Rebecca Ratcliffe
Rebecca Ratcliffe
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Thousands of Thais defy crackdown on protests in Bangkok

Thousands of Thais defy crackdown on protests in Bangkok

Police use of water cannon fires up more demonstrators on streets of capital and other cities in BangkokSat 17 Oct 2020 14.30 EDTFirst published on Sat 17 Oct 2020 09.32 EDTTens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Bangkok and other Thai cities on Saturday, defying a crackdown against a pro-democracy movement that has challenged both the king and the prime minister.Youth-led rallies have spread across Thailand over recent months, with protesters making of the country’s monarchy, which is protected by a harsh lese-majesty law and which, until recently, was considered...

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Rebecca Ratcliffe
Oct 17
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Thailand uses emergency decree to ban gatherings after Bangkok protests

Thailand uses emergency decree to ban gatherings after Bangkok protests

Thailand’s prime minister has declared a “severe” state of emergency in Bangkok, while police have arrested more than 20 people, including prominent protest leaders, in a crackdown on the country’s pro-democracy movement.Under the new emergency measures, gatherings of five or more people have been banned, as has the publication of news or online information that “could create fear” or “affect national security”. It follows a major rally on Wednesday, in which protesters repeated calls for democratic reforms, including to the country’s powerful monarchy.Early on Thursday morning, outside...

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Rebecca Ratcliffe
Oct 15
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Thousands gather in Thailand for anti-government protest

Thousands gather in Thailand for anti-government protest

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Bangkok for a major rally on Saturday, demanding the resignation of Thailand’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, and reforms to the monarchy – an institution until recently considered beyond direct public criticism.A grassroots has swept across the country, upending decades of convention within months. Protesters have called for a range of democratic reforms, with some groups, including the organisers of Saturday’s rally, demanding the king’s powers and budget be curbed.Authorities have responded by charging student leaders with sedition, ordering...

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Rebecca Ratcliffe
Sep 19
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Coronavirus pandemic fuelling plant poaching in Philippines

Coronavirus pandemic fuelling plant poaching in Philippines

Officials in the say the coronavirus pandemic is fuelling a new problem: a surge in plant poaching.The country’s lockdown , one of the strictest in the world, helped drive demand for greenery among Filipinos who were longing for nature. Though restrictions have eased, the craze for gardening has continued, and officials say sellers are digging up endangered species in the mountains and forests.Illegal traders were “having a fiesta because the market is bigger and prices are more attractive”, Rogelio Demallete, an ecosystem specialist at the country’s Biodiversity Management Bureau,...

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Rebecca Ratcliffe
Sep 14
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Pro-democracy movement draws thousands in Bangkok

Pro-democracy movement draws thousands in Bangkok

At least 10,000 demonstrators, mostly students, gathered at Bangkok’s democracy monument on Sunday, and some called for reforms to the monarchy.The protest was one of the biggest since the 2014 coup, and follows a month of almost daily rallies that have drawn support from high school and university students across the country.Protesters – who chanted, “Down with dictatorship, long live democracy” and “Stop harassing the people” – have called for the dissolution of the military-backed government. They have also demanded an end to the intimidation of activists and reforms to the constitution,...

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Rebecca Ratcliffe
Aug 16
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Millions in Manila back in lockdown as Duterte loses control of coronavirus spread

Millions in Manila back in lockdown as Duterte loses control of coronavirus spread

More than 27 million people have been put back into lockdown in and around the Philippines’ capital, as stricter measures are imposed in an attempt to halt the country’s .The measures were reintroduced on Tuesday after the country’s infection tally topped 100,000 and a coalition of health groups issued a “distress signal” urging President Rodrigo Duterte to act. “Our healthcare workers should not bear the burden of deciding who lives and who dies,” they said in an , warning the health system was at risk of being overwhelmed.Two major government hospitals in Manila city have been forced to...

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Rebecca Ratcliffe
Aug 4
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Vietnam detects first locally transmitted Covid-19 cases since April

Vietnam detects first locally transmitted Covid-19 cases since April

is evacuating 80,000 people from the central city of Danang and reimposing disease-prevention measures, after four local coronavirus cases were detected, the first to be recorded in the country for more than three months.Life had returned to normal for many in the country, which had been praised widely for taking quick action to contain Covid-19 and was on the brink of reaching 100 days without any new local infections. On Saturday, however, a 57-year-old grandfather was confirmed to have tested positive - the first community infection since April.Social distancing measures have been...

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Rebecca Ratcliffe
Jul 27
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Cloud cuckoo land? How one bird's epic migration stunned scientists

Cloud cuckoo land? How one bird's epic migration stunned scientists

hen Onon took off above the rolling hills of the Khurkh valley in last June, researchers had no idea if they would see him alive again. Along with one oriental cuckoo and three other common cuckoos, each fitted with a tiny tracking device, he was about to embark on an epic journey to southern Africa.Last month, he was the only bird to return safely with his tracker intact.“It’s an amazingly long migration,” says Dr Chris Hewson, senior research ecologist at the , who said Onon’s 26,000km round trip was one of the longest journeys recorded by any land bird.Onon has not only amazed...

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Rebecca Ratcliffe
Jun 26
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Philippines war on drugs may have killed tens of thousands, says UN

Philippines war on drugs may have killed tens of thousands, says UN

Tens of thousands of people may have been killed during Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs in the , according to a damning UN report that warns of “impunity” and calls for an independent investigation into abuses.The anti-narcotics crackdown in the Philippines, launched by the president after he won the 2016 election on a promise to rid the country of drugs, appears to have resulted in “widespread and systematic” extrajudicial killings, the report says.It adds that rhetoric by the highest officials has potentially emboldened police to behave as though they have “permission to kill”.Read more,...

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Rebecca Ratcliffe
Jun 4
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Bangladesh urged to open ports to allow in Rohingya refugee boats

Bangladesh urged to open ports to allow in Rohingya refugee boats

The Bangladeshi government has been urged to open its ports and allow two boats carrying hundreds of refugees to come ashore so they can be given urgent medical care, food and water.It is believed more than 500 people, including children, are onboard the stranded trawlers, which were recently seen in the Bay of Bengal but have reportedly returned to the high seas.Last week, Bangladesh’s foreign minister, Abdul Momen, said the boats would not be allowed entry, : “Bangladesh is always asked to take care of the responsibility of other countries.”Earlier this month, Bangladesh rescued a...

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Rebecca Ratcliffe
Apr 27
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Fears as Cambodia grants PM vast powers under Covid-19 pretext

Fears as Cambodia grants PM vast powers under Covid-19 pretext

Cambodia’s national assembly has passed a state of emergency law granting the country’s autocratic leader, Hun Sen, vast new powers, in what rights groups say is a cynical move to exploit the coronavirus pandemic.The legislation, passed on Friday, is expected to further weaken democratic rights in a country that has no functioning opposition and where key political opponents are either in prison or exile.While human rights experts agreed some restrictions were needed to slow the spread of coronavirus, it is feared that many leaders are using the emergency to grab power.Read moreIn , the new...

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Rebecca Ratcliffe
Apr 10
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