Archive for November, 2015

New post on Anilbalan’s Ghost Cities Blog Number 13 by M R James

November 29, 2015

Hugh Paxton’s Blog always enjoys receiving the latest post from Anilbalan, particularly now as my broken arm has yet to fully heal and still makes turning the pages of a book quite painful. “Boo hoo,” say you, “Poor Hugh! You shouldn’t have been horsing around with a football trying to impress your daughter with your fancy footwork in a confined front yard cluttered with stray flip flops, plant pots, bicycles, dog food bowls (we have five! And only one dog!), one at food bowl (I don’t know why that damn thing’s still getting underfoot –we had a cat but a four to six meter long Burmese python ate it over two weeks ago! I watched the work in progress) and a tricycle (no idea who that belongs too, or why it appeared by my front door). If you are saying that I can’t really argue. All I can promise is that I won’t be doing it again! Broken arms and dislocated shoulders are a pain!

But enough of my woes – read and listen on. Number 13 is one of my favourite MR James tales. I haven’t yet heard the BBC Radio version but the BBC dramatized the story in the 1970s and it is very eerie. I have the DVD somewhere – the whole BBC MR James series is excellent with the exception of one episode starring John Hurt “Whistle and I’ll Come” which is utterly lamentable.

Cheers!

A slightly inconvenienced Hugh in Bangkok

From: Ghost Cities [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2015 5:02 PM
To: paxton.bkk@gmail.com
Subject: [New post] Number 13 by M R James

ghostcities posted: "One of the joys of the festive season for me is enjoying a good, old-fashioned, spooky tale so, in the run-up to Christmas, I will be posting ghost stories from years past. The first of these is a masterly BBC adaptation of M R James’ classic Number 13: "

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New post on Ghost Cities

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Number 13 by M R James

by ghostcities

One of the joys of the festive season for me is enjoying a good, old-fashioned, spooky tale so, in the run-up to Christmas, I will be posting ghost stories from years past. The first of these is a masterly BBC adaptation of M R James’ classic Number 13:

ghostcities | November 29, 2015 at 10:00 am | Tags: M R James, Number 13 | Categories: Short Story, Supernatural fiction, Television, Writer | URL: http://wp.me/p1Pozr-qF

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Andre’s Bit: BBC breaking news, jihadist suicide bombers on strike

November 28, 2015

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has received yet another cracker from Andre in Namibia.

BBC breaking news

The latest from the BBC

Muslim suicide bombers in Britain are set to begin a three-day strike on Monday in a dispute over the number of virgins they are entitled to in the afterlife. Emergency talks with Al Qaeda have so far failed to produce an agreement.

The unrest began last Tuesday when Al Qaeda announced that the number of virgins a suicide bomber would receive after his death would be cut by 25% this October from 72 to 54. A spokesman said increases in recent years in the number of suicide bombings has resulted in a shortage of virgins in the afterlife.

The suicide bombers’ union, the British Organization of Occupational Martyrs (or B.O.O.M.) responded with a statement saying the move was unacceptable to its members and called for a strike vote. General Secretary Abdullah Amir told the press, "Our members are literally working themselves to death in the cause of Jihad. We don’t ask for much in return but to be treated like this is like a kick in the teeth".

Speaking from his shed in Tipton in the West Midlands, Al Qaeda chief executive Haisheet Mapants explained, "I sympathize with our workers concerns but Al Qaeda is simply not in a position to meet their demands. They are simply not accepting the realities of modern-day Jihad in a competitive marketplace. Thanks to Western depravity, there is now a chronic shortage of virgins in the afterlife. It’s a straight choice between reducing expenditures or laying people off. I don’t like cutting benefits but I’d hate to have to tell 3,000 of my staff that they won’t be able to blow themselves up.

Spokespersons for the union in the North East of England, Ireland, Wales, New Zealand and the entire Australian continent stated that the change would not hurt their membership as there are no virgins in their areas anyway.

