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New Zealand announces tougher gun laws after mosque massacre

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New Zealand announces tougher gun laws after mosque massacre | The Thaiger

PHOTO: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern – TVNZ

“Under the new legislation, a registry will be set up that is designed to track ownership of every legally owned firearm in the country.”

New Zealand legislators have unveiled new laws aimed at ensuring only “fit and proper” people can own guns in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks that killed 51 Muslim worshippers.

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern had immediately banned military style semi-automatic rifles following the shootings last March but said further restrictions were needed to target the black market.

“Owning a firearm is a privilege not a right.”

“That means we need to do all we can to ensure that only honest, law-abiding citizens are able to obtain firearms licences and use firearms.”

Both New Zealand and Australia have very low gun death rates at 1.07 and 1.04 per 100,000 population, per year, respectively. Whereas the US rate is over 12 per 100,000. Honduras and Venezuela have the highest death rates from guns at over 40 deaths.

Under the new legislation, a registry will be set up that is designed to track ownership of every legally owned firearm in the country. The measure also increases the jail term for supplying firearms to an unlicensed person from three months to two years, as well as tightening gun importation and sales.

Police will determine if someone is “fit and proper” to hold a licence, with power to exclude anyone promoting extremism, convicted of violent crime or with mental health issues, including attempted suicide. The register, expected to take five years to complete, will contain details of the estimated 1.2 million firearms in New Zealand, for a population of around five million.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said the existing gun legislation was introduced in 1983 and needed updating.

The alleged Christchurch gunman Brenton Tarrant legally obtained an arsenal of rifles before embarking on the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s modern history.

The self-avowed white supremacist is accused of opening fire at two mosques while livestreaming his actions on social media.

He has pleaded not guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 of attempted murder and engaging in a terrorist act.

In addition to the semi-automatic ban, the first round of gun law reforms included a firearms buyback scheme allowing the public to hand in weapons before a six-month amnesty expires.

The Christchurch killings rocked New Zealand and Ardern’s gun reforms have been generally accepted in the South Pacific nation.

There has been some opposition, including from the conservative ACT Party, which said law-abiding firearms owners were not receiving a fair hearing.

“We also oppose a gun register because such an exercise will cost a significant sum of taxpayer money but will not capture the criminals and gang members who hold firearms,” ACT leader David Seymour said.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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Bangkok

Bangkok plummets in popularity with expats. Taipei heads the list.

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Bangkok plummets in popularity with expats. Taipei heads the list. | The Thaiger

PHOTO: This year’s #1 city for expats – Taipei, Taiwan – Time Out

Bangkok has dropped from #5 (in 2018) to #20 this year in the annual Expat City Ranking.

But Asian cities continue to dominate the annual global Top 5 in the Expat City Ranking 2019. Italian cities Rome and Milan join Kuwait City at the bottom of this year’s rankings.

Taipei managed to defend its first place from last years list. Kuala Lumpur is rated the best city for getting settled and is second overall. Ho Chi Minh City ranks first in the Finance & Housing Index but third in the overall survey. Singapore and Montreal fill out the top five spots this year.

Bangkok experienced a significant drop compared to the 2018 edition of the list, where the Thai capital ranked 5th worldwide and 4th in Asia.

“Poor environmental management and horrendous traffic conditions eventually took a toll on Bangkok ratings.”

Bangkok, as an “expat-friendly city”, now faces fierce competition with Taipei, Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City taking the lead ahead of the longtime favourite.

Ranking fifth out of all the cities surveyed in Asia, Bangkok ranks third in the Finance and Housing Index, but the Big Mango’s rankings were shot down by poor scores for environmental quality and political stability. 59% of the respondents in the survey say Bangkok’s environment is poor, and 36% worry about political stability.

Singapore’s fourth place further adds to Asian destinations dominating the Expat City Ranking 2019. The four top cities all do very well regarding finance and housing, with Singapore receiving the “worst” result here – a 15th rank mostly due to the expensive housing in the city-state.

Bangkok, the Thai capital, stays in the top 3 in the Finance & Housing Index for another year although the city has dropped from second place in 2018 to third place in 2019.

