US, UK scouts abandon heat wave-hit South Korean jamboree

A general view shows the campsite of the World Scout Jamboree in Buan, North Jeolla province — which is hosting 43,000 international participants — on Saturday. (AFP)
A general view shows the campsite of the World Scout Jamboree in Buan, North Jeolla province — which is hosting 43,000 international participants — on Saturday. (AFP)
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Updated 06 August 2023
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US, UK scouts abandon heat wave-hit South Korean jamboree

US, UK scouts abandon heat wave-hit South Korean jamboree
  • The World Organization of the Scout Movement had called on South Korea to shorten the event — scheduled to run until Aug. 12 in the coastal town of Buan — pointing to issues caused by extreme weather

BUAN: American and British scouts pulled out of the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea Saturday citing scorching temperatures, as organizers vowed the event would continue despite growing criticism of dire campsite conditions.
About 43,000 people have joined the jamboree in North Jeolla province, but an extreme heat wave has seen hundreds of scouts fall ill, forcing Seoul to deploy military doctors, offer air-conditioned buses and vow an all-out effort to salvage the event.
American and British scout groups were withdrawing on Saturday, citing concerns over the extreme weather, even as organizers said the jamboree would continue, urging participants to view the event as a “platform for overcoming challenges.”
The government conducted spot inspections and found conditions were no longer as dire as has been claimed, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said, adding that after discussions with participating countries, “we decided to continue the event without stopping.”

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The exit of British, American and other scout troops is a significant PR setback for the South Korean government, which on Friday called an emergency cabinet meeting and mobilized aid.

With widespread reports of rudimentary bathrooms and substandard sanitation, Kim Hyun-sook, South Korea’s gender minister, told reporters Seoul would “add about 700 personnel today to address the issue of toilet cleaning.”
The World Organization of the Scout Movement had called on South Korea to shorten the event — scheduled to run until Aug. 12 in the coastal town of Buan — pointing to issues caused by extreme weather.
South Korea this week issued its highest hot weather advisory for the first time in four years.
Citing heat concerns, American officials said that about 1,500 US scouts would go to Camp Humphreys, a US Army garrison in Pyeongtaek.
Scouts from the United Kingdom — the largest group at around 4,000 — began arriving back in the capital Seoul Saturday, in what officials said was a bid to “alleviate pressure on the site.”
Singaporean scouts were also planning to leave and Belgian officials were looking for alternative accommodation, the Yonhap news agency reported.
The exit of British, American and other scout troops is a significant PR setback for the South Korean government, which on Friday called an emergency Cabinet meeting and mobilized aid.
President Yoon Suk Yeol’s office approved 6.9 billion won ($5.3 million) in spending to support the jamboree, and on Saturday Yoon spoke by phone to camp organizers, urging them to offer more tourism programs to the scouts.
Prime Minister Han said Saturday that organizers would “create and operate a tour program featuring South Korea’s industry, culture, history, and nature.”
The event is facing additional challenges besides the heat, with Jeolla authorities on Saturday reporting about 70 people on the site had come down with COVID-19.
Local media has described the situation as a “national disgrace,” given the time the country had to prepare for the event, which happens once every four years.

 


Pakistan police arrest acting chairman of jailed ex-PM Imran Khan’s party

Pakistan police arrest acting chairman of jailed ex-PM Imran Khan’s party
Updated 1 sec ago
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Pakistan police arrest acting chairman of jailed ex-PM Imran Khan’s party

Pakistan police arrest acting chairman of jailed ex-PM Imran Khan’s party

KARACHI: Pakistani police have arrested Gohar Ali Khan, the acting chairman of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party, an official of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party said on Monday.


More than 500 arrested in Bangladesh capital over violence: police

More than 500 arrested in Bangladesh capital over violence: police
Updated 28 min 55 sec ago
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More than 500 arrested in Bangladesh capital over violence: police

More than 500 arrested in Bangladesh capital over violence: police
  • Detainees include the opposition Bangladesh National Party’s third-most senior leader Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury

DHAKA: More than 500 people, including some opposition leaders, have been arrested over days of clashes in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka sparked by protests against job quotas, police said Monday.
“At least 532 people have been arrested over the violence,” Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesman Faruk Hossain said.
“They include some BNP leaders,” he added, referring to the opposition Bangladesh National Party.
The detainees included the BNP’s third-most senior leader Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury and its spokesman Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed, he said.
A former national football captain turned senior BNP figure, Aminul Huq, was also held, he added.
Mia Golam Parwar, the general secretary of the country’s largest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, was also arrested, Hossain said.
He said at least three policemen had been killed during the unrest in the capital and about 1,000 injured, at least 60 of them critically.
BNP spokesman A.K.M Wahiduzzaman said that nationwide, “several hundred BNP leaders and activists were arrested in the past few days.”


Diplomats confront Bangladesh FM over violence

Diplomats confront Bangladesh FM over violence
Updated 35 min 20 sec ago
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Diplomats confront Bangladesh FM over violence

Diplomats confront Bangladesh FM over violence
  • At least 163 people have been killed in what began as movement against politicized quota for government jobs 
  • US ambassador accuses Bangladesh foreign minister of presenting “one-sided” version of events, says diplomatic source 

DHAKA: Diplomats in Dhaka questioned Bangladeshi authorities’ deadly response to widespread student protests following a presentation by the foreign minister that laid the blame for recent violence at demonstrators’ feet, diplomatic officials said Monday.

What began as a movement against politicized admission quotas for sought-after government jobs has snowballed into some of the worst unrest of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s tenure, with at least 163 people killed in clashes so far, according to an AFP count of victims reported by police and hospitals.

Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud summoned ambassadors for a briefing Sunday and showed them a 15-minute video that sources said focused on damage caused by protesters.

But a senior diplomatic official in Dhaka, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP on Monday that US ambassador Peter Haas said Mahmud was presenting a one-sided version of events.

“I am surprised you did not show the footage of police firing at unarmed protesters,” the source quoted Haas as telling the minister.

The source added that Mahmud also did not respond to a question from a United Nations representative about the alleged use of UN-marked armored personnel carriers and helicopters — which the country has in its military inventories — to suppress the protests.

The meeting came after Bangladesh’s top court pared back the hiring quotas for highly desirable government jobs that have been at the center of the protests.

The decision curtailed the number of reserved jobs from 56 percent of all positions to seven percent, most of which will still be set aside for the children and grandchildren of “freedom fighters” from Bangladesh’s 1971 liberation war against Pakistan.

While the decision represented a substantial reduction to the contentious “freedom fighter” category, it fell short of protesters’ demands to scrap it altogether.

Critics say the quota has been used to stack public jobs with loyalists to Hasina’s ruling Awami League.

A spokesman for Students Against Discrimination, the main group organizing the demonstrations, told AFP: “We won’t call off our protests until the government issues an order reflecting our demands.”

Hasina, 76, has ruled the country since 2009 and won her fourth consecutive election in January after a vote without genuine opposition.

Since the crackdown on protests began, some demonstrators have said they will not be satisfied until Hasina’s government steps down.


Russia downs 75 Ukraine drones, some near Tuapse oil refinery

Russia downs 75 Ukraine drones, some near Tuapse oil refinery
Updated 22 July 2024
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Russia downs 75 Ukraine drones, some near Tuapse oil refinery

Russia downs 75 Ukraine drones, some near Tuapse oil refinery
  • Russian defense ministry did not say whether its defense systems destroyed the drones, or whether the attack had caused any damage
  • Russian officials rarely disclose the full extent of damage inflicted by Ukrainian attacks

Russia’s air defense systems destroyed 75 drones launched by Ukraine overnight, including eight near the town of Tuapse on the Black Sea where Russia’s oil major Rosneft has a refinery, the Russian defense ministry said on Monday.
Forty-seven drones were downed over the Rostov region in Russia’s southwest, 17 over the waters of the Black and Azov seas, eight over the Krasnodar region, where Tuapse is located, and single drones over the Belgorod, Voronezh and Smolensk region, the ministry said on the Telegram messaging app.
The ministry did not say whether its defense systems destroyed the drones, or whether the attack had caused any damage.
Sergei Boiko, head of the Tuapse district in the Krasnodar region, said on Telegram infrastructure and residential buildings had not been damaged.
Russian officials rarely disclose the full extent of damage inflicted by Ukrainian attacks. The Tuapse refinery has been a target of several Ukrainian air attacks since the start of the war that Russia launched against its smaller neighbor in 2022.
Russia’s SHOT and Mash Telegram news channels reported that a series of blasts were heard near the refinery early Monday.
Reuters could not independently verify the Russian reports. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine. Kyiv has often said that the attacks on Russia’s military, energy and transport infrastructure are in response to Russia’s continuous attacks on Ukraine’s territory.


Fire-hit tanker enters Malaysia terminal area after being detained by coast guard

Fire-hit tanker enters Malaysia terminal area after being detained by coast guard
Updated 22 July 2024
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Fire-hit tanker enters Malaysia terminal area after being detained by coast guard

Fire-hit tanker enters Malaysia terminal area after being detained by coast guard
  • The supertanker Ceres I left the scene of a fiery collision with another tanker
  • Singapore is Asia’s biggest oil-trading hub and the world’s largest bunkering port

SINGAPORE: A tanker that was involved in a collision near Singapore last week entered the area of Malaysia’s Bertam floating oil terminal on Monday morning after it was intercepted by local authorities on Sunday, shipping data from LSEG and Kpler showed.
The Sao Tome and Principe-flagged supertanker Ceres I left the scene of a fiery collision with another tanker, the Singapore-flagged Hafnia Nile, on Friday.
The Ceres I was found in Malaysian waters with two tugboats towing it, the coast guard said in a statement on Sunday.
The Ceres I and the two tugboats have been detained by the coast guard for further investigation, it said.
The Bertam floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) terminal is located in the South China Sea off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
The Ceres I is a very large crude carrier (VLCC) supertanker capable of carrying around 2 million barrels of oil. AIS data on LSEG showed that Ceres I is empty.
Ceres I has loaded crude and fuel oil from Iran and Venezuela through ship-to-ship transfers between 2019 and March 2024, Kpler data showed.
Shanghai Prosperity Ship Management is the manager of the Ceres I, according to LSEG data. The company could not be immediately reached for comment.
Separately, Hafnia, the manager of Hafnia Nile, said over the weekend it was in discussions with Malaysian authorities to safely move the vessel.
The Hafnia Nile, a 74,000-deadweight-tons capacity Panamax tanker, was carrying about 300,000 barrels naphtha for Japan, according to ship-tracking data from Kpler and LSEG. Naphtha is a raw material for making petrochemicals.
Singapore is Asia’s biggest oil-trading hub and the world’s largest bunkering port. Its surrounding waters are among the busiest global sea lanes.
Malaysia’s coast guard said on Sunday that aerial surveys conducted by the coast guard found minor traces of an oil spill at the location of the collision between the Ceres I and the Hafnia Nile, which occurred in the waters about 55 km (35 miles) northeast of the Singaporean island of Pedra Branca.
“The environment department has been informed and will conduct further monitoring,” it said.