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Protest at London’s Dorchester Hotel as international protests against Brunei ramp up

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Protest at London’s Dorchester Hotel as international protests against Brunei ramp up | The Thaiger
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Anti-discrimination demonstrators staged a protest outside the Brunei-owned luxury Dorchester Hotel in London yesterday. The protest is part of ongoing protests around the world over the tiny South East Asian Sultanate of Brunei’s adoption of harsh new Sharia laws. The new laws include death by stoning for gay sex and amputation of hands for theft.

The Dorchester Hotel is majority owned by the tiny nation situated on Borneo Island.

The London protests were headed up by human rights activist Peter Tatchell, where up to 100 people gathered outside the famous Park Lane hotel, many armed with rainbow flags demanding a revocation of the new draconian laws.

A tough penal code in the tiny country, ruled as a monarchy by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, came into force last Wednesday after several years slowly ramping up Shariah law in the Sultanate.

It has sparked a storm of global criticism from politicians, celebrities and rights groups, with actor George Clooney, pop star Elton John and TV host Ellen Degeneres, among others, calling for Brunei-owned hotels to be boycotted around the world.

“If the Sultan will not listen to reason and compassion we believe the British government should sever all diplomatic, economic and military ties with the regime,” said Tatchell.

Brunei is part of the wider British Commonwealth but the historic bloc of British colonies has so far resisted calls for a stronger response over the penal code, including expelling Brunei from the Commonwealth.

Brunei is also part of the ten ASEAN-country trading bloc. ASEAN leadership, at this stage, has been silent on the implantation of Sharia Law.

Meanwhile, the University of Oxford says it will reconsider its decision to award an honorary degree to the Sultan. A statement says the University shares the “international revulsion” of the laws and that the decision to confer the honorary degree of civil law by diploma to Bolkiah in 1993 would be reconsidered.

Deutsche Bank has removed the Brunei-owned Dorchester Collection group from the list of hotels its employees use and Virgin Airlines Australia said its staff would no longer travel on the Brunei state-weened airline and would consider its current code-share agreement with the airline.

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Thailand

Migrant workers risk losing their legal status, the Cabinet to extend work permit amnesty

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Migrant workers risk losing their legal status, the Cabinet to extend work permit amnesty | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Frontier Myanmar

Over 1.7 million migrant workers in Thailand are going to lose their legal working status because they can’t submit work permit renewal and a health certificate with Covid-19 test results in time. The Labour Ministry then proposes the cabinet will extend the registration period (amnesty) for migrant workers to help maintain their legal status. Migrant workers, including those illegal and unemployed workers, are required to register with authorities via the ministry’s website from January 15 until February 13.

According to the Labour Minister, every migrant worker to renew their work permit must receive a Covid-19 test at hospitals designated by the Public Health Ministry. The Department of Medical Sciences will be responsible for the testing costs.

Illegal and unemployed workers, who registered with the Ministry, will be allowed to stay in the Kingdom for 2 years without penalties. Only those migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar are allowed to overstay their current visas, but are required to register with the provincial employment office in the area they work, as part of the amnesty.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Myanmar cancels Thai investment in the Dawei Special Economic Zone

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Myanmar cancels Thai investment in the Dawei Special Economic Zone | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Environment Justice Atlas

The Dawei Special Economic Zone Management Committee has announced the cancellation on the deep seaport project contract with Italian-Thai Development (ITD), one of Thailand’s leading industrial firms, by saying that they “lost confidence” in the company after long, controversial issues.

The Dawei Special Economic Zone Management Committee said that the Thai company has caused them “repeated delays, continuing breaches of financial obligations under the contracts and the concessionaires’ failure to confirm their financial capacity to proceed with development”.

They say they will look for new development partners to continue the projects. Currently, there are still no comments from ITD.

The Dawei Special Economic Zone is Myanmar’s initiative to encourage international investments into the country, but the project has been delayed because of funding problems and local opposition.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Indonesia

UPDATE: At least 34 dead and 600 injured after Indonesia earthquake

Caitlin Ashworth

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UPDATE: At least 34 dead and 600 injured after Indonesia earthquake | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Soumyajit Pattnaik via Twitter

UPDATE: At least 34 people were killed after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake shook Indonesia’s Sulawesi island just after midnight today. As of this evening, reports say more than 600 people were injured during the earthquake which caused buildings to collapse and residents to flee their homes in the dark.

Original story below…

Indonesian island Sulawesi was shook by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake shortly after midnight today, toppling over buildings and injuring hundreds. Reports are continuously being updated as rescuers search through rubble. As of early this afternoon, at least 10 people were killed.

Thousands evacuated their homes in West Sulawesi. The earthquake impacted the coastal city Majene where at least 3 people died and neighbouring Mamuju where at least 7 people died. Several buildings, including hotels, were severely damaged and many homes were flattened. A hospital was partially damaged and reports say more than a dozen patients and staff were trapped under the rubble. Others are trapped in rubble after their homes collapsed. A rescuer says “We are racing against time to rescue them.”

Videos have been released of those crying for help. A father crying, calling out for help to save his children under their home’s wreckage. In another, a girl’s voice cried out from a collapsed home, saying “please help me, it hurts.” The video was released by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. Rescuers say they need an excavator to say the girl and other people who are trapped under the collapsed buildings.

The area was first hit by a 5.9 magnitude undersea quake on Thursday. It damaged several buildings, but no deaths were reported.

Since the most recent earthquake is inland, the district’s disaster agency chief says it does not have the potential to cause a tsunami, but people in coastal areas ran to higher ground just to be safe.

The vast archipelago is located on the “Ring of Fire” of volcanoes and fault lines, prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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