According to some industry sources, the recent drop in the number of suicide bombings has been attributed to the emergence of Scottish singing star, Susan Boyle. Many Muslim jihadists now know what a virgin looks like and have reconsidered their benefit package

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Food waste: United Nations Environment Programme Asia Pacific partners with OzHarvest to feed thousands with rescued food

November 28, 2015

Hugh Paxtons Blog suggests that this event will be of considerable interest to anybody interested in food security and food wastage. There’s also a slap lunch. Clear your plates!

Bob apetit!

Hugh in Bangkok

From: Tanawan Sarabuddhi [mailto:tanawan.sarabuddhi@unep.org] On Behalf Of UNEPROAP
Subject: MEDIA ADVISORY : United Nations Environment Programme Asia Pacific partners with OzHarvest to feed thousands with rescued food

MEDIA ADVISORY

United Nations Environment Programme Asia Pacific partners with OzHarvest to feed thousands with rescued food

EVENT: ‘Think.Eat.Save’

WHEN: Thursday, 3 December 2015

TIME: 12pm to 2pm

LOCATION: Parc Paragon, Siam Paragon

The UN Environment Programme Asia Pacific has enlisted the support of leading Australian food rescue organisation, OzHarvest, to educate and raise awareness about the issues of global food waste, food security and sustainability.

To support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which aims to halve global food waste and reduce food losses along the production and supply chains by 2030, UNEP and OzHarvest have partnered with some of Bangkok’s most recognised chefs and will serve 2,030 people a lunch prepared with ingredients otherwise destined for landfill.

Prominent Thai chefs Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava and Dylan ‘Lan’ Jones of Bo.lan restaurant, together with a team of chefs from Nahm including Chris Miller, as well as influential Wonderfruit Festival Co-Founder Pete Phornprapha and Dusit International’s Siradej Donavanik, will unite with UN delegates, and policymakers to fight food waste at Bangkok’s ‘Think.Eat.Save’ event on Thursday, 3 December at Parc Paragon, Siam Paragon between 12pm – 2pm.

The Think.Eat.Save campaign of the Save Food Initiative to reduce food loss and waste is a partnership between UNEP, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nation and Messe Düsseldorf, in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge. The lunch is modelled on OzHarvest’s annual ‘Think.Eat.Save’ events, which feed thousands of people across Australia while raising awareness about global food waste.

An expert panel discussion on the issues of food waste, food security and food sustainability will inspire thought, debate and action while delicious meals made from rescued and donated food items will be served by top chefs.

Find out more about Think.Eat.Save – www.thinkeatsave.org
Register to attend the event at http://thinkeatsavebkk.eventbrite.com.au

For media information and interviews please contact:
Mei Ling Park, Communications Consultant UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific T: +66 2288-1275 E: park21
Satwant Kaur, Regional Information Officer, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific T: 08 1700 1376 E: satwant.kaur
Louise Tran, OzHarvest National Communications and Marketing Manager
E: louise.tran M: +61 466 620 744 Skype: louise.tl
Kiki Dhitavat, OzHarvest Asia-Pacific Special Projects
E: events M: +669599 51099

********************
United Nations Environment Programme
Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
2nd Floor, United Nations Building
Rajdamnern Avenue
Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Tel: (66 2) 288-1234
Fax: (66 2) 280-3829
Email: uneproap

INTERPOL meeting aims to develop strategy to curb tiger crime

November 28, 2015

From: Environmental Crime [mailto:environmentalcrime@interpol.int]

INTERPOL meeting aims to develop strategy to curb tiger crime

SINGAPORE – Environmental enforcement leaders from tiger range countries and non-governmental organizations have re-affirmed their commitment to protect the world’s remaining wild tigers at an executive-level meeting in Singapore.

The two-day (19 and 20 November) meeting provided a platform for 23 senior law enforcement officers from 10 tiger range countries and partner organizations to discuss transnational actions against tiger crime.

Organized by INTERPOL’s Project Predator, the meeting aimed to develop a common enforcement strategy for the management of tiger crime across all tiger range countries, and institutionalize the strategy to facilitate intelligence-led operational efforts on the ground.

