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Trump is center of attention in feisty first Republican debate

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– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Trump is center of attention in feisty first Republican debate
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


PHUKET: Donald Trump was the center of attention at a testy first Republican presidential debate on
Thursday, drawing boos from the crowd and a rebuke from a rival when he refused to rule out an independent White House bid and bristled at questions about his attitudes toward women.

With 10 Republicans vying for air time in the two-hour debate, the candidates at times turned on one another rather than direct their fire toward Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton or President Barack Obama.

But Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was the only contender to directly take on Trump, challenging him after he kicked off the debate by refusing to pledge his support for the Republican nominee in the November 2016 election.

“I will not make the pledge at this time,” said Trump, who for weeks has said he would not rule out an independent bid that would likely split the Republican vote and boost the chances of victory for Clinton or another Democrat.

Trump’s response drew boos from the crowd and a rebuke from Paul, who said Trump was keeping his options open to support Clinton, a veiled reference at his past friendship with both Clinton and her husband, Bill.

“He’s already hedging his bets because he’s used to buying politicians of all stripes,” Paul said.

Pressed by Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly about past derogatory comments he had made about women, including calling them “fat pigs”, “dogs”, and “slobs”, Trump dismissed the question as “political correctness.”

He accused Kelly of not treating him well, drawing more boos from the audience.

“Honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be based on the way you have treated me,” Trump, whose base of support is overwhelmingly male, said to a mixture of boos and applause.

The feisty tone suited Trump, a flamboyant billionaire who has been the center of campaign attention for weeks for his personal attacks on rivals and his scathing comments about Senator John McCain’s war record and about Mexican immigrants.

Trump kept it up in the debate, calling the Mexican government “much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning and they send the bad ones over.”

The sometimes combative nature of the debate made it difficult for more measured candidates like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is No. 2 in the polls, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to make an impact.

Bush, Walker and the other top contenders largely steered clear of tangling with Trump, focusing on their records and the conservative policies they would pursue if elected.

Bush did call Trump’s rhetoric “divisive” and said “we’re going to win when we unite people with an optimistic message.”

Trump has rocketed to the top of opinion polls amid the controversies, heightening anticipation for the debate against rivals Paul, Bush, Walker, Marco Rubio and five other Republican hopefuls.

SIDE BY SIDE

The debate was the first chance for Republican voters to make a side-by-side comparison of the top 10 presidential contenders. It offered Trump a chance to prove he could go beyond his bomb-throwing rhetoric and offer some policy specifics.

Republican strategists have argued that once Trump was on the debate stage, he would be exposed as a faux conservative. And when Trump seemed to defend a single-payer healthcare system, or mentioned Hillary Clinton attended his wedding, or spoke of giving donations to both parties, he seemed to play into their hands.

Trump’s rivals had to decide whether to directly confront him or to try to stay above the fray and look presidential. Paul, who has lagged in the opinion polls, decided to go on the offensive.

In addition to challenging Trump on his potential independent run, Paul accused Trump of not realizing that Republicans opposed a single payer healthcare system. But Trump dismissed his attacks.

“You’re having a hard time tonight,” Trump said.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie belittled Paul’s efforts in the Senate to curtail the government’s electronic surveillance system, saying there should be more tools for tracking terrorists.

“When you’re sitting in the subcommittee just blowing hot air about this, you can say things like that,” Christie said.

Trump took his own shot at Christie’s native New Jersey. “I had the good sense to leave Atlantic City, which by the way, Caesar’s just went bankrupt.”

Before the main event, seven candidates whose poll ratings did not qualify them for prime time took part in a separate daytime debate. Several challenged Trump’s conservative credentials, noting he had changed positions on abortion, healthcare and other issues.

But Carly Fiorina, a former business executive and the only woman in the Republican field, acknowledged Trump had tapped into a broad sense of frustration with Washington.

“Whatever your issue, your cause, the festering problem you hoped would be resolved, the political class has failed you. That’s what Donald Trump has tapped into,” said Fiorina, who was the runaway choice at more than 80 percent when Fox News asked viewers to tweet who they thought won the first debate.

Shortly after the early debate, social media interest in Fiorina surpassed interest in Trump, according to Google analytics.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

BBC names Thai protest leader Panusaya in global list of 100 most inspiring women

Maya Taylor

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BBC names Thai protest leader Panusaya in global list of 100 most inspiring women | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The BBC has named prominent Thai pro-democracy activist, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, aka, “Rung”, as one of the world’s 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2020. The BBC’s “100 Women of 2020” list singles out women around the world who are driving change in challenging times. Panusaya is one of 3 Thai women to be listed.

