Ancient tradition of long-neck women fades as Myanmar develops


High up on the Karen Hills, the existence of an ethnic tribe is in peril. Known for their “giraffe women”, the Kayan in Myanmar’s remote east are struggling to keep their traditions alive after prosperity and modernisation arrived in their community.

LOIKAW, Myanmar: The sun is setting above sleepy Pekon. Parts of its old city lie submerged under the blue water that has snaked miles from Inle Lake into Kayah State in the south. On its glassy surface is a picture-perfect reflection of the Shan Hills rippling gently against the golden sky.

“Our mother was a dragon,” says a man in a grey jumper. His soft voice has a hint of a British accent. “Some people say that to remember our dragon mother, they have the same sort of neck.”

Pascal Khoo Thwe is referring to an ancient legend about the women of Kayan, who are known for their giraffe-like neck that looks unnaturally stretched in the clasp of brass rings. Their striking appearance has not only fascinated tourists from the world over but also made the Kayan one of the most recognisable ethnic groups in Southeast Asia.

While the legends are centuries old, the practice faces an uncertain future. Some women have decided to abandon it, choosing a more modern style. And some that continue to wear the rings do so not because of any dedication to the tradition, but for pragmatic, commercial reasons instead: Big-spending tourists come to the area to take pictures of long-necked women.

Pascal is no stranger to the unusual accessories. A Kayan himself, he grew up seeing his grandmother with brass coils gleaming around her neck. “The rings were fourteen inches high and rose to her head as though they were supporting a pagoda stupa,” wrote the 49-year-old in his award-winning autobiography From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey.

The neck-rings have been part of an ancient tradition among female members of Kayan Lahwi, a sub-tribe of the Kayan ethnic group native to Kayah State. They were expensive fashion items and commonly reserved for favourite daughters in each household. Today, they are a rarity.

“Only a small handful of the women still wear them, in some parts due to economic pressure. So the number will be reduced considerably,” Pascal said.

He estimates that there are now fewer than a hundred long-neck women across the whole of Myanmar, a decline from a few decades ago when there were 300 to 400 in Shan and Kayah states alone.

The gradual disappearance of the centuries-old custom is obvious in Pan Pet, a remote Kayan native village of more than 1,000 residents. For decades, armed conflicts and a heavy military presence kept it shut from the outside world, making it one of the least visited areas in the country. It was not until 2012 that Pan Pet opened its door to visitors and, seemingly, new social values.

“Most kids aren’t wearing them nowadays because of the modern culture.” Old Mu Lone makes a remark about the fading culture in the tribe, her long neck glimmering in the sun.

“In my time, women weren’t beautiful without neck-rings. But now, they think they look beautiful without them,” said the 88-year-old.

“TOO UGLY” TRADITION

Many myths and legends surround the ancient tradition. Some people say the rings are used to imprison women. Others claim they are worn as self-protection from tiger bites. More common theories point towards beauty and wealth.

“People have an idea that having a long neck is beautiful and also to show off their wealth. The longer the neck, the more men like them,” Pascal said.

That seems to be no longer the case. In Pan Pet, as the community has modernised, many Kayan females have opted for a more contemporary style, with t-shirts, blouses and trousers taking the place of traditional dress, and more discreet jewellery replacing the neck rings.

The issue for many young women is two-fold: Firstly, the influence of outside cultures is resulting in a rethink of what constitutes beauty. Perhaps more important, though, is that many women are not willing to put up with the discomfort of wearing the neck rings.

A full set comprises three spiral brass rings – one on the collarbones, another on the neck and the last one wrapped around the bottom piece. Together, they weigh about 10 kilogrammes.

“It was painful,” said 23-year-old Muu Pley. At the age of seven, she was fitted with shiny neck-rings. Thirteen years later, she took them off, partly for fear that her neck would grow too long.

“I felt so free and so light.”

For many old Kayan women though, their elegance is well worth the pain.

“The rings choked me and felt too tight at first. Food would get stuck when I tried to swallow. I had to stretch my neck to eat. But I got used to it,” Mu Lone said with a smile.

She was fitted with the rings when she was nine, almost eight decades ago. With help from one of the elders, straight pieces of brass were expertly coiled around her neck, one by one. The whole process took hours to complete.

CULTURE ON DISPLAY

Despite the pressures, the tradition lives on. A limited number of Kayan females continue to wear the neck-rings, for various reasons. Muu Pley is one of them.

