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Thousands of children among survivors desperate for aid – Sulawesi

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thousands of children among survivors desperate for aid – Sulawesi | The Thaiger

PHOTO: VOA News

“Survivors are also stepping forward on their own to retrieve bodies trapped under soil.”

Tens of thousands of children are in an “extremely precarious” condition in the wake of last Friday’s earthquake on Sulawesi island, eastern Indonesia, even as survivors grow desperate for aid and fears mount that the death toll could rise further.

Four days after the 7.4-magnitude earthquake, followed by a 2-3 metre high tsunami, wreaked havoc on Central Sulawesi, it is proving difficult to reach the more than 61,000 people displaced across the disaster-hit areas.

At least 1,234 people are already known to have died in the provincial capital of Palu and neighbouring regencies of Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Moutong, while 152 remain trapped under buildings and 99 are still missing. These are official figures from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB).

The toll is likely to rise into the thousands as rescuers reach more areas, and as the telecommunication network and utilities are restored, Dr Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, BNPB’s spokesman, told journalists in a press briefing.

Amid shortages of food, drinking water and medical supplies, reports have surfaced of looting and thefts from abandoned shops and warehouses.

Sounding a warning, the UN’s children agency UNICEF says more than 1,000 schools have been damaged, affecting nearly one in five students in the province.

UNICEF is appealing for US$5 million to provide health and educational services and has highlighted the dire need for ready-to-eat meals, water and sanitation materials, basic healthcare items, medicines and female hygiene kits.

Efforts also need to be stepped up to identify children separated from their families and give psycho-social support and educational services, it said. Although the central government has dispatched disaster relief aid, it has not been possible to reach all the survivors of the disaster, according to The Jakarta Post.

Survivors are also stepping forward on their own to retrieve bodies trapped under soil.

on Sunday night gave a nod for foreign assistance to be accepted to facilitate urgent disaster response and relief,  tasking a team led by the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs to handle all matters pertaining to the aid.

Yesterday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo instructed Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto, to identify Indonesia’s needs and later, convey them to countries willing to help.

In response to mounting demand for evacuation from local residents, Mr Joko advised that they remain calm as the government is trying to restore economic activities there.

“Last night I already ordered National Police Chief and Indonesian Military Commander to guard fuel stations and economic centres so that shops can re-open and the economy is back to normal again, allowing the rehabilitation and reconstruction start,” he told reporters.

Since last Friday’s earthquake, as many as 254 aftershocks have been recorded as of Monday. On Tuesday morning, two quakes – of 5.9 and 6.0 magnitude – were recorded in quick succession off the southern coast of Indonesia’s Sumba island.

SOURCE: The Jakarta Post

Southeast Asia

Die! Die! Korean Air ‘nut rage’ heiress assaults husband in video

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Die! Die! Korean Air ‘nut rage’ heiress assaults husband in video | The Thaiger

by The Korea Herald – Asia News Network

A video clip showing a woman who appears to be Cho Hyun-ah, formerly Korean Air vice-president, shouting at her husband, and photos showing his injuries has been revealed.

In the video, the woman shouts “Die! Die!” at her husband, surnamed Park, who filed for divorce last year citing physical and verbal abuse against him and their twin sons.

Photos released along with the video show injuries to the man’s neck – apparently strangle marks.

The photos and video footage, which aired on KBS (Korean Broadcasting System), were submitted to the court as evidence by Park, who filed a complaint against Cho for assault and other charges on Tuesday.

Cho said Park was making false accusations to gain the upper hand in their divorce proceedings. She also accused him of destroying their marriage with his negligence of their children and addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Read the rest of this story HERE.

Read more about the original ‘nut rage’ incident HERE.

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Southeast Asia

Students are dropping out along Cambodia’s border with Thailand

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Students are dropping out along Cambodia’s border with Thailand | The Thaiger

by VOA

A Cambodian official has reported that about 23% of children in three provinces along the border with Thailand have stopped attending school.

The Cambodian Education Minister Hangchuon Naron was speaking about the student dropout rate. He said that the rate in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Oddor Meanchey provinces was much higher than in other areas, where rates are 18 to 19 percent.

The education minister blamed poverty and parents who move to Thailand for work as the main reasons for the problem.

Cambodia’s education ministry has begun training teachers to advise students to stay in school, while letting them choose their own study subjects. Teachers are also to advise students whose parents work abroad about the importance of education.

“So if teachers advise the students (to stay in school) that will help them to make the right decision. They could explain to those students that they need to pursue their studies successfully and then find local jobs as well.”

But critics have expressed concern about the education ministry’s plan.

President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, Ouk Chay Vy, says the plan fails to deal with the issues that cause students to drop out of school in the first place.

She says those reasons are poverty resulting from unemployment and a lack of land for farming. She noted that, in Cambodia, many students stop going to school because they need to work to support their families.

Ouk Chay Vy said a better plan would be for the government to try to increase the number of jobs so that citizens could have better living conditions.

“If the government could give them help, it would still not be enough,” she added.

Suon Sinuon is a farmer from Banteay Meanchey. She said that three of her children dropped out of school while they were in the sixth and ninth grades. They went to Thailand to work and help support the family.

She said that the children did not want to stop going to school, but had no other choice because of the family’s needs.

“Others who have enough money don’t let their children migrate, but me, I am so poor that I had to let them go work in Thailand.”

Radio Free Asia reported this story. Jonathan Evans adapted the report for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. VOA partners with The Thaiger for weekend radio news.

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Chiang Mai

Better analysis needed to track down the source of new chemicals in illicit drugs

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Better analysis needed to track down the source of new chemicals in illicit drugs | The Thaiger

The Office of Narcotics Control Board has been training personnel in drug analysis to handle new illicit substances coming onto the streets.

A Chinese analysis lab has recently discovered 230 new psychotropic substances which are making their way into recreational drugs and other foods.

China has subsequently banned several beverages and sweets that contain these new illegal substances.

Thailand’s Justice Minister Prajin Juntong says that better analysis was key in drug prevention and suppression, as it helped identify the sources of the precursor chemicals. Each source used different formulae or ingredients, he said.

“New chemicals that were not used in narcotics before, and not listed in official databases, are now being used. So each confiscated batch will no longer be destroyed right away but be analysed first.”

“Lab tests are time-consuming and require new technology to ensure tests can keep up with the drug trade. This information was shared globally.”

He reported that  Thailand has been cooperating with Australia, China and Singapore and other ASEAN countries in sharing knowledge and analysis techniques.

“Thailand usually serves as a transit country for narcotic smuggling to a third country.”

China’s National Narcotics Control Commission analyst Liu Peipei says her agency recently found 230 new psychoactive substances that could yield “highs”, but had different ingredients from heroin, methamphetamine and other common drugs.

“Recently China has banned the sale of a beverage contaminated with a narcotic that may be harmful to consumers. We also found THC (the active chemical in cannabis) in chocolate and jelly,” she said.

SOURCE: The Nation

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