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National Guardsman to be honored over French train attack

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

National Guardsman who helped thwart attack on French train to get medal
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


PHUKET: A National Guardsman, one of three Americans who disarmed a gun-toting suspected Islamist militant on a high-speed train in France, will be awarded the U.S. Army’s highest non-combat medal, Army officials said on Tuesday.

Specialist Alek Skarlatos, 22, charged accused gunman Ayoub el Khazzani on the train headed to Paris from Amsterdam last week, helping to wrestle away a pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle, and clubbing him on the head with the larger gun, according to the Army.

Two people, including Skarlatos’ friend, U.S. airman Spencer Stone, 23, were wounded in subduing Khazzani, who has been identified by authorities as a Moroccan known to European authorities as a suspected Islamist militant.

“Specialist Skarlatos’ actions that day epitomize what we mean by a soldier of character – one who lives by a personal code where dedication to duty and taking care of others is sacred,” Secretary of the Army John McHugh said in announcing that Skarlatos would receive the Soldiers Medal.

French President Francois Hollande on Monday bestowed France’s highest honor on Skarlatos, Stone and 22-year-old Anthony Sadler, awarding them the Legion d’honneur at a ceremony at the presidential Elysée Palace, and U.S. President Barack Obama has hailed their bravery.

The three men, who grew up in the Sacramento area and attended middle and high school together, will get a heroes’ welcome and a parade in their hometown, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said on Monday.

Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone were touring Europe partly to celebrate Skarlatos’ return from a tour of duty in Afghanistan when they noticed Kazzani, who was armed with a Kalashnikov.

They have said they had no choice to but to intervene when Kazzani cocked the rifle.

Stone, whose thumb was almost severed by the attacker, has been credited with saving the life of another passenger who had been shot and was bleeding profusely.

Air Force Secretary Deborah James said Stone’s unit was nominating him for the Air Force’s highest medal for non-combat bravery.

After being honored in France, Stone and Skarlatos went to Germany where Stone was to receive further treatment at a U.S. Army hospital, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Sadler arrived back in Sacramento on Tuesday, accompanied by his parents, according to video broadcast by local station KCRA-TV.

Earlier on Tuesday, top Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said he had dismissed Kazzani’s claim that he had been planning a robbery and has opened an investigation into “attempted murder with terrorist intent”.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

BBC names Thai protest leader Panusaya in global list of 100 most inspiring women

Maya Taylor

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BBC names Thai protest leader Panusaya in global list of 100 most inspiring women | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The BBC has named prominent Thai pro-democracy activist, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, aka, “Rung”, as one of the world’s 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2020. The BBC’s “100 Women of 2020” list singles out women around the world who are driving change in challenging times. Panusaya is one of 3 Thai women to be listed.

As the leader of protest group, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, she came to international attention at a Bangkok rally in August, when she read out the group’s controversial 10 point manifesto calling for reform of the Monarchy – a taboo topic never publicly discussed. Her nomination follows the news that a Grammy Music executive has filed a charge of lèse-majesté against her.

The other 2 Thai women to make the list are Kotchakorn Voraakhom and Cindy Sirinya Bishop. Kotchakorn is an urban landscape architect, who promotes the importance of green and public spaces in urban environments. Her aim is to transform vast, sprawling cities into more liveable spaces, while protecting them from the impact of climate change. The BBC describes her as someone who started by prising apart the “cracked pavement” of Bangkok’s cityscape to let new ideas come through.

BBC names Thai protest leader Panusaya in global list of 100 most inspiring women | News by The Thaiger

Cindy Sirinya Bishop is the UN Women Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Gender Equality through Education, Communities and Governments. She is a TV host, actress, and model, known for her campaigns to end violence against women. She came to prominence in 2018, when she created the movement #DontTellMeHowToDress. The campaign was a response to authorities in Thailand telling women they shouldn’t dress provocatively during the Songkran period if they wanted to avoid being sexually assaulted.

Other women shortlisted by the BBC for the 2020 list include Sarah Gilbert, who is leading the research into the Covid-19 vaccine at Oxford University, Sanna Marin, the leader of Finland’s all-female coalition government, and Michelle Yeoh, a Malaysian actress, who the BBC notes is one of very few Asian actresses to enjoy a successful career in the US.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

No vaccine, no flight – Qantas will require international travellers to be vaccinated

The Thaiger

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No vaccine, no flight – Qantas will require international travellers to be vaccinated | The Thaiger

Qantas, Australia’s national airline, is announcing a new requirement that all international travellers will need to have a vaccination against Covid-19 in a move that could become the norm for the world’s airline industry. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the Australian flag carrier would implement the measure once a coronavirus vaccine was made available to the public.

“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travellers that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft.”

“Whether you need that domestically, we will have to see what happens with Covid-19 in the market but certainly, for international visitors coming out (to Australia) and people leaving the country, we think that is a necessity.”

Joyce says the new rule is likely to become a standard practice by all airlines worldwide as many governments are now working to introduce electronic vaccination passports. Vaccination requirements are already widely used around the world for those wishing to enter certain countries, with many countries wanting travellers show they have been inoculated against yellow fever if they are coming from regions where that disease could be acquired.

The International Air Transport Association has also announced it is in the “final stages” of developing a digital health pass that it says can be used to record Covid-19 tests or vaccinations and will “support the safe reopening of borders.”

“We are bringing this to market in the coming months to also meet the needs of the various travel bubbles and public health corridors that are starting operation.”

Australia’s borders have been closed since March to help stop the spread of the virus, which has taken the lives of more than 1 million people worldwide. The country has even limited its own citizens arrivals from abroad by implementing a weekly quota that has left thousands stranded overseas. Qantas has grounded more than 200 planes and let go 8,500 staff members as it attempts to offset a US 1.9 billion loss.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Malaysia

Technical issues force Singapore aircraft to land on Malaysian highway – VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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Technical issues force Singapore aircraft to land on Malaysian highway – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Twitter

A single-engine prop plane from Singapore has been forced to make an emergency landing on a Malaysian highway due to technical difficulties. A report in Coconuts says the aircraft touched down on the hard shoulder of a highway in Johor, as cars sped past. The 2 pilots on board are believed to be in stable condition.

Chester Voo, CEO of Malaysia’s aviation authority, says an investigation has been launched to determine what went wrong with the plane, which has now been removed.

“Search and rescue teams have completed all required tasks. The investigation will be conducted by the Air Accident Investigation Bureau under the Ministry of Transport, Malaysia.”

It’s understood the plane left Seletar Airport in Singapore and was flying to Melaka when the pilots contacted Air Traffic Control at Johor, requesting permission to land at Senai International Airport, due to technical problems. However, Voo says the aircraft did not make it to the airport before it had to land on the highway.

Meanwhile, Thomas Ong from Premier Aero Singapore, who provide services at Seletar Airport, says his company provided immigration assistance to one of the pilots prior to departure, but doesn’t know what happened to cause the emergency landing.

“We only assisted Dr Yang in immigration formalities with the Seletar Airport Authority for his arrival and departure.”

SOURCE: Coconuts

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