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World News: Indian women learning to look after themselves

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

Women take up self-defence, pepper spray after India rape
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Women in India’s capital are taking self-defence classes, snapping up pepper sprays, booking cabs with female drivers or leaving work early, all signs of growing insecurity following the brutal gang rape and murder of a student last month.

The assault on the 23-year-old – who was raped by six people and tortured with an iron bar on a bus, then left bleeding on a highway – stunned the nation and generated an unprecedented wave of protests calling for better security for women.

In response to the public outrage, authorities have initiated several measures to instil confidence, but many women say they cannot rely on India’s often gender-insensitive and under-resourced police force to ensure their security.

“It’s no secret that Delhi is unsafe for women. A lot of us have known it for a long time, but this case has brought things to light,” said Sunanda Jalote, 18, a psychology student, attending her first self-defence class with Invictus Survival Sciences in South Delhi.

“It really has hit the confidence of women in the city. We don’t want to feel like that. We want to be able to go out wherever we want, at any time of day or night, and feel safe. So you have to learn how to defend yourself.”

New Delhi, with a burgeoning population of 16 million, has the unsavoury reputation of being the country’s “rape capital”, recording more rapes annually than any other Indian city.

There were 706 rapes reported in 2012, a 23 percent rise from the previous year, according to the Delhi police, while molestation cases rose by 11 percent to 727.

Female cab drivers, pepper spray
Private companies running self-defence classes in the capital say they have had a flurry of requests since the December 16 attack.

“Since the incident happened, the number of inquiries and enrolments has shot up considerably … by about 40 percent,” said Ankur Sharma, senior instructor at Invictus, adding that most are from female students or professional women between the ages of 18 and 35 years.

Sharma added that many business process outsourcing (BPO) companies, especially those that employ women working late shifts, have been booking week-long self-defence workshops for their employees.

A survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) earlier this month found that 80 percent of women working in Delhi’s BPO/IT sectors were leaving work earlier than usual, affecting work productivity.

The poll, which questioned 2,500 women in the capital and its environs, said most women feared taking public transport such as buses, auto-rickshaws or the subway after sunset.

This is reinforced by the surge in bookings of taxi operator “Sakha Cab Services”, a women-only taxi service with female drivers, which says the number of cab bookings has increased by 35 percent over the last month.

For those who cannot afford private taxis or self-defence classes, pepper spray has been the answer.

Grocery stores, chemists and even cosmetic shops in Delhi’s centrally located Connaught Place say the brightly coloured spray cans have been flying off shelves since the gang rape, selling up to five times more than usual.

Authorities in Delhi have announced a raft of measures to help women feel safer on the city’s streets.

These include a 24-hour helpline for women in distress, instructions to all BPOs to ensure female employees return home from work safely, more policing on the streets and a crackdown on drunk driving.

But women like student Sunanda Jalote remain unconvinced.

“Women have to learn to defend themselves,” she said in between learning how to kick her partner in the crotch at a self-defence class. “We don’t want to have to wear a burkha in order to go out and feel safe.”

(TrustLaw is a global news service covering women’s rights and governance issues, run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation)

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

IATA proposes Covid testing before travelling to replace quarantine on arrival

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IATA proposes Covid testing before travelling to replace quarantine on arrival | The Thaiger

The International Air Transport Association is proposing travellers to take a Covid test prior to departure to replace worldwide mandatory quarantines on arrival. The push comes after it announces that international travel is down by 92% this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As many countries are imposing mandatory quarantines that can be not only expensive but up to 14 days long, the IATA is calling for all countries to work together to create a pre-flight testing requirement in all airports.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO says that Covid testing is getting faster, cheaper and more accurate, which is why it is urgent to help kick-start the world economy by doing away with mandatory quarantines.

“The key to restoring the freedom of mobility across borders is systematic COVID-19 testing of all travelers before departure. This will give governments the confidence to open their borders without complicated risk models that see constant changes in the rules imposed on travel. Testing all passengers will give people back their freedom to travel with confidence. And that will put millions of people back to work.”

He says the removal of such quarantine requirements for nations like Canada and UK would also help those nationals to leave their countries confidently by knowing that accurate testing would be in place. IATA has also asked for feedback and says of those travellers polled, 65% agree that if a person tests negative for Covid-19, then they should not have to undergo a quarantine on arrival. 84% also agree that, instead, travellers should be required to get tested with 88% even agreeing that they would submit to testing as part of the travel process.

Over 5000 travel businesses have reportedly backed the IATA’s proposal after submitting an open letter to the president of the European Commission, demanding the EU to take action. However, testing and later vaccinating 75 billion people could prove to be a monumental task, one that may take months to devise a streamlined plan to carry out.

SOURCE: Travel Off Path

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 deaths about to surpass 1 million whilst more reports emerge about former patients’ “brain fog”

The Thaiger

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Covid-19 deaths about to surpass 1 million whilst more reports emerge about former patients’ “brain fog” | The Thaiger

The world’s Covid-19-related deaths will pass 1 million today as the the cycle of country lockdowns and re-openings are getting mixed results. As of this morning, Thai time, the number of total deaths has reached 998,721 , with 4-6,000 deaths still being recorded, globally, every day. The surge in daily new world Covid-19 cases has levelled off a bit since July but there has still been 300-320,000 new cases being added every day in September. On a more positive note, the number of daily deaths continues to level off, even dropping some weeks, as treatments continue to improve. At this stage, officially, only .42% of the world’s population has so far been infected.

