Jun 19 2019

Six In The Morning Wednesday 19 June 2019


Vaccines: Low trust in vaccination ‘a global crisis’

Public mistrust of vaccines means the world is taking a step backwards in the fight against deadly yet preventable infectious diseases, warn experts.

The biggest global study into attitudes on immunisation suggests confidence is low in some regions.

The Wellcome Trust analysis includes responses from more than 140,000 people in over 140 countries.

The World Health Organization lists vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global health.

The global survey reveals the number of people who say they have little confidence or trust in vaccination.

Fears Hong Kong protests could turn violent amid calls to ‘escalate action’

Protesters have given authorities until Thursday afternoon to answer demands to retract extradition bill

Hong Kong is bracing for fresh rallies on Friday, which many fear could turn violent, as protesters gave city authorities until Thursday to meet their demands on the retraction of the city’s controversial extradition bill.

Anonymous messages have circulated on social media and messaging services calling for people to gather outside the government headquarters in the Admiralty business district to “escalate their actions” if the Hong Kong government fails to meet their demands by 5pm on Thursday. It called on people to strike, close shops and stay off school on Friday. On one popular chat platform alone, the message received nearly 89,000 “likes”. A user called this “Hong Kong’s last battle”.

Refugee numbers worldwide hit record high: UN

For the first time ever, the number of displaced people reached 70.8 million at the end of 2018, according to the UNHCR. The agency’s chief warned against a hostile climate for refugees, but Germany came in for praise.

Over 2 million people were forced to flee their homes last year, driving up the number of the displaced to a record 70.8 million worldwide, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said in a new report Wednesday.

The figure includes refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people at the end of 2018.

Launching the agency’s “Global Trends” report, UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said the phenomenon was growing in the “wrong direction.”

“We have become almost unable to make peace,” he said.

Shutting down Niger’s business of moving people

Agadez, city of migrants

Overnight, in 2015, a law criminalised the main source of income for Agadez in northern Niger, once a major hub for migrants heading to Europe via Libya. It didn’t stop migrancy, but it wrecked the economy.
by Rémi Carayol

The bus station at Agadez was sleepy; the hot season was coming and at dawn a film of dust had settled on the city. But the weather conditions did not explain why there were no travellers. At the ticket office, two clerks were lying on a mattress. One told me, ‘We haven’t had any passengers for a long time. People going north keep a low profile.’ His colleague slept on.

Tourist agencies call Agadez, the largest city in northern Niger, the ‘gateway to the desert’, though it no longer deserves the name. The central bus station was once the heart of the city, the starting point for convoys heading for Dirkou and Libya. Every Monday, up to 200 vehicles would set off into the desert, carrying livestock and migrants, who came from West Africa, and sometimes from the centre and east of the continent, heading mostly for Libya and, with luck, Europe. The convoys had an army escort as far as the Libyan border. To the migrants, they represented hope; to the people of Agadez, they were a source of income. Mahaman Sanoussi, a local activist, said, ‘They provided a living for the whole city. Migration was legal, and the transporters were respectable. They paid their taxes, like other entrepreneurs. But law 2015-36 changed all that.’

California utility PG&E to pay $1 billion to local governments for a series of wildfires

Updated 0631 GMT (1431 HKT) June 19, 2019

A utility blamed for igniting deadly wildfires that killed dozens in California has agreed to pay $1 billion in damages to local governments for blazes linked to its power lines, poles and other equipment.

Pacific Gas and Electric will pay the funds to more than a dozen state public entities for losses from the deadly blazes sparked by its equipment.
Most of the funds are related to last year’s Camp Fire in Northern California that killed 85 people and destroyed thousands of homes. The hardest-hit town of Paradise, which was left in charred ruins, will get $270 million to resolve wildfire claims.

Japan revises law to ban parents from physically punishing children

The Diet on Wednesday enacted a revised law banning parents and other guardians from physically punishing children following several fatal cases of abuse dealt out in the name of discipline.

Another law was also amended to strengthen the ability of child welfare centers to “intervene” in abuse cases by separating staff members in charge of taking children into protective custody from those dealing with their guardians.

Though there are no penalties for offenders, the revised abuse prevention law states that parents, foster parents and heads of child welfare centers are banned from physically punishing children while attempting to discipline them.