wiki globe

Posts Tagged ‘fear’

Flower growers fear cold wave could damage crops

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:03 am

Flower growers in the Mekong Delta are troubled with the unusually cold weather conditions and fear damage to their seasonal flowers and ornamental plants.

A farmer is nurturing an apricot flower plant for Tet in Cho Lach District, Ben Tre Province (Photo: SGGP)42 year old farmer Nguyen Van Tho in Cho Lach District of Ben Tre Province was worried the continuous rain and persistent cold temperatures this year might damage his 1,000 apricot plants. He is resorting to constant spraying and reduction of fertilizers to prevent the plants from blossoming too soon.

Another district resident named Le Thi Lan noticed that her 17,000 pots of daisies were slowly showing signs of frost bite.


In Ba Bo flower village, Binh Thuy District, Can Tho City many farmers are anxious and taking special care of their flower gardens particularly after the recent heavy rains.


Nguyen Van Ben has grown flowers for Tet for 20 years and this year he claims that 20 percent of his 2,000 pots of daisies had already been damaged. On the other hand, the cost of fertilizers, pesticides and labor had also increased which added to their woes.


People in Tan Quy Dong village, Sa Dec District of Dong Thap Province quoted a 30-40 percent rise in expenses on flower and ornamental plant gardening. This has led the village to prepare only three million flower pots this year, one third less than previous years on traditional flowers like daisies and marigold.


Traders had streamed into gardens to buy flowers in previous years but this year has been dull according to flower growers in Long Thoi Commune, Cho Lach District.


Tran Van Nam in the Ba Bo flower village, Binh Thuy District said that because few traders have come to buy flowers this year, the local growers had to hire stalls in Can Tho City to sell their flowers.


A small stall of just four square meters cost VND1.4 million while selling a mere two pots of daisies could be expected to fetch less than VND50, 000. Several of the flower growers expected to see losses this year.


According to Bui Thanh Liem, head of the Cho Lach District Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Ben Tre Province, farmers in the district had prepared four million pots of flowers and ornamental plants for the coming Tet, which was half the amount from previous years. So far only 40 percent of the pots have been sold.

Source: SGGP

Fear of toxic additives in food

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:04 am

Medical experts believe one of the causes of cancer in the world is the rampant use of harmful chemicals and additives in food.


As Tet (lunar New Year) holiday approaches, wholesale markets such as Binh Tay, Ben Thanh, An Dong and Kim Bien begin selling jams and dry fruits without labels, giving no indication of their origin and manufacturing base.

Chinese dry fruits packed in nylon bags selling in Binh Tay market (Photo: SGGP)

Shop assistants claim these dry fruits and jams are imported from China but it is not clear whether these foods have been certified by health authorities. These dry fruits could contain toxic substances and are being sold to innocent customers who favor their taste.


Last year the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health (DOH) did a random test of six dry fruit samples from three vendors at the Binh Tay wholesale market in District 6.


The authorities found five samples to contain lead and a banned artificial sweetener, Cyclamate. Tests also showed that melon seeds and chilli powder contained Rhodamine B, a harmful dye suspected of being carcinogenic.


Medics believe that eating food contaminated with lead over a long period of time can cause damage to the nervous system, impair brain function, cause kidney failure and in extreme cases even lead to death.


However, these products continue to sell in markets heedless of their harmful affects on health. Customers are lured by their eye catching and colorful appearance and packaging.


The city DOH has ordered the district 5 People’s Committee to monitor Kim Bien market and identify shops that sell toxic foods, but there has been little success in that area. Besides, chefs preparing food items are not aware of the harmful affects of such chemicals and therefore use them in excess.


Medical experts stress that it is now very important to control the inflow of smuggled chemicals and also prevent banned additives from being imported into the country.


Related article:
Dangerous chemicals have been used in food for years

Source: SGGP

Fear of volcanic ash cancels flights to Jakarta

In Uncategorized on November 7, 2010 at 9:21 am

Democrats fear rout as US election day arrives

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2010 at 8:12 am

Fishermen fear for livelihoods as Gulf focus shifts

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2010 at 7:19 am

US spill chief Thad Allen failed Thursday to reassure desperate fishermen about their Gulf of Mexico oil clean-up jobs, while BP began the legal wrangling in a massive civil trial.


As engineers prepared next week’s vital operations to permanently kill the capped BP well, Allen met with parish presidents and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in New Orleans to discuss how to safeguard local jobs going forward.


With little oil now floating in the Gulf, there are fears the popular “Vessels of Opportunity” program that employs fishing boats to skim crude off the surface of the sea might have to be scrapped.

Kerry Parfait, a skimming boat worker, stands near idle boats after they were forced to port because of Hurricane Alex in June 2010 in Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

Allen pledged to redeploy as many skippers as possible to other tasks, but could give no firm indication of how many of the 1,500 boats would still be working in the Gulf after next month.


