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World News: More journalists killed in Syria and Somalia

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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World News: More journalists killed in Syria and Somalia | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Two Syrian journalists killed as TV crew goes missing
Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET: Two Syrian journalists were killed near Damascus on Saturday while covering the ongoing civil war, state-run media and an Arab satellite television station reported yesterday. And a crew member of a pro-government television station has gone missing.

Ali Abbas, head of the Internal News Department at the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), was killed late Saturday evening when gunmen attacked his residence in the Jdeidet Artouz area near Damascus. The news agency blamed the attack on an “armed terrorist group”, the term it uses to describe all Syrian government opponents.

Abbas, who was 37, was buried in the port city of Latakia yesterday. His brother, identified as Captain Hussam Abbas, condemned the journalist’s death as “another desperate attempt to silence the free and resistant voice” of those who reveal the “false and misleading news broadcast by satellite channels.”

Also yesterday, the pan-Arab satellite television station Al Arabiya said 24-year-old Yusuf al-Bushi, an army defector who worked as a journalist for the station and several other international news organizations, was killed Saturday while covering a story in Al-Tal, on the outskirts of Damascus. The station said al-Bushi died when he was caught in a bombardment.

The deaths on Saturday came just a day after a crew member from the pro-government television station al-Ikhbariya was abducted in Al-Tal. The station said reporter Yarah Saleh, cameraman Abboud Tabarah, assistant Hatem Abu Yehiah, and driver Housam Imad were accompanying an army unit when they were abducted by an “armed terrorist group.”

“If it emerges that the journalists have been taken prisoner by an opposition group, the latter will be answerable for their safety,” Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a statement on Saturday. “We urge them to identify themselves and to show evidence that their captives are alive and in good health, and to release them immediately.”

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least 20 local and international journalists have been killed on duty in Syria since November 2011, making it by far the most dangerous place in the world for journalists. The organization believes at least fifteen of the deaths were work-related, but the deaths on Saturday have not yet been investigated by the agency.

The crisis in Syria began in March 2011 as a pro-democracy protest movement, similar to those across the Middle East and North Africa. The Syrian government violently cracked down on the protests, setting off an armed conflict between pro-Assad forces and anti-government forces.

The United Nations estimates that more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria, and that tens of thousands have been displaced since the uprising against President al-Assad began nearly 18 months ago. The opposition believes the number of deaths has already surpassed 20,000.

UN: Syrian refugees continue to increase amid growing violence
Phuket Gazette / News Wires


PHUKET: The United Nations (UN) on Friday reported an increase in Syrian refugees, as the country continues to face heavy violence.

A spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, spoke at a press conference, stating that the agency’s data shows a total population of 146,667 people in the refugee community.

However, Edwards added that in several countries, the agency has knowledge of substantial refugee populations who have not yet registered, as offices in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq have reported increases this week in the number of refugees from Syria.

According to the UN, an estimated 17,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 18 months ago in Syria.

The UNHCR said in Turkey, the refugee population now stands at 50,227, with more than 6,000 new arrivals recorded this week alone. Many of these are from Aleppo and surrounding villages, but others are from Idlib and Latakia.

While the main flow is into Turkey, around 8,000 people returned home voluntarily during July, mainly to villages in Syria’s Idlib area, the UNHCR noted.

On Monday, the Turkish government opened a new camp at Akcakale, a district in the country’s south-east. According to the refugee agency, it has also announced its intention to double its overall reception capacity from the current 50,000 people to 100,000 people, with the construction of as many as thirteen additional sites. Currently, refugees are hosted in nine camps, with women and children accounting for 72 percent of the population.
Well-known Somali journalist shot dead in Mogadishu
Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET: Unidentified gunmen dressed as high school students shot dead a well-known journalist in the Somali capital of Mogadishu yesterday, officials said. It raises the number of journalists killed in the line of duty so far this year to at least eight.

Yusuf Ali Osman, who was better known as Yusuf-Farey, was killed when unidentified men wearing high school uniforms shot him with pistols in the Dharkenley District of Mogadishu. Osman, who is a past director of Radio Mogadishu and currently worked as Media Relations Director for Somalia’s Information Ministry, was buried several hours later.

