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Phuket Gazette World News: Security alert in southern Russia after at least five bodies found

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Phuket Gazette World News: Security alert in southern Russia after at least five bodies found | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Security alert in southern Russia after at least five bodies found
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Russia has put security forces on combat alert in the southern Stavropol region after the discovery of at least five corpses with gunshot wounds and an explosive device there barely a month before the start of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Stavropol, about 300 km (190 miles) from the Black Sea resort of Sochi, is the gateway to the North Caucasus region, where Russia faces an insurgency by Islamist militants who have threatened to try to prevent the Olympics going ahead.

President Vladimir Putin, who has staked his political and personal prestige on the Games, has already ordered security measures beefed up nationwide after suicide bombers killed at least 34 people in separate attacks last month in Volgograd, another southern Russian city.

In Washington, the head of the FBI gave a vote of confidence to Russia’s Olympic security preparations.

“I think the Russian government understands the threat and is devoting the resources to address it,” FBI Director James Comey told reporters.

The corpses were found late on Wednesday in four cars in two separate locations in the Stavropol region.

A homemade explosive device in a bucket was also found near one of the vehicles, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee, which said it and the Federal Security Service (FSB) were exploring several possible motives for the crimes.

No other details were immediately available and it was not clear if the killings had any connection to the Sochi Games.

The acting governor of the Stavropol region, Vladimir Vladimirov, told the state Rossiya 24 broadcaster that authorities had taken measures “to annihilate or detain criminals who might have taken part in these cases”.

Rossiya 24 reported a sixth body was found in similar circumstances and said two of the victims were local taxi drivers. This report could not immediately be confirmed.

The broadcaster showed footage of uniformed security officers searching vehicles and questioning residents in the region on Thursday.

“It is scary,” said Natalia Petrova, a local resident. “We fear for ourselves and we fear for our children.”

The Winter Olympics open on February 7 in Sochi, which is located on the western edge of the mountainous Caucasus region where the insurgents want to carve out an Islamic state.

The head of Russia’s Olympic Committee has said Moscow has taken every possible measure to ensure the Games’ safety.

Russian forces went on combat alert in Sochi on Tuesday and about 37,000 personnel are now in place to provide security at the Games, Russian officials say.

Comey said the FBI will have “at least a couple dozen people” in Moscow and some in Sochi to assist the Russians, with some already on location.

“We have been in regular communication, including me personally, with their security organizations to make sure that we’re coordinating well,” Comey said.

(Reporting by Tatiana Ustinova, Alessandra Prentice and Gabriela Baczynska; Additional reporting by David Ingram in Washington; Editing by Gareth Jones and Sonya Hepinstall)

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Weather

At least 35 dead, 100s injured, 50+ missing in Vietnam typhoon Molave

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At least 35 dead, 100s injured, 50+ missing in Vietnam typhoon Molave | The Thaiger

‘Molave’ has been the most powerful typhoon to hit Vietnam in 20 years. As it peters out into a harmless low pressure front making its way westwards in Thailand. Officials say the death toll across Vietnam may rise as some regions have been unable to report details of damage and casualties. This morning the remnants of Molave are sitting directly over central Thailand dumping rain but having lost its power.

A ‘typhoon’ is the Asian version of a hurricane or cyclone.

At least 35 dead, 100s injured, 50+ missing in Vietnam typhoon Molave | News by The Thaiger

Vietnam deployed soldiers and heavy machinery to search for survivors after landslides triggered by torrential rains from Typhoon Molave, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the region in decades. The main focus for rescue workers has been 3 villages in Vietnam’s central region where landslides killed at least 19 and are suspected of burying more than 40 others in thick mud. Rescue efforts are being hampered by bad weather at the tail end of the storm.

In Tra Leng village, about 45 kilometres from Tra Van, another landslide buried a community with several houses occupied by about 45 people. Rescuers say4 people escaped, while they recovered 8 bodies and later pulled out another 4 villagers alive, including 2 children, who were trapped in a buried house.

Tra Leng was initially cut off to rescue efforts as roads were washed away, flooding and other landslides. By late yesterday government rescue teams were able to open up a road with bulldozers and brought in more rescue teams and heavy equipment.

The Vietnamese government said Typhoon Molave had left millions of people without electricity and damaged at least 56,000 houses and caused a massive blackout in the Quang Ngai province, where 1.7 million people endured the onslaught of the typhoon in darkness.

Also among the dead are 12 fishermen whose boats sank Wednesday as Typhoon Molave approached with winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

France and Germany back in lockdown amid resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe

Maya Taylor

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France and Germany back in lockdown amid resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Andreas Selter on Unsplash

The leaders of France and Germany are once again having to introduce national lockdowns as the Covid-19 virus continues to surge across Europe. France is now recording over 36,000 (+36,437 yesterday) new cases a day, while Germany, which fared slightly better than other European countries during the first wave of the virus, is now seeing a dramatic rise in cases as winter approaches (+16,202 yesterday).

In announcing the new lockdown in France, President Emmanuel Macron warned that the country faces a second wave that could be worse than the first. Strict measures come into effect from tomorrow, with people not permitted to leave their homes unless it is to seek medical attention, purchase essential items, or to exercise for a maximum of an hour a day. However, schools remain open and people can still go to work if it is not possible for them to do their job from home.

“The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated. Like all our neighbours, we are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus. We are all in the same position: overrun by a second wave which we know will be harder, more deadly than the first.”

France and Germany back in lockdown amid resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe | News by The Thaiger

Over in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has confirmed that from next Monday, November 2, to the end of November, all bars, restaurants, and theatres will close. Schools will remain open and shops will be permitted to operate under strict conditions. The chancellor warns that the measures are vital to protect the country’s healthcare system.

“We need to take action now. Our health system can still cope with this challenge today, but at this speed of infections, it will reach the limits of its capacity within weeks.”

Confirmation of lockdowns in Europe’s biggest economies caused stock markets around the world to plummet, with European markets closing at their lowest level since late May. The S&P 500, which measures the performance of the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the US, was down 3%.

France and Germany back in lockdown amid resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe | News by The Thaiger

Meanwhile, with just 5 days to go before the presidential election, the US continues to set records with its rising numbers of virus cases. President Trump, however, remains undeterred, as he continues to hold public rallies, with many supporters not wearing masks.

France and Germany back in lockdown amid resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: SBS News

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World

Son of Sultan of Brunei dies at the age of 38

Maya Taylor

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Son of Sultan of Brunei dies at the age of 38 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Scoop

The son of the Sultan of Brunei has died at the age of 38, the government of Brunei has confirmed. Prince Azim, who was 4th in line to the throne, passed away on Saturday morning. While the cause of death has not been confirmed, his Wikipedia entry says he succumbed to a long illness.

CNN reports that the prince had made a name for himself as a Hollywood film producer, where he was known for hosting extravagant parties with celebrity guests that included Mariah Carey, Pamela Anderson, and Janet Jackson, among others. His success in film came despite international condemnation of his father’s harsh rule in Brunei, where parts of Sharia law are in force and capital punishment involves death by stoning.

The nation of Brunei has entered a 7-day mourning period, with leaders from neighbouring countries expressing their condolences on the death of the prince. A statement from the Indonesian embassy in Brunei said Prince Azim, “will always be remembered fondly.” The prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, described him as someone who was, “known for his kind and generous spirit, and for his dedication to charitable, educational, and youth causes.”

SOURCE: CNN

 

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