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Phuket Gazette World News: Chavez to be embalmed; Bin Laden son in law arrested; Rohingya crisis spreads

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Phuket Gazette World News: Chavez to be embalmed; Bin Laden son in law arrested; Rohingya crisis spreads | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Bin Laden son-in-law arrested in Jordan, taken to New York
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: U.S. prosecutors unsealed an indictment against a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden yesterday that charged him with conspiracy to kill Americans, after U.S. government sources said he was arrested overseas and brought to New York.

Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a militant who appeared in videos representing al Qaeda after the September 11 attacks in 2001, had initially been picked up in Turkey and was brought to the United States in an operation led by Jordanian authorities and the FBI, the sources said.

The Turkish government deported him to Jordan, the sources said, where local authorities and the FBI took custody of him. He was brought to the United States in the last few days, a law enforcement source said.

U.S. officials including Attorney General Eric Holder announced the indictment on Thursday, saying he would be arraigned today at the U.S. District Court in lower Manhattan, only blocks from the site of the World Trade Centre, which was destroyed in the September 11 attacks.

Abu Ghaith becomes one of the highest-ranking al Qaeda figures to be brought to the United States for civilian trial. When Holder previously announced plans to try defendants in the September 11 attacks in the same courthouse, he was forced to back down by public opposition, and the trials were moved to the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

New York police were less concerned Abu Ghaith’s case would present a security problem than they were about the trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others charged with plotting the attacks, a law enforcement source said.

“It’s not the same. It doesn’t rise to that level,” said the source, who is familiar with the department’s views and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The indictment accused Abu Ghaith of acting in a conspiracy that “would and did murder United States nationals anywhere in the world,” listing actions before and after September 11, 2001.

“Among other things, Abu Ghaith urged others to swear allegiance to bin Laden, spoke on behalf of and in support of al Qaeda’s mission, and warned that attacks similar to those of September 11, 2001 would continue,” the indictment said.

It cited a May 2001 gathering at a house in Kandahar, Afghanistan, alleging Abu Ghaith urged guests to swear allegiance to bin Laden, and it says bin Laden summoned Abu Ghaith on the evening of September 11, requesting his assistance.

Bin Laden and Abu Ghaith appeared together the next morning, when the defendant warned the United States and its allies that a “great army is gathering against you” and that “the nation of Islam” would do battle against “the Jews, the Christians and the Americans,” the indictment alleges.

Rakhine crisis risks spread, endangering Myanmar reforms – U.N.
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where sectarian violence erupted last year, risks spreading and endangering democratic reforms undertaken since military rule ended in 2011, a U.N. investigator said yesterday.

Myanmar should release the remaining 250 political prisoners, end torture by police and address root causes of ethnic conflicts, the independent investigator Tomas Ojea Quintana said.

“There remains a large gap between reform at the top and implementation on the ground,” he said in an annual report to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“Rakhine state is going through a profound crisis that threatens to spread to other parts of the country and has the potential to undermine the entire reform process in Myanmar.”

Ojea Quintana visited Myanmar for five days last month and held talks with ministers, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and prisoners. He also visited camps for displaced people uprooted by ethnic clashes in Rakhine and Kachin states.

“While the process of reform is continuing in the right direction, there are significant human rights shortcomings that remain unaddressed, such as discrimination against the Rohingya in Rakhine State and the ongoing human rights violations in relation to the conflict in Kachin State,” he said.

They must not become entrenched and destabilise the reform process, said Ojea Quintana, an Argentine human rights lawyer.

Deadly sectarian violence erupted last June and October in Rakhine state between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas.

“Both Muslim and Buddhist Rakhine communities continue to suffer the consequences of violence that the government has finally been able to control, though question marks remain over the extent to which excessive force has been used,” he said.

The Nasaka, a border security force accused of committing serious violations against Muslims, should be suspended.

Endemic discrimination

Ojea Quintana voiced concern at the “endemic discrimination” against the estimated 800,000 Muslim Rohingyas who lack legal status, and called for discriminatory regulations to be removed.

