Yangon’s daily routine

Wrapped around Myanmar’s former capital, Yangon, also known as Rangoon, is a local commuter train network that slowly crawls a 46km loop. Each of the 38 stops provides, quite literally, a different window into the bustle of Yangon’s social life, and the three-hour round trip connects leafy suburban areas and satellite towns to the bustling city centre. (Credit: Peter Yeung)

 

 

The cheapest transportation in the city

Nearly 100,000 people use the Circular Railway’s trains every day. They are mainly low-income commuters, merchants and farmers, who traverse the metropolitan area to make business dealings and then head home to their families. At a cost of 100-800 kyat (5-40p) per ticket, the charmingly aged carriages remain one of the cheapest forms of transport in Yangon. (Credit: Peter Yeung)

 

 

 

A cross-section of society

Some commuters take a rest from the hustle and bustle of Yangon, perching, crouching and lying down in the coaches. Others even try to grab a quick nap while swung forcefully from side to side by the rocking train. Monks in saffron-hued robes wait silently for their stop, while children play during the lengthy pauses at stations. (Credit: Carlotta Dotto)

 

 

A conveyor belt of snacks

Peddlers sell everything from live animals to quail’s eggs and a traditional stimulant known as betel nut, hopping on and off with enormous wicker baskets while the train is still moving. Freshly boiled corn on the cob is a favoured snack sold by some, and it usually won’t be long until one is offered to you. Those looking for something heartier feast on the not-very-practical option of a Burmese curry. (Credit: Carlotta Dotto)

 

 

From skyscrapers to paddy fields

From the Central Railway Station at the heart of Yangon, the antiquated train travels through the city’s colonial neighbourhoods and the busy financial hubs, through the fast-developing suburbia and shanty towns, and into the rural villages and farmlands in the north, populated by paddy fields (pictured) and rubber plantations. The most notorious stop on the route is Insein Station, once a military regime prison where dissidents were locked up after the so-called Saffron Revolution in 2007. (Credit: Peter Yeung)

 

 

Trackside markets

As is common in Myanmar, also known as Burma, markets line the sides of the train tracks. At the Danyingone Station bazaar – an open-air produce market popular with locals – vendors from nearby villages gather to trade fresh potatoes, mangos, chillies, greens and many other kinds of fruit and vegetables for a reasonably low price. “I come here once a week,” said a Yangon inhabitant. “The products are cheap and newly harvested.” (Credit: Carlotta Dotto)

 

 

Betel nut: A traditional habit

On board, you can witness the traditional Burmese habit of betel-nut chewing. Many buy small parcels known as ‘quids’, wraps of the areca nut coated with calcium hydroxide (also known as slaked lime) and often tobacco, inside a betel leaf. The effects can be seen through the stained smiles of users and on the red splats caused by users spitting the juices on the platforms. Studies have shown it causes oral cancer and can have other serious health effects, but over half of Myanmar’s male population chews betel nut, with an increasing number of women and children doing it. (Credit: Carlotta Dotto)

 

 

 

Travel back in time

Travelling on the Circular Railway’s trains feels like a backwards journey in time. Built 60 years ago, the train line was designed to connect low-income areas to the city centre, and its roughly 200 coaches have remained practically the same for decades. The hard benches, ageing tracks and manual, push-button signalling systems show signs of their age. Yet the train’s snail-like pace means this does not cause alarm among passengers. (Credit: Peter Yeung)

 

 

Modernisation is coming

Upgrade work is currently underway to improve speed and quality of the trains, funded by a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency as part of a broader development plan of the area. By 2022, journey time on the line is set to drop from just under three hours to one hour 50 minutes, with trains running at an average speed of 30km per hour, after the old trains are replaced by new diesel-electric multiple unit models. But tickets prices are set to rise, leaving lower-income residents with fewer affordable means of travel in the city.

Although it’s difficult to imagine such a vibrant tradition being wiped out, it does make the Circular Railway even more of an essential destination for travellers to experience now. (Credit: Peter Yeung)

 

 

 

Talks between Labour and the government aimed at breaking the Brexit impasse have ended without an agreement.

Jeremy Corbyn said the discussions had "gone as far as they can", blaming what he called the government's "increasing weakness and instability".

Theresa May said the lack of a "common position" within Labour over a further referendum had made talks "difficult".

