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Air Asia loyalty program email scams on the loose again

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Air Asia loyalty program email scams on the loose again | The Thaiger

AirAsia Big Loyalty CEO Spencer Lee has issued an alert on the airline’s corporate website about an email scam. The company is warning the public not to engage with an online scam circulating with the subject line ‘AirAsia Big Loyalty Bonus’.

The latest ‘loyalty program’ scam surfaced on June 21.

It’s not the first time scammers have targeted AirAsia, routinely credited as the world’s best low-cost airline by SkyTrax.

Usually, scams focus on competition or winning free tickets by providing identity information, but this time the scam focuses on the airline’s loyalty program members.

Air Asia is warning members of the public to be cautious and always refer to AirAsia’s official website and social media channels for the latest company news, activities or promotions.

Last April the airline warned travellers of a similar scam circulating via email with the subject: AirAsia Big Loyalty Bonus’.

The airline claims it will take legal action against individuals or groups who organise illegal and misleading scams using the AirAsia brand or any of its subsidiaries.

Air Asia loyalty program email scams on the loose again | News by The Thaiger

Laos

Heading south at speed: The China–Laos railway

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Heading south at speed: The China–Laos railway | The Thaiger

by Selina Ho, NUS

  • Laos is dependent on China to bankroll the US$7 billion project, raising concerns of being caught in a debt trap
  • The Kunming-Vientiane link will eventually connect with a railway line to Bangkok, and southward down the Malay peninsula to Singapore
  • The Laos section of the project is now half complete

Construction on the China–Laos railway began in December 2016 and involves six Chinese contractors from subsidiaries of the state-owned China Railway Group. Contractors now report that it’s half-finished and is on schedule to be completed by December 2021.

The 414 kilometre railway line stretches from Boten, on Laos’ northern border with China, to Vientiane, the Laos capital (map below). It will then connect with Thailand to Malaysia and Singapore as part of a pan-Asia railway that will eventually north-south from Kunming in Yunnan province all the way to Singapore.

The US$7 billion project is a showcase of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road Initiative” for rebuilding infrastructure along the ancient Silk Road from China to Africa and Europe.

The Laos government’s role is to leverage its section of the railway to transform Laos from a ‘landlocked’ to a ‘land-linked’ country. Laos’ one-party system has allowed the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, which has governed since 1975, to push ahead with the project. This is different from Thailand and Malaysia where opposition and countless ‘reports’ have slowed the progress southward.

The rapid progress in the China–Laos railway line has made it a poster child of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Heading south at speed: The China–Laos railway | News by The Thaiger

Construction of the railway has created more than 5000 jobs for the local people and ‘changed the lives of local villagers whose dreams have now come true”, according to Xinhua media in China.

But these upbeat reports from Chinese media gloss over the challenges in constructing the China–Laos section of the railway. Difficult terrain and geography mean that a total of 170 bridges and 72 tunnels have to be constructed through Laos’ mountainous terrain.

Then there’s the remnants of the Indochina War (Vietnam War) which left an enormous volume of unexploded ordnance. Construction companies have been forced to suspend construction temporarily to clear some of the unexploded ordnance.

Then there’s been opposition from affected villagers. In October 2016 they were prevented from speaking at public meetings held to promote the project, to oppose the railway. In January 2018, the Lao government revealed that a compensation law had been drafted for compulsory acquisitions related to all Laos infrastructure projects.

The Laos government, based in Vientiane, has also been facing difficulties in coming up with its share of capital for the project. In March 2018, the Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport had to urgently request approval of a budget of 510 billion kip (1.8 billion Thai baht or US$60 million) for Laos’ 2018 contribution to the project.

In the long run, the line through Laos will have to connect with the Nong Khai–Bangkok high-speed railway in Thailand to make economic sense. But there are plenty more challenges ahead.

The planned extension of the railway line between Laos and Thailand at Thanaleng Station, 20 kilometres east of Vientiane was supposed to begin in late 2010 but was scrapped by the Lao authorities because they wanted to study in detail how the existing 1 metre gauge Laos–Thailand track could be joined to the 1.435 metre standard gauge China–Laos line. The extension only resumed in 2017, a delay of six years.

SOURCE: East Asia Forum | SCMP

Heading south at speed: The China–Laos railway | News by The Thaiger

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Malaysia

Malaysian airlines pilot was in control ‘until the end’ – French investigation into MH370

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Malaysian airlines pilot was in control ‘until the end’ – French investigation into MH370 | The Thaiger

“Certain abnormal turns made by the 777 can only have been carried out manually. Someone was in control.”

In the latest report into the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 mystery, French investigators suspect the pilot was in control of the missing plane “until the end”. They’ve made their claims, over five years after the incident, after gaining access to “crucial” flight data.

The revelations, based largely on Boeing data, comes just days after a new story suggests the pilot may have been “clinically depressed”, which could have led him to starve the passengers of oxygen and then crash the 777 jet into the Indian Ocean.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was travelling from KL to Beijing on March 8, 2014. There were 239 passengers and crew on board when it vanished and became the world’s greatest aviation mystery, baffling all attempts to try and understand what could have happened to a modern 74 metre long aircraft to make it simply disappear.

