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Aung San Suu Kyi – battered but not bruised over Rhakine crisis

Tim Newton

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Aung San Suu Kyi – battered but not bruised over Rhakine crisis | The Thaiger
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ASEAN is expressing ‘solidarity’ with the elected defacto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in her efforts to “promote humanitarian assistance to ease tensions and conflict in Rakhine state.” Leaders at APEC are officially supporting the civilian leader rather than issuing a sterner rebuke over her country’s handling of the Rohingya crisis.

Meanwhile Myanmar’s army has acquitted itself after an internal enquiry into any wrongdoing against Rhakine State Muslims (Rohingya) somehow ignoring the many independent reports coming out of the west of Myanmar after August 25 – the date the Tatmadaw Army moved in to ‘control’ violence allegedly initiated by the Arakan Army.

To date, at least 615,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled across the north-western border from Myanmar into Bangladesh. Their stories of violence, rape and the destruction of villages by soldiers from the Myanmar Army have filled the world’s headlines but are being called out by Burmese authorities as ‘exaggerations’ and ‘false reporting’ following their internal review.

In the report released yesterday, Myanmar’s military lays the blame for the violence on members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a Rohingya militant group, which it says in the report attacked 30 police and an army battalion headquarters post on August 25. According to the report, the actions of soldiers from the Myanmar Army were in ‘self defence’.

According to a story on CNN, the report states, ”Security forces did not commit shooting at innocent villagers and sexual violence and rape cases against women. They did not arrest, beat and kill the villagers.” The report also clears security forces of robbing Rohingya as well as burning their mosques, villages and homes.

Aung San Suu Kyi - battered but not bruised over Rhakine crisis | News by The Thaiger

Back at APEC 2017, a meeting of the Asia Pacific leaders, Indonesian President Joko Widodo says he is “very concerned” about the humanitarian crisis in Rhakine State. As leader of the world’s largest Muslim country, his support for the Muslim Rohingya is expected, whilst restraining his stronger condemnation of the Myanmar Government and their tacit support for soldiers in their army. Malaysia’s delegation has also strongly condemned the Myanmar Army’s action in Rhakine State in discussions with reporters but not in official APEC missives.

Jakarta is expecting urgent talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar to progress repatriation of the refugees, hoping to have concrete actions implemented soon. AFP are reporting that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is poised to visit Myanmar to discuss the matter in coming days.

Aung San Suu Kyi - battered but not bruised over Rhakine crisis | News by The Thaiger

Prior to APEC, and in media briefings away from the main stage of the APEC meeting in The Philippines, leaders continue to share their harsh criticism against Myanmar’s de facto civilian leader Suu Kyi and her handling of the Rohingya situation. The Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha is reported to have had a 10-minute corridor meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, but the details of their conversation have not been made public. In the past Thailand has sided with Myanmar, referring to the Rohingya as ‘Bengalis’, making plain their agreement with successive Burmese governments that the minority are not indigenous to Myanmar. (Thailand’s military governments have usually been in support of the neighbouring Myanmar military-led governments in the past).

Aung San Suu Kyi will walk away from this year’s APEC battered but not bruised over her handling of the Rohingya crisis. Meanwhile efforts from refugee and aid groups continue in full swing to assist the 600,000+ refugees as they languish in hastily constructed camps on the border of Myanmar and Bangladesh. ASEAN, officially, continues to turn a blind eye and struggles to maintain local political composure over the issue.

PHOTOS: Voice of America

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,900 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 450 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and is now the General Manager and writer for The Thaiger. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue.

Protests

Police accuse anonymous social media users of inciting looting during protests

Maya Taylor

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Police accuse anonymous social media users of inciting looting during protests | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.dayupdate.com

A spokesman for the Thai police says the Digital Economy and Society Ministry has asked for action to be taken against 58 social media accounts accused of encouraging looting at anti-government protests. Siriwat Deepor says the anonymous Twitter accounts are pointing to political demonstrations in other countries where looting occurs and property is destroyed.

