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Iran military admits ‘unintentionally’ shooting down the Ukrainian passenger jet

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Iran military admits ‘unintentionally’ shooting down the Ukrainian passenger jet | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wreckage was strewn across a large area - WJSU
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Iranian officials have announced that its military “unintentionally” shot down the Ukrainian Boeing 737 jet that crashed earlier this week, killing all 176 aboard. Earlier the Iranian government had repeatedly denied accusations that it was responsible.

The plane was “accidentally”shot shot out of the sky on Wednesday, just hours after Iran had launched a retaliatory missile attack on two US military bases in Iraq. They said, at the time, that the attacks were in retaliation for the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike on Baghdad, Iraq. There were no injuries during the attack on the US bases.

Most of the victims of the crash were Iranians or Iranian-Canadians – 82 Iranians, at least 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians. The plane was a recent model Boeing 737 (an NG model, not the Max) operated by Ukrainian International Airlines. It crashed on the outskirts of Tehran shortly after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport. The plane was heading to Ukraine.

A military statement claims the plane was mistaken as a “hostile target” after it veered toward a “sensitive military location” of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

The statement claimed… “In such a condition, because of human error and in a unintentional way, the flight was hit.”

The statement apologised for the disaster and said it would upgrade its systems to prevent such mistakes in the future. It also clarified that those responsible for the strike on the civilian jet would be prosecuted.

The statement will likely inflame local sentiment after Iranians had rallied around their leaders in support of their best-known General, Soleimani and in condemnation of the US for the military strike.

“Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster. Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.” – Twitter, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Iran had denied for several days that a missile could have caused the crash. But US and Canadian intelligence were able to gather video providing evidence to Iranian officials that one of their surface-to-air missiles had shot down the passenger jet.

In 1988 Iran Air Flight 655, a scheduled passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai, was shot down on July 3, 1988 by a US surface-to-air missile fired from USS Vincennes, a guided-missile cruiser of the United States Navy.

SOURCE: Associated Press

Iran military admits 'unintentionally' shooting down the Ukrainian passenger jet | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Aviation Geek Club

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Protests

US senators introduce resolution in support of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement

Maya Taylor

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US senators introduce resolution in support of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement | The Thaiger
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The US Senate has called on the Thai government to end violence against political activists, as it introduced a resolution in support of the pro-democracy movement. 9 members of Congress introduced the resolution, including Thai-American senator Tammy Duckworth, who has previously served in the US military.

“As a Thai-American who fought to protect the right to peacefully protest here at home, I know that both the longstanding, strong relationship between the US and Thailand as well as every individual’s inalienable democratic rights are critically important to uphold and defend. Thailand is a strong partner with the US, both in terms of our shared national security priorities and economic relations, and the Thai people have a proud history of democratic reform. I urge Thai leadership to listen to the people and respect the democratic principles at the heart of the government they’ve worked so hard to form.”

A press release from the Senate says the resolution, “underscores the United States’ commitment to human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Thailand. The senators’ resolution follows recent demonstrations by Thailand’s pro-democracy movement, which have been met with violence and repression by the country’s monarchy and government.”

The resolution says the military-drafted 2017 Constitution is at the root of the problem, accusing it of eroding democracy and the protection of citizens’ rights in the Kingdom. It points out that in the 2019 election, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha managed to maintain his grip on power through the support of an unelected Senate appointed by the military. The election is seen by many independent monitoring groups as having been deeply flawed and skewed in favour of the PM and his administration.

The resolution also criticises the dissolution of the opposition party, Future Forward, saying that process too was flawed and based on spurious accusations. It also claims the Thai government has not done enough to investigate the enforced disappearances and killings of Thai political activists elsewhere in Asia.

The government’s response to the ongoing political protests has also come in for criticism, with the resolution saying it consists of, “intimidation tactics, surveillance, harassment, arrests, violence and imprisonment”, prompting UNICEF to voice concern over the risks to children attending political rallies.

Meanwhile, Senator Bob Menendez says pro-democracy activists in Thailand are only seeking what’s fair.

