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UPDATE: No clear winner in US Election, but pollsters got the result very wrong, again

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UPDATE: No clear winner in US Election, but pollsters got the result very wrong, again | The Thaiger
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Although there’s currently no clear winner, officially reaching the magic 270 Electoral College votes and claiming the US Presidency, there’s already plenty of losers – most with the words “poll’ in their name. US pollsters, largely, got the election result wrong, again. They’d promised to refine their models following the 2016 embarrassment but have just repeated their errors this time around.

Whoever eventually wins, and we should have a clearer guide by the end of today, the competition will end up much tighter than just about every poll predicted. That the incumbent president, with a raging pandemic and economic collapse all around him, could cobble together either a slim victory, or a near miss, is astonishing in itself. The polls were, on average, predicting a 6-8% popular vote victory to President Trump’s challenger, Joe Biden. Most of the polls were not even close.

Meanwhile, the US remains in electoral limbo at the current time as officials scramble to count the millions of votes still outstanding after Tuesday’s presidential election.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden sustained an overall Electoral College lead after being projected as the winner in key Midwestern battlegrounds Wisconsin and Michigan. President Donald Trump has vowed to take legal action in both states, as well as in Pennsylvania, where over 1 million ballots remained uncounted.

But international election monitors have come out saying there is no evidence that the US election was marked by “systematic fraud” and that allegations from President Donald Trump and others are “baseless” and without evidence. One of those organisations, The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe says they see no solid ground for any of the claims.

“To the contrary, given the extreme stress test the system was exposed to, and despite problems with resources both financially, and at least initially with the recruitment of poll workers, the American electoral process appears to have passed that stress test.”

“We feel that these allegations of systemic wrongdoing during these elections have no solid ground,” Urszula Gacek, head observer mission for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told reporters in Washington.

The OSCE mission has 102 observers from 39 countries and has praised the work of state and local election officials, saying the national vote on Tuesday was “well-managed despite the coronavirus pandemic, a deeply partisan climate and numerous legal battles over voting rules”.

“The monitoring team will remain in the United States to observe the final counting of ballots and how legal challenges play out.”

As the situation stands right now, the road to 270 votes to win the Electoral College looks to be mathematically easier for Joe Biden than Donald Trump, although the President has been able to pull out last minute surprises throughout his political career. It is likely that some key states won’t be officially declared for a number of days although the counting in some is getting to a stage where media outlets are confidently calling some state one way or the other.

While former Vice President Joe Biden appears to have taken two crucial swing states, President Trump’s team has already demanded a recount in Wisconsin and filed lawsuit in Michigan to stop outstanding ballots from being counted.

The Fox News’ decision desk has put Biden at 264 electoral votes, meaning that any change could be critical in determining who wins the presidency. If Biden wins Nevada, where he is currently leading, the results from the other states will not affect the outcome.

Meanwhile, the Biden campaign has launched a “fight fund” designed to ensure votes are properly counted. He last spoke a few hours ago via Twitter.

“To make sure every vote is counted, we’re setting up the largest election protection effort ever assembled.”

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    November 5, 2020 at 9:45 am

    The Thais will be watching with envy.
    “Look a government election”
    “The ferangs can have a government election!!!”

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    November 5, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    I doubt there’ll be much “envy”, as the US is a prime example of a supposed “democracy” that is no more democratic than Thailand.

    Two of the last five “elected” US presidents (George HW Bush and Donald Trump) lost the general election but were chosen over their rivals even though they had less votes – in 2016 Trump had 3 million less votes than Clinton but was still made president.

    … and while the US lower house (Congress) is elected democratically, on equal terms for all, the upper house (Senate) is anything but with voters in some states having over fifty times as much say / representation as voters in other states.

    The UK is little better, with the electorate having no more choice over who is to be Prime Minister than Thailand as there are no direct elections for the post, a lower house (Commons) that doesn’t remotely represent the electorate, and an upper house (Lords) where none are elected but they’re not only nominated (like Thailand’s) but there only by inheritance or because they’re leaders of the only approved state religion.

