Opinion

Almost half of Aussie population under lockdown
Opinion, World

Almost half of Aussie population under lockdown

SYDNEY - Almost half of Australia’s population has been placed under lockdown as authorities face Covid-19 clusters in multiple cities across the country for the first time since the initial outbreak last year. As the cluster in Sydney grew to 149 cases, authorities in Brisbane and Perth imposed snap lockdowns of three and four days, respectively. Sydney is in a two-week lockdown while Darwin is in a lockdown that is due to end on Friday (July 2). The measures, including parts of regional Queensland, left more than 40 per cent of Australia’s 25.7 million residents under stay-home orders. States have also imposed various travel bans to restrict entry from hotspots. As authorities struggled to contain the various clusters, the federal and state governments have faced questions about their
Participatory democracy: A way forward for Thais
Opinion, Politics, World

Participatory democracy: A way forward for Thais

Participatory democracy: A way forward for Thais Students at a school in Phichit province join a recent campaign to promote democracy in schools. (Photo: Sitthipoj Kebui) A functional parliament is a strong foundation of a participatory democracy. Globally, the governing bodies of the socio-economically and politically advanced countries operate under some form of participatory democracy. In comparison, the parliamentary system in Thailand, which has been guided by constitutions written to benefit the elites, is still operating under a nominal representative democracy, effectively representing only the few. The 1997 constitution was the one and only constitution, among the 20 since 1932, that was drafted by the people and was known as the "people's constitution". This constitution prom...
Rights group: Colombian police cause deaths of 20 protesters
Opinion, World

Rights group: Colombian police cause deaths of 20 protesters

BUCARAMANGA, Colombia (AP) — An international monitoring group on Wednesday accused police officers in Colombia of responsibility for the deaths of 20 people and other violent actions against protesters during recent unrest, including sexual abuse, beatings and arbitrary detentions. Human Rights Watch in a report said it has “credible evidence” indicating police killed at least 16 protesters or bystanders with “live ammunition fired from firearms,” while three other people died when police used nonlethal weapons. The report said another person died after being beaten repeatedly. “These brutal abuses are not isolated incidents by rogue officers, but rather the result of systemic shortcomings of the Colombian police,” José Miguel Vivanco, the group’s director for the Americas, said in a st
Palestinian refugees hope Gaza solidarity boosts cause
Conflict, Opinion, Politics, Singapore, World

Palestinian refugees hope Gaza solidarity boosts cause

Palestinian refugees hope Gaza solidarity boosts cause Palestinian student Mira Krayem, in the refugee camp of Shatila in Beirut, where she has been busy protesting and gathering support for the Palestinian cause. SHATILA CAMP, Lebanon: From marching in rallies to posting live updates on social media, Palestinian refugee Mira Krayem has barely slept since conflict gripped her ancestral homeland earlier this month. But the 24-year-old university student, who lives in Lebanon, said she felt solidarity messages for the Palestinian cause from across the world have made her and fellow activists feel reenergised after years of crushing defeat. "It makes us feel like we have a voice," said Krayem, on a rooftop overlooking Shatila, the tightly packed refugee camp in Beirut where she was born, ...
Myanmar Covid-19 outbreak hits health system shattered after coup
Conflict, Opinion, Politics, Singapore, World

Myanmar Covid-19 outbreak hits health system shattered after coup

YANGON (REUTERS) - Breathless, fevered and without the extra oxygen that could help keep them alive, the new coronavirus patients at a hospital near Myanmar's border with India highlight the threat to a health system near collapse since February's coup. To help her tend the seven Covid-19 patients at Cikha hospital, day and night, chief nurse Lun Za En has a lab technician and a pharmacist's assistant. Mostly, they offer kind words and paracetamol. "We don't have enough oxygen, enough medical equipment, enough electricity, enough doctors or enough ambulances," Lun Za En, 45, told Reuters from the town of just over 10,000. "We are operating with three staff instead of 11." Myanmar's anti-Covid-19 campaign foundered along with the rest of the health system after the military seized power...
Staging Olympics ‘a suicide mission’, says Japanese exec
Business, China, Opinion, Singapore, World