Less than a year ago, the mother-of-two put the rings back on her neck, mainly because of a tourism boom in the village. Long-necked women have never been more popular among visitors and their incomes are growing.

Dust filled the air as a busload of tourists drove past her small souvenir shop. Its foreign passengers waved at the small woman and other villagers nearby. They had snapped a few photographs of her when the long-necked woman was cradling a baby in her arms. Many of them then bought bracelets, scarves and other trinkets after securing their perfect shot.

“I’ll continue wearing the neck-rings,” Muu Pley said softly.

THE PRICE OF MODERNISATION

While some women still wear the rings, there are concerns that the tradition could be under threat, especially if the main driving force is commercial gain.

Pascal is worried this could mean that the deep foundations that have sustained the practice will start to erode: “It seems to keep the culture, but it doesn’t keep the spirit of the tradition. It’s just a kind of physical appearance.”

Attempts are being made to protect the practice. Pascal (below) is the national consultant for the International Trade Centre (ITC) – a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation – devoting his time to promote trade opportunities through sustainable development in Kayah State.

Part of the plan is to promote Kayan traditions in Pan Pet and use them to generate income from tourism for the villagers, while preserving their fading culture. The process is in its early stages. Villagers are being trained to operate tours around their community and a centralised accounting system is being put in place to manage incomes from tourism. 

“We’re trying to find ways to sustain tourism so that it is inclusive, everyone can take part in it,” Pascal said.

But the clock is ticking and the community is trying to work out how it can preserve the tradition of the long-neck women – if, indeed, it actually wants to.

In Pan Pet, the sun has already gone down and the village is bidding farewell to the last tour bus of the day. A group of small children has gathered around a campfire to keep themselves warm.

Nearby, a young girl is loitering in the street, her neck-rings rattling softly. Nobody knows how long she will keep them on. But for the likes of Mu Lone, the rings will rest on their necks for life.

“I’ll wear them until I die and have them buried with me,” the old woman says.

Follow Pichayada Promchertchoo on Twitter @PichayadaCNA 



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Most TERRIFYING Sea Monsters Ever!



Check out the most terrifying sea monsters ever! These deep sea creatures roamed the ocean million years ago!

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List of most terrifying sea monsters ever:
9. Predator X
Predator X is the most powerful marine reptile ever discovered. Over 15 meters long, and weighing about 4 tons, it was twice as big as most Jurassic predators.
The giant reptile roamed the seas about 150 million years ago and was officially classified as a new species. Now known as Pliosaurus funkei, it had a massive 2m skull with a bite four times as powerful as a Tyrannosaurus rex. (Although I prefer the name Predator X). Studies of the brain cavity of Predator X has revealed that its brain was actually similar to the much smaller great white shark?.
In 2006, scientists found two massive pliosaur skeletons in Norway. The giant creatures, looked slightly different from other pliosaurs discovered in England and France over the last century and a half. 
The pliosaur family had short necks and four large, paddle-shaped limbs like a turtle that allowed them to move up to 5m per second. The newly discovered funkei species likely lived closer to 145 million years ago and ate plesiosaurs, related long-necked, small-headed reptiles.
The new analysis shows P. funkei had longer front paddles than other pliosaurs, and different teeth.
This predator is still bigger than the largest living apex predator, the whale, which tops out at about 9m (30 ft) long.
8. Plesiosaurs
Plesiosaurs were a group of marine reptiles, or dinosaurs-that-weren’t-actually-dinosaurs but lived at the same time during the Jurassic Period. It had a tiny head and a long neck, paddle flippers, and a tail. Even though it was smaller than Predator X, Its mouth was full of needle-like teeth pointing inward, a perfect death trap for prey and for ripping flesh.
In 1987 a plesiosaur fossil was discovered with the bones of an embryo in its abdomen, proving that the animal gave birth to live young. This creature seems to have somehow given rise to the Loch Ness Monster as the physical description is very similar. Plesiosaurs would swallow stones weighing about 5 pounds (2.2kg) to help them digest their prey. If there was one plesiosaur you needed to watch out for, it was Liopleurodon (lye plur i dun). This carnivorous beast could weigh over 3,500 pounds and reach over 30 feet in length, including jaws that are believed to be 10 feet alone, complete, of course, with a very wide jaw and several rows of razor-sharp teeth. Their bodies consisted of a unique, paddle design for limbs, which has been tested and proven on small swimming robots that the Liopleurodon would not have been super fast they were terrifyingly agile. Most likely they hunted similar to the crocodiles of today, with short and fast burst attacks. So that makes them just perfect for any underwater haunted…aquarium.
7. Giant Sea Scorpion (Jaekelopterus rhenaniae)
Since there is no way I can pronounce this we’ll just call this one the Giant Sea Scorpion. Larger than a human and about the size of a crocodile (2.5m), the 390-million-year-old sea scorpion was the top predator of its day. This was one of the two largest arthropods to have ever lived, reaching a length of over 8 feet of armored, clawed horror. Most of us freak out at the thought of a tarantula, so it’s easy to imagine screaming like a banshee if you ever swam by one of these.
A huge fossilized spiky claw discovered in Germany in 2007 measured 18 inches (46 cm). We’ve known about super sized insects for years now but it wasn’t until this discovery that scientists realized just how big some of these creepy crawlies could get. The next biggest fossil arthropods were massive millipedes that grew more than 2 meters (6.5 feet) long,
6. Basilosaurus
The Basilosaurus’ name and appearance make it seem like an ancient reptile, but it’s actually a blood-thirsty ancestor of today’s whales. It’s ironic given that its name means “King Lizard,” but that is because when it was discovered by Richard Owen in 1834, it was thought be a reptile. It wasn’t until over 10 years later that he discovered it was actually a mammal and tried to rename it the Zeuglodon, meaning Yoke Tooth, but that didn’t catch on. It is the closest a whale has ever come to being a snake due to its long eel-like body averaging about 65 feet long, complete with a narrow snout and jaw full of large spiky teeth. It most likely ate other kinds of prehistoric mammals as its main food source. It’s skeletal structure was surprisingly weak for its size and power.