The prime minister said she would now consider putting options to MPs on Brexit that may "command a majority".

Mrs May has promised to set a timetable for leaving Downing Street following a House of Commons vote on her EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week beginning 3 June.

Brexit had been due to take place on 29 March - but after MPs voted down the deal Mrs May had negotiated with the bloc three times, the EU gave the UK an extension until 31 October.

This prompted negotiations between the Conservatives and Labour to see if the parties could come to a Brexit agreement, despite differences over issues including membership of a customs union and a further referendum.

Presentational white space

But in a letter to the prime minister, Labour leader Mr Corbyn wrote: "I believe the talks between us about finding a compromise agreement on leaving the European Union have now gone as far as they can."

The move towards choosing her replacement meant "the position of the government has become ever more unstable".

He later said his party had negotiated "in good faith and very seriously, and put forward a lot of very detailed arguments", which he thought was "the responsible thing to do".

He added: "The issue [is] that the government has not fundamentally shifted its view and the divisions in the Conservative Party mean the government is negotiating with no authority and no ability that I can see to actually deliver anything."

 
Media captionJeremy Corbyn: Government hasn't shifted its view

Speaking after meeting Tory activists in Bristol, Mrs May said: "There have been areas where we have been able to find common ground, but other issues have proved to be more difficult.

"In particular, we haven't been able to overcome the fact that there isn't a common position in Labour about whether they want to deliver Brexit or hold a second referendum to reverse it."

She said the government would consider what had come out of the meetings with Labour and "consider whether we have some votes to see if the ideas that have come through command a majority in the House of Commons".

Earlier, Mr Corbyn said "very little" discussion had taken place between the parties about putting a range of options to MPs to break the Brexit deadlock.

But both leaders said the cross-party discussions had been "constructive", with some progress made.

 
Media captionTheresa May: There isn't a common position in Labour for Brexit

Labour's favoured plan includes a permanent customs union with the EU, meaning no internal tariffs (taxes) on goods sold between the UK and the rest of the bloc.

It also keeps the option of a further referendum on the table, giving the public a say on the deal agreed by Parliament.

Both scenarios have caused anger among Brexit-backing Conservatives, who claim a customs union would prevent the UK from negotiating its own trade deals around the world after leaving the EU, and who believe another public vote is undemocratic.

Some MPs have also criticised Mrs May for even entering into talks with Labour, but the prime minister said the government had "no choice but to reach out across the House of Commons".

The director general of the CBI business group, Carolyn Fairbairn, called the end of the talks "another day of failed politics" and "another dispiriting day".

She called for Parliament's recess at the end of this month to be cancelled, adding: "This is no time for holidays. It's time to get on with it."


 

 

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إقرأ المزيد
اللاجئون يدفعون بميركل لنيل جائزة نوبل للسلام
اللاجئون يدفعون بميركل لنيل جائزة نوبل للسلام

فالمستشارة الألمانية التي لم تخسر مستقبلها السياسي بدأت تجني هي وبلادها ثمار هذه التجربة بعد انخراط عدد كبير من اللاجئين في دورة العمل والإنتاج داخل الشركات الألمانية.

وحسب صحيفة "واشنطن بوست" الأمريكية، فقد انخرط عشرات الآلاف من اللاجئين السوريين في سوق العمل بألمانيا عبر بوابة التدريب المهني الذي صمم خصيصا للوافدين الجدد الذين جاؤوا إلى القارة العجوز هربا من الحرب والفقر.

ومع انخفاض معدلات البطالة في ألمانيا إلى أدنى معدلاتها منذ 30 عاما، فقد الشباب الألمان رغبتهم بالتدريب المهني لتتجه الشركات إلى اليد الوافدة المدربة والتي خضعت لنظام التدريب المهني.

وقال غونتر هيرث، الخبير الاقتصادي لغرفة التجارة في مدينة هامبورغ، "الاقتصاد الألماني يحتاج لعمال مؤهلين، ولدينا أسباب قوية لمساعدة اللاجئين ودفعهم للتدريب المهني".

وبعد إعلانها فتح باب اللجوء ظل حوالي 1,5 مليون لاجئ خارج منظومة اليد العاملة وسجل حوالي 200 ألف عاطل عن العمل، في الوقت الذي خضعت أعداد كبيرة من اللاجئين لدورات الاندماج واللغة.

