The Japanese have spent the past 60 years promoting a message of peace in the world. Unfortunately for one young Thai man, traces of the Samurai warrior ethic can still be found among the legions of salarymen toiling away in offices in Bangkok. In the early hours of August 17, Pol Lt Kiatsak Kasikun, the duty officer at Khlong Tan Police Station in Bangkok, received a call that someone had fallen, or had maybe been pushed – the details were, and remain, unclear – from a high building. When he arrived at the scene, Lt Kiatsak found the body of a young man, later identified as Suphon Choothong, a 25-year-old from Phitsanuloke, wearing only a T-shirt and a pair of underpants. Suphon’s pants, somewhat mysteriously, were lying about a meter away from his body. Next to the body a woman, Kannika Thupbucha, 32, was weeping and wailing, and when the police arrived she could take her sorrow no more and collapsed in a faint. When she came round again, she was in such a confused state that the police decided she was unfit to give a statement. It was when police picked up the third person involved in the incident, 55-year-old Yasumasa Akutagawa from Japan, that the story began to make some sense. Mr Akutagawa told police that he had been seeing K. Kannika for a number of years, and, although they lived in separate apartments, he would often call in to see her. On the night of the incident, he explained, he had decided to pay a surprise call on his “wife”. When he turned the key and opened the door to her room, however, he saw a Thai man, wearing no pants, sitting with her. Trouserless Suphon tried to push him out of the room and lock the door, but Mr Akutagawa, feeling his honor had been slighted, shoved him out of the way and barged into the room. His fury rising, he grabbed his Samurai sword – which he just happened to keep in the room – and began to chase the interloper around, slashing at him. Suphon, having the advantage of youth, was faster than his attacker and managed to get out of the room. The pair ran down the corridor with Mr Akutagawa, brandishing his sword, in hot pursuit. When they reached the end of the corridor, Suphon saw that he had reached a dead end. Faced with the choice of a 12-story drop or an enraged Japanese man wielding a Samurai sword, he decided he would rather brave the drop. He went out of the window and tried to climb to safety, but instead slipped and fell to his death, Mr Akutagawa reported. “I can confirm that he fell all by himself. I did not push him at all,” Mr Akutagawa assured the police. The drama was not over for the night however. A little later another woman arrived at the scene. When she saw the body she broke down in tears and began to point at K. Kannika, shouting that K. Kannika was responsible for Suphon’s death. The woman, Pathumthep Hongsuwan, 25, explained that she had lived with Suphon for around a year and that Suphon had just got a new job driving tourists around. A month earlier she had gone to visit her family in Nong Khai for a couple of weeks and when she got back she discovered that Suphon had become entangled with another woman. Pathumthep said she gave Suphon an ultimatum: he must choose between her and Kannika. Suphon chose to stick with Pathumthep but said that he had to go and clear things up with Kannika. It was this “meeting to clear things up” that had led to his trouserless downfall. At the time of going to press, police were still in the process of interviewing witnesses and had not charged anyone over the incident.
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China has the most atheists. Indonesia and Philippines the most believers.
China is the least believing country in the world but belief in a God gets 100 per cent mention in countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh and Philippines, according to the survey by Gallup International.
According to the survey exploring religious tendencies of 66,000 people in 68 countries across the world, 62 per cent of people in the world define themselves as religious, 74% of people globally believe we have a ‘soul’ and 71% believe in a God. Another 56% believe in heaven, 54% in life after death and 49% in hell.
China has the highest percentage of atheists in the world with 67% not believing in any religion. Every seven out ten people are atheists, more than double than any other country. 23% consider themselves as non-religious. Less than 10% identify themselves as religious in China.
China’s atheist percentage is followed by Japan, a long way behind in second place at 29%, Slovenia (28%) and Chech Republic (25%). Despite rapid industrialisation and urbanisation religion has stayed relevant in the South Korean region with only 23% identifying as atheist.
European countries like Belgium (21 %), France (21%) , Sweden (18%) and Iceland (17%) also have a large percentage of believing population.
Bangladesh, Indonesia and Philippines are the most believing countries with entire population claiming to believe in God, soul, hell and heaven. Thailand and Pakistan have 99% believing population, followed by India, Vietnam and Mongolia.
The survey shows that the levels of religiosity diminish as income and education levels increase. While 66% of people with low income affirm to be religious, this percentage drops to 50% among people with higher incomes. The same trend is verified in relation to education levels: 83% of people with lower education level are religious against 49% of higher level.
According to the survey there is a connection between religiosity, beliefs and socio-demographic characteristics like age, income and education level. As education and income levels grow higher, religiosity levels tend to go down. Also, the expression of different beliefs is higher among young people.
The level of education has a considerable influence on the perception of religion by the society. Women and young children show higher percentage for spiritual forces.
SOURCE: Data Leads
Stunning Malaysian election result ousts Barisan Nasional
Malaysia’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) opposition coalition has crossed the minimum threshold of 112 seats needed to form government in Malaysia. The Election Commission continue to count a few remaining votes this morning but have confirmed the win of the Pakatan Harapan party and coalition members.
The result brings to an end the rule of Barisan Nasional (BN) and it’s leader Najib Razak. Barisan Nasional, a nationalist right-wing government with strong links to it’s ethnic Malay constituency, has dominated Malaysian politics for decades.
In a press conference just before the official confirmation, opposition leader and former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad, now 92 years old, said his party had achieved a victory.
He said he hoped a swearing-in ceremony would be held on Thursday. Mr Mahathir will become the oldest elected leader in the world.
The final official results indicate PH had won 115 seats, with BN on 79 (these numbers will alter slightly as the counting finishes today).
The 92 year old pledged a government that would include a “young person”, referring to criticism during the campaign that he was too old to lead Malaysia again. Mahathir said he would honour his agreement to help secure a royal pardon for jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. The two became the odd couple of Asian politics after decades working together, then becoming bitter enemies. Anwar was Mahathir’s deputy PM at one stage but then fell out of favour.
But the two formed a curious coalition to bring down PM Najib Razak who they claimed was corrupt and had stained the country with the 1MDB financial scandal.
Mahathir said Anwar would have to win a by-election or be elected senator in order for him to take over as prime minister from Dr Mahathir, as per their agreement.
An upset was on the cards when unofficial results started trickling in about four hours after the ballot boxes were closed at 5.30 last night.
• 9pm – Bernama reported that caretaker Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, the president of BN component party Malaysian Chinese Association, had lost his Bentong seat.
• Caretaker Health Minister S Subramaniam, of BN coalition party Malaysian Indian Congress, was the next major casualty, losing his Segamat seat in Johor.
• 9.30pm, there was respite for BN when word came in that incumbent PM Najib Razak had successfully defended his Pekan seat in Pahang.
By 9.45pm last night, another four deputy ministers fell. At about the same time, it emerged that Mahathir would make a return to parliament after winning his Langkawi seat.
The result throws into doubt Najib Razak’s position in his party.
While he had been praised for his fiscal policies, he was also unpopular for rolling out a goods and services tax in addition to being a target of unwanted international attention over allegations funds were misappropriated from a state fund he advised, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). He has denied consistently any wrongdoing.
Mahathir had accused his former protege Najib of corruption and abuse of power before quitting UMNO to form his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
But Mahathir has vowed: “We are not seeking revenge. We want to restore the rule of law.”
92 year old PM-elect Mahathir Mohamad, with a shirt emblazoned with his name, in case he forgot it whilst campaigning for the historic election.
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