“Obviously as we transition into a point where there’s not the threat of a spill, the involvement of Vessels of Opportunity is going to necessarily change,” he said after the meeting.


Allen said that over the next 10 days he would work with parish presidents and the governor to hammer out a plan for the fishermen and what to do with the program through to the end of August.


A large portion of the Gulf waters remain closed to commercial and recreational fishing and with lingering doubts about seafood safety, fishermen could effectively end up losing their jobs for a second time.


“The fishermen have missed a year, and we don?t know what the impact is going to be next year, or the year after that,” said Marty O?Connell, an environmental scientist at the University of New Orleans.


Many are worried it could be months or even years before they can fish again, and there are no guarantees the fish will be there in the same numbers when they do, or that they will be safe to eat.


“If BP uses the capping of the well as an excuse to minimize its clean-up operations, then shame on them,” said Mike Frenette, whose five boats in Venice, Louisiana missed an entire summer’s fishing due to the disaster.


Frenette had to apply four times before getting two of his five boats onto the program, which pays between 600 and 3,500 dollars a day, depending on the size of the boat.


“All that our Vessels of Opportunity work is doing is counting against our compensation claim. We?re not making any money, here, we?re just trying to keep our heads above water.”


Many disgruntled fishermen are expected to seek compensation for lost earnings and personal injury in the courts, and in Boise, Idaho on Thursday lawyers for disaster victims opened the first stage in a massive civil trial.


The hearing brought together a wide array of people and players linked to the disaster triggered by an April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the coast of Louisiana.


Plaintiffs range from the families of the 11 workers killed in the explosion to Gulf fishermen whose catch has been contaminated by the spill, threatening them with financial ruin.


A seven-judge panel will decide over the next few weeks whether to consolidate the litigation into one or several cases, and where the trial or trials should take place.


BP and other firms named in the claims argued for the venue to be the oil headquarters of Houston, Texas, but victims’ lawyers said it should be somewhere closer to those hit hardest by the disaster, like New Orleans. Joining BP in court were Transocean, which leased the rig to BP, Cameron International, which manufactured the blowout preventer, the device which should have shut down the well but failed to work properly, and Halliburton, the oil services company which had finished cementing the well only 20 hours before the rig exploded.


BP hopes to begin a “static kill” operation as early as this weekend to plug the capped well with drilling mud and cement. Five days later a “bottom kill” through a relief well should finish the job once and for all.

A cap stopped the flow on July 15 after between three and 5.2 million barrels (117.6 million and 189 million gallons) had gushed out, making it likely the disaster is the biggest ever accidental oil spill.

Source: SGGP

Thai PM denies fear as assassination plots revealed

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2010 at 2:25 pm

BANGKOK, July 1, 2010 (AFP) – The Thai prime minister on Thursday dismissed fears about his safety after he was revealed to be the target of assassination plots, but announced plans to maintain a state of emergency across Bangkok.


National police chief General Pateep Tanprasert said Wednesday that premier Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban were targets after they ordered a military crackdown on mass anti-government protests in May.

(AFP files) The “Red Shirt” anti-government movement in May 2010

“Intelligence reports show it from time to time, but all the security agencies who offer protection for high profile people are fully at work, so I personally do not worry at all,” Abhisit told reporters.


“Nowadays some groups are ready to resort on violence, so we have to be more careful,” he added.


The prime minister said senior judges and government officials were also believed to be targets for assassination.


“If they feel that they are intimidated or threatened they can ask for government security protection,” he said.


“A culture of violence has already been introduced into Thai politics… but those who use violence will be dealt with.”


The state of emergency, which hands sweeping powers to the police and military, is currently in place across about a third of Thailand after two months of anti-government protests in Bangkok that sparked bloody clashes.


The violence during the “Red Shirt” rally and the army crackdown on May 19 left 90 people dead, triggering a rampage by protesters.


The emergency decree is due to expire on July 7, but Abhisit said it would be extended in the capital and possibly elsewhere, although “for how long depends on the situation”.

d
Source: SGGP

Oil rebounds in Asian trade as ‘fear factor’ eases

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Rain resumes in Rio and officials fear more deaths

In Uncategorized on April 7, 2010 at 9:38 am

Rains began pelting Rio again early Wednesday, hours after the heaviest deluge on record sent killer mudslides cascading down hillsides and turned streets into raging torrents in Brazil‘s second-biggest city.


Authorities feared the added water could dislodge more saturated ground and raise the death toll from 95 in Rio and the neighboring city of Niteroi. Most of the deaths came when landslides smashed over shacks in slums built precariously on steep slopes.


Huge red-brown paths of destruction slashed through shantytowns. Concrete and wooden homes were crushed and hurtled downhill, only to bury other structures.


