November 01, 2014 08:55 UTC

As It Is

Thailand Analyzes Cost of Oil Spill

An oil spill has reached a popular tourist island despite efforts to clean it up.An oil spill has reached a popular tourist island despite efforts to clean it up.
x
An oil spill has reached a popular tourist island despite efforts to clean it up.
An oil spill has reached a popular tourist island despite efforts to clean it up.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story

Hi, again! Nice to have you with us on As It Is.

Today we tell the story of a worker at London’s Buckingham Palace. He became famous in announcing the birth of Britain’s Prince George last week. Now, this man is the subject of an international debate.

But first, Mario Ritter takes us to Thailand. A major oil spill there is affecting coastal communities and concerning business investors. 

Thailand is still weighing the cost of a 50,000 liter oil spill in the Gulf of Thailand last weekend. The oil leaked from a pipeline in waters about 20 kilometers away from the coast.

The spill has already reached the popular resort island of Koh Samet. And it is moving toward the Thai mainland.

The operator of the pipeline is part of the state-owned energy company, PTT. The pipeline operator has said the leak was closed quickly. And, it says the oil spill will be cleaned up within a few days.

However, Thailand’s Marine Department has made an official protest against PTT. And, Thai officials have called experts from Singapore to help clean up the spill.

Thailand’s tourism and fishing industries are still estimating the total cost of the damage. The cost to the travel industry alone is estimated at about $70 million.
 
But one observer says it may take weeks to know the full cost of the damage. Sutichai Kumworachai is with Kim Eng Securities. He expects the government to strengthen rules governing the oil industry.
 
He also says companies may be required to save money to pay for such incidents. And, he says they will have to pay closer attention to the long-term environmental effect of oil spills and other problems.

A representative of the environmental group Greenpeace also spoke about the incident. Ply Pirom is a program manager for Greenpeace South East Asia.

He says he does not believe PTT’s claim that the oil clean-up will be quick. And he is calling for more details about the damage to the environment.

“From what happened we can say that this is a good example and alarming to the Thai Government that we are not ready for such an incident.”

Greenpeace has asked the Thai government to reexamine its energy policy and dependence on fossil fuels, like oil and natural gas. The group also wants the government to end oil drilling and exploration in the Gulf of Thailand.

The Environmental Engineering Association of Thailand offers another solution. Its president, Prasert Tapaneeyangkul, says oil companies need to limit human errors.
 
“Most of the time it’s not from the engineering design or construction, but by human being error so that is one of the most important things that first of all must be eliminated.”

In 2009, an oil spill and gas leak by a PTT company in the Timor Sea took 74 days to stop. It is considered one of Australia’s worst oil disasters.

I’m Mario Ritter.

A large crowd waited outside Buckingham Palace in London last month for the British royal family to officially announce the birth of Prince William and Kate’s baby. Millions more watched on television.
 
The press Secretary to Britain's Queen Elizabeth and footman Badar Azim place a notice announcing Prince George's birth.The press Secretary to Britain's Queen Elizabeth and footman Badar Azim place a notice announcing Prince George's birth.
x
The press Secretary to Britain's Queen Elizabeth and footman Badar Azim place a notice announcing Prince George's birth.
The press Secretary to Britain's Queen Elizabeth and footman Badar Azim place a notice announcing Prince George's birth.
Finally, on July 22, a young Indian man carried the birth notice across the palace grounds. He placed it on a decorated golden stand.
 
But few of those watching knew the amazing story of the young man who carried the notice. He is 25-year-old Badar Azim.
 
Mr. Azim grew up in the streets of Kolkata, India. He was educated at an orphanage, a center for children whose parents are dead. The school eventually raised $15,000 to send him to work for Britain’s royal family.


But just a few days after he placed the birth notice on the stand, Badar Azim’s job at Buckingham Palace ended. His visa was not extended. And so he returned to India.
 
His story has increased attention on the British visa system. Last year, the government proposed restrictions to make immigration harder. The restrictions mean that students can stay in Britain only if they find an employer to sponsor them, or if they earn enough money.

Another Indian student, Arjun Sathe, was lucky. He found a job after completing business school.
 
“Everyone pretty much underestimated the reluctance to sponsor a graduate. And essentially people didn’t expect that it would be that difficult.”

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, spoke against the visa restrictions last year when he was visiting India.
 
“I think we need to be very careful that we’re not doing stuff that actively deters foreign students.”
 
The British government said the restrictions prevent the student visa system from being abused. But many British businesses criticized the changes. Universities say payments from foreign students are worth almost $4 billion.

