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More U.S. troops deployed in Ferguson to guard against fresh riots

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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More U.S. troops deployed in Ferguson to guard against fresh riots | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

More U.S. troops deployed in Ferguson to guard against fresh riots
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Missouri’s governor ordered hundreds more National Guard troops on Tuesday to a St. Louis suburb rocked by rioting and looting after a grand jury declined to indict a white policeman in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Attorneys for the family of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old shot to death in Ferguson by officer Darren Wilson in August, condemned as biased the St. Louis County grand jury process that led to Monday’s decision not to bring charges.

The killing in Ferguson, a predominantly black city with a white-dominated power structure, underscores the occasionally tense nature of U.S. race relations and sometimes strained ties between African-American communities and the police.

The grand jury’s decision sparked racially charged protests that were more intense than unrest that erupted in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, but still much smaller than those that followed the acquittal of police officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King in Los Angeles two decades ago.

“Last night the rioters did some things to our community we all couldn’t have woke up this morning imagining,” Captain Ron Johnson of Missouri Highway Patrol told reporters.

In Ferguson, about a dozen buildings, including a pizza shop and a beauty parlor, burned overnight as protesters took to the streets in anger. Police said protesters fired guns at them, lit patrol cars on fire and hurled bricks into their lines.

Police fired tear gas and flash-bang canisters at demonstrators, and 61 people were arrested. Police were also investigating as suspicious a body found in a car in Ferguson, and couldn’t rule out a link between the death and the rioting.

Meanwhile, Ferguson’s mayor James Knowles said the National Guard “was not deployed in enough time to save all of our businesses.”

“The decision to delay the deployment of the National Guard is deeply concerning,” Knowles told a news conference. “We are asking that the governor make available and deploy all necessary resources to prevent the further destruction of property and the preservation of life in the city of Ferguson.”

Governor Jay Nixon said that about 700 guard troops were deployed on Monday and hundreds more will be out on Tuesday night to protect homes and businesses.

“This community deserves to have peace,” Nixon told a news conference, adding that more than 2,200 guardsmen are now in the region. “We must do better and we will.”

The unrest came despite calls by President Barack Obama and others for police and protesters to exercise restraint. Police had been preparing for months but admitted they were overtaken by the violent events that unfolded.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters he was disappointed by the violent protesters he saw in Ferguson and has asked for a review to identify and isolate “criminal elements” from peaceful protesters.

BROKEN PROCESS

The grand jury decision shifted the legal spotlight to an ongoing U.S. Justice Department investigation into whether Wilson violated Brown’s civil rights by intentionally using excessive force and whether Ferguson police systematically violate rights by using excessive force or discrimination.

Holder said he had been briefed by Justice Department officials overseeing federal probes surrounding Brown’s death, but did not say when investigators might complete their work.

Obama asked Americans on Tuesday to be “constructive” by engaging in debate about racial tensions and law enforcement. He also said demonstrators who engage in criminal acts should be prosecuted.

Brown family lawyer Benjamin Crump said the grand jury proceedings were unfair because the prosecutor in the case had a conflict of interest and Wilson was not properly cross-examined.

“The process should be indicted,” Crump said, adding that the family wants police to be equipped with body video cameras to provide an indisputable account of their actions.

Schools in Ferguson and its surrounding cities were closed on Tuesday and city offices in Ferguson were also shut.

“This is going to happen again,” said Ferguson area resident James Hall, 56, as he walked past a smoldering building. “If they had charged him with something, this would not have happened to Ferguson.”

In the city of St. Louis, where windows were broken and traffic was briefly stopped on a major highway overnight, Police Chief Sam Dotson vowed a stronger response on Tuesday night.

About 1,000 demonstrators gathered outside a federal courthouse in St. Louis blocking a road and chanting, “This what democracy looks like.”

Protests were also held on Tuesday in New York, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington.

Wilson, who could have faced charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to first-degree murder, thanked his supporters in a letter attributed to him on a Facebook page for those who have rallied to his side, saying “your dedication is amazing.”

Attorneys for Wilson, who was placed on administrative leave since the shooting, said he had been following his training and the law when he shot Brown.

Wilson told the grand jury Brown had tried to grab his gun and he felt his life was in danger when he fired, according to documents released by prosecutors.

“I said, ‘Get back or I’m going to shoot you,'” Wilson said, according to the documents. “He immediately grabs my gun and says, ‘You are too much of a pussy to shoot me.'”

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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ASEAN

Human hair trade exploits ASEAN women

Greeley Pulitzer

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Human hair trade exploits ASEAN women | The Thaiger

Hair extensions have become an essential part of the multi-billion-dollar hair industry, with estimated annual sales of 250 million to over 1 billion USD. Based on a 2018 Research and Markets report, the global hair, wigs and extension market is expected to surpass 10 billion USD by 2023.

