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Lindsay Sandiford loses second appeal

A woman from Teesside appears to have lost her second, and possibly final, appeal against a death sentence in Indonesia.

Lindsay Sandiford faces a firing squad after being convicted of drug smuggling in January.

The 57-year-old from Redcar had been arrested at Bali Airport after drugs were found in her luggage.

Lindsay Sandiford is facing the death penalty in Indonesia Credit: ITV News

The Foreign Office has told ITV News that they are checking reports that her final appeal has been rejected,

If this is the case, her last hope would be a presidential reprieve.

Three dead after Australia asylum seeker boat sinks

Three people have died and more than 150 had to be rescued after a boat carrying would-be asylum seekers to Australia sank in Indonesia waters.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the sinking "underlines the need" for the country to change its refugee policy, defending a government announcement that future asylum seekers who attempt to arrive by boat will never be allowed to settle in Australia.

According to an Indonesian official, more than 150 survivors have been rescued but it is still unclear how many more may be missing.


Elephant endangered from illegal logging dies

A Sumatran elephant endangered from illegal logging has died. ITV News highlighted the story of Raja who was being held to ransom by villagers in Aceh, Indonesia. They were demanding compensation from the government for the financial loss they were suffering.

Raja the elephant Credit: ITV News

In a statement charity Elephant Family said: "The villagers buried Raja soon after his death, and without having been able to examine his body, it is difficult to know for sure how he died.

"From the reports they gave, it seems that very tragically, through their inexperience and without checking with the vets, the villagers started giving Raja something new to eat from the forest - something he could naturally eat, but which is very rich in protein and which his body wasn't used to.

"It seems that they gave him too much of this particular plant, and this caused a sudden bacterial infection and bloating, and his young body couldn't cope. It apparently all happened so quickly."

Singapore wakes up to another polluting day of haze

Singapore's landmark Marina Bay Sands Hotel has been clouded for yet another day as pollution continues to blight the city. Credit: RTV
Haze from illegal fires in Indonesia have enveloped skyscrapers in the worst pollution to ever hit the city. Credit: RTV
Tourist boats were barely visible in the thick smog, which has been whipped up by heavy winds. Credit: RTV

Firefighters continue to tackle Indonesia forest fires

Firefighters are continuing to tackle forest fires in Indonesia that have led to a thick haze in some cities as well as Singapore and parts of Malaysia.

Firefighters spray water on burning palm oil trees in Dumai, Indonesia Credit: Reuters

Hospitals in Dumai and Bengkalis in Indonesia's Riau province have recorded increases in cases of asthma, lung, eye and skin problems, health official Arifin Zainal told Reuters.

Volunteers prepare new face masks to give to residents.

Free face masks are being distributed and authorities have advised residents to stay indoors with their windows shut.

Some of the fires are believed to have been started illegally by farmers to clear land. Credit: Reuters

Record pollution as smoky haze shrouds Singapore

Air pollution levels in Singapore have soared to a 16-year record high for a third consecutive day, as a smoky haze from forest fires in Indonesia shrouds the city state.

Its main air pollution index hit a measurement of 401 at midday, which is classified as "hazardous" and can aggravate respiratory ailments, the Associated Press reports.

A man wearing a mask walks past the skyline of Singapore's business district Credit: Reuters/Edgar Su

Indonesia's Environment Minister met with Singapore's Environment and Water Resources Minister today to discuss solutions and efforts to mitigate the impact of the fires.

People wearing masks as they cross a street in Singapore's Orchard Road Shopping Area Credit: Reuters

The haze is a recurring problem as a result of forest fires in the dry season, some of which are deliberately started to clear land for cultivation.

A firefighter sprays water into burnt peatland in Palalawan district in Riau province Credit: Reuters/Fikih Nauli


Elephants suffer as forestry habitat destroyed

The Sumatran elephant, one of the smallest of the Asian elephants, is the most endangered elephant in the world. Currently there are between 2,400 and 2,800 left, making the species "critically endangered", according to Elephant Family.

Raja the elephant has been captured by villagers close to a palm oil plantation in Indonesia Credit: Jim Wickens/Ecologist Film Unit

Like all Asian elephants, the Sumatran elephant is threatened by poaching and habitat loss, caused by increasing demand for palm oil: Across Indonesia hundreds of thousands of acres of tropical rainforests and peatlands have been destroyed to make way for plantations.

oil plantation and bare land within the PT Tunggal Perkasa Plantations in Lirik, Indragiri, Hulu, Riau. Credit: Credit: Kemal Jufri / Greenpeace

Environmentalists and scientists say that 65% of Aceh’s forest needs protected to save the Sumatran elephant, and the government's current plan would only allow for 45% to be protected - a difference of way over a million hectares.

Campaign to rescue wild baby elephant Raja

Elephant Family have started a campaign to rescue wild baby elephant Raja. Credit: Jim Wickens/ITV News

UK elephant conservation charity, Elephant Family, have launched a campaign to rescue baby elephant Raja, captured by villagers in Indonesia a few weeks ago.

Villagers are holding the baby elephant to ransom to ask their government to protect them from the fallout of the startling loss of habitat rapid deforestation is creating. As Jo Cary-Elwes from Elephant Family explains:

"The status of the Sumatran elephant was changed to “critically endangered” at the end of 2011, meaning they are in imminent danger of extinction. 85% of their habitat is located outside of protected areas and is constantly vulnerable to conversion.

"Forest conversion (for things like palm oil and paper pulp) results in conflict with humans: Stressed and starving herds are fleeing from the chainsaws in search of safety and food, as the elephants walk through farmland they destroy people’s crops and livelihoods."

Palm oil used in 'hundreds of UK products'

In the UK, most major food manufacturers use palm oil, normally labelled as "vegetable oil."

43 of the 100 most popular products in our supermarket shelves contain palm oil, according to Greenpeace. It is commonly found in the following:

  • Biscuits
  • Peanut butter
  • Cereals
  • Chocolate

Palm oil is also used in household objects, including:

  • Lipstick
  • Laundry detergent
  • Body lotion
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