Connect with us

World

Ukraine forces kill up to five rebels; Russia starts drill near border

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on

Ukraine forces kill up to five rebels; Russia starts drill near border | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Ukraine forces kill up to five rebels; Russia starts drill near border
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Moscow rebels on Thursday as they closed in on the separatists’ military stronghold in the east, and Russia launched army drills near the border in response, raising fears its troops would invade.

The Ukrainian offensive amounts to the first time Kiev’s troops have used lethal force to recapture territory from the fighters, who have seized swaths of eastern Ukraine since April 6 and proclaimed an independent “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”

Ukraine’s acting president accused Moscow of supporting “terrorism at the state level” against his country for backing the rebels, whom the government blames for kidnapping and torturing a politician found dead on Saturday.

“The window to change course is closing,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned in a hastily arranged appearance in the State Department, where he cited President Barack Obama’s comments earlier on Thursday that Washington was ready to impose new sanctions if Moscow did not alter its policy.

In unusually blunt comments, Kerry accused Russia of using propaganda to hide what he said it was actually trying to do in eastern Ukraine – destabilize the region and undermine next month’s planned Ukrainian presidential elections.

“So following today’s threatening movement of Russian troops right up to Ukraine’s border, let me be clear,” Kerry said. “If Russia continues in this direction, it will not just be a grave mistake, it will be an expensive mistake.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said sanctions were “dishonourable” and destroyed the global economy but that so far the damage had not been critical.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said its forces backed by the army had removed three checkpoints manned by armed groups in the separatist-controlled city of Slaviansk.

“During the armed clash, up to five terrorists were eliminated,” it said in a statement, adding one person had been wounded on the side of the government forces.

A rebel spokeswoman in Slaviansk said two fighters had died in a clash in the same area, northeast of the city centre. Slaviansk’s separatist self-proclaimed mayor, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, quoted on a local news site, said one man was shot dead and another badly wounded on the north-eastern outskirts of the city. He said the dead had been unarmed.

The Kremlin, which says it has the right to invade its neighbour to protect Russian speakers, has built up forces on Ukraine’s border – estimated by NATO at up to 40,000 troops.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced Moscow had launched military drills near the border in response to “Ukraine’s military machine” and NATO exercises in Eastern Europe. Kiev demanded an explanation within 48 hours of action on the border.

Russia seized and annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine last month after President Vladimir Putin overturned decades of post-Cold War diplomacy by announcing the right to use military force in neighbouring countries.

An invasion of mainland Ukraine’s industrial heartland would be a far more serious action. It had seemed beyond contemplation only weeks ago but now looks like a real threat, although the full extent of Putin’s territorial ambitions remains a mystery.

In St Petersburg, Putin said that if the authorities in Kiev had used the army in eastern Ukraine, it would be a very serious crime against their own people.

“It is just a punitive operation and it will of course incur consequences for the people making these decisions, including (an effect) on our interstate relations,” Putin said in a televised meeting with regional media.

U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel voiced concern about reports of Russian military activity, telling reporters during a visit to Mexico City: “This is dangerously destabilizing and it’s very provocative.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded that it was up to Washington to halt the Ukrainian military action, and “force the Kiev authorities, who are wards of the United States, to restrain themselves and not use force.”

Reuters journalists saw a Ukrainian detachment with five armoured personnel carriers take over a checkpoint on a road north of Slaviansk in the late morning after it was abandoned by separatists who set tyres alight to cover their retreat.

But two hours later, the troops pulled back and it was unclear if Kiev would risk storming Slaviansk, a city of 130,000 that has become the military stronghold of a movement seeking annexation by Moscow of Ukraine’s industrialised east.

‘FINISH WHAT WE HAVE STARTED’

At another checkpoint set up by the Ukrainian military, a soldier said they were there to instil law and order.

“Those separatists, they violated the constitution, they are torturing the country, they violated laws, they do not recognise the authority of police, so the army had to move in and we will finish what we have started, so help me God,” he said.

Under an accord signed by Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union in Geneva last week, illegal armed groups are supposed to disarm and go home, including the rebels occupying about a dozen buildings in the largely Russian-speaking east.

Washington accuses Moscow of sending agents to coordinate the unrest in the east, as it did before seizing Crimea last month. Russia denies it is behind the uprising and says the separatists are responding spontaneously to hostility from Kiev. Russia made similar denials over Crimea until Putin acknowledged last week his troops had indeed acted alongside local militia.

“At the state level, Russia is supporting terrorism in our country,” Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksander Turchinov, said in an address to the country on Thursday. “Armed criminals have taken over buildings, are taking citizens, Ukrainian and foreign journalists, hostage and murdering Ukrainian patriots.”

Turchinov called for the eastern offensive this week after the apparent torture and murder of a pro-Kiev town councillor whose body was found on Saturday near Slaviansk.

Volodymyr Rybak had disappeared after being filmed trying to take down a separatist flag while attempting to enter the rebel-held town hall where he worked in Horlivka, near Slaviansk.

“He was bruised and punctured from head to toe … it’s clear they tortured him,” said Aleksander Yaroshenko, a family friend who accompanied Rybak’s widow when she identified his body at the morgue. “The police have lots of details, they have CCTV footage, they should know who did this,” he told Reuters.

Rebels in Slaviansk released U.S. citizen Simon Ostrovsky, one of three journalists they were believed to be holding.

Moscow called for Kiev to release “political prisoners”, including a pro-Russian activist named Pavel Gubarev.

U.S. TROOPS ARRIVE IN POLAND

So far, the United States and the EU have taken only mild action against Moscow, imposing visa bans and asset freezes on a few Russians, measures Moscow has scoffed at as meaningless. Washington and Brussels both say they are drafting more serious sanctions and will impose them if the Geneva deal collapses.

Even without serious sanctions, Russia’s confrontation with the West has hurt its economy as fearful investors send their money abroad. Mutual funds specialising in Russia and Eastern Europe were the 30 worst performers out of 3,489 equity

— Phuket Gazette Editors

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.



Find more SE Asian News courtesy of The Thaiger.

Broke? Find employment in Southeast Asia with JobCute Thailand and SmartJob Indonesia. Rich? Invest in real estate across Asia with FazWaz Property Group or get out on a yacht anywhere with Boatcrowd. Even book medical procedures worldwide with MyMediTravel, all powered by DB Ventures.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Entertainment

The K-pop Olympics: performers battle in the K-pop festival

The Thaiger

Published

on

The K-pop Olympics: performers battle in the K-pop festival | The Thaiger

On the streets, in parks and garages, seven Cuban youngsters spent seven months practising K-pop moves to secure a spot on their dream stage: an appearance in South Korea to imitate their idols. 13 final teams from 80 countries are competing in the 2019 event.

At the grandly titled and government-funded Changwon K-pop World Festival contestants from around the globe perform imitation dances or sing cover versions of the genre’s biggest hits, with thousands of fans cheering them on.

In terms of global heft, South Korea is overshadowed by its much larger neighbours China and Japan, but the event is a way for Seoul to derive soft power from one of the country’s biggest cultural exports. In terms of pop-power, South Korea’s K-Pop is now a recognised world-wide music phenomenon with bands like BTS and Blackpink figuring amongst the other big-hitters on the Billboard charts and outselling their western counterparts with millions of albums and downloads.

The K-pop Olympics: performers battle in the K-pop festival | News by The Thaiger

Finalists for this year

Cuba’s Communist government is one of North Korea’s few remaining allies: when President Miguel Diaz-Canel, successor to the Castro brothers Fidel and Raul, visited Pyongyang last November he was only the third foreign head of state to do so since leader Kim Jong Un inherited power in 2011.

But rather than geopolitics, Havana performer Karel Rodriguez Diaz – whose mannerisms and sleek hairstyle could easily be mistaken for those of a K-pop star – is more motivated by high-tempo beats and superslick dance moves.

“We never had a place with a mirror or a choreographer who could teach us the steps” but they kept on practising, he said.

His team-mate Elio Gonzalez added: “We are so excited to represent not just Cuba but also the whole of Latin America.”

Some 6,400 teams from more than 80 countries entered the competition, according to organisers, with 13 groups from places as diverse as Kuwait and Madagascar winning through to the final in Changwon, where they appeared on stage waving their national flags.

“This is like watching the Olympics, a K-pop Olympics,” said the event’s host Lia, a member of K-pop group ITZY.