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The burden of being young in Timor-Leste


DILI, Timor-Leste: “Life is hard,” he repeats for the third time in our conversation. Like the first two times, Arsenio de Deus utters these words smilingly and without the slightest trace of bitterness. Life may be hard, but compared to many other young Timorese, Arsenio – a lean young man with strong features – knows he has plenty to be thankful for.

In a year’s time, the 25-year-old will be graduating from the National University of Timor-Leste with a degree in Education. That puts him in a small, exclusive club in a country of 1.2 million people, where only 3 per cent have post-secondary education.

Arsenio de Deus at home in his bedroom which he shares with his uncles. (Photo: Ray Yeh)

Even more enviable to other Timorese youths: Arsenio has a job. Each week, except for the few hours of university class time, he works from Monday through Saturday as a library catalogue assistant at the Xanana Gusmao Reading Room, a local non-profit organisation.

His monthly income, though small, is enough to pay for tuition and personal expenses. But every other cent goes towards supporting his parents and two younger siblings.

“My family life is very simple. We are poor,” says the aspiring teacher.

EVERYONE IS FAMILY

In the traditional Timorese society, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews and even godchildren are all considered immediate family. And as the oldest child, Arsenio says he has to work hard not just for himself, but for every family member.

“There are a lot of familial commitments for those who do have money,” says Del Bovill, a volunteer librarian from New Zealand who works closely with Arsenio. “There are always demands for available income to go to celebrations, commemorations or funerals… and that makes it difficult for young people to save.”

Arsenio at home with his parents and brother. (Photo: Ray Yeh)

On the surface, that doesn’t seem so bad when you consider that Timor-Leste’s demographics are what many a developed economy with a fast-ageing workforce would kill for.

An astounding 7 in 10 Timorese are aged 25 or younger. On paper, that makes for a huge, energetic base of productive young workers with the potential to support any number of families.

But youth unemployment is at an estimated 60 per cent. And with more than 10,000 high school graduates joining the workforce each year, the problem is set to get worse, unless the fledgling country can diversify its largely oil-based economy and create jobs by developing sectors such as services and tourism.

That’s an uphill task for the 14-year-old nation which only gained independence in 2002 — after four and a half centuries of continuous colonisation (first by the Portuguese, then by the Indonesians), and a more recent history bathed in violence.

The Santa Cruz cemetery in the Timorese capital of Dili. On November 12, 1991, during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, at least 250 pro-independence demonstrators were massacred here. (Photo: Ray Yeh)

“THAT’S FINE, IT IS LIFE”

Scarcity of opportunities isn’t the only challenge for young Timorese. The World Bank also lists ensuring its young people are educated and healthy as posing the biggest development challenges for Timor-Leste.