“Chats in Twitter are claiming this kind of action (looting) occurs during rallies abroad. They are persuading participants to destroy government and private property at rally sites to raise the level of protest. We are concerned over this behaviour and would like to warn people who attend rallies not to become a tool of the bad guys who are trying to provoke these actions. Besides violating the emergency decree, such offences constitute theft, robbery, or causing loss of property under the Criminal Code.”

He adds that some responsible social media users warn against such actions and continue to advocate for peaceful protest as a way to achieve their objectives.

“We would like to thank you for your mindfulness in warning each other as a precautionary measure against third-party or malicious intervention.”

Siriwat adds that anyone caught using social media to incite violence at political rallies will be prosecuted for violation of the Computer Crimes Act and the emergency decree. His warning comes after police denied there were plans to block access to online platforms or media outlets.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Expats

Thai hotels to offer 1,000 baht discounts for expats

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai hotels to offer 1,000 baht discounts for expats | The Thaiger

To stimulate domestic tourism and help revive the economy after the pandemic, hotels plan to offer expats a 1,000 baht discount on rooms until the end of the year. A debt moratorium, put in place to help businesses hurt by the pandemic, is ending this month and hotels need a boost.

The Thai Hotels Association, or THA, says they will offer the discount on 5,000 room nights. Expats will need to show their passport. The discount is valid until December 31. THA president Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi says the new campaign supports the hotel industry during the tough economic situation. With a ban on international tourists over the past 7 months, many hotel rooms have been empty.

Even though Thailand is reopening borders to foreign visitors on the new Special Tourist Visa, the amount of international tourists expected to come in over the next month or so is a tiny fraction of the number of tourists arriving this time last year.

To reach out to foreigners who are already in the country, Thai hotels partnered with the Tourism Authority of Thailand for the Expat Travel Bonus program, offering travel, accommodation and other deals at events in Bangkok.

With the debt moratorium ending this month, Marisa says most hotels have restructured their debt with creditors. She says banks are trying to avoid nonperforming loans, which are loans more than 90 days overdue.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, occupancy rates have fallen drastically and many hotels temporarily closed. Marisa says it’s still necessary to continue with the stimulus campaign. She adds that the association is urging hotels not to raise the room rates or quote unfair prices to expats.

Thaiger Tip: Check whatever room rate you’re being offered under this new program with one of the online travel websites – bookings.com, aged.co, hotels.com, etc. Many of the hotels are already offering big discounts through the online booking portals.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

2 Thai protest leaders immediately re-arrested after being released on bail

Maya Taylor

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2 Thai protest leaders immediately re-arrested after being released on bail | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Authorities have re-arrested 2 of the leaders at the centre of anti-government protests right after they were granted temporary release on bail. Panasaya Sitthijirawattanakul, known as “Rung”, and Parit Chivarak, aka “Penguin”, were released yesterday from Patum Thani prison, north of Bangkok. They were being held on charges of violating the emergency decree and released alongside fellow protester Nutchanon Pairote, after Thammasat University professors paid bail of 200,000 baht for each of them.

What is the meaning of the 3-finger salute? Watch below…

But they were promptly re-arrested on the basis of another warrant issued by police in the Bangkok sub-district of Chana Songkhram, this time charged over another mass gathering in violation of the emergency decree. They are being held pending another detention request being filed by police with the Dusit Municipality Court in the capital today.

It’s understood fellow activist, Nutchanon Pairote, who was apprehended alongside Panasaya the first time, and also released on bail, has not been re-arrested. He says protesters are celebrating after Cabinet approved a debate on re-drafting the Constitution.

“It is our first victory. We still cling to our 3 core demands in order to make Thailand a truly democratic country. If there is another gathering tomorrow, I will insist on going as I can’t leave any of my friends out there who are dedicating their time to fight for the country.”

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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