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Asia’s struggle with democracy – Thailand ranks #107 in the world

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Asia’s struggle with democracy – Thailand ranks #107 in the world | The Thaiger
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by By DataLEADS

In the wake of the confirmation from the Thai Government about a firm date for the next election, a survey has been released which measures the Asian democracies. Thais go to the polls to elect a new government on February 2019, the first time since they elected Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party in 2011.

The report says that Asia has made strong headway in advancing democracy but still has a long way to go in some countries, compared to other more established democracies in the world.

The Economic Intelligence Unit’s report on Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and politicalculture. Countries are then ranked on a scale of 1-10 and classifies them as ‘full democracy’, ‘flawed democracy’, ‘hybrid regime’ and ‘authoritarian regime’.

Many Asian countries figure in the list of 166 countries, yet none, according to the report, has reached ‘full democracy’.

In Asia South Korea figures at the top. The country is ranked 20th, a jump from 24th position in 2016. The improvement in score is attributed to a popular movement which led to the impeachment of the then president, Park Geun-hye, who was found guilty of embezzlement.

Japan ranks second in Asia but 23 globally. India is ranked third in Asia and 42 globally. The country saw a steep dip in its ranking from 32nd to 42nd place. The decline in the ranking is owed to the rising right wing force and attack on minorities and dissenting voices.

Philippines is ranks fourth in Asia and 51 globally. According to the report the declaration of martial law in the southern part of the country and Rodrigo Duterte’s continuous infringement of the democratic values has adversely affects the country’s democratic culture. Malaysia is ranked fifth in Asia and 59 globally followed by Mongolia and Sri Lanka globally ranked 60 and 62 respectively.

Indonesia has fallen from 48th position to 68thposition mostly due to stringent blasphemy laws that have been used to curb the freedom of expression regularly. It is followed by Singapore which is ranked 69 globally but still operates more as a family-run business than a government. Nepal and Bhutan are ranked 94 and 99 respectively. Thailand is ranked 107 globally

Blasphemy laws in Pakistan and media censorship has created hindrances in the functioning of democracy. The country is ranked 110 followed by Myanmar and Cambodia.

Censorship of social media in China and the consolidation of power by Chinese leader has resulted in a stifling regime in the country. Journalists are constinously locked up and freedom of speech is not granted. According to the report the country is classified as authoritarian followed by Vietnam and Laos ranked 140 and 151 respectively.

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Malaysia

Technical issues force Singapore aircraft to land on Malaysian highway – VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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Technical issues force Singapore aircraft to land on Malaysian highway – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Twitter

A single-engine prop plane from Singapore has been forced to make an emergency landing on a Malaysian highway due to technical difficulties. A report in Coconuts says the aircraft touched down on the hard shoulder of a highway in Johor, as cars sped past. The 2 pilots on board are believed to be in stable condition.

Chester Voo, CEO of Malaysia’s aviation authority, says an investigation has been launched to determine what went wrong with the plane, which has now been removed.

“Search and rescue teams have completed all required tasks. The investigation will be conducted by the Air Accident Investigation Bureau under the Ministry of Transport, Malaysia.”

It’s understood the plane left Seletar Airport in Singapore and was flying to Melaka when the pilots contacted Air Traffic Control at Johor, requesting permission to land at Senai International Airport, due to technical problems. However, Voo says the aircraft did not make it to the airport before it had to land on the highway.

Meanwhile, Thomas Ong from Premier Aero Singapore, who provide services at Seletar Airport, says his company provided immigration assistance to one of the pilots prior to departure, but doesn’t know what happened to cause the emergency landing.

“We only assisted Dr Yang in immigration formalities with the Seletar Airport Authority for his arrival and departure.”