    Some countries can rightly claim to be “democratic”, but the US isn’t one of them.

    • Avatar

      Brian

      November 5, 2020 at 2:09 pm

      Your comment seems to indicate you don’t get the point of the electoral college.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        November 5, 2020 at 3:51 pm

        No, I “get the point”, but it was based on how things were in the 18th century when a “general election” was an impossibility so an electoral college was the “next best thing”, as it was at least better than a vote by Congress which was the alternative.

        That’s no longer the case and hasn’t been for rather a long time, and it clearly goes contrary to how a democratic system is supposed to function, by any definition – particularly when those in the Electoral College are at liberty in a number of states to completely ignore the popular vote and to vote for whoever they want (as ten did in 2016, so not just a hypothetical and unlikely possibility).

        It simply isn’t “democratic” as the term is generally understood, however much it’s in line with the constitution (just as Thailand’s is in line with it’s latest constitution).

        • Avatar

          rr

          November 5, 2020 at 5:52 pm

          No you do not get the point at all. Those who drafted the Constitution created a two-chamber compromise because they wanted the two sides to control each other. The House of Representative, as its name tells, follows a representation of the population, that is unequally distributed throughout the US. The Senate is a pool of (supposed) experts which represents equally the number of sovereign states (but DC) composing the US, regardless their population: 50 states, 100 components. The bicameral Congress is thus a compromise between those who feel each state should be equally represented, and those who feel the population too must be equally represented for each state. It worked up to now since the end of the XVIII century, so all those claims saying they are unequal seems dismissed by the history.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            November 6, 2020 at 2:04 pm

            I obviously “get it” a lot better than you, rr, since Brian asked about the Electoral College, which has NOTHING to do with the two house system of government you’ve chosen to talk about instead.

            Brian asked about Section 1 of Article 2 of your constitution, but instead you’ve talked only about Article 1.

            FWIW, your claim that “the Senate is a pool of (supposed) experts” is, unfortunately, pure fantasy contradicted by the constitution you imagine you’re such an expert on – Section 3 of Article 1 is the one you need to read. In simple terms, it was “to balance the interests of small and large states”.

            As for your claim that “it worked up to now” since any claims to the contrary are “dismissed by history” that’s clearly pure nonsense.

            While it’s arguable whether “it worked up to now”, “history” hasn’t “dismissed” anything.

            All “history” seems to show, if anything, is that self-interest rules for many in the US and always has done since amending the US constitution to make it democratic would require it to be passed by two thirds of both houses and ratified by three quarters of the states, which is why it’s never got anywhere as that would require the senators and the state legislatures to think about people other than themselves, and all too evidently that’s an anathema for many Americans (but, I hasten to add, by no means all).

    • Avatar

      Don R

      November 5, 2020 at 11:51 pm

      The US system is designed to countervail democracy.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        November 6, 2020 at 2:09 pm

        Something it’s done very well … until recently.

  3. Avatar

    Manu

    November 5, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    “The Thais will be watching with envy.” says Toby andrews…

    I hope, praise and believe that the Thais, as the rest of world, are not watching this cause basically, we do not care. Biden the puppet or Trump the clown, we do not care. Not sure why at every US elections mainstream medias all over the world have to make a big thing of it as if they were electing the president of the world. The thing is now, we do not care. Trying to make life better at our own doorstep is tough enough, we do not have any time of being interested in what’s happening over there, far away: we do not care as much as they do not care of what is happening anywhere but in their own country. Good luck to the american people.

  4. Avatar

    Ameila Leary

    November 5, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    The great victory for American democracy as such, stepping back from the results, was that no significant outbreak of violence or suppression of voters occurred during the final phases of polling. The lack of civil war was perhaps a testament to the spirit of a nation that wanted to move past its recent history of hateful political, racial and religious divisions. It was curious then that Mr. Trump himself had overshadowed a relatively stable political structure in the world’s oldest democracy.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 7, 2020 at 3:49 pm

      If a “lack of a civil war” is a “great victory for American democracy”, I’d suggest you must be easily pleased.

