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North Korea launches two missiles, defies U.N. ban

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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North Korea launches two missiles, defies U.N. ban | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

North Korea launches two missiles, defies U.N. ban
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into seas east off its coast on Sunday, South Korea’s military said, defying a U.N. ban on the isolated country testing such weapons.

The launch came days before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s scheduled state visit to South Korea. China is the main benefactor of the North, which is also under sanctions for conducting nuclear tests.

North Korea is also due hold talks with North Korea this week to work out the details of Pyongyang’s plan to reinvestigate the fate of Japanese citizens kidnapped by the reclusive state decades ago.

The missiles, which appeared to be Scud class, were launched from an area on the east coast of the peninsula and flew about 500 km (310 miles) before crashing harmlessly into the water, an official for the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The test firings on Sunday came three days after the North launched three short-range projectiles into the waters off its east coast, which flew about 190 km (120 miles) and landed in the sea.

Such launches are routine. North Korea frequently test-fires short range multi-rocket launchers, which are not prohibited under U.N. sanctions on the isolated country.

North Korea’s possession and testing of ballistic missiles such as Soviet-era Scuds, however, breach the sanctions, and are seen to contribute to Pyongyang’s long-range missile programme.

North Korea has so far conducted test firing of its ballistic missiles and rockets 11 times this year, including four involving ballistic missiles.

The isolated country usually test-fires its short-range rockets and ballistic missiles amid annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises as a form of protest, observers say.

Pyongyang routinely denounces the joint military exercises as preparation for war.

Sunday’s launch came less than a week before Xi’s July 3-4 visit to South Korea. Xi and South Korea’s Park Geun-hye are expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear programme in a summit meeting next Thursday.

North Korea said the launch was “part of its routine military exercise” and that there should be no affect on planned governmental talks between North Korea and Japan next Tuesday, a North Korean foreign ministry official was quoted as saying by Japanese media.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters Japan wanted to raise the the issue during the talks.

“We think this issue needs to be addressed properly at the government talks,” he told reporters. “We must make a firm demand toward North Korea that they follow the U.N. Security council resolution and other agreements.”

— Phuket Gazette Editors



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Tourism

Travel’s dynamic changes – A personal perspective

The Thaiger

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Travel’s dynamic changes – A personal perspective | The Thaiger

by Andrew J Wood – President SKÅL International Bangkok

With the dramatic announcement of the sale of retail travel giant Thomas Cook following the loss of £1.5 billion brings the blight of the travel agent community into the news once more. Last week Wall Street bank Citigroup advised investors to sell shares in the travel company.

Confidence that travel agents can survive in the age of DIY bookings online is paper thin.

The sheer convenience and ease of being able to book flights and holidays online, with loved ones participating in the process AND at a time and place convenient to yourself, is very attractive to most of us.

Gone are the days when you make a trip to the travel agent on the high street during office hours.

It was the only way to book a holiday in the bad old days. Booking travel online then was a complex, mystical and stressful experience with lots of jargon we didn’t understand. On top of that booking a flight was only possible on airline-backed computer systems using special codes and trained staff. Most of us didn’t know where to start.

Now it’s out with the laptop, sitting in bed in your pajamas at home, or on the settee with a cup of tea and it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

My family own a travel company. Business is nothing what it used to be. My friends work in DMCs – they certainly aren’t what they used to be.

Travel’s dynamic changes - A personal perspective | News by The Thaiger

A high-profile BBC journalist speaking at a travel industry event, recently warned the travel industry that large, well-established brands no longer have the trust they once enjoyed. That is certainly true.

“We are living through a crisis of trust,” the journalist warned.

Today instead of listening to ‘experts’ or ‘institutions’, we now now put more faith in the opinions of our colleagues, or friends on Facebook.

The BBC journalist also said, “We live in an age where feelings resonate more than facts. People now value empathy over expertise. We all need to work out what this means about how we should talk to customers.”

So it’s clear that selling travel has fundamentally changed, as was forecast more than 10 years ago. I fear during this time that this advice has largely been brushed under the carpet and as an industry, we have been largely unsuccessful in making these changes. The example of Thomas Cook demonstrates that even big travel hasn’t worked it out neither. We all need to talk to our customers in a way that appeals to them. There’s a danger for any industry that doesn’t adapt quickly enough to new audiences — remember Kodak?