INTERPOL pledged to support countries’ global efforts to increase the number and intensity of targeted law enforcement operations and information sharing between wildlife officials, customs agencies, police forces and NGOs.

Wild tiger populations are under increasing threat from organized criminal groups. Criminals have decimated the world’s tiger population to supply illicit global markets with tiger skins, bones, body parts and tiger-derived products. The criminal networks involved operate in multiple countries and across borders, and have also been linked to other serious crimes including firearm and drug smuggling, bribery and corruption.

The meeting was attended by law enforcement officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam, and by representatives from CITES, the Global Tiger Initiative Council, TRAFFIC, Panthera, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the Wildlife Protection Society of India, the Global Tiger Forum and Freeland Foundation. The meeting was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and CITES.

Launched in 2011, Project Predator is an INTERPOL initiative to protect and save the world’s last surviving wild tigers by uniting and coordinating the efforts of police, customs and wildlife officials in the 13 Asian countries where wild tigers can still be found.

The working group meeting follows the 2nd INTERPOL-United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Conference, which brought together senior government, law enforcement and environmental leaders. Following discussions at the conference, INTERPOL and UNEP are drafting a set of action points for the two organizations to take in tackling environmental crime.

Best regards,

Environmental Crime Programme

Environmental Security Sub-Directorate

INTERPOL General Secretariat
200 Quai Charles de Gaulle

69006 Lyon, France

E:environmentalcrime

www.interpol.int/crime-areas/environmental-crime/

Twitter @INTERPOL_EC

To unsubscribe from the INTERPOL Environmental Security news feed, please contact us at environmentalcrime.

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The Messengers: what birds tell us about the threats from climate change

November 28, 2015

Climate change is set to be very much in the news over the next few days. The impacts on biodiversity, the biological bedrock on which human welfare fundamentally depends is likely to be lost in the hot air. I hope it won’t be. Hugh Paxton’s Blog suggests you and world leaders bear the following in mind. Shortly before the catastrophic tsunami hit the Thai coast killing thousands, the wildlife moved inland. Before Vesuvius erupted smothering Pompeii the birds fled.

Read on to find out what Duncan and the birds are telling us at the moment.

From: Finlay Duncan [mailto:Finlay.Duncan@birdlife.org]
Subject: The Messengers: what birds tell us about the threats from climate change

Brussels – 26 November 2015
The Messengers: what birds tell us about the threats from climate change
A new report, jointly published by BirdLife International and the National Audubon Society, draws on bird science showing that climate change is already affecting life, and that negative effects will increase in the future. The solution? Bank on nature.

Birds are among the best-studied species and they are powerful sentinels for the natural world. They are telling us how climate change threatens nature and people.

The Messengers, the report jointly published today [Friday 27 November] by BirdLife International and the National Audubon Society (BirdLife’s Partner in the US), gathers hundreds of peer-reviewed studies illustrating the many ways climate change threatens us and our birds. It is also a collection of examples in which BirdLife Partners, leaders in nature-based solutions, help birds and communities become more resilient in a warming world.

Patricia Zurita, CEO of BirdLife International, and David Yarnold, President and CEO of the National Audubon Society, write in their foreword: “Over time and across cultures, birds have sent us signals about the health of our environment. Miners no longer use canaries as early warning systems, but birds are our closest connection to wildlife on the planet and they still tell us about the health of the places people and birds share. Never before has their message – climate change is here and a threat to the survival of birds and people – been as clear or as urgent.”

The report identifies the following expected impacts:

• Climate change will result in more losers than winners;

• Most bird species are expected to experience shrinking ranges, increasing the risk of extinction;

• Many species may not shift their distributions as fast as climate changes, resulting in population declines;

• Ecological communities and interactions between species will be disrupted;

• Current threats, including extreme weather and diseases, will be exacerbated;

• People will experience many of the same risks, and their responses could endanger nature.

