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)
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".
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.
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
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.
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
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
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."
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
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
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.
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
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
"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.