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Phuket Gazette: Can there be no good news for journalists in Mexico?

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Phuket Gazette: Can there be no good news for journalists in Mexico? | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Mexico: 172 attacks against journalists, 9 dead in 2011
PHUKET (News Wires): In 2011, at least 172 attack were carried out against Mexican journalists and media, according to press rights group Article 19.

The report, called ‘Forced Silence: the State, accomplice to the violence against the press,’ showed that last year was one of the most violent years for media outlets in Mexico, where nine journalists were killed and two others went missing. All of the attacks were apparently carried out due to the journalists’ work.

In addition, two media workers were killed, while at least eight attacks were carried out with firearms or explosives against media offices, the group said, as it criticized the government’s participation in diminishing the press and eroding freedom of expression.

“In the best scenario, journalists at risk have been protected inadequately,” the group said in a statement. “In the worst scenario, the same officials in charge of investigating and procuration of justice are the ones behind the actions against the freedom of press rights,” adding that in some cases, even accusing them of crimes without properly initiating proper investigations.

The highest number of attacks against journalists and media outlets were carried out in the state of Veracruz, with 29, representing a 200 percent increase, followed by Mexico City, 21, Chihuahua and Coahuila with 15, and Oaxaca, 11.

Strong 7.6-magnitude earthquake rocks Mexico
PHUKET (News Wires): A strong 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Mexico yesterday, causing panic all the way up to the country’s central region.

According to the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) preliminary earthquake report, the epicenter of the quake, which had a depth of 17 kilometers, was in the state of Guerrero, around 186 kilometers (115 miles) east of the popular port city of Acapulco and about 25 kilometers (16 miles) east of Ometepec, both in the same state.

However, Mexico’s National Seismological Service (SSN) reported a 7.8-magnitude earthquake at around noon local time (1am today, Phuket time). The USGS later reported at least six aftershocks as of 1:30pm local time. Three of them registered a magnitude of 5.1 while the strongest was 5.3.

The strong earthquake was felt up to Mexico’s central region, as several buildings across Mexico City were completely evacuated.

Through his Twitter account, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said no major damage was reported, although part of a pedestrian crossing bridge collapsed and crushed a public transportation bus in the Atzcapotzalco area of Mexico City. No passengers were in the vehicle and the driver only suffered minor injuries.

News reporter Djatmiko Waluyo, who at the time of the earthquake was located in Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood, one of the older and traditional areas not far from downtown, described the powerful earthquake.

“The building began swerving from side to side and loud thumps were heard from the walls as they seemed to be cracking,” he said, adding that the sensation of dizziness lasted around 30 or 40 seconds as people rushed down the stairs and exited the building.

“The Medellin market was evacuated as well as groups of nervous people were hesitant to reenter the buildings.”

On September 20, 1985, one of the most devastating earthquakes struck the coastal area of Michoacan, although most of the damage was seen in Mexico City. Initial government reports indicated that from 6,000 to 7,000 people died, although further investigations revealed that approximately 10,000 people died.

The 8.1-magnitude earthquake completely or partially destroyed several important buildings such as the General Hospital of Mexico, the Televicentro building, which is now operated by Televisa, one of the country’s most important TV networks, as well as several residential buildings.

Ten severed heads found lined up in southwestern Mexico
PHUKET (News Wires): Mexican authorities on early Sunday discovered ten severed heads lined up outside a slaughterhouse in southwestern Mexico, officials said.

They are believed to be the latest victims of drug-related violence in the region.

Police were sent to the area after a call came in at 6:30am local time that human heads were lined up on the sidewalk of a street outside a slaughterhouse in the municipality of Teloloapan, which is located in Guerrero state in southwestern Mexico. Responding officers found a total of ten severed heads.

Other body parts were not found at the scene or in the nearby area, but investigators identified the heads as seven males and three females. “The partial identification suggests the victims were between 20 and 35 years of age,” a spokesperson for the state’s attorney general’s office said.

Two cardboard signs were also found at the scene, and officials said the text on them refers to conflicts between rival gangs, although the exact contents were not immediately released. Teloloapan is located in a region where the La Familia cartel and its offshoot Los Caballeros Templarios are fighting for territory.

According to official figures, more than 50,000 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderón launched an army-led crackdown on organized crime and drug cartels in late 2006. At least 12,903 people died between January and September 2011, although figures for the entire year are not yet available. This will likely bring the total figure for 2011 to more than 17,000, the highest annual number yet.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

US may receive first Covid vaccine doses by mid-December

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US may receive first Covid vaccine doses by mid-December | The Thaiger

The head of the US government’s covid vaccine effort is saying that the first vaccine doses may be shipped by mid-December. Moncef Slaoui, the head of a federal vaccine development program, made the comments just 2 days after Pfizer and BioNTech applied for emergency vaccine use approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, after their versions of the vaccines indicated results showing that it was 95% effective. Moderna, another company has also said its vaccine is 94.5% effective. Slaoui also is in charge of a federal program that increases manufacturing of such promising vaccines as they are developed.

“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunisation sites within 24 hours from the approval. So I expect maybe on day two after approval on December 11 or 12.”

The news of a vaccine becoming available comes on the heels of US states seeing a surge in Covid cases, partly due to the winter weather, as colder temperatures are seeing more and more people fall ill. In the state of Texas, the National Guard deployed 36 people to El Paso to help with its overflowing morgue operations. The US retains its place at the top in regards to having the highest number of Covid cases in the world.

But travellers are still filling the airports over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, as they shun the warnings from health officials to stay home and isolate. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, says the number of travellers was concerning, stating that they were “going to get us into even more trouble than we’re in right now.”

Fauci says that maybe 20 million people could possible receive the new vaccine by the end of the year.

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate.”

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Election

US federal judge shoots down President Trump’s attempt to block Pennsylvania vote certification

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US federal judge shoots down President Trump’s attempt to block Pennsylvania vote certification | The Thaiger

A US federal judge has shot down US President Trump’s campaign team’s attempt to block the certification of votes in the state of Pennsylvania. The judge issued the order that also refuted claims of widespread irregularities for mail-in ballots. The news comes after President Trump has refused to concede the election despite other leaders worldwide already recognising Joe Biden, a democrat, as the president-elect.

Pennsylvania may have been Mr. Trump’s final hope for arguing against the election results, as the state holds 20 electoral votes. In an attempt to bring the issue into court, Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, made an appearance in the court, for the first time in decades, to argue the case.

But the US District Court Judge Matthew Brann wasn’t having it. In his order, he detailed Trump’s request for the court to disenfranchise almost 7 million votes. Judge Brann ruled that Pennsylvania officials indeed could certify the election results by showing that Mr. Biden had won the state by 80,000 votes. He further noted that the Trump campaign team presented strained legal arguments “without merit and speculative accusations … unsupported by evidence”.

“One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption, so much that the court would have no option but to stop the certification even though it would impact so many people. That has not happened.”

Despite Pennsylvania’s strong number of votes in the electoral college, Donald Trump still would have needed to win the other lawsuits that he had filed, where his campaign team also asked to delay certification of votes. Following suit, however, most of the courts rejected the lawsuits, citing the need for proof that fraud could have occurred.

Giuliani and a Trump campaign lawyer are holding fort by noting that they welcomed the dismissal as they could appeal to the US Supreme Court faster, where Trump has continuously claimed that he has sympathetic justices. Senator Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican who helped place Judge Brann on the bench, said the ruling showed Trump had exhausted all possible legal avenues in the state and went on to congratulate Biden on his victory.

“Brann is a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist.”

Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor and New York mayor, didn’t appear to be much of a help in the court after he seemingly confused the meaning of “opacity”, provoked an opposing lawyer, and seemed unaware of the Pennsylvania election code when he said it was illegal for counties to help people vote. Trump’s attorneys also teamed up by saying that the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law was violated when Pennsylvania counties took different approaches to notifying voters before the election about technical problems with their submitted mail-in ballots.

The judge dismissed the argument entirely, and Mark Aronchick, an opposing lawyer, addressed Giuliani directly about the Pennsylvania election code

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, tweeted shortly after Brann’s ruling that “another one bites the dust.”

“These claims were meritless from the start and for an audience of one,” Shapiro said in a statement. “The will of the people will prevail. These baseless lawsuits need to end.”

SOURCE: Associate Press

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Politics

Poll reveals Thais hope President-elect Biden will be a “good leader”

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Poll reveals Thais hope President-elect Biden will be a “good leader” | The Thaiger

Thailand’s Suan Dusit Poll has revealed that most Thais hope that the President-elect Joe Biden will be a good leader of his country. The opinion survey, by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, was conducted online on November 13 through November 18, in which 1,038 people responded with their opinions throughout the country.

A majority of Thais, almost 90%, responded that they were interested in the US Presidential election outcomes and were following the news regularly. About 58% responded as moderately following the elections and almost 32% highly interested in the elections. Only about 10% of respondents said that they were not interested in the elections.

Of those who responded as being interested in the election, their reasons were largely due to the fact that they felt the elections have a large impact on the world economy, with almost 74% of poll’s respondents agreeing with that reasoning. About 61% of respondents said the reasons they were interested was because the US is a world superpower, while about 49% said they were merely interested in who would be the winner.

The elections come at a time when Thailand is grappling with an unstable political situation, as protesters against the government are pushing for constitutional amendments. Almost 61% of respondents pointed to this intersection of politics, citing the democratic election of a country’s leader by the people could be applied to their own country’s politics and society. About 57% of the people said they were highly aware of the issues surrounding the right to vote with around 53% citing the democratic electoral system in America was of interest.

However, only 48% said they felt Thailand’s economy would be better after the US election, with 47% believing it would stay the same. A mere 4.5% said they thought the Thai economy would be worse after the election.

Regardless of their reasoning for being interested in the elections, about 65% of respondents wanted whoever was elected as the next US President to be a good leader both at home and on the international stage. 62% wanted the new leader to forge friendships and good relations with other countries and almost 58% wanted him to refrain from taking advantage of and suppressing other countries.

SOURCE:Bangkok Post

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