Connect with us

World

Phuket Gazette World News: US chides Russia; US train crash; Crucial evidence withheld from ex-Russian spy’s inquest

Published

 on 

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

U.S. chides Russia over missiles as peace plans suffer
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The United States chided Russia for sending missiles to the Syrian government as plans for a peace conference promoted by Washington and Moscow were hit by diplomatic rifts over its scope and purpose.

Sectarian bloodshed in neighbouring Iraq during Friday prayers, a hacking attack on a Western newspaper by sympathisers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and defiant comments by a rebel commander filmed eating a slain soldier’s flesh were all reminders of how the two-year-old civil war is metastising.

But the divisions among world powers that have prevented a coordinated resolution were also again on display, just 10 days after Russia and the United States agreed to bury differences and push for an urgent international conference to end the war.

The most senior U.S. military officer, General Martin Dempsey, described Russia’s recent delivery of anti-ship missiles to Assad as “ill-timed and very unfortunate” and risked prolonging a war which has already killed more than 80,000 Syrians and which the U.N. said had driven 1.5 million abroad.

While not responding directly to U.S. assertions that it had sent Yakhont missiles, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said Russia would honour contracts to supply Syria, which has been a customer for Moscow’s weaponry since the Cold War.

“It’s at the very least an unfortunate decision that will embolden the regime and prolong the suffering,” Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters.

With a range of 300 km (200 miles), the Yakhont could prove a threat to warships in the Mediterranean, should, for example, Western powers abandon their deep reserve and intervene to offer air support to the rebels, as they did in Libya two years ago.

No date has yet been agreed for the international meeting, which appears to face growing obstacles. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met Putin in Russia on Friday and said the conference should take place as soon as possible.

But highlighting the diplomatic conundrum it poses, France spelled out explicitly on Friday that it would oppose any meeting if Assad’s regional ally Iran were invited – contrary to the Russian position that Tehran should be part of a solution.

Nearly 50 hurt as two trains collide in Connecticut
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Nearly 50 people were injured on Friday when two commuter trains collided during evening rush hour near the Connecticut town of Fairfield, shutting down Amtrak service between New York and Boston indefinitely, police and transit officials said.

Authorities said there were no reports of fatalities in the accident that occurred shortly after 6 p.m. EDT (2300 BST).

Anita Shrum, a spokeswoman for Bridgeport Hospital, said one person was seriously injured but the other 21 people it had received could be described as “walking wounded” with a variety of injuries. “They are doing OK, they are very stable,” Shrum said.

Dianne Auger, a spokeswoman for St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, said one of the 27 people taken there was in serious condition with head and neck injuries. Commuter trains on this busy commuter line to New York typically carry up to 300 passengers.

The number of injured could rise because hospital officials were told to prepare to receive up to 180 patients total.

The accident occurred when an eastbound train on the Metro-North commuter rail line derailed and collided with a train headed in the opposite direction near the suburban town of Fairfield, said spokesman Aaron Donovan of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which runs the railroad.

Amtrak officials said in a statement that it suspended service indefinitely on the heavily travelled Northeast Corridor between Boston and New York.

The cause of the derailment was not immediately known. Fairfield is about 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City.

UK inquest into ex-Russian spy’s death may be scrapped
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Britain’s long-delayed inquest into the death by radioactive poisoning of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko could be abandoned after the coroner partly upheld a British government request to withhold crucial evidence.

Robert Owen, a senior judge acting as coroner, said yesterday keeping some of the evidence secret would make it impossible to hold a “full, fair and fearless inquiry” into the death of the vocal critic of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Litvinenko, 43, died after drinking polonium-210, a radioactive isotope, that had been slipped into his tea at a London hotel in 2006. In a deathbed statement, he accused Putin of ordering his murder, a claim Russia has denied.

His death plunged relations between London and Moscow to a post-Cold War low, although British Prime Minister David Cameron visited Russia this month as part of efforts to improve ties.

In a written ruling, the coroner partially upheld a request by British Foreign Secretary William Hague to withhold evidence relating to the possible involvement of the Russian state in Litvinenko’s death and whether it could have been prevented.

The coroner also agreed to keep secret information that could undermine trust in the British government or “cause real harm to the UK’s international relations”.

Without being able to assess all the evidence in open hearings, Owen said he would be unable to “discharge my duty to undertake a full, fair and fearless inquiry into the circumstances”.

“The inquiry would be incomplete and a verdict potentially misleading and/or unfair,” he wrote in the ruling, which was partly censored for security reasons.

Those involved have two weeks to respond and a further hearing is due on June 11 when the coroner will announce what happens next. A British government spokesman said: “The government will carefully consider this judgement.”

The British authorities could now order a form of inquiry that would allow evidence to be heard in secret instead of an inquest, a hearing held under British law to determine the cause of death when a person dies unexpectedly.

Litvinenko’s widow Maria said she was “utterly dismayed” by the ruling, which she described as a political fix to help Russia and Britain rebuild their relations.

“All those concerned with exposing the truth will be shocked and saddened that a political deal has been done between the two governments to prevent the truth from ever seeing the light of day,” she said in a statement.

At a pre-inquest hearing in February, the Litvinenko family’s lawyers said Britain was trying to cover up his work for its Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, and material showing Russia was behind his death.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in December that the claims were unfounded and Moscow hoped that an investigation would show them to be so.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Politics7 hours ago

Vladimir Putin officially annexed four parts of Ukraine

Transport9 hours ago

Phuket Airport officials pulled tourist from van, insisted they use airport taxi

Thailand10 hours ago

Thailand’s strange laws – 10 strange laws in Thailand

Sponsored2 days ago

10 Best Seed Banks that Ship Cannabis Seeds Discreetly to You (Free US Shipping)

Politics10 hours ago

The long goodbye – Which way now for PM Prayut?

Pattaya11 hours ago

Pattaya Police Chief cleared of vice slurs, back on duty

Tourism11 hours ago

Reopening Thailand has a busy activity schedule

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Tourism12 hours ago

Today is the day! Full post-pandemic Thailand reopening

Pollution13 hours ago

Garbage in canals is worsening flooding in Bangkok

Weather14 hours ago

Hurricane Ian lashes South Carolina

Tourism15 hours ago

5-star squatters evicted from Layan Beach

Video15 hours ago

All you need to know about Thailand’s Vegetarian Festival

Protests15 hours ago

Anti-Prayut rallies expected across Bangkok

What you get for $X1 day ago

What $100,000 buys you for a condo in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui and Hua Hin

Thailand1 day ago

Thailand News Today | Activists plan protests all across Thailand

Thailand1 day ago

Snitching on parking space hoggers could earn you 5,000 baht in Thailand

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending