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World News: Extramarital sex not unusual says wife of U.S. General on trial for adultery

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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World News: Extramarital sex not unusual says wife of U.S. General on trial for adultery | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET (Reuters): The wife of a U.S. Army general facing adultery and sex charges said on Monday that military marriages have suffered from the extended U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and described infidelity as an emotional war wound that gets overlooked.

In an interview with Reuters, Rebecca Sinclair said she was hurt to learn of her husband Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair’s affair with a subordinate, which led to charges against him for more than two dozen military law violations.

But as the conduct of other U.S. generals is called into question – including that of retired Army General David Petraeus, who on November 9 quit his CIA director’s post over an affair – Rebecca Sinclair said she felt compelled to speak out.

“I’m not looking to excuse the behaviour,” she said. “I’m not trying to say that infidelity is okay. What I’m trying to say is I can see how it happens.”

Sinclair said that since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, frequent deployments with little time home in between have put strain on soldiers and their families.

The Sinclairs, who on Friday mark their 27th wedding anniversary, have moved six times since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and 17 times overall, she said. The oldest of their two children had attended six schools by the sixth grade.

“My husband has been home five years out of the last 11,” she said. “There’s less time for families to be families.”

Infidelity occurs across all military ranks, Sinclair said, and spouses consider it a potential toll of war along with the physical and psychological wounds their partners may endure.

“I really feel that this open-ended war has consequences for our families,” she said. “I’m trying to make a good situation out of bad, and I’m trying to find what we can do to use this as a teaching point going forward.”

There were at least 71 adultery convictions in court-martial proceedings across the services during the 2012 fiscal year, according to figures obtained from the services.

The private actions of two top national security officials have not resulted in adultery charges. Associates of Petraeus said his extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell began after his 2011 Army retirement, which would mean he had not committed an offense under military law.

Another married officer, Marine General John Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, is the subject of a Pentagon inspector general’s review of what sources describe as “flirtatious” emails with a Tampa socialite that were discovered during the probe into Petraeus’ liaison.

Allen has not been accused of wrongdoing, and he has told associates he did not have a romantic relationship with the woman, Jill Kelley.

“It’s hard to see other people go through this,” Rebecca Sinclair said. “My heart goes out to them and their families.”

Her husband, Jeffrey Sinclair, was sent home from his post as a deputy commanding general in Afghanistan this year over allegations of inappropriate behaviour toward four female subordinates and a civilian over the last five years.

One of the women, a captain whom Sinclair had requested be assigned to his unit in Afghanistan, said they had a three-year affair, during which she said he forced her to perform oral sex and threatened her career if she ended the relationship.

At a hearing this month at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where Sinclair is based, his defence attorneys provided evidence that he passed a polygraph test in which he denied forcing the woman to perform any sexual acts.

Rebecca Sinclair did not attend the hearing with her husband.

She said they are working on their marriage and expressed hope the Army would drop the most serious charges – including forcible sodomy – against her husband based on evidence of a consensual relationship.

“My husband has admitted from the very beginning that he did commit adultery, and he feels that it’s conduct unbecoming an officer,” she said.

She said she believes her husband will be proven innocent. “And I’m hopeful that the Army is going to do the right thing,” she said.

— Reuters / Colleen Jenkins

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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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