Best of our wild blogs: 8 May 11

Baby sharks
from Urban Forest

apathetic fishermen II @ Sg Buloh 07May2011
from sgbeachbum

A Salute to All Mothers
from Macro Photography in Singapore

Cyrene Safari with volunteer guides
from wild shores of singapore

Read more!

Sabah may be the first state to ban shark hunting

Muguntan Vanar The Star 8 May 11

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is likely to be the first state to ban shark hunting for their fins in a bid to protect the marine creature.

The state government is now studying the legal aspects of the proposed ban which would require amendments to the State Wildlife Protection Ordinance with the aim of introducing it by the end of the year.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the situation was becoming critical for this marine creature as only 20% of its original population was still left in the country.

“From my last briefing, there are only four areas in Sabah where sharks can be spotted.

“If we don't do something about it, the population may disappear from our waters completely,” Masidi said yesterday.

Masidi said he was told by experts that the sharks no longer existed in peninsular Malaysia waters.

He said the state attorney-general was now studying the matter.

He added that the state government was working with non-governmental groups to educate the public on the need to protect sharks from “disappearing” entirely.

“We understand the sensitivities involved as it is a must for some people to serve shark fin soup during weddings. But what we are trying to do is to educate the people to skip the dish for conservation's sake,” he said, adding that it would also get Malaysia Airports Berhad to bar retailers from selling shark fins in airports in the state.

The state government, he added, had also taken shark fin soup off the menu of its official functions.

Read more!

Indonesia warns ASEAN on food, energy prices

Yahoo News 7 May 11;

JAKARTA (AFP) – Indonesia on Saturday warned fellow Southeast Asian states that rising food and energy prices could drive more people into poverty and urged coordinated action to fight inflation.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said at the start of the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit that the regional bloc must take steps to ease the surge in consumer prices.

"We must give serious attention and take concrete measures to address the soaring of food prices and world energy, which in turn will negatively affect the prosperity of our people," he said in his opening speech.

"History shows that the rise of food and energy prices... has always caused the increase in the number of people living in poverty, yet we know very well that decreasing the poverty level is not an easy task."

Philippine Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said every leader who spoke at the plenary session mentioned high energy and food prices as among the most critical issues faced by the region.

"It is common to all countries in Asia, in ASEAN countries particularly," he said, adding that ministers like himself were under instruction by their leaders to work on mitigating the impact.

He said the Philippines was inviting oil companies to invest in storage infrastructure and retail distribution networks in the country in a bid to enhance competition that will hopefully lead to cheaper fuel.

Oil prices soared to their highest peaks in more than two years last month, driven largely by political turmoil in the crude-producing Middle East and North Africa region.

The increase has sparked fears that inflation could slow down the recovery from the global recession in 2008/2009.

ASEAN groups 10 disparate nations from oil-rich Brunei and high-tech Singapore to impoverished Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, as well as major rice producers Thailand and Vietnam and rice-importers like the Philippines.

Indonesia and Malaysia round up ASEAN's 10 members.

Commodities prices including oil and gold took a hammering on US markets Thursday due to a higher US dollar and the reweighing of risk by institutional investors, but analysts expect the upward price trend to resume.

On the same day, the United Nations said high food and oil prices could keep an additional 42 million people in poverty in the Asia-Pacific region and threaten economic growth.

The International Monetary Fund warned in a report last month that rising food and energy prices could start an inflationary spiral.

The impact would be especially bad in the developing world where households spend larger shares of their incomes on food and energy compared to those in advanced economies.

Several ASEAN members have already raised interest rates as part of efforts to fight inflation, at the risk of slowing down economic growth in a region that led the world out of the global financial crisis.

In his speech, Yudhoyono called for the establishment of an integrated food security framework in ASEAN.

"More specifically, we must attend to the formulation of a food reserves system in ASEAN and also one that assists farmers to escape poverty," he said.

To enhance energy security, members must work towards developing renewable sources that are abundant in ASEAN such as hydro-power and geothermal, he said.

"One way to achieve that is the development of research centres and renewable energy in our region," he added.

The Indonesian leader also called for further cooperation in disaster management, citing the giant earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March which also damaged a nuclear power plant and triggered an atomic crisis.

Read more!

President: ASEAN must enhance disaster mitigation capacity

Antara 7 May 11;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has urged ASEAN member countries to enhance capacity and coordination in dealing with natural disasters at the regional level.

ASEAN was prone natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis which frequently hit the region, the president said here Saturday in his opening speech at the 18th ASEAN Summit being held in Jakarta, May 7-8, 2011.

He cited the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck the eastern part of Japan just two months ago.

"Thousands of people perished and unaccounted loss of property and infrastructure. That reminds of us of the tsunami which devasted Aceh seven years ago, where thousands of people lost their lives and inflicted huge material losss," he said.

He outlined two main points to handle natural disasters. The first point is to enhance the capacity and coordination at the regional level through the establishment of ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Center).

"And second, we must intensify joint exercise in disaster management, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum of Siaster Relief in Manado in March, which was jointly chaired by Indonesia and Japan," he said.

He mentioned that other problems facing ASEAN included the global economic and financial crisis, the climate change, illegal migrations of people that created political, social and security problems not only in the countries of destination, but also in transit countries.

The 18th ASEAN Summit is being participated in by Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Hassanal Bolkiah Mu`izzaddin Waddaulah, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Malaysian Prime Minister Dato` Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein, President of the Philippines Benigno S. Aquino III, Senior Minister of Singapore S. Jayakumar representing Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the host and the ASEAN Chair 2011.(*)


Editor: Ruslan Burhani

Read more!

China to uproot 240,000 from disaster-prone areas

Yahoo News 7 May 11;

BEIJING (AFP) – Authorities plan to move nearly a quarter of a million people this year from disaster-prone areas in northern China into newly-built homes, state media reported Saturday.

About 240,000 will be moved in the first stage of a ten-year project to shift 2.4 million people away from less-developed mountainous areas in Shaanxi province, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The total number due to be relocated eclipses the more than 1.4 million people who were forced to move for the construction of central China's Three Gorges Dam, the world's biggest hydroelectric power project.

Overall, the project encompasses 28 counties, including the cities of Hanzhong, Ankang and Shangluo in the province's south, Wang Dengji, head of the provincial land and resources department was quoted as saying.

The relocation project is expected to cost more than 110 billion yuan ($16.9 billion), Xinhua reported, citing a plan by Wang's department.

Areas in Shaanxi suffer from disasters such as flooding and landslides. In July, rain-triggered disasters killed nearly 300 people in the province.

The resettled families will either be assigned new homes by the government or have to build them themselves, the report said. Each family will receive a subsidy of 30,000 yuan, with the poorest getting an additional 10,000 yuan.

After the Three Gorges relocation project, several of those displaced complained they did not receive their money and that local officials embezzled millions of yuan in relocation funds, according to human rights groups.

Read more!