For Arsenio, home is a cluster of three self-built concrete houses 20 minutes outside of Dili Central. It is shared by his large extended family of more than 20 people. The houses are dark and very sparsely-furnished inside, but the heart of family life is out in the back where the courtyard is – almost everything happens here. The adults sit, drink coffee, smoke a cigarette or two and socialise, while the children chase the dogs, chickens and one another around.

Animals kept in the backyard. (Photo: Ray Yeh)

Meals are prepared by Arsenio’s aunts, usually comprising rice, sweet potatoes and stewed vegetables. The De Deus family does not eat meat often. Animal protein is expensive in Timor-Leste due to the lack of large-scale commercial farms.

There is also not enough “awareness of the importance of a balanced diet, particularly protein,” says Susan Marx, country representative of The Asia Foundation. “It’s not as simple as ‘people are poor and therefore they don’t eat well’. Timor-Leste did in the past grow a large number of crops that were higher in protein. Under Indonesian times, the shift to a rice-based diet happened and I think that’s part of the problem.”

Arsenio’s nephew having rice at home. Timorese people typically consume a large quantity of starchy food but not enough protein. (Photo: Ray Yeh)

To commute to work, Arsenio usually rides his motorcycle. He saved up for months to buy his own. Sometimes, to save money on gas, he takes the mikrolet – privately-owned numbered vans that have been converted into minibuses to take passengers. This is the only form of public transport available in Dili, Timor-Leste’s capital.

Although there are many aspects to his life that Arsenio wants to improve, he is not complaining. “That’s fine,” he says. “It is life.”

He is grateful to be “in the minority” of youths who are gainfully employed. Many of his friends who have graduated have not been so lucky.

A LETTER OF DESPERATION 

Arsenio’s colleague, Maria Guterres, knows exactly how it feels to be fresh out of school and desperate for a job, any job. That happened to her six years ago, when she was 20 years old. For months, she had idled at home and watched her parents and her six younger siblings grow hungrier and skinnier.

“A lot of youths want to carry on with a lot of stuff,” says Maria. “But we cannot blame them for not doing so, because work is very minimal (in Timor-Leste).”

When things could not get any worse for her, a letter changed her life.

Timor-Leste’s then-Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, the former resistance fighter and living hero, had married an Australian, Kirsty Sword. During the resistance years, Sword had felt so strongly for the plight of the Timorese that she became a spy for Gusmao and other Timorese activists, disguising herself as a humanitarian aid worker in Indonesia.

When the Indonesian troops finally left Timor-Leste after much bloodshed, she married Gusmao and as the First Lady, founded the Alola Foundation to improve the lives of women in the country.

Maria had heard of what Sword did for young women through her foundation – helping them find jobs and giving them scholarships. She needed to be one of them. But as the prime minister’s wife, Sword must have received hundreds of pleas for help. Maria thought there was no way Sword could respond to every request. But she had nothing to lose. She sat down and began to write. Then she sent Sword the letter, expecting only silence.

Days later, her mobile phone rang while she was sleeping.

“Hi, I’m Mana Kirsty and I received your letter,” said the woman on the other end of the line. ‘Mana’ is a local term of respect meaning sister. “Maybe next week I can meet with you?”

Maria thought she was dreaming. When she finally met the First Lady, she recounts: “She asked me, ‘What do you want?’ I answered, ‘I want to have a job, can you help me?’ She asked, ‘You have a skill?’ I said I didn’t have any skill. She said, ‘Oh, you don’t have any skill, how can you work?’”

That conversation made Maria realise just how important education was. Sword enrolled Maria in an English language school, before giving her a scholarship to study Computer Science at the Dili Institute of Technology. When Maria graduated last year, she was given a job at the Xanana Gusmao Reading Room, another project founded by Kirsty Sword.

EDUCATION IS KEY

According to statistics from the United Nations Development Programme, half the adults in Timor-Leste are illiterate. In Bovill’s opinion, the biggest challenge facing the Timorese government is to “lift the quality of education” and create opportunities for young people to “use those skills in a meaningful way.”

Marx from The Asia Foundation agrees. Although education up to the secondary school level is free and compulsory, one in four children drop out of school before Grade 6 due to circumstances at home. She explains: “If you send children to school, that means that they will not be available to work in a home or on a farm. So there has to be a practical link of what is the inherent benefit of sending children to school.”

Besides the younger children, Marx also thinks it is important to reach out to “the ones who are past their school age, who also feel disenfranchised and are unemployable”. Training them to become “mechanics, electricians, plumbers, in skills that are practical” would not only create jobs, it would also help to diversify Timor-Leste’s oil-dependent economy, she believes.

