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October 06 2011

Madagascar: 164 homes burnt down in Fort Dauphin

The second serious fire in the region within the last 3 weeks burned down 164 homes in the the fokontany of Amparihy in Fort Dauphin, Azafady reports. The fires have been amplified by continuous strong winds across the SE region of Madagascar. An online fundraising page has been set up for anyone who would like to support the victims.

September 29 2011

Pakistan: Update On Flood Relief

Teeth Maestro posts updates of some ongoing flood relief projects of SARelief in Pakistan. You can track the relief activities by following the hashtag #pkrelief on Twitter.

September 26 2011

North Korea: Kim Jong-Il's Surprise Appearance On the Simpsons

Martyn Williams from the North Korea Tech blog wrote a short post on Kim Jong-il's appearance on “The Simpsons”. One character from the episode says that he was forced to write a musical about Kim in a North Korean prison and introduces a song addressing the regime's ban on internet.

Book Review: ‘Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives In North Korea'

Change in Longitude blog posted a thorough review of the book Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives In North Korea' by Barbara Demick. The book’s title comes from a song that North Korean school children recite, “We have nothing to envy in the world” in spite of chronic malnutrition and famine rampant in the country.

September 23 2011

North Korea: Google Earth Reveals Death Camps in Detail

Kyle Wagner from Gizmodo site wrote a post on one of the most detailed images of the North Korean concentration camps taken by Google Earth. It is estimated that over 200,000 North Korean citizens are imprisoned in the camps under unimaginably harsh conditions.

Reposted bysciphex sciphex

September 21 2011

Pakistan: Neglected Millions Of Sindh Floods

The 2010 floods in Pakistan displaced millions and were a major setback for the national economy. They affected vast areas mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh and took a toll of hundreds of lives.

Despite the repeated statements from the government, no practical steps were taken to tackle the possibility of future floods and the consequence of this gross negligence is that floods are yet again wrecking havoc this year. Unlike last year, the eye of the storm this year is Sindh where flood waters have razed in numerous villages and displaced millions. According to Asian Human Rights Commission, the loss of crops due to floods in Sindh is estimated to have caused 5.6 billion rupees in damages. The extent of inundation can be gauged from the fact that out of 23 districts of Sindh, 22 have been directly or indirectly affected by the deluge.

An Aerial view of Shahdadpur

An Aerial view of Shahdadpur, which has been practically taken over by widespread flooding. Image by Rajput Yasir. Copyright Demotix (18/9/2011)

Lamenting the utter lack of efficiency on the part of the government to tackle the situation, the Human Rights Commission article states:

“It is only now that the government is examining the conditions of the bunds and embankments which are only just, if at all, holding the flood waters at bay. In the meantime hundreds ofthousands of people are trapped due to the flooding of the roads and it is the women and children who are suffering the most due to the lack of safe drinking water, milk and food. As was seen in the last catastrophe the response from the government was very slow due to the lack of a proper relief system and resources.”

Like last year, a number of social initiatives have been launched to help out the displaced flood affectees. Among these efforts is the one launched by Faisal Kapadia and Dr Awab Alvi, two notable social activists and bloggers (and Global Voices authors). Faisal, writing about the objectives of his relief efforts states on his blog:

“Our plan is initially to provide them cooked meals for the next 15 days, in order to at least give them a chance of returning to their lives once the rain waters subside.”

A man with his children under the water moving towards a safe place

A man with his children under the water moving towards a safe place. Image by Rajput Yasir. Copyright Demotix (16/9/2011)

Commenting on the disaster wrecked by the floods, Faisal tells:

“Vast swathes of land on either side of the road were completely inundated with water. I have been working in flood relief since 2010 and I have to say that I have not seen this much water in my entire life. The flooding is so intense, that for several stretches there is no land in sight at all. In fact, I felt like I was driving in the middle of the sea – it was terrifying and saddening at the same time.”

Beena Sarwar, a notable Pakistani journalist and activist, has been actively highlighting credible relief efforts on her blog. The groups she highlighted include Pakistan Medical Association, Indus Foundation Trust and IRC. A recent post on floods details upon the updates from Khairpur, a region in Sindh,

“There is no proper arrangement of medical facilities neither from Government nor from the NGOs.