The Yangon government says the Rohingyas are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and does not regard them as citizens. Bangladesh also denies them citizenship.

More than 1,100 people, the vast majority of them Rohingya men and boys, are reported to be detained, the U.N. envoy said, urging authorities to ensure that they are not mistreated.

Despite a more open environment after decades of military rule, people in Myanmar can be imprisoned for taking part in a peaceful march, he said, calling for the law to be amended.

He saw “no evidence that the judiciary is developing any independence from the executive branch of government”.

The quasi-civilian government of President Thein Sein must address serious abuses by the junta and prosecute perpetrators. “Measures to ensure justice and accountability, and access to truth, must therefore remain part of Myanmar’s reform agenda.”

Ojea Quintana welcomed increased freedom for Internet users and the reopening of prisons to visits by the Red Cross.

The conflict in Kachin, a volatile area bordering China, escalated in recent months, with the military using air power and heavy artillery to attack targets in Laiza, he said.

He cited continued allegations of “attacks against civilian populations, extrajudicial killings, sexual and gender-based violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, as well as torture”.

Kachin men suspected of having links to the Kachin Independence Army have been arrested and possibly tortured.

Authorities must pursue negotiations with armed groups and protect civilians in Kachin, he said. “Any durable political solution must address the root causes of the conflict and should address the particular concerns of ethnic minority groups.”

Venezuela’s Chavez to be embalmed for public view
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez will be embalmed and put on display “for eternity” at a military museum after a state funeral and an extended period of lying in state, acting President Nicolas Maduro said yesterday.

Huge crowds are still waiting to pay their respects to Chavez after his death this week, and Maduro said the move – reminiscent of the treatment of Commun

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Opinion

Buddhists call for boycott of Hilton & Waldorf Astoria Hotels with the opening of Siddhartha Lounge

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Buddhists call for boycott of Hilton & Waldorf Astoria Hotels with the opening of Siddhartha Lounge | The Thaiger

OPINION: The Buddhist Times

Since its creation in 1996, Buddha-Bar Paris has been using the name and image of Buddha in it’s Bars and Hotels throughout the world. Typically the franchises use large statues of Buddha in their Bars and around dance floors and in restaurants similar to a Buddhist temple.

What makes the use of Buddha’s image in these bars most insulting to Buddhists around the world is that Buddhism does not support the consumption of alcohol. So to use the Buddha’s image as decoration to promote the consumption and sale of alcohol and as a prop on dance floors and in restaurants is especially disrespectful and hurtful to Buddhists.

Now comes a further insult with the Buddha-Bar franchise opening the Siddhartha Lounge at Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. (Siddhartha Gautama being the full name of Buddha).

According to the Knowing Buddha Organisation in Thailand what the Buddha-Bar franchise is doing is not only disrespectful but it is immoral. The foundation points out that “Respect is Common Sense”.

Buddhists feel hurt by the misuse of the name and image of their father, as people of other faiths would be if the image of Christ or Mohammad were used to promote bars and nightclubs.

The Buddha–Bar, restaurant, and hotel franchise created by French-Romanian restaurateur Raymond Vișan and DJ and interior designer Claude Challe, with its original location having opened in Paris, France in 1996.

Raymond Vișan, according to Wikipedia, had the idea of establishing the chain of restaurants and bars which came from his fascination with the Orient. However at the age of 60 Visan suddenly died of terminal cancer. The franchise was continued by co-founder Claude Challe and Vișan’s wife Tarja, who took over the reins of the Buddha Bar franchise upon Vișan death.

Critics of the Vișan’s and Claude Challe say that these self described artists and creators have created nothing but bad Karma and Sin for themselves. They suggest that Buddha-Bar franchise is a form of “grotesque Plagiarism ” which has merely hi-jacked a 2500 year old religion, using the name and image of Buddha, who imparts peace, compassion and loving kindness, for the purpose of selling alcohol and making money. As any case of plagiarism it is expected that Buddha-Bar and Waldorf Astoria will soon find them selves in the courts say Buddhims advocats.

