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Great Barrier Reef risks ‘in danger’ World Heritage listing

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Australia’s Great Barrier Reef should be added to a list of “in danger” World Heritage sites, according to UN experts who have warned the fading wonder has been “significantly impacted” by climate change.

A UNESCO-tasked report on Monday said that warming seas and agricultural pollution had put the reef at risk, and that its resilience had been “substantially compromised”.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s premier tourist drawcards, and putting it on the in-danger list could substantially tarnish its international allure.

After intense lobbying, Australia’s previous conservative government managed to keep the reef off the list in the summer of 2021.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society said the reef supported 60,000 jobs and generated Aus$6 billion ($4 billion) in revenue every year.

Australia’s Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek conceded the reef was under threat, but said putting it on UNESCO’s “World Heritage in Danger” list would be a step too far.

“We’ll clearly make the point to UNESCO that there is no need to single the Great Barrier Reef out in this way,” she told reporters.

“If this World Heritage Site is in danger, then most World Heritage Sites around the world are in danger from climate change.”

World Wildlife Fund spokesman Richard Leck said the UNESCO recommendations should be accepted by the government.

“These UNESCO recommendations are a reminder it is our choice to give the world’s most iconic reef the best chance of survival.”

The latest report, from experts at the International Union for Conservation of Nature and UNESCO, acknowledged Australia’s commitment to protecting the reef.

But it found that despite the “unparalleled science and management efforts”, the reef still faced “considerable pressures” linked to climate change and pollution from agricultural runoff.

Australia reported in May that 91 percent of the reef’s coral had been damaged by bleaching after a prolonged summer heatwave.

It was the first time on record the reef had suffered bleaching during a La Nina weather cycle, when cooler ocean temperatures would normally be expected.

Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison was voted out earlier this year in favour of a centre-left government promising greener policies and greater climate action.

A UNESCO spokesperson told AFP that “a constructive dialogue is ongoing with the current government”.

To be included on UNESCO’s world heritage list, a site must have “outstanding universal value”.

A spot on the list usually means boosted tourism, and improved access to funds and scientific expertise.

Only three sites have ever been dropped from the heritage list completely.

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20221129/great-barrier-reef-risks-in-danger-world-heritage-listing/70239.html

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Thai cadets break world record with mass martial arts ritual

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Thousands of Thai army cadets, university students and a handful of volunteers performed a record-breaking Muay Thai “wai khru” ceremony on Monday, all under the watchful eyes of six massive statues of former kings.

The sunset gathering in Hua Hin, part of a Muay Thai Festival in the seaside resort town, broke the previous Guinness World Record of 250 by having 3,660 participants simultaneously performing the traditional pre-match dance of respect for their coach.

The sun had baked the sheets of concrete hot as the barefoot performers — organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Royal Thai Army, and the culture and sport ministries — filed onto the parade ground at Rajabhakti Park in front of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha.

Dressed in red uniforms with white Mongkhon headbands, as well as white Muay Kard Chuek ropes — the hemp wrappings fighters wore before gloves — the phalanx of men moved in near perfect unison to the directions of famed Muay Thai fighter Sombat “Buakaw” Banchamek.

“Congratulations, you’re officially amazing,” said the official Guinness adjudicator, confirming the record had been broken.

“I feel really proud,” said 27-year-old performer Phukrit Purimchaithanat, adding he and his fellow-cadets were glad they had pulled it off after months of preparations.

A mix of bemused locals and tourists passing through the popular resort watched the spectacle from a few rickety metal bleachers, gathering around the sides of the fenced area as a loudspeaker blared.

“It’s stunning, it’s crazy, also in front of the kings and everything,” said Hua Hin resident Siena Cruz, 32, as she enjoyed the show with friends.

“The visual is something connected to the tradition,” she said, noting how integral the pre-match ritual was to the sport.

“To be part of another bit of history for Thailand, it’s bragging rights,” she said of the Guinness record.

“I like to watch, but boxing is scary,” said June Rubyung, who had taken her grandson to watch the performance.

The 50-year-old Hua Hin local, who lives close to the army grounds where they performed, said she knew the army cadets had been practising for a month.

“I think they’re good,” she said, “they do it the correct way.”

Thousands of Thai army cadets, university students and a handful of volunteers performed a record-breaking Muay Thai “wai khru” ceremony on Monday, all under the watchful eyes of six massive statues of former kings.

The sunset gathering in Hua Hin, part of a Muay Thai Festival in the seaside resort town, broke the previous Guinness World Record of 250 by having 3,660 participants simultaneously performing the traditional pre-match dance of respect for their coach.

The sun had baked the sheets of concrete hot as the barefoot performers — organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Royal Thai Army, and the culture and sport ministries — filed onto the parade ground at Rajabhakti Park in front of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha.

