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Phuket Gazette World News: Egyptian war talk; Rains leave 40 dead; Thwarted Taliban attack; Mandela still serious; Suspected Taliban behead boys

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Phuket Gazette World News: Egyptian war talk; Rains leave 40 dead; Thwarted Taliban attack; Mandela still serious; Suspected Taliban behead boys | The Thaiger

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

Egypt “war” talk raises Ethiopia Nile dam stakes
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Egypt does not want war with Ethiopia but will keep “all options open”, President Mohamed Mursi said yesterday, turning up the heat in a dispute over a giant dam Addis Ababa is building across the Nile.

In a televised speech to cheering Islamist supporters, Mursi voiced understanding for the development needs of poorer nations upstream in the Nile basin, but rammed home in emotive language that Egyptians will not accept any reduction in the flow of the river on which their civilisation has been based for millennia.

Bellicose rhetoric, including talk of military action by Egyptian politicians last week, had raised concerns of a “water war” between Africa’s second and third most populous states.

But Mursi, for whom the dispute provides an opportunity to rally Egyptians behind him after a divisive first year in power, also appeared to leave room for compromise.

He did not renew an Egyptian call – flatly rejected by Ethiopia last week – for work to stop at the dam but said further study on its impact was needed.

Describing Ethiopia as a “friendly state”, he said Cairo was pursuing all political and diplomatic avenues for a solution.

Egypt’s foreign minister is to visit Addis Ababa to discuss the project for Africa’s biggest hydro power plant. Announced two years ago, engineers made a notable advance late last month.

“Egypt’s water security cannot be violated in any way,” Mursi said. “As head of state, I confirm to you that all options are open.” He later added: “We are not calling for war, but we will never permit our water security … to be threatened.”

Drawing on an old Egyptian song about the Nile, he said: “If it diminishes by one drop then our blood is the alternative.”

Cairo had no objection to “development projects in the Nile Basin states”, he added, “but on condition that those projects do not affect or damage Egypt’s legal and historical rights”.

Egypt, whose fast-growing population of 84 million uses almost all of the Nile’s supply that reaches them to meet their needs, cites colonial-era treaties guaranteeing it the lion’s share of the water to defend its position. Ethiopia, the second most populous state in Africa, says those claims are outdated.

Other African states south of the historic frontier of the Muslim Arab world – notably Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo – are also anxious to develop the water resources of the Nile Basin.

Ethiopian Assurances

Ethiopia insists the Grand Renaissance Dam an Italian firm is building on the Blue Nile near the Sudanese border will generate electricity that it can export and will not reduce the long-term flow of the Nile, once its huge reservoir is filled.

It says it does not plan to use the water for irrigation.

But Egypt expressed surprise and alarm when engineers began major work late last month to divert the river in order to start key parts of the site, a portion of which is already complete.

Sudan, which like Ethiopia already has dams of its own on the Nile river system, has given its support to the project, saying it would benefit from electricity. But Egypt, whose own major barrages on the Nile include the landmark Aswan Dam, has raised concerns about its safety and effect on water flow.

Mursi said Egypt had carried out studies that showed “negative consequences” from building the Renaissance Dam.

Mursi faces a planned mass protest by non-Islamist groups on June 30, the anniversary of his election and he called on his opponents to forget their differences to safeguard the Nile. He was ready to “go to everyone”, to reach out to those who have snubbed his previous calls for national reconciliation talks.

Yasser El-Shimy, Egypt analyst for the International Crisis Group, said: “Mursi is addressing the concerns of Egyptians regarding their water supplies, while sending a blunt message to Ethiopia and other Nile Basin countries Cairo takes this issue quite seriously. He also sought to sound presidential and well-supported by political allies ahead of the June 30 protests.”

Egypt’s military rulers, notably in the 1970s but also later, warned at times of military action if Ethiopia threatened water resources. Last week, Ethiopia summoned the Egyptian ambassador after politicians in Cairo were shown on television suggesting military action or supporting Ethiopian rebels.

The possible downstream effects of the $4.7-billion dam have been disputed and full details are unclear. Despite its poverty, Ethiopia insists it can fund the project and has been aided by a $1-billion loan from China to build power transmission lines.

While letting water through such dams – of which Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia already have several – may not reduce its flow greatly, the filling of the reservoir behind any new dam means cutting the river’s flow for a time. Evaporation from reservoirs can also permanently reduce water flowing downstream.

Earlier Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil told parliament more time was needed to study Ethiopia’s project and for dialogue with Sudan and Ethiopia on the best design for the dam and how to fill its reservoir without reducing flow.

Heavy monsoon rains leave 40 dead in Sri Lanka
Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET:The death toll from strong winds and monsoon rains that battered coastal areas of Sri Lanka over the weekend has risen to at least 40, officials said yesterday, with more rain expected in the coming days.

Dozens of people are missing.

Monsoon rains and strong winds impacted the Western, Sabaragamuwa, Central and Southern provinces of Sri Lanka on Saturday and Sunday, causing rough sea conditions. A forecast from the country’s Meteorology Department on Friday noted the likelihood of high winds and rough seas during the weekend, but no warning was issued until Saturday when many fishing boats had already gone out to sea.

The Disaster Management Center of the Ministry of Disaster Management late yesterday that at least 40 people were killed and 30 others remain missing, the vast majority of them fishermen. The center said 17 people died in Western province, 21 in Southern province, one in Sabaragamuwa province, and one in North Western province.
The severe weather, which also resulted in several landslides, destroyed at least 107 houses and damaged nearly 2,300 others
.
The Sri Lanka Navy, which deployed several ships to assist in the search-and-rescue mission, said it had rescued 18 fishermen by Monday. It also rendered assistance to a number of boats and to seven fishermen who had managed to swim ashore despite the rough sea conditions.

7 Taliban fighters killed in failed attack against Kabul airport
Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET: A group of Taliban insurgents launched a coordinated attack yesterday against Afghanistan’s main international airport in the capital Kabul, but all attackers were killed without casualties among civilians or security forces, the city’s police chief said.

The attack began at around 4:30 a.m. local time when seven insurgents wearing suicide vests seized a building under construction near Kabul

— 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

The Thaiger

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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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