The K-pop Olympics: performers battle in the K-pop festival | News by The Thaiger

The Korean Wave

K-pop – along with K-drama soap operas – has been one of South Korea’s most successful cultural exports to date. A key part of the “Korean Wave” which has swept Asia and beyond in the last 20 years, the K-pop industry is now estimated to be worth $5 billion, with boyband BTS its latest high-profile exponent, becoming the world’s most successful band in the past 12 months, selling out stadium concerts within minutes, around the world.

The South Korean government has financed a variety of K-pop themed events in what CedarBough Saeji, a visiting professor at Indiana University Bloomington in the US, said was a form of long-term “soft power diplomacy”.

“When you are covering you get to ‘become’ those idols for the three and a half minutes of the song,” she said, adding that performers will go so far as matching their clothing, accessories and hairstyle to their heroes and heroines.

“The cover dancers of today will be diplomats, news reporters, and business leaders in forty years,” she went on.

“And hopefully they’ll still have a soft spot in their heart for Korea. Korea can’t win the world through hard power – armies, economic bullying – but with soft power even a small country like Korea has a chance.”

The music also provides an artistic alternative for overseas fans, especially those in developing countries, Saeji added.

“The West, especially the United States, has been so dominant culturally for so long, and having a different cultural pole to look to provides hope that one’s own country can experience similar success in the future.”

The K-pop Olympics: performers battle in the K-pop festival | News by The Thaiger

Be who you want

Beneath its glitz and glamour, the K-pop industry is also known for its cutthroat competition, a lack of privacy, online bullying and relentless public pressure to maintain a wholesome image at all times and at any cost.

Sulli, a popular K-pop star and former child actress who had long been the target of abusive online comments was found dead on Monday, with her death sending shockwaves through fans around the world.

“I think a day where (people) would be ashamed of the K-show business will surely come,” a South Korean online user wrote in the wake of the star’s death.

“I think an industry that makes money by (making people) sing, dance, undergo plastic surgeries and go on a diet to please the gaze of others since they are teenagers should really go bankcrupt.”

But for Kenny Pham, a finalist from the US at last week’s contest, K-pop’s diversity – with some tunes having dark themes, while others were “cute” or sensual – is what gives him a sense of liberation.

“I like how expressive you could be,” the 19 year old told AFP last week.

“I feel like it’s a place where you could show the passion you have for music, dance or fashion. No one is bashing you for what your likes are.”

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Tourism

Saudi Arabia eases visa restrictions for US and European visitors

May Taylor

Published

on

Saudi Arabia eases visa restrictions for US and European visitors | The Thaiger

PHOTO: aawsat.com

American and European passport holders, along with those from most Asian countries, can now apply for Saudi Arabian tourist visas either online or on arrival, provided they meet certain criteria.

Prior to this, the only foreigners allowed to visit Saudi Arabia were usually those travelling on business, resident workers and their family members, or Muslim pilgrims on pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.

In an attempt to boost tourism and diversify the economy’s reliance on oil, the Kingdom has expanded the availability of tourist visas beyond what was initially 49 countries. Visitors from eligible countries no longer need to apply for a visa at an overseas Saudi embassy but can do so online or on arrival.

The multiple-entry visa costs approximately US$120, is valid for a year, and permits a stay of up to 3 months on each entry.

However, authorities in the Kingdom were quick to implement a public decency code following the visa announcement.

“Immodest dress and public displays of affection are banned, but foreign men and women may rent hotel rooms together without having to prove they are married.”

A strict ban on alcohol remains in place.

Last weekend the South Korean band BTS became the first foreigners to hold a solo concert in the Kingdom, allowing teenage and older woman to attend without a male escort and allowing them to dance and sing along (in Korean of course). The band, in turn, turned down some of their ‘ab flashing’ and physicality during their record-breaking “Love Yourself” stadium concert in Riyadh.

The septet were invited to perform in Saudi Arabia as part of the Kingdom’s attempts to become more open to foreigners and diversify their income away from oil production.

