Women’s March draws thousands as Trump term enters second year

Thousands of people participate in the Second Annual Women’s March in Washington, US January 20, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 20 January 2018
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Women’s March draws thousands as Trump term enters second year

WASHINGTON: Thousands of protesters turned out across the nation for the second Women’s March on Saturday, marking the first anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration with rallies aimed at channeling female activism into political gains in elections this year.
The coordinated rallies in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and about 250 other cities are a reprise of the mass protests that marked the beginning of Trump’s presidency. Sister rallies were also planned in Britain, Japan and other countries.
“We will make our message heard at the polls this fall,” Emily Patton, a rally organizer, told thousands of demonstrators at the Reflecting Pool on Washington’s National Mall. “That is why we are urging people to register to vote today.”
The rallies also come during what has been seen as a pivotal year for women’s rights with the #MeToo and #TimesUp social media effort against sexual harassment and abuse that was born out of a string of scandals in Hollywood, Washington and elsewhere.
Meanwhile, President Trump tweeted that it was a "perfect day" for women to march to celebrate the "economic success and wealth creation" that's happened during his first year in office.

But people participating in the rallies and marches across the US and around the world denounced Trump's views on immigration, abortion, LGBT rights, women's rights and more.
The Washington rally featured Democratic politicians from neighboring Virginia, including Senator Tim Kaine, who blamed Trump and Republicans for the shutdown of the government on Saturday.
“The Trump shutdown is due to the inability of the Republican Party to do basic governing, like making a budget,” he said to cheers.
Many of the protesters wore pink knit “pussy hats,” which were created for last year’s march as a reference to a comment made by Trump about female genitalia, The caps quickly became a symbol of women’s empowerment and opposition to the new president in the early days of his administration.
“We want to continue the fight to resist this president and the policies we’re against,” said Sara Piper, 59, a geologist from Reston, Virginia.

Some critics said this year’s march lacked a focus. Targeting an issue such as immigration would have greater impact, said Shikha Dalmia, a senior analyst at the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank.
“Beating the feminist drum just seems to me beside the point. Maybe they are trying to cast as wide a net as possible,” Dalmia said by telephone.
NOT AS BIG AS LAST YEAR
One of the biggest marches is expected in New York, where 37,000 people had signed up on the march’s Facebook page. But the number of participants in this year’s rallies is likely to fall well short of the estimated 5 million who marched on Jan. 21, 2017, and made that one of the largest mass protests in US history.
In Chicago, thousands of mostly female marchers gathered ahead of a rally in Grant Park, carrying signs that read “Strong women raising strong women” and “You can’t cure stupid but you can vote it out.”
Michelle Saunders, 41, a software saleswoman from Des Plaines, Illinois, came to the rally with her 14-year-old daughter Bailey. They attended last year’s march and anticipated that the crowd this year would not match the 250,000 that attended last year, but for them the message is just as strong.
“A smaller crowd will not mean people are any less angry,” Michelle Saunders said. “We are unhappy with the current administration and what it stands for and want our voices to be heard.”
Since last year’s march, women have become more vocal and that is a positive sign, said Cathy Mutz, 63, a retired nurse from Chanahan, Illinois.
“I think change will come from the midterm elections,” she said.
Organizers hope to build on the energy felt by Trump opponents after his surprise election victory in 2016 and channel it into gains for progressive candidates in November’s midterm elections, using the theme “Power to the Polls.”
Organizers want to register 1 million new voters and get more strong advocates for women’s rights into office.
Activists say Trump’s policies rolling back birth control and equal pay protections have propelled many women into activism for the first time. In Virginia state legislative polls, 11 of the 15 Democrats elected were women.
A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the marches.
The marches will be followed by more events on Sunday, including in Las Vegas, a key battleground state in the 2018 midterm congressional elections.
The voter registration campaign will target swing states held by Republicans, such as Nevada, and in districts considered a toss-up ahead of November’s midterm elections.


Thailand to ban imports of high-tech trash, plastic waste

Updated 16 August 2018
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Thailand to ban imports of high-tech trash, plastic waste

  • The Thai ban covers 432 types of electronic refuse — from electronic circuit boards to old television and radio parts — and will take effect within six months
  • Thailand’s e-waste ban follows a series of raids that began in May on factories accused of illegally importing and processing electronic waste

BANGKOK: Thailand will ban imports of 432 types of scrap electronics within six months, an environment ministry official said on Thursday, the latest country to respond to China’s crackdown on imports of high-tech trash this year.
Southeast Asia nations fear they are the new dumping ground for the world’s trash after China banned the entry of several types of waste as part of a campaign against “foreign garbage.”
Thailand’s ban comes weeks after regional neighbor Vietnam said it would stop issuing new licenses for waste imports and crack down on illegal shipments of paper, plastic and metal.
The Thai ban covers 432 types of electronic refuse — from electronic circuit boards to old television and radio parts — and will take effect within six months, a senior environment ministry official told Reuters on Thursday.
He said the ban was agreed at a meeting on Wednesday chaired by Surasak Kanchanarat, the environment minister.
“The meeting yesterday passed a resolution to stop importing 432 kinds of electronic waste and to ensure...that this is enforced within six months,” said the official, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Mongukol Pruekwatana, director general of the department of industrial works, told Reuters a full list of banned items would be announced soon.
E-waste — commonly defined as any device with an electric cord or battery — can be mined for valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper. However, it can also include hazardous material such as lead, mercury and cadmium.
Surasak told Thai media on Wednesday that imports of some electronic appliances and second-hand devices would be allowed if these items can be repaired and reused.
Scrap metal, including aluminum, copper and steel, can still be imported for industrial use, but must be separated at the country of origin and cleaned, he said.
Thailand’s e-waste ban follows a series of raids that began in May on factories accused of illegally importing and processing electronic waste.
Environmentalists say waste once destined for China is being re-routed to Southeast Asia, and new laws are needed or existing laws better enforced to prevent illegal imports.
Vietnam’s central bank said on Wednesday it has asked banks to tighten lending to projects deemed environmentally unfriendly. It said banks must have strategies for environmental risk management by 2025.
Thailand also planned to ban imports of plastic waste in the next two years, the environment ministry official said, but he gave no details of the program.
The death of a pilot whale in June found with some 80 pieces of plastic rubbish in its stomach focused attention on what environmentalists call Thailand’s “addiction” to plastic bags and packaging.
Thailand’s military government has said improving the country’s waste management infrastructure is a priority and set goals for 2021.
They included cutting the use of plastic bags and bottles in government agencies and businesses, and plastic bans in tourist destinations. A tax on plastic bags has also been mentioned, along with a target to recycle up to 60 percent of plastic by 2021.