Rio, which will host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, ground to a near halt as Mayor Eduardo Paes urged workers to stay home and ordered all schools closed. Most businesses were shuttered.

Firefighters rescue an injured man after a landslide in the Morro dos Prazeres area of the Santa Teresa neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro

Streets across the city were quiet as flooded roadways made travel nearly impossible even before rain started falling again before dawn.


Eleven inches (28 centimeters) of rain drenched Rio in less than 24 hours Tuesday, and the forecast called for more rain through the weekend, though it was expected to lessen.


Officials said potential mudslides threatened at least 10,000 homes in the city of 6 million people. Some 1,200 people were left homeless by Tuesday’s downpour.


Paes urged people in endangered areas to take refuge with family or friends and he said no one should venture out.


“It is not advisable for people to leave their homes,” the mayor said. “We want to preserve lives.”


He told the Web site of the newspaper O Globo that the rainfall was the most that Rio had ever recorded in such a short period. The previous high was nine inches (23 centimeters) that fell on Jan. 2, 1966.


President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva urged Brazilians to pray for the rain to stop.


“This is the greatest flooding in the history of Rio de Janeiro, the biggest amount of rain in a single day,” Silva told reporters in Rio. “And when the man upstairs is nervous and makes it rain, we can only ask him to stop the rain in Rio de Janeiro so we can go on with life in the city.”


A representative for the Rio de Janeiro fire department, which was coordinating rescue efforts, said 95 people were known dead and about 100 were injured.


“We expect the death toll to rise,” said the official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.


Claudio Ribeiro, a 24-year-old taxi driver, spent eight hours stranded on a highway Tuesday.


“I have never seen anything like this,” he said, wiping steam from the inside of his windshield to reveal a flooded roadway with hundreds of cars, taxis and buses packed together on high ground between raging torrents.


“Tell me, how is this city supposed to host the Olympics?” Ribeiro said. “Look at this chaos!”


Neither the 2014 World Cup nor the 2016 Olympics will be held during Brazil‘s rainy season. The rains normally fall during the Southern Hemisphere‘s summer in December through February, but the season has stretched into April this year.

Silva played down the possibility that similar downpours could wash out the biggest sporting events Brazil will ever host.

“Normally, the months of June and July are calmer, and Rio de Janeiro is prepared to host the Olympics and is prepared to host the World Cup with a lot of tranquility,” Silva said. “It’s not because of one catastrophe that we will think that it’s going to happen every year, or all the time.”

Rio 2016 organizers said in a statement that Tuesday’s rainfall was extremely unusual and could happen anywhere in the world. Organizers praised city and state authorities for responding quickly to the public safety crisis.

Source: SGGP

Rain resumes in Rio and officials fear more deaths

In Uncategorized on April 7, 2010 at 9:38 am

Rains began pelting Rio again early Wednesday, hours after the heaviest deluge on record sent killer mudslides cascading down hillsides and turned streets into raging torrents in Brazil‘s second-biggest city.


Authorities feared the added water could dislodge more saturated ground and raise the death toll from 95 in Rio and the neighboring city of Niteroi. Most of the deaths came when landslides smashed over shacks in slums built precariously on steep slopes.


Huge red-brown paths of destruction slashed through shantytowns. Concrete and wooden homes were crushed and hurtled downhill, only to bury other structures.


Rio, which will host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, ground to a near halt as Mayor Eduardo Paes urged workers to stay home and ordered all schools closed. Most businesses were shuttered.

Firefighters rescue an injured man after a landslide in the Morro dos Prazeres area of the Santa Teresa neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro

Streets across the city were quiet as flooded roadways made travel nearly impossible even before rain started falling again before dawn.


Eleven inches (28 centimeters) of rain drenched Rio in less than 24 hours Tuesday, and the forecast called for more rain through the weekend, though it was expected to lessen.


Officials said potential mudslides threatened at least 10,000 homes in the city of 6 million people. Some 1,200 people were left homeless by Tuesday’s downpour.


Paes urged people in endangered areas to take refuge with family or friends and he said no one should venture out.


“It is not advisable for people to leave their homes,” the mayor said. “We want to preserve lives.”


He told the Web site of the newspaper O Globo that the rainfall was the most that Rio had ever recorded in such a short period. The previous high was nine inches (23 centimeters) that fell on Jan. 2, 1966.


President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva urged Brazilians to pray for the rain to stop.


“This is the greatest flooding in the history of Rio de Janeiro, the biggest amount of rain in a single day,” Silva told reporters in Rio. “And when the man upstairs is nervous and makes it rain, we can only ask him to stop the rain in Rio de Janeiro so we can go on with life in the city.”


A representative for the Rio de Janeiro fire department, which was coordinating rescue efforts, said 95 people were known dead and about 100 were injured.


“We expect the death toll to rise,” said the official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.