With regards to how easy it is to find housing in Bangkok, 80% of respondents give agreeable answers. The ease of finding a new, reasonably priced home appears to be an attractive aspect for expats moving to Bangkok; 58% of respondents find that the housing in the city is affordable.

With its second place in the Expat City Ranking 2019, Kuala Lumpur makes it into the global top 3 after consistently ranking among the top 10 cities in the past few years. Expats rate Kuala Lumpur as the city where it’s easiest to get settled, as well as one of the best cities worldwide when it comes to finance and housing.

Following a 4th place out of 72 cities in 2018, Ho Chi Minh City manages to further improve its result to rank 3rd out of 82 in 2019. Expats rate Vietnam’s most populous city as the best place for finance and housing, with the city ranking first for all but one of the underlying factors. HCMC places second regarding the affordability of housing.

In the Expat Insider 2019 survey, over 20,000 participants were asked not only to rate their respective host country but also to share insights regarding their city of residence. Respondents rated more than 25 different aspects of urban life abroad on a scale of one to seven, with the rating process emphasising expats’ personal satisfaction with these aspects.

SOURCE: Internations.org

Bangkok plummets in popularity with expats. Taipei heads the list. | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand

Thailand delays introduction of new visa requirements for Taiwanese tourists

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Thailand delays introduction of new visa requirements for Taiwanese tourists | The Thaiger

…and other proposed nationalities as well.

Thailand has decided to postpone the requirement for Taiwanese travellers to present financial statements when applying online for a visa. The Taiwan News is reporting that the new requirements are being delayed until at least March, 2020.

The Thailand Trade and Economic Office in Taipei has announced that online Taiwanese applicants for travel to Thailand would need to provide three months evidence of financial statements before they could be awarded the visa. They would also have to report in person to apply for the visa.

The new visa requirement have infuriated Taiwanese officials and local travel agents, who, rightly made the point that Thai citizens don’t need a visa to visit Taiwan under the Taiwanese government’s “New Southbound Policy”.

Media reports have now said that the Thailand Trade and Economic Office was, following government pressure, going to cancel the new requirements. But a representative of the TTEO says they are merely postponing the introduction of the tighter visa rules pending a review that could take up until next March.

CNA reports that… “TTEO posted a message on its website Thursday saying the introduction of the financial statement requirement had been postponed until March 1, 2020, to give applicants sufficient time to prepare and to acquaint themselves with the new method.”

Thailand officials originally said the new regulation, relating to financial statements would eventually also apply to visitors from China, France, and the UK as well.

SOURCE: Taiwan News

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Tourism

Taiwan challenges Thai government over new visa requirements for their citizens

May Taylor

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Taiwan challenges Thai government over new visa requirements for their citizens | The Thaiger

The Taiwanese government says it’s concerned about new Thai government visa rules being imposed on its citizens travelling to Thailand.

A new application scheme launched on November 29 by the Thailand Trade and Economic Office in Taipei now requires applicants to show evidence of sufficient funds for their trip. The requirement, which asks Taiwanese nationals to submit bank statements from the previous three months, has angered some, with a member of the Kuomintang opposition party saying it’s akin to treating Taiwan as a third world country.

Taiwanese applicants are also required to apply online and then make an appointment to submit their documents in person, whereas previously they could apply in person at the TTEO without any prior online application or appointment.

Members of the opposition are calling on the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to register a formal protest with the Thai government against the new application procedure, pointing out that Thai citizens visiting Taiwan are granted visa-free entry.

The Taiwanese foreign affairs officials, for their part, say they’ve already notified the Thai government of its concerns and asked for clarification on the more stringent guidelines. They also insist that visa-free privileges granted to Thai citizens have boosted tourist numbers and business and education exchanges between both countries, but did not provide any numbers in support of the claim.

“We have asked the Thai side to clarify the new process and will continue to urge it to improve the convenience of visa applications for Taiwanese.”

Meanwhile, the Thai representative office in Taipei says the new visa application process is not restricted to Taiwanese nationals but applicable to other nationalities too, including British and French.

An official from the TTEO says that while tourists from some countries may be able to enter Thailand visa-free, they still need to follow the online process should they require a visa, whether that be for education, business or marriage.

SOURCE: The Nation

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