As the leader of protest group, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, she came to international attention at a Bangkok rally in August, when she read out the group’s controversial 10 point manifesto calling for reform of the Monarchy – a taboo topic never publicly discussed. Her nomination follows the news that a Grammy Music executive has filed a charge of lèse-majesté against her.

The other 2 Thai women to make the list are Kotchakorn Voraakhom and Cindy Sirinya Bishop. Kotchakorn is an urban landscape architect, who promotes the importance of green and public spaces in urban environments. Her aim is to transform vast, sprawling cities into more liveable spaces, while protecting them from the impact of climate change. The BBC describes her as someone who started by prising apart the “cracked pavement” of Bangkok’s cityscape to let new ideas come through.

BBC names Thai protest leader Panusaya in global list of 100 most inspiring women | News by The Thaiger

Cindy Sirinya Bishop is the UN Women Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Gender Equality through Education, Communities and Governments. She is a TV host, actress, and model, known for her campaigns to end violence against women. She came to prominence in 2018, when she created the movement #DontTellMeHowToDress. The campaign was a response to authorities in Thailand telling women they shouldn’t dress provocatively during the Songkran period if they wanted to avoid being sexually assaulted.

Other women shortlisted by the BBC for the 2020 list include Sarah Gilbert, who is leading the research into the Covid-19 vaccine at Oxford University, Sanna Marin, the leader of Finland’s all-female coalition government, and Michelle Yeoh, a Malaysian actress, who the BBC notes is one of very few Asian actresses to enjoy a successful career in the US.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

No vaccine, no flight – Qantas will require international travellers to be vaccinated

The Thaiger

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No vaccine, no flight – Qantas will require international travellers to be vaccinated | The Thaiger

Qantas, Australia’s national airline, is announcing a new requirement that all international travellers will need to have a vaccination against Covid-19 in a move that could become the norm for the world’s airline industry. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the Australian flag carrier would implement the measure once a coronavirus vaccine was made available to the public.

“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travellers that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft.”

“Whether you need that domestically, we will have to see what happens with Covid-19 in the market but certainly, for international visitors coming out (to Australia) and people leaving the country, we think that is a necessity.”

Joyce says the new rule is likely to become a standard practice by all airlines worldwide as many governments are now working to introduce electronic vaccination passports. Vaccination requirements are already widely used around the world for those wishing to enter certain countries, with many countries wanting travellers show they have been inoculated against yellow fever if they are coming from regions where that disease could be acquired.

The International Air Transport Association has also announced it is in the “final stages” of developing a digital health pass that it says can be used to record Covid-19 tests or vaccinations and will “support the safe reopening of borders.”

“We are bringing this to market in the coming months to also meet the needs of the various travel bubbles and public health corridors that are starting operation.”

Australia’s borders have been closed since March to help stop the spread of the virus, which has taken the lives of more than 1 million people worldwide. The country has even limited its own citizens arrivals from abroad by implementing a weekly quota that has left thousands stranded overseas. Qantas has grounded more than 200 planes and let go 8,500 staff members as it attempts to offset a US 1.9 billion loss.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Malaysia

Technical issues force Singapore aircraft to land on Malaysian highway – VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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Technical issues force Singapore aircraft to land on Malaysian highway – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Twitter

A single-engine prop plane from Singapore has been forced to make an emergency landing on a Malaysian highway due to technical difficulties. A report in Coconuts says the aircraft touched down on the hard shoulder of a highway in Johor, as cars sped past. The 2 pilots on board are believed to be in stable condition.

Chester Voo, CEO of Malaysia’s aviation authority, says an investigation has been launched to determine what went wrong with the plane, which has now been removed.

“Search and rescue teams have completed all required tasks. The investigation will be conducted by the Air Accident Investigation Bureau under the Ministry of Transport, Malaysia.”

It’s understood the plane left Seletar Airport in Singapore and was flying to Melaka when the pilots contacted Air Traffic Control at Johor, requesting permission to land at Senai International Airport, due to technical problems. However, Voo says the aircraft did not make it to the airport before it had to land on the highway.

Meanwhile, Thomas Ong from Premier Aero Singapore, who provide services at Seletar Airport, says his company provided immigration assistance to one of the pilots prior to departure, but doesn’t know what happened to cause the emergency landing.

“We only assisted Dr Yang in immigration formalities with the Seletar Airport Authority for his arrival and departure.”

SOURCE: Coconuts

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