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Trump is center of attention in feisty first Republican debate

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Trump is center of attention in feisty first Republican debate | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– 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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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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