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World News: Deputy al-Qaeda leader killed in Yemen, US drone suspected used

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Yemeni forces kill deputy regional head of al-Qaeda
Phuket Gazette / News Wires

PHUKET: Saudi national Said al-Shihri, who was previously released from Guantanamo Bay and later became the deputy commander of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has been killed by Yemeni troops during a military operation in eastern Yemen, officials said yesterday.

The defense ministry’s news website, called 26 September, said al-Shihri was killed by Yemeni security forces during a “qualitative operation” in the remote eastern province of Hadhramaut. It was unclear when he was killed as the website’s Arabic-language report said the operation took place yesterday, while an English-language report claimed it took place on September 4.

Six al-Qaeda members who were with al-Shihri were also killed in the operation, the government’s website said in a brief dispatch. It gave no details about the type of operation, but some media reports indicated that a U.S. drone may have carried out the operation. Previous U.S. drone strikes have sometimes been reported as Yemeni military operations.

Al-Shihri was publicly identified in January 2009 as the deputy leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is based primarily in the tribal areas outside of the Yemeni capital city Sana’a, which remains outside the control of the Yemeni government. The group has orchestrated high-profile attacks since 2009, making it al-Qaeda’s most active branch.

In January 2010, when the U.S. government designated AQAP as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), then-U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said al-Shihri helped carry out terrorist acts by generating targets, recruiting new members, assisting with training and attack planning, and tasking others in the preparation of attacks.

Al-Shihri, who was sometimes also known as Abu-Sufyan al-Azidi, was a former officer in Saudi Arabia’s internal security force and spent about five years at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba before being released into a Saudi rehabilitation program for militants. During his imprisonment at the controversial facility, Shihri had said he wanted freedom so he could work at his family’s furniture store in Saudi Arabia.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Politics

Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to coup

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Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to coup | The Thaiger

Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to the military coup, which has received major international backlash. As a major donor to Myanmar, Japan joins other advanced nations in condemning the coup which has seen security forces using violence against peaceful protesters.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi was quoted as saying in a phone call that “Japan will strongly urge the Myanmar military to release Suu Kyi and other detained individuals, and to swiftly restore democratic government.”

But it may not impose sanctions like the rest of the other developed countries as its longtime ties with the armed forces, ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy and investment promoting policy in the country may serve as a barrier in doing so. Britan and the United States have imposed sanctions in recent days which include the US freezing military funds.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry official says stopping its support of building projects would give China a chance to move in, increasing its clout in Myanmar. Around 450 Japanese companies operate in Myanmar with Japan being the 5th largest investor in the Southeast nation. Singapore has the most companies, followed by China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

The Foreign Ministry says Japan spent about US $1.8 billion in official development assistance in the fiscal year of 2019, making it the largest among the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But it is unknown what China has poured into it as it has refused to disclose its expenditures.

The Japanese government plans to continue coronavirus emergency assistance to Myanmar through international organisations and non-governmental organisations. The World Bank, however, has stopped payments to projects in the nation indefinitely, after the coup on February 1, which disrupted the democratic elections last November and saw the arrest of top leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party, the National League for Democracy, won the elections in a landslide victory.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Law

Australia sets worldwide precedent by passing pay‐to‐play legislation for social media giants

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Australia sets worldwide precedent by passing pay‐to‐play legislation for social media giants | The Thaiger

In a landmark decision, Australia is now requiring global digital giants, such as Facebook and Google, to pay for using local news content on their websites. The move sets a precedent that many global companies have been anticipating.

The law passed yesterday after Facebook and Google reached an agreement to pay local Australian news organisations for using their stories on their websites. 1 week ago, Australians woke up to a blackout after Facebook temporarily banned local news, which included emergency notifications. The blackout was in response to the legislation being put forth for approval, with Facebook spokespeople saying it seemed to be their only choice at the time.

The new law sets the stage for other countries worldwide to gain more revenue for local media companies by making such social media giants pay to use content. Google’s “Showcase” product will now feature paid local news with Facebook showing such paid news under its “News” category.

Companies like Google and Facebook pushed back against the legislation, saying such a law could threaten their companies’ business models, with Google saying it could make their search engine website “unworkable.”

But local news organisations have rebuked the reasoning, citing that social media giants claim a large percentage of online advertisin, leaving local news companies out of the revenue game. Citing that news is gathered by reporting and fieldwork, the companies say it is unfair for social media companies to profit largely off of the work of local, smaller companies.

The law, called the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, aims to protect such local companies and to sustain public interest journalism. Thousands of journalists have lost their jobs over the past decade as local media outlets have seen the bulk of their advertising revenues flow to digital companies’ sites after using their content.

Australia’s competition watchdog says that for every $100 invested by Australian advertisers, $49 is sent to Google and $24 to Facebook. Now, both online businesses say they will each invest around US $1 billion in local news content globally in the next 3 years. Facebook and Google now have 2 more months to reach solid agreements before being subjected to binding arbritations.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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World

Lady Gaga offers US $500,000 reward for stolen bulldogs

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Lady Gaga offers US $500,000 reward for stolen bulldogs | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Instagram/Lady Gaga

Who knew that finding 2 french bulldogs would earn US $500,000? That is the case for the lucky person that finds Lady Gaga’s equally lucky stolen dogs. The dogs, Koji and Gustav, were stolen in Los Angeles, California while out on a walk with their dog walker.

But that’s not all. The employee in charge of keeping the dogs healthy was shot and wounded by a gunman who left the scene in a car, but not before allegedly shooting another man in this 30s. That man was hospitalised according to LA police.

Asia, Gaga’s 3rd dog was luckily found by police at the scene and was taken home by the singer’s staff. It isn’t clear if the frenchies were targeted due to their owner’s famous status or if they were taken simply because they were an expensive pedigree breed that can be sold for thousands of dollars.

Gaga, however, has offered the hefty reward for their return with “no questions asked.”

SOURCE: CNN

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