There has been an outbreak of skin disease, flu, gastro and malaria

People are drinking stagnant flood water, and are demanding safe drinking water

Temporary latrines have not yet been installed and school latrines are insufficient and non-functional

Protection of most vulnerable particularly women and children also seems to be one of the major issues.”

Millions have been affected by floods across Pakistan with thousands forced to vacate their homes.

Millions have been affected by floods across Pakistan with thousands forced to vacate their homes. Image by Rajput Yasir. Copyright Demotix (7/9/2011)

The most unfortunate part of the entire episode is that the media and Pakistani blogosphere barely seems to care about the floods, at large. Of course there are exceptions but compared to last year’s immense response, Pakistani netizens are relatively mute. Commenting on this apathy, Tazeen, an active Pakistani blogger, says in her post titled ‘South is flooded and the rest of Pakistan does not care”,

“This year, districts in Sindh and Balochistan are affected with yet another flood but this time netiher the media nor the citizens are taking it as seriously as they did it last year…I have not seen a single camp, either in Rawalpindi or Islamabad, receiving donations and goods for flood relief efforts in Sindh and Balochistan…I find it mind numbingly cruel that parts of Sindh and Balochistan are submerged in water and the rest of Pakistan couldn’t care less. If this does not breed discontent and dissent, I would be most surprised.”

Currently, thousands of flood victims await food and relief. Women and children lie under open sky, waiting for the concerned authorities to take notice of their plight. Sadly, though, this barely seems a primary concern of the government. Chowrangi provides an excellent list of donor agencies which are actively working for the relief of the flood victims. The list can be found here.

September 10 2011

Tanzania: Real-time Information on Zanzibar Boat Accident

You can follow real-time information on the Zanzibar boat accident 10th Sep 2011 or send report by sending a tweet with the hashtag/s #ZanzibarBoatAccident or #Zanzibar or #Pemba.

September 05 2011

North Korea, Country in a Long Coma

Alex Tabarrok on Marginal Revolution blog wrote about how the dictatorship in North Korea has survived decades despite mass starvation and economic failure. The author, quoting parts from the book Nothing to Envy, commented that the North Korean iron curtain which has been much more impenetrable than that of Eastern Europe was the major contributing factor.

August 20 2011

Somalia: Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan In Mogadishu reports [fr]  on Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's visit in Mogadishu: “The prime minister, his wife Emine and other [Turkish] political and business leaders, as well as artists, are in Somalia to meet the victims of the drought and famine raging in the country.”

August 11 2011

Poland: NGO Helps Looking for Missing Persons

Polandian writes about ITAKA: Centre for Missing People (, a Polish NGO that helps tracing missing persons.

August 09 2011

United Kingdom: Time for #RiotCleanup in London?

Hackney riot aftermath

Hackney riot aftermath, by StolenGolem (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

After extensive looting and rioting across London and other cities in the United Kingdom since Saturday night, ordinary citizens are now looking for ways to help their cities heal.

On Tuesday morning the hashtags #prayforlondon and #riotcleanup have overtaken #londonriots on Twitter, showing the conciliatory mood of all those eager to move on.

The #prayforlondon hashtag is a nod to the #prayforjapan hashtag that became hugely popular after the March earthquake in Japan. World citizens (including teenage superstar Justin Bieber who has 11.6 million followers on Twitter) are using it to show solidarity with citizens of London.

Inspired by other recent crises, there is now also a London Riots page on Crisis Commons, a wiki website mapping technology use in disasters.

Helping hands

The #riotcleanup hashtag has information about meeting places for Londoners who want to help local businesses with the cleanup effort.

Riot clean-up team in Peckham. Photo © Emma Jane Richards (used with permission)

Riot clean-up team in Peckham. Photo © Emma Jane Richards (used with permission)

Dan Thompson (@artistmakers), an arts magazine editor and promoter of putting empty stores to creative use, initiated the effort, and it has since taken on a life of its own.

@artistsmakers: #riotcleanup is not political; it's just twitter people being nice. It needs to happen tomorrow as a symbol that London won't stand for riot

Referring to the website (currently offline) and Twitter account @riotcleanup, Thompson says:

@artistmakers: Thanks to everyone who helped me get the #riotcleanup sorted out - have no idea who's set up the website and twitter account, that's not me

There is a public Google spreadsheet that has some of the meeting times listed.

