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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.
(Editor's note: This story contains language in the second paragraph that may offend readers) By Scott Malone (Reuters) - Maine Governor Paul LePage said on Wednesday he will not resign and is seeking spiritual advice after unleashing an obscenity-laden voicemail message on a political rival, as state lawmakers kept the pressure on the Republican to step down. The famously combative two-term governor apologized for the second day in a row to the people of Maine and to state Representative Drew Gattine after calling the Democrat a "little son-of-a-bitch, socialist cocksucker" in a voicemail message last week that has been widely circulated. "I will not resign," LePage told reporters in his office in the state capital of Augusta, a day after he openly discussed the possibility of resigning in a radio appearance.
By Abhinav Ramnarayan LONDON (Reuters) - The European Commission's ruling that Apple Inc should pay up to 13 billion euros of back-dated taxes could help Ireland reduce its debt significantly but may undermine its government, Standard & Poor's told Reuters on Wednesday. "There are many uncertainties ahead but if we assume that the money will definitely come through, the sum of 13 billion euros is not insignificant for an economy the size of Ireland," said Moritz Kraemer, the ratings agency's chief European sovereign rating officer. Ireland's debt-to-GDP ratio is around 94 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
More than a decade after it first launched, sci-fi virtual world EVE Online is going free. Developer CCP Games announced the change today, which will see the game add a new free option as part of its next big update in November. With the update, EVE Online players will essentially be separated into two different tiers: "Omega clones" and "Alpha clones." Omega clones will apply to accounts with existing subscriptions, and will give players access to the entire game, just as they always have.
By Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's cabinet may need more time to decide whether to appeal a European Commission ruling against Dublin's tax dealings with Apple , a minister said on Wednesday. Finance Minister Michael Noonan has recommended lodging the appeal, saying on Tuesday he "disagreed profoundly" with what he called a bizarre order from the Commission that the U.S. tech giant should hand over to Ireland unpaid taxes of up to 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) ruled to be illegal state aid. Noonan sought approval for an appeal, which must be made in just over two months at the latest, at a cabinet meeting that began at 1030 GMT.
Gene Wilder is gone, and he will be sorely missed. The obvious example will forever be his defining performance in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, where he plays a kind, if gleefully unhinged, candy baron. As Edgar Wright put it on Twitter the other day in the wake of the actor’s death, Gene Wilder was a master of the comedic pause.
Archos is the latest company to get in on the drone craze with its aptly named Archos Drone. The Archos Drone comes with a not-so-great 1MP camera, which won't be great for taking photos or video, but you can watch a live stream of the flight path on your iOS or Android smartphone, which can be mounted on the controller. The company says the Archos Drone can be flown indoors as well as outside, can execute 360-degree flips, and comes with LED lights for night flights.
The reputation of the Karolinska Institute, one of Sweden's top hospitals that awards the Nobel prize for medicine, has been badly damaged by allegations patients died as a result of a surgeon performing experimental operations without clearance, an official report said. Criticism of the Karolinska Institute, which had employed Italian surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, led to the resignation of the secretary of the Nobel Committee at the Institute in February and to calls for the award to be scrapped this year and next. Bjorn Hurtig, a Swedish lawyer who represents Macchiarini, could not immediately be reached for comment on the report.
Tomorrow is September 1st, which means fall is almost here. It’s a time for drinking syrupy seasonal coffee drinks, wearing big warm sweaters, and finding the time in your life to play the incoming onslaught of holiday game releases. 2016 has already been a pretty great year for games, with everything from indie gems like No Man’s Sky and Inside, to big blockbuster experiences like Uncharted 4 and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. But it looks to only get better from here on out.
The U.S. Treasury sought to keep pressure on the European Union to rescind a ruling that Apple Inc pay up to $14.5 billion in back taxes, a move Washington says breaches international tax rules and sets the stage for more actions against U.S. companies. The tax deal between Apple and Ireland that allowed the U.S. technology giant pay a tax rate that the European Commission said was effectively 1 percent of its profits is the latest spat between Brussels and Washington over company regulation. "I have been concerned that it reflected an attempt to reach in to the U.S. tax base to tax income that ought to be taxed in the United States," U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Wednesday at an event to discuss Washington's position ahead of a meeting of the Group of 20 industrial nations in China next week.
Hackers have obtained data on more than 68 million Dropbox accounts, according to a Motherboard report. Both Dropbox and independent researcher Troy Hunt have confirmed the validity of the data. The passwords involved are all several years old, and Dropbox security reset a number of accounts in response to the breach in 2012.
Netflix We really dug the first season of Netflix’s show Stranger Things. It’s a great mix of nostalgia for the films of the 1980s and a great story about a town getting to the bottom of a strange disappearance of a local boy. Like any good show, it left us wanting a bit more, and left us some questions to chew over while we wait for season two to be released in 2017.Spoilers for the first season ahead! Seriously, we’re digging into the big questions from the top.
Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk had warned the company might need "a small equity capital raise" in 2017. Earlier this month, Tesla said it closed the second quarter with nearly $3.25 billion in cash, but in July it repaid $678 million on a revolving credit line and planned to redeem $422 million in convertible notes. As a result, Tesla would be left with around $400 million in cash at a time when the company has been burning through cash and is in the process of acquiring and absorbing its money-losing sister company, SolarCity Corp.