SOURCE: Reuters

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Opinion

Buddhists call for boycott of Hilton & Waldorf Astoria Hotels with the opening of Siddhartha Lounge

The Thaiger

Published

on

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

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required
ตรวจหวย 16 ตุลาคม 2562 ผลรางวัลที่ 1 สลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล 16 ตุลาคม | The Thaiger
ตรวจหวย11 mins ago

ตรวจหวย 16 ตุลาคม 2562 ผลรางวัลที่ 1 สลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล 16 ตุลาคม

หนุ่มแท็กซี่ฉาว ท้าต่อยเจ้าของธุรกิจเต๊นท์ กลางงานสนามหลวง | The Thaiger
ข่าว23 hours ago

หนุ่มแท็กซี่ฉาว ท้าต่อยเจ้าของธุรกิจเต๊นท์ กลางงานสนามหลวง

ไทยแชมป์วอลเลย์บอลอาเซียนกรังด์ปรีซ์สนาม 2 รางวัลรายบุคคล | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 week ago

ไทยแชมป์วอลเลย์บอลอาเซียนกรังด์ปรีซ์สนาม 2 รางวัลรายบุคคล

ตรวจหวย1ตุลาคม2562 ผลรางวัลที่ 1 เลขท้าย 2 ตัว 3 ตัว เลขหน้า 3 ตัว และรางวัลอื่น ๆ | The Thaiger
ตรวจหวย2 weeks ago

ตรวจหวย1ตุลาคม2562 ผลรางวัลที่ 1 เลขท้าย 2 ตัว 3 ตัว เลขหน้า 3 ตัว และรางวัลอื่น ๆ

ถ่ายทอดสดหวย 1 ตุลาคม 2562 ลุ้นรางวัลที่ 1 สลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล | The Thaiger
ตรวจหวย2 weeks ago

ถ่ายทอดสดหวย 1 ตุลาคม 2562 ลุ้นรางวัลที่ 1 สลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล

สีจิ้นผิงกล่าวสุนทรพจน์ ครบรอบ 70 ปีก่อตั้งสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีน -ลิงก์ถ่ายทอดสด | The Thaiger
ต่างประเทศ2 weeks ago

สีจิ้นผิงกล่าวสุนทรพจน์ ครบรอบ 70 ปีก่อตั้งสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีน -ลิงก์ถ่ายทอดสด

คลิปไฮไลท์วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 5 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล4 weeks ago

คลิปไฮไลท์วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 5

คลิปไฮไลท์ วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 1 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 month ago

คลิปไฮไลท์ วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 1

Paramount เตรียมรีเมค FACE/OFF หนังบู๊ระดับตำนาน | The Thaiger
หนัง1 month ago

Paramount เตรียมรีเมค FACE/OFF หนังบู๊ระดับตำนาน

ประยุทธ์ โต้ รัฐบาลไหนก็มีตำหนิทั้งนั้น “ถึงเวลาก็อ้างอย่างที่ผมอ้าง” | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง1 month ago

ประยุทธ์ โต้ รัฐบาลไหนก็มีตำหนิทั้งนั้น “ถึงเวลาก็อ้างอย่างที่ผมอ้าง”

อารัมภบท รักฉุดใจนายฉุกเฉิน My ambulance ตอนแรก 6 กันยานี้ | The Thaiger
บันเทิง1 month ago

อารัมภบท รักฉุดใจนายฉุกเฉิน My ambulance ตอนแรก 6 กันยานี้

วอลเลย์บอลหญิงชิงแชมป์ยุโรป 2019 โฉมหน้า 4 ทีมตัดเชือกรอบรอง | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 month ago

วอลเลย์บอลหญิงชิงแชมป์ยุโรป 2019 โฉมหน้า 4 ทีมตัดเชือกรอบรอง

บิ๊กไบก์หัวร้อน ตบหัวลุงพิการผัวะ ‘รถกูเป็นอะไร มีปัญญารับผิดชอบไหม’ | The Thaiger
ข่าวไทย1 month ago

บิ๊กไบก์หัวร้อน ตบหัวลุงพิการผัวะ ‘รถกูเป็นอะไร มีปัญญารับผิดชอบไหม’

“มิน พีชญา”ทุ่มสุดตัว นัวผู้ชายเกือบสิบ ป่วยโรคติดเซ็กซ์ ใน”สองนรี” | The Thaiger
บันเทิง1 month ago

“มิน พีชญา”ทุ่มสุดตัว นัวผู้ชายเกือบสิบ ป่วยโรคติดเซ็กซ์ ใน”สองนรี”

ไฮไลท์ผู้เล่นตัวท้อป 8 ทีมสุดท้าย วอลเลย์บอลชิงแชมป์ยุโรป 2019 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 month ago

ไฮไลท์ผู้เล่นตัวท้อป 8 ทีมสุดท้าย วอลเลย์บอลชิงแชมป์ยุโรป 2019

Trending