195 Nations Back 'Kunming' Pledge On Biodiversity

Almost 200 nations pledged Wednesday to tackle ecological destruction at a key United Nations (UN) conservation summit in China, but environmentalists criticised the proposal as vague and lacking accountability.Delegates from some 195 countries said they would support the 'Kunming Declaration' – working to tackle issues around biodiversity and species protection – in the first segment of the two-part COP15 summit in the southern Chinese city Kunming.The pledge is expected to pave th

14 October 2021

Climate Activists Fight For Inclusive COP26

The COVID-19 pandemic offered young climate activists from Africa, Asia and South America a unique opportunity to connect online with their counterparts in the West and have their voices heard.But now many are worried the pandemic may keep them from attending crucial climate talks in Glasgow, where they hope to push world leaders on issues facing poor countries on the frontlines of climate change. Flooding, fires and extreme heat are just a few of the climate-change induced catastrop

13 October 2021

Thai Diners Whet Their Appetites At Flood Cafe

A Thai restaurant has taken dining with a water view to the next level – its customers perch precariously on wooden stools as murky brown floodwater laps at their tables.Tropical storm Dianmu and heavy monsoon rains have caused flooding in 33 Thai provinces, inundating more than 300,000 households and claiming nine lives.Riverside areas of Bangkok are bracing for flooding in the coming days and more storms are expected to hit the kingdom next week.But the crisis has been a boon for the Chaopr

9 October 2021

Bangkok On Alert As 70,000 Homes Flooded

Thai authorities on Tuesday rushed to protect parts of Bangkok from floodwaters that have already inundated 70,000 homes and killed six people in the country's northern and central provinces.Tropical storm Dianmu has caused flooding in 30 provinces, with the kingdom's central region the worst hit, the Thai Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said.The level of the Chao Phraya River – which snakes through Bangkok after winding almost 400 kilometres from the north – is steadi

29 September 2021

Death By Sadness Or The Taliban: LGBTQ Afghans

As the Taliban appeared on every corner of Kabul, Marwa and her friend – both gay Afghans – took the drastic decision to become husband and wife.The hurried marriage was conducted with no ceremony or family around them."I was telling myself that the Taliban would come and kill me," the 24-year-old said in an interview conducted by AFP over WhatsApp."I was afraid, I was crying all the time...

28 September 2021

China Restricts Abortions For ‘Non-Medical Purposes’

China has issued new guidelines restricting the number of abortions performed for “non-medical purposes”.The State Council, China’s cabinet, published the new rules on Monday.The country has already enacted strict measures aimed at preventing sex-selective abortions, and health authorities also warned in 2018 that the use of abortion to end unwanted pregnancies was harmful to women’s bodies and risks causing infertility.The State Council said the new guidelines would aim to improve women’s ov

27 September 2021

Biden Pledges To Double US Climate Contribution

President Joe Biden pledged Tuesday to "double" United States (US) contributions towards a goal of mobilizing US$100 billion for countries hardest-hit by global warming, a move hailed as a rare piece of good news in the climate crisis.Experts said the announcement would take the American contribution to the commitment, made by developed countries ahead of the 2015 Paris agreement, to approximately US$11.4 billion annually."This will make the United States a leader in public cli

22 September 2021

'Ghost Kitchens' Boom In Asia Amid Pandemic

In an industrial unit on the outskirts of Taipei, chefs are plating meals that will never be served in a restaurant: welcome to the world of "ghost kitchens".Even before the pandemic sent an earthquake through the global restaurant trade, the "Amazonification" of commercial kitchens was well underway, but coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions have fuelled explosive growth in Asia. The recent boom in food delivery apps meant customers were already used to having r

16 September 2021

Thailand: Migrants Plead For COVID Vaccines

When the first COVID-19 case was detected in the Thai border town of Mae Sot in April last year, Hnin Hnin (not her real name), was able to keep her school for migrant children open, spending her mornings as she usually did, drawing up word games on a large whiteboard as her five-year-old pupils looked on.Infections and deaths at the time remained in the single digits, and Hnin Hnin, a teacher from Myanmar, was cautiously optimistic that the pandemic would end soon.

15 September 2021

Men In China Go Under The Knife To Up Life Chances

Worried his appearance would detract from opportunities in China's competitive society, Xia Shurong decided to go under the surgeon's knife to reshape his nose - one of the millions of young men in the country turning to cosmetic surgery.The 27-year-old researcher wanted medical procedures to transform his look from an "engineering geek" to something he thinks will boost his life chances. Beauty standards in China can be exacting, from pressure over skin tone, eye

15 September 2021

Storm-Hit Philippines Braces For Powerful Typhoon

At least one person died and 17 were missing after a storm dumped heavy rain and caused flooding in the Philippines, authorities said Thursday, as a powerful typhoon barrelled towards the country.Tropical Storm Conson hit the central province of Eastern Samar as a typhoon on Monday before weakening as it passed over the archipelago, forcing around 10,000 people to flee their homes, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.One person drowned on the island provin

10 September 2021