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Thailand bans smoking on popular tourist beaches

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Thailand is introducing a smoking ban on beaches across the country with those caught violating the law facing up to a year in prison.

The measure will apply to up to 20 beaches in areas including the popular tourist destination of Phuket.

It comes after the country’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) said it had retrieved tens of thousands of cigarette butts left in the sand.

The DMCR said the discarded waste made up a third of all rubbish collected.

The head of the department, Jatuporn Buruspat, said that up to 138,000 cigarette butts had been collected by the environmental group over a 2.5km (1.5 miles) stretch of Patong beach in Phuket.

Mr Buruspat added that the while smoking will be prohibited on the beaches affected by the measure, there will be “designated areas” further inland where smokers will be able drop their litter “in provided containers”.

The penalty for violating the ban is up to a year in prison or a possible fine of up to 100,000 baht ($3,000; £2,280).

The ban, which will come into effect next month, will apply to beaches in the provinces of Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla, and includes the popular resorts of Koh Samui and Pattaya, the Bangkok Post reports.

Thailand is initially implementing the ban on 20 beaches but said that if successful the measure could be uniformly adopted.

Mr Buruspat said that officials were also considering measures aimed at tackling the related issue of cigarette butts being dropped by tourists from boats.

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Motherland News

Grenade attack victims receive blood donations in Ethiopia.

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Solidarity is building up in Ethiopia two days after the grenade attack on a political rally by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Addis Ababa football fans gathered at the National Red Cross to donate blood to victims injured in the explosion.

‘‘My condolences to the families of the victims. We will not stop supporting them. May the souls of those who lost their lives rest in peace’‘, said St. George Football Club supporter, Waqajira Midekisa.



‘‘It is very sad that this has happened at a time when we are working for peace. We didn’t expect this to happen, but we are so happy to be available today to help our brothers and sisters by giving blood at this crucial time’‘, said Kidestemariam Tesafye, organizer of the blood donation exercise.

On Sunday, Ethiopia’s health Minister announced that 2 people have died following the attack.

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The explosion took place when the new Prime Minister had just finished his speech in front of tens of thousands of people gathered in Meskel Square, in the centre of the capital.

One person was killed and more than 150 injured during ensuing panic moments after the attack.

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Guatemala’s eruption: Gercia digs for lost relatives.

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The ‘official’ search for victims has ended in San Miguel Los Lotes , a town devastated when Guatemala’s deadly Fuego volcano erupted earlier this month.

But some determined locals aren’t giving up, like 48-year-old Eufemia Garcia Ixpata said she would continue to search for some 50 family members lost.



“I’m not going to give up until I have a part of my family and am able to give them a Christian burial. Even if it’s just a few little bones, even if it’s just a piece of cloth”, Garcia said.

Even now, at the crack of dawn, she leaves the shelter where she’s been living, to go out and dig for dozens of missing relatives.

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For Garcia , the search has at times been highly emotional. She found the remains of one of her children. And also found some remains of her mother – a 75-year-old who had decided she could NOT outrun the volcanic flow.

Whenever the alarms ring out warning of more volcanic activity Garcia puts her search through the rubble on hold— and instead visits the morgue or checks local hospitals. She only stops to eat when food is shoved in front of her by aid workers.

And Garcia is not alone in her anguish.

Scores of people remain missing, while hundreds of survivors remain in shelters, wondering what happened to their loved ones when volcanic ash rained down on their home.

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Over 900 migrants picked up off Coast of Libya.

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Libya’s coastguard picked up 490 migrants off the coast of Tripoli on Sunday in the third rescue operation of the day.

Rami Ghameed, the commander of the Ras Ajdir ship which picked up the migrants, said that throughout the day, a number of coastguard ships across the country’s waters picked up a little over nine hundred migrants from a total of six rubber dinghies.



‘‘There were a total of six rubber boats, two were rescued by (the Libyan coastguard’s) central sector, the Ras Ajdir ship rescued three of the boats, and the Sabratha (coastguard) ship rescued one boat. The Sabratha ship is on its way to Tripoli’s naval base.

The number of those rescued on the boats picked up by the central sector was around 361 people, and this ship, the Ras Ajdir, picked up around 490 people’‘, Ghameed said.

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Sunday’s rescue operations brought the total number of migrants trying to reach Europe, but taken back to Libya, to well over 1,000 since last week alone.

Libya’s western coast is the main departure point for migrants fleeing wars and poverty and trying to reach Europe.

The number of crossings has sharply dropped since July 2017 due to a more active coastguard presence with support from the European Union.

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