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World News: Two toddlers among the dead as toll spirals from Sandy; Fury race to go ahead

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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World News: Two toddlers among the dead as toll spirals from Sandy; Fury race to go ahead | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Scope of Sandy’s destruction widens; Death toll spirals
Reuters

PHUKET: From New York City’s Staten Island to the popular beach towns of the Jersey Shore, rescuers and officials today faced growing evidence of widespread destruction wrought by super-storm Sandy, mounting anger over delayed relief and a rising death toll.

The total killed in one of the biggest storms to hit the United States jumped by a third on Thursday alone, to 98. In New York City, 40 people have been found dead, half of them in Staten Island, which was overrun by a wall of water on Monday.

Among the dead in Staten Island were two brothers, aged 2 and 4, who were swept from their mother’s arms after her car stalled in rising flood waters. Their bodies were found near each other in a marshy area yesterday.

US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Deputy Administrator Richard Serino planned to visit Staten Island today amid angry claims by some survivors that the borough had been ignored.

Scenes of angry storm victims could complicate matters for politicians, from President Barack Obama just four days before the general election, to governors and mayors in the most heavily populated region in the United States. Obama visited New Jersey on Wednesday and has received praise for his handling of Sandy.

“They forgot about us,” said Theresa Connor, 42, describing her Staten Island neighbourhood as having been “annihilated.” “And (Mayor Michael) Bloomberg said New York is fine. The marathon is on!”

Fury has been escalating throughout New York at Bloomberg’s decision to proceed with the world’s largest marathon on Sunday, vowing the event – which attracts more than 40,000 runners – would not divert any resources storm victims.

“If they take one first responder from Staten Island to cover this marathon, I will scream,” New York City Councilman James Oddo said on his Twitter account. “We have people with no homes and no hope right now.”

Staten Island, which lies across New York Harbor from lower Manhattan, is home to about 500,000 residents, many blue-collar workers whose families have lived there for generations.

Crime fears
In New Jersey, entire neighborhoods in ocean-side towns were swallowed by seawater and the Atlantic City boardwalk was destroyed. At least 13 people were killed in New Jersey and the toll was not only financial, but heavily emotional as well.

“There’s nothing more precious to people than their homes. Those are where their families are, their memories and possessions of their lives, and there’s also a sense of safety to home,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said yesterday evening.

“That sense of safety was violated with water rushing into people’s homes at an enormous rate of speed and people having to literally swim, climb, jump for their lives,” he said.

The financial cost of the storm promised to be staggering. Disaster modelling company Eqecat estimated Sandy caused up to $20 billion in insured losses and $50 billion in economic losses, double its previous forecast.

At the high end of the range, Sandy would rank as the fourth costliest U.S. catastrophe ever, according to the Insurance Information Institute, behind Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the September 11, 2001, attacks and Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

About 4.5 million homes and businesses in 15 US states were still without power, down from a record high of nearly 8.5 million.

In blacked-out New York City neighborhoods, some residents complained about a lack of police and expressed fears about an increase in crime. Some were also concerned about traffic safety. New York police officials were not immediately available to comment.

“People feel safe during the day but as soon as the sun sets, people are extremely scared. The fact that Guardian Angels are on the streets trying to restore law just shows how out of control the situation is in lower Manhattan,” said Wolfgang Ban, a restaurant owner in Manhattan’s Alphabet City neighborhood.

The Guardian Angels are a group of anti-crime volunteers.

Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro directed his anger over relief efforts at the American Red Cross. “I have not seen the American Red Cross at a shelter, I have not seen them down on the south shore where people are buried in their homes, they have nothing to drink and nothing to eat,” he said.

The American Red Cross said it was doing everything it could to aid those affected by the storm as quickly as possible and that help was on the way to Staten Island, usually reached by a 25-minute ferry ride from Lower Manhattan.

Anger over scarce gas
Also among the dead in New York City were a 13-year-old girl, whose body was found amid the debris of a Staten Island house, while in Brooklyn a 24-year-old man and woman were killed by a falling tree.

The hunt for gasoline added to a climate of uncertainty as Sandy’s death toll and price tag rose. In the New York City borough of Queens a man was charged with threatening another driver with a gun after he tried to cut in on a line of cars waiting for gas, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Sandy started as a late-season hurricane in the Caribbean, where it killed 69 people, before smashing ashore in the United States with 80-mile-per-hour (130-kph) winds. It stretched from the Carolinas to Connecticut and was the largest storm by area to hit the United States in decades.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to cover 100 percent of emergency power and public transportation costs through November 9 for affected areas of New York and New Jersey, up from the traditional share of 75 percent.

New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi will headline a benefit concert for storm victims on NBC television today, the network announced.

The presidential campaign has returned to full swing after being on hold for several days because of the storm. Obama, locked in a tight race with Republican challenger Mitt Romney head of next Tuesday’s election, appeared to gain politically from his disaster relief performance.

Christie, a vocal Romney supporter, praised Obama, and Bloomberg, a political independent, endorsed Obama.

In New York, U.N. headquarters suffered severe damage and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offered recovery help to the United States and Caribbean nations affected by the storm.

— 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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