وبنهاية عام 2018 وصل عدد المسجلين في برنامج التدريب على العمل لأكثر من 400 ألف شخص، من بينهم 44 ألف شخص في التدريب المهني.

وقال هيرث لدينا نموذج سابق لدمج الوافدين كتجربة دمج لاجئين من يوغوسلافيا، والآن بعد مضي 3 سنوات ونصف، نحن على الطريق الصحيح وسيتمكن 80 في المئة من البالغين الذين وصلوا لسن العمل الحصول على وظائف بعد 8 سنوات.

وفي الوقت نفسه تستفيد ألمانيا من التركيبة الديموغرافية للوافدين الجدد، إذ حوالي 60 في المئة منهم في عمر 25 عاما أو أقل.

ومع انخفاض عدد السكان الألمان الأصليين، فإن ألمانيا بحاجة ماسة إلى هؤلاء الشباب من أجل تجديد دمها وشبابها.

ويتخرج من هذا البرنامج كل عام مئات الآلاف من الحرفيين البارعين وغيرهم من المحترفين الذين اجتازوا اختبارات صارمة تديرها الدولة.

 

وفي العام الماضي، قال ثلث الشركات الألمانية إن لديه وظائف تدريب لم يشغلها أحد فيما بلغت الوظائف الشاغرة أعلى مستوى لها منذ 20 عاما.

ولعل قلق الترحيل من أكثر الأشياء التي تهدد حياة الوافدين، لتتجه الحكومة الألمانية لقانون "2+3" الذي يمكن طالبي اللجوء المرفوضين من الاستمرار في التدريب لمدة ثلاث سنوات والعمل لسنتين على الأقل دون الخوف من الترحيل.

وبعدها يمكن للكفاءة العالية وسجل العمل أن يمنحا طالب اللجوء ميزة عند إعادة تقديمه طلب اللجوء والبقاء في ألمانيا، بحسب الصحيفة الأمريكية.


 

He is not yet even a week old, and yet Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor has a lot of expectation on his tiny shoulders. The newborn son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may be only seventh in line to the throne, but at the moment of his birth last week he was at the forefront of the British psyche.

Archie's arrival comes at a tentative and fragile crossroads in the UK's history: as the country awaits Brexit, it is still painfully disunited over that decision to leave the EU. The departure from an inclusive, multinational trading bloc is yet to happen, but when -- and if -- it does, many see it as a step backwards for the UK into an insular, narrow-minded, lone country fearful of immigration and modernity.
This royal baby is nothing less than a revolution
 
Against that backdrop, then, some looked to the royal family, and not politics, for signs of progress. The birth of a child in the line of succession to a woman of mixed race heritage was already going to be symbolic, but the portrait of Meghan, Harry, the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, all together gazing adoringly at the baby was hailed as a watershed moment for multicultural Britain.
Patrick Vernon, a social commentator, cultural historian and campaigner, told HuffPost UK this week that the presence of Doria was "significantly important as it reminds the public and the royal family there is black in the Union Jack ... Britain is a multicultural and secular society - and Meghan and Harry reflect a new modernity to the royal family. When people write the history books in the future ... historians cannot erase us from the history of Britain again."
As significant -- and celebratory -- as the family portrait was, however, nobody should be under any illusions that Archie's birth can solve the wide-ranging problems of racism in the UK -- and it would be unfair to expect that it could.
Hate crimes in the country -- of which racially motivated incidents represent the vast majority, around three-quarters -- have more than doubled in the last five years. In 2017-18, police recorded more than 71,000 race hate crimes, up from 62,000 in the previous year. While there is no single cause for this shocking rise, the government reported spikes in hate crime after the 2016 Brexit referendum and the string of terrorist attacks in the UK in 2017.
Since Meghan's marriage to Harry a year ago next week, the Duchess herself has been at the very least portrayed by some in the British press as a demanding, disruptive and difficult American blamed for driving Harry and his brother, the Duke of Cambridge apart; at worst, there has been a kind of "othering" and veiled racism.
And her newborn son was barely three days old before he was subject to overt racism: a BBC radio presenter, Danny Baker, posted on Twitter an old black and white photo of a couple with a chimpanzee dressed as a child and wrote the caption: "Royal baby leaves hospital." While Baker swiftly deleted the tweet, claiming he hadn't realized the racist connotations, and also claiming -- bizarrely -- he had had no idea the new royal baby was Meghan's, the incident stoked a lot of pain. Baker was sacked from the BBC and later issued a more forthright apology.
In the Guardian, the journalist Micha Frazer-Carroll wrote: "Just 72 hours after his birth, newborn Archie, swaddled in privilege, has nevertheless been exposed to the realities of British prejudice ... not even those at the literal top of the pecking order seem to be shielded from crass discrimination. This baby has a lifetime to come in the public eye, and, I fear, a lifetime of the lowest forms of racism too."
What the past week has shown is that the birth of a mixed race child in the royal family cannot be used as a panacea to reassure Britons that they are an inclusive and progressive country, however much that reassurance might be needed right now, as the UK teeters on the brink of an unknown future.
At moments of crisis in the country, its citizens have often looked to the royal family for answers: during World War II, and after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, to name just two occasions. Royal weddings and royal babies have been jolly distractions from the grim realities of politics but, often, little else.
Yet last year's wedding of Harry and Meghan, which was an unashamed celebration of the heritage of both bride and groom, and the birth of their son Archie this week, along with that official portrait, have marked something more: progress in the whitest and most elite of institutions. While this baby is not going to cure the UK of racism, all of that has mattered to a lot of people

