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The tiny island of Koh Samet is about 2 km off the coast of the Thai mainland and has the long pale beaches, forests and beautiful geography made famous by the 2000 hit film, The Beach.
Right now though the fine, white sands of the island and clear, blue waters that surround it are being turned sticky and black by crude oil which spurted out of a pipeline operated by PTT Global Chemical.
The spill started Saturday morning from about 20 kilometres southeast of the Map Ta Phut seaport on the southern shore of the mainland. PTT, the state-owned administrator of PTT Global Chemical, tried to downplay the full extent of the leak by claiming that the oil slick had "effectively been dissolved".
This claim proved to be untrue after unrefined crude started blackening the immaculate beaches of Koh Samet as PTT Global Chemical admitted 50,000 litres of unrefined crude had been spilled into the waters of Phrao Bay.
Making matters worse, Thailand is not capable of handling the oil spill, Deputy Premier Plodprasop Suraswadi conceded to the Bangkok Post. Speaking via a government spokesman, he added that authorities should seek help from nearby Singapore.
For a region identified by Greenpeace Southeast Asia Thailand Programme Manager Ply Pirom as the "nation’s food basket", this news is bleak.
Bleaker still when you realise that this spill is just one of more than 200 spills that have happened in Thai waters in the past three decades, effectively putting the region's ecosystem in the crossfire of big oil companies and meagre oil spill mitigation resources.
Greenpeace East Asia has been closely monitoring the situation and have deployed a rapid response team to document the impact of the spill, particularly in the National Marine Park area that includes Koh Samet.
Greenpeace is now demanding that PTT Global Chemical be held financially liable for the cost of cleaning and restoring the natural environment and is mobilising the public through an online petition. It's time for the Thai government to review its energy policy and put an end to oil drilling and exploration in the Gulf of Thailand.
The paradox of a country known for its staggering natural beauty but still heavily reliant on fossil fuels in its energy policy is counterintuitive. Especially when the availability of affordable, clean, renewable energy is taken into consideration.
It is up to us all to put pressure on policymakers, oil companies and their shareholders to end our reliance on fossil fuels. It may be too late to draw a line in the oil-soaked sands of Koh Samet – as we have in the ice in the Arctic – but we can rally to make this the last oil spill we see.
You can help by signing our petition.
Today is the International Human Rights Day and what better way to mark it than by launching a court case against injustice in South Korea.
With so many countries moving away from nuclear power in recent decades, and many more rushing to abandon it in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, South Korea remains one of the last withered feathers in the nuclear industry’s cap. Both the South Korean government and the industry are fighting tooth and nail to keep it that way by silencing criticism.
Since establishing an office in Seoul in April 2011, Greenpeace East Asia has witnessed the South Korean government’s willingness to ignore the lessons of Fukushima and has experienced first hand its efforts to silence those speaking out against its nuclear programme.
Between November 2011 and October 2012 six Greenpeace East Asia and Greenpeace International staff were denied entry to South Korea. They were flown back to where they came from and given no official or personal explanation as to why. Official inquiries and freedom of information requests have been met with a similar stony silence.
The only option left open to us was to challenge the government’s actions in blocking our staff from entering the country in court, which we did today.
Challenging the South Korean government’s unjust actions is important, as Greenpeace is not alone in facing this treatment. Other groups, including South Korea’s People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), have been met with similar tactics when they began speaking out.
“Similar to Greenpeace's anti-nuclear campaign staff, at least 25 peace activists opposing the construction of the Jeju naval base were deported or denied entry since 2011,” said Gayoon Baek, a coordinator of the International Solidarity Committee at PSPD, while standing in solidarity with us at the court today.
"The South Korean government is increasingly using denial of entry as a means to crush activist criticism – a clear violation of the internationally recognised right to freedom of assembly and expression.”
As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), South Korea has an obligation to defend the right to free speech, freedom of expression and freedom of information. Instead, it is choosing to silence those who raise their voices in opposition to its reckless nuclear programme, restricting the information its citizens have access to.
South Korea currently has 21 nuclear reactors, and is planning to build 11 more, despite the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi once again proving the massive risks that this technology poses to public, environmental and economic health.
It is only right that the people of South Korea are given all the information they need to make an informed decision about their collective future. By cracking down on peaceful anti-nuclear groups, the South Korean government is instead cutting them off from the information they need to be properly informed about the risks of nuclear power.
Stopping peaceful NGOs and activists from participating in public debate in this manner is a violation of Article 19 of the ICCPR, is inconsistent with Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is a threat to the integrity of South Korea’s democracy.
With so much invested in its nuclear plants, and with many more reactors planned, it is clear that the nuclear industry has a dangerous choke hold on South Korea’s political system.
To protect the quality of its democracy and to ensure its people have both the necessary information and a choice to move towards a nuclear-free, renewable energy future, the South Korean government must immediately cease its crackdown on those who criticise its policies. It's time for the government to allow the energy discussion debate.
Pino Lee is a nuclear campaigner with Greenpeace East Asia and is based in Seoul, South Korea.
