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Thai, Malaysian PMs pledge push for southern peace

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PHOTO: Benar News

Malaysia and Thailand have agreed to expand the scope of bilateral cooperation to contain an insurgency along their shared border after changing peace negotiators. The two premiers have promised to help solve the conflict.

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has assured his visiting Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad that the peace dialogue in the deep South will continue and that Malaysia will continue playing the role of facilitator.

However, Prayut said, the dialogue will only be carried out within the framework of Thailand’s Constitution.

The two Prime Ministers met at Government House and the main talking point of the meeting was the violence-wracked deep South. Malaysia recently appointed its former national police chief, Abdul Rahim Noor, as facilitator, while the Thai side has chosen former Fourth Army Region Commander Udomchai Thamsarorat to lead negotiations with MARA Patani.

Violence has rocked the predominantly Muslim region since early 2004 claiming over 7,000 lives so far, and dialogue with insurgent groups, initiated since 2013, has yielded no significant results.

“Now, you have the problem in the south and we are pledged to help in whatever way possible to end this violence,” – Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad

Prayut said that though the situation in the South was an internal matter, cooperation from Malaysia and other countries in the region would make resolving it easier. He added that the discussion with Mahathir showed that both sides understand each other’s concerns and limitations.

Apart from cooperating in relation to the South, Prayut said the two countries will also work together on other issues, such as border security, economic development, measures to tackle broader security issues, particularly in countering terrorism, extremism and transnational crimes such as trafficking in drugs and humans.

Mahathir recalled the two neighbours’ history of strong cooperation, saying, “When Malaysia was facing the issue of terrorism before, Thailand helped in many ways to put an end to those activities.

“We are grateful to the Thai government and the Thai people.”

As for violence in the South, Mahathir pledged to do what is needed to help end it.

“I’m sure when the two countries sincerely work together to solve a problem, the problem will be (alleviated) if not ended altogether,” Mahathir said.

The two premiers also discussed trade and other means of cooperation within Asean.

However, he admitted that human-trafficking was one of the problems at the southern border.

“More attention should be paid to this so the smuggling of goods and humans cannot happen,” he said.

“We are very concerned about human trafficking. It has to stop. We will take action to stop the exploitation of Malaysia and Thailand (as transit points) to go to other places.”

SOURCES: The Nation, Benar News

Thai, Malaysian PMs pledge push for southern peace | News by The Thaiger

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Bangkok

Thai officials approve transfer of 3 Iranians involved in 2012 botched bomb plot in Bangkok

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai officials approve transfer of 3 Iranians involved in 2012 botched bomb plot in Bangkok | The Thaiger
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Thai authorities are transferring 3 Iranian inmates to Tehran. The inmates were involved in the 2012 failed bomb plot, which Israeli and Thai officials say, was targeted at Israeli diplomats in Bangkok.

According to Iranian state TV, the transfer was a swap. The report says 33 year old British-Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was incarcerated for the past 2 years on espionage charges, was released from Iran prison in exchange for the 3 Iranians imprisoned overseas.

Although Iranian media reports the transfer was a prisoner swap, Thai officials have not confirmed the reports. Thailand’s deputy general Chatchom Akapin says the transfers are normal and Thailand approved the transfer in an agreement with Iran.

“These types of transfers aren’t unusual… We transfer prisoners to other countries and at the same time receive Thais back under this type of agreement all the time.”

Back in 2012, a cache of homemade explosives accidentally blew up at a Bangkok villa on Sukhumvit 71 rented by the Iranians. Saeid Moradi fled the home carrying explosives, but dropped them as police chased him. He lost both his legs in the explosion.

While both Thai and Israeli officials say the explosives were intended to attack Israeli diplomats in Bangkok, Iran officials deny the allegations. The men never faced terrorism charges or any charges relating to attempting to kill the Israeli diplomats.

Moradi along with his accomplice, Mohammad Kharzei, were convicted in 2013. Thai Court sentenced Moradi to life in prison for attempting to murder a police officer and sentenced Kharzei to 15 years in prison for possessing explosives. Another suspect, Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, was arrested in Malaysia in 2012 and then extradited to Thailand in 2017.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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Bangkok

Whale skeleton around 3,000-5,000 years old found in Samut Sakhon

Caitlin Ashworth

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Whale skeleton around 3,000-5,000 years old found in Samut Sakhon | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

A whale skeleton estimated to be around 3,000 to 5,000 years old was found in Samut Sakhon, just west of Bangkok, about 12 kilometres inland from the coastline. The bones will be carbon dated to determine a more precise age.

The Natural Resources and Environment minister Varawut Silpa-archa says the bones resemble the Bryde’s whale. About 50 Bryde’s whales live in the upper Gulf of Thailand near the Samut Sakhon coast.

“The seas around Thailand have been abundant with life for thousands of years, as shown by fossils.”

The partially fossilised skeleton is around 12 metres long with 3 metre long skull. Archaeologists excavated 19 vertebrae with 5 ribs each along with a shoulder blade and left fins. They estimate another 20% of the skeleton needs to be excavated.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Bangkok

Thai-American US senator says women need to break through the glass ceiling

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai-American US senator says women need to break through the glass ceiling | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikipedia

Thai-American United States Senator Ladda “Tammy” Duckworth says women – in both Thailand and the US – need to take on leadership roles and break through the glass ceiling. Her speech, recorded in Illinois and played back at the Bangkok Post International Forum 2020, comes at a time where groups of Thai women attending the ongoing pro-democracy protests are expressing concerns with patriarchal society.

At a recent protest, a woman dressed in a school uniform with tape over her mouth held a sign saying “A teacher sexually assaulted me. The school is not a safe space.” At another protest, a group of women performed a dance and chant to raise awareness about how some victims sexual harassment and rape are blamed because the way they dress.

Others attending the protests have brought to light issues on gender equality in Thailand, such as how the nation’s top military school does not accept women. In an earlier report, a student protester told a New York Times reporter “The monarchy and the military have all the power in Thailand… I shouldn’t be afraid to say that men have almost all the power.”

The US senator, who was born in Bangkok, says she spent her entire life in male-dominated fields. She served in the US army and lost both her legs back in 2004 when a Black Hawks helicopter she was co-piloting in Iraq was shot down. In her speech, she told a story about her experience being a woman in the army.

“I made sure that on every sub-zero morning there were hot teas and hot cocoas for my crew because it’s so cold in Chicago in the winter, but some of the male commanders and platoon leaders started to call me ‘the mommy platoon leader’. It was meant to be an insult.”

“Once I took away the warm teas and warm cocoas, my guys performed worse because they were cold. They were doing better when I provided them hot beverages to keep them going. What I should have done is to fight like a woman and beat those male leaders by doing it.”

She says women in America and in Thailand will never be as strong as they can be if they keep accepting the status quo that doesn’t “fully accept” half the world’s population, women.

“Our nations will never be at their best as long as 50% of our population have to keep ducking our heads to avoid hitting that glass ceiling.”

“National security is a women’s issue. The economy is a women’s issue. Healthcare is also a women’s issue. Our countries will never reach high stature as long as we keep siloing women’s issues in the way we are used to, because women’s issues don’t start and end with equal pay.”

Along with urging women in both Thailand and America to challenge gender barriers, Tammy says she hopes to see closer ties between the 2 countries.

“There’s a reason Thailand is often called Washington’s oldest ally in Asia. Ever since Washington’s ship landed on Siam’s shore more than 200 years ago. Ever since King Mongkut offered to send elephants to President Abraham Lincoln. Ever since we agreed to help strengthen one another’s economies with the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and helping defend one other through the Manila Pact.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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