“Thailand’s reformers are not seeking a revolution. They are simply yearning for democratic changes to their country’s political system, for freedom of speech and assembly, and for Thailand to be a part of the community of democratic nations.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Technology

Chinese probe heads back to Earth after spending 2 days on the Moon

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Chinese probe heads back to Earth after spending 2 days on the Moon | The Thaiger

A Chinese space probe, Chang’e 5, is now on its way back to earth after having flown to the Moon, landed, explored, collected soil samples and taken off again. It will bring the first lunar rock and soil samples back to Earth in over 4 decades. The probe is bringing a payload of some 2 kilograms of rocks back for testing and investigation.

The landing hardware included a powered descent system, which is now remaining on the Moon’s surface after last night’s blast off.

The Chang’e-5 Chinese developed and built probe, named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess, look off from the Moon at 11.10pm Beijing time last night. Everything was described as ‘routine’ by the mission control staff following the probe’s 2 days motoring around the lunar surface and collecting samples.

The probe was launched from China’s Hainan island, south of Hong Kong in the South China Sea. It will land in northern China’s Inner Mongolia region after its journey back to earth and the perils of an earth atmosphere re-entry. The arrival back at earth is at least a week away.

Scientists hope the samples will help unravel more about the moon’s origins and volcanic activity on its surface. The Chinese have poured billions of Yuan into its military-run space program. The program’s stated ambitions is to have a crewed space station by 2022, and eventually sending humans to the moon and establishing the first colony.

China is only the third country to have retrieved samples from the moon, following the US and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and early 70s. The last time a mission headed to the Moon was the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 unmanned mission in 1976.

The spacecraft was due to collect 2kg (4.5lbs) of material in a previously unexplored area known as Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms), a vast lava plain, according to the science journal Nature.

Beijing is looking to finally catch up with the US and Russia after years of belatedly matching their space milestones.

Another Chinese lunar rover landed on the far side of the moon in January 2019 in a first that boosted Beijing’s aspirations to become a space superpower. The mission of Chang’e 5 was on the side of the Moon that always faces the earth.

Chinese probe heads back to Earth after spending 2 days on the Moon | News by The Thaiger

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

100,000 people now hospitalised in the US as daily deaths from Covid-19 surpass 3,000 on Wednesday

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100,000 people now hospitalised in the US as daily deaths from Covid-19 surpass 3,000 on Wednesday | The Thaiger

The US’s single-day toll for Covid-19 deaths passed 3,000 people for the first time on Wednesday. Yesterday the US recorded its 14 millionth coronavirus case, with the local pandemic currently racing out of control. Wednesday’s death toll of 3,157 people came as hospitalisations surpassed 100,000 for the first time.

The US has recored 1 million additional cases of Covid-19 in less than one week. Many hospitals are now being forced to suspend elective surgeries and other routine operations. Many states are also setting up temporary field hospitals and stretching medical staff hours to cope with the current surge in new cases. In both the number of deaths and new Covid cases, the trend is rising worryingly fast, surprising health officials as they battle to find ways of mitigating the virus in the current political climate.

The director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, predicts that the US could reach 450,000 deaths by February, exceeding some earlier models for the progression of the virus in the US. Unlike parts of Asia, the US has largely shunned the mandatory wearing of face masks with much of the day to day life ignoring even the basics of social distancing and other hygiene measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“The reality is, December and January and February are going to be rough times, and I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of our nation, largely because of the stress it’s going to put on our public health system.”

100,000 people now hospitalised in the US as daily deaths from Covid-19 surpass 3,000 on Wednesday | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHS: Today’s Covid-19 statistics – Worldometers.info/coronavirus

President-elect Joe Biden announced yesterday that he will ask Americans to commit to 100 days of wearing masks as one of his first acts as president. The move marks a quantum shift from incumbent President Donald Trump, whose personal skepticism of mask-wearing has contributed to political polarisation of the health issue.

Showing their support for firm action to mitigate the spread of the virus in the US, former US presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all announced they will take the Covid-19 vaccine to prove that the treatment is safe and effective. They said they may even film themselves getting injected to show US citizens that they consider the vaccine safe and an important step to preventing a further public health catastrophe.

100,000 people now hospitalised in the US as daily deaths from Covid-19 surpass 3,000 on Wednesday | News by The Thaiger100,000 people now hospitalised in the US as daily deaths from Covid-19 surpass 3,000 on Wednesday | News by The Thaiger

100,000 people now hospitalised in the US as daily deaths from Covid-19 surpass 3,000 on Wednesday | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHS: Worldometers.info/coronavirus

INFORMATION: USA Today | Fox News | Associate Press

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