Between 85 and 90 per cent of government revenue comes from offshore petroleum projects in the Timor Sea. Foreign experts have called into question the sustainability of Timor-Leste’s current economic model. Some even go as far as calling the country “a failed state”.

But changes are happening, and Marx is optimistic about Timor-Leste’s future.

“People look at Timor-Leste as sort of a new frontier. There’s a lot of excitement among investors,” she says. “I think Timor-Leste has that opportunity to sort of leap frog over a lot of the learning curves that many countries in the region had to go through, by embracing technology, particularly mobile technology.”

YOUTHS COMMITTED TO THE FUTURE

In the last decade, Timor-Leste’s mobile subscriber base has increased rapidly and penetration has moved past the 100 per cent mark. There is no doubt that young Timorese are connected to the world. “People know what’s going on. People know about social injustice,” says Marx.

“People know about the level of services in other places and so, even if they are not questioning it yet, my feeling is that we will see a rise in demand for services.”

Bovill has a similar outlook. Her experience working alongside many young Timorese for the past three years has given her unique insights into their mindset. “I would say they are hopeful,” she says. “They are in tune with the political situation. They are often members of political organisations. So they have a commitment to the future through that avenue.”

At the Reading Room, Arsenio often talks to other young people about the importance of getting involved. “If they come to the library, I will give some my ideas, and we will support them to give their ideas,” he says. “We should talk about it because it is very important. And because life here is very, very hard for young people like me.”

No matter the challenge, Arsenio believes it can be overcome: “We are Timor. Timorese people (are) very strong to do all this, because we come from a strong people.”

Up next: A diamond in the rough – Timor-Leste’s tourism potential. This is part of a series of reports by Channel NewsAsia’s Ray Yeh, who recently spent a week in the young country. Follow him on Twitter @RayYehCNA, and visit ‘CNA Insider’ on Facebook for more stories.



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Death toll from Indonesian quake climbs to 97: Military


BANDA ACEH: The death toll from a strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake that struck Indonesia’s Aceh province Wednesday has nearly doubled to 97, a military chief said.

“So far 97 people have been killed and the number keeps growing,” Aceh military chief Tatang Sulaiman told AFP.

The USGS upgraded the magnitude to 6.5 from an initial reading of 6.4 and issued a yellow alert for expected fatalities and damage.

Mosques and shops were flattened in the small town of Meureudu, where the force of the quake sent people fleeing from their homes. No tsunami alert was issued.

Indonesian search and rescue personnel work to rescue people trapped under the rubble of a collapsed building following an earthquake in Pidie, Aceh province on Dec 7, 2016. (Photo: CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP)

The head of the local disaster agency, Puteh Manaf, said the sole hospital in the district had been overwhelmed by the number of injured.

“Hundreds are estimated to have suffered injuries,” he told AFP.

Rescue operations were under way to find those believed trapped beneath the rubble, with heavy machinery being used to shift the debris.

A witness said local residents were wandering the streets, unable to return to their damaged homes and fearing aftershocks.

Images from the scene showed homes levelled, mosque spires toppled and cars crushed under rubble.

The location of the quake at the northern tip of Sumatra, roughly 130km from the provincial capital of Banda Aceh. (Graphic: USGS)

“The earthquake was felt strongly and many people panicked and rushed outdoors as houses collapsed,” Sutopo Nugroho of the national disaster management agency (BNPB) said in a statement, adding that few injuries, and no deaths, had been reported.

Social media images showed buildings reduced to rubble, fallen electricity poles, and people gathering outside at street corners.

District official Apriadi Achmad said that an elderly man had died, possibly from a heart attack, and there were fears for dozens believed to be trapped inside damaged homes.

“Several shophouses and homes have caved in in Pidie Jaya district and the owners are still trapped there,” Achmad, chief of the local disaster management office, told AFP.

“We are now deploying heavy machines to help out and hopefully we can save the ones who are trapped,” he said.

Seismologists said the earthquake was felt across much of Aceh province, which was devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

At least five aftershocks followed the quake, said Eridawati, local head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency.

“Some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localised,” it said, giving a 44 per cent chance of the quake resulting in between one and 10 deaths.

In the coastal town of Sigli, people panicked and fled their houses to seek shelter away from the sea.

“We are now evacuating to Tijue because we are afraid of a tsunami,” said Nilawati, one of those heading several kilometres inland.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck at a depth of 17km on Aceh’s northeastern coast. No tsunami warning was issued. At least five aftershocks were felt in the hours after the initial quake, the disaster management agency said.