Claudio Ribeiro, a 24-year-old taxi driver, spent eight hours stranded on a highway Tuesday.


“I have never seen anything like this,” he said, wiping steam from the inside of his windshield to reveal a flooded roadway with hundreds of cars, taxis and buses packed together on high ground between raging torrents.


“Tell me, how is this city supposed to host the Olympics?” Ribeiro said. “Look at this chaos!”


Neither the 2014 World Cup nor the 2016 Olympics will be held during Brazil‘s rainy season. The rains normally fall during the Southern Hemisphere‘s summer in December through February, but the season has stretched into April this year.

Silva played down the possibility that similar downpours could wash out the biggest sporting events Brazil will ever host.

“Normally, the months of June and July are calmer, and Rio de Janeiro is prepared to host the Olympics and is prepared to host the World Cup with a lot of tranquility,” Silva said. “It’s not because of one catastrophe that we will think that it’s going to happen every year, or all the time.”

Rio 2016 organizers said in a statement that Tuesday’s rainfall was extremely unusual and could happen anywhere in the world. Organizers praised city and state authorities for responding quickly to the public safety crisis.

Source: SGGP

Fishermen left high and dry fear for Mekong’s future

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2010 at 9:25 am

VIENTIANE, April 4, 2010 (AFP) – Fisherman Phimmalang Sengphet paddles his boat to the sandy banks of the Mekong River in Laos and inspects his meagre haul. “We can’t even catch enough to feed ourselves,” he says wearily.


The 38-year-old was able to net more than 10 kilos (22 pounds) of fish a day this time last year, but now he is lucky to bring home just half that. He blames the unusually low water levels — the most extreme he has ever seen.

Fisherman Phimmalang Songphet takes off few small fish he caught from Mekong River at Thatkhao village in the suburds of Vientiane on March 27, 2010. AFP photo

“We want to know why. This is our life, catching fish to sell at the market. This is our business to provide for our families,” he says as he wanders back to his village on the outskirts of the capital Vientiane.


Mekong River levels in parts of Laos have hit their lowest in 50 years.


The situation has alarmed the millions who depend on what is the world’s largest inland fishery with an estimated annual catch of about 3.9 million tonnes, according to the Mekong River Commission (MRC).


“In Laos we don’t have the sea, we only have the Mekong for water and for food, so it’s very important to us,” said another villager, 63-year-old Som Sirivath, as she waded waist-deep into the river in search of some supper.


The ebbing flows are not confined to land-locked Laos, one of Asia’s poorest nations.


In the upper Mekong basin in China’s southwest, more than 24 million people are short of drinking water as a result of the worst drought in a century. Downstream, the north of Thailand has also suffered five-decade river lows.


“Many people I know have changed to agricultural work because they can’t live on income from the fishing industry,” said Niwat Roykaew, head of a local conservation group in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai.


The cause of the dwindling waterway is a matter of fierce debate, with activists pointing the finger upstream to China’s hydropower dams, which they believe channel water away from the upper reaches of the Mekong.


Pianporn Deetes, of campaign group International Rivers, said water levels were not just dropping but “fluctuating unnaturally”, and that disruption to the ecosystem began after China built its first dam more than a decade ago.


“Local people experienced the loss of fish catch, the destruction of aquatic resources,” the Thai environmentalist told a recent forum in Bangkok.


With a dozen dams proposed downstream as well as in China, she said locals were “worrying about the threats to the ecosystem, the livelihoods and food security. Definitely the impact on fisheries is our main concern”.


China, which has eight existing or planned dams on the mainstream river, insists that extreme dry weather conditions are to blame for the current shortage — a claim backed up by findings of the intergovernmental MRC.


Whatever the reason, the problem concerns more than 60 million people who live in the lower Mekong basin and normally each eat 30 to 40 kilograms of fish every year, according to an MRC report released on Saturday.


People in southern Laos, for example, have relied “for generations” on diverse aquatic life for high-protein diets and have livelihoods “closely entwined with the seasonal rhythm of the river”, the report said.


The abnormally low levels are disrupting the vast fishery, raising fears over already endangered species such as the Mekong giant catfish that can weigh up to 350 kilograms, said MRC spokesman Damian Kean.


A shallower river can affect breeding and migration patterns, as well as the waterway’s general ecological health, he said.


The MRC report urged caution over future developments in the basin, warning of dangers posed by both proposed dams and expanding populations.


“Over the past five years, significant changes have taken place in water-related resources and this is likely to continue, which may put livelihoods under threat,” said commission adviser Hanne Bach.


The drought and dam debate were set to dominate an MRC summit in Thailand on management of the river starting Sunday attended by the leaders of Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, along with ministers from China and Myanmar.


Urgent action is needed to protect the Mekong basin “before it’s too late,” said campaigner Pianporn.

d
Source: SGGP