Staging Olympics ‘a suicide mission’, says Japanese exec

A man looks at his phone as he walks by billboards promoting the Olympics on Friday in Tokyo. (Reuters Photo) Holding the Olympics as planned in Tokyo in two months would be like a “suicide mission” because Japan has been so late in vaccinating its population, a Japanese business leader has warned. Hiroshi Mikitani, chief executive of the online retailer Rakuten Group and an outspoken critic of the government’s handling of the pandemic, made the comment in an interview with CNN. “It’s dangerous to host the big international event from all over the world,” he said. “So, the risk is too big and … I’m against having the Tokyo Olympics this year,” he said, describing the Games as “a suicide mission”. His comments came as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated that he was confident that
Fears for supplies in Myanmar as exodus grows from fighting
Asia, Conflict, Opinion, Politics, Singapore, World

Fears for supplies in Myanmar as exodus grows from fighting

Fears for supplies in Myanmar as exodus grows from fighting This handout from Kachinwaves taken and released on May 16, 2021 shows protesters taking part in a demonstration in Hpakant in support of Mindat, a town in Chin state where a civilian defence force has clashed with the military, as the country remains in turmoil after the February coup. (AFP PHOTO / KACHINWAVES) People displaced by an upsurge of fighting in Myanmar's Chin State voiced concerns over shelter and supplies as more flee the conflict that has sprung up between the army and insurgents opposed to the junta that seized power in February. The exodus also threatens to push more people over the nearby border with India, where an Indian government official said more than 15,000 had sought refuge since the Feb 1 coup that ha...
EU vows to boost efforts to end Israeli-Palestinian fighting
Conflict, Opinion, Politics, Singapore, World

EU vows to boost efforts to end Israeli-Palestinian fighting

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union will redouble its efforts to end the surge in violence between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants, and seek progress during a special meeting of its foreign ministers on Tuesday. The EU also called the weekend destruction of a building housing The Associated Press and other major international media “extremely worrying” and said safe working conditions for journalists were essential. The EU has never had the impact that Washington can wield in the region and no immediate breakthrough was expected from Tuesday’s meeting. Ever since the outbreak of violence last week, the EU has been calling for restraint and condemned attacks that hit civilian populations. Individual member states also let their voices be heard. France’s President Emmanuel
G7 leaders agreed on partnership for helping other countries
China, Opinion, World

G7 leaders agreed on partnership for helping other countries

London, UK: In the G7 summit the countries agreed to do partnership with the poor countries and full fil their needs of infrastructureOfficials described the China issue as one of the most challenging elements of the G7 gathering."There was some interesting discussion, and a little bit of differentiation of opinion on, not whether this threat is there but on how strong, from an action perspective, I think different G7 members are willing to take things," the official said.At one point, Biden made a forceful call to other leaders about vocally calling out China's anti-democratic practices, emphasising the need to take action, informed an official.Biden was joined by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron on pushing ...
How media’s groupthink effect led to bungling of COVID’s origin story
Asia, China, Opinion, Politics, World

How media’s groupthink effect led to bungling of COVID’s origin story

As the end of the pandemic mercifully nears, everything old is becoming new again. Nowhere is that more evident than in the ongoing debate — revisionist history and all — over the origins of COVID-19. You may already be familiar with the widely accepted version of the story, which involves animal-to-human transmission beginning in or around a wet market in Wuhan. If you are familiar at all with the competing “lab leak” hypothesis, it may be as a fringe conspiracy, parroted by a certain former president and peddled by the likes of Fox News. Recent events, however, have helped return this idea from the fringe to the mainstream. The lab leak theory holds that the virus may have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. When this theory was originally posited, it was based on the idea o