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North Korea sentences Canadian pastor to hard labour for life

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

North Korea sentences Canadian pastor to hard labour for life
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


PHUKET: North Korea’s highest court has sentenced a South Korea-born Canadian pastor to hard labor for life for subversion, the North’s official KCNA news agency reported on Wednesday, a punishment Canada condemned as “unduly harsh.”

Hyeon Soo Lim, the head pastor at one of Canada’s largest churches, has been held by North Korea since February and has appeared on its state media confessing to crimes against the state. He had been doing humanitarian work in North Korea since 1997, according to his church.

Lim admitted during the trial to “not only viciously defaming the highest dignity of Korea and its system but also possessing the wicked intention of trying to topple the Republic by staging an anti-state conspiracy,” KCNA said.

The court said Lim had attempted to overthrow the North Korean government and undermine its social system with “religious activities” for the past 18 years, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

The prosecution sought the death penalty, but the defense asked for leniency despite the gravity of his crimes.

The court sentenced him to hard labor for life, KCNA said.

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadian officials would continue to press for access to Lim.

“The issues of North Korea’s governance and judicial system are well known. We are very concerned about someone being sentenced to life in North Korea,” he told reporters.

KCNA did not specify what activities Lim engaged in, but Xinhua reported that Lim confessed to helping people defect from North Korea and had met the U.S. ambassador to Mongolia regarding the plans.

Most defectors fleeing isolated, repressive North Korea travel to South Korea via China and Southeast Asia. It is also possible to defect via Mongolia.

A Canadian source familiar with the file said there was no reason to believe any of the allegations were true, with the trial clearly scripted. The source dismissed the idea Lim had been plotting with the U.S. envoy to Mongolia.

“Is it possible that Pastor Lim crossed paths with the small diplomatic community and the American ambassador while he was in Ulan Baator at some point on his numerous travels to the country? Maybe. Would it be unusual? No,” said the source.

A spokeswoman for Lim’s church, the 3,000-member Light Korean Presbyterian Church, said that while Lim has been to Mongolia, “he did not meet with any official there.”

HANDS CLASPED

North Korea had previously sentenced Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae to 15 years of hard labor but released him last year after holding him for two years.

Lim’s church has said Lim had visited the North more than 100 times since 1997 and helped set up an orphanage and a nursing home.

Lim, who has lived in Canada since 1986 and is a Canadian citizen, has a “very serious health problem, very high blood pressure,” his church said. He was 60 at the time of capture.

He is the only Western citizen known to be held currently in North Korea.

Both North Korea and neighboring China have clamped down on Christian groups in recent years.

Last year, Pyongyang released three detained Americans, including Bae and another man who had left a copy of the Bible at a club. It freed a South Korean national with a U.S. green card in October this year after holding him for six months.

In June, the North’s highest court sentenced two South Koreans accused of spying for Seoul to hard labor for life. The pair are among three South Koreans known to be held by the North.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

From plandemics to sheeple – unravelling the Covid conspiracy-speak

The Thaiger

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From plandemics to sheeple – unravelling the Covid conspiracy-speak | The Thaiger

Whilst most of us have either been holed up in local lockdowns or forgetting our face mask when we head to 7-11 for a snack, some have used their spare time to create an elaborate alternate universe of plandemics, sheeple and evil 5G, and finding ways to paint Bill Gates as the devil in human form.

A Pew Research Centre survey asked people in the US if they had heard the theory that Covid-19 was “intentionally planned” by people in power. 71% of US adults said they had. A third of the respondents said it was “definitely” or “probably” true.

As the pandemic has become a reality, so has the infodemic. Whilst the scientists have been at war with a virus and the development of a vaccine, news and social media platforms have been in a battle of facts. Normally intelligent people are denouncing the wearing of masks, refuse to consider getting vaccinated and believe 5G networks ‘infect’ people with Covid-19. Elaborate videos have been produced, at great expense, full of unsubstantiated nonsense, alternate statistics, claims that the coronavirus is “just a flu” and that the impact of the virus has been vastly exaggerated.

There’s also a whole new language where terms of derision are used to replace facts and reasoned argument. Almost all of the conspiracy theories, and the people promoting them, come out of the US, a topic for another article.