@artistmaker: Hearing from Camden, Lewisham, Hackney that clear up is well underway; we have volunteers ready to help any business that needs #riotcleanup

Thompson's feed also shows evidence of ample press interest with notifications of televisions camera crews meeting volunteers at different locations.

On Facebook, people are also actively seeking ways to help on the pages Post riot clean-up: let's help London , Reclaim London, and the smaller, Riot Cleanup.

Labour party MP Richard Burden from Northfield, Birmingham, heard about a local cleanup on Twitter. Using AudioBoo, GetGood recorded his statement to the crowd.

Richard Burden welcomes #riotscleanup (mp3)

Shell-shocked and looking for reasons

Journalist and award-winning blogger Penny Red (@pennyred) wrote a post late on Monday night describing how she felt as she watched London burning on television from her living room. It's being shared and linked widely, and already had over 150 comments on Tuesday morning.

These are the final paragraphs:

Riots are about power, and they are about catharsis. They are not about poor parenting, or youth services being cut, or any of the other snap explanations that media pundits have been trotting out: structural inequalities, as a friend of mine remarked today, are not solved by a few pool tables. People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night. And now people have lost their homes, and the country is tearing itself apart.

Noone expected this. The so-called leaders who have taken three solid days to return from their foreign holidays to a country in flames did not anticipate this. The people running Britain had absolutely no clue how desperate things had become. They thought that after thirty years of soaring inequality, in the middle of a recession, they could take away the last little things that gave people hope, the benefits, the jobs, the possibility of higher education, the support structures, and nothing would happen. They were wrong. And now my city is burning, and it will continue to burn until we stop the blanket condemnations and blind conjecture and try to understand just what has brought viral civil unrest to Britain. Let me give you a hint: it ain’t Twitter.

I’m stuck in the house, now, with rioting going on just down the road in Chalk Farm. Ealing and Clapham and Dalston are being trashed. Journalists are being mugged and beaten in the streets, and the riot cops are in retreat where they have appeared at all. Police stations are being set alight all over the country. This morning, as the smoke begins to clear, those of us who can sleep will wake up to a country in chaos. We will wake up to fear, and to racism, and to condemnation on left and right, none of which will stop this happening again, as the prospect of a second stock market clash teeters terrifyingly at the bottom of the news reports. Now is the time when we make our choices. Now is the time when we decide whether to descend into hate, or to put prejudice aside and work together. Now is the time when we decide what sort of country it is that we want to live in. Follow the #riotcleanup hashtag on Twitter. And take care of one another.

Sylwia Presley (@PresleySylwia) contributed to the writing of this post.

August 01 2011

South Korea: Volunteers out to Clean up Flood Damage

Several days after the onset of one of the worst flooding and landslides in South Korean history, efforts to aid those affected continue. Twitter user Sayqueen tweeted a photo of volunteers gathered to clean up water damage.

July 12 2011

Russia: Cruiser Catastrophe Causes Questions

On Sunday afternoon, July 10, 2011, the “Bulgariya” cruise-ship capsized on the Kuibyshev dam of the Volga river. According to official figures [ru], 129 passengers are still missing and have supposedly perished in the waves.

How people react to disaster and catastrophe is often quite telling of the times and circumstances they live in, and what they expect from the future. In disaster-ridden Russia, such tragic events are often an opportunity to display national unity in commemoration of the victims, which people usually show great respect and reverence to. Thus, President Dmitry Medvedev declared [ru] 12 July, 2011, a national day of mourning.

Still, reading Russia's blogosphere, the sense of national foreboding seems to overshadow that of mourning, as - for many bloggers - the sunk vessel comes to symbolize the future fate of Russia.

Volga steamer the "Bulgaria" on its way up river. Image by Wikipedia.

Volga steamer the "Bulgaria" on its way up river. Image by Wikipedia.

At first though, the deplorable state of the ship was a subject of intense discussion, both in mainstream media and on blogs. Whereas information is diverse and varies, the overall impression is that of a floating coffin. The relatively moderate - and changing - data on the Bulgariya on Russian Wikipedia [ru] is quite telling: Built in 1955, no waterproof bulkheads, no major overhauls, name-change last year, low lateral stability, leaving port with a 5 percent starboard list, left engine out of order, 208 people on board instead of the assigned 140 maximum; all in all led it to sink in merely three minutes.