A gigantic, 112-lb. (50 kilograms) catfish was reeled in by a North Carolina man the day before Thanksgiving, according to local news reports. The man, Riahn Brewington, caught the massive fish in the northeast section of Cape Fear River in North Carolina, local ABC affiliate WWAY reported. Brewington said he could tell the catch was big, but he had only a 10-lb. (4.5 kg) line on his fishing rod.
Completing such missions in rough terrain or combat zones can be tricky, with helicopters currently offering the best transportation option in most cases. Earlier this month, Israeli company Urban Aeronautics completed a test flight for a robotic flying vehicle that could one day go where helicopters can't. On Nov. 14, the company flew its robotic flyer, dubbed the Cormorant, on the craft's first solo flight over real terrain.
Nearly 2 Million Lbs of Chicken Recalled
A expanded recall of nearly 2 million pounds of ready-to-eat chicken products that may be undercooked has been announced by Oklahoma-based National Steak and Poultry, the U.S. Food & Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) says. The initial recall announced ...
2 million pounds of ready-to-eat chicken recalled over bacteria concernsNJ.com
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It’s been three rounds, and the inmates of Pixel Prison Blues are having a rough time. My anthropomorphic owl prisoner has gotten locked into a cell block, pacing from side to side as I swipe the touchscreen controller in my hands.
Johnny Gaudreau return ignites Flames offense NHL news and notes
Johnny Gaudreau (1-1-2) scored 2:09 into his return from a 10-game absence and the Calgary Flames later scored seven straight goals, including five in a span of 6:04 during the second period, en route to an 8-3 victory against the Anaheim Ducks.
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Customers report issues with AT&T app
Many people eager to test out AT&T's new online video app, DirecTV Now, are finding that the service has a few kinks that need ironing out. The company's forums and social media accounts have all been flooded with complaints since the app's Nov.
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FCC slams Verizon and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) for violating net neutralityBenchmark Monitor
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By Umberto Bacchi LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The United Nations launched a record humanitarian appeal on Monday, asking for $22.2 billion in 2017 to help almost 93 million people hit by conflicts and natural disasters. More than half of the money will be used to address the needs of people caught up in crises in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and South Sudan, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. "The scale of humanitarian crises today is greater than at any time since the United Nations was founded," U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien said in a statement.
Raiders punter Marquette King calls out Bills' 'snitch' on Twitter
King did a dance with a flag on Sunday, and he knows who ratted him out. By Cameron DaSilva Dec 5, 2016 at 9:01a ET. 0shares. There's a new movement in the NFL, and it involves punters. The most overlooked position in football is making a strong ...
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Raiders punter Marquette King danced with a penalty flag for roughing the punterWashington Post
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Final Fantasy 15 review: A curio, not a classic
Built on the skeleton of another game, FFXV gets a lot right, but cracks still show. Simon Parkin (UK) - 12/5/2016, 5:57 AM. Enlarge · reader comments 3. Share this story. Game Details. Developer: Square Enix Publisher: Square Enix Platform: PS4, Xbox ...
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Plume is announcing today that its Adaptive WiFi system is now available for purchase, following pre-orders earlier this summer. Plume is a mesh-based home Wi-Fi system that uses compact "pods" to provide coverage in every room of your home. Like Eero and other mesh systems, Plume is meant to prevent signal drops and dead spots in your home.
By Makiko Yamazaki TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Panasonic Corp is in talks to buy European automotive light maker ZKW Group, accelerating its push into the automotive electronics market, a person familiar with the matter said. An acquisition of ZKW would expand Panasonic's automotive lineup, which currently centers on batteries and navigation systems, as it shifts its focus to corporate clients to escape price competition from lower-margin consumer electronics manufacturers. Panasonic said in a statement the reported deal was not something it had announced, and declined to comment further.
By John Miller ZURICH (Reuters) - Roche's Gazyva cancer drug did not show a significant overall survival benefit and raised greater safety concerns than its predecessor Rituxan, a study showed, raising doubts over the Swiss pharmaceuticals group's bid to replace a key blockbuster. Gazyva is used with the chemotherapy drug bendamustine to treat follicular lymphoma (FL) and Roche is counting on it to help mitigate the impact of biosimilars on Rituxan, whose patents expired this year.. Roche failed to find a follow-up drug to its Avastin blockbuster this year and faces competition from rivals including Novartis whose Sandoz generics unit is hot on Rituxan's heels. An analysis released at the weekend meeting of the American Society of Hematology found that for patients with previously untreated FL, those getting Gazyva and bendamustine showed a 94 percent overall survival rate at three years.
Pfizer's blood cancer drug Bosulif effective in untreated patients
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Australian high school students 'show up' Martin Shkreli, re-creating price-hiked pill for $2 - Chicago Tribune
Australian high school students 'show up' Martin Shkreli, re-creating price-hiked pill for $2
Martin Shkreli, former chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, arrives at United States Federal courthouse in Brooklyn on October 14, 2016. Martin Shkreli, former chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, arrives at United States Federal courthouse ...
Australian students re-create life-saving drug...WDIV Detroit
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