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Singapore – Hong Kong travel bubble delayed due to Covid rise in HK

Maya Taylor

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Singapore – Hong Kong travel bubble delayed due to Covid rise in HK | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Ruslan Bardash on Unsplash

Singapore and Hong Kong have agreed to delay their travel bubble plans as Hong Kong experiences a jump in Covid-19 cases. Although case numbers in both cities are nowhere near as serious as what’s currently being seen in places like Europe and the US, officials are erring on the side of caution and postponing the plan by at least 2 weeks.

The travel pact would have allowed people to travel between both cities without having to endure mandatory quarantine, but authorities on both sides had agreed it would be postponed if either location reported more than 5 new local cases in a rolling 7 day average. The Bangkok Post reports that travel between both cities remains possible, but quarantine is still a requirement in both places.

Mungo Paterson, a British national who lives in Hong Kong and had booked a ticket to Singapore for December 7, says the reinstatement of the quarantine requirement is the biggest problem.

“That is the main deterrent, I have no interest in sitting in a hotel room for 2 weeks – it’s not healthy. I was excited when they announced it, I thought ‘here we go’. I’m now holding off confirming until Dec 2. I think there’s a 50-50 chance the flight will happen.”

Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung says the rise in cases in Hong Kong shows that any attempted travel arrangement will not be plain sailing.

“This is a sober reminder that the Covid-19 virus is still with us, and even as we fight to regain our normal lives, the journey will be full of ups and downs.”

The strict border controls seen in Asia appear to have helped countries here suppress the virus better than elsewhere in the world, but the controls have come at a significant cost, crippling tourism and the aviation sector. Rico Merkert from the University of Sydney’s business school says that, without international traffic, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines will continue to struggle, even when the travel bubble between their 2 hubs does begin.

“Even if the Hong Kong-Singapore corridor opens, the boost to the 2 aviation hubs will be limited. Singapore Airlines and Cathay will continue to struggle because they can’t funnel onto the route those travellers who would normally arrive from Europe and the US. Without that feeder traffic, those bubbles will at best be limited to the local population. International travel is going to remain a tricky affair.”

October traffic for both carriers has plummeted compared to the same period last year, with Cathay carrying just 38,541 passengers, down 98.6% on 2019 figures. Singapore Airlines has experienced a similar slump, with October numbers down 98.2% on last year’s, at 35,500.

Brendan Sobie from Sobie Aviation says at this stage, the implementation of a travel bubble is mostly symbolic, adding that the aviation sector will take years to fully recover.

“Bubbles provide a little bit of incremental additional international traffic in the interim period until the pandemic ends. A full recovery in air traffic will still take a few years, even with a vaccine, though bubbles will help get the process moving.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Drugs

Half a tonne of high grade compressed marijuana seized in NE Thailand

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Half a tonne of high grade compressed marijuana seized in NE Thailand | The Thaiger

Thai border police have seized half a tonne of “high grade marijuana” Nakhon Phanom province, north east Thailand, saying a border with Laos and the Mekong River. Border police announced the seizure of 480 kilograms of marijuana during a routine roadside search.

Police announced that a car was intercepted on a road near Ban Khok Sawang. The driver, 25 year old Likit Boonprasit, was detained and later arrested by border police. They found 12 fertiliser sacks containing a total of 480 1 kilogram “bricks” of of compressed marijuana. He told police the marijuana had been smuggled across the Mekong in long-tail boats from Laos.

The man said he would be paid 30,000 baht to deliver the marijuana to Bangkok. He told police that the delivery instructions were to be sent to him as he headed towards Bangkok. More than 3 tonnes of high grade marijuana out of Laos have been seized in Nakhon Phanom over the past month.

At the end of last month border patrol police seized 556,000 methamphetamine pills and 138 kilograms of compressed marijuana in That Phanom district, on a road near the Mekong River.

In that case police found 3 fertiliser sacks containing 556,000 methamphetamine pills and 4 other sacks with 138 kilograms of Marijuana in an abandoned vehicle.

Police claim the pills were being transported from Myanmar, via Last, as an alternative route into Thailand. They were then smuggled by long boat across the Mekong river.

Road routes and traditional border crossing have been closed as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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