      …. and, sorry, but the US is short of being the “world’s oldest democracy” by over two thousand years.

  5. Avatar

    Ameila Leary

    November 5, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    The great victory for American democracy as such, stepping back from the results, was that no significant outbreak of violence or suppression of voters occurred during the final phases of polling. The lack of civil war was perhaps a testament to the spirit of a nation that wanted to move past its recent history of hateful political, racial and religious divisions. It was curious then that Mr.Trump himself had overshadowed a relatively stable political structure in the world’s oldest democracy.

  6. Avatar

    Paul Revere

    November 5, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    Issan John also fails to grasp that America is a constitutional federal republic.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 6, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      What makes you think that?

      Do tell … 🙂

  7. Avatar

    Don R

    November 6, 2020 at 12:03 am

    How could the experts be so wrong?

    Actually, if you look back on recent history, it’s clear that group think dominates among experts, from Iraq WMD to marijuana prohibition.

    A better question is, What else are the experts wrong about?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 6, 2020 at 2:12 pm

      I don’t recall any experts being wrong about Iraq WMD. Not one.

      Do tell … 🙂

      • Avatar

        Don R

        November 6, 2020 at 3:03 pm

        I’m not even sure what you’re asking. Is this a joke? Playing semantics?

        Many experts said they had WMD, the media almost exclusively went along with this narrative. Aside from a few rusty mustard gas canisters, they found none.

        No one was fired in the media, the politicians who voted for the war continue to get reelected, and now the US is on the cusp or electing a president who voted for the war.

        They’re wrong about COVID too.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          November 6, 2020 at 5:29 pm

          It’s actually an excellent analogy.

          Back then the experts knew what the threat was (or wasn’t) and told the Clowns in Chief who first ignored them because it didn’t suit their agendas, and then cherry-picked what they wanted to hear and pass on.

          … and what a stuff up that was …

          Now, the experts again know what the threat is and they’ve told the Clowns in Chief, who’ve first ignored them because it doesn’t suit their agendas,then cherry-picked what they want to hear and pass on.

          … and what a stuff up this is …

  8. Avatar

    bullshiter

    November 6, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    All American crap the only country in the world where your past doesn’t matter, just let your personal die like bengahzi.all just one big load of bullshit

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

An international Digital Travel Pass could be the magic bullet to restart global tourism

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A new international Travel Pass, a sort of digital health certificate, may be the way forward for countries to re-open their borders and international airlines to get their planes back into the air. The International Air Transport Association says the ‘digital’ certificate will support the safe reopening of borders.

As Covid-19 testing and the results becomes more reliable and nuanced, Governments are looking to testing as a means of limiting most of risks of Covid-19 when reopening their borders. The hope is that the new Travel Pass will replace the quarantine regime imposed by many countries and the hopes that a vaccine alone will solve the problems…

“IATA is calling for systematic Covid-19 testing of all international travelers and the information flow infrastructure needed to enable this must support:

  • Governments with the means to verify the authenticity of tests and the identity of those presenting the test certificates.
  • Airlines with the ability to provide accurate information to their passengers on test requirements and verify that a passenger meets the requirements for travel.
  • Laboratories with the means to issue digital certificates to passengers that will be recognised by governments, and;
  • Travellers with accurate information on test requirements, where they can get tested or vaccinated, and the means to securely convey test information to airlines and border authorities.”

IATA is calling for systematic Covid-19 testing of all international travellers. The concept was unveiled at at IATA’s 76th Annual General Meeting on November 24, which called on governments to reopen borders to travel. Of all the industries affected by lockdowns and the slowdown of economies, the airline and travel industry have been hardest hit.

IATA says that deep losses will continue into 2021, even though the situation is expected to improve over the coming months.

A net loss of US$118.5 billion is expected for 2020, while a net loss of US$38.7 billion is expected in 2021.

Improvements are expected in the second half of 2021 after a difficult first half. Aggressive cost-cutting may combine with increased demand during 2021 to see the industry turn cash-positive in the fourth quarter of 2021, which is earlier than previously forecast, according to the IATA.