Dressed in red uniforms with white Mongkhon headbands, as well as white Muay Kard Chuek ropes — the hemp wrappings fighters wore before gloves — the phalanx of men moved in near perfect unison to the directions of famed Muay Thai fighter Sombat “Buakaw” Banchamek.

“Congratulations, you’re officially amazing,” said the official Guinness adjudicator, confirming the record had been broken.

“I feel really proud,” said 27-year-old performer Phukrit Purimchaithanat, adding he and his fellow-cadets were glad they had pulled it off after months of preparations.

A mix of bemused locals and tourists passing through the popular resort watched the spectacle from a few rickety metal bleachers, gathering around the sides of the fenced area as a loudspeaker blared.

“It’s stunning, it’s crazy, also in front of the kings and everything,” said Hua Hin resident Siena Cruz, 32, as she enjoyed the show with friends.

“The visual is something connected to the tradition,” she said, noting how integral the pre-match ritual was to the sport.

“To be part of another bit of history for Thailand, it’s bragging rights,” she said of the Guinness record.

“I like to watch, but boxing is scary,” said June Rubyung, who had taken her grandson to watch the performance.

The 50-year-old Hua Hin local, who lives close to the army grounds where they performed, said she knew the army cadets had been practising for a month.

“I think they’re good,” she said, “they do it the correct way.”

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20230207/thai-cadets-break-world-record-with-mass-martial-arts-ritual/71375.html

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2 Vietnamese fishermen missing off S.Korean coast after shipwreck

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The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced that a fishing boat capsized off the coast of Sinan County in Jeonnam Province, leaving nine out of its 12 crew members missing, including two Vietnamese citizens, according to the Vietnamese Embassy in South Korea.

The South Korean side discovered four bodies whose nationalities were unidentified on Monday, two days after the incident happened. 

The search is still ongoing.

The Vietnamese Embassy in South Korea contacted the families of the two missing Vietnamese citizens to inform them of the situation.

The embassy is actively working with competent South Korean agencies to promptly conduct necessary citizen protection measures.

Local authorities are currently providing assistance to the missing fishermen’s families.

Earlier, Yonhap news agency reported that the shipwreck occurred at 11:19 pm on Saturday. 

Authorities said the 24-metric-ton fishing boat capsized off the southwestern coast of South Korea, 16.6km from the uninhabited island of Daebichi that lies some 20km from the southwestern county of Sinan.

The sinking left nine of the 12 people, including three foreign nationals, on board the ship missing, while the other three were rescued by another boat at the scene.

The cause of the accident has not been announced.

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The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced that a fishing boat capsized off the coast of Sinan County in Jeonnam Province, leaving nine out of its 12 crew members missing, including two Vietnamese citizens, according to the Vietnamese Embassy in South Korea.

The South Korean side discovered four bodies whose nationalities were unidentified on Monday, two days after the incident happened. 

The search is still ongoing.

The Vietnamese Embassy in South Korea contacted the families of the two missing Vietnamese citizens to inform them of the situation.

The embassy is actively working with competent South Korean agencies to promptly conduct necessary citizen protection measures.

Local authorities are currently providing assistance to the missing fishermen’s families.

Earlier, Yonhap news agency reported that the shipwreck occurred at 11:19 pm on Saturday. 

Authorities said the 24-metric-ton fishing boat capsized off the southwestern coast of South Korea, 16.6km from the uninhabited island of Daebichi that lies some 20km from the southwestern county of Sinan.

The sinking left nine of the 12 people, including three foreign nationals, on board the ship missing, while the other three were rescued by another boat at the scene.

The cause of the accident has not been announced.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20230207/2-vietnamese-fishermen-missing-off-skorean-coast-after-shipwreck/71372.html

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Derailed train cars in Ohio drained of toxic chemical amid mass evacuation

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Nearly 2,000 residents of eastern Ohio remained under evacuation orders on Monday as railroad crews drained and burned off a toxic chemical from five tanker cars of a freight train that derailed in a fiery wreck three days earlier, officials said.

The venting of pressurized vinyl chloride, a highly flammable and carcinogenic gas, began with a single explosion, as was anticipated, followed by a steady incineration of the remaining cargo, said Sandy Mackey, a spokesperson for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

“That controlled release was the one explosion,” she told Reuters by telephone. “It went as planned. It seemed to be a successful incident.”

No injuries were reported, either from Monday’s operation or the accident on Friday night, authorities said.

Live video on Monday showed a towering column of thick, black smoke rising from the accident site in East Palestine, Ohio, a town close to the Pennsylvania border northwest of Pittsburgh.

The train, operated by Norfolk Southern Railroad and consisting of three locomotives and 150 freight cars, was headed from Illinois to Pennsylvania when it derailed shortly before 9 p.m. EST on Friday, setting off a massive fire that forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes in the immediate vicinity.

About 50 cars actually left the tracks, 20 of which carried hazardous materials, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Public safety concerns deepened after the railroad said pressure-relief devices on some tankers were found on Sunday to have stopped working, which the company said could “result in a catastrophic failure.”