Raw human hair has significant commercial value: it’s a coveted commodity to be processed into hair extensions and wigs. According to a report by the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), the global value for human hair exports in 2017 was 126 million USD. Asia exported 72.4 million USD, accounting for 58 percent of the global trade.

In India, the Tirupati Balaji temple earns 10 percent of its income through auctioning hair donated by devotees, raking in a profit of 25 million to 40 million USD annually.

There are three categories for collected hair: Remy, non-Remy and virgin hair. Remy is usually obtained from temple donations and is of the highest grade. Non-Remy hair is a lower grade, collected from individuals, and is typically broken or short. Virgin hairhas never been chemically treated.

In Southeast Asia, long hair is esteemed as a mark of beauty with deep religious and social meaning, especially in Buddhist countries. While most brands opt to acquire hair from India where it’s donated for religious reasons, in Southeast Asia, traders target impoverished areas to buy hair from desperately poor people whose poverty makes them easy prey. Hair extensions in the US can cost 500 to 2000 USD, but the owner of the hair usually receives only a fraction of that. For example, Nguyen Thi Thuy of Vietnam says the highest she has ever been offered for her hair is 70,000 Vietnamese dong, or 3 USD. Pheng Sreyvy from Cambodia fared slightly better at 15 USD for her locks.

According to the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, women don’t know how to bargain over the price of hair. “They decided to sell their hair because they are poor, and they don’t know where to sell their hair for international market price,” a spokeswoman said.

The high value of human hair has made hair-theft muggings a recurrent problem in some countries, and some companies have resorted to chemical processing or a mixture of human and goat hair.

Increased awareness of exploitation has prompted many companies to collect hair from more transparent and ethical sources. While the human hair trade has provided many communities with income and opportunities, practices that exploit and deprive women of opportunities continue.

SOURCE: theaseanpost.com

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Crime

Thai women in Japan drug bust

Greeley Pulitzer

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Thai women in Japan drug bust | The Thaiger

Japanese Police and Customs Officials at Fukuoka Airport reported the arrest of seven Thai women who smuggled in drugs weighing more than a kilogram into Japan. The women separated the drugs into tiny bags and hid them in random places on their bodies.

The women purchased tour tickets and tried to blend in as Thai tourists. When caught with the evidence, they admitted smuggling the drugs for foreigners living in Japan, alleging that they received orders from tourists to bring in the drugs.

Another recent arrest Thai women smuggling cocaine has prompted Japanese officials to consider tightening entry requirements for Thai tourists to protect against drug smuggling.

SOURCE: thairesidents.com

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World

The stakes are high, the deliberations continue – Parliamentary Brexit vote

The Thaiger

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The stakes are high, the deliberations continue – Parliamentary Brexit vote | The Thaiger

Call it Super Saturday, call it Deal or No Deal, call it the most important day in recent UK history. Today (Saturday) the UK House of Commons will gather on a Saturday, the first time for decades. Golf games have been postponed, polo sticks will have to gather dust and the cleaner’s been told to come back on Sunday.

Earlier this week, British PM Boris Johnson did the near impossible and secured a new Brexit deal from the EU. The EU shocked everyone by throwing out the controversial Irish border backstop and replacing it with an alternative plan, after months of saying that Theresa May’s deal could not be changed. Moreover, the EU leaders seem happy with the deal and have been waxing lyrical about the scruffy British PM they all dreaded negotiating with.

But it’s not going to be easy. Some PMs have already tabled amendments that could make Johnson’s run of success fall short of a finish line. Opposition MPs will put forward proposals to scrap Brexit or schedule a second referendum.

So how is the crucial, and historic vote, going to roll?

It’s far too close to call. PM Johnson doesn’t have a majority in Parliament and his Northern Irish allies, the DUP, who he needed to pass legislation, have already said that they won’t back the new plan. Meanwhile, his opposition MPs are lining up to criticise the deal. And there’s serious concern that the arch-Brexiteers in his own Conservative party will vote against the deal too.

Bottomline, if MPs don’t vote for this deal then they can’t be certain that Brexit will be delayed, despite the fact that Johnson is legally obliged to request a Brexit extension if no deal has been agreed by 11 pm on Saturday night. Last month, opposition MPs passed legislation that binds the British to this commitment. Mr. Johnson says he will comply with the law but reminds his opponents that this decision relies on the EU still having to unanimously agree to it.

But, if the deal passes, the UK finally leaves the EU. Johnson would probably hope to capitalise on his success and call for a general election soon after. His poll ratings are good at the moment, and you’d think they would improve after delivering Brexit.

If the deal goes down, Johnson requests the extension and it’s approved, then we get into the nasty election where both sides will tear each other apart, adding more to a polarised community that may take decades to recover from this folly.

And if the EU refuses an extension, then all hell breaks loose.

Has it all been worth it?

Anyway, bring on Super Saturday as the deliberations continue.

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