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Hundreds of schools shut as forestfire haze blankets Southeast Asia

first_imgJambi (Indonesia): Huge fires are raging across vast swathes of Indonesia’s rainforests — some of the world’s biggest — with toxic smog shutting hundreds of schools in Southeast Asia, officials said Tuesday. Massive jungle areas in Sumatra and Borneo islands are ablaze as thousands of personnel battle to quell the fires, frequently started to clear land for crop plantations. Burning forests to make way for farming is also thought to be behind the enormous fires currently ripping through the Amazon in South America, and experts believe they could have a serious impact on the global climate. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USIn Indonesia the number of hotspots — areas at risk of fires — has soared in parts, including on Borneo which the country shares with Malaysia and Brunei. Air quality has dropped to “unhealthy” levels in and around Kuala Lumpur, according to the government’s air pollutant index, and the skyline has been shrouded in thick smog. The smell of burning foliage filled the air, and residents were suffering respiratory problems and complained of itchy and sore eyes. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”It makes your eyes hurt and causes breathing problems,” Indonesian tourist Indah Sulistia told AFP in Kuala Lumpur. “The haze also creates problems for snapping photos,” she added. Haze also hung over Singapore, while residents in parts of southern Thailand were advised to wear face masks this week. Around 400 schools were closed Tuesday in nine districts of Malaysia’s Sarawak state on Borneo, with more than 150,000 students affected, according to the local education department. In neighbouring Indonesia’s Jambi province, on Sumatra, some kindergartens will be closed until Friday, while elementary and junior high schools are also temporarily shut, according to local authorities, who did not give exact numbers. Jambi mayor Syarif Fasha urged residents to wear face masks while Malaysia’s national disaster management agency said it has secured half a million masks, which will be sent to the Sarawak state disaster committee. “This is really scary,” said Jambi resident Atiah, who goes by one name like many Indonesians. “I’m coughing and keep having trouble breathing — I don’t know what this is going to mean for my respiratory health.”last_img read more

Nova Scotia election roundup

first_imgHALIFAX – (NSElxn)Nova Scotia New Democrats are promising to bring in $15-a-day child care beginning next year if they win the May 30 provincial election.Party leader Gary Burrill also said his party would provide free child care to families whose net income is less than $30,000 annually and create 400 new spaces across the province.Burrill says average monthly fees for licenced care currently are in the range of $825 for a toddler and $781 for a pre-schooler, and parents need more assistance.He says the program would lead to the creation of about 800 jobs either as a result of the direct hiring of child care workers or as a result of parents being able to work.(The Canadian Press)—(NSElxn-NDP-Candidate)Inappropriate, sexist and homophobic language left lingering on the Internet is exacting a toll on the list of political hopefuls in Nova Scotia’s election, with a third candidate forced to withdraw Tuesday.The Tories sent out a terse news release noting that its candidate for Dartmouth South, Jad Cmogorac, was being dropped because of her social media postings.Her postings included an off-colour date rape joke.The withdrawal came a day after CTV News published excerpts from the Bullpen website of Dartmouth East candidate Bill McEwen, a youthful prospect for the NDP in a riding that appeared to be a hard-fought contest.(The Canadian Press)—(Tories-Nurses)Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservatives are promising to hire 22 new nurse practitioners.They say the new hires will give 13,000 Nova Scotians access to the highly trained medical professionalsTory Leader Jamie Baillie says the nurse practioners will cost $3 million over four years, and the promise comes on top of the $6 million the Liberals announced for new collaborative care teams.Baillie says he is dedicated to improving access to health care services in the province.(The Canadian Press)—(NSElxn-Bears)The Tory candidate for Inverness is calling on the Department of Natural Resources to protect two orphaned bear cubs from being euthanized.Allan MacMaster says the bear cubs were found Monday trying to hide in a wooded area in Inverness County after the mother bear died.He says in an open letter to the department’s deputy minister that there is overwhelming support to change the province’s current policy on rehabilitation for bears in this type of situation.Later Tuesday, the department said both cubs have been placed in wildlife parks and will not be euthanized.(The Canadian Press)—(N.S. Election Roundup by The Canadian Press)last_img read more

Police say BC farm search continues despite removal of shelters equipment

first_imgSALMON ARM, B.C. – Temporary shelters and heavy equipment have been removed from a British Columbia farm where the remains of an 18-year-old woman were found.But RCMP say the search of the site is active and ongoing and the investigation into Traci Genereaux’s death continues.Genereaux’s death is being treated as suspicious by police.Mounties began searching the rural property near Salmon Arm on Oct. 19 and last week confirmed Genereaux’s remains were found.Cpl. Dan Moskaluk says resource requirements are continually being assessed and as a result some resources are no longer required.He says a dedicated tip line remains in place and anyone who may have seen Genereaux or have any information is asked to call police.RCMP say they are working to establish a timeline of her whereabouts on the days leading up to May 29 when she was last heard from in Vernon, B.C.last_img read more