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World News: Freddie Starr arrested in Savile sex scandal

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

British police arrest second celebrity in Savile sex scandal
Phuket Gazette / News Wires

PHUKET: British police on Thursday arrested well-known comedian Freddie Starr in connection with an investigation into allegations that the late BBC entertainer Jimmy Savile and others were involved in the sexual abuse of hundreds of children.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), which is better known as Scotland Yard, said a man from Warwickshire was arrested at approximately 5:45pm local time on Thursday on suspicion of sexual offenses. Police only referred to the man as “Yewtree 2”, but it is understood to be 69-year-old Starr.

The comedian was released on bail early yesterday morning but returned hours later for further questioning by police. “He has been re-bailed a date in December,” a Scotland Yard spokesperson said. “He falls under the strand of the investigation we have termed ‘Savile and others.'”

The arrest comes after a woman named Karen Ward claimed she was groped by Starr in 1974 in Jimmy Savile’s BBC dressing room when she was 14 years old. Starr previously denied the allegations, telling ITV: “There is one thing I hate close to my heart (and) that is pedophiles. I cannot stand them, and to be accused like this is devastating to say the least. And I’ve got to fight back.”

The child abuse scandal emerged early last month when British television network ITV aired an investigative program in which several women alleged Savile sexually abused them when they were below the age of consent. The program claimed Savile would use his fame to get access to young teenage girls, some who may have been as young as 12 years old.

British police have so far identified more than 200 potential victims. The allegations against Savile span six decades with reports starting in 1959 up to and including 2006, just five years before he died at his home in northern England last year at the age of 84. Some of the abuse allegedly took place at hospitals.

On October 19, the investigation, dubbed ‘Operation Yewtree’, moved from an assessment to a formal criminal investigation into child sexual exploitation by Savile and others. “As we have said from the outset, our work was never going to take us into a police investigation into Jimmy Savile,” Scotland Yard said in a statement at the time. “What we have established in the last two weeks is that there are lines of inquiry involving living people that require formal investigation.”

Pop star Gary Glitter was arrested on suspicion of sexual offenses in connection with the investigation on October 28, although details of his alleged involvement remain unclear. He rose to fame in the early 1970s but was convicted of possessing child pornography in 1999 and later found guilty by a Vietnamese court of committing obscene acts with minors.

The BBC has also come under fire after it emerged that the broadcaster had canceled a six-week Newsnight investigation in December 2011 which looked into claims that police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had dropped inquiries into abuse allegations against Savile. Some women have claimed they were abused by Savile on BBC premises.

BBC director-general George Entwistle apologized to potential victims last month and promised to investigate the allegations. “The BBC will not avoid confronting the events of its past; to understand what happened and to try to ensure that nothing of this kind can happen ever again at the BBC,” he said in a video statement.

The broadcaster has ordered two independent investigations into the alleged sexual abuse by Savile. One investigation will focus on why the BBC Newsnight investigation was canceled while the second investigation will be to determine whether culture and practice at the BBC at the time enabled Savile to sexually abuse children.

Savile was hugely popular in Britain and was best known for being the first and last presenter of the long-running BBC music chart show “Top of the Pops” and for hosting the BBC television show “Jim’ll Fix It”. He was also known for his voluntary work and is estimated to have raised more than £40 million (2 billion baht) for charity, earning him a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 1996 and a Papal knighthood from Pope John Paul II in 1990.

— Phuket 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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