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American Alex Dion in custody over murder of Thai national – Sydney

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American Alex Dion in custody over murder of Thai national – Sydney | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Wachiro “Mario” Phetmang – Facebook

An American father, charged with the murder of a Thai man in western Sydney last year, is set to remain in custody until his next court appearance in June.

Australian police have charged 38 year old Alex Dion with murder of a Thai national – the body found bound and gagged on a Sydney roadside. He has been charged with the 2018 murder of Wachira “Mario” Phetmang after he arrived in Sydney from California under police guard.

The arrest warrant for Dion was issued last September while he already was in custody on a domestic violence charge in San Diego.

Wachira’s body was discovered by a truck driver in June 2018 bound, gagged and wrapped in plastic. An autopsy revealed more than 20 wounds to his head and had multiple skull fractures.

The 33 year old former cafe and spa worker had been living in Australia for at least the last 10 years, and was a permanent resident at the time of his death. He was last seen alive on May 25, 2018 at a petrol station in the Sydney suburb of South Hurstville.

Dion, a US national, is believed to have left Australia on May 27, more than a week before the body was found and formally identified.

When Australian police held a news conference seeking the public’s help in the case, Dion called them and tried to blame an associate for Wachira’s killing, while also acknowledging that he had Wachira’s credit cards and cellphones with him in San Diego, according to the search warrant.

Dion told police that he had met Wachira at the gas station to purchase drugs but that he left when their associate showed up, a story police claim is contradicted by surveillance footage.

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Events

900 million budget for MotoGP gets Cabinet nod

Jack Burton

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900 million budget for MotoGP gets Cabinet nod | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Golden Voice Club

The Cabinet today gave the green light (pun intended) to the Tourism and Sports Ministry’s proposal to earmark 900 million baht for MotoGP race from 2021-2025. The ministry predicts the races will generate at least 3 billion baht in revenue.

The licences for holding the motorbike races cost the government 100 million baht annually. Authorities paid 300 million for licences acquired between 2018, (when the track opened in the northeastern Buriram province) and 2020, the first of which earned huge praise – and profits.

MotoGP fans were disappointed this year though when, despite earlier assurances, the 2020 race was “postponed indefinitely” due to the Covid-19crisis.

According to the MotoGP website, the Thailand Grand Prix is still been suspended and most tournaments between July and November will be held in Europe.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thai Life

Thai Cabinet approves same-sex marriage bill

Jack Burton

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Thai Cabinet approves same-sex marriage bill | The Thaiger
PHOTO Gay Star News

The Thai cabinet has today endorsed a bill allowing marriage registration of same-sex couples, as well as legal amendments to ensure same-sex couples have the same rights and privileges as opposite-sex couples. The bill and the amendment will now be put to a vote in the Thai parliament.

The government’s deputy spokeswoman says the new Civil Partnership Bill and the amendment to the Civil and Commercial Code will “ensure fairness for people of all gender identification”. The bill defines civil partners as couples born with the same sex. Marriage registration will be available to consenting same-sex couples who are at least 17 years old. One or both must be Thai.

“The Civil Partnership Bill is a milestone for Thai society in promoting equality among people of all genders… This strengthens the families of people with sexual diversity and is appropriate for the present social circumstances.”

Minors who seek such marriage certification must have the consent of their parents, legal guardians or a court.

Spouses of civil partners will have the same legal rights as married husbands and wives, notably including with regard to personal and jointly-held property. Civil partners can adopt a child, or a partner can adopt an adoptive child of a spouse. When a partner dies, the survivor will have the same inheritance rights as conventional married couples under the Civil and Commercial Code. Sections of the code concerning married couples will also apply to civil partners.

The amended Civil and Commercial Code will prohibit a man or a woman from getting married if he or she already has a civil partner.

A man or a woman can face a divorce lawsuit if he or she treats someone else as a civil partner.

The Justice Ministry, which proposed the bill and the legal amendments, will monitor the effectiveness of the changes and plan other legal amendments to ensure compliance with those already enacted.

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Southeast Asia

AirAsia’s wings may be clipped permanently

Jack Burton

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AirAsia’s wings may be clipped permanently | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Jakarta Post

Malaysia’s budget airline AirAsia could become the next casualty of the Covid19 pandemic, which has grounded fleets around the world and already forced the demise of NokScoot, another regional budget carrier. AirAsia’s auditor is warning that the airline’s future is in “significant doubt” due to the collapse in demand for air travel caused by the coronavirus and regional governments closing borders.

The aviation industry is facing its biggest-ever crisis worldwide due to the outbreak, with many airlines laying off vast swathes of staff and some already out of business.

Not so long ago AirAsia shook up south east Asian budget air travel with its slogan “Now everyone can fly.” On Monday the company reported a record quarterly loss of 803 million ringgit (5.9 billion baht). Auditor Ernst & Young said Tuesday that “travel and border restrictions implemented by countries around the world have led to a significant fall in demand for air travel, which impacted the group’s financial performance and cash flows.”

In an unqualified audit opinion statement to the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange, the accountancy firm noted the “existence of material uncertainties that may cast significant doubt on the group’s and the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Trading in AirAsia’s shares was halted this morning but resumed in the afternoon. AirAsia Group shares slumped nearly 18% when trading resumed following the suspension. The budget airline pared its loss down to 12% as of 3:40pm local time. Trading was halted Wednesday until 2:30pm local time.

AirAsia’s CEO Tony Fernandes said on Monday…. “This is by far the biggest challenge we have faced since we began in 2001.” He says the carrier is in talks for joint ventures and collaborations that could result in additional investment, and it has applied for bank loans and is weighing other proposals to raise capital.

Last month, South Korean conglomerate SK Group announced it was reviewing a proposal to buy a small stake in the airline. In May, AirAsia sent a memo to Malaysian banks seeking to borrow 1 billion ringgit, (7.3 billion baht) according to people familiar with the matter.

AirAsia said in an exchange filing Wednesday that Ernst & Young’s statement and a decline in shareholder equity triggered the criteria for a so-called Practice Note 17, which applies to financially distressed companies. But the airline won’t be classified as PN17, as the Malaysian exchange suspended application of the status from April through June next year as part of relief measures in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

AirAsia needs at least 2 billion ringgit this year to stay afloat, according to an aviation analyst at UOB Kay Hianin Singapore.

“There’s not a lot of options, and the best one could be the government stepping in but seeking a rights offering by the company in exchange.”

Despite the warnings, there are signs of improvement with the gradual lifting of restrictions on interstate travel and domestic tourism activities in the countries where AirAsia and its units operate.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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