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said in a statement the chemical contents of the five rail cars in question were “unstable and could potentially explode, causing deadly disbursement of shrapnel and toxic fumes.”

Working with state and local emergency officials, Norfolk Southern said on Monday it devised a plan to manually vent the cars, allowing the contents to “be drained in a controlled fashion” under supervision of “experts and first responders.”

Drone footage shows the freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, U.S., February 6, 2023 in this screengrab obtained from a handout video released by the NTSB. Photo: NTSBGov/Handout via REUTERS

Drone footage shows the freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, U.S., February 6, 2023 in this screengrab obtained from a handout video released by the NTSB. Photo: NTSBGov/Handout via REUTERS

As part of the plan, DeWine and Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro ordered evacuations expanded on Monday to encompass all homes within a 1- to 2-mile area around the derailment site on both sides of the state line.

Peggy Clark, a spokesperson for the Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency, said the mandatory evacuation covered an estimated 1,900 people on the Ohio side alone.

DeWine’s office warned that fumes released into the air from the venting operation could be deadly if inhaled, while also posing the risk of skin burns and serious lung damage.

Vinyl chloride is a colorless, industrially produced gas that burns easily and is used primarily in the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe and other products, according to the National Cancer Institute. It also is a byproduct of cigarette smoke.

The precise means by which crews vented the gas was not explained. But the railroad said workers had prepared drainage pits and embankments, apparently to contain residue from the release. State environmental officials monitored air quality, it said.

Nearly two hours after the operation began, the company said the “controlled breach” had been “completed successfully.”

The cause of the derailment was under investigation by the NTSB, but board member Michael Graham said on Sunday that video footage of the accident pointed to possible “mechanical issues on one of the rail car axles.”

Nearly 2,000 residents of eastern Ohio remained under evacuation orders on Monday as railroad crews drained and burned off a toxic chemical from five tanker cars of a freight train that derailed in a fiery wreck three days earlier, officials said.

The venting of pressurized vinyl chloride, a highly flammable and carcinogenic gas, began with a single explosion, as was anticipated, followed by a steady incineration of the remaining cargo, said Sandy Mackey, a spokesperson for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

“That controlled release was the one explosion,” she told Reuters by telephone. “It went as planned. It seemed to be a successful incident.”

No injuries were reported, either from Monday’s operation or the accident on Friday night, authorities said.

Live video on Monday showed a towering column of thick, black smoke rising from the accident site in East Palestine, Ohio, a town close to the Pennsylvania border northwest of Pittsburgh.

The train, operated by Norfolk Southern Railroad and consisting of three locomotives and 150 freight cars, was headed from Illinois to Pennsylvania when it derailed shortly before 9 p.m. EST on Friday, setting off a massive fire that forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes in the immediate vicinity.

About 50 cars actually left the tracks, 20 of which carried hazardous materials, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Public safety concerns deepened after the railroad said pressure-relief devices on some tankers were found on Sunday to have stopped working, which the company said could “result in a catastrophic failure.”

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said in a statement the chemical contents of the five rail cars in question were “unstable and could potentially explode, causing deadly disbursement of shrapnel and toxic fumes.”

Working with state and local emergency officials, Norfolk Southern said on Monday it devised a plan to manually vent the cars, allowing the contents to “be drained in a controlled fashion” under supervision of “experts and first responders.”

Drone footage shows the freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, U.S., February 6, 2023 in this screengrab obtained from a handout video released by the NTSB. Photo: NTSBGov/Handout via REUTERS

Drone footage shows the freight train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, U.S., February 6, 2023 in this screengrab obtained from a handout video released by the NTSB. Photo: NTSBGov/Handout via REUTERS

As part of the plan, DeWine and Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro ordered evacuations expanded on Monday to encompass all homes within a 1- to 2-mile area around the derailment site on both sides of the state line.

Peggy Clark, a spokesperson for the Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency, said the mandatory evacuation covered an estimated 1,900 people on the Ohio side alone.

DeWine’s office warned that fumes released into the air from the venting operation could be deadly if inhaled, while also posing the risk of skin burns and serious lung damage.

Vinyl chloride is a colorless, industrially produced gas that burns easily and is used primarily in the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe and other products, according to the National Cancer Institute. It also is a byproduct of cigarette smoke.

The precise means by which crews vented the gas was not explained. But the railroad said workers had prepared drainage pits and embankments, apparently to contain residue from the release. State environmental officials monitored air quality, it said.

Nearly two hours after the operation began, the company said the “controlled breach” had been “completed successfully.”

The cause of the derailment was under investigation by the NTSB, but board member Michael Graham said on Sunday that video footage of the accident pointed to possible “mechanical issues on one of the rail car axles.”

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20230207/derailed-train-cars-in-ohio-drained-of-toxic-chemical-amid-mass-evacuation/71371.html

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