“Testing is the first key to enable international travel without quarantine measures. The second key is the global information infrastructure needed to securely manage, share and verify test data matched with travellers’ identities in compliance with border control requirements. That’s the job of the IATA Travel Pass.”

Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, says that the main priority is to get people traveling again safely.

“In the immediate term that means giving governments confidence that systematic COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine program. The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both. And we have built it using a modular approach based on open source standards to facilitate interoperability. It can be used in combination with other providers or as a standalone end-to-end solution. The most important thing is that it is responsive to industry’s needs while enabling a competitive market.”

The IATA and International Airlines Group have been collaborating in the project and will arrange a trial to demonstrate that this pass, combined with Covid-19 testing, can reopen international travel and replace quarantines, which they say “essentially kill demand for air travel”.

The first cross-border IATA Travel Pass pilot is scheduled for later this year and the launch slated for quarter one 2021.

SOURCES: Reuters | IATA

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

From plandemics to sheeple – making sense of the Covid conspiracy-speak

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From plandemics to sheeple – making sense of the Covid conspiracy-speak | The Thaiger

Whilst most of us have been finding a way to make the best of the lockdowns and restrictions, and trying to hang on to our jobs and keep our family safe, others have used their copious spare time to create an elaborate alternate universe of plandemics, sheeple and evil 5G, and painting Bill Gates as the devil in human form. ‘Kool Aid’, the sugary flavour additive from the 1970s, has also had a comeback.

As the pandemic has become a reality, so has the infodemic. Whilst the scientists have been at war with a virus and the development of a vaccine, news and social media platforms have been in a battle of facts. Normally intelligent people are denouncing the wearing of masks, refuse to consider getting vaccinated and believe 5G networks ‘infect’ people with Covid-19. Elaborate videos have been produced, at great expense, full of unsubstantiated nonsense, alternate statistics, claims that the coronavirus is “just a flu” and that the impact of the virus has been vastly exaggerated.

There’s also a whole new language where terms of derision are used to replace facts and reasoned argument. Almost all of the conspiracy theories, and the people promoting them, come out of the US, a topic for another article.

In the meantime, let’s enjoy some of the new words and the hijacking of other terms and people.

Plandemic

aka. ‘Scamdemic’.

Plandemic refers to two conspiracy theory documentaries produced this year by Mikki Willis. Until May, Mikki Willis was best known for posting ‘nice’ viral videos of his family online. The first was hugely popular, the second sunk without a trace.

The much-viewed first documentary has since been thoroughly debunked. They both feature Judy Mikovits, a discredited scientist who is worshipped in the anti-vaccine movement, despite her denials. In the documentary she maintains that a malevolent global “elite” (even ‘elite’ has taken on a whole new meaning) caused the pandemic in order to seize power, money and control the wider population – sort of a conference of Bond villains.

Among her other claims, face masks can activate the virus. In all, she rambles on for 26 minutes with a convoluted web of intrigue, all completely dismantled by just about every scientist and medical practitioner. Unfortunately the documentaries came at a time when the US was in the midst of its first quasi-lockdown and clocked up a credible 7 million views on YouTube before it was removed. You can still see it if you really want to in a few dark corners of the internet.

In her book, ‘Plague of Corruption’, Mikovits compares herself to Galileo and Martin Luther King jnr.

A Pew Research Centre survey asked people in the US if they had heard the theory that Covid-19 was “intentionally planned” by people in power. 71% of US adults said they had. A third of the respondents said it was “definitely” or “probably” true.

5G

Once a term referring to the fifth generation of mobile technology, the worldwide role out 5G somehow got wound into any number of conspiracy theories involving Covid-19 and the plandemic, sorry pandemic. Whilst most of us eagerly looked forward to the introduction of 2G,3G and 4G, 5G came along at the same time as Covid-19. So OF COURSE they have something to do with each other.

