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US accuses Chinese companies of exploitation along the Mekong River

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The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is accusing Chinese companies of “exploitative practices” in the Mekong River region after a new partnership has been launched to combat “transnational crimes”. Pompeo named the China Communications Construction Company as one of the big offenders and says the Chinese Communist Party is responsible for the increase in human, wildlife and drug trafficking in the region.

He says the new partnership will also strengthen water security for partner countries where China has added to a drought in the region as an upstream damming by China has been carried out in “a completely non-transparent and non-consultative way.”

“We encourage countries of the Mekong region to hold the CCP accountable to its pledge to share its water data. That data should be public. It should be released year-round. It should include water and water-related data, as well as land use, and dam construction and operation data.”

“We stand with our ASEAN partners as we insist on the rule of law and respect for sovereignty in the South China Sea, where Beijing has pursued aggressive campaigns of coercion and environmental devastation.”

Pompeo also said such companies associated with the CCP are linked to human and narcotics trafficking but he did not provide evidence to support the accusation.

Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand all share resources of the Mekong delta and Pompeo reiterated that they “deserve good partners”. The US has reportedly pledged a total of US$156.4 million for multiple initiatives under the new US-Mekong Partnership.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Protests

Palang Pracharath MP calls for probe into Pheu Thai MP who cut own arm in parliament

Maya Taylor

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Palang Pracharath MP calls for probe into Pheu Thai MP who cut own arm in parliament | The Thaiger
Wisarn pictured with his daughter - PHOTO: www.newsbeezer.com / Facebook

Opposition politicians are clashing over the actions of one MP who deliberately cut his arm in an act of self-harm to draw attention to the plight of anti-government protesters. Palang Pracharath MP, Sira Jenjaka, is threatening Wisarn Techathirawat, Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai, with removal from office for what he’s calling a publicity stunt.

On Tuesday, during a special joint parliamentary session aimed at finding a solution to the ongoing political unrest, Wisarn produced a knife and proceeded to cut his left arm 3 times. Prior to producing the knife, he had criticised the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, for using unnecessary force against peaceful protesters, and called on him to listen to their demands.

He said he did not want to see their blood shed and would rather lose his own. He then produced the knife and ignored calls from parliament president Chuan Leekpai not to cut himself. He subsequently received 9 stitches at Bangkok’s Vachira Hospital.

Sira says he plans to petition the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate Wisarn for allegedly violating the ethical code for MPs. He is also calling on Parliament to investigate the Pheu Thai MP’s action. He accuses Wisarn of having cut himself to garner media attention ahead of provincial elections around the country, pointing out that Wisarn’s daughter is contesting an election in Chiang Rai.

Sira says Wisarn’s actions are a disgrace to parliament, adding that security should be improved to prevent people bringing weapons into the building. However, Ubonsak Bualuang-ngam, Wisarn’s fellow Pheu Thai MP, says Wisarn borrowed the fruit knife from a maid working in the building. He says that, in his opinion, his colleague did not breach any ethical code.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

Contempt charge dropped against protest leader Parit

Maya Taylor

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Contempt charge dropped against protest leader Parit | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Prachathai

The leader of the Free People protest group, Parit Chiwarak, aka, “Penguin”, has had a charge of contempt dropped. He had been charged after calling on activists to gather at the court on August 8 to obstruct proceedings in a case against fellow protest leaders, Anon Nampa and Panupong Jadnok. The Bangkok Post reports that the Criminal Court dropped the charge yesterday after an apology from Parit.

Fellow protest leader Anon Nampa, who also serves as Parit’s lawyer, told the court that on August 8, while attending the Criminal Court, his client had spoken out without thinking, and that he hadn’t intended to disrupt proceedings. He added that Parit understood his action was unacceptable and had given an undertaking not to break the law again. After being admonished by the court, the charge was dropped. Parit remains in prison on other charges related to anti-government rallies.

In a separate development, 4 other protesters have been charged with violating the state of emergency by attending a rally at the Pathumwan intersection in Bangkok on October 16. Yesterday, Korakot Saengyenphan, Suwanna Tarnlek, Chartchai Kaedam and Sirapob Phumpheungphut, all arrived at Pathuman police station, accompanied by their lawyers. Korakot says they refute the charges, accusing officials of introducing the State of Emergency without just cause.

Meanwhile, human rights lawyer Anon has been re-arrested on another protest-related charge, after being released on bail earlier this week.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

PM refuses to resign, citing concerns over political divide, the economy, Covid-19

Maya Taylor

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PM refuses to resign, citing concerns over political divide, the economy, Covid-19 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

“I refuse to comply with the proposals that do not represent the needs of the majority of the people.”

The Thai PM has made it clear he will not resign, saying he has no intention of “abandoning the country during a crisis”. Addressing Parliament yesterday, Prayut Chan-o-cha pointed to the current problems facing Thailand, including the political divide in society, the crisis brought on by the slowdown of the economy, and the dangers of a Covid-19 resurgence. He was responding to opposition calls for his resignation.

“You should think back to the political rallies in 2006 and 2014, when the ones in power also did not resign. I refuse to comply with the proposals that do not represent the needs of the majority of the people and will not run away from problems or abandon the country during a crisis. Ask yourself whether the victory you will gain on top of the country’s wreckage will be worth it or not, because by then we will have nothing left to change. Think about the children. Don’t use them to drive political movements.”

The PM went on to thank MPs who’d offered suggestions for a way out of the ongoing crisis, but pointed out that one of his biggest concerns about the protests is the risk of a resurgence of the Covid-19 virus. He says the country must do everything to avoid another lockdown, adding that the protests risk undermining economic confidence and are creating division in Thai society.

“The political rallies could undermine the confidence in our economy, but what worries me is that it could cause a rift in Thai society. We used to say that Thais treat each other as family members and respect one another. I don’t want to see this culture disappear because of misunderstanding between generations.”

Referring to yesterday’s incident in Parliament, in which opposition MP Visan Techatirawat cut his arm in protest at the treatment of anti-government activists, the PM claims the incident was pre-meditated in order to get media attention.

“However, I regret that it happened, as such an incident has never taken place in Parliament before.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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