Bangkok air pollution prompts advice to work from home

Thai capital’s already bad air made worse by forest fires and burning on farms

People in Bangkok have been advised to work from home and wear face masks due to air pollution that has worsened to unhealthy levels.

Officials urged people to use public transport rather than private cars for commuting, and said the authorities would seek to reduce sources of pollution such as outdoor burning and construction activities. Face masks would be distributed to vulnerable people, Bangkok authorities said.

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Onion smuggling rackets thrive as staple becomes a luxury in Philippines

Millions of dollars’ worth of onions seized by authorities as inflation crisis sees the cost of other basics soar

Their price soared so rapidly, some likened them to gold. Restaurants stripped them from their menus, officials warned travellers not to import them without special permission and millions of pesos’ worth have reportedly been seized in raids.

Between 500m and 600m pesos ($9m – $11m) worth of onions were impounded by officials last year, according to local media. The vegetable accounted for 30% of smuggled farm products.

Bags have been found in warehouse raids, and hidden among shipments of clothing. Last month, authorities uncovered 17m pesos’ worth of yellow onions inside containers labelled as holding blouses, slippers, and various household items. A few days before that, 20m pesos’ worth of onions, weighing 50,000kg, were found hidden among pastries and bread products.

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Adani Group firms lose $9bn in value amid short-seller claims

Hindenburg Research says world’s third-richest person, Gautam Adani, is pulling ‘largest con in corporate history’

More than $9bn (£7.3bn) was wiped off the fortune of companies partly owned by the world’s third-richest person, after an activist investor accused him of “pulling the largest con in corporate history”.

Shares in listed companies tied to Adani’s empire Adani Group lost $9.4bn in market value on Wednesday after short seller investment firm Hindenburg Research published a detailed investigation into accusations of “brazen stock manipulation”, “accounting fraud” and “money laundering.”

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Indian ban on BBC Modi film puts Musk’s Twitter ‘free speech’ vow to the test

Use of emergency laws sheds light on fragile and fractious place social media now occupy in India

The response by the Indian government was quick and draconian. Days after a BBC documentary examining the role that Narendra Modi, now prime minister, had played in 2002 communal riots in Gujarat was released, the information ministry announced that all links to the footage were to be banned on social media.

Emergency laws brought in by the Modi government just two years ago were used to enforce the ban.

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Thousands stranded in Japan as cold snap engulfs Asia – video

Weather authorities in Japan and the Korean peninsula have issued warnings over freezing temperatures and gales that have killed at least one person and left thousands of people stranded. Severe cold weather has caused havoc across the region in the past fortnight. At least 124 people have died in Afghanistan, and temperatures in north-eastern China fell to -53C 

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Japan and North Korea sound warning as deadly cold snap sweeps across Asia

Extreme weather kills at least one person in Japan and more than 100 in Afghanistan while parts of China hit record low temperatures

Weather authorities in Japan and the Korean peninsula have issued warnings over freezing temperatures and gales that have killed at least one person, and stranded thousands.

Severe cold weather has already caused fatalities, havoc and record low temperatures across the region in the last fortnight, with at least 124 people dead in Afghanistan and record lows of -53C in northeastern China.

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North Korea locks down capital Pyongyang over respiratory illness

Residents told that rising cases mean they must stay home for five days and do frequent temperature checks

Authorities in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, have ordered a five-day lockdown due to rising cases of an unspecified respiratory illness, Seoul-based NK News reported on Wednesday, citing a government notice.

The notice did not mention Covid-19, but said that residents in the city were required to stay in their homes until the end of Sunday and submit to temperature checks multiple times each day, according to NK News, which monitors North Korea.

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Selfies, sendoffs and star power as Jacinda Ardern has her last day in the sun

New Zealand is still deciding what her political legacy will look like, but the crowds at her last engagement gave the sense of the end of an era

From the moment of her arrival, Jacinda Ardern is surrounded by a crush of people: hundreds gather to ask for final selfies, record video messages for friends and relatives, or simply watch her pass by. A group of running children weaves through bystanders’ legs, pushing for a better view.

Over and over, she obliges, smiling for cameraphones, asking people’s names and jobs, cracking jokes, signing a worn blue and yellow basketball for a boy who pushes through the crowd.

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