The milestone comes in a week where another report from the UK catalogues the “brain fog” experienced by former Covid-19 sufferers.

 

Covid-19 deaths about to surpass 1 million whilst more reports emerge about former patients'The current hotspots for the virus, now 9 months in circulation, of new daily cases is led by India. Yesterday India added nearly 90,000 cases to the world total whilst the US is showing a resurgence in new cases after dropping the average down during August. There is also a resurgence in new cases in parts of Europe, including the UK, which is now recording more new cases as it was at its peak in the first wave in April and May this year. The following graphs records the top 10 countries for new Covid-19 cases recorded yesterday…

Covid-19 deaths about to surpass 1 million whilst more reports emerge about former patients'

SOURCE: worldometers.info

Both South America and India are showing the highest rates of new cases, in pure numbers whilst US health authorities are concerned about the latest surge in new cases as the country starts to head into its autumn and cooler weather.

Meanwhile, more former Covid-19 patients, even those who only suffered mild symptoms, continue to report about long-term effects from the coronavirus.

In Canada, some 130,000 Canadians have recovered but some patients report that they’re experiencing “debilitating side effects” months after their infection. Canadian scientists report that they are finding some of the long-term effects of Covid-19 include heart damage as well as neurological issues like “brain fog” and “difficulty thinking”. Other patients are reporting hair loss, fatigue and even painful lesions called “Covid toes,” many weeks or even months after infection.

One study based out of Italy reports that nearly 90% of patients who have recovered from Covid-19 reported at least one persistent symptom two months later.

39 doctors wrote about these “long-haulers” and their battle with Covid-19 and their persistent symptoms in a manifesto published in the British Medical Journal. Following the report, the doctors called on politicians, scientists and public health officials to conduct more research into chronic Covid-19 symptoms and to create additional clinical services.

“Failure to understand the underlying biological mechanisms causing these persisting symptoms risks missing opportunities to identify risk factors, prevent chronicity, and find treatment approaches for people affected now and in the future.”

The reports also defined the affected patients as not in the current list of “at risk” Covid-19 patients – usually elderly with underlying conditions – but instead representing a much wider demographic of younger and healthy patients who were experiencing the post-Covid symptoms.

SOURCE: BBC | CTV News

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Economy

Vietnam’s booming manufacturing sector reduced to a trickle as world pandemic kills demand

The Thaiger

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Vietnam’s booming manufacturing sector reduced to a trickle as world pandemic kills demand | The Thaiger

Vietnamese finance officials are downgrading expectations for a recovery of the south east Asian nation’s economy in 2021. The normally fast-growing gross domestic product in 2020 has stalled due to a huge drop in local and global demand, and the absence of international tourism. The booming economy, growing at an average of 6% per year since 2012, will struggle to reach a growth rate of 2% this year.

Fuelled by manufactured exports, the Vietnam economy has dropped back to a trickle. The Asian Development Bank estimates that this year’s GDP growth could be as low as 1.8%. The Vietnamese factories, that usually crank out shoes, garments, furniture and cheap electronics, are seeing dropping demand as the world’s consumer confidence drops dramatically.

Stay-at-home rules in Europe and America are keeping are keeping people away from retail stores. And despite the acceleration of online retail, many of the consumers are emerging from the Covid Spring and Summer with vastly reduced spending power.

The headaches of 2020 are also challenging Vietnam to maintain its reputation as south east Asia’s manufacturing hotspot. Rising costs and xenophobic foreign policy have put China ‘on the nose’ with some governments, complicating factory work in China, whilst other south east Asian countries lack infrastructure and are incurring higher wage costs.

One Vietnamese factory operated by Taiwan-based Pou Chen Group, which produces footwear for top international brands, has laid off 150 workers earlier this year. There are hundreds more examples of the impact of falling demand in the bustling Vietnamese manufacturing economy.

Vietnam’s border closure is also preventing investors from making trips, setting up meetings and pushing projects forward. Those projects in turn create jobs, fostering Vietnam’s growing middle class. Tourism has also been badly affected by the restrictions on travel. “International tourism is dead,” says Jack Nguyen, a partner at Mazars in Ho Chi Minh City.

“Inbound tourism usually makes up 6% of the economy.”

“Things will only pick up only when the borders are open and there’s no quarantine requirements. Who knows when that’s going to be.”

A mid-year COVID-19 outbreak in the coastal resort city Danang followed by the start of the school year has reduced domestic travel, analysts say. Some of the country’s hotels are up for sale as a result.

“Recovery could take 4 years.”

The Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment is now warning that global post-pandemic recovery could take as long as 4 years, perhaps more.

Not that foreign investors in the country are pulling out. Indeed, many are tainge a long-term view that Vietnam’s underlying strengths will outlive Covid-19. Vietnam reports just 1,069 coronavirus cases overall.

SOURCE: VOA News

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