Despite the severity of these threats, the report also includes a strong message of hope as world leaders gather in Paris to negotiate a global climate change agreement. The report emphasises solutions to build natural resilience for generations of people to come.The report’s final section illustrates how BirdLife Partners around the world are engaging in the following solutions for nature and people:

• Promoting clean energy solutions for people and nature;

• Protecting and restoring carbon-rich ecosystems;

• Conserving, managing, and better connecting key sites to help species adapt;

• Implementing ecosystem-based adaptation to build people’s resilience;

• Using birds to engage people with nature, understand climate change and take action.

Dr Stuart Butchart, Head of Science at BirdLife International and lead author of the report, stated: “The report brings together for the first time striking evidence from around the world that climate change is already causing negative population impacts for many species. It also synthesises many regional studies to conclude that the number of species expected to do worse is more than twice the number that may benefit. However, a suite of case studies show that BirdLife Partners are pioneering solutions to help species adapt.”

Edward Perry, Global Climate Change Policy Coordinator at BirdLife International and co-author of the report, stated: “Nature has a vital role to play in tackling climate change, but it’s often ignored. Healthy ecosystems sequester and store massive amounts of carbon, while providing people with a first line of defence against flood, drought and other climate hazards. From the tropical forests of Sumatra to the drylands of the Sahel, the BirdLife Partnership is working with communities, governments and the private sector to conserve and restore these ecosystems. This report demonstrates that nature-based solutions not only offer an effective and accessible response to climate change: they also deliver a series of benefits to people and biodiversity.”

ENDSFor further information and to arrange interviews, please contact:
Luca Bonaccorsi, BirdLife Europe Head of Communications:
+32 (0) 2 238 50 94 – Out of hours: +32 (0) 478 206 284

Finlay Duncan, BirdLife Europe Communications and Media Officer:
+32 (0) 2 238 50 81 – Out of hours: +32 (0) 485 873 291Notes to the editor:
The BirdLife and National Audubon Society’s ‘The Messengers’ report is available for download here: (and in high resolution here: )

The online version of the report will be viewable from Friday here:

For the duration of COP21, the BirdLife community will be participating in the debate using the hashtag: #BirdsTellUsExamples from the report:

In Europe, Atlantic Puffin has declined at a rate of 50% over 3 generations. Climate change is exacerbating the problem.

The extent of sea-ice has always allowed Adélie penguins to access food-rich areas. Their populations have declined by 50% because the young penguins can’t reach food anymore.

An additional 52 million people in 84 countries will be vulnerable to coastal storm surges by 2100.

Lower crop yields from climate change will mean an additional 25 million children will suffer from malnutrition by 2050.

More photos and infographics are available for download here:

BirdLife International is the world’s largest nature conservation Partnership. Together we are 119 BirdLife Partners in 117 countries – and growing, with almost 13 million supporters, 7,000 local conservation groups and 7,400 staff.

The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety

Great wild tiger photo from Facebook.

November 28, 2015

Hugh Paxton’s Blog considers Anup Deodhar a wildlife photographer to watch. I’ve taken a handful of photos of wild tigers in India and they could best be captioned “tiger vanishing behind thick scrub” “a tiger’s rear end blurry), “tiger in the far distance” and so on. I’ll probably be going to Ranthambhore in Rajasthan in February – by all accounts it’s a bit easier there – but as far as getting any image anywhere near this one of Anup’s I fly to India without hope!

Subject: FW: Great wild tiger photo from Facebook.

3 cubs of Jay and female known as Chandi 2nd from left – from Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary – a very memorable sighting it was in very first safari at the sanctuary – Nov 2015 – Nikon D750 Nikkor 600mm FL – #Nikon #Nikkor – My page Wild colours – by Anup Deodhar – #tiger #umred #wildlife #India

New post from New York Tonight, We Feast. Tomorrow, We Jog

November 27, 2015

Hugh Paxton’s Blog (who hasn’t jogged for at least twenty years is passing on the following wise words from TheGirl (she jogs!)

