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Southern militants torch passenger bus

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Southern militants torch passenger bus | The Thaiger
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Militants armed with rifles yesterday torched a coach heading to Bangkok after removing the passengers in Yala’s Bannang Sata district in the latest violence in the South.

Prior to the attack, the militants, who authorities said were trying to create chaos, also set up roadblocks with trees that they had cut down and set fire to villagers’ houses.

Officials were alerted to the bus incident at about 2.30pm. When they rushed to scene, they found the double-decker bus belonging to the Siam Dernrod company on fire and firefighters trying to extinguish the blaze. However, the fire was so severe that it gutted the bus.

Marohdi Ding, a staff member with the coach company who was on the bus, told police that the bus was from Betong district and heading to Bangkok with 13 people on board including himself and the driver. While the bus was on Road No 410 in Bannang Sata district, the driver was forced to stop after seeing burning tyres on the road.

“After the bus stopped, a group of about 10 armed men emerged from the roadside and demanded that all the passengers, the driver and me get out of the bus, saying they didn’t want to harm us,” Marohdi said. The men were dressed in camouflage like soldiers, he added, and spoke in the Yawi dialect. The men poured petrol on the bus before setting it on fire and then fled on foot to the nearby forest. The militants seemed to have prepared their escape route by using trees to block the road and deploying spikes to prevent authorities from following them.

Officials said the area of the attack was near that of an attack in April 2013 when a bomb exploded near the car of then-deputy Yala governor Isara Thongthawat and provincial district chief Chaowalit Chailerk. The attack killed both officials, who were heading to a festival in Betong district. Officials said that before yesterday’s torching of the bus, militants staged minor attacks in other areas in the district in part to distract officials, including creating roadblocks with trees and setting fire to houses.

Officials said they believed about 20 militants had been involved in the attack, who then divided into three groups and were assigned to do different tasks. The first group was responsible for cutting trees and deploying spikes, the second for burning tyres and the third torching the bus, officials said, claiming the attack was the work of a militant group led by militant suspect Ahama Luebesa, who operates in the area. The objective was to create disturbances in the area, officials said.

Southern militants torch passenger bus | News by The Thaiger

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World

Sir Sean Connery dies at 90 years of age

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Sir Sean Connery dies at 90 years of age | The Thaiger

Sir Sean Connery has died at the age of 90. The Scottish actor was best known for his portrayal of British spy 007 “Bond… James Bond”, doing his first Bond movie in 1962 in “Dr. No”. According to his son, Jason Connery, he died peacefully in his sleep in the Bahamas.

He was knighted by the Queen at Holyrood Palace in 2000. He also received the Kennedy Centre Honour, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Scottish newspaper The Sunday Herald called him “The Greatest Living Scot” while People Magazine didn’t just vote him “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1989 but “Sexiest Man of the Century” a decade later.

He was the first to bring the role of James Bond to the big screen , appearing in 7 of the Bond franchise films, and the first of 7 actors that have played the role. Sir Sean was often voted the best actor to have played 007 in the long-running franchise in many polls.

His acting career spanned 5 decades and he eventually won an Oscar in 1988 playing an Irish cop in “The Untouchables”.

Sir Sean’s other films included The Hunt for Red October, Highlander (a Thaiger favourite), Entrapment, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rock.

Jason Connery said many of his family were with him and around when he died peacefully in his sleep.

“We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.”

“A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.”

Sir Sean was also a long-time supporter of Scottish independence, saying in interviews in the run-up to the 2014 referendum that he might return from his Bahamas home to live in Scotland if it voted to break away from the rest of the UK.

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Visa

100+ foreigners ripped off in education visa scam on Koh Pha Ngan

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100+ foreigners ripped off in education visa scam on Koh Pha Ngan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Manager Online

A language school in Koh Pha Ngan has ripped off more than 100 tourists claiming that they were able to issue them with a 1 year education visa.

A group of the victims have made an official report with the local police over the scam. The tourists were from the US, UK, Germany, France and Russia. Manager Online report that more than 100 people had been allegedly conned by the school in the Sri Thanu area of the island. The report explained that the people had originally heard about the school being able to get them a 1 year education visa from teachers working there.

The group have now made an official report, sending documentation to Koh Phangan district chief Poonsak Sophonpathumrak and the island’s chief of police Pol Col Phisit Wisetwong and Immigration police.

They allege that they had been asked for 40,000 baht each for courses at the school on the understanding that the school would issue visas for them, changing their Non-B into an ED-Visa, as a way of extending their time in Thailand.

They told police that they had put down a 50% down payment tot eh school. Their visas were promised five weeks ago. But when no paperwork turned up they headed to the mainland Surat Thani immigration office where they were told it wasn’t possible to change a Non-B into an education (ED) visa. When they confronted the school they were told there would be no refunds.

This isn’t the only case of institutions and bogus visa agents taking advantage of the current confusion on visa amnesties and extensions. Immigration police are sorting through a range of similar cases.

Police assure the victims that they are investigation the case.

SOURCE: Manager | Thai Visa

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Economy

US cuts Thailand’s tariff benefits after long-running pork dispute

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US cuts Thailand’s tariff benefits after long-running pork dispute | The Thaiger

Thailand’s duty-free privileges for US$817 million in exports with the US are to be revoked from the end of this year, according to US President Trump in an announcement yesterday. The President blamed a lack of progress in opening the Thai market to US pork products. Trump’s letter announcing the action follows more than 2 years of threats and negotiations with Thai officials over issues ranging from access to Thailand’s markets for US goods and the documented inadequate labour rights in the south east Asian nation.

Washington will now eliminate some tariff benefits for Thailand, accusing the country of failing to allow imports of pork from US producers.

US cuts Thailand's tariff benefits after long-running pork dispute | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHIC: Global pork production in 2020, by country (in 1,000 metric tonnes) – statista.com

The suspension of the Generalised System of Preferences access follows a suspension earlier this year on about $1.3 billion worth imports from Thailand, which once had such privileges for about US$4.4 billion in exports to the United States.

The US Trade Representative’s office said the list of products includes mango, pineapple, manicure kits, steel pipes and precious stones., auto parts, dried produce, tools, electrical products and aluminium kitchenware.

Writing to the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Trump said… “I have determined that Thailand has not assured the United States that Thailand will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets.”

GSP, Generalised System of Preferences, is a 70s-era program of US trade preferences for developing economies aimed at improving workers’ rights and access to broader markets.

“The US Trade Representative’s office also announced that it had closed other GSP eligibility reviews with no loss of benefits for Georgia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan. It also said new GSP reviews were opened for Eritrea based on concerns about workers’ rights.”

SOURCE: Reuters | VOANews | statista.com

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