Demand for fish and seafood has plunged across Asia -- as have prices -- on unfounded fears that species in the Indian Ocean are feeding off bodies washed out to sea by the Dec. 26 tsunami, The Sunday Times said. \nAsians fear the sea creatures will pass diseases or bacteria on to those eating them. Marine experts and governments have sought to dismiss the rumours, which are threatening the livelihoods of fishermen in the wake of the tsunami onslaught. \nThe fear of seafood has surfaced from Singapore, Sri Lanka and Malaysia to Hong Kong, Thailand and India. \n"I don't want to eat fish and crabs that might have been feeding off dead flesh," Singaporean housewife Lee Kim Eng was quoted as saying, echoing the sentiments of many. \nPrices in the city-state have dropped by as much as half and business is down 30 per cent. \n"Now the first thing my customers ask is where my fish comes from," said Leong Kong Meng, 65. \nEven assurances that supplies are from non-tsunami hit locations such as Johor in Malaysia, Jakarta and Bangkok failed to convince two-thirds of the customers surveyed at two markets here. \nWorst-hit are Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu where fish markets, virtually deserted, are selling seafood at one-tenth of what they cost prior to the earthquake-triggered December 26 tsunami, according to the report. \nThe Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea are vast and deep, noted Associate professor Peter Ng, a crustacean expert and director of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research at the National University of Singapore. \nContaminants would have been diluted by the sea movements, he said. \nProbe teams were dispatched to the tsunami-stricken areas of Kedah and Penang to test samples of fish in Malaysia. \n"We found no indication of contamination," disease control chief Ramlee Rahmat told the newspaper. \nDomestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Shafie Apdal urged consumers not to heed the "rumors." \n"It will only jeopardize the only source of income for our fishermen," he warned. \nNg said the churning sea has brought a boom in the amount of food available for the fish, such as micro-organisms, plankton, plants and other dead fish. \n"So the fish and crabs have plenty of their usual food supply and don't have to resort to eating dead human flesh," Ng said. \nThe Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said there are no health and safety issues if fish, in the unlikely event, feed off corpses. \nAny human tissues would be digested and absorbed to form part of the animal's own tissue, the AVA added.
A CAUTIONARY TALE: Bookseller Lam Wing-kee speaks of the danger that his adopted home Taiwan now faces and the ordeal of his detention in China Lam Wing-kee (林榮基) leaned forward in his chair, answering quickly and sharply to issue a warning to the people of his new home, Taiwan. “Be ready now,” Lam said. “We should be more alert as citizens, we should get ready,” the 64-year-old Hong Konger said. “If they can take Hong Kong back, the next place, I feel, is Taiwan.” Late in Taipei at Causeway Bay Books Mark II, on the 10th floor of a nondescript building, Lam, a wiry, gray-haired bookseller, was sitting at his desk with a bemused gaze behind thin oval glasses. The desk was neat, but crowded with books and a
‘POLICE EVERYWHERE’: A law that would criminalize the publication of images of police officers was passed by the National Assembly and awaits Senate approval Violent clashes erupted in Paris on Saturday as tens of thousands took to the streets to protest against new security legislation, with tensions intensified by the police beating and racial abuse of a black man that shocked France. Several fires were started in Paris, sending acrid smoke into the air, as protesters vented their anger against the security law, which would restrict the publication of police officers’ faces. About 46,000 people marched in Paris and 133,000 in total nationwide, the French Ministry of the Interior said. Protest organizers said about 500,000 joined nationwide, including 200,000 in the capital. French President Emmanuel Macron late
Not enough beds and not enough doctors: a skyrocketing COVID-19 caseload is pushing hospitals in the Balkans to the cusp of collapse, in chaotic scenes reminding some medics of the region’s 1990s wars. After nearly a year of keeping outbreaks more or less under control, the nightmare scenario that the Balkans feared from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is now starting to unfold. In hard-hit Bosnia-Herzegovina, one doctor described the distress of having to juggle the care of multiple patients whose lives were hanging by a thread. “The situation reminds me of the war, and I’m afraid it could get even worse
The genteel world of New Zealand pottery has been rocked by a row over plans for a ceramic dildo-making workshop, sparking allegations of bullying and online abuse. Ceramicist Nicole Gaston said that she wanted the Wellington Potters’ Association to hold the event with Iza Lozano, a visiting Mexican artist who has conducted similar workshops in her homeland. Gaston said that pottery dildos are easily sterilized, can be warmed and, unlike latex versions, do not pose the risk of leeching chemicals into the body. “Some of the oldest ceramic works ever found are of phalluses,” she said. “This isn’t exactly brand new. People have