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Phuket Gazette World News: Venezuela offers Snowden asylum; 24 dead in Egypt clashes; EU warns US over spying; Mali Army in Tuareg town; 16th century Paris tower opens

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Phuket Gazette World News: Venezuela offers Snowden asylum; 24 dead in Egypt clashes; EU warns US over spying; Mali Army in Tuareg town; 16th century Paris tower opens | The Thaiger

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

Venezuela offers asylum to Snowden
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Friday he had decided to offer asylum to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who has petitioned several countries to avoid capture by Washington.

“In the name of America’s dignity … I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to Edward Snowden,” Maduro told a televised military parade marking Venezuela’s independence day.

The 30-year-old former National Security Agency contractor is believed to be holed up in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo international airport.

WikiLeaks said on Friday that Snowden had applied to six more nations for asylum, bringing to about 20 the number of countries he has asked for protection from U.S. espionage charges.

Maduro said Venezuela was ready to offer him sanctuary, and that the details Snowden had revealed of a U.S. spy program had exposed the nefarious schemes of the U.S. “empire.”

“He has told the truth, in the spirit of rebellion, about the U.S. spying on the whole world,” Maduro said.

“Who is the guilty one? A young man … who denounces war plans, or the U.S. government which launches bombs and arms the terrorist Syrian opposition against the people and legitimate President Bashar al-Assad?”

“Who is the terrorist? Who is the global delinquent?”

Russia has shown signs of growing impatience over Snowden’s stay in Moscow. Its deputy foreign minister said on Thursday that Snowden had not sought asylum in that country and needed to choose a place to go.

Moscow has made clear that the longer he stays, the greater the risk of the diplomatic standoff over his fate causing lasting damage to relations with Washington.

Protests hit across Egypt, at least 24 dead
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: At least 24 people died across Egypt on Friday as Islamists opposed to the overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi took to the streets to vent their fury at what they say was a military coup.

Fierce clashes in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria left 12 dead and 200 injured, while in Cairo, five people were killed as pro- and anti-Mursi protesters ran amok in central areas and armoured personnel carriers rumbled among them to restore calm.

Five police officers were gunned down in separate incidents in the North Sinai town of El Arish, and while it was not clear whether the attacks were linked to Mursi’s ouster, hardline Islamists there have warned they would fight back.

Tens of thousands of people marched across the country in what Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement called a “Friday of Rage” to demonstrate against his overthrow and the army-backed interim government being set up to prepare for new elections.

A new prime minister could be named as early as Saturday.

Egypt’s first freely elected president was toppled on Wednesday, the latest twist in a tumultuous two years since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in the Arab Spring uprisings that swept the region in 2011.

The events of the last week have aroused concern among Egypt’s allies in the West, including key donors the United States and the European Union, and in neighbouring Israel, with which Egypt has had a U.S.-backed peace treaty since 1979.

Friday’s fatalities added to the dozens of deaths in a month of unrest. Last Sunday, huge rallies in Cairo and other cities called for Mursi’s resignation, venting anger over economic stagnation and perceptions of a Brotherhood power grab.

His overthrow was greeted with wild scenes of celebration but infuriated supporters who fear a return to the suppression of Islamists they endured under generations of military rule.

It has deepened Egypt’s crisis. With its supporters enraged by Mursi’s removal from power, the Brotherhood says it wants nothing to do with what the army has billed as an inclusive transition plan, culminating in fresh elections.

The military has given scarce details – its road map gave no timeframe for a new ballot – adding to political uncertainty at a time when many Egyptians fear violence could polarise society even further.

Leftist former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi told Reuters he hoped the transition could last only six months. And, in common with allies on the liberal left, he insisted there had been no military coup. He called the idea an insult to Egypt.

Rising tensions

In an early incident that raised tensions in Cairo, three protesters were shot dead outside the Republican Guard barracks where deposed Mursi is being held, security sources said.

The army denied blame for the shootings. An army spokesman said troops did not open fire on the demonstrators and soldiers used blank rounds and teargas to control the crowd.

It was unclear whether security forces units other than army troops were also present.

Later, tens of thousands of cheering Islamists gathered near a mosque in a Cairo suburb where they were addressed by Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, free to address them despite reports on Thursday that he had been arrested.

Badie, like some other leaders, pledge that it was worth “our lives” to restore Mursi to the presidency. But Brotherhood officials have also insisted they will not resort to violence.

After dark, running battles broke out in the area between Tahrir Square and the state broadcasting headquarters. Reuters journalists saw hundreds of youths from either side skirmish around the highway ramps of a major bridge over the Nile.

There was some shotgun fire, rocks flew and fireworks shot between rival groups. A car was burned out. Protesters erected makeshift shields for protection. The Brotherhood said 18 of its supporters were wounded after they were attacked by “thugs”.

Reuters journalists saw several men with shotgun wounds.

The army, which had pledged to protect demonstrators and keep rival factions apart, had troops in the area but violence only ended after some three hours when half a dozen armoured personnel carriers arrived and took up position on the bridge.

Islamists also took to the streets in cities across the country, including Assiut, Damanhour, Ismailia, and in the Nile Delta towns of Gharbeya and Beheira.

Sinai attacks

In the Sinai peninsula bordering Israel, where Egypt has struggled to control security since Mubarak was toppled, five police officers were gunned down in separate attacks in the town of El Arish, medical sources said.

Hardline Islamist groups have exploited a collapse in state authority after the uprising to launch attacks into Israel and on Egyptian targets.

The violence will ring alarm bells in the United States. Washington has so far avoided referring to the army’s removal of Mursi as a “coup”, a word that under U.S. law would require a halt to its $1.5 billion in annual aid.

Mursi’s opponents also say it was not a coup but an intervention to impose the “people’s will”.

The Brotherhood’s key political strategist, Khairat El-Shater, became the latest senior figure to be arrested since Mursi’s removal.

A legal technicality forced Shater’s withdrawal from the presidential campaign last year, promoting Mursi into being the movement’s candidate.

Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad said the movement was faced with a crackdown from a stat

— 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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