Wildlife traffickers creeping back as pandemic restrictions ease - UNFILE PHOTO: A pangolin walks during a news conference after customs personnel confiscated live pangolins, in Bangkok, Aug 31, 2017. Jeremy Douglas, UNODC's representative for Southeast Asia and Asia Pacific, said that the pandemic has gifted authorities an opportunity to do more to discourage consumers and clamp down on the traffickers' supply lines. Southeast Asia, one of the world's most species-rich regions, has long been a hotspot for wildlife trafficking. Some governments have seized on the pandemic as a chance to impose much-needed bans on the wildlife trade. StockpilesThe hunting of wildlife and extraction of illegal animal products did not entirely stop during the pandemic.
September 21, 2021 06:33 UTC
Myanmar border alert for gun smugglingA soldier stands guard at the border with Myanmar in Mae Sot district of Tak. (File photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)Security agencies have been instructed to again step up vigilance along the border with Myanmar, this time to prevent weapons smuggling. Lt Gen Kongcheep said Gen Prawit had instructed that security intelligence agencies concentrate on obtaining information on the sources of weapons, transport routes and financial transaction channels used by the smugglers. Lt Gen Kongcheep quoted Gen Prawit as saying that Thailand does not support use of violence in any form in Myanmar. Gen Prawit wanted units where weapons had been stolen to investigate further, find those responsible and retrieve the stolen weapons as soon as possible, before they were used for violence, the defence spokesman said.
September 21, 2021 06:22 UTC
Crunch time for huge Chinese firm, but no 'Lehman moment'Evergrande's debt pile became a major issue last year when the government began unveiling a series of measures aimed at reining in borrowing. Talk of a "Lehman moment" has rung loud this week as worried investors try to ascertain whether the crisis could be a replay of the bankruptcy of Wall Street titan Lehman Brothers during the 2008 global financial crisis. However, most experts agree the state will not want to see Chinese homebuyers left out of pocket. Notably, the group has hired experts including Houlihan Lokey -- which advised on the restructuring of Lehman Brothers after its collapse in September 2008. However, drowning under huge losses linked to sub-prime mortgages, US authorities allowed the firm to go under.
September 21, 2021 05:26 UTC
Young couple arrested for online sex showThe couple arrested for streaming their sexual activities online, seated, in police custody after being arrested at a hotel in Samut Prakan province on Monday night. (Photo: Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau)A young couple were arrested at a hotel in Samut Prakan on Monday night for streaming their sexual activities online. The 19-year-old woman, known as Kainao, and her 20-year-old boyfriend shared their sexual exploits online via the OnlyFans website, Thai media reported. The couple admitted to producing pornographic content over a computer network, according to police. Police said they would not take legal action against the owner of the website, which only allowed creators to share content.
September 21, 2021 05:03 UTC
Biden bids to renew US leadership in UN speechUS President Joe Biden flies to the United Nations where he will vow to steer away from Cold War with China and work to resolving the Covid-19 pandemic. Biden's first speech as US president to the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York faces a tough reception. Reinforcing that theme of a United States wanting to turn the page on two decades of conflicts, Biden will vow a shift to diplomatic leadership, the official said. - New Iranian leader debuts -Biden will not be the only leader making his first appearance before the United Nations. From November, anyone fully vaccinated will be allowed to fly into the United States.
September 21, 2021 03:48 UTC
French defence minister warns Mali against Russian 'mercenary' firmAs some countries draw down their forces in Mali, the government is looking elsewhere to shore up its fight against jihadistsBAMAKO - France's defence minister has warned Mali that hiring paramilitaries from Russian private-security firm Wagner would isolate the country internationally, during a visit to the Sahel state. The Russian company is considered close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has been accused of committing abuses. The minister explained that France's "abandonment" of Mali meant "everything had to be considered to secure the country," the official said. France is concerned about military strongman Colonel Assimi Goita's commitment to hold swift elections to return Mali to civilian rule. But Goita overthrew the leaders of that interim government in May -- in a second putsch -- and was later declared interim president himself, drawing international condemnation.
September 21, 2021 03:22 UTC
Former minister Decha Sukharom dies aged 86Former public health minister Decha Sukharom. (Photo: Vorasuda Sucarom's Facebook account)KANCHNABURI: Dr Decha Sucarom, a former public health minister and six-time MP, died at 10.29pm on Monday at the age of 86, his daughter Vorasuda Sucarom posted on her Facebook page. He later switched to the Chart Thai Party and then Thai Rak Thai. Decha served as minister of university affairs in the Chuan Leekpai government in 1997. In 1998 he was appointed minister of public health in a cabinet reshuffle.
September 21, 2021 03:00 UTC
Asian markets stabilise after rout but Evergrande fears lingerInvestors -- already battling concerns about Evergrande, the virus and Fed monetary tightening -- are keeping a nervous eye on Capitol Hill as US lawmakers struggle to lift the country's debt ceiling in order to pay its billsHONG KONG - Equities fluctuated in Asia on Tuesday, with investors nervously keeping an eye on troubled property giant China Evergrande after fears over its possible collapse sparked a rout across global markets. Most experts expect the firm to default on the payments, though it does have a 30-day grace period afterwards. "Even though most people don't expect Evergrande to collapse all of a sudden, the silence and a lack of major actions from policymakers is making everyone panic," Ding Shuang, at Standard Chartered, said. "Markets are clearly having some angst on the potential spillover effects from Evergrande, along with some nervousness over the September (policy) meeting," said Cliff Hodge, of Cornerstone Wealth. There is a growing concern that US lawmakers will not reach an agreement to raise the country's debt ceiling to keep the government running and pay its bills, with Republicans against the move.