Nicola Dandridge is head of Universities UK, a group representing higher education institutions. She says the restrictions hurt the country.

“These are highly skilled people, many of whom we’d like to stay in this country and do highly skilled jobs. So there is this question of us losing talent in the UK, which we can ill afford to do.”

But Britain appears to be adding new restrictions. It is planning to require visitors from six countries – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Ghana – to pay $4,500 for a visa bond.
 
In a statement, the government said it wants to make sure foreigners do not stay too long. And, it wanted to recover costs if a non-citizen used Britain’s public services.

India has called the measure a step backwards.
 
And that’s As It Is. I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.
 
Thanks for joining us today. If you would like reach us, send an email to learningenglish@voanews.com. Or go to our website at learningenglish.voanews.com and click on “Contact Us.”
This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • FILE - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, right, walks past Chinese President Xi Jinping as they arrive to the Monument to the People's Heroes during a ceremony marking Martyr’s Day at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, Sept. 30, 2014.

    Audio China’s Constitution Receives New Attention

    The constitution took effect in the early 1980s, when the Communist Party was opening up the country economically. Now China is at a new crossroads. Observers say it is reaching for a new economic growth model. Chinese officials will promise to defend its rules when they take office. | In The News More

  • Video More US Hispanic Women Convert to Islam

    Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. The Pew Research Center says about six percent of American Muslims are Latino. And women make up a little more than half of the new converts -- the people who have changed their religion to Islam. More

  • This image released by USCIS shows a sample of the front of the redesigned green card carried by foreign-born residents living permanently in the U.S. The Homeland Security Department is issuing the redesigned "green card" that is stacked with safety feat

    Audio US 'Green Card Lottery' Ending November 3

    State Department’s Diversity Visa program closes November 3rd. Millions of people have entered the program, hoping to win a visa. But only 50,000 are chosen. 5,000 more are available under the Nicaraguan and Central America Relief Act. The green card lottery closes on Monday. | As It Is More

  • A convoy of peshmerga vehicles is escorted by Turkish Kurds on their way to the Turkish-Syrian border, in Kiziltepe near the southeastern city of Mardin October 29, 2014

    Audio Iraqi Kurdish Fighters Enter Kobani

    Also in the news, Burkina Faso ends efforts to extend its presidential term limit after protests in the capital. Ukraine says the EU will be guarantor in any gas deal with Russia. Myanmar holds a major meeting Friday. And claims of cheating delay SAT results for South Korean and Chinese students. More

  • Video Singapore Film Ban Raises Free Speech Issue

    The documentary film, “To Singapore, with Love” tells about political dissidents from Singapore. The film has been shown at public events in Britain, India and Malaysia, among other countries. But one place the movie cannot be seen is Singapore. That is because the government there has banned it. More

Featured Stories

  • Obama Halloween

    Audio Halloween Is Big with Kids and Business

    The National Retail Federation says sales of Halloween goods will total about $7.4 billion this year. It says the average American will spend about $77. The group expects 162 million people to celebrate. The NRF predicts 54 million of them will hold Halloween parties. | American Mosaic More

  • A print shows the Second Battle of Bull Run, also called Second Manassas.

    Audio South Defeats North Again at Manassas

    Lincoln named George Pope to lead the Army of Virginia. He wanted to join Pope’s forces with the Army of the Potomac and break through Confederate defenses around Richmond. But General Robert E. Lee decided to hit Pope first. More

  • Star House

    Video Home of Last Comanche Chief Close to Ruins

    One of the most interesting people in U.S. history is Quanah Parker, the last chief of the country’s Comanche Indian tribe. Quanah Parker was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Quanah Parker was a fierce fighter. More

  • FILE - A veterinarian at the nonprofit Bali Animal Welfare Association gives a rabies shot to a puppy in Kebon Kaja village, Bangli Regency in Bali, Indonesia.

    Audio Mass Vaccination of Dogs Can Eliminate Rabies

    About 70,000 people worldwide die every year of rabies. Rabies is a viral infection that people get mainly through dog bites. Scientists say vaccinating dogs can effectively get rid of rabies outbreaks in dog populations. And this will have a domino effect, fewer humans with rabies. More

  • Methane oxidizing

    Photogallery Small Organisms in Deep Sea Rocks Eat Methane

    The gas methane has been linked to rising temperatures on Earth. But methane does not stay in the atmosphere as long as another “greenhouse gas” -- carbon dioxide. Scientists say both gases trap heat from the sun. They prevent heat from escaping into outer space. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs