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Phuket Gazette World News: 4 dead in Swiss shooting; Pope farewell; Jihad Jane extradition; Syria aid

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Gazette World News: 4 dead in Swiss shooting; Pope farewell; Jihad Jane extradition; Syria aid | The Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Death toll from Swiss shooting rises to four
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A fourth person has died in hospital from injuries sustained in a shooting at a Swiss wood processing plant near the city of Lucerne, police said on Thursday.

A 42-year-old factory worker opened fire on co-workers with a Sphinx AT 380 pistol on Wednesday, killing two colleagues and wounding seven others. The gunman was also found dead at the scene but police have given no details on how he died.

Police said they were still investigating how the weapon came into the man’s possession and the motive for the attack.

Among the victims was 26-year-old Benno Studer, a well-known athlete in the Swiss sport of Schwingen, also known as Swiss wrestling, the Swiss wrestling association said in a statement.

A police spokesman confirmed that the gunman originally came from Kosovo and had a Swiss passport.

Police have not released the gunman’s name. But Swiss newspapers reported that the man, identified by newspaper Blick only as Viktor B., was a former kick boxer and father of three.

The country’s second mass shooting this year has reignited debate about Swiss firearm laws that allow men to keep guns after their mandatory military service. A gunman killed three women and injured two men in January in the village of Daillon.

Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said it was clear that gun law legislation needed to be improved.

There is no national gun register in Switzerland, and some estimates indicate that at least one in every three of the country’s 8 million inhabitants keeps a gun, many stored at home.

Citizens outside the military can apply for a permit to purchase up to three weapons from the age of 18 in a country where sharp shooting and hunting are popular sports.

Poland finds horse DNA in beef at three warehouses
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Polish authorities found evidence of horse DNA in beef stored at three storage facilities after several countries pointed to Poland as one of the sources of tainted meat that has shaken the European food industry.

Poland’s General Veterinary Inspectorate said in a statement late on Wednesday it found three tainted samples from 121 tested, with 80 more to be examined.

On Thursday, a spokeswoman for the Polish arm of furniture giant IKEA said the company stopped buying meatballs from its Polish supplier on concerns they could contain horsemeat.

“Our Polish supplier informed us that there are some concerns,” said Karolina Horoszczak, adding that the supplier had asked IKEA to stop using its products in its restaurants.

“These are preemptive actions and we are still waiting for test results,” she added.

Officials in Ireland, Britain, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic have reported that products such as burgers and lasagne containing horsemeat originated from facilities in Poland.

Polish officials had previously said they found no signs of horse meat at all abattoirs tested.

A European scandal erupted last month when tests in Ireland revealed some beef products contained horse meat, triggering recalls of ready-made meals in several countries and damaging confidence in Europe’s vast and complex food industry.

Poland exports 330,000 tonnes of beef products annually, or more than three-quarters of its total production, mainly to other European Union members.

Pope Benedict quits Vatican with promise to obey successor
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Pope Benedict left the Vatican on Thursday after pledging unconditional obedience to whoever succeeds him to guide the Roman Catholic Church at one of the most crisis-ridden periods in its 2,000-year history.

The first pope in six centuries to step down, Benedict flew off in a white Italian air force helicopter for the papal summer villa south of the capital where he took up temporary residence.

Bells rang out from St Peter’s Basilica and churches all over Rome as the helicopter circled Vatican City and flew over the Colosseum and other landmarks to give the pontiff one last view of the city where he is also bishop.

“As you know, today is different to previous ones,” he told an emotional, cheering crowd in the small town of Castel Gandolfo in his last public remarks as pope.

“I will only be the supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church until 8pm and then no longer. I will simply be a pilgrim who is starting the last phase of his pilgrimage on this Earth.”

He turned and went inside the villa, never to be seen again as pope.

In an emotional farewell to cardinals on Thursday morning in the Vatican’s frescoed Sala Clementina, Benedict appeared to send a strong message to the top echelons of the Church as well as the faithful to remain united behind his successor, whoever he is.

“I will continue to be close to you in prayer, especially in the next few days, so that you are fully accepting of the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new pope,” he said. “May the Lord show you what he wants. Among you there is the future pope, to whom I today declare my unconditional reverence and obedience.”

The pledge, made ahead of the closed-doors conclave where cardinals will elect his successor, was significant because for the first time in history, there will be a reigning pope and a former pope living side by side in the Vatican.

Some Church scholars worry that if the next pope undoes some of Benedict’s policies while his predecessor is still alive, Benedict could act as a lightning rod for conservatives and polarise the 1.2 billion-member Church.

Before boarding the helicopter, Pope Benedict said goodbye to monsignors, nuns, Vatican staff and Swiss guards in the San Damaso courtyard of the Holy See’s apostolic palace. Many of his staff had tears in their eyes as the helicopter left.

As the helicopter took off, he sent his last message on Twitter: “Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives”.

Benedict will spend the first few months of his retirement in the papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, a complex of villas boasting lush gardens, a farm and stunning views over Lake Albano in the volcanic crater below the town.

Man dragged by South Africa police dies in custody
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: South African police were caught on video dragging a man hundreds of metres from the back of a pick-up truck, hours before he died in custody, drawing a storm of protest against a force accused of routine brutality.

The 27-year-old Mozambican taxi driver, Mido Macia, was found dead in detention with signs of head injuries and internal bleeding, according to an initial post mortem report released by the country’s police watchdog.

The incident, videotaped on Tuesday and broadcast nationwide on Thursday, was condemned by President Jacob Zuma and opposition politicians.

“The visuals of the incident are horrific, disturbing and unacceptable. No human being should be treated in that manner”,

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Chiang Rai

Italian busted in Australia smuggling heroin

Greeley Pulitzer

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Italian busted in Australia smuggling heroin | The Thaiger

An 49-year-old Italian has been charged with drug smuggling after arriving at Perth Airport from Chiang Mai. He allegedly had about 300 grams of heroin, worth about 135,000 Australian dollars, hidden inside his body.

After trace technology during a baggage examination showed positive for narcotics, Australian Border Force officers referred him to the Australian Federal Police for an internal exam.

The man was taken to hospital where 63 pellets of heroin were allegedly found in his stomach. X-Rays also revealed three more pellets of heroin had been internally inserted into his rectum.

Italian busted in Australia smuggling heroin | News by The Thaiger

Photo: Australian Border Force

He was charged with importing a controlled drug and faces 25 years in prison.

A spokeman for the Australian Border Forcesaid the ABF is fully aware of the lengths people are willing to go to bring drugs into Australia.

“They not only risk lengthy jail time, but are playing Russian roulette with their own lives and health,” he said.

“Smuggling drugs internally is an incredibly stupid endeavour. Furthermore there is a risk that stomach acid will eat through the wrapping of the heroin, consequently risking a fatal drug overdose,” according to federal police.

SOURCE: chiangraitimes.com

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World

Brexit latest – Five possible scenarios

The Thaiger

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Brexit latest – Five possible scenarios | The Thaiger

Britain’s three year Brexit saga, the UK’s most challenging and debilitating political debacle in decades, has taken another dramatic twist with the outcome still difficult to predict. In a landmark vote, MPs finally backed an EU divorce deal – only moments later rejecting British PM Boris Johnson’s rushed timetable to turn it into law ahead of the country’s scheduled October 31 departure date.

The decision makes that deadline almost impossible to meet, but it does not kill the deal – the first that has got a majority in parliament.

Here are some possible scenarios ahead…

A technical extension

Legislation passed last month stated that unless MPs backed a divorce deal by October 19, Johnson must write to EU leaders asking for Brexit to be postponed for three months to January 31, 2020. The PM reluctantly sent the letter last Saturday, and EU leaders are still considering their response.

European Council President Donald Tusk said yesterday, following the drama in Westminster, that he was now recommending they accept the request. Johnson had earlier told lawmakers who had just defied his bid to fast-track his deal through parliament that he would “pause” the ratification process while the EU decides on an extension.

Although he insisted Britain should still leave on October 31, he may have little choice but to accept a short “technical” delay to allow for a new parliamentary timetable to pass the legislation in the coming weeks.

More delays

Despite Johnson being adamant he will not delay Brexit for months, the EU may also offer Britain the option of a longer extension – which opposition MPs argue the premier would be compelled by law to accept. European leaders could claim a longer delay is necessary to give the country enough time to resolve the issue.

Legislation of this type would normally take months and must be approved again by the House of Commons as well as by the upper House of Lords. There is a real risk MPs could try to hijack its passage and attach various amendments, for example to make approval subject to negotiating a future customs union with the bloc or even to hold a new referendum.

A longer delay could also allow for a general election.

A crash and burn exit

The default legal position is that Britain leaves the EU on October 31 unless the other 27 member states agree to a delay.

Business and markets across Europe fear the shock of a sudden Brexit that even the government’s own assessment says would cause economic damage, raising the chances that the EU will offer an extension.

Despite EU leaders claiming they would never cause a no-deal Brexit, their decision to offer a delay must be unanimous and any one of the 27 member states could block such a move. In that highly unlikely scenario, Britain would crash out of the bloc at the end of next week.

Another general election

Johnson warned MPs ahead of the votes yesterday that he would pull his Brexit deal legislation and try to hold a general election if they rejected his timetable – although he did not repeat the threat afterwards.

Riding high in the polls, he has already unsuccessfully tried twice to get an early election to win back a majority in parliament, and seemed buoyed by having secured MPs’ initial approval for his new Brexit deal. But he needs the support of the main opposition Labour Party for an election to be called and it has so far resisted.

Labour says it would back an election when the threat of a “no deal” Brexit is off the table.

Another referendum

Labour says any deal should be subject to a new referendum, and has promised to call one if it takes office. Some MPs may try to force the issue during the passage of the Brexit deal legislation, although it is far from clear that they have the numbers to succeed.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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ASEAN

Human hair trade exploits ASEAN women

Greeley Pulitzer

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Human hair trade exploits ASEAN women | The Thaiger

Hair extensions have become an essential part of the multi-billion-dollar hair industry, with estimated annual sales of 250 million to over 1 billion USD. Based on a 2018 Research and Markets report, the global hair, wigs and extension market is expected to surpass 10 billion USD by 2023.

Raw human hair has significant commercial value: it’s a coveted commodity to be processed into hair extensions and wigs. According to a report by the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), the global value for human hair exports in 2017 was 126 million USD. Asia exported 72.4 million USD, accounting for 58 percent of the global trade.

In India, the Tirupati Balaji temple earns 10 percent of its income through auctioning hair donated by devotees, raking in a profit of 25 million to 40 million USD annually.

There are three categories for collected hair: Remy, non-Remy and virgin hair. Remy is usually obtained from temple donations and is of the highest grade. Non-Remy hair is a lower grade, collected from individuals, and is typically broken or short. Virgin hairhas never been chemically treated.

In Southeast Asia, long hair is esteemed as a mark of beauty with deep religious and social meaning, especially in Buddhist countries. While most brands opt to acquire hair from India where it’s donated for religious reasons, in Southeast Asia, traders target impoverished areas to buy hair from desperately poor people whose poverty makes them easy prey. Hair extensions in the US can cost 500 to 2000 USD, but the owner of the hair usually receives only a fraction of that. For example, Nguyen Thi Thuy of Vietnam says the highest she has ever been offered for her hair is 70,000 Vietnamese dong, or 3 USD. Pheng Sreyvy from Cambodia fared slightly better at 15 USD for her locks.

According to the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association, women don’t know how to bargain over the price of hair. “They decided to sell their hair because they are poor, and they don’t know where to sell their hair for international market price,” a spokeswoman said.

The high value of human hair has made hair-theft muggings a recurrent problem in some countries, and some companies have resorted to chemical processing or a mixture of human and goat hair.

Increased awareness of exploitation has prompted many companies to collect hair from more transparent and ethical sources. While the human hair trade has provided many communities with income and opportunities, practices that exploit and deprive women of opportunities continue.

SOURCE: theaseanpost.com

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