Pakistan terror leader killed in bombing
by Aidan O’Connor
A senior leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Abdul Wali, has been killed in a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan alongside three other members of the terrorist organisation. A top commander of the TTP, Wali is believed to have been responsible for orchestrating some of Pakistan’s deadliest terror attacks including the 2016 Lahore suicide bombing No one has taken responsibility for the killing of Wali. The TTP have blamed Pakistan’s intelligence service for the assassination.
Wali’s death is believed to be a devastating blow to the TTP. This marks the second death of a senior terrorist leader in recent days following the US drone strike in Kabul which killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Concern has now been raised over whether the killing of Wali will result in the collapse of a delicate truce between the TTP and Pakistan, which could prolong this 14-year conflict even further.
The Maldives seeks to turn the tide against water pollution with a new ‘Waste to Wealth’ approach
by Harvey Young
The Maldives have recently announced a new ‘Waste to Wealth’ initiative to boost both environmental sustainability and youth entrepreneurship. This small archipelago nation has struggled to deal with waste; landfills take up a large portion of the nation’s land area and pollution from burning waste plastics creates dangerously contaminating both air and water. This has severely damaged the Maldives’ vital tourism and fishing industries.
To deal with this, The Maldives, with World Bank funding, have sought to improve the country’s ability to manage and sort plastic. Concurrently the government is trying to turn their waste problem into an economic prospect by strengthening education for young people, and especially young women, on recycling entrepreneurship opportunities.
The results of this ambitious new initiative are yet to be seen but success could set an example to the world on how to turn environmental issues into prosperity.
Laos’ tourism resurgence
by Connor Crout
Laos has seen an increase in the number of visitors in the first six months of 2022, probably as a result of removing Covid restrictions. Records show that 42,197 foreign nationals entered Laos using tourist visas during the first six months of 2022.
On 24 March 2020, Laos reported its first case of Covid, becoming the last Southeast-Asian country to do so. Laos was tough with its Covid restrictions, starting to implement severe anti-Covid measures on 30 March 2020 and only having its first confirmed Covid death on 9 May 2021.
The estimated revenue of domestic tourists is $70.79 million. This makes it one of Laos’ most important economic sectors, meaning that its economy will clearly benefit from this tourism influx.
Travelling to Thailand now ‘high’ up on tourists’ agenda
by Rachael Ward
A trip to Thailand just got a tad more exciting. In a bid to draw tourists to Thailand this summer, the government has u-turned on their ban on cannabis. Before last month, a touch of pot at a party district could land travellers behind Bangkok’s bars, while other weed-related offences carried a death sentence.
Now cannabis is being grown and sold all across the country. Though market stalls selling the substance have sprung up on the streets of Bangkok, the legal situation is a little more complex. Recreational use of cannabis is not recommended by the government, given that it poses the risk of causing a public ‘smell nuisance’. Despite the potential pong, the government is willing to let it slide in the hope that the chance to smoke will draw more tourists to Thailand, prompting a recovery from the Covid-induced slump in summer travel.