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KBRN, Jakarta: Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are calling on all parties to immediately stop violence, exercise restraint, and realise peace along the border areas of Myanmar and Thailand. "Take all necessary measures to ease tensions and ensure peace, protection and safety of all civilians, including foreign nationals and citizens of ASEAN member states," said a joint statement of ASEAN Foreign Ministers received by Indonesia Window here on Thursday (18/4/2024).


ASEAN Foreign Ministers expressed concern over Myanmar's conflicts including in Rakhine State, Myanmar which caused the displacement of civilians. ASEAN does not want any further humanitarian impact due to the escalation of all forms of conflict. "We call on all parties to take urgent measures to mitigate the impact of the conflict on civilians, including creating a safe and conducive environment," the statement said.


Ensuring the timely and safe delivery of humanitarian aid to all those in need in Myanmar without discrimination was also stressed by the regional organisation. It also called for mobilisation of support for humanitarian negotiation efforts to address the humanitarian consequences in Myanmar and an inclusive national dialogue towards a durable and comprehensive political solution in Myanmar.


ASEAN reaffirmed its commitment to assist Myanmar in finding a solution by helping to create a conducive environment through the full and speedy implementation of the Five-Point Consensus as a whole. This is because the Five-Point Consensus is considered important in helping the people of Myanmar achieve an inclusive and durable peace for peace, security and stability in the region. "We support the ongoing efforts of the AHA Centre, as well as Thailand's cross-border humanitarian initiatives, which are in line with the Five-Point Consensus and coordinated with the ASEAN Chair through the ASEAN Chair's Special Envoy for Myanmar," the statement said.


25 Rohingya civilians were killed and thousands more forced to flee their homes due to the Myanmar Military Junta's attacks last weekend. The attacks in Rakhine state were carried out through airstrikes and heavy artillery. (Daniel).


Source: Antara




VOInews, Jakarta: Six months after a deadly war engulfed Gaza, the Palestinian Olympic Committee is fighting against formidable odds to ensure its athletes take part in this summer's Paris Olympics. Palestinian Authority official Nader Jayousi was quoted by FRANCE 24 as saying that his country's delegation will bring a "message of peace" to the world and inspire Palestinian children "whose dreams have been crushed by bombs".


Palestinian athletes have taken part in every Summer Olympics since they were first admitted to the Atlanta Games in 1996. Each participation has had special significance for residents of the Palestinian Territories and the Palestinian diaspora, giving stateless people a place to compete on the world stage.


Participation in Paris will be all the more important in the context of a war that has devastated much of the Gaza Strip and killed at least 33,000 people, according to health officials in the Hamas-ruled enclave, including some of the athletes taking part in the events this summer.


"Among athletes, coaches and club staff, the Palestinian sports world has lost at least 170 people," said Jayousi, speaking from the Palestinian Olympic Committee headquarters near Jerusalem. The victims include Olympic football team coach Hani Al-Masdar and volleyball star Ibrahim Qusaya, both killed by Israeli bombs in Gaza.


"The tragedy is also compounded by the damage to infrastructure: the Yarmouk stadium, the Olympic Committee offices in Gaza, and several other stadiums," he added. "If the war ended today, at least 70% of Gaza's population would be homeless, let alone playing sports."


Jayousi says the war has forced the Palestinian committee to scale back its ambitions, and abruptly ended a pioneering programme aimed at increasing the number of athletes qualifying for the Olympics. Despite the major setback, Palestinian hopes received a major boost last month when Omar Ismail secured the first ticket to the Olympics for men's taekwondo - a feat that other athletes are expected to match in the coming weeks.


The Palestinian delegation fielded a record five athletes at the last Olympics in Tokyo. Jayousi said his goal is to "reach that number". He remains confident that the wild card (an opportunity or permission given to a non-regular athlete so that he can perform at a particular event, ed.) will help his country present its largest delegation in Olympic history. (Daniel).


Source: France24. Com




VOInews, Jakarta: The European space telescope Gaia, dedicated to mapping the Milky Way, has detected a black hole with 33 times the mass of the Sun, in an unprecedented discovery in the Milky Way galaxy, according to a study published on Tuesday (16/4/2024).


The object, named Gaia PH3, located two thousand light years from Earth in the constellation Scorpio, belongs to a family of stellar black holes that result from the collapse of massive stars at the end of their lives. It is much smaller than the supermassive black holes found at the centre of galaxies, whose formation scenarios are not yet known. Pasquale Panozzo, a researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research at the Paris-BSL Observatory and lead author of the study published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics Letters, told AFP that the discovery of Gaia PH3 was a fluke.


Scientists from the Gaia Consortium, a group of scientific and technological organisations, were scanning the latest data provided by the probe, with the aim of publishing an updated catalogue in 2025, when they discovered a particular binary star system. "We see a star slightly smaller than the Sun (about 75 per cent of its mass) and brighter, orbiting around an unseen object," Panozzo said, which can be detected by the disturbances it experiences.


Space telescopes provide very precise positions of the stars in the sky, allowing astronomers to characterise the orbit and measure the mass of the unseen companion object. It is 33 times more massive than the Sun.

Additional observations from ground-based telescopes have confirmed that the object is a black hole with a mass much larger than that of any stellar black hole in the Milky Way, between 10 and 20 times the mass of the Sun. Similar supermassive holes have been detected in distant galaxies through gravitational waves. "But there has never been such a discovery in our galaxy," Panozzo said. (Daniel)


Source: AFP




VOInews, Jakarta: For the second time in a decade, the world is experiencing a massive coral reef bleaching episode due to warming ocean temperatures, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned on Monday (15/4/2024). The phenomenon threatens the survival of coral reefs around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef near Australia.


"As the oceans continue to warm, coral bleaching is becoming more frequent and severe," NOAA Coral Reef Observatory coordinator Derek Manzello said. The process is linked to rising water temperatures, which result in discolouration, and can lead to the death of organisms if exposed to extreme and prolonged heat stress.


But reversing this phenomenon is possible. Affected corals may survive if temperatures drop and other stressors, such as overfishing or pollution, are minimised. The current bleaching episode is the fourth recorded by NOAA since 1985. Previous episodes were observed in 1998, 2010 and 2016.


"The scale and severity of mass coral bleaching is clear evidence of the devastating effects of current climate change," said Pepe Clark of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), a non-governmental organisation.


NOAA estimates that the Earth has already lost between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of its coral reefs, and they could disappear altogether by the end of the century if no major changes are made. Ocean temperatures, which play a key role in regulating the global climate, reached a new absolute record high in March of 21.07 degrees Celsius measured at the surface, excluding near-polar regions, according to the European Copernicus Observatory. (Daniel). 


Source: AFP