Naturally, Jeremy is most concerned about the impact of this episode on all those affected.”

The schoolgirl’s mother had previously described her daughter as being excited when she last saw her before she ran away with Forrest. And a blog posted on Forrest’s website on May 19 talked about trying to deal with a “moral dilemma,” although he did not refer to his student or anyone else by name.

“And the overiding (sic) question it left me with was this; How do we, and how should we, define what is right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable???” he said. “I came to a few different conclusions, mainly that actually we get a lot of things wrong, but at the end of the day I was satisfied that if you can look yourself in the mirror and know that, under all the front, that you are a good person, that should have faith in your own judgement.”

— Phuket Gazette EditorsPhuket Gazette Editors

 

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World

China sees slowest population growth since 1960’s despite relaxing 1 child policy

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Stock photo via Flickr

China is seeing the slowest amount of population growth since the 1960’s despite relaxing its 1 child policy. The birthrate has been in a steady decline since 2017, and its growth is being measured at 5.4% since the last census in 2010. The population has reached 1.41 billion, but that number is low due to the sluggish growth rate.

The newest figures point towards an ageing population with a large drop in the number of working age people in the nation. The number of people aged between 15 and 59 dropped 7%, while those over the age of 60 increased more than 5%. Beijing relaxed the 1 child policy back in 2016, but it has yet to see the effects of the change. Ning Jizhe, an official from the National Bureau of Statistics, seems confident, however, that the family planning change will work.

“The adjustment of China’s fertility policy has achieved positive results.”

Failing marriage rates have increased in recent years, along with couples struggling to financially support a child in major cities. Women are also choosing to delay having children, or avoiding it altogether. China recorded its slowest birthrate since 1949 in 2019, at 10.48 per 1,000 people. In February of 2021, preliminary data indicated that the birthrate for 2020 was also down, but official findings have yet to be disclosed.

10 years ago the average size of a family was 3.10, but now, it is 2.62 people. As China’s society evolves, more and more people are choosing to live in urban areas. 63% of Chinese people reside in urban areas, increasing the urban population to 236.4 million, a 15% increase from the last census. But 500 million are part of what Beijing has termed, the “floating population” which is comprised of migrant workers living in other places than what they officially registered as their home.

The 2020 survey was conducted by sending out over 7 million volunteers to survey residents door-to-door. This year, however, most of the data was collected online.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Flight booking data shows vaccinations are key to rebooting travel globally

Maya Taylor

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Greece, ready to welcome vaccinated travellers. PHOTO: Flickr/Pedro Szekely

The latest findings from a research firm that analyses flight booking data confirms that vaccination is the key to rebooting international travel. The most recent research from ForwardKeys shows that destinations prepared to welcome vaccinated tourists have seen a surge in bookings.

In particular, Greece and Iceland, have had a significant uptake in inbound flights, while countries where mass vaccination is at an advanced stage, such as Israel, the US and the UK, have seen outbound bookings climb. They key point is that the world’s travel and flight industries are looking to insist on proof of vaccination or vaccine passports for the right to get on an international flight or travel beyond their borders.

Like Thailand, Greece is highly dependent on international tourism. Anxious to revive its decimated economy, the country has announced that tourists who are fully vaccinated, who have a negative Covid-19 test result, or who have recovered from the virus, are welcome to visit. The result is that the country is now the most popular destination among those summer booking holidays from the UK. According to TTR Weekly, confirmed flight bookings between July and September are 12% above what they were at the same time in 2019.

A similar trend can be seen in bookings from the US to Iceland. In March, the Icelandic government confirmed that vaccinated arrivals would face no entry restrictions, which led to a surge in bookings. Flight ticket sales shot up to 158% what they were at the same time in 2019.

Olivier Ponti from ForwardKeys says there is a clear correlation between high vaccination rates and outbound travel. In Israel, which has now vaccinated over 60% of the population, bookings for European trips have reached 63% of what they were in 2019, while in the UK, where over 52% of people are vaccinated, bookings are at 32% of 2019 numbers.

“Vaccinations appear to hold the key to reviving international travel, as countries that make clear promises to welcome vaccinated travellers are being rewarded by strong surges in flight bookings. We see a revival of confidence in outbound travel from countries where there has been a successful rollout of Covid-19 vaccines too.”

SOURCE: TTR Weekly

 

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World

Glass bridge in China shatters, tourist hangs on 100 metres above the ground

Tanutam Thawan

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A tourist walking on a glass bridge in China, looking down at the ground 100 metres below, quickly had to cling onto the bridge’s rails after high winds caused some of the panels of the glass-bottom bridge to shatter.

Reports say the wind blew at up to 145 kilometres per hour, damaging the glass bridge and leaving the tourists stuck in the middle. Firefighters and other emergency responders helped guide the tourist to safety.

The bridge was built at a resort at Piyan Mountain in Longjing. The scenic walkway has been popular among tourists. A photo of the tourists trapped on the damaged bridge was shared on the Chinese social media platform Weibo and other social media sites. One Twitter user reacted to the photo saying “This is basically one of my anxiety dreams played out in the real world.”

Glass bridge in China shatters, tourist hangs on 100 metres above the ground | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Daily Mail

 

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