From: TheReporterandTheGirlMINUSTheSuperMan! [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com]
Sent: Friday, November 27, 2015 2:36 AM
To: paxton.bkk@gmail.com
Subject: [New post] Tonight, We Feast. Tomorrow, We Jog

TheGirl posted: ""It’s the holidays!" The magical time of year filled with chillier temps, holiday parties, festive decorating, Christmas shopping, baking, platters of delicious foods, cozy date nights sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace… and a dwindling workout routine."

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New post on TheReporterandTheGirlMINUSTheSuperMan!

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Tonight, We Feast. Tomorrow, We Jog

by TheGirl

"It’s the holidays!" The magical time of year filled with chillier temps, holiday parties, festive decorating, Christmas shopping, baking, platters of delicious foods, cozy date nights sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace… and a dwindling workout routine. Haven’t worked up a sweat in a bit? Forgotten about your running shoes ditched in the corner? It’s easy to simply throw up your hands, shrug and say "it’s the holidays!"

But you don’t have to completely abandon your workout routine altogether. Instead, adjust it. Check out the following tips for working out during this stressful and busy season. Because your running shoes deserve love and attention during the happiest time of year too.

Be Flexible

Fitness expert Shirley Archer, author of "Fitness 9 to 5" and "Weight Training for Dummies," recommends approaching the holiday season as a time for maintenance. Avoid setting new goals or trying to be ambitious. You can also take a seasonal approach. Think of the holidays as your off-season for lower key or shorter workouts. This flexibility allows you to adjust your workouts without self-criticism or guilt, so you can happily indulge in a mug of eggnog and gingerbread cookie after cardio.

Torch Calories

Only have a short amount of time to spare? Minimal time is the prerequisite for high-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT. These fast-paced workouts are designed to torch calories fast, describes Daily Burn. You’ll alternate between short periods of maximum effort followed by a short recovery. Workouts can range from 10 to 30 minutes, which means you can squeeze in a HIIT workout right at home before work or while waiting for a batch of Christmas cookies to bake. Check out these three HIIT workouts created by Daily Burn trainer Justin Rubin or a collection of HIIT workouts on Pinterest.

De-Stress While Away

Sometimes following a fitness plan during the holidays isn’t necessarily all about burning calories or managing your weight. Traveling and family gatherings can create stress and tension. Escaping with yoga or pilates, for example, helps channel any negative energy toward a more centered and peaceful mindset. Gyms like 24 Hour Fitness offer a variety of locations where members can attend classes as visitors. Need alone time to relax or an outlet to quiet your day? Mind-body exercises that focus on controlled breathing, structured stretching or gentle movements can rejuvenate and help you get back into the holiday spirit.

Schedule & Prioritize

During a busy day, your workout is typically the first thing to move down the list of priorities. Before you know it, you’ve decided to skip the workout due to tiredness or zero time. Designate a certain number of days on the best days possible. On these days, your workout takes number one priority. Communicate this priority and the scheduled days with your partner or family to ensure that this hour dedicated to yourself is non-negotiable.

If you need an extra boost of daily motivation, download the app FitQuote to receive motivational and inspiration quotes every day. You can even set reminder alerts for days you’re scheduled to work out to help keep you dedicated.

Choose Something Over Nothing

Some exercise or activity is always better than none. Extend the length of your daily walk with you dog. Put together a mini workout that you can do at home. These CrossFit "WOD at Home" workouts on Pinterest can inspire customizable and effective workouts that require no equipment. You can tailor these workouts and modify the movements to meet your time-frame and abilities. A combination of movements like air squats, sit-ups, push-ups, planks and burpees performed in a series of rounds (or even just one round) will get your heart pumping and make you sweat.

So tell me how you plan on staying fit and sane during the holidays!

Tweet me @ReporterandGirl or on Facebook.

TheGirl | November 26, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Tags: exercise, fitness, fitness and health, staying in shape | Categories: Musings and Life | URL: http://wp.me/p2MqP7-qR

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Thai Days: Bah humbug!