In the meantime, let’s enjoy some of the new words and the hijacking of other terms and people.

Plandemic

aka. ‘Scamdemic’.

Plandemic refers to two conspiracy theory documentaries produced this year by Mikki Willis. Until May, Mikki Willis was best known for posting ‘nice’ viral videos of his family online. The first was hugely popular, the second sunk without a trace.

The much-viewed first documentary has since been thoroughly debunked. They both feature Judy Mikovits, a discredited scientist who is worshipped in the anti-vaccine movement, despite her denials. In the documentary she maintains that a malevolent global “elite” (even ‘elite’ has taken on a whole new meaning) caused the pandemic in order to seize power, money and control the wider population – sort of a conference of Bond villains.

Among her other claims, face masks can activate the virus. In all, she rambles on for 26 minutes with a convoluted web of intrigue, all completely dismantled by just about every scientist and medical practitioner. Unfortunately the documentaries came at a time when the US was in the midst of its first quasi-lockdown and clocked up a credible 7 million views on YouTube before it was removed. You can still see it if you really want to in a few dark corners of the internet.

In her book, ‘Plague of Corruption’, Mikovits compares herself to Galileo and Martin Luther King jnr.

5G

Once a term referring to the fifth generation of mobile technology, the worldwide role out 5G somehow got wound into any number of conspiracy theories involving Covid-19 and the plandemic, sorry pandemic. Whilst most of us eagerly looked forward to the introduction of 2G,3G and 4G, 5G came along at the same time as Covid-19. So OF COURSE they have something to do with each other.

No longer just a technology, 5G is now front and centre of any self respecting conspiracy theorist. Exposure to 5G antennas would give you Covid-19, apparently “altering your cells” in a way that was never quite explained, and WHAMMO, you had the coronavirus. That Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications giant, was behind some of the leading 5G technology, just added fuel to the story – they are a Chinese company so they MUST be spreading evil… and Covid-19.

Sheeple

If you’ve had the wool pulled over your eyes regarding the “truth” of Covid-19, or are easily led astray, you’re one of the Sheeple (alternate spelling – ‘sheople’).

Unless you’re wallowing in your own self-righteous, unprovable alternate reality, YOU are sheeple, or, presumably, a sheep-person. Unless you’re one of the few who has the clarity of vision and intellect to understand the “truth”, you are labelled a sheeple. Luckily, for the rest of us, they also have the time and commitment to bring us up to speed with their facts, and can usually reel them off at pace. And then repeat them over and over to MAKE SURE the sheeple understand.

YOU sheeple just follow the main stream media (which is any media that reports news they don’t like)… you are just part of the uninformed flock.

So if you just believe stuff because other people keep saying it, you’re a ‘sheeple’. Oh…

Bill Gates

Just throw his name into any Covid-19 conversation and stand back.

Wikipedia lists Bill Gates as ‘William Henry Gates III’, an American business magnate, software developer, and philanthropist. He is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. Our generation has seen the young geek, sometimes competitor and sometimes collaborator with Apple’s Steve Jobs, grow into the cardigan-wearing philanthropist who, along with his wife, have formed one of the largest private foundations in the world.

They get their foundation involved in all sorts of public health projects but, according to conspiracy theorists, are spreading evil around the world.

Now Bill Gates, earlier seen as a geek-version of Mr Rogers, is now the voodoo doll for Covid-19.

Back in 2015, an unassuming-looking Bill Gates came on stage at a TED conference in Vancouver to issue a dire warning.
“If anything kills over 10 million people over the next few decades, it is likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than war.”So, he knew all about it! Aha!Now Bill Gates is leading a class of global “elites” and leading efforts to depopulate the world, apparently. His ‘vaccine’ has some tracking device that will be able to track us once we’ve been vaccinated. All this is a surprise to Bill Gates.”I’m very surprised by the course of these conspiracy theories and of course the ones involving me are completely incorrect. I hadn’t been a part of conspiracy theories up until this and it’s ironic because I talked about the risk of a pandemic in 2015.”But he WOULD say that, wouldn’t he!”It is novel that you have a pandemic and you have social media, and somehow the true messages aren’t as titillating or as exciting as the conspiracy-type message.”

