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New Hong Kong to Shenzhen high speed train launches today

The Thaiger

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New Hong Kong to Shenzhen high speed train launches today | The Thaiger

It’s the first day of the new HK to Shenzhen high speed train service. At 7am the first hundreds of passengers departed the former British colony for mainland China at speeds up to 200 kph.

The project, costing US$11 billion, is seen by some as a new, convenient and speedy track into mainland China and beyond. Others see it as another erosion of the former colony’s independence and amalgamation into full Chinese rule.

Still, no one is denying the efficiency of the link between Hong Kong’s business hub and the region’s manufacturing hub, Shenzhen. 20 minutes, and you’re there.

The project is part of a broader effort by the Chinese government to to integrate Hong Kong into the world’s largest urban hub – the Pearl River Delta, which the Chinese call the Greater Bay Area. The area has a population of 68 million people and has a combined GDP of $US1.5 trillion.

Many Hong Kongers were worried that their social media services wouldn’t work in Shenzhen but reported that, for now, they were still in communication with Hong Kong and had somehow escaped the Great Firewall of China which bans western social media services.

Once at the Shenzhen station the traveller have direct access to China’s massive 25,000 kilometre national high-speed rail network. Authorities on both sides of the border are hailing the initiative as a breakthrough that will bring economic benefits, including increased tourism.

The world’s longest bridge in the world, the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge opening next month, is 39 kilometres long and will link another of the Delta’s manufacturing hubs and tourist-magnet Macau, directly with Hong Kong. China took back control of the former British colony in 1997 and have promised a degree of independence until at least 2047 although the past decade has seen a slow erosion of control by the Hong Kong governments.

New Hong Kong to Shenzhen high speed train launches today | News by The Thaiger

New Hong Kong to Shenzhen high speed train launches today | News by The Thaiger



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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

The Thaiger

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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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