November 23, 2015

Hugh Paxton’s Blog took my beloved daughter to see Mockingjay – the climax of the Hunger Games movie series – and that was pretty appalling. It’s a teenager sort of thing and means a lot to people who like the story. I woke up half way through sensing something was wrong and there was! Annabel was quietly weeping at my side. One the young men had just been eaten by a bunch of lizard mutants while laying his life down to rescue Katlin on a mission to slay President Snow. When I next woke up I realized what was really troubling me. The movie was crap…but worse brain-decaying influences were at work!

The girls in the food court had sprouted red hats with antlers. Christmas had come to Bangkok!

“Me and my Bum,” “Hark the herald angels sing,” “I’m dreaming of a white…” all that ghastly and unholy noise was being pumped out by speaker after speaker as shoppers shopped and eaters ate and Scrooges like me writhed. Muzac is bad enough at the best of times but Christmas muzac should at least wait until December and there’s something not quite wholesome about every shopping mall spraying itself in fake snow and having Santa Claus slathered over every wall with messages like “Dear Father Christmas, I wish for a watch!” Outside of the air conditioned shamelessly commercial Christmas, Bangkok is very obviously tropical, Buddhist (sort of) and if a reindeer showed up it would be in a wok with flashed fried lemon grass.

Jesus doesn’t get a look in. Who gives a damn fachrissake?

If you have a teenager Hugh Paxton’s Blog suggests that you send him/her to watch it with friends. Stay away. They can blubber away together and eat three kilos of popcorn.

If you want Christmas go to Berlin. Their Christmas markets are simply enchanting. Jesus isn’t too obvious but there are cribs, great tree decorations, cakes, warm spiced wine, snow, and not too much in the way of muzac.

Bangkok Christmas?

Bah! Humbug!

Cheers!

Hugh

Anilbalan’s Ghost Cities New post Manannan, Son of the Sea

November 22, 2015

From: Ghost Cities [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 22, 2015 9:01 AM
To: paxton.bkk@gmail.com
Subject: [New post] Manannan, Son of the Sea

ghostcities posted: "The Isle of Man, almost equidistant from Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland, is one of the most beautiful spots in Britain, a mountainous, cliff-fringed island just thirty-one miles by thirteen, into which are shoehorned austere moorlands and wooded gle"

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New post on Ghost Cities

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Manannan, Son of the Sea

by ghostcities

The Isle of Man, almost equidistant from Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland, is one of the most beautiful spots in Britain, a mountainous, cliff-fringed island just thirty-one miles by thirteen, into which are shoehorned austere moorlands and wooded glens, sandy beaches, fine castles, beguiling narrow-gauge railways and scores of standing stones and Celtic crosses. Although it takes some effort to reach and the weather is hardly reliable, this also means that the Isle of Man has been spared the worst excesses of the British tourist trade: there’s peace and quiet in abundance and an entire yesteryear ensemble of picket fences and picnic spots, rural villages straight out of a 1950s picture book, steam trains and cream teas. This is also the island whose name comes from Manannan mac Lir, who in some tales was the son of the Irish sea god and others the brother of the Welsh Bran, known as the Blessed, and his doomed sister Branwen.

Read more of this post

ghostcities | November 22, 2015 at 2:00 am | Tags: Isle of Man, Manannan mac Lir | Categories: Folklore, History, Legend, Mythology | URL: http://wp.me/p1Pozr-qh

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John’s piece

November 22, 2015

Rather good say I!

From: Midori Paxton [mailto:midori.paxton@undp.org]
Subject: John’s piece

https://medium.com/@UNDPasiapac/for-the-love-of-peat-and-peaks-2ba8acec36e7

Midori Paxton

Regional Technical Adviser, Biodiversity and Ecosystems

UNDP – Global Environment Finance Unit

Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Bangkok Regional Hub

Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, 10200 Bangkok, Thailand

Tel: +66 (0) 2304 9100 Ext.2713 / Fax: +66 (0) 2288 3032

Mobile: +66-(0)98 824 7330

Skype: midori.paxton

www.undp.org Follow us:


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