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South Korean President Moon Jae-in is the Time Magazine Person of the Year

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in is the Time Magazine Person of the Year | The Thaiger

by Cod Satrusayang – Asia News Network

In a few decades, when people look back on 2018, perhaps they will only remember one or two major headlines. In the field of diplomacy, they may remember the meeting between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un.

If this were to happen it would be one of the biggest injustices of selective history and memory.

A period of tension

If we think back to the tail end of 2017, the headlines that was taking place in and around the Korean Peninsula highlighted a region that was on edge.

Trump had antagonised Pyongyang with a series of tweets including comparing his rocket size to Kim, calling the chairman a ‘little rocket man’ and threatening nuclear destruction of North Korea.Pyongyang responded by calling Trump a “dotard” and questioning his mental stability.

The world watched with anxiety as it moved a little closer to a nuclear conflict, the doomsday clock inched towards midnight.

Remember how much panic there was in January in Hawaii when nuclear raid sirens went off accidentally. The world seemed to teeter on the brink.

Rapid de-escalation 

The reason that Moon Jae-in is our person of the year is because he single-handedly disarmed the powder keg that had been primed.

Moon reached across the border when it was not popular or politically prudent to do so.

His insistence on inviting and meeting with the North Korean delegation at the Olympic Games slowed down tensions and opened room for negotiations.

His administration, at his insistence, worked tirelessly to assuage any paranoia the North had. It finally culminated in a historic meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas at the demilitarized zone.

When they did meet on the DMZ Moon did not hesitate to accept Kim’s invitation to ‘step over the line’ into North Korean territory knowing full well that there were symbolic repercussions.

The good will between the two leaders seem genuine too with Moon later returning the favour by becoming the first South Korean president to visit Pyongyang since Roh Moo-hyun a decade prior.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is the Time Magazine Person of the Year | News by The Thaiger

The Time Reader’s Poll was also a win for another South Korean. This time a mega pop sensation that dominated headlines and charts in 2018.

South Korean boy group BTS topped the poll in the Time Magazine’s 2018 Person of The Year reader poll. The poll was an online vote and had no bearing on the choice made by Time editors.

Time has named a person or group of people as its Person of the Year annually since 1927. Those who have been given the title come from various backgrounds and are picked for having the greatest influence in the events of the year in which they are picked.

While the magazine’s editors will ultimately decide the Person of the Year, Time stated that it looked to provide valuable insight into public opinion and give its readers a chance to weigh in through the reader poll.

BTS’ fellow nominees in this year’s reader poll include directors Jon Chu and Ryan Coogler, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, undocumented children, politicians including Donald Trump, Moon Jae-in and Nancy Pelosi, artists including Beyoncé and Lady Gaga and the Thai cave divers.

In October, BTS was honored by the magazine as one of the “Next Generation Leaders”, along with US actress Amandla Stenberg, France soccer star Kylian Mbappé and British model Adwoa Aboah. In July, the K-pop group was included on Time‘s list of the 25 most influential people on the internet for the second straight year.



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Elderly mother of murdered Thai woman is seeking help to bring her daughter’s body home

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Elderly mother of murdered Thai woman is seeking help to bring her daughter’s body home | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Matichononline

The family of a Thai woman murdered in northern Portugal in March is now calling for assistance with the cost of repatriating the body back to Thailand.

According to Portuguese media the woman, Natchaya Saranyaphat, was murdered on March 7 by another Thai woman. Natchaya’s head was found on the Leca da Palmeira beach, 300 kilometres north of Lisbon on the Atlantic coast.

The dead woman’s 76 year old mother from the north-eastern Surin province says that Natchaya was the youngest of her five children. She says her daughter had been working in Portugal and been sending back up to 6,000 per month. Another Thai woman, Sangam Sawaiprkhon, has since been arrested in Portugal as a suspect in the murder of Natchaya, allegedly over a disagreement about 358,000 baht. They had jointly invested in a massage shop in Portugal.

The woman’s elderly mother says she needs help from the provincial or Thai government as her family is very poor and unable to pay for the retune of her daughter’s body for burial.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson says they had received a report from the Royal Thai embassy in Lisbon and local police about the murder and the arrest of the Thai suspect in Portugal.

Elderly mother of murdered Thai woman is seeking help to bring her daughter's body home | News by The Thaiger

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Southeast Asia

LATEST: Sri Lanka bombings

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LATEST: Sri Lanka bombings | The Thaiger

A wave of explosions rocked Sri Lanka up-scale hotels and churches on Easter Sunday around the capital Colombo. This is what we know…

• At least 215 people have been confirmed dead with up to 450 more injured in a series of bombings targeting churches holding Easter services and hotels in Sri Lanka. The toll is likely to rise during today or at least become more precise as officials tally information from emergency responders.

• Most of the dead are said to be Sri Lankans, but officials say up to 40 foreigners have lost their lives.

• Three UK nationals and two US-UK dual nationals were among the dead. One Dutch, one Chinese, one Portuguese and two Turkish nationals have been killed, their respective foreign ministries have confirmed.

• There were six initial blasts, at three hotels and three churches, before two more explosions some time later, at a guest house and housing scheme, with two people reported to have been killed at the former. A government minister says the last two blasts appeared to have been carried out by the culprits as they fled from police.

• No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks but Sri Lanka’s defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene claims the culprits have been identified and were religious extremists. He said suicide bombers were responsible for the majority of the morning’s bombings and that the wave of attacks was the work of a single group.

• Eight people are reported to have been arrested so far.

• The Sri Lankan government has issued a curfew and shut down social media and messaging services to prevent the spread of disinformation.

• Sri Lanka’s PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has condemned the “cowardly” attacks and urged people to remain “united and strong”.

• The archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, called it “a very sad day” and is urging the government to identify the attackers and “punish them mercilessly because only animals can behave like that”.

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Southeast Asia

Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet

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Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Japan Times

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ new 88-passenger Mitsubishi Regional Jet is testing the skies just as rivals Embraer and Bombardier are moving to sell off their manufacturing operations for jets with up to 160 seats to Boeing and Airbus.

At stake, particularly in the market for jets with fewer seats, is US$135 billion in sales in the two decades through 2037, according to industry group Japan Aircraft Development.

More cities in Asia and Europe are seeking to link up with each other and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the first airliner built in Japan since the 1960s, began certification flights last month in Moses Lake, Washington.

With fewer seats and smaller fuselages, regional jets are a different class of aircraft from larger narrow-body planes such as Boeing’s 737 or Airbus’s A320. The MRJ has a range of about 3,220 kilometres. The seating is 2+2 instead of 3+3 in a small Airbus or Boeing single-aisle jet.

After spending at least US$2 billion over more than a decade, the manufacturer is looking to get its jet certified and start deliveries to launch partner ANA Holdings.

Mitsubishi initially planned test flights in 2012 but blew past that deadline because of production difficulties. Now, the company, which makes ships, nuclear power plants and aerospace components, expects to have the plane ready for customers next year, a timetable that will test the company, said Mitsubishi Aircraft president Hisakazu Mizutani.

Mitsubishi Heavy is not the only Asian manufacturer betting that it can build aircraft cheaper and more efficiently. Commercial Aircraft of China (Comac) has a new regional jet in service, while Korea Aerospace Industries is studying whether to develop a 100-passenger aircraft.

“The aviation market in Asia is expected to grow further in the coming years and there will be demand for these aircraft,” said analyst Lee Dong-heon at Daishin Securities in Seoul.

“The shift in the regional aviation segment we have seen over the last year or so has opened opportunities.”

“The MRJ is fully capable of competing in the market.”

Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | News by The Thaiger

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