One does not have to be a sailor to see that “Bulgariya” was not seaworthy, and one can only imagine the number of hurdles the people running it must have jumped to get it past naval safety inspection and other controls.

Feelings of anger and wrath are also raging among bloggers. English Russia expresses the many demands for vengeance, but also exploits the tragedy in calling for a more authoritarian Russia:

Suffice it to say, heads are gonna roll as a result of this. The responsible parties are gonna get learned, kiddies… they’re going to absorb the full meaning and implications of каторга (katorga: forced labour) in Correctional Colony 1313 in the Sakha Republic… or, they’ll have the pleasure of the multifarious joys of Correctional Colony 3131 on Cape Anadyr. They fought the law and the law won! It ain’t nice to fool around with Papa VVP… things tend to happen (like bustin’ rocks under the Arctic sun). It’s not like the Republican Wonderland of Texas… where Kenneth Lay of Enron fame (pal of GWB and loudmouthed Born-again “Christian”) didn’t serve a day in prison. You can have an attitude like Russia’s, where miscreant businessmen go to jail… or, you can have an attitude like Texas, where buccaneer businessmen are coddled. In 2012, you can choose… choose well… for you’ll not get a “second chance”.

Contrary to this, a great number of bloggers show distrust towards government authority, pointing to its recorded pattern of bad information management even when confronted by obvious crises and disasters. Thus, initial official information of the Bulgariya catastrophe spoke of an accident but no casualties.

An early comment, by LJ user 999allan999 responds to this simply by presenting [ru] a number of assorted news items on the accident with the suggestive title:

Как обычно. Сначала официально-бодрое «жертв нет»…

As usual. At first the officially cheerful «no victims»…

LiveJournal user shri_boomer - a naval officer himself - relates [ru] to this, but also voices his loathing of the people on passing ships who filmed the Bulgaria's drowning passengers:

Во время этой трагедии, поразила не только неспособность государства, дать какую-то вразумительную информацию обществу, но и то, что мимо тонущего судна спокойно проходили другие теплоходы, а люди стоявшие на палубе снимали трагедию на видеокамеры и телефоны. Эта дикость, от которой мурашки бегут по коже, свидетельствует только об одном: люди настолько зачерствели, что перестали быть людьми.

During this tragedy, I was struck not only by the state's incapacity of providing society with some sort of intelligible information, but also that other ships silently passed by the sinking ship, and people stood on deck filming the tragedy with video cameras and [mobile] phones. This is a savagery that makes one feel like ants are running across one's skin, and only testifies to one thing: People have become so petrified, that they have ceased to be human.

Recollecting merely the most recent disasters, shri_boomer goes on [ru] criticizing the government's tendency to write off everything that does not work and increase control of that which still seems to work, although nobody will obey:

Налицо все признаки того, что питерская ОПГ, теряет контроль в управлении страной [—]. Каждый день государственная власть поражает нас новшествами по усилению безопасности граждан и обустройству России.
Взорвалась бомба в Домодедово – досмотр пассажиров ужесточить, Домодедово отобрать. [—]
Списать самолеты «Ан», списать вертолеты Ми-8, списать речной флот. Да, что там, списать устаревшего девяносто процентов трамвайно-тролейбусного парка страны, десятки тысяч автобусов, миллионы километров водопроводных труб и линий передач, сотни ТЭЦ и ГЭС. Все это нужно списать, а досмотр пользователей ужесточить. [—]
После всего этого можно будет списать население. И тогда наступит настоящий День Траура. Жаль только, что соблюдать его будет некому, ибо придет Время Троглодитов.

There is every evidence of the St. Petersburg gang losing control of managment over the country [—]. Each day state power introduces new measures to strengthen the security of its citizens and to upgrade Russia.
A bomb exploded at Domodedovo [airport] - stricter passenger control, and closing Domodedovo.
Writing off «An» aircraft, writing off Mi-8 helicopters, writing off the river fleet. Yes, and in addition, to write off the obsolete 90 per cent of the tram and trolley-bus fleet of the country, tens of thousands of buses, millions of kilometres of water pipes and transmission lines, hundreds of power stations and hydro-electric plants. All this needs to be written off, and control of users tightened. [—]
After all this, one might as well write off the population. And then we will have a real Day of Mourning. It's a pity only, that no-one will observe this, or [if they will] then comes the time of the Troglodytes.