The plane, at an early stage in its diversion from its official flight plan, flew over southern Thailand. There was an unconfirmed sighting by sailors who were heading for Phuket at the time, saying they saw a “fireball in the sky”. There was also an Italian tourist staying on Phuket who’s passport was stolen and used by a passenger on the fateful flight.

Italian tourist Luigi Maraldi, 37, today met with Phuket Police to discuss his passport that was stolen on the island in 2013, and then used by a person posing as him to board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 – The Phuket News

A 495 page official report was released last year, claiming the plane’s controls were “probably deliberately manipulated” to veer it off course but the report didn’t appoint responsibility to any single factor or person.

Two investigating French magistrates are still looking into the deaths of three French passengers – the wife and two children of Ghyslain Wattrelos, an engineer who met the judges this week. According to Le Parisien, they informed Ghyslain that Boeing had finally granted them access two months ago to vital flight data at the Boeing HQ in Seattle.

He says they were obliged to sign a confidentiality agreement at the time, meaning the documents cannot be presented in a court. The investigators also visited Immarsat headquarters in the UK who, immediately following the planes disappearance, released data based on their tracking of flights through data fed through their satellite network.

Marie Dosé, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, says it will take a year to sift through all the data and “nothing permits us to say the pilot was involved.”

But, according to The Telegraph, French investigators (quoted in Le Parisien) say the data “lends weight’ to the idea that “someone was behind the control stick when the plane broke up hitting the Indian Ocean”.

The article quoted a source “close to the inquiry” claiming someone was flying the plane “until the end.”

“Certain abnormal turns made by the 777 can only have been carried out manually. Someone was in control.”

Malaysian airlines pilot was in control ‘until the end’ - French investigation into MH370 | News by The Thaiger

Since the Malaysia Airlines flight vanished in March 2014 conspiracy theorists have speculated a number of completely unverifiable theories, all without evidence.

1. It was shot down

According to this theory, Flight 370 could have been shot down during a joint military exercise between the United States and Thailand in the South China Sea. The theory is advanced in a book called Flight MH370: The Mystery by Nigel Cawthorne, a UK-based writer. The book describes the plane’s disappearance as “the greatest mystery since the Mary Celeste”.

2. It was hijacked

With the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington approaching, conspiracy theorists have turned much of their focus to what some have dubbed the “9/11/14” theory. This theory, utterly devoid of proof but nonetheless widely circulated on the internet, suggests that Flight 370 did not crash but is in fact being prepared for use in a terrorist spectacular that will coincide with anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

3. It was switched

The “plane switch” is among the most outlandish theories to have surfaced. One of its main backers is Jim Stone, a self-described “independent journalist” whose website carries the motto: “Truth is reality, which lies and inventions fall to in the end.” Mr Stone proposes the theory that it was Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and not Flight 17 that was shot down over the Ukraine in July last year. He offers little in the way of explanation about who might benefit from switching the planes, or how they might have achieved it.

4. It landed on an island

In the days and weeks following the plane’s disappearance one of the most commonly heard conspiracy theories was that it had landed on Diego Garcia, the British-owned island in the Indian Ocean that is home to a major US military base. The theory gained so much traction that US officials were forced to deny it.

5. It was destroyed by a mysterious new weapon

Mike Adams, a veteran conspiracy theorist who runs a website called the Natural News, is known for his bizarre and often ludicrous articles.

“There are some astonishing things you’re not being told about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370,” he wrote less than 48 hours after the disaster. His explanation for how MH370 “utterly and inexplicably vanished”? Not a hijacking nor a mid-air explosion but possibly the work of “some entirely new, mysterious and powerful force” capable of plucking “airplanes out of the sky without leaving behind even a shred of evidence”.

Yeah… right (face palm).

6. Russia hijacked the plane

Under Putin’s orders and flew it to Kazakhstan.

The reality check

Despite all those theories, the reality is certainly more mundane, says David Learmount, the aviation expert. He is convinced that whatever happened to the plane was “a deliberate act by someone on board, probably the captain”.

Read the rest of the article at The Telegraph.

SOURCE: telegraph.co.uk

Malaysian airlines pilot was in control ‘until the end’ - French investigation into MH370 | News by The Thaiger

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Crime

20 smuggled Burmese, including children, found in locked Songkhla warehouse

The Thaiger & The Nation

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20 smuggled Burmese, including children, found in locked Songkhla warehouse | The Thaiger

by Santiparp Ramasutra

Songkhla Police, in Thailand’s deep south, have rescued 20 scared and hungry Burmese, victims of traffickers who’d locked them inside a warehouse on the Thai-Malaysian border. Residents say they heard the sound of children crying for several days in the usually deserted warehouse in the Sadao district.

Pol General Suchart Thirasawat, an inspector-general in charge of an anti-trafficking unit, led the rescue operation last night (Saturday).

“We found the building heavily locked from outside and could we hear women and children crying inside,” he said.

The locks were soon broken open, revealing the migrants sitting in the dark without windows or electricity. There were five children, the youngest around two years old, nine men and six women.

“All of them were glad to see us.”

They told their rescuers they’d been locked up for five days without food, surviving only on rainwater trickling in. Suchart says it appears they were smuggled in from Myanmar and were destined for Malaysia. He vowed to catch the traffickers.

SOURCE: The Nation

20 smuggled Burmese, including children, found in locked Songkhla warehouse | News by The Thaiger

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