Thomas Cook looks like the latest failure.

In the last 18 months there have been more retail failures than since the start of the century. Many brands have lost the art of communicating with the marketplace. They don’t know how to engage with customers.

My family are already talking about diversifying and moving into other areas of tourism and travel. I hope it’s not too late.

SOURCE: Travel Daily News – Asia Pacific

 

Andrew J Wood

English born Andrew J Wood, is a freelance travel writer and for most of his career a professional hotelier. Andrew has over 35 years of hospitality and travel experience. He is a Skal member and a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew is also a former member of the Executive Committe of Skal International (SI), National President SI THAILAND, Club President of SI BANGKOK and is currently SI Asia Area a.VP Southeast Asia (SEA), and Director of Public Relations Skal International BANGKOK. He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Thailand including Assumption University’s Hospitality School and the Japan Hotel School in Tokyo.

Travel’s dynamic changes - A personal perspective | News by The Thaiger

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Business

“Very dangerous” Huawei could be part of a US-China trade deal

The Thaiger

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“Very dangerous” Huawei could be part of a US-China trade deal | The Thaiger

President Donald Trump has reiterated his complaints against China’s Huawei Technologies but conceded that they could be resolved as part of a negotiated US-China trade deal. Without providing evidence, he went on to call the Chinese telecommunications giant “very dangerous.”

The US has virtually banned firms from conducting business with Huawei, the world’s largest telecom manufacturer, citing unspecified national security concerns.

Despite the rhetoric President Trump predicts a quick end to the trade war with China. His bold prediction is not supported by any high-level talks being scheduled between the two countries since talks stalled two weeks ago.

Earlier yesterday, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the CEO of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, of lying about his company’s lack of ties to the Beijing government. Pompeo claimed the alleged ties “represented a security risk” to the US without providing any details.

Meanwhile, again without providing any specific examples or evidence, President Tump said Huawei was “very dangerous”.

“You look at what they’ve done from a security standpoint, from a military standpoint, it’s very dangerous. If we made a deal, I could imagine Huawei being possibly included in some form or some part of it.”

“The company is deeply tied, not only to China, but to the Chinese Communist Party. And that connectivity, the existence of those connections puts American information that crosses those networks at risk,” he is quoted as saying in a Reuters report.

Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government, military or intelligence services. But tech companies around the world continue to fall in line with US curbs on the company. Japanese conglomerate Panasonic says it had stopped shipments of some Huawei components, a day after British chip designer ARM did the same, potentially crippling the Chinese company’s ability to make new chips for smartphones.

Meanwhile the US government is aiming to provide about $700 million in grants to help telecom providers with the cost of removing Huawei equipment from their networks, and to block the use of equipment or services from Huawei and Chinese telecoms firm ZTE in next-generation 5G networks.

They’ve also announced a $16 billion aid program to help US farmers hurt by the ongoing spat. The Agriculture Department says some funds will be used to open markets outside China to US products. Farmers have been among those hardest hit by the trade war.

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Technology

US temporarily ease restrictions on Huawei

The Thaiger

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US temporarily ease restrictions on Huawei | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei and Chinese President Xi Jinping – SCMP

The US has temporarily eased some of the restrictions on China’s Huawei, the world’s largest phone and telecom equipment maker, to minimise disruption to its customers. But Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei,  says it means little because the company was well prepared for any US restrictions to their trading.

The US government has blocked Huawei Technologies from buying US goods last week, claiming the firm was involved in activities contrary to national security.

The targeted spat aimed at the one Chinese telecom company comes amid the escalating dispute over trade practices between the US and China.

But yesterday the Commerce Department granted Huawei a license to purchase US goods until August 19 to maintain existing Huawei-based networks and provide software updates to Huawei smartphone customers. The reprieve is intended to give telecom operators that rely on Huawei equipment time to make other arrangements.

Speaking about the matter, Huawei’s founder says the reprieve meant little for the telecom manufacturer as it had been making preparations for such a scenario.

“The U.S. government’s actions at the moment underestimate our capabilities.”

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