Drawing on similar sentiments, LiveJournal user dr_lunikoff compares [ru] the era of the Soviet demise with today's situation:

В связи с этим вспомнился стишок 1989 года, который ходил тогда у нас по рукам и из-за которого нас чуть из школы не выгнали. Стишок был выучен наизусть (чтоб не быть пойманным с крамолой на руках), потому и запомнился. Он описывал самые заметные ужасы катастройки (в частности, гибель теплохода “Адмирал Нахимов” в 1986 году) и до ужаса был похож на сегодняшние реалии:

Утопили пароход,
Пропустили самолет,
Наркоманов развели,
СПИД в Россию завезли
И какая-то пи..да
С рельсов валит поезда…

Relating to this, I came to think of a small poem from 1989, which then passed from hand to hand and almost got us thrown out of school. The poem was learnt by heart (so that they could not catch us with sedition on our palms), and therefore I remember it. It described the most notable horrors of katastroika [combined catastrophy and perestroika], (especially the loss of the ship “Admiral Nakhimov” in 1986) and is terrifyingly similar to today's realities. 

A ship sank,
A plane was lost,
Addicts spread,
AIDS was brought to Russia,
And whatever f…ing else
And the trains are sliding off the rails…

Finally, Viktor Perfilov of Kazanskie vedomosti sums up [ru] the feelings:

Я невольно вспоминаю ту известную фразу Путина о АПЛ “Курск”, хотя в то время мне и 10 лет не было
- Что случилось с Вашей лодкой?
- Она утонула

А Медведев пока не нашел, что сказать на сей счёт. Системный кризис [—] проявляется всё больше, а положение лучше не становится. И лучше при нынешней ситуации вряд ли станет…

I cannot help recalling Putin's famous phrase about the submarine “Kursk”, even if I wasn't even ten at the time:
- What happened with your boat?
- It sank.
And Mededev has still not found out what to say about this. The systemic crisis is increasingly evident, and the situation is not getting any better. And under current circumstances, it is not likely to.

July 11 2011

Russia: Worries of wildfires

Two-Zero of Moscow Blog writes about the worries in Russia that last year's catastrophic wildfires will repeat themselves this year.

July 05 2011

The North Korea Food Aid Dilemma

On July 4, the European Commission pledged USD 14.5 million in emergency food aid to help impoverished North Koreans. The Opening Up North Korea blog posted an analysis on the timeless dilemma in aiding North Korea.

June 30 2011

Philippines: Worst Flash Flood Hit “Typhoon-Free” City

Many Filipinos were taken by surprise by the heavy floods that hit the southern Philippine city of Davao recently. The Philippines is notorious for flash flood disasters as several typhoons naturally pass by the country from the Pacific Ocean. But Davao city is supposedly found in a typhoon-free zone.

As of the evening of Wednesday 29 May, 2011, the death toll reached 25 while 15 others remained missing. Meanwhile, hundreds of families were displaced by the worst flooding that hit Davao in history.

The local weather bureau has blamed an intertropical convergence zone for the heavy rains in the city that triggered the flash floods.

Ordinary Filipinos have been using various social media to share their very own flood experience stories and remarks on the tragedy. Here are some twitter reactions to the flooding:

@kangirlsonza: in the words of my aunt - “grabe talaga bilis.parang tsunami pagdating ng tubig. wala kaming nasave.” - im so heartbroken #Davao flooding

@kangirlsonza: in the words of my aunt - ”The speed was startling. The water took us like a tsunami. We cannot save anything.” - im so heartbroken #Davao flooding

@blogie: People stranded everywhere in the city. What is the Davao City LGU doing? This flooding problem is gonna get much worse in the coming months

@08chantal:Isolated thunderstorm that caused heavy downpour, flash-flood in Davao..the another!!! Come'on really PH in need of flood control projects.