 

New Zealand actor Pua Magasiva, best known for his role in "Power Rangers" and as a long-running star of the country's soap opera "Shortland Street," has died aged 38, his production company confirmed.

Magasiva played the Shane Clarke, the Red Wind Ranger, in "Power Rangers Ninja Storm" -- the 11th television installment of the popular superhero franchise.
Police were called to an address in Wellington on Saturday morning (local time) and found his body, according to media reports in the country. Cause of death has not been revealed.
The Samoan-born actor had also starred as nurse Vinnie Kruse in hundreds of episodes of "Shortland Street," one of New Zealand's most popular soaps.
He began the role in 2003, at the height of his fame, and has starred in the show since his return in 2012.
"We are all absolutely devastated at the tragic news regarding Pua Magasiva," the soap's production company wrote on social media Saturday.
"Pua was a much loved member of the South Pacific Pictures' family for many years and our hearts and thoughts go out to Pua's family at this time," they added.
Magasiva had made some of his earliest appearances on the same show years before, with minor parts in the early 1990s. He also had parts in TV programs "Outrageous Fortune" and "Diplomatic Immunity" during his lengthy career.
His "Power Rangers" co-star Jason Chan added on Facebook: "Incredibly sad to hear that one of our ranger family is gone. It will never be the same again. PUA you will be so dearly missed. You were the center of energy on set and off. Always laughing, giggling and involved in practical jokes."
Magasiva married teacher Lizz Sadler last year

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have unfollowed all of their fellow royals on Instagram, and are now following just 16 other accounts.

Harry and Meghan carried out a cull of their exclusive following list, which previously included Kensington Royal -- the account of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Catherine Middleton -- and Clarence House, that of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the Duchess of Cornwall.
The change has nothing to do with family problems, however.
Instead the couple have decided to use their Instagram account to highlight mental health and projects dedicated to the field.
The move comes as Mental Health Awareness Month begins in the US and Mental Health Awareness Week, May 13-19, approaches in the UK, reads a post from the couple.
And the initiative is set to continue, with the royal couple changing the accounts they follow based on a different theme or cause each month, according to the post
The Duke and Duchess are also expecting their first child and excitement has been growing around its impending arrival.
While the pair have bolstered their social media presence by joining Instagram, they are limiting other media access to their family.
"Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private," according to a statement from Buckingham Palace in March.
"The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family."

Baby No. 4 has arrived for Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West.

The reality star/mogul tweeted Friday about the 6-pound, 9-ounces arrival.
"He's here and he's perfect!" she wrote.
The pair on Thursday welcomed the baby via surrogate, and he joins sisters North, 5, and Chicago 1, and brother Saint, 3.
On "The Ellen Show" Thursday with her nieces and nephews, Kourtney Kardashian said her sister was supposed to join her but couldn't because the surrogate was in labor.
Their mother and family matriarch, Kris Jenner, appeared surprised and said she was not aware labor had started.
The baby's name is sure to be of interest.
In January, Kardashian West said she had been Googling Armenian boys' names in honor of her family's heritage but hadn't found anything