September 21, 2021 02:48 UTC
EU rallies behind angry France in US row but Biden budges on travelTop EU diplomat Josep Borrell removes his face mask prior to speaking during a press conference following a meeting at the United Nations of EU foreign ministers that touched on a US-French row. UNITED NATIONS: Tensions rocked the Western alliance Monday as European Union leaders backed France in its anger over a scuppered mega-contract, but US President Joe Biden addressed a key European grievance by easing Covid travel restrictions. European Union foreign ministers, meeting in New York, "expressed clear solidarity with France," top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said. "This announcement ran counter to calls for greater cooperation with the European Union in the Indo-Pacific," he said. European powers including Germany -- which has been circumspect in its remarks on the EU-France row -- hailed the shift on travel.
Tokyo's Nikkei plunges more than 2% on China debt crisis fearsThere are fears that Chinese authorities may not be able to contain the fallout of Evergrande's potentially disorderly collapse, which poses contagion risks. TOKYO: Tokyo's key Nikkei 225 index plunged more than two percent at the open on Tuesday, extending Wall Street falls on contagion fears from the expected collapse of debt-plagued Chinese property giant Evergrande. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index dived 2.07% or 630.51 points to 29,869.54 in early trade, while the broader Topix index fell 2.21% or 46.36 points to 2,053.81. Evergrande, one of China's biggest developers, is on the brink of collapse as it wallows in debts of more than $300 billion. On Wall Street, the Dow ended down 1.8% at 33,970.47, the broad-based S&P finished down 1.7% and the tech-rich Nasdaq fell 2.2%.
What Merkel, the belated feminist, did for womenMerkel recently admitted she was 'shy' about the feminist labelFRANKFURT - As Germany's first female chancellor, Angela Merkel smashed the glass ceiling and became a leading player in global politics. In 2017, Merkel was at a rare loss for words when she was asked if she was a feminist, and dodged the question. Germany's gender pay gap remains among the highest in the European Union and stood at 19 percent in 2019, not least because many German women work part-time. "She showed that women can do power jobs well and that women can serve the country," said Kappert. Kappert said Merkel had not held the door open for progressive, feminist politicians.
10,919 new Covid cases, 143 more deathsMigrant workers wait for their turn to be vaccinated at Bang Yai City Central Market in Nonthaburi on Monday. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)There were 10,919 new Covid-19 cases and 143 more fatalities recorded during the previous 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry reported on Tuesday morning. Since the pandemic started early last year, there have been 1,500,105 Covid-19 cases, with 1,352,838 complete recoveries so far. Four southern border provinces had 1,127 new cases and 10 new fatalities, while 67 other provinces recorded 5,179 new cases and 61 new deaths. Global Covid-19 cases rose by 397,618 in 24 hours to 229.82 million.
September 21, 2021 00:56 UTC
Fewer Europe fans no worry for Harrington at Ryder CupEuropean Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington holds the trophy that Europe won in France in 2018, the same one that will be up for grabs when the Ryder Cup begins Friday at Whistling Straits. KOHLER, United States: Europe captain Padraig Harrington says bring on the noise from American fans at the Ryder Cup even if the Covid-19 pandemic reduces the number of Europe supporters at Whistling Straits. Asked what helps unite European talent, Harrington said the emphasis the late Seve Ballesteros put on the Ryder Cup to bolster the European Tour has become a motivating force. Winning the Ryder Cup was the way to say that Europe deserved a seat at the table." Asked about the importance of a captain, Harrington said the Cup could come down to a single decision one makes, or about the atmosphere he creates over an entire week.
September 20, 2021 23:48 UTC
SAC Gallery invites us to witness artworks that remind us to take care of our thoughts and feelings towards the stimuli around us during "Art Cart 04: Handle With Care", which is running until Oct 30. Deity 9 by Vipoo Srivilasa. photo courtesy of SAC GalleryKittaya Poolsawatdi, Attasit Pokpong and Chayanin Kwangkaew have chosen to combine their imagination and reality to present a female image in their own ways. Viewers are invited to look for meanings from her eye which shows her strength, gentleness, volatility and stability. SAC Gallery is on Sukhumvit 33 and opens Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm.
September 20, 2021 22:18 UTC
US Democrats unveil plans to suspend debt limitRepublicans have vowed to withhold support for raising the federal borrowing limit, despite warnings of an economic 'catastrophe'WASHINGTON - Democratic congressional leaders on Monday unveiled plans to suspend the nation's borrowing limit, following a White House warning of "economic catastrophe" unless that ceiling is raised. The measure would suspend the debt limit through December 2022 -- after the midterm congressional elections. But Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell once again said Democrats should go it alone. Failing to raise the debt limit "would produce widespread economic catastrophe" and "compound the damage of the continuing public health emergency," she said in a column Monday in The Wall Street Journal. But under Trump, Democrats supported Republican efforts to suspend the debt limit for two years.
September 20, 2021 22:18 UTC