No longer just a technology, 5G is now front and centre of any self respecting conspiracy theorist. Exposure to 5G antennas would give you Covid-19, apparently “altering your cells” in a way that was never quite explained, and WHAMMO, you had the coronavirus. That Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications giant, was behind some of the leading 5G technology, just added fuel to the story – they are a Chinese company so they MUST be spreading evil… and Covid-19.

Sheeple

If you’ve had the wool pulled over your eyes regarding the “truth” of Covid-19, or are easily led astray, you’re one of the Sheeple (alternate spelling – ‘sheople’).

Unless you’re wallowing in your own self-righteous, unprovable alternate reality, YOU are sheeple, or, presumably, a sheep-person. Unless you’re one of the few who has the clarity of vision and intellect to understand the “truth”, you are labelled a sheeple. Luckily, for the rest of us, they also have the time and commitment to bring us up to speed with their facts, and can usually reel them off at pace. And then repeat them over and over to MAKE SURE the sheeple understand.

YOU sheeple just follow the main stream media (which is any media that reports news they don’t like)… you are just part of the uninformed flock.

So if you just believe stuff because other people keep saying it, you’re a ‘sheeple’. Oh…

Bill Gates

Just throw his name into any Covid-19 conversation and stand back.

Wikipedia lists Bill Gates as ‘William Henry Gates III’, an American business magnate, software developer, and philanthropist. He is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. Our generation has seen the young geek, sometimes competitor and sometimes collaborator with Apple’s Steve Jobs, grow into the cardigan-wearing philanthropist who, along with his wife, have formed one of the largest private foundations in the world.

They get their foundation involved in all sorts of public health projects but, according to conspiracy theorists, are spreading evil around the world.

Now Bill Gates, earlier seen as a geek-version of Mr Rogers, is now the voodoo doll for Covid-19.

Back in 2015, an unassuming-looking Bill Gates came on stage at a TED conference in Vancouver to issue a dire warning.
“If anything kills over 10 million people over the next few decades, it is likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than war.”So, he knew all about it! Aha!Now Bill Gates is leading a class of global “elites” and leading efforts to depopulate the world, apparently. His ‘vaccine’ has some tracking device that will be able to track us once we’ve been vaccinated. All this is a surprise to Bill Gates.”I’m very surprised by the course of these conspiracy theories and of course the ones involving me are completely incorrect. I hadn’t been a part of conspiracy theories up until this and it’s ironic because I talked about the risk of a pandemic in 2015.”But he WOULD say that, wouldn’t he!”It is novel that you have a pandemic and you have social media, and somehow the true messages aren’t as titillating or as exciting as the conspiracy-type message.”

Follow the breadcrumbs

Originally used as a means of navigation in the Grimm’s penned “Hansel and Gretel’ tale, where the children drop breadcrumbs along the way into the forest so they can then find their way back home, the breadcrumbs are now tidbits of knowledge you must follow to learn the truth – that is the truth according to American conspiracy theorists QAnon. Summarising, QAnon claim that US President Donald Trump has been spearheading a secret war, between golf games, against “well known” Satan-worshippers and paedophiles – the President elect Joe Biden being one of them according to QAnon.

It all comes from the month of an unknown “Q” who posts the stories on encrypted message services and then shared around social media. Not to be confused with Q from James Bond who was responsible for ejector seats in Aston Martins, poison pens and guns fitted to license plates.

These messages from Q – “drops” or “crumbs”explain facts about a “cabal” within the “elite”, or the secret war , referred to as the “cbts”, or “calm before the storm”. The series of “breadcrumbs are then shared and spread online by people that have the time to understand facts from an unknown person sprouting outrageous nonsense.

It would be laughable except that the QAnon theories (a poor use of the word ‘theories’) have been circulated in the White House by a number of staffers that subscribe to the trail of breadcrumbs, dragging other down the Q-inspired rabbit hole.

Elites

1. a select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society.

Not any more. Once the so-called elite drove around, or were driven around, in their black Mercedes Benz, shopped at those stores on the first floors of fancy shopping centres and puffed cigars whilst counting their millions. Now the “Elite” are a secret society of people who are complicit in planning and carrying out the biggest hoax in history – the Covid-19 pandemic.