Follow the breadcrumbs

Originally used as a means of navigation in the Grimm’s penned “Hansel and Gretel’ tale, where the children drop breadcrumbs along the way into the forest so they can then find their way back home, the breadcrumbs are now tidbits of knowledge you must follow to learn the truth – that is the truth according to American conspiracy theorists QAnon. Summarising, QAnon claim that US President Donald Trump has been spearheading a secret war, between golf games, against “well known” Satan-worshippers and paedophiles – the President elect Joe Biden being one of them according to QAnon.

It all comes from the month of an unknown “Q” who posts the stories on encrypted message services and then shared around social media. Not to be confused with Q from James Bond who was responsible for ejector seats in Aston Martins, poison pens and guns fitted to license plates.

These messages from Q – “drops” or “crumbs”explain facts about a “cabal” within the “elite”, or the secret war , referred to as the “cbts”, or “calm before the storm”. The series of “breadcrumbs are then shared and spread online by people that have the time to understand facts from an unknown person sprouting outrageous nonsense.

It would be laughable except that the QAnon theories (a poor use of the word ‘theories’) have been circulated in the White House by a number of staffers that subscribe to the trail of breadcrumbs, dragging other down the Q-inspired rabbit hole.

Elites

1. a select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society.

Not any more. Once the so-called elite drove around, or were driven around, in their black Mercedes Benz, shopped at those stores on the first floors of fancy shopping centres and puffed cigars whilst counting their millions. Now the “Elite” are a secret society of people who are complicit in planning and carrying out the biggest hoax in history – the Covid-19 pandemic.

The “elite” have conspired with governments to keep us sheeple in compliant control. Most governments find it difficult to role out stimulus payments and pick up the rubbish on time, let alone conspire to do anything in a secret, controlled manner. Any self-respecting elite usually does everything they can NOT to be involved in governments, anywhere.

The Great Reset

Not what we do to our computers after tearing our hair out for an hour. This baseless conspiracy theory, known as the ‘Great Reset’, claims a group of world leaders “orchestrated” and planned the pandemic to take control of the global economy.

The conspiracy theory has its origins in a genuine plan entitled ‘The Great Reset’, drawn up by the World Economic Forum – now used as somewhat thin ‘evidence’ that The Great Reset is true. The WEF is an annual conference for high-profile figures from politics and business. The plan explores how countries might recover from the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic but has never mentioned any control or broader policy covering world populations.

The recovery plan has now been interpreted as a sinister plan, first by fringes of the conspiracy theory networks and then taken up by conservative commentators and then shared around social media.

Do you have any other favourite theories that keep popping up, or new words to add to the list? Tell us below…

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World

Argentine football legend Diego Maradona dies at age 60

Caitlin Ashworth

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Argentine football legend Diego Maradona dies at age 60 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: FIFA

Argentine football legend Diego Maradona died yesterday at 60 years old. Maradona, known as one of the greatest football players of all time, suffered from a heart attack.

Maradona scored the famous “Hand of God” goal and the “Goal of the Century” in the World Cup 1986 quarter-finals, defeating England 2-1. Maradona, then captain, was known for inspiring to win the World Cup in 1986. He represented Argentina in 4 World Cups, scoring 34 goals in 91 appearances.

President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez declared 3 days of national mourning following Maradona’s death.

“You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of them all… Thank you for having existed, Diego. We’re going to miss you all our lives.”

Many in the football community across the world posted photos and statements on social media following Maradona’s death. The Argentina national football team posted a photo on Twitter of Maradona holding the World Cup and said “You are eternal in every heart in world football.”

Argentine football player Lionel Messi posted a photo of himself and Maradona on Instagram.

“A very sad day for all Argentines and football… He leaves us, but does not leave, because Diego is eternal… I keep all the beautiful moments lived with him and I send my condolences to all his family and friends.”

Former football player Gary Lineker, who scored a goal for England in the World Cup 1986 quarter-finals game against Argentina, said Maradona is the greatest player of all time.

“By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time… After a blessed, but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God.”

SOURCES: BBC | AFP

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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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