“We consider the assassination of Yusuf Ali Osman a big tragedy and we strongly condemn this unmitigated and senseless killing. It is a tragedy for the Somali media community,” said Somali Exiled Journalists Association (SEJASS) chairman Mohamed Osman Hussein. He said Osman was also a lecturer at the Somalia Journalist Club (SJC).

Hussein added: “It is painful and heartbreaking to lose a great journalist every month. The Somali government must demonstrate and carry out tireless investigations to identify the conspiracy behind these killings and bring to justice those responsible for this and previous crimes.”

“It is simply unacceptable that over the course of the year justice has not been served for any of the victims of these crimes,” said Augustine Mahiga, the United Nations (UN) Special Representative for Somalia.

Mahiga added: “This culture of impunity must end. We must not allow the fundamental freedoms that a free press represents to be compromised by those willing to use violence to serve their personal agendas. This is a decisive time in the political process and the work of media needs to be protected so that the Somali people are fully informed.”

Late last month, famed Somali comedian and media worker Abdi Jeylani Marshale was shot dead at his home in Mogadishu. It remains unknown who was responsible for the killing, but Marshale was well-known for making fun of the Somali militant group al-Shabab. The group had earlier threatened to kill him, forcing him to go into hiding in neighboring Somaliland for several days.

Al-Shabab is the militant wing of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts which took over most of southern Somalia in the second half of 2006. Despite efforts from the

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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

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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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Crime

Thai women in Japan drug bust

Greeley Pulitzer

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Thai women in Japan drug bust | The Thaiger

Japanese Police and Customs Officials at Fukuoka Airport reported the arrest of seven Thai women who smuggled in drugs weighing more than a kilogram into Japan. The women separated the drugs into tiny bags and hid them in random places on their bodies.

The women purchased tour tickets and tried to blend in as Thai tourists. When caught with the evidence, they admitted smuggling the drugs for foreigners living in Japan, alleging that they received orders from tourists to bring in the drugs.

Another recent arrest Thai women smuggling cocaine has prompted Japanese officials to consider tightening entry requirements for Thai tourists to protect against drug smuggling.

SOURCE: thairesidents.com

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World

The stakes are high, the deliberations continue – Parliamentary Brexit vote

The Thaiger

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The stakes are high, the deliberations continue – Parliamentary Brexit vote | The Thaiger

Call it Super Saturday, call it Deal or No Deal, call it the most important day in recent UK history. Today (Saturday) the UK House of Commons will gather on a Saturday, the first time for decades. Golf games have been postponed, polo sticks will have to gather dust and the cleaner’s been told to come back on Sunday.

Earlier this week, British PM Boris Johnson did the near impossible and secured a new Brexit deal from the EU. The EU shocked everyone by throwing out the controversial Irish border backstop and replacing it with an alternative plan, after months of saying that Theresa May’s deal could not be changed. Moreover, the EU leaders seem happy with the deal and have been waxing lyrical about the scruffy British PM they all dreaded negotiating with.

But it’s not going to be easy. Some PMs have already tabled amendments that could make Johnson’s run of success fall short of a finish line. Opposition MPs will put forward proposals to scrap Brexit or schedule a second referendum.

So how is the crucial, and historic vote, going to roll?

It’s far too close to call. PM Johnson doesn’t have a majority in Parliament and his Northern Irish allies, the DUP, who he needed to pass legislation, have already said that they won’t back the new plan. Meanwhile, his opposition MPs are lining up to criticise the deal. And there’s serious concern that the arch-Brexiteers in his own Conservative party will vote against the deal too.

Bottomline, if MPs don’t vote for this deal then they can’t be certain that Brexit will be delayed, despite the fact that Johnson is legally obliged to request a Brexit extension if no deal has been agreed by 11 pm on Saturday night. Last month, opposition MPs passed legislation that binds the British to this commitment. Mr. Johnson says he will comply with the law but reminds his opponents that this decision relies on the EU still having to unanimously agree to it.

But, if the deal passes, the UK finally leaves the EU. Johnson would probably hope to capitalise on his success and call for a general election soon after. His poll ratings are good at the moment, and you’d think they would improve after delivering Brexit.

If the deal goes down, Johnson requests the extension and it’s approved, then we get into the nasty election where both sides will tear each other apart, adding more to a polarised community that may take decades to recover from this folly.

And if the EU refuses an extension, then all hell breaks loose.

Has it all been worth it?

Anyway, bring on Super Saturday as the deliberations continue.

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