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Protests turn to Royal Brunei Airlines

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Protests turn to Royal Brunei Airlines | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Paddle Your Own Kanoo

Protests over Brunei introducing draconian new laws with brutal punishments for gay sex, adultery and theft are now being aimed at the nationally-owned Royal Brunei Airlines.

Virgin Australia Airlines has already confirmed it has cancelled its staff travel deal with the national carrier over the new anti-gay laws.

Royal Brunei Airlines also have code-share agreements with many airlines including (to name just a few), Thai Airways, QANTAS, Singapore Airlines, Bangkok Always and  British Airways. Some of these airlines are said to be considering the future of their code-share agreements.

Full Shariah law took effect in Brunei this week although a move to more brutal punishments has been ramping up since 2013.

The new laws will apply to Muslims, non-Muslims and foreigners, even when on Brunei-registered aircraft and vessels, according to travel advisory issued by the Australian government. The Australian department of foreign affairs is warning tourists that some offences may result in a penalty of execution by stoning.

Meanwhile a Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby in the Australian state of Victoria is calling on the Australian government to ensure the safety of Australians is protected. The Victorian lobby group says the travel warning does not go far enough to protect the rights of LGBTIQ Australians.

They’ve gone so far as calling on Melbourne Airport to withdraw permission for Brunei Airlines to land, while demanding that Flight Centre and STA Travel immediately stop selling the airline’s tickets.

Virgin Australia, in an email to staff, says the decision was made “given the harsh (including death) penalties being introduced” for a normal lifestyle that is legal and acceptable in many countries, including Australia.

Large Australian travel franchise Flight Centre responded saying the company “vehemently opposes” the application of Shariah law in Brunei.

While travel consumers, and Hollywood and music celebrities, may lead the charge against human rights violations, the global travel industry is doing what it does best; siting on the fence.

The Thaiger would urge flyers to consider choosing other airlines in light of the draconian laws introduced in the Sultanate of Brunei this week.



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Bangkok

Bangkok-based Filipino visa service provider arrested over alleged fraud

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Bangkok-based Filipino visa service provider arrested over alleged fraud | The Thaiger

PHOTO: (left to right) Emily Fontanilla Fabe, Ronygene Esmeralda Atregenio & Ernest Rey Basilio Salarza 

The administrator of a Facebook group SWD Kapamilya Thailand (has more than 30,000 Filipino members), Ernest Rey Basilio Salarza (aka. Rhey Keen Ayala), was arrested yesterday (Tuesday) in Bangkok after the court issued an arrest warrant.

Basilio, commonly known as Rhey Keen Ayala, another SWD Kapamilya Facebook admin Emily Fontanilla and Best Care Provider owner Ronygene Esmeralda Atregenio (aka Nokie and Caroline Maxim) have also been charged with fraud under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act.

At least nine Filipino have already been accused and arrested for posting allegedly fraudulent information to obtain funds by deception.

Many more victims are expected to file additional cases this week. The case started when Nokie of Best Care failed to provide visas and work permits to the Filipino victims. Each of them paid 33,000-38,000 baht to Best Care Provider.

16 Filipino victims have so far come out and sought help to get their money back. There were at least 30 victims who paid the same amount but never received the paperwork promised to them by Best Care.

Atregenio, aka. Nokie and Caroline Maxime are the owners of Best Care, while Salarza popularly known in social media as Rhey Keen Ayala is one of the company founders.

Meanwhile, Emily or ‘Em Fabe’ is the promoter of the company using her Facebook group SWD Kapamilya Thailand. Rhey Keen is also the administrator of Pinoy ADOBO Facebook group which is also being used to promote Best Care Provider.

A string of criminal cases under the Thai Computer Crime Act are also expected to be filed against Em Fabe and Rhey Keen for alleged libellous comments and personal attacks on Facebook against other Filipinos.

SOURCE: Pinoythaiyo.com

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Southeast Asia

Sri Lanka attacks ‘retaliation for Christchurch’ – Government minister

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Sri Lanka attacks ‘retaliation for Christchurch’ – Government minister | The Thaiger

The Islamist suicide bombings that killed 321 people, and injured many others in Sri Lanka at the weekend, are believed to have been carried out in revenge for last month’s attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Fifty people were shot dead on March 15 at two mosques in the South Island, New Zealand city by an avowed white nationalist.

This revelation from the state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene as he spoke to parliament yesterday.

The death toll from the Sunday bomb attacks on churches and up-scale hotels, mostly around the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, is now at 321 with hundreds more wounded and still in hospital.

Wijewardene says the group behind the Sri Lanka bombings was the little-known National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), an extremist Islamist group previously blamed for defacing Buddhist statues.

Police have detained at least 40 people as they investigate the worst act of violence in the country since a civil war ended in Sri Lanka a decade ago.

More than a thousand people gathered yesterday at St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, north of the capital, which was among those hit in the blasts, to pay tribute to the dead.

Sri Lanka attacks ‘retaliation for Christchurch’ - Government minister | News by The Thaiger

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Southeast Asia

LATEST: Sri Lanka bombings

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LATEST: Sri Lanka bombings | The Thaiger

A wave of explosions rocked Sri Lanka up-scale hotels and churches on Easter Sunday around the capital Colombo. This is what we know…

• At least 215 people have been confirmed dead with up to 450 more injured in a series of bombings targeting churches holding Easter services and hotels in Sri Lanka. The toll is likely to rise during today or at least become more precise as officials tally information from emergency responders.

• Most of the dead are said to be Sri Lankans, but officials say up to 40 foreigners have lost their lives.

• Three UK nationals and two US-UK dual nationals were among the dead. One Dutch, one Chinese, one Portuguese and two Turkish nationals have been killed, their respective foreign ministries have confirmed.

• There were six initial blasts, at three hotels and three churches, before two more explosions some time later, at a guest house and housing scheme, with two people reported to have been killed at the former. A government minister says the last two blasts appeared to have been carried out by the culprits as they fled from police.

• No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks but Sri Lanka’s defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene claims the culprits have been identified and were religious extremists. He said suicide bombers were responsible for the majority of the morning’s bombings and that the wave of attacks was the work of a single group.

• Eight people are reported to have been arrested so far.

• The Sri Lankan government has issued a curfew and shut down social media and messaging services to prevent the spread of disinformation.

• Sri Lanka’s PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has condemned the “cowardly” attacks and urged people to remain “united and strong”.

• The archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, called it “a very sad day” and is urging the government to identify the attackers and “punish them mercilessly because only animals can behave like that”.

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