The region suffered massive destruction in 2004 when a quake of magnitude 9.2 triggered a tsunami that wiped out entire communities in Indonesia and other countries around the Indian Ocean.

Indonesia was the hardest hit, with more than 120,000 people killed in Aceh alone. 



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Adeco Home Garden Accents Wire Round Iron Metal Stool Side End Table Plant Stand Chair, Hatched Diamond Pattern, For Indoor Outdoor, Khaki Green



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Learning Sea Creatures Names and Sounds and more for Kids



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Teaching different sea animals and sounds. This covers sea animals including whale, shark, dolphin, turtle, lobster, octopus, stingray. We will come up with more sea animals like penguins, seal, humpback whale, swordfish, sea lion.

kidswonderworld is a channel that is looking forward to educate and entertain babies, toddlers, children, preschoolers in a fun and educational way. We wish to educate shapes, colors, alphabets, phonics, spelling, names etc. That will also help kids to develop their imagination, problem solving skills, fine motor skills.

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1 dead in Aceh as magnitude 6.5-magnitude quake hits Indonesia


BANDA ACEH: At least 18 people died and dozens were feared trapped in rubble after a strong earthquake struck off Aceh province on Indonesia’s Sumatra island on Wednesday (Dec 7), officials said.

“Eighteen have died so far, based on data from the hospital. Some of the fatalities are children,” Said Mulyadi, deputy district chief of Pidie Jaya, the region hit hardest by the quake, told AFP.

The USGS upgraded the magnitude to 6.5 from an initial reading of 6.4 and issued a yellow alert for expected fatalities and damage.

The location of the quake at the northern tip of Sumatra, roughly 130km from the provincial capital of Banda Aceh. (Graphic: USGS)

“The earthquake was felt strongly and many people panicked and rushed outdoors as houses collapsed,” Sutopo Nugroho of the national disaster management agency (BNPB) said in a statement, adding that few injuries, and no deaths, had been reported.

Social media images showed buildings reduced to rubble, fallen electricity poles, and people gathering outside at street corners.

District official Apriadi Achmad said that an elderly man had died, possibly from a heart attack, and there were fears for dozens believed to be trapped inside damaged homes.

“Several shophouses and homes have caved in in Pidie Jaya district and the owners are still trapped there,” Achmad, chief of the local disaster management office, told AFP.

“We are now deploying heavy machines to help out and hopefully we can save the ones who are trapped,” he said.

Seismologists said the earthquake was felt across much of Aceh province, which was devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

At least five aftershocks followed the quake, said Eridawati, local head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency.

“Some casualties and damage are possible and the impact should be relatively localised,” it said, giving a 44 per cent chance of the quake resulting in between one and 10 deaths.

In the coastal town of Sigli, people panicked and fled their houses to seek shelter away from the sea.

“We are now evacuating to Tijue because we are afraid of a tsunami,” said Nilawati, one of those heading several kilometres inland.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck at a depth of 17km on Aceh’s northeastern coast. No tsunami warning was issued. At least five aftershocks were felt in the hours after the initial quake, the disaster management agency said.

The region suffered massive destruction in 2004 when a quake of magnitude 9.2 triggered a tsunami that wiped out entire communities in Indonesia and other countries around the Indian Ocean.

Indonesia was the hardest hit, with more than 120,000 people killed in Aceh alone. 



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2 Singaporeans charged in Australia for dealing with criminal proceeds


SINGAPORE: Two Singaporean men have been charged for dealing with criminal proceeds in Adelaide, Australia, after they were found to be jointly carrying A$520,450 (S$551,367) at Adelaide Airport.

In a media release, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said one of the men was identified on Sunday in the airport’s check-in area. A police cash and drug detector dog had approached him, and he was found to be carrying A$250,000 (S$264,828) after police searched his luggage. 

The second man was subsequently identified, and was found to be carrying A$270,450 (S$286,455) after his bag had been searched. 

Both men were then arrested. They appeared before the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Monday, according to AFP. 

Adelaide Airport Police Commander Gavin Stone said this is the largest cash seizure detected by one of its cash and drug detector dogs at Adelaide Airport, adding that the dog, Utana, was instrumental in the seizure. 

Utana, a AFP Cash and Drug Detector (CADD) dog. (Photo: Australian Federal Police) 

“Travellers are reminded that when carrying more than $10,000 in Australian currency or equivalent, it must be declared before departing Australia,” AFP said. 



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