In the midst of a wave of donation for the victims of the tsunami in South Asia, some aid workers are afraid that suffering in other parts of the world might be forgotten in the wake of the massive disaster that killed 150,000. \nThere are concerns that the tsunami might have swept long-running crises, especially in Africa, off the media agenda and exhausted the willingness of donors to continue to aid those who have been suffering even longer. \nIndeed, UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland has made several pleas over the past few days not to forget those in need in other parts of the world. \nAnd whilst praising the world's response to the tsunami victims, UN General Secretary Kofi Annan pointed out on ABC television Sunday: "In seven days we've got more money in response to the tsunami crisis than we did for all the humanitarian appeals we issued in 2004." \n"We call them the `orphaned disasters,'" Annan added, high-lighting the bizarre marketplace for compassion in a media-driven world. \nOnce again, lack of money was one of the reason's behind the UN's failure to stop the dying in large parts of Africa last year. The UN had less funds for foreign aid last year than in 2003 and 2002, even though its capability to reach those in need had improved, according to Egeland. \nUrging the richer countries to contribute a higher percentage of their GDP to aid funds, he also pointed out the "forgotten emergencies" such as Somalia, northern Uganda, eastern Congo or Chechnya. \nAbout 1,000 people die each day in eastern Congo, he said. Death rates can reach tsunami levels without even being noticed: \n"In the next three to four months as many people may die in eastern Congo as died in the tsunami. There is too little attention paid to these forgotten emergencies," he said. \nThe situation is unlikely to change this year, according to the UN. \nThe international community has pledged more than US$2 billion in aid to the about 5 million people in the 12 countries hit by the tsunami. \nThe promised amount already exceeds by US$300 million the sum which Annan last November said was needed to ensure the survival of 26 million people in 14 almost forgotten crises regions in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. \nThe coming weeks will show whether governments and people in the industrialized world also find money to spare for those suffering in the orphaned disaster areas of the world. \nThe UN estimates that reconstruction in the tsunami-hit areas will take between five to 10 years at a cost of several billion dollars.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big