@Bakla:Hoping and praying that all my family and friends in Davao are safe. Also praying for the families of those affected by the flooding.

@carlomallo: OMG! I just found out that huge sections of Davao experienced severe flooding last night due to a 3 hour downpour! A child even drowned.

@RainTravels:OMG, what led to the flash flood in #Davao? Davao City used to be spared from #storms and flooding. #letsprayfordavao

@bambiarias: Typhoon-free ang Davao pero biglang nagflash flood. *sigh* mukhang galit na si mother nature sa atin. #prayfordavao

@bambiarias: Davao is Typhoon-free but there was the flashflood all of a sudden. *sigh* looks like mother nature is angry with us. #prayfordavao

@iampaoloovejera: Davao is among my favorite local tourist destination… Watching the city inundated by flood waters makes me sigh out of sadness…

Davao City flooding

Davao City flooding

The floods had many bloggers, like the Lady in Purple, taken by surprise too:

I was sleeping soundlessly without knowing that some Dabawenyos were struggling for their survival. I normally hear news like this in Manila so it surprises me. We don't worry every time it rains but I guess now is the time to be vigilant.

Noeh’s Ark shares how their car almost drowned in the flash floods:

Then as we reached Tahimik Avenue (also in Bangkal), the water was very forceful. Strong current. But at that time (around 12:30am) was still shallow. Then as we went back, as all cars did near the Bangkal Bridge (Even big trucks). It took us almost 20-30mins to go back to areas not affected. That's the time we saw lots of debris. Even a pedicab was taken away from the strong current. Waters reaching almost waist. (This was the time i took the photo) Thats also the time when waters went inside our car.

Davao Travel asks if the city is prepared for another flooding:

I have never imagined seeing Davao this helpless. Helpless not becuase the government is not doing anything but because the people are so confident that nothing's gonna happen like the flooding last night in some areas of bangkal, matina pangi and talomo.

Davao is known being a typhoon-free city but it does mean it is also a flood-free city. Think again for a city declared as typhoon-free for the last century, hitten by a flash flood in a 3-5 hours rainfall.

The Caperture blogs about what he saw the night the flash floods hit the city:

The water had entered homes and businesses. Establishments that were open at night just had to stop operations as the staff and people stood on top of tables and chairs. Many motorcycles seem to have drowned as they were being pushed by their riders.

Albertology calls on city officials to take decisive steps to address the flooding problem:

Enough of the alibis. Davao City had already heard so much about climate change, increased volume of rainfall and lack of funds. We cannot continue discussing the causes of the flood and then watch how people are being eaten alive by the floodwaters. This is not to mention the trauma that last night’s flood has brought to many Dabawenyos.

The Davao city mayor has been using her Facebook page to post updates on the relief and rescue operations.

Caha de Opinion also shares his story and accompanies this with a video footage of the flood:

After the rain has stopped I wanted to go out to buy me some snack! But to my surprise, I saw the flood already at the lower ramp outside of our apartment. I had never seen flooding of that magnitude in my whole 6 years of living in this place.

Some of the photos of the devastation wrought by the disaster are found online in GensanBoy’s Blog and The Mindanao Examiner.

June 29 2011

South Korea: Downpour-Triggered Landslide Kills One Person

Torrential downpour has triggered a mass landslide in Seoul, killing one person and suspending subway. South Korea's citizen/blogger news Wiki Tree reported [ko] the incident with consolidated tweets.

June 22 2011

Cannibalism In North Korea, Smuggled Documents Reveal

GI Korea from the ROK Drop blog commented on local news report claiming that they have obtained smuggled documents confirming cannibalism in North Korea. Acts of cannibalism have long been reported by North Korean defectors, especially during the mass famine in the mid-90′s.

June 20 2011

North Korea: Women Forced into Prostitution

A Seoul-based aid organization, Good Friends, released an English version of its weekly report. According to North Korean defectors' testimonies, not a few North Korean women are forced into prostitution in order to make ends meet.

June 14 2011

South Korea: Petition Filed to Punish Brutality against Animals

Public anger rose as an animal TV show aired a story of a dog brutally beaten with a stick by a stranger for no reason. Net users have filed an online petition [ko], calling the authority to focus more on capturing the culprit. Over 50 thousand people have signed the petition in less than two days.

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