The “elite” have conspired with governments to keep us sheeple in compliant control. Most governments find it difficult to role out stimulus payments and pick up the rubbish on time, let alone conspire to do anything in a secret, controlled manner. Any self-respecting elite usually does everything they can NOT to be involved in governments, anywhere.

The Great Reset

Not what we do to our computers after tearing our hair out for an hour. This baseless conspiracy theory, known as the ‘Great Reset’, claims a group of world leaders “orchestrated” and planned the pandemic to take control of the global economy.

The conspiracy theory has its origins in a genuine plan entitled ‘The Great Reset’, drawn up by the World Economic Forum – now used as somewhat thin ‘evidence’ that The Great Reset is true. The WEF is an annual conference for high-profile figures from politics and business. The plan explores how countries might recover from the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic but has never mentioned any control or broader policy covering world populations.

The recovery plan has now been interpreted as a sinister plan, first by fringes of the conspiracy theory networks and then taken up by conservative commentators and then shared around social media.

Do you have any other favourite theories that keep popping up, or new words to add to the list? Tell us below…

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Darth Vader actor David Prowse dies – May the force be with him

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Darth Vader actor David Prowse dies – May the force be with him | The Thaiger

“…his swish with the black cape and his screen presence in the foreboding, shiny black high-tech exoskeleton won him a legion of fans.”

Darth Vader has died… May the force be with him. The man who played the bad guy in the first Star Wars trilogy, British actor David Prowse, died at the age of 85 after a short illness.

American actor Mark Hamill, who played Darth Vader’s son, Luke Skywalker, alongside with David and the initial cast of the epic saga, sent his condolences in a tweet.

“So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader.”

“Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire-3 time British Weightlifting Champion & Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him. #RIP”

Star Wars co-star, and fellow Brit, Anthony Daniels, who played the gold-plated and effusive C3PO in all but one of the 12 Star Wars instalments, paid tribute to Prowse’s contribution to the saga.

“Dave’s iconic figure dominated the finished film in ’77 and has done so ever since.”

David wore the ominous black suit and helmet to play the Star Wars villain Darth Vader although it was the American actor James Earl Jones who provided the character’s voice in post-production. George Lucas felt that David’s West Country English accent was “unsuitable for the part”. The decision to replace David’s voice caused a long-term rift between actor and director that eventually saw David cut out of official Star Wars publicity events. But his swish with the black cape and his screen presence in the foreboding shiny black high-tech exoskeleton won him a legion of fans.

Darth Vader actor David Prowse dies - May the force be with him | News by The Thaiger

David’s career as an actor spanned 50 years, but it was his role as the Sith Lord in Star Wars that brought him international fame and attention.

But it was his role as the “Green Cross Code Man” from a British road safety campaign that Prowse said he was most proud of. David was awarded an MBE, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in 2000 for that role.

David Prowse was born into a working class family and grew up in a council estate in Southmead, in southwestern England. He gained a scholarship to attend Bristol Grammar School. He had a passion for bodybuilding and was crowned British Weightlifting Champion several times in the 1960s. He became lifelong friends with actors Arnold Schwarzenegger in his weightlifting years.

His towering figure helped land him roles as monsters and villains in TV shows and films. He played the monster in “The Horror of Frankenstein” in 1970 and a bearded torturer in “Carry on Henry” in 1971. That same year he made an appearance as a bodyguard in Stanley Kubrick’s dystopian film “A Clockwork Orange” in 1971. He went on to play Darth Vader in all three of the original “Star Wars” films, in 1977, 1980 and 1983.

With the success of Star Wars, Prowse became a regular on the fan circuit and attended conventions around the world for almost 40 years, but he was rumoured to have later fallen out with director Lucas and was banned from official events in 2010.

He published an autobiography, “Straight from the Force’s Mouth,” in 2011.

SOURCES: Reuters | CNN | BBC

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Thailand News Today | Coconut Business, Weekend protests, Pork dressed as Beef | November 13

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Thailand News Today | More Thai Airways debt, Korean soldier, TripAdvisor warning | November 12

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