Buddhist around the world are calling the Boycotting of Waldorf Astoria Hotels Hilton Hotels, Buddha-Bars and the music of Claude Challe, demanding that they stop using the image of Buddha and instead creat their own brand.

The views expressed in this editorial do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Thaiger or its staff

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Hong Kong

1000s flock to Hong Kong’s Chater Garden for pro-democracy rally

May Taylor

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1000s flock to Hong Kong’s Chater Garden for pro-democracy rally | The Thaiger

PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Last night, Chater Garden, located near government headquarters in the Central district of Hong Kong, was the scene of the city’s first approved rally since the face mask ban came into being about 10 days ago. So far, the face mask ban has been largely ineffectual.

A day after an explosive device was detonated during protests, tens of thousands of demonstrators assembled in the park. They were calling on Washington to approve proposed US legislation that could see some Chinese officials face sanctions.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act aims to review the territory’s special trading status and sanction those responsible for undermining the rights of Hong Kong citizens. It passed through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee late last month.

The Chinese Government has responded angrily, accusing the US of “interfering in China’s internal affairs” with the aim of harming its interests, and says the law will only serve to worsen the situation in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has been the scene of often violent pro-democracy protests for over four months now, as its citizens call for greater democracy and less interference from Beijing.

SOURCE: The Nation

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World

Nigerian astronaut needs $3 million to get home

The Thaiger

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Nigerian astronaut needs $3 million to get home | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Lost In Space? Or lost in reality? Maybe someone will fall for it – Lost in Space’s Jupiter 2

The Nigerians have somewhat of a reputation for scams and scammers. Who hasn’t received an email offering loads of cash in return for your bank account and a moderate deposit? But this letter takes the famous Nigerian Scam to another level. Or perhaps it’s true (we don’t think so…)?

Subject: Nigerian Astronaut Wants To Come Home
Dr. Bakare Tunde – Astronautics Project Manager
National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA)
Plot 555, Misau Street, PMB 437
Garki, Abuja, FCT NIGERIA

Dear Mr. Sir,

REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE-STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL

I am Dr. Bakare Tunde, the cousin of Nigerian Astronaut, Air Force Major Abacha Tunde. He was the first African in space when he made a secret flight to the Salyut 6 space station in 1979. He was on a later Soviet spaceflight, Soyuz T-16Z to the secret Soviet military space station Salyut 8T in 1989. He was stranded there in 1990 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. His other Soviet crew members returned to earth on the Soyuz T-16Z, but his place was taken up by return cargo. There have been occasional Progrez supply flights to keep him going since that time. He is in good humor, but wants to come home.

In the 14 years since he has been on the station, he has accumulated flight pay and interest amounting to almost $ 15,000,000 American Dollars. This is held in a trust at the Lagos National Savings and Trust Association. If we can obtain access to this money, we can place a down payment with the Russian Space Authorities for a Soyuz return flight to bring him back to Earth. I am told this will cost $ 3,000,000 American Dollars. In order to access the his trust fund we need your assistance.

Consequently, my colleagues and I are willing to transfer the total amount to your account or subsequent disbursement, since we as civil servants are prohibited by the Code of Conduct Bureau (Civil Service Laws) from opening and/ or operating foreign accounts in our names.

Needless to say, the trust reposed on you at this juncture is enormous. In return, we have agreed to offer you 20 percent of the transferred sum, while 10 percent shall be set aside for incidental expenses (internal and external) between the parties in the course of the transaction. You will be mandated to remit the balance 70 percent to other accounts in due course.

Kindly expedite action as we are behind schedule to enable us include downpayment in this financial quarter.

Please acknowledge the receipt of this message via my direct number 234 (0) 9-234-XXXX only.

Yours Sincerely, Dr. Bakare Tunde
Astronautics Project Manager
XXXX@nasrda.gov.ng

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